Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic and Basil

This is one of those recipes that you’ll want to make all summer long and perhaps even brave cold winter days to get that grilled taste. These grilled vegetables are light and flavorful, healthy and pair well with just about any main dish. They’re also vegan, paleo and whole 30.

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

Red onion - an unassuming vegetable hiding a gentle sweetness and flavor behind its many layers. It took me a while to fully come around to this lovely vegetable. I used to catch glimpses of it at the market, modestly nestled next to the sweet and yellow variety but hardly ever did I think to cook with it. I guess it seemed a bit intimidating so I stuck with the familiar kind. 

But truth be told, red onion is now one of my favorite vegetables. Aside from its alluring color, red onion has a sweet, mild flavor that enhances many a dish. 

Las weekend my mother visited. And as is typically the case, she comes baring little gifts of one kind or another. While I insist that I need nothing and she doesn't have to, this time though she nailed it when she walked in with a massive pot of basil. There are few things that bring me as much joy as fresh herbs. But along with the basil she also brought an array of vegetables that were now strewn about my counter so my job was to figure out what to do with the mishmash. 

Days past and I still hadn't figured out what to do with all the vegetables on hand. Roasting of course was always an option but I wanted something else. Then I remembered the red onion sitting in the fridge from a previous recipe I'd made and it all came together. I would keep things very simple and grill the vegetables, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and finish them with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. 

Best vegetables for grilling

For me, red bell pepper, zucchini and red onion are a must. I love green beans so they were a natural fit for this dish, but you could always add summer squash or eggplant as well.

You can play around with this recipe as you see fit and swap out the vegetables to suit your liking but the red onion is a must! It changes the entire flavor profile of the vegetables. It brings out the best in them in an almost inexplicable way. You'll see...

Best way to grill vegetables

Well you have a few options. You could toss them directly on the grill, add them to the grill pan that came with your grill (if that was the case) or use a cast iron skillet directly on the grill. Either options is going to give you flavorful grilled vegetables. And if you don’t have a grill at all, you can always use a grill pan and make them on the stove top.

Do you have to add balsamic vinegar to grilled vegetables?

That is entirely up to you. Some people find the flavor of balsamic vinegar to be intense and would rather tone it down some. You could experiment with something a milder vinegar like a rice vinegar, champagne vinegar or red or white vinegar. Or you could skip it entirely and just go for a little more olive oil to really bring out the flavor of the grilled vegetables.

Can you skip the basil?

Well of course, I just happen to love it and think that it works fantastically well in this dish. You could experiment with other tender herbs or leave them out all together. I don’t think a tougher herb like rosemary finds its home in this dish so stick with milder ones! Fresh oregano would be a very good contender!

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

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grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • grilling time: 20 minutes

  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 1 zucchini, sliced

  • handful of green beans, trimmed

  • 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl

  • tongs

  • grill

  • grill safe plate

  • cling wrap

Directions:

Preheat grill on medium low.

In large bowl combine all ingredients aside from vinegar and basil and mix well. 

Add all vegetables to grill safe cast iron plate (most grills come with one) and grill for 10 minutes on low (stirring occsaionally) until soft but still retaining a bite. 

Place grilled vegetables back in bowl, add balsamic vinegar and basil and stir until vegetables are coated. Cover with wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve right away. 



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If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30
If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30
If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30

No Churn Vegan Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream with Caramel

If you like chocolate and pistachios then you’re going to love this simple no churn, dairy free, vegan ice cream. And let’s not forget the caramel, which pretty much ties everything together.

spoons
peonies and spoons
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel

Green and jumpy, its gifted legs pausing once in a while to make song. The sky, of the clearest blue with an occasional cloud passing by. I laid in the tall grass, watching it sway back and forth as the green visitor disappeared from sight with one long hop.

Time moved slower then, summer’s creatures buzzing about. July has always held a certain sweetness. I rolled over studying my body’s imprint in the grass. Blade after blade slowly making its way back to the preferred upright position, undulating this way and that, always at the mercy of wind. Everything moved in slow motion, including me.

Lethargically, I trekked through the field back to my white, used Schwinn, stomach rumbling. Pebbles crunched under my feet as I reached the path, wiping a bead of sweat off my forehead. I wasn’t quite sure of the time, but the sun told me it was sometime late afternoon. I roamed freely in the summer, coming and going as I pleased. As long as I was home for meals, my parents were fine with me exploring as I wished. I am still grateful for that.

Pedaling through rolling, green farmland, I made my way to the center of the village, straight to one of the only two pubs/restaurants. It was a special place, because it was the only one that carried ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but pistachio, which was a favorite for years. It was love at first bite and also happened to be my introduction to the crunchy, buttery nut. Even though it would be a long while before I would have an actual stand alone pistachio.

As the years passed, time sped up exponentially, tastes broadened and changed. And when talking sweets, I now gravitate towards my ultimate favorite - chocolate. So in my adult years, with my adult freedoms, I take the liberty to experiment with flavors from childhood and adulthood and have them meet somewhere in the middle. So this vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachios and salted caramel was born.

How do you make vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream?

A good vegan chocolate ice cream, doesn’t require a lot of ingredients but the ones you use should be of the best possible quality.

In my book, the base for a vegan chocolate ice cream is quality creamy full fat coconut milk and good cacao or cocoa powder. To go along with those; honey, almond butter, a little ground cardamom, vanilla and ground pistachios.

You can certainly skip the caramel sauce, I think it is an absolute must, to complete this ice cream.

Tips for making smooth and creamy no churn vegan chocolate ice cream

Freeze and refrigerate everything!

While making this recipe several times, I’ve done a little trouble shooting to avoid one of the most common issues with home made no churn ice cream - icy taste. The issue is simple; the warm ingredients placed in the freezer take longer to freeze than in conventional ice cream makers and the water in coconut milk (or any milk), will create crystallization and leave a rather unpleasant mouth feel.

But if you keep your blender cup, blade and loaf pan in the freezer and the coconut milk and almond butter in the fridge for a few hours, you’re going to end up with a smooth ice cream with little to no crystallization.

For the caramel sauce

You only need condensed coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar and a pinch of sea salt to make a smooth and creamy caramel sauce. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks (should it actually make it that long).

no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel

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  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • freezing time: 6 hours

  • makes: 12 servings

Ingredients:

Equipment:

Directions:

For chocolate ice cream:

In food processor or blender, grind up pistachios in advance. Set aside.

Prior to starting, ensure that you freeze your blade, blender cup and loaf pan and refrigerate the 1/2 cup almond butter and coconut milk for at least 2 hours.

Combine 2 cans chilled coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, cacao, cardamom, honey and almond butter and blend until smooth.

Tranfter mixture to loaf pan, sprinkle with ground pistachios and cover with plastic wrap. Ensure the wrap makes contact with the ice cream mixture and wrap pan again tightly ensuring that little to no air can get in.

Quickly transfer to freezer and freeze for 6 hours.

For caramel sauce:

Meanwhile combine condensed coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract along with coconut sugar in small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes on low, stirring regularly until you get a creamy caramel sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

When caramel has finished, transfer to glass container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

To assemble ice cream. Once it’s finished freezing, remove from freezer and let sit for 30-45 minutes (it’s worth the wait).

Scoop vegan chocolate ice cream into bowl and finish with caramel sauce and sprinkle with additional chopped pistachios.

