Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

It’s very rare that I make the same thing two nights in a row. Sure, we use leftovers with the best of them, but if I am cooking it is extremely uncommon for me to cook the same thing on two consecutive nights. This little factoid is important because as soon as I made these roasted chickpeas and my husband tried them he made me promise to make them the next night for dinner as well! That’s when I knew I had a winner!

I love chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and thought I used them a lot. I make homemade hummus, throw them in salads, stir them in soups, and even toss with pasta. So I couldn’t believe I have never had them baked. It’s a whole new world!

 Not only are these good enough to eat two nights in a row, but they are also easy enough to make even if you want them every night of the week! Active prep time is about 90 seconds and then you just pop ‘em in the oven while you get the rest of dinner ready.
Just drain the garbanzos and then pour onto a couple layers of paper towels. Then, grab another layer of paper towels and place them on top. Rub back and forth gently (you don’t want to squish them!) until most of the skins have slipped off. Then gather up the skins and toss them out and put the beans in a bowl.
Toss with the spices and stir. Then turn onto a baking sheet.
Bake until brown and crispy. Time will vary between 30 and 45 minuted depending on how dry your chickpeas were before baking. Just start checking them at 30 minutes and about every 5 minutes after.
Serve ‘em up! We had ours with some grilled salmon on night one and baked chicken on night two, but they’ll go with anything! Michael also mentioned that he thought they would be great as an alternative to peanuts or almonds as a party snack or appetizer – which they would!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Dry between 2 layers of paper towels, rubbing gently to remove skins. Discard skins and place chickpeas in a bowl.
  4. Toss with next 4 ingredients and pour onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Stir the beans at least once during baking for even browning.

Grilled Lentil Salad

Hi friends!

 Sometimes the most delicious recipes come out of thin air. Case in point: grilled lentil salad. Last week my hubby and I were at a loss for what to have for dinner. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store because I had a full fridge. The problem was, I went to the grocery store without any kind of plan as to what my meals for the week would be. I don’t usually do this, but when I do, it almost always ends up with me stringing together the hodge podge of produce, protein, and grain I did pick up in any way that remotely makes sense. Luckily, this time not only did it make sense, it was utterly delicious!
We have a charcoal grill, which is great because of the flavor we get when we grill anything, but not so great for the time it takes to get ready. So, when we grill, I want to grill everything. I figure, if we’re going to the trouble to turn it on, why not use it! After putting our heads together, we decided to make this grilled lentil salad. I cannot lie, the original idea was really Michael’s, but then I thought of this grilled panzanella salad I made last year and thought, why couldn’t I do something similar with lentils? Turns out, you can! And it’s delicious!
You could really use whatever veggies you have on hand, but red peppers, onions, and zucchini offered a nice mix of flavors and textures. You can also choose how charred you want them, I like my veggies really charred, especially with a charcoal flavor, but if you don’t, just take a couple minutes off of grilling time.
Lentils are great. Yummy and versatile. Plus they are nutritional powerhouses. We try to incorporate lots of lentils into out diets, but you have to be creative. No one likes a big bowl of plain ol lentils. Green lentils work best for this recipe because they stand up well in a salad. You could also use black lentils, but red lentils won’t hold together enough to be tossed in this salad.
The dressing for this salad is tangy, a little spicy, and works great with the lentils and veggies. Once you taste it you’ll probably also want to put it on green salad, dip grilled chicken into it, or use it for one of a million other things for which it would also be really delicious!
Make sure to pour it on the salad while everything is still hot so that it can soak in and coat everything. Speaking of hot, a great thing about this salad is that it can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. It would also be great to take to a picnic or potluck since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will hold up well even after a few hours.
In every bite of this salad you get the grill flavor of the veggies, the meaty texture of the lentils, and the tangy dressing. It’s perfect for a side dish or as a very balanced lunch on it’s own, complete with protein (thanks lentils!). Better yet, make it as a side dish one night and you’ve got lunch ready for tomorrow! Score!!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Lentil Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 red bell peppers, whole
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions until al dente. Set aside
  2. Slice onion into three equal rounds (about 1/2″ thick). Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Drizzle onion, red pepper, and zucchini with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Toss to coat. Grill over medium high heat on a charcoal or gas grill (you can also use a grill pan on the stove). Grill red peppers until they are charred and black all around (you will remove skins later). Grill onions 4-5 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and onions soften. Grill zucchini 3-4 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and flesh softens. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly before slicing. For a tutorial about how to remove skins from a red bell pepper, look here.
  3. Chop veggies and add them to a large bowl with the lentils.
  4. Mix together mustard, oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice for the dressing. Beat with a whisk for a minute or two until completely emulsified. Drizzle over the still warm salad. Toss to coat.
  5. Top with chopped chives. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Happy Friday!

