Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? This weekend was packed with a ton of fun for us. Saturday morning we chilled and I went to the gym, then Saturday evening we walked around downtown Durham (including the American Tobacco Center, which is one of my absolute favorite spots in Durham). The sky was so blue!

Then we went to Rue Cler for dinner- it’s Triangle Restaurant Week and the prix fixe menu was superb. I started with a chilled cucumber soup with crab timbale, then a “tower” of marinated veggies with sheep’s milk feta. My main course was an outstanding sautéed NC yellowfin tuna served with piperade (a pepper and tomato-based sauce- yes, I looked it up) and crispy potatoes. Plus a humungous perrier that made me have to pee for the next four hours…

Which is very unfortunate because then we went to see “The King & I” at DPAC, and let’s just say the ladies room line was the longest I have EVER seen it. These are the times I really wish I were a man. The line was seriously out the door and extended across the entire floor to the opposite set of stairs. Seriously! Good thing they move you in and out pretty quickly.

Sunday was church and then I got to work on a new recipe. I was craving something summery, light, and that could be served as a garnish for tuna burgers or a side salad on its own. I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light with a few additions and modifications, and I think it turned out really well!

Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

This would be perfect for using up any leftover corn on the cob. It would also make the perfect side for your next cookout. I served it with some homemade tuna burgers (recipe coming soon!) over spinach and some roasted sweet potatoes on the side. Looking forward to enjoying it all week long! Recipe below.

Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Summer, Vegetarian, Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Low-Calorie, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
This salad would be a perfect way to use up your leftover corn on the cob! The miso paste adds a little extra umami and the tomatoes soak up the delicious vinaigrette. Summer is officially started!
  • 4-6 fresh corn on the cob, roasted or grilled
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes (or 8 small campari tomatoes), quartered
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (or other grain)
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • feta for topping
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle tomatoes with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Shave off corn kernels from fresh corn and combine with edamame. Add to tomatoes and gently toss.
  3. While still warm, add quinoa to tomato mixture.
  4. Prepare vinaigrette by combining remaining ingredients (through lemon) in a mason jar. Whisk to combine. Thin out with hot water if needed.
  5. Pour vinaigrette over salad according to taste (I usually save a bit in the jar for later- don’t want to overdress!).
  6. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve over spinach and sprinkle with feta.
Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

Happy Summer!

Layered Mezze Platter and My Search for the Perfect Hummus

I’ve been on the HUNT for the best hummus in the Triangle. There’s nothing like a fluffy, creamy, not-too-oily hummus to make my mouth water. I’ve even thought about starting my own small-batch hummus-making business… but then someone suggested I could call it “Claire’s Humpy Hummus” and the idea immediately got tabled. Maybe one day you will see some “Humpy Hummus” in the store and you’ll know where credit is due.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Soom Soom Pita Pockets, a food truck in Durham that often parks at our favorite brewery, Ponysaurus. I tried their hummus, served with a giant pita pocket, and I was hooked. It was drippy without being watery, creamy without being weighed down by oil, and came with a little dollop of tahini sauce on top.

Y’all, I quickly ran out of pita. But gosh be darned, I finished that hummus with a spoon. 

I asked the servers what they do to make this hummus so perfect. They weren’t shy about telling me that they actually puree roasted vegetables into the mixture. Genius! I knew I’d have to try out the technique to see if I could whip up something similar.

I took their recommendation of adding roasted carrots and cauliflower, but I also threw in a few sweet potatoes to see what happened. The result was not quite as good as Soom Soom, but totally a triumph in my book. Including more veggies also meant I didn’t need to use as much tahini or oil. I’ve found that adding a few ice cubes also makes the hummus really fluffy.

My new hummus creation made the perfect base for this Mediterranean layered mezze platter! Instead of the classic Mexican 7-layer dip, I topped hummus with veggies and crispy chickpeas for something a little fancier.

Layered Mezze Platter

From bottom to top: homemade sweet potato hummus (so fluffy!), quinoa and lentil blend, sautéed swiss chard, garlic roasted tomatoes and carrots, crispy curried chickpeas and cauliflower, kalamata olives, feta + cilantro. Pita points on the side for dipping instead of chips!

