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.

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!

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

Turnip Greens with Cherries & Walnuts

You may not have tried cooking with turnip greens, or turnips at all for that matter. I encourage you to head to your local farmer’s market and pick up a beautiful bundle of turnips. When fresh from the farm or garden, they’re tender and wonderful shaved into salads, roasted, and sliced thinly for salads or sandwiches. If you roast them, they’re a fantastic addition to soups and stews.

Ingredients for this warm summer salad. Delicious & gourmet use of turnip greens.

 

You can use the whole plant in your cooking too! Save the stems for stock that you make the say of, or place in a sealed bag and freeze your vegetable scraps until you have enough to make stock. 

I love using the greens in warm salads like the one below. They can also be added to risotto, beans with greens or a Tuscan soup with beans. 

Turnip Greens With Cherries & Walnuts

Yields about 3 1/2 cups salad

Ingredients

 

  • Greens from 5 large turnips
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup red onion 
  • 8-10 red dark cherries 
  • 1/4 cup walnuts 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)

 

Directions

Thinly slice the red onion and mince the garlic cloves. Rough chop the walnuts. Set aside. 

Cut the turnip greens at the base of the leaves from the stems. You can save the stems for stock. (Tip: Add to a sealed freezer bag of vegetable scraps to make broth later)

Tear the turnip greens into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Pit the cherries and break up with your fingers or slice into quarters. Do this carefully, as cherry juice will stain. 

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add the coconut oil. When oil is heated, after about 1 minute, add sliced onions and saute for 4=5 minutes. The onions will be starting to become translucent. Cook longer if you want them more caramelized. 

Add garlic, walnuts, cherries, greens and balsamic vinegar to the skillet. Saute for another 2-3 minutes, or until the salad is cooked to your liking.

You want the turnip leaves to still be bright green, but cooked through. Serve hot! Goes great as a side to a leg of lamb or a peppery steak.

Parsley, Lemon & Toasted Almond Salad

This fresh, satisfying salad is a great way to get more parsley into your diet. It’s SO MUCH MORE than a garnish! 🙂 Parsley tastes great when prepared well and has wonderful antioxidant properties, lots of fiber and is all around super healthy for you. It’s a great detox salad.

Combined with fresh lemon and nutrient-rich almonds, this salad is a health power-house. It’s a fantastic addition to many dishes, and is easy to devour all by itself. 

Ingredients for the Parsley Salad, minus the toasted almonds

Parsley, Lemon & Toasted Almond Salad 

Yields: 3 ½ – 4 cups

Serves: 7-8 sides

Ingredients:

 

  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 small shallot or 2 tablespoons red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup olive oil (high quality extra virgin is best) (adjust amount of oil according to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (depending on your taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown or dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • About 25 sprigs of parsley, or 1 full bunch

 

Directions:

Set broiler to low. Rough chop the almonds and place on a baking tray. Toast almonds for 2 minutes. Watch closely, as you want them only lightly golden brown. Alternatively you can toast the chopped almonds on a dry skillet over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Watch and stir occasionally. Ready when fragrant and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat.

Finely mince shallot or red onion and garlic. Slice the lemon in half. Rough chop the parsley, including stems.

Juice the lemon into a medium mixing bowl.

Add all ingredients into mixing bowl and gently stir to combine.

Serve as a side or garnish to veggie burgers, on a falafel platter, or with fish, chicken or lamb.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

You can add this to 1 or 2 cups cooked brown or wild rice for a heartier side dish. Basmati would work well too, but has slightly less nutritional value.

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! 

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