Warm Caprese Grain Salad

After recently moving to a new neighborhood, my two housemates and I threw a little housewarming BBQ and celebration. Yay!

Tasked with the challenge of making something for a crowd that would be vegetarian, nutritious AND able to rival burgers circulating aromatics from the grill, I settled upon this rendition of caprese.

I taste-tested in advance and gave it two thumbs up. But it was still much to my surprise that the healthy caprese rice ran out before the burgers. Who would’ve guessed?

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

As with a traditional caprese salad, the flavors here are simple but fresh. Good extra virgin olive oil, zesty basil and sweet caramelization from the oven that’s bestowed upon a variety of veggies all make this dish shine. It’s delicate, yet addicting. And makes you feel good even after going in for seconds.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I opted to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add mozzarella or goat cheese. You could also play with the grain combination. Here, I chose to add in some barley with the rice, which lent a nice and subtle crunchy element.

I also love the texture and flavor contrast created when using both roasted and raw tomatoes. If able, go with two different varieties for each, like sungolds and classic grape tomatoes, for a nice color scheme and added complexity of flavor.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I’m looking forward to more veggie and herb-centric meals in the months to come. Also a shout-out to Mastro Co. for the awesome ceramic bowl that held this veggie-filled goodness!
CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

Spring weather is starting to creep in, which clearly calls for celebration. Chocolate mousse anyone?

Even if you’re still freezing your butt off wherever you might reside, it’s hard to say no to that question.

Chocolate mousse, for the win. Always.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

This particular vegan variation feels like a favorable surprise. Inside lays a whole carton of tofu – yet, its taste goes undetected. Instead, the tofu bestows a wonderfully silky texture, so creamy that you’d swear there was actual cream in this recipe.

But alas there is not, nor do you need any cream to make this mousse feel as rich as any of its dairy-filled counterparts.

Let’s celebrate that, too.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

Heavenly chocolaty and smooth, this mousse is a winner. Throw it in the freezer an hour before serving, and it becomes even better. Finish it off with some fruit to lighten up its richness, and voila.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Often it’s the simplest dishes that make for the tastiest meals.

Fresh, seasonal ingredients, a pinch of spices and chopped herbs, and really that’s all you need to create a recipe that’s memorable – many times even more memorable than a combination that calls for hours upon hours of cooking.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

I’ve been getting into swimming lately, which generally leaves me ravishing upon arriving home.

My patience doesn’t have time for anything fancy when I show up to the kitchen counter. And when I have quality ingredients on-hand, I don’t need anything complicated either.

Luckily, my stockpile of winter squash has been conducive to all of this. A hearty tray of simply seasoned kabocha or a steaming baked sweet potato can really knock the edge off of hunger in a satisfying way. I find this to be one of the richest parts of winter.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

This recipe draws upon that heartiness of squash to create a nourishing meal that stays both light and satisfying. Baked with a little spice and tossed over crunchy, massaged kale to ever-so-slightly wilt the leaves, this becomes a powerful salad.

Salty chickpeas top it all off along with a creamy tahini dressing, where you’ll find the strength of fresh herbs kicking in.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Serve with a slice of crusty bread, and feel free to sprinkle a few toasted nuts and seeds on top to give the meal a boost.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers-blog4

I’m going to start off with a quick disclaimer. These photos don’t do these burgers justice.

Some days, when the light’s dropping early and your stomach’s rumbling from room-filling aromas, you end up with photos that don’t quite showcase the awesomeness of what lays in front of you.

But stay with me here.

Smoky + sweet + hearty black beans and oats = one killer veggie burger.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Sure, the burgers are vegan. And so as depicted, they are a tad sloppy. But not fall apart-on-you sloppy. These are no sloppy Joe’s. Far from it actually as far as a vegan burger goes.

You could certainly throw in an egg if you’re concerned about this. Or do as I do, and utilized the two-spatula technique when it comes time to flip them in the frying pan during the cooking process. Just give them a little squeeze, and they’ll firm up nicely as they cook.

But let’s get to the important topic of discussion here – the taste.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

This isn’t your bland restaurant veggie burger. I’ve had one too many of those to know better. Rather, these are packed with all the complimentary flavor you’d expect from a recipe worthy of putting on the repeat list. The spice from the chipotle and smokiness from the paprika pairs well with the creamy sweet potato, all of which gets finished off with a little lime. The cumin and beans team up for a little Mexican flare, and the oats bind it all together.

Finish it off with your favorite toppings. I might suggest some guacamole if you have it on hand, but even just a handful of spinach and a dollop of ketchup will do.

Note, these freeze well, so if you have extras or want to double the recipe, go for it!

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Vegetarian Chili

We got our first snowstorm here in Philly last weekend – everyone say hey to Jonas – which called for a snow-day Saturday chili cook-off session.

With plenty of time to slow down and savor, into the pot went every veggie and spice that makes chili shine, and onto the timer went plenty of minutes.

Vegetarian Chili

Snow brings time to chill. Time to chill brings patience. And patience brings flavor-making magic.

If you’ve got the minutes to spare, let this merger of ingredients mix and mingle for at least 45 minutes. The more time you give it, the more infusion of flavor in every bite you’ll receive.

In fact, it probably reaches its best not the night upon serving but in your bowl the next day.

Patience is a delicious virtue.

Vegetarian Chili

Serve over brown rice with some cheddar, on the sharp side, and/or fresh herbs. And if you seek to level up the whole experience, add a square of warm, buttered cornbread on a plate to its side.

We’ll thank Jonas for this one.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

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