That’s it. It’s that simple. You need them in your life.
With only 4 ingredients, I was surprised at what a complete showstopper they turned out to be. Although I am almost certain the real magic had more to do with the air fryer than the ingredient list… Anyways!
3/4 cup black beans
3/4 cup cheese (we used a vegan cashew cheddar but go for the real thing if you fancy)
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
6 flour tortillas*
optional garnish: Guac, cilantro, lime
Preheat your air fryer to 375**
Mash your black beans up in a bowl***
Add the cheddar
Stir in that salsa
Scoop mixture on to tortillas
Roll up and place seam side down
Air fry for 7 minutes
*I used flour because I find they roll better without breaking but if you want to go corn, I suggest oiling them first to soften a bit
**We have the Breville toaster oven and air fryer and it is the besssst (so I actually don’t know how a stand alone air fryer works… I imagine there is some kind of temperature control though)
***A friend gave us this baby food masher before we had Cam and we use it all of the time for our adult food mashing needs (even if you don’t have a baby, I recommend getting it hahah)
We finally have a kitchen again! After about 2 months of renovating the downstairs of our house, the floors are placed, the new appliances connected, and the (GORGEOUS) counters are safely secured in place. All in good timing because we’re only a week or so out from our baby making his grand debut into the world.
To test out all of the new goods, I made a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while last night for dinner. It’s vegan and, the version I made, gluten-free. It’s easy and filling. It’s … chili mac!
A mash up – a love child – of 2 major comfort foods; chili and mac n’ cheese. I suggest you make yourself a batch ASAP.
1 -2 TBS vegetable oil like avo or grape-seed (something with a high smoke-point)
1/2 bell pepper (I used red but use your fave or what you have on hand)
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed
28 oz of canned tomatoes (I buy the fire roasted ones)
3 – 4 cups of spinach
Spices (added to taste and preference): Cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt
10 oz of macaroni (I used brown rice and quinoa but similar to a lot of gluten free products, it didn’t hold it’s structural integrity when mixed with the other ingredients – something to consider if you are concerned about presentation)
Make your pasta according to the package, drain, and set aside
Chop and sauté your onion until translucent
Chop bell pepper and carrots to add to onion mixture
Add kidney beans, canned tomatoes, and spices, mix and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes
Bring to a boil and stir in spinach until it is wilted
Add to chili to macaroni
Serve and enjoy (optional to top with guac, green onions, and/or cheese)
Before and After pictures of the house and a post about renovation tips are in the works – stay tuned!
This recipe came to life after our housewarming party (all the way back in March… that’s how far behind I am in posting recent recipes).
For as much as I love to be in the kitchen, I am a lazy host. I almost never throw an elaborate dinner party. I prefer to host brunches, BBQs, or get togethers with nothing but finger food.
Things that are on the simpler side are my jam; like toasting bagels and throwing some berries in a bowl for a simple brunch, or grilling chicken and zucchini pairing with a crusty baguette and a good olive oil for dinner.
For our housewarming party, we went the heavy appetizer route and Trader Joe’s was our third host. I bought salsa, guac, hummus, and veggies; we did a simple cheese and salami plate; some focaccia and balsamic + olive oil; baked some taquitos and called it a day. (Aside from the homemade meatballs and tortillas chips that my arguably better-at-hosting husband made.)
After everyone came and ate, drank, and toured the house, we had a few leftovers. Namely a jar of corn salsa that I had never bought before… what to do, what to do with you? I thought as I crammed it into the fridge with our other leftovers.
Later that week I was eyeing a bag of spinach we had and thought, maybe… maybe some leafy greens, corn salsa, and black bean pasta will go well together?
And oh how well they do go together! The combo was such a hit I’ve picked up a few jars of that TJs corn salsa since and have made many more dinners of Party Pasta. This recipe is gluten free and can be vegan if you omit the parmesan cheese. It is the real MVP in our house and so simple that is just might make it into the lazy-host rotation for our next shabang.
Cook black bean pasta according to the package and then drain cooking water
Add pasta back into the pot with spinach (the heat will wilt the spinach if fresh or defrost it if frozen) and corn salsa (we really like the flavor of the salsa so I am generous with the amount I use)
Dish and garnish with parm and freshly cracked black pepper
The new year. January first. So many aspirations and goals tied to one day.
