Spicy Black Bean Dip

Awhile back, I got a molcajete from Little Village in Chicago. It’s basically a beautifully crafted Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock. After hours of seasoning it, I’ve made salsas and guacamole and they have been splendid! Spicy, smokey, sweet.. whatever I’m in the mood for – this will be the summer of salsas, dips, and chutneys!

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This afternoon, I decided to try something new and whip up some black beans with green chiles to make a delicious “hummus” of sorts. As I was making it, I kept throwing in more things. So feel free to taste and reconfigure as you go through it! Plus, this is a fairly small amount – feel free to double the recipe!

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Spicy Black Bean Dip

1 12 oz. can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves of Garlic
2-3 Green Chiles, dependent on spicy-tolerance
1-2 T. Cumin Seeds
1-2 T. Dried Oregano
2 T. Hot Sauce (I used Tapatio)
1 Avocado, diced
1 Lemon or Lime (I used lemon, but prefer lime)
Salt to taste
Delicious crackers, tortilla chips, or toasts!

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In a mortar, smash up the cumin seeds, oregano, and salt so that it becomes a fine grain. Next, crush in the garlic cloves and green chiles to make a paste-like mixture.

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In batches, mix in and crush the black beans, you can either leave some beans whole or make the entire dip smooth. As you’re mixing, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice or lime juice.

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Now, it’s a matter of changing up the flavor profile to your liking. I poured out the mixture from the molcajete and started folding in new ingredients.

I mixed in some avocado, added additional salt to my liking, and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Other ideas for add-ins could be some cilantro, fresh diced tomatoes, or even cheese!

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Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or toast. It’s bursting with flavor, spicy, and rich! Give it a shot. This will be a delicious treat on a sunny hot day!

Love,
Mimi

Ps. WOW. Just put it on some toasted baguette. YUM! LOOK AT THIS.

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Spring Vegetables with Bulgar

So I officially graduate with my Master’s in Social Service Administration in a short 12 days. Tomorrow, we are having a potluck with our group to celebrate the year’s end! I knew I wanted to make something vegetarian, seasonal, and hearty. So I went to the store, grabbed all the “spring” I could find in the produce section (sadly, the peas are frozen) and went to work. IMG_5236 I didn’t make much, so feel free to be more generous with your ingredients. Here’s what I came up with: IMG_5248 Spring Vegetables with Bulgar 1 cob of Corn 1 Leek, trimmed and sliced 1-2 T. Garlic, minced 3 spears of Asparagus, sliced 4 small Carrots, diced 5-6 Marble Potatoes (mixed), diced 1/2 c. Peas 1/2 c. Green Beans, sliced 1/2 c. Brown Mushrooms, minced 1/4 c. Bulgar Wheat 3/4 c. Water Olive oil Thyme, Rosemary, Salt, Pepper (Expert tip!: Take your peelings, stems, cobs and place them in a gallon size bag in the freezer. As you cook with more fresh produce, collect these trimmings. Once the bag is full, heat up with some water, herbs, and make your own fresh veggie stock!) In a deep pot, heat some olive oil on high. Once the oil is hot, sauté the garlic and leeks until the leeks are tender. Next, throw in your carrots and potatoes and stir occasionally. Stir in fresh thyme and rosemary stems or dried herbs. As they carrots and potatoes start to brown, mix in the green beans, mushrooms, and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. IMG_5240 As the mushrooms begin to release liquid, turn the heat down to medium. Continuing stirring occasionally and add in your peas and corn. Remove the herb stems. IMG_5241 Once the corn starts to gain some rich yellow coloring, stir in your bulgar and water. Turn on high. As the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to simmer and cover. The bulgar takes about 8 – 10 minutes to cook. Give it a few final whips with the wooden spoon and serve hot! Or place into a casserole dish to re-heat! It can be served as a side dish or an entree! IMG_5245

Enjoy!

Love, Mimi

Eggplant Stewed in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

So.. Soups & Roots & Rants has flatlined on the blogosphere – this was a crazy summer and again, we apologize, but never fear! Now that summer is winding down and the weather is beginning to change, the days of cooking and photographing have returned! I’ve officially moved into my new apartment in Chicago with my gardening and cooking friend, Esther. It has been wonderful!

