Kelp Noodle and Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing

Kelp Noodle and Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing

If you’ve never tried kelp noodles before, don’t be afraid! This kelp noodle and mango salad with peanut dressing is the best dish to try it in! The crunchy and chewy noodles add tons of texture, and soak up the spicy peanut sauce, and the sweet mango makes it taste bright and summery! Bulk it up with protein like grilled chicken or baked tofu!

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Zucchini Bread Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Maple Greek Yogurt Topping

Zucchini Bread Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Maple Greek Yogurt Topping

These yummy zucchini bread chocolate chip pancakes are topped with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt topping! Perfect for celebrating the holidays with brunch. It's made with gluten free Simple Mills pancake and waffle mix, which is made with almond flour! It adds a nutty flavor. The perfect way to celebrate Easter brunch! 

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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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Summer Gnocchi with Basil Brown Butter

Summer Gnocchi with Basil Brown Butter

Celebrate the season with this summer gnocchi with basil brown butter and all of the yummiest seasonal produce! It's incredibly simple - just saute zucchini, tomatoes, corn or whatever else looks delicious at the farmer's market, toss with gnocchi and nutty browned butter. 

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Summer Farmer’s Market Skillet with Pistachio-Herb Spread

Summer Farmer’s Market Skillet with Pistachio-Herb Spread

This summer farmer's market skillet with pistachio-herb spread is a delicious way to highlight summer produce! Pick your favorite veggies from the market, saute, bake a few eggs into the mix, and serve with a bright and herbaceous pistachio-herb spread. Don't forget crusty bread for soaking up the runny yolks! Easily adaptable for any season. 

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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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Summer Spaghetti with Zoodles, Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic

Make the most of summer's bounty with this recipe for summer spaghetti, tossed with sauteed zoodles, burst cherry tomatoes, golden garlic and crispy prosciutto! 

Time for another round of Recipe Redux! This month's theme is Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape, all about trying creative cuts for fruits and veggies. I obviously went with zoodles, which I've been making on the reg since I was gifted a spiralizer for Christmas. In this recipe, I've tossed with whole grain spaghetti with briefly sauteed zoodles in a summery cherry tomato basil sauce infused with tons of garlic and crispy prosciutto.

Oh, and there's cheese. I love you too.

Veggies pretending to be other things has gotten quite popular lately. Certainly, I've been on board with the trend. It's a fun way to fit in more produce and experiment with different flavors and textures.

Buuuuut...I feel the need to clarify something.

Cauliflower is not rice. Zucchini is not pasta. Lettuce is not bread. Vegetables are not a substitute for carbohydrates.

Don't get me wrong. Zoodles are fun and I swear zucchini tastes better in noodle vs semi-circle form. And I adore cauliflower rice. Actually, I think I like it better than real rice...probably because I'm pretty miserable at cooking rice so that it's nice and fluffy.

But there's also a sinister side to the whole vegetables as other things trend. Rather than being a fun way to experiment with different ways of enjoying veggies, it's become a trendy and socially acceptable way to go low carb. Gone are the Atkins days of a giant hunk of meat and steamed veggies. Now you can have mashed "potatoes," "pizza," "pasta," and (gasp!), even "bread!"

Except it's not.

Zoodles are not pasta. There is an entire country that might kick your a** for claiming it to be so. Zoodles are really yummy briefly sauteed and tossed with actual pasta to add bulk and texture, like I did in this summer spaghetti recipe. They're also tasty in "noodle" soups, where they don't get gummy like pasta sometimes does. Zoodles left raw and topped with pasta sauce are awful. Just don't.

Cauliflower is not pizza. Cauliflower crust is really tasty, but nothing will compare to a thin, crispy pizza with a chewy crust and little spots of char from it's trip into a burning hot woodfire oven. But, it's still really really good, if not pizza, so feel free to try my Mexican inspired one, which still has carbs from a "sauce" of refried beans.

Cauliflower is also not rice. It's better than rice. Yeah, I said it. But you still need carbs with your meal, so top that cauliflower rice with beans or at the very least, have some fruit on the side.

Lettuce is not sandwich bread and it's most certainly not crispy crusted French baguette, savory garlic studded ciabatta or sweet and buttery Sally Lunn bread. It does make for a refreshing wrap for rich, Asian inspired fillings, like warm, soy marinated chicken and veggies or my bulgogi tofu meatballs, as long as you include some brown rice or rice noodles for carbs (and to soak up the delicious sauce).

If you want pizza, eat pizza. If you want bread, eat bread. If you want pasta, eat pasta.

And if you like, throw some zoodles into it.

Summer Spaghetti with Zoodles, Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole grain spagehtti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (I used mini heirloom tomatoes), halved
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 8 oz mini fresh mozzarella balls, drained

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, cook until al dente. Reserve a little of the starchy pasta water (~ 1/2 cup) then drain and set pasta aside until ready to use.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic, proscuitto and red pepper flakes. Cook until prosciutto is crispy and garlic is golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini and saute until crisp tender about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Toss in pasta with the veggies and add a little starchy pasta water to make a sauce. Stir in basil. Season with just a little salt and black pepper. Toss in mozzarella and serve immediately.

Epic Vegetarian Nachos

These epic vegetarian nachos are topped with pantry friendly ingredients - frozen corn, canned black beans, extra sharp cheddar and shredded zucchini. 

Going along with last week's guest post by Anne on meal planning for people who hate to meal plan, I thought I'd share one of my favorite TST (throw s*** together) meals - nachos!

One thing I've learned in my years of cooking: everything tastes good on tortilla chips. Well, maybe not chocolate. Or But you get it.

I've made these nachos a bazillion times (okay five or six), and they truly are as easy as it comes. For veggies, I use either squash or zucchini, grated on the large holes of the cheese grater. I'm not sure why, but this is my favorite way of cutting squash. I swear it tastes better and different than chopped or half-mooned but maybe it's just me. Anyone else here?

Speaking of nachos, remember when fancy nachos were the thing? I think it was my high school/college years. Growing up in Atlanta, but there was one restaurant in Phipps Plaza (the fancy mall) called The Tavern and I used to LOVE to go there with friends and order fancy nachos. Salmon with tomatoes, dill and lobster cream veloute...thai chicken with peanut sauce and sprouts...yum! Plus, there was the feeling of being fancy because even though you're just eating nachos, its next to Neiman Marcus and sometimes you'd see rappers or Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Anyhoo, these aren't very fancy. Just black beans, corn, zucchini and (obviously) cheese. But they're still pretty epic. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Epic Vegetarian Nachos

Serves 6

Get a good block of extra sharp cheddar instead of pre-shredded cheese. It has a lot more flavor so you can get away with using a little less.

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, grated on the large holes of a cheese grater
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • Guacamole, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil on medium-high heat in a large sided skillet Add red onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add grated zucchini, season with salt and pepper and saute until zucchini is tender, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Place zucchini in a bowl, wipe skillet clean and add 1 teaspoon oil on medium-high heat. Add corn and saute until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Spread tortilla chips evenly on a baking sheet. Top with zucchini, corn, black beans and shredded cheese. Place in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and chips are crispy.
  5. Serve topped with dollops of guacamole, salsa, cilantro and hot sauce.

More ooey, gooey, melty cheese: 

Whole Grain Potato, Corn and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri
Whole Grain Potato, Corn and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri
Mexican Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Mexican Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Polenta Vegetarian Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale
Polenta Vegetarian Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale

Zoodles with Creamy Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Zoodles with creamy vegan pesto and roasted tomatoes make the perfect light lunch or side dish! Add white beans or diced chicken for protein, or mix with regular noodles for carbs to make it a filling main!

