Fresh Kimchi Spring Rolls

These creamy, tangy, and spicy kimchi spring rolls are the ultimate cold appetizer for any party or potluck!

The post Fresh Kimchi Spring Rolls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When I opened my former restaurant, AVO, in Nashville, I knew this Kimchi Spring Roll appetizer would make it onto the menu. Not only did it make it onto the menu (and it’s still on the menu with a new chef at the helm and under new ownership!) but it was our best-selling item. The flavor balancing act is perfectly executed in the kimchi filling, so if you follow this recipe to a T, you will be the star at the next book club or potluck you attend, I promise!

overhead view of kimchi spring rolls on a platter with a bowl of sauce in the middle.

What Are FRESH KIMCHI SPRING Rolls?

This recipe is the ultimate crowd-pleaser, whether you’re typically a fan of kimchi or not. Who doesn’t love a fresh spring roll?! The spicy, tangy, creamy filling in a soft wrapping is a great bite to share when you have company over and the filling alone makes a great healthy topping on salad in place of the same old tuna salad. The flavors and textures balance so perfectly in this one.

My original recipe uses raw cashews instead of peanuts, but subbing the peanuts totally worked; they are a great budget-friendly substitute. The sauce packs a flavor punch as well but lets the kimchi filling really shine. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. This one’s near and dear to my little veggie-loving heart!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make these fresh kimchi spring rolls:

  • Dipping Sauce: A sweet, savory, and tangy combination of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha, green onion, garlic, and fresh ginger.
  • Kimchi: This gut-friendly, probiotic-packed superfood is tangy, spicy, and a little bit sour. Opt for a mild kimchi if you’re not a fan of spice.
  • Peanuts: Roasted unsalted peanuts work perfectly in place of my original cashews to create a thick and creamy filling.
  • Peanut Butter: Enhances the peanut flavor and helps create a creamy filling.
  • Maple Syrup: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the spiciness and richness of the filling.
  • Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil adds a hint of nuttiness to the filling.
  • Veggies: Bell peppers, carrots, and cucumber make up the fresh and crunchy veggie filling of these spring rolls.
  • Lettuce: Green leaf lettuce helps create a barrier between the saucy filling and the spring roll wrappers.
  • Spring Roll Wrappers: Also called “rice paper wrappers,” these light and translucent wrappers are dry and firm until you soak them. Then, they become pliable and will stay chewy and soft.

What’s the Difference Between A SPRING ROLL, A SUMMER ROLL, and An Egg Roll?

While all these tasty bites are wrapped and rolled, spring rolls may be fresh, baked, or deep fried, where summer rolls are always served cold. An egg roll is a variation on a spring roll that is made with dough that has been enriched with eggs, typically fried. Technically, these fresh kimchi spring rolls could also called a summer roll. They are so refreshing!

Summer Roll Tips

  • You don’t need to use all of the spring roll wrappers… just keep rolling until all filling ingredients are gone!
  • Don’t overfill your spring rolls. Trying to pack in too much filling will surely make a mess!
  • Try to make a bed with the veggies and lettuce for the kimchi filling to lay on top of so your rice paper can firm up.
  • They are less likely to tear if the finished spring rolls touch if you sprinkle some sesame seeds on the sides. The rice paper remains sticky for a few minutes after rolling.
  • The spring rolls don’t keep particularly well for more than a day, but any extra kimchi filling and veggies will take any salad to the next level!
holding a kimchi spring roll to show the filling.
overhead view of kimchi spring rolls on a platter with a bowl of sauce in the middle.
Print

Fresh Kimchi Spring Rolls

These creamy, tangy, and fresh kimchi spring rolls are the ultimate chilled appetizer for any party or potluck!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Asian
Total Cost $15.26 recipe / $1.90 serving
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 (1 spring roll each)
Calories 377kcal

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce $0.26
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar $1.44
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha $0.25
  • 1 minced green onion $0.10
  • 1 minced garlic clove $0.05
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated $0.15

Summer Roll Veggies + Kimchi Filling:

  • 1 cup kimchi $2.99
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts $1.24
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup $0.31
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil $0.64
  • 2 bell peppers, julienned $2.96
  • 2 carrots, julienned $0.18
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and julienned $0.82
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, cut into 2-inch pieces $1.97

To assemble:

  • 1 package spring roll rice paper wrappers $1.46

Instructions

  • Combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, grated ginger, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and stream sesame oil in very slowly while whisking to emulsify. Stir in green onions and set dipping sauce aside.
  • Add kimchi, peanuts, peanut butter, maple, and toasted sesame oil to a food processor.
  • Pulse until a thick, chunky, well-combined paste forms. Texture is a good thing, so don’t process it to the point of being smooth. Set aside in the fridge.
  • Julienne bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and cut green leaf lettuce into 2 inch pieces.
  • Fill a shallow cookie sheet with warm water next to a clean cutting board or other suitable, clean work surface.
  • Dip the edible spring roll wrapper in the shallow warm water until soft and pliable, but not overly mushy.
  • Transfer to your clean work surface and carefully fill the spring roll wrapper with lettuce on the bottom, a 1-2 Tablespoon scoop of kimchi filling in the middle, a few julienned veggies and another piece of lettuce on top.**
  • Gently wrap each spring roll, tucking in the sides to keep all of the filling from falling out.
  • Sprinkle each spring roll with sesame seeds (optional, but they add a nice texture and help keep the finished rolls from sticking together and tearing.)
  • Repeat steps 5-8 until all of your filling is used up.
  • Serve fresh kimchi spring rolls cut in half with dipping sauce. Enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*If you are vegan, make sure to check that the kimchi you are buying does not list fish as an ingredient. If you are not vegan, no worries!
**Don’t let the kimchi filling touch the spring roll paper. It won’t firm up and is more likely to tear or stay mushy. You want the spring roll/rice paper wrapper to firm up as the finished spring rolls sit out for a bit.

Nutrition

Serving: 1summer roll | Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 1008mg | Fiber: 4g
side view of kimchi spring rolls on a platter with a bowl of sauce in the middle.

how to make FRESH Kimchi SPRING Rolls – step by step photos

dipping sauce in a white bowl.

Combine the 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sriracha, 1 inch of peeled and grated ginger, and 1 minced clove of garlic in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and stream 1 Tbsp sesame oil in very slowly while whisking to emulsify. Stir in 1 minced green onion and set dipping sauce aside.

kimchi, peanuts, peanut butter, and oil in a food processor.

Add 1 cup kimchi, 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp maple, and 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to a food processor.

kimchi filling in a food processor.

Pulse until a thick, chunky, well-combined paste forms. Texture is a good thing, so don’t process it to the point of being smooth. Set aside in the fridge.

julienned veggies and lettuce on a cutting board.

