Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes

Spaghetti with Tempeh Sausage Marinara and Artichokes

This spaghetti with tempeh sausage marinara is a weeknight version of one of my favorite weekend dishes! It swaps crumbled tempeh seasoned with sage, fennel, basil and oregano for sausage to make it a vegetarian meal. Add artichokes for veggies and texture! This easy recipe takes less than 30 minutes hands on time!

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Spicy Harissa Bean Soup

Spicy Harissa Bean Soup

This simple, budget-friendly recipe for spicy harissa bean soup is my favorite way to clean out the pantry of all those random mason jars of beans that accumulates when you shop in the bulk aisle. Learn tips for cooking perfect dry beans, and ideas for other recipes for using up harissa.

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Browned Butter Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower

Browned Butter Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower

In all my years of blogging, and all my years of pasta eating, this browned butter spaghetti with roasted cauliflower is my absolute favorite pasta dish! With a rich browned butter and garlic sauce, juicy cherry tomatoes, sweet caramelized cauliflower and briny capers, there’s so many flavors packed into one bowl of pasta. Learn how to make this veggie packed bowl of spaghetti at home!

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Patatas Bravas with Smoky Romesco Sauce and Garlic Aioli

Patatas Bravas with Smoky Romesco Sauce and Garlic Aioli

Patatas bravas are one of my happy foods! If you’ve never had it, it’s a traditional Spanish dish of fried or roasted potatoes tossed with a spicy and smoky tomato sauce and aioli. This version is made with a smoky romesco style sauce and garlicky aioli. I love to top it with sauteed kale and a fried egg to round it out into a meal.

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Pasta Primavera with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Pasta Primavera with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Enjoy this vegan take on pasta primavera! This pasta primavera with creamy cauliflower sauce uses a dairy-free sauce made by pureeing steamed cauliflower with with onions, garlic, almond milk, and nutritional yeast to make a rich and creamy sauce for pasta. Toss with sauteed seasonal vegetables of your choice! 

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Baked Green Falafel with Three Dipping Sauces

Baked Green Falafel with Three Dipping Sauces

Make this easy baked green falafel, packed with tons of herbs and pistachios! I serve them with three different dipping sauces for you indecisive folks - a spicy harissa tomato sauce, a creamy tahini yogurt, and a green herb chutney, along with pita bread. Vegan and gluten free too. 

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Sheet Pan Ratatouille and Chicken

Sheet Pan Ratatouille and Chicken

Looking for an easy and healthy chicken recipe you can prep in less than 15 minutes? Make this sheet pan ratatouille chicken! Throw ratatouille vegetables, olive oil and bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs on a sheet pan and roast until the chicken is crispy and the vegetables are caramelized. It's so simple and perfect for those late summer nights! 

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Summer Gnocchi with Basil Brown Butter

Summer Gnocchi with Basil Brown Butter

Celebrate the season with this summer gnocchi with basil brown butter and all of the yummiest seasonal produce! It's incredibly simple - just saute zucchini, tomatoes, corn or whatever else looks delicious at the farmer's market, toss with gnocchi and nutty browned butter. 

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Fully Loaded Refried Bean Skillet

Fully Loaded Refried Bean Skillet

Remember when you used to eat tortilla chips with refried beans from the can? This is so much better. This fully loaded refried bean skillet tops homemade spicy refried beans with extra sharp cheddar, grilled onions and mushrooms, juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, and lots of fresh herbs. Serve with warm tortillas for dipping! 

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Tomato Basil Risotto with Prosciutto

Make this recipe for tomato basil risotto with prosciutto and get tips for making a creamy, dreamy Italian risotto! 

I couldn’t be more thrilled for this month’s Recipe Redux theme, recreating a favorite recipe from our travels.

When I went to Italy for the first time with my family back when I was in high school, each of us had a very specific dish that we were determined to discover the best possible version of. If we saw it on the menu, we would always get it, even if was a shared dish for the table, ordered solely for taste testing purposes. For my stepmom, it was spaghetti carbonara, lactose intolerance be damned! For my brother and dad, it was basically anything pork, including suckling pig, which was somewhat traumatic for me as I had just gotten out of my vegetarian phase. And for me, it was risotto.

The winner turned out to be a seafood risotto from Harry’s Bar in Venice. It was creamy and savory and rich and perfect. I must also give honorary mention to a squid ink risotto, also from a restaurant in Venice. It was so tasty the only thing that kept me from spending the rest of the night with a satisfied grin on my face was the fact that my mouth was turned jet black by the squid ink.

I used to make risotto pretty regularly at home until I started watching Top Chef. I feel like every time a chef makes an attempt at risotto, it turns into a miserable fail that gets them sent home! And if the nations top chefs can’t make a decent risotto, I know I sure as heck am failing at it.

So while this risotto may not please the judges on Top Chef, I personally was quite happy with how it turned out. To flavor the dish, I used prosciutto and halved heirloom cherry tomatoes briefly sautéed with fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil. Here’s a few notes on how to make a maybe not Top Chef worthy, but totally passable and tasty risotto:

  • Use Arborio rice or some other type of short grain white rice, which is starchier and creates a creamier risotto. You may be tempted to swap in brown rice or another whole grain, like farro or barley. With the delicate flavors like tomato and basil, I think a whole grain would be overpowering, but for more “fall” or “winter” flavor risottos, brown rice is really tasty! Think chicken and wild mushroom risotto with peas. You’ll just want to double or triple the cooking time and have more stock on hand.
  • Use warm stock. If you add cold stock to the dish, it will cool everything down and slow the cooking process.
  • Don’t over, or under-stir your risotto. Stirring the risotto is necessary – the rice grains rub against each other which creates more starch and a creamy consistency. It also evenly distributes the liquid and prevents the bottom from burning. But there’s no need to stir constantly. You’ll be left with sore biceps and a gluey risotto. I give it a good stir when I add broth, let it simmer for a bit, and then give it another good stir before adding in more broth.
  • Add the vegetables after cooking the risotto. Other than the garlic and onions that flavor the dish, you’ll want to cook your vegetables in a separate pan and stir them into the fully cooked risotto, otherwise the veggies will get mushy and disintegrate.

Tomato Basil Risotto with Prosciutto

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup lightly packed basil leaves plus extra for serving
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat broth to a simmer in a pot on medium heat. Let it continue to simmer, turning down the heat if it starts to boil.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, pot on medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and cook until rice smells slightly nutty, about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in white wine and stir until wine is mostly evaporated. Pour a ladle of hot broth into the rice, stir for a few seconds and let simmer until broth is mostly absorbed. When the risotto starts to look dry, repeat with more broth. Continue with remaining broth until risotto is creamy and tender with a bite (al dente).
  4. As the risotto is cooking, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and basil with a pinch of salt. Cook until tomatoes are tender, but not falling apart, about 5 minutes.
  5. When risotto is creamy and done, stir in tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve garnished with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Savory Tomato Cobbler with Whole Grain Yogurt Biscuits

Bake easy whole grain yogurt biscuits over sweet, caramelized heirloom tomatoes infused with garlic and basil to make this savory tomato cobbler. 

Ever since I saw a recipe for tomato cobbler on Joy the Baker, I've been a wee bit obsessed with the idea. Now that I've finally made one, I can't believe it took me so long. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and truly, this cobbler could almost pass for dessert. Almost.

Right off the vine, summer cherry tomatoes are one of the tastiest, sweetest things...about as close to perfection as you get! As much as I was daydreaming about my tomato cobbler, I wondered if it was a sin to cook my perfect summer tomatoes. It hurt a bit as I watched my tomatoes blister and pop in the cast iron skillet, but it smelled so good coming out of the oven that I knew I made the right choice!

