Category Archives: Vegetarian Side Dishes

Best Ever Macaroni Salad, and…Eating for Two

Best ever macaroni salad!

I hosted a family BBQ this weekend, as it was a long weekend here in Canada (Victoria Day weekend, also known as May 2-4 weekend). One of my contributions was my Best Ever Macaroni Salad! It was a hit! This macaroni salad isn’t your sad buffet macaroni salad, but is a fresh version with no preservatives but a whole lotta flavour! A variety of spices give it flavour, and the secret ingredient, balsamic vinegar, gives it that umami taste that makes your mouth water in anticipation.

This is a very easy macaroni salad to throw together, and it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. I have used fresh red and green peppers in the salad (for colour and crunch) and other times I’ve used dehydrated red and green peppers. The seasonings can of course be adjusted to your own taste. Make it your own!

Want to make some? Let’s get started!

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BEST EVER MACARONI SALAD

This easy pasta salad is great to bring to BBQs or family dinners. Easily thrown together from mostly pantry ingredients, you'll knock of everyone's socks with the great taste of this salad! 

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 3 c. cooked macaroni
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried onion
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. chopped red & green peppers (or substitute 2 tbsp. chopped dried peppers)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. chopped green onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together, and let sit in fridge for at least two hours. Serve chilled! 

 

Oh, and guess what? The title to this post referenced it, but…I’m pregnant! Did you figure it out from my gender reveal cake post a few weeks ago? I wasn’t announcing it then, so I tried to imply that it was for someone else, but it was really about ma bebe. Because I’m having a little girl! Am so excited. My husband and I call bebe-to-be by a nickname, Baby Pina (baby pineapple), so I think that shall be her blog name. Baby Pina is expected in about 5 months, and let me tell you, I can really notice an increase in appetite (at least now that the all-day and all-night morning sickness has eased off a bit). I need to eat every few hours or else I get all vomity. Fun times. So, lots of protein-rich food it is! I made Easy Enchiladas yesterday, but used a heavy hand with the beans to up the protein, and plan to make yoghurt tomorrow to add into my favourite smoothies during the week. In other words, lots of healthy food!

Next Post: Something healthy but delicious, I think! Heavy on the delicious. I haven’t decided what to make yet, but am craving something creamy. And sweet. Maybe a custard cream cake? Not so healthy, but oh so delicious! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and at Happiness is Homemade!

Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes: Who Needs Take-Out?

Deliciously fragrant and herbed!

I’ve been craving those amazing lemony potatoes that one can buy at Greek fast-food takeout shops recently, and finally decided to come up with my own recipe. The secret to making these taste amazing? Aside from fresh potatoes? Chicken-flavoured bouillon! And yes, there is a vegetarian version of chicken bouillon — who knew? So, that’s this week’s recipe: Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes! Fluffy potato wedges, redolent of lemon and olive oil, with chicken and garlic undertones…so, so yum!

I read through several recipes to get the gist of how they are usually made, and then came up with my own short-cut version. By partially boiling the potatoes (in a garlic & bouillon stock) prior to baking them in the lemon, oil, and herb mixture, you cut the cooking time significantly. And who wants to spend extra time cooking if you don’t need to?

These delicious potatoes are soooooo good that they can be eaten all by themselves, but they would also be fabulous served with a Greek salad (such as my The Only Greek Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need). For meat-a-tarians like my husband, a skewer of meat would probably complement the meal nicely, but really, the potatoes are so flavourful that I think a side salad is all you need.

Let’s get to making some!

GREEK-STYLE LEMONY POTATOES

This herbed and lemon-flavoured potato dish is a homestyle version of the takeout classic. A stock make of chicken-flavoured bouillon and garlic gives it the classic flavour! 

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 tsp. oregano, thyme, and rosemary, each
  • 2 cubes chicken-flavoured bouillon (enough to make 8 cups of stock)
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 8 c. water
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice (fresh is best, but bottled is ok too)

Instructions

  1. Add bouillon and garlic to water, and bring to a boil. 

  2. Cut potatoes into wedges (6 to a potato) and add to garlic & bouillon stock. Boil until firm but can be pierced by a fork. (Be careful not to cook potatoes fully, or else they'll turn into mashed potatoes in the oven. Delicious, but not the aim of the recipe.)

  3. In an oven-proof container, mix olive oil, herbs, 1 c. of the bouillon and garlic stock (along with all of the garlic from the stock), and the potatoes. 

  4. Bake in a 400 degree oven, until potatoes reach their desired level of doneness. (Some people prefer softer potatoes than others.). I baked for about 30 minutes, until most but not all of the liquid had been absorbed/evaporated; I suggest checking every 15 minutes to make sure they reach your particular taste for doneness.  

  5. Served with a Greek Salad, and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

I used McCormick vegetarian chicken bouillon because I'm vegetarian, but if you just have regular chicken bouillon, that's fine too. And if you find another vegetarian chicken bouillon, let me know! So far the only one I've ever come across is McCormick's.  

 

I made these last weekend, thinking that there would be enough for several meals worth, but…apparently they are too delicious to sit in the fridge for long. The next day there were all gone. The culprit? My beloved DH who enjoyed them for snacks and for dinner the next day. I came home after work to find him serving himself the last of the potatoes for dinner, topped with some cheese. He did look slightly guilty that he hadn’t left any for me, but…not guilty enough to have left any. In other words, Greek-Style Lemony potatoes are dee-licious!

Next Post: Either Blue & Blackberry Jam, or The Ultimate Macaroni Salad. I have amazing (and EASY) recipes for both! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

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! And again!

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!