Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl

Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl
Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl

Happy October! Even though it’s hard every year to see summer come to a close, I can’t help but feel a little excited thinking about the hustle and bustle of fall- back to school, turning the heat on for the first time, bubble baths, crisp evenings, and all things apples. Next week Ben and I are taking our annual apple picking trip to Carter Mountain– my favorite day of the year! Bring on the winesap, stayman, and apple cider doughnuts! Crossing my fingers for good weather up there!

This week, right on cue, I started craving roasted vegetables. For some reason I’ve been super into eggplant recently. Maybe because of it’s slightly meaty texture and the fact that you can customize it with just about any spice.

For this one, I went for an Indian curry profile, using garam masala (my favorite new spice blend- have you tried it in my Brown Butter Molasses Cookies yet?) and cumin to spice things up. I tossed on a can of chickpeas, as well as some red onion, tomato, sliced zucchini, and cauliflower.

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I could not stop eating this right off the sheet. #trueconfessions

You could do a lot with these roasted veggies alone, like put them in a stew, serve as a side dish for a beautiful autumnal salad, or do what I did and use them in a grain bowl! I had some cooked lentil and farro, so I tossed some of these on top of the grains with some spinach, then topped with a nice runny egg and some feta crumbles. I bet goat cheese would be excellent as well!

Roasted Zucchini Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl
Roasted Zucchini Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl

(Side note: have you tried the Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Hot Stuff Sauce at Whole Foods? I am obsessed. We are having a game night tonight and I may just have to make them.)

Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl
Recipe Type: Salad, Main Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Indian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Looking for a hearty but healthy salad to celebrate the beginning of autumn? Try this spicy and savory grain bowl with a nice big Indian kick!
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into discs 1/4″ thick
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 head cauliflower, brokein into florets
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • extra virgin olive oil (about 3-4 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala or other Indian spice blend
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional: cooked grain (I used lentils/farro), egg, feta or goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Line two large cookie sheets with silpat or cooking spray.
  3. Layer eggplant and zucchini on sheet so that they are slightly overlapping. Top with red onion and drizzle with about 2 tbsp olive oil.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all spices until combined. Sprinkle on about half of this mixture to the vegetables.
  5. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas, drizzle with remaining olive oil and spice blend.
  6. Bake at 400 deg for 50 minutes until chickpeas are crispy and cauliflower is golden-brown.
  7. Allow to cool, then remove from pan and use on top of your favorite grains for a satisfying and healthy side, or top with poached egg and crumbled feta to make it a meal!
Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower
Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Why hello! Did you have a good weekend?

We did here! Friday night Ben and I headed downtown for happy hour to watch the live music at Brightleaf Square. It wasn’t as packed as it usually is, but that’s likely because we were there on the early side, PLUS it was about 398 degrees out so really, all the smart people were inside. We were exhausted, so it was nice to just chill out melt and put our feet up for a while as we sipped brews and munched on chips.

Saturday was a major errands/chores day. I made a big grocery run and did some cooking for the week (prepped crock pot chicken to use in enchiladas for Ben, plus the salad in this post), tried out my AMAZING new cordless vacuum (I think the neighbors are starting to get concerned that I have a cleaning problem… good thing it has a short battery life!), went for a run, and took Samoa for a long walk on the trail. Today it was a 20 mi. bike ride on the ATC (before the humidity set in!), church, a cat-nap, and the 2nd Rock Steady Boxing Class in Cary with a few of my PD patients. Then this afternoon we met up with a few small group folks (missed you, Tawny and Healys!) to play board games at Ponysaurus. Fun day!

Part of what I like to do on the weekends is prep one nice big salad and casserole to last us through the week. We still have leftovers from last week’s Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna, but it’s nice to have another option while this dwindles (or goes bad, whichever happens first). I usually eat the salad as my entree with some roasted veggies and some type of meatless protein (my go-to is tofu, but I’m also a big fan of the fried egg or some kind of fish), and Ben will have the casserole with the salad as a side. It’s been working great for us since both of us work full-time, and it avoids the whole staring-at-the-open-fridge and shouting “honey, what do we have to eat?” problem, OR the temptation to get take-out!

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

This week an oldie but a goodie is on the salad menu. Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. I’ve definitely made this before, since it’s super easy and feeds a crowd, but I’m not sure I ever used this much lime juice. I’ve definitely never used fresh roasted corn on the cob, either. It made a HUGE difference! The roasted corn is much sweeter than frozen, and it absorbs much more of the vinaigrette.

