I give full credit to Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) for this idea. I'd heard of cauliflower pizza crust before and thought I should try it, but I never got around to it. So I was really glad when she brought it up and suggested we try it.
It turns out that cauliflower crust is really easy! It doesn't taste or feel like traditional crust, but it is yummy and chewy - I liked it! I was surprised that I could actually pick up a slice and it held together. So whether you are gluten-free, looking for low-carb, or just like to try new things, I highly recommend this pizza crust!
The first step is to pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until very fine. Then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave to steam. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, twist the cloth and squeeze to release as much moisture as possible. Like really squeeze this thing to death, I'm not joking. You may need to take turns with a cooking buddy like we did.
When you've removed as much moisture as you can, add mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper, salt, and an egg. Use your hands to combine into a dough.
You know that cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that makes it's way to every potluck ever? That is so bad for you, but so yummy, that you eat heaps of it and you tell yourself that it's got broccoli so it's okay? Well here's your chance to pig out, because this version (made with quinoa instead of rice) is a lot better for you.
Of course, to convince my husband to eat it (and because I wanted more protein without having to make a separate dish), I threw some shredded rotisserie chicken in there. You can see in the photo that I just threw big florets of steamed broccoli in there. I ended up wishing that the broccoli was more evenly spread throughout, so I will recommend chopping it first.
This is hearty, and creamy, and just plain awesome. Kids (and big kids) will gobble it up.
This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level. What is it? Miso butter. Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance. So simple, but so good. You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day. But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.
First up - scallops seared in miso butter. That's it, it's that easy. I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.
Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.
Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter. It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of. I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better. I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.
Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter. Fast, easy, and delicious. The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze. I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.
Best of all? All these meals are healthy and low-carb. Most of them are grain-free! What would you do with your miso butter?
You guys, I am in love... with a recipe. A recipe for cauliflower that is pretending to be cous cous and filled with herbs, spices, buttery cashews, and plump golden raisins. It's so good it's stupid. And easy, did I mention easy? And low-carb and healthy and gluten-free and vegan and all the things.
I am desperately trying to move away from grains and starches, but it is so hard when my brain had been programmed to think that dinner is meat, starch, vegetable (in that order in terms of importance). So anything like this that I can find that satisfies my need to have a starch, without really being one, is awesome. Oh yeah, and my husband LOVED it.
I served it as a side to some store-bought kebabs because of the distinctly Middle Eastern flavors. But I'm wondering if I can use the same technique and change up the flavorings (a la this post) to do some different things. Speaking of flavorings, this recipe uses a spice blend called za'atar that is super yummy. You should be able to find some in the spice section of your store, but if not here are two recipes to make your own.
I've been pretty lazy about blogging this past week, so I'm bringing you another vegetarian lunch with Melissa back to back with the last one. I know that you don't mind, though, because our lunches are AWESOME. This one, in my opinion, is one of the best we have done recently. Lentils, chickpeas, raw onion, and feta with tahini, sesame, and herbs. So good, so satisfying, creamy and crunchy, nutty and sharp, it's everything. And so, so healthy. Let's also take a second to appreciate how gorgeous Melissa's platter is. She has the best dishware!
The only thing that takes time in this recipe is cooking the lentils, but they are pretty hands off and you can do them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge til you need them. This recipe has you cook them with sage and garlic to infuse the lentils with flavor - I love it.
While the lentils are cooking, toss red onion with olive oil, lemon juice, feta, and herbs. I was a little unsure about this at first - so much raw red onion? But it became my favorite part of the dish. The lemon juice kind of cures the onions as they sit and mellows them out. They become sharp, crunchy bits of awesomeness in the salad. Also, feta - I love feta. I especially love Mt Vikos Traditional Sheep and Goat feta. I swear they are not sponsoring me, but they really should (hint, hint) because I use their feta all the time.
Who would stuff a mushroom with more mushrooms? Melissa from Smells Like Brownies and I, that's who, for our weekly vegetarian lunch get together. Melissa had a ton of farro given to her by a neighbor that she needed to start using, and she was craving mushrooms. So she found a recipe for balsamic roasted mushrooms with goat cheese to mix with the farro, yum. You know how much we love goat cheese. But then she thought, what if we put that inside of a portabella and grilled it? And I said, why the heck not! Mushrooms inside of mushrooms, people - it's inception with fungi.
Mix up some baby bellas and tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic, thyme, garlic, and red pepper. Careful there - we thought we just added a pinch, but it turned out spiiiiiiiiicy. Thank goodness for goat cheese, amirite? Then roast those babies up.
Once they are roasted, mix them together with cooked farro, spinach,and goat cheese and spoon the mixture into portobello caps. The baby bellas are going inside the mamma bella! No? No one else finds that funny? Just me? Fine.
Chicken Parmesan without the guilt? I saw a really yummy looking recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs that I wanted to try, but didn't want to eat all the carbs involved in pasta. I had also been seeing cheesy spaghetti squash casseroles that looked really good, so I had the idea to combine them.
Ground chicken, onion, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, garlic, and egg are combined to make the meatballs, which are basted with tomato sauce and cooked in the oven.
Spaghetti squash goes into a casserole dish (I cook mine in the microwave). This is from two medium squashes.
Place the cooked meatballs on top, then the tomato sauce. I forgot to season the squash, oops! So I added more salt and pepper here.
Kanikama is the imitation crab meat you find in cheap sushi rolls. It is made from white fish (pollock usually) that is formed and colored to look like crab. Sounds gross, but is actually pretty tasty - and way cheaper than real crab. Kanikama salad is a pretty typical way to prepare imitation crab outside of sushi rolls. It usually involves kanikama, shredded vegetables, and mango in a light mayonnaise based dressing and is sometimes topped with tobiko.
My version is kanikama and mango over lettuce, served with avocado (I meant to get tobiko, too, but I forgot!) This is really light and refreshing, and a little bit sweet - perfect for summer. It's important to realize that Japanese mayo is different from American - it is lighter, thinner, and made with rice wine vinegar. For my dressing, I bought Yum Yum sauce thinking it would be good as is (it's a mayonnaise based sauce that they use at Hibachi grill restaurants). But when I tried it out, it was a bit too sweet and bland. So I added a splash each of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, and toasted sesame oil (easy on that last one, it is very strong).
I don't really have a recipe - it's more of a play with seasonings til you like it kind of thing. You could add in julienned carrots, cucumber, even summer squash. You could dice the avocado and fold it in with the mango (which I did on subsequent days). You could toss the lettuce in the dressing as well, instead of setting the dressed kanikama on top. There are lots of ways that you can make this your own. Leave a comment telling me how you like your kanikama salad!
Melissa of Smells Like Brownies has been doing a CSA this year, so for one of our weekly vegetarian lunches we decided to use up some of the beets and lettuce she had received. This super delicious and filling salad involves sweet roasted beets, fragrant toasted walnuts, and creamy goat cheese. Simple and fresh - this is a great way to enjoy beets!
Warm Beet and Chèvre Salad
from Smells Like Brownies
3/4 lb beets (about 3 medium)
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 tbsp honey
salt and black pepper
1 wheat baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
1 medium head lettuce, such as Bibb or Boston
1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4–6 oz goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Wrap the beets tightly in foil and roast them for 1–1.5 hours, or until they are soft enough to pierce through the thickest part with a butter knife. Unwrap the beets and let them cool 10–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lightly brush the baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Set the slices on a cookie sheet and broil in the oven for 3 minutes.
Rinse and tear up the lettuce. Sprinkle the toasted, chopped nuts and oregano over the greens.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off the flesh. Cut the beets into slices or wedges and sprinkle over the salad.
Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of the oil and vinegar dressing.
Here is a dish that is simple, easy, healthy, and totally delicious.
All you do is mix together cooked quinoa, wilted kale, caramelized onions, eggs, and cheese; then bake until set.
It sets up a bit like a frittata. So simple!
Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche
adapted from Food 52
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into ribbons
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (or whatever you like)
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese (or Laughing Cow), cubed
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 9" pie dish (either butter the dish thoroughly or spray with baking spray).
Rinse the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a pan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer. This will take about twenty minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, start to caramelize the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large saute on medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions. Slowly cook until the onions are soft and browned. Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the kale into the hot onion pan. On medium heat, cook until the kale is wilted and bright green, about two minutes. Allow the greens to cool. Squeeze out any extra liquid using a sieve or a clean dish towel.
Add the kale, quinoa, garlic, cream cheese and cheddar to the mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients so that they are evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs so that they are well combined. Pour over the quinoa/kale mixture. Stir until the egg clings to the greens. Add salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture in the prepared pie dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and the pie has started to pull away from the edge of the baking dish. This dish is delightful hot, but even better at room temperature.