Cucumber & Feta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

This simple and summery cucumber salad features a bold herb vinaigrette, briny feta cheese, spicy red onions, and pretty edible flowers to top it all off. In case you’re sick of pickles but your garden keeps churning out the cukes like there’s no tomorrow… this quick and easy lettuce-less salad is a great way to […]

The post Cucumber & Feta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

This simple and summery cucumber salad features a bold herb vinaigrette, briny feta cheese, spicy red onions, and pretty edible flowers to top it all off.

In case you’re sick of pickles but your garden keeps churning out the cukes like there’s no tomorrow… this quick and easy lettuce-less salad is a great way to use up at least a few of them.

Cucumber salad garnished with edible flowers, in bowl with purple linen and red onions in background.

I may or may not have harbored a slight fixation with edible flowers this past spring, which lead me to fill my patio container garden with edible blooms in addition to my typical herbs. I meandered up and down the aisles of the nursery, phone in hand, googling various flora and fauna to see if they were in fact edible. While they didn’t have the chamomile flowers I was so hoping to find, I did end up with marigolds, borage (which I’ve grown and used before), and these gorgeous purple and white dianthus.

Needless to say, I was looking for an excuse to use some of my home-grown flowers in a recipe before the blooms withered in the summer heat, and this recipe is the result. Does it matter where the inspiration came from if the outcome is this delicious? I say not.

While I love that the purple and white of the dianthus matches the colors of the salad, I think marigold petals, with their peppery bite, would work equally well in this dish, as would arugula or radish flowers, or even herb flowers like chives or oregano (while I typically try to keep my herbs from flowering, when they do bolt I always try to put the flowers to good use).

Overhead, bowl with wooden spoon and cucumber feta salad with edible flower garnish

Regardless of its origins, this recipe is perfect in its simplicity. While the recipe itself isn’t all that different from our always-popular tomato cucumber salad, we made the dressing a little bit different by adding an assortment of fresh herbs in addition to the olive oil and red wine vinegar.

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Roasted Potatoes with Arugula Chimichurri

Golden brown roasted potatoes are tossed with a bright and peppery arugula chimichurri sauce for a fabulously flavorful side dish. No more boring baked potatoes: these little gems are roasted until golden brown and bathed in a tangy, arugula based green sauce that’s very similar to traditional Argentinian chimichurri sauce (just with arugula instead of […]

The post Roasted Potatoes with Arugula Chimichurri first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

Golden brown roasted potatoes are tossed with a bright and peppery arugula chimichurri sauce for a fabulously flavorful side dish.

No more boring baked potatoes: these little gems are roasted until golden brown and bathed in a tangy, arugula based green sauce that’s very similar to traditional Argentinian chimichurri sauce (just with arugula instead of the typical cilantro or parsley).

Shallow bowl filled with roasted potatoes tossed with arugula chimichurri, small baby arugula leaves scattered on top

It seems like every culture around the world has their own green sauce. From Italy’s pesto to North Africa’s chermoula to Argentina’s chimichurri, they all feature a base of primarily green herbs, mixed/chopped/blended into a loose sauce of sorts, usually with ample fresh garlic and a bit of acid, salt and sometimes heat. But the similarities end there: classic Genovese pesto includes pine nuts and cheese, chermoula brings in fragrant spices such as cumin, cayenne, and paprika in addition to tangy lemon juice. Chimichurri is typically cilantro or parsley-based, and notable in its use of red wine vinegar instead of citrus juice.

All these green sauces are ever so versatile, used on everything from meats and marinades to pastas and potatoes, the specific herbs used in each easily swappable for whatever seasonal greenery you have on hand.

In this case, we used a bag of gorgeous locally grown baby arugula from Caney Fork Farms (our CSA). Arugula, while not technically an herb, behaves like one in this recipe, lending a spicy, peppery green flavor to this distinctive green sauce that is most similar to Argentinian chimichurri.

While I’ve made arugula pesto plenty of times before before (I like using pistachios instead of pine nuts and a bit of parmesan and serving it on pasta or pizza), but pesto didn’t seem like the right moniker for this particular concoction, what with its notable lack of cheese and nuts. I ultimately decided it was the most similar to chimichurri with the addition of garlic, pepper flakes and red wine vinegar.

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Loaded Smoked Chicken Nachos

When the nacho craving hits, nothing satisfies quite like a mountain of hot and melty nachos. Our version is topped with savory smoked chicken and a creamy cheese sauce so flavorful you’ll be tempted to eat it by the spoonful. Way beyond your basic ballpark nachos, these loaded smoked chicken nachos are topped with all […]

The post Loaded Smoked Chicken Nachos first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

When the nacho craving hits, nothing satisfies quite like a mountain of hot and melty nachos. Our version is topped with savory smoked chicken and a creamy cheese sauce so flavorful you’ll be tempted to eat it by the spoonful.

Way beyond your basic ballpark nachos, these loaded smoked chicken nachos are topped with all the good stuff including pickled jalapeños and pickled red onions (pickles are the secret to next-level nachos), plus olives, fresh radishes and micro cilantro.

Overhead, sheet pan of Loaded Smoked Chicken Nachos with radishes, micro cilantro on a turquoise background

Ready for a little nacho history?

What we think of as nachos here in the US, a heaping mound of crispy tortilla chips drenched in globs of plasticky orange cheese sauce, looks nothing like the original nacho which originated in Northern Mexico in the 1940s. Invented by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya as a simple and satisfying snack, the original nacho featured simple triangles of fried corn tortillas topped with melted shredded cheese and pickled jalapeño.

Heck, if I created such a brilliant snack I’d name it after myself too.

The “Nacho Special” eventually made it across the border to Texas in the 1970s, where it started to evolve into the ballpark snack we know today.

Closeup, Loaded Smoked Chicken Nachos topped with sour cream, cilantro, radishes and pickled onions

This recipe takes that original idea of chip, cheese, and pickled jalapeño (a perfect combination if there ever was one) and loads it up with even more goodness, including smokey shredded chicken, pickled red onions, black olives, sour cream and cilantro.

I mean, I’d argue that these nachos are less snack and more meal (and indeed, we thoroughly enjoyed a pan of them between the two of us for dinner).

The inspiration for this particular iteration of nachos comes from a Nashville bar called Bastion. Let me just say, their nachos are phenomenal, and I’ve driven across town more than once just to fulfill a craving.

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Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Black Garlic Aioli

Crispy, golden brown roasted potatoes served with a uniquely flavorful and oh-so-versatile black garlic aioli that’ll make your tastebuds sing with delight. Up your side dish game with these crispy roasted potatoes, served with a black garlic aioli (it’s savory, I promise I’m not dipping potatoes in chocolate pudding here, despite appearances). This post is […]

Crispy, golden brown roasted potatoes served with a uniquely flavorful and oh-so-versatile black garlic aioli that’ll make your tastebuds sing with delight.

Up your side dish game with these crispy roasted potatoes, served with a black garlic aioli (it’s savory, I promise I’m not dipping potatoes in chocolate pudding here, despite appearances).

Shallow bowl filled with golden brown crispy potatoes, with a dish of black garlic aioli and sliced green onions

This dish is little bit inspired by Spain’s famous Papas Bravas, which is a dish of crispy fried potatoes served with a garlicky aioli (the traditional Catalan version is literally just garlic and oil worked together by hand until creamy, though many modern versions include egg to help with the emulsification).

We’ve taken some liberties with our recipe, obviously, both by baking our potatoes until golden and crisp and serving them with a simple and delicious shortcut aioli made with Duke’s Mayonnaise and both fresh and aged black garlic for a unique and flavorful combination.

Fork dipping a crispy piece of potato into a dish of black garlic aioli

Making aioli from scratch can be tricky if you don’t have the right equipment, or the patience. Instead, we’ve opted for a shortcut aioli, using our favorite Duke’s Mayonnaise as the creamy, tangy base, and mixing in both fresh and black garlic—the fresh gives the aioli a perfect bite, while the rich umami notes of the black garlic provide incredible depth of flavor while mellowing out the sharper spice of the fresh garlic.

The result is a delicious and unique side dish that comes together in a jiffy, and perfectly compliments these crispy roasted potatoes (though its versatility certainly doesn’t end there).

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Goat Cheese & Heirloom Tomato Tart

It’s summer in a tart shell: with creamy basil goat cheese and juicy vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes nestled in a savory parmesan shortcrust. Peak tomato season is officially here! Make the most of it with this gorgeous (and delicious) goat cheese and tomato tart, with fresh heirloom tomatoes rather than roasted to really showcase their bright […]

It’s summer in a tart shell: with creamy basil goat cheese and juicy vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes nestled in a savory parmesan shortcrust.

