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!
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups vinegar of your choice*
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
Possible Vegetables to Use
Summer squash (zucchini or yellow squash)
Peppers (hot or mild)
Possible Spices and Flavorings to Add (dried or fresh herbs)
Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano
Red Pepper Flakes
Whole, dried chilis
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.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Place rimmed baking sheet in bottom of oven to catch any possible spills from pie. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Save the rest for a pie topper. Transfer to 9-inch pie dish. Pinch the edges of the crust, forming a ruffle and a high-standing rim extending 1/4 inch above sides of the pie dish. Chill the crust in the refrigerator or freezer while making filling.
Combine blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Add to berry mixture and toss gently to coat.
Frangipane: (inspired by Smitten Kitchen recipe)
Use a food processor to grind the almonds. You can also use almond flour if you prefer for this step. Add flour to food processor and combine well. Add sugar, butter and extract if using. Blend until smooth. Pour into a small to medium bowl. Add the egg and stir well to combine. Cover this mixture and chill for 3 hours. The process can be sped up with 20-30 minutes in the freezer, or don’t freeze at all if you’re in a hurry. It will be fine.
Put a few fork holes in the bottom of the crust before baking. Place pie weights or dried beans in the empty crust to keep it from bubbling up too much. The whole surface should be mostly covered with weights or beans.
Blind bake the bottom pie crust for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove crust from oven and carefully remove the weights or beans when they’ve cooled.
Coat bottom of the pie with frangipane mixture. Place berries on top, mounded a bit in the center of the crust. Roll out remaining pie dough and cover the berry mixture with the pie topper. Neatly pinch the edges to seal the pie.
Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Return pie to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and berry juices are bubbling thickly, about 40-45 minutes. You may need to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.
Basic Pastry Dough (Pie Crust)
Yields: a crust for a 9 inch pie pan
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Large pinch sea salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
5 to 6 tablespoons chilled water
Place the flour and the salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend well. Alternatively, mix in a bowl with a pastry cutter or whisk.
Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and add to the flour.
If using a food processor, pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal or the butter pieces are pea-sized. If using a pastry cutter, or your hands, mix the flour and butter together until you have pea-sized butter pieces.
With the food processor running, add the water and pulse briefly, or just until the pastry beings to hold together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Refrigerate if necessary.
The Empowered Kitchen Tips:
This dough freezes really well. Label, date and seal tightly in a plastic bag. It’s good to double or triple this recipe, so you can always have some on hand for an emergency.
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.
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
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)
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.
*See instructions below.
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.
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)
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.
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
1 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 inch fresh turmeric root
2 inches fresh ginger root
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
Roasted Squash seeds
Plain Greek yogurt
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
I LOVE this kale salad recipe. This is a wonderful meal prep recipe because you can roast a butternut squash and make 2 or 3 different recipes out of it. That way you don’t get tired of the same flavors all week, but you’re still getting great nutrition and even better….great tasting food! 🙂
I’ve kept this salad in my fridge for up to 5 days, even with the dressing on it, and it’s held up really well. Just leave out the cheese until you’re ready to eat it that day, and don’t put in ahead of time.
Butternut & Kale Salad with Feta & Honey
Butternut & Kale Salad With Feta & Honey
Yields: 12 cups salad
2 medium butternut squash
2 bunches kale
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 ounces feta cheese
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut butternut squash in half, at the part where the skinny end meets the fat end. Use a spoon to remove seeds. Set seeds aside on a separate pan. Coat them in oil, sprinkle with salt and seasonings if desired and toast for 6-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch closely with the oven light on.
Use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel the squash, scraping the peel away from you. Alternatively you can peel the squash with a knife. When cutting always keep a flat end of squash on a cutting board.
Dice peeled squash into 1 inch pieces and place on baking sheet. Coat lightly in olive oil and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and coat with sesame seeds.
Return to oven for 10 minutes. While roasting, mix honey, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes in small bowl and stir to combine well. Remove stems from kale leaves. Tear leaves into bite sized pieces and place in large salad bowl. Coat leaves with light coating of olive oil and massage oil into all leaves to soften them.
Remove squash from oven and drizzle with honey and vinegar mixture. Coat all pieces with liquid. Add squash to salad bowl with kale. Top salad with feta and toss gently.
This dish is great served hot or cold and kale salads last well for several days refrigerated.
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
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 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
⅓ cup parmesan cheese (optional for serving)
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.
Happy New Year’s Eve 2018! What a year it has been. For me it’s been a year of opening my heart further than it’s ever been open before. It experienced deep love, followed by heartbreak. This was definitely a year of discovering more about myself, understanding how I need to grow, and feeling stronger for all of it. I’ve learned it’s all about loving yourself above all. Then you have love to give and accept from others. Here’s a virtual toast to us all creating more love in the world, for ourselves, and all of those around us.
Super ready to ring in a new year with a delicious cocktail and surrounded by the love of friends and family! I sincerely hope you do the same!
Gin & Cranberry Mash
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon plain cooked cranberries
1 oz gin
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 ice cubes in shaker
2-3 dashes bitters
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 oz apple cider (optional)
Squeeze of lime (optional)
Place all ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake well. Serve over ice.
Garnish with optional rosemary and/or fresh cranberries.
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
2 ruby red grapefruits
2 blood oranges
½ fennel bulb thinly sliced
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
¼ cup roasted almonds
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.