 Hope you are enjoying a bright, sunny day like I am! If not, whip one of these, close your eyes, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be on a tropical beach somewhere!
I love brussels sprouts. I make roasted brussels sprouts all the time. But I haven’t branched out into other cooking methods much. I guess it’s always kind of been an, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kinda thing. That is, until I was at the grocery store with my hubby and he saw a prepackaged “brussels sprouts sauté” and said, “Hey, this looks good! Wanna try it?” Now, don’t get my wrong, I take help from the grocery store whenever I can. But I usually draw the limit at prepackaged things that I could totally make myself AND are about 3 times more expensive just because someone wrapped plastic wrap around them. “No!” I said. “I’ll make my own version!” So after a quick peek at the ingredients and a few more items in our basket, I was off.
I was a little weary of “shaved” brussels sprouts recipes because when I heard that my mind went immediately to my clumsy fingers holding a tiny sprout on the mandolin. Nothing good could possibly have come from that. Then I realized that all I had to do was slice the brussels sprouts thinly (way less risk of losing a finger) to achieve the shaved texture that is so popular on menus everywhere.
Brussels sprouts and bacon. A match made in heaven. It’s like chocolate chip cookies and milk, or hot dogs, beer, and baseball, or a LBD and red high heels. Some things just belong together.
One of the secret ingredients in this dish is a splash of red wine vinegar added to the brussels sprouts as they sauté. It takes away some of the natural bitterness they can have, and adds a slightly sweet tang that will make you want to go back for seconds! This dish takes shape in minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal side dish (or any old time for that matter!).
Enjoy!

Recipe: Quick Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds brussels sprouts, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper (plus more to taste – I like my brussels sprouts salty!)

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium skillet over med-high heat. Chop bacon and add to the hot pan. Cook until done and brown on both sides. Remove from pan onto a paper towel to drain. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add sliced brussels sprouts to the bacon grease. Cook one minute. Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook 3 minutes. Add red wine vinegar and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until brussels sprouts begin to be translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Greek Bulgur Salad

Why hello.

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you’re never quite sure what day it is? For example, every day this week I have thought it was actually the next day. I was positive it was Wednesday on Tuesday. I did my Thursday gym routine on Wednesday (yes, I have different activities for each day of the week, don’t judge!), and worst of all…I got to work today thinking it was Friday. There aren’t many things worse than thinking, believing, feeling, that it’s Friday and then coming to the harsh realization that it is in fact, not.

But, I suppose I’ll make it through. Mostly with the help of this salad for lunch!

I really like Greek Salad. What I don’t like is how salad leaves get soggy. You see, as much as I’d love to have time to make something for lunch each morning, I jut don’t. Between the gym and the blowdryer, I’m barely running out the door in time. So it really helps to make a big batch of something delicious and nutritious that I can easily grab on my way out the door.

This salad has all the goodness of Greek Salad in every bite, plus the soggy-free and protein and fiber packed benefit of bulgur. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Another plus, this is one of those things that actually gets better after a day in the fridge. Not too shabby for a grab and go lunch! It’s packed with veggies, so you won’t have the dreaded after lunch can’t keep your eyes open feeling.
If you’re one of those people (like my husband!) who just can’t bring themselves to pack a lunch, this is a delicious side dish to some lemon chicken or a seared steak. It would also be great with some shredded chicken added for a wholesome one-bowl meal.
Enjoy!

Recipe: Greek Bulgur Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 english cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fat free feta cheese
  • 1 cup bulgur, uncooked
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Cook bulgur according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Stir in bulgur.
  3. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad.
  4. Top with feta and toss well.

Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale

Hi guys!