This salad is salsa-like in texture, and I’ve also started adding a grain blend (lentils and farro are the best) to help absorb some of the extra liquid and bulk up the salad a bit. Bigger salad = fewer weeknights that I have to cook. I’m pretty OK with that. I would rather spend my time recipe-creating when I’m relaxed and have a whole afternoon to do it than when I get home at 7pm and have about 20 other things to do to get ready ready for the next day.

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian, Mexican
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Love salsa as much as I do? I could eat it by the gallon! Instead of stocking your pantry with Tostitos, though, why not try out a fresh take on your own? Better for you AND cheaper! Perfect for dunking chips, stuffing tacos, or eating right out of the bowl 🙂
Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils or farro (I used a mixture, so about 1/2 cup of each)
  • 5 medium ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or less if you don’t like your salad as acidic as I do!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, for spice-lovers)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • fresh chopped avocado, for serving
  • additional cilantro, for serving
  • greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Husk corn and bake at 350, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes until kernels are tender. When cool to touch, slice kernels lengthwise to remove from the cob. Set aside.
  2. Combine 1 cup lentils/farro with 2 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 13 minutes until al dente. Drain immediately.
  3. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil through garlic powder in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in red onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, beans, and corn.
  5. Stir in lentils/farro (this is best when the grains are still warm, so they soak up the juice of the tomatoes and vinaigrette).
  6. Serve immediately or store for up to 6 days in the fridge. Just before serving, top with sliced avocado, additional cilantro, salt and pepper, and a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.

This goes without saying, but you have complete freedom to experiment with different varieties of grains, beans, and veggies in this salad. Get creative! I forgot to do it this time, but a drizzle of honey would be amazing in the vinaigrette for a touch of sweetness. Although I do insist on using corn on the cob vs. canned or frozen. Makes a world of difference!

Like I said in the beginning of this post, this salad is totally versatile and can be enjoyed as a main dish, side, or garnish. I currently love dipping hearty crackers or crispbread and letting them get the slightest bit soggy before I top with a little dollop of Greek and stuff it in my mouth. Let me know how you like it. Happy week!

Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna

My patients are always bringing me presents. It’s quite possibly the best part of my job. Especially in the summer, when tomatoes practically bursting off the vines and there’s more basil than they know what to do with!

Last week a dear patient brought me the most beautiful eggplant. I am amazed every time I see eggplant, because that deep, majestic purple! Seriously, God is amazing! You can’t genetically modify or artificially enhance these things. I wish I had taken a picture to share with you before I sliced it up for eatin’!

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Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna
Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna

Speaking of… I wanted to use this eggplant for something special. I had a few zucchini on hand, plus a container of this yummy TJ’s grecian-style eggplant w/ tomatoes and onions that I wanted to use up. I decided to make a veggie lasagna, using the zucchini in place of noodles, and the TJ’s filling as the “sauce,” plus a few cans of white beans, pesto (my recipe for lemon pesto is here!) and ricotta cheese.

This lasagna was delicious! It was savory, creamy, and filling without feeling like you’re carb-loading for a marathon. The zucchini slices make the perfect noodles zoodles!

And of course I am bringing my patient a slice so she can reap the benefits of her labor!

Recipe below. Enjoy!