Julienne 2 bell peppers, 2 carrots, 1 cucumber, and cut 1 head of green leaf lettuce into 2-inch pieces.

dipping rice paper in water.

Fill a shallow cookie sheet with warm water next to a clean cutting board or other suitable, clean work surface. Dip the edible spring roll wrapper in the shallow warm water until soft and pliable, but not overly mushy.

filling a rice paper wrapper with kimchi and veggies.

Then, fill the spring roll wrapper with lettuce on the bottom, a 1-2 Tablespoon scoop of kimchi filling in the middle, a few julienned veggies and another piece of lettuce on top.*

rolling a kimchi spring roll.

Gently wrap each spring roll, tucking in the sides to keep all of the filling from falling out.

kimchi spring rolls on a cutting board.

Sprinkle each spring roll with sesame seeds (optional, but they add a nice texture and help keep the summer rolls from sticking together and tearing.) Repeat steps 5-8 until all of your filling is used up. Serve spring rolls cut in half with dipping sauce. Enjoy!

dipping a kimchi spring roll into a vat of sauce in the center of a platter.

These fresh kimchi spring rolls were a smash hit at AVO for a reason, and I’m confident this budget-friendly version will be a hit for you at home as well!

The post Fresh Kimchi Spring Rolls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sorbet

Made with simple and budget-friendly ingredients, this sorbet recipe is endlessly customizable and ridiculously delicious.

The post Sorbet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing I crave more on a hot summer day than a refreshing scoop of sorbet. It’s lighter and more refreshing than ice cream, so I never feel too full after eating it, and it’s so fast and easy to whip up! Made with simple and budget-friendly ingredients– frozen fruit, maple syrup, and lemon juice– this sorbet recipe is endlessly customizable and ridiculously delicious.

a serving of swirled yellow and purple sorbet in a glass coupe.

As someone who has a major interest in vegan and gluten-free options, let me tell you, this sorbet checks all the boxes and does not disappoint! It’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, and brings the summertime vibes year round. It will keep in your freezer in an air-tight container for up to one month without losing any quality. (But, trust me, all restraint goes out the window once you try this sorbet. I don’t see any leftovers in your future!)

What is Sorbet?

Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from blended fruit, juice or water, and sugar (though in this case, I’m using maple syrup to achieve a “chewier” and less icy texture.) It is typically fat-free (but if you choose to make an avocado sorbet, please invite me over), and it’s considered a great palate cleanser in multi-course meals. This sorbet recipe is smooth and has a great mouthfeel, a bit creamier and less icy due to the frozen banana addition!

Sherbet Vs. Sorbet

The main difference between sherbet and sorbet is that sherbet contains dairy, whereas sorbet does not. Sherbet has a creamier and slightly less icy texture, but the fruit flavors may be less pronounced. A great bonus is that sorbet is vegan!

Ingredients for Sorbet

Here’s what you’ll need to make sorbet:

  • Frozen Mango: I used frozen mango chunks which come in a pretty big package, so plan to use the rest to make meal prep smoothie packs!
  • Real Maple Syrup: Traditional sorbet has sugar and ice added, but this sorbet is special because the maple syrup (agave syrup also works—and it’s cheaper!) gives it a creamier, smoother texture. The lack of added ice/water makes it easy to re-freeze and enjoy another day without the risk of it turning icy and losing its smooth mouthfeel.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds tartness to enhance the natural flavor of the fruit and counteract the sweetness.
  • Frozen Ripe Bananas: Help achieve a creamy texture without adding any dairy! Make sure to use very ripe bananas for the creamiest texture. Grab a big bunch on sale, cut them up, and freeze for meal prep.

Flavor Variations

The great thing about this sorbet recipe is how adaptable it is. Swap out the mango for any of these frozen fruits:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Açai berry
  • Pitted cherries
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Dragon fruit
  • Peaches

Tips for Making Sorbet

Sorbet can be a bit finicky, so follow these tips for a perfect scoop every time!

  • Use frozen fruit. This allows us to skip adding ice, creating a richer texture and a more concentrated flavor. This is a nutrient-dense treat!
  • To achieve the swirl look, just make batches of different flavors separately and then pour each flavor into a larger freezer-safe dish.
  • Make sure you cover your sorbet when you pop it in the freezer to set! Fruit gets a gummy unpleasant texture if it becomes freezer-burnt.
overhead view of different flavors of sorbet in glass coupes.
a serving of swirled yellow and purple sorbet in a glass coupe.
Print

Sorbet

Made with simple and budget-friendly ingredients, this sorbet recipe is endlessly customizable and ridiculously delicious.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.43 recipe / $0.88 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 5 (3-ounce) scoops
Calories 108kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks $2.98
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup $1.07
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.05
  • 1-2 very ripe frozen bananas (about 1 cup diced) $0.33

Instructions

  • Gather frozen mango chunks, maple syrup, lemon juice, and frozen banana.
  • Blend the mango, maple, lemon juice, and banana in a blender on high.
  • Stop periodically to scrape the sides of your blender down, pushing the fruit towards the blade, then blend again until completely smooth and creamy. Do not add water! Just keep stopping and scraping to achieve the creamy, dense texture of this sorbet.
  • Pour the sorbet batter into a freezer-safe bowl or dish (preferably one that has an air-tight lid).
  • Cover and freeze sorbet for approximately 1 hour, until it is not quite rock hard just soft enough to scoop with an ice cream scoop or spoon. Enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(3-ounce) scoop | Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 2g
3 scoops of mango sorbet in a glass coupe.

how to make Sorbet – step by step photos

ingredients for sorbet on a cutting board.

Gather 2 cups frozen mango chunks, 1/4 cup real maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 cup of frozen banana.

mango and banana chunks in a blender.

Blend 2 cups frozen mango chunks, 1/4 cup real maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 cup of frozen banana in a blender on high.

side view of partially blended mango sorbet in a blender with a rubber spatula.

Stop periodically to scrape the sides of your blender down, pushing the fruit towards the blade, then blend again until completely smooth and creamy.

blended mango sorbet in a blender.

Do not add water! Just keep stopping and scraping to achieve the creamy, dense texture of this sorbet.

mango sorbet in a white rectangular dish.

Pour the sorbet batter into a freezer-safe bowl or dish (preferably one that has an air-tight lid).

frozen mango sorbet in a white rectangular dish.

Cover and freeze sorbet for approximately 1 hour, until it is not quite rock hard just soft enough to scoop with an ice cream scoop or spoon. Enjoy!

Make the sorbet of your dreams come true with this simple recipe!

