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

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 in the grocery store, 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.

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. 


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

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


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



coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes

coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes
coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes
coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes

Peeling chickpeas may be for some what picking up spilled rice grains one by one may be for others. Torture. But not for me. I find it relaxing, cathartic and contemplative.

On occasion I will purchase dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and cook them properly. But since careful planning isn’t necessarily my forte, a can of chickpeas, a bowl of water and a strainer work perfectly. Generally when the mood strikes me for a dish, I want it on the spot or at least within an hour or so.

If you’ve been following the blog for a bit you know that I cook and eat mostly paleo and allow for some flexibility when it comes to grains and legumes. But when it comes to chickpeas, I’ve discovered that my main (digestive) issue may not necessarily lie with the chickpea itself but rather with the skin.

So let me get to the reason why I’m peeling chickpeas in the first place - for a heavenly coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes. The flavor, texture and taste is unmatched. But in the past, I’d always feel not too great after eating it. However peeling the chickpea skin truly changed that for me and hopefully it can do the same for you!

It’s an easy curry you can make on any weeknight and can be on the table in under an hour. There’s also a pretty good chance you already have most of these ingredients in your pantry. Sweet potatoes, chickpeas, green pepper and onion are cooked in a flavorful garam masala coconut broth. You can eat the coconut chickpea curry on its own or serve it over rice or cauliflower rice.

coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes
coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes
coconut chickpea curry with sweet potatoes
sweet potato curry-23.jpg

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  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 40 minutes

  • makes: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

Equipment:

  • large dutch oven

  • strainer

  • large bowl

Directions:

If you plan on peeling chickpeas, strain chickpeas of their liquid, and them to a bowl of lukewarm water. With your hands toss them several times under water and move them about. This will start to loosen most of the skins and they will float to the surface. Remove skins and continue peeling until all chickpeas are bare. Strain and set aside.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil, onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent and pepper is soft - about 8 minutes. Add all the spices and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on low until potatoes are soft. About 15-20 minutes.

Using a submersion blender, give the potatoes a few pulses just to puree a few of them. Alternatively, use a potato masher and mash just a bit preserving some of the potatoes. Add coconut milk, chickpeas and 1 tbsp of the finely chopped cilantro. Simmer for another 10 minutes. If the stew is too watery, you can always remove some of the liquid (and eat if of course). 

Serve over rice or cauliflower rice and top with additional cilantro. 


An easy weeknight vegan coconut chickpea curry you can have on the table in under an hour. It’s loaded with sweet potatoes, peppers and onions, swimming in a flavorful garam masala coconut broth. #vegan #glutenfree #grainfree #dairyfree #vegandinner #calmeats #vegancurry #coconutcurry #chickpeacurry #coconut #dinner #weeknightdinner

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

white flowers
flowers in hand
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

Every once in a while, life throws us the most unexpected and marvelous things, maybe even life changing. Okay, okay perhaps not life changing but certainly unexpected and most definitely marvelous. I speak of none other than orange blossom water.

I first read about orange blossom water in Mimi Thorisson’s books A Kitchen In France and French Country Cooking. At first glance it hardly impressed me but over time I kept going back to those pages, intrigued by the role of this mysterious water in sweet dishes. What could be so impressive about it? Of course I imagined it would simply be orange flavor which is fine but I certainly wouldn’t attach the adjective unexpected to it.

So this orange blossom water sat in my Amazon cart for some time until I decided that I had nothing to lose and would just order it and see if I’d ever use it. Well, the moment it arrived and I unscrewed the cap, put a bit on my finger and dabbed it behind my ears and wrists and just sat with the scent for a while.

It was unlike anything I had smelled before - sweet, warm, deeply intense. I knew that I would this smell and flavor in my life often. And so it occurred to me - I would add it to paleo pancakes, which I eat every day. And to go along with the orange blossom water, another ingredient that’s deserving of praise and that’s cardamom.

And so these cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water have been my staple morning companions for the last 2 months. Truth be told, I’m not adventurous when it comes to breakfast. I know what I like and I stick with it so when I find something new, I’m usually ecstatic. And since I prefer sweet to savory in the morning, these pancakes topped with almond butter, a pinch of salt, drizzle of honey and chia seeds, became a perfect match for my morning coffee. I look forward to breakfast every morning.

I like making a big batch of pancakes and storing them in the refrigerator all week. All they need is just a minute in the micro, if you like them warm. If you’re not a micro person, toaster oven will work just fine to warm them through.

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

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cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 20-25 minutes

  • makes: 12-15 pancakes

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • large mixing bowl

  • large cast iron or non-stick skillet

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and whisk well. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat skillet on medium heat and add a little bit of coconut oil. Add roughly a 1/4 cup of batter to skillet (I can usually fit 3 pancakes at once) and cook until pancakes start to bubble (about 1-2 minutes), then flip and repeat. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Serve with suggestions: peanut or almond butter and honey or keep it classic with just maple syrup.

Pancakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and reheated as needed. (I do 1 minute in micro for 3 of them)


If you want to take your paleo pancakes to a new level, try adding cardamom and orange blossom water to them! The combination is incredibly flavorful, creating a delicious unexpected pancake. Try it for yourself! #paleopancakes #paleobreakfast #paleo #glutenfreepancakes #grainfreepancakes #glutenfreebreakfast #glutenfree #grainfreepancakes #grainfree #vegetarian #breakfast #brunch #orangeblossomwater #orangeflowerwater #calmeats