Tomato Peach Burrata Salad

Are your garden tomatoes ripe yet? If so, we’ve got the perfect way for you to use them up! You have to make this Tomato Peach Burrata Salad. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes and juicy ripe peaches! This salad screams summer!…

Are your garden tomatoes ripe yet? If so, we’ve got the perfect way for you to use them up! You have to make this Tomato Peach Burrata Salad. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes and juicy ripe peaches! This salad screams summer! Arrange the beautiful tomatoes and peaches on a…

Roasted Beet & Cherry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Say hello to an old favorite! A version of this roasted beet salad appeared in our digital cookbook, and we loved it so much that we had to dust it off, freshen it up, and share it with you (our beloved internet friends).
Made with fresh cherries, arug…

Roasted Beet & Cherry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Say hello to an old favorite! A version of this roasted beet salad appeared in our digital cookbook, and we loved it so much that we had to dust it off, freshen it up, and share it with you (our beloved internet friends).

Made with fresh cherries, arugula, and roasted beets, this salad is vibrant, naturally sweet, and packed with antioxidants. It’s simple enough for every day (30 minutes and 8 ingredients), but elegant enough to enjoy with dinner guests.

Roasted Beet & Cherry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette from Minimalist Baker →

BIG Kale Pasta Salad

This Big Kale Pasta Salad is the perfect fast and filling summer lunch, packed with flavors, textures, and colors. Great for meal prep!

The post BIG Kale Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I probably wouldn’t survive the summer if it wasn’t for big cold “meal salads” like this Big Kale Pasta Salad. It’s cold, filling, has tons of flavors and textures to keep me interested, and it’s just super easy to pull together. Oh, and it holds up REALLY well in the fridge, too. So yeah, it pretty much wins the “perfect summer meal” prize. :)

Overhead view of a serving bowl full of kale pasta salad with toast in the side.

What’s in the BIG Kale Pasta Salad?

I combined a few of my favorite things for this BIG kale pasta salad. I used my favorite homemade balsamic vinaigrette to massage the kale and make it a little more tender, then added some chickpeas for extra bulk, grape tomatoes for freshness, red onion for a savory note, and a little Parmesan for more umami. This one is hitting all the bases!

Dressing Options

If you’re not into balsamic dressing or you just don’t want to make your own, any store-bought vinaigrette-style dressing will be great with this salad. Italian dressing, Caesar dressing, or tomato basil vinaigrette would also be good.

What Else Can I Add?

As with most salads, this Big Kale Pasta Salad is extremely flexible. Here are some other great ingredient options that you could add in place of or in addition to what I used:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Kidney beans
  • Feta
  • Pickled red onions
  • Crispy chickpeas
  • Olives
  • Shredded carrot
  • Toasted pita
  • Baked salmon
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Diced mozzarella
  • Cured meat (salami, pepperoni, etc.)

How Long Does it Last?

This salad will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days. Kale holds up beautifully to dressing and pasta salads in general also hold up very well. If you plan to meal prep the salad, I do suggest that you reserve the rest of the dressing after massaging the kale to add to the salad just before serving (to prevent the salad from drying out as it’s refrigerated).

A bowl of kale pasta salad next to the serving dish.
Overhead view of the serving bowl full of kale pasta salad.

BIG Kale Pasta Salad

This Big Kale Pasta Salad is the perfect fast and filling summer lunch, packed with flavors, textures, and colors. Great for meal prep!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.88 recipe / $1.31 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 355kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil $0.85
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.42
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.15
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.09
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Salad

  • 8 oz. penne pasta $0.67
  • 8 oz. chopped kale* $1.50
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $2.00
  • 1/2 red onion $0.22
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas $1.09
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.72

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, Dijon, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Set the dressing aside.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and boil until tender (7-8 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander and allow it to cool.
  • Add the kale to a large bowl. Drizzle ⅓ of the prepared balsamic dressing over the kale and then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. Massage the kale for 3-5 minutes, or until it has wilted to half its volume.
  • Slice the grape tomatoes in half, thinly slice the red onion, and rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  • Add the drained and cooled pasta to the bowl with the kale, along with the tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, and Parmesan.
  • Pour the rest of the dressing over top, then stir the salad until everything is evenly combined and coated in dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Notes

*If not using pre-chopped kale, simply remove the stems and tear or chop the kale into small pieces. Rinse and drain the kale well before using it in the salad.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 316mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up side view of a bowl full of big kale pasta salad.

How to Make A BIG Kale Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette in a bowl with a whisk.

Make the dressing first. Whisk together ⅓ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove of minced garlic, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Set the dressing aside.

cooked penne in a colander.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add ½ lb. of pasta (any short shape). Boil until tender and then drain in a colander.

Bag of pre-chopped kale.