It seems like people are generally moving away from setting up huge year-long goals of drastic change and personal renovation. Instead, we’re doing things like intention setting and focusing on more realistic, small self improvements.
In the era of Wellness Warriors – where self love, understanding, and forgiveness are the new ways of life; along with mediation and warm morning lemon water – we are still constantly striving to be better but also allowing for large doses of grace and acceptance when we inevitably slip up.
Gone are the days of swearing off sugar for 365 days and setting alarm clocks to sound before the sun for a workout. We want consistency and manageability now. At least I do.
Today is just like tomorrow will be. There isn’t the same novelty to the first day of the new year anymore. Each day is simply another chance at being better. Of course there will be some days when a second glass of wine will be poured or a savasana will be missed. More often than we’d like, living in the moment will fall under the shadow of impatience. Judgment and negativity will sneak into our lives when we are tired and feeling scattered.
There will be back-stepping but hopefully mostly forward moving. Hopefully, with strategic and achievable goals in mind, your progress will be better than you’ll believe. (…Literally like this pasta sauce recipe. I thought it would be too thick with little flavor but it turned out to be a dream!)
Better-than-you’ll-believe creamy squash pasta sauce
This sauce is vegan, diary and gluten free. The coconut milk and roasted delicate squash blended together make it creamy-dreamy. The roasted garlic adds a comforting savoriness. Serve over your pasta of choice with an added green for a complete meal.
1 medium delicate squash
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water (or as needed for consistency)
4 -5 garlic gloves (still in bulb to roast)
2 – 3 Tbs of avocado oil
Salt and pepper
Cut delicate squash into 1/2 inch pieces (not you don’t need to peel the skin off of delicate squash) and coat with avocado oil, salt + pepper, and nutmeg to taste
Spread squash out on a baking sheet and add your garlic bulb in tinfoil with a small amount to avocado oil drizzled on the top to the same sheet
Roast both at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
Once roasted, transfer into your blender with 3/4 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water (adding more if needed)
Blend and scrape down the sides as needed until creamy (remember to vent your blender for the steam to escape)
I have a feeling it won’t be cozy soup weather much longer in California. With this in mind, I took full advantage of some canned food I had in my cabinet and made a coconut lentil soup recently while my grandma, mom, and little brother were at my house. I love having family over and cooking for them!
This soup actually turned out better than I thought it would! The coconut milk made it creamy dreamy but, with the added (homemade) veggie broth, it wasn’t too heavy. I ended up using 2 cans of lentils for more volume and less liquid, which worked perfectly.
Note: I omitted onions because my grandma’s not a fan. If you’re in the mood, I suggest adding them. Although, since I also used jarred garlic, I have to say it was pretty sweet not having to chop anything for this recipe.
Add garlic into a pot and heat up for 1 minute (I didn’t put any extra oil in so this step was fast; plus I was using jarred garlic — if you use fresh, wait until the garlic turns translucent in some OO)
Add canned tomatoes, lentils, and coconut milk + veg broth
Stir in spices
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered
Take off heat and add spinach, stirring until wilted
Serve and enjoy (this would probably also be delicious over a scoop of brown rice)
What is vegan, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, added sugar free, and wheat free?
A California dinner party.
…get it? because Californias are such hippies?!
Ok, not the best joke but this dinner is. The best.
And yes, it’s vegan; nut, soy, dairy, sugar, and wheat free.
More importantly, it’s delicious.
Also important: it’s easy.
Most importance: Mike loves it. (Which makes me want to make it every week which means he might get tired of it soon…)
I hope you give this dinner a try soon! You won’t regret it. I’ve mentioned it’s delicious and easy but it’s also SUPER FILLING which is a real selling point for me. The lentils keep ya full (13g plant based protein per 1/4 cup ehyoo) but the tahini and lemon dressing make it feel like you’re indulging. Feel free to add any green veggie you have on hand; or serve the lentils and tahini on top of a giant salad for a summer night twist.
Tip: I’ve recently started soaking my lentils before cooking them (to get more protein and other added benefits!) because of this article.
It’s winter in California which means rain, rain, and more rain. That’s good news for my drought prone home state but I find the winter blues creeping in. This dinner is perfect for warming both your body and soul; great for the nights we’ve been having!
