Three Bean Salad


A few weeks ago I went to this vegan food rally at a brewery and had the most amazing bean salad served over warm brown rice and quinoa mixture. My husband and I loved it so much that I got the ingredients the next day and attempted to make it at home. To my surprise I nailed the exact same flavors! I have made this weekly since then. I am seriously obsessed with it.

This bean salad is delicious served alone or as a snack with chips. However if you want to make it more of a meal then see step five for how to make a quick rice and quinoa mixture to serve it over. I love the way the cold bean salad taste over the warm rice.

This makes a decent amount, but it only seems to last a few days at the most in my household because it’s so addicting!

Ingredients:

  • Two 15.5 ounce cans of organic black beans
  • One 15.5 ounce can of organic pinto beans
  • One 15.5 ounce can of organic kidney beans
  • One cup of red wine vinegar
  • Two tablespoons of chile lime seasoning blend
  • One tablespoon garlic powder
  • One lime- squeeze the juice
  • One tablespoon adobo seasoning
  • One tablespoon onion salt
  • One organic green pepper finely diced
  • One organic yellow pepper finely diced
  • One organic red pepper finely diced
  • One sweet onion
  • 2 cups frozen roasted corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Steps:

  1. Start by opening the cans of beans and rinsing in a strainer. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Finely dice the peppers and onion and add to the beans.
  3. Add the onion salt, adobo, garlic powder, chili lime, vinegar, lime and cilantro.
  4. Spray a medium sized skillet with some olive oil and heat up the corn. Pour into the bean mixture. Try to find roasted corn if you can I think it really pumps up the flavor!
  5. Mix everything together very well! Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. If you want to serve the bean salad over a grain I take a bag of frozen brown rice and frozen quinoa (most stores have frozen brown rice. I get frozen brown quinoa from Trader Joe’s but you can skip it if you don’t live near one and/or don’t feel like making quinoa on the stove) and heat it up in the microwave. Then pour the rice and quinoa mixture over a skillet and pour a couple teaspoons of grape-seed oil (olive or avocado oil work too.) Add some fresh pico de gallo and some Cojita or feta cheese. Let cook for a few minutes.

Pesto Veggie Farro


I am a big fan of salty items. I’ve  never met an olive I didn’t like. I was aimlessly roaming the aisles of Trader Joe’s today trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and came up with this meal. I have been cooking with the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s for a while now and I really love it. Its a nice alternative to brown rice and has 10 grams of protein per serving. It makes a great base for any meal. If you want to make this meal vegan simply don’t add the feta and romano and if you wanted to add fish or meat to this meal I would recommend salmon, shrimp or steak and chicken. It stands all on it’s own as a vegetarian meal and is extremely hearty, between the farro and the butternut squash you will be stuffed!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 1/2 cup of farro (or one bag of Trader Joe’s farro– if you can get it)
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 2.5 cups of butternut squash cubed. (I buy these pre-cut 12 oz bags)
  • 2 cups of quartered Brussel sprouts
  • 2 cups diced orange peppers
  • 1 box  of mushrooms (around 1 cup)
  • Chives (to taste)
  • 1 cup of pitted marinated Kalmata olives
  • 1/2 cup of marinated artichoke hearts -chopped
  • Feta (to taste)
  • Grapeseed oil (drizzle)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 5-6 cloves fresh garlic pressed (if you don’t have fresh garlic about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)

For the Pesto: ( I used about 3 heaping tablespoons – you will have extra)

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  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cups packed basil
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/2 of lemon squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons of pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Take a large baking sheet and line with foil. Add the brussel sprouts, peppers, onion, olives, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, squash, peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Place in oven for about 20 minutes. (I have to cook my mushrooms separate because my hubby doesn’t care for them)While the veggies cook cook the farro according to package directions. I like to cook mine in veggie broth for added flavor, but water is just fine too. Drain and set asideIMG_1673IMG_1680
  2. If you decide to make the pesto (store bought pesto works just as well if your’e not feeling up for it!) start by adding the basil in a food processor or blender, then add the grape seed oil (olive oil is fine too), lemon, pine nuts and avocado. Blend and add the water in slowly until you reach a nice creamy consistency. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with pepper and lemon zest.
  3. Take 3 heaping tablespoons of the pesto and mix with the cooked farro. Add chives and feta (the amount is up to you!)
  4. When the squash and veggies are fork tender I like to put the oven on a high broil for a few minutes to give everything a nice golden crisp.
  5. Mix the veggie squash mixture with the farro and ENJOY!
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*This dish is also really great to bring to a party and can be served cold.

