Pesto Chickpea Salad

I love quick fixes because I am busy and if something takes me more than 15-30 minutes to prepare, chances are I’m not going to do it, especially if it’s not my day off. So this Pesto Chickpea Salad was the perfect answer to lunch this week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, […]

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I love quick fixes because I am busy and if something takes me more than 15-30 minutes to prepare, chances are I’m not going to do it, especially if it’s not my day off. So this Pesto Chickpea Salad was the perfect answer to lunch this week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, it’s so creamy and delicious, and you can eat it a number of ways. Everything about this chickpea salad is my style! 

Originally posted 12-5-2012, updated 6-3-2021.

Pesto Chickpea Salad in a bowl surrounded by crackers

How to Serve Pesto Chickpea Salad

This super simple chickpea salad can be enjoyed several ways. You can serve it as an appetizer with crackers for dipping, like in the photo above, it can be a side dish with dinner, or you can use it as a filling for a sandwich (toasted whole grain bread, a hearty bun, or in a wrap). …Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself just digging into the bowl with a fork. ;)

What Kind of Pesto is Best?

There are a lot of different types of pesto on the market, offering a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly, ALDI makes a super affordable basil pesto that I use in a lot of recipes. Today I happened to be shopping at a different store, so I went with Filippo Berio Classic Pesto, which was still pretty affordable and it had a really incredible flavor. Barilla also makes a very affordable pesto. And since pesto is the main flavor in this recipe, you definitely want to go with a pesto that you know you like. 

How Long Does the Salad Keep?

This Pesto Chickpea Salad will stay good in the refrigerator for about four days, making it great for meal prep! 

Soak Your Onions for a Softer Flavor

If you’re sensitive to red onions, here’s a trick that will make life so much more enjoyable. Soak your sliced onions in cold water for about five minutes before adding them to your recipe. The water pulls out that super sharp flavor, leaving a nice mild hint of red onion that will flavor your dish without hurting your stomach. :)

side view of pesto chickpea salad in a bowl, surrounded by crackers

Pesto chickpea salad in a bowl surrounded by crackers

Pesto Chickpea Salad

This creamy and tangy Pesto Chickpea Salad is a quick and easy lunch. Enjoy with crackers, on a sandwich, or on top of a bed of greens.
Total Cost $3.14 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Calories 363kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.40
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.01
  • 2 15oz. cans chickpeas $1.10
  • 1/4 cup red onion $0.10
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley $0.17

Instructions

  • Stir together the mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Roughly chop the parsley. Finely dice the red onions (soak the red onions in cold water for 5 minutes for a milder onion flavor). Add the chickpeas, parsley, and onion to a large bowl.
  • Pour the dressing over the chickpeas, parsley, and onion. Stir to combine. Serve as is or slightly mash the chickpeas for a thicker consistency. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 245mg | Fiber: 10g

Love chickpea salads? Check out my Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad

Pesto chickpea salad on a bun with greens

How to Make Pesto Chickpea Salad – Step By Step Photos

Creamy pesto dressing in a bowl being stirred
Start by making the creamy pesto dressing. In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup basil pesto, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper. 

Chickpeas, parsley, and red onion in a bowl

Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of chickpeas, then place them in a bowl. Roughly chop about 1/4 cup fresh parsley. Finely dice about ¼ cup red onion (soak for 5 minutes in cold water if you want a milder onion flavor). 

Dressing added to chickpeas in the bowl

Add the dressing and stir to combine. You can either serve the salad just like this, or…

Slightly mashed chickpea salad in the bowl

Or you can slightly mash the chickpeas in the bowl to make it hold together a little more like a potato salad. You can use a potato masher to do this, or just mash some of the beans with a fork against the side of the bowl.

Pesto chickpea salad in a bowl with a cracker dipped into the side

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

close up of pesto chickpea salad on a cracker

So much flavor, so little effort. ;)

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Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls

These curry roasted vegetable bowls are colorful, full of vibrant flavors, and the leftovers pack up well for your weekly meal prep!