The post Sorbet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

This red white and blue fruit salad is packed with fresh fruits, crunchy walnuts, and chewy marshmallows– perfect for Fourth of July!

The post Red White and Blue Fruit Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My Red White and Blue Salad is Summer in a bowl. Christmas and Thanksgiving are great holidays, but I’m a summer gal through and through. There’s just something magical about the smell of sunscreen and fresh cut grass mingling with drool-worthy scents wafting from the grill. Are you with me? Now, all you need is an ice cold beverage, some sunshine, and this Red White and Blue Fruit Salad! You’re going to want to save this recipe, because it’s perfect for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

overhead view of a bowl of red white and blue fruit salad.

The only thing I love more than celebrating ‘Merica and honoring our veterans is berries being in season! I pretty much refuse to buy berries when they aren’t in season because the quality is never as good and they are never quite as budget-friendly. I’m also a sucker for nostalgia and I feel like there was always a whipped cream fruit salad variation at all of my family gatherings growing up, probably because fruit salads require almost zero prep and they are always a crowd pleaser! This one is extra special because it brings the patriotic vibes, too.

What is Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad?

This patriotic fruit salad utilizes red, white, and blue fruits to create a colorful display fit for Independence Day or Memorial Day (or anytime I’m craving a refreshing and fun fruit salad). Strawberries represent the red, bananas and apples represent the white, and blueberries represent the blue. I added a little bit of crunch with some walnuts for texture. Topped off with some classic Cool Whip, this is one refreshing salad that’s a great BBQ side dish or dessert.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this red white and blue fruit salad:

  • Fruit: I used a combination of bananas, strawberries, apples, and blueberries to create this patriotic salad.
  • Sugar: A little bit of granulated sugar makes the berries glisten and helps prevents the apples from browning.
  • Walnuts: Crushed walnut pieces add a bit of savory nuttiness and crunch.
  • Marshmallows: Add pops of sweetness. Mini marshmallows are the perfect size, but you can also quarter full-sized marshmallows.
  • Cool Whip: The perfect garnish for this fresh and fruity salad. You can also make your own whipped cream if you prefer!

What Else Can I Add?

  • Fruits: If you’re not needing this to be particularly red, white, and blue, you can add any fruits your heart desires. Blackberries, raspberries, pitted cherries, concord grapes, pomegranate arils, or chopped pineapple would all keep the red white and blue theme going! Just be careful to avoid smushing the fruit when tossing the ingredients so you can see the distinct red, white, and blue colors throughout.
  • Crunch: Pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, or homemade granola are all great sources of crunch.

How To Store Leftovers

This fruit salad can be prepared up to 24 hours before you plan to serve it, although the tender berries may shed some juices as they sit and the bananas and apples may brown a bit. To achieve true fireworks, prepare just before your company arrives! It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

overhead view of servings of red white and blue fruit salad in stemless wine glasses.
overhead view of a bowl of red white and blue fruit salad.
Print

Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

This red white and blue fruit salad is packed with fresh fruits, crunchy walnuts, and chewy marshmallows– perfect for Fourth of July!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($11.74 recipe / $1.46 serving)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people (about 1 cups each)
Calories

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas $0.46
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries $2.50
  • 1 diced apple $1.00
  • 2 cups blueberries (1 pint) $2.99
  • 2 tsp. sugar $0.01
  • ½ cup walnut pieces $2.64
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows $1.00
  • 1 cup Cool Whip $1.14

Instructions

  • Dice bananas into ¼ inch pieces, quarter strawberries, core and dice the apple, gather walnut pieces, blueberries and mini marshmellows.
  • Toss bananas, strawberries, apple, and blueberries in a big mixing bowl with sugar.*
  • Fold in walnut pieces and mini marshmallows to sugared fruits and toss to combine.
  • Top each serving with a generous dollop of Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream and extra walnut pieces.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*The sugar will make your berries glisten and will slow down the apples from browning!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup
scooping a bite from a serving of red white and blue fruit salad in a stemless wine glass.

how to make Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad – step by step photos

ingredients for red white and blue fruit salad on a cutting board.

Dice 2 bananas into ¼ inch pieces; quarter 2 cups of strawberries; core and dice 1 apple; and gather ½ cup walnut pieces, 2 cups of blueberries and 1 cup of mini marshmallows.

cut fruits tossed with sugar in a white bowl.

Toss the 2 diced bananas, 2 cups of quartered strawberries, 1 diced apple, and 2 cups of blueberries in a big mixing bowl with 2 tsp sugar.

red white and blue fruit salad mixed up in a white bowl with a side of cool whip.

Fold in ½ cup walnut pieces and 1 cup mini marshmallows to sugared fruits and toss to combine.

overhead view of servings of red white and blue fruit salad in stemless wine glasses with cool whip.

Top each serving with about 1 Tbsp of Cool Whip and extra walnut pieces.

close-up side view of a serving of red white and blue fruit salad in a stemless wine glass with cool whip.

This easy-to-make red white and blue fruit salad will be the star of your July 4th BBQ!

I would like to express my endless gratitude for the veterans who have sacrificed their lives while defending our country and their families.

The post Red White and Blue Fruit Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salad is protein-packed, crunchy, and oh-so-satisfying– perfect for meal prep to keep you full all week long.

The post Niçoise Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Springtime is salad season, and boy, do I have the perfect hearty salad for you! Niçoise salad is protein-packed, crunchy, and oh-so-satisfying. It’s perfect for meal prep and will keep you full all week long. I love the mixture of textures and flavors in this salad, and while it takes a bit of work to make, it is so worth it! The hard-boiled eggs, protein-packed tuna, crispy green beans and creamy potatoes are the defining ingredients of this salad, in my opinion. The unique-yet-familiar ingredients are what make this salad a classic– and for good reason! This is one of the recipes I always whip out whenever I have a friend who could use a little meal prep TLC when they are super busy. Trust me, it’s a winner!

close-up overhead view of nicoise salad in a white bowl.

What is Niçoise Salad?

Niçoise salad is a filling and flavorful salad that traces its origins to Nice, France. The term “Niçoise” literally means, “in the style of Nice”. This tasty salad is chock full of tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, green beans, and roasted potatoes and is tossed in a light dressing. It makes a great meal prep lunch for the long week ahead! It’s a classic!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make Niçoise salad:

  • Romaine Lettuce: This classic crunchy lettuce is the perfect base for our salad. Buy whole heads rather than pre-chopped bagged lettuce to save some dough! Whole heads of romaine will keep longer in the fridge, too.
  • Grape Tomatoes: Add a pop of juicy acidity to this salad.
  • Red Onion: Adds a bit of bite to the recipe and a wonderful crunchy texture.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Have a creamy, mild flavor and add a boost of protein! Check out our fool-proof process to make your hard-boiled eggs perfect every time.
  • Chunk Light Tuna: The main protein in this dish. Using canned is a great budget-saving tip! I prefer to use tuna packed in water.
  • Green Beans: Add a vegetal flavor, a pop of color, and delightful crunch.
  • Baby Potatoes: Add creaminess and richness to the salad. Thanks to the potatoes, this salad will keep you feeling full! You can use any variety of mini potatoes. I used fingerling for this recipe. Our air fryer potatoes are done in no time.
  • Olive Oil: Helps the seasonings stick to the potatoes and adds a subtle Mediterranean flavor to the dish.
  • Cucumber: Gives this salad crisp, hydrating, and aromatic characteristics.
  • Radishes: Add a little spicy kick to every bite and add beautiful color. After all, we eat with our eyes!
  • Olives: Any olives you love will do, but the briny and easy-to-find kalamata always does the trick!
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, and dried dill along with salt and pepper make the hearty potatoes so flavorful!

What Kind of Dressing Should I Use?

Niçoise salad is pretty flavorful on its own, so I recommend a light dressing like a lemon vinaigrette that helps cut the richness and elevates the flavors. For something a little creamier, try our favorite lemon dill tahini dressing! Our honey mustard sauce pairs well, too!

What Else Can I Add?

Niçoise salad is a great vehicle to use up those veggies taking up space in the fridge (or pantry!). I like to add:

  • Kalamata olives
  • Halved radishes
  • Chopped cucumbers
  • Capers
  • Artichoke hearts

How to Store Leftovers

I recommend storing the salad separately from the dressing for the best results. The components will keep in separate air-tight containers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and can be tossed together before serving. If you’re meal prepping, add a bit of everything to your airtight containers and keep the dressing on the side. Then, just grab and go!

servings of nicoise salad in white bowls.
nicoise salad in a white bowl.
Print

Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salad is protein-packed, crunchy, and oh-so-satisfying– perfect for meal prep to keep you full all week long.
Course Salad
Cuisine French
Total Cost ($10.64 recipe / $1.77 serving)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 (about 2 cups salad)
Calories 231kcal
Cost $2.16 per serving

Ingredients

  • salad dressing* see note
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil $0.09
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill $0.07
  • 1/2 lb. baby potatoes, quartered $1.08
  • 1 cup green beans, stems removed $1.50
  • 4 cups water $0.00
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved $0.76
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped $2.25
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved $2.29
  • 1/2 red onion, julienned $0.40
  • 7 radishes, halved or sliced $0.69
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped $0.64
  • 1/4 cup olives, strained $1.04
  • 2 5oz. cans chunk light tuna $2.00
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste $0.10

Instructions

  • Choose your favorite salad dressing. (see note)
  • Combine olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and dried dill in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Quarter the baby potatoes and toss them in the olive oil spice blend.
  • Air fry quartered potatoes at 400°F for 15 minutes, shaking halfway through (OR roast the potatoes at 400°F until golden and tender, about 30 minutes.)
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a medium pot or large saucepan.
  • Remove any stems from green beens. Blanch the green beans by tossing them into the boiling water and then turning off the heat. Allow them to sit in the hot water for a very brief period of time, about 3 minutes, until they are bright green. Quickly, transfer them to an ice bath to stop them from cooking any further. Set aside.
  • Hard boil, peel, and halve the eggs. Chop the romaine lettuce, halve the grape tomatoes, julienne the onion, halve or quarter radishes, peel and chop cucumber, and strain olives.
  • Strain the canned tuna and break it apart with a fork.
  • Toss all ingredients together and lightly dress your salad. Finish with a crank of freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*I recommend something light like a lemon vinaigrette (or try our lemon dill tahini dressing or honey mustard sauce) that won’t compete with all of the bold flavors in this salad.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 368mg | Fiber: 6g
nicoise salad in a white bowl with wooden salad spoons.

how to make Niçoise Salad – step by step photos

yellow dressing in a white bowl.

Choose your favorite salad dressing.

seasoned halved baby potatoes in a white bowl.

Combine 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp dried dill in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Quarter the 1/2 lb baby potatoes, toss in the olive oil and herbs.

roasted halved baby potatoes in a white bowl.

Air fry 1/2 lb quartered potatoes at 400°F for 15 minutes, shaking halfway through (OR roast the potatoes at 400°F until golden and tender, about 30 minutes.)

blanched green beans being transferred to ice water.

Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a medium pot or large saucepan. Remove any stems from green beens. Blanch 1 cup green beans by tossing them into the boiling water and then turning off the heat. Allow them to sit in the hot water for a very brief period of time, about 3 minutes, until they are bright green. Quickly, transfer them to an ice bath to stop them from cooking any further. Set aside.

overhead view of prepped ingredients for nicoise salad on a cutting board.

Hard boil, peel, and halve 4 eggs. Chop 2 heads of romaine lettuce, halve 1 cup of grape tomatoes, julienne 1/2 a red onion, halve or quarter 7 radishes, peel and chop 1 cucumber, and strain 1/4 cup of olives.

drained tuna in a white bowl.

Strain the 2 cans of tuna and break it apart with a fork.

nicoise salad in a white bowl.

Toss all ingredients together and lightly dress your salad. Finish with a crank of freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

The post Niçoise Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Air Fryer Asparagus

This Air Fryer Asparagus might be the easiest recipe I’ve ever developed. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish and is so good!

The post Air Fryer Asparagus appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Air Fryer Asparagus might be the easiest recipe I’ve ever developed, and you know what? I’m not mad about it! Sometimes the simplest method truly is the best, and this crispy asparagus is proof of that. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish, and it’ll change the way you think about this sometimes polarizing veggie. Did you know asparagus takes 3 YEARS to fully mature so it looks and tastes the way you see it at the grocery store?! For that reason alone, let’s respect this ingredient, keep it simple, and truly let its flavor shine!

overhead view of asparagus on a black plate with lemon wedges.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Asparagus

Here’s what you’ll need to make air fryer asparagus:

  • Asparagus: I never have trouble finding a bunch at my local grocery store. However, prices can vary throughout the year, so take advantage of them while they are in season and sometimes on sale. Asparagus is in season during the spring and early summer from the end of March through late May or early June.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil helps keep the asparagus spears from burning. It also helps to evenly distribute the seasonings.
  • Seasoning: A mix of garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper adds just a touch of flavor that pairs well with just about any meal.
  • Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (totally optional) adds a pop of freshness!

What Else Can I Add to Air Fryer Asparagus?

