This simple, budget-friendly recipe for spicy harissa bean soup is my favorite way to clean out the pantry of all those random mason jars of beans that accumulates when you shop in the bulk aisle. Learn tips for cooking perfect dry beans, and ideas for other recipes for using up harissa.Read More
Inspired by my all time favorite vegetarian lasagna recipe, this weeknight friendly recipe for vegetarian polenta lasagna with kale, butternut squash and creminis is sure to become a new favorite! Use precooked lasagna rounds in place of lasagna noodles, which makes it gluten free too. Layered with caramelized fall vegetables, spicy arrabiata sauce, and lemony ricotta.Read More
If you love sweet and spicy, make this harissa roasted butternut, cauliflower and chickpea bowl immediately! It's really simple to throw together. Just roast fall vegetables and chickpeas in a glaze of harissa paste and pure maple syrup and serve over quinoa with feta, pomegranate and herbs for garnish. A totally nourishing vegetarian meal for winter or fall!Read More
Welp, I just got my first sunburn of the year, so I guess I better go ahead and share the winter squash recipes my queue, starting with this roasted kabocha squash salad with creamy garlic dressing.Read More
This Southern black-eyed pea and greens casserole with cornbread crust will ensure plenty of prosperity in the New Year! Enjoy it vegetarian or flavor with a little bacon for luck.
Wow. In just a few short days, we'll be saying goodbye to 2015 and ringing in a new year. Is it just me, or has this year flown by? Or do I say that every year, completely forgetting the speed at which 365 days passes?
How are you feeling about the New Year? I find most people fall into two camps: excitement or dread. Excited for all the opportunities and experiences that await, or dread for the pressure to come up with an epic, life changing resolution, all while coming off a Christmas cookie (or champagne) hangover.
If you fall in the latter group, be sure to check back here on Wednesday, when I'm sharing my strategy for creating a non-resolution that truly can transform your life over the course of a year. But also, please know I'm a huge fan of starting resolutions/non-resolutions somewhere around January 5th or so. Give yourself some time to breathe after the hectic pace of the holiday season. It's hard to think about what's truly important in life when your brain just wants to focus on post-Christmas sales, which sparkly dress to wear on New Years, and sleep.
Let's save that mental energy and instead think about something a little less exhausting - food. Growing up, I don't know if we had a traditional New Years food, but since Scott and I started dating 10 (!!!) years ago, I've cooked a Southern New Years feast complete with black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork. Down here, we believe black-eyed peas bring prosperity, greens bring money, pork brings progress (because pigs root forward when foraging, obviously), and cornbread brings gold. Apparently, us Southerners are quite focused on getting rich. Whether the meal actually brings riches or not, who knows, but either way you get a tasty feast.
I like to have fun with the tradition, every year creating a new dish with the same basic elements. Since our tastes lean more plant-centric (and also because I have no clue how to cook a pork roast), I like to use a little bacon for flavoring and greens and black eyed peas as the main ingredients. We've done everything from New Years soups to black-eyed pea patties served over a mess of greens!
Last year I made this casserole to share on the blog, but didn't make enough cornbread to cover the top. Whoops! It was so tasty, I had to attempt again! This is kind of like a Southern version of a tamale pie, with a crispy cornbread topping over a casserole of baked greens, black-eyed peas in a molasses-sweetened tomato sauce. I kept it vegetarian this time, but for New Years, I'd flavor the greens and beans with a couple slices of bacon or stir in a little leftover ham from Christmas.
Black-Eyed Pea and Greens Casserole with Cornbread Crust
Feel free to saute 2 slices of chopped bacon with the onions and garlic to flavor (and for luck!).
