Grilled Pork Tenderloin

This grilled pork tenderloin is marinated with a handful of pantry staples but yields the most juicy, moist, and tender meat ever! Ready in under 15 minutes. Love grilling recipes? Try my beef kabobs, grilled Mahi Mahi, grilled beef tenderloin, and gri…

grilled pork tenderloin recipe.This grilled pork tenderloin is marinated with a handful of pantry staples but yields the most juicy, moist, and tender meat ever! Ready in under 15 minutes. Love grilling recipes? Try my beef kabobs, grilled Mahi Mahi, grilled beef tenderloin, and grilled chicken drumsticks next. One of my favorite cuts of meat to cook my…

Chorizo Tacos

Quick and easy chorizo tacos are the perfect option for a weeknight meal! Add some fresh toppings like cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole for a dish everyone will love.

Quick and easy chorizo tacos are the perfect option for a weeknight meal! Add some fresh toppings like cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole for a dish everyone will love.

Potstickers

Growing up, homemade Potstickers have always been one of my favorite foods. I remember helping my mom stuff and fold them up before transferring them onto a giant platter. After about an hour, we would have hundreds of potstickers! We usually boiled ours up in a broth-based soup with small rice cake discs (the dish in Korean is called mandu-guk). Our Potsticker recipe today is a pan-fried version and is more of a mixed bag…

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The post Potstickers appeared first on Spoon Fork Bacon.

Potstickers on a platter overhead with potsticker dipping sauce on the side.

Growing up, homemade Potstickers have always been one of my favorite foods. I remember helping my mom stuff and fold them up before transferring them onto a giant platter. After about an hour, we would have hundreds of potstickers!

We usually boiled ours up in a broth-based soup with small rice cake discs (the dish in Korean is called mandu-guk). Our Potsticker recipe today is a pan-fried version and is more of a mixed bag of Asian ingredients, but the dipping sauce is very Korean. The reason I love potstickers so much is that the filling is easily customizable and there are several cooking methods for these delicious, savory dumplings.

This is one of my favorite recipes to make ahead and freeze and I almost always have a bag of potstickers in my freezer ready to go!

What Are Potstickers?

Potstickers are a type of dumpling. They are often filled with pork and cabbage, but can be customizable based on personal taste and preference. Potstickers are often seen folded into a pleated crescent shape, but can also be folded in half with no pleats for simplicity.

They can be pan fried, which create nice crispy exterior and a juicy interior, but can also be steamed and boiled for an overall soft texture. They are usually accompanied with a soy based dipping sauce.

How to Make Our Potstickers Recipe

Ingredients

Ingredients for making potstickers shot overhead and labeled.

Process

Filling

  1. Place all filling ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Mix together until well combined. Set aside.
Potsticker filling ingredients in a bowl.
Potsticker filling ingredients in a glass bowl mixed together.

Assembly and Cooking

  1. Place wonton wrapper on a clean surface.
  2. Brush perimeter of a wonton wrapper with the beaten egg.
One raw wonton wrapper.
Potsticker wrapper with an egg wash brushed onto the edge.
  1. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of the wonton wrapper.
  2. Open your dominant hand, palm side up, and hold fingers together. Place the filled and open wonton wrapper onto your fingers and fold the wrapper in half, only sealing the corner of one side.
Potsticker wrapper with filling in the middle.
Pinching the end of a wonton wrapper to make a potsticker.
  1. To create the pleat pattern, create a curl or mountain with the top of the wonton wrapper.
  2. Press the curve of the wrapper down into the edge.
The process of folding the wonton wrapper to make a potsticker.
Pleating a wonton wrapper to make a potsticker.
  1. Repeat until you have pleated almost the entire edge.
  2. Leave a small opening in the corner.
Potsticker pleating and closing the edges.
The process of pleating a potsticker.
  1. Carefully pinch the corner closed.
  2. Then gently press around the entire edge to fully seal.
Potstickers process with crimping the edge.
The process of making a potsticker.

Check out the video below for additional help on how to pleat potstickers!

  1. Set pleated wontons aside and repeat until all filling and wrappers have been used.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add some oil. Add some potstickers to pan (making sure not to overcrowd the pan), so the crimped side is up, and pan-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add a little water to the pan and cover for 2 to 4 minute or until the wonton wrappers have softened and steamed and the filling has finished cooking through. Remove from heat and repeat until all potstickers have been cooked. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
Potstickers on a baking sheet.
potstickers cooking in a skillet.

Our Korean Potsticker Dipping Sauce (Yangnyeom Ganjang)

We serve our potstickers with a traditional Korean-style sauce called yangnyeom ganjang. It’s typically made with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil minced garlic, sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds, and Korean chile powder. This dipping sauce is great for pan-fried, steamed and boiled potstickers.

Ingredients

Ingredients for potsticker sauce shot overhead and labeled.

Process

  1. Place all ingredients into a small bowl.
  2. Whisk together. Serve as dipping sauce for potstickers.
Potsticker dipping sauce ingredients.
Potsticker dipping sauce in a bowl.

Tools You Will Need

Are Wonton Wrapper Gluten Free?

Generally no because they are usually made with wheat flour, but you can find a really great recipe for gluten-free wonton wrapper dough here.

