Tomato Herb Soup

I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the […]

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I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the great beginning to a super fast, easy, and delicious homemade Tomato Herb Soup.

Originally published 9-16-2013, updated 10-12-2020.

A mug of tomato herb soup on a plate with a grilled cheese

What Does Tomato Herb Soup Taste Like?

This tomato herb soup is not your everyday canned condensed tomato soup. It’s not sugary sweet, it’s fairly thick, very rich, and has tons of herby flavor. The magic comes from the melange of dried herbs and the quick act of caramelizing the tomato paste to create a rich sweetness. So yum and it gets better as it refrigerates. Oh, did I mention that it just happens to be VEGAN?

What to Serve with Tomato Herb Soup

A classic grilled cheese sandwich is never a bad idea, but you could also do something like Homemade Garlic Bread, or drop a few Homemade Croutons on top, and make a super simple salad to go on the side.

Is it Freezer Friendly?

Yes, this soup holds up really well to freezing, so feel free to stash a couple servings in there for later! I try to use up my frozen foods within three months for best quality, but you may get a longer life out of it. In the refrigerator, the soup should stay good for about 4-5 days.

Overhead view of a mug full of tomato soup with a black spoon in the center
 
Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

Tomato Herb Soup

Use basic pantry staples to create this quick and easy Tomato Herb Soup. It's thick, rich, flavorful, and perfect for grilled cheese dipping!
Total Cost $2.62 recipe / $0.52 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups each
Calories 168.16kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.64
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary $0.03
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.39
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.39

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and add it to a sauce pot along with the olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic has softened.
  • Add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Stir until everything is mixed (the oil may stay partially separated). Cook the mixture while stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker, almost burgundy hue.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium and heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5Cups | Calories: 168.16kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.6g | Protein: 2.86g | Fat: 11.44g | Sodium: 731.8mg | Fiber: 4.68g

How to Make Tomato Herb Soup – Step by Step Photos

Oil garlic and herbs in a soup pot

Start by adding ¼ cup olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a sauce pot. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté the herbs in the oil for about two minutes, or until the garlic has softened.

Tomato paste and brown sugar added to the pot

Add 6 oz. tomato paste and 1 Tbsp brown sugar to the pot. Stir until everything is pretty well combined (the oil may never fully mix in). Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker burgundy hue (see photo below).

crushed tomatoes being poured into the pot

Add one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are smaller bits than diced tomatoes, but not quite as smooth as tomato sauce. It’s somewhere in between, and doesn’t have any seasoning added.

Vegetable broth being poured into the pot

Also add 3 cups of vegetable broth, which will thin the soup out, add depth of flavor, and just the right amount of salt. I use this Better Than Bouillon to quickly mix up the exact amount of broth that I need.

finished tomato herb soup being lifted with a ladle

Then just whisk everything together and heat through! The end! The flavors are even better the next day.

Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

OMG – grilled cheese + tomato soup FTW!

Now give yourself a high-five for making such a delicious soup in under 30 minutes.

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Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

Here’s a little quickie for you this weekend! I’m always looking for ways to use up the odds and ends of my fresh spinach, and  Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta is one of my go-to methods for making sure no spinach goes to waste. It’s fast (like, fast enough to make on a weekday), […]

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Here’s a little quickie for you this weekend! I’m always looking for ways to use up the odds and ends of my fresh spinach, and  Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta is one of my go-to methods for making sure no spinach goes to waste. It’s fast (like, fast enough to make on a weekday), super delish, and makes me feel pampered. Plus, I’ll share several different ways you can serve or customize these eggs so you’ll have plenty of options!

Two plates with scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and orange slices

How to Serve Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

You might be thinking, “who doesn’t know how to serve scrambled eggs??” Well, in addition to serving scrambled eggs on a plate with toast, like in the photos in this post, there are actually some other fun things that you can do with these eggs once they’re made. My favorite? Make them into a quesadilla! Pile the scrambled eggs with spinach and feta onto half of a tortilla, top with a little more shredded mozzarella, fold it closed, then toast it in a skillet. BOOM. So delish.

You can also stuff the scrambled eggs into a breakfast wrap with some bacon, or into a pita for a really easy, handheld, on-the-go breakfast. Or how about a bagelwich? Yes please! And lastly, you can use these scrambled eggs as a topper for a breakfast bowl meal. 

What Else Can I Add?

Spinach and feta is really just a starting point. I like to add whatever vegetables I have laying around in the fridge to my scrambled eggs. Diced bell pepper is awesome, as are tomatoes. Got leftover green onions? Slice ’em up and toss them in there! Have half of a leftover avocado? Use it to top your eggs. The sky really is the limit here.

Green Eggs and Ham

Here’s your chance to fulfill your childhood Dr. Seuss dreams, friends. The juices from the fresh spinach do turn the eggs a little green, especially if they sit on your plate for a little while before you get a chance to eat. But I absolutely love the idea of adding ham to these scrambled eggs to make it a true “green eggs and ham” breakfast. How fun! I would dice the ham and sauté it in the skillet first, then add the spinach and continue on as directed below.

Side view of a plate with scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and oranges

 
A plate full of scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and orange slices

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

These tasty scrambled eggs with spinach and feta are fast and easy enough to prepare on a weekday, and are perfect for using up spinach!
Total Cost $2.31 recipe / $1.16 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 250.75kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.65
  • 4 large eggs $0.92
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.13
  • 1 oz. feta $0.55
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 pinch salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Roughly chop the spinach into smaller pieces (about 1-inch pieces). This step is optional and can be skipped to make breakfast faster, but I prefer the smaller pieces that don't get stringy like whole spinach leaves can tend to be.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt, and whisk (I prefer ribbons of white and yellow, but you can whisk until even if preferred).
  • Add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chopped spinach and sauté until the spinach has softened (2-3 minutes)
  • Push the sautéed spinach to the outside edges of the skillet and pour the eggs into the center. Gently fold the eggs as the bottom layer solidifies, until the eggs are about 75% solid. Fold the eggs into the sautéed spinach, then turn off the heat. The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking the eggs without overcooking or drying them out.
  • Top the eggs with the crumbled feta, a little freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 250.75kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.6g | Protein: 16.2g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 589.3mg | Fiber: 1.3g

Scrambled eggs with spinach and feta on a plate with toast, half piled onto a slice of toast

How to Make Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta – Step by Step Photos

Chopped spinach on a cutting board

Chop about 4 oz. of spinach into smaller pieces (about 1-inch pieces). The amount of spinach in this recipe is VERY flexible. So use less if you have less, just use up what you’ve got! You can also skip chopping if you’re in a hurry, but I like to chop because whole leaves can be a little stringy sometimes.

Whisked eggs

Crack four large eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt, and whisk to your liking. I like to have some ribbons of white and yellow in my scrambled eggs, but you can whisk more if you like a more even color.

Spinach being added to a skillet with melted butter

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the chopped spinach. Sauté the spinach until it has wilted (2-3 minutes).

Whisked eggs being poured into the skillet with spinach

Push the sautéed spinach out to the outer edges of the skillet, then pour the whisked eggs in the center. Gently fold the eggs as the bottom layer solidifies, until the eggs are about 75% solid.

Eggs folded with spinach in the skillet

Fold the spinach into the eggs, then turn the heat off. The residual heat in the skillet will finish cooking the eggs without overcooking them or drying them out.

Finished eggs with feta and pepper

Finish off the eggs with 1 oz. crumbled feta, some freshly cracked black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

A plate full of scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and orange slices

Enjoy!!

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Quick Garlic Butter Shrimp

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been experimenting a with shrimp a little more lately. Why? It’s super fast and easy to cook, and you can add it to so many different things! So it’s a great à la carte protein that you can cook on the side and then add to any recipe. This […]

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As I mentioned last week, I’ve been experimenting a with shrimp a little more lately. Why? It’s super fast and easy to cook, and you can add it to so many different things! So it’s a great à la carte protein that you can cook on the side and then add to any recipe. This is super helpful for families that need to feed both vegetarians and omnivores. This Garlic Butter Shrimp is super tasty, takes only minutes to make, and can be paired with a variety of different flavored dishes (recommendations below).

Overhead view of a skillet full of Garlic Butter Shrimp

Tips for Enjoying Shrimp on a Budget

Shrimp is not usually thought of as a budget item. But there are ways that you can make it a little more affordable. And you may still only be able to splurge on something like this once per year, depending on your budget, but I want to make sure you know how to cook it when you do. :) So here are some tips for making shrimp work on a budget:

  • Purchasing frozen shrimp is usually less expensive than fresh, and you can keep it on hand without worries of it going bad, so head to your freezer section when shopping for shrimp. And as always, keep an eye out for sales!
  • Buy the right size shrimp for the recipe. Because smaller shrimp have more pieces per pound, it often feels like you’re getting more even when you’re using less. Reserve jumbo shrimp for appetizers or dishes where you’ll be eating one piece at a time. User smaller shrimp for salads, stir fries, pastas, and other recipes where the shrimp will be mixed in with other ingredients.
  • Pair your shrimp with less expensive ingredients, like pasta, rice, or vegetables to keep the overall cost of the recipe down.
  • Compare prices of peeled and shell-on shrimp. Sometimes you pay more for shrimp that is already peeled, but it only takes minutes to remove the shells by hand. 

What Size Shrimp to Use for Garlic Butter Shrimp

This recipe can be made with any size shrimp. Keep in mind that cooking time will be slightly longer for larger shrimp and slightly less for smaller shrimp. Because I planned to add this shrimp to other dishes, like salads, pasta, or rice pilafs, I used a slightly smaller shrimp so I would get more pieces per serving.

The shrimp I used on the day of the photos was 41-60 size, which means there are approximately 41-60 pieces per pound. The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp. This size number is usually listed on the front of the package of shrimp.

Tail On or Tail Off?

You can cook this Garlic Butter Shrimp either with the tail on or the tail off. Leaving the tail on adds to the visual appeal and may add a little extra flavor to the pan sauce, but it can make for extra work while eating the shrimp. If you’re adding the shrimp to a dish where you don’t mind picking the shrimp up by hand to remove the tail as you eat, go ahead and leave the tail on. If you’ll be adding the shrimp to something like a saucy pasta where it would be difficult to pick out each shrimp and remove the tail before eating every bite, then remove the tail before cooking the shrimp.

How to Serve Garlic Butter Shrimp

As I mentioned in the intro, I love this Garlic Butter Shrimp because it’s a super fast protein that can be added on top of just about any recipe, like salads, pastas, stir fries, and more. Try adding this tasty shrimp to recipes like:

Close up of Garlic Butter Shrimp in pan sauce

 
Close up of Garlic Butter Shrimp in pan sauce

Garlic Butter Shrimp

This super quick Garlic Butter Shrimp is a great à la carte protein that can be added to just about any meal!
Total Cost $4.37 recipe / $2.19 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 2 ¼ lb. shrimp each
Calories 289.55kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. shrimp* $3.33
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 fresh lemon** $0.43
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.12
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.05

Instructions

  • If your shrimp is frozen, place it in a colander and run cool water over the shrimp for a couple of minutes, or until thawed. If your shrimp is shell-on or tail-on, remove the shell and tail (if desired). Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  • Squeeze two tablespoons of juice from the lemon. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium until the butter is melted and is beginning to foam.
  • Add the prepared shrimp to the skillet and cook the shrimp on each side just until pink and opaque. Be very careful not to overcook the shrimp. It should only take 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the shrimp.
  • Finally, add the garlic and about 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the skillet. Continue to sauté the shrimp in the garlic butter for about one minute more, or just until the raw edge is cooked out of the garlic.
  • Season the shrimp with a little salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and chopped parsley. Toss to combine, then serve.

