Quick Refrigerator Pickles

This recipe is a flexible way to use up extra vegetables and to extend their shelf life.
Quick pickled vegetables will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Red onions and shallots will be good for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. It’s a perfect way to make sure your produce doesn’t die in the produce drawer, or get wasted when a large garden harvest comes in all at once!

Yields: 32 ounces quick pickles – fills 2 (16 ounce) ball jars

Ingredients:

Brine
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups vinegar of your choice*
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar

Possible Vegetables to Use
Cucumbers
Summer squash (zucchini or yellow squash)
Asparagus
Carrots
Radishes
Beets **
Red onions
Shallots
Ginger
Peppers (hot or mild)

Possible Spices and Flavorings to Add (dried or fresh herbs)
Black peppercorns
Bay leaves
Garlic
Ginger
Dill
Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano
Red Pepper Flakes
Mustard Seeds
Turmeric
Smoked Paprika
Whole, dried chilis
Whole coriander

Directions:

Make the brine: Add brine ingredients to a medium pot and fit with a lid. Bring to a low boil to dissolve the salt and sugar. Stir if needed to dissolve. Turn off the heat and leave covered to keep it hot.

Slice the vegetables while brine comes to a boil:
Cut long vegetables, like asparagus and carrots into pieces that will fit into a jar. Slice carrots either in long, really thin matchsticks, or in thin coin slices, so they pickle well.

You can use a mandolin to thinly slice radishes, cucumbers, red onions, shallots, summer squash, or even raw beets (if you slice beets really thinly they don’t need to be roasted first).
Add flavorings of your choice. You can crush the garlic with the side of a knife, so more of the flavor comes out, throw in a bay leaf and some peppercorns.

My favorite pickled radish seasoning is to add thin slices of ginger and a ½ teaspoon to a teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Asparagus is great with dill and garlic.

Just have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations!

After placing sliced vegetables into ball jars, pour hot brine over them. Leave 1 inch of head space at the top of the jars. Let cool down for 30 minutes or so. Cover tightly with lid and refrigerate. Enjoy in 24 hours!

* If you use balsamic vinegar, it will change the color of the vegetables. If you want to maintain the color, then use a white or apple cider vinegar.

**Beets need to be roasted (or boiled) before pickling.
Roasting instructions: Preheat oven to 400° F. Put ½ inch water in bottom of a 9×9 baking dish. Cut beets in half and place cut side down (no need to peel) in baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until knife easily goes all the way through. Once cool, chop into quarters or eighths. No need to peel them unless you want to.

Kale & Delicata Squash Salad with Lentils, Toasted Walnuts & Quinoa

 

This is a wonderful warming and unique winter salad that will fill you up and make you feel oh so good for your day. I like to roast a bunch of squash or different kinds of vegetables all in one go, and then have them on hand to throw together salads like this. It might look like a number of steps in the recipe below, but if you do this once a week, then many of these components can be re-used and re-created into new and different meals all week long.

Cook once, and assemble several interesting, delicious and good-for-you meals. That’s what makes life simpler mentally, and is good for your physical health too.

If you roast some of this delicata squash, you can use some to make soup, add to a risotto, serve as a side to chicken or fish, or use in any variety of salads. I’m sure there are so many other ways to use it too! Let me know in the comments what dishes you like to make with it.  I hope you love the recipe below.

This is how to cook more efficiently. Quinoa top left. Lentils top right. Roasted squash half moons on bottom left. The start of a delicata squash soup bottom right. The soup can be made and frozen for future weeks if desired, but you’ve maximized the use of your time and the heat of your oven by roasted the squash all at once and cooking multiple meals in one session.

Feel free to play around with the spices in this dish and change out the rosemary. Moroccan spice blends also go great with the squash and lentil combination. Yum!

Kale & Delicata Squash Salad with Lentils, Toasted Walnuts & Quinoa

Yields: 6 hearty salads

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, you want about 8 cups of torn leaves (Lacinato or curly leaf)

½ – ¾ cups walnuts

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoon safflower, sunflower or grapeseed oil

1 small/medium delicata squash

1 cup dried lentils

½ cup raisins (optional)

1 cup dry quinoa 

6-8 ounces feta cheese (optional)

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Toasted delicata squash seeds for garnish

½ cup Honey Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe below)

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut off the stem of the delicata squash and then slice it down the middle longways. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place squash guts and seeds in a colander to rinse under water so you can separate the seeds. Save the seeds for toasting later. There is no need to peel the delicata, as you can eat the peel. Remove the seeds and separate from the strings. Discard the strings/guts and compost if you have access to compost. * Now slice each of the sides of delicata squash into ½ inch half moons. Place the half moons in a bowl and coat with the safflower, sunflower or grapeseed oil, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. You can add dried or fresh rosemary or thyme if you’d like.

