Gazpacho

It may be September, but the weather hasn’t quite changed just yet (though I’m totally digging these cooler nights). I, much like summer itself, am having one last hurrah before retiring those delicious summer flavors. One of my favorite ways to celebrate the beautiful, flavorful summer produce available, especially in August/early September, is to throw everything in a blender and call it gazpacho.

Ok, I know that traditional gazpacho has bread in it. But I’ve never made it that way. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love bread, but why would I use bread to diminish the flavors of all those amazing summer veggies? That and my family originally started making gazpacho with the mindset of “this is basically just a vegetable smoothie.”

I prefer a red, tomato-based gazpacho packed with cucumbers, peppers, and sharp hints of fresh onion and garlic. Add a little tomato paste to deepen the flavor, a touch of lemon or vinegar to add some bite, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, just a hint of spice. Throw it all together and you have a refreshing starter to any meal.

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Basil Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Happy September! Are you looking for something delicious to make? Still holding onto summer as the school year starts? Well, look no further because this recipe is my new obsession.

This summer I shared my homemade marinara sauce to celebrate the bounty of summer tomatoes. After that I showed you my favorite cashew basil ricotta “cheese” that I put on almost everything. Now we put them together! I took the ricotta and stuffed it into some jumbo pasta shells, topped it with sauce, and baked it until it was perfect.

This is a recipe that tastes just as delicious straight out of the oven as it does three days later, cold from the fridge. Make it for a large meal or for dinner for the week because these leftovers will last.

What are you eating this week?

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Basil Cashew Ricotta

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Guys, cashews are magical. Seriously, they can morph into just about anything. Want a vegan cheesecake? Use cashews. How about a cheesy sauce for your mac and cheese? Use cashews. How do you make a soup creamy? Use cashews. They can do just about everything. So today, we’re transforming them into a basil “ricotta.”

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This ricotta is creamy, decadent, and has an undertone of basil that goes deliciously with pasta or on a pizza. You don’t need a fancy vitamix to blend this up – in fact, I like using my little food processor because it leaves the texture of the blended cashews just a touch grainy, which weirdly feels more authentically ricotta-esque.

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This is one of those easy recipes where you just throw everything together, blend it, and it’s ready to go. Basically, go make this now, you have no excuse not to.

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What magical things do you do with cashews?

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The Recipe ReDux: Homemade Marinara Sauce

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Happy summer, everyone! Are you gorging yourself on all the fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs you can stand? I know I am. Summer produce is the best produce, by far.

The Recipe ReDux agrees! This month’s theme is Get your fruits and veggies in shape! While the theme encourages spiralizing and cookie cutters, I went with a slightly less defined shape for my veggies. I took my favorite marinara sauce recipe and adapted it to the bounty of fresh tomatoes popping up in local farmers markets.

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My marinara sauce recipe, which I have definitely used on the site before, features a key surprise ingredient; cinnamon. It’s one of those flavors that just elevates the whole sauce to something completely different and delicious.

To account for fresh tomatoes (rather than my usual canned), I addes the extra step of first roasting the tomatoes then preceding with the recipe as usual. Roasting for 2 hours helps heighten the flavor of the tomatoes while allowing the extra liquid to cookoff. I should note that I did not bother seeding or peeling my tomatoes. I put the sauce through a quick run in the food processor to break it down a little, but overall I kept my sauce fairly chunky. If you want a smoother sauce, I recommend either blending it down or using a food mill to both puree the tomatoes and to remove any skin and seeds. Either way, I do recommend roasting them with every part of the tomato involved so that you don’t lose any of the delicious flavor.

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What fruits and veggies are you eating this summer?

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The Recipe ReDux: Mushroom Lentil Salad

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The weather might have only cooperated for a few days so far, but summer is definitely on its way! In honor of the (very slowly) changing weather, this month’s Recipe ReDux theme Small Plates for Sunny Days. This immediately made me think of light food, perfect for eating outside on the patio or in the park for a picnic.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of a lentil mushroom salad for a while now, and for some reason it always makes me think of picnics. This salad is a breeze to throw together, tastes great either cold or room temperature, and travels well to the park. The lemony dressing makes it bright while the red pepper flakes give it just a hint of a spice. This is a great starter to a meal, or if you want to make it a little heartier, serve it to fewer people, add some avocado, and call it the main dish.

What small plates are you making for your sunny days?

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