First, roast eggplant with onion and a drizzle of olive oil.
First, roast eggplant with onion and a drizzle of olive oil.
Roast tomatoes too.
Roast tomatoes too.
Roasted eggplant out of the oven.
Roasted eggplant out of the oven.
Start layering zucchini noodles first.
Start layering zucchini noodles first.
Top with some of ricotta and pesto.
Top with some of ricotta and pesto.
Add beans and more cheese.
Add beans and more cheese.
Keep layering with roasted veggies.
Keep layering with roasted veggies.
Layer...
Layer…
Layer more zucchini noodles on top.
Layer more zucchini noodles on top.
Top with extra "sauce" and feta.
Top with extra “sauce” and feta.
Bake at 350 for an hour, cool, and slice!
Bake at 350 for an hour, cool, and slice!
Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna
Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna
Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna
Recipe Type: Veggie, Summer, Lasagna
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Wow your guests with this meatless and decadent grecian-style veggie lasagna! Compliments of patients with gardens 🙂
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/8″ thick discs
  • 4 ripened on-the-vine tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup (eyeball it) EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • greek seasoning (optional)
  • 4 zucchini, sliced into long strips about 1/8″ thick
  • TJ’s can of eggplant, tomatoes, & onions
  • 1 can kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichokes
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 tbsp each lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 12 oz. carton ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto (make my lemon pesto! https://clairetastes.com/farro-caprese-salad-w-lemon-pesto-vinaigrette/)
  • 2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. On a large silpat-lined cookie sheet, place eggplant slices in rows so they are not touching. Sprinkle with salt, top, with red onion, then drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with additional greek seasoning if desired.
  3. On another cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray, layer tomato slices (they can overlap), then sprinkle with salt.
  4. Cook eggplant and tomatoes at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
  5. Prepare the lasagna “sauce” by mixing the TJ’s can of eggplant, tomatoes, and onions, zucchini noodles, kalamata olives, artichokes, and roasted red peppers. Add a squirt each (about 1 tbsp) of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic. Stir in 1 tsp greek seasoning (optional).
  6. Spray bottom of casserole dish. Layer 1/2 of zucchini strips (as you would with lasagna noodles) on bottom of dish. Top with a few dollops of ricotta/pesto mixture, then top with about 1/3 of the “sauce” and 1 can of white beans.
  7. Top with the shredded provolone (about 3 slices) and a handful of spinach.
  8. Next, layer roasted tomatoes, followed by eggplant and red onions.
  9. Add a few more dollops of ricotta/pesto, then another 1/3 of the sauce.
  10. Top with another handful of spinach and other can of white beans.
  11. Layer remaining zucchini strips and ricotta/pesto, followed by remaining sauce. Top with feta.
  12. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 min, then 15 min uncovered until bubbly.
  13. **(Can be made 24 hrs in advance and stored in refrigerator until ready to bake!)

Happy Tuesday!

Fiesta Monday

Life is one big fiesta… why not eat like it?

Fiesta Salad
Fiesta Salad

Hello! How was your weekend? Ours was HOT and BUSY! Ben and I were teaching at a weekend seminar for our church’s Preparing for Marriage ministry. We met so many cool couples and had lots to talk about! In other news, I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with the victims and families of the shooting in Orlando… what a terribly hideous side of human nature. Praying that the Lord redeems every ounce of evil in this tragedy and uses it to bring this country closer to Himself.

Today I was craving Mexican.

I don’t know why, because I’ve had Mexican literally the last three days in a row. And all.the.chips. But who doesn’t love a good healthy Mexican salad?

Always down for that.

This fiesta bowl is a perfect meatless meal for Monday. I used a blend of quinoa, farro, and lentils cooked al dente and tossed with zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, and lots of canned things. Plus some fresh lemon and Mexican spices and cilantro. (I swear if any of you ever use that taco seasoning that comes in a packet I will hunt you down.)

You could serve this on its own (I like mine topped with a poached egg or some tofu, over spinach), or as a side dish with a non-vegetarian protein. Ben had it with a few slices of turkey meatloaf pizza I made earlier.

Enjoy!

Fiesta Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-15
Life is one big fiesta! Why not eat like it?
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup each quinoa, farro, and lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can each pinto and black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each cumin, coriander, garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp each chili powder and paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine grains and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining vegetables and spices.
  3. Drizzle in lemon juice and vinegar.
  4. Add the quinoa, farro, and lentil blend and toss to combine.
  5. Top with cilantro and additional salt and pepper to taste!
  6. Serve over greens or crusty bread, with protein of your choice!

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Happy fiesta week!

Mediterranean Veggie Wraps

Mediterranean Veggie Wraps
Mediterranean Veggie Wraps

Happy Monday! Did y’all have a good weekend? Ben and I were pretty busy this weekend, driving up to Pittsburgh on Friday to celebrate his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary/Mother’s Day with all his siblings (minus one who is abroad!). It was a great weekend full of outdoor activities, food, and quality time. It’s fun to all be old enough now to actually get to have conversations about things like religion and politics. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t quite the right word… but it was precious time with everyone nonetheless!

We got back and our fridge was literally EMPTY. That’s ok, I have Mondays off! Today was spent restocking our pantry with lots of canned goods, fresh produce, and the ingredients for these Mediterranean Veggie Wraps. I originally got the idea for these from a Cooking Light recipe for Zucchini and Bean Burritos that you can easily make ahead and freeze. I thought these would be the perfect thing to make once and have a lot of leftovers to reheat later.

