Fried Zucchini Blossoms (Vegan)

With a crispy crust and a creamy center, these fried zucchini flowers are a stunning Italian appetizer. A budget-friendly, delicious and simple yet elegant treat. I first tried this recipe about 5 years ago and I remember it was love at first sight. Since that particular moment, I’ve been preparing this recipe at lest once a month. When I’m in my veggie garden, admiring my zucchini bush, it fills my heart with joy the fact that I’m able to create something extraordinary from an ingredient that I’d otherwise throw away. Regarding the batter, I’ve trying a lot of recipes that required whether baking powder, sparkling water or cold beer. Hands down, my favorite version was this simple three-ingredient one. It requires only flour, water and yeast, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. These ingredients create a incredibly crunchy crust which hides a delicate and creamy filling.

Ingredients (for 6 servings):

15 zuchhini blossoms

150g all-purpose flour

220ml lukewarm water (38-40C)

15g fresh yeast

1 sugar

1 salt

 

Method:

  1. Activate the yeast. In a small bowl combine 1/3 of the water, sugar and yeast and whisk until well combined. Let aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Form the batter. In a large bowl sift the flour. Add the salt and a pinch of nutmeg and make a well in the center. Add the remaining water (2/3 of the quantity) and whisk until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Cover with cling film and let it proof in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  3. Clean the flowers. Meanwhile take each flower and remove it’s center, as well as those tiny outer leaves. Clean under cold water and place them in a colander to drain.
  4. Cook the blossoms. After 30 minutes heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. One by one, dredge the blossoms in batter, shaking off the excess. Gently lay them in the oil, without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes total.
  5. Serve. Transfer to paper towels to drain and serve warm.

  1. Source: www.giallozafferano.it

Garlic – Green Bean Salad

I’ve discovered this amazing creamy salad two years ago and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Since it’s so easy to make and since it tastes absolutely delicious, it’s no wonder I tend to make it at least once a week every summer. Those vibrant green beans are cooked in salted water just until they become tender, without losing their bite. After they are cooked to perfection, I cool them down in ice cold water, to make sure they keep their lovely color. While the beans rest in cold water, I make mayonnaise, I mix it with Greek yogurt and season it with garlic and parsley. I dress my chilled beans with this creamy sauce and I devour the salad without regrets.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 500g green beans
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • salt to taste

 

Method:

  1. Trim the beans. Wash the green beans and trim their ends. Cu them in half using a sharp knife.
  2. Cook the beans. Fill a large pot with water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
  3. When the water starts to boil, add 1 Tbsp of salt.  Add the beans and simmer them for 7 – 8  minutes.
  4. Blanch the beans. Meanwhile prepare the ice bath by adding 1 cup of ice to a bowl filled with cold water. Carefully drain the beans and immediately place them in the ice bath. Let them cool completely and drain them using a colander.
  5. Prepare the sauce. Meanwhile prepare the mayonnaise (this is the technique I use). In a large bowl mix it with Greek yogurt, lemon juice and minced garlic.
  6. Serve. Add the green beans to the bowl and stir. Season with salt and serve it with toast.
  7. Leftovers. Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

 

Source: www.justapinch.com

Asparagus and Egg Salad with Almonds and Ricotta

 

I’ve developed some sort of obsession for this lovely asparagus and egg salad. I could easily enjoy it on a daily basis without getting bored. It’s quite amazing how some simple ingredients, combined together, can create something so majestic. This hearty salad doesn’t take more than 15 minutes and it tastes divine. The steps are very easy, you blanch the asparagus to preserve its vibrant color, you toast the almonds just to enhance their flavor and you boil the egg to your likeness. You dress these ingredients with a velvety mustard and scallion sauce and you devour the dish without regrets.

 

Ingredients (for 2-3 servings):

  • 500g asparagus
  • 50g ricotta (I used a drier variety)
  • 20g almond flakes
  • 2 large eggs

for the dressing:

  • 1 scallion, finely chopped (1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp walnut oil (or any other mild-flavored oil)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Trim the asparagus. Cut about 7 cm from the end of each asparagus and peel the asparagus using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Blanche the asparagus. Bring to a boil 2l of water and add 1 Tbsp sea salt. Cook the asparagus for 2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the ice bath by adding 1 cup of ice to a bowl filled with cold water. Carefully remove the asparagus from the boiling water using a spatula and immediately place it in the ice bath. Let it cool completely and place it on a paper towel.
  3. Eggs. Place the eggs in the same pot and let eggs boil for 10 minutes. Drain eggs, let them cool in cold water (use the same bowl you used for the asparagus) and peel them.
  4. Almonds. Brown the almonds in a skillet, on medium heat. Set aside.
  5. Scallions. Wash the scallion and chop it finely using a sharp knife.
  6. Dressing and assembly. Prepare the dressing by mixing in a medium bowl chopped scallion with the mustard and honey. Drizzle the oil, making sure to whisk continuously. Add the lemon juice and stir. Add the asparagus (cut into 2 – 3 pieces), almond flakes and ricotta cheese. Stir gently, season with salt and garnish with the eggs (cut into quarters).
  7. Leftovers. Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Source: www.gourmettraveller.com