The post Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My absolute favorite meal “formula” is roasted vegetables (with or without meat) over a bowl of grains, with a delicious drizzle of sauce. I come back to this type of meal over and over again because the formula is easy to prepare, meal preps well, and there are endless flavor possibilities. This week’s version was Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls with a Lemon Tahini Dressing drizzle. It’s simple, colorful, flavorful, filling, and will leave you looking forward to the leftovers. :)

Overhead view of curry roasted vegetable bowls with a dish of dressing on the side

What is Curry Powder?

Since curry powder is responsible for all of the seasoning in the bowls, let’s take a minute to chat about it. If you’ve never had curry powder, it’s a warm blend of spices that are pre-ground and blended to mimic the fresh spices used in Indian cuisine. This blend usually includes cumin, turmeric, coriander, and other spices. Every curry powder blend is unique, so you may need to experiment with different brands or recipes to find one that suits your palate. If you’d like to try making your own curry powder, try this recipe for homemade curry powder from Spice it Upp.

Add More to Your Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls

I kept my curry roasted vegetable bowls simple because I like simplicity, but you can add more to make them a little more fancy, if you’d like. I think a light sprinkle of raisins would add an incredible pop of sweetness to contrast the savory curry powder and tahini dressing.

Slivered almonds would offer an amazing crunch to these bowls without competing with the already strong flavors.

If you want to add some meat, rotisserie chicken would be great, as would some Yogurt Marinated Chicken.

Swap Out the Vegetables or Grains

This recipe is super flexible. You can swap out the vegetables for anything you like. Try broccoli, sweet potatoes, asparagus, sweet bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, or whatever vegetable you like.

The same goes for the “bed” for these bowls. If you don’t like brown rice you can swap it out with white rice, couscous, quinoa, your favorite grain, or even salad greens.

How Long Do The Leftovers Last?

Simple bowl meals like this hold up in the refrigerator for about four days, with the dressing kept on the side. Your mileage may vary depending on the freshness of your ingredients and the conditions within your fridge. I’ll link my favorite meal prep containers for meals like this in the recipe below.

Side view of a fork lifting a bite out of the curry roasted vegetable bowls
Overview of curry roasted vegetable bowls with lemon tahini dressing on the side

Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls

These curry roasted vegetable bowls are colorful, full of vibrant flavors, and the leftovers pack up well for your weekly meal prep!
Total Cost $6.10 recipe / $1.53 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 480.38kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice (uncooked) $0.40
  • 1 head cauliflower $2.29
  • 3 carrots $0.24
  • 1 red onion $0.37
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • 1/3 cup tahini $1.13
  • 1/3 cup water $0.00
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice $0.18
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Begin the rice first because it takes the longest to cook. Combine the uncooked rice in a pot with 2 cups water. Place a lid on top, turn the heat onto high, and allow the water to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 45 minutes (no stirring). After 45 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for an additional five minutes.
  • Once the rice is started, move on to the curry roasted vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Peel and slice the carrots. Slice the red onion into ¼-inch wide slices.
  • Place the cauliflower, carrots, and red onion on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top, then add the curry powder and salt. Toss the vegetables until everything is evenly coated in oil and spices. Spread the vegetables out over the baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Transfer the seasoned vegetables to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes give them a good stir, then roast for another 15 minutes. Next, add the frozen peas and toss together with the roasted vegetables, then return the baking sheet to the oven for the an additional 5 minutes. Taste the vegetables and add additional salt, if needed.
  • While the rice is simmering and the vegetables are roasting, make the lemon tahini dressing. Place the tahini, water, lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt in a blender then blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • When the rice has finished cooking, fluff with a fork. Place about ¾ cup rice into each bowl or meal prep container. Top with ¼ of the roasted vegetables. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of dressing just before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 480.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 66.68g | Protein: 14.18g | Fat: 20.38g | Sodium: 579.93mg | Fiber: 12.85g

How to Make Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Cooked rice being fluffed with a fork in a saucepot

Start the brown rice first, since it takes the longest to cook. Add 1 cup brown rice to a sauce pot with 2 cups water. Place a lid on top and turn the heat onto high. Bring the water up to a full boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the rice simmer for 45 minutes (no stirring). After 45 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest with the lid on for five more minutes.

