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sun-dried tomatoes

White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

One of my favorite fellow Philly food blogger friends, Emily, recently made a big move to New York.

I’ve been missing dinner dates with her ever since.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

After numerous failed attempts to plan a “Skype cooking session” together, the chance finally presented itself for me to head up and see Emily’s new place and get back into the kitchen with her.

We immediately got to scheming up dinner plans — soup for the first snowy night of the year!  — and Emily kickstarted the blender to create some homemade almond milk for the next morning’s breakfast.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

As two food bloggers, of course we also set out to create a new recipe for y’all, and this Italian-inspired white bean dish over quinoa is what we settled upon.

The salty combination of olives and sun-dried tomatoes is one I could eat on the regular, and for me, acts as the centerpiece of this meal.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

A generous helping of kale gets added to the mix as does a splash of acidity from some lemon and a punch of garlic, all together working to take white beans to the next level.

We loved this meal because it’s so full of flavor (shout out to the toasted pine nuts, too!) but also incredibly healthy — a welcoming addition to a holiday season full of richness and decadent treats.

We used quinoa as the base for this dish, but feel free to play around and get creative with the grain!

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Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Hummus

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Hummus

Like fireworks on the 4th of July, when hummus meets basil, you get an explosion. Replace the fire with flavor, and I think you’ll get what I mean.

Pesto is my summer jam, and hummus is my year-round lunch buddy. Combining the two spreads seemed natural, and as I’ve discovered, works to create one of my favorite matches. It’s also a quick go-to of mine for picnics and potlucks, and may just make it onto tomorrow’s tableclothed agenda.

Honestly, I feel like you can rarely go wrong when adding pesto to a savory dish. It’s a highly flavorful spread, yet its intensity is rarely offensive to anyone. Pesto is no puttanesca. It’s not made from any sort of divisive ingredient like stinky anchovies or soapy cilantro. (Although, I quite like both of those myself). Rather, pesto is a garlic and basil beast, and if you don’t like those two ingredients, then you might as well leave my blog. Just kidding. But in all seriousness, I’m not sure I’ve met anyone yet who doesn’t like pesto. If this were the case, my jaw would likely be waiting for me on the floor. (Side note: I have met a few folks who have a hatred for guacamole. I consider myself lucky to still have that lower jaw of mine attached.)

In short, pesto is a people-pleaser. Combine it with hummus, and toss in a few sun-dried tomatoes, and your picnic dish is sure to get eaten up. Just make sure to whip up a little extra and leave it at home for yourself. This makes for a great, portable lunchtime meal that will store well all week.

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Mediterranean Garlicky Eggplant

Mediterranean Eggplant

When eating Italian, I feel like I’m often on an Easter egg hunt. Like my little nieces and nephews this past weekend, I am on a search. Only this search is for the garlic. And when my fork and spoon come across a clove, rejoice, my taste buds do. I am one who can never get enough garlic. Hence the 20+ cloves that went into this eggplant dish.

There are instances where, yes, I admit, you can go overboard on garlic. But with eggplant, I find that rarely rings true. Like it does with oil, eggplant is a sponge for flavor. The sweetness of sautéed or roasted garlic is often what I bring out to get soaked up.

Here, the eggplant and garlic is paired with a bite of arugula and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s a flavorful dish that holds up well to whole grains or pasta. Enjoy with others if you don’t want your flavorful perfume to go noticed.

Eggplant and Garlic

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Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Tuna

I was never a pasta junkie in college. Sure, I loved smearing spaghetti sauce all over my face when I was five (and still do, to an extent). And I loved packing my 5th grade thermos with ramen noodles, despite the condemning looks my mom would give me. And I really loved boxed mac & cheese once I hit high school, a period where my friends lived off of the creamy convenience. But once I hit college, I really started getting into my cooking groove, and while pasta and sauce was cheap and quick, I began preferring a little more experimentation. (Hence, my blog was born!)

However, lately I’ve rediscovered a love for noodles, especially in the form of thin, whole wheat strands. You can read more of an explanation about this here, but basically, by keeping the noodles on the skinny side, that nutty taste of using whole wheat becomes pleasant, rather than overbearing. With the pungent components in this recipe, the slight nuttiness is actually ideal for balancing out of all the flavors.

I’ve kept this one simple because I do think that’s the best part about pasta. It’s an easy base that lends itself well to so many flavor combinations. With the notes of sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, and tuna, you really don’t need to add too much else. A few simple seasonings and a hit of freshness from diced spring onions, and this becomes a meal that comes together in no time. Filling and delicious…I.e., what makes pasta and sauce a college kid’s dream team, although this one’s just a tad bit spruced up. A perfect step up for what I forgot to mention… I graduated from college on Thursday!! Goodbye four years of j-school. Whew and woohoo!

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Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomato and Tofu Sauté with Polenta

Polenta, also known as corn grits, is a favorite of mine.  Growing up, my dad would always serve it for breakfast, topped with a dab of butter or olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, and a side of eggs, sunny-side-up, and garden fried tomatoes.

I still eat the cornmeal gruel today, but it’s more often on my plate for dinner than for breakfast.  Baked, grilled, fried, or simply served fresh from the pan like I do in this recipe, polenta makes a great grain or pasta substitute.  And, it cooks up quick, which for me is always much appreciated. It’s also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, and fiber.

Little broccoli crowns have been materializing in my garden, so that’s what I decided to pair the polenta with this time.  Here, I serve it runny, topped with a combination of the crisp broccoli florets, intense sun-dried tomatoes, and seared tofu.  Then, I finish it off using age-old method my dad taught me–A healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

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