Today I have 10 Drink and Cocktail Recipes To Keep You Cool This Summer! The heat is here and that means it’s time to crank up your drink game! Whether you are into something boozy or looking for an energizing smoothie to start your day, I’ve got you covered in this round-up! OH and bonus points if you like vegetables in your drinks – I have a surprising number of veg-focused cocktails…
10 Vegetarian Recipes To Make Before Spring Is Over: Starters, Drinks, Entrees, and Desserts to make the most of the season!
I shared a round-up of my favorite vegetarian spring recipes over on Instagram Stories the other week and realized I should probably go ahead and share them here in case you don’t follow me on IG. Spring is zipping by and before you know it, it’ll be too hot to even turn your oven on so hurry up and get in that kitchen with these recipes!
This Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb Grits with Toasted Pecans recipe is the perfect spring time weekend breakfast or dessert for your next dinner party.
It FINALLY feels like spring here which is huge for my creative mindset and recipe developing. I was starting to a feel pretty bored with winter produce and annoyed with cloudy lighting. And then, what felt like overnight, everything changed. Our summer outdoor market opened up, the sun started to come out more than once a week, and rhubarb start popping up at all the stores. And although those are subtle changes, it completely awakened my creative juices and desire to jump back into the kitchen.
For spring, I know it’s tradition to make a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie but I’m going to be honest with you…my pies of frustrate me. For one, I’m a cake person as pies tend to be a bit too sweet for me. For two, my crust is just never as good as it should be and I usually end up more disappointed than excited to eat the thing. All is well though because my lack of ability to whip up a pie means I have to get creative with fruit and think a little bit outside of the box. As soon as I picked up the rhubarb, I knew I wanted to roast it but I had originally thought I’d fold it into muffins afterwards. However, then I remember this delicious Roasted Plum Polenta recipe from last year and knew I wanted to re-create something similar with strawberries and rhubarb.
For this Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb Grits with Toasted Pecans recipe, I used frozen strawberries because fresh ones have not made it to my market just yet. Taste the strawberries you are using to see how sweet they are, mine were very tart so I’d recommend cutting down the sugar if yours are not as I had to overcompensate with mine. I love the addition of orange slices and thyme, which I added to the roasting process but removed before serving, as the oranges release juice throughout the roasting process and the thyme leaves just a touch of herb-y aroma.
If serving for dessert, a splash of heavy creams gives a subtle nod to strawberry shortcake but you are serving for breakfast, plain yogurt is a healthier and almost-as delicious option. If grits are not your thing, try folding the roasted fruit into muffins or topping on ice cream.
This Roasted Strawberry & Rhubarb Grits with Toasted Pecans recipe is the perfect spring time weekend breakfast or dessert for your next dinner party.
- 2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries halved or quartered into even pieces (if large)
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 orange cut into 5 slices
- 4 springs thyme + more for serving
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup cooking grits (not instant)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp butter
- toasted pecans
- 4 Tbsp heavy cream or plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Transfer to baking sheet and spread into an even layer
Place orange slices and thyme sporadically around the strawberries and rhubarb (it will release juices as it roasts).
Roast for 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven, transfer the orange slices and thyme to another try (to reserve for garnish), and set aside until the grits are ready.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan with high edges. Once boiling, add the grits and salt and turn the heat down so they simmer. Cook for about thirty minutes, stirring often.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Divide the grits between three serving bowls and top with the roasted strawberries and rhubarb. Drizzle with heavy cream or yogurt. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and garnish with thyme leaves and an orange slice. Serve right away.
^ photo above snapped by the talented Sophie of Wholehearted Eats. All other photos below by yours truly.
It’s been a minute since I sat down and wrote about more than just the recipes I’ve been working so it felt like it was time to give you a little catch up. Plus, life has been busy – with working on the new house, with promoting the new book, and with my promotion at work. I’ve been struggling to find the time to devote to developing, testing, and photographing a whole ton of new recipes for you. I don’t want it to sound like I’m not prioritizing the blog and recipes for it (and you all!) but to be real, it’s a TON of work. It’s a ton of work to make the same recipe over and over until it’s perfect. To find the perfect light, to style the food just right, to edit the photos, to write the post, to promote the post. You get it. So instead of cramming another recipe post into my week, I’ve been slowing down and letting myself take time to read a novel, to go for a jog, to binge watch a show, and to travel.