A savory tomato cobbler with sweet, caramelized onions and tomatoes, topped with flaky whole wheat yogurt biscuits

Speaking of cooked versus raw, that brings up a great topic I'm frequently asked about. Although the raw food craze has mostly passed, many people wonder if they're "killing" the nutrients in their vegetables by cooking them. Raw food dieters claim cooking food above 120 degrees destroys the health supporting enzymes and nutrients it contains. This is partially true. Enzymes in food are mostly deactivated by heat, but they would be destroyed anyway by the acidic environment in your stomach. And while some nutrients are lost in cooking, others are made more digestible and absorbable. The phytonutrient lycopene in tomatoes is a perfect example - tomatoes cooked in fat contain thousands of times more lycopene than raw! So really, as long as you're eating plenty of produce and preparing it in ways you enjoy, you're set!

Savory Tomato Cobbler with Whole Grain Yogurt Biscuits

Serves 4ish

Ingredients

Filling: 

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Biscuits: 

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add red onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and thyme and saute until tomatoes are tender and starting to burst. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. While tomatoes are cooking, make the biscuits. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Using fingers, mix in butter until it forms a sandy consistency. Stir in yogurt and honey until combined. Make four biscuits and dollop over the tomatoes. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes until golden and tomatoes are bubbling. Let cool slightly and serve.

More recipes for summer tomatoes: 

Tomatoes Stuffed with Pesto Brown Rice
Tomatoes Stuffed with Pesto Brown Rice
Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Tomatoes and Eggplant
Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Tomatoes and Eggplant
Zoodles with Creamy Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Zoodles with Creamy Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes

This romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes looks complicated, but only takes 45 minutes to make! This thick and tangy sauce is sure to become a new favorite! 

Popping in with a quick recipe post while Scott and I are exploring the northeast before my little brother’s wedding weekend in Boston. The hubs and I just spent the past few days road tripping through New Hampshire and Maine to Acadia National Park. I plan to share a recap next week or the week after, but until then, follow along with my adventures on Instagram!

This recipe for romesco chicken was adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray. Is it just me or do her 30 minute meals take more like an hour and a half? I feel like there is some major false advertising in the Rachael Ray empire.

This dish took about 45 minutes, which is close enough for me, and it tastes and looks much more complicated. The quick romesco sauce adds such a unique flavor. Romesco is a Spanish tomato and pepper sauce thickened with breadcrumbs. It’s also really tasty with roasted asparagus, potatoes or tossed with whole grain pasta. This dish is pretty saucy, so you could always use half the romesco for the chicken and freeze/refrigerate the rest for later. Having yummy sauces on hand is such an easy way to dress up meals. Speaking of which, did you check out this post I wrote for Luvo on my favorite freezer sauces? Might have to add this romesco to the mix!

Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

Kale Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 ½ lb Yukon gold or other waxy potato, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Chicken & Romesco:

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ lb chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups whole grain panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ½-1 cup chicken broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Instructions

  1. Cover potatoes with a few inches of water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil 7 minutes until starting to get tender. Add kale to the water and continue to boil until potatoes are tender and kale is wilted. Drain, then pour potatoes and kale back into the hot pot over the stove. Add broth, yogurt, salt and freshly cracked black pepper and mash. Set aside until ready to eat.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sided skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Add to hot pan and cook, flipping every so often, until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Carefully wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and set on medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add panko and almonds, stir, and cook until toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape panko mixture into a food processor. Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes and sherry vinegar. Blend until pureed. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add sauce back into skillet and set over medium heat. Add chicken and broth to thin to desired consistency (it should still be thick).
  5. Scoop mashed potatoes in a large serving bowl. Using a spoon, make a large well in the center. Pour romesco chicken into the center. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Scallion Cornbread Waffles with Spicy Chicken and Homemade Ranch

These scallion cornbread waffles with spicy chicken and homemade ranch are a fresh, healthier take on classic chicken and waffles! 

God bless the wonderful soul who decided fried chicken and waffles have a place together on the dinner table. Random, yes, but somehow the combination of crispy fried chicken and sweet waffles makes comfort food heaven. Food combinations can easily go wrong, as my little brother once discovered when he decided to float croutons in his chocolate milk. Chicken and waffles however, is unexpected magic.

Normally, I would leave a dish like this to the pros (aka Kiki's Chicken and Waffles or The Oak Table), but I was stuck with this idea for chicken and waffles with fresh flavors from bright, juicy tomatoes and a tangy buttermilk ranch dressing. Plus avocado for obvious reasons.

To make the crispy chicken, I did a classic triple dip method that yields a super crispy crust. First dip in flour spiked with lots of spices, then spicy buttermilk, and finally whole grain panko. You could make these crispier first by pan frying and finishing them off in the oven, but I skipped that step to save myself another dish to wash.

I first made this ranch dressing for my crispy barbecue cauliflower salad. I really don't love ranch dressing, but this mayoless version with a bright tangy flavor is pretty fabulous. Although pictured here, I used kefir instead of yogurt because that's what I had on hand and it turned out a little too thin for me. Lesson learned.

These cornmeal waffles are worth making on their own! I might make a batch and top with a fried egg, avocado and some hot sauce for breakfast. They freeze great too!

Scallion Cornbread Waffles with Spicy Chicken and Homemade Ranch

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

Ranch Dressing: 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, buttermilk or kefir
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Chicken: 

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken tenders
  • Olive oil spray

Waffles: 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Instructions

  1. First, whisk together ingredients for ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk/kefir, egg, sriracha. Place panko in another medium bowl.
  4. Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray. Dip chicken tenders in flour, then buttermilk mixture, then panko. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. Spray chicken with olive oil spray. Bake 15 minutes until golden and cooked through, flipping halfway.
  5. Next, make waffles. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, honey. Whisk wet into dry. Whisk in scallions.
  6. Heat a waffle iron. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into the iron and cook until crispy and golden. Carefully remove from skillet and set aside.
  7. Top waffle with chicken, tomatoes, avocado and drizzle with ranch.

Comfort Food Makeovers: 

Vegetarian Hazelnut and Cremini Mushroom Loaf with Gravy
Vegetarian Hazelnut and Cremini Mushroom Loaf with Gravy
Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

My trick for making the worlds best meatballs? A (no longer) secret blend of spices makes this recipe for spaghetti with spicy meatballs so delicious! 

Spaghetti and Spicy Meatballs

Fun fact - despite cooking almost exclusively vegetarian at home, I make the worlds best spaghetti and meatballs. True story. There was an awards ceremony and everything. I even have a trophy sitting on my mantle.

I kid, I kid. But seriously, I make pretty tasty spaghetti and meatballs. With other classic dishes I prepare again and again, I usually try a new recipe each time. But once I struck upon this recipe for spicy meatballs, I never looked back. Other than a few dalliances with vegetarian 'meatballs', I'll never stray from this recipe.

Spagetti and Spicy Meatballs

The secret is the spice mix - allspice, chile powder and a little cayenne for heat. It's pretty much perfect! It's recommended to do a blend of meats for meatballs, usually beef, pork and veal, but I usually just stick with beef or turkey for the ease of it.

If you feel like sending me flowers after tasting these meatballs, please email me for my address. Also, I like hydrangeas.

Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef, preferably grassfed (look for 85-15)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain panko
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Spaghetti: 

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 28 ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces whole grain spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Add panko and milk to a large bowl and mix together. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. To the breadcrumb mixture, add the ground beef, onion, garlic, egg, spices, salt and pepper. Using clean hands, mix to combine until well distributed. Form into 16-18 balls slightly smaller than a golfball and place on a plate. Refrigerate about 1 hour until ready to cook.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove meatballs to a plate and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Next, make the spaghetti. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium pot on medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper and ay leaf and cook an additional 1minute or two. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add meatballs to the sauce when simmering, cover and let cook about 10 minutes until flavors have melded and meatballs are cooked through.
  6. Divide spaghetti between bowls, top with 4 meatballs each and sauce. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Prefer meatless? Here's three veggie meatballs for you to try! 