Chopped vegetables on a baking sheet

While the rice is cooking, start on the roasted vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Chop one head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Peel and slice three carrots. Slice one red onion into ¼-inch wide slices. Place all of the vegetables onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Olive oil and curry powder added to the chopped vegetables

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp curry powder, and ½ tsp salt to the prepared vegetables. Toss the vegetables until they are evenly coated in oil and spices.

Seasoned unroasted vegetables

Transfer the prepared vegetables to the preheated 400ºF oven. Roast for 20 minutes then give them a good stir. Return the stirred vegetables to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

Frozen peas added to the roasted vegetables

After roasting for 35 minutes total, add 1 cup frozen peas (no need to thaw). Toss them together with the roasted vegetables and return them to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

lemon juice being poured into a blender containing the rest of the dressing ingredients

While the vegetables are in the oven, prepare the lemon tahini dressing. Combine ⅓ cup tahini, ⅓ cup water, ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 cloves of minced garlic, ½ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne, and ¼ tsp salt in a blender.

Blended lemon tahini dressing in the blender

Blend the ingredients until smooth, then set the dressing aside.

Finished roasted vegetables on the baking sheet

Give the final roasted vegetables a taste and adjust the salt, if needed.

Overview of curry roasted vegetable bowls with lemon tahini dressing on the side

To build your curry roasted vegetable bowls, add about ¾ cup brown rice to each bowl or container then top with ¼ of the roasted vegetable mix. Drizzle with the lemon tahini dressing just before serving!

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Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

These kale and white bean power bowls are full of flavor, texture, protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Perfect for meal prep!

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If you’ve been around Budget Bytes a while, then you already know how much I love bowl meals (we even have a whole category for them). So when several people asked me to replicate the Healthy Choice brand frozen Power Bowls, I needed to go see what all the fuss was about. I bought a few, and I have to say, they’re pretty good! …but expensive. So I knew I could do better. Here is my first riff off of the freezer aisle power bowls: Kale and White Bean Power Bowls. Pretty easy, VERY filling, and about half the price!

Overhead view of a kale and white bean power bowl with a fork in the side

My Modifications

This particular bowl is inspired by the White Bean & Feta Salad by Healthy Choice. Since that one had some of my fav ingredients, I knew it was a great place to start. The bowl was nice and filling, but overall it was a touch too sweet for my taste. So here’s what I subbed:

  • Sun dried tomatoes instead of dried cranberries to reduce the sweetness.
  • A homemade vinaigrette that is more tangy than their sweet vinaigrette.
  • Walnuts instead of pepitas. Walnuts just seemed like a better fit for this flavor profile.
  • Brown rice instead of mixed grains (theirs has brown rice, red rice, quinoa, and barley). Using one grain was just more convenient.

P.S. My bowls cost about $1.50 each and the store bought version retails at my local grocery store for $3.99 each ($3.50 on sale when I bought them). WIN.

Make it Your Own

One of my favorite things about bowl meals is that they are endlessly customizable. If you don’t like some of the ingredients I used, you can just swap them out! Here are some options:

  • Spinach instead of kale
  • Quinoa or cauliflower rice in place of brown rice
  • Chickpeas or kidney beans in place of cannellini beans
  • Store bought Greek or Italian dressing in place of the homemade vinaigrette

How to Store Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

This recipe is made for meal prepping. You can keep these bowls refrigerated for about 4 days, or you can freeze them for a couple of months. I suggest using a microwave to reheat the bowls (if frozen, use the defrost setting first, then full power to heat through).

three glass meal prep containers filled with kale and white bean power bowls
Overhead view of a Kale and White Bean Power Bowl with a fork in the side

Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

These kale and white bean power bowls are full of flavor, texture, protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Perfect for meal prep! 
Total Cost $5.81 recipe / $1.45 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 550.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice $0.40

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.52
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.30
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.15
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Sautéed Kale

  • 1/2 lb. chopped fresh kale (6 cups) $1.15
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.02
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans $0.07
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes $0.83
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.03
  • 2 oz. feta $1.14

