Winter Kale Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

A hearty kale salad with a 4-ingredient maple vinaigrette. This salad is simple, yet has many flavors and textures that will keep you satisfied until you’re ready to devour that Valentine’s Day candy. And why not eat that whole box? You just ate a salad!

20150130-204131-74491501.jpgI first discovered a version of this salad on Cookie and Kate, who adapted it from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I was looking for an easy, non-oven-using vegetable recipe to serve at my Mom’s Thanksgiving. She makes so many delicious dishes that I knew I couldn’t take up any oven space. I also needed to make most of it hours before so I wouldn’t get in the way and I would be free to help her. Kale seemed like a good choice, since it is such a hearty green, doesn’t wilt like lettuce or baby spinach and can be prepared hours before eating. The only potential issue with kale is that I knew I was taking a huge risk serving kale at my family’s Thanksgiving. I have a reputation of bringing food that isn’t traditional enough on Thanksgiving. A few years ago I brought my Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup and most of my family revolted against it. Some refused to even try it. They reacted to it as if I was I was asking: “would like to try this gum I scraped off the bottom of my shoe?” So you can imagine, I didn’t have high hopes for most of my family to even try the kale salad. But to my surprise, everyone LOVED it.  They said the maple vinaigrette was their favorite part! I was hoping for leftovers, but there were none left! What a compliment.

Winter Kale Salad with a maple vinaigrette

That’s right. You heard it. On Thanksgiving, where we have 3 types of stuffings, 20lbs of turkey, roasted crispy potatoes and about 10 other dishes, this very kale salad was eaten up. If that doesn’t convince you to make this, I don’t know what will.

dressing and apples2I’ve adapted this recipe slightly since Thanksgiving. Since it has been SO COLD in Boston (and we’re buried under 40 inches of snow, no biggie), I’ve taken to wilting the kale first. It warms it, and I feel like it’s much more fitting for winter now. You can make this raw or wilted. Whatever tickles your fancy.

before after kale

Left: Before wilting. Right: After wilting

Just in case you are not sold yet, let me briefly elaborate on why this salad is so great. The maple syrup in the vinaigrette brings a little sweetness that tempers the bitterness of the crunchy radishes and the toughness of the kale. The granny smith apple is tart and juicy while the goat cheese adds some creamy decadence. Finally the salad is finished off with toasted walnuts for a nutty crunch and some protein. Bam. All the flavors you would ever want in a salad.

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Kale chips are overrated. Make a kale salad.

 

Winter Kale SaladRecipe: Winter Kale Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

 Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

Kale Salad

  • 1 Bunch of Kale
  • 4-6 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 Granny smith apple, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup of walnuts
  • Lots of goat cheese (2-3oz)

Maple Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

1. Toast the walnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Allow the walnuts to cool before adding to the salad. Walnuts can be toasted up to a week before. Store toasted, cooled walnuts in an airtight container.

2. Wilt the Kale: Rip off the leaves from the ribs. Tear the leaves into bite size pieces (or however large you like them) and rinse well with water. With the kale leaves still wet from the water, add them to a large pot with a lid. Wilt the kale leaves with a pinch of salt on medium heat. Stir the kale about every 1-2 minutes to wilt all the leaves evenly and leaving the top on the pot when not stirring. I usually wilt the kale for about 3-4 minutes or until kale has become a bright green color and has become fragrant (See picture in the post). Time and amount of water will depend on how much kale you are wilting and how big the pot is.  The small amount of kale I have in the picture only took 1 minute to wilt (2 handfuls of kale leaves) and no extra water except what was on the kale to rinse. You may need to add a little more water if it dries up before your kale is wilted.  Be careful not to add too much water or cook it too long, or your kale will be super chewy.  After kale is wilted, drain any extra water and squeeze the kale to remove excess water before adding kale to a large bowl and set aside.*

3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl add olive oil, maple syrup, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Whisk with a fork until well combined.

4. Put it all together: Dress the salad and let the leaves soak up the dressing about 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with radishes, apples goat cheese and walnuts.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, if desired.

*Another way I have also cooked the kale for this salad is to saute with a little bit oil (olive or vegetable) in a non-stick skillet for a few minutes until it has softened a bit (3-4 minutes).  The original recipe serves the kale salad raw. I have made this raw and it is delicious! Head over to Cookie and Kate to get good tips on how to prep raw kale.

Recipe sources: Maple Vinaigrette deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Kale salad adapted from Cookie and Kate

Looking for some more great vegetarian recipes?

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Egg Apple and cheese sandwichMy taller half and I eat this sandwich at least once a week.

Spanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell Pepper

Spanish TortillaA delicious egg and potato dish.  A spin on the traditional Spanish Tortilla.

Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dip

Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dipMy favorite dip.  Perfect for watching movies and trashy tv shoes when you’re snowed in.  It’s made with vegetables and Greek yogurt – so it’s totally good for you.

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Two Minute Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

A creamy and filling oatmeal that tastes like pumpkin pie and takes only 2 minutes. It’s dessert for breakfast!

Pumpkin Pie oatmeal bowl 5It’s PUMPKIN SEASON! That also means that it’s getting cold out.  Like real cold, real fast.  This weekend we saw the first flurries in Boston.  Did you get snow?  Ah!  get ready.  With all this cold weather, it really makes me want something warm for breakfast.  Cold cereal, or a quick muffin won’t do. I need something that will warm me up AND fill me up and take less than 5 minutes to make. As I’ve said before, I have a bit of a sweet tooth when it comes to breakfast.  I made two pumpkin pies last week.  One was for a work Halloween party and the other was a test pie that my Taller Half and I enjoyed for most of the week. The pumpkin pie was delicious, and it went GREAT with my morning coffee.  I figured, hey, I’m eating a vegetable for breakfast.  But I know pie is not really a wise breakfast option if I want to fit into a wedding dress in May. That’s when I came up with this little biddy.   Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.

