carrot ginger soup.

I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over two years (!), and have yet to share this recipe with you. It is one of my most favorite soups ever. EVER.

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This soup turned me into a carrot soup lover. I never ate it growing up, but once I had it several years ago, I was sold. I crave it now, and it couldn’t be simpler to put together. The ginger provides such a sweet and spicy flavor and aroma, and it pairs perfectly with the carrots. Carrots and ginger are a classic flavor pairing; just think of the carrot ginger salad dressing that is served at most Japanese restaurants! Think of that dressing turned into a soup. The additional of lemon juice and zest add brightness, and the tomato lends some additional acidity to the soup. With just vegetable stock, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne, the finished soup is delicate, and allows for the carrots and ginger to really shine. This soup is easily made vegan/dairy free by substituting the butter with a vegan spread or coconut oil.

Serve with a swirl of sour cream if you desire, but I prefer it simple, with a hunk of crusty bread on the side. I promise you, this will be your new favorite!

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carrot ginger soup.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
2 tablespoons grassfed butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons fresh garlic
1.25 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (about three cups)
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1.25 cups)
1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper (more or less to your preference)

1 carrot, grated, to garnish
sour cream, to garnish

directions
Melt butter and oil in large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.

Add chopped carrots, tomatoes, lemon zest, cayenne (if using) and sauté for 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot if desired.

Serves 4 (one cup servings). *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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sautéed butternut squash + spinach pasta.

I purchased a butternut squash about a week ago and it is the gift that keeps on giving!

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First I used it for butternut squash congee. Then I used some of the grated leftovers for butternut squash polenta when I had friends over for dinner. And I still had some leftover! Not one to let food to go waste, I knew I had to find a way to use up the last cup or so. It was already grated, so the classic roasting was out. I wanted something healthy yet comforting, so vegetable-heavy pasta it is!

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I sautéed the squash in a little mixture of butter and olive oil, seasoned with garlic, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the baby spinach until slightly wilted, and then toss with the hot cooked pasta. I do recommend whole wheat here; the nuttiness of it is an ideal accompaniment to the squash and spinach. You can top with grated parmesan if desired, but I left it sweet and simple (and dairy free!).

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butternut squash + spinach pasta. 

ingredients
4-5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguine, or long pasta
sea salt for pasta water
2 tablespoons grassfed butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1.5 cups shredded butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2-3 handfuls baby spinach
1/3 cup pasta water

directions
Heat a pot of water to boiling with a big pinch of sea salt, and add the pasta, cooking according to package directions for al dente.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted and the fats are lightly sizzling, add the garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden but not burnt. Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, cayenne, sea salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until the squash is lightly golden and tender and add the baby spinach. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the squash/spinach mixture, and the 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss well for 1 minute, or until the spinach is just beginning to wilt.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 2. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

turmeric roasted cauliflower.

After I made those cauliflower steaks last week (yum!), I was left with a sizable amount of a cauliflower florets leftover (the cauliflower I had was positively huge!). I love, love, love roasted cauliflower, and thought it would be perfect side dish to snack on this week. I typically roast cauliflower very simply, with just olive oil, salt and pepper, but decided to give this dish a spiced up version.

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I love turmeric, and it is so very good for you. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is often used is Indian cooking. It has a bright deep yellow color, and besides being super healthy, the flavor is earthy and fragrant, with hints of ginger and citrus. I’m combining turmeric with ground cumin, with is warming and spicy but not hot, resulting in an aromatic flavor combination that will go beautifully with the nuttiness that arises when you roast cauliflower.

I line my baking sheet with foil, as the turmeric can stain, and the foil allows for easy cleanup! Eat as a side dish, or mix in with any cooked grain, or in a bowl by itself for the main dish, like me!

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turmeric roasted cauliflower.

ingredients
1/2 large or 1 small head of cauliflower, broken down into large florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, add the cauliflower florets, drizzle in the olive oil, ground turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Add to the pan and spread out in one even layer.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway to ensure browning on all sides. Cauliflower florets are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

Remove to a platter and season with additional salt/pepper if needed.

