Tag Archives: basil

Lemon Basil Hummus

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Hummus is one of those foods that I often overlook. At least, I used to.

Lately, I find myself cooking a big batch of garbanzo beans every other week so that I have plenty of them on hand to make fresh, homemade hummus. Since I ditched sweets, it’s one of my new go-to snacks. I like it with baby carrots, bell pepper slices, and gluten-free whole grain sesame crackers (another new favorite).

Since I’ve been eating more and more hummus, I am constantly looking for new flavors to make. Sundried tomato and artichoke hummus is always a hit at my house, and this lemon basil hummus is quickly becoming a new favorite, as well.

While the outdoors may not agree yet, I’m ready for some fresh summer flavors in my kitchen. It’s been a long winter (yes, technically it’s spring, but I’ll believe it when I see it)!  To brighten things up a bit, I’ve been keeping a fresh basil plant on my kitchen window sill. The fresh basil adds a lovely hint of summer in this hummus. It pairs beautifully with lemon, and the combination just taste like summer to me.

Caprese salads are my favorite use of basil, but we’re months away from fresh, local tomatoes. Until then, you’ll find me snacking on this lemon basil hummus… Wearing my knee-high fleece socks. Under a blanket.

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Lemon Basil Hummus
Makes about 2 ½ cups

  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • ½ – ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil in a food processor or blender. Blend slowly, streaming in the olive oil until you have a smooth and creamy mixture. Season and pepper to taste.

Serve drizzled with additional olive oil and topped with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let the hummus come to room temperature before serving.

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Grilled Zucchini Caprese Salad

I’ve had a change of heart…. This summer, I am embracing salads.

In the past, salads were just a way to get rid of the plethora of lettuce that fills our CSA box all summer long. And, I’ve never been a fan of lettuce. This year, though, I have realized that salads don’t have to be full of lettuce. I realize that the rest of the world embraced this concept a long time ago. I guess I’m just a bit slow. But, this realization has completely changed the way I’ve been planning meals.Continue Reading

White Bean Burgers with Sundried Tomato and Herbs

I love grilling in the summer.  But, I find that I often fall into a burger rut.  We offer to have friends over to cook out, and I end up making the same beef burgers over and over and over again. Don’t get me wrong… The burgers are delicious, but we really try not to eat too much meat. So, I had to change it up a bit.

I’ve been meaning to make some bean burgers at home for a while… They are a perfect meatless option for the grill and, if done correctly, are equally as delicious. I think what held me back was that I’ve had some bad experiences with bean burgers in the past. They were too runny, too bland, or simply fell apart when I cooked them. If a bean burger is going to replace some juicy grass-fed beef on the menu, it’s got to be great. Runny, bland, and falling apart just won’t do.

Rewind to the Big Summer Potluck last summer… I was pregnant and not feeling up to par. I think there might have been fried chicken for dinner (or something like that… I don’t even remember), and I knew it wasn’t a good idea. So, instead, I tried some of the black bean burgers that Pam made. I loved them. I made sure to ask her if the recipe was the one in her Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals cookbook, the one that I already loved and had sitting on my shelf at home. Sure enough, they were.

Almost a year later, I have finally gotten around to making the bean burgers, and I am even more impressed now than I was then. They stay moist and don’t fall apart on the grill… And, using the formula in the book, you can really pump up the flavor to have a great tasting meatless burger that will make you forget about beef entirely. This time around, I used herbs and sundried tomatoes to make my own version of Pam’s recipe. I topped them with a super quick herbed mayonnaise (so quick a recipe seems silly, though I’ll share it at the end!). Even my husband was a huge fan. You can be sure they’ll be making a few more appearances on the menu at my house this summer!Continue Reading

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I’ve recently started to really appreciate whole grains, especially quinoa. Sure, I’ve always been a fan of baking with whole wheat flour, and that’s all fine and great. But, I’m talking about cooking and eating whole grains that aren’t incorporated into baked goods.

It all started when I discovered salads made with whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur wheat. On their own, I’ve always found the grains to be somewhat dull. Given the choice between a potato or rice as a side with my dinner, I’d take the potato every time (slathered with butter or topped with bacon and cheese, preferably, but that’s a recipe for another day). When the grains stop being a side dish and become the base for a flavorful salad, though, everything changes.

