It’s hard to believe that August is almost over, which means that my news feed is already filled with back-to-school ads and tips for getting back into a fall routine.
While Ben and I don’t have any school-aged kids yet, this time of year always feels a bit nostalgic to me. I LIVED for school supplies shopping and getting a new pair of Sambas. I remember my grandma used to take us B2S clothes shopping and we were allowed to buy a whole outfit. I felt so cool in my flared Gap jeans and patterned socks.
Happy July! The summer is rolling in FAST and that means HOT. After spending our afternoon at an outdoors event last night, I was craving something cool and light. I had a few extra tomatoes on hand and some balsamic glaze that I had picked up at TJ’s (sample stand impulse buy, anyone?) so this salad basically made itself. I threw in some leftover corn from the other night and also some brown rice to bulk it up a bit.
On the fourth we will be driving up to Michigan where hopefully we’ll get a reprieve from the heat (or at least the humidity!) This summer has been especially bad so far- not sure if that’s pregnancy-related or if I’m just becoming a normal human being?
P.S. I started using my pregnancy pillow and at first I was like, “this thing is a monster, how do I even use it?” but once I got the hang of it, life = changed. Not sure Ben likes having something the size of another human being in our bed with us!
Ok, on to the recipe!
Caprese and Corn Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
A light and fresh salad that is perfect for hot July nights!
5 large tomatoes, chopped coarsely
¼ cup chopped basil (about 8 leaves)
8 oz mozzarella pearls
1 ear corn, cooked (or ½ cup corn kernels)
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
sea salt flakes
optional: 1/3 cup cooked rice or other grain (I had leftover rice so just threw it in to sop up some of the dressing)
optional: balsamic glaze
In a large bowl, add tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, corn, and garlic.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (through pepper). Drizzle on salad and toss gently.
Top with additional sea salt, pepper, and balsamic glaze!
Wow, it’s been a while! Just popping in for my (embarrassed to admit) FIRST post of 2018!
How is your year shaping up?
Now that it’s almost spring, I wanted to kick off the season with one of my newest favorites: Marrakesh carrots. I got the idea for this from a cookbook I got for my birthday last year called Bowl and Spoon, written by Sara Forte, the author of The Sprouted Kitchen blog. I guess I’ve had a thing for turmeric lately, because last week I made a version of my sister’s Moroccan Red Lentil Soup which has a ton of it. I swear every mixing spoon in my kitchen is now orange.
I mixed things up a little with this recipe, especially in the dressing, where I added in some tahini and red wine vinegar. Plus more spices because I can’t help it. Finished with a cumin-spiked yogurt sauce and feta.
You could serve this for lunch or as a side for dinner. The chickpeas and tahini dressing, plus the protein in the yogurt sauce, give it enough staying power for a meal. I also served ours with warm pita!
Hope you enjoy!
Marrakesh Carrots with Cumin-Spiked Yogurt Sauce
Recipe Type: Salad, Side
Cuisine: Moroccan, Marrakesh, Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
A healthy salad with staying power! Inspired by the flavors of Morocco, this carrot salad is sure to be a hit!
2 lbs whole carrots, rinsed thoroughly
1/2 red onion, chopped roughly
5-6 green onions
1/2 cup cilantro
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 cup raisins
For yogurt sauce (optional): Plain yogurt, lemon juice, cumin
Use food processor (shredding disc) to shred carrots. Set aside in a big bowl.
In same food processor (S blade), pulse red onion, green onion, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add chickpeas and pulse 2-3 times until roughly chopped. Add mixture to carrots.
To make dressing, pulse together remaining ingredients and pour over salad.
Stir in raisins and toss well.
For yogurt sauce, whisk together 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of cumin. Add water as needed to thin. Set aside.
Chill salad until ready to serve, then top with yogurt sauce, chopped pistachios, feta, and more cilantro.
Happy Labor Day! Will you be relaxing at home, or potluck-hopping your way through the day? We have a few get-togethers planned, one of which is a potluck, so I thought I’d give summer one last hurrah and whip up this pasta salad to bring.
I’m always looking for recipes that make perfect leftovers to last us throughout the week. Salads seem to do the trick because they are so versatile and last a long time! Ben has also been asking for more pasta recently, since he has started eating pescatarian with me.
I was so pleased with the way this salad came out. Homemade walnut pesto is the perfect dressing! Just don’t make the mistake I did of adding the pasta when it’s still too hot, otherwise it will just absorb all the pesto! Allow your pasta to cool to room temp first so you don’t have to make more pesto later.
You could also add black olives, salami or pepperoni to this salad and it would be even better!
Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad
Recipe Type: Salad, picnic
Cuisine: vegetarian, healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Perfect for your Labor Day potluck or to last for the short week ahead!
3 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup walnuts
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
pinch of salt and pepper
1 box whole wheat rotini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, minced
8 oz mini mozzarella balls (“perlines”)
1 bag chopped kale
1 cup frozen peas
In a food processor, combine all ingredients for pesto except for the olive oil and vinegar. Pulse on high until roughly chopped, then drizzle in oil and vinegar until smooth. Add more water or oil if you like!
Prepare pasta to al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.
Return 1 cup pasta water to the pot and add kale. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to low until kale is steamed. Remove from heat.
Return pasta to pot and add tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella balls, and peas.
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!
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”
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
In a large bowl, sprinkle tomatoes with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Shave off corn kernels from fresh corn and combine with edamame. Add to tomatoes and gently toss.
While still warm, add quinoa to tomato mixture.
Prepare vinaigrette by combining remaining ingredients (through lemon) in a mason jar. Whisk to combine. Thin out with hot water if needed.
Pour vinaigrette over salad according to taste (I usually save a bit in the jar for later- don’t want to overdress!).
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.
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
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
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
pita points for serving
Preheat oven to 425 deg.
Pat chickpeas dry.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
To serve warm: Heat (covered) at 350 for 10 minutes, then broil (uncovered) on high for 2-3 minutes until crisped.
Serve with pita points, extra cilantro and yogurt sauce, if desired.
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)
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.
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
1/4 cup tahini
juice of other half of lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp honey
hot water, to thin
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.