Category: Vegetarian

Broccoli, Kale and Blueberry Salad

Broccoli, Kale and Blueberry Salad
THIS!!! Not only beautiful, but a nutrition POWERHOUSE…

I love broccoli salad!  I love “THE” broccoli salad that you can buy in almost any deli you visit, you know the one with bacon, and nuts and craisins??  Seriously, what is not to love?  The one that is so good, but maybe not the best choice all the time. 

I really wanted to make a healthier version of that salad I love so much.  I wanted to replace the heavy dressing with a lighter vinaigrette, the bacon with a healthy fat and olives fit that bill, the crasins with antioxidant packed, sweet blueberries and some kale (because we really can’t get enough) for all of it’s wonderful nutritional value and it’s beautiful color. (more…)

Spaghetti Squash Bowls with Spinach, Pomegranite and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Spaghetti Squash Bowl with Spinach, Pomegranite and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Beautiful color and fantastic texture Spaghetti Squash Bowls with Spinach, Pomegranate and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas is a perfect meal in a natural “bowl”…

Spaghetti Squash Bowls with Spinach, Pomegranate and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas are the result of me almost writing off spaghetti squash…a desperate attempt to learn to love this beautiful produce item.  If this sounds familiar, try this recipe and you too will become a believer!! 

Friends lets not pretend that “spaghetti” squash is a comparable alternative to spaghetti , lets instead learn to appreciate it for what it is.  Yes, it does have the “strand-like” texture, but because it is a vegetable not a product made from flour, the TEXTURE is TOTALLY different.  Once you know this and accept this we can work together on loving this SQUASH! (more…)

Mixed Vegetable and Bean Soup with Basil Pesto

Mixed Vegetable and Bean Soup with Basil Pesto
A weeknight hot date dinner or a weeks full of healthy, hearty lunches…this soup is SOOOOO GOOD!!

Friends….how beautiful is this??  I know it is possible that I get a little more excited about pretty food than some, but come on…this is STUNNING!  Mixed Vegetable and Bean Soup with Basil Pesto is the result of a challenge issued by my daughter, Katie.  She said, “Mom, lets do a week of only vegetarian food.”  We do eat plant based meals often, but I loved the idea of a full week.  “Challenge accepted” I say!! (more…)

Thai-Style Sweet Potato Noodles with Crisp Green Veggies

Veggie heaven!! Color...Texture....Flavor, this dish has it all!!
Veggie heaven!! Color…Texture….Flavor, this dish has it all!!

How beautiful are these Thai-stlye sweet potato noodles with crisp, green veggies??  Can you believe this…up until this dish I had not yet tried sweet potato noodles?   Just kidding…sweet potato noodles, seriously?!?   This honestly seemed ridiculous to me when I was first made aware of the idea.  Who really has tried sweet potato noodles anyway??  (more…)

Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans

Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans
Scones….done right…their flaky texture is irresistible. This recipe will walk you through how to master the technique and these cranberry orange scones will become a holiday staple…

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Cilantro Pesto with Pepitas and Queso Fresco

Cilantro Pest with Queso Fresco and Pepitas
Normally thought of and made with basil, cilantro pesto with pepitas and queso fresco is another option and way to jazz up any dish you are making…easy, quick, beautiful and so delish!!

“It tastes like soap,” I hear people say about cilantro …WHAT THE HELL??  I think this must be some sort of genetic oversight or something.  To me, this beautiful herb is fresh and almost citrus-like.  I usually have a bunch in my refrigerator to jazz up this or that.  Recently, I had a bunch and had no plans for it, so pesto, I thought, let’s make pesto.  Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil, (check out this beautiful post from Cookie and Kate for more on that https://cookieandkate.com/2017/how-to-make-basil-pesto/).  SO…..I used that as my guide and used cilantro, pepitas, queso fresco, garlic and olive oil….same ratio and components, just different flavors.  This is good friends, I used part of it for a hot date dinner that looks like this….

shrimp, chorizo and grits with cilantro pesto
The inspiration…shrimp and grits, the end product…shrimp, chorizo and grits with cilantro pesto…how beautiful is this?? It tasted amazing…

I wasn’t sure how the grits would look with the pesto mixed in, but after a small trial, the color was gorgeous and the flavors were on point.  Real simple to make…here we go..

