You can make this smoky mozzarella and basil pesto grilled cheese sandwich and eat it straight away. It will be gooey and flavourful on the inside, crispy and buttery on the outside....but why stop there? You can take it to the next level by dipping it in a super simple spicy marinara. Ugh. It is heaven and I've had this for dinner three nights in a row because I'm obsessed. What else can I say, scroll down for the recipes. Make it, take a delicious bite, (a glass of red wine wouldn't go astray along side) then pat yourself on the back cause you just made an epic sandwich.
I think the type of bread you use here is VERY important. I randomly tried it with some generic sliced multigrain bread and didn't really enjoy it. A thinly sliced white sourdough is pretty perfect. I find if the bread is too thick the filling doesn't heat through as easily and also it just is a better ratio of bread to filling when the bread is on the thinner side.
Vegan Basil Pesto
Assemble the Sandwich
How to use Leftover Pesto & Mozza
Basil Pesto & Smoked Mozza Pizza
I spread some pesto on my par baked pizza crust. Topped with some mushrooms, red onion, black olives and smoked mozzarella then finished cooking on my pizza stone. I like to Eat this with lemony dressed arugula & cherry tomato salad. I also like to garnish my vegan pizza with nutritional yeast and a delicious drizzle of olive oil. I was dipping slices of basil pesto pizza in the marinara sauce. SO GOOD
Basil Pesto Pasta
(Saute onion, mushrooms, garlic, olives & smoked tofu in a pan then add almost cooked spaghetti noodles to it along with plenty of basil pesto, cherry tomatoes & a few splashes of reserved pasta water & S + P. Toss everything around as the pesto and tomatoes heat up and the pasta finishes cooking. Folding in fresh arugula at the last moment. Garnish with more nutritional yeast and garlicky lemony breadcrumbs (Thug Kitchen recipe) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Dig in. Epic.
Patatas Bravas is a widely popular tapas item in Spain. It translates to "Fierce Potato". Crispy potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce and drizzled with garlicky mayo. I can say hands down it is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. I took a bite and just took a moment to reflect. Wow. Food like this humbles and inspires me. The most simple ingredient combinations can create flavour magic. Do yourself a favour, make this, eat this...you need patatas bravas in your life, I promise.
I chose to roast my potatoes, and cut them into random sized chunks, but traditionally the potatoes are in smaller cubes and are deep fried. For my recipe, the trick is to cook the potates in salted boiling water first with baking soda. When you dump them into the strainer, shake the strainer around so the potatoes get "roughed up". This creates a surface area conducive to getting nice and crispy. Cool potatoes, then roast or fry to crispy spud perfection.
Difficulty : Easy
Serves : 4
Assemble your patatas bravas
Nacho Chips and guacamole are one of my favourite vegan snack staples. Easy & delicious. Vegan Nacho Night was next level with this cheezy dip and mango guacamole. The chipotle sweet potato dip is smokey, a bit sweet & dare I say healthy. I had leftovers and was just spooning it on crostini and topping it with guacamole. Amazing. I thinned the dip out with a bit of water so I could drizzle it for the photograph, and I ate it this way but next time I'll be more inclined to leave it on the thicker side for dipping.... served piping hot, along side a bowl of guacamole. And I'll invite friends. Because I ate all of the nachos. Like literally All. Of. Them. If that's not an endorsement I dunno what is. Along side a cold pint of your fav brew. Epic
* Really a good guacamole can handle a decent amount of lime and salt. I couldn't believe I was putting that much salt in but they needed it. It's a delicate balance. Not enough and it's bland, too much and well, it's s.a.l.t.y.
** Make this straight up avocado guacamole simply by subbing the mango for another avocado.
Chipotle Sweet Potato Queso
*** This is going to determine how smoky/spicy your Queso is. I ended up using 3 tbsp. The flavour will deepen and get spicier after it sits a day, and of course once it's heated in a pan it will release more heat. It's never a bad thing to start with less, then add more when you are heating it the next day, but 3 tbsp. for me was perfect.