- 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large bunch collard greens or kale, stemmed and leaves chopped
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 14-ounce can pureed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1½ cups stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1½ cups buttermilk or kefir
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- First, cook the black-eyed peas. If you remember, soak them in a big bowl of water overnight/all day (I never remember). Place peas in a large pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour until tender, but not falling apart. Taste a couple to ensure doneness. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
- When ready to cook casserole, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large sided skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper. Saute until tender, about 5-7 minuets. Add greens and water. Stir, cover and cook 10 minutes until greens are tender. If starting to dry out, add more water. Add tomatoes, molasses, dijon, hot sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add black-eyed peas, stir to combine, and pour into large casserole dish. Let sit while you make cornbread topping.
- In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the cornbread together. In a medium bowl whisk the egg, buttermilk, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Whisk in scallions and parsley. Pour cornbread batter evenly over the casserole, spreading with a spatula to even. Place in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until topping is browned and cooked through.
More lucky recipes for the new year:
A simple winter soup made with the most delicious of all the winter squash - kabocha. Roast a head of garlic along with the squash for a rich, caramelized flavor and stir in sauteed kale for a hit of fresh green.
Remember when I first met kabocha and quickly fell in love? Well guess what? We're still going strong! In fact, I've left Scott and kabocha and I are moving in together ;-)
Okay, that last part was weird...
But in all seriousness, kabocha and I have been having quite the love affair this winter. I can't get enough of it's dense, creamy texture and rich sweetness! I've been throwing roast cubes of it into everything I eat...and sometimes snacking on caramelized cubes of it between meals. But mostly, I've been making soup. Lots and lots of soup.
I tend to get sick of pureed soups pretty quickly, but I remain enamored with this basic one, even after multiple batches. You can use this recipe as a template and add different flavors and spices as you like. Give it a Middle Eastern flair with a sprinkle of za'atar, swirl of olive oil and dollop of plain yogurt. Stir in sweet rice cake balls to make a traditional Korean soup called danhobak juk. Stir in curry and turmeric for an Indian spiced soup. Or, go all Paula Dean with it and cook the kale in rendered bacon fat then garnishing with crumbled bacon. Kale cancels out bacon, or something like that.
For a topping, I saved the kabocha squash seeds and roasted them as I whipped up the soup. One thing I love about winter squash is you get a meal and a snack out of one piece of produce. Squash seeds are packed with nutrition - healthy fats, fiber, zinc, and copper to name a few. I've seen many recipes that call for meticulously soaking and cleaning the seeds, but I say pfffttt to that! The squash "guts," if you will, may not be as pretty, but it adds flavor and that's the important thing.
This is one of those recipes that speaks for itself, so I'll just get to it. But first, tell me your go-to winter soups in the comments below. The temperature is dropping and I need some inspiration!
Kabocha, Kale & Roasted Garlic Soup
You could certainly make this with any other winter squash, it's just that kabocha is the best, so why would you :) Other greens, like chard or collards, work in this as well, just adjust your cooking times accordingly so the greens are wilted, not crunchy.
- 1 medium kabocha squash
- 1 head garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch of kale, thick stems removed, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and guts using a spoon, reserving only the seeds in a small bowl. Cut each half in half so you have four sections. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet.
- Peel away the paper outer layers of the garlic. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and wrap with a square of aluminum foil. Place alongside the squash.
- Place pan with garlic and squash in the oven and roast about 45 minutes until tender. Check the squash after about 30 minutes with a fork to see if it's tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- While cooling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add kale, salt and pepper and saute until wilted, adding a couple tablespoons of water to help it steam.
- While the kale is wilting, scoop squash flesh and roasted garlic (just squeeze the individual cloves out of it's paper) into a blender. Add vegetable broth, turmeric and caynne and blend until pureed. Pour into the pot with the kale. Add 2 cups water to the blender to help rinse out the remaining squash puree and pour that into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring soup to a simmer then cook 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Reduce oven temp to 375. While the soup is simmering, toss the seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (can use the same one you roasted the squash on). Roast for 10-15 minutes until crispy and crunchy, but not browned.
- Serve soup garnished with toasted seeds.