This dip could also easily make a meal if you served it with extra greens. Or just let your guests dip their pita directly into the dish. Complete with protein, healthy fats, and hearty grains, make sure to add this one to your Memorial Day spread.

Layered Mezze Platter
Recipe Type: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan
Author: Claire McCormick of Claire Tastes
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Fancify your 7-layer dip with a Mediterranean spin on the old Mexican classic! Homemade hummus serves as a perfectly light and creamy base, topped with healthy grains, curried vegetables and wilted greens. Serve hot or cold!
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic, divided
  • 6-7 plum tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa and lentil blend
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and stalks
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • juice of one lemon
  • 6-8 cups fresh swiss chard, rinsed and chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • cilantro
  • pita points for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425 deg.
  2. Pat chickpeas dry.
  3. On a large baking sheet, spread carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower stalks, and tomatoes. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, cook quinoa/lentil blend according to package directions (about 2:1 water to grains), minus 1-2 minutes until al dente. Drain if necessary.
  5. In a large bowl, toss half the chickpeas, cauliflower florets, 2 tbsp olive oil, curry powder, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, cumin, juice of 1/2 lemon, and salt and pepper. Spread on another baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Add tahini, remaining chickpeas, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and tahini to bowl of a food processor. When carrots and sweet potatoes are done, add them with the cauliflower stalks. (Leaving out the tomatoes and a few of the carrots). Process on high until blended, then drizzle in olive oil and 2-3 tbsp water until smooth and fluffy. (For extra fluffy hummus, throw in 1-2 ice cubes).
  7. Saute swiss chard in a large saute pan until wilted. Shock by rinsing under cold water, then squeeze firmly to get out all the water.
  8. In a large casserole dish, layer hummus, quinoa/lentils, swiss chard, roasted tomatoes and carrots, and crispy chickpeas/cauliflower. Top with kalamata olives, feta and cilantro.
  9. To serve warm: Heat (covered) at 350 for 10 minutes, then broil (uncovered) on high for 2-3 minutes until crisped.
  10. Serve with pita points, extra cilantro and yogurt sauce, if desired.
Layered Mezze Platter

Dig in!

Happy long weekend!

Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle (Vegan, GF)

Happy Monday! It’s felt like a while since I’ve had a spare few minutes to put up a post on here… life has been crazy these days! But, I was finally able to steal a few hours in the kitchen today on my day off to whip up the salad of all salads.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and that means party-season! Cheers to dining al fresco, cooking out, and spending times with friends. This year we’re hosting a few friends at our house potluck-style. As some of them follow vegan and/or gluten-free diets, I thought a big salad would be the perfect side to share. (There will also be “the meats”… but Ben is in charge of that area :P)

Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle

Vegan, gluten-free, and packed with protein for staying-power, I will definitely be tucking this one away in my recipe files! I used nutritional yeast (my first time using!) to give the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas a “cheesy” vibe, and of course a lemon-tahini dressing always takes the creamy factor up a notch.

Pair this with meat, tofu, or a poached egg to make it a meal. A few slices of avocado would be perfect here too. Oh my goodness. Get in my belly NOW.

Recipe below. Enjoy!

Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle (Vegan, GF)
Recipe Type: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Cuisine: Summer, Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
The perfect potluck dish for Memorial Day! Vegan, gluten-free, and deliciously satisfying. Drizzle with some of the lemon-tahini vinaigrette to take the creamy-dreamy factor to the next level!
  • 1 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp greek seasoning (or just use garlic powder)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 large tomato (or 1 cup cherry tomatoes), chopped roughly
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • handful baby carrots, chopped roughly
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • For drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of other half of lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • hot water, to thin
  1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, and seasoning. Spread in an even layer on a prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Cook for 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, mix quinoa and lentils in a saucepan and add 2 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 18-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and lentils are al dente.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the tomato, parsley, carrots, lemon juice 3-4 times or until roughly chopped. Don’t overdo it here- you don’t want gazpacho!
  4. Add the chopped veggie mixture to a large bowl and toss with spinach and the cooked grains. Top with roasted cauliflower mixture and sprinkle on additional nutritional yeast if desired.
  5. To prepare the lemon tahini drizzle, whisk together all ingredients in a jar. Add enough hot water to thin out, then drizzle on top of salad.
Creamy Dreamy Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon-Tahini Drizzle (Vegan, GF)

