Category Archives: Vegetarian Side Dishes

The Only Greek Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Photo of my mother’s recipe card included. The hallmark of a good recipe are the stains on the recipe card!

And…I’m back! Where was I for the past month, when this blog was eerily silent? Well, I was actually off sick for three weeks. Too sick to work, so too sick to blog. I’ll tell more in an upcoming post, but for now I just want to talk about food! Specifically, this Greek Salad! It’s a recipe I got from my mom, and I’ve eaten 7 batches of this salad in the past month, and plan to make and eat three more this week. So, obviously, it’s a delicious recipe! And easy to make, because aside from a batch of blueberry pancakes that I made yesterday, it’s been the only thing I’ve cooked/made in the past month!!!

This super-Spring-like Greek Salad is easy to toss together, and can be made in less than 15 minutes. You could easily add some pasta to make a Greek Pasta salad, but personally, I love that it’s almost all vegetables (I’m counting tomatoes as a vegetable in this one instance). Mmm…my precious vegetablessssss!

Want to toss a batch together yourself? Let’s!

Greek Salad

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 8 oz. Feta cheese (I often use the stuff in containers in the dairy section, but the best stuff is the super creamy version from a good deli counter)
  • 1/2 c. black olives
  • 1/3 c. oil (I use vegetable, but olive would be more authentic)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (fresh makes it SO much better)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Chop tomatoes and cucumbers. Add crumbled Feta cheese. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Serve chilled! 

I remember eating bowls of this as a child, along with super-fresh crusty French or Italian bread (there was a very authentic Italian bakery close by). A delicious way to get in your vegetables!

As I said, you could easily add some pasta to this to stretch it or to add some heft to the meal, with the salad dressing coating the pasta. But truly, this is a great meal all on its own. I’ve recently been eating bowls of this at midnight, and it’s just as delicious as when served at lunch or dinner! (Perhaps even more delicious when it’s extra chilled and eaten in bed while resting on plumped pillows and watching TV. Being an adult is so much fun!)

Next Post: Chocolate Ice Milk? Blue Velvet Pancakes? Copycat Peach Yoplait? It all depends on what I’m craving!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans: A Super-Quick and Easy Side Dish!

A taste of spring in the winter months!

I love green beans. They’re fresh, they’re green, they have a satisfying, crisp crunch to them, they’re full of protein, and hey, they’re healthy! So I thought I’d make a green bean dish today: Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans. They’re a taste of spring (or summer) in this cold February month.

With only three ingredients, this dish goes from fridge to table in 10 minutes…including prep time! Yes, it’s that fast! Who doesn’t want a quick and fresh side dish that is full of flavour?

Let’s get to making some!

LEMONY PAN-FRIED GREEN BEANS

  • 3 handfuls of green beans (about 12 oz, or about 350 g.)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Heat oil in a frying pan. Wash green beans and cut off ends. Toss green beans into the frying pan, along with 1 tsp. of lemon zest. Put a lid on the pan (otherwise hot oil will splash out, especially when you put in the freshly washed green beans). Fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the beans are cooked to your desired preference. Put beans on a serving plate and sprinkle remaining lemon zest on top. Et voila, you’re done!

This is a vegan recipe, but to be honest, I think it would be even better if it was pan-fried in butter. Just think how delicious that would be! That said, as healthy as green beans and lemon zest are, the fact that oil (or butter) is used, means that this is not as healthy as steamed beans would be. But hey, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a bit!

Speaking of switching things up, I was reading an article about mixing brownies and croissants together. Sounded…interesting. But now I’m thinking of the different types of mashups I could make. Brownies and bread pudding? Too rich, I think. Hmm. Brownies and…what? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Blue Velvet Pancakes, or some sort of Brownie Mashup. Preferences?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! Plus, at Foodie Friday!

Dutch-Style Mashed Potatoes, Two Ways: How to Eat the Rainbow w/o Giving Up Carbs

Dinner is served, packed full of nutrition!

Today’s  recipe is actually two recipes, for “hutspot” and “stamppot”. Um, say what? Those are just the Dutch names for two different types of mashed potatoes, both yummy and both full of vitamins, nutrients, and most importantly, packed full of delicious flavour!

Want to learn how to make Dutch-Style Mashed Potatoes? Read on!

MASHED POTATOES W/ CARROTS & CARAMELIZED ONIONS (aka ‘Hutspot’)

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes

Saute onions and carrots in butter until onions are caramelized and carrots are fork-able. While they are cooking, microwave the potatoes (or you could bake them in the oven, but that takes longer and I like to get dinner on the table asap!). Scoop out the potato flesh and mash it together with the sauted onions and carrots until chunkily mashed. And…done! 

This is a savoury mashed potato dish, with a hint of sweet from the carrots. So yum!

Legend has it that when the Dutch routed the Spanish colonizers from their land back in in 1500 and something, the Spanish left so quickly that they left their vegetables still cooking over the fire. The Dutch found it, mashed it up, and voila, a new national dish was born.

A variation on the same thing is mashed potatoes with curly-leafed greens (lettuce, endive, kale). I know, it doesn’t sound delicious, but trust me, it is! If you (or your loved ones) don’t like salads, this is a great way to get them to eat their greens — just pour some gravy on top! How to make it? Read on!

