Roasted Poblano Crema

Looking for a use for those cilantro (or coriander) stems? Look no further! The stems have so much flavor, that it’s really a shame to throw them away.  Often they’re not used in restaurants because they’re not as beautiful as the leaves, but they’re certainly just as tasty. If you want to use the stems up in a salsa or other dish, just mince them finely, along with the leaves, and nobody will even notice!

Or you can blend them up into a sauce! You can do the same with parsley stems. This recipe below uses cilantro or coriander stems, depending on where you’re from. You bought the stems and leaves, so you might as well use them!

Roasted Poblano Crema

Yields: 2 ½ cups

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 Poblano peppers
  • ½ cup heavy cream or dairy substitute (optional)*
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ bunch cilantro with stems (about 8-10 sprigs)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Roast the Poblano peppers on a baking sheet at 425°F. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until a few spots on the peppers become charred. You can turn them once while roasting. They will blister, which is normal. Remove from oven and place in bowl with plate covering them. This will steam the peppers and make the skins easier to remove.

Once cooled, carefully remove the stems and seeds. You can slice down the middle of the peppers and run under cool water to remove the rest of the seeds. Now rough chop the peppers.

Slice the onion and mince the garlic. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until they’re translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken broth and heavy cream*. (If not using cream or a dairy substitute, add ½ cup of broth or water.) Bring to a low boil, and cook for 4 to 5 more minutes. (Alternatively you can add the onion and garlic into the blender in their raw from, with the liquid ingredients and the roasted peppers. This will save some cooking time. The taste will be sharper, and still delicious. The cooking the method just mellows out the flavors.)

Rough chop the cilantro leaves and stems.

Use an immersion blender or pour all ingredients into a regular blender. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. You can squeeze a tablespoon or two of lime juice into the sauce if you’d like. Blend to combine. Adjust ingredients to your taste.

Enjoy on tacos, enchiladas, roasted vegetables, chicken, lamb, fish or beef. It’s great with rice too!

Chimichurri

This is a wonderfully flavorful sauce that seriously takes just a few minutes to put together. If you can operate a blender, you can make this sauce! 🙂 It’s also a great use for an abundance of parsley in a backyard garden and the parsley stems get blended in too, so less food waste!

You’ll get all the benefits of the antioxidants in the parsley and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and red pepper too! It’s a great nutrition boost to add to any meal.

CHIMICHURRI RECIPE

Yields about 1 1\4 U.S. cups

Ingredients

 

  • 1 cup fresh parsley sprigs with stems included (don’t waste that flavor!)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicier, but you might start with less)
  • Salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (more if desired)

 

Simple ingredients for Chimichurri.

Directions

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in food processor and blend until smooth. Pour in the olive oil and stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasonings or other ingredients as desired. Goes great with fish, steaks, on veggie burgers, on seared tempeh, with pork or chicken. It’s also delicious as a condiment for roasted vegetables.

Hope you enjoy trying out a new sauce! Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Beet Cilantro-Lime Salsa

Haven’t tried beets? Well, here’s your chance. They’re super nutritious and oh so tasty! Or if you love beets, here is a fun way to use them. (Remember to use those tops too!) Beets are high in iron, so they’re great for maintaining healthy blood. Plus they taste so darn good!

Just whipped up this fab Beet Salsa with cilantro, jalapeño and lime. Would love to know if you give it a try and what you think.

Beet, Cilantro-Lime Salsa

Yields 3-4 cups

Ingredients

 

  • 3 large beets
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 inch jalapeño
  • 1/3 of a small, red onion

 

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off tops of beets and keep greens to use in another recipe, such as cooked greens.

Slice beets in half. Place in a loaf pan with about 1 inch of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in heated oven for 45-55 minutes to steam. They’re ready when a knife goes through easily to the middle.

Drain the liquid carefully into the sink (Watch out because it will stain!) Let them cool and the peels should slide off easily with your fingers. Slice into thin, small strips.

Rough chop the cilantro and finely mince the onion and jalapeño. (Wash hands thoroughly after handling jalapeño and do not touch eyes or face.) 

Juice the lime into your mixing or serving bowl and add all the fresh ingredients. Top with salt and slices and toss well to coat everything. 

Let chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Longer is better as the flavors will develop. 

Enjoy on burgers, on fish tacos, veggie tacos, and with tortilla chips. Have fun experimenting with the uses!

I’d love to hear how you like it and what creative ways you come up with for this tasty salsa. 

The Empowered Kitchen Tips

This salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover to keep fresh. Cooked beets do not freeze well, so enjoy this the week you make it.

Spicy Arugula & Lemon Pesto

Ready to spice up your pesto routine? This is a great pesto sauce to make when you have that bumper crop of arugula in your garden, like I did 2 weeks ago. This way you can use it all before it bolts.

Plus you can freeze the extra to preserve the taste of summer well into fall and early winter. 🙂

Arugula Pesto Ingredients

Spicy Arugula & Lemon Pesto

Yields 1 cup

Ingredients

 

  • 3 cups arugula leaves
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Peel garlic cloves and juice the lemon into a blender or food processor. Start with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add all ingredients to the blender or food processor and combine until smooth. Adjust salt, pepper and other ingredients to taste. 