Pasta Salad w/ Hope Kale Pesto Hummus

Happy Monday! Anyone else confused by this weather? Seriously, is it only February? This past weekend we enjoyed sunny and temps in the mid-70s! Ben and I had a relaxing weekend. Friday night we went downtown to Gonza Tacos y Taquila– good salsa, fish tacos and a strawberry margarita hit the spot! On Saturday, I enjoyed a nice long run on the American Tobacco Trail with Samoa to tire her out… but I think I only managed to rile her up even more. This face– I can’t resist!

Saturday night Ben and I went to a work BBQ for his company. We had a blast chatting, eating, and sipping on some brews. I can’t believe I was able to wear shorts! We contributed some deviled eggs and chili-stuffed cornbread, adapted from RecipeRunner.

One of the vegetarian dishes someone brought to the party was a big, colorful bowtie salad. I had forgotten how good this tastes during picnic season! I decided that since it’s been so warm, I might as well whip up my own version to last through the week.

Let picnic season begin!

Pasta Salad w/ Hope Kale Pesto Hummus

For a creamy dressing to go on this salad, I decided to use this new-to-me hummus from Hope Foods. Hope Hummus has ten different hummus varieties including original, spicy avocado, thai coconut curry, and even dark chocolate! I love that Hope Foods values preservative-free and local ingredients, clean water, and agricultural job creation. None of which is at the expense of amazing flavor. I’ve tried the original, spicy avocado and kale pesto so far, and none of them have disappointed! Hope is based out of Colorado and can be found in all major grocery stores in the refrigerated section.

This salad is super easy to whip up, especially if you have some of these ingredients in cans in your pantry already. I semi-cheated and got a lot of them from the salad bar in Harris Teeter. That way I could get just what I needed in the right amounts.

Pasta Salad w/ Hope Kale Pesto Hummus
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Summer, Picnic
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Let picnic and BBQ season begin! Next time you make a salad like this, consider using a prepared hummus like this one from Hope Foods!
  • 1 package tri-color farfalle pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 cups chopped baby spinach
  • chopped peppers, artichoke hearts, black and/or green olives, shredded carrots (about 1 1/2 cups total)
  • 1 package Hope brand Kale Pesto hummus
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, minus 1 minute (to al dente). Add the broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving ~1/4 cup pasta water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine garlic through chopped vegetables. Add pasta and toss.
  3. In a mason jar, whisk together hummus, lemon juice, and reserved pasta water (add more or less depending on how thick you want your dressing- but it will thicken once cooled and added to the pasta!).
  4. Toss salad with dressing and feta. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
Pasta Salad w/ Hope Kale Pesto Hummus


What’s your favorite way to eat hummus?

Warm Butternut & Farro Spinach Salad

Butternut Squash & Farro Spinach Salad

Happy New Year! What are your resolutions, goals, or intentions for the year ahead?

I hate the idea of resolutions, but I love the idea of having intentions. This year, I am intent to:

  1. Be a better listener. Sometimes I find I ask someone a question and then get distracted even before they finish telling me the answer! Hope to work on that this year. I also want to be better at resting.
  2. Rest better. It’s ok if the dishwasher hasn’t been unloaded and the laundry is still in the dryer 10 minutes after it’s finished running. These things will eventually get done, and I don’t need to feel like I have to check all 36 things off of my to-do list before I can sit down and breathe.


Many of you will probably have health goals as well, which is why I wanted to bring this recipe to you today! The new year is a great opportunity to start fresh in your eating and exercise goals, but remember to give yourself some grace and set yourself up for success by NOT expecting to be perfect. “Perfect” eating, in my book, means indulging sometimes, overeating sometimes, and cutting back when your body is telling you it’s had a few too many buckeyes.