Meanwhile, begin to prepare the kale. I use this pre-chopped kale because it’s super convenient and also inexpensive. If you are using a bunch of kale instead of pre-chopped, simply remove the stems and chop the kale into 1-2 inch pieces. I used half of this one-pound bag for my salad.

Chopped kale in a bowl.

Before massaging the kale, it has a lot of volume and entirely fills my big salad bowl.

Massaged kale in the bowl, less volume.

Add about ⅓ of the prepared dressing to the kale and then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. The kale will get softer and lose volume as it is massaged. Set the kale aside.

sliced red onion in a bowl of ice water.

Slice ½ of a red onion. If red onion is a bit too strong for you, you can soak it briefly in ice water to take the sharp edge off.

Sliced grape tomatoes

Slice one pint of grape tomatoes in half.

Ingredients for salad in the bowl with dressing being poured over top.

Add the drained and cooled pasta, tomatoes, sliced onions, one drained 15oz. can of chickpeas, and ½ cup grated Parmesan to the bowl with the kale. Pour the remaining dressing over top.

sald and pepper added to tossed salad.

Stir everything together, then season the salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Finished kale pasta salad.

Enjoy the salad immediately or refrigerate for later!

Overhead view of the serving bowl full of kale pasta salad.

The post BIG Kale Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cucumber Salad with Fresh Dill & Mint

Who else loves cucumbers?! We’re big fans of their crunch and versatility, and they really come to life in this cucumber salad with fresh dill and mint! It’s perfect for spring and summer, or when you’re looking for a light and tangy side dish!
This sa…

Cucumber Salad with Fresh Dill & Mint

Who else loves cucumbers?! We’re big fans of their crunch and versatility, and they really come to life in this cucumber salad with fresh dill and mint! It’s perfect for spring and summer, or when you’re looking for a light and tangy side dish!

This salad is vegan and dairy-free but SO creamy and flavorful thanks to avocado and fresh herbs! Plus, optional crispy chickpeas for texture and protein and vegan feta for saltiness!

Cucumber Salad with Fresh Dill & Mint from Minimalist Baker →

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar is a deliciously fresh bean salad with a colorful mix of beans and vegetables, plus a zesty lime dressing.

The post Cowboy Caviar appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This super fresh and colorful Cowboy Caviar combines two types of beans, delicious summer vegetables, and a sweet and tangy lime dressing to make a bold and versatile dish that you’ll find yourself making over and over. From a party dip to a salad topper, Cowboy Caviar has become a go-to healthy meal prep item in my kitchen. It’s the O.G. refrigerator salad. 😄 Read on for more ideas on how to use this amazing cross between bean salad and salsa!

Originally posted 7-19-2016, updated 6-1-2022.

Close up overhead view of cowboy caviar in a bowl with chips on the side.

What is Cowboy Caviar?

Cowboy Caviar, sometimes called Mexican Caviar, is like a cross between a bean salad and a fresh salsa. It combines two types of beans (black beans and black eyed peas) with a colorful medley of fresh vegetables and a tangy balsamic-lime vinaigrette.

Where Do You Find Black Eyed Peas?

If you can’t find black eyed peas in the canned bean aisle, check with the canned vegetables. Because they’re a “pea” they’re sometimes found with the canned vegetables rather than the beans. And if you can’t find black eyed peas, you can substitute pinto beans or navy beans.

How Long Does it Last?

Well, if you don’t eat it all in one sitting (it can happen!), Cowboy Caviar holds up extremely well in the refrigerator and will be just as tasty after about 4-5 days of refrigeration. While the vegetables will let off a little water, most of the ingredients are very sturdy. Just be sure to stir the salad before serving to redistribute the dressing. This salad will probably not freeze well, due to the fresh herbs and vegetables.

Close up of Cowboy Caviar on a chip.

How to Serve Cowboy Caviar

There are SO many ways to eat Cowboy Caviar that you’ll probably find yourself adding it to everything you eat. But here are a few ideas anyway:

  • Serve it as a side dish with dinner
  • As a chunky dip for chips
  • As a topping for tacos
  • Stuffed into a burrito or as part of a burrito bowl
  • Sprinkled over a green salad
  • Spooned on top of scrambled eggs
  • Stuffed into a quesadilla with some cheese

…and so much more. If you have a favorite way to eat your Cowboy Caviar, feel free to share it with the rest of us in the comments below!

Recipe Variations

One of the best things about Cowboy Caviar is that it is extremely versatile. You can customize this recipe to give it your own personal touch. Here are a couple of substitutions and add-ins that will make it your own:

  • Add avocado for a creamy finish
  • Skip the jalapeño to make it mild, or keep the jalapeño and add a few dashes of hot sauce to make it extra spicy
  • Substitute green onion for the red onion to make the salad milder
  • Add sweet corn for more color and flavor variation
  • Add ½ tsp smoked paprika to the dressing for a smokier finish

Can you Freeze Cowboy Caviar?

