Sesame Roasted Green Beans

Simply seasoned and roasted to perfection in the oven, these Sesame Roasted Green Beans are an easy and flavorful side dish.

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Want dinner to be easy? Oven roast everything. Haha! Seriously, it’s my favorite cooking method because it’s mostly hands-off and the dry cooking environment concentrates flavors and creates delicious caramelization. I usually steam my green beans, keeping them mostly fresh, but since I already had the oven going for some salmon, I decided to try to make Sesame Roasted Green Beans instead. They were super easy, tasty, and a nice change of pace from my usual!

Sesame Roasted Green Beans on a plate, viewed from above

What Do They Taste Like?

These Sesame Roasted Green Beans are seasoned really simply with garlic, some soy sauce for umami and salt, and sesame oil and seeds for an earthy base. So they’re simple, but good. They’re definitely more savory compared to light and fresh steamed green beans, so they’re great for the winter months when meals are little cozier.

Don’t Skip the Toasted Sesame Oil

Toasted sesame oil is such a magical ingredient and I always get questions about whether or not you can substitute or skip it and my answer is an emphatic “no.” Toasted sesame oil has an extremely deep nutty flavor that just can’t be replicated with any other ingredient. You only need a small amount to totally transform an entire dish.

Where to Find Toasted Sesame Oil

Thankfully, toasted sesame oil is becoming really easy to find and a lot of store brands are beginning to make their own (thank you, ALDI and Trader Joes!). You’ll usually find it in the international foods aisle at the grocery store rather than with olive oil or cooking oils, but of course, every store is different.

It’s not always labeled as “toasted” but you’ll know it’s toasted by the color. Toasted sesame oil is a deep brown color, whereas regular, un-toasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil. Un-toasted sesame oil has a very light flavor, and won’t provide the same depth that you’ll get with toasted sesame oil.

What to Serve with Sesame Roasted Green Beans

I served my roasted green beans with baked salmon (recipe coming later this week), but it would also be great as a side for Sesame Chicken, Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles, Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken, or Hoisin Stir Fry Bowls.

Sesame roasted green beans on a plate with salmon and rice
Sesame roasted green beans on a plate, viewed from above

Sesame Roasted Green Beans

Simply seasoned and roasted to perfection in the oven, these Sesame Roasted Green Beans are an easy and flavorful side dish.
Total Cost $2.99 recipe / $0.75 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 103.53kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. green beans $1.89
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil $0.24
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds $0.06

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Wash the green beans and break off the stems. Mince the garlic.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired. Add the green beans, minced garlic, cooking oil, and soy sauce to the baking sheet, then toss the beans until they are evenly coated in oil, soy sauce, and minced garlic. Spread the beans out evenly on the baking sheet.
  • Roast the green beans in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes take them out of the oven, drizzle 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sesame seeds over top. Give everything a good stir.
  • Return the green beans to the oven and roast for an additional 5 minutes, or until the beans are slightly browned and blistered. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 103.53kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.73g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 7.65g | Sodium: 226.83mg | Fiber: 3.2g
Side view of sesame roasted green beans in a shallow bowl.

How to Make Sesame Roasted Green Beans – Step by Step Photos

green beans and garlic on a baking sheet, soy sauce being drizzled over top

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Rinse one pound of green beans and snap off the stems. Mince two cloves of garlic. Place the green beans and minced garlic on a large baking sheet (line with parchment for easy cleanup, if desired). Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil and 1 Tbsp soy sauce over top.

Seasoned green beans on the baking sheet

Toss the green beans until they are evenly coated in oil, soy sauce, and minced garlic. Spread the green beans out evenly over the baking sheet.

Mostly roasted green beans, sesame seeds being sprinkled on top

Roast the green beans in the fully preheated 425ºF oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take them out of the oven, drizzle 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil over top and add 1 tsp sesame seeds. Toss everything together to coat.

Toasted sesame oil bottle

This is what my toasted sesame oil looks like, by the way. You can see the deep brown color that let’s you know it’s actually toasted. It’s usually in a small bottle, since you need so little to provide a lot of flavor, but this bottle from ALDI is quite large.

Finished sesame roasted green beans on the baking sheet

After adding the sesame seeds and sesame oil, return the green beans to the oven and roast for an additional 5 minutes, or until they achieve your desired level of browning.

Close up side view of sesame roasted green beans in a shallow bowl

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Cumin Lime Coleslaw

I used to really hate coleslaw until I made my own homemade coleslaw. It’s so fresh, crunchy, and creamy, and not at all gloppy or heavy like the storebought stuff. AND you can make it different flavors to suit your meal! This Cumin Lime Coleslaw has a bright and sunny dressing made with fresh lime juice, earthy […]

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I used to really hate coleslaw until I made my own homemade coleslaw. It’s so fresh, crunchy, and creamy, and not at all gloppy or heavy like the storebought stuff. AND you can make it different flavors to suit your meal! This Cumin Lime Coleslaw has a bright and sunny dressing made with fresh lime juice, earthy cumin (which has always smelled kind of lemony to me), and a small pinch of cayenne. Green onions and shredded carrots add color and flavor to the crunchy cabbage and round out this easy, breezy coleslaw.

Originally posted 3-25-2015, updated 2-17-2021.

side view of a bowl of cumin lime coleslaw with green onion and limes on the side

How to Serve Cumin Lime Coleslaw

As with any coleslaw, this one makes a great side dish for things like Cilantro Lime Chicken, Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas, or Turkey Taco Skillet. But you can also pile it onto a sandwich, use it to top tacos, or even use it as a base for a bowl meal! And last week, I served it as a side to some tacos made with my Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork and Pickled Red Onions. That combo was to die for!

Take a Short Cut

If you’re short on time, you can skip shredding your own cabbage and carrots and use a bag of coleslaw mix (pre-shredded cabbage and carrots). You’ll want one bag (14-16oz.) for this recipe.

How Long Does it Stay Fresh?

This cumin lime coleslaw stays good in the fridge for about 2-3 days. It does soften a bit as it refrigerates, but it’s still quite tasty. You’ll want to give it a good stir before serving each time to redistribute the dressing.

overhead view of a bowl full of cumin lime coleslaw with green onion and limes on the side

overhead view of a bowl full of cumin lime coleslaw with green onion and limes on the side

Cumin Lime Coleslaw

Fresh lime juice and earthy cumin give this Cumin Lime Coleslaw a light, fresh, and summery flavor. Perfect for summer BBQ or any southwest inspired meal.
Total Cost $2.51 recipe / $0.42 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 3/4 cup each
Calories 170.48kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.80
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime) $0.50
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.01
  • 1 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 head green cabbage (about 6 cups shredded) $0.68
  • 2 carrots $0.16
  • 4 green onions $0.22

Instructions

  • Prepare the coleslaw dressing by stirring together the mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, salt, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.
  • Remove the core from the cabbage and then finely shred. Peel the carrots, then use a large holed cheese grater to shred the carrots. Thinly slice the green onions.
  • Combine the shredded cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top, then stir until everything is well coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. After refrigerating, make sure to stir the slaw well before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 170.48kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.65g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13.97g | Sodium: 349.73mg | Fiber: 3.72g

Closeup of a forkful of cumin lime coleslaw with the bowl in the background

How to Make Cumin Lime Coleslaw – Step by Step Photos

Overhead view of the cumin lime coleslaw dressing in a bowl with a spoon, cut limes on the side

Begin by making the dressing so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Shredded cabbage, carrots, and sliced green onion in a bowl

Finely shred 1/2 of a head of cabbage (about 6 cups), shred one carrot using a cheese grater, and slice four green onions. Add the cabbage, carrot, and onions to a large bowl.

coleslaw dressing being poured over the vegetables in the bowl

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and then stir until everything is well coated. Serve the Cumin Lime Coleslaw immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. As will all slaws, the salt in the dressing will cause the cabbage to slowly soften and let off a little water, so be sure to stir the slaw before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Finished cumin lime coleslaw from above

But if you need to prepare it ahead of time, go ahead and make the dressing and prep the vegetables, but combine the two just before serving for the crunchiest coleslaw possible.

Side view of a bowl full of cumin lime coleslaw

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Slow Cooker Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

There’s nothing quite like a slow-cooked, tender, juicy shredded pork. It’s versatile and freezes well, so I love making a big batch of this Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork to keep on hand for quick dinners later. This heavily spiced pulled pork has become one of my favorites over the years and is probably one of […]

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There’s nothing quite like a slow-cooked, tender, juicy shredded pork. It’s versatile and freezes well, so I love making a big batch of this Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork to keep on hand for quick dinners later. This heavily spiced pulled pork has become one of my favorites over the years and is probably one of my most cooked recipes. It’s just too easy, with the slow cooker doing all the work, and the results are soooo delicious! 

Originally posted 9-12-2015, updated 2-13-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings on the sides

Use a Slow Cooker for Tender, Moist Meat

Pulled pork is super easy to make, especially if you have a slow cooker. Slow cooking holds in all the moisture during cooking and slowly breaks down connective tissue, so the meat is so tender that it just falls apart and shreds with the touch of a fork. Combine those spectacular results with the fact that slow cookers are essentially hands off, and this is, without dispute, my favorite way to make pulled pork.

How To Use Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

This delicious shredded meat can be used so many different ways. Pile the pork into rice bowls, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, or just enjoy on a bun. I also love using it to top salads for an extra shot of protein.

Freeze the Extras

This makes a BIG batch, so keep some in your fridge for the week and freeze the rest. To freeze the pulled pork, divide the pork into more manageable portions (I usually do 1-2 cup portions), then chill it completely in the refrigerator overnight. Transfer the pork to the freezer once completely cooled and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Any freezer safe container works.

Front view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings in the back

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings on the sides

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork is a tender, juicy, and flavorful meat that can be used for tacos, nachos, burritos, salads, and more!
Total Cost $5.54 recipe / $0.92 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 (1/2 cup each)
Calories 434.52kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. boneless pork butt or shoulder $4.47
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder* $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika $0.30
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Combine the chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a bowl.
  • Cut the pork butt into 2-3 inch cubes. Place the pork cubes in a large bowl, sprinkle the prepared spice mix over top, then stir to coat the meat in the spices.
  • Place the seasoned meat in a slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.
  • After cooking, stir the meat with a fork to shred the meat. If it's not tender enough to fall apart when stirred, return the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes adn try again. After shredding the meat, it is ready to serve, or portion and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Keep the shredded meat in the juices from the slow cooker until ready to serve for the best flavor.

Notes

*This chili powder is not spicy. It is a mild, earthy blend of chiles and other spices commonly referred to as "chili powder" in the United States.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5Cup | Calories: 434.52kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.37g | Protein: 40.1g | Fat: 28.6g | Sodium: 649.27mg | Fiber: 1.42g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Three pulled pork tacos on a plate with coleslaw

Chili rubbed pulled pork served as tacos in corn tortillas with sliced jalapeños, pickled red onions, and cotija, Cumin Lime Coleslaw on the side.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Step by Step Photos

Spices for the chili rubbed pulled pork in a small wooden bowl

Prepare the chili spice rub first. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir until they’re evenly mixed.

Pork butt cut into large chunks

Cut one 3 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder into large chunks (about 2-3 inch pieces). 

Seasoned pork butt pieces in a bowl

Place the pieces of pork in a bowl and pour the spices over top. Stir the pork pieces until they’re evenly coated in spices.

Seasoned pork in the slow cooker

Place the seasoned pork in a slow cooker (I’m using a 5 qt slow cooker and it’s only about half full). I do not add any water or liquid to the slow cooker, as the meat will release quite a bit of liquid as it cooks. If your slow cooker specifies that you must add some liquid, you can add a cup of water.

Cooked Pork in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours. After cooking it should be so tender that it begins to fall apart when stirred. If it doesn’t, simply put the lid back on and continue to cook for 30-60 minutes more. Sometimes that last little bit of time makes a huge difference in the texture.

Shredded pork in the slow cooker

Stir the pork in the slow cooker until it has shredded into smaller pieces. Serve immediately or transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate and/or freeze for later. I like to keep the meat right in the cooking juices during storage for maximum flavor.

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings on the sides

It’s soooo tender and juicy! And those spices!!

Close up of a chili rubbed pulled pork taco

And it makes the absolute BEST tacos!!

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork - BudgetBytes.com

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Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen

This Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen is an easy way to upgrade this inexpensive convenience food. It’s super quick, filling, and can be customized a hundred ways.

The post Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Consider this a PSA rather than a recipe, because this idea is certainly not new. But if you don’t know about adding peanut butter to your instant ramen noodles, I’m here to tell you that it’s something you definitely need to try. This Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen is super quick, filling, and can be customized a hundred ways. So let me show you the basics and then you can make it your own!

Overhead view of a bowl of spicy peanut ramen in a bowl with lime wedges
Shown with lime wedges (optional, not required for full flavor)

What Kind of Peanut Butter to Use

I highly suggest using natural-style peanut butter, which means it’s just ground up peanuts and maybe a little salt, no sugar, no added oils. The peanut flavor is much stronger with this type of peanut butter than it is with the more processed and heavily sugared varieties.

If you don’t have a natural-style peanut butter available, you may need to reduce the brown sugar listed in the recipe below to make up for the sugar that is already in the peanut butter.

Can I Make it Not Spicy?

The chili garlic sauce doesn’t just add heat, it also adds garlic and acidity, which round out the sauce. So, to make a non-spicy version of this recipe you can add those ingredients individually, by making something similar to this Peanut Lime Dressing instead.

What Else Can I Add to my Peanut Butter Ramen?

You can add all sorts of proteins or vegetables to your Spicy Peanut butter Ramen to make it new and interesting every time. Here are some ideas:

  • Cooked Chicken
  • Shrimp
  • Red bell pepper
  • Spinach
  • Lime
  • Baked tofu
  • Red onion
  • Shredded carrot
  • Snow peas
  • Edamame
  • Sesame seeds

Do I Need the Ramen Seasoning Packet?

The recipe below is designed to be made without the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen. If you prefer to use the seasoning packet, you will want to skip the soy sauce, which adds salt to the ramen in place of the seasoning packet.