I have been loving guacamole piled high on sourdough that has been drizzled with olive oil and toasted in the oven, then topped with lots of the queso. I honestly love it even when it's not piping hot, as long as it's not fridge cold. So good. Perfect vegan appetizer or lunch.
If you have never tried making sushi rolls at home, I will tell you it is dead easy and don't be intimidated by the process. Every time I make them I make a mental note to do it more often, because on top of being simple they are so delicious....not to mention healthy (if you want them to be) and so satisfying. Instead of going the traditional route with soy sauce, pickled ginger & wasabi on the side I thought I'd give it a go with a delicious peanut sauce. It's bright and flavourful and so freaking yummy. Lime, Ginger, Miso, Garlic, Natural Peanut Butter, Sesame Oil, Cilantro...etc...
Even if you don't make sushi, make this peanut sauce and use it in a noodle bowl, a stir fry, or eat it with a spoon...
Because I used brown rice, and not traditional sushi rice, the rice has to exist on the INSIDE of the nori (seaweed) sheet. This is because brown rice is not sticky like sushi rice so it would just fall apart if you tried to put it on the outside. You will need approximately 1/2 cup of cooked rice per sushi roll. Each roll is typically cut into 8 pieces. Which technically is a serving for one person but I've watched people eat 4 times that much so better to plan for extra. Typically sushi rice is seasoned with rice wine vinegar. I didn't do this to my brown rice. I served a lime wedge along side and squeezed it over the sushi before dipping into the peanut sauce.
There are no rules here. Just cut up desired fillings into batons or match sticks. Carrot is nice thinly sliced but cucumber and other fillings I usually cut into bigger pieces. I used everything pictured in my rolls, and it takes usually 3 pieces, or strips of the bigger things to fill the length of a roll. This is a fun thing to do with a group of people if you have more than one rolling mat. Everyone can pick their fillings and make their own sushi roll. If you are going to eat right away make sure your fillings are chilled. I used
* I think it's important for the overall eating experience to have a good amount of crunch factor in your fillings. Lots of carrot!
So because I was keeping this sushi roll light and healthy I didn't do what I know would be insanely delicious, and that is tempura. Either the tofu or the sweet potato. But that is an option if you feel so inclined!
How to Roll Sushi
Below is what your set up should look like.
Use your mat to make your first "roll" you want to get all the filling into the middle on the first go, then using two hands press firmly into a log shape.
Then you will lift up the mat, and repeat probably 2 more "rolls". This should complete the process. The part of the mat you use on the second roll will be more in the middle if that makes sense, so a bit of overhang of the mat..don't try to roll your mat into the sushi!
I usually trim off the edges with a sharp knife and just eat them, but it's not necessary, they just aren't ever as "pretty", but maybe that's just me. Cut in half, and then each half into 4 pieces for a total of 8. I garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro and the peanut sauce and a lime wedge along side. Squeeze the lime all over the sushi before eating. Don't skip this.
Use smooth natural peanut butter, fresh ginger minced, and sub the honey for something else if you aren't into it.
Sushi Rolling Demo
I've been wanting to make power balls with crispy rice cereal ever since my hair dresser and friend Erin sent me home with some she had made after my appointment one day. We were laughing pretty hard because she had rolled them in kosher salt and then "salty balls" were born. If you can't laugh at that, are you even really living?? They were really good BTW, and yes quite salty.
This recipe unintentionally reminds me of the peanut butter chocolate cherry balls my mother makes. Go figure! I think you could switch up the ingredients depending what you had in your pantry no problem. Different dried fruit, nut butters, seeds etc. I almost rolled them in toasted coconut after dipping them in chocolate but wasn't feeling it. It would be delicious though.
I wanted to add quinoa flour to these because I read that quinoa is a complete protein. Something to consider if you follow a plant based diet. I need to start paying more attention to this for sure.