I don’t suggest freezing this dish because it has multiple delicate fresh vegetables that will become limp and soggy upon freezing and reheating. You want those veggies to be fresh, juicy, and crunchy to give the salad its amazing texture! :)

close up side view of cowboy caviar in a bowl.

Close up overhead view of cowboy caviar in a bowl with chips on the side.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar is a deliciously fresh bean salad with a colorful mix of beans and vegetables, plus a zesty lime dressing.
Course Dinner, Dip, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine Southwest
Total Cost $5.30 recipe / $0.53 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10 (1/2 cup each)
Calories 140kcal

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh lime (2 Tbsp juice) $0.33
  • 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder* $0.05
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.02

Salad

  • 1 15oz. can black beans $0.89
  • 1 15oz. can black eyed peas $1.09
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) $1.50
  • 2 Roma tomatoes $0.86
  • 1 jalapeño $0.12
  • 1/4 red onion $0.20
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro $0.20

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 Tbsp of juice from the lime, balsamic vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar.
  • Rinse and drain both cans of beans in a colander. Once well drained, transfer them to a large bowl.
  • Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. Try to dice the vegetables into pieces that are roughly the same size as the beans. For a less spicy salad, scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before dicing. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl with the beans.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad, then stir until everything is well coated. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Video

Notes

*This chili powder is a mild blend of chiles and other spices.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5Cup | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 122mg | Fiber: 7g

How to Make Cowboy Caviar – Step by Step Photos

Dressing ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.

Make the dressing first so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. Whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lime juice, ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt.

Rinsed and drained beans in a bowl.

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of black beans and one 15oz. can of black eyed peas in a colander. 

Fresh vegetables on a cutting board.

Gather one bell pepper (any color), two Roma tomatoes, one jalapeño, 1/4 of a red onion, and 1/4 bunch of cilantro. While any color bell pepper can be used, I like the colorful pop of a yellow or orange bell pepper. 

Chopped vegetables in the bowl with the beans.

Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. The idea is to get the pieces close in size to the beans so that you have a “caviar” type appearance in the end. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves. Place the chopped vegetables in the bowl with the rinsed beans.

Dressing being poured over the salad in the bowl.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad.

Finished cowboy caviar in the bowl.

Stir the salad until everything is coated in the dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. This is one of those salads that tastes even better after it has time to chill in the fridge, so it’s great to eat over the course of a few days!

Finished cowboy caviar in a bowl with a chip.

Cowboy Caviar makes a great snack with tortilla chips, a topper for tacos, bowl meals, or salads, or spoon some onto baked or grilled fish for a nice light meal!

Try These Other Bean Salad Recipes:

The post Cowboy Caviar appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts

This salad has it all, friends! Sweet strawberries, crunchy candied pecans, salty vegan feta, nutrient-packed spinach, and a tangy balsamic dressing. The components marry together for a party in your mouth!
Not only is this salad full of flavor, but it…

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts

This salad has it all, friends! Sweet strawberries, crunchy candied pecans, salty vegan feta, nutrient-packed spinach, and a tangy balsamic dressing. The components marry together for a party in your mouth!

Not only is this salad full of flavor, but it’s so beautiful and easy to make. Just 30 minutes required for this showstopping recipe perfect for hosting or hanging on your own! We love it as the main event topped with protein or alongside creamy pastas or savory soups.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts from Minimalist Baker →

Crispy Baked Tofu with Italian Herbs

Crispy tofu that tastes like pizza? Count us in! After a few tests, we nailed this crumbled baked tofu featuring Italian herbs and garlic. It’s so crispy and flavor-packed that we couldn’t stop eating it right off the pan! Even tofu haters admitted it’…

Crispy Baked Tofu with Italian Herbs

Crispy tofu that tastes like pizza? Count us in! After a few tests, we nailed this crumbled baked tofu featuring Italian herbs and garlic. It’s so crispy and flavor-packed that we couldn’t stop eating it right off the pan! Even tofu haters admitted it’s good.

It’s an endlessly versatile, plant-based protein boost perfect for polenta, pasta, pizza, wraps (recipe coming soon), and beyond!

Crispy Baked Tofu with Italian Herbs from Minimalist Baker →

Simple Kale Salad

Kale salad. Those two words may not be that exciting to you, but please give this kale salad a chance. It is one of my very favorite recipes. I make it ALL of the time. It is my go to salad for an easy lunch, to serve with dinner, or to take to a potlu…

Kale salad. Those two words may not be that exciting to you, but please give this kale salad a chance. It is one of my very favorite recipes. I make it ALL of the time. It is my go to salad for an easy lunch, to serve with dinner, or to take to a potluck.…

The post Simple Kale Salad appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Let the slow cooker do all the work for you when you make this big batch of freezer-friendly homemade spaghetti sauce.

