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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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

It’s not even Halloween yet, but it’s never too early to start planning for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to throw you this little tip to save for later. There are so many moving parts that go into making sure a Thanksgiving meal is hot and ready all at the same time, and it’s even more […]

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It’s not even Halloween yet, but it’s never too early to start planning for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to throw you this little tip to save for later. There are so many moving parts that go into making sure a Thanksgiving meal is hot and ready all at the same time, and it’s even more challenging when you’re working with just one stove. Recipes like these Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes that can be prepared on the side will free up space on your stove top and, because it requires no babysitting, will leave your hands and eyes free to focus on other recipes. Thanksgiving Day boil-over averted. 😅

Originally posted 12-29-2015, updated 10-8-2020.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter and a wooden spoon

Why Make Mashed Potatoes in a Slow Cooker?

Using the slow cooker cuts out the “babysitting the boiling pot” step in the process of making mashed potatoes, which can really free you up to concentrate on the rest of your meal. It also eliminates boil overs, draining the potatoes, constantly checking them with a fork to see if they’re tender, using multiple pots and dishes, and gives you another free burner on your stove top. With slow cooker mashed potatoes, you just add everything to the pot and press a button and go. And if you can’t get to them right when the timer goes off, they’ll be okay!

How Do You Flavor Mashed Potatoes?

I flavored my mashed potatoes with garlic, pepper, butter, milk, and cream cheese, but you can use your tried and true favorite mashed potato add-ins with this recipe. The cooking process will stay the same: 3 lbs. potatoes and about 1.5 cups of broth. Then after they’re cooked, add in whatever you’d like! My All-Purpose Garlic Herb Seasoning is a favorite, but other fun seasoning blends include Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, or even ranch seasoning.

What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Mashed Potatoes?

Russet potatoes are my top choice for mashed potatoes because they have a light, fluffy flesh. You can use red potatoes, but they tend to create a more dense mashed potato.

Can I Make Them Vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can swap the chicken broth listed in the recipe below for vegetable broth. Just be aware that vegetable broth is usually a much darker color, so your finished mashed potatoes may look a little more brown.

What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?

I’m using a 5 quart slow cooker, but it was only about half full, so you could probably get away with using a 3 quart slow cooker for this recipe.

Slow cooker mashed potatoes in a bowl with a spoon lifting a bite

 
Close up of mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter and a wooden spoon

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Slow cooker mashed potatoes are the perfect hands-off method for making rich and creamy mashed potatoes for the Holidays!
Total Cost $2.99 recipe / $0.50 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 259.77kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes $1.80
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth $0.20
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.05
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.40
  • 1/2 cup milk $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.13

Instructions

  • Wash and peel the potatoes, then dice them into one-inch cubes. Rinse the diced potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove the excess starch.
  • Add the cubed potatoes, minced garlic, chicken broth, and some freshly cracked pepper to the slow cooker. Stir briefly to distribute the garlic and pepper.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are fork tender. You can test the tenderness by lifting the lid just long enough to pierce the potatoes with a fork.
  • Take the lid off the slow cooker and add the cream cheese, milk, and butter. Stir to combine the ingredients and mash the potatoes. For an extra smooth mashed potato, use a hand mixer to briefly whip the potatoes until smooth.
  • Taste the potatoes and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve immediately, or switch the slow cooker to the "warm" setting until ready to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 259.77kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.75g | Protein: 6.93g | Fat: 5.58g | Sodium: 441.73mg | Fiber: 3.18g

Try These Other Mashed Potato Recipes:

How to Make Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – Step by Step Photos

Diced potatoes on a cutting board

Start by washing and peeling 3 lbs. of russet potatoes. Dice the peeled potatoes into one-inch cubes.

Diced potatoes in a colander

Rinse the cubed potatoes well in a colander. This removes the excess starch which can make your mashed potatoes gluey instead of fluffy.

Chicken broth being poured into the slow cooker with potatotes

Add the cubed potatoes to a slow cooker along with 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1.5 cups of chicken broth, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir briefly just to distribute the garlic and pepper. 

testing the potatoes tenderness with a fork

Cover the slow cooker, then cook on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are tender. You can test their tenderness by removing the lid just brief enough to see if a fork can be easily inserted into the potatoes.

Cream cheese and milk added to the potatoes in the slow cooker

Add 4oz. cream cheese, 1 Tbsp butter, and 1/2 cup milk to the hot potatoes. Stir with a spoon to combine the add-ins with the hot potatoes. The potatoes should be so tender that they begin to mash as you stir. You can continue to stir with a spoon for a chunkier mashed potato, or…

Creamy mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with a spoon, close up

Use a hand mixer to briefly whip the potatoes until smooth. 

Side view of mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter

Finally, taste the mashed potatoes and season with salt or pepper if needed. Depending on what kind of broth you use, you may want to add salt.