But I have to say it didn’t feel like I was truly moved in until we cooked our first meal together. Esther bought these beautiful Italian heirloom eggplants at the Logan Square farmer’s market and they were too beautiful to cut up – so we left them whole and stewed them up!

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Here’s what we created:
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Eggplant Stewed in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

1 can of Black beans, half drained
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c. Water (more or less if needed)
1 T. Olive oil
2-3 T. and 1 T. Soy Sauce (separated)
2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1 1/2 T. Corn Starch
14 Italian Heirloom Eggplants

First, chop off the tops and create a small incision of an ‘X’ on the bottom of each eggplant. Set aside until the sauce is ready to go!

In a deep and wide pot on medium to high heat, sauté the chopped garlic until it begins to slightly brown. Then pour in the can of black beans and occasionally stir. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce down to a simmer. Add in the 2 T. of soy sauce and some water. This will help the black beans break down to create the sauce.
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In a small bowl, mix together the corn starch, 1 T. of soy sauce, and 1-2 T. of water to create a good thickening agent for the sauce.

Once the sauce has reduced down to an even balance between paste-y and watery, place in the eggplants on their sides and cover.
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After approximately 8-10 minutes, uncover the eggplants and flip them over so that each side stews evenly in the pot. Cover for another 4-5 minutes until the eggplants are tender and easily punctured with a fork.
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During the cooking process, the eggplants will release quite a bit of liquid which adds tremendously to the sauce! If you feel like it needs any additional seasoning before serving, have at it!

Serve with some extra sauce over rice next to some sautéed greens (we used beet greens!) or paired with a meaty protein! Italian heirloom eggplant’s creamy texture paired with the sweet and mild flesh went nicely with my homemade sauce!

We had some leftover sauce to store away for another meal! Perhaps for another meal throw onto some rice or top it onto another delicious veggie, meat, or tofu! Yum!

Love,

Mimi

Ethiopian Diamond, Chicago, IL

It is VERY rare that there is a cuisine I’ve never tried before. I am an extremely adventurous eater and I never say no to a new opportunity!

This afternoon, I got to experience Ethiopian cuisine for the first time. I went to Ethiopian Diamond on Broadway in Edgewater with Erica, Kate, and Anna. While it seems like a little hole-in-the-wall place, it is SO worth it to head inside! You must try this place!

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We made sure to go all out. We ordered vegetarian sambusas, two veggie combos (we tried 6 out of the 7 options on the vegetarian list of watt & alicha), and a pot of Ethiopian tea.

Sambusas are very similar to Indian Samosas. They are fried and filled with all kinds of goodies. We tried the three different vegetarian types: Spinach, Potato and Carrot, and Whole Lentils served with a sweet sauce.

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Ethiopian food is eaten entirely with your hands. They serve it on a giant tray covered in these spongy flat breads called “injera” that are almost crepe-like and have a nice tangy taste.

Injera is a very symbolic aspect of the Ethiopian dining experience – eating the bread all from the same plate symbolizes the bonds of loyalty and friendship. It is especially encouraged that those eating from the same plate should express these bonds through “gursha” and feed each other different bites.

Atop the injera, they put different blobs of stewed goodness called “wat” or “alicha” (wat is spicy and alicha is mild) in different spots with a little salad in the center.

All of the foods we ordered were vegetarian. The restaurant states: “all vegetarian dishes are cooked in vegetable oil and contain no eggs, butter, milk, or honey!”

Specifically, we got (starting from the middle right and going counter-clockwise):

Yemisir Watt: Red lentils simmered with onions in a spicy homemade sauce.
Kik Alicha: Split peas cooked in a mild sauce of onion, garlic and ginger.
Quosta: Chopped spinach simmered in a mild sauce of onions and fresh garlic.
Tikel Gomen: Sliced cabbage and carrots cooked in a mild sauce.
Yatkilt Watt: String beans, carrots and potatoes cooked in a mild sauce of onions, garlic, ginger and Ethiopian spices.
Dinich Alicha: Potato cubes and carrots cooked in a mild sauce of onions, garlic, ginger and Ethiopian spices.

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Along with eating the breads that are the base of the platter, everyone also gets their own plate of a giant flatbread to scoop up those delicious tasty blobs.