Canned pumpkin and coconut milk seem like an unlikely duo, but when blended with herbs, spices and bit of citrus, it makes a rich, creamy and complex pasta sauce. Top with sauteed leeks, mushrooms and peas to make it a meal.
Since my teenage years, on a semi-regular basis, I've been mistaken for Italian. I've got German, Scottish and Latvian blood, but not a speck of Italian, at least to my knowledge. There's been some awkward moments, like when I was walking through Little Italy and a little old lady spoke to me in Italian...then gave me a death stare when I couldn't respond. Then there was that time a woman in Williams Sonoma asked me how I make pasta from scratch, to which I replied "uhhh, I put it in boiling water." And of course, we can't forget the rumor that went around in high school that my dad was in the mafia. Don't even ask how that one started.
I always presumed it was my olive complexion and dark hair, but after creating this dish, I think I've figured out the source of confusion. Rumor must have somehow got out about my excellent pasta sauce making skills.
If you've made my pasta primavera with cauliflower sauce, dairy free mac and cheese or horrendously photographed but amazingly delicious almost cheeseless pasta casserole, then you know this rumor to be true. This creamy pumpkin sauce blows them all out of the water.
This bowl of pasta was one of the most comforting things I've ever experienced, right up there with fleece-lined leggings and snuggles from my fur babies (one of which is doing a little better - thanks for all your well wishes!). Comfort food to the max. Plus, it's got the whole carb and carb thing going on - never a bad thing in my opinion.
I've used pureed pumpkin in pasta sauces before, most notably my vegan mac and cheese (one of the most popular recipes on this blog). But for this sauce, I wanted it to be almost alfredo-like and silky smooth. And for that, you need fat and lots of it!
I used two sources of fats to create this sauce. First, coconut milk, which adds only a faint hint of coconut flavor that actually melds together really nicely with this sauce. I also mixed in a couple tablespoons of almond butter, although you could use cashew butter or tahini even if you have it on hand. Both of these fats lend a nice mouthfeel to the sauce, but also a complex flavor as well.
Speaking of flavor, there's so much going on in this bowl! I added lots of sage, picked from our "herb garden," aka sage garden because that's what took over! Fresh orange juice brightens the sauce and sweetens it a bit as well. The turmeric adds a little peppery flavor, but mostly I added it in for the health benefits and gorgeous color.
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks
- 14-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 ounces shiitakes, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 8 ounces 100% whole grain spaghetti (I used quinoa spaghetti)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium pot, whisk together sauce ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute 5-7 minutes until tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook until their liquid has released and reabsorbed, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in peas and cook until defrosted and warm. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss spaghetti with the sauce. Top with vegetables and serve.
Give your immune system a boost to fight off that cold with a warm bowl of gingery green soup, packed with immune supporting ingredients like ginger, turmeric, green leafy veggies and garlic!
Does it seem like everyone is sick right now? We hosted supper club this Sunday and about half the people there were just getting over something, myself included. Of course, now the other half are probably currently sick from being in my germ infested house. Sorry guys. Hope the coq au vin was worth it!
Whenever I catch a cold, it usually runs it's course in a couple days, but this one has lingered almost a week. Yesterday morning I was fed up after I woke up feeling congested and groggy yet again. So, I decided to whip up a soup with all the immune supporting ingredients!
Although I do still believe in the curative powers of chicken noodle soup, I wanted to take this recipe in a different direction. I chose this recipe from 101 Cookbooks as a base, which I've had stashed in a binder for years only to stumble across it again last week. Perfect timing, no?
This soup basically has every food known to enhance immune function packed into each bowl. Okay, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it's definitely has it's fair share of cold and flu fighters! Here's a look at what's inside:
Green leafy veggies // Citrus fruit is probably what comes to mind when you think of vitamin C, but green leafies are a pretty good source too. Green leafy vegetables have also been shown to help lymphocytes, a type of immune cell, function properly.
