White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

I went to the local farmer’s market yesterday before heading to the Minnesota Twins game with a friend from college. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but found some great-looking kale and garlic scapes (the green part attached to the top of the bulbs). I’ve never used garlic scapes before, but I’ve heard a lot about them and was curious to find out how I might use them in recipes. They smell pretty garlic-y, as the dog waiting at the crosswalk near the market surely noticed as it sniffed my bag.

This recipe is pretty simple, though it took me a bit of time to make because I cooked my beans from dry. I had to play around with the ingredients to get the taste just right, but it turned out pretty good.

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

Dip 1

Ingredients

  • 2 cups navy beans, canned and drained OR cooked from dry
  • 1/3 cup garlic scapes
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend together until smooth. Adjust ingredients as desired.

Source: Adapted from Mountain Momma Cooks

Pumpkin Butter

This is a recipe that most people associate with fall, but I love pumpkin butter, so why not make it in the spring? Plus, I have another recipe in mind that will be great with pumpkin butter…

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter 1

Ingredients

  • 1 (29 oz) can pumpkin puree (about 3.5 cups)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan stir together all of the ingredients except for the lemon juice.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Allow the pumpkin butter to cool before pouring into glass jar(s), using a funnel if necessary. Refrigerate pumpkin butter and use within 2-3 weeks.

Source: Adapted from Tidy Mom

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

As a child I wasn’t a very adventurous eater, partially due to the fact that we had picky eaters in the family. I remember thinking,  at some point (middle school?), that hummus looked and smelled weird, and that it wasn’t something I was going to be eating. I’m not sure when that changed, but I’m glad it did.

These days, I love hummus – on sandwiches, in wraps, or as a dip for veggies or chips. It’s a tasty, healthy alternative to the more traditional condiments and dips, and it just so happens that it’s incredibly easy to make, too. It’s a little tough finding tahini (sesame paste), but it’s well worth the effort to be able to make homemade hummus.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (or you can use dried chickpeas – find conversions here)
  • 4 oz roasted red peppers
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Toss everything into a blender or food processor. Blend until it’s as smooth as you like, scraping the sides and adding liquid (the liquid from the roasted red peppers works well) as needed.

This does have a bit of a kick to it, so modify the spices to suit your taste.

Source: AllRecipes

Moroccan Carrot Dip with Toasted Pita Wedges

I’m always looking for creative ways to get my daily servings of vegetables, especially during the week when I pack lunches to bring to work. My default lunch veggie is baby carrots because they’re readily available and easy to pack. I like carrots, but I get tired of eating them. This carrot dip is a yummy twist on the usual carrots-in-a-baggie lunch time staple, and along with pita bread and some protein, could serve as an entire lunch.

Moroccan Carrot Dip with Toasted Pita Wedges

Carrot Dip

Ingredients

  • whole wheat pitas
  • 1 pound whole carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Toast the pitas: I followed the directions on the pita bag, placing them directly on the oven rack and baking for about 5 minutes, but they definitely could have gone longer. Once the pitas were cool enough I used a pizza cutter to cut each pita into 8 wedges.
  3. Meanwhile, combine carrots and enough water to cover them in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork tender. For me this only took about 10 minutes, but it all depends on the size of the carrot pieces and how high the heat is under the pan. Drain in a colander and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Put the carrots, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spices in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley.

You can use baby carrots instead of whole to save time, but I prefer the taste of whole carrots, and it really only takes a few minutes to peel and chop them. Spice it up a bit by adding another pinch of cayenne.

Source: Adapted from Weight Watchers Momentum Healthy Cooking Basics

Vinaigrettes

I usually post on a weekly basis, but was out for most of last week at Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) for my VISTA position (that starts tomorrow!!). PSO was pretty exhausting, so I was looking to make something quick and simple, that I could whip up with little or no time spent cooking.

Since going dairy free I’ve found that I can no longer eat some of my favorite salad dressings, which is probably a good thing because they’re not all that healthy. I’ve tried a few good vinaigrettes here and there, but nothing really beats the taste of homemade.

Herbed Vinaigrette

Herb Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh packed fresh herbs
  • 1/4 cup plus one tsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 cloves gralic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Put everything into a food processor or blender and blend well.

I used basil, thyme, parsley, and a few leaves of rosemary in this recipe, and it turned out wonderful. I love this viniagrette on spinach or romaine, and am betting it would make a great dip for bread as well.

Source: Adapted from Kitchen Explorers at PBS.org

Red Wine-Mustard Vinaigrette

IMGP2883

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the olive oil.
  2. Add olive oil slowly, adding about one tablespoon at a time, while whisking mixture continuously.

Source: Orangette

Mashed Potatoes with Avocado and Cilantro Pesto

I often find myself with leftover ingredients after using only a tiny bit in a recipe, particularly when cooking dishes with fresh herbs that only come in bunches (I’m looking at you, cilantro).  After using some  cilantro in my chana masala,  I was looking to make something tasty that would use up the rest of the bunch, and settled on a nice pesto.

Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro pesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cilantro leaves, packed
  • a few basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water, if needed

Instructions

  1. Put everything but the olive oil in a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse a few times; alternate adding olive oil and blending until the pesto reaches desired consistency. Add water if it seems like things aren’t mixing well.

Source: Inspired by SimplyRecipes, but mostly just thrown together in the moment.

Later in the day when I decided to make dinner, I realized that I had half  of a quickly browning avocado in my fridge. Cilantro and avocado are wonderful together (hello guac!) but I was more interested in something that would go with leftover grilled chicken. I poked around in the kitchen and found a fairly large red potato, and decided to make some sort of potato/avocado/pesto dish.

Mashed Potatoes with Avocado and Cilantro Pesto

Pesto potatoes

Makes 1 to 2 servings, depending on your appetite, but can easily be adjusted to make more.

Ingredients:

  • One large red potato
  • Half an avocado
  •  2 tsp cilantro pesto
  • Earth Balance
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cook the potato by either boiling it in a pot of water or wrapping in a wet paper towel and microwaving until tender enough to mash.
  2. Place potato in a bowl and mash slightly. Add Earth Balance, avocado, and pesto.  Mash everything together until desired consistency is achieved –  I like some lumps in my potatoes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.

I will admit that these green potatoes look a little weird, but they’re super tasty.

Source: My own culinary genius.