Spring Salad Season: Crunchy Thai Tofu Salad

Crunchy Chopped Thai Peanut Tofu Salad Vertical

Spring is here, the nights are warmer and longer, and I’m in full-on SALAD MODE. Watch out, world.

This Crunchy Thai Tofu Salad is somewhat similar to some of my other recipes for sure. I throw together slaws and salads like this a lot, but the one I made tonight turned out especially well if I do say so myself. (I’m not alone, Rob also thought it was a step above my usual big salads.) What’s different? There’s no quinoa or grains here, just ALL CRUNCH, utilizing as many fresh vegetables as possible. I’ve added tofu for some more protein and texture, and incorporated yet more delicious, fiber-filled vegetables. Plus the addition of curry paste to my dressing really amped things up.

Crunchy Thai Peanut Tofu Salad

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Zucchini Noodles & Shrimp in Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Sauce

Zucchini Noodles with Sweet Potato Red Pepper Sauce

I am SO in love with the new spiralizer I got for Christmas! (It’s this fancy-pants Paderno 4-blade variety… kind of complicated to put together at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s great.) I’m about to spiralize everything up in this kitchen. Well, within reason.

Obviously, one of the best things to do with a spiralizer is to make faux-noodles. I’ve been trolling Pinterest for some spiralizer inspiration and I happened upon this recipe from Shape. Instead of heavy dairy, it uses puréed sweet potatoes to make a creamy, thick sauce. (Thankfully I also received a shiny new Cuisinart food processor at Christmas this year!)

The original recipe also uses spiralized sweet potatoes to make the “noodles” and while I love me a sweet potato, this was a little too… overly sweet potatoey for my liking, so I subbed zucchini for that component. So technically you can call them “zoodles” but I haven’t fully given into that terminology yet. I also added some shrimp for protein, it went really well with the rest of the flavors and textures. If you’re trying to keep things vegetarian/vegan, you could omit the shrimp and add some firm tofu.

This meal was SO filling and satisfying while also managing to be extremely healthy and low calorie. Rob and I split this entire recipe, and I was wondering if it’s unhealthy/weird for adults to eat 1.5 zucchinis each in a single sitting, but I guess that’s just #spiralizerlife.

Sautéed Zucchini Noodles & Shrimp in Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Sauce

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Back on the Health Train: Red Kale & Quinoa Salad

Red Kale Quinoa Salad

Well, it’s time… all of us who overate and overdrank during the holidays (probably everyone reading this, right?) now turns toward the new year with dreams of doing better. Eating better. Being better. And you know what that means… salad. Lots and lots of salad. Luckily, if anyone knows how to make salad not totally depressing, it’s me. And famed Texas chef David Bull, apparently.

This is a recipe I enjoyed in the finishers village after the Fit Foodie 5K in Austin in September 2014. I liked it so much I asked the event organizer if I could share the recipe with all of you. They graciously agreed, so now we can all make this kale salad together and try to wash away those blurry eggnog memories.

Red Kale & Quinoa Salad

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Roasted Fall Vegetable Superfood Pesto Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pappardelle

When I cook pasta at home, I want to make it count. Only high quality noodles, toppings and sauce full of delicious flavors and textures, and obviously we’re going to need plenty of cheese.

I don’t normally like to buy ready-made stuff (cheating!), but pasta is an exception – I’m not trying to make from-scratch noodles at home on a regular basis, ain’t got time for that life. Three Bridges recently sent us a package of fresh pasta to sample, and I was intrigued because they’re a convenience brand BUT also focused on health, quality, freshness AND eco-friendly food products, right up my alley. I couldn’t resist whipping up a spectacular carb-filled celebration of my favorite seasonal vegetables.

Roasted Fall Vegetable Superfood Pesto Pasta

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Favorite Fall Spiced Tomato-Pumpkin Soup

Favorite Fall Tomato Soup

I made this last week when I was (a) trying to eat extremely healthy to make up for some weekend indulgences and (b) really craving a big bowl of something hot, cozy, and autumn-y. Soup was the obvious answer. I love tomato soup and wanted to make a homemade version of that, but also noticed I had some pumpkin puree leftover in the fridge and didn’t want it to go to waste. Guess what? Pumpkin and tomato are great together. You don’t really taste the pumpkin-ness with all the other flavors going on, at least not overwhelmingly so, but it adds a nice thickness and fall flavor.

Favorite Fall Spiced Tomato-Pumpkin Soup

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Bringing The Heat

Grilled_Guac

We’re always looking for new ways to play with our avocado, and here’s a take  that we haven’t seen yet, even in our extensive ES guac-a-wanderings.

At New York’s excellent Mexicue, they make a guacamole with grilled serrano peppers, bringing a slow, deep heat that plays perfectly off of a fresh avo. Here’s the not-at-all-complicated recipe.

Grilled Serrano Guacamole 

1 Serrano pepper, halved and seeded (use 2 for heavier heat)
4 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

1.     Place Serrano pepper over high heat either on a grill or gas stovetop. Flip with tongs until both sides are slightly charred and it is soft. Cool and roughly chop.

2.     In a large bowl add the pepper and remaining ingredients and use a potato masher to mash all ingredients together.

3.     Taste for additional salt and lime juice.

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