I love the simplicity of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but feel free to get creative. Try:

Tips for Making Air Fryer Asparagus

  • Trim only the bottom 1/2-1 inch of the asparagus spears. These woody ends are tough and can be unpleasant to eat. Some people like to use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin at the bottom. I find that method works often, but the ends are usually still too tough for my liking.
  • Try to leave a bit of space between the spears so they crisp up rather than steaming. You may want to cook the asparagus in batches.
  • Don’t overcook the asparagus. Overcooked asparagus will go limp and soggy and turn a greyish color. When cooked asparagus turns a brilliant bright green, that typically means it’s done!
  • Serve this asparagus as soon as it has finished cooking for the best taste and crisp texture.

What to Serve with Air Fryer ASparagus

This crispy asparagus goes so well with simple, wholesome meals like Parmesan Risotto, Chicken Cordon Bleu, or Honey Sriracha Tofu.

close-up view of asparagus tips on a black plate with lemon wedges.
overhead view of asparagus on a black plate with lemon wedges.
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Air Fryer Asparagus

This Air Fryer Asparagus might be the easiest recipe I've ever developed. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish and is so good!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.07 recipe / $1.02 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 4 (about 5 stalks each)
Calories 41kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus (1 lb.) $2.99
  • 1 tsp olive oil $0.06
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.06
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.12
  • 1 lemon, to juice and zest (optional) $0.79

Instructions

  • Cut off the woody ends of asparagus and preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 4 minutes.
  • Combine garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper to create the seasoning blend.
  • Toss asparagus with olive oil and seasoning blend.
  • Air fry at 400°F for 3 minutes, stopping halfway through to shake.
  • Remove asparagus and spritz with a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with lemon zest if desired. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 41kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 294mg | Fiber: 3g
asparagus spears in an air fryer.

how to make Air Fryer ASparagus – step by step photos

a bunch of asparagus with the ends cut off on a cutting board.

Cut off the woody ends of 1 lb of asparagus and preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 4 minutes.

spices and oil in separate glass bowls.

Combine 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper to create the seasoning blend.

hands tossing asparagus in a white bowl.

Toss asparagus with 1 tsp of olive oil and then the seasoning blend.

raw seasoned asparagus in an air fryer.

Place in the air fryer and air fry at 400°F for 3 minutes, stopping halfway through to shake.

cooked seasoned asparagus in an air fryer.

Remove asparagus and spritz with a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with lemon zest if desired. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!

The post Air Fryer Asparagus appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Avocado Smoothie

This avocado smoothie is my latest obsession. Avocado is packed with healthy fats and the secret to an ultra-rich, dessert-like smoothie!

The post Avocado Smoothie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Did you know you can freeze avocados? This information was life-changing when I opened my former restaurant, AVO, in Nashville back in 2015; we used frozen avocado in our signature drink, the Avocado Margarita and let me tell you, freezing ripe avocados saved us a bunch of dough! Now, I buy ripe avocados any time they’re on sale, slice them up, and toss them in the freezer for later. This avocado smoothie is the perfect way to use up frozen avocado. I know avocado in a drink might sound crazy, but trust me, it’s the secret to an ultra-rich, dessert-like smoothie. It’s packed with healthy fats and imparts that same creamy texture that avocados (and guacamole) are known for! This is your new favorite green smoothie.

close up of an avocado smoothie in a green glass.

What Is An Avocado Smoothie?

Citrus and avocado are a classic combination. In this smoothie, I add a creamy, ripe banana and a little extra sweetness from agave nectar, making it an instant winner! Super creamy, bright, and fun, this avocado smoothie is the perfect treat with lots of healthy ingredients involved.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make an avocado smoothie:

  • Frozen Avocado: Makes this smoothie lusciously creamy and adds heart-healthy fats, fiber, and omega-3s.
  • Agave: This syrup adds a touch of sweetness to this smoothie to balance out the acidic flavors. Agave is a neutral flavored sweetener unlike maple and honey (which are delicious!) but can sometimes take over flavor-wise.
  • Frozen Banana: Adds flavor, subtle sweetness and creaminess.
  • OJ: Balances the fattiness of the avocado, adding a bright flavor.
  • Lime Juice: Adds a touch of extra acidity to balance out the sweet and creamy flavors.

What Else Can I Add?

This smoothie is a great base to add extra greens or fruit to!

  • I love to add spinach or kale.
  • Frozen blueberries or pineapple make great fruity additions!
  • For a protein boost, add a scoop of peanut butter or vanilla protein powder!
two hands clinking avocado smoothies together.
an avocado smoothie in a clear glass.
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Avocado Smoothie

This avocado smoothie is my latest obsession. Avocado is packed with healthy fats and is the secret to an ultra-rich, dessert-like smoothie!
Course Breakfast, Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 drink (about 1.5 cups)
Calories 297kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen avocado $1.61
  • 1 Tbsp agave $0.14
  • 1/2 frozen ripe banana $0.41
  • 1/2 cup OJ $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice $0.04

Instructions

  • Blend ingredients together until smooth. Serve ice cold!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1smoothie | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 8mg | Fiber: 7g
a hand holding an avocado smoothie in a clear glass with a straw.

how to make An Avocado Smoothie – step by step photos

pouring orange juice over ingredients for avocado smoothie in a blender.

Blend 1/2 cup frozen avocado, 1 Tbsp agave syrup, 1/2 of a frozen ripe banana, 1/2 cup OJ, and 1 Tbsp lime juice together until smooth. Serve ice cold!

blending an avocado smoothie.

This creamy and refreshing avocado smoothie is the best way to start your morning or rescue you mid-day!

The post Avocado Smoothie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Buffalo Beans and Greens

These Buffalo beans and greens are a little bowl of luxury on a shoestring budget. We just can’t get enough!

The post Buffalo Beans and Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love any dish where I can sneak in some kale without complaints from the haters; there’s just something so fun about sneaking them in and hearing the good ol’, “I usually hate kale, but this is SO good!” These Buffalo beans and greens pack in a whole lot of nutrition and flavor on a shoestring budget. Creamy white beans, rich kale, and wholesome diced veggies all tossed in spicy buffalo sauce. Drizzle it with some blue cheese dressing, and I just can’t get enough! One of my favorite Nashville institutions recently closed (I sob) and they had a killer Buffalo beans and greens dish on their menu, so this tip of the hat goes out to my friends at The Wild Cow.

overhead view of buffalo beans and greens over white rice on a white plate with white sauce drizzled over top.

What Are Buffalo Beans and Greens?

If you’ve made our Saucy White Beans with Spinach, then you know how good stewed beans can be. These buffalo beans and greens are a fun riff on the classic “Buffalo chicken” that all Americans know and love, but we’ve turned it into a veg-friendly complete meal. It’s a balanced, comforting, and wholesome meal with just the right amount of spice.