Ginger // Ginger tea is one of my favorite tricks for a sore throat. I'm actually drinking it as I type! This gingery broth helps soothe a sore throat. Plus, ginger is an effective way to reduce nausea, so this light, brothy soup would be perfect if you've got a stomach flu.
Garlic // Garlic has been used medicinally for years to treat everything from gangrene to the plague. However, there's actual scientific evidence showing garlic's benefits for colds. One study found people who take garlic supplements were less likely to catch a cold, and those who did recovered faster.
Turmeric // Powerfully anti-inflammatory turmeric is fantastic for immune system support. It helps to boost a protein called CAMP, which helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses.
Yogurt // Did you know the majority of your immune system is located in your gut? Beneficial probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt are a critical part of that system.
So, how do I feel now? My fingers may be permanently stained yellow from turmeric, but I feel much better! If you're feeling under the weather, I'm sending healing thoughts your way and a warm bowl of this soup!
Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup
For a vegan version, simply mix the turmeric into the broth at the end of cooking. It will turn the broth quite yellow, but it will be delicious. Or, you could substitute a plain coconut milk yogurt, which I think would taste pretty great with the Asian flavors in this soup. Adapted from 101 Cookbooks.
- 1 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 1 large leek, white and pale green parts chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bunch spinach, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup plain, organic yogurt
- 1 small nub of fresh turmeric or
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional for color)
- First, make the turmeric yogurt. Using a microplane grater, grate the turmeric into the yogurt or whisk in turmeric powder. Season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, a pinch of salt and saute until lightly browned and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and saute 25 minutes until caramelized.
- Place sweet potato, kale, leek, ginger, and garlic in a pot with water, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes until tender. Add spinach, cover and simmer another 5 minutes until wilted. Add lemon and soy sauce to taste.
- Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt.
Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the #iloveambrosia campaign as a member of Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time and gifted a dozen Ambrosia apples. Thanks for supporting Avocado A Day!
If there was anyone more excited than me when I was asked to participate in the #iloveambrosia apple campaign, it was my pup, Savannah. Adorbs, isn't she?
Being the good dietitian's dog that she is, her favorite treat isn't rubbery pupperoni or even her all natural, smoked salmon treats. It's apples. Y'all, that dog will do anything for apples. She'll pull out tricks we've never even taught her just to get the core leftover from our snack. She can even hear the sound of us biting into an apple from the other side of the house! Because we're suckers for that precious little face, she generally gets a decent portion of every apple we eat, plus the ones that get mealy or brown.
When a package of twelve GORGEOUS Ambrosia apples arrived at our doorstep, I thought her eyes would pop out of her head with excitement. I actually tried to get her picture with the apples, but it basically turned into that scene from There's Something About Mary when Matt Dillon's character gives Fluffy the dog speed. True story.
I totally get her excitement. These were some pretty darn gorgeous apples. No hint of blemish, even after a week in the heavily trafficked fruit crisper. A deep pink blush over a creamy yellow background. Shiny skin. Huge.
I was even more excited when I took a bite.
I know I overuse superlatives, but this was the best apple I've ever tasted.
Aptly named after the food of the gods, Ambrosia apples mysteriously appeared as a seedling in a orchard full of Jonagolds. After the pickers stripped the tree clean of it's perfect fruit, the farmer decided to produce more. Ambrosias are one of the sweetest apple varieties with a flavor reminiscent of honey. I generally prefer tart apples, but the complex flavor, crisp flavor and juiciness won me over!
After tasting the apple, I knew I wanted to keep it in it's raw form and preserve it's perfection. I also wanted to do a savory recipe rather than sweet. Dare to be different, I say.
The sweet Ambrosia apple perfectly pairs with bitter Brussels sprouts leaves. The smoky tempeh bacon, nutty pecans and acidic lemon dressing balance out the flavors. I should note, this salad was made for batch cooking. The apples, which oxidize slower than other varieties, didn't brown and the sprouts stayed crisp for the three days I kept it in the fridge. All it needs is a dash more lemon before serving and you're good to go!