Notes

*Use fresh or frozen shrimp, shell and tail on or off. Any size shrimp will work, keeping in mind that larger shrimp will take slightly longer to cook than smaller shrimp.
**If you do not have a lemon you can replace the juice with chicken broth or white wine.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 289.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.1g | Protein: 23.35g | Fat: 20.3g | Sodium: 849.95mg | Fiber: 0.1g

Close up of one garlic butter shrimp with the skillet full in the background

How to Make Garlic Butter Shrimp – Step by Step Photos

Shrimp Package

This is the shrimp I used: frozen, 41-60 size, shell and tail on. You can make Garlic Butter Shrimp with fresh or frozen shrimp, shell and tail on or off, and any size. Just keep in mind that larger shrimp will take slightly longer to cook than smaller shrimp. Whichever size you get, shrimp in general cooks VERY fast and the most important thing to watch out for is that it is not over cooked. Overcooking shrimp makes it tough and rubbery. I used ½ lb. for this recipe, but you can easily double the recipe, if needed.

Thawed shrimp in a colander

If your shrimp is frozen, you’ll want to thaw it before cooking. Luckily, shrimp thaws very quickly! Place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run cool water over it for just a couple of minutes, or until thawed. 

Peeled shrimp next to a bowl of shrimp peels

If your shrimp comes peel-on, go ahead and peel it before cooking. The peel removes very quickly by hand. You can leave the tails on or take them off (see tips above the recipe for when you might want to leave them on vs. off). Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.

Minced garlic and juiced lemon

Mince two cloves of garlic. Juice one lemon. You’ll need about 2 Tbsp of juice, so if you only need to juice half to get that you can slice the other half to use as a garnish. If you don’t have a lemon, you can substitute white wine or chicken broth for the lemon juice.

Butter and olive oil in a skillet

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter to a large skillet. Heat over medium until the butter is melted and beginning to foam.

Shrimp in the skillet being flipped with tongs

Add the prepared shrimp to the skillet and cook on each side just until it’s opaque and pink (this should only take 1-3 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp). Flip the shrimp and cook on the other side. Do not over cook the shrimp. If anything, err on the side of under cooked because they will cook for about one minute more in the next step. In the photo above, you can see the pink shrimp that have been flipped and the grey shrimp that are still raw side facing up.

Garlic and lemon juice being added to the skillet

When the shrimp are cooked, add the minced garlic and lemon juice. Continue to sauté for about one minute more, or until the raw edge is off the garlic.

Chopped parsley added to the skillet

Season the shrimp with a little salt, freshly cracked pepper, and chopped parsley (optional). Toss to combine.

Finished Garlic Butter Shrimp in the skillet

Serve immediately, as-is or on top of your favorite salad, pasta, rice dish, or stir fry!

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Heirloom Apple Salad

The sort of hearty apple salad I love. It has heirloom apples, shaved celery, and toasted nuts of your choosing. The dressing is creamy and spiked with rosemary, garlic and champagne vinegar.

Continue reading Heirloom Apple Salad on 101 Cookbooks

If you’re looking for a simple apple salad, you’re in the right place. There’s a reasonable chance that you have the ingredients needed to make it sprinkled around your kitchen – on counter tops, or in the crisper. And if not, there are lots of ways to make substitutes. It’s hearty and substantial, colorful and crunchy – made with heirloom apples, shaved celery, and toasted nuts of your choosing. The dressing is crème fraîche (or sour cream) spiked with rosemary, garlic and champagne vinegar. 
Heirloom Apple Salad

Apple Salads – All About the Crunch

This salad is big on crunch. And that alone is likely the reason it has become a fall favorite. There’s crunch from crisp apples, celery, and nuts. Pair that with the creaminess in the dressing? It’s a nice contrast. My main tip? Seek out crisp apples with good flavor. And pass on mealy apples.
Heirloom Apple Salad

Substitutions

Think of this recipe as more of a sketch than anything else. I used arugula because it’s what I had on hand, but the baby gems at the market looked great and would have been a nice substitute. Same goes for the nuts. Toast whatever you have on hand – pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts. And on the dressing front, crème fraîche brings a beautiful luxe texture into the mix, but  you can certainly use sour cream or even yogurt, and whatever good-tasting white wine vinegar you like.
Slicing Apples for Apple Salad

Slicing the Apples

Another variable you can experiment is the cut of the apple. You can see my preferred slices up above. They thick enough to retain some snap, and bite-sized. I like them sliced this way so you can get a bit of everything on a fork – some arugula, apple, nuts, etc. But if you really love apples, add more and slice them thicker. I also have it in my notes to do an apple salsa of sorts – with everything chopped smaller & a few serrano chiles chopped and added to the mix. For use on winter panini, and the like.
Bowl of Apple Salad in the Kitchen

The Dressing

The dressing is great on all sorts of things. Not just apple salad. It’s decadent drizzled over roasted potatoes (or sweet potatoes!), as a finishing kiss for mushrooms, or as a slather on panini. I also love it drizzled over oven-roasted broccoli, or a medley of sheet-pan baked vegetables.Heirloom Apple Salad

Your Apple Salad Ideas

Over the years you’ve left some great suggestions and variations in the comments. I’m going to highlight a few and also encourage you to let us know of any riffs on the recipe you enjoy in the future!

  • Amanda says, ” I grated a half a celery root into the salad as well, which boosted the yummy celery flavor and added another texture. So good!”
  • Chase brilliantly swapped in pears, “I have made this salad 8 times in the last 10 days!!!! An instant favorite! Hazelnuts were the nut of choice and a pear/apple mix with some added Rosemary crostini crumbled in gives it a great crunch!!!”
  • Dana turned it into more of a main dish, “I added some cooked and cooled wheat berries to this salad and it was divine! Nutty crunch and great nutrition to bulk it up for a main course dinner.”
  • Kara introduced a few ingredients, ““Hallelujah!” is what I thought when I bit into this salad today for lunch! I substituted baby broccoli for the celery, used walnuts, and some sliced Parmesan.”

Have fun and poke around for more salad recipes, or more fall recipe inspiration. I love this Genius Kale Salad, this Shaved Fennel Salad from Super Natural Every Day, this pure Cilantro Salad for the cilantro fans out there, and for more of a main, this Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad is always a go-to.

Continue reading Heirloom Apple Salad on 101 Cookbooks

Simple Bruschetta

Good tomatoes are the thing that matters most when it comes to making this classic Italian antipasto. It is such a simple preparation that paying attention to the little details matters. My favorite bruschetta techniques, and a few simple variations as well.