I really love finding a recipe that is just as good on day 2 or 3 as it is on day one. Since I’ve been eating this salad every day this week, I’d say it fits the bill!! This salad is pack with so much fantastic-for-you foods, I don’t feel the least bit bad (ok maybe a little lazy!) that it has made up the vast majority of my meals for the past 5 days! :)
I don’t know about you, but I find it a little more difficult to eat salads as the weather gets colder. Sure, I’ll have a salad for lunch or with dinner, but for some reason as the temperature drops, so does my ability to had a “main course” salad. In the summer I can eat a salad for dinner practically every night, especially those still super hot evenings when you wouldn’t dream of turning on your stove or oven. This “winter” salad is great for eating all year long (and I will be!), but it’s especially perfect for cool evenings when some lightly dressed greens just won’t do.
This salad is definitely a meal in itself, as I have proved nearly every lunch and dinner this week, but also would be a welcome side dish to any fall meal. And, as I said before, you can feel great about giving yourself a big, heaping portion because of all the wonderful, healthy ingredients.
First, you’ve got sweet potatoes, which you roast up until they are tender. These really add some “meat” to this salad, plus they are a nutritional powerhouse packed with more vitamins than I can count.
Then, you’ve got chopped apples and red onion. You know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so make it easy on yourself and get your apple outtta the way in your salad!
This salad is extremely easy to throw together, but one very important thing is it slice the onions very very thin. No one wants a giant, spicy chunk of red onion in their perfect salad bite!
Oh and don’t forget the kale and quinoa. Oh and the fact that the tangy dressing is made from a simple combination of extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Seriously, I think I might re-name this the “Superfood Salad.” I’m fairly certain (as a result of recent research) that one could survive on this salad, red wine, and nothing else. Just sayin…
The trick in making this salad last you through the week – don’t even think about halving this recipe, you will be so sorry when it’s gone! – is to mix everything BUT the baby kale up and dress only the salad you are going to eat that day. If you have some dressed salad leftover though, keep it! It is still good because everything in the salad is so hearty it can stand up to a night in the fridge. Just toss with some fresh baby kale before you eat it next and it will be just as good as the day you made it.
It’s a wonderful salad to take to work too, because it won’t be all soggy and limp by noon. AND it’ll keep you full all afternoon long. Until you can get home to the red wine, of course. ;)
Enjoy!

Note: this salad would also be very delicious topped with a handful of these!

 

Recipe: Quinoa salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into chunks
  • 2 granny smith apples, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
  • 10 cups loosely packed kale
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place diced sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 40-50 minutes ,tossing frequently, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. *Quinoa and sweet potatoes can be made a day ahead!
  4. Toss chopped apples in lemon juice and set aside.
  5. Whisk together the cider vinegar and olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. In a very large salad bowl layer kale on the bottom. Top with sweet potatoes, apples (with lemon juice), onion, and quinoa. Drizzle on dressing and toss very well. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Top with roughly chopped cilantro, toss again, and serve.

 

Mashed maple sweet potatoes with toasted pecans

Why hello!

I’ve been thinking orange lately. My hometown team, the San Francisco Giants are playing some amazing baseball and electrifying the Bay Area with Giants fever! So, I’ve been busting out every orange and black item in my wardrobe, pulling on my panda hat (yes I really own one!), and eating everything orange I can! Yesterday it was kabocha squash soup (recipe to come). Today it’s sweet potatoes!

But not just sweet potatoes. Maple pecan sweet potatoes.

I’ve been obsessed with trying to recreate these sweet potatoes ever since my trip to Austin when I had them at Stubbs BBQ. Even with all the amazing BBQ meat piled up (literally) in front of me, I kept coming back to these sweet potatoes. They were amazing. Since then, I have made it my goal to re-create them.

 

This version was a step in the right direction, but I think I realized what I need to do in the next batch. Add butter. Lots and lots of butter.

This version has none. Zip. Ziltch. Nada. So, you can feel great about piling ‘em up on your plate – which I did – but I think to get it closer to the Stubbs version I need to spend a few extra minutes on the spin bike and throw butter measuring caution to the wind.

But I gotta say, this version is pretty darn good.

You start by roasting the potatoes.

After letting them cool <– a very important step I neglected, and my hand paid for it! Scoop the flesh out and grab your hand mixer. Whip the potatoes up with the milk until they are light and fluffy.

Then add the maple syrup and nutmeg and whip a little more.

While you’re whippin’, toast up your pecans in the oven. Then sprinkle them on top of the potatoes. You can chop them if you want, but I just kind of smashed them in my hand. At Stubbs they had big pieces of pecans on top of theirs. It was great when you got a bite with a big huge piece of pecan-like winning the lottery! It’s the simple things in life people. J I may or may not have picked more than my share of pecans out of the bowl for my portion. Shhhh, don’t tell on me!