Ramen noodles being lifted from the bowl with a fork
Ramen noodles being lifted from the bowl with a fork

Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen

Adding peanut butter to your instant ramen is an easy way to upgrade this inexpensive comfort food with more flavor and protein.
Total Cost $0.83 recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 621.8kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce* $0.13
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 1 3oz. packet instant ramen (seasoning discarded) $0.25
  • 1 green onion, sliced $0.10

Instructions

  • Combine the peanut butter, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl until it forms a smooth paste.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, take ¼ cup of the water and stir it into the peanut-chili paste until it forms a smooth, pourable sauce.
  • Add the ramen noodles (without seasoning packet) to the boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes, or just until the noodles are tender.
  • Drain the noodles, then return them to the pot with the heat turned off. Pour the peanut sauce over top and stir to combine. Top with sliced green onions and serve immediately.

Notes

*You can sub sriracha for the chili garlic sauce, if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 621.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 69.2g | Protein: 17.8g | Fat: 30.3g | Sodium: 2675.4mg | Fiber: 4.9g
Overhead view of a bowl of spicy peanut butter ramen with a fork in the middle

How to Make Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen – Step by Step Photos

peanut butter and chili paste in a bowl

Begin by stirring together 2 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter, 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (or sriracha), 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp brown sugar until it forms a smooth paste.

jar of chili garlic sauce

This is what the chili garlic sauce bottle looks like, if you want to look for it in the store. You can find this in most major grocery stores, in the international aisle. If you can’t find this, you can use sriracha.

Hot water being poured into the peanut paste

Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat for the ramen. Once it starts boiling, take ¼ cup of the boiling water and stir it into the peanut-chili paste, until it forms a smooth, pourable sauce.

Dry ramen noodles being added to a pot of boiling water

Then add the instant ramen noodles (without the seasoning packet) to the boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes or just until tender.

chili peanut sauce being poured over the drained ramen noodles

Drain the cooked noodles, then return them to the pot with the heat turned off. Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and stir to combine.

finished spicy peanut butter ramen noodles in the pot

These noodles are definitely best when served immediately, so don’t let them sit around! Top with a sliced green onion and enjoy!

Front view of a bowl of spicy peanut butter ramen noodles with a fork

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Spinach Rice with Feta

I like to add vegetables into whatever I’m eating, whenever I can, and this Spinach Rice with Feta is such a great way to do that. The spinach adds just a little bit of flavor and color, leaving the rice just about as versatile as plain rice, all while giving you an extra little dose of vegetables with very little effort.

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I like to add vegetables into whatever I’m eating, whenever I can, and this Spinach Rice with Feta is such a great way to do that. The spinach adds just a little bit of flavor and color, leaving the rice just about as versatile as plain rice, all while giving you an extra little dose of vegetables with very little effort. It’s a great way to add just a little bit more interest to your plate without making your meal prep a lot more difficult.

Overhead view of Spinach Rice with Feta in an oval serving dish with a serving spoon

This simple side dish is inspired by Spanikorizo, a Greek rice dish with spinach and tomatoes (see an authentic spanikorizo recipe here). I pared it down and decided to make it more like a pilaf instead of a saucy tomato dish, and kept the flavors super simple and light, so it would go with just about anything. I also took a major shortcut and used frozen spinach, just to make it as fast and easy as possible (and also because I always have spinach in my freezer). The result is something I know I’m going to be making very often.

What Kind of Rice to Use

The recipe below is written for any type of long grain white rice (regular, jasmine, or basmati all work). Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer cooking time, which may leave the spinach overcooked. Short grain rice varieties, like arborio, will create a sticker end product.

Can I Use Fresh Spinach?

Yes, I used frozen spinach just to make my life easier, but you can certainly do this with fresh spinach, especially if you have some on hand that you’re looking to use up! I suggest chopping the spinach and sautéing it in the pot until wilted, just after sautéing the garlic.

What to Serve with Spinach Rice

This week I served this Spinach Rice as the base for a bowl meal, along with Yogurt Marinated Chicken and some grape tomatoes. This rice would also go great with my Beef Kofta Meatballs and Roasted Vegetables, Sheet Pan Greek Chicken and Vegetables, or Chicken Piccata.