It’s not say I’m planning to slow down here at all but I just thought it would be nice to mix it up this week by telling and showing you all the things that have been distracting me lately. Because at the end of the day, Vegetarian ‘Ventures is just a one woman (me!) show and sometimes I get pulled in other directions…and sometimes I need to follow those directions for my own sanity. I hope you enjoy this little detour and that it reminds you that there is a totally normal person behind the screen over here and not just a recipe making machine.
What I’ve been cooking from:
Power Plates – This book is filled with one bowl vegan recipes that I’ve been loving to whip up for weeknight dinners. Be on the look out for a recipe from this book on VV very soon!
Pretty Simple Cooking – I already shared a recipe from Sonja and Alex’s new cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking, a few weeks back but it’s too good not to bring up again. I’ve been gravitating more and more towards simple vegetarian fare lately and this hits that spot perfectly.
***SHAMELESS PLUG: Speaking of cookbooks, my second cookbook, Platters & Boards, comes out next week! Pre-order your copy now so it lands on your doorstep on pub date! END SHAMELESS PLUG***
What I’ve been watching:
Ugly Delicious – We binge watched this show in two days. This Netflix show stars David Chang as he explores the history, politics, and culture surrounding some of our favorite foods (such as pizza and tacos). What I loved about this show is that each episode revolved around a theme but there were several story lines and side tangents so it almost felt like you were flipping through a food magazine with an array of articles.
Keeping Up The The Kardashians – Say what you will about KUWTK but it’s a show about women entrepreneurs building their empires and if that isn’t empowering for a 20-something girl then I don’t know what is. Plus, I’m a sucker for the D R A M A too.
This Is Us – I’ve been on a workout kick lately and when it’s been too cold to jog outside, I’ve been on my elliptical running and weeping while watching this show. If you haven’t dived into this show yet, the overarching theme is human connection and how it shapes your entire life with a series of modern day moments and flashbacks. Disclaimer: it’s a tear jerker
What I’ve been listening to:
Julien Baker’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’ – I’ve always gravitated towards sad music (my main jam in high school was emo) so it’s no surprise I’ve evolved into liking adult emo like Julien Baker.
Hole ‘Celebrity Skin’ – Not saying that this entire album is a masterpiece but I’ve noticed myself turning more and more to it lately. I first got hooked because of the track ‘Malibu’. Maybe it’s because I burned myself out on Veruca Salt and needed a new 90’s album to turn to?
Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ – I know, I know. A woman of my age should not be listening to T. Swift on the regular but I don’t know what to say…this album is a really great album to listen to while jogging. It’s poppy but spiteful and I find myself blasting it time and time again (when I’m feeling burnt out of Beyonce, of course).
In other news, below are some photos from my trip to Palm Springs, CA a few weeks back. I had a blast hanging out with some of my favorite bloggers in a luxurious mid-century modern compound. We spent the weekend eating amazing food, making facial masks by the pool, exploring Joshua tree, and eating our way through an organic date farm:
Finally, below are a few snapshots of the new house. We still have a lot of work to do but have the living, dining room, and studio settled (I have a full tour of the studio in my instagram stories if you want to check it out!). Next up we are going to work on the outside – put in a privacy fence, garden beds, a back patio, and landscape the front yard.
This Tomato and Stone Fruit Crostini with Whipped Feta is an easy summer entertaining appetizer perfect for any type of get together.
A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend on a farm in Portland, OR for a dreamy farm dinner hosted by Lundberg Family Farms. It was a whirlwind of a weekend with a few of my favorite food blogger friends – Eva from Adventures in Cooking, Sasha from Tending the Table, Trisha from Eat Your Beets, and Holly and Natalie from The Modern Proper. We explored the grounds, hung out with the chickens, cooked insane amounts of food, and drank just enough wine to make the plane ride back home foggy. keeping up with these blogger friends online has always been enjoyable but cooking and sharing a meal together brought our bonds to a whole new level. I could go on for days about how magical this weekend was but I do think that the photos speak for themselves.
The dish I contributed to the menu was an appetizer of Tomato and Stone Fruit Crostini with Creamy Feta. The drizzle of tangy feta over juicy tomatoes and sweet stone fruit over a crispy rice cracker is my new favorite. Not only is this recipe ridiculously easy to whip up but it gives for a stunning presentation for pops of red, green, and orange. I used Lundberg’s Thin Stackers for the perfectly light crunch which complimented the juicy tomato topping. You could also use toasted bread slices if you’d like to make this crostini more traditional.
This Strawberry Rhubarb Gin & Tonic recipe is the perfect spring (/ early summer) twist on a gin and tonic. It’s light, refreshing, and has the tiniest hint of sweet.