The cumin and paprika in it gives it a nice kick that keeps you cozy. Plus, it’s packed with nutrients and, I don’t know about you, but I always feel better about myself when I’m filled with nourishing food.
This would be a perfect dish to bring to a neighbor or to enjoy with family because it makes a lot. And who doesn’t love a yummy stew (that someone else made!) on a cold night?! Consider making it for someone special in your life. (Bonus points if you pair it with a crusty baguette or a side of pre-cooked rice to really round out the meal for your loved ones.)
Side note, I don’t know how I came up with this name but this is what I called it years ago when I first made this dish and it’s sticking. 😉
Like many of my recipes, my inspo for this came from Oh She Glows. That, and a pesky bag of Trader Joe’s roasted carrots I’ve been trying to get rid of…
In the new year, when I was doing a big TJ’s haul, I came across a bag of multicolored roasted carrots in the freezer aisle. FUN, I thought, picking up a bag and putting it in my cart. Apparently I was the only one who thought cooked carrots were fun delicious…
A week or two passed and I still had that bag of roasted carrots in my freezer when I found out my grandparents would be coming down to visit. One of my favorite things to do is cook for my family and friends so I knew I wanted to make them dinner the night they arrived. I had a plan to make chicken in our sous vide, garlic cheesy bread, peas, and those roasted carrots!
…Until my grandma told me my grandpa doesn’t like cooked carrots (what!?). I nixed the carrots and told Mike. That’s when he told me he actually doesn’t like cooked carrots either (double what!?).
Fast forward to a girl’s night at my next door neighbors’ house last week. We were doing wine and heavy apps. I brought cheese, salami, hummus, snap peas, spanakopita, and, as a last minute edition, I cooked up those roasted carrots. Badda bing, I was going to use them after all!
Or so I thought… Everything was a hit, except for the carrots.
Full of apps wine, and laughs, I walked home with my glass container still full of roasted carrots. Damn. I really hate wasting food so I plopped them in my refrigerator hoping I would get around to eating them (the whole bag, by myself) before they turned…
AND THEN I stumbled upon the genius idea to make hummus with them. Yes! Let’s go.
The great thing about this recipe is the carrots basically double your hummus volume. Plus, if you cheat and buy pre-roasted carrots like I did, it’s super simple. Also a win, Mike is going to eat those roasted carrots and have no idea 😉 mwahahaha
Thyme roasted carrot hummus
Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 5 minutes – Servings: A LOT
1.5 cups of roasted carrots* (if you can’t find the pre-roasted, I would follow the Oh She Glows recipe on how to roast them yourself)
1 can or box (no BPA!) of chickpeas
Chickpea water, reserved
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
Garlic clove and salt to taste
Cumin to taste (optional)
*note: the carrots I bought were roasted in thyme but I think you can change the herb here to whatever you have on hand
Add everything but the carrots to a blender and blend until smooth
YOU GUYS. This recipe is a winner. With one of my closet friends as my inspo (read about her wedding we just went to here), I whipped up this vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce to serve over spaghetti squash tonight and it’s so creamy, you wouldn’t even know there isn’t cheese in it.
I’ll admit, there’s a bit of prep work (more than I usually do on a Monday) with roasting the bell peppers. And I made my own cashew milk, which obviously added time. You can prep the cashew milk the night before to save a few minutes but I do highly recommend making your own nut milk for this one; since it’s a savory dish.
I know you can buy unsweetened nut milk but it just always has a hint of sweet in my opinion. Besides, if you can avoid added ingredients, why not? Making your own nut milk is actually super simple. The only pitfall is it doesn’t keep for too long (no preservatives!) but I’ll give you the exact amounts I used for this recipe below.
That means, this post is actually two recipes in one! Your lucky day, friends.
As mentioned, I put this sauce over spaghetti squash (that I did prep the day before) but you can dip bread and veggies in it or use it as a sub for a more creamy pizza sauce.
Two years ago this month I published my first post on the veg voyage. Since I’ve been documenting vacations, travels, book reviews, general thoughts, and a few recipes. This year I want to concentrate on more on recipes, kicking it off with a whole month of weekly dinner posts!
First up is a color packed one: Veggies and Peanut Butter Noodles
One quick note: I made this before without soba noodles and it wasn’t as good – the noodles just stuck together – so I do recommend using soba. Mike picked up some buckwheat soba noodles at Whole Foods and they were perfect.