Peak tomato season is officially here! Make the most of it with this gorgeous (and delicious) goat cheese and tomato tart, with fresh heirloom tomatoes rather than roasted to really showcase their bright flavor and gorgeous colors.

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart on a gray background surrounded by heirloom tomatoes

This is the first week we’ve gotten tomatoes with our CSA, and this tart was the first thing on my list to make (along with some caprese, of course, and luckily we have more than enough tomatoes for both).

We first made this tart last summer after a particularly successful farmers market haul left us with a stunning assortment of heirloom tomatoes.

We had planned to make two meals out of it, considering the recipe yields a full 9-inch tart. But the two of us devoured the entire thing in a single sitting. That’s how good it is.

Goat Cheese & Heirloom Tomato Tart on a marble plate surrounded by more tomatoes

What differentiates this tart from the countless other tomato tart recipes out there is this one is unbaked, leaving the tomatoes fresh and juicy and brightly flavored. Sure, baked tomatoes have their place, but when your vine-ripe summer tomatoes are this good, it’s a shame to subject them to heat.

The crust is also simply spectacular, adding grated parmesan to a standard shortcrust for an extra savory twist. Not to mention it’s dead simple, you don’t even have to roll it out (just dump the crumb mixture into your tart pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides).

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Whipped Almond Dip with Pickled Beets & Sourdough

Believe it or not, this creamy whipped almond dip is entirely vegan, and made with ingredients you already have in your pantry! A perfect starter or light lunch, we served this whipped almond dip with pickled beets and slices of fresh sourdough bread (but feel free to treat it like you would hummus, paired with […]

Believe it or not, this creamy whipped almond dip is entirely vegan, and made with ingredients you already have in your pantry!

A perfect starter or light lunch, we served this whipped almond dip with pickled beets and slices of fresh sourdough bread (but feel free to treat it like you would hummus, paired with fresh vegetables, soft pita, or even crispy chickpeas).

White bowl with whipped almond dip, topped with pickled beets and two slices of fresh sourdough.

This recipe was inspired by a dish we had in Sydney, Australia this past fall. On our last night there, we randomly found ourselves in an adorable restaurant down the street from our apartment called Dead Ringer.

One dish on the menu that immediately grabbed our attention was an appetizer of creamed almonds with beets and housemade sourdough. I’m a sucker for anything with beets, and so we ordered it not really knowing what exactly ‘creamed almonds’ would be.

Spreading whipped almond dip on a slice of fresh sourdough bread

Turns out creamed almonds are downright magical. Somehow, without any cream or dairy whatsoever, the almonds whip up into a creamy, fluffy dip with a texture falling somewhere in between hummus and whipped ricotta. With little more than a splash of lemon juice, a glug of olive oil and a garlic clove, it’s surprising just how flavorful this dip is.

In an effort to recreate the original as closely as possible, we topped ours with a drizzle of olive oil, pickled beets, fresh dill and and homemade sourdough.

The pretty pink powder is actually a mix of beet powder and sumac, which gives the dip a tart lemony twist (the beet powder is mainly for looks, so feel free to leave it out, though I’d argue the sumac is not optional since it adds so much flavor).

We realized after the fact that we forgot the black sesame seeds, which would have added another level of visual interest. Next time! (because we will certainly be making this again!)

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Cheesy Artichoke Crostini

A perfect holiday appetizer, these cheesy artichoke crostini feature a creamy artichoke dip-inspired topping atop ultra crispy crostini toasts with a sweet and tangy pepper drop on top. Looking for an easy party dish, perfect for a crowd? Look no further! These artichoke crostini toasts are creamy, crunchy, cheesy and oh so satisfying! This recipe […]

A perfect holiday appetizer, these cheesy artichoke crostini feature a creamy artichoke dip-inspired topping atop ultra crispy crostini toasts with a sweet and tangy pepper drop on top.

Looking for an easy party dish, perfect for a crowd? Look no further! These artichoke crostini toasts are creamy, crunchy, cheesy and oh so satisfying!

Cheesy Artichoke Crostini toasts arranged on a silver baking sheet with a bowl of artichoke topping and pepper drops on the side.

The holidays are all about entertaining, and whether you are hosting your own festive get-together or need a quick and portable dish to bring to the office pot luck, this savory appetizer recipe is just the ticket.

Featuring crisp and buttery crostino toasts topped with a mixture of marinated artichoke hearts and flavorful cheeses baked to golden, bubbly perfection, it’s a recipe that will satisfy all year long.

