Eggplant Zucchini Dip

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This is a super easy, healthy and tasty dip made with few ingredients.   It kicks off my series on vegan recipes made with ingredients from Trader Joes!  Using some frozen and already prepared items they have, makes this a breeze and quick to whip up.  Just note the tahini sauce is not your basic tahini paste, their’s is in the refrigerated section by the hummus and is made with the paste but already has the other ingredients in it. See photo below.  You’ll also use the frozen Misto alla Griglia (aka grilled eggplant and zucchini)

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Makes approx. 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 package frozen Trader Joes Misto all Griglia eggplant & zucchini

1/4 cup Trader Joes Tahini Sauce

Juice of half a lemon

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 fresh parsley leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Defrost eggplant and zucchini according to package directions.

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse or puree to desired consistency.  That’s it.

Serve with pita chips, crostini, as a spread on sandwiches…

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MistoAllaGriglia

Photo credit: Trader Joes

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Summer Vegetable & Lentil Taco Filling

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On my quest to create some awesome vegan recipes with ingredients you can buy at Trader Joes,
I stumbled upon an easy taco filling.  Substitute any other of your favorite vegetables!  Just take note that their taco seasoning is bit spicy so go easy with it and if you want to use less you can add in some cumin or other spices for flavor without the heat.

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Makes enough for 6-8 tacos

Ingredients

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced

1 small zuchinni, ends removed and diced

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 Tbsp taco seasoning

1 Tbsp flour

1 cup vegetable broth or water

1 small tomato, diced

1 bag Trader Joes frozen Melodious Blend Lentils and Green Garbanzo

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Method

Heat oil in a skillet over medium low heat.  Once hot, add onion and zuchinni.  Saute for 5 minutes giving a couple stirs.

Add in garlic and taco seasoning and cook 2 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in broth, then add frozen lentil and green garbanzo mix, tomatoes, and corn.  Stir, then raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.  Cook 5-6 minutes until cooked through and sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.  Serve in tortillas, over rice, nachos.

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Summer Tomato Bruschetta

Serve this on crostini, pasta, salad, pizza or just eat with a spoon.  It’s always delicious!

 Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil (preferably a higher quality)

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered (remove some seeds if desired)

1 small handful basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Method

In a large bowl whisk olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and basil, give a quick stir and voila.  Fresh tomato bruschetta!

Lemon Garlic Kale

Glorious green kale! Simply sauteed with just olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spritzed with lemon before serving.  One tip: don’t cook the hell out of it since we want to preserve some of those wonderful nutrients kale has to offer.  Just a few minutes until it lightly wilted is all it needs!

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Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 bunch of curly kale, large rib removed, torn into pieces

3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or chopped

Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of about half a lemon

Method

Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the a large skillet or sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute about 3 minutes.

Add kale and 2-3 tablespoons of water, cover and allow to steam just 2 minutes.  Remove lid and toss kale around to cook evenly.  If needed, return lid and let steam additional minute.

Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a dish and toss with lemon juice and also a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

10 Vegetable Soup

A hearty, veggie packed with soup with carrot, celery, onion, tomato, potato, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, peas and lima beans (I guess these are technically a legume but I’ll just count them as a vegetable too).  This soup will freeze well too! I created a batch with 6 servings and for some of the vegetables I only used smaller amounts so here are some tips to getting the most out of some of the fresh vegetables:

Carrots:  With a bunch of whole carrots cut up the extra for snacking or use baby carrots.

Celery: I get it off the salad bar because I never end up using a whole bunch.

Zucchini: I also got this off the salad bar but if you don’t use a whole zucchini, saute extra with olive oil and add to pasta and sauce.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 small yukon gold or red potato, cubed (about 1/2inch)

1 can diced tomato w/ juice

4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup small cauliflower florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 large kale leaf, rib removed, chopped into small pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add oil to a large soup pot and warm over medium heat for a minute.  Add onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt.  Cook 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and basil and cook another 2 minutes.

Add zucchini, potato, cauliflower and toss to coat; cook for a minute.  Add tomatoes and 4 cups of broth.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add peas and lima beans, cook 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Pecans

I showed these brussels sprouts a little extra love by adding in the dried cranberries and pecans.  A simple, perfect fall veggie side dish.  It makes a perfect vegetarian and vegan side dish for Thanksgiving too! You can even go simpler and just do these basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts without the cranberries and pecans, and they will still be awfully tasty.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 16oz bag of brussels sprouts

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Turn oven off and take brussels sprouts out.  Add in cranberries and pecans and toss everything together.  Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cranberries are soft, then serve.

BEFORE

White Bean Barley Soup with Kale

Spring may be just around the corner but soup season isn’t over just yet.  I’ve made this simple, hearty soup with few ingredients that make for a very satisfying, healthy meal.  I especially love the barley in this because of the great texture it adds, not too mention it’s a whole grain with abundant health benefits.  Lower cholesterol, anyone?  It’s packed with fiber and phytonutrients like all our other little plant friends so yea, it’s good for us.  Let’s not forget kale, the super green I’ve added here.  I go with the lactino kale (also called dinasour kale for its bumpy texture) and cut it up in small pieces because who wants to eat a giant leaf in their soup.  No thanks.  Throw it in at the end, just long enough to let it wilt.  You don’t want to cook away all it’s precious disease-fighting nutrients.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

Olive oil or broth for sauteeing

1/2 small onion, diced

1/2 cup diced carrots

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-32oz. container low-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup pearled barley (of gluten-free grain)

1-15oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

2 cups chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in broth and barley, increase to heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer about 20 minutes or until barley is tender.

Two choices for the next step:

Option 1: Stir in beans, rosemary and kale and cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Option 2 (for thicker consistency): Transfer half soup to a blender with half the beans.  Puree and then pour back into the pot.  Stir in rosemary and kale, cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.