Close up of mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter and a wooden spoon

And that’s it! Soft, silky, flavorful slow cooker mashed potatoes without any “heavy lifting”. You can serve the potatoes right away or switch the slow cooker to the “warm” setting to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve dinner.

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How to Steam Fresh Green Beans

One of my go-to side dishes is steamed green beans. Why? Because they’re so fast, they’re uncomplicated, delicious, and you can make them several different flavors to match your main dish. They’re just the perfect no-brainer side dish. If you’ve only ever had canned green beans, please promise me that you’ll try steaming fresh green beans […]

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One of my go-to side dishes is steamed green beans. Why? Because they’re so fast, they’re uncomplicated, delicious, and you can make them several different flavors to match your main dish. They’re just the perfect no-brainer side dish. If you’ve only ever had canned green beans, please promise me that you’ll try steaming fresh green beans at least once. They’re a whole different beast. A deliciously fresh beast. So, without further ado, let me show you how to steam fresh green beans, so you can have another simple, delicious side dish under your belt!

Overhead view of a bowl full of steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper

The One Secret to Good Green Beans

There is only one thing you need to know about making good green beans: DON’T OVER COOK THEM. Most people I come across who say they don’t like green beans have only ever had overcooked, drab, olive green, too-soft green beans (like the kind you get in a can). The trick is to cook them until they are bright green, tender, but still with a good bite. They’ll still taste fresh, vibrant, and green. Deeeelish. 

What Equipment Do I Need?

Steaming green beans is so incredibly easy. All you need is a colander, pot or a deep skillet with a lid, and a steam basket. The steam basket holds the green beans just above the boiling water so they cook evenly and makes it really easy to lift the green beans out of the pot once cooked.

Do I Really Need the Steam Basket?

While the steam basket does help produce the best results, I’m not going to tell you that you can’t steam green beans without one. For years, before I had the few dollars to spend on a steam basket, I simply steamed my green beans directly in the one-inch of water. The bottom layer of green beans cooked slightly more than the rest, but guess what? It was barely noticeable. If you’re short on cash, follow the directions below minus the steam basket and you’ll do just fine.

Why Steam Instead of Boil Green Beans?

Because it’s faster. One inch of water takes a fraction of the time to come up to a boil compared to a full pot of water. Also, less nutrients are leached out of the green beans when they steam compared to when they’re fully submerged in boiling water. That’s two good reasons, if you ask me!

How to Flavor Green Beans

I’m a happy camper with the simple combo of melted butter, salt, and freshly cracked pepper on my steamed green beans, but there are so many different things you can add. Try these flavors:

  • Sautéed garlic
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Sesame oil and sesame seeds
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Crumbled feta
  • Bacon
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Or any combination of the above!

Can I Use Frozen Green Beans?

Frozen green beans are blanched, or partially cooked, before freezing. So, while you can steam them using this method, they may need a different amount of time to cook. Check the package for recommended cooking times.

 
Overhead of a bowl of steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper.

How to Steam Green Beans

Learn how to steam fresh green beans for an easy, delicious, fresh, and versatile side dish that will go with just about any dinner.
Total Cost $1.86 recipe / $0.47 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 60.38kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans $1.69
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.13
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Rinse the green beans in a colander. Snap the end off of any beans that still have an attached stem (see photos below). Snap each bean in half, or leave the beans whole for a more dramatic presentation.
  • Place one inch of water in a pot or deep skillet. Place the steam basket inside the pot. The water should not be so deep that it comes up through the holes in the steam basket. Fill the steam basket with the washed green beans. Place a lid on the pot or skillet, turn the heat onto high, and allow the water to come to a boil (about 3 minutes).
  • Allow the green beans to steam for about 5 minutes from the time the water begins to boil, or until they have reached your desired level of tenderness. Aim for green beans that are vibrant in color and tender but not mushy. You can test the tenderness of the green beans with a fork.
  • Once cooked to your liking, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the steam basket with the green beans and discard the water from the bottom of the pot. Place the beans back in the pot without the steam basket and add some butter. Stir the butter into the green beans, allowing the residual heat to melt the butter. Season the beans with salt and pepper, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25lb. | Calories: 60.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.85g | Protein: 2.08g | Fat: 3.13g | Sodium: 237.08mg | Fiber: 3.05g

How to Steam Green Beans – Step by Step Photos

Close up of a green bean with stem, more green beans in a colander in the background

Rinse your green beans in a colander. Snap off any ends that still have a stem attached. You can see what the stem looks like in the photo above. The other end of the green bean will be pointy, but those are fine to eat. In fact, that’s my favorite part. You can snap your green beans in half or leave them long and whole for a more dramatic presentation.

metal steam basket

This is the metal steam basket that I use. It has a loop in the center for lifting the basket out of the pot and the outer edges can close in or expand to fit the diameter of your pot. You can also buy bamboo or silicone steam baskets, but I find these old-school metal baskets to be inexpensive and pretty indestructible.

