Saturday, June 27, 2015

BBQ Bean Sandwiches with Greek Yogurt Coleslaw

Sandwiches are one of the most difficult parts of being vegetarian. There's a lot of love about a sandwich, but often vegetarian sandwiches are bland even though they're full of ingredients. Sometimes if I make a sandwich that I think is okay, Dave will declare it to be gross and then I'm back to square one with finding sandwiches.

Dave was skeptical about this sandwich, but he actually loved it!

Idea from The Local Vegan and slaw recipe from Two Healthy Kitchens.

-2 (15.5 oz) cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
-1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
-Sandwich buns

-1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
-31/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/8 teaspoon black pepper
-16 ounces bagged coleslaw blend

To make the slaw, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the coleslaw blend is coated with the dressing.

To make the beans, combine the beans and 1 1/2-2 cups of the barbecue sauce in a large oven-safe dish. Bake at 350 covered with foil for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil, stir the beans and bake uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Serve the beans on the sandwich buns, topped with the coleslaw. This recipe makes a ton of coleslaw and the slaw is ridiculously good, you might even want to serve yourself some additional coleslaw on the side.


This sandwich passed the Dave test. I'm not usually a fan of coleslaw, but using Greek yogurt made it light enough that I was really happy with it. It wasn't like the mayonnaise laden mess that I usually associate coleslaw with.  I kept eating the slaw by itself, it was that good. The baked beans tasted great, mainly because they were coated in barbecue sauce. This dish was pretty low in calories (I used slender buns which came in at 100 calories for one) and high in protein due to the beans. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Buttered Brussels Sprouts Penne

The wholesome, earthy brussels sprouts in this recipe are packed with flavor, heightened by Parmesan cheese and toasted garlic. The pasta helps to round out the dish, soaking up some of the residual cooking liquid and adding more volume.

Recipe from hellohealthy.

-1.5 cups uncooked penne pasta
-18 brussels sprouts
-1-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 teaspoons butter
-2 teaspoons minced garlic
-salt and pepper to taste
-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Boil water and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside in a separate bowl.

Trim the stems from the brussels sprouts and the outer leaf, then wash and slice in half lengthwise. Pour the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, then add the brussels sprouts. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 4 minutes. You are looking for a rich color on the brussels sprouts.

Add the butter and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the brussels sprouts.

Pour the contents of the saute pan, including any residual oil or butter, into the bowl with the pasta, and toss to coat.

Serves about 3. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese before serving.

We enjoyed this recipe as a meal, the crisp of the fresh, sauteed brussels sprouts and garlic is an excellent experience. Cut down the pasta or out entirely to make this a quick and delicious side dish to another meal.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Smashed Chickpea Taco Pizza

I found this recipe on Pinterest and though it sounded pretty cool. There weren't too many ingredients, but the seasoning helped to pack the pizza with flavor. I also liked that the recipe was incredibly easy to make with little clean up, I like to enjoy my food, not spend hours washing dishes.

Recipe from She Likes Food.

-1 refrigerated pizza crust
-1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
-1/2 teaspoon olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon onion powder
-1 pinch salt
-1 small pinch black pepper
-1/4 cup  taco sauce
-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Your favorite taco toppings, such as; lettuce, tomato, black olives, jalapenos, etc

In a small bowl combine the chickpeas, olive oil and seasoning. Stir to coat the chickpeas in the seasoning. Pour them into a small skillet and heat until warmed. Return them to the bowl and lightly smash them with a fork. 

To build your pizza, spread the prepared crust onto a parchment covered pan. Top the crust with taco sauce, the smashed chickpeas, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and any taco toppings you'd like to add. I added tomato and jalapeno. 

Bake according to the package directions of your pizza dough. And then add any non-oven friendly toppings once you remove the pizza from the oven. I added some lettuce. 

This pizza was wonderful. The spices and the taco sauce created a wonderful savory pizza base, there was just enough cheese to make me happy, but not too much to mask all of the other ingredients. The tomato and jalapeno added a nice burst of freshness, as did the lettuce. This is something that I will be making again, I was very happy with how the pizza turned out and there are endless possibilities with different taco toppings.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thai Citrus Tofu Kebabs

This dish brings together the pieces of a fresh and flavorful stir-fry, and augments them with the distinctive essence and aroma imparted by the grill.

Other Grilling Wednesday Recipes: Grilled Potato Salad with Scallion VinaigretteGrilled Brussels Sprouts; Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Herbed Goat Cheese.

Recipe from Self.

-1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
-1 orange, peeled, segmented and sliced
-1/4 lb snap peas, trimmed and halved
-4 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
-1/3 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup orange juice
-1/4 cup lime juice
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 tablespoon minced ginger

Press the tofu under a hefty pan for 10-20 minutes over the sink to remove some moisture, then cut into cubes. Whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, lime, juice, honey, and ginger, and pour into a dish or resealable bag. Add the tofu and marinade for 20 minutes or more.