I made this salad this past weekend when my parents and sister/bro-in-law were visiting for the holiday. We served it with steaks from Ben’s dad’s company, and black-eyed peas from my sister (because apparently they symbolize good luck?). All were delicious, and the smoke eventually cleared out of our house after pan-searing the steaks because our grill was out of gas…

This salad has all the flavorful reminders of the holidays while also being packed with protein, vitamins, and ruffage to reset your system! I love how the farro sticks to the squash and cauliflower to bulk it up a little bit. And the sunflower seeds provide a little extra crunch! I used a simple vinaigrette of citrus and balsamic vinegar, but you could really play around with it to your liking.

Happy eating!

Butternut Squash & Farro Spinach Salad
Warm Butternut & Farro Spinach Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Starting a new year doesn’t need to be painful when it comes to eating better. Ring in your year of good intentions and health goals with this delicious, vegetarian and protein-packed salad!
  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 16 oz spring mix or spinach
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • For dressing:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Prepare farro according to package directions, until al dente. Remove from pot and cool for at least 10 minutes. (I used my rice cooker for this- comes out perfect every time!)
  3. While farro is cooking, shake all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar.
  4. Combine 3 tbsp oil, squash, cauliflower, cranberries, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on prepared cookie sheet and roast 30 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  5. In a large bowl, drizzle about half of vinaigrette onto spring mix and toss.
  6. Add farro, roasted vegetables, feta, and remaining vinaigrette. Toss gently.
  7. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and additional feta or if desired.


Cranberry Barley Risotto Stuffed Squash

Happy Turkey Week! How was your weekend?

This weekend we celebrated Turkey Day a few days early with our Durham friends. Friendsgivings are the BEST! So many different dishes to try, people to meet, toddlers to chase… but I had the hardest time deciding what to make!

Last year I made these sweet potato empanadas, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like putting them together this year! I was inspired a few weeks ago by this post from fANNEtastic Food, a creative alternative to traditional stuffing. I made a few tweaks and also stuffed some butternut squash since I tend to like the sweetness of butternut a little more than acorn. But if you serve these on their own, the acorn halves make a perfectly portioned serving!

Stuffed Squash w/ Cranberry Barley Risotto and Pepitas
Stuffed Squash w/ Cranberry Barley Risotto and Pepitas

Ben caught me in action, slaving away in the kitchen. Post workout, no makeup, sweaty mess I am… #reallife


These are actually pretty simple to make… and depending on how many mouths you want to feed, you could easily do it all on just one big cookie sheet and one big saucepan.

Stuffed Squash w/ Cranberry Barley Risotto and Pepitas
Recipe Type: Main Dish, Side
Cuisine: Thanksgiving, Fall
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Looking for a fun way to lighten up your usual Thanksgiving stuffing? These little stuffed squashes taste as pretty as they look!
  • 2-3 acorn squash, halved (I sliced off the bottom of each half so they would lie flat in the pan!)
  • 2 medium butternut squash, halved
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp each fresh sage and parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • crumbled bacon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • extra pepitas (optional)
  • honey for drizzling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Scoop out seeds from squash.
  3. Place squash halves skin side down on a large baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake 30 min or until tender. Remove from oven.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil on medium-high. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic, sage, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender- 5 or 6 minutes or so!
  5. Add barley and cranberries and give it all a stir. Add cider, water/stock, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15-20 min until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in pepitas.
  6. Scoop filling into center of squash (I had to scoop a little extra out of the long part of the butternut squash to make room).
  7. Top with goat cheese, bacon crumbles, extra pepitas (if desired), and a drizzle of honey. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes until heated through.
Prepping ingredients.
Prepping ingredients.
Saute veggies, herbs and cranberries until tender.
Saute veggies, herbs and cranberries until tender.
Add barley and cook until liquid is absorbed.
Add barley and cook until liquid is absorbed.
Allow roasted squash to cool to the touch
Allow roasted squash to cool to the touch
Scoop filling into squash halves and return to oven to cook until heated through
Scoop filling into squash halves and return to oven to cook until heated through

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!