Instructions

  • Begin cooking the rice first. The remaining bowl ingredients can be prepared while the rice is cooking. Add the rice and 2 cups water to a saucepot. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice sit with the lid in place for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.
  • While the rice is cooking, make the vinaigrette so the flavors have a little time to blend. In a jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Add the cooking oil and minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute. Add the chopped kale and salt. Sauté for a few more minutes, or just until the kale is wilted. Set the kale aside.
  • Finally, prepare the rest of the toppings. Rinse and drain the white beans. Chop the sun dried tomatoes and walnuts. Crumble the feta.
  • When the rice has finished cooking, it's time to assemble the bowls. Add about ¾ cup rice to each bowl or container, followed by ½ cup sautéed kale, ⅓ cup beans, and a tablespoon each of sun dried tomatoes and walnuts. Sprinkle a little feta over each bowl. Divide the vinaigrette between four small containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • Reheat the bowls using a microwave just before serving, then drizzle with vinaigrette, stir, and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 550.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 64.18g | Protein: 16.58g | Fat: 26.3g | Sodium: 887.8mg | Fiber: 10.1g

How to Make Kale and White Bean Power Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Cooked brown rice in a pot being fluffed with a fork

Start with the brown rice because it takes about 50 minutes to cook and the rest of the bowls can be prepared while the rice cooks. Add 1 cup brown rice to a pot with 2 cups water. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over high heat. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.

Overhead view of homemade vinaigrette in a jar.

Next, make the vinaigrette so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine ¼ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a jar or bowl. Whisk the ingredients to combine or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.

Chopped kale in a colander

Next, prepare the kale. I buy pre-chopped kale because it’s super inexpensive and really cuts down on the prep work. I do give it an extra rinse, though, and pick out any large pieces of stems.

Minced garlic and oil in a large pot

Add ½ Tbsp cooking oil and one clove of minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium for about a minute.

Sautéed kale in the pot

Add 1/2 lb. chopped kale to the pot with ⅛ tsp salt and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the kale is wilted. Set the kale aside.

Sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, beans, and feta on a cutting board

Prepare the last few ingredients. Chop about ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes and ¼ cup walnuts. Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of cannellini beans. Crumbled about 2 oz. feta.

Power bowls base layer of rice, kale, and beans

When the rice is finished cooking, it’s time to build the bowls. Start with ¾ cup rice in each bowl or container, ⅓ cup beans, and about ½ cup sautéed kale.

Sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, feta, and dressing added to the power bowl

Add about 1 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes and chopped walnuts on top, and a light sprinkle of crumbled feta. Divide the dressing between four containers. Refrigerate the bowls until ready to eat. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bowls after reheating, then stir and enjoy!

Overhead view of a Kale and White Bean Power Bowl with a fork in the side

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Easy Vegetarian Minestrone

This easy Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is hearty, chock full of vegetables, budget friendly, meal prep ready, and super flexible!

The post Easy Vegetarian Minestrone appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As we move from colder weather to warmer days, a good soup like Minestrone is a must. This hearty, vegetable-filled soup is warm and soothing, but light enough to not make you feel weighed down as you’re out enjoying these beautiful days. Plus, this Vegetarian Minestrone ticks all of my Budget Bytes boxes: easy, inexpensive, flexible, and meal prep friendly!

Close up overhead shot of vegetarian minestrone in the pot with a ladle

Isn’t All Minestrone Soup Vegetarian?

There are a LOT of interpretations of Minestrone out there, but they often include a Parmesan rind to infuse more umami flavor into the broth. Parmesan is one of the few cheeses that is not considered vegetarian because it contains animal rennet. And since I didn’t have a Parmesan rind on hand, this particular recipe is a vegetarian minestrone. But by all means, if you have a Parmesan rind on hand and aren’t concerned about keeping the soup vegetarian, add it to the soup before it simmers! You won’t be disappointed.

Some people also add a little bit of meat to their Minestrone. Pancetta or bacon are great options (brown in the pot before adding the vegetables) for adding a touch more flavor.

Where’s the Pasta??

Minestrone soup often has some sort of pasta or grain to make the soup extra hearty. Since pasta can get mushy when it swims around in soup for too long, I decided to avoid that issue and just sub some extra beans (chickpeas) to add that extra heartiness without having to deal with soggy pasta.

If you want to add some pasta to your minestrone, just choose any small shaped pasta like ditalini, small shells, or orzo. Add about 1 cup of the uncooked pasta and an extra 2 cups of water to the soup, then boil until the pasta is tender.

What Other Vegetables Can I Add to Minestrone?

My favorite thing about Minestrone is that it is SUPER flexible. If you don’t like one or more of the vegetables in my recipe below, feel free to use one of these instead:

  • Celery
  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potato
  • Fennel
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peas
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle

Vegetarian Minestrone

This easy Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is hearty, chock full of vegetables, budget friendly, meal prep ready, and super flexible! 
Total Cost $5.96 recipe / $0.99 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 about 1.5 cups each
Calories 313.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 4 carrots $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans $0.75
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 1 zucchini (about 1/2 lb.) $0.71
  • 1 cup frozen green beans $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot (do not let it burn).
  • Rinse and drain the kidney beans and chickpeas, and then add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), Italian Seasoning, and vegetable broth. Give everything a good stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the soup is simmering, slice the zucchini into quarter-rounds. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir and simmer the soup for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the zucchini just begin to soften.
  • Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and chopped parsley. Give it a taste and add extra salt if needed (my soup did not need any extra salt, but it may depending on the type of broth used). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 313.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.08g | Protein: 14.1g | Fat: 8.55g | Sodium: 1008.55mg | Fiber: 11.32g
Overhead view of a pot full of vegetarian minestrone

How to Make Vegetarian Minestrone – Step by Step Photos

Chopped onion, carrots, and garlic in a soup pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Tomato paste in the pot with vegetables

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Beans, herbs, tomatoes, and broth added to the soup pot

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of kidney beans and one 15oz. can of chickpeas. Add the beans to the pot along with one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, and 4 cups vegetable broth. Give everything a stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sliced zucchini on a cutting board

While the soup is simmering, slice one zucchini (about ½ lb.) into quarter-rounds.

Zucchini and green beans added to the soup

Once the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and 1 cup frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir everything together and let it continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until the zucchini just begins to soften.

Chopped parsley and lemon juice added to the soup

Finish the soup off with 1 Tbsp lemon juice and about a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Give the soup a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any extra salt to my soup, but you may need some depending on the salt content of your broth.

Front view of a bowl full of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon lifting a bite

So much vegetable goodness!!

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Quickie Red Beans and Rice

When you don’t have time to soak and boil dry beans, these Quickie Red Beans and Rice get you all the flavor in a fraction of the time.

The post Quickie Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mardi Gras is definitely looking a little (okay, a lot) different this year, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t celebrating! I no longer live in New Orleans, but I still like to celebrate every year with a big pot of red beans and rice. I usually make a traditional pot of my Louisiana Style Red beans using dry beans, but I get so many questions about how to do it with canned beans that I decided to make this Quickie Red Beans and Rice recipe for those who just don’t have time to soak and cook dry beans. It’s not a traditional pot of red beans, but it’s faster, satisfying, and will make you wish you were watching parades and catching beads!

Overhead view of a pot of red beans with sausage, corn muffins on the side

You’ll Still Need a Little Time…

Okay, I’m calling these “quickie” red beans and rice, but they do still need a little time to cook and for all those delicious flavors to blend and develop. But we’re talking more like one hour instead of several hours, like a traditional pot of beans.

What Kind of Red Beans Should I Use?

I used dark red kidney beans for this recipe because that’s the only canned variety that was available when I was shopping. When I make a pot of red beans from dry beans, I prefer small red beans instead of kidney beans because they make a smoother, creamier pot of beans. I usually can’t find small red beans canned, so kidney beans are the next best option. You can use either light or dark kidney beans.

Are Red Beans and Rice Spicy?

You can make these red beans and rice either spicy or mild, according to your preference. If you prefer mild, make sure the sausage you get is not spicy and skip the cayenne pepper in the spices listed below. If you want your red beans to be spicy, use a spicy sausage and increase the cayenne pepper to your liking.

Make Your Red Beans Vegetarian

It’s super easy to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan. Just skip the sausage and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. To make up for the richness of the pork fat that comes from the sausage, use coconut oil in place of the cooking oil listed below, and consider adding a couple extra tablespoons. This will make your red beans super rich and delicious! Here’s a link to my Vegan Red Beans made from dry beans.

Overhead view of a bowl of quickie red beans and rice with corn muffins on the side
Overhead view of a bowl of quickie red beans and rice with corn muffins on the side

Quickie Red Beans and Rice

When you don't have time to soak and boil dry beans, these Quickie Red Beans and Rice get you all the flavor in a fraction of the time.
Total Cost $8.02 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 1.5 cups beans, 1 cup rice
Calories 603.18kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $2.99
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 bell pepper $0.69
  • 3 ribs celery $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 3 15oz. cans kidney beans $1.50
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.13
  • 3 green onions, sliced $0.30
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.93

Instructions

  • Slice the sausage into rounds or half-rounds. Add the sausage and cooking oil to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned.
  • While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper to the pot and continue to cook and stir for a minute more.
  • Drain two of the cans of beans. Add the third can to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. The puréed beans will help thicken the pot and make everything extra creamy. Add the drained beans, puréed beans, and chicken broth to the pot, then stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the beans to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the pot continue to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the red beans are simmering, begin cooking your rice. Add the uncooked rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high. Once the pot 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 rice sit, undisturbed, lid in place, for an extra 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
  • After the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed (between the sausage and canned beans I didn't find I needed to add any, but salt content can vary so be sure to give it a taste). Serve the beans in a bowl, topped with a scoop of rice, and a few sliced green onions.

Notes

*If you can’t find Andouille sausage you can use any other type of smoked sausage. The sausage I bought came in a 14oz. package, but you can use anywhere from 12-16oz.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 603.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.85g | Protein: 23.73g | Fat: 23.1g | Sodium: 1396.82mg | Fiber: 11.6g
Close up of a spoonful of quickie red beans and rice with the bowl in the background

How to Make Quickie Red Beans and Rice – Step by Step Photos

browned sausage rounds in a pot

Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage (or any smoked sausage, if you can’t find Andouille) into rounds or half-rounds. Add it to a large pot with 1 Tbsp cooking oil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has browned.

Onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic added to the pot

While the sausage is cooking, dice one yellow onion, one bell pepper, and three ribs of celery. Mince four cloves of garlic. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to stir and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Spices being poured into the pot with sausage and vegetables

Next, add 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Continue to stir and cook for about a minute more.

Pureed red beans in a blender

No, this is not a photo of a strawberry smoothie, but this is where the recipe gets a little interesting. Drain two 15oz. cans of kidney beans. Pour the third can, including the liquid from the can, into a blender and purée until smooth.

red beans added to the pot

Add the two cans of drained beans and the one can of puréed beans to the pot. The puréed beans are going to help thicken the pot and make everything nice and creamy.

Chicken broth added to the pot, beans ready to simmer

Finally, add 1 cup chicken broth to the pot and stir everything to combine. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. (Photo above is before simmering)

Cooked rice in sauce pot

While the beans are simmering, begin the rice. Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on top and turn the heat on to high. When 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 it rest, with the lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.

Simmered pot of red beans

Once the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed. Between the sausage and canned beans, I didn’t find that I needed to add any salt, but if your beans are tasting bland try adding a little. Salt doesn’t just make things salty, it actually helps our tongue distinguish different flavors, so it can really make a dish pop when used correctly!

Overhead view of a pot of red beans with corn muffins on the side

Serve your red beans in a bowl topped with a scoop of rice and a few sliced green onions. Cornbread or corn muffins are also a nice side with red beans. ;)

The post Quickie Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This simple, fresh, and filling Mediterranean Tuna Salad makes an easy protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek. Tons of ideas for add-ins and substitutions included!