Close up side view of spinach rice with feta on a serving dish
Close up overhead view of spinach rice with feta in a serving dish

Spinach Rice with Feta

This veggie filled Spinach Rice makes a great bed for grilled meats or vegetables, and adds an extra pop of flavor thanks to feta cheese.
Total Cost $3.06 recipe / $0.51 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 240.97kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.65
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.14
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.93
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
  • 2.5 cups water $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.05
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $1.10

Instructions

  • Thaw the spinach by either letting it sit out at room temperature for an hour, or by microwaving for 1-2 minutes. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach (it doesn't have to be extremely dry for this recipe, just make sure it's not pooling water).
  • Add the minced garlic and butter to a medium sauce pot. Sauté the garlic in the butter over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the spinach, rice, salt, lemon juice, and 2.5 cups water to the sauce pot. Stir briefly to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the water to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the pot rest, without removing the lid, for an additional five minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork, gently folding the spinach back into the rice (it tends to float to the top during cooking). Finall, sprinkle the feta over top and fold to combine again. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 240.97kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.48g | Protein: 6.13g | Fat: 6.4g | Sodium: 464.14mg | Fiber: 1.73g
Close up overhead view of spinach rice with feta in a serving dish

How to Make Spinach Rice with Feta – Step by Step Photos

Garlic and butter in a sauce pot

First, thaw ½ lb. frozen chopped spinach (either at room temperature or in the microwave) and then squeeze out the excess water. Mince two cloves of garlic and add them to a medium saucepot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.

Thawed spinach added to the saucepot

Add the thawed and squeezed spinach to the sauce pot.

water being poured into the sauce pot with the rice and spinach

Also add 1.5 cups long grain white rice, ¾ tsp salt, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2.5 cups water.

Stirred rice spinach and water in the saucepot

Give the pot a brief stir to make sure everything is combined (the spinach will float to the top). Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring it up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest for five minutes, without removing the lid.

Cooked rice being fluffed

After resting for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, gently folding the spinach back into the rice as you fluff.

crumbled feta added to rice

Add the crumbled feta to the rice and fold it in to combine (you can save a little to garnish when serving, if you’d like).

Close up overhead view of spinach rice with feta in a serving dish

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Lemon Pepper Zucchini

I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. 😉  The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well […]

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I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. ;)  The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well with zucchini that you might find yourself forgetting about the rest of dinner and eating this Lemon Pepper Zucchini straight out of the bowl. 

Originally posted 6-6-2015, updated 1-23-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemon pepper zucchini

What is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?

Lemon pepper seasoning is a tangy and peppery combination of black pepper, citric acid, salt, and sometimes small amounts of other herbs or spices. Several major spice brands in the U.S. make lemon pepper seasoning (McCormick, Lawry’s, Badia, etc.) and it’s also usually available in generic store brands, so you should be able to find it at just about any grocery store. I’ve also seen several recipes for homemade lemon pepper seasoning across the internet, but I’m not sure how those compare to store-bought versions.

How to Get Browned Edges on Zucchini

Zucchini contains a LOT of water, so there are a couple of really important steps to making sure your zucchini gets those tasty browned edges that you see in the photographs. 

  1. Make sure your skillet is super hot. If it’s not hot enough the water coming out of the zucchini will not evaporate quickly and the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices instead of browning. This will also cause the zucchini to get super limp and floppy. The goal here is to get browning on the outside of the zucchini without them becoming soft and mushy. The longer zucchini cooks, the mushier it gets, so this is a super fast cooking technique.
  2. Cook the zucchini in batches. If the skillet is overcrowded, this also prevents the moisture from evaporating quickly and again, the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices.
  3. Serve the zucchini right away. The longer it sits after it cooks, the softer it will get because the residual heat will continue to steam the zucchini.

What to Serve with Lemon Pepper Zucchini

I originally made this zucchini as a side dish for my Spanish Chickpeas and Rice. The pair together make a really well-rounded vegan meal. This lemon pepper zucchini would also be great with Garlic Marinated Chicken, Garlic Butter Shrimp, Pesto Shrimp Pasta, One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice, or Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad.

Close up of a forkful of lemon pepper zucchini with the bowl in the background

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper zucchini

Lemon Pepper Zucchini

Bright and peppery, this Lemon Pepper Zucchini is a simple and flavorful side dish for any dinner! Great for that summer zucchini bumper crop!
Total Cost $1.63 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 56.08kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lbs. zucchini $1.32
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16

Instructions

  • Cut the zucchini into halfrounds, about ¼-inch thick.
  • Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle the lemon pepper seasonin over top. Stir to coat the zucchini with the seasoning.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add half of the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add half of the seasoned zucchini and sauté (stir often) for about five mintues, or until the outside of the zucchini is well browned.
  • Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving plate, add the remaining olive oil and zucchini, and cook in the same manner. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 56.08kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.6g | Protein: 1.78g | Fat: 3.98g | Sodium: 356.88mg | Fiber: 1.48g

How to Make Lemon Pepper Zucchini – Step by Step Photos

sliced zucchini on a cutting board

Slice about 1.3 lbs. zucchini into half rounds, about ¼-inch thick.

bottle of lemon pepper seasoning with zucchini in the background

This is the lemon pepper seasoning I used, which is the generic ALDI brand.

lemon pepper being sprinkled over the zucchini

Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle ½ Tbsp of the lemon pepper seasoning over the zucchini. Stir until the zucchini is coated in lemon pepper.

