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goat cheese

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

What do you get when you ask three healthy food bloggers to tell you their #1 fall veggie? Too many answers to count. So, Philadelphia Magazine’s Be Well picked the produce (sweet potatoes) for us, and tasked two friends of mine and I to come up with an accessible way to use it.

The results: three kick-butt recipes that’ll make you mash what you think you already know about cooking sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

I chose to create a rendition of burritos with a healthy beans and greens twist. Like sweet potatoes, it’s hard to go wrong with bringing burritos to the dinner table.

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

I love how sweet potatoes compliment the earthiness of young fall greens. In this recipe, these two star ingredients are given the majority of the attention so that the preparation of the beans can remain quick and simple. Spices infuse the veggies, while the beans are simply tossed with a spritz of citrus to complete a weeknight meal that comes together in no time.

Head over to Be Well for the recipe, where you’ll also find a Sweet Potato Falafel (!) and a hearty Sweet Potato, Kale, and Wild Rice Soup!

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Two days till Cinco de Mayo – that leaves plenty of time to plan for tacos, right? Ample time to switch up prevailing plans of a standard Mexican meal, too.

Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Outside of the corn tortilla, this recipe isn’t the typical celebration piece. But the roasted carrot + spiced lentil combo that lays within it makes the recipe certainly worth veering away from traditional.

If you’re in the market for something new, give it a go. These tacos will still pair perfectly with a classic margarita and side bowl of guac., so don’t think you need to entirely ship your Cinco de Mayo plans outside of the box. I mean, avocados are pretty much a must…

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Here, cumin seeds get flashed in a hot skillet and then ground into a notably aromatic, fresh powder. This extra step really makes the lentils shine without requiring much further effort to make them stand out. I.e., don’t skip this step if you can help it.

The toasty flavor of the cumin pairs perfectly with the sweet and earthy carrots that are placed beside the lentils. Creamy goat cheese seals the deal before the taco gets wrapped. If you want, you can amp up the buttery factor by pureeing some of the roasted carrots prior to adding them to your taco. Layer this onto the tortillas as a sauce, and proceed as the recipe instructs. Yum-o. That’s a celebration I’m ready to have on my plate this Tuesday. You with me?!

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Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula

Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula

As a kid, I preferred blue to pink. This fared quite nicely for my parents, who loved to dress me in my brother’s hand-me-downs.

But these days, my heart melts for magenta — especially when we’re talking food. And one small beet makes it easy to bring that color to life

arugula

Here, grated beets sweep in to keep pesto from turning that ugly shade of green that normally happens when basil oxidizes. It adds a slight earthiness to the pesto, but is far from the prominent flavor.

Pair with arugula for an added pop of color and goat cheese for a delightful creamy finish.

Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula

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Butternut, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tacos

Butternut, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tacos

The taco — is there anything greater? Aside from avocado on everything and the invention of Sriracha, I think not. Good thing those two items pair incredibly well inside a tortilla.

You don’t need to be an Iron Chef to create a mind-blowing taco. What you do need: quality, warm tortillas, beans, cumin, garlic and/or onion (preferably both) and salsa. Bonus points if you’ve got a ripe avocado, unless making the recipe you see here. From there, the rest is really up to you — sautéed veggies, cheese, herbs, coriander, other forms of protein, etc.

It’s not rocket science. Yet there’s nothing greater! Except avocado. And maybe Sriracha. Which are both beside the point…

Butternut, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tacos

…Let’s get to the point. It was a long week. Which means I’m bringing you a recipe that anyone can make. I don’t care if you pronounce “milk” like “melk”. I don’t care if you’re Einstein. You can make this recipe, no matter how smart you are or where your skill level of cooking lays. You can make this after a really long day of work (if you can wait the 40 minutes of oven time). YOU can make this. Did I mention you can make this even if you insist on pronouncing “milk” as “melk”?

Yeah. It’s been a long week. But aside from all that nonsense written above, trust in me that these tacos are awesome. And not just because they’re tacos. Rather because buttery winter squash roasts so well with caramelized onions, and thrown together with goat cheese and cilantro, I’d have to say they’re hard to beat — especially given how easy they come together. Not even by avocado, which I didn’t bother to add to this. Why? Because these tacos don’t even need it. Although, as I said, nothing’s greater than avocado on everything, so if you’re heart’s set on it, go ahead and throw a few cubes of avo. in here too.

Oh…and I don’t think you’re dumb if you say “melk”. I have a few friends who insist on it, no matter how many times I correct them. I have faith that they too can make this recipe.

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Summer Rice and Quinoa Tabbouleh with Beets

Summer Tabbouleh with Beets

Can we talk about how fast life moves after graduating from college? And I’m not even at a 9-5 job anymore. Nor do I have kids…I can’t image how time will feel when that happens. I’m picturing similar to how this 800 mile per hour high speed train would feel, if it ever gets built.

This summer seems like a blur. Late August and evening sweater weather, how did you creep up so fast? Please leave me be for another few weeks. I need some time to contemplate. (i.e., to lay on my back in a pool, and stare mindlessly up at the sky). Ya feel me?

At least I can say the past few months have been entertaining ones, and packed with a tabbouleh salad full of new experiences. This last week, I had the opportunity to teach yoga to a class of senior citizens, a group of former homeless drug addicts, and Temple University’s volleyball team. Man, was each experience different. And tremendously rewarding. Occasions like this really make me reevaluate life. If only I had more time to ponder over those feelings. In a pool. Or a lake. I won’t be picky, summer, if you just stay a bit longer.

Summer Tabbouleh with Beets

So while life has been busy and all over the place, I’ve been making a lot of no-recipe tabbouleh salads. Ones in a huge bowl that will last for the week, and are packed with farmer’s market veggies to keep me charged and thinking straight.

On these occasions, there are no measuring cups or spoons present, excluding the one I’m using to taste as I go. There is no exact science involved. Or open laptop being splattered with veggie juice, tracking every ingredient’s use. While I love recipe development, more often than not, this is how I enjoy cooking the most. Improvisation based off of the ingredients I have at hand.

I hate to snub you guys of a precise directions here, but I want you to simply use this as inspiration to create your own version of tabbouleh. No stressing if you’re missing ingredients from the recipe, well, because there is no recipe. And no freaking out if it doesn’t look like some photo. Below is simply a loose blueprint to get you started. Also, just an FYI, one beet can go a long way. You don’t need much to add that gorgeous pink vibrancy you’ll see in the bowl above.

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