Like all apples, Ambrosia's are a good source of fiber with 4 grams in each medium apple. It's especially rich in soluble fiber, known for it's cholesterol lowering benefits. It's also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. Much of the research on apples has focused on their polyphenol content, a type of phytonutrient which makes apples especially good for blood sugar regulation. The polyphenols found in apples slow down carbohydrate digestion, stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin, and reduce glucose absorption. Make sure to eat the skin where many of the nutrients concentrate!
Now, I know you all are on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what Savannah thought of these apples. I'm sorry to report that she's just not a fan. Not because they aren't delicious, but because her mommy and daddy ate all of them, leaving her with just a few, almost completely stripped down cores. Her puppy dog eyes are cute, but no match for the allure of these apples.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples and Tempeh Bacon
Although this salad, full of healthy carbs, fat and protein, is perfectly satisfying, if you want to bulk it up a bit more, add chickpeas. And although it would not longer be vegan, blue cheese would be a welcome addition as well.
- 8 ounce organic tempeh
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 2 large Ambrosia apples
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- First, make the tempeh bacon. Cut the tempeh in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 12 thin slices, for a total of 24. Place in a zip top bag or plastic container with lid. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, molasses, and spices. Pour over tempeh and let marinade at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Line the tempeh up on the baking sheet and brush the tops with more olive oil. Bake for 12-14 minutes, flip, then bake an additional 8 minutes until browned and slightly crisp.
- Cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise through the core. Using a paring knife, cut away the core so the leaves fall apart and separate. Add to a large salad bowl. Dice the apple and add to the sprouts along with the pecans. Toss in the pecans.
- Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the salad and serve.
Roasted cauliflower gets a holiday upgrade with naturally-sweet golden raisins, toasted walnuts and capers.
By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest. I was not compensated for my name. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Literally, and figuratively.
When I was on vacation with my family, the topic of our Christmas Day meal came up, and somehow, I ended up volunteering to cook the entire meal for all ten of us.
Normally my dad is in charge, and although he's a great cook, let's just say his emphasis is a little more on the meat and a little less on the sides. With half the family qualifying as a borderline vegetarian, I figured a few satisfying veggie sides and a main to accompany my dad's decidedly non-veggie main would make people happy. Plus, I'm pretty excited to show the non-veggie lovers how delicious they can be when you treat them right.
In preparation, I was thinking of the best veggie dishes I've ever had I immediately remembered this dish from Holy Taco in Atlanta. Nutty, roasted cauliflower tossed with sweet golden raisins, salty currants and crunchy walnuts. So much deliciousness in every bite!
Let's talk about the raisins, because although every component is important, it's what truly makes this dish. The sweetness brings out the caramelized flavors of the cauliflower and makes for a great sweet and salty combination with the capers. Naturally-sweet with no added sugar, unlike many other dried fruits, I always keep raisins on hand to add a bit of sweetness to savory dishes like braised greens, pilafs, and curries.
Maybe it's the association with oatmeal cookies and and other sweet treats, but I find many people don't realize how nutritious raisins are. Remember, it's dried grape, so raisins have all the same beneficial compounds. One of those compounds is kaempherol, an antioxidant flavonoid which has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It may even help prevent nerve disorders and osteoporosis. Golden raisins, my personal favorite, are a particularly rich source. Another neat bonus to golden raisins - the dehydration process increases the amount of quercetin, another flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Raisins are also a good source of fiber, potassium and iron.
So, let's ring in the holidays with raisins!
Caramelized Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Capers
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend you can find in most well stocked groceries or order online. If you don’t have it, simply season the cauliflower with salt and pepper. The other ingredients add plenty of flavor
- 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and chopped into florets
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons za’atar
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup California golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle with za’atar and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, stopping halfway through to add the walnuts and flip the cauliflower.
- When the cauliflower is caramelized and tender, remove from the oven. Add the golden raisins, toss to combine and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with capers and serve.