Serves 4. *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

butternut squash congee with fried ginger.

This is congee dressed up in its autumnal finest. We’ve had our fair share of Indian summer weather here in NY, with temperatures in the high 80s for the majority of the past week. Luckily, the weekend has brought relief, by way of temperatures in the low 60s with a gentle breeze. PERFECT for this incredibly simple yet warming congee turned soup.

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Have you had congee? It is essentially a rice porridge that is commonplace in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. On it’s own, it is typically served as a side dish, dressed up with vegetables, meat or seafood, and it’s transformed into a main dish entree. This is very simple to make, and you’ll be amazed at how the simple ingredients transform into a finished dish that is nuanced, fragrant and complex. The shredded squash will melt into the dish during the long, slow simmer. Finished with some brightness and freshness with the basil, cilantro and fried ginger and served with crusty bread on the side, this dish is perfect when you want cozy, comfort food that you can feel so good about.

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The pulsed rice will help release some of the starches and it will thicken the congee; the consistency is very similar to oatmeal once it’s finished.

butternut squash + ginger congee.
from cooking light magazine.

ingredients
12 ounces (weight) butternut squash, peeled and grated
1/3 cup long grain white rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons fish sauce
1 inch piece fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

directions
Add the rice to a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand for ten minutes and then drain. Add the rice to a food processor and pulse until the rice is in small granules.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the rice and the grated butternut squash and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sea salt, stock and water. Increase heat to high until the mixture starts to boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and partially cover. Let the mixture simmer for 75-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and creamy.

When the mixture is almost done, heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the ginger slices and fry for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Turn the heat off and add the sugar and pepper to the congee. Split the congee amongst four bowls, and top with fried ginger, basil and cilantro. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

Makes four 1 cup servings. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

 

 

 

pan roasted cauliflower steaks with Israeli couscous salad.

Cauliflower steaks? Yes. Yes! These will please even the most diehard carnivores in your life.

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I apologize on the photos; it was getting very dark once I finally plated dinner, but I couldn’t wait to share it with you! This is simple to prepare, but it feels fancy. As a bonus, it’s healthy, too!

I’ve served the pan roasted steaks on a bed of whole wheat Israeli couscous (also called pearled couscous) that was stuffed with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), shaved parmesan, ribbons of basil, and a sprinkling of fresh lemon zest. You can use white or whole wheat couscous, but I heartily recommend the whole wheat; its nuttiness compliments the cauliflower so well.

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You will have leftover cauliflower florets after you cut the steaks (I slice off the outer pieces, and then cut the steaks from the ~2 inch piece left from the middle). Don’t worry if the steaks are slightly uneven, or if they fall apart some in the pan. One of mine had a floret that wanted to come off, but I just tucked it back in when on the pan while roasting.

While the cauliflower is searing, I make the couscous and let it slightly cool and toast the pepitas. Assemble the salad while the cauliflower is roasting away, and then simply spoon the the salad on the middle of the plate, top with a steak, and garnish with some extra salt and pepper. This is SO GOOD you guys. And good for you! To make vegan/dairy free, omit the parmesan (you could sprinkle with nutritional yeast to get a simple cheesy flavor). Enjoy!

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P.S. The recipe for the remaining florets is coming up soon!

pan roasted cauliflower steaks with Israeli couscous salad.
steak cooking technique courtesy of Dan Barber via Food52.

ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into 2 1 inch steaks (reserve leftover florets for another recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for brushing the steaks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

couscous:
1 cup whole wheat Israeli or pearled couscous
1.25 cups water
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan shavings
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons basil, cut into a chiffonade
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper to season

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle the steaks with the sea salt and pepper and add to the pan, searing them for 2 minutes per side (check heat to ensure you are getting a deep golden brown but not burning). After searing, remove them to a foil lined baking sheet and brush with a bit of oil. **You can sear them one at a time if your skillet is not big enough to do both, just use 1 tablespoon oil per steak**

Place the baking sheet with the seared steaks in the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes, until you can pierce the steaks with a fork.