When you are ready to grill, start it up and set it to medium-low. Using a grill sheet helps keep small or crumbling food from cascading into the grill. Cut up the orange, mushrooms, and snap peas, then pierce in alternating combinations on grill skewers with the marinated tofu. Lightly brush or spray the kebabs with oil and place on the grill sheet. Cook for a few minutes before turning. If you can, cook on four sides of the kebab.

Once the tofu, orange, and veggies darken evenly, remove them from the grill. Monitor the kebabs during grilling, and adjust the temperature as needed.

This sweet and tangy combination is a great addition to any cookout, or as a stand-alone meal. Can be served as kebabs, as a side dish tossed in extra dressing, or over a bed of rice.

Alecia and I both liked this. She accidentally bought pre-cubed tofu which made it a little difficult to skewer the pieces, because they were too small. However, everything on the kebabs tasted great together and the marinade brought out good flavor in the tofu. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Beet Dip

Beets seem to be one of Dave's favorite vegetables and I'm pretty happy that we can use all parts of the beet so that there's no waste (beet greens go really well in hash, that's one of our favorite ways to use them). Another benefit of using beets is the beautiful color that they produce in a recipe. This dip turned out absolutely stunning and was a great snack.

Recipe from Sugar and Charm.

-4 beets, trimmed
-3 garlic cloves
-1 1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt
-1/4 teaspoon chili powder
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon salt

-Green onions

First, roast the beets in the oven for an hour at 350. This will help to soften them up. 

Combine the beets, garlic cloves, Greek yogurt, chili powder, olive oil and salt in a high powered blender. Process until smooth.

Garnish and serve with pita chips or vegetables. 

This dip was luscious, there was a small amount of heat from the chili powder, but overall the beets and the yogurt were the most flavorful ingredients. Due to the Greek yogurt this dip is really light and is great served with crackers or pita bread. This is something that I would like to make again, it didn't last very long in our apartment, because we kept snacking on it. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa

Cauliflower still remains my favorite vegetable and tacos are one of my favorite foods. Seriously, incorporating a ton of flavorful ingredients into a handheld flour wrap is just the best. This recipe has a blend of flavors and textures and is nice and colorful for summer.

Recipe from Love & Olive Oil.

Mango Salsa
-1 large mango, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
-1/2 small red onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup diced)
-1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
-salt and pepper, to taste

Crispy Cauliflower
-1/3 cup olive oil, divided
-1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
-6 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided
-salt and pepper, to taste

-8-10 small flour tortillas 
-1 avocado, pitted
-1/2 tablespoon lime juice
-1 cup finely shredded red cabbage (from about 1/4 medium head)
-1/2 cup mexican crema

First, make the salsa by combining all of the salsa ingredients. Stir to incorporate everything fully and set aside.

Next, heat half of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of cauliflower, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Then toss the heated cauliflower with half of panko and continue to cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the cooked cauliflower to a plate covered with paper towels, and repeat with second half of cauliflower.

Next, smash the avocado with the lime juice.

Lastly, build your tacos by spreading some avocado onto a tortilla. Top the avocado with the mango salasa, cauliflower and red cabbage. Drizzle with crema and serve.


I really liked how this recipe tasted. The sweet and spicy flavors from the salsa went well with the smooth avocado and the neutral cauliflower. However, the procedure for drying/breading the cauliflower was a mess, our cauliflower ended up with little to no breadcrumbs on the pieces. I think it would have been better to batter and fry the cauliflower pieces or even to coat them with the bread crumbs and bake. Overall, I was happy with the recipe, but a different way to cook the cauliflower would have been much better. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spinach and Artichoke Galette

I'm sure this happens to other know when you're gearing up to make a recipe, but then you realize that you're missing one critical ingredient? As I prepared to make this, I realized that we ran out of butter a long time ago and didn't have the requisite butter to prepare the homemade crust. That's fine, I hate making pie dough anyway.

Luckily we had a refrigerated pie crust chilling in the fridge. I know you're wondering who keeps a refrigerated pie crust at all times, but not butter? Apparently me.

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest.  

-Refrigerated pie crust
-Black pepper

-1/4 cup olive oil
-3 large cloves garlic, minced
-10 ounces fresh spinach or frozen thawed and drained
-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
-2 cups (about two 7 ounce jars) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
-1 teaspoon dried basil
-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 ounces (about 1 cup) fresh mozzarella, sliced thin or grated
-2 ounces blue cheese, broken into chunks
-1 egg, beaten
-2 tablespoons fresh basil, for garnish

Roll the refrigerated pie crust out onto a piece of parchment paper. Dust with a pinch of corn meal and a pinch of black pepper. Lightly press the pepper and cornmeal into the crust, flip and repeat. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the garlic. Cook for one minute and then add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove and stir in the artichokes, basil, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Set aside.

