Smashed Pea Bruschetta

Have you ever made a recipe that made you want to throw a party just to make it again for all of your friends? That’s what happen to me with this smashed pea bruschetta. Seriously nom and so easy.

Each bite was a perfect combination of creamy (I’m looking at you, ricotta) and crunchy (toasted sourdough, whatsup); not to mention those powerhouse peas (so many vitamins and minerals!) and bits of basil really bringing out the flavor.

This recipe is going into the favorites box, y’all! I love that it is versatile too. It can be a simple, light, delicious dinner on a hot summer night or a lovely start to a dinner party with friends. You can also pair it with grilled shrimp or a big, giant salad for a more hearty meal (or soup in the winter). The ingredients are few but the options are plenty. Double win.

Note: I served this with a side of sautéed spinach and mushrooms to stay in line with my 3 meals in 15 ingredients.

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Smashed Pea Bruschetta

Prep time: 10 minutes* – Cook time: 5minutes – Servings: 2

*I used frozen peas and defrosted them in the refrigerator the night before

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 ricotta
  • 5 – 6 basil leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • S&P to taste

Directions: 

  • While bread is toasting….
  • Smash peas! I used the pestle (from our mortar) to smash them
  • Add ricotta, chopped basil, and S&P
  • Scoop onto toasted bread and top with sliced tomatoes
  • Serve

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#vegvibes

Pea and Parmesan Farro

Have you cooked with farro before? They sell it at Trader Joe’s and it’s great when you want to mix things up.

Farro has a slightly nutty taste and a chewy consistency, almost like gnocchi. I make it with vegetable broth to add more flavor and learned by trail and error not to follow the instructions on the little blue bag (more on that below).

Basically farro is yummy, cheap, and versatile. I made this dish with peas and a side of roasted vegetables, all that came from my list of 15 ingredients! (If you prep and cut your vegetables before, the prep time for this one is basically non-existent. All about that!)

There were plenty of leftovers which can be paired with toast (also on the list) for another easy meal.

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Pea and Parmesan Farro

Prep time: 0 – 5 minutes – Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 package farro
  • 1 box vegetable broth
  • 1 cup peas (I used frozen)
  • Optional: veggies to roast as a side

Directions: 

  • The bag of farro instructs you to cook the grain like rice, covered and simmering in boiling water. I like to use veg broth because it give it more flavor. I still simmer it but leave the pot without a lid so the steam can evaporate. It you don’t want to do this method, feel free to go by the insturctions listed on the package 🙂
  • When the farro has absorbed all of the broth (~20 minutes), I added my cup of frozen peas and have it a good stir to heat the peas through
  • Plate and top with parm
  • Re. a side, while my farro was simmering, I roasted zucchini and mushrooms, which gave us enough farro for leftovers! Refrigerate to reheat and serve with sourdough toast – on the list of 15 ingredients! – for another quick weeknight meal

 

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#vegvibes

Summer Style Zucchini Lasagna

When I think of lasagna, a few memories rush to mind…

I remember visiting my grandparents on winter breaks and opening their freezer to boxes of Stouffer’s Lasagna. In between breaks from playing Barbies and Briarberry bears (did anyone else play with these?!) I would tear open a red cardboard box and pop that plastic try of noodles, cheese, and marinara sauce in the microwave. A few minutes later, BAM, piping hot lasagna waiting for me to eat before blissfully going back to playing make believe.

I also remember Mike picking me up in the first few months of us dating for dinner in North Beach, the Italian district in San Francisco. We went to a cozy little restaurant and sat at a table for two by the window. I ordered the lasagna and probably broke some dating “rule” by finishing every last bite. Who can resist melty cheese and carbohydrates? Not this girl.

Lastly, I distinctly remember the first time I made my own lasagna and packed it with as many veggies as I could. Carrots in the sauce! Spinach in the ricotta! (Arguably healthier than the Stouffer’s and North Beach variety.) Bless Mike for eating my cooking without complaint!

My point is, I love me some good layered lasagna! But it’s a dish that screams WINTER. I wanted to lighten it up for the warmer months and knew replacing the noddles with lighter zucchini would do the trick!