20141030-221157-79917429.jpgThe stars of this oatmeal include:

  • Quick Oats
  • Milk
  • Brown Sugar
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice
  • Biscoff Spread (or Cookie Butter)
  • Toasted walnuts (optional)

And the best part (besides how creamy and pumpkin-y it tastes) is how quick it is to make.  It only takes 1 minute to assemble and 1 minute to cook in the microwave!  Check it out – delicious pumpkin pie oatmeal in a DASH.

20141030-221225-79945597.jpgMeasure our your oats

20141030-221226-79946313.jpgAdd milk (or water, if you prefer) and pumpkin puree

20141030-221226-79946973.jpgAdd the spices and brown sugar.  Then microwave for 1 minute.

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To finish off this filling Fall breakfast, stir in some Biscoff spread (or Cookie Butter).  The Biscoff spread gives the oatmeal that “graham cracker crust” taste.  AND it makes the oatmeal extra creamy.  Do I even need to give these reasons? Biscoff ALWAYS makes everything better. Don’t believe me? Check it out herePumpkin Pie oatmeal bowl picI LOVE dessert for breakfast, especially when it’s not actually dessert AND has a vegetable int it!  Since this only takes you two minutes to make, you have some extra time.  So go ahead, sit down and enjoy your creamy and healthy pumpkin pie (oatmeal) for breakfast. 

20141030-221155-79915931.jpgRecipe: Two Minute Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Yield: 1 serving

Time: 2 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of Plain Quick Oats (the kind that cooks in 1 minute)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk  (or water – depending on how thick you like your oatmeal)
  • 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice**
  •  Sprinkle of cinnamon**
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar  (If you want it sweeter – just add more)
  • 1 teaspoon of Biscoff Spread
  • 3 Toasted walnuts (for serving, optional)

Instructions:

In a microwave safe bowl, add oats, milk, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar. Stir everything until combined.  Microwave for 1 minute.  Stir in Biscoff Spread and top with toasted walnuts, if desired.  Enjoy!

*** I really like cinnamon and usually add a sprinkle of cinnamon along with the pumpkin pie spice.  Pumpkin pie spice works best in this recipe, but if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  I would do a 1/8 tsp of cinnamon, and a light sprinkle of cloves and nutmeg.  Adjust spice to your liking.

 

I really like Oats.  Do you? Check out my other recipes using oats:

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

No-bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.jpg

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola

Chocolate Coconut Granola

Chocolate Coconut Granola

Maple Walnut Apple Crisp

Maple Walnut Apple Crisp

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins.jpg

Strawberry-Glazed Salmon

Sweet, juicy and baked with berry goodness! A healthy and delicious dinner that is on the table in 30 minutes.  Delicious dinner in a Dash!

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Are you ready for a strawberry treat that you can eat for dinner?  If you have eaten salmon before, you may have had maple-glazed salmon, orange-glazed salmon or honey-glazed salmon.  Allow me to introduce you to their sweet, juicy, slightly spicy, delicious and much better looking cousin, Strawberry-glazed salmon. 

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This salmon is made with a quick homemade strawberry glaze that is studded with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and a touch of salt. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes (the cooking time may vary depending on how thick the salmon is) and enjoy!

This summer has been packed with fun.  I’ve been to two beautiful, fun weddings, vacationed with my family + adorable nieces and nephew on Cape Cod (Happy was there!) and moved in with my Taller-half!  One thing I didn’t get to do this summer was go strawberry picking. But I made up for it by buying strawberries by the 3lbs and made this strawberry-glazed salmon 3 TIMES in two weeks.  Yeah, it’s that good.

I also made a strawberry cucumber salad with a balsamic lime vinaigrette to go along with it. (recipe coming soon!)

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Did you miss all the strawberries this season?  No worries, you can use frozen berries for this too! Never cooked fish before?  This is the time to start! This recipe is perfect for beginners and can be enjoyed by all.

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This simple recipe starts by preparing the glaze. This glaze is easy and quick and makes all the difference! In a small saucepan, add sliced strawberries, water, sugar, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook this on low heat for about 10 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved.  I used raw sugar, but you can use white sugar or even brown sugar.

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Place salmon in a baking dish and carefully pour the hot strawberry glaze over the salmon. Note: The baking dish I used below (9×13 inch) here is too big and the glaze will burn a bit – this can be avoided by adding a little water to the pan halfway through baking. Two pieces of salmon (~5-7oz each) fit nicely in a square 8×8 inch pan.

Strawberrry glazed salmon.jpgBake salmon for 20 minutes, or until salmon is flaky.  If you are not sure you can use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thickest portion.  It should read 140F/60C

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Serve with a salad and enjoy!  Strawberry goodness.  Healthy and light.  It’s the perfect end of summer meal.

Recipe: Strawberry-glazed salmon

Serves: 2 (This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled…)

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of raw sugar (white granulated sugar or brown sugar can  be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets (5-8 oz each)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside

Make the Strawberry Glaze:
In a small saucepan, add the strawberries, sugar, water, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook on low heat, stirring frequently until all the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are soft, about 10 minutes.  This mixture can burn easily, so be sure to keep an eye on it.

Place salmon in prepared baking dish.  Carefully add hot strawberry glaze over the salmon. Using a spoon, gently spread and press the glaze on the salmon.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes** (time will depend on the size and thickness of the fillets) or until salmon is opaque throughout and flaky.  You can also use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thickest part of the fish.  The temperature should be 140F or 60C.

Serve the salmon warm.  Salt and pepper the salmon, to taste.

**About halfway through cooking, check on the fish.  If the pan is too large, the glaze will burn.  If this is happening, just add a little water to the dish, enough to make a very thin layer on the bottom.  This will prevent burning and de-glaze the dish.  

*** The salmon can be served with more glaze on top.  Just double the glaze recipe and upon serving,  top with more warm glaze.