Steam basket in a pot with water

Place about an inch of water in a pot or deep skillet and place the steam basket on top. The water should not be so deep that it comes up through the holes. 

Fresh green beans in the steam basket in the pot, uncooked

Fill the steam basket with the washed green beans and place a lid on the pot. Turn the heat on to high and allow the water to come up to a boil (about 3 minutes).

Steamed green beans in the pot

Once the water begins to boil, allow the beans to steam for about 5 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of tenderness. Aim for green beans that are a vibrant green color and are tender, but still have a bit of bite. They shouldn’t be a drab green or mushy.

Steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper in the pot

Remove the pot from the heat, lift the steam basket and beans out of the pot, then discard the water. Place the beans back into the pot without the steam basket, add some butter, and stir to melt the butter (heat is off). Season with a little salt and pepper, then serve!

Overhead of a bowl of steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper.

The fresh green bean flavor on its own is so delicious that I usually only add a little butter, salt, and pepper, but you can have fun and get wild with the seasonings! Let me know what your favorite flavors are in the comments below. :)

The post How to Steam Fresh Green Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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!!

The post Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the […]

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I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the things I like to add to my instant ramen to give it an upgrade, and now I have a new favorite ingredient—gochujang! This sweet-salty-spicy paste creates a rich broth with plenty of umami that I balanced with some fresh spinach and chunks of mild tofu. This Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to indulge that noodle craving!

Two bowls of gochujang ramen with tofu, a bowl of gochujang on the side

What is Gochujang?

If you’ve never heard of gochujang, it’s a Korean chile paste made with chile peppers, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It kind of reminds me of a spicy version of miso. Gochujang is really starting to trend in the U.S. because of its uniquely sweet-salty-spicy and UMAMI flavor. And because we’re all kind of over our infatuation with sriracha and looking for the next best thing. It’s those fermented soy beans that really set gochujang apart and give whatever you’re adding it to that extra “WOW” factor. So if you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your list!

Where to Buy Gochujang

Because gochujang is really becoming quite popular, you’ll probably be able to find some at most major grocery stores. My local kroger actually carries about 4-5 different kinds! I’m using this Sempio Gochujang. If you have an Asian grocery store near you, you’re sure to find a really good selection there, and probably much better prices. Want to try to make your own? Try this traditional gochujang recipe, or this quickie 5-minute gochujang.

To Use the Ramen Packet or Not to Use the Ramen Packet

Personally, I like to use my own broth when making ramen instead of using the little seasoning packet that comes with the noodles. I like the freedom of tweaking the flavors and salt content, but you can use the seasoning packet if you prefer. Gochujang has quite a bit of salt, so if you do want to use the flavor packet that comes with the instant ramen I suggest adding the gochujang to the water first (3 cups water), then adding a little of the flavor packet at a time until the broth reaches a reasonable salt level for you.

How Spicy is It?

Decently spicy, IMHO. You can reduce the amount of gochujang to make it slightly less spicy, if you prefer. Or, if you’re looking for non-spicy ways to spruce up your ramen, check out my post about 6 Ways to Upgrade Ramen, or my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen.

What Should I Do With my Leftover Tofu?

This recipe uses half of a traditional 14oz. block of tofu. My first choice for using up the other half of the block would be to make a half batch of my Curried Tofu Salad. That stuff is to die for. You could also toss it into a stir fry, or chop it up, add some BBQ sauce and make yourself a BBQ Tofu Slider.

Gochujang ramen with tofu in the sauce pot on a yellow background with a black and white zig-zag napkin.

 
One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

Spicy gochujang gives this instant ramen extra oomph! Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to satisfy that noodle craving.
Total Cost $2.26 recipe / $1.13 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 322.15kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. extra firm tofu $0.90
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 2 cups vegetable broth* $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang $0.46
  • 1 package instant ramen* $0.19
  • 2 cups fresh spinach $0.25
  • 2 green onions $0.20

Instructions

  • Drain the tofu and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Add the water, vegetable broth, and gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang is dissolved.
  • Add the cubed tofu to the pot, place a lid on top, and bring it up to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add the instant ramen noodles (without seasoning). Boil for one to two minutes, or just until the noodles begin to soften and pull loose from each other.
  • Add two handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh spinach and stir it into the hot broth until wilted. The noodles will finish cooking as the spinach wilts.
  • Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top of the ramen just before serving.

Notes

*If using vegetable broth, discard the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodles. If using the seasoning packet, use 3 cups of water instead of 1 cup water and 2 cups vegetable broth. Add the gochujang to the water first, then add a small amount of the seasoning packet at a time until you reach the desired level of saltiness for the broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 322.15kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.55g | Protein: 15.9g | Fat: 12.6g | Sodium: 1347.35mg | Fiber: 3.1g

side view of a bowl of gochujang ramen with chopsticks picking up a piece of tofu

How to Make Gochujang Ramen with Tofu – Step by Step Photos

cubed tofu on a cutting board

Drain a 14oz. block of tofu and cut half of it into ½-inch cubes. See the notes above the recipe for ideas for using the remaining tofu.

