Zoodles with Peaches, Pesto & Chickpeas

It’s no surprise that zoodles have become increasingly popular, and recently I was looking for a way I could use them raw in an everyday salad.  I came across a recipe on Purple Carrot that included chickpeas and peaches and knew I had to give it a try.

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I made a fresh pesto that incorporated basil and mint – two herbs I think pair particularly well with peaches – and threw in some sunflower seeds for a little extra crunch.

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I also seasoned the chickpeas with cumin for a some heat and roasted them in the oven so that they would crips up nicely.

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This ended up being such a nice change to my lunch routine that I will be repeating again very soon! Continue reading

Fresh Corn Polenta with Tomato Basil Salad

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As with any ingredient that’s in season, corn on the cob during summer time is a must. One of my favorite ways to use is to make a fresh (and delicious) take on traditional polenta.  

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What is polenta?  It’s dish of boiled cornmeal that can also be solidified and baked, grilled or fried.  Here’s an earlier breakfast post that incorporates it.  The reason that this fresh corn version is so amazing is it’s less work, creamier and has more natural sweetness and flavor.  The first time I tasted it I couldn’t believe how delicious it was.    

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The recipe below includes a tricolor tomato salad with basil since tomatoes are also in season, but the fresh corn polenta would also be delicious with a fried egg, grilled shrimp, a vegetable ragout, or anything else you would usually eat with polenta or grits.  It’s also perfectly delicious on it’s own as a side dish.  I love to also make variations depending on the dish by varying the cheese and ingredients I  use.  For example, cheddar cheese and jalapeno are excellent substitutions.   

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Shaved Brussels Sprout & Kale Salad

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I could eat an entire bowl of Brussels sprouts sauteed with some bacon. Alright fine, I could eat a bowl of just about anything cooked with bacon.  But after the Thanksgiving holiday, I was craving something that would make me feel like I was making amends for all those extra helpings of mashed potatoes.  I decided to shred up some leftover raw Brussels sprouts I had as the base to this very seasonal salad.

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I say seasonal because in addition to kale, I  threw in dried cranberries and chopped walnuts for some texture and finished it with some grated Parmesan for a hit of saltiness.

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As for the dressing, I kept things simple with an olive oil base, adding lemon for brightness and Dijon mustard for tang.  This salad is so flavorful you won’t even notice there isn’t any bacon. Continue reading