KALE MASHED POTATOES (a variation on ‘Stamppot’)

  • 5 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 head kale 
  • 1/2 c. milk

Wash kale and strip off stems. Chop the leaves finely and throw out the stems. Bake potatoes in microwave. Scoop out the baked flesh and mash in the chopped kale and milk. And…done! You could also use a hand-held blender to quicken the process, which is what I did. Just be sure not to over-process it, as no one wants uniformly green mashed potatoes. 

My mum always served these dishes with pan-fried roasts so that there was always lots of gravy to spoon over the mashed potatoes. Even though I no longer eat meat, I have to say, the memory of those meals still makes my mouth water. These are definitely delicious ways to add more veggies into your diet, and I plan to make them more often. Try them out — you won’t regret it!

I served the mashed potatoes with a slice or two of Canadian bacon, some warm kale chips, and a few sweet potato fries. The DH said “Now THIS is a meal!” So yay for yummy meals and especially for ones chock-full of a variety of vegetables!

BONUS KALE CHIP RECIPE: Wash and dry kale. Tear the leaves off the stems and discard stems. Sprinkle a little bit of oil on the leaves and rub in. Bake in a 350 degree oven until crispy, and serve lightly salted. They’re not potato chips, but they’re still sure to be a hit with people who are picky about their veggies. Or you could eat them all yourself. Not that I did that. Nope. (I just ate most of them.)

Next Post: Hmm. Good question. I’m feeling lately like I should up my protein intake, so maybe something like that. Any special requests? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Happiness is HomemadeMeal Plan Monday, Full Plate Thursday, and Foodie Friday!

Maple-Glazed Roast Pumpkin: Veggies are Yum!

Delicious maple-y goodness!

It’s pumpkin time! Actually, it’s fall, and October is past and I didn’t have a chance to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. So, I served my Halloween pumpkin up for dinner! With maple syrup, because I’m Canadian like that.

Ever eaten oven-baked sweet potatoes? That have been baking on a low heat for a long time? They get all sweet and caramelized and oh so delicious. I thought I’d try something similar with pumpkin slices, except I also treated them to my acorn squash treatment — a brown sugar dip before roasting. And then the roasting. And then the maple syrup glazing!

The result? Um, yum! I love maple syrup glazed anything, and adding maple syrup to my beloved veggies just makes them better!

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

MAPLE-GLAZED ROAST PUMPKIN

  • 1/4 medium pumpkin, peeled
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (I think butter would actually taste even better)
  • 1/8 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup

Slice peeled pumpkin into 1 inch thick slabs.  Mix vegetable oil and brown sugar and coat pumpkin slices in the mixture. Place on a cookie sheet and baked at 400 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes or until the bottom of the slices are golden and caramelized, and the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Removed from oven and brush with maple syrup twice. Serve warm and enjoy your maple-enhanced veggies! 

By the way, thinner slices of pumpkin caramelize more quickly in the oven. Oh, and you could substitute in many other sorts of squash for the pumpkin in this recipe. I mean, really, you can’t go wrong by roasting a squash and then glazing it with maple syrup, amirite?

Next Post: Pumpkin Gnocchi? Best Ever Almond Bundt Cake? Or perhaps my incredibly delicious Faux Cream Cheese Icing? So many delicious things, so little time to blog about them!

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!

Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta, And When Not to Freak Out

Pasta + cheese = want!

As the name implies, blue cheese is the star of this pasta dish. One pot, three ingredients, super-easy and super-quick to make…what’s not to love?

Unless you don’t love blue cheese. Then, move along lil’ doggie (to another recipe! Such as this one). Otherwise, make this dish and you’ll be in blue cheese heaven!

I first had this dish when I went snow-shoeing with some friends this winter. A bunch of us had rented a cabin and we ate communal-style, with lots of laughter and joking, and with some very good food! One of our friends made this blue cheese pasta, and told us that she developed the recipe when backpacking across South America recently. I’ve modified the amounts of the ingredients to make it more to my taste, as I like a saucier dish as opposed to a stickier one, but the outcome is the same — blue cheese yumminess!

Basically, you toss the pasta with a two-ingredient sauce, stir in some more cheese, and then sprinkle a tad more on top. And voila, done! It’s very quick to make; cooking the pasta is what takes the longest.

Let’s do this, boyo!

All you need!

Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta (serves two)

  • 3 cups cooked pasta (I used cavatappi, but you do you, boo)
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. plus two tbsp. blue cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta, and set aside. In the same pot, whisk the milk and 1/2 c. blue cheese together, until a thin sauce forms. Stir in pasta, and 1 tbsp. blue cheese. Plate and sprinkle remaining tbsp. of blue cheese on top. Et voila, tu es fini!

By the way, don’t freak out when you’re making the sauce and it starts to look a little…blue. That’s ok! It IS blue cheese, after all, and but it does look more appetizing when you’ve stirred in the crumbled cheese and sprinkled a tad more on top.

I will say, if you don’t like blue cheese, you won’t like this dish, as it’s the central theme, obviously. And it’s best to serve the dish with a nice side salad in order to balance out the strong flavour of the cheese. I served this dish alongside my broccoli slaw, and the DH loved it!

Next Post: I have the BEST cake recipe that I developed to celebrate the DH’s recent milestone birthday, and I’m going to be sharing it with you all! What kind of cake is it? Delicious, obviously, but stay tuned and find out the flavour shortly!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade!