Recipes

Taco Pizza

After discovering how delicious the Whole Wheat Pizza Dough from Trader Joe’s is, I have been spending my weeks figuring out every possible topping for a pizza. This pizza pulls inspiration from the Tostada Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. The dough is hearty & filling with the right amount of chew on the inside & crispness on the outside. It’s topped with a layer of quick refried beans & cheese before being tossed in the oven to get hot & melty. When it comes out of the oven it’s topped with fresh veggies & sour cream. Served with a side of guac & its all you need for a perfect meatless Monday.

IMG_3190

Before beginning on the beans you’ll want to take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator & set it on the counter to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling it out. Then get to the beans! Start by draining & rinsing 3 cans of black beans but reserve the liquid from 1 can. Then heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, cook the garlic for about a minute, just until you start to smell it. Then add the spices and cook all together for 1-2 minutes.

IMG_3195

Next, add the beans & reserved liquid to the spices & stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer & cook, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, take a potato masher & mash the beans until the reach a refried consistency. Lets move on to the dough!

Place dough onto a well floured surface and sprinkle some extra flour on top. Roll out the dough into a rectangle until its the size of a half sheet pan. Lightly oil your sheet pan and place the dough on top. Bake the dough in an oven preheated to 475 degrees for about 10 minutes until the edges begin to brown & the center is set. While the dough is baking, prepare the guacamole.

IMG_3202

 

 

Quick Guacamole 

Start by cutting your avocados & removing the pit. Then scoop them into a bowl & mix in the juice of 1 1/2 limes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, & 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

 

 

 

Once the pizza dough has baked, spread on the beans & top with shredded cheese. Toss the pizza back in the oven & bake until cheese it melted, about 3-4 minutes. Once the cheese it melted top the pizza with shredded lettuce & chopped tomato. Dollop sour cream over the pizza & finish with a squeeze of lime! Serve your pizza alongside the guac & enjoy!

IMG_3207IMG_3211

Recipes

Pumpkin Pancakes

Growing up I always thought I didn’t like pumpkin because my parents never cooked with it or used it in the kitchen. It was an unfamiliar flavor to me that as an adult I just assumed I didn’t care for. But you know what happens when we assume right…

Fast forward to my adult years when I began cooking for myself and I realized I was in a position to do whatever I wanted in my own kitchen. Every fall there was so much buzz around pumpkin and everybody was obsessed. I knew I had to give it a try.

A couple years ago I made a recipe for pumpkin bread that I found on Pinterest which turned out to be delicious. Then it dawned on me, what else have I been missing out on? This bread was moist, deeply flavored and so easy to throw together. I was hooked. Chocolate Walnut Pumpkin Bread

As the years go on I try to incorporate more and more pumpkin dishes into my fall repertoire. I love fall, and especially Halloween, so I love to be able to get into the spirit in as many ways as possible. Cooking is definitely one of those ways. Now that I do 90% of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s I have been introduced to the plethora of pumpkin items that flood their shelves come September. Each week since the beginning of September, I have been picking up at least 1 (usually more) pumpkin related items from Trader Joe’s and I am pleased to say I have yet to be disappointed. I will do a separate post reviewing each of the pumpkin items in detail for you guys!

This morning I tried the pumpkin pancakes and oh my word. They were incredible. It was a boxed dry pancake mix that only required you to add butter, milk and 1 egg. Simple right? And totally customizable!

The end result was an incredibly fluffy pancake with deep fall flavors. Not overpoweringly pumpkin flavored, but a nice balance of pumpkin and spices. I added chopped walnuts to a few which gave the pancakes a great crunch. I also made a couple with both walnuts and chocolate chips which I HIGHLY recommend because they were out of this world.

I topped these bad boys with Trader Joe’s new Vanilla Bean Infused Maple Syrup which I also highly recommend. The vanilla in the syrup paired nicely with the spices in the pancakes to create the perfect fall bite.

I served the pancakes with a quick scramble made with eggs, chopped bell peppers, Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage  and mozzarella cheese.

Happy Brunching!

IMG_3324

And I obviously had to bust out the festive plates because it’s only 24 days till Halloween!