If you like spice, a touch of cayenne would be great in here too, but if you don’t, the maple syrup adds just enough sweetness to make these sweet potatoes something special.

Grab some sweet potatoes and make these this weekend. And GO GIANTS!!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Mashed maple sweet potatoes with toasted pecans

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups pecans
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork. Rub skins with olive oil. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Remove and let cool. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Scoop flesh of sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Heat milk in the microwave for 30 seconds and add to the potatoes. Whip with a hand blender until fluffy.
  3. Add maple syrup and nutmeg. Whip to mix.
  4. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, shaking to turn once.
  5. Top sweet potatoes with pecans before serving.

 

 

How to…Roasted Garlic

I love garlic. Like, kind of inappropriately. You know that guy in high school who was oh so dreamy but you knew would be bad news down the road, but you made out with after the football game anyway? That’s garlic. I know I am not going to be loving it so much when I’m sweating garlic out my pores the next day, can’t get garlic taste out of my mouth no matter how much I brush, but I just can’t say no to those spicy cloves.  So, I eat it in any way I can. Raw, sautéed, chopped, grated, minced, and most importantly (for the purposes of this post, I can’t choose favorites) roasted.

As much and I love garlic, I lu-huuuuve roasted garlic. It’s so totally different than any other type of garlic. All the bitterness and spiciness leaves the garlic during roasting and your are left with these roasty cloves that are smooth and nutty and slightly sweet.

Spread it on bread, stir it in pasta, slather it on chicken, top it with cheese, or even honey, or, if you have no self-control like me, eat a few cloves raw right out of the oven.

There are all kinds of opinions on the best way to roast garlic. I’ve tried them all. This is the way I think works best.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the tops of the garlic bulbs to expose the cloves. Place in a shallow dish (pie tins or bread pans work great!) and drizzle with olive oil. A lot of recipes will tell you to sprinkle with salt and pepper here. I say “no way!” Why? I don’t think it needs it. Let the garlic shine. Plus, depending on what you are using ir for you might not want extra salt or pepper.

Now is when things get a little crazy people. Roast the garlic at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and then raise the oven to 400 degrees and roast an additional 30 minutes. I think this combo makes for perfectly roasted garlic. You get the caramelization of the high temperature and the soft smooth texture of low temp roasting. In other words, the best of both worlds!

I’ll roast several cloves at a time, squeeze out the goodness and store it in the fridge for up to a week-if it lasts that long!

Take my advice and roast up a few cloves asap. Just don’t blame me when you’re smelling like garlic for the rest of the week! :)

Enjoy!!

Recipe: Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • whole garlic bulbs
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the tops of the garlic bulbs to expose the cloves. Place in a shallow dish (pie tins or bread pans work great!) and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Roast the garlic at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and then raise the oven to 400 degrees and roast an additional 20-30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  4. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out or the bulb.
  5. Store for up to one week in the fridge.

Cooking time: 1 hour

 

 

Heirloom Tomato Stack with Basil Oil and Fresh Mozzarella

Hi!

Well guys, I’ve changed my mind. Just a few days ago, I was all ready for fall to start. Now, with grey clouds overhead and a sweater on, I want my summer back! Don’t get me wrong, I still love fall. But I also really love summer, and more specifically, summer food, and more more specifically, summer produce.

Like tomatoes.

Correction. Like beautiful, multi-colored, heirloom tomatoes.

Sometimes you just have to let good food be. These perfect summer sweets don’t need much to dress them up. We’re talking simple diamond studs, not a big bauble necklace, glitzy bracelet, blinged out watch, and hot pink heels. They just don’t need it! Ok, maybe I’ll give you the hot pink heels… :)

Good quality ingredients paired with good quality produce. That’s all you need!

I sliced these tomatoes thick and whipped up a batch of Basil Garlic Oil to drizzle over the top. Then, I tossed some super fresh mozzarella (get the kind that is stored in liquid if you can) in extra virgin olive oil, more basil, and red pepper flakes.

Stack ‘em up. Drizzle with basil oil. Top with mozzarella.

Devour.

In addition to being super fresh and flavorful, this is a pretty fun dish to eat! It’s kind of like cutting into the leaning tower of Piza! You are never too old to play with your food!

Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Stack with Basil Oil and Fresh Mozzarella
Author: 
 
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, any color
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • For basil garlic oil:
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice the tomatoes into about 1-1½ inch thick slices.
  2. Prepare the basil garlic oil. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  3. Stir the fresh mozzarella with the dried basil, red pepper flake, and evoo.
  4. Stack tomatoes. Drizzle with basil garlic oil. Top with marinated mozzarella.