Gochujang broth in a small sauce pot with a whisk, tub of gochujang on the side

Add 1 cup water, 2 cups vegetable broth, and 2 Tbsp gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang has dissolved.

Cubed tofu being dropped into the pot

Add the cubed tofu to the pot. Adding the tofu before we start boiling the broth gives it a few minutes to start absorbing some of the flavor from the broth, as opposed to adding it at the end. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth up to a boil over high heat.

Ramen noodles added to the pot, empty package on the side

Once boiling, add the block of instant ramen noodles (without seasoning packet). Let the noodles boil for about a minute, or just until they being to soften up and loosen up from the block.

Spinach added to the pot

Add a couple handfuls of spinach to the pot and stir it in until wilted. This should give the noodles just enough time to finish cooking as well.

Finished gochujang ramen in the pot

Slice two green onions and sprinkle them over the ramen just before serving.

One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Enjoy that spicy goodness!!

The post Gochujang Ramen with Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Black Bean Burgers

Super flavorful Homemade Black Bean Burgers are as easy as combining black beans together with a slew of flavorful ingredients, like garlic, red onion, cumin, cilantro, and sriracha. A little egg and breadcrumbs help hold the patty together, and you’ve got a super hearty, flavorful, and freezer-friendly homemade black bean burger. No more $8 restaurant […]

The post Black Bean Burgers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Super flavorful Homemade Black Bean Burgers are as easy as combining black beans together with a slew of flavorful ingredients, like garlic, red onion, cumin, cilantro, and sriracha. A little egg and breadcrumbs help hold the patty together, and you’ve got a super hearty, flavorful, and freezer-friendly homemade black bean burger. No more $8 restaurant veggie burgers for me!

Originally posted 1-23-2011, updated 7-28-2020.

Side view of a black bean burger with toppings in the background

How Many Burgers Does This Recipe Make?

This recipe makes six decent-sized black bean burgers. And don’t worry, if you can’t eat all six within a few days, they’re freezer friendly! Note: The recipe and price breakdown below are for the burger only. Everyone likes something different on their burger, so I decided not to include buns and toppings in the recipe or price breakdown. 

How to Freeze the Black Bean Burger Patties?

Since I cook for just myself, I cooked two of my patties and froze the rest. Just wrap the raw patties in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip top freezer bag. To cook later, thaw the patty for 30 seconds in the microwave then finish cooking in a skillet as described in the recipe below.

What Toppings are Good on a Black Bean Burger?

I went with traditional mustard, tomato, lettuce, and red onion, but you could really have a lot of fun with the toppings. You could do a southwest spin and add some chipotle mayo, cheddar cheese, and jalapeños. Or how about a BBQ version with BBQ sauce and pepper jack cheese? A few avocado slices with any of the above themes would also be really nice. And you definitely need to try some Comeback Sauce on there!

Black Bean burgers on a tray with buns, toppings, ketchup and mustard.

Are These Black Bean Burgers Spicy?

Despite having sriracha as one of the ingredients, I don’t find these black bean burgers to be spicy at all. The sriracha just adds another subtle layer of flavor. If you want your black bean burgers to be spicy, simply double the sriracha, or add a jalapeño to the food processor when you’re processing your ingredients together.

Do I Have to Use a Food Processor?

You can make these black bean burgers without a food processor, but it’s a whole lot easier with one. :) To make the black bean burgers without a food processor, just finely mince the red onion, garlic, and sriracha by hand. Mash the black beans by hand (either with a fork or with a potato masher), then stir everything together by hand. 

Can I Bake Them?

I don’t suggest baking the black bean burgers because you won’t get the nice browning on the outside of the burger, which provides extra flavor and texture to the burger. 

Can I Skip the Egg?

I tried to make these black bean burgers without the egg, but unfortunately they just don’t hold together in the skillet (they turn into something more like refried beans). You may be able to do something like a flaxseed egg replacer, but I haven’t tested this.

P.S. This black bean burger recipe is basically a variation on my Homemade Falafel recipe, which is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

A black bean burger on a plate, dressed but open faced with ketchup and mustard on the side

 
Side view of a single black bean burger on a bun, fully dressed, sitting on newsprint

Homemade Black Bean Burgers

Black beans, cumin, sriracha, garlic, and fresh red onion make these homemade black bean burgers a flavorful and filling vegetarian meal.
Total Cost $2.57 recipe / $0.43 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 334.88kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 15oz. cans black beans $0.96
  • 1/4 red onion $0.11
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro* $0.20
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha $0.11
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.09
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce $0.09
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.03
  • 1 large egg $0.23
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain the canned black beans. Add the black beans to a food processor along with the red onion, garlic, cilantro, sriracha, mayonnaise, cumin, soy sauce, and pepper. Pulse the ingredients until they are evenly mixed, but still slightly chunky.
  • Transfer the black bean mixture to a bowl and add one large egg and 1 cup breadcrumbs. Stir the ingredients together until they're evenly combined. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Divide the black bean mixture into six equal portions, then shape each portion into a patty, about 3.5 inches in diameter, ½-inch thick.
  • To cook the black bean burgers, heat 1Tbsp cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add a few of the black bean burgers and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are well browned and heated through. Repeat with more oil and the rest of the patties until they're all cooked.
  • Place each patty in a bun, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Notes

*feel free to sub parsley for the cilantro.