5 Ingredient Toasted Pearl Couscous

A tasty dish filled with veggies and done in 30 minutes using a whole grain that looks like little pearls. So cute.

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Sorry for those of you who received the teaser email last night with an incomplete post.  My butterfingers hit “Publish” instead of “Save”  and emails automatically went out (a bloggers nightmare) Ahh!  

Today I’m sharing a recipe using pearl couscous.  If you don’t know what this is, it is also known as Israeli couscous and are small balls of wheat or semolina flour.   They have a slightly chewy texture – and when toasted, like I do for this dish, they have a subtle nutty flavor.  It’s a nice alternative to rice or pasta.  It can be found near the rice in most grocery stores.  Or if you’re lucky, you can buy it from the bulk bins.  This dish can be used as a side dish or a light main dish (feel free to toss in beans or your protein of your choice) – perfect for all you Meatless Monday folks!

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Grape Tomatoes were on sale last week. $0.88 a pint!! That’s CRAZY! So, naturally, I went crazy and bought 4 pints of grape tomatoes. After inhaling two pints raw, I wanted to enjoy the others cooked. My favorite way to cook grape tomatoes is to roast them. It makes them even sweeter, and doesn’t require you to do much to them. I just plop some chopped garlic in the baking dish, sprinkle some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes and TADA!  EVEN SWEETER grape tomatoes. Yum.  This is also a great way to use grape tomatoes that are starting to wrinkle and not look so “salad fresh”.

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While your grape tomatoes are roasting, you can toast and cook the couscous.  Toasting really brings out a nutty flavor and is a small extra step that is totally worth it.  To toast the pearls, simply saute them with olive oil in a saucepan on low-medium heat, while stirring for about 5-10 minutes until the couscous is lightly browned. Then add your liquid and frozen vegetable of choice ( I threw in some frozen spinach) and simmer for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the roasted grape tomatoes and their juices to the cooked cousous. Then add a little water to the baking dish to deglaze it (which will get all the roasty deliciousness out) and add it to the cooked couscous and dinner’s ready!

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In 30 minutes and 5 ingredients (not including olive oil and salt pepper) you have a delicious vegetable filled side dish that is nutty and full of grape tomato sweetness.

 

Recipe: 5 Ingredient Toasted Pearl Couscous 20140519-065127.jpg

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a light main dish (this recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled…)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup Pearl Couscous (Israeli Couscous)
  • 1 1/4 cup of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (or frozen veggie of your choice)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a oven safe baking dish, toss grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes start to caramelize.
  2. Add the remaining oil to a medium saucepan.  Over low to medium heat, add the couscous and cook, stirring for about 5-10 minutes, until light golden brown.  Add the broth and frozen spinach and bring to a boil.  Immediately, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked grape tomatoes plus their juices to the cooked couscous. You may remove the garlic or smash up and add to the couscous (depending on how much garlic flavor you like) De-glaze the baking dish with a tablespoon or 2 of water and add to the couscous. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a sprinkle of cheese.

* Garbanzo or cannellini beans go really well with this dish if you are looking to serve as a main dish and want some extra protein. Just toss in after the couscous is done cooking.

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Want more quick veggie dishes? Click on the Vegetarian Link on the top menu or try one of my favorites below!

Vegetarian Orzo Parsley Salad Orzo Parsley Salad.jpgSpicy Avocado Egg SaladSpicy Avocado Egg Salad.jpgSpanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell PepperSpanish Tortilla.jpg

Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke Dip

What are you eating on Super Bowl Sunday?  My answer is (usually) a lot.

20140131-194900.jpgLet’s get a little more specific. How about something warm, cheesy and spicy and still have some healthy stuff in it?  Then you will LOVE this Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dip!

20140131-194828.jpgI’m not the biggest football fan, but I do LOVE an excuse to eat snacks and hang out with friends! Bring on the football!

20140131-194847.jpgThis recipe is a spinoff of your typical spinach artichoke dip, but it has a few extras in it that really make it special.  Lets go over the major players in our game:

  1. Spinach
  2. Broccoli
  3. Canned artichoke hearts
  4. Cream cheese (sounds unusual, but totally delicious)
  5. Greek yogurt (adds that extra creaminess!)
  6. Mozzarella
  7. Parmesan
  8. Garlic (because everything is better with it)

It is easy to assemble (all in one bowl), pop it in the oven and you have your warm and creamy dip in 25 minutes!  I know cream cheese sounds a little unusual but you won’t taste any cream cheese flavor (I promise!); it will just add creaminess.

20140131-231211.jpgThis dip will fit nicely in an 8×8 or 9×9 but I got a really awesome Le Creuset stoneware dish (1.75 qt) for Christmas that I really really really wanted to bake something in. It’s a really pretty blue color so it looks nice (it really does!) and it is heavy so it keeps food hot longer.   It’s amazing and I love it! – thanks Ro and Nancy! 

20140131-194934.jpgSprinkling some extra cheese on top – Mmmmm melty cheese!

20140131-194945.jpgDid I mention I snuck extra veggies in this dip? You get spinach, artichoke AND broccoli!

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What a beaut, right? Most of my kitchen stuff is hand-me-down or picked up at garage sales – so I really wanted to flaunt my fancy new baking dish! 🙂

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But most importantly is the warm, cheesy, creamy and veggie-filled dip that was made in the pretty dish!  Just another delicious way to get more vegetables in your diet!

Happy Snacking!

Recipe: Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke Dip

Yield: About 3 and 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of cream cheese, softened*
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup of broccoli, chopped small
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan- reserve a handful to melt on top
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided –  ¼ cup reserved to sprinkle and melt on top
  • salt, to taste
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl stir the softened cream cheese and Greek yogurt together until smooth.  Then add in the remaining ingredients and mix together. Spoon into 8×8 or 9 inch pie plate or oven safe dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Remove and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and bake for another 2-3 minutes just until cheese is melted.