Yield: 20 balls
Ingredients for power balls
3 cups crispy rice cereal. (I used natures path organic brown rice cereal)
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flax
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 c toasted sunflower seeds
1 to 1 1/4 cups crunchy natural peanut butter ( I started with 1 cup and ended up adding a bit more)
6 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil (Honestly, dunno why I added this, intuition maybe, I'll try leaving it out next time
2 tsp vanilla
couple pinches of kosher salt
250 g dark chocolate
2 tsp coconut oil
The chef I work with sent me home with a pound of boiled fingerling potatoes that we didn't end up using during service. Yay. I decided to turn it into a potato salad. I don't want this to be too much of a recipe. It's an idea for using up leftover potatoes and I can tell you what I put in it, because it's what I had in my fridge but the options are endless! Let's investigate.
My potato salad
If I have leftover potatoes and decide to make this dish again it will no doubt be a completely different adventure. So many possibilities. Some delicious thoughts:
Tex - Mex
Maple Dijon Vinny
1 cup Evoo
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup maple
generous tbsp dijon mustard
S + P
a few cloves of garlic
Blitz it all together with a hand blender or whisk together (mince the garlic if u do it this way, obvi).
This recipe is exactly what you'd hope for in a classic banana bread. Banana-y, super moist, and if you are a fan of nuts and cranberries, it's got that too. If chocolate banana bread is more your thing swap the cranberries and or walnuts for some chocolate chips. Actually I could see keeping all three in there!
I learned that there are two theories about how the introduction of banana bread happened in the 1930's. Wiki says it is probably a combination of both, and I would probably agree with that sentiment. Banana bread was potentially a byproduct of the great depression. Home makers not wanting to waste anything, would turn too ripe bananas into a quick bread. Seems logical to me. The other idea points towards the corporate world developing the concept of this bread to promote their products, as baking powder and baking soda became popularized around this time. Either way it's interesting to consider the origins of this ubiquitous staple loved by so many of us. I certainly can conjure up childhood memories of my mothers banana bread. I'll have to ask her if she can do the same from her own childhood. I'd like to point out that this recipe really tastes just like I remember banana bread always tasting. So that is a win in my books.
1/3 cup solid coconut oil or earth balance buttery spread, room temp
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt (I use silk brand)
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cups all purpose whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp flax meal + 2 tbsp water. (stir, let sit 10 minutes)
3/4 cup toasted walnut halves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
These are wicked good cookies...no exaggeration...I love them so much. Took 3 test batches to get them to taste like I imagined in my head. Sweet with toasty coconut, crunchy pepitas & bright lime flavour. Somehow these make me want a margarita. The recipe is for a small batch of cookies that will fit on one pan. I got 8 cookies but this obviously depends on how big you make them.
1/2 cup raw sugar (I blitzed it in a spice grinder)
1/4 cup solid coconut oil (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp almond milk
zest of 1 lime + 2 tbsp of lime juice
1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toast in oven until lightly browned
6 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted in a pan, they will pop!
Have some pita bread that needs to be used up? Did you try to make pita bread for the first time but the first few you baked off were totally weird, so you needed to use them in a different way? Well, that's what happened to me! So... if you have too much pita bread, or just some strange wanna be pita bread.... you can just rip em up toss em in olive oil and make croutons out of them. Season with some S + P, pop them in a 375 F oven and by the time you have your vegetables chopped the pita croutons will be ready and you can make this super simple delicious & healthy salad.
Quite simply it is a Syrian Bread & Vegetable Salad, made from the croutons I described above. Typical ingredients include:
I learned that really this salad can include any vegetable in an attempt to "clean out the fridge", as well as what herbs and vegetables are in season. Vegetables should be in larger chunks compared to tabbouleh. Sumac is usually used and gives it it's traditional sour taste. I didn't have any. Instead I used some pickled red onions, a sprinkle of cumin and also korean chile powder. Not because these things replicate sumac, but because I thought it would be delicious. I also threw in some chickpeas. Spring is around the corner and I am starting to crave salads and lighter food again. (Thank goodness)
I used my lemon vinaigrette to dress the salad. The same one I use in my fav chickpea bowl and in my quick carm onion pasta sauce. It's great to make a big batch of this dressing, as it's quite versatile!
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup Evoo
1 tsp raw sugar
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T water
I use an immersion blender to combine, and then keep in a mason jar and just shake really well before using.
Hey! I'm Trisha