Vegetable Pasta


55710473343__59EEA365-BA01-4554-9C97-8A569F8E8678Hello there! It has been a hot minute since I have blogged. My amazing and spirited toddler has kept me super busy and I just haven’t had the energy to share my recipes with everyone. It’s something I really miss doing and decided it was time to get back at it! I’ll be moving into a new home soon and I’m looking forward to having a new kitchen and work space to inspire me. This recipe was exactly what our family needed after a few sleepless nights…comfort food at its finest. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
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  • One bag of cauliflower (washed, ready to go…because “mom life”)
  • One bag of broccoli
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 cup of fresh torn basil
  • Herb and garlic goat cheese (to taste)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (to taste)
  • Romano cheese (to taste)
  • 1 cup of chopped campari tomatoes
  • 1 jar of arrabiata sauce
  • 16 oz of mezze rigate pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Steps:
  1. Start by taking a large baking sheet and line with foil. Place the broccoli, cauliflower, basil, onions, garlic, capers and tomatoes on the pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, mix together. (I like to tear apart the cauliflower and broccoli if the pieces are too big.)
  2. Place in oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until fork tender and veggies have a nice golden crisp.
  3. While the veggies are cooking cook the pasta according to package directions.
  4. When the pasta and veggies are done combine together in a large saucepan and add the arrabiata sauce.
  5. Add a few chunks of goat cheese and mix together in the saucepan.
  6. Place the pasta mixture back on the baking sheet and lay flat sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  7. Sprinkle with fresh basil, romano cheese and red pepper flakes!

 

Summer Zucchini Minestrone


This easy soup recipe is the perfect way to incorporate fresh local veggies during the summer season.
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Ingredients:

  • 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4-5 small zucchinis, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 3 fresh cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups of organic spinach
  • 1.5 teaspoons of organic chicken soup base
  • 3-4 cups of filtered water
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans of organic cannellini beans

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Steps:

  1. Start by taking a medium sized sauce pan and coat the bottom with olive oil, turn heat on medium and add the onions, basil and parsley stirring frequently for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes (if they are whole cut them into bite sized pieces first), beans, water, salt and pepper and the soup base.
  3. Cover the pan and let simmer over medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parmesan and red chili flakes.

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Avocado Toast


My husband always orders this at a local breakfast place we go to and I decided to replicate it at home. What I love about the flavors in this dish is the sea salt and fresh lemon. It’s so simple to make and keeps you full for so long. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 eggs over easy or poached
  • Olive oil spray (to coat the pan)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small lemon
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of your favorite oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 slice of your favorite multi grain bread
  • 1 small tomato sliced (optional)

Steps:

  1. Start by dicing the avocado and place into a bowl, add the oil, sea salt (to taste) and a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon and mash until you have received guacamole like texture.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. Take a medium sized skillet and coat with olive oil spray. Cook the eggs to your liking.
  4. Smear the avocado onto the bread, place the tomatoes (if you’re using) on top of the avocado and finally the eggs. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with fresh lemon. NOM! IMG_0962

One Pot Veggie Penne Pasta


I have seen these one pot veggie pasta dishes on Pinterest for a while now and have been dying to try it out.  Most of them are inspired by Martha Stewart’s One Pot Meals cookbook. I was a little skeptical at first because I love sautéing my veggies, but I figured I would give this method a try. I just used the vegetables I had in my fridge. This recipe turned out delicious, my husband said it taste like a vodka penne which is good considering I didn’t use any cream- just cheese. I prefer my normal method of making veggie pasta, but this one pot pasta dish is tasty and easy so I would still recommend it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 organic zucchini -quartered
  • 12 oz grape tomatoes -quartered
  • 4 large basil leaves torn
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon -squeezed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I was out so I used a few cubes of this)
  • 12 oz of whole wheat penne
  • 4 cups of veggie broth (I had to drain a little out at the end)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red chili flakes to taste (if desired)

Steps:

1.) Add the penne, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, Parmesan cheese, veggie broth, onion, salt and pepper, chili flakes, garlic and lemon.

