One Step Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

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The weather has been so nice out lately and a green healthy chilled soup was exactly what I needed to finish off the weekend! This recipe is incredibly easy and is the perfect amount of cool, fresh and crisp. It’s a nice way to end a warm day (or start the day!)…It even becomes a nice healthy portable lunch if you put it in a mason jar and top with some nuts & beans. So basically you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner in 5 minutes, really?!… 

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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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Top 7 Summer Salads

As we move from Spring towards Summer, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Summer salads. These are a perfect starter or a side dish for those hot summer nights. Click on the link below the photo to take you to the recipe.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Tabbouleh (cracked wheat salad)

Arugula Salad with Peaches

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Caesar Dressing

Homemade Caesar

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad

I hope you cannot overdose on peas because I have literally been making this non stop! I went to the farmer’s market the other weekend and there were fresh snap peas, fresh peas, fresh kale and fresh arugula…so obviously, I went to town :). My friend Alli had made a rendition of this at our Supper Club but I modified it to make it my own. It is a light, crisp goodness of greens. Be sure to check out my new site The Simple Kitchen. Oh and don’t forget you can find the guide to making lemon vinaigrette here

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups snap peas
  • 2 cups garden peas
  • 5 cups arugula
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • ½ cup mint leaves, chopped – can do more depending on your taste
  • 1½ -2 avocados, cubed
  • ¼ cup lemon vinagrette
  • Pepitas and coarse sea salt for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
  2. Wash the sugar snap peas and de-string them if necessary, snapping the tip and removing the fibrous strand running lengthwise. If the snap peas are young, you won’t have to do this. Drop the sugar snap peas into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes, then strain out and drop them into an ice bath. Once cooled, strain.
  3. Combine arugula, kale and mint to a serving bowl.
  4. Add peas, avocado and dressing and mix well.
  5. Top with pepitas, salt and any additional toppings (chopped cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, etc.)

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.

Avocado Cabbage Rolls

There is nothing I love more than some good spring rolls! However, it is not always easy to have rice paper at your disposal. Tip: order it from Amazon and just keep it on hand because there is nothing better than a nice homemade spring roll when you have a craving. You can enjoy the pleasure of putting whatever you want in it and they are a total crowd pleaser for a dinner party appetizer… and if you are my like my husband it can be fun to make it the size of a small burrito :). Anyhow, I saw this recipe on Whole Living and thought it was a great way to still get the look, feel and taste of a spring roll but with a little more ease. It is a bit messier who cares about a mess when peanut sauce is involved, right?! Feel free to play around with the filling – I’m sure they would be awesome with the spring roll filling as well!

Average Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce – found here!

2 cups watercress, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

2 cups jicama, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch basil, stems removed

1/2 bunch mint, stems removed

1 avocado, pitted and mashed

Salt

4-8 cabbage leaves (depending on size and number of rolls you want to make)

Directions

1. Toss watercress with carrot, jicama, basil, mint, avocado, and salt.

2. Roll in cabbage leaf and serve with peanut sauce.

Photo Credit: Whole Living

 

Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad

Apple, Endive and Walnut Salad

I hosted my Supper Club last week and decided to do an Autumn Apple theme. With the shorter days, changing leaves and cool weather, it definitely feels like a transition away from summer. This salad was super simple, tasty and the presentation makes it look very impressive. Here’s looking forward to what this upcoming season has to offer!

Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 red apples, quartered, cored, and each quarter cut into 8 wedges
  • 6 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 Belgian endives, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast walnuts, stirring frequently until crisp and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, shallot, and vinegar until well combined. Whisk in the oil until thick; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add apple and arugula; toss to coat. Arrange endive leaves on four serving plates, top with apple mixture and scatter mint, cheese, and walnuts over the top.

Photo Credit: Whole Living

Tabbouleh (Cracked Wheat Salad)

  As you can tell, I have been really into using fresh herbs lately. I love how it makes things taste like they came straight from the garden. Unless you have an herb garden of your own, you are often left with a whole lot of extra herbs since you have to buy them by the bunch. There is no doubt that you’ll have some extra mint when you’re finished making your Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Part of the reason I love to travel is because I love to eat and I started making this recipe after I went to Dubai a few years back. So I was reminded of this as I was wondering what to do with all my extra mint.  This is a great recipe because you can make a big batch of it to use up your extra herbs and eat it all throughout the week. Use it as a side, put it on salads or inside wraps. The uses are endless and all quite delicious.

Tabbouleh (Cracked Wheat Salad)
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 firm tomatoes, cubed small
  • 1 large cucumber, cubed small
  • 2-3 scallions, diced small
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil – more if needed
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice – more if needed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Place bulgur in a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the bulgur.
  2. Let stand for about ½ hour, or until all water is absorbed.
  3. Drain well, squeezing out any excess water. You can use a sieve and remove excess moisture by pressing down with the back of a spoon.
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint (optional) to bulgur.
  5. Season with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Refrigerate, covered, a few hours or overnight.
  7. Serve cold.

Serving Suggestion: If you would like a gluten free version, use quinoa in place of the bulgur. Also, feel free to add raw onion or sprinkle some feta on top.

Photo Credit: Diva:flava

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Watermelon with Feta and MintI am just returning from Turkey and there is no real way to describe how amazing the food was! I will be attempting some recipes in the future… But for now, one of the things that really caught my attention is that they often serve melon with cheese before and/or after a meal. It is incredibly simple and very refreshing, especially in the summer months.Also, I have always loved eating fruit with a fork and knife! I added my own touch by putting mint into the equation, so I hope you enjoy this refreshing summer treat.  You’ll definitely be seeing some other renditions of the fruit + cheese combination in the future.

Watermelon with Feta and Mint
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 cups chilled watermelon, sliced
  • 3 oz feta cheese, sliced
  • Mint leaves
  • Lime (optional)
Instructions
  1. Layer watermelon and cheese on a plate.
  2. Top with mint leaves and top with a squeeze of lime juice if using.

Photo Credit: Prevention.com