Once coated, place squash half moons on baking sheet and spread them out so they don’t touch too much. This helps them caramelize better. Roast for about 15-25 minutes, or until pieces are golden brown and cooked to your liking. A fork will go easily through the pieces. Check them after 15 minutes, and according to how hot your oven runs. Flip them at 15 minutes so they cook evenly.

While squash is roasting, rinse and dry the squash seeds. Coat with a bit of the sunflower or other oil, salt and pepper to your taste. You can always adjust the flavor of these with spice blends of your choice. Spread seeds evenly on a baking sheet and place in oven for 8 minutes. Check at 5 minutes if your oven runs hot. Flip or toss with a wooden spoon if needed. They’re toasted when lightly golden brown, but watch them because they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and set aside on a plate to stop them from cooking further.

Prepare the quinoa and lentils according to package directions. It’s best to rinse quinoa and to cook it with 2.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry quinoa. Lentils can be cooked to your liking. I prefer them still with a tiny bit of firmness. 

Prepare vinaigrette:

*See instructions below.

Assemble Salad:

Hold the stem of the kale and use your other hand to pull the leaf from the stem. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. You can save the stems to compost them, or freeze in a sealed bag to make vegetable broth later. 

Place the leaves in a large salad bowl. Coat with olive oil and massage the kale leaves with your hands, crushing the leaves and massaging the oil into the leaves well. This breaks down the cellulose and makes the kale much more palatable. 

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts to the dry pan and toast for 5-8 minutes, or until barely golden brown and fragrant. Turn off the heat and set aside. Add walnuts, raisins, lentils, and quinoa to the kale and toss with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust dressing. Add black pepper, toasted squash seeds, and feta cheese if desired and enjoy! 

Any extra quinoa and/or lentils can be saved and used for other meals. 

If making salads for 2-3 days of lunches, follow these directions:

Tear the leaves and massage with oil. Then add to your meal prep containers. Add the walnuts and raisins to the salad. Put cooked quinoa and lentils on the side or in a separate compartment from the salad. 

The morning you are going to eat your salad you can combine the quinoa and lentils with the rest of the ingredients.

Take the vinaigrette and optional feta in small containers with you to lunch and dress your salad with a few tablespoons when ready to eat. Enjoy a hearty lunch or dinner!

 

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Yields: 1 cup vinaigrette

Serves: Covers about 10-12 salads. 

Ingredients:

2 large lemons 

⅔ cup olive oil

½ small shallot (optional)

1 or 2 cloves garlic (adjust to taste)

3 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon or brown mustard (optional)

¼ cup parsley leaves

½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

 

Directions:

Mince garlic cloves. Remove the parsley stems and save for stock. Rough chop the parsley. 

Roll lemons under your forearm to release juices before slicing in half. [Tip: Zest them first if you need zest for another recipe. Can keep in a small amount of oil in the fridge for a week or so until use.]

Juice lemons and add to small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk well to emulsify. Taste with a lettuce leaf and adjust ingredients to your taste. 

Label and date before refrigeration. 

Empowered Kitchen Tip:

I recommend doubling this recipe so you always have a stock of it in your refrigerator.

Carrot, Turmeric & Ginger Soup

This is a delightfully delicious soup that warms you from the inside out. It has so many great health properties,  from the beta carotene in the carrots, to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, and the digestive aid of ginger. These are all wonderful ingredients to incorporate into your diet, and stay healthy during the winter months. You’ll even get a bit of vitamin C from the lime at the end.

But let’s be real, the most important part is that this soup is a huge crowd pleaser for eaters of all ages! 🙂 It’s sweet, creamy, flavorful and can easily be made vegan if you choose the coconut milk option. Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!

Yields: 16 cups

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 inch fresh turmeric root

2 inches fresh ginger root

8 carrots

4 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)

2 teaspoons salt

⅓ cup cream or coconut milk

½ medium lemon or lime

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:

Roasted Squash seeds

Cilantro 

Aleppo pepper

Plain Greek yogurt

 

Directions:

Roast Carrots:

Heat oven to 400°F. Place whole carrots on baking sheet. Coat lightly with olive oil and salt. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until soft and cooked through. Once cooled, cut off the ends and cut carrots into 2 inch pieces. 