 

Recipes

Creamy Cannellini, Lemon & Feta Dip

Any recipe that can be thrown together in just a few minutes using just a few ingredients is a recipe I can always get behind. This Cannellini dip is no exception to that.

This dip combines white beans with feta cheese and lemon to create a smooth and intensely flavored concoction. Think of an Italian version of hummus. It’s the perfect appetizer or party treat, but also makes a great snack. Serve it up with pita wedges & veggie sticks! (Or whatever you like, its your life man!)

This dip is as simple as it gets! Just throw all the ingredients into a food processor.

 

Blend until smooth & voila! Dip is done!

IMG_0426

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 14oz can Cannellini Beans (or white beans) rinsed & drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper

 

Recipe from Flavour and Savour

Blog

Life is Beautiful 2018

This past weekend I got the opportunity to visit the city of Las Vegas for a music and arts festival called Life is Beautiful. It’s three days of music, art, food & comedy. Sounds like a dream, right? Well it is! If you ever have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it. Leading up to Life is Beautiful, I kept telling myself I was going to research all the food that was going to be at the festival & I would set up a plan of attack, so that when the gates opened on the first day I would be ready. Similar to most of my other overly ambitious plans, this one floundered. But that’s okay, in the words of Tim Gun, I’ll “make it work”. My new plan of attack? Show up early on day one to get a lay of the land. That combined with my foodie intuition seemed like enough to get me where I needed to go. The food scene at Life is Beautiful is a mixture of LA & LV food trucks & restaurants serving up festival favorites to hungry music lovers.

This year the festival took a fun approach to the food. Utilizing all the incredibly talented chefs that occupy Las Vegas, the festival added a new culinary experience to this year’s lineup. The Cookout, curated by Chef Justin Kingsley Hall, was a culinary experience not to be missed. The Cookout featured a revolving list of chefs, cooking over roaring wood fires with new dishes every day. Each dish was offered in limited quantities & was only available until they sold out.  The chefs included in the live fire experience lineup included: Chef Brian Howard, Chef Khai Vu, Chef Mike Minor, Chef Roy Ellamar, Chef Hemant Kishore, Chef Vincent Rotolo, Chef Justin Kingsley Hall & Chef Johnny Church. I was fortunate enough to try dishes by Chef Khai Vu & Chef Vincent Rotolo, but more on that later. The full menu as well as information about each chef can be found here: Live Fire Experience

In addition to The Cookout, food trucks & restaurants, the festival also featured a Cocktail School & exclusive culinary experiences. All the information about the complete culinary lineup can be found here: Full Culinary Lineup

D A Y  O N E:

White Rabbit Food Truck

IMG_2906.jpg

White Rabbit is an LA based food truck specializing in Filipino fusion. My boyfriend is a big fan of the White Rabbit truck so I already knew we would be paying them a visit, day one. This is the Chicken Adobo Burrito which comes with garlic rice, cheese and a fried egg. The flavors in this burrito are beyond delicious. The chicken is savory & sweet, with just enough creaminess from the egg & cheese. Truly a fantastic combination.

IMG_2912

District One Kitchen & Bar

District One is the brainchild of Chef Khai Vu, who was also featured on The Cookout lineup. District One was serving up classics with a twist like Oxtail Poutine & Wings with Sriracha Ranch. If there are wings on a menu, I will most likely be ordering them. I will admit it was hard to pass up Oxtail Poutine, but a good crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside wing is really a thing of beauty. And that’s exactly what I was served up by District One.
IMG_2922

The Middle Feast Food Truck

Easily the most surprising and most delicious meal of the day came from the Middle Feast truck, also known as The Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” Season 5 winners. These LA natives are serving up Mediterranean favorites with the volume turned up. I tried the Loaded Gyro Fries. A pile of crispy fries topped with savory gyro meat, signature sauce, feta cheese & chopped tomato. The fries were filling, very well-seasoned & had a fun spin on a classic Mediterranean dish!