Zucchini Chickpea Balls with Chopped Greek Salad
Zucchini Chickpea Balls with Chopped Greek Salad
Lentil Meatballs with Lemony Pesto
Lentil Meatballs with Lemony Pesto
Bulgogi Tofu Mealball Lettuce Wraps
Bulgogi Tofu Mealball Lettuce Wraps

Zoodles with Creamy Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Zoodles with creamy vegan pesto and roasted tomatoes make the perfect light lunch or side dish! Add white beans or diced chicken for protein, or mix with regular noodles for carbs to make it a filling main!

Zoodles with a creamy vegan pesto sauce made from cashews and roasted tomatoes

It's official guys. I am the last person on the planet to get a spiralizer. I held out for a long time, since our kitchen storage has now expanded to include the living room. The last thing I needed was another piece of equipment collecting dust next to my fondue pot. I even politely declined when my little brother said he was going to get me a spiralizer for my birthday last April (the rest of the spiralizer owning world is screaming "Whaaaat?! Are you insane??" right about now).

Creamy Vegan Pesto with Cashews

After slicing my finger open on my mandolin for the 347th time, I finally gave in. It was right before Christmas so I put in on my list and was gifted it for real from my very sweet little brother. Life has not been the same ever since.

Okay, it's been exactly the same, but with more zoodles.

Vegan Sprialized Zucchini Noodles with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

In case I am incorrect and am not the last person on the planet to get a spiralizer, and you in fact are, let me sell you on it. The spiralizer easily cuts your fruits and vegetables into long, curly, ribbons of "noodles." I don't know why, but they actually taste different, and better, when you cut them this way. The possibilities are endless. You can spiralize a cucumber and toss with an Asian style dressing and tofu cubes. You can spiralize sweet potatoes and use them as a base for a creamy pasta sauce. You can spiralize red onions, peppers and cabbage to make an extra pretty slaw. Seriously, just go ahead and google spiralizer recipes and loose the next 2 hours of your life on pinterest.

Creamy Gluten Free Pesto Zoodles with Roasted Tomatoes

This dish is a pretty classic zoodle recipe. I decided to go for an extra creamy pesto sauce by adding soaked cashews. I love that it adds a little protein to the dish too! If you're not eating it right away, be sure to pack your noodles and sauce separately, otherwise the salt from the dish will turn your beautiful zoodles into a watery mess.

Although the cashews do add some protein, these zoodles with vegan pesto are pretty low in protein and carbs! If, like me, you're not a fan of feeling super hangry an hour after eating, try adding some white beans or diced chicken for extra protein and mixing the zoodles with some normal noodles for some carbs to keep this a balanced meal!

Zoodles with Creamy Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Hemp seeds, optional for garnish

Creamy Vegan Pesto:

  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight or in hot water for an hour
  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast 40 minutes until slightly shriveled and some of the juices are released. Remove and set aside.
  2. While tomatoes are roasting, make the pesto. Place the shallot and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add cashews, basil, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Blend until very finely chopped, scraping down sides as needed. Add water, season with salt and pepper and blend until creamy.
  3. Toss raw zucchini noodles with tomatoes and pesto and serve garnished with hemp seeds if desired.

More sauces that would be fabulous with zoodles: 

Tempeh Sausage Marinara with Artichokes
Tempeh Sausage Marinara with Artichokes
Spicy Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto Pasta

Spicy Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto Pasta

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Sauce with Mushrooms and Leeks
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Sauce with Mushrooms and Leeks
Zoodles with Creamy Pesto

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Red Wine Tomato Jam and Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EntertainandPair #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Red Wine Tomato Jam and Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip

This grilled vegetable platter served with a red wine tomato jam and caramelized onion buttermilk dip, both infused with Dreaming Tree Wine, is the red carpet version of your standard raw vegetable platter! 

Admit it. You've been that person who brings a raw vegetable platter to the party in an attempt to have a healthy option for everyone to enjoy.