 

Soup

Heat a large saucepan to medium heat. Dice the onion. Add oil to heat up before adding onion. Stir occasionally until transparent. Mince the garlic and add to onion. Saute for 1 minute. Peel the ginger and turmeric root with a spoon. Mince or grate them and set aside. Slice the lime in half. Juice the lime and set aside. 

Add the turmeric and ginger to pan with onion and garlic. Allow to cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped, roasted carrots, broth and salt. Raise the heat to bring to a slow boil. Then lower heat to simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes. Add the coconut milk or cream. Blend with an immersion blender to blend all onion, carrot and liquid together. If soup is too thick, add more broth or water a little at a time until desired consistency. Add the lime and then adjust seasonings to taste. Top with your choice of toppings listed above. 

 

This soup freezes really well and tastes great as leftovers for up to 5 days in the fridge.

If freezing, place in mason jar with 1 inch of empty space left at the top and the lid slightly off. Once frozen you can tighten the lid well to prevent freezer burn. Label with kind of soup and the date. Best used within 2 months.

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!

French Endive & Green Apple Salad

This salad is so hearty and refreshing. It’s a huge crowd pleaser and a great palate cleanser. It’s typically a winter salad, but I’d recommend it any time of year. It’s a meal in and of itself, but great with a side of soup, or in the picture below, a French Tartiflette. Mmmm….lots of potatoes and cheese. 🙂

Give this salad a try and you’ll really impress your guests. It’s a good one to have on hand for about 2 days. Just leave out the mushrooms and dressing until you’re ready to serve. If you sprinkle the apple slices with a little lemon they’ll be less likely to brown over the 2 days, if you decide to use this for a meal prep day.

French Winter Alpine Meal. Yum!

Yields: 6 cups salad

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 endives
  • 2 cups of mâche (or mixed baby greens)
  • 1-2 fennel bulbs, depending on size
  • 1 green apples
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 3-4 ounces button mushrooms (any white mushroom)
  • 1/2  small white onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • 1- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, according to your taste
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon honey

 

Directions:

Cut off the ends of the endives and then slice once lengthwise. Place flat side down, and continue to slice into 1-2 inch pieces. Place in a salad bowl with mâche or mixed baby greens

Thinly slice the fennel bulbs and add to the salad bowl. Rough chop the walnuts. Cut the apples in half and core them. Slice into thin slices. Thinly slice the mushrooms and finely dice the onion. Add everything to the salad bowl and toss to combine.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine well. Toss over salad and serve.

You can also make this salad a few hours ahead and chill it. Just wait to add the mixed greens or mâche and the vinaigrette until time of serving.

Winter Squash Soup with Green Apple & Spices

We’re (thankfully) nearing the end of winter, but I always love me some winter squash soup! Mmm…this one is the best I’ve ever made, with the beautiful warming flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg that combine with the squash and apple to make a perfect marriage. 🙂 Maybe I’m going a little overboard, but this soup is seriously delicious. It would be great with a couple dashes of freshly ground cardamom too. 

It’s so fun and easy to experiment with roasted, pureed soups for meal prep. I do this all the time, so I always have some in the freezer, ready to thaw out and enjoy for lunch the next day with a salad or a sandwich.  Try meal prepping by just making 2 kinds of roasted soups that taste really different and freezing half of each. You’ll be so glad you did in a few weeks when you can thaw some out and have a fabulously satisfying and hearty meal.

Winter Squash Soup With Green Apple & Spices

Yields: 12-14 cups

Serves: 12 as a starter or 6 as an entrée

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 large pumpkin, butternut or kabocha squash
  • 2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 green apples
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ lemon

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°F. Cut squash into large chunks and remove the strings and seeds. Place squash pieces on baking sheet. Coat lightly with canola or safflower oil and salt. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until soft and cooked through. Once cooled, remove the flesh from the peel with a spoon.

Heat a large saucepan to medium heat. Thinly slice onion. Heat the butter in the pan until barely melted. Add sliced onions to the hot pan and stir occasionally until transparent, for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and core the apple and cut into wedges.  Peel and mince the ginger and garlic. Then add ginger and garlic to the onion. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, and saute for 1 minute.

Add the squash, apples, broth, water and salt. Raise the heat to bring to a slow boil. Then lower heat to simmer and cover for 15-30 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust salt and liquid amounts as needed. Add the heavy cream and juiced ½ of a lemon.