Ingredients for Buffalo Beans and Greens

Here’s what you’ll need to make buffalo beans and greens:

  • Unsalted Butter: Helps sauté the veggies without burning and adds richness to the dish. Dairy free? No problem, olive oil is a suitable substitute.
  • Vegetables: Yellow onion, celery, and carrots create a sweet, earthy, and crunchy base of flavor for this dish.
  • Garlic: Adds an earthy and savory element to the dish.
  • Cannellini Beans: These creamy white beans are a great meat replacement and are packed full of fiber and protein.
  • Buffalo Sauce: Adds a touch of spice to the dish.
  • Blue Cheese Dressing: You can use as much or as little as you like. It’s just for a drizzle on top at the end. Blue cheese can be polarizing, so if you’re not a fan, you can leave it off or try a drizzle of Homemade Ranch Dressing instead!
  • Fresh Kale: Wilts into this dish to create a delightfully earthy flavor and texture.
  • White Rice: Serve these beans and greens over rice for a complete, filling meal.

What Else Can I Put In Buffalo Beans and Greens?

This is a great recipe for fridge cleanout day since it’s easy to add any number of leftover veggies, meats, or cheeses to it. Try:

  • Broccoli or cauliflower florets
  • Diced zucchini or summer squash
  • Cut green beans or asparagus
  • Frozen peas or corn
  • Cooked bacon, Italian sausage, or pancetta
  • Leftover shredded chicken
  • Crumbled blue cheese

What to Serve with Buffalo Beans and Greens

We love the simplicity of this dish served over white rice, but of course, brown rice is a great healthy alternative. You could also serve it over some Mashed Potatoes, Deruny, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Creamy Polenta, or Cheese Grits. And if you hate blue cheese, try serving these buffalo beans and greens drizzled with Homemade Ranch Dressing.

overhead view of buffalo beans and greens in a pan.
overhead view of buffalo beans and greens over white rice on a white plate with white sauce drizzled over top.
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Buffalo Beans and Greens

These Buffalo beans and greens pack in a whole lot of nutrition and flavor on a shoestring budget. I just can't get enough!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.61 recipe / $1.65 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 (about 1.5 cups each)
Calories 569kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter $0.75
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small $0.39
  • 3 celery stalks, diced small $0.26
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small $0.26
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced $0.42
  • 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed $2.56
  • 1/4 cup Buffalo-style hot sauce $0.52
  • 2 tbsp water $0.00
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped $0.50
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing $0.31
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked $0.64

Instructions

  • Cook rice according to package directions. (1 dry cup will yield about 3 cooked cups of rice.) Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
  • Dice celery, yellow onion, and carrots to make a mirepoix.
  • Add the butter, salt, celery, onions, and carrots to a large skillet. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or just until the veggies begin to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the white beans, Buffalo-style hot sauce and water to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat until the beans are heated through.
  • Add the kale to the pan and stir until bright green and wilted. No need to cook for too long. Serve a heaping spoonful on top of rice, drizzling blue cheese dressing over the top. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 682mg | Fiber: 14g
overhead view of buffalo beans and greens over white rice with white sauce on a white plate with a fork.

how to make Buffalo Beans and Greens – step by step photos

finely diced onion, carrot, and celery on a bamboo cutting board.

Cook rice according to package directions. (1 dry cup will yield about 3 cooked cups of rice.) Drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Dice 3 stalks celery, 1/2 of a yellow onion, and 2 medium carrots to make a mirepoix.

onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a pan.

Add 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, celery, onion, and carrots to a large skillet. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or just until the veggies begin to soften. Add 6 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.

cannellini beans and buffalo sauce added to sauteed veggies in a pan.

Add 1 can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, 1/4 cup Buffalo-style hot sauce, and 2 Tbsp water to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat until the beans are heated through.

kale added to buffalo beans in a pan.

Add 2 cups chopped fresh kale to the pan and stir until bright green and wilted. No need to cook for too long. Serve a heaping spoonful on top of rice, drizzling blue cheese dressing over the top. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

overhead view of buffalo beans and greens in a pan.

This rich and filling buffalo beans and greens is sure to become a weeknight staple!

The post Buffalo Beans and Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It’s my new go-to for parties!

The post Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s nearly grilling season, and I need a reliable side dish to bring to parties, family reunions, and barbecues. This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It has a great balance of sweet and tangy flavors, and the texture is unbeatable. It’s a fact that if you add bacon to any vegetable dish, even the most discerning meat eaters will give it a try. Baby steps, right?! I love making sure my loved ones eat their vegetables!

overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

What Is Broccoli Salad?

Broccoli salad is a classic side dish made from broccoli florets tossed with cheddar cheese, raisins, bacon, walnuts, and red onion, coated in a creamy and tangy dressing. This salad has a wonderful balance of flavors and textures and is so versatile!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make broccoli salad:

  • Broccoli: Has an earthy and slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavor, as well as a delightful crunch!
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds a creamy and salty component to the salad.
  • Raisins: Add a pop of sweet and fruity flavor.
  • Bacon: Adds a great savory and umami flavor. You’ll need 6 strips of cooked bacon. Vegetarian? No problem, just leave it out. Sometimes I put the bacon on the side for gatherings where there might be varied dietary restrictions.
  • Walnuts: Add a nutty flavor and delicious crunch.
  • Red Onion: Adds a bit of bite to the recipe and a wonderful crunchy texture, creating a great contrast to the sweet and chewy raisins.
  • Mayo: Adds richness and creaminess to the dressing.
  • Greek Yogurt: Makes the dressing extra creamy and tangy with fewer calories and fat than sour cream. I highly recommend Greek yogurt over plain yogurt or sour cream for its thicker, creamy texture.
  • White Vinegar: Adds a refreshing brightness and tanginess to the dressing to balance the richness.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness to balance out the vinegar.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhance the overall flavor of the salad.

Should I Blanch The Broccoli?

In testing, I preferred the final texture of raw broccoli over blanched, but you certainly can blanch the broccoli if you prefer. The blanching process takes out some of the natural bitter flavor from the broccoli; simply drop the florets in a large pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute, then quickly shock in a bowl of ice water. Instead, I opted to simply rinse my broccoli florets in hot water to make them extra bright green and make sure they were nice and clean.

Top Tip

To keep your broccoli salad from turning out watery, make sure to thoroughly dry the florets. The salt in the dressing will naturally draw out some of the moisture from the veggies, so making sure they are dry after washing them is an important step! I like to spread them out on a clean kitchen towel and gently pat them dry with another towel laid on top while I prep the rest of my ingredients.