The post Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve made a few variations of pasta sauce over the years, but this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is definitely one of my favorites. The long slow simmer caramelizes the sugars in the tomatoes and creates a depth of flavor that can’t be matched. Plus, what more could you ask for than to just throw some ingredients in a pot, forget about it for 8 hours, and then come back to a rich, delicious homemade sauce? Then you can divide the sauce into portions, freeze, and you’ll have delicious homemade pasta sauce on hand for quick busy weeknight dinners.

Originally posted on 11/4/2011, updated 1/12/2022.

Pasta sauce in a slow cooker with a spoon, garnished with parsley

Why make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce?

Pasta sauce can be bought premade really cheaply, so I think in a lot of cases it does make sense to just buy a jar and go with it. But if you want to have a little more control over the quality and ingredients of your pasta sauce while still keeping costs low, this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is a great option. 

What Size Slow Cooker to Use

This recipe makes about 2 quarts of sauce, so I would suggest using a 3 quart or larger slow cooker. You don’t need anything fancy, just a very basic slow cooker with basic functions like warm, low, and high. I do find that slow cookers made with a thick ceramic insert (or “crock”) cook much more evenly than metal inserts, like you’d have when using the slow cooker function on an Instant Pot.

Why Add Balsamic Vinegar?

The balsamic vinegar in this recipe adds a subtle depth and brightness to the sauce. It can seem strong at first, but it mellows out as the sauce is cooked. If you’re not a fan of balsamic vinegar or just don’t have any on hand, this recipe will still make a really amazing sauce even if you leave it out.

Can I Add Meat?

I’ve tried this sauce before with ground beef and I found the cook time to be far too long for the ground beef, so if you do want to add meat I suggest browning it separately and then just stirring it into the sauce after cooking. You can also check out my quick Weeknight Pasta Sauce for an easy and flavorful meat sauce option.

How to Freeze Pasta Sauce

This recipe makes about 7 cups. I suggest dividing the sauce into two or three cup portions before freezing so you can take out just enough for one recipe at a time to thaw. Let the spaghetti sauce cool completely in the fridge, then transfer to freezer-safe containers to freeze. The sauce will stay good in the freezer for about three months, but this can vary depending on the conditions in your freezer. If you use quart-sized freezer bags and freeze them laying flat they stack nicely in the freezer without taking up much space. 

You can thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight or just cut the bag away from the frozen sauce, place it in a saucepot, and heat over medium-low until it’s heated through (stir occasionally).

This sauce goes great with Homemade Meatballs (also freezer-friendly)!

A plate of pasta covered in sauce with bread on the side

Pasta sauce in a slow cooker garnished with parsley

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Let the slow cooker do all the work for you when you make this big batch of freezer-friendly homemade spaghetti sauce.
Course Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $4.40 recipe / $0.63 per cup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 7 cups
Calories 77kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes $2.00
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.69
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil $0.30
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.14
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste) $0.05

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Place both in a 3 quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and butter to the slow cooker. Stir everything together well.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
  • After cooking, give it a good stir, then add salt to taste. Start with just ½ tsp of salt and add more if needed (I added 1 tsp). Use the sauce immediately, refrigerate, or freeze for later.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 393mg | Fiber: 1g

Homemade pasta sauce being spooned over a plate of spaghetti

How to Make Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce – Step By Step Photos

Onion and garlic in slow cooker

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Add both to a 3 quart or larger slow cooker.

Tomatoes added to slow cooker

Add 2 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes and one 6oz. can of tomato paste to the slow cooker.

Seasonings added to the slow cooker

Also add 1 Tbsp dried basil, 1.5 tsp dried oregano, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 4 Tbsp butter to the slow cooker. 

Sauce ingredients being stirred together before cooking

Give the ingredients a good stir until they’re evenly incorporated.

Simmered pasta sauce in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. After cooking, it will look a little like the photo above (the white is just the milk fats from the butter). Give it a good stir.

Finished pasta sauce in the slow cooker garnished with parsley

Add salt to the sauce to taste. Start with ½ teaspoon and add more until the flavors pop. I ended up using one teaspoon total. 

Side view of pasta sauce in the slow cooker

Use the slow cooker spaghetti sauce immediately or refrigerate then freeze for long-term storage.

The post Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Spinach Salad

Whenever I want a GOOD salad but don’t have a lot of time, I turn to this Easy Spinach Salad recipe. It is a family favorite, I probably make it at least once a week. The salad starts with fresh spinach leaves and then gets lots of goodies: apple…

Whenever I want a GOOD salad but don’t have a lot of time, I turn to this Easy Spinach Salad recipe. It is a family favorite, I probably make it at least once a week. The salad starts with fresh spinach leaves and then gets lots of goodies: apple slices, candied pecans, avocado, red onion,…

The post Easy Spinach Salad appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.