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Overall, I’d say the first thing I thought of after my first bite was: “YUM! Whoa, mushy texture!” Everything is all stewed and so it’s all pretty gloopy, of course. Gotta be careful not to make too big of a mess. Luckily, Anna had her trust tide to-go stick!

All the different flavors were unique. Some had a nice spiced flavor while others were on the sweeter end.

I think my favorite of all the globs of “wat” and “alicha” would be the Yatkilt Watt. The different vegetables were extremely flavorful and cooked quite nicely, plus this wat had the most diverse textures. But all of us had different favorites!

To wash down our delicious meal, we also ordered a pot of Ethiopian tea which was a spicy chai-like tea. It was perfect to warm us up on this cold and rainy spring day after such a sunny and beautiful week.

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It was so thrilling to get Ethiopian food for the first time! I definitely would go back sooner rather than later, but I am SO stuffed. I highly recommend checking this place out! Next time, I definitely want to try “tibs” – which is usually a meat dish, but Ethiopian Diamond had two kinds that were veggie friendly: one was stewed pumpkin and the other was a stewed tofu dish and both were calling my name!

Here’s my happy face as a result of my first bite:

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Enough said!

Love,

Mimi

Sweet Potato Soup à la Goop

Hey, so, like Gywneth Paltrow’s last cookbook, I was on the waiting list at Monroe County Library just so that I can check it out and make fun of it. I was #18 on the list, and turns out it was so, so, totally worth it. IMG_1055 Look at how bad her hair looks. Anyway, the “cookbook” she “wrote” yielded a questionable number of  “recipes,” many of which had very few ingredients, many of which were things I learned to make after school (elementary school) when my mom wasn’t home to make a snack. They were also super duper “healthy.” And yea, here at Soups & Roots & Rants, we love healthy food, but not so much to the point of counter-functionality. The things her “doctor” restricts her from eating, for example: “no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deepwater fish, no potatoes, no tomatoes, no bell pepper, no eggplant, no corn, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all.” The fuck? No tomatoes? Like, what can you “eat” then? This is the woman who brought us the delight of the “Oyster Po-Boy” in her last cookbook (which, I would like point out, is not only really gross, but is an oxymoron, as oysters are super fucking expensive, and Po’Boy is short for “Poor Boy”).

Because of her inclination toward boring, healthy “foods” with very few “ingredients,” we got lots more wonderful things like this “recipe” for avocado on toast: IMG_1057 Perhaps you’d like a hard-boiled egg? Well this NY Times best-selling author has got you covered. IMG_1062 Or there’s also this really cool recipe for wet almonds.

They’re vegan.IMG_1060 And unless you’ve forgotten how to make popcorn: IMG_1063 Here’s Goop on a Vespa, next to a cheesecake recipe. Very relevant. IMG_1059 Gweggs. IMG_1065 Alright, now that I’m done (not completely done) railing on Goop, I’d like to disclose with you that I did not find her cookbook totally useless. My friends across the street were real sick, and this recipe for a spicy sweet potato soup really caught my eye. I have altered it a little bit because I didn’t want to use chipotle pepper (it takes over everything), and I also had some Ras-al-Hanout from London that I wanted to get rid of. You should be able to find it in the bulk section of your local organic grocery store. Less spicy, more sweet. IMG_1049 2 T. olive oil
1 large red onion
2 garlic cloves
5 sprigs of cilantro
3/4 t. cumin
1 t. Ras-el-Hanout (galangal, rose petals, black peppercorns, ginger, cardamom, nigella, cayenne, allspice, lavender, cinnamon, cassia, coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg, cloves)
coarse sea salt
1/2 t. chili powder
2 large sweet potatoes (peeled & diced)
6 cups vegetable broth

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot, and then add onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and a heavy pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, but not browned. IMG_1042 Toss in the potatoes, chili powder, Ras-al-Hanout until the potatoes are evenly coated. IMG_1054 Then pour in veggie broth and bring up to a boil. After it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Once the potatoes are cooked, put it all in a blender. IMG_1067 It’s all good. Serve with sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.

Gwyn is great at making recipes with 2 ingredients or less, but I here at Soups & Roots, we always try and bulk up our recipes to bring out the maximum spice level. Next time you’re cooking, think: What Would Gwyn Do? (WWGD) And then do the opposite of that.