Except, no one actually enjoys that raw vegetable plate. Some eat it because it's there, but who has ever left a party saying "Wow! That baby carrot dipped in ranch was amazing! I wish Susan would share her recipe!"

No one. Ever.

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Two Wine Infused Dips

This awards season, give your standard raw vegetable platter a red carpet makeover. My secret for a vegetable platter people will actually want to eat? Grill (or roast) the vegetables first, adding a caramelized, smoky flavor, and serve alongside a couple tasty, homemade dips.

Usually I do some type of hummus or avocado-based dip, but for this campaign, I decided to experiment cooking with Dreaming Tree wine...and I think I found two new favorites in the process! Both get a deep, rich, and luxurious flavor from a base of caramelized onions infused with Dreaming Tree wine. The jammy notes of Dreaming Tree Crush, a red wine blend, went perfectly in the tomato jam, adding a layer of fruitiness and complexity. For the buttermilk dressing, I went with Dreaming Tree chardonnay. Now, normally I'm not a chardonnay person. Actually, I rather despise chardonnay, which is why it was the only Dreaming Tree wine I hadn't tried. But I thought chardonnay's buttery flavor would go really well with the caramelized onions over the crisp, more acidic everyday white (which I love for sipping!). So glad I picked it up though, because I discovered I really like their chardonnay! Like, a lot! It's aged in both stainless steel and oak barrels, so it's not overly oaky and cloying like the other chardonnays I've tried.

Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip with Dreaming Tree Chardonnay
Red Wine Tomato Jam with Dreaming Tree Crush

As a long time fan of Dreaming Tree Wine, I was particularly excited about the project. As an even longer time fan of Dave Matthews (high school flashbacks!), who launched Dreaming Tree with winemaker Sean McKenzie, I picked up a bottle almost as soon as it launched and it's been a favorite ever since. Outside of the flavor (Crush is my favorite) and high quality for a reasonable price, I really appreciate their commitment to sustainability. It's a Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing winery and has the largest solar initiative in the wine industry. The wines are even packaged sustainably, using less glass and a recycled label.

Dreaming Tree Wine

Considering we're smack dab in the middle of awards season, I think you'll have plenty of opportunities to whip this up. Usually I'm not big into award season, but this year, we've kept up with most of the nominees and I definitely have my favorites...which I won't share, because after they win I like to say "I knew it! I totally called it!" ;) So, I'm thinking we may have people over to watch and put out this grilled vegetable platter along with a selection of cheeses and crusty bread. Although this might seem like more effort than a premade vegetable platter, leftovers can easily be stretched into meals during the week. Serve the leftover vegetables in a grain bowl. Leftover buttermilk dip is perfect in my collard green salad with cornbread croutons or your favorite simple side salad. The tomato jam would be so tasty served over roasted fish or a grilled steak, or even on a sandwich. And of course, the leftover wine is perfect for sipping and pretending to be fancy during your very own awards party! 

For more inspiration on how to #EntertainandPair, head to their website. Be sure to check out your local retailer for wine tasting demos! What are your favorite red carpet bites, and which Dreaming Tree Wine would you like to pair it with? 

Keep up with Dreaming Tree Wines:

Grilled Vegetable Platter

Use any fresh vegetables you like. I used cherry tomatoes (on a skewer), cauliflower florets, halved baby zucchini, mushrooms and green beans. If you prefer roasting, toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven until golden and tender.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh vegetables, trimmed, and cut into 'serving' pieces
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Red wine tomato jam & caramelized onion buttermilk dip, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Set grill to medium high. Spray vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook until lightly charred, but still crisp-tender. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.

