Dip In: My Favorite Dips, Sauces and Spreads

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Below I have created a list (and links) to my favorite dips, sauces and spreads. So go ahead, dip in and enhance your meals with these simple recipes. The best news of all… every single one of these recipes is vegan and gluten free for those who have any dietary restrictions!

1. Pesto. My husband and I are obsessed with pesto. It is not an exaggeration when I say that we put it on everything! Bread, eggs, sauteed veggies, pasta, salad dressings, pizza, etc. I usually just whip up some of this homemade pesto once a week and let it sit in the fridge for us to find the lucky item to put it on. It is oh-so good and fresh.

Pesto

2. Hummus. I put pesto on pretty much everything and I put hummus on almost everything. I love to add a heaping spoonful to a salad, use as a spread for a sandwich and of course have with veggies or crackers when I need an afternoon pick me up.

Hummus… 

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Summer Veggie Succotash

Veggie SuccotashI get a lot of inspiration from cooking magazines and this is an adapted version of a recipe found in Eating Well. I should let you know that when I looked at it, I decided to make a vinaigrette to toss the dish in as I thought there was no way this would taste good enough or have the right texture but I was VERY pleasantly surprised. The ‘milk’ from the corn and the white beans give it an amazing texture and the spices give it an amazing taste. We had this for dinner last night and gobbled up all the left overs for lunch today. It was phenomenal for both and it looks quite pretty as well…. 

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Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine

Root Vegetable Tagine

I made this dish for Scott and I a few weeks back and we loved it. This week we were bringing dinner to a friend and his wife and I had to come up with something I could cook earlier in the day and then reheat as I was coming straight from the studio and this was the first thing that popped into my mind. This dish can easily be made earlier or even the night before and then just reheated prior to serving as it allows the flavors to really soak in. A few of the comments I got that night included: “This is exactly what they serve in Morocco” & “This might be the best dinner ever”, so I would say it was a success. I got this from the fabulous Kris Carr and her amazing book Crazy, Sexy Kitchen, but modified a bit to fit my tastes.

For new and improved recipes, please visit my new site The Simple Kitchen!

Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ⅔ tsp ground cumin
  • ⅔ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes [adjust based on desired spiciness]
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I prefer red or yellow)
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 6 ounces artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered
  • 1½ cups peas
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint
  • Sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy-bottom shallow pot or deep skillet [cast iron works best] on medium heat, add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and golden, stirring continuously for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the spices, tomato paste, vegetable stock, carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnip. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Cooking time may vary based on the thickness of chopped veggies.
  3. When the root veggies are tender, add the bell pepper, chickpeas, artichokes, and raisins. Continue simmering for about 5 to 8 minutes. Liquid should be reduced and thicker at this point.
  4. Add parsley, cilantro, mint and sea salt, folding in all of the herbs. Cover and remove from the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. Garnish with lemon zest, red sliced chili and any leftover parsley, cilantro or mint if desired.

Serving Suggestion: Serve over cauliflower mash, quinoa or grain of choice.

Sweet Potato, Green Chile and Curry Soup

Happy 2013!!! This is a modified version of a soup from Andew Weil, as I found his recipe a bit bland and not hearty enough for my tastes. It has so many health benefits and happens to taste delicious. Just a few of the benefits are listed below:

Sweet Potatoes: They are a good source of Vitamin C and D, which play an important role in digestion, maintaining the skin’s youthful elasticity helping us cope with stress and overall health. Sign me up!

Tumeric: It is a natural liver detoxifier and one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available. It also has powerful antioxidant properties that fight cancer-causing free radicals.

Cayenne Pepper: The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. which has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to fight inflammation.

Sweet Potato, Green Chile and Curry Soup
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potato
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 quart veggie broth
  • 1½ lb zucchini, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 (4oz) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15oz) can light coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Heat broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss potato, onion, corn, carrot, garlic, and oil in a large bowl. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on prepared sheet and broil, tossing once halfway through, until browned, about 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or medium pot, add oil and leek. Cook until leeks are turning brown. Turn off heat. Add 1 quart veggie broth.
  3. Transfer broiled vegetables and stir in zucchini, spices, salt, beans, chilies and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
  4. Once everything is cooked through, stir in coconut milk Place and then transfer 2-4 cups (depending on how thick you like your soup) to a blender and pulse a few times. Pour this mixture back into the original soup pot and stir until mixed evenly.
  5. Serve and enjoy 🙂

 

Homemade Hummus

HummusHummus is a staple in my diet… I pretty much eat it every single day and contrary to popular opinion I think it is good on almost anything. Of course there is the obvious, a dip for veggies and crackers or a spread for a sandwich or a wrap but I often times add a spoonful to the top of my salad or the side of my cooked veggies. With every new batch you make you can add a different spice or throw in some cooked veggies to give it a whole new flavor. Enjoy!

Homemade Hummus
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, a small amount of liquid reserved
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, add garbanzo beans, liquid, lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt. Blend until creamy and well mixed.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with pine nuts, fresh herbs of choice and/or a pinch of paprika.