 

Chimichurri

Hey there!

We’ve been grilling fools lately. We should really just keep the charcoal going round the clock so the ol’ Weber can be ready at a moment’s notice. Grilling is just my all time favorite method of cooking. Period. Especially in summer when you can stand outside, it’s still warm, and preferably you have one of these in your hand, while the smell of charcoal and cooked meat fills the air. Perfection.

Have you been grilling too? Need something to spice up your latest grilled offering? Hurry up and make this chimichurri.

All these blended herbs are so fresh they can brighten up nearly anything you can throw on the grill. I’ve dunked tri trip in it, drizzled it over grilled zucchini, slathered it on chicken, and soaked some crusty bread in this delicious green goodness.

It just keeps getting better. Everything I’ve tried it on works. Next up I want to grill some fish and dollop some chimichurri. If it’s half as good as it sounds in my head it will be a winner. You can also make a big batch and it keeps in the fridge really well. Not only that, but as it sits the flavors meld even further and things get really great.

Try this the next time you fire up your grill, I will be!

 

Enjoy!

Chimichurri
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 whole jalapeño (stem removed)
  • 1 small yellow onion (or ½ a large one)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Throw all ingredients into a blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to a week

 

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Happy Friday!

My love affair with farro is currently at an all time high. I am pretty sure my husband is getting jealous. Well not really, he’s just losing his farro-loving mind.

Here is an excerpt from an actual conversation we just had (keep in mind I had just made some ricotta cheese):

“Hey, do you think you could make farro with the leftover stuff from the cheese?”
“You mean the whey?”
“Yeah”
“Hmmm, yeah I guess-maybe I could cook the farro in it”
“What would that be called?”
“I dunno. Farro whey?”
“HAHAHAHAHAHA farro whey! Get it? Farrowhey!”

We need to get out more.

Luckily, my love for farro produces more than just awesome jokes. It also produced this delicious salad! Filled with bright, punchy Mediterranean flavors.

Nutty farro, spicy red onion, crunchy bell pepper, bright, acidic lemon, and lots and lots of salty feta. All of the flavors blend so well together. There are two things that tie all these pieces together, though. Really good extra virgin olive oil, and fresh oregano.

I’ve got lots of this growing in my garden right now, so I’ve been looking for ways to use it. Fresh oregano has a really strong flavor, so you don’t need too much. But a little in this dish truly goes a long way. The lemony, just a teeny tiny bit bitter taste combines with the lemon juice and olive oil to create a truly Mediterranean tasting dish.

I’ve been eating a lot of lunches on the go this week, and this salad has been a lifesaver. It is so easy to make, just chop up all the goods and toss together!

It will keep really well in the fridge for about a week. In fact, days 2 and 3 might be even better than day one! It is so much better to make a batch of this, throw it in tupperware and have it ready for the week when I need it than to be out and about, realize it’s 1:30 and I haven’t eaten since 7 and start  doing one of a couple of things: 1) digging in my purse/gym bag for probably melted granola bars 2) trying to find the “least bad” fast food option around or 3) deciding I should probably have fro-yo for lunch…and then proceeding to get the biggest fro-yo know to man because, hey, you didn’t eat lunch after all.

So save yourself the embarrassment of getting up to the counter and realizing your 30 cents an ounce frozen yogurt just came to $10.50 and just make this salad.

Then go get fro yo. :)

Enjoy!!

Mediterranean Farro Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried farro
  • 2 colorful bell peppers (I like red and orange)
  • ¼ red onion, very finely diced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (or more!)
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup dried farro and 2½ cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook 15-20 minutes. Farro should be tender and water absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  3. Add chopped peppers and onion.
  4. Stir in farro.
  5. Top with oregano and feta. Toss to combine.
  6. Season again to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. *This salad can be served warm or cold (I prefer cold!)

 

 

 

Spicy Black Bean Dip

Happy Monday Folks!

I love dips. All kinds of dips. Especially versatile dips that you can eat with a variety of “dippers.” This spicy black bean dip fits the bill perfectly! Plus, with only FOUR ingredients (and all the work done by the food processor) it comes together in a snap.

When you put the black beans in a food processor they develop a super creamy texture. Add in some greek yogurt for some tang and to counter the spice of the jalapeño.