Cooked zucchini in the skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once it’s really hot, add about ½ Tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add half of the zucchini and sauté (stirring often) until it is browned on the outside. Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving dish and repeat with the second half of the oil and zucchini.

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper zucchini

Serve immediately for the best flavor and texture!

The post Lemon Pepper Zucchini appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

This tangy and creamy avocado dressing is great drizzled over salads, sandwiches, wraps, bowl meals, nachos, tacos, fresh vegetables, and more.

The post Creamy Avocado Dressing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’re a fan of my Lime Crema, I think you’re going to also love this Creamy Avocado Dressing. It has the same bones as the Lime Crema, but is dressed up with a few more flavors to really make it a flavor bomb. This dressing comes together super fast, so you can make it fresh on the spot whenever needed.

P.S. It’s great on a lot more than just salads!

Creamy avocado dressing in a mason jar with a black spoon in the center

What’s in Creamy Avocado Dressing

This recipe is SO simple. It starts with the same ingredients as my Lime Crema: sour cream, garlic, lime, and salt. Then I added an avocado and fresh cilantro to freshen it up and make it a total flavor bomb. It’s so simple, but SO good.

Do I Need a Food Processor?

I found my food processor to be the easiest tool in my kitchen to make this dressing, but it is definitely soft and fluid enough to use a good blender if you have one. This recipe makes about one cup, so you’ll need something with at least a 1.5 cup capacity to allow for movement.

How to Serve Creamy Avocado Dressing

I used this avocado dressing on a really great taco salad (recipe coming later this week!), but I found myself dipping all sorts of vegetables into the jar throughout the rest of the day. This dressing is so good that I was looking for anything and everything to dip into it!

Try this dressing on your sandwiches, wraps, tacos, salads, nachos, bowl meals, fresh vegetables, and more!

Creamy avocado dressing dripping off a spoon into a bowl
Creamy avocado dressing dripping off a spoon into a bowl

Creamy Avocado Dressing

This tangy and creamy avocado dressing is great for both salads and for dipping your favorite vegetables. Mixes up in minutes!
Total Cost $1.93 recipe / $0.48 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 ¼ cup each
Calories 122.88kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado $0.89
  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.24
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (1 lime) $0.50
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro $0.20
  • 1/4 cup water (or as needed) $0.00

Instructions

  • Add the avocado, sour cream, minced garlic, salt, lime juice, and cilantro to a food processor or blender. Puré until smooth.
  • Add water, 1-2 Tbsp at a time, and purée again until it reaches your desired consistency (leave thicker for a dip, add more water for a pourable dressing).

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 122.88kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.58g | Protein: 1.6g | Fat: 11.3g | Sodium: 160.63mg | Fiber: 2.6g

How to Make Creamy Avocado Dressing – Step by Step Photos

Avocado dressing ingredients in a food processor

Add 1 avocado, ½ cup sour cream, 1 clove of garlic (minced), ¼ tsp salt, 2 Tbsp lime juice, and ¼ bunch cilantro to a food processor or blender.

finished avocado dressing in the food processor

Purée until smooth. Add water, 1-2 Tbsp at a time, and purée again until the dressing reaches your desired consistency. To use as a dip, leave it thick and don’t add any water. For a more pourable dressing, add about ¼ cup water.

Creamy avocado dressing in a bowl with a black spoon in the center

Serve over your favorite salad, tacos, nachos, wrap sandwiches, chips, or fresh vegetables!

The post Creamy Avocado Dressing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Gochujang Tuna Salad

Add some extra umami heat to your lunch with this simple and tasty gochujang tuna salad.

The post Gochujang Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve been having so much fun working my way through a big tub of gochujang that I bought a while back, adding it to random things I’m eating and discovering how much flavor it can bring to my meals. My latest experiment was gochujang tuna salad. It creates a uniquely savory and spicy tuna salad that is great for sandwiches, wraps, or just stuffing into crunchy vegetables!

a bowl of gochujang tuna salad on a board with vegetables

What is Gochujang?

Gochujang is 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. You can usually find a tub or tube of gochujang in the international aisle of most major grocery stores (I used this one), or if you’re really adventurous, try making your own homemade gochujang!

Scroll down to the step by step photos section below the recipe to see images of what gochujang looks like.

How to Serve Gochujang Tuna Salad

As with most tuna salad, this tuna salad can be made into a sandwich or wrap, scooped up with crackers or vegetables, or you can even serve it in little lettuce cups (maybe topped with some shredded carrot).

Try These Other Tuna Salad Flavors

Love to jazz up your tuna salad? Try these other tuna salad variations:

gochujang tuna salad stuffed into a celery stick
A bowl of gochujang tuna salad surrounded by vegetables and a celery stick dipped in the center

Gochujang Tuna Salad

Add some extra umami heat to your lunch with this simple and tasty gochujang tuna salad.
Total Cost $2.52 recipe / $0.63 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 ½ cup each
Calories 184.1kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang $0.23
  • 1 12oz. can chunk light tuna in water $1.99
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20

Instructions

  • First, stir the mayonnaise and gochujang together until smooth.
  • Drain the tuna well, then add it to the gochujang mayonnaise mixture, along with the sliced green onions. Stir until the tuna is evenly mixed with the mayonnaise. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 184.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.83g | Protein: 17.28g | Fat: 11.18g | Sodium: 498.58mg | Fiber: 0.43g

How to Make Gochujang Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Front view of gochujang container

This is the type of gochujang that I used. It comes in a tub and lasts next to forever in the fridge. I got this at Kroger, which actually had 2-3 different brands available.

Close up view of gochujang paste

And this is what it looks like inside. It’s a thick, red paste. It looks (and tastes) like a spicy version of miso.

mayonnaise and gochujang mixed together in a bowl

Because gochujang is so thick, you’ll want to mix it together with the mayonnaise first. Combine ¼ cup mayonnaise and 1 Tbsp gochujang and stir until smooth.

tuna and green onions added to the bowl

Drain one 12oz. can of chunk light tuna in water and slice two green onions. Add both to the gochujang mayonnaise.

finished gochujang tuna salad

Stir the tuna and green onions into the gochujang mayonnaise until evenly combined.

A bowl of gochujang tuna salad surrounded by vegetables and a celery stick dipped in the center

Enjoy with vegetables, crackers, as a sandwich, or a wrap!

The post Gochujang Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for […]

The post Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for later!

Originally posted 2-19-2012, updated 1-12-2021.

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a tray with a dish of sour cream behind them

Why I’m In Love with These Quesadillas ❤️

I love these quesadillas for three reasons:

  • they’re bursting with flavor
  • incredibly EASY to make 
  • perfect for the freezer!

Students and other busy people take note: this recipe is perfect for you!

I called them “hearty” black bean quesadillas because they are surprisingly filling. I hastily ate two and then promptly felt like my belly was not just full, but full-full. This is one of those vegetarian recipes that meat-eaters won’t feel deprived when eating. Promise.

How to Freeze Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas:

Just fill and fold your quesadillas, but before you cook them, stack them with parchment paper in between each quesadilla. Place the stacked quesadillas in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or two) and pop them into the freezer. When you want to eat one, take a quesadilla out of the freezer and reheat it slowly over medium-low heat until the outside is crispy and the inside has melted. Using a lower heat gives the black bean quesadilla time to thaw and heat on the inside before the outside overcooks or burns.

Or, for a faster method, microwave from frozen for 30-60 seconds, or until the inside is thawed, then finish in a skillet to crisp up the outside and melt the cheese on the inside. 

What Kind of Taco Seasoning to Use

To make these black bean quesadillas super fast and easy, you can use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Or, if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can use my homemade taco seasoning recipe

black bean quesadillas layered on a serving tray, sprinkled with cilantro

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas are an easy vegetarian snack or light meal that are filling, flavorful, and freezer-friendly!
Total Cost $4.70 recipe / $0.47 per quesadilla
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10 quesadillas
Calories 289.24kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz.can black beans $0.49
  • 1 cup frozen corn $0.20
  • 1/2 cup red onion $0.22
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (about ½ cup chopped) $0.20
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese $1.69
  • 1 batch taco seasoning* $0.67
  • 10 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter) $2.00

Instructions

  • Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, shredded cheddar, and taco seasoning to the bowl with the beans and corn. Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in seasoning.
  • Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat on each side until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted. Slice into triangles then serve.
  • To freeze the quesadillas, stack the filled and uncooked quesadillas with a piece of parchment paper between each quesadilla. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).

Video

Notes

* I used my homemade taco seasoning here, but you can use a store-bought packet of taco seasoning if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadilla | Calories: 289.24kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.29g | Protein: 12.19g | Fat: 11.58g | Sodium: 833.43mg | Fiber: 5.29g

Scroll down for the step by step photos

Overhead view of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray with a dish of sour cream

 

How to Make Black Bean Quesadillas – Step By Step Photos

Corn and black beans in a bowl
Add 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw) and one 15oz. can of black beans (drained) to a large bowl.

Onion, garlic, and cilantro added to the bowl
Next, finely dice about ½ cup red onion, mince one clove of garlic, and roughly chop about ¼ bunch fresh cilantro. These ingredients are super flexible, so you don’t need to be exact on the measurements. 

Taco seasoning spices in a small wooden bowl

You can use either one packet of store-bought taco seasoning, or make your own using my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. 

Cheddar and taco seasoning added to the bowl
Add the taco seasoning and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to the bowl. The cheese is the “glue” that holds the quesadillas together.

stirred quesadilla filling in the bowl with a fork
Stir the ingredients until everything is mixed. 

A tortilla being filled with the bean and cheese mixture
Now it’s time to stuff the quesadillas. You’ll need about 10 7-inch diameter flour tortillas for these quesadillas (the tortillas I had today were slightly larger so my quesadillas ended up being a bit thinner). Place a half cup of filling in each tortilla and fold it over. You can either cook them or freeze them at this point (see instructions for freezing in the post above the recipe).

quesadillas cooking in a skillet
To cook the black bean quesadillas, place the quesadilla in a skillet over medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown, crispy, and the filling has melted. I don’t use any sort of oil or butter, but you certainly can if you want more of a fried finish to the quesadillas.

cut quesadillas on a cutting board
Slice then serve! You can slice each quesadilla into two or three pieces. I find that if I cut starting on the outside edge going in toward the center fold, I get less of the filling oozing out. A pizza cutter also works great!

Overhead view of cut black bean quesadillas on a baking sheet

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Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli

If you’re not a fan of broccoli, it might just be because you haven’t tried it roasted yet. Roasted broccoli is my go-to side dish for any dinner because it’s A) easy and B) insanely delicious.

The post Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’re not a fan of broccoli, it might just be because you haven’t tried it roasted yet. Roasted broccoli is my go-to side dish for any dinner because it’s A) easy and B) insanely delicious. Like, so delicious that I could eat an entire pound by myself. And while I’ve had a tutorial about how to roast frozen broccoli for years, I realized, after getting a million questions about how I made the broccoli in my Comeback Sauce recipe photos, that I did not have a tutorial about how to roast fresh broccoli. The techniques are similar, but the results are very different. So let’s go!

roasted broccoli with comeback sauce in a red plastic basket with paper liner

Pictured with Comeback Sauce.

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

Yes, you can roast frozen broccoli, although it does turn out differently. For full instructions, please see my recipe for Oven Roasted Frozen Broccoli.

How to Get Crispy Roasted Broccoli

One of my favorite parts about oven roasted broccoli are the crispy edges. Here are some tips for getting the best crispy browned edges on your broccoli:

  • Make sure the broccoli is well coated in oil.
  • Space the broccoli out on the baking sheet. It should not be crowded, which can trap steam and prevent browning and crisping.
  • Avoid very large florets. The larger the florets the longer they will take to roast, and the less surface area is available for browning.
  • Roast directly on your sheet pan (no parchment lining) for even more browning.

How to Season Roasted Broccoli

The second thing I love about roasted broccoli are all the different ways you can season it. The sky is the limit here, which means I can eat it every day without ever feeling like I’m eating the same thing! Here are some of my favorite seasonings to add to roasted broccoli:

  • Steak seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Seasoning salt (like Lawry’s)
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon juice and zest (sprinkle on after roasting)
  • Simple salt & pepper! (especially when planning to dip the broccoli in a flavorful sauce)
a piece of oven roasted broccoli being dipped into a cup of comeback sauce
Overhead view of a basket full of oven roasted broccoli with dipping sauce

Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli

Make perfectly crispy and delicious oven roasted broccoli in just a few easy steps. This is the perfect easy side dish for any dinner.
Total Cost $3.34 recipe / $0.84 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 138.5kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. broccoli $2.98
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp salt* $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper* $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and chop the broccoli into bite-sized florets.
  • Spread the florets out over a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you can skip the parchment if you want extra browning). Drizzle the olive oil over top, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the broccoli until it is fully and evenly coated in oil.
  • Roast the broccoli for 20-25 minutes, or until it has achieved the level of browning you desire, stirring once after about 15 mintues of roasting. Total roasting time may vary depending on the size of your florets and the type of baking sheet used (darker surfaces brown faster).

Notes

*This is a basic roasted broccoli recipe seasoned simply with salt and pepper. For other seasoning ideas, check the list above the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 138.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.95g | Protein: 6.35g | Fat: 7.83g | Sodium: 281.9mg | Fiber: 5.85g
Oven roasted broccoli close up on the baking sheet

How to Make Oven Roasted Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and chop 2 lbs. broccoli into bite-sized florets.

Seasoned broccoli florets on a parchment lined baking sheet

Spread the florets out onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment (or no parchment for extra browning). Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over the broccoli, then add ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper. Toss the broccoli until it is evenly coated in oil.

roasted broccoli on the sheet pan

Roast the broccoli in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it has achieved your desired level of browning, stirring once after about 15 minutes. Roasting time will vary based on the size of the broccoli florets and the type of sheet pan used.

Overhead view of a basket full of oven roasted broccoli with dipping sauce

Enjoy your perfect oven roasted broccoli as a side with dinner or just as a snack with some good sauce for dipping! I suggest Comeback Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, or Ranch Dressing.

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