Nutrition

Serving: 1patty | Calories: 334.88kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.75g | Protein: 16.23g | Fat: 7.98g | Sodium: 942.65mg | Fiber: 15.33g

Updates to the old recipe: I eliminated the Worcestershire sauce from the original recipe so this recipe would actually be vegetarian (because if you’re making a black bean burger, I’m guessing you want it to be vegetarian!). I also swapped canned beans for home-cooked black beans, because I figure most people will have canned on hand. I used cilantro in place of parsley because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use whichever one you prefer! If you’d like a copy of the old recipe, simply email us at support@budgetbytes.com and we can send you a pdf.

How to Make Black Bean Burgers – Step By Step Photos

Black Bean Burgers in a food processor

Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of black beans. Add them to a food processor along with ¼ of a red onion, 1 clove of garlic, ¼ bunch of cilantro (about ½ cup), 1 Tbsp sriracha, 1 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp cumin, 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce, and ¼ tsp pepper.

Processed black bean burger ingredients in the food processor.

Pulse the ingredients together until they’re mostly mixed. I like to leave it just a little chunky, but fairly even.

Black bean mixture with egg and breadcrumbs

Add the black bean mixture to a large bowl along with one egg and 1 cup breadcrumbs. 

Final black bean burger mixture in the bowl

Combine the black bean mixture with the breadcrumbs and eggs. I like to let this mixture sit for about five minute to let the breadcrumbs absorb some of the moisture.

Shaped black bean burgers on a green cutting board

Divide the mixture into six equal portions and shape them into patties (about ½ cup of mixture each, 3.5″ diameter, ½” thick).

Black bean burgers in a skillet

Add a ½ Tbsp cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. When the oil is hot, add a couple of patties and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned and heated through. Repeat with more oil and patties until the desired number are cooked (or freeze the rest, see the info above the recipe for instructions on how to freeze).

Side view of a single black bean burger on a bun, fully dressed, sitting on newsprint

Top your black bean burger with your favorite toppings and enjoy!!

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Sesame Ginger Dressing

This Sesame Ginger Dressing is probably one of the most addictive homemade dressings I’ve ever made. It’s sweet, salty, tangy, and has a super “zingy” fresh ginger bite. It’s one of those dressings that you’ll just want to keep dipping your spoon into. The type of dressing that will make you want to eat a […]

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This Sesame Ginger Dressing is probably one of the most addictive homemade dressings I’ve ever made. It’s sweet, salty, tangy, and has a super “zingy” fresh ginger bite. It’s one of those dressings that you’ll just want to keep dipping your spoon into. The type of dressing that will make you want to eat a salad just to serve as a vehicle for the delicious dressing (that’s not exactly a bad thing). But, if you’re like me, you’ll probably just end up drizzling it over everything!

Originally posted 2-5-2012, updated 7-23-2020.

Sesame ginger dressing in a wooden bowl, garnished with sesame seeds, a spoon in the middle of the bowl.

What is Tahini?

Tahini is a paste made out of ground sesame seeds. Think of it like peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts! It’s one of the base ingredients for this dressing and can not be substituted in this recipe. The tahini not only adds sesame flavor to the recipe, but it also helps thicken the dressing. You can usually find tahini in the grocery store either near the peanut butter, or near the middle-eastern ingredients in the international aisle. 

Can I Substitute the Rice Vinegar?

I don’t suggest substituting the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity compared to other vinegars, which keeps it from overpowering the other flavors. While you might be able to use another type of vinegar, you’d probably also need to adjust the amount or the ratio of other ingredients to compensate for the increased acidity. 

How Long Does This Sesame Ginger Dressing Last?

Because this dressing uses fresh ginger and garlic, I suggest keeping it stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. But it tastes so good that hopefully you’ll finish it off before then!

How to Use Sesame Ginger Dressing

This dressing goes great over crunchy salads, like my Crunchy Cabbage Salad, but it can also be poured over cold noodle salads, used to dip egg rolls or dumplings, or poured over rice bowls. The sky’s the limit and I’m sure once you’ll taste it you’ll want it on everything!