Zoodles with a creamy vegan pesto sauce made from cashews and roasted tomatoes

It's official guys. I am the last person on the planet to get a spiralizer. I held out for a long time, since our kitchen storage has now expanded to include the living room. The last thing I needed was another piece of equipment collecting dust next to my fondue pot. I even politely declined when my little brother said he was going to get me a spiralizer for my birthday last April (the rest of the spiralizer owning world is screaming "Whaaaat?! Are you insane??" right about now).

Creamy Vegan Pesto with Cashews

After slicing my finger open on my mandolin for the 347th time, I finally gave in. It was right before Christmas so I put in on my list and was gifted it for real from my very sweet little brother. Life has not been the same ever since.

Okay, it's been exactly the same, but with more zoodles.

Vegan Sprialized Zucchini Noodles with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

In case I am incorrect and am not the last person on the planet to get a spiralizer, and you in fact are, let me sell you on it. The spiralizer easily cuts your fruits and vegetables into long, curly, ribbons of "noodles." I don't know why, but they actually taste different, and better, when you cut them this way. The possibilities are endless. You can spiralize a cucumber and toss with an Asian style dressing and tofu cubes. You can spiralize sweet potatoes and use them as a base for a creamy pasta sauce. You can spiralize red onions, peppers and cabbage to make an extra pretty slaw. Seriously, just go ahead and google spiralizer recipes and loose the next 2 hours of your life on pinterest.

Creamy Gluten Free Pesto Zoodles with Roasted Tomatoes

This dish is a pretty classic zoodle recipe. I decided to go for an extra creamy pesto sauce by adding soaked cashews. I love that it adds a little protein to the dish too! If you're not eating it right away, be sure to pack your noodles and sauce separately, otherwise the salt from the dish will turn your beautiful zoodles into a watery mess.

Although the cashews do add some protein, these zoodles with vegan pesto are pretty low in protein and carbs! If, like me, you're not a fan of feeling super hangry an hour after eating, try adding some white beans or diced chicken for extra protein and mixing the zoodles with some normal noodles for some carbs to keep this a balanced meal!

Zoodles with Creamy Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Hemp seeds, optional for garnish

Creamy Vegan Pesto:

  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight or in hot water for an hour
  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast 40 minutes until slightly shriveled and some of the juices are released. Remove and set aside.
  2. While tomatoes are roasting, make the pesto. Place the shallot and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add cashews, basil, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Blend until very finely chopped, scraping down sides as needed. Add water, season with salt and pepper and blend until creamy.
  3. Toss raw zucchini noodles with tomatoes and pesto and serve garnished with hemp seeds if desired.

More sauces that would be fabulous with zoodles: 

Tempeh Sausage Marinara with Artichokes
Tempeh Sausage Marinara with Artichokes
Spicy Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto Pasta

Spicy Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto Pasta

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Sauce with Mushrooms and Leeks
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Sauce with Mushrooms and Leeks
Zoodles with Creamy Pesto

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Red Wine Tomato Jam and Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EntertainandPair #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Red Wine Tomato Jam and Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip

This grilled vegetable platter served with a red wine tomato jam and caramelized onion buttermilk dip, both infused with Dreaming Tree Wine, is the red carpet version of your standard raw vegetable platter! 

Admit it. You've been that person who brings a raw vegetable platter to the party in an attempt to have a healthy option for everyone to enjoy.

Except, no one actually enjoys that raw vegetable plate. Some eat it because it's there, but who has ever left a party saying "Wow! That baby carrot dipped in ranch was amazing! I wish Susan would share her recipe!"

No one. Ever.

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Two Wine Infused Dips

This awards season, give your standard raw vegetable platter a red carpet makeover. My secret for a vegetable platter people will actually want to eat? Grill (or roast) the vegetables first, adding a caramelized, smoky flavor, and serve alongside a couple tasty, homemade dips.