Photo Credit: Simply Recipes

Five 20 Minute Meals

Most people’s biggest excuse is that they don’t have time to cook… Well, you can throw that belief right into your compost bin. This is your go-to list for those late nights at the office or weekends where you are running around until it is time for a meal. These are some of my favorite recipes that will take you no more than 20 minutes to prepare! They all involve simple ingredients that you can grab on your way home so you will have a healthy meal in no time! Happy (quick) cooking 🙂

Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini Pasta

Lentils with Sweet Potato, Mushrooms and Kale

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale

White Beans and Cabbage

White Beans and Cabbage

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

Ravioli with Arugula and Pecorino

Ravioli with Arugula and Pecorino

White Beans and Cabbage

White Beans and Cabbage

This is on the cover of Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday and it looks oh so inviting. I have this book displayed in my kitchen so I could barely wait to try this recipe out. I, of course, made a couple of modifications that are reflected below but a big thanks to Heidi for sharing her wisdom and to Steamy Kitchen for capturing this shot!

White Beans and Cabbage
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp hot paprika
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled white beans or about 1 can (15 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the potatoes and spread them evenly in the pan. Cook the potatoes for 5 minutes or so, make sure you scrape and toss the potatoes during cooking so that you can get each side browned and cooked through.
  2. Add in the shallots, the white beans and the paprika spread all around the skillet. Let cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes to brown just a bit, then scrape and toss again, making sure to cook until the beans are nicely browned on both sides.
  3. Stir in the cabbage and cook for another minute or so until the cabbage looses a bit of its structure. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir and toss again.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

 

Dilled Green Beans

Dilled Green Beans

Who knew green beans could be so flavorful? I received a copy of Heidi Swanson’s cookbook for my birthday (thanks Nic and Britt), and never have I earmarked so many different recipes to try in one book. This was the first one I made and it was absolutely delicious and tasted so fresh. Honestly, you have to try it. It seems too simple to be true but the combo of the leeks and dill is incredible. Her book gives the option to add some items to make it more of an entree which I tried but below is what I’d suggest as the dish so flavorful that I personally think you don’t want to add much more to it to dilute the flavors. You can check out her blog here. I’m looking forward to trying many more of her recipes and then sharing with you all!

For new and improved recipes, please visit The Simple Kitchen!

Dilled Green Beans
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • fine-grain sea salt
  • 4 leeks, well washed, root end and tops trimmed, sliced lengthwise into quarters and then chopped into ½-inch segments (see here)
  • ⅓ cup fresh dill, well chopped
  • ¾ pound green beans, tops and tails trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 2½ cups or 1 can (15 oz) white beans
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet of medium-high heat add olive oil, a pinch of salt and the leeks. Stir until the leeks are browned and glossy, roughly 7 – 10 minutes.
  2. Add the dill, the green beans and 4 Tbsp water. Cook for a couple more minutes then add the white beans and cook until the green beans brighten up and lose that raw bite (you may need to cover to cook the green beans thoroughly).
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serving Suggestion: Top with some roasted sliced almonds for an added crunch.

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale

Lentils with Sweet Potato, Mushrooms and Kale

This is my go-to week night dish. I honestly think I end up eating it about once a week on nights where I don’t really feel like “cooking” or I get home late. It is super easy, tasty, filling and healthy! This recipe shows lentils but I have made it with almost every type of bean you can imagine: black, white, garbanzo… use whatever you have in the house!

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1-2 tsp garlic
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 – 2 bunches kale
  • 1 can (15 oz) or approx 2 cups of homemade beans of your choice (photo shows lentils)
  • Seasoning: I usually use a combo of spicy paprika, salt and pepper but I have also used taco seasoning when making with black or pinto beans or curry when using garbanzo. You need approx 2 -3 Tbsp of spice and then salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onion and cook until fragrant and then add sweet potato. Saute approximately 6 minutes or until sweet potato starts to become tender.
  2. Add in garlic and mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are cooked.
  3. Add kale, beans and spices and continue to cook until sweet potatoes are cooked through, mushrooms are tender and kale is wilted.
  4. Season to taste and serve.

Serving suggestion: Often times I serve this over a bed of arugula and put sliced cherry tomatoes on top 🙂

Tortilla-less Sweet Potato Tacos

Sweet Potato Taco

So my hubs is going slow carb this month which means I had to get a little creative when I wanted some Mexican food. I had recently seen a recipe for Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos on my friends website but was trying to recreate without using the corn tortilla. Instead, I came up with the idea of using the sweet potato as the “taco shell” and putting the filling on the inside. It’s not a taco you’ll be eating with your hands but it was delicious nonetheless!

Tortilla-less Sweet Potato Tacos
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2-4 small or medium sized sweet potatoes, rinsed and ends cut off
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 bell peppers, diced (color is your choice)
  • 1 cup corn
  • Approximately 2 cups beans of choice, wither homemade or canned
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I prefer Trader Joes as it is all natural)
  • Any additional favorite taco toppings: cabbage, avocado, salsa, cheese, etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Bake sweet potatoes until tender, approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle. (This can be done ahead of time)
  2. Slice potato lengthwise and scoop out the center leaving about ¼ in of the potato on the skin. (You can save the extra potato for something else if you’d like)! Increase the heat of the oven to 450. Brush or rub grapeseed oil (or another high smoke point oil) over both sides of the potato skins. Sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking rack or in a roasting pan. Cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, until browned and slightly crispy.
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan and add onions, cooking until fragrant. Add bell peppers and corn and cook until peppers begin to soften. Add taco seasoning and beans and saute until cooked through.
  4. Place sweet potato “taco shells” on a plate, fill with vegetable mixture and top with you favorite taco toppings.