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pro tip: let a paper towel absorb the water in your zucchini before baking



Summer Style Zucchini Lasagna

Prep time: 20 minutes – Cook time: 40 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 – 7 small zucchini sliced in long thin pieces*
  • 4 – 5 small ripe JUICY tomatoes (if you can’t find any, a strained can of fire-roasted tomatoes will do
  • 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

* Important step: after you slice the zucchini, place the stripes on paper towels for ~20 minutes to absorb some of the water *

Directions:

  • Sauté the minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant
  •  Add mushrooms and tomatoes (getting all of the seeds and juice in there to give it more of a sauce consistency)
  • While your sauce is cooking, add chopped spinach to ricotta and mix well
  • After mushrooms and tomatoes are cooked, spread a thin layer on the bottom of a pan (I used a small enough one for two but the size will depend on how much you’re making)
  • Layer zucchini slices on top of sauce and then the spinach and ricotta cheese mixture
  • Top with mushrooms and tomatoes
  • Repeat 3/4 times, depending on how many zucchini you have
  • Top with parmesan cheese
  • Bake at 350 for 40 minutes

#vegvibes

[WWAW] Cali. Quesadillas

When Mike and I celebrated our anniversary in Coronado earlier this year, we had these delicious California Stone Fired Quesadilla that I’ve been wanting to recreate.

They are lighter than a normal quesadilla because the cheese isn’t the leading role. The additions of hummus and veggies give this recipe a lot of volume without all of the fat of a fully cheese stuffed quesadilla. The thin layer of hummus make them creamy and adds protein.

Plus, any dish that takes me back to a vacation-mode is a win in my book!

Note: there aren’t any real measurements for this recipe – just pile on as many ingredients as will fit! Also, get creative and sub things you have on hand 🙂


Cali Quesadillas

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of lavish bread (feel free to make the whole pack and freeze for later!)
  • hummus
  • sliced mushrooms
  • handful of arugula
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced black olives (optional)
  • salsa verde (to dip)

Directions:

  • Spread a thin layer of hummus on lavish bread while a pan is heating up on medium heat
  • Lightly grease pan and place lavish bread on pan, top with ingredients, fold over
  • I find using another pan or pot as some weight works well to melt the cheese quickly without burning the lavish
  • Flip after 3-4 minutes and cook the other side
  • Serve with various dips (and an optional side of chips)

 

Vegan Potato TACOS!

Tacos are one of my favorite things. Who doesn’t love a taco?

Tacos Tuesdays.

Taco trucks.

The way your head tilts to the side when you’re biting into a taco.

This is all good stuff.

&what’s equally as good? The vegan potato tacos I whipped up the other night. (Sadly I didn’t take pictures of the cooking process but I *promise* the end result was the main attraction anyway. They were so so so good!)


Potato Tacos

Prep time: 15 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes – Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c onion chopped
  • 1 large potato chopped into cube size pieces
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1/4 Tbs paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas

(to top with)

  • 1/2 large tomato chopped
  • guacamole or avocado
  • salsa verde
  • cilantro (I didn’t have any on hand but wish I did!)

Directions:

  • Sauté onions in coconut oil until translucent
  • Add potatoes and spices, mixing well
  • Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally
  • Heat tortillas while potatoes are cooking and build yourself a taco bar with your toppings
  • When potatoes are done, add to tortillas and top

**I served our tacos with pinto beans. A great way to spice up canned beans is to simply add a bit of lime juice and cumin – BAM! All of the flavor.


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[WWAW] No Jar Tomato Sauce over Polenta

There was a period in my life when I considered going gluten free.

All of that wheat! Inflaming my organs and intestines!

Gluten.must.go.

Granted, this mindset lasted about a half day.

Turns out, I don’t have celiac.

#jkgluteniloveyou

Anyways, during my short stint in (thinking about) eliminating wheat from my diet, I learned about polenta.

Polenta is cornmeal that you boil. Plain and simple.