Serve warm with pita chips, pretzels, crackers or veggies.

*If you want to soften the cream cheese quickly, place the fully unwrapped cream cheese in a microwave safe dish and microwave it for ~15 seconds.

Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Happy New Year! Time to celebrate with some fancy soup!

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Although this may look super fancy, this is hands down the most flavorful and easiest soup I have ever made. And by the end of this post, I am going to convince you of that.  It is creamy, spicy and slightly sweet and you even get to top it with a little toasted coconut.  Fancy.  If you love Thai flavors, you will LOVE this soup.  Coconut milk makes the soup creamy, butternut squash makes it healthy to eat all that coconut milk AND red Thai curry paste makes it spicy! Add a little apple for some sweetness and you have THE BEST SOUP.  I even made it as a Christmas present for my Aunts upon request!

20131223-092437.jpgI know there are tons of butternut squash soup recipes out there. So, you’re probably wondering: “what makes this soup so damn special?”   Well, my recipe calls for ingredients that most people usually have.  It only requires 1 fancy-ish ingredient – Red Thai Curry paste – and this can be kept in your fridge for a long time. So you buy it once and can use it throughout the year.  The only additional fresh ingredients (besides the squash) you need you probably already have in your kitchen: onion, garlic and apple.  Everything else keeps, so you can make this soup whenever you buy a butternut squash!

What is the secret to the super flavor in this easy soup?  Freshly roasted butternut squash!

Before I started making this soup last year, I was TERRIFIED of roasting my own squash.  Those big, hunky vegetables look so intimidating in the grocery store, don’t they?  FEAR NOT my friend.  I am here to tell you – YOU CAN DO IT!

And I’m showing you exactly how.

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Steps for roasting your butternut squash. 1. Slice open. 2. scoop out seeds 3.Brush oil and place cut side down on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup). The 4th photo is what the squash looks like when it is done roasting!

Slice the butternut squash in half, lengthwise on a cutting board (carefully!).  I usually start to cut at the fat end, since it is easier to cut through the part where the seeds are. Once halved, scoop out the seeds and save them for later!  (You can roast the seeds and salt them -they are delicious!) After your squash is cleaned out, brush a tablespoon of oil (canola, olive, or vegetable – whatever) on the flesh of each half and place flesh side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup!). Bake at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes.  There.  Done.  That’s roasting your own squash.  Easy, right? You can do this days in advance and then making the soup will only take 20 minutes!

If you are roasting the squash and making the soup the same day, then while the squash is roasting, get started on the rest of the soup.  Add some oil, garlic, onion and peeled and chopped apple to the pot. Saute for a few minutes then add the ginger and the red curry paste. Saute for a few minutes  Then add the liquids and the roasted squash – simmer for at least 10 minutes, puree with an immersion blender or blend in batches and done!

20131223-092408.jpgYUM! Sweet, Savory, Coconut-y goodness!

20131223-092420.jpgWarms you and fills you up!

20131223-092430.jpgGo make some right now!!!

20131223-092514.jpgRecipe: Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Makes about 10 cups (Ten 8oz servings)

Squash roasting time: 45 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Soup cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons of oil, divided (olive, vegetable, or canola)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small apple, peeled and chopped (I used Macintosh but any soft, sweet apple will do.  Don’t use granny smith – too tart)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of Thai red curry paste (more or less depending on your spice preference)
  • 32oz chicken broth (or vegetable broth – to make it vegan/vegetarian)
  • 1 can (14-ounce) coconut milk (I usually use light coconut milk)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Toasted sweetened shredded coconut, for serving – optional (but highly recommended!)

Instructions:

  • Roast the Butternut Squash (This can be done days in advance)                            Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Halve squash lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds and stringy stuff (Save seeds for roasting later).  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, brush the cut flesh with about 1 tablespoon of oil, and place flesh side down on foil. Roast squash until it is very soft – depending on the size about 45 minutes to an hour.  Allow Squash to cool for about 10 minutes and then scoop flesh out of the peel into a bowl.  Use immediately in soup, or place into a sealed container and refrigerate for about a week or freeze up to 2 months.
  • Make the Soup. (While the squash is roasting-if doing this in one day)                    In a large pot, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, garlic and peeled apple and sauté on medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until onions are soft.  Add Thai red curry paste and ginger and stir briskly for about 30 seconds.  Next add the broth, coconut milk and the roasted squash and simmer for at least 10 minutes.  If I have the time I like to simmer for 30 minutes and even more if I get busy and forget about it. 

Purée soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor) – and serve!

For serving: Optional (but highly recommended) — Top soup with toasted sweetened shredded coconut (toast shredded coconut on a baking sheet in oven at 400F for 2 minutes (be sure to watch so it doesn’t burn!) Or toast the shredded coconut it in your microwave!

This soup makes great leftovers!  It tastes even better the next day.  Keep leftover soup in a sealed container in the fridge for a week(ish).

Seriously, go make some right now!!

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Spicy Avocado, Pepper and Egg Salad

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Oh boy. I am super excited to share this recipe with you guys! I should probably change the name of my blog to “Eggs and Sweets” because of the high percentage of egg recipes on here. But I promise you, if you like egg salad and guacamole, this will be the best egg salad you ever had.

20130812-195508.jpgWhat is the secret to this spicy, creamy and crunchy egg salad? Avocado and pickled jalapeños! Oh yeah, and the “crunchy” part comes from the red bell pepper

The inspiration for this recipe came from the way I make guacamole- I always make mine with pickled jalapeños! One day, I didn’t have fresh jalapeños or lime juice in the house, and I had a hankering for guac.  Well, all I had was pickled jalapeños in the fridge, so I added some chopped pickled jalapeños + some of the juice and BAM. it was delicious! The juice that the jalapeños are packed in adds some acidity to the mix so it’s a semi-substitute for the lime juice.