2.) Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat stirring frequently. Let cook for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender. If all of the broth hasn’t evaporated then strain out the remainder.

3.) Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until melted, serve and enjoy! image

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Eggplant Parmesan


Eggplant Parmesan is hands down my favorite meal of all time. I love everything about it. I’m always hesitant to order it at a restaurant because it takes a lot of time and effort and you can definitely tell when people take shortcuts. For me it’s all about consistency. This recipe is a lot of work, about two hours in the kitchen, but the result is mouthwatering and totally worth it. I’ve seen recipes where people just bake it and skip the frying part, but I promise you it’s worth it to take the extra time to make this dish the right way. Eggplant is a very watery vegetable so it’s essential to get some of the water out, otherwise you end up with a yucky texture. I cut the eggplant and then dust it with ground sea salt, as you’ll see in the picture below the salt sucks the water out of the eggplant. imageAnother way to make your life easier while making this recipe is to set up a nice prep station. Get all of your ingredients out and ready to go and make sure you clean up after yourself as you go, otherwise it can be overwhelming. You will be multitasking, so establishing a clean functional prep space is clutch. I was thoroughly ecstatic about the way that this eggplant parm turned out and if you’re in the mood to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty (with breadcrumbs) I promise you it will be so worth it!

Ingredients:

Steps:

1.) Start by cutting the eggplant, lay the pieces out on and dust with sea salt- let them sit for at least 30 minutes or until you see the water come out.image2.) If you’re going to make homemade marinara follow this step, if not please skip to step 3. Drizzle some olive oil on a large skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the halved onion, celery, bay leaves and garlic, fresh basil and parsley, dried Italian herbs and let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least an hour and half. When pouring the sauce on the eggplant just use the red sauce, avoid the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves.image3.) Once the eggplant has been sitting for at least 30 minutes pat eggplant with paper towels to absorb the water. Set yourself up with a nice work area, take 5-6 eggs and whisk in a bowl. Take the Italian breadcrumbs, Italian panko breadcrumbs and flour all equal parts and mix together (you can use just breadcrumbs- I just find this mixture to result in the perfect consistency.) image4.) Dip the eggplant in the eggs and then coat in breadcrumbs (*Tip- after a while the breadcrumbs can get clumpy- I dump them out and make a new mixture about halfway through to ensure a nice even coat. It’s also helpful to do this right near the sink so you can rinse your hands off when you need to.) Spray the breaded eggplant with a light coat of olive oil spray on both sides.

5.) Get two skillets out and coat with vegetable over medium to high heat. Once the oil is warm add the eggplant. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the eggplant is golden brown and then flip and cook on the other side. Set the fried eggplant off to the side and repeat this step until all the eggplant has been fried. (*Tip- you will have to reuse the skillets since there will be a lot of eggplant. Run some water in on the skillet in between rounds and add new oil to keep the oil fresh.)imageimage6.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take your favorite pan and spray with olive oil, take the fried eggplant and put on the bottom of the pan. Add sauce (just enough on each layer to cover the eggplant,)  cheese (desired amount,) fresh basil and repeat until you get to the top of the pan! I had about 4-5 extra fried eggplants that I just set aside. imageimage7.) Cover the eggplant with aluminum foil and place in the lower rack and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover let rest for about 5 minutes and ENJOY the fruits of your labor.image image

Angel Hair Pesto Pasta with Sauteed Vegetables


I was craving a yummy pesto and started flipping through some of my favorite cookbooks. I was inspired by Vitamix kale and basil pesto recipe and the Oh She Glow’s avocado creamy pasta. I handed a bowl of this to my husband while he was on work phonecall and he blurted out “oh my god this is outstanding,” haha so I think it’s safe to say this dish was a home run! If you wanted to simplify this dish you could leave out the sauteed onions, squash and tomatoes, but I just love the color they add. Either way it will be delicious!