You can always add more lemon or olive oil if you would like it to be more lemony or thinner. 

This pesto goes great on pasta, pizza, paninis, with eggs or in a wrap with turkey and vegetables. 

Alternatives:

This is a spicy pesto that is stronger than a classic basil pesto. You can tone down the spiciness by using 1 garlic clove instead of 2. You can also substitute 1 cup of basil leaves for 1 of the cups of arugula leaves. 

Pine nuts or cashews can be substituted for the walnuts. 

The Empowered Kitchen Tips

Pesto freezes really well. If you want to save some of this for fall or early winter cooking you can freeze it in ice cube trays and put those frozen cubes of pesto in a well-sealed container with the label of the pesto and date in the freezer. They keep well for about 5-6 months, so make another batch near the end of summer if you want some for fall or early winter to have a taste of your summer garden again.  

When you want pesto pasta or pesto on a meat or veggie dish, just pop out a frozen cube and let it thaw or melt in the pan and you have a ready made sauce. 🙂 Now that’s meal prep months in advance! 

Tzatziki

Here’s a fun way to bring an international flare to Memorial Day weekend. This tzatziki (yogurt cucumber sauce) is great to have on hand for a BBQ because it goes perfectly with a beef or lamb burger, with chicken and as a topping for veggie burgers. Yum!

To use the leftover cucumber juice, you can drink it straight or add it to a smoothie. It’s super hydrating and delicious! My favorite way is to use it in a refreshing summer cocktail recipe. Check that out here. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!

Finished Tzatziki 

Tzatziki

Yields: 3 cups sauce

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups whole or 2% plain or Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Greek Seasoning (or oregano)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley for serving (optional)
  • Warm pita bread for serving (optional)
  • Sliced vegetables for serving (optional)

 

Directions:

Prep the cucumber. Peel cucumber into stripes. This means leaving some of the green in long stripes along the cucumber, so it has alternating peeled and unpeeled stripes. Discard the peels.

Using a box grater, grate the cucumbers. Coat with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer cucumber to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to drain. Optionally Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheesecloth or a double thickness napkin or paper towel and squeeze dry. Set aside.

Make the garlic paste. Peel the garlic cloves. Place the garlic cloves in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the vinegar. Blend or mash and add olive oil until you make a thick paste.

Combine and chill. Add the cucumber and garlic paste to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, oregano or Greek Seasoning and white or black pepper. Combine thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce and transfer to serving bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired. Can top with chopped parsley as well.

Great with Chicken Shawarma, falafel, lamb meatballs or your favorite sliced vegetables. Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Tahini Sauce

This is seriously my new favorite sauce. It’s SO simple and everyone who tastes it is really surprised by how easy and delicious it is. Smooth and exquisite.  

Tahini Sauce With Aleppo Pepper

Yields: 2 cups tahini sauce

Ingredients:

 

  • ⅔ cup tahini paste
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 ½ small lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt

 

Optional

 

  • 4-6 sprigs parsley (blended with other ingredients)
  • Sprinkle of Aleppo pepper

 

Directions:

Peel garlic and slice lemons in half. Juice lemons into blender.

Combine all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. If you blend parsley into the sauce, it will be green and have an added boost of antioxidants. 

Enjoy with sliced carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, or as a sauce for lamb meatballs, roasted eggplant, falafel, in a pita or shawarma. They’re very filling as a snack with roasted garbanzo beans. Mmm…

Keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5-6 days.

Inspired by Ottolenghi’s Tahini Sauce

Super Nutty Pesto

Super Nutty Pesto ingredients. You can add grated parmesan cheese too.

Get ready for summer with this twist on a traditional Italian pesto with 3 different nuts. Add some more healthy fats to your diet with a couple kinds of nuts in the creamy pesto. So great to have this on hand to use in a variety of dishes over a few days. I put it on a cauliflower crust pizza, used as a salad dressing on arugula and as a dip for veggies! Kept it interesting and none of it went to waste. You can be sure of that. 🙂  Try it on eggs, pasta, smeared on salmon, or on a panini. Ideal for meal prep for about 2-3 days.

Pesto is a great use for that bumper crop of basil from your garden this summer. If you have more than you can use at once, then put finished pesto in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen place the cubes of frozen pesto in plastic bags or a sealed container to keep in the fridge.

You’ll have pesto for a couple of months and you can just take out and thaw what you need when you want a little taste of summer!

Let me know what other creative uses you come up for it in the comments below.

It turned out really green with such fresh basil. I added the parmesan after this picture was taken.

Super Nutty Pesto

Yields 2 Cups

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 6 cups basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

  • Crush and peel the garlic. Juice the lemon into a blender and grate the cheese if needed. 
  • Measure all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • Adjust ingredients according to your taste. You can add more oil if you would like a thinner, more pourable pesto. This recipe is fairly thick and good for spreading.

 

Keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days. Otherwise freeze in ice cube trays and then store in sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Tuna & Sun Dried Tomato Pizza on a Cauliflower Crust.

I used it as a salad dressing on arugula with cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta. Simple & delicious!

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