While the steaks are searing, heat 1.25 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt to boiling. Once boiling, add the couscous, cover and turn the heat off. Let sit for 8-10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork (couscous is done once all water is absorbed). Let sit for a few minutes, and then add to a mixing bowl.

Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add pepitas. Stir occasionally and let toast for 3-4 minutes until they are lightly golden and fragrant. Add to the couscous.

Add basil, parmesan, lemon zest and tablespoon of olive oil to the couscous and pepitas. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Spoon 1 cup of couscous on each plate and top with a cauliflower steak. Season with additional salt/pepper if desired.

Serves 2.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

Notes: You will have about 1 cup of salad leftover. It will keep well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can cut and cook another cauliflower steak and increase servings to 3. 

 

potato crusted kale + bell pepper mini quiches.

I love savory egg dishes. I also love recipes that can serve as the starting point for a wide variety of ingredients. This aptly named stir fry, anyone? As someone who lives alone, I often end up with odds and ends of ingredients, and I always have produce that is hanging out in my crisper. As a die hard vegetable lover, I can sometimes get overzealous and purchase more than I can consume at peak freshness. Quiches and frittatas to the rescue! And in my way, I’m lightening up the quiche by replacing the pastry crust with a potato one. Instantly lighter, healthier, and now it’s gluten free… hooray!

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The potato crust is very simple to make, but it is essential that you squeeze out as much moisture as you can prior to adding to the muffin tins, which have been well-coated with cooking spray. This is also incredibly flexible. Don’t like kale? Use spinach! Have asparagus or broccoli to use up? Toss it in! Prefer goat cheese or cheddar to parmesan? Go for it! The possibilities are endless.

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I love using the muffin tins; automatic portion control and it makes them so portable which is great for grabbing on the way to work or school in the morning. These can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, making them ideal when you’re on the go!

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mini potato-crusted kale + red pepper quiches.

ingredients
1 large russet/baking potato, shredded/grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
3 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites
scant one cup of nondairy milk
1 ounce parmesan cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups curly kale, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper* optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a food processor or large hole box grater, grate a large russet potato that has been washed but not peeled. Add the potatoes to a clean, dry kitchen towel and squeeze as much water/moisture as possible from them. Season with a pinch of sea salt or pepper. Spray 9 cups of a muffin tin well with nonstick cooking spray and add about two spoonfuls of the potatoes to each tin, making sure to have the bottom and 3/4 of the sides of the tin covered with potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and saute for a minute or two and then add the kale. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally, until kale has wilted slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper, if using. Once the vegetables have cooled slightly, add them and mix well.

Divide the mixture evenly amongst the muffin tins, being careful to not fill over 3/4 of the way (you may have a touch leftover). Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Run a kitchen knife around the edges of the cups to pop them out of the tin. Makes 9 quiches.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

roasted beets, cauliflower + sautéed kale over spaghetti squash.

This is the ideal meal to welcome in autumn.

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I went a little vegetable crazy at the farmer’s market over the weekend. Now that it’s the beginnings of harvest season, the offerings are so plentiful of local, fresh produce. Because of this, I walked away with items that didn’t fit into my meal planning for the week but looked so good that I couldn’t leave them behind: baby red beets, spaghetti squash, snow white cauliflower, sweet potatoes, the list goes on. I surveyed what I had, and decided to pull together a decidedly autumnal, vegan meal that looked super elegant and inviting, but was actually very easy to pull together.  Roasted beets, cauliflower and sautéed black kale over spaghetti squash.

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At risk of sounding prideful, I think I did it! This spaghetti squash topped with roasted beets, cauliflower and sautéed kale looks so impressive, is fresh, and is perfect for entertaining. A lot of the cooking time is inactive (roasting the squash and the other vegetables); the only active time is a few minutes spent sautéing the kale, seeding and pulling the squash, and assembling the dish. I used sautéed kale because I had some leftover from the week before, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. You could use spinach of any variety, swiss chard, mustard greens (although these would be spicy!), or even arugula. Use what you have! When roasting the beets and cauliflower, you can do this on one baking sheet as I did, but keep them separate, then I used two spoons to stir them around, trying to be careful to not let the beets touch the cauliflower, as the red color of the beets transfers over so easily. This was mostly for presentation and aesthetics, you don’t need to do this as pink cauliflower won’t change the flavor of the dish. 🙂

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This is vegan, gluten free, filling and uber healthy. Perfect for welcoming in fall.

