Tag Archives: vegetarian

Basil Hummus

I’m accidentally jumping on this green food for St. Patrick’s day bandwagon.  We’ll pretend I meant to do that.


Seriously though…have you seen the amount of basil you need to make any significant amount of pesto?  What’s up with that?  Not an option.


I’ll stick to the occasional package o’ pesto splurge and in the meantime…


I’m making hummus.

Heck yeah cheater pesto!  This is much easier on my wallet.  Plus…there’s protein in there! Health!


I know it seems plain but do not underestimate the deliciousness of basil pesto.  Daniel loved it.  That’s all you need to know.


Oh yeah..I peeled my chickpeas. a la Smitten Kitchen.


Peeling the peas made the hummus sooo smooooth. The peeling process wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  The skins come off quickly and easily with a satisfying pop of your fingers. Don’t worry.  Peeling not required.


Do not feel pressured to peel your chickpeas like a crazy person.  That’s what crazy people with snow days and a blog do for fun.


I even support simply smashing chickpeas with a potato masher and enjoying chunky hummus.  Call it “rustic.”  I’m just trying to tell you that it’s ok to roll your eyes at that step and move on.

(It’s worth trying at least once, though.)


That is roasted garlic.


If you have roasted garlic on hand USE IT!  If you have extra time on your hands and feel like roasting some garlic for your hummus DO IT!  Just wrap it in foil and roast it until it gets soft, sweet and delicious.


Raw garlic or garlic powder work just fine but the rich, sweet flavor of roasted garlic is. the. bomb.


There’s no oil in my hummus.  I don’t think you need it.  You may certainly add some if you want.  I DID stir some whole toasted pinenuts into my hummus.  For crunch! Also for maximum pesto experience.


Prepare your veg.


…aaaaaaand dunk.


Or go make a sandwich.


Hummus is yummus!


(Bet you’ve never heard that one before…clever, right?)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


❤ Ellen

Basil Hummus

Recipe a conglomeration of my taste and things from the interweb

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
1 1/4 cup chickpeas (reserve either cooking water or the water from the can)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or a clove or two of fresh garlic OR roasted garlic…highly recommended.)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup reserved chickpea water
1 handful of pinenuts (optional)

  1. If you want to, peel your chickpeas.  Just pick them up one at a time and slide the skin off.
  2. This is really complicated. Ready?  Put everything (except the pinenuts) in the food processor fitted with the blade attachment.  Let it run until everything is as smooth as your heart desires.  Be patient.  The longer it runs, the smoother the final product will be.
  3. Stir in pinenuts and drizzle with olive oil (if you want).  Serve as a dip for veggies or crackers or use as a spread for a sandwich.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  It will keep at least a week.


Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Snacks, Uncategorized

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Here it is!  By popular demand.

Daniel can’t get enough.  Guests exclaim.  The bridal shower I made it for practically threatened for the recipe.

I almost hesitate to give it away.  It makes people think I can cook…but it’s so easy you’ll laugh!

The reaction to this dip kind of took me by surprise.  It’s really nothing fancy…but maybe that’s why it’s so great.  It also brings the spinach back to spinach dip.  So often these dips are mostly cream cheese with the occasional hint of green as a nod to its namesake.  This one highlights the spinach and artichoke without sacrificing flavor or texture.

Everything else has some wiggle room but you definitely need at least


and artichoke hearts.

Oh, and cheese.  Plenty of cheese. I don’t care what kind but make sure there’s plenty.

This bowl (made by Daniel! That talented guy.) includes mozzarella for the melty gooey effect,  Parmesan for a punch of flavor, and feta because we’re obsessed.

This couldn’t be easier.

Get your onion, garlic salt and pepper situation together then:

Chop it all up, mix it all together with the creamy bits, bake, eat.

Seriously.  Done.  Do it.


❤ Ellen

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Recipe adapted from this recipe

13.75 oz jar of artichoke hears (I used the kind packed in water, not marinated), drained
Spinach [either fresh (use two 6 oz. bags, chopped) or frozen (10 oz package), thawed and squeezed]
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup  mayonnaise
1/3 cup (freshly grated!!) parmesan cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese
4 oz (at least) mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

 **Choose whatever cheeses you want!  Make sure you include mozzarella or another soft melty cheese to get that awesome texture.  Also let’s be real: want more cheese? Do it.  Go crazy.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. Finely chop the onions and garlic.  A food processor makes life easier here but a knife will work just fine.  Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts and combine with the onions and garlic.  I like to leave nice big chunks of artichoke

3. Combine all the ingredients (including chopped veggies, yogurt, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) in a medium bowl until everything is well distributed

4. Spread evenly in an oven proof dish, grate more Parmesan cheese in a thin layer on top and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, or until hot, lightly browned and cheese is melted.
Serve immediately with pita chips (or any delicious scooper).  You could also just eat it straight up.  With a spoon.  You would not be the first.
Note:  This dip is just as tasty (if not tastier) reheated.  You can absolutely make it the day before and warm before serving.


Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Sides, Snacks, Uncategorized

Alternative Potato Salad

Confession: I don’t like potato salad.

I know I know I’m sorry…I just can’t get into it.

The individual ingredients each have delicious potential:

Potatoes are awesome. Always.

I appreciate and respect mayonnaise for what it’s got goin’ on.  Sometimes it’s really just necessary.

Vinegar, green onions, maybe some hard boiled egg…ok fine. I’m with you.  Sounds great.

For some reason, though, their powers combined just don’t thrill me.

I know it’s weird.  I’m always left out with my potato salad-less plate at picnics and barbecues each summer.  It’s cool, though.  I have found an alternative and I am head over heels in love!! (With a pile of potatoes? No one said it made sense.)

This nonsense I’m about to throw at you looks nothing like the potato salad at every picnic since the dawn of time.

It’s roasty, spicy, smoky, hint of sweet…I’m amazed.  Please let me share!

For this potato salad you’re going to chop a lot of things into circles.  Ready? Begin.

Roasting works magic.


Becomes this:


Becomes this:

Roasty rounds and caramelized onions…things already look good!

Oh but we’re not done yet…

Some of those roasted jalapenos hang out with some olive oil, some vinegar and some sugar.

Just some casual roasted jalapeno vinaigrette creation.  No big deal.  Then I got a little crazy and this guy got involved:

That is an ancho chile pepper.

It has an awesome sweet heat that played off of the jalapeno and the vinegar just right.  Plus it turned the whole thing yellow/orange to match the sweet potatoes.  Meant to be!

Now, at this point I was getting pretty excited thanks to the ridiculous smells in my kitchen…so in my attempt to dress the salad, I spilled the vinaigrette everywhere.  Just warning you of potential hazards.

Potato salad shish kabob? Yes, please.

You need this potato salad update in your life.  I need some company in this sweet n’ spicy bliss.  Together we’ve got it made.  Happy cookout/picnic season!


❤ Ellen

Alternative Potato Salad

Recipe adapted from this Better Homes and Gardens recipe

For the potato salad:

2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch disks
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
4 jalapeno peppers, roasted (425 degrees F for 20 minutes or until skins start to brown), divided
[**2 jalapenos, chopped, for the salad, 2 get pureed into the vinaigrette]
Olive oil (enough for a thin coating before roasting)
Salt n’ pepper (to taste)

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 cup rice vinegar (or 3 parts white vinegar & 1 part water)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 dried ancho chile pepper
2 roasted jalapenos
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, cilantro to taste

1. While the oven preheats to 425 degrees F, put your thinly sliced onions in a pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to low heat. They are gonna hang out in there until they are soft and caramel color…low and slow is the key here.

3.  Arrange jalapenos on a baking sheet so that there is plenty of room between peppers.  Roast for 20 minutes total, flipping after 10 minutes.

2. Toss the potatoes with enough olive oil to thinly coat, salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet so that they are not touching.  Roast for about 15 minutes, flip then roast another 10 minutes.  The potatoes should be soft and just starting to brown.

3. In a blender, combine 2 of the roasted jalapenos, the ancho chile pepper, vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper and cilantro.

4. Toss the potatoes, the remaining 2 jalapenos (chopped) and the caramelized onions with the vinaigrette in a large bowl to serve


Filed under Appetizer, Sides, Uncategorized