Pour the filling onto the prepared crust. Fold over the edge of the crust onto the filling, like shown in the picture below. You just want to create a little edge.

Top the galette with the mozzarella and blue cheeses. Brush the edge of the crust with the beaten egg. And then bake for 45-55 minutes at 375 or until the crust is golden brown.

Slice and serve. 

This recipe was recommended by my best friend, she and her carnivore husband loved it. Although I skimped on making the homemade crust, Dave and I were incredibly impressed with this dish. The galette was so flavorful-- the spinach and artichoke went really well together and the tangy blue cheese helped to marry all of the flavors. It was pretty easy to make with minimal clean up. This recipe is a keeper in my kitchen. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Herbed Goat Cheese

Happy Grilling Wednesday! This recipe is full of flavor and colorful vegetables. The original calls for Halloumi which is a grilling cheese. I love using Halloumi and highly recommend using that in place of the goat cheese if you can find it, purchasing Halloumi at my grocery store is hit or miss, so I was unable to buy some for this recipe.

Other Grilling Wednesday Recipes: Grilled Potato Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette and Grilled Brussels Sprouts.

Slightly adapted from Closet Cooking.

-salt and pepper
-1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
-8 slices bread
-4 ounces herbed goat cheese
-2 roasted red peppers, cut into 4 slices
-2 cups salad greens
-2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
-4 tablespoons basil pesto

First, coat the eggplant sliced in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill for 2-4 minutes per side or until tender.

Once the eggplant is grilled, brush olive oil onto the bread slices and lightly grill them. You'll want to watch them carefully to make sure that they don't burn. 

Build your sandwich by layering the eggplant, tomato and lettuce. Add the roasted red pepper. Spread the goat cheese and pesto onto the bread slices.

We really enjoyed this sandwich. The eggplant and pesto had a ton of flavor and that flavor was balanced by the more mild ingredients like the roasted red pepper, lettuce and goat cheese. This sandwich was nice and colorful and could showcase produce from a summer garden. My only complaint is that this sandwich is a little messy, you'll want to cut it in half and keep napkins nearby. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Tomato Salad

Here's another easy summer recipe. Can you tell that I'm all about fresh produce and easy recipes this summer?  We divided this into two servings and ate something else with it for dinner, I suppose that you could eat it just as one large serving and call it a meal.

Recipe from Green Valley Kitchen.

-1½ cups of halved grape tomatoes 
-1 cucumber, peeled and seeded then diced
-1 avocado, diced
-4 oz feta cheese
-2 tbs minced red onion
-2 tablespoons minced parsley
-2 tablespoon olive oil
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-Pinch of black pepper

Add the halved grape tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced avocado, feta cheese, red onion and parsley into a bowl.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and black pepper.

Pour over the other ingredients and toss to combine.

This salad was lovely, I'm pretty sure we served this alongside pizza, so it was a nice light side dish. All of the ingredients complemented each other and the dressing helped to tie everything together. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tomato Grits

A good breakfast or light meal on a cooler morning or evening, this dish provides a tasty and filling boost, and is a great way to use those amazing tomatoes which have been recently showing up in the stores and will be growing here in a couple weeks.

Recipe from oh my veggies.

-4 slices of tomato
-1/2 cup uncooked 5 minute grits
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/2 tablespoon butter
-1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
-salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare the grits according to the package instructions. The grits I used called for boiling the cup of water, then adding the grits and reducing the heat, stirring frequently and cooking until the grits thickened.

When the grits are thick and hot, fold in the cheese, garlic, and butter, allowing the butter and cheese to melt and disperse.

Pour the grits into 4 ramekins or other small baking dishes, top each with a generous slice of tomato, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes. The tomatoes should shrink a little and the Parmesan will toast.

Let rest for a few minutes and serve.

Not only do these ramekins present amazingly, they also taste divine. The creamy and cheesy grits and garlic are assertive, but the acid of the tomato cuts it perfectly. It's a good portion, and each bite delivers.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Avocado + Heirloom Tomato Toast with Balsamic Drizzle

Sometimes all you need is a little simplicity. This recipe is pretty simple to put together and all of the ingredients are readily available, but the flavors are totally worth it for this light summer dinner.

Recipe from Blissful Basil.

-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-2-3 slices olive oil bread
-olive oil
-2 small heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
-1/2 a ripe avocado
-sea salt
-black pepper

First, make the balsamic reduction by heating the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the balsamic to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until balsamic has reduced by half. It will be quite thick.
Drizzle each slice of bread with olive oil and toast it lightly.  Divide the avocado between the pieces of toast and lightly smash the avocado onto the toast and spread it across each piece.

Layer the sliced tomatoes on top, sprinkle with fresh basil, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Season with salt and black pepper.

These tasted so heavenly, I was so happy with how it turned out. The tomatoes were at their peak of perfection and the color contrast was beautiful. The avocado combined nicely with the tomatoes and the balsamic helped to add a little bit of acidity.