Dips are the ultimate convenience food; you don’t even need utensils. This one inspired by the Food Network goes well with cucumber slices or chips, and it’s hearty enough that you might forget about cooking dinner altogether.
You can make this spicy with an extra shake of cayenne, or add more basil and lemon for a sharper flavor. Everyone around the (large) table seemed to like this dip, including the 3 year old. That’s success!
Eggplant, White Bean, and Basil Dip
1 large eggplant, peeled, and cut into 1″ chunks
Olive oil (1/4 c. plus more for drizzling)
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 t minced garlic
Dash cayenne pepper
Place eggplant on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 400F for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.
In a food processor, blend eggplant, 1/4 c. olive oil, beans, basil, lemon juice, and garlic. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne.
My cooking club theme this month was “Tropical Foods”. It would have been fun to skip off to Hawaii for a day, but we settled for a great meal of tropical foods in Boston. At least the weather was almost tropical!
I made this Tropical Cole Slaw, inspired by a recipe which I found on a raw food vegan site. Since I have a habit of making things a little too spicy lately, I left out the jalapeno. This turned out to be a good move, and the red onion provided a sharp flavor.
We all enjoyed this slaw, and it was fun to use mangoes in a recipe. If you’re groaning that they are hard to cut, I agree. I recommend this video from Green Lite Bites which shows a decent method for cutting them. There was still mango juice all over my kitchen counter, but it was worth it!
Tropical Cole Slaw
4-5 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 c. shredded carrot
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
3 mangoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
2T chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
-Adapted from “The Raw Difference”
How would you like to throw a bag of vegetables in the microwave, open up two cans and drain, and have a fabulous salad ready in less than 10 minutes? This salad is colorful, delicious, and has a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. So if you don’t end up cooking anything else for dinner, you don’t have to lose any sleep over it.
The salad tastes even better the next day, although the beets stain the white beans so that they’re pink. Besides the stain factor, this salad would make a great dish for any picnic. And I do believe it’s finally time for those fun summer picnics!
Two Beans and a Beet Salad
1 (12 oz.) package frozen green beans, cooked and rinsed in cool water
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can sliced beets, drained
1 T canola oil
2 T lime juice
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
These collard greens were the perfect complement to the very spicy Crockpot Doro Wat. I used this recipe from Solidarity Eats (the recipe for collards is towards the bottom of the page) which was pretty simple. The collards are cooked with chopped onion, and seasoned with garlic, turmeric, paprika, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The recipe was even easier because I used Wegman’s Clean and Cut Collard Greens. Sometimes it’s worth every penny to have someone else do the work! I liked these collard greens so much that I am sure I’ll be making them before the next Ethiopian night. 🙂
It snowed (again!) and I made a big pot of soup (again!) I found the original recipe through Pinterest, but changed quite a few things. First, I haven’t had sweet potatoes in a while and missed them. I cut the potatoes into 1″ chunks to make this recipe go faster. The recipe also called for some fantastic fresh herbs, but those were nowhere to be found around here. You can use either fresh or dried rosemary, sage, and/or thyme, but I decided to use my Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice.
The lighting is not great in this picture, but it was so nice to see the bright orange sweet potatoes and green kale. This soup has a simple flavor that I really enjoyed. It kept me warm during the weekend and made lunches for the week.
Kale, White Bean, and Sweet Potato Soup
1 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1/2 c. chopped onion, fresh or frozen
10 baby carrots, diced
6 celery stalks, diced
4 c. vegetable broth
2 t Mural of Flavor
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz.) package frozen kale (or 1/2 of a 16 oz. bag)
Heat oil in a large pot. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for 10-15 minutes, until lightly brown. Add broth, seasoning, sweet potatoes, beans, and kale. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
It seems there are a lot of people coughing and sneezing these days. I certainly hope that all of you stay healthy, but if you are unlucky enough to get a bad cold, this is the soup that will clear your head. And your slow cooker can make the soup while you lounge on the couch catching up on bad TV.
This is a very basic version of the traditional Asian hot and sour soup. If I were serving this to company, I’d add some shiitake mushrooms and use baby bok choy instead of spinach. This is also a very mild version; I added quite a bit of vinegar and cayenne to each bowl to really bring out the hot and the sour flavors. If you think your crowd can handle it, go ahead and double the amounts of each below.
I really enjoyed this soup, especially after I adjusted it to taste. It’s filling, but not quite hearty enough for a main dish. It would be perfect though with a side of homemade fried rice or maybe a cold noodle salad.
Crockpot Hot and Sour Soup
1 (16 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (16 oz.) package frozen leaf spinach
1 (8 oz.) can bamboo shoots, drained
1 T minced garlic
1 (14 oz.) package lite firm tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
1 T fresh minced ginger
2 c. vegetable broth
4 c. water
2 T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
2 dashes cayenne pepper, plus more for serving
2 T rice vinegar, plus more for serving
Add all ingredients to crockpot. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours. Add more pepper and/or vinegar to each bowl just prior to serving, depending on your tastes.
-Inspired by Fat Free Vegan’s Slow-Cooker Hot and Sour Soup
My family made a double batch of this soup over Christmas, to freeze for busy days (and nights) ahead. Yes, we’re still working through the bushel of squash from October. (There’s just one squash left.)
The recipe is lightly adapted from Skinnytaste’s Butternut Squash Soup, but we just used basic black pepper for seasoning and added a touch of applesauce. It was a good chance to test out the new immersion blender that my Dad got for Christmas. It’s a fun gadget, and makes the soup so smooth. The soup is really simple, but has a rich flavor. I treat the containers in my freezer like gold.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 c. vegetable broth
1 t minced garlic
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
Place squash, onion, carrots, broth, and garlic in a large pot. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. Puree with an immersion blender. Season with black pepper. Stir in applesauce, and more water if the soup is too thick. Cook just until heated through.
-Adapted from Skinnytaste