What To Serve with Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is such a fresh and crunchy dish with a ton of flavor, so I suggest pairing it with simple proteins, like air fryer chicken breast or glazed pork chops.

close up of broccoli salad on a white plate.
overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.
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Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It's my new go-to for potlucks!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($5.79 recipe / $0.96 serving)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 (about 1 cup each)
Calories 305kcal

Ingredients

Broccoli Salad

  • 1 large broccoli crown, separated into florets (about 4 cups) $1.10
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese $1.24
  • 1/4 cup raisins $0.39
  • 6 strips bacon $0.90
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, crushed $0.80
  • 1/4 red onion, diced into small pieces $0.21

Broccoli Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo $0.75
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt $0.21
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper $0.05

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon until crispy. Let cool on clean paper towel-lined plate. Chop into bite sized bits and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, Greek yogurt, white vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and set dressing aside.
  • Cut broccoli into florets, shred the cheddar cheese, gather raisins, crumble bacon, crush walnuts, and dice red onion.
  • Combine salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over broccoli salad and toss together until completely coated. Serve immediately, or let it marinate and get extra yummy in the fridge for up to 5 days!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 477mg | Fiber: 1g
overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

how to make Broccoli Salad – step by step photos

ingredients for salad dressing in a white bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

creamy dressing in a white bowl.

Whisk together and set dressing aside.

overhead view of ingredients for broccoli salad on a wooden cutting board.

Cut 1 large crown of broccoli into florets, shred 1 cup of cheddar cheese, gather 1/4 cup of raisins, crumble 6 strips of crispy bacon, crush 1/4 cup walnuts, and dice 1/4 of a red onion.

ingredients for broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Combine salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Pour the dressing over broccoli salad and toss together until completely coated. Serve immediately, or let it marinate and get extra yummy in the fridge for up to 5 days!

The post Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Taco Salad

This taco salad recipe is super customizable without compromising on its hearty and satisfying flavors. It’s the ultimate meal prep salad!

The post Taco Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Listen, I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next gal, but Taco Salads are really where it’s at. I have always said that salad is the ultimate “fast food”, and I’m sticking to it. Think about it, they’re quick, easy, and almost always require very little cooking. When you want a little extra somethin’ special, this taco salad with lean ground beef is it. You can make taco salad at home for a fraction of the price and have enough salad to meal prep all week long.

overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing and corn chips in a white bowl.

What Is Taco Salad?

Taco salad is everything you love about crispy beef tacos but in salad form! I’ve made sure it’s jam-packed with lettuce and extra veggies to keep you full all day long.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this taco salad:

  • Sour Cream: Forms the creamy and tangy base of the dressing.
  • Lime: The juice and zest of two limes adds acidity and bright citrus flavor to the dressing.
  • Garlic: Adds a balancing earthiness to the dressing.
  • Seasonings: Salt, chili powder, and sugar balance out the flavor of the dressing.
  • Olive Oil: Helps to emulsify the dressing.
  • Ground Beef: The classic choice for a taco salad. You could easily swap for ground chicken or turkey if you prefer. I used a lean ground beef, so I didn’t have to strain off any fat from cooking, saving me a little time. Vegetarian? No problem! This salad is crazy flavorful with or without the meat.
  • Taco Seasoning: Adds that classic Mexican flavor.
  • Vegetables: Red onion, tomato, corn, avocado, and jalapeño add freshness, crunch, and a touch of spice.
  • Black Beans: Add creaminess and extra protein.
  • Corn Chips: Add saltiness and crunch.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds creamy, cheesy flavor.
  • Iceberg Lettuce: The perfect neutral crunchy base lettuce to let the veggies shine.

What Else Can I Add?

I love that this is a great recipe to clean out those leftovers from the fridge. Here are some ideas:

Recipe Tip!

This salad is a crowd-pleaser! If I’m entertaining and have guests or family members who don’t eat certain ingredients, I keep everything separate so everyone can build their own perfect taco salad! I like mine without the ground beef and always use extra beans… yum! I love that everyone can enjoy this salad together with a wide range of toppings and feel full and content.

three-quarters view of taco salad in a white bowl.
overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing and corn chips in a white bowl.
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Taco Salad

This taco salad recipe is super customizable without compromising on its hearty and satisfying flavors. It's the ultimate meal prep salad!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Total Cost ($17.89 recipe / $2.98 serving)
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 salads (about 2 cups each)
Calories 804kcal

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 4 oz. sour cream $0.49
  • 2 limes, juiced and zested $1.00
  • 1 clove minced garlic $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil $0.80

Ground Beef Mixture

Additional Toppings

  • 1/2 red onion, julienned $0.37
  • 2 roma tomatoes $0.60
  • 1 cup corn kernels $1.66
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed $0.89
  • 1 avocado, diced $0.99
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed $1.44
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (about 1/2 of an 8-oz. block) $1.25
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into thin rings $0.30
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces $1.79

Instructions

  • Gather and prep all topping ingredients: julienne red onion, chop tomato, defrost frozen corn, drain and rinse black beans, dice avocado, crush tortilla chips, shred cheddar cheese, and slice jalapeno. Set aside or mix together in a large serving bowl.
  • Chop iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  • Combine sour cream, juice and zest from limes, minced garlic, salt, chili powder, sugar, and oil in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Add lean ground beef and taco seasoning packet to skillet. Break apart the ground beef with a spatula and mix in the taco seasoning. Cook until all of the ground beef has turned brown.*
  • Top chopped lettuce with prepped veggies and cooked ground beef. Toss all ingredients together.
  • Drizzle a generous helping of dressing over the top with crumbled tortilla chips! Serve and enjoy.**

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*I used a lean ground beef, so I added my seasoning and beef at the same time. I didn’t have any fat to strain off at the end, which saved me a little prep time.
**If you are meal prepping, keep the wet ingredients (like the beef and salad dressing) separate so your veggies and lettuce do not wilt and the tortilla chips do not get soggy. Just dress and toss when you’re ready for lunch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 804kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 55g | Sodium: 1228mg | Fiber: 13g
overhead view of a serving of taco salad on a white plate.

how to make Taco Salad – step by step photos

overhead view of chopped veggies on a cutting board.

Gather all topping ingredients. Julienne 1/2 red onion, chop 2 roma tomatoes, defrost 1 cup frozen corn, drain and rinse 1 can black beans, dice 1 avocado, crush 3 cups of tortilla chips, shred 1 cup cheddar cheese, slice 1 jalapeno. Set aside or mix together in a large serving bowl.

chopped lettuce in a white bowl.

Chop 1 head of iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

dressing ingredients in a white bowl.