Continue reading Simple Bruschetta on 101 Cookbooks

This is the very best time of year to make bruschetta. It’s late summer and tomatoes are vivid and ripe, saturated with flavor. Good tomatoes are the thing that matters most when it comes to making this classic, open-faced Italian antipasto. This is such a simple preparation it means paying attention to the little details matters. Today I’m going to talk through how I make my favorite bruschetta, and include a few simple variations as well.
Simple Bruschetta

The Importance of Using Good Ingredients

The first rule of making great bruschetta is to use the best ingredients you can get. You’re using such a short list of ingredients, it’s important they’re all super flavorful. Use fragrant, golden extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar that tastes good, and in-season, ripe tomatoes. We’ll talk about choosing bread next, but using good bread and tomatoes and olive oil is everything here and dictates whether your results will be “pretty good”, or “omg so good.”

What Kind of Bread Should you Use for Bruschetta?

In short, you want a hearty bread that can stand up to grilling. Marcella Hazan says, “the name bruschetta comes from bruscare, which means “to roast over coals” the original and still the best way of toasting the bread.” She calls for Italian whole wheat bread (pane integrale) sliced 1 1/2 inches thick. I usually use whatever hearty sourdough or country loaf I have on hand at the time. If you’re baking homemade sourdough, by all means use that. Bruschetta is a great way to use up day(s)-old bread. Many sources will tell you 1/2-inch slices are the goal, and Marcella weighs in suggesting we use bread sliced 1 1/2-inches thick. I find that slices 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick hit the sweet spot where you can get a good ratio of topping to bread in each bite. 

That said, let me back up a minute and note that a lot of the bruschetta I see photos of are actually crostini – small two-bite toasts sliced from a white baguette-style bread and topped with a tomato mixture. That’s not what I’m talking about today. The bruschetta I love uses hearty slabs of bread, preferably with a dense crumb. It is grilled, rubbed well with garlic (both sides!), and topped. These aren’t two-bite affairs, they’re more like 5-6.

As far as grilling the bread? In the A16: Food+Wine cookbook they note, “the word bruschetta, which is derived from bruciare, “to burn” implies that some charring on the bread is desirable.” Assuming both sources are right about the origins of the name bruschetta, we want to grill our bread, and get a kiss of the burn you get from grilling. If you don’t have access to a grill, second choice would be to use a broiler. Third option, use  a stovetop grill pan.
Grilled Sourdough Bread for Making Bruschetta

A Tip for Grilling Bread

Brush each slice with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil before grilling. I find this helps keep the bread from drying out as it is toasting. As soon as you’ve removed the bread from the grill, and it is cool enough to handle, rub both sides vigorously with a peeled clove of garlic. Especially if you love garlic as much as I do.

Today’s Bruschetta Recipe

It’s my favorite, simple, use-your-best-tomatoes version. Red tomatoes are tossed with olive oil, salt, torn basil, and a splash of vinegar. I’ll include the recipe for this down below, but you can use the same approach for the other variations I list here.
Simple Bruschetta with Ripe Red Tomatoes and Basil

Let’s Talk about the Vinegar Component

I think of the vinegar in bruschetta as a seasoning component of sorts. It brings acidity, melds with the olive oil, and brings some balance. I’ll say it outright. You can’t use awful vinegar and there’s a lot of it out there. I made so much bruschetta in my twenties using harsh vinegars, and I’m just sad it took me a while to find the magic of good ones. Two favorite vinegars top of mind right now include Katz vinegars, and Brightland’s Parasol.

If you taste your vinegar and wince hard, or if it has a musty smell, consider investing in a new bottle. In Italy you encounter bruschetta using a range of vinegars. I tend to use a favorite white wine vinegar (for this and many salads), but if you have a red wine vinegar, herb vinegar or balsamic vinegar you love, use that. I’d even argue, a squeeze of lemon juice is a better choice than a bad tasting vinegar. If you use lemon juice, add some zest while you’re at it. It might not be traditional, but it will be delicious! 
Bruschetta Made with Seasonal Tomatoes and Basil

A Few Bruschetta Variations

  • Yellow Tomato Bruschetta with Dukkah & Lemon Zest: A version of bruschetta with yellow teardrop tomatoes tossed with good olive oil, torn basil, a splash of good-tasting white wine vinegar. Pictured below. Finished with lots of lemon zest and a generous sprinkling of dukkah. You can make your dukkah. Or, I also love this Botanica version. If you keep a lemon olive oil on hand, use that for an extra-special version.
    Bruschetta with Yellow Tomatoes
  • Pan-blistered Artichoke Bruschetta: Top grilled bread with golden-crusted baby artichokes, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil or lemon olive oil, black pepper, and sprinkle with chives and/or chive flowers. Pictured in the center of the photo below.
    Bruschetta - Three Different Ways
  • More ideas: I love a spicy red tomato version drizzled with lots of spicy garlic-chili oil
  • Or a yellow tomato version tossed with a garlic-turmeric oil, and finished with lots of black pepper. This take is zero-percent traditional but everyone loves it.
    An Assortment of Simple Bruschetta

    Cold-weather Bruschetta

    Although I’m writing this in summer – prime tomato and grilling season – you can experiment with bruschetta all year long. Roasted slabs of winter squash or sweet potatoes topped with a salsa verde are great. Or sautéed garlicky winter greens or kale and a bit of grated cheese. Think of all the toppings you can do with roasted mushrooms, roasted beets, and the like. Combine any of these with the last of whatever beans you may have cooked earlier in the week.  I’ll also note, this is the time of year I shift any bruschetta-making to the broiler from the grill.
    Preparing Bruschetta in the Kitchen
    I hope more than anything that this post is a reminder that the simplest food can be the best food. The tail end of a loaf of homemade sourdough, a few tomatoes from the garden along with a sprinkling of whatever herbs and herb flowers are there, garlic, and olive oil? Makes a perfect little meal, or party spread (if we were still having parties xx). 