I fell in love with quinoa salads a few summers ago when I attended the Big Summer Potluck where all of the food was gluten-free. The usual summer pasta salad was off the table, but it was replaced with an assortment of gorgeous salads made with quinoa (which, happens to be gluten-free). The flavorful salads were hearty enough to eat as a main dish, but still felt light and summery.

Afterwards, I set out to make my own quinoa salads at home. I came across a great salad formula in Pam Anderson’s Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals (yes, that’s an Amazon affiliate link) cookbook, and I’ve been happily whipping up my own salad creations ever since.

This summer, I am finding that I keep going back to the quinoa salads more than ever. Trying to cook my way through our weekly CSA share while also chasing Miss Maddie around the house has proved to be a bit of a challenge. I love that I can make a batch of quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight. Then, all I have to do is chop a few veggies, make a quick vinaigrette and stir it all together the next day. This particular version, loaded with Mediterranean flavors like marinated artichokes, olives, spinach, and feta cheese is my new favorite for a quick meal. Lunch is served!Continue Reading

Sausage Ragù

Perhaps this blog post should be titled “The Best Sauce Ever”…  However, that’s a fairly subjective claim to make.  If you ask my husband, though, he’ll tell you this is not only the best sauce ever, but that it is the best thing I have ever made.

So, while this rich meat sauce is certainly not the most photogenic food in the world (especially since I was taking photos well after the sun had gone down), I just had to share the recipe with you! I’ve been meaning to share this one for a while, actually. I first discovered this sauce last January.  My hubby bought me Anne Burrell’s book Cook Like a Rockstar for Christmas, and her sausage ragù was one of the first things I made.  We were having my family over for a birthday dinner, and I planned to make lasagna. I wanted a rich, meaty sauce to take the lasagna up a notch, and the recipe was just what I was looking for.

I’ve made the sauce a few times since then (not as many as I’d like, though, since I couldn’t eat tomatoes during most of my pregnancy), and it continues to be a favorite at my house. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make a slightly bigger batch since the sauce is always such a big hit.  It takes quite a while (4+ hours!), so it’s one of those recipes where it pays to make a big batch.

I’m pretty sure you won’t need much help figuring out how to use the sauce.  It’s perfect on its own, so all you really need to do is add some cooked pasta.  Of course, I frequently use it in lasagna.  The sauce is so rich that you don’t really need much else… Just layer the noodles with ricotta cheese, a blend of mozzarella and provolone, and sauce. I’ve also made pizza with leftover sauce, too. It was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.  Since the recipe makes a big batch, you’ll likely have plenty of leftovers.  I highly recommend freezing individual portions of the sauce (I usually freeze it in 2 cup containers) so that you have it on hand.  I’m not big on leftovers, but this is one of the few things that I get excited to pull out of the freezer and heat up for dinner!

Sausage Ragù
Makes about 10 – 12 cups
(Adapted from Cook Like a Rockstar)

  • 4 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
  • 2 large onions, cut in a large dice
  • 1 large bulb fennel, cored and cut into a large dice
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 18 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) bottle of red wine
    (Pick one that you like to drink… I used a merlot)
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Begin by pulsing the vegetables (celery, onion, fennel, and garlic) in the food processor until finely chopped. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to work in batches.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the vegetable mixture, and cook until the vegetables are tender and start to brown. Stir every few minutes to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot and let new brown bits develop again. Continue to cook until the mixture is well browned, up to 30 minutes.

Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to mix into the vegetables.  Cook for just a minute or two.  Then, add the bottle of wine and scrape up any remaining bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the wine has reduced by about half, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the sausage to the pot and use a wooden spoon to break it cooks. Continue to cook until the sausage is completely browned, scraping the pot occasionally.  The sausage will take about 10 minutes to cook.

Once the sausage is cooked, add the herbs to the pot and then add enough water to cover the sausage mixture by about 1/2 inch. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pot once again.  Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for a minute, then reduce to a simmer.

Simmer the sauce for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has cooked and thickened up, taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

Please Note – The links to Cook Like a Rockstar provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links.  If you purchase this cookbook (or another item) after  clicking on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!