This no churn no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with salted caramel sauce, will have your tastebuds jumping for joy! Coconut milk, cacao, honey, almond butter, cardamom, vanilla and pistachios, create a silky, crunchy, sweet and salty combination. #veganicecream #dficecream #dairyfreeicecream #df #vegandessert #paleoicecream #nochurnveganicecream #nochurnpaleoicecream #vegan #paleo #dairyfree


Spiced Turkey Burgers with Peach Chutney

cabbage, peaches, green onion
peaches and green onion
peaches
spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney

I rolled over and looked at my phone, 5:32. I quickly tossed the covers aside and stumbled around the room in search for a long sleeve and some shorts. It was quiet. I peaked out the window and a pang in my chest told me to rush. A quick scan of my surroundings and I determined it was clear - they were still sleeping. I made a beeline for the door, grabbing the key along the way. 

The air was thick and salty, seagulls happily announcing the morning's arrival and searching for whatever food was left from the previous evening. It was a welcoming symphony. I made my way down the steps, sleep still tugging at me or perhaps that extra glass of wine I'd had the night before, but no matter. 

Crossing the near empty street, aside from the occasional deterministic runner, I was alone making my way from the promenade on to the beach. The shift from asphalt to cool freshly combed morning sand, felt exhilarating. As I made the trek across the beach, the sound of crashing waves intensified. It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful the beach is early in the morning. 

I climbed up the lifeguard stand, skimming the beach. A few surfers, hungry for good waves held my attention for a moment. So did the elderly man with his oversized hat and peach colored shirt, serenely and rhythmically moving his metal detector from side to side as he searched the beach for treasure. Were they as happy as I was at that moment? Few things feel as complete as this place. I felt a jolt of sadness trying to make its way into my head. This won't last, this won't last. I tried to chase it away and just observe what was in front of me. 

I held on to the moment for as long as I could before making my way back to the condo where they would likely be buzzing with energy, ready to get outside and get the day started. 

A bike ride to a local farm on the agenda for the day complete with lunch outside. Beach Plum Farm is one of the most beautiful places I've seen and a favorite in Cape May. The food is made with only local ingredients and offers some unusual pairings. We sat in the shade of a big oak tree on a damp picnic bench. Lost in thought, I looked over the red cabbages, scallions and fresh herbs, remembering the recipe I'd made shortly before we left. 

Turkey burgers with peach chutney, red cabbage, scallions and spicy mayo was maybe something I would be able to find on the menu here. I thought about what it would be like to live simply and work on a farm by the beach, growing and making food, being close to the ocean. I was quickly jolted out of my daydream when our food arrived but what did remain is this spiced turkey burger recipe. 

It's a delicious sweet and spicy combination with flavors and textures aplenty. Since turkey burgers can often be plain and boring, I wanted to give them life and infuse them with plenty of spices and top them with a fresh peach chutney and sliced cabbage. 

I may not get the chance to live at the beach anytime soon but at least I can sink my teeth into these delicious burgers while day dreaming of the ocean. 

spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney

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spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney 

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 15 minutes

  • yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 semi-ripe peaches peeled and cut into cubes

  • 1 scallion sliced (separate white and green part)

  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage sliced

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for brushing the burgers

  • 1 lb ground turkey (I use 85/15)

  • 2 tbsp mayo

  • 2 tsp coconut flour

  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

    Optional though recommended toppings:

  • chipotle lime mayo (store bought or a speedy recipe)

  • sliced avocado

  • extra purple cabbage

Equipment

Directions:

Preheat grill or grill pan. In a mixing bowl, combine ground turkey with mayo, coconut flour, ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into 4 patties. Brush both sides with olive oil and set aside. 

Preheat frying pan to medium. Add olive oil, white part of scallion and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes stirring regularly. Add purple cabbage and cook 3 minutes. Lower heat, add peaches a pinch of salt and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring regularly until peaches are soft.

Grill turkey burgers for 3-5 minutes per side until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165 °F).

To assemble, place turkey burgers on plate and layer with chipotle lime mayo, sliced avocado, peach chutney and sprinkle with additional cut up scallion. 