Red Wine Tomato Jam

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup Dreaming Tree Crush or other rich, fruity red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a medium pot. Add red onion and garlic and saute until starting to get golden, about 7 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt and continue to cook over medium heat until deeply caramelized, tender and almost jammy looking, about 40 minutes.
  2. Pour in wine, scraping up the bottom with a spatula. Add tomatoes, balsamic, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until very thick and jam-like, about 15 minutes total. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Dip

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dreaming Tree chardonnay or other richly flavored white wine
  • 1 cup buttermilk, low or full fat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic. Saute until starting to look golden, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and continue cooking, stirring every so often, until onions are deeply caramelized and jammy in appearance, about 40 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up bottom of the pan with a spatula, and cook until wine is almost completely reduced and the onions are very jammy in appearance, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, scrape onions into a bowl, and set aside to cool slightly.

  2. When onions have cooled a bit, stir in buttermilk, olive oil, parsley, vinegar, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more if desired.

Vegan Mole Chilaquiles

Vegan mole chilaquiles are a delicious way to use up extra tortilla chips! Try this vegan version made with homemade mole or keep it easy with my timesaving tricks! 

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You thought you had your Mexican food down pat, with your steamy bowl of posole and your overstuffed torta, but little did you know, you're probably missing out on the most delicious Mexican food of all.

Chilaquiles.

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Chilaquiles are an authentic Mexican dish of stale tortillas simmered in sauce. I know, I'm not really making the case for the whole 'most delicious Mexican food of all' statement. But hear me out here! Think nachos, but the emphasis is more on the delicious sauce and less on the chip (and not at all on weird neon orange cheese). You can either simmer the chips in sauce, creating an almost polenta-like texture, or pour the sauce over the chips at the last minute, retaining crunch. Either is cool by me. There are a million and one ways to make chilaquiles and I guarantee every single one is delicious.

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The dish was basically designed to use up leftovers. Throw some torn up day old tortillas or tortilla chips in a flavorful sauce. Add any other random leftovers - tomatoes, grilled zucchini, shredded chicken, a fried egg...there's no rules! And while this recipe is made with a homemade mole sauce, which admittedly, is a bit complicated and has a lengthy ingredient list, you could easily swap jarred salsa verde, a basic tomato sauce spiked with canned chipotle chiles, jarred enchilada sauce or even a store bought mole sauce.

Speaking of mole sauce, if you've never tried it, the ingredients list probably sounds a little crazy. Chocolate? In Mexican food? Just go with it.

Vegan Mole Chilaquiles

Serves 5

This recipe will make extra mole sauce, which you can freeze and use for later. It would also be delicious in slow cooker chicken, over grilled tofu or with enchiladas. I used sweet potato tortilla chips, but feel free to use any kind you like.

Ingredients

Mole Sauce: 

  • 3 poblano chiles
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles
  • 2 dried New Mexico chiles or ancho chiles
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, avocado oil, or other neutral flavored oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or add a pinch of cinnamon with the other spices)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons masa or cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Chilaquiles: 

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, avocado oil or other neutral tasting oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces tortilla chips
  • For garnish: avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, salsa, cilantro

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to boil. Place the poblanos and jalapenos on a large baking sheet and broil for 3 minutes per side until skin is blackened. Place in a bowl and top with plastic wrap or a plate to trap steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove and discard charred skin, stem, seeds and chop remaining flesh.
  2. Warm about 2 cups of water in a pot or glass measuring cup until almost boiling. Add dried chiles and raisins and let sit to soften while you prepare the other ingredients. Once softened, remove the chiles from the water, reserving the remaining chile 'broth', then stem, seed and chop.
  3. Heat oil in a medium pot. Add onion and garlic, saute 5 minutes until tender. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are softened, another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add oregano, cumin and thyme and saute 1 minute until fragrant. Add peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and cinnamon stick. Saute another couple of minutes. Add reserved chili 'broth' plus enough water to make 2 1/2 cups, chopped poblanos and jalapeno, chopped dried chiles, raisins and cocoa powder. Simmer 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. Stir in masa/cornmeal and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large sided skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add onion and corn and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add black beans, cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add tortilla chips and stir to combine. Pour in about 2 cups of mole sauce and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Serve with desired garnishes

More Mexican food from the archives: 

Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes
Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes
Classic Migas
Classic Migas