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roasted beets, cauliflower + kale with spaghetti squash. 

ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
3 small beets (or 1 large), trimmed, peeled and quartered
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 bunch dinosaur/tuscan kale (can use any hardy green), stems removed and the leaves thinly sliced into ribbons
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1.5 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
zest and juice of one half a lemon

directions
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke two holes on each side of the squash and place on a rimmed baking sheet filled with an inch or two of water. Bake for one hour (check and if soft, remove from oven). Once the squash has cooled for five minutes, cut the squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Once the seeds are removed, use a fork or spoon to create the ‘spaghetti’ and pull out all the flesh into a bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Set aside.

On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, place the cut beets on one side and the cauliflower florets on the other. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of oil over the vegetables, and season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the cauliflower together until the oil and seasonings are well distributed, and then do the same with the beets, keeping them separate. Wash your hands. Roast the vegetables for 20-25 minutes, stirring them once halfway though. Once the beets are pierced easily with a fork and the cauliflower is tender, they are done. Remove from oven.

While the beets and cauliflower are roasting for their last 5 minutes, heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the kale ribbons and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly wilted. Sprinkle the zest of the lemon and the juice over the kale and turn off the heat.

To assemble: Divide the spaghetti squash amongst four shallow bowls. Top with the kale. Add the beets and cauliflower to each bowl, season with additional salt or pepper if desired and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

roasted red pepper + tomato soup with gouda.

A long time ago, I wrote about this delicious soup that was served at one of the hospital cafes. It was rich and delicious, and I always looked forward to the day they served it (Wednesdays). <– Is it kind of sad that I knew the soup schedule? While I used that soup as inspiration for a vegan version, today’s version is decidedly more indulgent. I suppose that happens when you add nearly one cup of smoked gouda cheese into the soup pot. Mmmmmm.

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The weather here in NY has taken a firmly fall turn over the past week, and I am not complaining. The brisk air just begs for soup, scarves, chunky sweaters and evenings curled up under blankets. Leslie heaven, you may say!

This soup is great for a weeknight, as we are using jarred fire roasted bell peppers (you know how I love them! Evidenced here, here, and here), canned crushed tomatoes, and jarred spices. Add a few pantry and refrigerator essentials, and in less than 45 minutes, soup is ready! So easy. I served this with a simple black kale salad, but you can serve with bread or croutons. Go on, it’s worth it.

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roasted red pepper + tomato soup with gouda.
inspired by my favorite roasted red pepper gouda bisque. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil 
12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, chopped, oil reserved 
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
3 cups vegetable or low sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4-1 cup shredded gouda cheese

directions
Over medium heat, heat the grapeseed oil plus 1 tablespoon of the oil from the jarred peppers. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and let cook, 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the carrots have softened and the onions are translucent but not golden brown. Add the salt, pepper, basil, thyme, chopped peppers, tomatoes and vegetable broth and stir together to combine.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a rapid simmer/boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and partially cover, allowing soup to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat. Blend soup smooth using an immersion blender, or using a stand blender. *If using a stand blender, allow soup to cool for 5 minutes, puree in batches, and always cover the lid with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from potential hot splatter. Add the pureed soup back into the soup pot*

Once pureed, heat the soup over medium-low heat and add in the gouda. Stir frequently for 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and fully incorporated (you may need to increase the heat to allow the cheese to fully melt).

Ladle into bowls and serve. Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as a starter.

whole wheat penne + broccoli with fire-roasted red pepper sauce.

Easy dinner alert! Vegan dinner alert! This is definitely comfort food that is so easy to make. Pasta with roasted red pepper sauce. Yes.