Another great thing about this dip? This is one dip that is virtually guilt free. Did you know black beans were a “super food?” A year or so ago I laminated (yes, maybe I have too much time on my hands) a list of 20 “super foods” and put them on our fridge. It’s a great visual reminder of some foods I should be buying, cooking, and eating more of. When I first came across the list,to my surprise and delight, black beans were theret! I love black beans and cook with them a lot, so it’s an easy check to put on my weekly superfood count. Some of the others…not so much. Anyone have a good recipe for sardines?? :)

This dip keeps really well in the fridge, so make a big batch and snack on it all week. I love it with sweet potato chips from Trader Joe’s and mini bell peppers, but feel free to experiment with veggies, crackers, and chips of your choice! The level of spice can be easily adapted to your taste buds, too. I like a good amount of spice, but my husband love TONS of spice. So, when I made this batch I took out about half for me, then aded another jalapeño  and blended again for a super spicy version for Michael. On the other hand, if you aren’t into spice, just take out the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño-that’s where most of the heat of the pepper lives, so take it out if you want a milder dip.

And don’t feel bad having an extra scoop, after all, it’s a super food! :)

Enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Dip
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cans low sodium back beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 jalapeños, with seeds and ribs
  • 2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a food processor
  2. Process until mixture is very smooth (about 2 minutes)
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  4. Note: For a milder dip, removes seeds and ribs from jalapeños

 

 

Spinach, Farro, and Marinated Beet Salad

I love salad. I eat it almost every day, usually a little side salad before a meal drizzled with my favorite flavored balsamic vinegar and trowing in whatever I have on hand. But sometimes it can get a little (eek!) booooring. As much as I love my Costco sized Earthbound Organics mixed greens pack, it is good to switch it up now and then. This salad is anything but boring! It’s fresh, filling, and packs a big flavor punch. This is a salad that deserves the spotlight of a main course. No hurrythroughsaladsoIcangettothethigIreallywanttoeat here!

Have you guys tried farro???

Or, as Michael calls it, “that big rice” :) Farro is a really delicious grain that you can use in a wide variety of dishes. It is very hearty, enough to elevate this salad into main course material. It has a great texture that is a bit crunchy and a slight nutty flavor that goes great with the spinach and beets. It’s super easy to make as well! A lot of recipes tell you to soak the farro overnight before cooking it. Who has time for that?!?! I make mine the same way every time: 1 cup farro and 2 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the water is all soaked up (about 20-30 minutes). Comes out perfectly every time, no soaking necessary!

Now, onto the beets.

In my experience, there are not a lot of people in the middle ground when it come to beets. You either love them or hate them. Well, I loooove them. I love their color, I love their texture, I love their flavor, I love how your hands and kitchen look like the scene of a horror movie after they get drenched in beet juice…oh wait, did I just say that out loud? Whoops ;)

These beets do double duty in this salad because the marinade that you use for the beets is also the salad dressing. Genius!

Roast the beets in a tin foil package. Let them cool and peel them. Slice them up into about 1″ wedges. Marinate with balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, evoo, thyme, and lemon. If you can, let them sit overnight, or at least 1 hour.

Now it’s time to put everything together. Layer spinach on your plate. Next up is the farro. You can use cold farro (say, if you are using leftovers or made it the night before) or warm farro. I like to use warm farro because it wilts the spinach just a teensy bit, which I love. Scoop on the beets and drizzle everything with the beet marinade. Last but definitely not least, sprinkle on some fresh goat cheese. Goat cheese and beets are on of those combos that are made in heaven. If I’m making a beet recipe, you better believe goat cheese is nearby.

Need a meatless Monday meal? If you ask me, this one is pretty perfect!

Enjoy!

4.0 from 1 reviews

Spinach, Farro, and Marinated Beet Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 pound beets (about 4 medium beets)
  • 1 cup farro
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • ½ cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut off tops and bottoms of beets, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap beets in tin foil and roast for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.When cool enough to handle, peel skins from beets. Chop into about 1″ wedges.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, evoo, salt, pepper, thyme, and lemon juice. Drizzle over beets. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
  4. Combine 1 cup farro and 2½ cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let simmer until water is completely soaked up, about 45 minutes.
  5. Divide spinach between two plates, add about ½ cup farro to each plate, top farro with beet wedges, drizzle liquid from beet marinade over salad, sprinkle with goat cheese, and serve.

 

 

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