20130812-195522.jpgThis salad is a unique twist on an old favorite. It only needs 6 ingredients and it is very versatile

  1. avocado
  2. pickled jalapenos
  3. onion
  4. red bell pepper
  5. hard boiled eggs
  6. plain Greek yogurt

What is this versatility I speak of? You can switch out the red bell pepper for your veggie of choice: cucumbers, tomatoes, celery – or any raw veggie you like that will add crunch.

 Another great thing about this egg salad is it has NO MAYO!  I know there are some MAYO haters out there, so THIS IS YOUR SALAD!

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You can easily make this salad before going to work and even dress it up for a semi-fancy brunch by serving it in a bell pepper half (Oh so fancy!)

How do you make this spicy avocado, pepper and egg salad in a DASH?

The first thing I like to do is to make the avocado “dressing”.  In a medium sized bowl, I smash the flesh of the avocado with a fork.  I don’t really make it too smooth, I like mine a little chunky.   **Do you need to know how to pit and peel an avocado? Check out the simple step by step process at Simply Recipes

Next I add a little Greek yogurt and the pickled jalapeños and juice and stir that in.  Then stir in the onion and red bell pepper. Then I smash up the hard boiled eggs in the center of the bowl and then smash it all together.

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Tada! 

Your delicious breakfast, brunch, lunch or anytime salad is done!

20130812-195638.jpgEat it with crackers, with tortilla chips, with veggies or even the old fashioned way – between 2 slices of bread!  Just eat it!

20130812-195704.jpgThe salad is creamy from the avocado and crunchy from the bell pepper and “oh a little bit spicy” from the jalapeños.  Yum!

Recipe: Spicy Avocado,Pepper and Egg Salad

20130812-195630.jpgMakes 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup of pickled jalapeno, chopped + 1 tsp of the pickled juice
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped small (about 1/3-1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of onion, diced (I used yellow, but you can use red or omit if you don’t like raw onions)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt – any % fat (optional – adds creaminess)*
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*If your avocados are not at the optimal creamy state, you may want to add a little plain Greek yogurt.   If your avocados are nice and creamy and ripe, you could probably leave this out.

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients and smash with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve and enjoy immediately with crackers, between two slices of bread, on a salad, or use the bell pepper as a delicious vegetable bowl (oh so fancy!)

This egg salad is best eaten the day it is made. After being stored, the salad will look a little less pretty because the avocado will brown from being exposed to air.   Despite it’s color change, it will still taste good after being stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. (but I would only serve this salad to others the day it is made)

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

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Spanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell Pepper

20130523-231516.jpgI’m really excited to share today’s recipe with you! Why? Well, I’m talking about food, so this always makes me excited, woo! But, if I had to pick a favorite vegetable, it would be spinach, which is the star of this recipe. Why spinach? I’m sure many of you have memories growing up being forced to eat spinach. Not me. I would gladly suck spinach down like Popeye. When I started cooking for myself, I started to realize the culinary super power of spinach. It is a super nutritious leafy green vegetable that you can have by itself or add to just about anything: pasta, pizza, casseroles, eggs, soups, and even smoothies! Today I’m pairing my favorite vegetable, spinach, with my favorite protein, eggs.

20130523-231132.jpgInstead of using baby spinach to make a salad, I decided to get a little creative and use it to make one of the most common dishes served in Spain known as the tortilla de patatas, or the Spanish tortilla (Spanish potato omelet) . One of the great things about this dish is that it is perfect for any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner or as an appetizer and can be served hot or cold. I like mine warm, but it is traditionally served at room temperature.

Keeping with my simple recipe philosophy, this tortilla only has 6 ingredients: Spinach, bell pepper, eggs, potato, milk, and onion. Also, in line with in a DASH, this recipe is adapted to be pretty speedy, and can be made in under 30 minutes!

20130523-231432.jpgYou already know how much I LOVE eggs, especially frittatas. Well, the Tortilla de Patatas is the Spanish cousin to the Italian frittata. The major difference is that the frittata is baked, while the Tortilla is flipped in the pan and only cooked on the stove top – perfect for summertime when you don’t want to heat up your oven! Besides eggs, the other main component of the tortilla is potatoes. Delicious, starchy, thinly sliced, layered potatoes. YUM.

In my version of the Spanish tortilla, I decided to add baby spinach and red bell pepper. This way, you get some extra veggie in and still enjoy this decadent Spanish dish!

Big SPanish tort

The other great thing about what I did here is that I slimmed down the recipe a bit. Most Spanish tortilla recipes use a TON of olive oil. I have minimized the amount of oil needed for this dish, so you can enjoy this Spanish delight and keep your waistline! Less oil makes the tortilla a little thinner, but it still has the texture and taste of a real Spanish Tortilla. I promise.

Let’s make this tortilla in a DASH!

First peel and slice the potato very thin. I don’t have a fancy slicer or food processor, so I just sliced them thin with a knife. Cut and chop about a quarter of an onion and set aside.

20130523-231117.jpgAdd your potatoes to a heated pan with olive oil. Immediately after adding potatoes, reduce the heat. Your potatoes will NOT be in one layer, and this is ok. You want this. There will be a temptation to crisp up and brown your potatoes, but that is not what we’re trying to do here. We are cooking them to be just soft, not crisping them. Stir the potatoes occasionally as you cook them. After about 5 minutes, add the onion and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until potatoes are soft.

20130523-231143.jpgRemove potatoes and onions and a pinch of salt and set aside. Reduce heat to low and add the red bell pepper and spinach to pan and stir. This is just to warm and soften the veggies. We don’t want to wilt the spinach and we want to keep the peppers crispy for some texture.

