Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Let’s roast some pumpkin seeds to make a night of it! When I was growing up, we carved our jack o’lanterns…

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best roasted pumpkin seeds recipe

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Let’s roast some pumpkin seeds to make a night of it! When I was growing up, we carved our jack o’lanterns every year before Halloween, and my mom always roasted the seeds for a tasty snack.

Pumpkin carving night is still one of my favorite nights of the year, and now I carry on the tradition with my husband and a glass of wine. While I’m only a mediocre pumpkin carver, I’ve perfected my roasted pumpkin seed technique over the years. I’m sharing all of my tips with you today.

removing seeds from pumpkin

Roasting pumpkin seeds is really fun and easy when you know how to do it. When you don’t, you can make a big mess and end up with seeds that are either burnt, or never golden.

This foolproof recipe yields perfectly golden pumpkin seeds, every time! Keep reading to learn the easiest way to clean those slippery seeds.

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Easy Pizza Sauce

Make this lively red pizza sauce recipe for your homemade pizzas! It comes together with basic pantry ingredients in about five minutes, no cooking required. It’s like…

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easy pizza sauce recipe

Make this lively red pizza sauce recipe for your homemade pizzas! It comes together with basic pantry ingredients in about five minutes, no cooking required. It’s like magic.

This recipe yields a classic Italian red sauce base for your home-baked pizza pies. Despite its quick preparation, this sauce tastes rich and full of flavor, which further develops during the pizza’s blast in a high-heat oven.

pizza sauce ingredients

I like my sauce to have a bit of texture to it, and this sauce strikes the perfect balance. Many pizza sauces are either thick and dull or watery and flavorless. Not this one.

I originally developed this sauce recipe for a pizza recipe in my cookbook, Love Real Food. Since I just re-shared my favorite pizza dough recipe, I’m providing my go-to pizza sauce to go along with it.

Both the dough and the sauce come together very quickly, so you can enjoy homemade pizza with minimal fuss. How about pizza tonight?

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Ultimate Veggie Pizza

As a vegetarian for over a decade, I’ve eaten quite a few veggie pizzas. Truly fantastic veggie pizzas are few and far between. So, I combined all…

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best veggie pizza recipe

As a vegetarian for over a decade, I’ve eaten quite a few veggie pizzas. Truly fantastic veggie pizzas are few and far between. So, I combined all of the elements I’ve enjoyed over the years to create my own “ultimate” veggie pizza pie. This is the best homemade veggie pizza I’ve ever had, and I hope you’ll say the same!

This vegetarian pizza recipe will delight vegetarians and carnivores alike. It’s fresh and full of flavor, featuring cherry tomatoes, artichoke, bell pepper, olives, red onion and some hidden (and optional) baby spinach. You’ll find a base of rich tomato sauce and golden, bubbling mozzarella underneath, of course.

veggie pizza ingredients

The trick with loaded veggie pizzas, as many pizza shops seem to forget, is that they require a few extra minutes in the oven to develop full flavor and structure. Don’t stop baking until the cheese is deeply golden in spots. Otherwise, you might end up with floppy pizza that doesn’t live up to its true potential.

Start with my easy whole wheat pizza dough, and this recipe is ready in about 45 minutes, start to finish. This veggie pizza is quicker and healthier than delivery!

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Pasta alla Norma

We’re going back to Sicily! Pasta alla Norma is a delicious Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant, marinara and basil. I’m excited to introduce you to this dish…

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pasta alla norma recipe

We’re going back to Sicily! Pasta alla Norma is a delicious Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant, marinara and basil. I’m excited to introduce you to this dish because it is a completely satisfying vegetarian dinner. I’m craving a bowl as I type.

Most pasta alla Norma recipes are made with fried eggplant, but this recipe features roasted eggplant. Eggplant really absorbs oil like a sponge, so this lightens up the dish. Another plus? Roasting eggplant is easier and less messy.

I further lightened this classic recipe by using more eggplant and less pasta, so this dish won’t put you to sleep. It’s nice and saucy, just the way I like it.

pasta alla norma ingredients

I don’t speak Italian, so I first assumed that “norma” meant eggplant. Not the case! Norma is capitalized because she’s a lady. Or an opera, depending on how you look at it.

Here’s the backstory: Pasta alla Norma comes from Catania, a city on the eastern coast of Sicily. Catania is the hometown of Vincenzo Bellini, an Italian opera composer who lived in the early 1800s. One of Bellini’s most famous operas, Norma, is named after its lead character.

Folklore has it that playwright Nino Martoglio, after his first bite of this pasta dish, exclaimed, “Chista è ‘na vera Norma!” (“This is a true Norma!”) That’s quite a compliment.

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How to Make Crostini

Who doesn’t love golden, crisp crostini? Crostini is crusty bread brushed with olive oil, toasted in the oven or in the grill to perfection. I love how…

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homemade crostini recipe

Who doesn’t love golden, crisp crostini? Crostini is crusty bread brushed with olive oil, toasted in the oven or in the grill to perfection. I love how it shatters between my teeth, offering the perfect contrast to a creamy spread or dip.

The word crostini means “little crusts” in Italian. I typically associate crostini with party appetizers and cheese plates, but you don’t have to throw a party to enjoy these little toasts.

For example, you can resuscitate a stale baguette by turning it into crostini. You can whip together a fun lunch or snack in no time with crostini and condiments from your fridge. Or you can make an everyday dinner more festive by starting with a round of crostini and a creamy spread. Crostini is the answer!

how to make crostini

I recently baked up some crostini to accompany my upcoming caponata recipe. As I consulted my bruschetta recipe for guidance, I realized that I must not be the only person wondering how to make crostini. So here I am, waxing poetic about Italian toasts. Did you know that the singular form of crostini is crostino?

Today, I’m sharing all my best crostini topping suggestions and a simple, foolproof recipe for homemade crostini. Do tell me how you enjoy your crostini in the comments!

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Perfect Roasted Green Beans

Have you tried roasted green beans? They’re new to me, so I’m excited to spread the word with this recipe! Roasted green beans are a light and…

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sesame roasted green beans

Have you tried roasted green beans? They’re new to me, so I’m excited to spread the word with this recipe! Roasted green beans are a light and healthy side dish to accompany heavier meals.

Green beans are one of the quickest roasted veggie options since they’re ready after just 15 minutes in the oven. Like all roasted vegetables, roasted green beans taste intensified and caramelized, like more sophisticated versions of their raw or steamed states.

fresh green beans

We discovered roasted green beans on the menu at Josephine in Nashville. I always search restaurant menus for fun side dishes, and their charred green beans did not disappoint. They served them with tahini and toasted sesame seeds, which inspired the variation you see above.

Roasted green beans are quite simple to prepare. I have just a few tips before you get started:

  • Start with fresh, vibrant green beans. They should have firm, even skin and snap easily. Don’t bother roasting old, starchy green beans.
  • Pat your green beans dry before tossing with oil. Drops of water on the outside will turn into mushy spots in the oven.
  • Don’t crowd the beans. If you want to double the recipe to serve a larger crowd, split the beans across two pans.
  • Stop roasting when the beans are crisp-tender with some caramelized spots. No need to roast green beans to oblivion.

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Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat!…

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elote recipe

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! Elote tastes sweet and savory, tangy and spicy all at once. I love to make mine with grilled corn for some smokiness, too.

Elote is made with corn on the cob, slathered with mayonnaise, seasoned with chili powder and fresh lime juice, sprinkled all over with salty Cotija cheese and cilantro. It’s messy to eat but worth every bite. Elote is the perfect summertime side dish for any Mexican-inspired meal.

elote ingredients

In Mexico, elote means an ear of corn, and this recipe replicates a popular serving style sold by street vendors. I can’t claim that this elote recipe is quite authentic, but it brings me back to the elotes I enjoyed in Mexico City.

I’m dreaming of traveling throughout Mexico, sampling the cuisine region by region. Someday! For now, we’re making the most of dinner at home.

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The Best Grilled Corn on the Cob

It’s corn season, and I’ve had a hankering for some great corn on the cob. You know the corn I’m talking about—golden and plump kernels with some…

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best grilled corn recipe

It’s corn season, and I’ve had a hankering for some great corn on the cob. You know the corn I’m talking about—golden and plump kernels with some irresistible, caramelized grill marks.

Slathered with real butter and sprinkled with salt, there’s not much better.

corn on the grill

Last summer, our family and friends gifted us a gas grill for our wedding. Now that I finally have access to one, I’ve had fun learning how to use it.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried all the corn grilling methods out there and come up with my own. This recipe yields perfect grilled corn on the cob, every time!

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Favorite Veggie Burgers

Have you met my favorite veggie burgers? If not, it’s about time! I have high standards for veggie burgers, and these put all the rest to shame.…

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best veggie burger recipe

Have you met my favorite veggie burgers? If not, it’s about time! I have high standards for veggie burgers, and these put all the rest to shame. I have a feeling they’ll become your favorite veggie burgers, too.

These veggie burgers are hearty and satisfying, and feature an irresistible combination of flavors. They start with a base of quinoa, black beans and oats. Then we amp up the volume with sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, and some carefully chosen seasonings. They’re a little sweet and a little spicy, in the best of ways.

veggie burger ingredients

You may recognize this recipe as the “Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers” that have been hidden in the archives for quite some time. There’s a chance you’ve enjoyed these burgers in my cookbook, Love Real Food, sandwiched between buns with a crisp lime-cilantro cabbage slaw and guacamole (page 177).

Or maybe you’re seeing these burgers for the first time right now! If so, I’ll share why this veggie burger recipe is my favorite:

  1. These burgers are absolutely delicious. In fact, these are the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had. They’re better than any restaurant’s, and far better than store-bought frozen veggie burgers.
  2. These burgers retain their shape before, during and after cooking. Many veggie burgers are a chore to make or to eat, but these are totally fuss-free.
  3. You can cook these burgers in the oven, on the stove, or yes, even on the grill. They also freeze well, so you can make a full batch and enjoy them over time.
  4. These veggie burgers are perfect for serving to friends who follow special diets. These burgers are vegetarian, of course. They’re also conveniently vegan, gluten free, nut free, egg free and soy free.

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Easy Homemade Pickles

What took me so long to make classic pickles? As it turns out, homemade dill pickles are simple, easy and delicious. They’re the perfect little summertime project,…

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best cucumber pickles recipe

What took me so long to make classic pickles? As it turns out, homemade dill pickles are simple, easy and delicious. They’re the perfect little summertime project, if you even want to call it that. These pickles are ready after a short chill in the refrigerator (as little as one hour), and they keep for several weeks.

These pickles are tangy and refreshing, nice and crisp, and offer garden-fresh flavor. They remind me of Claussen or Grillo’s pickles—but they’re even better. In short, I’m in love with this refrigerator pickle recipe and I think you will be, too.

how to slice cucumbers

These pickles are made with simple ingredients, including vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar’s mild flavor), fresh dill (technically optional, but delicious), a couple cloves of garlic, and a few basic seasonings.

I added a touch of sweetener, too—just enough to cut the bite of vinegar. These pickles are decidedly tangy, and nowhere near “bread and butter” territory. However, the sweetness level is entirely up to you.

These pickles aren’t overwhelmingly salty, either, yet they’re fully seasoned. They are irresistibly just right—perfect for burgers, for snacking, and more.

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