 After boiling, you can either serve it like porridge or let it solidify. To solidify it, you just boil it according to the package and place in a glass container, cover, and let sit for about 20 minutes. 

Once solidified, you can bake it, fry it, grill it or simply make an easy, yummy No Jar tomato sauce to pour over it and dig in.

Note: You can buy polenta in two forms; already solidified or still in grain form. I’ve cooked with both. I prefer the grain form because I get more bang for my buck. However, the solidified version (packaged in a tube-like shape; pictured below) is nice to have on hand for a super quick dinner.

Although polenta is versatile and cheap, it’s pretty bland. The real show-stopper here is the sauce.

Don’t get me wrong, tomato sauce in a jar is totally a reasonable option if you want to save on time. There are some great organic versions out there too! However, I find that most jarred tomato sauces are either made with soybean oil or have added sugar in them.


The solution? A super simple, 4-5 ingredient sauce (depending if you like mushrooms or not) that you can make while your polenta is solidifying. You can also pour this sauce of pasta or spaghetti squash.


No Jar Tomato Sauce 

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 25 minutes – Servings: 4 *freezes well*

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • Full bag of a leafy green (it reduces so don’t be shy – put in the whole bag!)
  • 1 c. mushrooms – sliced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat your olive oil and sauté garlic until translucent
  • Add mushrooms and continue sautéing for about 1 minute
  • Add leafy greens and can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • Stir until greens are well incorporated
  • Cover and let simmer for ~20 minutes
  • Note: it might look like you don’t have enough liquid at first but by covering the sauce, the trapped steam will thin it out
  • Spoon onto your favorite Italian carbohydrate (polenta, pasta, etc.) and enjoy! 

 

[WWAW] Quick & easy veggie fried rice

I can still remember the first time I had fried rice. I was probably 10 years old and my best childhood friend, Abby, had her birthday party at Benihana. I had never been to Benihana before. In the car on the way there she excitedly told me I had to order the fried rice.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. I ordered the fired rice. I watched them chop all of the veggies quicker than I thought possible. They poured oil on the hot cooking surface. Eggs cracked, yellow and white plopping and immediately sizzling. White rice was shaped into a heart that the chef made beat beat beat with a spatula.

Shortly after, a bowl of this fried rice was in front of me. I quickly scoped a bite in my mouth and holy! I don’t think I had ever tasted something so delicious.

Benihana fried rice is still a favorite of mine. This recipe is a little healthier – made with brown rice instead of white and probably about 1/2 the soy sauce – but it’s just as scrumptious! It brings me straight back to those childhood days.

I cut all the veggies for this earlier in the week when I had some extra time but you can easily prep everything right before and still have a healthy, satisfying dinner in less than 20 minutes.

Note: the rice I use isn’t the most cost effective (buying in bulk would be way better) but it saves time and I love the taste. I also omitted the egg and added shrimp instead.

Pro tip: sesame seed oil is a total game changer. I used to make fried rice without it and it never turned out as good as I wanted it to be. I’m telling you, just a few teaspoons of this stuff and you’re next level.

At the last minute I added some frozen spinach we had for something green. Always something green!

Garnish with seaseem seeds and pretend you’re at Benihana (without a single dish to do after dinner….!).

PS. technically I didn’t post a recipe last week, as promised. However, I did still make something (after an importune dinner and drinks with a few girlfriends). I turned to the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook* and whipped up Golden French Lentil stew. I ended up freezing the whole batch but it looked and smelled so good. I can’t wait for the next chilly night to heat it up!

I also didn’t modify the recipe much (aside from omitting the cashew cream and using red lentils instead of green) so figured a picture of the actual recipe (below) would suffice. (I know, I know… laziest blogger ever;)

*My good friend Morgan (you can find her guest blog post here) bought this cookbook and tried out a few recipes, writing notes and her modifications on the pages (the pink writing above). I took it home in October after I visited her and tried a few recipes myself, adding my notes to the columns. Soon, I’ll mail the book to our other veg-loving friend, Melissa, for her to do the same. (Like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but with a cookbook… ya dig?)