If you're looking to spruce up your turkey burgers, try this mouthwatering recipe. These paleo and whole 30 turkey burgers are juicy, moist and pair perfectly with a speedy peach chutney. Pair them with avocado and spicy mayo! Check out this 15 minute recipe! #paleoburgers, #turkeyburgers, #whole30, #turkey, #calmeats, #grilling, #peachchutney, #peach, #quickrecipes, #15minutedinner, #15minuterecipe

Grilled Radicchio Salad with Fennel and Soft Boiled Egg

radicchio salad-14.jpg
radicchio and fennel
endive
radicchio and red onion
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad

All recipes start with an idea, an ingredient, a spark of inspiration. For this recipe it was radicchio.

I was’t sure it would work and was going to shoot straight for the tried and true romaine as the base, but instead spotted the beautiful small, leafy, red radicchio and decided it would be my ingredient du jour. My thinking was, I’d toss it in the oven along with red onion (because let’s face it, red onion makes everything better) and sliced fennel. To add some crunch and fresh texture, a few endive leaves and toasted walnuts. And for a little creaminess, soft boiled eggs. I was going to even toss in some roasted potatoes in the mix and top the whole thing with a tangy mustardy vinaigrette.

I was all set, ready to get on with the new recipe. So I opened the oven, reached in and pulled out my trusty oversized tray, which lives there. As I grabbed the tray, I suddenly recalled turning off the oven but never pulling out the almonds I’d roasted several minutes prior.

Everything happened quickly. I burned my hand, knocked the entire tray of almonds all over the oven, floor, etc. No problem - cleaned the mess up and was really ready to start.

Oven on for preheat, I was blissfully chopping away at vegetables, eager to see how everything would turn out. That was until I smelled burning. And I mean burning burning, not like I’m burning food. A quick peak in the oven made me realize the almonds I’d previously spilled made their way to the pilot light and now my oven was on fire. Panicked and not wanting to make a heinous mess, I resorted to water and baking soda to put out the flames.

Frustrated beyond belief, my kitchen a disaster, I decided the roasting was off until I could take apart the oven and remove the culprit. But I wasn’t giving up. After all that mess, it was on to plan B - the grill.

So radicchio, fennel and red onion were now getting the grilling treatment. Sure part of me wanted to give up and just repeat the whole thing the next day but I’m stubborn and wasn’t going to let a little fire get in the way of my radicchio salad dreams.

Grilled vs. roasted radicchio

Since the incident, I tried both. Honestly it comes down to personal preference. I really like the way food tastes on the open flame but roasting it also allows it to cook in its own juices so it’s kind of a win win no matter which way you go with the process.

Red onion and fennel also hold up surprisingly well on the grill, so you’re good there too if you decide to grill.

Potatoes or no potatoes?

That is entirely up to you. If you want it paleo skip the potatoes, if you’re whole 30 or vegetarian and want to make it a heartier meal, get those potatoes in there and this salad will become more like a filling dinner than simply a salad. I kept it low carb but it tastes spectacular with potatoes too! And sweet potatoes are a great alternative too!

The perfect egg

Okay the word “perfect” is awfully subjective but in my “egg” book, the sweet spot is between 6-7 minutes depending on the kind of texture I’m after. For this salad, I wanted a little more bite but still a little jammy-ness so 7 minutes exactly it was. The key is to shock the eggs in ice water as soon as they’ve finished cooking.

grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad

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  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 10-20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head radicchio, sliced into 8 pieces

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced

  • 1 endive, leaves peeled

  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into thick pieces

  • 2-4 eggs

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 tsp salt divided

  • 1/2 tsp pepper divided

  • 1/4 tsp lemon

  • 1/2 tsp honey

  • 2 tsp ricewine vinegar

  • 1 tsp quality dijon mustard

  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts

  • optional: roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes


Equipment:

  • grill if not using oven

  • medium pot

  • small mixing bowl

  • large roasting sheel

  • small roasting sheet

  • parchment paper

Directions:

If using potatoes, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop potatoes. On parchment paper lined sheet, potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss together. Roast potatoes for 25-30 minutes stirring once, and set aside.