Usually I do some type of hummus or avocado-based dip, but for this campaign, I decided to experiment cooking with Dreaming Tree wine...and I think I found two new favorites in the process! Both get a deep, rich, and luxurious flavor from a base of caramelized onions infused with Dreaming Tree wine. The jammy notes of Dreaming Tree Crush, a red wine blend, went perfectly in the tomato jam, adding a layer of fruitiness and complexity. For the buttermilk dressing, I went with Dreaming Tree chardonnay. Now, normally I'm not a chardonnay person. Actually, I rather despise chardonnay, which is why it was the only Dreaming Tree wine I hadn't tried. But I thought chardonnay's buttery flavor would go really well with the caramelized onions over the crisp, more acidic everyday white (which I love for sipping!). So glad I picked it up though, because I discovered I really like their chardonnay! Like, a lot! It's aged in both stainless steel and oak barrels, so it's not overly oaky and cloying like the other chardonnays I've tried.

Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip with Dreaming Tree Chardonnay
Red Wine Tomato Jam with Dreaming Tree Crush

As a long time fan of Dreaming Tree Wine, I was particularly excited about the project. As an even longer time fan of Dave Matthews (high school flashbacks!), who launched Dreaming Tree with winemaker Sean McKenzie, I picked up a bottle almost as soon as it launched and it's been a favorite ever since. Outside of the flavor (Crush is my favorite) and high quality for a reasonable price, I really appreciate their commitment to sustainability. It's a Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing winery and has the largest solar initiative in the wine industry. The wines are even packaged sustainably, using less glass and a recycled label.

Dreaming Tree Wine

Considering we're smack dab in the middle of awards season, I think you'll have plenty of opportunities to whip this up. Usually I'm not big into award season, but this year, we've kept up with most of the nominees and I definitely have my favorites...which I won't share, because after they win I like to say "I knew it! I totally called it!" ;) So, I'm thinking we may have people over to watch and put out this grilled vegetable platter along with a selection of cheeses and crusty bread. Although this might seem like more effort than a premade vegetable platter, leftovers can easily be stretched into meals during the week. Serve the leftover vegetables in a grain bowl. Leftover buttermilk dip is perfect in my collard green salad with cornbread croutons or your favorite simple side salad. The tomato jam would be so tasty served over roasted fish or a grilled steak, or even on a sandwich. And of course, the leftover wine is perfect for sipping and pretending to be fancy during your very own awards party! 

For more inspiration on how to #EntertainandPair, head to their website. Be sure to check out your local retailer for wine tasting demos! What are your favorite red carpet bites, and which Dreaming Tree Wine would you like to pair it with? 

Keep up with Dreaming Tree Wines:

Grilled Vegetable Platter

Use any fresh vegetables you like. I used cherry tomatoes (on a skewer), cauliflower florets, halved baby zucchini, mushrooms and green beans. If you prefer roasting, toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven until golden and tender.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh vegetables, trimmed, and cut into 'serving' pieces
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Red wine tomato jam & caramelized onion buttermilk dip, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Set grill to medium high. Spray vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook until lightly charred, but still crisp-tender. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.

Red Wine Tomato Jam

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup Dreaming Tree Crush or other rich, fruity red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a medium pot. Add red onion and garlic and saute until starting to get golden, about 7 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt and continue to cook over medium heat until deeply caramelized, tender and almost jammy looking, about 40 minutes.
  2. Pour in wine, scraping up the bottom with a spatula. Add tomatoes, balsamic, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until very thick and jam-like, about 15 minutes total. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dreaming Tree chardonnay or other richly flavored white wine
  • 1 cup buttermilk, low or full fat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic. Saute until starting to look golden, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and continue cooking, stirring every so often, until onions are deeply caramelized and jammy in appearance, about 40 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up bottom of the pan with a spatula, and cook until wine is almost completely reduced and the onions are very jammy in appearance, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, scrape onions into a bowl, and set aside to cool slightly.