 

D A Y  T W O:

Bling Bling Dumplings

IMG_2949

Bling Bling Dumplings have been a Life is Beautiful staple. I tried bling bling three years ago when I attended the festival for the first time. I was instantly hooked. The dumplings were juicy, flavorful & came with a refreshing & light spinach salad. My second year at the festival I knew I wasn’t leaving without getting an order of these bad boys. This year was no exception. These are a combination of the Ginger Pork Dumplings and the Thai Basil Chicken Dumplings. Their menu also features a delicious vegetarian option that utilizes mushrooms as the main ingredient.

Truk N Yaki Food Truck

IMG_2962

The Truk N Yaki food truck is a Las Vegas based food truck serving up Japanese teppanyaki-hibatchi style street food. I tried the Steak Burrito which was a delicious combination of steak, rice & vegetables. The steak is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic butter, soy sauce & sake. It’s perfect inside a large flour tortilla accompanied by fried rice and stir fry veggies tosses in a spicy aioli. It was the perfect one handed dish to enjoy while jamming out to Cold War Kids.

Shiraz

IMG_2977

A girl can never have too much Mediterranean food in one weekend so I knew I had to make a trip to Shiraz. Shiraz is dishing up tasty Persian, Indian, Pakistani & Mediterranean cuisine to the people of Las Vegas. I ordered a Beef Kebob Wrap and a Vegetable Samosa. The wrap was perfectly simple. A warm pita, filled with a beef kebob, tzatziki sauce, chopped red onion & sliced tomato. The samosa was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The vegetable filling was strongly flavored with just enough of a spicy kick to remind you of those bold Indian flavors.

 

Waffelato

IMG_2980

 

The festival inhabits the streets of downtown Las Vegas which encompasses an area called Container Park. Container Park is an open-air shopping center with boutique shops, lively bars, unique restaurants & live music. It’s really a fantastic place to hang out. Inside Container Park lives a cute little bubble waffle & gelato shop called Waffelato. If you’ve never had a bubble waffle, I highly recommend you find yourself one as soon as possible. Gelato is delicious on its own, but when it’s served in a warm and spongy bubble waffle & topped with fresh fruit? Over the top. This is the Tower of Pisa, mango sorbet topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries & pineapple all served up in a freshly made bubble waffle.

D A Y  T H R E E:

Chef Vincent Rotolo’s Good Pie

IMG_3021

I’ve only tried vegan pizza for the first time a few weeks ago, but when I saw it on The Cookout’s menu, I knew I had to try it. There was a large pizza oven included in the Live Fire Experience, pumping out delicious wood fired vegan pizzas. The pizza was topped with vegan cheese, San Marzano tomato sauce, pickled red onions, fresh basil & vegan meatballs. The crust was crispy on the outside & chewy on the inside with a hint of charred flavor from the wood fired oven. The cheese was creamy and the sauce was robust. What more could you want out of a pizza?

Chef Khai Vu’s District One

IMG_3025

One stop at The Cookout was not enough so I went back later on to see what Chef Khai Vu was cooking up. His offering consisted of grilled Cornish Hen marinated with five spices, honey & lemongrass. It was served up with a green field salad topped with a ginger soy dressing making it a complete meal. The Hen was so flavorful and so juicy, it was grilled over an open flame giving it that added smokiness so associated with open flame cooking. The salad was fresh and light, a great compliment to the Hen.

 

Shake Shack

IMG_3038

I closed out my weekend with a favorite of mine. Shake Shack. If you’ve never heard of Shake Shack it’s a burger joint that’s been serving up insanely juicy burgers and impossibly creamy shakes all over the country, since 2004. Fun fact: Shake Shack actually started as a hot dog cart in Manhattan. I ordered a double Shackburger & fries, with extra Shack Sauce (aka fry sauce). The burger was juicy as ever, hot, cheesy & meaty. All the makings of a perfect burger. And it was a perfect was to close out my weekend of culinary adventures!

Recipes

Ricotta & Spinach Calzones

Finding meatless dishes continues to be a challenge as the weeks go on, but it has also really opened my eyed & my mind to new ideas. I found this recipe when reading through a Buzzfeed article about meatless lunches and thought it would make a great meatless dinner. It seemed simple enough to throw together on a busy day, which I always love.