Love, Fran

Tacos with Homemade Pico de Gallo

I am a humongous junkie for Mexican food lately. I love it all! Tamales, burritos, chile rellenos – you name it, I probably love it. I’ve been eye-ing the corn tortillas at the store for weeks now, but I wanted to wait until I had a day when I could fully invest the time to make super delicious vegetarian tacos.

Today, I had the day off from my internship so it was perfect! I made the pico de gallo the night before and roasted the sweet potatoes this morning and everything was ready by 12:30. What a fantastic day! I originally planned to eat three, but then I went in for a 4th. This recipe makes for quite a bit of tacos! Look forward to leftovers or think about entertaining some guests!

Here’s what I did:

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2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 12 oz. can of Black Beans, drained
1 12 oz. can of Whole Kernel Corn, drained
2-3 cups of Kale, chopped
1-2 Avocados, diced
Small Corn Tortillas
Olive oil
Chipotle Pepper grind
Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hot Sauce for added flavor – I used Tapatío, obviously.

Homemade Pico de Gallo

3 Small-Medium Tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1 Jalapenos (de-veined and de-seeded optional), diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 T. Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 T. Cilantro, chopped

I highly recommend making the pico de gallo the night before. It lets the flavors meld together nicely and gives it that extra bit of flavor.

For the pico de gallo, simply dice all of the ingredients vegetables, mince the garlic and mix into a bowl. I don’t de-vein or de-seed my jalapeños, but that’s just because I like the extra kick! Then pour in the lime juice – you can use fresh lime in which case I recommend using 1 whole lime! To be honest, I didn’t have any cilantro handy, but it’s pretty essential! So if you’re making this recipe, toss with some chopped cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste! Cover and refrigerate!

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In a large mixing bowl, toss the diced sweet potatoes with 1-2 T. of olive oil, chipotle pepper grind, cumin, salt and pepper. Feel free to be generous with the salt! I roasted my potatoes for about 40 minutes at 325 F then for an additional 10 minutes at 400 F. This gives them a nice crisp outside! Make sure you occasionally open the oven and give these potatoes a nice toss! For those of you who do not know about the Silpat – I highly recommend this purchase! It will change your life!

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While your sweet potatoes are roasting, it’s time to cook the rest of the ingredients. In a wide skillet on high heat, brush only the teeniest bit of oil and then once it is hot, pour in your corn kernels. Spread them out evenly and let them cook for a good 5-7 minutes until they start to brown on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper – maybe a little cumin if you’re feeling cumin-y today. Then mix them around for a bit longer and then pour into a mixing bowl. Cover with saran wrap!

Next, cook your black beans in the same skillet on medium heat – just until they are hot. No need to stir too frequently, otherwise your beans will turn to mush fast! If you are concerned about the mushiness, pour in a tiny bit of water to the pan, but make sure to drain it! Then pour into the same bowl as the corn and re-cover!

Now you need to steam your kale! Make sure to wash the leaves thoroughly. Kale’s coarse leaves can hold quite a bit of dirt! Steaming the kale shouldn’t take too long – you could even use the same skillet if you rinse after the beans! In the skillet, add about 1″ of water and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Throw in the kale and cover for about 3-5 minutes until the kale is wilted! Then place to the side!

Last step:  you have two different choices! You could either steam or grill your tortillas! To grill, simply place on the skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side until it is warm! Or you could wet a paper towel with water – wrap the tortillas in the paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute! Either way, you’re ready to start assembling! Don’t forget the best part: the diced avocado!

Add all the ingredients to the tortillas and take a big bite!

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I like to add some hot sauce for some bonus flavor, but that’s up to you! That’s the best part about homemade tacos, you can make them your own! You could even make a non-vegan version and throw in some cheese! These tacos were UNREAL and totally worth the time to make!

I can’t wait to eat them again for lunch tomorrow!

Love,
Mimi

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake

Alright, so chocolate & chili is one of my fave flavor combinations (EXCEPT IN MOLE, WE HATE MOLE) and this dessert is nothing short of extraordinary. The recipe that I was using didn’t call for an egg, and I though huuuh, that’s weird so I did a little experimenting myself and decided to do it both with and without egg. Since this spring break was nothing but lil ol’ me, I cut the recipe in half and made two ramekin-sized cakes; one for me now, one for me later; and one with egg, one without.