  2. When onions have cooled a bit, stir in buttermilk, olive oil, parsley, vinegar, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more if desired.

3 Recipes for Mason Jar Soup

3 Recipes for Mason Jar Soup

These recipes for mason jar soups are perfect for packing for lunch! Batch cook on the weekends, store in the fridge, just add hot water, give it a good shake, and you're good to go! Try Italian zoodle with white beans and tomato broth, red lentil coconut curry and miso noodle. 

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Pumpkin Chipotle Chili

Pumpkin chipotle chili is the perfect fall chili for tailgating. Plus, it's orange to celebrate my Clemson Tigers! Keep it vegan with tempeh or add ground turkey. 

Keeping this short because jet lag (yes, still) is kicking in and I was that girl who did everything last minute! I made this yummy pumpkin chili and you should too. Head over to Healthy Aperture for the recipe!

Vegan Red Curry with Freezer Tomato Coconut Sauce

Make this vegetarian red curry with freezer tomato coconut sauce to save time! It's vegan, gluten free and vegetable packed. 

A few posts back, I shared my slightly embarrassing story of exclaiming my love for my freezer on the local news. Although my enthusiasm made me the butt of a few jokes, I still stand by my words, and by my hard working freezer.

The styled photographs on this blog and instagram probably make it look like I spend half the day in the kitchen, but that's not the case. I love to cook and truly believe it's the key to achieving health. I probably spend more time cooking than the average person, but just like every other person I've ever met, I simply don't have enough time to cook dinner from scratch every night.

Despite that, other than the couple of meals we eat out with friends each week, almost everything else is home cooked. It's not because I am a superhero. It's because I know how to make my freezer work for me.

Given my enthusiasm for my hard working little GE, I'm sure you can imagine, I was pretty excited when I saw this month's Recipe Redux theme - 'Fantastic Freezer Meals.' I think I've got a couple of those up my sleeve ;)

My favorite way to use my freezer is for storing leftovers. When I put time into making a soup, stew, casserole or some other easily freezable meal, it only makes sense to buy double the ingredients, spend a few extra minutes prepping and make extra to freeze for later. You might be surprised all the things you can freeze. Here's some of my favorite freezable meals from the blog:

The other thing I like to do is get a start on cooking by freezing sauces that I can add to simple stir fries for flavor, like this creamy Indian tomato sauce. I usually freeze it in sandwich or quart sized zip top bags then defrost before cooking. To make this meal, all you have to do is saute vegetables, add a can of chickpeas and Indian simmer sauce then cook to warm through. It's a fairly complete meal on it's own, but you could also serve it over brown rice. Use frozen or precooked brown rice if you want to stick with the time saving theme.

To make this, I always include chickpeas, lentils or tofu for protein and potatoes or peas as an unprocessed carb. For nonstarchy vegetables, I used zucchini, mushrooms and peppers in this dish, but you could also use spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, greens, green beans, eggplant...basically anything!

Vegan Red Curry with Freezer Tomato Coconut Sauce

Serves 4

Feel free to use any vegetables you like - peas, eggplant, onion, spinach, green beans and greens all work beautifully. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. Freeze sauce in 2 cup servings in zip top bags. Curry sauce adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Ingredients

Tomato Coconut Freezer Sauce:

  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Thumb sized amount peeled, fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk

Curry: 

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled in 1/2 in dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. First, make the sauce. Place onions, carrots, bell pepper, garlic and ginger in a food processor and pulse until pureed.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add spices and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in pureed vegetables and stir to combine. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and it starts to look like a moist paste, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and cilantro. Bring to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes until thickened. Stir in coconut milk and turn off heat. If cooking the rest of the dish, start preparing the curry. Otherwise, let cool to room temperature and freeze in 2 cup servings.
  3. Before making the curry, defrost about 4 cups of curry sauce. To make the curry, heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Add potatoes, a pinch of salt and saute 5 minutes until starting to brown, stirring every so often,. Add peppers, stir and saute 3 minutes. Add zucchini, stir and saute 3 minutes. Finally, add the mushrooms, a pinch more salt and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the curry sauce and garbanzo beans, stir, and simmer 5 minutes until warmed through. Serve over brown rice.

Zucchini Chickpea Balls with Chopped Greek Salad

Highlight summer produce with this month's Recipe Redux Recipe - zucchini chickpea balls with chopped Greek salad! 

Hi kids! Today is Recipe Redux, so you'll be getting a bonus recipe this week PLUS because I got a little carried away with the theme, a recipe roundup!

This month's theme is Fresh from the Garden, highlighting summer produce from the farmer's market, CSA or, as in this case, my backyard!

When we bought our house, I got inspired by a Southern Living article and decided that one day we would have fully edible landscaping. A fence of grape vines, fresh herbs in lieu of flowers, a perfectly distressed farmhouse table under a peach tree for shade...you get the picture.

Then we actually attempted our first garden an realized this whole vegetable growing thing isn't as easy as it looks. I think our yield was 4 peas, 3 tomatoes and maybe one oblong cucumber? Four years later, we're just happy to finally have more grass than weeds.

To our surprise, this year our garden has been mildly successful. Apparently, sunlight and water help. Who knew? We've had tons of heirloom tomatoes, a few Japanese eggplants, lots of basil and more zucchini than I know what to do with.

One thing I've learned from our successful turn at gardening - sometimes the bounty of summer produce can be overwhelming! When you know how much work has gone into growing a single tomato, the last thing you want to do is waste it. Here's a guide to summer produce so you can make the most of perfect, in season fruits and vegetables!

BERRIES // Store loosely covered with a dry paper towel in the refrigerator and eat quickly as berries are highly perishable. Freeze clean berries in a single layer then transfer to a zip top bag for storage.

Ginger Berry Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie (Edible Perspective)

Quinoa Superfood Breakfast Bake with Berries (One Ingredient Chef)

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas and Berries 

CORN // The sugars in corn quickly convert to start, so it's important to eat corn quickly after harvest. You can slice the kernels off the cob and freeze.

Mexican Street Corn Chopped Salad 

Charred Corn with Pistachio Cilantro Lime Rub (Joy the Baker)

Chipotle Corn Cakes with Avocado and Goat Cheese (Naturally Ella)

CUCUMBERS // If unwaxed, cucumbers can get slimy and go rotten quickly, so wrap with a kitchen towel and refrigerate.

Green Fiesta Juice (Nutrition Stripped)

Cucumber Mint Cocktail (Dietitian Debbie Dishes)

Fermented Dill Pickles

EGGPLANT // Look for eggplant that is heavy for it's size and springs back when pressed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango (Serious Eats)

Grilled Eggplant and Pesto Sandwiches (Love & Lemons)

MELONS // Look for melons that are heavy for their size. Cantaloupes and honeydew should smell sweet when ripe. Watermelon is ripe when the pale spot on it's rind is a creamy yellow.

Cantaloupe Aguas Fresca 

Watermelon Cucumber Smoothie  (Healthfully Ever After)

Watermelon and Feta Salad 

PEACHES // To ripen a peach, store it at room temperature on the counter, stem side down. To further speed up ripening, store it in a paper bag where the trapped gasses will help ripen the fruit.

Flax and Oat Porridge with Grilled Peaches (A Cozy Kitchen)

Mason Jar Peach and Arugula Salad 

Peach Almond Yogurt Cheesecake Bars (The Roasted Root)

OKRA // Look for small okra, less than 3 or 4 inches long. Store in a paper towel or paper bag  in the refrigerator, as it will wilt or dry out if not not kept in breathable environment.

Blackened Okra (Naturally Ella)

Spicy Pickled Okra (Cottage at the Crossroads)

Roasted Okra with Chili Oil (Marisa Moore Nutrition)

PEPPERS // Peppers do well in the freezer. Chop and freeze in a zip top bag until ready to use.