The post Mediterranean Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I had a request for more tuna recipes lately but instead of heavy casseroles, I was in the mood for something lighter and more fresh (I’m soooo ready for Spring). So I made this Mediterranean Tuna Salad, which is sort of a hybrid of two of my other favorite recipes. And guess what? It holds up great in the fridge, so it’s another meal prep ready salad! 🙌

Overhead view of a bowl full of Mediterranean Tuna Salad with a fork in the side

What’s in Mediterranean Tuna Salad?

As I mentioned in the intro, this salad is a hybrid of two of my other favorite recipes: Super Fresh Cucumber Salad and Tuna and White Bean Salad. The salad starts with a base of fresh vegetables, like cucumber, tomato, red onion, and parsley, then gets a dose of protein from tuna and white beans, and is finished off with a tangy homemade vinaigrette and just the right amount of crumbled feta. The combo is absolutely perfect!

What Else Can I Add?

What I love about “refrigerator salads” (besides the fact that they hold up for days in the fridge) is that they are always quite flexible. You can add, substitute, or skip ingredients based on your needs. Here are some other ingredients that you can add into this Mediterranean Tuna Salad:

  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Bell peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Cooked orzo, penne, or bowtie pasta
  • Spinach or Romaine (keep separate if meal prepping)
  • Roasted red peppers

How to Serve Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This well rounded salad could be served on its own in a larger portion as a stand alone meal, but you could also round it out by adding some pita and hummus on the side, stuffing the salad itself into a pita or wrap, or adding some cooked pasta to make it into a pasta salad. However you eat it, it’s going to be filling, fresh, and flavorful!

What Kind of Tuna Should I Use?

I definitely suggest chunk light tuna for this recipe because I think it’s the happy medium between good texture (large pieces instead of tiny flakes) and price. You can use tuna packed in either water or oil, whichever you prefer. The nutritional stats below are calculated using tuna packed in water.

How Long Does it Last?

My salad stayed fresh for about 3-4 days. The ingredients hold up extremely well in the refrigerator. You do want to give it a good stir before serving, though, to redistribute the dressing and make sure everything is as flavorful as possible.

Close up side view of Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a bowl
Close up side view of Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a bowl

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This simple, fresh, and filling Mediterranean Tuna Salad makes an easy protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek.
Total Cost $7.89 recipe / $1.32 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 about 1 cup each
Calories 283.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.20
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Salad

  • 1 English cucumber* $1.29
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes* $1.49
  • 1/2 red onion $0.16
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (about ½ cup) $0.35
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans $0.69
  • 1 12oz. can chunk light tuna $1.89
  • 2 oz. feta $1.10

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette first, so the flavors have a little time to blend. In a bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • If you want to soften the flavor of the red onion a bit, slice it then soak the slices in ice water for about five minutes before dicing. Otherwise, finely dice the red onion, cut the cucumber into quarter rounds, slice the tomatoes in half, and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Combine the cucumber, tomato, onion, and parsley in a bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over top, then stir until the vegetables are coated.
  • Rinse and drain the beans, and drain the tuna. Add the beans, tuna, and feta to the salad, then gently stir to combine. These three are added last and only gently stirred to make sure the tuna remains in larger flakes instead of falling apart into tiny pieces.
  • Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to four days. Give it a quick stir after refrigerating and before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Notes

*You can use a conventional cucumber and diced Roma tomatoes in place of English cucumber and grape tomatoes if needed. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 283.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.75g | Protein: 22.48g | Fat: 11.98g | Sodium: 691.93mg | Fiber: 5.18g

How to Make Mediterranean Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Homemade vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork

Start with the vinaigrette, so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine ¼ cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.

red onion slices soaking in a bowl of water

If you want to soften the flavor of the red onions, soaking them for five minutes or so in ice water really helps! I slice them first to give more surface area to water contact, then finely dice them after soaking. For this recipe I used about ½ of a red onion.

Chopped vegetables in a bowl

You also want to cut one cucumber into quarter rounds, slice a pint of grape tomatoes in half, and roughly chop about ¼ bunch of parsley (about ½ cup chopped). Add them all to a bowl with the finely diced red onion.