How to Boil and Steam Potstickers

To Boil

Fill a pot with water or broth of choice and bring to a boil. Carefully add potstickers to pot and cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until they begin to float to the surface of the liquid. Using a slotted spoon, lift potstickers from water and serve with dipping sauce or serve potstickers in broth as a soup.

To Steam

Fill a pot with a couple inches of water and top with a bamboo steamer (or a metal steamer basket). Line steamer base or basket with a single layer of lettuce or cabbage leaves (such as savoy cabbage). Place potstickers over lettuce about 1 inch apart and cover with lid. Place pot over medium-high heat and steam for about 10 minutes or until filling has cooked through.

Freezing Instructions for Potstickers

Potstickers freezing VERY well! Just line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper then place uncooked potstickers onto the baking sheet, flat side down, about 1/2 inch apart (they shouldn’t touch one another). Then pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they are completely frozen you can transfer them into a resealable bag. If properly stored, they will keep for 3 to 4 months.

Potstickers on a platter that have been pan fried with a dipping sauce.

Tips and Tricks for Success

  • It’s important that all the air is pressed out of the filled wrapper before tightly sealing the sides together to prevent the potstickers from bursting when they’re cooked.
  • Be careful not to overstuff the wrappers with filling which can also make the potstickers burst while cooking them.
  • It’s helpful to remove the skillet from the heat before adding the water, then quickly covering before returning the skillet to the stovetop. This will help to prevent any of the oil in the skillet from spattering up and possibly catching on fire from the stovetop flames (particularly if using a gas stovetop).

Variations

My favorite thing about potstickers is that the filling variations are endless! You can add or take away whatever you want depending on your flavor preference. Some of our favorite options are below!

  • You can replace the pork in this recipe for ground chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, or chopped raw shrimp.
  • If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, you can replace the meat with diced and sautéed mushrooms, my personal favorite is shiitake mushrooms.
  • You can swap in spinach leaves, kale, napa cabbage or savoy cabbage for the bok choy.
  • Feel free to also omit the water chestnuts for an overall softer texture.
  • Kimchi potstickers (specifically napa cabbage kimchi) are popular and definitely a favorite in my household. You can make them vegetarian or incorporate them into a meat filling. Just squeeze as much liquid from the kimchi as you can, chop and stir into the filling!
A close up on potstickers with soy sauce.

More Delicious Potsticker and Dumpling Recipes You Will Love

Panfried potstickers with ramekin of sauce.
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Potstickers

A classic potsticker recipe made with pork. Pan seared for a delicious crispy texture. You can easily make a big batch of these and freeze them for later.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine asian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 264kcal

Ingredients

pork filling

  • 12 ounces ground pork
  • 1 baby bok choy, diced (about 1 1/4 cups, diced)
  • 6 water chestnuts, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

assembly

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 40 round wonton wrappers
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

yangnyeom ganjang

  • cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons gochujaru (Korean chili powder)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Place all filling ingredients into a bowl and mix together until well combined. Set aside.
  • Brush perimeter of a wonton wrapper with the beaten egg and fill center with 1 heaping tablespoon of pork filling.
  • Open your dominant hand, palm side up, and hold fingers together.
  • Place the filled and open wonton wrapper onto your fingers and fold the wrapper in half, only sealing the corner of one side. 
  • Using your other hand, push small pleats onto one side of the wrapper, pressing and sealing with the hand holding the potsticker. 
  • Set aside and repeat until all filling and wrappers have been used.
  • Heat a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil.
  • Add 5 to 6 pot stickers to skillet, so the crimped side is up, and pan-fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add about 3 tablespoons water to the pan and cover for 2 to 4 minute or until the wonton wrappers have softened and steamed and the filling has finished cooking through.
  • Remove from heat and repeat until all potstickers have been cooked. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
  • Choganjang: Place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Serve with potstickers.

Notes

  • Makes: 40 Potstickers (10 servings)
  • Freeze Ahead: Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment then place uncooked potstickers onto the baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart (they shouldn’t touch one another). Then pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they are completely frozen you can transfer them into a resealable bag. They will keep for 3 to 4 months.
  • To Steam: Fill a pot with a couple inches of water and top with a bamboo steamer (or a metal steamer basket). Line steamer base or basket with a single layer of lettuce leaves (such as savoy lettuce). Place potstickers over lettuce about 1 inch apart and cover with lid. Place pot over medium-high heat and steam for about 10 minutes or until filling has cooked through.
  • Tip: It’s helpful to remove the skillet from the heat before adding the water, then quickly covering before returning the skillet to the stovetop. This will help to prevent any of the oil in the skillet from spattering up and possibly catching on fire from the stovetop flames (particularly if using a gas stovetop).
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 1114mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 682IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

The post Potstickers appeared first on Spoon Fork Bacon.

Honey Fire Party Ribs

Honey fire party ribs in the crutch on the smoker.

Our recipe for smoked party ribs was such a hit, so we decided to kick things up a notch. Say…

The post Honey Fire Party Ribs appeared first on Over The Fire Cooking.

Honey fire party ribs in the crutch on the smoker.

Our recipe for smoked party ribs was such a hit, so we decided to kick things up a notch. Say a big barbecue hello to honey fire party ribs, which feature our brand-new HNY FYR BBQ Sauce! I’m so stoked for you to try this sauce — it’s spicy, it’s sweet, it does it all. If you missed out on the original party ribs, it’s one of those viral trend recipes you see all over TikTok, but this one is actually worth it. Party ribs and its spicy but sweet sibling are like smoked pork belly burnt ends, but the best thing is these recipes use individual ribs instead.

Honey fire party ribs in the crutch on the smoker.

Why You’ll Love Honey Fire Party Ribs

I said it in my recent roundup about burnt ends, but this type of meat candy is the very definition of barbecue. When we combine those flavors with baby back ribs — which are always great for a crowd — we’ve got the best of all worlds. Adding this new barbecue sauce when we cook the ribs in the crutch makes it so freakin’ delicious. 

For more rib recipes, check out Smoked Ribs with Bourbon Mop Sauce, Smoked Garlic Jalapeño Beef Ribs, Rotisserie Beef Ribs and Cherry Cola Spare Ribs.

Honey Fire Party Ribs Ingredients

  • Baby Back Ribs: We’ll use two racks so you’re definitely ready for a party, plus my Maple Bourbon Rub and FYR BLK Hot Sauce to get some incredible flavor. 
  • Crutch: So, this is where the magic happens for the most tender ribs. Butter, the HNY FYR BBQ Sauce, brown sugar, sliced jalapenos, garlic and honey? Doesn’t get much better. 

Get stoked for life

This sauce is FYR!

an all-new line created for live fire cooking

Born from a deep passion for food and flavor. Whether you’re grilling in the backyard or live fire cooking around the world, we have what you need to transform every meal into an adventure.

Simple Honey Slaw

Ribs aren’t the only thing that benefit from hot sauce and honey — slaw does too! To make a simple side for these honey fire party ribs, combine a bag of coleslaw mix (or half a head of red cabbage, shredded, plus a couple grated carrots) with three thinly sliced scallions, the juice from one lime and about a teaspoon of salt. Then, toss that veggie mixture together and let it sit for about five minutes. Finally, add a dollop or two of mayo, a few dashes of hot sauce, a teaspoon of honey and a handful of chopped cilantro. Serve and enjoy with these ribs!

Honey Fire Party Ribs

The stoke level is high on this one, so let’s get these ribs fired up!

Preparing the Ribs

First, get a good grip and begin by removing the membrane on the back of the ribs. Cut the racks into individual ribs, then slather with 1/4 cup of FYR BLK Hot Sauce. Season generously with 1 cup of my Maple Bourbon Rub and set to the side.

Honey fired party ribs seasoned and ready for the grill.

Smoking the Ribs

Preheat your smoker for 250 degrees Fahrenheit to cook these ribs indirectly. Add wood chips or wood chunks if you desire. Then, add the ribs to cook indirectly until they reach 165 degrees F internal temperature (about 1.5 hours).

Honey fired party ribs on the smoker.

Cooking in the Crutch

Once the ribs hit temperature, add to a foil bin with your Pendleton Whisky and all the ingredients for the crutch: 2 ounces Pendleton Whisky, 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1 cup of HNY FYR BBQ Sauce, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 3 tablespoons sliced jalapenos, 2 tablespoons minced garlic and 1.5 tablespoons of honey. Cover in foil and place back on the smoker for one more hour.

Preparing the crutch ingredients for honey fired party ribs.

Caramelizing the Honey Fire Party Ribs 

After your hour, uncover the ribs and let them cook on the smoker for another 20-30 minutes to caramelize. Once you’re good with the texture, pull them off the smoker and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

One of our honey fired party ribs, ready to eat.

What to Serve with Honey Fire Party RIbs

​Classic BBQ sides are the way to go here. The simple honey slaw is so freakin’ delicious with these ribs, and you can try the jalapeno-cheddar cornbread from my original smoked party ribs recipe too. A simple green salad would be great too. 

Leftovers and Reheating

If you’ve got leftovers, wrap them in foil or an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-5 days. A low, slow oven is the best way to reheat these juicy ribs so they don’t dry out. Place your leftover ribs on a baking sheet, cover tightly with heavy duty foil and reheat at 200-205 degrees. Make sure you’ve got extra barbecue sauce for this next meal!

For More Pork BBQ

FAQs

What’s the difference between baby back ribs, St. Louis style ribs and spare ribs? 

Baby back ribs usually have more meat on the top of the ribs than on the sides of the ribs. That’s why they work well in this honey fire party ribs recipe.

The bones are more curved and they come from the upper part of the pig’s back. St. Louis style ribs and spare ribs are actually two names for the same cut. They have more meat between the bones and fat between the ribs and come from the belly of the pig. The meat on St. Louis style ribs isn’t always as tender as baby back ribs, but the flavor is awesome. 

I don’t have your new sauce yet! What do I do? 

No worries! You can use your favorite homemade barbecue sauce instead. Because we want to get that extra honey flavor, I’d bump up the amount of honey in the crutch to about 3 tablespoons. 

What do I do with the rest of the Pendleton Whisky? 

Make a Gold Rush cocktail. It’s basically a whiskey sour with honey syrup in place of the simple syrup. See? Honey’s great with everything!

Get The Cookbooks!

Flavor X Fire & FOOD X Fire

By Derek Wolf

All the major tastes—salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami—are explored in depth, along with an investigation of other components you should consider when it comes to flavor, such as aroma, heat, and texture.

Honey fire party ribs in the crutch on the smoker.
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Honey Fire Party Ribs

Honey fire party ribs is a sweet and spicy take on party ribs, a viral trend recipe.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 781kcal
Author Derek Wolf

Ingredients

Ribs:

Crutch:

  • 6 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup HNY FYR BBQ Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Sliced Jalapenos
  • 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp Honey

Instructions

  • Begin by removing the membrane on the back of the pork ribs.
  • Cut the ribs into singles then slather in FYR BLK Hot Sauce. Season generously with my Maple Bourbon Rub and set to the side.
  • Preheat your smoke for 250F cooking indirectly. Add wood chips or wood chunks if you desire.
  • Add the ribs to cook indirectly until 165F internal (about 1.5 hours).
  • Once they hit temperature, add to a foil bin with your Pendleton Whisky and all the ingredients for the crutch (including my new HNY FYR BBQ Sauce).
  • Cover in foil and place back on the smoker for one more hour.
  • After your hour, uncover the ribs and let cook for another 30 minutes to caramelize. Once good, pull off and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Simple Honey Slaw
Ribs aren’t the only thing that benefit from hot sauce and honey — slaw does too! To make a simple side for these honey fire party ribs, combine a bag of cole slaw mix (or half a head of red cabbage, shredded, plus a couple grated carrots) with three thinly sliced scallions, the juice from one lime and about a teaspoon of salt. Then, toss that veggie mixture together. Let it sit for about five minutes. Finally, add a dollop or two of mayo, a few dashes of hot sauce, a teaspoon of honey and a handful of chopped cilantro. Serve and enjoy with these ribs!

Nutrition

Calories: 781kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 841mg | Potassium: 729mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 1617IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 437mg | Iron: 17mg

The post Honey Fire Party Ribs appeared first on Over The Fire Cooking.

Easy BLT Pasta Salad

This 30-minute no-brainer side dish is perfect to throw together right before the potluck! Bacon, lettuce, and tomato have never been so right together. Add some grilled or rotisserie chicken to make it a quick dinner.  Originally published July 30, 2015. I’ve never claimed to be the most attentive driver, but lately it’s getting out of hand. My…

This 30-minute no-brainer side dish is perfect to throw together right before the potluck! Bacon, lettuce, and tomato have never been so right together. Add some grilled or rotisserie chicken to make it a quick dinner.  Originally published July 30, 2015.

close up shot of BLT pasta salad.
Table of Contents
  1. This BLT Pasta Salad is perfect for a potluck!
  2. BLT Pasta Salad Recipe ingredients
  3. How to make a BLT Pasta Salad with Mayo
  4. More great pasta salads you’ll enjoy!
  5. Easy BLT Pasta Salad Recipe

I’ve never claimed to be the most attentive driver, but lately it’s getting out of hand. My GPS will tell me to turn left, and it’s only after I start to go that I realize that it’s a RED LIGHT. This has happened more than once. Don’t worry, I haven’t nailed any little old ladies crossing the street…yet.

Have you seen that Office episode where the GPS tells Michael Scott to turn and he drives into the lake? This is me. Can I get an applause for being personally responsible for the death of common sense? Well, me and Michael. A fictional character.

BLT pasta salad shot from up close.

I’ve mentioned that our tomatoes are going crazy lately. Eric and I picked over 20 yesterday. (Anyone have a good recipe for spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes??) I wanted to make something BLT-inspired because tomatoes + bacon = you win. Throw in some mayonnaise and you’re really gettin goin.

Anytime I think of BLTs I think of this line from Miracle Max in The Princess Bride (probably my favorite movie of all time), “Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT, a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. [smacks lips] They’re so perky. I love that.” Perky?? I love YOU, Miracle Max.

BLT pasta salad.

This BLT Pasta Salad is perfect for a potluck!

This is a big crowd-pleasing bowl of potluck goodness. Ever been to a potluck and the pasta salads are kinda questionable? Like, you’re thinking to yourself “I don’t know what those weird vegetables are but I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t be in there?” Ok perfect, this is the salad for you. Bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo are the stars, just like in a good ol’ BLT

We took this to a potluck and every speck got polished off. If you want people devouring your pasta salad and asking you for the recipe, this is the one for you.  Also, it only takes 30 minutes to make, so even if you’re rushing, you can still avoid showing up empty-handed.

BLT Pasta Salad Recipe ingredients

Here’s a quick list of everything you’ll need to make this pasta salad. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more! 

  • rotini pasta
  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • BBQ sauce
  • garlic (minced)
  • vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • green onions
  • tomatoes
  • iceberg lettuce
  • thick-cut bacon

How to make a BLT Pasta Salad with Mayo

Boil your water and add salt. Some people say that pasta water should be “as salty as the sea.” I have two questions. 1) Are you drinking boiling water?? 2) Are you tasting the ocean??? Just add a tablespoon for a big pot of water, the amount you’d cook a pound of pasta in.

Only cook the noodles until they’re al dente. That means they should have a little bite to them. Use the lowest recommended cooking time on the package, then remove a noodle with a slotted spoon or tongs, let it cool, and test it (by test it I mean eat it). 

cooling cooked macaroni with ice cubes.

I made this salad for a church potluck, and of course I started making it later than I should have. It wasn’t going to be cold in time. As I was rinsing the pasta I thought, hm, ice cubes?

YES. I put some in the colander with the noodles and they cooled off within just a few minutes. Does everyone else already know this trick?? It’s so obvious, but I’ve never even thought of it before. Hooray for cold pasta salads! And not room temperature ones, please. (Ignore the fact that this is macaroni, I shot this on round 2 of this recipe. Rotini is better, trust me.)

cooked, chopped bacon.
Baconnnnnn. I’m actually feeling pretty good about that fact that this is not mutton.

Keep the bacon separate and add it to individual servings (or the whole salad, if you’re heading to an event) just before serving. That’ll keep it nice and crispy.

a bowl of BLT pasta salad.

I love the tang of the BBQ sauce in the dressing. It’s not overwhelming and doesn’t really taste like BBQ. Eric and I made this 2 days in a row because there wasn’t any leftover after the potluck, and we needed more BLT in our lives. It’s just the perfect summer food! Throw on some grilled or rotisserie chicken to make a meal out of it. (Or more bacon…)

a bowl of BLT pasta salad.

More great pasta salads you’ll enjoy!

Lemon Tarragon Pasta Salad >> one of my favorite salads ever!

The Best Macaroni Pasta Salad >> trust me guys, I made a million batches, it’s PERFECT

Italian Tortellini and Pepperoni Pasta Salad >> amazing flavor, so easy to make

Avocado Pasta Salad from Spend with Pennies

Greek Pasta Salad from Just a Taste

Creamy Cheddar Pasta Salad from Center Cut Cook

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Easy BLT Pasta Salad from The Food Charlatan
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Easy BLT Pasta Salad

This 30-minute no-brainer side dish is perfect to throw together right before the potluck! Bacon, lettuce, and tomato have never been so right together. Add some grilled or rotisserie chicken to make it a quick dinner.  
 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 560kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons BBQ sauce or to taste
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 bunch green onions sliced (to taste)
  • 2-4 tomatoes chopped, (depending on how much you like tomatoes)
  • 1/2 head ice berg lettuce chopped, or more to taste*
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon cooked and crumbled/chopped

Instructions

  • In a 3 quart pot, boil a couple quarts of water. Add a tablespoon of salt. When it boils, add the pasta and stir occasionally until it is al dente. (Don’t over cook!) Check the packaging for times.
  • Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water. If you are in a big rush, add some ice cubes to the noodles and stir every now and then. If your dressing is not ready, drizzle with olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
  • In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, BBQ sauce, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir well.
  • Add the cooled pasta, the green onions, tomatoes, add lettuce. Stir in the bacon just before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Notes

*Make sure you chop up the crunchy inside part…I peeled off the first couple layers of leafy green on the outside. You know, the healthiest part…
I highly recommend baking your bacon! So much easier.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 794mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

Sausage and Kale Soup (Zuppa Toscana)

Zuppa Toscana is a rich and creamy, soul-satisfying soup made with Italian sausage, potatoes, and hearty kale. It’s a copycat recipe of the famous soup at Olive Garden. I could eat this stuff for days! Originally posted December 14, 2011. Zuppa Toscana Olive Garden Copycat Have you ever tried the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive…

Zuppa Toscana is a rich and creamy, soul-satisfying soup made with Italian sausage, potatoes, and hearty kale. It’s a copycat recipe of the famous soup at Olive Garden. I could eat this stuff for days! Originally posted December 14, 2011.

Zuppa Toscana recipe in a white bowl with spoon and Italian sausage
Table of Contents
  1. Zuppa Toscana Olive Garden Copycat
  2. What is Zuppa Toscana Soup?
  3. Zuppa Toscana Ingredients
  4. How to make Zuppa Toscana Soup
  5. How spicy is Zuppa Toscana Soup?
  6. How to thicken this Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe
  7. How to store Sausage Kale Soup
  8. More hearty soups you are going to love!
  9. Sausage Kale Soup Recipe

Zuppa Toscana Olive Garden Copycat

Have you ever tried the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden? I love to go there for lunch and get their bottomless soup and breadsticks deal (technically I think this is called the “soup and salad deal” but let’s be real, I’m here for the bread and creamy soup.)

Zuppa toscana recipe in a teal pot with a serving spoon

I posted a version of this recipe on the blog back in 2011, and still love to make it on cold winter nights. It’s a family favorite and a huge crowd pleaser!

I’m including a story I told about trying to find kale at the grocery store and failing miserably (I was 24 and knew a lot less things back then; I would say that it’s because the kale revolution hadn’t really taken hold yet, but the truth is that I was just even more of a charlatan back then than I am now.) Here’s a much younger Karen:

Sometimes I think schools should be required to teach a course on American produce items.  It would have been more useful for me than, say, Algebra 2 was.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana in a white bowl with sausage and kale

I had never bought kale before I made this soup.  I went to the store, picked up 2 bunches of the green leafy things marked Kale, and went to the checkout.  The cashier held them up: Turnips, right?  “Uh, nope, it’s kale.”  No, these are turnips, she said.

(I thought turnips were purple and bulbous.  Am I basing this entirely on a magnet that my mom had on her fridge for years that depicted a fat little purple guy saying, Turnip your nose at fat! Yes.)

Zuppa Toscana Olive garden in a black bowl on a wooden table

So I went back to the produce section to obtain the correct green leaves.  I asked a bystander if she knew which one was kale, since they were obviously mislabeled.  She looked around and told me that they must be out of kale because it wasn’t there.  When I asked her what it looks like, she said that kale is crinkly and dark green, and that they use it as a garnish on serving plates sometimes.  I smiled sweetly and thought to myself, No, that’s parsley. You’re an idiot.

zuppa toscana soup recipe held up on a serving spoon with potatoes kale and sausage

Looking back, this is extremely harsh because obviously I have issues when it comes to identifying produce. And I really had to repent when last night at Eric’s work Christmas party, I saw, garnishing the carrots and cherry tomatoes on the vegetable tray, you got it: kale.

sausage kale soup in a white bowl and black bowl on a wooden board with parmesan

Well, vegetable confusion and judgments aside, I think this might be the best soup I have ever eaten. It’s a knock off of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. You’ve had it, right??

What is Zuppa Toscana Soup?

Zuppa Toscana is Italian American fusion at it’s best! It literally translates to “Tuscan soup” and is a riff on a traditional Tuscan soup called minestra di pane (which means “bread soup”). Zuppa Toscana keeps the iconic kale and potatoes but adds Italian sausage and cream. Um, yes.

So basically it’s sausage and potatoes drenched in perfectly seasoned cream, with a little green kale to make you feel good about yourself. This fact, however, could not convince my 5-year-old niece to eat it. We told her, This is pretty much like eating melted ice cream. You do like ice cream, don’t you? She wasn’t buying it. I’m not complaining. More leftovers for me.

Zuppa Toscana Ingredients

So, kale. Did you read enough up there yet to figure out how to purchase it in the produce section the way I WASN’T? Here are the other ingredients you need while we’re at it.

  • Kale (NOT turnips)
  • Italian sausage. I like mild but spicy works great too.
  • Large onion
  • Russet potatoes
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Garlic
  • Chicken broth
  • Whole milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Flour

How to make Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana is actually really easy to make, and it’s all done in one pot! Here’s a basic overview:

Start with some onions, garlic, and Italian sausage.

Chopping onions for soup, draining italian sausage

I like to use mild sausage and adjust the heat with red pepper flakes, but feel free to use hot sausage (or do a combo of both.) Here’s how I drain my sausage: line a bowl with foil, tilt the pot to the side, and use a ladle to spoon out the grease.

Slicing potatoes in a food processor

Use a food processor to slice all the potatoes, they cut it to the perfect size. You can just use a knife if you don’t have one. No need to peel, those skins add great texture! Add it to the pot after the broth and cook til tender.

Destemming kale, kale in a measuring cup

Chop or tear your kale into bite size pieces. Make sure you cut out all the thick ribbing, nobody wants to chew through a thick stem. Use 1 big bunch of kale, or about 5 cups.

lots of kale in a big teal pot of soup

You’re going to feel so trendy and healthy adding all these magical superpower greens to your soup. Be sure to use your “Kale yeah!” tote bag today.

Except then you cancel out the kale magic by adding a pint of cream. No regrets. Yolo people.

Zuppa toscana copycat recipe in a white bowl shot from overhead

How spicy is Zuppa Toscana Soup?

Zuppa Toascana is pretty mild at Olive Garden, but the beauty of making it homemade is that you can adjust the spice level! Use mild Italian sausage if you like it more tame (or feeding kids), use hot Italian sausage if you like it spicy. You can always increase the heat level with crushed red pepper flakes too, or add it to individual servings to kick up the spice.

How to thicken this Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe

The cream gives this soup such a perfect thick and rich texture. We are also thickening the soup by making a soft roux in the beginning, that’s what the flour is for. That said, if you like it to be extra thick, consider mashing some of the potatoes with a fork before serving.

How to store Sausage Kale Soup

Can you freeze Zuppa Toscana Soup?

Yes! If you know ahead of time that you are going to freeze, stop the cooking process before the potatoes are fully soft. Then cook them over gentle heat after thawing. Potatoes can be frozen, but they are so watery that they tend to break down in the thawing process. Undercooking is best because it will help the potato hold together later.

How long does Zuppa Toscana last in the fridge?

Store Zuppa Toscana in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze it in a ziplock or in a tupperware. You can try freezing it in individual portions for easy reheating! It warms beautifully in the microwave or on the stove on medium heat once it’s been defrosted in a microwave or in the fridge overnight.

Here’s an original photo from when I posted this back in 2011:

Sausage Potato & Kale Soup in a white bowl with spoon and purple napkin

Oh dear. I’m pretty sure that purple thing is a pillow case??

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Sausage Kale Soup

Zuppa Toscana is a rich and creamy, soul-satisfying soup made with Italian sausage, potatoes, and hearty kale. It’s a copycat recipe of the famous soup at Olive Garden. I could eat this stuff for days!
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10
Calories 560kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (I like mild)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes sliced
  • 1 large bunch kale about 5 cups
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • more shredded Parmesan to garnish

Instructions

  • In a large soup pot, add 1 and 1/2 pounds sausage over medium high heat. You can use mild sausage or a combination of hot and mild.
  • Add 1 large onion, chopped.  Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage.
  • Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (remember you can always add more later). Continue sautéing for about 7-10 minutes, until the sausage is thoroughly cooked.
  • Add 4 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté for one more minute, until garlic is fragrant.
  • Turn off the heat and drain the grease from the soup pot. There are lots of ways to do this, but I usually tilt the pot to one side and ladle the grease out into a foil-lined bowl (then refrigerate the grease and toss in the garbage).
  • Turn the heat back on to medium high and stir in 2 tablespoons flour.
  • Once the flour is incorporated, slowly add 4 cups of chicken broth while stirring.  You want the flour to thicken the broth, not get clumpy, so go slow.
  • Slowly add 3 cups of whole milk while stirring.
  • Scrub your potatoes well to get rid of the dirt, then use a sharp knife or food processor to slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick coins.
  • Add the potatoes to the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and bring to a low boil.
  • Once the soup is at a low simmer, continue simmering for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • Meanwhile, prep the kale. Wash it well and use a sharp knife to cut out the thick stems all the way up the leaf.  Tear or cut the kale into bite size pieces.
  • When the potatoes are tender, add the kale to the soup.
  • Add two cups of cream and stir very gently. You don’t want to demolish all of your nice tender potatoes. Just move your spoon around enough so that all the kale is mostly covered with liquid.
  • Turn the heat to low and let cook for another 15 minutes, until the kale is wilted.
  • Gently stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1447mg | Potassium: 856mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2174IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 2mg

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Have you ever had traditional Red Beans and Rice? It’s a southern staple! I tried Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice for the first time a while back, but these beans are even better. They are so creamy and flavorful, with the perfect smoky Cajun spice!  Originally posted August 31, 2018. I took the kids off…

Have you ever had traditional Red Beans and Rice? It’s a southern staple! I tried Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice for the first time a while back, but these beans are even better. They are so creamy and flavorful, with the perfect smoky Cajun spice!  Originally posted August 31, 2018.

red beans and rice with fried chicken.
Table of Contents
  1. The BEST Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeye’s!)
  2. Homemade Red Beans and Rice Ingredients
  3. How to make Cajun Red Beans and Rice from scratch
  4. What foods go with Red Beans and Rice?
  5. Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe FAQs
  6. More bean recipes you are going to love!
  7. Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeyes!) Recipe

I took the kids off to school for their first day this morning! Valentine is at home with me still, and 2 seconds after we got home she managed to spill an entire cup of milk all over the kitchen. I walk in and start cleaning it up, and she keeps saying “S**t… s**t… s**t.” I’m dying laughing and trying to figure out where she learned that word (because no one in our house uses it) when I realize that she spilled milk on her SHIRT.

cute little girl at a table with spilled milk.

No use crying over spilled milk, right? She’s so cute I can’t even be mad at her. Also, a baby cussing (even if unintentional) is so funny that it makes a spilled milk situation a lot more bearable.

The BEST Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeye’s!)

I ate at Popeye’s for the first time just a few months ago, and now I’m totally obsessed with their red beans and rice. I told my brother Nathan about it and he just rolled his eyes at me. He lived in Richmond, Virginia for a few years in residency, so he had access to legit southern food. Popeye’s might not be a real Southerner’s top choice for where to get red beans and rice, but for this California girl who had never even heard of it? I was in love. Also, today’s recipe is even better than Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice, thanks to the meaty ham bone we are using. It makes the beans so smoky and delicious!

a big serving spoon of red beans.

(But really though, shout out to Popeye’s. Again, I’m not Southern, but that place has delicious food. Nathan told me that once in Richmond they had a fried chicken contest with a bunch of local restaurants, and Popeye’s chicken won. BOOM.)

If you aren’t from the south (more specifically, New Orleans), you might not have heard of this delightful red beans and rice combination. Rice and beans is nothing new of course, but it’s the special Cajun twist on the beans that makes it unique. Traditionally it was made on Mondays, because that was laundry day, and you could set the pot of beans on the stove to cook all day while you were working. Red beans and rice was Louis Armstrong’s favorite food, and he used to sign letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours,” how cute is that?

a big pot of red beans.

Homemade Red Beans and Rice Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need. Quantities given in recipe below!

  • Dry red beans (you can substitute kidney beans)
  • Meaty ham bone or ham hock (another option is andouille sausage)
  • 6-8 cups hot cooked rice
  • Large onion (yellow or red)
  • Green bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (you can substitute another brand of bouillon cubes, but I highly recommend Better Than Bouillon)
  • Garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Bay leaves
  • Dried parsley
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
red beans and rice with fried chicken.

How to make Cajun Red Beans and Rice from scratch

I’m letting you in on a few secrets about cooking beans from scratch, so here’s a basic overview and what to watch out for. (All instructions are given in the recipe below.)

Chop the onions, celery, and bell peppers. Make sure to chop up some of those celery leaves to go in the beans. They have so much flavor!

chopped onion and celery on a wooden cutting board.

Cook the veggies up in some oil and then add garlic.

Reduce heat and add the spices.

Add in the dry, un-soaked beans. (Keep reading below for more on why you don’t have to pre-soak your beans.)

uncooked red beans in a bowl, red beans in a pot with a ham hock and vegetables.
(Aren’t those red beans beautiful? If you can’t find them, kidney beans work great too!)

Add water and ham bone. Pro tip: save your ham bone whenever you make a ham. It gives the beans such an amazing smoky flavor. They will keep for a long time in the freezer. I’m pretty sure the one I used for this recipe was from last Thanksgiving, almost a year ago. If you don’t happen to have one, use a ham hock, those work great too and you can just buy them in the meat department. Also, lots of people have tried this recipe with andouille sausage with great success!

Cover with lid and simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Now it’s just a matter of waiting until your beans are tender, creamy, and have absorbed all that amazing Cajun flavor! Low and slow is really the best way to cook beans. It’s the perfect lazy-day-at-home meal.

red beans and rice with fried chicken.

What foods go with Red Beans and Rice?

Red beans and rice is considered a main dish all on its own. It really does fill you up and leave you satisfied! This is true especially if you use a ham bone that is nice and meaty.

red beans and rice with fried chicken.

But if you are craving a main dish that is not so beany, fried chicken is your best bet. It tastes amazing with these beans. I picked some up at the grocery store. I actually don’t have a recipe for fried chicken (have not mastered that technique yet! Anyone have a good recipe?) but these beans would taste great with this Simply Amazing Grilled Chicken Marinade.

You could also check out my post for How to Make Ultra Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits, because what’s better than buttery biscuits and beans?? It would also pair amazingly well with My Favorite Coleslaw. Put this all together and you will have an amazing Southern feast!

UPDATE! A reader named Patrick commented below and mentioned that Red Beans and Rice is served with French bread in New Orleans, not biscuits. So here’s my favorite recipe for One Hour French Bread! Thanks Patrick!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe FAQs

Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?

No, they are not the same. Red beans are smaller, and (ironically) more pinkish than kidney beans, which are a deep crimson. You can use kidney beans in this recipe if that’s all you can find, but I highly recommend red beans if available. They have a nuttier, “beanier” flavor, and a more creamy texture than kidney beans.

Is Red Beans and Rice supposed to be soupy?

To some extent, yes! In my family we lovingly refer to this as “bean gravy” as described in this Tejano Pinto Beans recipe.

The bean gravy should be nice and thick.

Hopefully you can tell from the photos that red beans do NOT have the texture of refried beans. They are not completely mashed. Most of the beans should retain their shape and be swimming in a delectable pool of bean gravy, the better to soak into your rice.

What do red beans taste like?

Red beans have a rich flavor that make them perfect for being the star of a main dish. They taste nutty and mild, similar to a pinto bean. When you add red beans to a recipe, you are adding red bean flavor to the dish, rather than a bean that is mostly useful for absorbing the flavors around it (like a white bean).

What happens if you don’t soak beans before cooking?

Nothing at all. You do NOT need to soak the dry beans overnight. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many recipes call for this unnecessary step. Now, it is true for some people that you can reduce some of the, ahem, intestinal effects of beans by soaking for a few hours and discarding the water (every stomach is different). But it is absolutely not necessary and in my opinion a huge waste of time.

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Red Beans on top of white rice with fried chicken
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Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeyes!)

This recipe is a southern staple! They are so creamy and flavorful, with the perfect smoky Cajun spice! 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 398kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • about 7 cups water
  • 1 pound dry red beans rinsed*
  • meaty ham bone or ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups hot cooked rice or more

Instructions

  • Prep your veggies: chop the onion, bell pepper, and 2 stalks celery. I like to chop the ends of the celery (so that some of the leaves get chopped also) instead of pulling off the stalks. Whichever way you choose will work!
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once it is hot and shimmering, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Saute for 6-8 minutes, until the onions start to become translucent.
  • Mince 2 tablespoons garlic. In a small bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon sage, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Add the garlic and spices to the pot and saute for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add about 7 cups of water and 1 pound of rinsed red beans. Add the ham bone or ham hock. Add 2 bay leaves.
  • Stir it all together over high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, so that it is just barely bubbling. 
  • Cover with a lid and keep it at a low simmer for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours. About halfway through the cooktime, either remove the lid or tilt it so that the beans can vent. 
  • After 2-3 hours, taste the beans. They should be tender and flavorful. If they are at all dry or chalky, keep cooking. 
  • Add another half teaspoon or so of salt, or to taste. Add more Cajun seasoning to taste. 
  • Remove the ham bone and bay leaves. Chop any meat left on the bone and return the meat to the beans. Discard the bone. 
  • Serve with hot rice. See notes for a basic recipe!

Notes

*You can also use dry kidney beans if you can’t find red beans.
Basic rice recipe: For this amount of beans, I like to use about 3 cups of DRY rice:
  • 3 cups dry white rice
  • 4 and 1/2 cups water
  • scant tablespoon kosher salt (2 and 1/4 teaspoon if using table salt)
  • 2-3 teaspoons garlic ( I added the jarred kind)
Add 3 cups dry rice to a medium pot. (You’re supposed to rinse it and I never do…oops.) Add 4 and 1/2 cups water. Add the salt and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once it boils, lower the heat to low. Do not remove the lid. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Turn off the heat and put the lid back on and let steam in the pot for another 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 893mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 247IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4mg