I’ve been feeling pretty scatter brained lately so it only felt nature to write this post in the same form. Here are a few things that have been on my mind lately:
How to make Quick Pickled Radishes which are the perfect tangy veggies to top on salads, tacos, and eggs. These even take less than 30 minutes to make!
First off, Happy Mother’s Day! I hope everyone was able to take a few minutes today to be thankful for the women in their lives – whether it is your birth mother or a woman that has played a nurturing role in your life. I had the pleasure of taking my Ma out to brunch and a hike earlier and it was a wonderful.
Today’s Simple Sunday is all about these easy and tangy quick pickled radishes which are the perfect topping for your tacos, omelets, and salads! This 3 ingredient recipe is as easy as it gets – throw everything into a bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes. That is it! Quick picked radishes are best enjoyed the same day but last up to 24 hours if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
My favorite way to enjoy these is on top of this Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Tostada recipe which we make and eat almost weekly!
Quick Pickled Radishes recipe below:
- 1 bunch red radishes , thinly sliced
- 1 cup vinegar (I use red or white wine)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tsp salt
- Optional add-ins: star anise , peppercorn, red chili flakes, honey, garlic cloves
Add radishes into a bowl or jar and cover completely with vinegar and water. Stir in salt and any add-ins you'd like to include.
Let sit for 20 - 30 minutes. Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.
Pink Grapefruit Cucumber Rose Skin Quencher recipe from Lily Diamond’s new cookbook, Kale & Caramel, is a simple natural beauty drink recipe.
Heyyy friends! Today is extra special because it’s my dear friend Lily Diamond’s book launch day! She was one of my favorite friends to confide in through the writing process for Vegetarian Heartland and I hope she feels the same for Kale & Caramel. When it comes to writing a book, there are a ton of stressful deadlines and so many highs and lows as you bring this giant project, that you’ve put your whole self into for years, into the world. With Lily also having a spring ’17 book launch, she went through these processes at a similar time as me so we were able to bounce experiences off of each other and cheer each other on.
For today’s Simple Sunday feature, we are talking all about how to make Chive Blossom Vinegar and 5 ways to use it in your everyday cooking.
You know we’ve entered full flown spring when the chive blossoms are bursting. Last year I shared how to make your own Chive Blossom vinegar and I wanted to revisit it this year with a few suggestions on how to use up this beautiful pink hued vinegar.
This Berries and Cream Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Marmalade is a gorgeous tiered cake perfect for making on rainy spring days. It’s topped with fresh whipped cream and berries.
Hey friends! I’m back this week with an extra big grin on my face! I am still on cloud nine over how amazing the response has been for the Vegetarian Heartland pre-order! After you’ve been working on something for years without sharing it with anyone, you start to second guess yourself – ‘what if people won’t like it?’ ‘What if no one cares?’ ‘What if the only person to buy the book is my mom?’. Despite knowing deep down that I put my whole self into this book and that it really is a unique cookbook that will help people get into their kitchen, I let doubt materialize in my head the closer we got to the pre-order launch. Thankfully, my doubt was shattered when I hit ‘publish’ on the pre-order post and Vegetarian Heartland quickly was marked with the ‘#1 New Release’ stamp for a Midwest cooking category on Amazon. My shoulder’s relaxed. I almost burst into happy tears that had been building up for two years. I danced around the kitchen with the boxer pup. And then finally I baked celebratory cake because every good cocktail should be served with a slice of cake.
Finally, it’s pre-order time, baby! Vegetarian Heartland started as a spark of an idea in April 2014 and is now finally being released as a gorgeous hardcover 272 page cookbook! It is photo and recipe heavy with additional notes about being vegetarian, growing up in the Midwest, and having adventures in your kitchen sprinkled throughout it. Sure, there is an emphasis on the Heartland in it (an area that I personally think gets overlooked despite having amazing landscapes and culture) but, for all of you who don’t have a particular interest in this region, it’s about so much more – it’s about cooking up modern and healthy meat-free versions of comfort food and it’s about life’s adventures that revolve around food.
This recipe for Rainbow Carrots and Chard is a stunningly colorful side dish perfect for the holidays or your next gathering. Colorful carrots and chard stems are blanched and then tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette for a healthy and simple recipe.
This post is part five of a six part series on Hosting a Vegetarian Thanksgiving. Please visit post one for the full menu and tips a hosting your own meat-free holiday.
WOAH, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! Are you ready? I’m ready! To be completely honest, I’ve already been rocking my Christmas playlists (eeep – don’t tell anyone!). I’m so so so ready to take a little road trip up north to hide out on my childhood couch and catch up on a few novels (in between eating, of course). I do this thing where I get so wrapped up in my head (thank you, election + work + my over growing to-do list) that the only way for me to fully reset is to get out of my environment and travel somewhere. I’m really hoping this trip next week refreshes me in that way (and so does my clenching jaw). Hoping you all have some relaxing plans for next week as well!