No egg and a milk substitute means this recipe is super vegan friendly!

If you want this for more than two servings, quadruple the recipe, and you could spread it between 16ish cakes, or 2 9-inch cakes? That’s a guess.

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1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar, divided
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1 t. baking powder
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cinnamon,
1/8 t. salt
1/4 c. milk
1/8 c. vegetable oil
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. boiling water OR 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350°

1. Combine all ingredients, save the boiling water/egg.

2.1. Beat the egg first and add it into the batter, pouring it into your ramekin, half-full.

2.2. If you choose not to use the egg, the batter will be quite thick. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of batter into each cup and then pour 2 T. of boiling water onto the batter and DO NOT STIR IT (THIS IS WEIRD, I KNOW BUT JUST TRUST ME).

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The left ramekin is with boiling water, the right is the egg. Who will win?

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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See how the front one (egg) is all puffy and cakey and the back one (boiling water) is deflated? You get a very different dessert either way.

So which one was better? THE DEFLATED ONE. By a landslide. What the boiling water allowed the cake to do was become moist and lava-like when it came out of the oven. If you’re serving it hot and you like gooey centers, scratch the egg. If you’re doing cupcakes and you’re taking these to a party, you have to use the egg.

Love,
Fran

Pasta e Fagioli

Looking for a delicious soup to warm you up from these cold wintery days? This Italian classic soup is the perfect fix. Plus, it’s vegan! My version is definitely on the carb-heavy side since I used potatoes AND pasta, but feel free to eliminate the potatoes if that’s not your style!

The beans make for a thick and chunky soup! The fragrant herbs will fill your kitchen with delight!

Warning: This recipe makes a TON of soup! Somewhere between 8-10 servings of soup! 

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Pasta e Fagioli

3 Celery Ribs, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 Red onion, diced
2 T. Garlic, minced
1 12 oz. can of Red Beans
1 12 oz. can of Cannellini Beans
4 Red Potatoes or 1 Large potato, diced
3 c. of Pasta of your choice, I used Campanelle
32 oz. Vegetable broth
1/4 c. Dry White Wine
1/2 c. Crushed Tomatoes
3 Bay Leaves
1 T. Dried Oregano
1 T. Dried Basil
1/2 T. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Parsley to garnish

In a deep 5+ quart dutch oven, heat up some olive oil and sauté some garlic and onions until the onions become translucent. Then add the carrots, potatoes, and celery. Make sure to mix it up so that they are coated with the olive oil. Throw on your herbs (oregano, basil, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes). Then top your pot for about 5-10 minutes. Feel free to peek every once in awhile and stir – if you feel so inclined – I have trouble leaving my vegetables sometimes, too.

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Next, deglaze the pot with your dry white wine and mix. Then throw in your broth and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer on very low heat. Cover for approximately 20-30 minutes.

Lastly, add your crushed tomatoes and the pasta! Let it cook until the pasta gets tender and the soup gets a beautiful red hue! You may or may not need to add some more water or broth depending on the soup’s thickness. Garnish the soup with parsley!

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*Take note: Your soup is going to thicken up because of the beans and potatoes so you may lose the soupiness of the broth. Feel free to add some more broth or water if you plan to eat this as leftovers!

I absolutely loved this soup! Yum yum yum! It is very hearty! But beware, the heaviness of this soup will creep up on you fast!! Also, if you’d like a bit of cheesiness, you could add some grated parmesan on top! Enjoy!

Love,

Mimi

Stuffed Peppers with Chickpeas and Black Beans

Tonight, Lindsey, Esther, and I had a Benny and Joon movie night tied with a super tasty dinner. We opted for a Lindsey-friendly meal that was gluten-free and dairy-free!

I thought to myself, what’s a veggie-packed, gluten-free, and wonderfully filling? The first thing that came to my mind was: Stuffed Peppers!

This meal was ridiculously protein-packed with quinoa AND beans! Get pumped up, everybody!

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Stuffed Peppers with Chickpeas and Black Beans

1/2 c. Quinoa (dried)
3 medium/large Bell Peppers – tops removed and gutted
1 1/2 c. loosely packed Spinach
1 can of Chickpeas
1 can of Black Beans
1 medium Onion, diced
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 large can of Peeled Whole Tomatoes
1/2 c. Water
2 T. Parsley
2 1/2 T. Cumin
1/2 T. Cayenne Pepper
1 T. Cilantro, minced
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Extra Minced Parsley as a garnish

Cook the quinoa to the specifications from the box!