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I love roasted bell peppers, and almost always have a jar of them in my fridge. I love the fire-roasted red and yellow bell peppers from Trader Joe’s, so that is what we are using today. You can use any 16 ounce jar of roasted bell peppers, provided they are of the red, yellow, or orange variety. Green bell peppers have a very different taste, and should not be used here.

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This recipe is very flexible, and you can add pretty much whatever you want to fancy it up. I went simple with some steamed broccoli mixed in to up the nutrition factor, but you could add cooked chicken, sauteed shrimp, zucchini, roasted tomatoes… all sound like delicious additions to this easy dinner! I like to use whole wheat pasta for the fiber, extra protein and nutrients, all of which help keep you fuller, longer!

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Speaking of easy, this sauce couldn’t be simpler to make. Saute up the garlic and onions, add the peppers and broth, blend, then add the spices and coconut milk and let simmer. Add pasta and broccoli, and boom! Done. Welcome to your new weeknight favorite.

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roasted red pepper pasta with broccoli.

ingredients
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounce jar of fire-roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from the carton, not the can)
1 teaspoon sugar (or agave)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 ounces steamed broccoli florets
8 ounces whole wheat penne

directions

Bring a saucier filled with water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and stems, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove and drain in a colander, and rinse with ice cold water to ‘shock’ the broccoli and stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced onion and garlic, and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent but not browned, and the garlic is soft and fragrant. While this is cooking, cook the pasta.

Add the diced peppers, sugar, and broth and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a blender and blend until smooth. Return puree to the skillet. Add the sea salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and coconut milk and stir. Stir over low heat for 5 minute to allow the mixture to come together and thicken slightly.

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, add the pasta and broccoli to the sauce and stir together. Taste and add additional salt or pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

NOTES: If the sauce seems too thin, mix together 1 teaspoon water with 1 teaspoon cornstarch until dissolved. Add to the sauce before the pasta and broccoli and whisk to thicken.

quinoa salad with burst cherry tomatoes + herbs.

This recipe comes from me being inspired by my newest favorite cookbook, Plenty. It is the perfect book to get inspiration from this time of year, when summer produce is so plentiful — no pun intended!

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The original incarnation of this dish had you leave the tomatoes raw and bulk out the salad with grilled sourdough bread – YUM. I will totally be making it the way it was written, but I’ve been overdoing it a little on carbs recently, so I decided to leave out the bread and just make this with the quinoa and vegetables. Still very delicious, filling, and packed full of vitamins and protein. Hooray!

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You can definitely leave the tomatoes raw if you’d like — I just prefer cherry tomatoes roasted or thrown into a very hot pan for a minute or two; they begin to just burst, and they get even sweeter. I also think the juxtaposition of them against the cold, raw cucumber is just lovely. The salad is coated simply with some red wine vinegar and a touch of olive oil, but I think the real star here are the fresh herbs. We are using both fresh mint, which I love in savory salads, and cilantro, which has that herbal bite that cannot be replicated with any other herb. I know cilantro is controversial, so feel free to sub in parsley for all the cilantro haters. If you want a decidedly Italian spin, use fresh basil.

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Like most grain or seed-based salads, this gets even better as it sits, making it great for picnics, parties, or lunches during the week. Enjoy!

quinoa salad with burst cherry tomatoes + herbs.
inspired by the grilled sourdough + quinoa salad from Plenty. 

ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup/8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 english cucumber, peeled, seed scooped out, and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1.5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

directions
Cook the quinoa according to package directions (1 cup quinoa/2 cups water). Once cooked, remove from heat, fluff with a fork and add to a large mixing bowl.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet (stainless or cast iron is ideal) over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering but not smoking, add the halved cherry tomatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomatoes just begin to burst. Remove from the pan and set them aside.

Once the quinoa is at room temperature in the bowl, add the sliced red onion, diced bell pepper and cucumber, and burst tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Add the mint, cilantro, red wine vinegar, remaining tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and pepper. Toss together. Taste, adding more salt or pepper if desired. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Serves 4 as a main, 6-8 as a starter/side. Keeps well in fridge for 3-4 days.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*