Quinoa and Kale Stuffed Peppers

Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles with Veggies (Keepin It Kind)

Polenta Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Edible Perspective)

SUMMER SQUASH // Smaller squash between 6-8 inches taste the sweetest. Squash doesn't freeze well, except if you grate it first. Grated squash can be mixed into stir fries, pasta sauce or used in baking.

Zucchini Poblano Cornbread (Yeah...Imma Eat That)

Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing (Sprouted Kitchen)

Green Panzanella with Zucchini and Cucumbers 

TOMATOES // To ripen tomatoes, place in a brown paper bag with a couple holes along with an apple. Never refrigerate tomatoes, which ruins their flavor.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Pesto Brown Rice and Chickpeas

Taboulleh Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes (Tartelette)

Pasta with Cilantro Pesto, Corn and Tomatoes (Oh My Veggies)


Zucchini Chickpea Balls with Chopped Greek Salad

Ingredients

Zucchini Chickpea Balls:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 small red onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Greek Salad: 

  • 3 cups halved cherry tomatoes, preferably heirloom, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Mix in almond meal, zucchini, onion, egg, garlic and salt until well combined.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Form 12-16 golf ball sized balls and place evenly on the baking sheet. Spray the tops of the balls with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden brown.
  4. While zucchini balls are baking, make the salad. Toss cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and olives together in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Garnish with dill.

Green Panzanzella

Try this hearty summer salad, green panzanella with cucumber, zucchini, feta and basil. 

Have you ever caught yourself eating a nice, light vegetable salad and thought to yourself, "Tasty, but you know would make this salad better? Big 'ole hunks of toasty, crusty, olive oily bread!"

If so, I think you'll like panzanella. Also, you're my kind of person.

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad, traditionally made with stale bread, tomatoes, onions, and lots of oil and vinegar dressing. It's the second most delicious thing you can make with fresh, heirloom tomatoes (the first most delicious is my chopped Caprese salad).

But as you can tell from the photos, there are no tomatoes in this panzanella. Our tomatoes are still green on the vine (who else started singing Strawberry Wine?), we've got a refrigerator full of zucchini and probably will for the next four months. That is, unless someone (ahem, Scott) forgets to weed the garden yet again.

So, as you can tell from my most recent postings, we've been eating a lotta zucchini around here. When you eat a lot of the same thing, it's easy to get bored. Keep things interesting by changing how you chop them. Instead of cutting cauliflower into florets, try cutting it into steaks. Rather than slicing cucumbers and peppers into slices for your salad, cut them into teeny tiny cubes, Israeli salad style. And for zucchini, try shredding, noodling or as in this salad, slicing paper thin with a mandolin. It completely changes the flavors and textures.

On a related note, have you seen the new vegetable butcher column on The Kitchn? I have learned SO much from it.

Anyway, back to this salad. Being a bread salad and all, as you can imagine it's an important ingredient. No, sandwich bread won't work here. Just don't. You'll definitely want to splurge on a nice, whole grain loaf with a good crust and chew. If you don't have a local bakery, I am a huge fan of Trader Joes whole wheat pane. If you're getting bread from the bakery, check the ingredients list. Most grocery store "multigrain" loaves are just white bread with a sprinkle of seeds and grains on the crust.

Green Panzanella

Serves 4-5

To help stale your bread, cut it into cubes and leave it out overnight. If making in advance, store bread and dressing separate from the salad and mix before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb day old crusty whole grain bread, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toast for 10 minutes until lightly toasted and warm. Set aside to cool.
  3. While bread is toasting, using a mandoline, slice zucchini, cucumbers and red onion into paper thin rounds. Combine in a large bowl with cannelini beans and basil. Mix in the bread cubes.
  4. Mix olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving and up to an hour. Toss in feta right before serving.