In a medium-sized sauce pan on medium heat, add about 1 T. of Olive oil and add 1/2 of diced onion until translucent. Then add 1 clove of garlic minced until slightly cooked. Pour the can of tomatoes into the pan and smush them up! Bring to boil and reduce to simmer and watch that sauce thicken up! Add some salt and pepper to taste, plus the 2 T. of parsley!

While your sauce is thickening, in a skillet, with a bit of oil sauté the onions and garlic in a similar fashion as the sauce. Once the garlic and onions are cooked through, add the black beans and chickpeas. Season with the cumin, salt and pepper.

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Once the beans start to get cooked all the way through, add in some water to prevent the beans from sticking to the pan and getting too mushy. Bring the water to a boil and simmer until majority of the water is gone. Add the spinach just as it starts to wilt.

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As the filling is getting all cooked through, place the peppers in a baking dish – we used a bread dish – and brush the dish as well as the outside of the peppers. Roast the peppers for about 20 minutes at 350°F.

Once the filling is all cooked through, add the quinoa and about 1/2 the sauce. Mix well!

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Take the peppers out of the oven and fill them up with your delicious quinoa mixture! Then top the peppers and surround them with the leftover sauce!

Bake for about 10-15 minutes and serve piping hot! Garnish the beautiful peppers with some minced parsley!

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These peppers took on a Southwestern feel and were incredibly scrumptious! The only thing I might change would be to add some lime wedges as a compliment to all the wonderful flavors already present!

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Yum yum yuuuum,

Mimi

Ratatouille Pizza

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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I give you an amalgamation of two foods—an exploration, an embark, an enterprise—breaching a new frontier for the future of foodiedom. I swear to you: I conceptualized this one my own. I was disappointed when Google told me that this recipe already exists, and has been done a million times. Whatever.

This recipe is for a flaxseed, cracker-y kinda crust. I made it super thin, with no cheese or excess oil. Mostly because I’m cheap. I’d recommend  goat cheese, if you wanted to do it, and of course, looking up another pizza crust recipe if this one doesn’t seem your style. I’m not a pizza person (gasp!), so I like things with minimal bread and grease so I could really taste the veggies. This functions as more of a snack than anything and makes two small-medium pizzas.

Pizza Crust:

2 c. whole wheat flower
1 packet dry active yeast
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. flax seed meal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey

Toppings:

1 eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
1/4 c. tomato sauce
1 1/2 t. toasted garlic
1/2 t. lemon pepper
salt & pepper
2-3 T. olive oil

To make the crust.

Mix yeast and honey in HOT water, but not boiling or it will scald the yeast and kill. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, mix flour and flax seed meal with salt. Add yeast mixture. Mix until all flour is incorporated. Knead for about five minutes. Let rise 30 minutes-2 hours. Poke it and let sit 20-30 minutes. Roll out with lotsa flour, about 1/2 inch thick. I made mine a heart, because, you know.

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Preheat the oven to °350 F.

I have the privilege of owning a mandoline, the greatest/most frivolous kitchen utensil to date. Basically, it cuts your vegetables really thin, like beyond the thinness of manual human culinary capability. If you don’t have a mandoline (it’s okay, get one), just hand slice them real thin with a very sharp knife.

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Spread on the tomato sauce (and cheese if you have it). Layer the vegetables alternatingly over each other, along the circumference of the crust. Smitten Kitchen-style: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, repeat. Slice up the onion, pepper, eggplant, zucchini. I sprinkled the onion on top, but you could also layer it in! Brush all the vegetables in the olive oil so that they can brown well. Season it with everything you got.

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Bake for 20-30 minutes but BE CAREFUL. Consistencies for the crust vary dependent on how thick or thin you rolled it out, and if you didn’t have a mandoline, your veggies will definitely take a little longer. You want everything to look a little crispy.

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I kinda wish I had used less eggplant and more zucchini. The more oil, the better because it really makes the better portion of your pizza taste more like a pizza. Mix it up. Try new vegetables. Honor your inner, little chef. Anyone can cook.

Francisco