Blend again and taste. Adjust as needed. Enjoy topped with roasted squash seeds, cilantro, pomegranate molasses, croutons, or freshly cracked black pepper.

Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup

This hearty, winter bean soup is the perfect Italian comfort food on a cold February night. You can make it vegetarian or with some Italian sausage. Either get ground sausage and cook it up in a skillet with some oil and add to the soup for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Or you can slice sausage (remove the casings first) and cook it in a pan with a bit of oil and add to the soup for the last 10 minutes it’s simmering.  Mmmm….enjoy a little slice of easy, satisfying and warming comfort food.

Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup

Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup

Yields: 8 cups of soup

Serves: 4 heartily

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch curly leaf or lacinato kale
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini or white navy beans (canned or cooked from dry beans)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes or 3-4 large fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano and/or dried basil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese (optional for serving)

 

Directions:

Slice the onions thinly. Heat a large saucepan or stockpot (with lid) over medium heat and add the oil. Saute the onion for 5 minutes, or until translucent. You can saute longer if you want the onion to be sweeter. Mince the garlic and add to the onion.

Cook for 30 seconds and then add cooked (drained) beans, vegetable or chicken broth, tomatoes (crush them in bowl first if using fresh tomatoes), dried herbs, salt and red pepper flakes if using. Season with black pepper. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt and you can always add more later if needed.

Bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove the stems from the kale and then tear the kale into 2 inch pieces. Add kale pieces to the soup for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings as needed. Remove from heat and add heavy cream. Juice the lemon and add ½ the juice of the lemon to the soup. Taste and add more lemon if needed. Serve hot. It’s great with crusty bread for dipping! You can even drizzle the soup with a little olive oil and top with parmesan or more red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

To make this a meat dish, you can add cooked Italian sausage to this dish near the end, about 5-10 minutes before the end of the simmering time. You can also substitute 1 inch cubes of potato for the beans if you prefer to make it a potato soup. This soup doesn’t freeze well, so you can enjoy it for the next 5 days when kept in your refrigerator.

Citrus & Fennel Salad with Toasted Almonds

This is a WONDERFUL side dish for Thanksgiving or any holiday meal. It’s fresh, light and a huge crowd pleaser. This is a simple, gourmet salad that’s easy to throw together, and perfect to make ahead!

Fennel is great for digestion and the citrus gives you a boost of vitamin C. An added benefit to help ward off sickness this time of year. 🙂

Any extra fennel you have can be used to make homemade stock or you can roast it and throw it in a puréed soup!

Citrus Fennel Salad on Mixed Baby Greens

Citrus & Fennel Salad With Toasted Almonds

Yields: 8 ½ cups

Serves: 8 as a small side salad

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 ruby red grapefruits
  • 2 blood oranges
  • ½ fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • (1 medium or 2 small limes)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ small shallot
  • pinch of salt

 

Topping

 

  • ¼ cup roasted almonds

 

Directions:

Carefully peel and segment the fruits using a paring knife. Slice the fennel bulb where it meets the branching part of the stems. Thinly slice the bulb and cut a wedge out of the heart of the bulb, which is fibrous and difficult to eat.

Finely mince the shallot. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl and whisk well. Alternatively, put ingredients in shaker or mason jar. Fit tightly with lid and shake well. Label with name of dressing and date if there is extra and refrigerate.

Arrange fruits and fennel slices/shavings on serving plate(s).

You can toast the almonds if you’d like. If doing this step, heat a small skillet over medium heat. No oil is needed. Add whole almonds to the hot pan and toast for about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once they smell fragrant and become golden brown, they’re ready. Remove almonds from the pan.

Coarsely chop the almonds (toasted or raw) and rough chop a few fennel fronds. Top the salad with almonds, fennel fronds and vinaigrette. Toss well to combine and enjoy!

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

You can put this on a bed of fresh greens to make it even heartier. If you want to meal prep this, you can make the recipe as above and even add the dressing. It will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. If putting on fresh greens, add the greens right before serving, so they stay crisp and fresh.

Pea, Cilantro, Lime Gazpacho

It’s August and it’s been a hot one this summer! Keep your kitchen cool by experimenting with chilled soups this summer. Zero cooking needed. 🙂 If you have a blender or food processor, you can easily make this green gazpacho soup. Plus if you make it ahead, it only gets better after a few days in the fridge. 