20130523-231154.jpgYum! Next scramble up your eggs, milk, salt and pepper. After allowing the potatoes and veggies to cool for about 5 minutes, add them to the eggs and stir. Let this stand for a few minutes. I know it looks like there is not enough egg here for all the stuff, but trust me, the potatoes will make up the bulk of the dish, with the spinach being the STAR, of course.

20130523-231207.jpgHeat up the remainder of the olive oil in the pan and add the egg/veggie mixture. Gently pat the potatoes and veggies down to form even-ish layers and reduce the heat.

20130523-231228.jpgI know you are looking at this saying: “how the HECK is that going to hold together to flip it? That looks like a hot mess” I promise you, it does, and it may look like a hot mess now, but soon it will be fully cooked, and be in your belly.

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This tortilla is ready to be flipped!

When the edges start to pull away, run a rubber spatula along the edges to loosen up the egg. Run it around and around and scrape a little on the bottom all around so you know nothing is sticking and you can easily flip it. When the top is wet, but not runny, lift up the tortilla slightly and take a peak at the bottom – when it is lightly browned, it is ready to be flipped!

To easily flip, carefully place a large plate on top of the pan and flip the pan over so that the tortilla falls out. Next, Slide the tortilla back in the pan so that uncooked side of the tortilla is in the pan and the cooked side is up. Sorry that I didn’t have someone else around to photograph me doing this, but luckily, the internet is a educational place – check out this YouTube video that gives multiple ways to flip a tortilla. Don’t be intimidated by the flip.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, flip one more time to warm and you’re done!

20130523-231243.jpgAdd some salt and pepper to taste, slice up and ENJOY!

20130523-231331.jpgTender, layered potatoes, crunchy, sweet bell pepper and bold baby spinach. SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!

20130523-231343.jpg I ate this for breakfast and then again for dinner. I was a little disappointed when I finished it and didn’t have any left over for lunch the next day. 🙂

Recipe: Spanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell Pepper

Serves 220130523-231602.jpg

Total time: ~25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato, peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup of onion, chopped (I used a sweet onion, but you can use white or yellow)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 2 oz of Fresh Baby Spinach, rinsed and dried (about 2 cups, not packed)*
  • ½ of red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Slice potato very thin, about 1/8 inch (I don’t have a fancy slicer so I used a knife. You don’t need to be exact – not cooking for the queen)
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick pan and heat until hot on medium high (I used a shallow 8inch pan – you can also you a 6inch as long as it is deep).
  3. Add potato slices to pan and immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Stir potatoes occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add sliced onion to potatoes and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft. Remove potatoes/onion from pan, add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool before adding to eggs.**
  5. Add chopped bell pepper and spinach to the pan on low heat and warm to soften peppers and spinach for about 1 minute. Remove and set aside to cool slightly before adding to the eggs
  6. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Whip eggs with a fork to scramble. Add relatively cooled potatoes/onion, baby spinach and bell pepper and stir till combined.
  7. Warm the remaining olive oil in the pan on medium high heat until it is hot. Add the egg mixture to the pan and pat down with a rubber spatula to even out the layers. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 2-3 minutes. To ensure that the egg doesn’t stick, run a rubber spatula around the edges of the egg and under the egg.
  8. The tortilla is ready to be flipped when the top is wet, but not runny, and the sides are firm (see pic above). To easily flip, carefully place a large plate on top of the pan and flip the pan over so that the tortilla falls out. Next, Slide the tortilla back in the pan so that uncooked side of the tortilla is face down in the pan and the cooked side is up. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  9. Flip the tortilla one more time, and warm the first cooked side for another minute.
  10. Invert the tortilla on a serving dish and add some salt and pepper
  11. ENJOY

*Note that because the tortilla is cooking so quickly in the pan, the baby spinach just wilts slightly. If you wish to substitute mature spinach, be sure to cook and drain first. Mature spinach may release a lot of water that can mess up your tortilla.

**I stress cooling the potatoes and the veggies to prevent premature cooking of the eggs in the bowl.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Grandma’s Swiss Chard Patties

20130516-201114.jpgOh man, you guys are in for a real treat today! I’m sharing with you a family favorite! I made this recipe with my mom when I went to visit her for Mother’s day weekend. I already told you my mom taught me how to cook. She is a PHENOMENAL cook. Her mom, was also a fantastic cook and this recipe is one of her specialties.

20130516-201051.jpgThis recipe is so great because it uses a part of the vegetable (the stems) most people discard, and transforms it into a tasty, savory bite-size cake with great crunchy texture. My grandma was trying to feed 8 people in a tiny Bronx apartment kitchen, so most things she made had to be fast, and that usually meant using the stove top and pan frying a lot. Since she had so many mouths to feed and not a lot of money, my grandma wasted NOTHING. This recipe uses the stems of swiss chard. Usually when cooking swiss chard, most recipes use the leaves and discard the hard, ribby, not so tasty stems. Not my penny-saving grandma. She was not going to throw away anything that was edible, and now, neither will you!

20130516-201103.jpgSome of you might be wondering what swiss chard is. It is a leafy green vegetable, and like other leafy greens, it is highly nutritious. The stems can vary in color, but all generally taste the same. Check out pretty red-stemmed chard! As for vitamins, it is an excellent source of vitamins A, K and C – it has a TON of vitamin K (700% DV in 1 cup!) woah!

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Swiss Chard leaves – the part of the veggie we will save for another recipe!

My mom still makes these patties today, mostly from memory. There is no exact written recipe, so I’m really glad I got the chance to help my mom make these!!

The other great thing about this recipe is that it is so easy and uses only 5 ingredients. That’s right. FIVE. Swiss Chard, eggs, seasoned bread crumbs, flour, Parmesan cheese (and oil, salt and pepper).

Most of all, this recipe is simple, fast and delicious, not to mention, centered around a vegetable! Grandma totally did Delicious in a Dash. I guess it’s in my blood.

We usually start off using two bunches of swiss chard, mostly because we end up eating a lot of them while we’re cooking. 🙂 You can use any stem color chard. The one I have here in the photo is probably the most common in grocery stores. But you can definitely find rainbow or red chard as well.

First trim the very bottoms off the swiss chard. You want to discard the very end that is probably a little dry, and dirty and split at the bottom. Then de-stem the swiss chard. You can cut off right where the stem starts to get thin in the leaves (see my picture above – you won’t use the thinner part of the stem). You want to use the thick part. There can be some leaves attached to the stems you will use (see pictures below) **Save the leaves and set aside for a later recipe. I like cut up the leaves small and sauté them in some garlic and oil with some salt and crushed red pepper flakes.

Ok, back to the stems. If you have very large stems you might need to cut them in half, but we usually don’t, you want them pretty big. Wash the stems and place them in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes, or until soft (see picture below).

20130516-200735.jpgDrain the stems and now you need to dry the stems. This is my grandma’s patented technique. To do this, set down a dish towel on the counter and place 2 linked paper towels on top. Spread out the drained stems on the paper towel, like so:

20130516-200749.jpgPat dry with an additional paper towel. Sprinkle some all-purpose flour on top of the stems. This is a critical step because it will allow the batter to stick to the stems.

20130516-225939.jpgThen lift up either side of the paper towel and rotate the chard from side to side. This will not coat the stems, just ensure that they are dry.

20130516-200814.jpgMy mom’s got great hands, huh?! What technique!20130516-200825.jpgNext, prep the batter. In a large bowl (or if you’re my mom, you use a very large tupperware container) combine eggs, bread crumb, grated Parmesan and ground black pepper and mix. Then dump the stems into the bowl and stir to coat the stems in this easy, one-step batter.

20130516-200835.jpgNow comes the cooking part. Pour oil in a large pan (we’re using a cast iron skillet), enough oil to coat the bottom on the skillet. You are not deep frying these patties, but you are pan frying them. Warm the oil on medium heat. You want the battered stems to sizzle as soon as you put them in the pan. **You can test the heat of the pan by just putting a small drop of the batter in the oil to see if it sizzles. When it does, the pan is hot enough. Using tongs, pick up a bundle of battered stems, and place in the pan. Pat down slightly so the patty is a single layer. Proceed to do this to fill up your pan.

20130516-200852.jpgWhen the edges start to round and get lightly brown (about 2-3 minutes), the patties are ready to be flipped.

20130516-200907.jpgThe bottoms should be lightly browned when you flip them – see below.

20130516-200930.jpgThe patties will take an additional 2-3 minutes to cook on the other side. Then remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. You can blot both sides of the patty with a paper towel.

20130516-200956.jpgContinue this process with the remainder of the batch. You may need to add a little more oil while cooking. The patties will get flatter as the oil is used up.

When cool enough to touch, (I usually wait aaabbbout 1 minute) Salt to taste and DEVOUR! Because we leave the stems whole and don’t dice them up like other recipes, the stems are still full, fat and tender and have a meatiness to them. This is in delicious contrast to the crispy batter around the meaty stems. Crispy, savory, delicious swiss chard patties.

20130516-201016.jpgYUM! My mouth is watering right now just trying to describe these to you!

20130516-201030.jpgYou can make these for an appetizer, or a side dish to dinner. I’m not sure these have ever made it to dinner, I think we always eat them while cooking them and as a pre-dinner snack.

20130516-230100.jpgRecipe:

Grandma’s Swiss Chard Patties

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bunches of Swiss Chard (any color stems)
  • Flour (~1/4 cup – just enough for sprinkling the stems)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs (We use 4C brand)
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Vegetable or olive oil to cook patties in (NOT extra virgin olive oil, it will burn)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (we usually sprinkle in a little pepper into the batter, but leave the salt out till the end)

Instructions:

  1. Trim the very bottom of the swiss chard stems and discard. Then cut off the thick part of the stems, could be as large as 5-6 inches (see description above). Set leaves aside for later recipe
  2. Wash stems
  3. Boil stems in water for about 5-10 minutes until stems are soft and flexible
  4. While stems are boiling, prepare the batter. In a large bowl, combine eggs, bread crumbs, cheese, and a generous pinch of pepper, mix well.
  5. Drain stems, and spread them out on dish cloth topped with paper towel (see above). Pat dry with an additional paper towel
  6. Sprinkle flour on top and roll from side to side (see above for technique)
  7. Dump the stems into the batter and stir so all the stems are coated.
  8. Prepare a medium to large cast iron skillet or frying pan by coating the bottom with oil and heating on medium
  9. When pan is hot (a drip of batter will sizzle), use tongs to grab a bundle of swiss chard stems (like 4ish) and place in the oil and press down very lightly
  10. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, edges will be slightly brown, and rounded, and bottom will be lightly browned. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. When browned, remove from pan and let cool on a paper towel-lined plate. ***If your patties start to brown too quickly before the edges round, you may need to turn down the heat. Heat settings on stoves vary
  11. Salt to taste and ENJOY!

Recipe source: My grandma, via my mom.

Vegetarian Orzo Parsley Salad

20130507-143829.jpgMay is National Salad Month! That’s right, salad gets a whole month to itself to celebrate how awesome it is.  Mother’s Day is also coming up and it’s about time I start sharing stories about the inspiration for all my culinary adventures and the person who taught me how to cook: my mom. Well, I’m kicking off National Salad Month with a non-traditional salad: Vegetarian Orzo Parsley Salad.  Although this recipe is not one that my mom has shared with me, my mom loves fresh parsley, so I think she would like this salad too. Parsley is a significant part of this dish, and whenever I smell fresh parsley, it reminds me of times in the kitchen with mom, making pasta sauce for Sunday “dinner”.  Being Italian, this dinner would take place at 2pm.  If you’re not Italian, this time probably sounds strange.  If you are Italian, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Of COURSE you eat dinner at 2pm on Sundays. Dinner also consisted of pasta and 5ish other courses. It was quite an event.  I miss it.  Being the little piglet that I was growing up, I LOVED Sundays.

20130507-144025.jpgOk.  Back to the superstar: Parsley.  One of my jobs as a little kitchen helper was to pluck the leaves off the parsley bunch so my mom could put it in the chopper to add to the red sauce (called gravy in our family).  My mom always liked to put extra parsley on her pasta.  She also adds fresh parsley to meatballs, chicken soup, stuffing for peppers and probably a ton of other things that I never realized.  So, Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  Here’s another recipe you can load up with parsley!

20130507-144127.jpgThis salad screams Spring to me.  Fresh parsley gives the salad a bright taste, that is crisp and refreshing.  It makes a great side dish to grilled burgers, steak or chicken.  It is also good on its own, and you can add some cannellini beans to it to spike it with a little protein if you want it as a main meal. What is so great about this salad??   It’s versatility.  This salad is delicious hot OR cold.  Another bonus: The Baby Bella mushrooms used in this dish are so flavorful and meaty, you will hardly notice there is no meat in this salad. Also, just like all of my recipes, this dish is easy to make and takes the amount of time it takes to boil pasta.  So what are you waiting for?!! Make some orzo salad!

20130507-143846.jpgThose are some good lookin’ mushrooms.  I know a lot of people don’t like mushrooms, but really, I beg you to try baby bella mushrooms.  Baby bella mushrooms, also known as cimini, are just young portobella mushrooms. They have a subtle taste and a meaty texture.  Baby bella mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium, B vitamins and potassium.

Alright, enough with the nutritional lecture.  Let’s make some Orzo Salad!

Dice up some onion and garlic and place in a large pan on medium heat and saute with some olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to your onions/garlic.

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Slice up the mushrooms and add them to the sizzling onions and garlic in the pan.  Cook mushrooms with onions and garlic for about 7-10 minutes.  Onions should be soft and translucent.

20130507-143900.jpgMake sure you use a large enough pan.  Your mushrooms need space! Don’t crowd the mushrooms.  If you like a little kick to your salad, put in a touch of crushed red pepper flakes to the mushrooms.   While your mushrooms are cooking down, cook your orzo pasta in salty water.  I had some extra broccoli in the house, so I added this to just warm up in the pan with the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes. ***I LOVE my cast iron pan.  I cook almost EVERYTHING in this pan and it only cost me about $20 at a big box store (Kmart/target/walmart)  It is a an essential cooking tool in my kitchen.

20130507-144036.jpgNext, prep that parsley! I usually buy flat leaf parsley, but you can use curly parsley if you like. Grab a really good handful of the washed leaves and give them a good rough chop, and set aside. The dish’s superstar is now ready! When the orzo is cooked al dente, (or how you like your pasta – just don’t make it mushy) drain the pasta, and save about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. DO NOT RINSE the orzo.  You want the starch to stay on the pasta.  Then place orzo in the pan with the cooking mushrooms and toss together.  You could also instead add the veggies to the orzo pot, if doing this or if you are not tossing the orzo directly with the veggies, drizzle a little olive oil over the orzo to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

20130507-143942.jpgAfter the pasta and veggies are well mixed, toss in all the delicious parsley and mix some more.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  If your salad is a little dry, you can add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water.

I love eating my orzo salad this way.  The best thing about orzo, is that it’s shape, lends itself to staying moist and not needing a sauce, but if you’re a person who can’t eat a salad without a dressing on top – you can drizzle a little garlic oil and a splash of lemon juice on top.  See below for my super easy garlic oil recipe!

Now DIG IN and ENJOY!

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Mmmm look at that veggie to pasta ratio!  Lots of veggies in there!

20130507-144050.jpgSo easy, so fast, so fresh!  A perfect spring dish!

Recipe: Vegetarian Orzo Parsley Salad  20130507-144140.jpg

Servings: 2

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil (this is an estimate, enough to just coat your pan)
  • ¼ cup of onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 baby bella (crimini) mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup of broccoli, chopped (optional – you can substitute in almost any vegetable here – tomato, roasted asparagus, red bell pepper)
  • ½ cup of uncooked orzo, cook in salty water per instructions on box
  • ½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about a large handful)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, boil salty water for orzo*
  2. Coat a large pan (I use a cast iron pan) with olive oil and warm on medium heat.  As the pan is still warming, add onions and garlic.  Cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms to the same pan, and cook for about 7 minutes, until onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to onions/garlic and mushrooms as they are cooking
  4. Add the broccoli and cook just until warm, about 2 minutes.  You want your broccoli to add some crunch
  5. While your veggies are cooking, add orzo to boiling, salty water (or chicken stock) and cook per instructions on your pasta box (about 10 minutes)
  6. Drain orzo and reserve ~ 1/4 cup of cooking water – DO NOT rinse your pasta, you will lose the moistness,
  7. Immediately toss the orzo and veggies together –if needed, add a little pasta water to moisten it up.  Add in parsley and mix until combined. **
  8. Add some salt and pepper to taste

ENJOY!

* I stress the salty water here because you are not putting a sauce on the orzo, thus, the only time you have to flavor the pasta at all is during the cooking process in the water.  You can also cook your orzo in chicken stock.  That will give the pasta a very good flavor.

** If not tossing immediately with the veggies, drizzle a little olive oil on the orzo after draining and stir to prevent orzo from clumping.  You can also just add a little pasta water to moisten up.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.com

Bonus Recipe!

Easy Quick Garlic Oil

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  1. In a small saucepan, slowly warm up the oil to a simmer with the garlic cloves
  2. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes – until garlic is lightly browned – careful, so it does not burn
  3. Remove from heat and let cool
  4. Remove garlic and save for later (To spread on bread)
  5. Drizzle oil over anything!

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