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Roasted

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

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!
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Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

I craft a lot, a lot of recipes. And I’m always dreaming up more in my mind. Yet, every year, Thanksgiving comes around, and rarely do I have a clue of what I’m going to make.

Usually, the winning idea arrives last minute (fashionably late). Often, it’s after a few Google searches, and several emails from my sister inquiring about what I’ll be bringing to the family feast. Usually she gives up. And often I show up with a surprise. Which means, it needs to be good. Great. Worthy of all turkey-eaters to save some vegetarian room on their plate.

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

This year, I was given some time in advance to think. Well, actually, required to set aside some time to choose a Thanksgiving dish to share recipe.

I hosted a Friendsgiving this past weekend, which was perfect for practicing my holiday cooking skills before the real deal rolls around.

This heaping bowl of thyme-infused rice and squash goodness got gobbled up in no time. If I had to give it an alternate name, I’d call it Healthful Holiday Party-in-a-Bowl. It’s a true celebration of fall’s best festive flavors.

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

Here, nutty rice pairs with creamy squash and a sweet-meets-tart punch of flavor from the cranberries. Buttery, pan-roasted pecans add a crunch, while thyme drives that classic Thanksgiving feel that we all know and love. I sautéed the onion in butter to richen things up, and finished it off with parsley to add a complimentary freshness. The result, as previously mentioned, is a T-day party-in-a-bowl. Are you ready to celebrate?

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

If you’re not sure what you’re bringing to the Thanksgiving table yet, I’m throwing this into the recommendation hat. It serves as a great vegetarian main dish that leaves you satisfied with all of its festive goodness.

If you do have a recipe already picked out, this needn’t be reserved solely for the holidays. Healthy and wholesome, I’ll certainly be bringing this to the table again this season. Cheers.

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Breakfast Bagels with Baba Ganoush

Breakfast Bagels with Baba Ganoush

I really do love bagels. Often, I have my mom’s voice ringing in the back of my head saying, “Oatmeal is a better choice”. But then I just push it away, because bagels are worth it. Especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Breakfast Bagels with Baba Ganoush

Besides, when you use bagels as a canvas for garden veggies, they can be considered an excellent choice, right? Maybe even better than oatmeal.  Don’t worry mom, that’s a whole wheat everything bagel plated below.

And it’s loaded with creamy baba ganoush.

Breakfast Bagels with Baba Ganoush

Recently, I’ve been using bagels as a platform for vine ripened tomatoes, spilling out over a nice smear of cream cheese and layered with sweet onions. It’s what I consider a perfect breakfast. Throw a farm fried egg on the side, and breakfast feels flawless. Cue Beyonce: I woke up to this.

Breakfast Bagels with Baba Ganoush

The days of huge tomato harvests are beginning to slow down though, just as eggplants are quickly populating the nearby plants. Those purple guys were the inspiration for ditching the cream cheese in favor of a new kind of spread.

Buttery baba ganoush on a chewy toasted bagel – it’s a match made in heaven, no cream cheese needed. Feel free to keep it vegan, or throw some salty feta on top. I recommend some chopped tomatoes, too, if you have them.

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Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

When you’re having a tomato party on your kitchen counters, turn up the heat and bring the celebration to your oven.

Slow. Roasted. Tomatoes.

Three words that equal magnificence. And a guaranteed party for your plated pasta, toast, or pesto.

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

Giving tomatoes a good roast enriches their sweetness and draws out an intensity of flavor that makes them almost feel rich. I love them with a drizzle of olive oil on a piece of crusty bread. I also love them with pesto, again for that sweetness I mentioned, which they’ll bring to the dish.

Roasted Tomatoes

August is a beautiful time, given that you can reap bounties of both tomatoes and basil. Feel free to throw some sauteed zucchini on top of this dish too, or any other harvest you might find from your garden or in your farmer’s market basket. Really though, this dish doesn’t need much else, except maybe a cool glass of white wine and a table al fresco. Enjoy!

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

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Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

Earlier this week, I received an “OMG” message from one of my coworkers, followed by a link to a version of this zucchini noodle recipe. In an instant, it was on my must-make list. I mean, obviously that’s how you treat a recipe that gets sent at 10p.m. with an OMG note written in all caps. Wouldn’t you agree?

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I love the simplicity of this recipe and the seasonality of it. The sauce itself is just a handful of ingredients but is rich in flavor from fresh roasted tomatoes. It’s tangy and gets a nice touch of cream from the cream cheese – but not in an overly rich, alfredo-like way that would for sure overpower delicate zucchini noodles.

Instead, I found the two went quite well together.

Zucchini Noodles

You’ll see this recipe is quite saucy. I added an additional zucchini to the instructions below, but would recommend picking up a baguette as well to sop up its piquant flavors. This will also help to bolster what is naturally a fairly light meal. Add a side salad, and dinner is complete.

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

What are your favorite ways to use zucchini noodles? I’ve enjoyed this recipe, and also peanut sauce variations, but am always looking for new ways to utilize them…especially as I head off to my parent’s house this Sunday, and sneak away with some of their garden’s green glory 😉

Hit me with your best zucchini noodle recipe!

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

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