Raw ingredients including fresh cilantro, garlic and pepitas/almonds..
Raw ingredients including fresh cilantro, garlic and pepitas/almonds..a food processor will do all of the work for you..
All ingredients (cilantro, nuts/seeds, garlic and cheese) will go into the food processor and extra virgin olive oil will be streamed in while the processor is running until a desirable consistency is achieved...
All ingredients (cilantro, nuts/seeds, garlic and cheese) will go into the food processor and extra virgin olive oil will be streamed in while the processor is running until a desirable consistency is achieved…

Other ideas…stir this into mayo for a fantastic, herby aoli for sandwiches or to dip fries in (http://www.hotdatedinner.com/crispy-baked-sweet-potato-fries/)….OR use it as a marinade for chicken, chops or shrimp a few hours before the grill….OR stir into pasta or rice.  This is a great way to use up cilantro or just a really delicious way to use cilantro…

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Cilantro Pesto with Pepitas and Queso Fresco

Cilantro Pest with Queso Fresco and Pepitas

Cilantro perfection…

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T slivered almonds
2 T pepitas
1 1/2 cups loosley packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsly leaves
1/4 cup evoo
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
Salt and frehsly ground pepper

Instructions

In a food processor, finely chop the almonds, pepitas and garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bol. Add the ciantro and parsley adn process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to create a smooth puree. Add the queso fresco and pulse until evenly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!!

Mixed Citrus Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Spicy, Roasted Chickpeas

Mixed Citrus Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Spicy, Roasted Chickpeas
LOOK AT THIS COLOR!!! Isn’t it just gorgeous? I had some of my favorite women over for a very early Christmas lunch and wanted to make them something that was packed with color, flavor and all kinds of nutrition and this salad was the creation…

‘Tis citrus season, friends….I like to think of it this way instead of ’tis flu season.   Citrus season is just beginning…it peaks right after the new year, so good news….you can make this beauty over and over for the next few months.  Mixed citrus salad with avocado, pomegranate and spicy, roasted chickpeas is light and refreshing, and is packed with fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants and phyochemicals….all warriors against that other season we are in (not to mention preventative measures against all kinds of other things that our bodies don’t want).  Did I mention it is absolutely stunning…a real show-stopper and EASY to make???  Let’s do this…to begin with, we will talk about roasting chickpeas….genius, I know!! (more…)

Creamy, Roasted Tomato Soup with Chipotle Peppers

Creamy, Roasted Tomato Soup with Chipotle Peppers
Creamy, Roasted Tomato Soup with Chipotle Peppers

I created this recipe a few years ago when I had more tomatoes than I knew what to do with in my garden.  However, here we are in November and  our MN garden tomatoes have been done for a while.  In any case, get the best romas you can locally and this soup can be made all year long!!  In this recipe the tomatoes are roasted to intensify their sweet flavor and to char their skins making for easy peeling.  Chipotle peppers  which are smoked and dried jalapenos that are re-hydrated and canned in an adobo sauce (a sweet and tangy purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and some other spices, that packs some heat but with plenty of balance and body) add the perfect, complimentary level of heat to the soup.  Creamy, roasted tomato soup with chipotle peppers is perfect on its own or pairs beautifully with any kind of “dipper” (grilled cheese, garlic bread or tortilla chips)  or side salad.  Now, let’s make soup!! (more…)

Wild Rice and Brussel Sprout Pilaf with Pomegranate and Toasted Pecans

Wild Rice and Brussel Sprout Pilaf with Pomegranate and Toasted Pecans
This just screams Fall to me and harvest and MN and all things that will look beautiful on a Thanksgiving table. Oh and did I mention it screams flavor and texture awesomeness?? Make wild rice and brussel sprout pilaf with pomegranate and toasted pecans a highlight of your holiday feast..

I love a good bread stuffing on Thanksgiving as much as the next gal, but this year I am looking for something a little more complex and perhaps a little more nutritious, insert wild rice and brussel sprout pilaf with pomegranate and toasted pecans.  Are you with me??  I want to treat my family and guests to a wonderful, colorful, delicious feast…one that is packing as many vegetables as possible.  The inspiration for this dish came from some beautiful brussels spouts we (Tim and I ♥) picked up at the Farmers market (http://www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com/).  I love walking through the isles of freshly grown, local food and letting the Spirit move me on ideas.  Truth be told this is what I love about any shopping trip that involves food.  Here are the gorgeous sprouts that inspired this dish… (more…)

Cranberry-Apple Sauce with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon

Cran-Apple Sauce with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon
Cranberry sauce is a must on my Thanksgiving table.  Cranberry-apple sauce with maple syrup and cinnamon is the recipe you will use going forward.  The apples along with the maple syrup naturally sweeten the sauce eliminating the need for added sugar…#winning..  

I LOVE cranberry sauce with turkey.  I could never really get into the kind that looked like a can in slices on a plate, but real cranberry sauce….LOVE IT!!  I remember it being my job to make it growing up at our Thanksgiving.   I grew up in central MN on a lake and every year (it seemed anyway) the lake was frozen enough for skating so we would spend the morning on the ice and then with bright, red cheeks and in my Thanksgiving outfit (long underwear) I would help Mom with the feast….my job, cranberries.  I would read the directions on the package and do things just as instructed and the sauce was great!  Such beautiful color and the perfect accompaniment to our turkey.  Very fond memories friends…my parents were transplants from Chicago, so our Thanksgiving was often just the 4 of us and it was magical.  This year,at my house there will be a few more than 4, 12 in fact, and I will be making the cranberry sauce yet again, with perhaps a hand from one of my kids.  We will be making cranberry-apple sauce with maple syrup and cinnamon and I am going to say it…YOU SHOULD TOO!!!!!  No sugar in this one, natural sweeteners from the maple syrup and the apples.  This sauce is great with turkey (yes, I tested it with http://www.hotdatedinner.com/turkey-legs-brined-buttermilk-smoked/), but I also tested it with vanilla ice cream and toasted pecans and guess what?!?  IT WAS AMAZING!!  AND, I plan to serve any leftovers with yogurt and granola (along with http://www.hotdatedinner.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins/) on Friday morning before the days festivities commence.  Dinner, dessert and breakfast all in one recipe…you are welcome.  ♥ (more…)

Butternut Gnocchi with Kale and Shiitake Mushrooms

Butternut Gnocchi with Kale and Shiitake Mushrooms
This just might be the perfect bite of fall flavors. Make this beautiful butternut gnocchi with kale and shiitake mushrooms for your next hot date dinner…take your time and enjoy the process …cheers!!

Make gnocchi?!?  What in the hell is it, first of all?  Gnocchi, by definition, are various thick, small, and soft dough dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, and in this case, with the addition of butternut squash.  They are really so good.   I first made gnocchi for Tim on a cold winter night for hot date dinner and we have been hooked ever since.  This is a recipe that I have come up with over a few different, failed attempts at the right combination of flavors for the butternut gnocchi, but let me tell you, this one is a winner.  Making gnocchi is a process, so plan to do this one when you have a free afternoon, make a ton to freeze and enjoy every second of it!!  Let’s get to it.. (more…)

Beets, Roasted with Shallots and Rosemary, Pickled with Red Onions

Beets, Roasted with Shallots and Rosemary, Pickled with Red Onion
The perfect sweet and and “oniony” condiment. Beets, roasted with shallots and rosemary and pickled with red onions are so incredibly delish on salads and sandwiches..

I don’t think I was privy to pickled beets until after I met my good friend, Tim. ♥  His Grandma made them every year, with his help at times.  Sure, I had eaten this magnificent root plenty of times…we grew them in our garden while I was growing up and my mom did other amazing things with them, but pickled…WHOA, this was an awakening!!  Beets are so beautiful…the color alone just draws us in.  Pickling them with the addition of red onions is like a marriage made in heaven, a sweet, pickly, oniony marriage.  There is sugar in this recipe providing the perfect, sweet, acidic flavor you are craving.  Make no mistake, although there is some sugar, beets are a great source of fiber and are naturally low in calories and fat.  These gems are the perfect addition to any sandwich, but I particularly love them on a veggie sandwich. (more…)