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Spring Onion and Feta Cheese



I’ve never tried in my whole life a side dish that tastes better than this simple zucchini salad. But this simple salad isn’t a bland, ordinary salad. Not at all! Those thin zucchini slices are charred on the grill just enough to enhance their flavour, then dressed with a herbal-lemony sauce and garnished with fresh and tangy feta crumbles. This amazing side dish doesn’t take more than 20 minutes and the result is so charmingly rustic but exquisite. A fresh summer salad that tastes simply awesome!

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 4 small zucchini
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 spring onions
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 80g feta cheese
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Cut the zucchini. Wash the zucchini and pat them dry. If you use organic zucchini, leave their skin on. If your zucchini aren’t organic, peel them. Place them on a wood board and slice them in 1/2 cm thick slices.
  2. Grill the zucchini. Heat the grill over high heat. Arrange the zucchini slices in one layer and grill them until charred (for about 2 minutes). Carefully turn them on the other side and continue grilling for about 1 minute.
  3. Prepare the veggies and herbs. Wash the spring onions and slice them finely. Grate the lemon zest. Chop the basil and mint.
  4. The dressing. In a large bowl mix the olive oil with the lemon juice. Add the spring onions, lemon zest, basil and mint. Add the grilled zucchini slices and mix well. Crumble feta cheese on top and season with salt.
  5. Leftovers. Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Source: www.weightwatchers.

Pasta e Fagioli (Vegan)



This Italian-inspired dish is so delicious and extremely easy to make. Basically, we are speaking about some small pasta cooked in a basil-flavored tomato broth, together with buttery cannellini beans, carrots, celery and onion. With some organisatory work done ahead this no fussn dish takes no longer than 30 minutes. Those vegetables I’ve mentioned above combine together in a genuine taste symphony, creating an absolutely delicious dish which is also heart and packed with nutrients. If I’d have to place it in a category I’d say it stays somewhere between a soup and a stew. I love my pasta e fagioli on the thick side but if a soupier dish is your cup of tea, please feel free to add more liquid.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (200g, chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (200g, chopped)
  • 3 celery stalks (150g, chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 – 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cans cooked cannellini beans (500g)
  • 1 cup dried small pasta (120g)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Broth. I heated the vegetable broth over high heat. If you use room temperature broth, it would take longer for the soup to reach boiling point.
  2. Vegetables. Peel the onions, carrots and garlic cloves. Chop the onions, celery and carrot. Finely chop the garlic and basil.
  3. Sautee the vegetables. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee them until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the carrot and the celery and sautee for further 3 minutes.
  4. The liquid. Add the chopped basil and bay leaves. Add the crushed tomatoes and about 4 cups of hot soup. Cover the saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and cook the soup for 15 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and cook for further 10 minutes.
  5. Pasta. Finally add dry pasta and cook it until tender (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve in large bowl with olive oil drizzled on top.

Source: www.themostlyvegan.com

Challah Bread

Challah is a braided bread made traditionally in the Jewish cuisine. This spectacular bread has a golden-brown, shiny crust and a airy and pilowy slightly sweet interior. It’s more than possible I’ve made challah more than two dozen times, in fact I bake it each and every time I want to surprise my guests. Beside the wow factor, this bread surprizes with its amazing taste as well.

Besides the usual ingredients, such as flour, water, salt, yeast and sugar, this bread is usually enriched with vegetable oil or melted butter and eggs,  which give challah a golden color and an unmistakable richness. These ingredients also allow this bread to remain soft for several days. If you’ve never tried to make challah before, I encourage you with all my heart to give it a try!

Ingredients (for a 45x15cm loaf):

  • 630g all-purpose flour (22 oz)
  • 225ml lukewarm water (8 oz)
  • 1 satchel active dry yeast (7g)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (30g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (8g)
  • 55ml vegetable oil (2 oz)
  • 4 egg (2 egg + 1 yolk for the dough and 1 egg for the wash)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp poppy seeds

Method:

  1. Activate the yeast. In a small bowl combine water, sugar and yeast and let aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mixture should be frothy.
  2. Form the dough. In a large bowl sift the flour and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture (point 1) and the oil, 2 eggs and 1 yolk and mix with a wooden spatula. Add the salt and continue mixing until you form a ball.
  3. Knead the dough. Bring the dough on a floured working surface and knead it for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the dough should be smooth.
  4. Let the dough rise. Place dough in the bowl, cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes (or until doubled in size).
  5. After 90 minutes, place the dough back on the working surface and knead vigorously to knock out the air bubbles.
  6. Form the ropes. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Elongate each ball of dough with your hands until you form a 45cm rope. Proceed the same with the rest of the dough.
  7. Braid the loaf. For a six-rope braid, I’ll leave you below the step by step pictures, as well as a gif.
  8. Preheat the the oven at 180°C / 350°F (gas mark 4).
  9. Place the loaf on a parchment paper-lined tray. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise for about 45 – 60 minutes.
  10. After about 1 hour give the apply egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  11. Bake it in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Place it on a wire rack and let it cool down for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Source: www.thekitchn.com

Quinoa Salad with Carrot, Almonds and Cranberries (Vegan)

 

My heart fills with joy whenever I think of this mouth-watering salad, whenever I think of its amazing taste, its vibrant colors, its contrasting textures. Undoubtedly, this is my all-time favorite salad; this salad is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also absolutely delicious. There are some really interesting things going on in my plate, the discrete nutty aroma of the quinoa is being amplified by the roasted almond flakes, and the fresh taste of the carrot goes so well with the earthy sweetness of the cranberries. What a treat!

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 100g dry quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • 120ml water (1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot (50g)
  • 20g almond flakes
  • 40g dried cranberries
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp of any neutral oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Quinoa. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse it with cold water for about 1 minute. Drain it very well. Place quinoa in a sauce pan, add 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp sea salt and bring to a boil on high heat. When the water begins to boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to minimum. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, fluff it with a fork.
  2. Almonds. Brown the almonds in a skillet, on medium heat. Set aside.
  3. Carrot, spring onions, cranberries, parsley. Peel the carrot using a vegetable peeler and grate it. Chop the spring onions finely. Halve the cranberries.Wash the parsley, pat it dry with a clean paper towel and chop it finely.
  4. Dressing and assembly. Prepare the dressing by mixing in a medium bowl the lemon juice with the oil and the parsley. Take a large bowl and place the quinoa in it. Add the carrot, spring onion, cranberries and almonds. Pour the dressing, give it a stir and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Leftovers. Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Source: www.bettycrocker.com



Homemade Noodles with Sauteed Cabbage (Vegan)

My heart fills with joy when I remember my grandmother’s recipe of cabbage noodles, those fragrant and peppery noddles she used to make for me every Friday afternoon. I used to barge into the kitchen, throwing my backpack on the old, wooden armchair and she used to greet me with a warm smile and a simple bowl of cabbage noodles. That’s all I’ve ever needed, for that matter!

For these delicious noodles with sauteed cabbage you only need about a handful of budget-friendly ingredients and a spare 20 minutes. If you decide to make the noodles from scratch, it shouldn’t take more than 1 hour. For this recipe I used my pasta machine but a simple rolling pin and a sharp knife did the job brilliantly for years (and the proof lays here). Whenever I make them plant-based, I replace the eggs with olive oil and lukewarm water. Since I can’t say I find pale noodles appealing, I add a pinch of turmenic to the flour, which gives the noodles a lovely golden color. So let’s get to work!

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

for the pasta:

  • 300g all purpose flour
  • about 160ml liquid (115ml water + 45ml olive oil)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmenic

 

for the sauteed cabbage:

  • 1/2 kg white cabbage
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp pepper

 

 

Method:

  1. Pasta dough. In a large bowl sift the flour. Add salt and turmenic and mix well.
  2. Make a well in the center, add water and olive oil and mix with a fork, until you form a ball of dough.
  3. Bring the dough on a floured working surface and knead it vigorously for 10 minutes, or until the surface becomes smooth and elastic.
  4. Wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Sauteed cabbage. Take the cabbage and discard its outer leaves. Give it a wash and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  6. Cut it in 4 and chop it finely. Place the cabage ribbons in a colander and place the colander in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the cabage and masaage it for a minute.
  7. Cut the onion in half and slice it finely. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute it until translucent.
  8. Remove the liquid from the cabbage ribbons using your hands. Add the cabbage to the saucepan, give it a stir, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to minimum. Saute the cabbage until tender (for about 15 – 20 minutes). When it becomes tender, season with salt (only if necessary) and plenty of black pepper and leave aside.
  9. Cutting the noodles – If you don’t own a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin to roll the dough and a sharp knife to cut the noodles, like I did in this recipe. Take the dough out from the fridge, cut it in 4 and form 4 balls of dough. Take 1 ball, flatten it with your fingers and fold it in half. Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting and feed it through the pasta roller. Repeat the step. Change the setting to mark 2. Fold this piece of dough into thirds, and press it with your fingers. Pass it through the pasta machine. Repeat the step. Continue passing the dough through the machine until the desired thickness. For these noodles I like to stop after the 5th mark.
    Recap: fold, mark1x2, fold, mark2x2, mark3x2, mark4x2, mark5x1
  10. Run each sheet of pasta through the pasta cutter.
  11. Take a large pot, fill it with water and add a handful of salt. Cover with a lid and let it boil. When the water starts to boil, put the noodles into the pan and let them cook for about a minute and a half (90 seconds). Drain pasta and rinse them with cold water. Toss them over the sauted cabbage and give it a gentle stir.
  12. Serve immediately.



















Scrambled Tofu with Pepper and Spinach

I had no idea that there’s a way to make some delicious scrambled eggs without using a single egg. Seasoned crumbled tofu accompanied by a couple of veggies creates the best “scrambled eggs” I’ve ever tasted. This scrambled tofu with spinach and bell pepper is absolutely delicious and it’s ready in less than 15 minutes. For seasoning this tasty dish, I use turmenic, cumin, chili and garlic powder. The golden turmenic is not only used for its flavor, but it also brings this vibrant, “eggie” color to the dish. The steps are so simple. You sautee the onion and the pepper in a skillet, you add the spinach and you braise it for a couple of moments. Finally you add the crumbled tofu and you season it to perfection. That’s all! Simple, nutritious and incredibly delicious!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 200g extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 red onion (50g)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (70g)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (50g)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water / vegetable soup
  • 1/2 tsp turmenic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pinch of chili
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Pat tofu dry using a clean paper towel. Cover it with paper towel and place something heavy on top (I used some cans).
  2. Chop the onion and the bell pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the onion and the pepper and sautee for about 3 minutes.
  3. Wash the spinach, pat it dry and add it to the skillet. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until soft.
  4. Unwrap tofu and crumble it using your hands. I a small bowl prepare a sauce by mixing the spices with water / veggie soup.
  5. Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet using a spatula and add the crumbled tofu to the empty side. Pour the sauce over the tofu and stir.
  6. Continue to cook over high heat until tofu begins to brown (for about 3 – 5 minutes).
  7. Serve immediately. I served my scrambled tofu with a large slice of homemade challah bread. Best breakfast ever!



  1. Source: www.minimalistbaker.com

Potato cups with cheddar cheese and chives

One of the main problems I face on a daily basis is the waste of food. I usually buy more than I need, I cook more than I consume and I often throw away perfectly good food just because I’m simply not in the mood for having the same dish two days in a row. And in this case I’m not throwing away only some leftovers, I’m also throwing away money, time and energy. This is when recycling kicks in, the art of transforming something undesirable into something attractive.

Maybe the best example of undesirable leftover are mashed potatoes. When still fresh, mashed potatoes are a delicious and creamy side dish. But when they are cold, they become dry and tasteless and not once did I have to throw them away. To prevent food waste, I discovered a wonderful way to recycle them: potato cups with cheddar cheese and chives. These cups are so easy to make, they are budget-friendly and they taste divine. They have a crunchy crust and a creamy and flavorful filling. These adorable cups are as fluffy as a cloud and they are ready in about 30 minutes. You won’t believe how some flavorless leftovers can turn into something so delicious!

Ingredients (for 12 cups):

  • 500g leftover mashed potatoes*
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5g chives **
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp breadcrumbs

Notes:

* This recipe can be made for dinner with mashed potatoes from lunch. You can also use day old mashed potatoes.

** Instead of chives you can use finely chopped scallions, parsley or dill.

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 220°C / 425°F (gas mark 7).
  2. Take a muffin tray and coat each cup with a thin layer of butter and then sprinkle some bread crumbs. Shake off the excess (picture).
  3. Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl. Add the eggs, chopped chives, a pinch of nutmeg and about 75g of grated cheese.
  4. Stir with a spatula until well combined.
  5. Sprinkle each cup with the remaining 25g of grated cheese (picture).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
  7. After they are baked, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a vegetable knife to gently release them from the pan.
  8. They are delicious hot, while the melted cheese is stringy. They are also tasty cold, for breakfast.The source: www.thekitchn.com