Ingredients:image

  • For the pesto: 1 avocado, 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 lemon squeezed, 1 tsp. sea salt, 3 cloves of fresh garlic, 3/4 cup of organic extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups of fresh basil, 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 cup of organic grape tomatoes diced (sun-dried tomatoes would be a great alternative)
  • 1 organic medium yellow squash
  • 1 box of your favorite angel hair pasta (I tried this kind for the first time and absolutely LOVED it!)

Steps:

1.) Start by adding all of the ingredients for the pesto into a Vitamix or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds or until you’ve achieved desired consistency.

2.) Cook the pasta according to the package directions. It’s best to cook it al dente since you will be mixing it back into warm ingredients.

3.) Add a little bit of olive oil to a medium pan and turn on medium to high heat-add the diced onions and let caramelize for 5 minutes or so. Add the squash and tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

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4.) Add the pasta (do not rinse with cold water, just strain) to the pan with the sauteed veggies. Add the pesto…you will not need all of it just pour and mix until achieve desired amount and save the rest for leftovers!imageimage

Breakfast Smoothie- Trader Joe’s Fan


So if you haven’t already noticed by now I am a BIG FAN of Trader Joe’s. All of the ingredients (except the protein powder) in this smoothie are from Trader Joe’s.  I have been making this for a little over a week now and I am seriously obsessed!! I have never been a big eater in the morning, but I know how important it is to eat a nourishing breakfast so that’s why I love this smoothie.  After playing around with some different ingredients I came up with this recipe, it taste delicious and it’s really good for your digestive system. It’s jam packed with fiber and nutrients and keeps you full well into lunch time! Sometimes I struggle drinking it all and have to take breaks. I have a Vitamix blender- you’ll need a strong blender for the oats and the apple to avoid getting a gritty taste.

Serving Size: This could easily be 2 smaller easily, I just make a large amount and sip on it to keep full for a late lunch.21

Ingredients:

**Place it all in a blender and turn on, pour into your favorite cup and enjoy!!

Veggie Garden Salad


On Saturday I went to a local farmer’s market to get my weekly produce. Farmer’s markets are just starting to come back  after taking a break during the hot summer months in Florida. I absolutely love starting my Saturday with a coffee in my hand and the sun shining while looking at beautiful food.  There are so many beneficial reasons to go to your local farmers markets; support your local farmers, know where your food comes from, connect with your community, save $$ (my total bill was $29 for A LOT of fresh fruit and veggies) and to protect the environment (just to name a few.) If you live in a colder climate most states have indoor farmer’s markets, you just have to do your research! Stocking up on local produce help make weeknight dinners easier. I never really plan my meals out ahead of time, but I always have certain ingredients in my kitchen so that I can whip together a yummy recipe. Besides having fresh produce in my home at all times I always make sure to have organic brown rice, organic quinoa, protein plus pasta and tons of beans and lentils.  I also love fresh herbs, but they go bad so easily so I keep these pastes in my fridge. This salad was refreshing and yummy, and remember to really scrub your fruits and veggies before eating!5 4 6 7 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers diced- I like to keep the skin on
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 5 radishes diced
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (about 15 small tomatoes)
  • 1 can of rinsed organic great northern beans
  • 1/2 white diced onion
  • 2 heaping tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 heaping tablespoons white balsamic vinaigrette (I like to use both but you could do 1/4 cup of either)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese (if you aren’t going to eat in one sitting then sprinkle cheese on each individual bowl)
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon squeezed
  • 3 celery stalks

Steps:

  1. Dice all the vegetables up and place into a large bowl.
  2. Take the balsamic vinaigrette, cheese, salt and pepper, garlic powder, lemon and olive oil and whisk in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour over the vegetables and mix well. Place in refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes or so. 23