You just need to chop the vegetables in big chunks like this. You can remove the seeds from the cucumber, but it’s not necessary.

Summer picnic with a friend and chilled green gazpacho. Mmm…joys of summertime. 

Pea, Cilantro, Lime Gazpacho

Yields: 6 cups

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ½ large cucumbers
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 ounces fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ medium shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ jalapeño
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅔ cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste (Start with ½ teaspoon)

 

Optional

 

  • More cilantro to garnish
  • 1 tomato for garnish

 

Directions:

Add the following ingredients to the blender as you peel and slice them. However, keep aside about ⅓ of the cucumber to cut into a medium dice. You will add this diced cucumber before serving the soup. It will not be blended with the rest of the ingredients.

Peel cucumber. Slice down the middle lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Save for another recipe, or place in compost bin. Slice avocado in half and scoop out flesh with a spoon.

Rough chop the cilantro, stems included. Peel and rough chop the shallot and garlic. Juice the lime into the blender. Slice jalapeño in half and carefully scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Make sure to wash hands well with soap after handling hot peppers and don’t touch eyes or sensitive skin. Add oil, whipping cream, broth and spices to the blender.

Turn blender to medium. If it’s starting to blend, turn to high until everything is well blended. If it doesn’t want to blend, add a few tablespoons of broth at a time until it begins to blend.

Taste and adjust ingredients to your liking. After finished blending, add diced cucumber pieces and pour into serving bowls. You can serve with a swirl of olive oil or cream, more cracked pepper and a garnish of cilantro and/or diced tomato if desired.

Enjoy!

Variations

You can use fresh parsley and a few sprigs of mint in place of the cilantro. In that case, the lime can also be substituted by lemon. Have fun experimenting! Comment below if you’d like to share your variations or how you liked the recipe.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a wonderful, savory and filling dish to serve for brunch, lunch or dinner. It goes great with a side of bread, couscous or a Mediterranean-style salad. This dish originates from North Africa and the Middle East and is very common in Israel. 

It can be adapted to include what you have on hand, making it a great end of the week, clean-out-the-fridge dish. Vegetables such as summer squash, eggplant, broccoli or carrots can easily be added to cook down with the sauce and make it your own. If you buy a bunch of parsley for another dish, this is a great way to use up the rest of it. Shakshuka is a great way to use up bumper crops of your fresh garden produce.

Give this a try for your next brunch for something new and different. It’s so satisfying! 

Shakshuka

Yields 4 cups sauce plus an egg (Serves 4)

Ingredients

 

  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes or 32 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 4-6 eggs (based on your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout (substitute cumin if you don’t have this spice blend)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like it spicier)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (for garnish and added flavor)

 

Optional

 

  • Zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, hot peppers, carrots, broccoli and green beans are all possible additions to this dish and a great way to minimize food waste by using up odds and ends of leftover vegetables. 

 

Shakshuka ingredients

Directions

Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Heat a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once heated add oil and then place sliced onions in hot oil. Sauté for 8 -10 minutes until translucent and beginning to slightly caramelize. While onion is cooking, dice the eggplant and any other vegetables you’re using into a medium dice, about 1/2 inch cubes. There is no need to peel the eggplant. 

Add garlic, eggplant and any other vegetables to sauté with the onions for 5 minutes to slightly brown the vegetables. You can add some minced jalapeño or Serrano at this time if you like extra spice.

Add tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, crush them in a bowl before adding to the skillet. Or you can do what I did and squeeze them with your hands as you add them to the skillet. Add the spices and sugar to the pan and stir to combine well. Let simmer over medium low for 10 minutes. Carefully taste and adjust salt to your preference.

While simmering you can rough chop the parsley leaves to have them ready. Keep the stems to either add to a pesto, chimichurri sauce or freeze them with your other vegetable scraps to make a simple, homemade broth. 

After 10 minutes, gently crack the eggs onto the shakshuka while it’s still cooking. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until the eggs are fully cooked to your liking. You can cover with a lid to cook the eggs faster if you’d like. 

Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and parsley for serving. Serve hot with a side of hearty, crusty bread, pita or couscous. Goes well with a fresh salad topped with feta cheese. 

Enjoy! I’d love to know how you like it and how you adapt it to make it your own. You can easily add sausage to this dish. Just cook it while cooking the vegetables and before adding the tomatoes. Another spice that is a great addition is Aleppo pepper, which adds a warm earthy spiciness to the dish.

Shakshuka simmering in tomatoes

Eggs cooking in shakshuka

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