Combine radicchio, red onion, and fennel with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss to combine. Either roast for 20 minutes (turning vegetables after 10 minutes) or grill on medium heat for 5-10 minutes per side until radicchio, fennel and red onion have softened.

Add walnuts to small tray and toast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring pot with 4 cups of water to boil. Add eggs and boil with lid on for 7 minutes. Immediately remove pot from heat and run eggs under cold water for a minute. Peel and cut in half.

In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and mix well.

In large bowl or plate, peel endive leaves and layer on the bottom. Once radicchio, onion and fennel have finished roasting, add them to bowl with potatoes (if using), pour dressing over and top with eggs and walnuts. Serve right away.


If you’re looking for a delicious salad without the lettuce, check out this grilled radicchio and fennel salad with endives, soft boiled eggs, toasted walnuts and a tangy vinaigrette. It’s simple yet delicious! #paleo #whole30 #vegetarian #calmeats #salad #radicchio #fennel #softboiledeggs #endive #whole30salad #paleosalad #saladrecipe #summerrecipe



Nutrient Dense Blueberry Smoothie

nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
dried rose petals
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie

So here’s a funny thing. As is the case with many foods, I tried my very first blueberry when I was close to 15. Not because I didn’t like them, but because I had never heard of them. Other than strawberries, I don’t recall having access to many berries growing up.

I was rather suspicious the first time my then step-sister insisted I try them. They reminded me of something poisonous so I passed the first few times they were offered. I don’t easily crack under pressure but eventually curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give them a shot.

And of course, it was love at first bite, okay, handful…no, bowlful. Without shame, I ate until I was stuffed. To this day that’s still the case. Blueberries probably rank as one of my favorite fruits next to cherries and watermelon. These three make me lose my mind and I will happily go into a fruit coma for them.

But in all seriousness, besides tasting wonderful, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients we could all use more of. And sure we are fortunate enough to be entering blueberry season, but it is awfully short and before we know it, it’s nothing but a memory. Though the great thing is, you can always (we are so very lucky) find organic frozen blueberries which have been picked at their peak.

And oh right, this post is about a nutrient dense smoothie. I wanted something that could be used as an actual meal, that would provide nutrients, give you energy and prevent sugar drops. So I kept this low in sugar but I promise you won’t miss it because the flavor makes up for it! Though if you’re trying to satisfy your sweet tooth, feel free to add 1-2 tsp of honey to the mix and a pinch of salt.

So here’s what goes into this smoothie: Nut milk of your choice, collagen, avocado, coconut oil, almond butter and frozen blueberries. A quick blend and you’ve got yourself a tasty nutrient dense blueberry smoothie to keep you full and satisfied for hours. If you wanted to, add the smoothie to a bowl and dress it up a bit with additional blueberries, chia seeds and toasted coconut flakes would match up perfectly.

nutrient dense smoothie
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
smoothie lighter-6.jpg

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  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • blend: 1 minute

  • makes: 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen bluebrries

  • 1/2 ripe avocado

  • 1 tbsp cacao

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp almond butter

  • 1 scoop collagen (skip for vegan)

  • 1.5 cups almond, cashew or coconut milk


Equipment:

  • blender


Directions:

Combine all ingredients and blend well for one minute. Serve right away.

* For a more liquid consistency, add in 1/2 cup more nut milk.


Smoothies are a perfect way to start the day, but even better when they’re rich in nutrients, low in sugar and keep you full and satisfied for hours. Frozen blueberries are mixed with almond butter, coconut oil, cacao, cashew milk, collagen (skip if vegan), and avocado. #vegan #smoothie #breakfastsmoothie #nutrientdensesmoothie #blueberries #calmeats #nutrientdense #whole30 #paleo #breakfast #snack #whole30breakfast #whole30snack #paleobreakfast #paleosnack