Sesame ginger dressing being poured over crunchy cabbage salad from a mason jar

 
A wooden bowl filled with sesame ginger dressing next to a knob of fresh ginger

Sesame Ginger Dressing

This homemade sesame ginger dressing will drench your favorite salad with a sweet, salty, and nutty flavor, and a fresh gingery bite!
Total Cost $2.03 recipe / $0.20 sesrving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 10 2 Tbsp each
Calories 132.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger $0.30
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil* $0.32
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12
  • 3 Tbsp honey $0.36
  • 1 Tbsp tahini $0.19
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and grate the ginger (I use a small-holed cheese grater)
  • Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, tahini, and toasted sesame oil to a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Serve over salad or as a dipping sauce.

Notes

*Any neutral-flavored salad oil, like peanut, canola, safflower, grapeseed, or sesame (untoasted) will work fine for this dressing.
If your dressing is too thick for pouring, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of water to loosen it up.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 132.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.98g | Protein: 0.59g | Fat: 12.27g | Sodium: 177.95mg | Fiber: 0.2g

How to Make Sesame Ginger Dressing – Step by Step Photos

garlic press with two cloves of garlic, and fresh ginger with a microplane

Begin by mincing two cloves of garlic and grating about 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger. I like to use my garlic press to easily mince the garlic and a small-holed cheese grater to easily grate the ginger. Ginger grates easier if it’s frozen (the little hairs don’t clog the grater). I don’t even bother peeling it, I just make sure the peel is very clean.

minced garlic and grated ginger

And that’s what it looks like once the garlic is minced and ginger grated (for everyone who is visual, like me).

Rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and tahini

Here are three of the most important ingredients in this dressing: rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and tahini. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger nutty flavor than regular (or un-toasted) sesame oil. You can usually find it near other Asian ingredients in the international aisle. 

Dressing ingredients in the blender

Add the 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp grated ginger, ½ cup neutral salad oil, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp tahini, and ½ tsp toasted sesame oil to a blender. Any neutral-flavored salad oil, like peanut, canola, grapeseed, sesame (un-toasted), or safflower will work fine.

Blended dressing on a spoon in the blender

Blend until the dressing is smooth and creamy. If your dressing ends up being really thick and you’d like it a little more pourable, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of water.

A wooden bowl filled with sesame ginger dressing next to a knob of fresh ginger

Enjoy the sesame ginger dressing poured over your favorite salad, or as a dipping sauce!

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Sesame Cucumber Salad

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer […]

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer cucumbers, I had to repost it and give it the proper attention it needs. So, if this Sesame Cucumber recipe is new to you, I hope it becomes one of your go-to fav’s as it has for me. It will serve you well!

Originally posted July 2019, updated 7-9-2020.

A bowl of Sesame Cucumber Salad from above, chopsticks on the side

Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?

I strongly urge you not to substitute the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity that is just perfect for this recipe. While people have substituted the rice vinegar with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, I find them both a bit too strong for this recipe. Also, be mindful not to use “seasoned” rice vinegar, which has other ingredients added and tastes quite different.

Where Do You Find Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is fairly inexpensive, can be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores, and will stay good in your pantry for just about forever. If you make Budget Bytes recipes on the regular, I promise it will get used again! In fact, here is a direct link to all the recipes on my website that use Rice Vinegar.

What is Toasted Sesame Oil?

The other key ingredient in this cucumber salad is toasted sesame oil. Unlike regular sesame oil, toasted sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor and a little bit can really add a LOT of flavor to any dish. You can find toasted sesame oil in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or Asian grocery stores. It may not say “toasted” on the label, but you’ll know it is toasted by the deep walnut color. Untoasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil.

How Long Does This Salad Last?

This salad does get kind of limp in the refrigerator fairly quickly, but it’s still insanely good once the cucumbers soften. They’re almost like pickled cucumber slices at that point. They’ve been marinating in the spicy-sweet vinegar solution and are just totally delicious! I enjoy this salad for about 2-3 days after making it (if I don’t eat it all sooner). If you like your cucumbers to stay crunchy, try cutting them into chunks instead of thin slices.

Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

 
Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad is light, refreshing, and vibrant in flavor. It's the perfect summer side dish or companion to any Southeast Asian inspired meal.
Total Cost $2.44 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 62.82kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 large cucumbers $1.38
  • 3 green onions $0.13
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (see photos below for my technique). Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
  • Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces. Slice the green onions.
  • Add the peanuts, green onions, and dressing to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 62.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.63g | Protein: 1.87g | Fat: 3.1g | Sodium: 199.82mg | Fiber: 1.4g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad

How to Make Sesame Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Spicy vinegar dressing in a bowl

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set the dressing aside.

Bottle of toasted sesame oil and a bottle of rice vinegar

Here is the toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar that I used. The sesame oil is from Aldi and the rice vinegar is from Kroger.

Two cucumbers, one half peeled

Peel and slice two large cucumbers however you like. I like to remove strips of the peel to create a cool striped effect once they’re sliced. If you don’t like cucumber seeds, you can slice the cucumber lengthwise before slicing into rounds and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds in the center.

Two cucumbers, one mostly sliced

I prefer thin slices so that there is more surface area to come into contact with the dressing. The thinner slices will become soft and wobbly after storing them in the dressing, but I kind of like that, too. If you prefer them to stay crunchy longer, you’ll want to do thicker slices. 

Sliced green onion and chopped peanuts

Roughly chop 1/4 cup peanuts and slice 3 green onions.

Dressing being poured over cucumbers, green onion, and peanuts

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl, add the sliced green onion and chopped peanuts, then pour the dressing over top.

Finished sesame cucumber salad in the bowl

Finally, stir it all up and you’re ready to eat! Serve it immediately or refrigerate for later.

Side view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks on the side

The flavors do get really good as it sits in the fridge, although the cucumbers get softer (some people don’t like that–I kind of do!). Either way, this Thai Cucumber Salad is super refreshing and delicious. It always has been and always will be my favorite!

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo is one of my favorite fresh summer condiments because it only takes a few minutes to make and it’s just so fresh and vibrant. The flavor just screams “summer!” I’m always so in awe of recipes that have only a few ingredients, but taste so good and pico de gallo is a […]

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Pico de gallo is one of my favorite fresh summer condiments because it only takes a few minutes to make and it’s just so fresh and vibrant. The flavor just screams “summer!” I’m always so in awe of recipes that have only a few ingredients, but taste so good and pico de gallo is a great example of that. There’s something magic about the combination of fresh lime and salt that totally transforms this bowl of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Simple, magic, delicious.

Originally posted 5-22-2011, updated 6-30-2020.

A bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by chips, tomatoes, limes, cilantro, and salt.

What is Pico de Gallo?

Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, salt, lime, and cilantro. Unlike most jarred salsa that you find in the store, this mix is not cooked, so the flavor stays very fresh and vibrant, and the texture is less saucy and more chunky. 

How to Use Pico de Gallo

If you’re wondering how you use pico de gallo, the answer is “on everything.” It’s a condiment that can be spooned over just about any savory food for an added boost of freshness. Here are a few things I like to spoon it over:

Where’s the Jalapeño??

Okay, so there is where I diverge from traditional pico de gallo recipes. I, for whatever reason, despite how much I like spicy food, prefer mine without jalapeño, so the recipe below is written sans jalapeño. If you want to make it in the traditional fashion, simply seed and finely dice one jalapeño and add it into the mix.

What Else Can I Add?

Pico de gallo is a great starting point for any number of fresh salsas. Here are some other ingredients you can add to flesh it out and make it into a more complex salsa:

  • pineapple
  • avocado
  • corn
  • mango
  • peaches
  • chipotle peppers

Pico de gallo being spooned over green chile enchiladas

Shown spooned over Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

 
Overhead view of a bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by tortilla chips, salt, tomatoes, cilantro, and limes

Pico de Gallo

This fresh and easy pico de gallo only takes a few minutes to make and adds vibrant flavor to your tacos, enchiladas, nachos, and more.
Total Cost $2.59 recipe / $0.22 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 ¼ cup each
Calories 14.13kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes (2 cups diced) $1.50
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion (1 cup diced) $0.37
  • 1 lime $0.50
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro $0.20
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Finely dice the tomato and onion. Finely chop the cilantro. Add the tomato, onion, and cilantro to a bowl.
  • Squeeze the juice of half the lime over the vegetables in the bowl (about 1 Tbsp). Add a pinch or two of salt, and stir everything to combine. Taste the mixture and add more salt or lime juice to your liking. Allow the salsa to sit for five minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 14cup | Calories: 14.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.03g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 56.61mg | Fiber: 0.92g

Close up of a chip topped with pico de gallo, the bowl in the background

How to Make Pico de Gallo – Step By Step Photos

Fresh tomato, onion, lime, cilantro and salt on a cutting board

Since pico de gallo is a FRESH tomato salsa, it starts with all fresh ingredients: tomatoes, onion, lime, cilantro, and salt. I like to do a 2:1 ratio of tomato to onion, so I used two small tomatoes and half of an onion. I also prefer to use a sweeter onion for pico de gallo, so it doesn’t overwhelm the salsa, so I used a Vidalia onion.

Chopped tomato onion and cilantro in a bowl

Finely dice the tomatoes and onion, and finely chop the cilantro (about ¼ cup).

lime being squeezed over the bowl of vegetables

Squeeze fresh lime juice over the diced vegetables. For the amount of pico de gallo I am making here, I used about 1 Tbsp of lime juice, or the juice of half a lime. The great thing about pico de gallo is that you can just make it according to your own tastes, without measuring anything.

stirred pico de gallo in the bowl, salt and limes on the side

Season with a pinch or two of salt, then stir everything together. Taste, and adjust the salt to your liking. I used about ¼ tsp of salt. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to extract and flavors to blend. Make sure to give it a good stir just before serving to redistribute the flavor.