Green Tomato Parmesan Stacks with Red Pesto is a seasonal twist on Eggplant Parmesan that replaces the breaded eggplant with firm green tomatoes and wedges it between layers of mozzarella, Parmesan crisps, and red pesto sauce for a delicious meat-free main.
I’m not a patient person. We planted our garden three weeks ago and all I do every morning when I take Tuko outside is anxiously see if anything is ready yet. No, not yet? Well darn. I get that same anxious feeling at the farmer’s market as I avoid the grocery store for days before going because I think I’ll find a bounty of fresh produce. I then head to the market only to find out that most things aren’t ready yet – there are plants available and a few baby strawberries but not a bounty full enough to keep me sustained for the next week.
It’s just too early for those juicy, flavorful tomatoes to be making an appearance but I’ve noticed green tomatoes starting to pop up. What the heck are you supposed to do with them if you don’t want to deep fry them though? Well, I recently discovered (through more trial and error than I’d like to admit) that they make a wonderful substitute for eggplant in “Eggplant Parmesan” (or, er, “Green Tomato Parmesan”). They aren’t juicy like ripe tomatoes and their firm text holds up beautifully when dipped in an egg batter and smothered in breadcrumbs. I tried cooking these both on the stove top and also in the oven; both methods were successful but I found the oven to be much less messy and easier to handle; because of the ease of baking, I’ve included that method in the recipe below but you can also just add a little olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook these little slices that way.
Also, since it seemed a little repetitive to put tomato sauce on tomatoes, I switched up the sauce for a red pesto made out of jarred roasted red peppers and almonds. I then made some insanely simple Parmesan crisp to wedge between it all and viola! A ridiculously simple dish that is a total show stopper! Don’t let the final product intimidate you, there are three very simple parts that can be made in under an hour for a filling and delicious meat-less meal.
*Side note: Reminder that not all Parmesans are vegetarian! Please look for a version made with vegetarian rennet – my favorite is Organic Valley’s Grated Parmesan.
Green Tomato Parmesan Stacks with Red Pesto recipe below:
This Vegetarian Spring Wheat Berry Salad is bursting with fresh spring produce which is nestled between chewy high-fiber wheat berries and tossed in a chive blossom vinaigrette.
Sure, sharing how to make homemade chive blossom vinegar ended up being a huge success (yay!). However, I honestly originally brought it up because I have this amazing grain salad recipe (see below!) that uses chive blossom vinegar that I really really wanted to share with you all and knew it would be easier for you to make it if you had chive blossom vinegar on hand. So now that I’ve given you some time to start on your flavored vinegar mixture, let’s talk about this salad!
This salad is essentially spring in a bowl. I wandered over to the farmers market last Saturday and bought whatever looked tempting. Tiny strawberries, dirty ramps, purple carrots and basil, and little microgreens. I then came home and after washing everything, threw it in a bowl with a hearty helping of wheat berries and chive blossom dressing. And then I ate this salad for lunch for the next three day. It was so simple yet so satisfying and delicious.
This recipe for Vegetarian Spring Curry Ramen is the perfect comfort food on a rainy spring day. A curry broth chocked full of vegetables and noodles!
Living in smallish Midwest city has its advantages – I can get anywhere in town in under 15 minutes, I can find ramps at the market for $3 a big bushel, and I can’t remember the last time I had to wait to get a table for dinner. The university brings in people from all over the world so we still have plenty of music and food culture. The one set back is that it tends to take a long time for food trends to make their way into our local restaurants. For example, we don’t have any place in town that sells fancy Ramen. Heck, I even looked up places in Indianapolis (about an hour away) as I was willing to drive but they didn’t have any place that served vegetarian Ramen. What the heck Indiana? Not only are your super conservative laws whack (no alcohol on Sundays!) but you are going to deny me this food trend as well?
As any decent food blogger would do, I took matters into my own hands and whipped up my own. In this Vegetarian Spring Curry Ramen you’ll find noodles surrounded by an array of spring vegetables all wrapped in a rich spicy curry broth. I used ramps because I was able to easily get my hands on them but leave them out if they aren’t in your neck of the woods right now, because the scallions already give a great onion addition to the dish. Also, if it’s no longer spring, swap in whatever vegetables are fresh right now – think bell peppers, eggplants, fresh corn, etc.