Overhead view of Artichoke Crostini on a baking sheet lined with newspaper-print parchment paper

The creamy artichoke topping falls somewhere in between a gooey artichoke dip and a traditional artichoke bruschetta, with three kinds of cheeses and a bit of mayo (but not too much!) for an ultra-creamy consistency.

A touch of minced shallot as well as a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, ample black pepper, and the sweet and tangy pepper drop gives it the perfect amount of acid and spice to balance out the rich cheese.

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Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

The spice is right with these crispy hasselback sweet potatoes, slathered in butter and seasoned with a fragrant garam masala spice blend. This unique method for roasting sweet potatoes may be a bit more work than your standard spud, but the impressive results are well worth the effort! This post is sponsored by The Spice […]

The spice is right with these crispy hasselback sweet potatoes, slathered in butter and seasoned with a fragrant garam masala spice blend.

This unique method for roasting sweet potatoes may be a bit more work than your standard spud, but the impressive results are well worth the effort!

Overhead view of four Hasselback Sweet Potatoes arranged on a metal plate with forks

Garam Masala (which roughly translates to “warming spice mix”) is a spice blend with origins in Northern India. I’d describe it as pumpkin spice meets curry: with fragrant cinnamon, cloves and cardamom complimented by savory cumin, black pepper and coriander, though the particular spices and proportions will vary greatly from one recipe to another.

It’s those pumpkin-spiced notes that make it such a perfect compliment for sweet potatoes, which around this time of year are usually smothered with brown sugar, cinnamon, and marshmallows. But unlike those sticky sweet iterations, the savory spices in garam masala make this dish particularly pleasing. So the next time you can’t decide whether to cook sweet potatoes in a sweet or savory manner: garam masala lets you have both at the same time.

The Spice Hunter’s Garam Masala Blend has just the right amount of earthiness, plus a balanced sweetness and warming heat, making it perfect for this satisfying holiday recipe.

Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potato on a white plate with a fork

The method of cooking potatoes hasselback-style originated in Sweden, where potatoes were sliced very thin to allow for even cooking with crispy skin and creamy insides. That same method works equally well for sweet potatoes, which come out of the oven with beautiful crispy skin and silky smooth, tender flesh.

Yes, there might be a bit more work involved than a standard baked sweet potato, but the end result is way more impressive (not to mention much more fun to eat).

We topped our garam masala-spiced hasselback sweet potatoes with some sliced green onion to urge it more towards savory, toasted pumpkin seeds or crispy bacon bits would be good too. You could also top them with candied pecans, marshmallows or even a sprinkle of brown sugar if you prefer things sweet… this recipe can really go either way.

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Sweet & Spicy Candied Pistachios

Spiced with cinnamon, cayenne and smoked paprika for hint of sweet heat, these crunchy candied pistachios will quickly become your new favorite snack. Coated with a crunchy layer of crystalized sugar infused with an umami-rich spice blend, these sweet & spicy candied pistachios are completely addictive and perfect for munching (hello, perfect holiday party snack!) […]

Spiced with cinnamon, cayenne and smoked paprika for hint of sweet heat, these crunchy candied pistachios will quickly become your new favorite snack.

Coated with a crunchy layer of crystalized sugar infused with an umami-rich spice blend, these sweet & spicy candied pistachios are completely addictive and perfect for munching (hello, perfect holiday party snack!)

A white porcelain bowl overflowing with spiced candied pistachios on a marble surface

I first started playing with candied pistachios when I was testing my ultimate pistachio lover’s gelato recipe. I didn’t end up using the candied nuts in the final recipe, however, as the moisture from the ice cream all but dissolved the delicate sugar coating and made them indistinguishable from non-candied nuts, so I figured why spend the extra time?

Still, I had tested so many different methods for candying nuts with amazing results, and I didn’t want all that work to go to waste. So I tucked the recipe into my back pocket (or, more accurately, into the back pocket of my recipe notebook) to revisit another day.

That day is today.

Closeup textural of spiced candied pistachios on a baking sheet.

While my original batches were un-spiced, I was really looking for a bit more flavor and knew I wanted to add some heat. I ultimately settled on a subtle mix of spices including cinnamon, cayenne and smoked paprika, for a subtly spicy and sublimely snackable nut.

They’re ridiculously addictive; if you’re not careful you’ll devour the entire batch, one small handful at a time, before you even realize what you’ve done. They’re that good.

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