Overhead view of a bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by tortilla chips, salt, tomatoes, cilantro, and limes

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Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

Canned green enchilada sauce is just kind of sad. It’s watery and usually not very flavorful. Authentic green enchilada sauce is a little bit of a project, involving roasting fresh tomatillos, onions, garlic, and peppers—not something I necessarily want to be doing in addition to making the rest of dinner on a busy weeknight. I […]

The post Green Chile Enchilada Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Canned green enchilada sauce is just kind of sad. It’s watery and usually not very flavorful. Authentic green enchilada sauce is a little bit of a project, involving roasting fresh tomatillos, onions, garlic, and peppers—not something I necessarily want to be doing in addition to making the rest of dinner on a busy weeknight. I needed something in between. A rich and flavorful green enchilada sauce that was still super fast and easy. So I crafted this super easy Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, based on my Easy Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce, but with a green chile base and a slightly different mix of spices. If you love my red enchilada sauce, I think you’re going to enjoy this one just as much!

A bowl of green chile enchilada sauce with a wooden spoon next to a can of green chiles

What is in Green Enchilada Sauce?

Green enchilada sauce is a mix of roasted peppers, onions, garlic, tomatillos, and spices. If you want to try an authentic recipe, give this Green Enchilada Sauce from Isabel Eats a shot. But as I mentioned in the intro, I was looking for convenience without sacrificing a lot of flavor. So I swapped out the fresh roasted peppers, onions, and garlic for canned green chiles and dried spices. I also add a little oil and flour for thickening power. On days when I have time to cook for fun, I’ll probably make my enchilada sauce the real way, but this quick version will be my go-to most of the time!

Is This Sauce Spicy?

It can be. Canned green chiles can vary in heat level. The canned diced green chiles I purchased from Kroger were completely mild, but depending on the brand, they may have a little heat. If you want to make your green enchilada sauce spicy, you can always add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.

How Do You Use Green Chile Enchilada Sauce?

Enchilada is great for so much more than just enchiladas! It’s also great for:

  • Combining with eggs, tortilla chips, and cheese for chilaquiles or migas 
  • Drizzled over tacos
  • Stirred into sour cream for a creamy-tangy chip dip
  • Smothering burritos
  • Mixed into mayo to use as a green chile coleslaw dressing

Can I Skip the Flour?

Yes, if you need to make this sauce gluten-free, you can skip the flour. The flour-oil combo does help thicken the sauce, but you’ll still have a wonderfully flavorful sauce without it, just slightly less viscous.

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce being poured from a jar onto a pan of rolled enchiladas

 
A wooden spoon in a bowl of green chile enchilada sauce with cilantro and diced green chiles on the side

Easy Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

A rich and flavorful green chile enchilada sauce that only takes minutes to make. The perfect compromise between flavor and convenience for busy weeknights.
Total Cost $1.87 recipe / $0.31 serving
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 ¼ cup each
Calories 67.35kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 4oz. cans diced green chiles $1.58
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Add the canned green chiles (with any liquid in the can) to a blender and purée until smooth. Set the puréed chiles aside.
  • Add the cooking oil, flour, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder to a small sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer and bubble up. Continue cooking and stirring for about 1 minute to toast the flour and spices.
  • Carefully add the water and puréed green chiles to the oil, flour, and spices in the sauce pot. Whisk the mixture until everything is evenly combined.
  • Allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer, then add 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste.
  • Use the green chile enchilada sauce immediately, or refrigerate up to four days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 67.35kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.47g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 4.78g | Sodium: 404.52mg | Fiber: 1.67g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A spoon drizzling some green chile enchilada sauce into a jar of the sauce

How to Make Green Chile Enchilada Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Canned green chiles in the can and in a bowl

These are the canned green chiles that I used as the base for this sauce. Some brands are spicy, some are mild (the kind I used are mild). 

Pureed green chiles in the blender

Add two 4oz. cans of green chiles to a blender (with all the liquid in the can) and purée them until smooth.

Oil, flour, and spices in a sauce pot

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil, 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp onion powder to a small sauce pot.

Oil, flour, and spices being cooked in the sauce pot

Cook and stir the oil, flour, and spices over medium heat until they begin to simmer and bubble. Continue to cook and stir for about one minute to toast the flour and spices.

Water being poured into the sauce pot

Carefully add 1 cup water…

pureed green chiles being poured into the sauce pot

Also add the puréed green chiles.

A spoon dipping into the finished green enchilada sauce in the sauce pot

Whisk the ingredients together until smooth, then allow it to come back up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. This should only take a few minutes. Finally, season the finished sauce with 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste.

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce being poured from a jar onto a pan of rolled enchiladas from above

Use the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce immediately on your favorite enchiladas, or refrigerate the sauce up to four days.

Finished green chile enchilada sauce in a bowl with a wooden spoon on the side

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