Any dish that resembles pizza in the slightest is something I can get behind. Calzones are no exception to that. This version is stuffed with spinach & cheese giving it a creaminess you always crave with calzones, but the spinach makes the calzones a little lighter, and I don’t know about you, but that always makes me feel a little better about what I’m eating. Not to mention the crust is whole grain so this dish is basically “healthy”… right?

Serve these up with a simple green salad, or Cesar if you’re feeling a little fancy on a Monday night, & some warmed marinara sauce for a complete meal.

I hope you love these!

Ricotta & Spinach Calzones

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic powder, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, oil & egg yolk.

IMG_2823

Place the pizza dough on a well-floured surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out the dough until it is between 1/8″ & 1/4″ thick. For this recipe I used a whole wheat dough because its heartier & better for you, but you can use whatever dough you like.

 

Cut out 4 large circles to make larger calzones, or cut out 6 smaller circles for smaller calzones. (For this recipe I made 6 calzones, but the amount of filling will work for either.)

 

Once the dough is cut it is time to fill the calzones. Divide the filling into either 4 or 6 portions, depending on the size of the calzones. Lay the filling on one half of the dough, making sure to leave a border.

 

After you have filled each calzone, fold the half that doesn’t have the filling over the top of the half with the filling. Pinch the edges together (like a pie crust) to seal the calzone, then go over it with a fork to ensure a tight seal so the filing doesn’t escape in the oven. Then cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the calzones to let any steam escape. Brush them with the egg wash and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the calzones from the oven, brush with remaining egg wash & sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to oven & bake an additional 8 minutes.

Serve with a side of marinara & simple green salad.

 

Recipe adapted from Kitschen Cat-Ricotta and Spinach Calzones with a few small changes noted above.

Ricotta & Spinach Calzones

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 calzones

Ingredients:
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed & with all liquid removed
4 ounces shredded mozzarella
8 ounces ricotta
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 pound whole wheat pizza dough

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic powder, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, oil & egg yolk.
  3. Place the pizza dough on a well-floured surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out the dough until it is between 1/8″ & 1/4″ thick.
  4. Cut out 4 large circles to make larger calzones, or cut out 6 smaller circles for smaller calzones. (For this recipe I made 6 calzones, but the amount of filling will work for either.)
  5. Once the dough is cut it is time to fill the calzones. Divide the filling into either 4 or 6 portions, depending on the size of the calzones. Lay the filling on one half of the dough, making sure to leave a border.
  6. After you have filled each calzone, fold the half that doesn’t have the filling over the top of the half with the filling. Pinch the edges together (like a pie crust) to seal the calzone, then go over it with a fork to ensure a tight seal so the filing doesn’t escape in the oven. Then cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the calzones to let any steam escape. Brush them with the egg wash and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the calzones from the oven, brush with remaining egg wash & sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to oven & bake an additional 8 minutes.
  7. Serve with a side of marinara & simple green salad.
Blog

Easy Meal Prep for Busy Days

The thought of packing enough food to last a 12 hour school (or work) day can be very daunting. I’m here to give you a few tips & tricks to make the process a little less daunting & even save you some money. 

I mostly shop at Trader Joe’s & their prices are significantly lower than other grocery stores so if you shop elsewhere your prices will vary. I also include some ingredients you may not be able to find at other stores so if you’re following this closely, you’ll want to do your shopping at Trader Joe’s as well. A few ingredients did come from Mother’s Market because they have cheaper bulk items like granola, & they carry non dairy yogurt that I cannot find at TJs. You’ll want to research grocery stores in your area to find the best prices for the items you want to purchase.

Tips:

  • Pick foods high in protein to keep you fuller, longer.
  • Only pack foods you actually want to eat. Don’t pick foods you THINK you should eat, pick foods you WANT to eat or you’ll end up impulse buying food and wasting all the food you prepped for the day.
  • Make sure you have a heavy duty lunchbox to keep your food cool all day. There’s no point prepping all this food for it to spoil before lunch.
  • If you’re prepping food for the whole week, make sure to buy versatile ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes for maximum savings.
    • For example, buying strawberries and chopping them up the first day saves you time & you can use them in salads, parfaits, or smoothies.
    • I like to buy a big bag of arugula that can be used for sandwiches, salads, or pastas.
  • Buy snacks you don’t mind eating a few times throughout the week. I really love TJ’s cheddar puffs because a whole bag is only $1.99 & has about 10 cups worth of puffs inside.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix store bought & homemade ingredients. This saves you time when prepping & if you shop smart this will save you money.
    • This week I bought a pre-made tuna salad that cost $3.99 & got 2 sandwiches out of it. I like my sandwiches pretty packed so if you wanted to stretch your money you could easily get 3 sandwiches out of one container making it only $1.33 for each sandwich.
  • Prep as much as you can the night before. Long days usually mean early starts & no one wants to wake up earlier than they have to to get lunch ready.