Instead of going the Mexican route, I adapted the recipe for a Mediterranean version (because, why not?) but followed the same steps: 1. Make the bean spread; 2. Make filling; 3. Fill tortillas and bake. The best part is that even after filling the wraps, I still had a lot of filling left that would make a great salad on its own. 1 recipe = 2 meals FTW!

I served Ben 2 of these, myself 1, with greek yogurt, avocado, and a side of green beans. Another delicious Meatless Monday recipe in the books! Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Special thanks to Cooking Light Magazine for the inspiration for this post!

Cook veggies in skillet.
Cook veggies in skillet.
Cook until tender.
Cook until tender.
Cook carrots and mushrooms.
Cook carrots and mushrooms.
Pretty red peppers!
Pretty red peppers!
It would be easy to eat the filling right out of the bowl!
It would be easy to eat the filling right out of the bowl!
Fill tortillas as directed.
Fill tortillas as directed.
Place on hot baking sheet with green beans.
Place on hot baking sheet with green beans.
All nestled up!
All nestled up!
Enjoy!
Enjoy!
Mediterranean Veggie Wraps
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Perfect for Meatless Monday, this delicious Mediterranean take on a Cooking Light Burrito recipe can be made ahead and frozen for later!
Ingredients
  • Bean Spread:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed/drained
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (reserve rest of juice from lemon)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • ~1 tbsp water
  • Filling:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 3 large carrots, peeled into long strips
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 jar roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced kalamata olives
  • remaining juice of lemon
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed/drained
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • coucous, uncooked
  • 10 whole grain tortillas
  • avocado and greek yogurt, for garnish (optional)
  • Green beans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 deg. Place baking sheet in oven as it preheats.
  2. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients for bean spread and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 3-4 minutes, using potato masher or fork to mash beans so that spread has a chunky consistency. Remove from heat and add additional water to thin out the mixture if necessary!
  4. For filling, add remaining oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to a large skillet and cook on medium for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add next 6 ingredients (zucchini through olives) and cook until vegetables are soft, about 2 more minutes. Remove entire mixture and combine in a large mixing bowl with lemon, beans, and salt and pepper.
  5. When ready to cook, spread about 3 tbsp filling on each tortilla, followed by 1 tbsp couscous, 1/2 cup vegetable filling, and 1 tsp feta.
  6. Fold edges in and roll each tortilla, placing seam side down on hot baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
  7. Fill in space on baking sheet with green beans drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  8. Bake at 450 deg for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden-brown and beans are tender but not mushy.
  9. Serve with greek yogurt, avocado, and green beans.
  10. (To freeze leftovers, wrap cooled wraps in plastic wrap and seal in a freezer-safe bag. To reheat, simply wrap in a few paper towels and microwave 4 minutes on high, turning halfway.)

 

Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade

Happy Hump Day, friends! Today it felt like summer, with temps in the high 80s, and I was craving all.the.summer.veggies. I stopped by TJ’s on my way home from work and couldn’t resist picking up three different packages of tomatoes (grape, heirloom, and on the vine) with some fresh basil, ready-to-cook spinach tortellini and a prepared olive tapenade for this incredibly easy tortellini salad.

You could have made the tapenade on your own, or grown your own basil plant, or heck- made your own pasta… but no one got time for that! It was so simple to dice a few tomatoes and basil, throw the cooked tortellini and tapenade in, and squirt a little balsamic and lemon juice on top! Summer was practically licking my ankles (oh wait, that was Samoa).

Enjoy! Happy summer-dreaming!

Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade
Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade
Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade
Recipe Type: Salad, Pasta
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Italian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
You’ll be dreaming about summer all spring long, but now you don’t have to wait for tomato season to taste it!
Ingredients
  • 1 package (about 16 oz) cheese or spinach tortellini pasta
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 containers grape or on-the-vine tomatoes (I used both), diced roughly
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 container olive tapenade (I used TJ’s) or 1/2 cup diced olives
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • spinach for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare tortellini 2 mins less than package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve a bit of the pasta water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for feta. When cooled, stir in tortellini and reserved pasta water.
  3. Stir in feta and serve with spinach for a light summer salad!

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Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade