Sheet Pan Ratatouille and Chicken

Sheet Pan Ratatouille and Chicken

Looking for an easy and healthy chicken recipe you can prep in less than 15 minutes? Make this sheet pan ratatouille chicken! Throw ratatouille vegetables, olive oil and bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs on a sheet pan and roast until the chicken is crispy and the vegetables are caramelized. It's so simple and perfect for those late summer nights! 

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Spicy Hummus Pasta with Roasted Eggplant

A tub of hummus, a seasonal veggie and pasta is all you need to make this spicy hummus with roasted eggplant! Tastes like baba ganoush in pasta form! 

Hum. MUS. What is it good for? Absolutely everything

But really, it is. And I think this hummus pasta proves it.

Do you have pasta in your house? Of course. What about hummus? Duh, always. Some kind of seasonal veggie that likes to hang out in a hot oven and get all sweet and tender and caramelized? Darn it, you should! Because that’s really all you need to create this crazy delish and crazy easy dinner.

This pasta was the result of one of those days you come home, realize you didn’t plan anything for dinner and just can’t seem to drag yourself to the grocery store. Although my unreasonable fear of throwing away food has made me a pro at meal planning, sometimes I think my best creations come from days like this.

To make the sauce, I used Sabra's supremely spicy hummus. It creates a creamy, spicy and flavorful sauce that perfectly coats the pasta. Roasted eggplant takes on this buttery, melt in your mouth consistency. When the two combine, it kind of tastes like baba ganoush pasta! Not a bad thing as all my fellow baba ganoush lovers can surely attest.

What’s cool about this dish is that you can easily switch it up with different flavors of hummus and vegetables. Here’s some ideas:

Lemon hummus + roasted asparagus + peas + goat cheese

Jalapeno hummus + halved cherry tomatoes + roasted zucchini rounds

Horseradish hummus + smoked salmon + tomatoes + capers

Roasted garlic hummus + roasted zucchini + sun dried tomatoes

Olive hummus + spinach + oven roasted tomatoes

Possibilities = endless

Spicy Hummus Pasta with Roasted Eggplant

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated on the large holes of a cheese grater
  • 12 ounces whole grain spaghetti
  • 1 10-ounce tub of spicy hummus
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss eggplant with olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Reserve 1/3 cup salty cooking water. Drain and set aside.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add shredded zucchini and saute until tender and lightly golden, about 7 minutes.
  4. Toss pasta with hummus, thinning with reserved cooking water. Toss in zucchini and eggplant. Serve garnished with cilantro, scallion and basil.

More hummus friendly recipes:

Pita with Yogurt Chickpeas and Muhammara
Pita with Yogurt Chickpeas and Muhammara
Chickpea Hummus Salad Sandwiches
Chickpea Hummus Salad Sandwiches
Hummus Smorrebrod
Hummus Smorrebrod
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Vegetarian Lasagna with Eggplant and Mushroom 'Meat' Sauce

This vegetarian lasagna uses meaty eggplants and mushrooms for a 'meat' sauce and swaps Greek yogurt for some of the cheese. 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by #PastaFits through my participation in the Healthy Aperture Network, which is awesome, because I love pasta. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! 

One thing I love about teaching people how to cook is showing them how to makeover their favorite comfort foods in a more nutritious and equally tasty way. Eating healthy doesn't feel restrictive when you're enjoying all your favorites on the reg.

Now, don't get me wrong. As all my long term readers know, restriction is the last thing I advocate for. And there's absolutely nothing wrong or 'bad' about eating rich foods. I am all about a mindful indulgence! Still, when you know how to prepare those traditionally not so nutritious foods in a more nutritious way, it's a game changer.

That said, there are a few foods I've always had a hard time messing with. Classic mac and cheese for one. Goodness knows I love my recipe for dairy free mac and cheese, but it's not the same as my famous pimento mac and cheese. If I'm in the mood for a rich, creamy, nourishing bowl of goodness, I'll whip up my dairy free mac and cheese in a snap. But on Thanksgiving, you better believe I'm making my mac with ALL the cheese.

Lasagna is another classic dish I was always scared to mess with. Are you sensing a cheese and pasta theme here? It wasn't until I made this recipe for the worlds greatest vegetarian lasagna (which is, in fact, appropriately named) that I realized it could be done.

Since then, I've had all sorts of fun playing with different takes on lasagna. I've made a vegan lasagna with cashew cheese sauce that I was even brave enough to bring to supper club (where it was happily devoured!). I've made this fall appropriate kale and butternut squash lasagna. Most recently, I came up with this vegetarian lasagna using a Greek yogurt in lieu of ricotta and a hearty eggplant and mushroom "meat" sauce. The new worlds greatest? I'll let you be the judge.

I want to circle back to the whole 'forbidden foods' thing. I frequently hear people refer to favorite foods as 'bad'. Besides the fact that I don't agree with moralizing food choices, often times, foods one might think of as 'bad' is actually quite nutritious.

Pasta is just one of those examples. It's a great source of energy sustaining complex carbohydrates and actually has a low glycemic index. This recipe uses 100% whole wheat pasta noodles, which are rich in fiber, protein, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Most importantly, it tastes great! I find whole grain pasta is one of the easiest whole grains for people to adapt to as they switch over from refined grains.

Vegetarian Lasagna with Eggplant & Mushroom 'Meat' Sauce

serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large eggplant, diced small
  • 8 ounces cremini mushroms, diced small
  • 1 25-ounce jar tomato sauce of choice
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant, season with salt and pepper and saute about 5 minutes until softened. Add mushrooms and cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Pour in all but 3/4 cup tomato sauce and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix yogurt, egg and Italian seasoning in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil. Spread 1/4 cup reserved tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Spread a layer of lasagna noodles evenly on the bottom. Top with half the vegetable 'meat' sauce. Spread another layer of noodles over the sauce. Top with all of the yogurt sauce. Layer with more noodles and the other half of the tomato sauce. Top with another layer of noodles and half a cup of reserved tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella slices and parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 30 more minutes until bubbly. Set aside to cool before slicing and serving.

More dishes that prove #PastaFits:

Pasta with Tempeh Sausage, Broccolini and Cremini Mushrooms
Pasta with Tempeh Sausage, Broccolini and Cremini Mushrooms
Gazpacho Pasta Salad
Gazpacho Pasta Salad
Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes

These grilled pork tacos with charred eggplant and tomatoes are pretty epic, definitely worth a little extra work on a weekend! Enjoy with a cold local brew and good friends! 

A couple weeks ago was the week of the taco. It was awesome.

It all started when we spent the day sailing with friends on the lake. While we were out on the boat, my friend Chelsea told us her grand idea of opening a taco stand at our local farmers market. Environmental lawyer by week, taco connoisseur by weekend? I doubt she'll ever go through with it, but we still had fun dreaming up taco combinations! After a day in the sun, drinking and talking about Mexican food, what did we end up getting for dinner? Tacos and fresh margs. No big surprise.

Later that week, I took the day off to go wedding dress shopping with my family for my sister-in-laws wedding. When appointments ran late and our stomachs were rumbling, you know what they asked for? More tacos! BBQ shrimp and veggie tacos with extra guac for the win!

You would think at this point I would be sick of tacos. But apparently that's not physically possible, because what did I cook for dinner the next night? These pork tacos.

This recipe was adapted from one in Smoke, a James Beard award winning cookbook that teaches the art of cooking with fire. Like, real fire. As in, lets build a firepit in our backyard. It's legit. It's also one of the prettiest cookbooks I own. Most of the recipes aren't exactly weeknight friendly (grilled creole shrimp cocktail with pickled relish vinaigrette made from a combination of four different homemade relishes and a homemade horseradish Tejano red sauce anyone?). But they're beautiful, inspirational and most can be easily be simplified. It's a great gift for any grill lovers in your family - I know the hubs was set on building a pit for oyster roasts in our backyard after thumbing through it!

The original recipe called for waaaay more oil, like three cups (!!!). The pork was essentially confit. I love a good confit, but I'm also more than happy to let a real chef do it for me. I also used a leaner cut of pork. If you prefer shredded pork over cubed, I would use a fattier cut, like a pork shoulder. Also, I know the eggplant and tomato may seem like an odd choice for a tacos, but trust me on it. If you're really not into it or you want to save time, serve it with preshredded cabbage instead.

Because I'm a wuss, I cooked this on the grill instead of a backyard firepit. But, I did it in a cast iron skillet on the grill, so maybe that earns me a couple bad ass points?? If you're a bigger weenie than me, you could also cook this indoors with a Dutch oven or make life even easier with a crockpot! Simply sear the pork, add the citrus-beer mixture and let it simmer until tender! It might be missing some of that smoky flavor, but I bet the citrus-beer flavor would be more pronounced.

Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Tomatoes and Eggplant

Serves 6 (2 tacos each)

Adapted from Smoke.

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs pork loin roast
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of IPA beer
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 4 sprigs of oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 6 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Feta or cotija cheese, crumbled, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together minced garlic, curry, smoked paprika, chili, brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and salt. Rub the pork all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
  2. While pork is marinading, mix lemon juice, orange juice, beer, garlic, shallots, oregano and bay leaves in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. When ready to cook pork, heat the grill to medium-high heat. Place a large cast iron skillet on the grill to heat. When hot, add olive oil. Sear pork in the olive oil, cooking 2-3 minutes per side, until browned all over. Add the citrus-beer mixture, reduce the grill heat to medium-low, and cover grill lid. Cook covered, about 30-45 minutes until pork is tender, cooked through and sauce is reduced. Carefully with an oven mitt, remove and set aside to cool slightly, pork still in the skillet.
  4. While pork is resting, turn the heat up to medium-high. Spray the grates with olive oil. Season the tomatoes and eggplant with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the grill, tomatoes skin side down, and cook with grill lid covered, about 5-7 minutes until charred on one side. Remove tomatoes from grill to a plate and set aside. Flip eggplant and cook 5 minutes on the other side until charred and tender.
  5. As space becomes available on the grill, lay the tortillas out flat to lightly char. Remove to a clean plate.
  6. When ready to serve, remove pork to a cutting board. Slice into 3/4-inch cubes. Add back to the sauce and toss to combine. Season with salt if needed.
  7. Divide eggplant and tomatoes between the tortillas. Top with pork then garnish with cheese and salsa verde.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Dip with Tahini

Summer's best produce stars in this recipe for grilled eggplant and zucchini dip with tahini. Perfect for serving with toasted whole grain pita!

And so it begins: The Summer of the Squash.

Earlier this Spring, Scott came home with twenty squash seedlings, leftover from a community garden project at work. At first I fought him when he wanted to plant all twenty, knowing squash reproduce like rabbits, but then I remembered we kill everything we plant, so I let the boy have his fun.

Two months later, we could essentially cure a small developing nation of nutritional deficiencies with our backyard garden.

Good thing I really like squash.

Since you're about to see an ungodly amount of summer squash on the blog this summer, I figure now's the time to talk about why consuming ungodly amounts of summer squash is a good thing.

Summer squash are in the cucumber and melon family and were first cultivated in Mexico and Central America, where they were referred to as part of the "three sisters" alongside beans and corn. Yellow squash and zucchini are commonly found in the grocery store, but if you explore the farmer's market, you'll find heirloom varieties like pattypan (perfect for stuffing...coming soon!), zephyr, eightball and limelight. If you're growing squash in your garden, don't be like me and forget to harvest it for a few days - although the massive footlong zucchini are hilariously fun, they tend to taste woody and bitter compared to the more tender squash harvested around 6 inches.

Summer squash are a very good source of a wide variety of nutrients - folate, vitamin C, B6, copper, magnesium, and potassium to name just a few! It's also a good source of fiber with 2.5 grams in a cup, much of that fiber coming from pectin, which is especially beneficial for blood sugar control. Also, because you eat the seeds in squash, you get a little dose of omega 3 fats. Who knew!

Because I just can't bring myself to toss anything that came from our backyard, I've been working squash into as many meals as I possibly can. My breakfast for the next 3 months will likely be some variation on this shredded sauteed squash with basil (also from the garden), goat cheese and a fried egg. For diner, I've already made stuffed squash and more zucchini side dishes than you can imagine. And for snacks, I've been obsessing over this grilled vegetable and tahini dip. You could use almost any vegetable you like in this, as long as it's grill-able. Try peppers, mushrooms, onions or tomatoes. I do like the including an eggplant, since it's creamy texture makes it more dip-like. Serve this with whole grain pita, ak-mak crackers or tortilla chips.

Now, I'd like to offer a special for Columbia area clients. Sign up for coaching sessions with me this summer and you get a free bonus - a giant basket of zucchini!! Come get while the gettins' good!

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Dip

Feel free to use other vegetables like mushrooms, peppers or onion.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2-in thick
  • 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and each half cut into 4 spears
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Spray or brush the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread vegetables evenly on the grill and cook 7-10 minutes on one side. Flip and cook another 5 minutes on the other side until tender and lightly charred. Remove to a platter and set aside to cool.
  3. While the vegetables are cooling, make the dressing. Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and parsley, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. When vegetables are cool enough to handle, dice and place in a large bowl. Pour in dressing and stir to combine. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You might also like:

Zucchini Fritters in Tomato Sauce
Zucchini Fritters in Tomato Sauce
Grilled Zucchini and Ricotta Pita Pizza

Grilled Zucchini and Ricotta Pita Pizza

Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats
Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

This vegetable and soba noodle stir fry is made with chewy, buckwheat soba noodles made from sweet potato and buckwheat. It's packed with veggies - strips of eggplant, green beans, bok choy, and red bell peppers, as well and stir fried tofu and drenched in a spicy peanut sauce!

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