*I didn’t use the whole container for most of my ingredients for this so I divided up the price for each ingredient depending on how much I used for this specific menu.


Sample Menu: $12.56 

Breakfast-

  • Cashew Yogurt $1.99
  • Hempseed Granola $0.35
  • Strawberries $1.09

Lunch-

  • Tuna & Arugula Sandwich $1.99 + $0.39
    • Ciabatta $0.65
  • Cherry Tomatoes $0.83
  • Sliced Cucumbers $0.39

Dinner-

  • ABC + K Salad w/ Poppyseed Dressing (apple, beet, carrot, kale) $4.49
  • White Cheddar Puffs $0.39

*Prices for each ingredient are listed depending on how much was used.

If you spend a little time prepping before you shop & prepping the night before a busy day, you ensure you’re saving money & eating fresh, delicious food. On average, bringing your own food to school or work can save you about 1/3 of the money you would normally spend on a day of eating out.

Hope this helps!


 

IMG_1955

IMG_2166

Recipes

Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza

When it comes to meatless Monday meals, I sometimes struggle with finding recipes that are filling enough to be called a dinner, but are also exciting. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a Tasty video I watched, about 5 different ways to make meatless tacos. One of the taco ideas was a buffalo cauliflower taco.

I am not a huge fan of cauliflower so I was skeptical at first, but I love anything buffalo, so I figured “cauliflower can’t be that bad when drenched in buffalo sauce…right?” Watching the video I thought to myself, I can easily make this buffalo cauliflower, but I wanted to do something different than tacos. Then it hit me. PIZZA.

The cauliflower part of the recipe was inspired by Tasty, and the taco version can be found here: Meatless Tacos 5 Ways

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce, divided
  • 1 lb prepared pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 stalks celery, peeled into ribbons
  • Classic Blue Cheese Dressing

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove pizza dough from the fridge and rest on the counter while you prepare the cauliflower.
  3. In a bowl, add flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and milk. Stir to combine.
  4. Add cauliflower florets into the bowl with the flour and milk mixture. Stir to coat the cauliflower.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a silicone-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.
  6. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, brush it with 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce and place back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until sauce begins to bubble.
  7. While the cauliflower bakes, roll out pizza dough to roughly 13 inches on a well oiled surface. Place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil (or a pizza stone if you have one).
  8. Bake the crust at 475 for about 10 minutes, or until firm and starting to brown on the edges.
  9. Remove the crust from the oven. Brush it with remaining buffalo sauce, then top with mozzarella cheese and cauliflower. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.
  10. While the pizza finishes baking, run a vegetable peeler down the sides of the celery stalks to create long, thin ribbons.
  11. When the pizza is finished baking, top it with celery ribbons. Finish the pizza with blue cheese dressing and serve.

IMG_8325

 

Recipes

Black Bean Chimichangas

When trying to come up with my own recipes they often change throughout the process. Somewhere between coming up with the initial idea to actual execution, there are some bumps in the road which lead my original idea to sometimes shift. That was no exception with these chimichangas.

This recipe originated as an idea for black bean flautas. Flautas are similar to taquitos but use flour tortillas instead of corn. This idea changed when I began filling them and realized they were too big to call them flautas, but definitely too small to be full burritos.

Flautas are rolled like taquitos, which leaves the ends open and I was afraid all the filling would escape when they were being fried, so I tucked in the edges, making them look more like little burritos. Enter the chimichanga. Chimichangas are traditionally larger since they are just deep fried burritos, but I figured if I was going to fry them, it was best to make them smaller. They ended up being delicious which is all I could really ask for right?