Continue reading Simple Bruschetta on 101 Cookbooks

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

I’ve been experimenting with shrimp a lot lately. Yes, it can be a little on the expensive side, but if you pair it whith an inexpensive ingredient like pasta, you can really stretch that dollar and work it into an affordable meal. This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is an incredibly easy (and FAST) recipe that will […]

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I’ve been experimenting with shrimp a lot lately. Yes, it can be a little on the expensive side, but if you pair it whith an inexpensive ingredient like pasta, you can really stretch that dollar and work it into an affordable meal. This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is an incredibly easy (and FAST) recipe that will make you feel like you’re eating a restaurant quality meal at home. So even if shrimp is just a once in a while special occasion splurge, you’ll still be saving a TON by making this splurge at home instead of having it at a restaurant!

Originally posted 12-28-2010, updated 8-27-2020.

Overhead view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a black fork in the middle

This recipe was originally posted in 2010. When updating this recipe I made only minor changes to the recipe yield, ingredient quantities, and preparation method. If you prefer the old recipe, you can reach out to us at support@budgetbytes.com and we can send you a pdf of the old version.

What Kind of Shrimp is Best for Pesto Shrimp Pasta

A smaller sized shrimp works best for this recipe so you get more shrimp pieces throughout the pasta. If you check your package of shrimp you’ll see a number range specifying the number of shrimp per pound. The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp (more shrimp per pound). The shrimp I used were 41-60 size, or 41-60 shrimp per pound.

You can purchase your shrimp with or without the shell and tail, but you’ll want to remove the shell and tail before cooking. You can leave the tail on, but I find that tail-on shrimp is more difficult to eat in a dish like pasta because you have to stop and remove the tail with every bite.

This recipe is written for raw (frozen or fresh) shrimp, but you can use pre-cooked shrimp if that’s what you have available. To use pre-cooked shrimp, simply add them into the pasta at the end.

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp

If you know you’ll be making this recipe a head of time, you can transfer your shrimp from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. If you didn’t plan ahead, don’t worry! Shrimp thaws very quickly under running water. I just place my shrimp in a colander and run cool water over the shrimp for a few minutes until it has thawed. Once thawed and peeled, make sure to dab the shrimp dry with paper towel.

Can I Substitute the Shrimp?

If you’re not into shrimp, this recipe would also be good using diced chicken, sea scallops, or even chopped artichoke hearts! 

Tips for Cooking Shrimp

Shrimp can be intimidating for people who have never cooked it before, but I promise it’s very easy! The trick is that shrimp cooks very quickly and if you continue to cook it longer than necessary, the proteins will continue to contract leaving you with tough, rubbery shrimp. So watch your shrimp closely and remove them from the skillet just as soon as they turn pink and opaque. It only takes a few minutes (depending on the shrimp’s size and the heat level under the skillet)!

What Kind of Pesto to Use

Pesto is another ingredient that can be pricy if you don’t shop around. I used pesto from ALDI, which is very affordable, but if you don’t have an ALDI store near you check to see if your grocery store has their own store brand, or look for Classico or Barilla brand pesto, which usually tends to be a bit more affordable. I used basil pesto for this pasta, but I bet it would also be great with other flavors!

Overhead view of the skillet full of pesto shrimp pasta

 
Overhead view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a black fork in the center

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a restaurant quality meal that you can make in under 30 minutes! The perfect quick weeknight meal.
Total Cost $8.07 recipe / $2.02 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 446.23kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined $4.99
  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.24
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.49
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $0.55
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.11

Instructions

  • If using frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and run cool water over top to thaw (this should only take a few minutes). Peel the shrimp and remove the tails. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about seven minutes). Reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the prepared shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp turns pink and opaque (2-3 minutes). Remove the cooked shrimp to a clean bowl.
  • Add another tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and add the grape tomatoes and minced garlic. Continue to sauté over medium until the tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices. If the garlic begins to brown before the tomatoes have burst, add a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet to slow the browning.
  • Once the tomatoes have broken down in the skillet, add the cooked and drained pasta, ¼ cup pesto, and about half of the reserved pasta water. Stir to coat everything in the pesto, adding more of the pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta and spread the pesto over everything.
  • Finally, return the cooked shrimp to the skillet and stir to combine with the pasta. Top with grated Parmesan, then serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 446.23kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.3g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 15.58g | Sodium: 602.68mg | Fiber: 3.78g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Try These Other Budget-Friendly Shrimp Recipes:

Front view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a fork twirling the pasta in the center

How to Make Pesto Shrimp Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Shrimp Package

This is the shrimp I used. 41-60 size (that means 41-60 shrimp per pound) and this is a 12oz. bag. To thaw the shrimp I placed them in a colander and ran cool water over them for a few minutes, or until they were thawed enough to peel and remove the tails. Once thawed, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove the excess water.

A measuring cup scooping out starchy pasta water from the pot

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. angel hair pasta to the pot and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander. You can begin cooking the shrimp while the pasta boils.

Cooked shrimp in a skillet

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet and oil are hot, add the shrimp and sauté just until they are pink and opaque (2-3 minutes), then remove them from the skillet to a clean bowl. Make sure not to over cook them!

Grape tomatoes and garlic in the skillet

Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the pint of grape tomatoes and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté the garlic and tomatoes over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to burst and break down.

Cooked grape tomatoes

If the tomatoes are not very ripe they may take a while to burst, so if your garlic begins to brown before the tomatoes start releasing their juices, you can add a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent the garlic from browning. The juices from the tomatoes will create a sweet jam-like sauce on the bottom of the skillet.

Cooked pasta and pesto added to the skillet with tomatoes and garlic

Once the tomatoes are at least half way broken down, add the cooked and drained pasta, ¼ cup pesto, and about half of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Stir to coat everything in the pesto, adding more of the starchy pasta water if needed to loosen things up and help the pesto spread.

Cooked shrimp added to the pasta

Finally, return the cooked shrimp back to the skillet and stir to combine with the pasta and pesto.

finished pesto shrimp pasta in the skillet

I like to add just a little (about 1 Tbsp) grated Parmesan on top, and you can add some chopped parsley for color if you’d like (it’s not necessary for the flavor).

Overhead view of a finished bowl of pesto shrimp pasta with a fork on the side

Enjoy! (A little extra freshly cracked pepper on top doesn’t hurt, and if you’re into spicy try adding a pinch of crushed red pepper!)

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One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice

As this unusual summer draws to a close, it’s time to start moving into new routines for fall. Having a routine dinnertime can be so helpful when the world feels like it has turned upside down. Connecting with your loved ones over a great meal on a regular basis can help provide a sense of […]

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As this unusual summer draws to a close, it’s time to start moving into new routines for fall. Having a routine dinnertime can be so helpful when the world feels like it has turned upside down. Connecting with your loved ones over a great meal on a regular basis can help provide a sense of stability, normalcy, and gratitude for the simple things in life. Easy recipes like this One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice will make getting back into a dinnertime routine a breeze. 30 minutes, one pot, and you’re done! And don’t forget to get your family or roommates involved—the cooking process can be just as fun and therapeutic as the meal itself!

This post is sponsored by ALDI. Ingredient prices and availability may vary. Find an ALDI store near you here, or visit ALDI on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice in the skillet with lemon and garlic on the side

Grocery shopping at ALDI has been crucial to helping me get back into a routine among all the chaos this year. The small size of the store makes it easy to just get in, get out, and on my way, all without sacrificing selection. They’ve got all my grocery basics, tons of fresh produce (organics, too), and plenty of fun specialty and seasonal ingredients that inspire me to make delicious and flavorful meals, like this Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice.

For this easy one pot meal I combined the briny flavor of artichokes with bright fresh lemon, a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick, and a light sprinkle of salty feta to give every bite a little pop. And yes, you can get all of these ingredients at ALDI, even the artichoke hearts and feta (their specialty cheese selection is top notch)! It’s the classic and comforting combination of chicken and rice dish with an elevated flavor twist. 

What Type of Pot Should I Use?

You will need a pot or skillet that has a tight fitting lid for this recipe. I used a 3 quart covered deep skillet, but a Dutch oven will also work well. You could even make this in a rice cooker, if your stove top rice cooking skills still need a little work! Just add everything to your rice cooker, give it a brief stir, and set it to the regular rice cooking cycle.

Tips for One Pot Rice Recipes

As with all “one pot” recipes, having good cookware is key. Using a good quality pot or pan that heats evenly will ensure that your rice cooks thoroughly and evenly without burning. Avoid thin or lightweight cookware as these can tend to cause hot and cold spots that don’t cook evenly.

Make sure to let the chicken and rice “rest” for about 5 minutes after turning off the heat. This allows the steam to redistribute throughout the rice, producing a more even texture and loosening any grains from the bottom of the pot.

Use a pot or pan that is close in size to your burner. Using a pot that is too wide for the burner may cause the outside edges to under cook.

What Can I Serve on the Side?

I consider this a “one pot meal” that is filling and diverse enough that it wouldn’t necessarily require a side dish, but if you want to up the vegetable content of your meal, a simple side salad of mixed greens, grape tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette would be a perfect light side. And yes, you can get all the ingredients for an awesome side salad like that at ALDI! ;)

A bowl of one pot lemon artichoke chicken and rice with a fork in the side

 
Finished one pot lemon artichoke chicken in the skillet

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice

Get back into routines with this easy One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice dinner. 30 minutes, one pot, and you're done!
Total Cost $7.39 recipe / $1.85 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 409.48kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lemon $0.43
  • 1 lb. Kirkwood Fresh Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless) $2.49
  • 2 Tbsp Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil $0.23
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp Stonemill Dried Oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp Stonemill Crushed Red Pepper $0.02
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 12oz. jar Tuscan Garden Quartered Artichoke Hearts $2.59
  • 1 cup Earthly Grains Long Grain White Rice $0.25
  • 1.5 cups Chef's Cupboard Chicken Broth $0.45
  • 1 oz. Emporium Selection Feta Cheese Crumbles $0.55

Optional Garnish

  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.10

Instructions

  • Zest and juice the lemon. You'll need about 2 Tbsp lemon juice and ½ tsp lemon zest (plus some for garnish).
  • Drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts. Mince the garlic. Cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.
  • Add the olive oil to a deep skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and sauté over medium for about 2 minutes (it will not be fully cooked at this point).
  • Add the minced garlic, oregano, red pepper, and salt to the skillet with the chicken. Continue to sauté for about one minute more.
  • Finally, add the artichoke hearts, uncooked rice, chicken broth, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and ½ tsp lemon zest to the skillet. Stir briefly to combine, place a lid on top, then turn the heat up to medium-high.
  • Allow the broth to come up to a full boil, then turn the heat down to low or just above low to reduce the broth to a simmer. Let the chicken and rice simmer for 15 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring. After 15 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest, undisturbed, for five minutes more.
  • Finally, lift the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and gently redistribute the chicken and artichoke hearts throughout the rice. Top the skillet with crumbled feta, another pinch of lemon zest, and chopped parsley (if desired). Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

*Ingredient prices and availability may vary.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 409.48kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.65g | Protein: 31.73g | Fat: 11.65g | Sodium: 880mg | Fiber: 4.25g

Find more easy one pot recipes that you can make with ALDI ingredients in our One Pot Meals category.

How to Make One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice – Step by Step Photos

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice Ingredients

Here is everything you need to make this super simple One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice (all purchased from ALDI!).

Zest and juice a lemon

Start by zesting and juicing a fresh lemon. You’ll need about 2 Tbsp lemon juice (that’s about half the lemon) and ½ tsp lemon zest, plus some for garnishing.

Chopped artichoke hearts

Drain one 12oz. jar of quartered artichoke hearts, then roughly chop them into smaller bite-sized pieces. Mince four cloves of garlic.

Chopped chicken breast

Cut one pound boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.

Cooked chicken in the skillet with spices.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and sauté for about 2 minutes (the chicken will not be fully cooked at this point). Add the minced garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, and ¼ tsp salt to the skillet with the chicken. Continue to sauté for one minute more.

Artichokes, rice, and broth added to the skillet

Add 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, the chopped artichoke hearts, 1.5 cups chicken broth, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and ½ tsp lemon zest to the skillet. 

Ingredients in the skillet stirred before cooking.

Stir the ingredients briefly to combine.

Cooked lemon artichoke chicken and rice in the skillet before fluffing

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low or just above low to lower the broth to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring. After 15 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest with the lid in place for 5 more minutes.

Finished and garnished lemon artichoke chicken and rice in the skillet

After allowing the chicken and rice to rest for five minutes, lift the lid, fluff the rice, and gently stir to redistribute the chicken and artichokes throughout the rice. Garnish with another pinch of lemon zest and some chopped parsley, if desired.

Finished one pot lemon artichoke chicken in the skillet

Serve hot and enjoy!

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Mediterranean White Bean Salad

You can never have enough easy side dish recipes, am I right?? I like to keep my side dishes simple so they don’t steal the show from my main dish, and they don’t add a lot of extra work to the overall preparation of the meal. Simple salads like this Mediterranean White Bean Salad only […]

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You can never have enough easy side dish recipes, am I right?? I like to keep my side dishes simple so they don’t steal the show from my main dish, and they don’t add a lot of extra work to the overall preparation of the meal. Simple salads like this Mediterranean White Bean Salad only take minutes to prepare, they bring flavor, color, and texture to your plate, and they hold up really well as leftovers (hello, tomorrow’s lunch). Bookmark this one, because I know you’ll use this recipe a lot!

Originally posted 2-19-2010, updated 8-22-2020.

A big bowl full of Mediterranean White Bean Salad with tomatoes and parsley on the side

This Mediterranean style bean salad was inspired by one of my all-time favorite salads, tabbouleh, but it uses white beans instead of bulgar. It has all that tangy lemon-garlic flavor that I love about tabbouleh, but without needing to spend time cooking and cooling bulgur.

What Kind of Beans Can I Use?

I used large butter beans for this recipe, but if you don’t have butter beans available try cannellini beans or chickpeas. I would avoid softer beans that tend to mash easily, like navy beans or great northern beans. Cannellini beans and chickpeas are large enough and firm enough to hold up to the stirring of this salad.

What to Serve with Mediterranean White Bean Salad

The flavors in this white bean salad (lemon and garlic) are so versatile that it makes a great side dish for a wide variety of mains. Try it with Garlic Butter Baked Cod, Baked Pizza Chicken, Greek Turkey Burgers, Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken, Oven Baked Fish with Tomatoes, or Chicken Piccata. Or, this could be one part of a vegetarian spread with some homemade hummus, pita, and falafel

How Long Does This Salad Stay Good?

This is another great example of a “refrigerator salad” or a salad that holds up really well in the refrigerator. This salad will stay enjoyable when stored in the refrigerator for a good four days or so. The flavors will blend and the beans will marinate in the dressing as it refrigerates, making it even better the next day! Make sure to give it a stir just before serving to redistribute the flavors.

Front view of a bow full of mediterranean white bean salad

 
Overhead view of a bowl full of Mediterranean White Bean Salad with parsley, tomatoes, and garlic on the side

Mediterranean White Bean Salad

This Mediterranean White Bean Salad is a fast, easy, and fresh side dish that pairs nicely with any grilled or roasted meat.
Total Cost $4.87 recipe / $1.22 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 843.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.24
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 15oz. cans butter beans* $1.38
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley $0.40
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.49
  • 2 oz. feta cheese $1.10

Instructions

  • Prepare the dressing first. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
  • Rinse and drain the canned beans. Allow them to drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Finely chop about 1 cup of fresh parsley (about ½ bunch). Cut the grape tomatoes in half.
  • Add the drained beans, chopped parsley, tomatoes, and 2 oz. feta cheese to a bowl. Pour the prepared dressing over top, then stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to four days.

Notes

*You can use cannellini beans or chickpeas in place of butter beans.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 843.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 90.3g | Protein: 33.9g | Fat: 36.3g | Sodium: 2209.6mg | Fiber: 29.1g

How to Make Mediterranean White Bean Salad – Step by Step Photos

lemon garlic dressing in a small bowl

Make the dressing first. Combine 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic (minced), ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper in a small bowl. Set the dressing aside.

Rinsed white beans in a colander

Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of butter beans (or cannellini or chickpeas). Let them drain well.

Chopped parsley on a cutting board

Finely chop about one cup of fresh parsley (about ½ bunch). Slice one pint grape tomatoes in half.

Combine salad ingredients in a bowl

Add the beans, tomatoes, chopped parsley, 2 oz. crumbled feta, and the prepared dressing in a bowl.

Stirred salad in a bowl with two forks

Toss the ingredients to combine and serve!

Overhead view of a bowl full of Mediterranean White Bean Salad with parsley, tomatoes, and garlic on the side

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Classic Tuna Salad

With so many people going back to work but without the luxury of being able to use their break room microwaves or refrigerators, classic cold lunches like tuna salad are making a comeback! So let’s talk about tuna salad a bit, shall we? Tuna salad doesn’t have to be the gloppy mess you find in […]

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With so many people going back to work but without the luxury of being able to use their break room microwaves or refrigerators, classic cold lunches like tuna salad are making a comeback! So let’s talk about tuna salad a bit, shall we? Tuna salad doesn’t have to be the gloppy mess you find in a cafeteria. I’ve got a classic tuna salad recipe below, a few tips for making a good tuna salad with plenty of flavor and texture, plus a few modifications to make it your own. So let’s go get it!

Tuna salad on a piece of bread with baby greens, a second piece of bread on the side.

What Makes a Good Tuna Salad?

I think tuna salad gets a bad rap for being gloopy, bland, and smelly. But it doesn’t have to be (well, I’m not sure I can do much about the smell). To make a good tuna salad you want to use good tuna, make a dressing that has flavor dynamic, and add in some crunchies to give the salad some texture, something to chew on. No more bland mush.

What Type of Tuna to Use:

There are several canned tuna varieties to choose from, depending on your needs. “Chunk light tuna” is probably the most common and one of the less expensive options. Chunk light is smaller pieces and may appear a little shredded. “Solid albicore” is more expensive, but you’ll get nice big solid chunks of fish that will give your tuna salad more texture, and it can be a little less smelly. For more canned tuna language defined, check out Tuna Terms You Need to Know from Cooks Illustrated (they have great photos, too).

As for whether you should get your tuna packed in oil or water, that is a personal choice. Oil pack will give you a richer tuna salad, while water pack will give you a less caloric tuna salad. I find oil pack to be messy and difficult to drain, so I choose water pack for that reason alone.

Tuna Salad Dressing:

To give my tuna salad dressing flavor, I make sure to add in a little lemon juice to brighten it up and cut through the heaviness of the mayonnaise. I add a couple sliced green onions to add a little savory layer of flavor, and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper for a pop of flavor. They’re small additions that add up to a big difference in flavor.

Add Texture:

There are several things you can add to your tuna salad to add texture (and flavor). I like to add celery and walnuts. They each have their own “brand” of crunch that really adds to the interest of the tuna salad as you chew (mushy is boring). Here are some other ingredients you can add in to your tuna salad for texture:

  • sunflower seeds
  • shredded carrots
  • pickle relish
  • shredded radish 
  • olives
  • capers
  • dried cranberries
  • white beans
  • hard boiled eggs

How to Serve Tuna Salad

The recipe below is for the tuna salad only (not the sandwich fixings) because there are several ways you can serve tuna salad. We’re all familiar with the classic tuna salad sandwich, which is often built on toast with lettuce. You could also serve your tuna salad sans-bread, over a bed of greens, as an actual salad. Sometimes I eat it with just some crackers or celery for dipping, or you can stuff it into a pita or tortilla as a wrap. Lots of options, all delicious!

Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides

 
Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides

Classic Tuna Salad

Say goodbye to gloopy, bland tuna salad and hello to a delicious tuna salad packed with flavor and texture! Perfect for brown bag lunches.
Total Cost $5.20 recipe / $1.30 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 462.38kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 12oz. cans chunk light tuna in water $3.98
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 ribs) $0.35
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.30
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.12
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise* $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Drain the canned tuna well. Finely dice the celery, chop the walnuts, and slice the green onions.
  • Combine the tuna, celery, walnuts, green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Serve as a sandwich, salad over a bed of greens, or with crackers and vegetables for dipping. Refrigerate up to four days.

Notes

*I like my tuna salad a little on the "dry" side. Add more mayonnaise if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 462.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.85g | Protein: 41.98g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 1215.78mg | Fiber: 4.55g

A classic tuna salad sandwich front view with sandwich fixings in the background

How to Make Classic Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Classic Tuna Salad ingredients in a bowl

Drain two 12oz. cans of chunk light tuna in water. Finely dice about one cup of celery, chop 1/4 cup walnuts, and slice two green onions. Add the tuna, celery, walnuts, green onions to a bowl with ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Stirred tuna salad in the bowl

Stir the ingredients to combine, then serve, or refrigerate up to four days. I do like my tuna salad a little bit dry, so if you prefer you can always add an extra tablespoon or two of mayonnaise to make it a little “softer.”

Tuna salad sandwich next to a tray with sandwich fixings

Serve your tuna salad as a sandwich, a salad (over a bed of greens), with crackers and vegetables for dipping, or stuffed into a pita or tortilla/wrap!

The post Classic Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Grillable Tofu Burgers

Seasoned with a good amount of cumin, cayenne and mustard, these are hearty, filling, easy to make, dump-everything-in-the-food processor grillable tofu burgers.

Continue reading Grillable Tofu Burgers on 101 Cookbooks

Wayne calls this the “1996 Veggie Burger.” It’s basically an old-school hippie burger. I love them for a few reasons. First, they’re grill-able. Second, they’re made from ingredients I understand – organic tofu, seeds, nuts, eggs, spices, and breadcrumbs. And third, they’re endlessly adaptable by switching up the spices & your burger toppings.
A Grillable Tofu Burger Recipe

The Recipe

On the cooking front, I’ve been cleaning out some drawers. Primarily going through old magazine clippings (which is part of the reason I’ve been featuring more magazine inspired recipes than usual). I’ve been finding lots of gems, and these tofu burgers jumped out at me. I’ve adapted them from a reader contributed recipe that ran in the October 2004 issue of Sunset Magazine. The recipe was sent to Sunset by Jeremy Wolf of San Francisco, and I enjoyed them so much! They were impossibly easy to make, relying on the “throw everything in the food processor” technique, and called for a quirky mix of ingredients ranging from tofu, seeds, and nuts, to mustard, cumin, and mushrooms. In the years since, I’ve done a lot of variations, and I’ll talk through a few of them below.

I will say, I suspect you’ll be tempted to tweak the seasonings, and you should! But here’s my advice. Don’t skimp on the cumin or mustard, you need some assertive flavors to kick in – keep in mind you’re dealing with ground tofu and eggs as a burger base. Whatever you do think bold!

Ingredients in Food Processor for Tofu Burgers

Tofu Burgers – How To Cook Them

One of the great things about these is you can cook them a number of ways. You can use a skillet, you can grill them, or you can bake them. The main thing you need to do is blend the mixture to a smooth-ish consistency. Then firmly shape and press the mixture into firm patties. I call for the firmest tofu you can find (extra-firm), but each tofu brand has a different quantity of water in it. If your mixture is too wet, simply blend in more breadcrumbs 1/4 cup at a time, and go from there. The mixture also firms up as it sits, so keep that in mind. You can let it rest for 10 minutes or so before shaping if you have the time.
A Grillable Tofu Burger Recipe

Tofu Burger Variations

A number of people have attempted to make these without the egg. I haven’t tested that version yet, but here’s are a few notes from the comments. From Lisa,”For the vegan, I reserved part of the batch before adding eggs, and put in a tablespoon of almond butter as a binder, plus a little extra breadcrumbs.” Jacqui says,”…although I was out of eggs, so I used 2 T of chia seeds mixed with 6 T of water as a replacement. Worked great!”

For a gluten-free option Lisa commented with this brilliance, “I make something similar to these and use masa harina instead of breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option… it definitely gives it a “southwestern” twist, and is SO delicious.”

Cooking Tips

If you’re nervous about the patties falling through grill grates, Judith says,”…my husband was in charge of the grill, started out on aluminum foil, we thought they might fall through the grates, he ended up putting them right on the grates (they firmed up while cooking on the foil for a bit) and they were wonderful!”

Enjoy!!

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