Combine 4 oz sour cream, juice and zest from 2 limes, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 4 Tbsp oil in a small mixing bowl.

creamy white dressing in a white bowl.

Whisk to combine.

raw ground beef and spices in a frying pan.

Add 1 pound lean ground beef and 1 packet of taco seasoning to skillet. Break apart the ground beef with a spatula and mix in the taco seasoning.

cooked seasoned ground beef in a frying pan.

Cook until all of the ground beef has turned brown. I used a lean ground beef, so I added my seasoning and beef at the same time. I didn’t have any fat to strain off at the end, which saved me a little prep time.

overhead view of taco salad with ingredients separated in a white bowl.

Top chopped lettuce with prepped veggies and cooked ground beef.

tossing taco salad in a white bowl.

Toss all ingredients together.

drizzling dressing over taco salad in a white bowl.

Drizzle a generous helping of dressing over the top with crumbled tortilla chips! Serve and enjoy.

overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing in a white bowl.

This hearty taco salad is sure to satisfy!

More Southwest-Inspired Recipes

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Tostadas

These tostadas made with mashed pinto beans are piled high with salsa, veggies, and cheese for a satisfying (and fun!) weeknight meal.

The post Tostadas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

With the sun working overtime during these hot summer months, I’ve got tacos on my mind (and tortillas in my fridge) 24/7. I love how balanced and fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine can be, and these tostadas are no exception! Crispy tortillas are piled high with mashed pinto beans, salsa, veggies, and cheese for a different spin on your typical taco night. Plus, I love that I can use up any leftover tortillas I have on hand so nothing goes to waste! These are super customizable based on your family’s preferences, so you can add or omit just about anything you want.

close up of a hand holding a tostada.

What Is A Tostada?

The word “tostada” translates to “toasted” in reference to the crispy toasted tortilla shell that serves as the base of the dish. It’s sort of like a flattened taco piled high with filling. It’s also a great way to use up the last of those leftover tortillas that are starting to go stale!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make these tostadas:

  • Onion: I used white onion because it was on sale, but yellow or Vidalia will also work well in this recipe.
  • Jalapeño: Adds a bit of heat to the filling.
  • Olive Oil: Helps the filling cook without burning. Neutral cooking oils like canola or vegetable also work well.
  • Pinto Beans: Create a mushy, refried bean-like texture. If you have some leftover, our favorite (Not) Refried Beans can also work well in this recipe!
  • Taco Seasoning: An easy way to add classic Mexican flavors.
  • Water: Helps make the beans easier to mash.
  • Salsa: Adds freshness to the tostadas. I love this Fire Roasted Salsa, but store-bought works just fine.
  • Tostada Shells: These small, crunchy corn tortillas are like a flat hard taco shell. A Mexican open-faced sandwich, if you will!
  • Radishes: Add a delightful, fresh crunch!
  • Slaw Mix: A cheap and easy hack to add extra veggies to this dish.
  • Sour Cream: Adds creaminess and tanginess.
  • Cilantro: Adds a pop of freshness and color.
  • Avocado: Adds a creamy texture. Guacamole also works well.
  • Queso Fresco: Can’t find queso fresco or cotija cheese? Cheddar cheese will do just fine, or omit it altogether.

What Is the Difference Between A Tostada and a Tortilla?

A tostada is a tortilla that has been baked or fried until it is crispy. You can purchase ready-made tostada shells from popular brands like Old El Paso, or you can make your own by baking 6-inch corn tortillas until toasted and crispy.

How to Eat A Tostada

Tostadas are finger foods, so use your hands, not a fork and knife! I like the two-handed method of holding the edges of the tostada and taking bites like a slice of toast. I also like to crack the tostadas into smaller pieces and eat it in smaller bites that way.

side view of tostadas on a piece of parchment paper on a blue table.
holding a tostada over a table topped with tostadas.
Print

Tostadas

These tostadas made with mashed pinto beans are piled high with salsa, veggies, and cheese for a satisfying (and fun!) weeknight meal.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 535kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.20
  • 1/2 white onion, diced $0.45
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced $0.24
  • 1 1-oz. packet taco seasoning $0.59
  • 2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed $1.78
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 8 tostada shells $0.88
  • 1/2 cup salsa $0.49
  • 3 radishes, julienned $0.37
  • 1/2 14-oz. bag pre-chopped slaw mix $0.99
  • 1/4 cup sour cream $0.31
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro $0.12
  • 1 avocado, sliced $0.99
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled queso fresco $0.35

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil, onions, jalapeño, and taco seasoning mix to a skillet. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and glossy.
  • Add the drained and rinsed pinto beans to the skillet with 1 cup of water and simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the beans start to dissolve and break down and the liquid reduces to about 1/2.
  • Remove from the heat and mash the bean mixture together. Set aside.
  • Crumble queso fresco, julienne or slice radishes, mince cilantro, thinly the avocado, and gather your premixed cabbage and salsa of choice.
  • Spread out tostada shells on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes. This makes the tostadas extra crunchy!
  • Assemble tostadas: The tostada shell will be on the bottom, topped with mashed pinto beans.
  • Then, add all other toppings; divide the pre-chopped slaw mix, salsa, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, and crumbled queso fresco between all tostadas. Enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

This recipe is easily made vegan by leaving off the sour cream and cheese. There are amazing vegan substitutes available for both of those ingredients nowadays, too!

Nutrition

Serving: 2tostadas | Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 1649mg | Fiber: 19g

how to make Tostadas – step by step photos

onion, jalapeno, and taco seasoning in a frying pan.

Add the 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 diced white onion, 1 seeded and diced jalapeño, and 1 oz. packet of taco seasoning mix to a skillet. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and glossy.

step 2: add beans and water

Add the 2 cans of drained and rinsed pinto beans to the skillet with 1 cup of water and simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the beans start to dissolve and break down and the liquid reduces by about 1/2.

step 4: mash the beans

Remove from the heat and mash the bean mixture together.

step 6: chopped veggies on cutting board

Crumble 2 Tbsp queso fresco, julienne or slice 3 radishes, mince 2 Tbsp cilantro, thinly slice the avocado, and gather your premixed cabbage and salsa of choice.

step 6 lay out tostadas and toast

Spread out 8 tostada shells on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes. This makes the tostadas extra crunchy!

step 7: add beans to tostatdas

Assemble tostadas: The tostada shell will be on the bottom, topped with mashed pinto beans.

8 add all the toppings 1 by 1 to tostadas

Then, add all other toppings; divide the 1/2 bag of pre-chopped slaw mix, 1/2 cup salsa, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 sliced avocado, and 2 Tbsp crumbled queso fresco between all tostadas. Enjoy!

overhead view of tostadas on a piece of parchment paper on a blue table.

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