 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 12 chimichangas

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 medium flour tortillas
  • 1-1 ½ cups shredded jack cheese
  • ¼- ½ cup canola oil*

For serving:

  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup sour cream

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook until soft and beginning to brown.
  3. Add cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add drained beans to vegetables and cook until beans begin to soften.
  5. Once beans are soft, transfer beans and vegetables to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of pureed beans on the center of each tortilla and top with 1-1 ½ tablespoons of cheese then fold the tortilla ‘burrito style’.
  7. In a large sauté pan, heat canola oil on medium high heat and cook chimichangas in batches, until browned on both sides.
  8. Top browned chimichangas with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted.
  9. To serve, top chimichangas with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and a drizzle of sour cream

*Add enough canola oil to the pan to go about halfway up the chimichangas.

IMG_1698

Recipes

Smashed Chickpea & Broccoli Tacos w/ Lemon Tahini Spread

When the new year started I knew I wanted to enact a new tradition in the kitchen. I was also trying to eat less meat so Meatless Monday’s seemed like the perfect choice. At first it was very daunting, the thought of having to come up with a new meatless recipe every single week, but I was excited for the challenge.

These tacos were my first ever Meatless Monday recipe and I was so happy they turned out as incredible as they did. It was scary after all, trying something new. The delicious taste and full feeling in my tummy after eating these tacos was telling me I’d be okay.

When trying to come up with this recipe I first focused on the main ingredient. What was going to be my ‘meat substitute’ for this dish? I also knew I wanted to do tacos because they’re an easy way to try out new ingredients and combinations.

I have always loved chickpeas and I find them really filling so I decided to make them the base of the taco. I knew I wanted to add a fresh component to add contrast so I thought riced broccoli and avocado would be really yummy. Then I just had to figure out how to season the chickpeas and some kind of saucy or creamy element and I was done! My first Meatless Monday recipe, done! This was very exciting for me. The best part? This wasn’t just a meatless dish, but it was also vegan! What an exciting way to start a new tradition!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: about 8 tacos

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 6-8 tortilla (depending on size)
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

  1. Put broccoli florets into a food processor & pulse until broccoli becomes finely chopped up, set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine drained chickpeas with 1 tablespoon of oil, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine tahini & lemon juice and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a medium sauté pan heat remaining oil on medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions are soft & starting to brown. Add the smashed garlic clove and stir around until fragrant.
  5. Add seasoned chickpeas to the pan and cook until heated through and slightly browned.
  6. When chickpeas become soft take a potato masher (or fork) and smash about half of the chickpeas.
  7. Add shredded carrots to the pan with the chickpeas & cook until they become soft.
  8. Heat your tortillas and spread some of the tahini onto the bottom of the tortilla.
  9. Next, lay on the chickpea & carrot mixture.
  10. Top each taco with broccoli, sliced avocado & more of the tahini mixture.
  11. Enjoy!

IMG_1637

Recipes

Creamy Ranch Dressing

I’m a woman who believes in many things. But one thing I will always stand behind?BOTTLED SALAD DRESSINGS ARE GARBAGE.

That may seem a little aggressive, but I feel very strongly about the topic…

Bottled dressings are bad for a number of reasons. There is nothing fresh inside of that bottle so the taste will never be what it should be. There are a lot of yucky things on that label that you’ve probably never heard of, and definitely should not be putting into your body. And lastly, they are packed with things that cause them to have high levels of sodium, cholesterol, and fat.

Making dressings at home saves you money and is a much healthier option. Not to mention it will taste a million times better than anything that comes out of a bottle. Now, I will admit there are a very select few (less than 4) bottled dressings that are excluded from my hatred and Trader Joe’s Romano Cesar Dressing is one of them, but that’s besides the point here guys!

Weather you make a big batch at the beginning of the week, or quickly assemble something before putting together your salad, take my advice and try making your dressings at home.

Yes I realize the irony here involving me talking about making healthy choices on a blog post about ranch dressing but even homemade ranch is a healthier option than a bottled one! And don’t worry, there are more (healthier) dressing recipes coming your way soon!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: about 1 1/2 cups of dressing

Ingredients:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  IMG_0085