Vinaigrette being poured over vegetables in the bowl

Pour the vinaigrette over top, then stir until everything is coated. We’ll add the tuna and feta last so they don’t break apart too much when stirring.

beans, tuna, and feta added to the salad

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of cannellini beans, and drain one 12oz. can of chunk light tuna. Add the beans, tuna, and 2oz. feta to the salad, then fold to combine.

Finished Mediterranean Tuna Salad in the bowl with a spatula

And that’s a wrap! Your Mediterranean Tuna Salad is ready to go. You can either serve it immediately or refrigerate for up to four days. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a white serving dish from above

The post Mediterranean Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are awesome, but I always find them slightly awkward or difficult to eat. Can’t I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and eat it with a fork?! (I feel that way about a lot of food, TBH). So that’s what I ended up doing! These super simple unstuffed bell peppers are […]

The post Unstuffed Bell Peppers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Stuffed bell peppers are awesome, but I always find them slightly awkward or difficult to eat. Can’t I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and eat it with a fork?! (I feel that way about a lot of food, TBH). So that’s what I ended up doing! These super simple unstuffed bell peppers are cooked in one skillet to make your (my) life super easy and delicious. #yesplease

Originally posted 8-13-2014, updated 2-4-2021.

Overhead view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet with a spoon.

Can I Use Cauliflower Rice Instead of White Rice?

Unfortunately, you can not swap out cauliflower rice for the white rice in this recipe. Cauliflower rice releases liquid as it cooks, whereas white rice absorbs it, so you’ll end up with a stuffed bell pepper soup. :) But hey, that actually doesn’t sound so bad! You can also try using cauli rice and skipping the broth, but you’ll be missing a lot of flavor with that option.

Can I Freeze Unstuffed Bell Peppers?

Yes, this recipe freezes great! Make sure to divide the skillet into single serving portions just after cooking, and chill them completely in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer. Once frozen, they’ll keep in the freezer for about three months and can be reheated in the microwave straight from the freezer (use the defrost setting first, then high until heated through).

Tips for Making One-Pot Rice Dishes

Even cooking plain rice on the stovetop can be a bit challenging for some folks, and when you add in other ingredients it can end up a little more tricky. To make sure your rice cooks thoroughly and evenly, keep these things in mind:

  • Cookware: A really good quality (thick and heavy) skillet is really important for making this recipe work correctly. Heavy cookware conducts heat really evenly so the sides of your skillet will cook at the same rate as the part that is right above the flame. If it’s a thin skillet, it might scorch right in the center and leave the outer edges uncooked. If you don’t have a good skillet, a dutch oven or heavy soup pot would also work well.
  • Heat level: Another key to cooking rice is making sure the water in the pot (or skillet) is simmering the whole time, but the heat is not so high that it burns on the bottom. So once you’ve got everything in the pot and have already brought everything up to a boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting that still maintains a light simmer. Since this can vary from stove to stove and the type of cookware you’re using, you’ll need to adjust this based on what you’re hearing and seeing in the pot. Once you get the hang of it, though, it will be easy!
  • Use a burner close in size to the bottom of your pot or skillet. If you’re using a wide bottomed pot or skillet over a very small burner, the outside edges of your pot or skillet may not receive enough heat to simmer and cook the rice through. 

Close up side view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet

Love skillet meals? Check out my Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet, Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet, or One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice.

Close up side view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

All the ingredients and flavor of stuffed bell peppers cooked in one skillet for an easy, free-form bowl meal. It's UNstuffed Bell Peppers!
Total Cost $8.02 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1 ⅓ cups each
Calories 320.53kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 bell peppers $1.53
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.85
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked) $0.62
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1.5 cups beef broth $0.07
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.26
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.01
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.85
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion and bell pepper.
  • Add the olive oil and ground beef to a deep skillet. Cook the beef over medium heat until it is fully browned.
  • Add the diced onion, bell pepper, minced garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are soft.
  • Next, add the diced tomatoes (with juices), uncooked rice, and beef broth. Give everything a brief stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid still in place, for another five minutes.
  • While the pot is simmering, combine the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Once the rice has rested for 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, gently folding the ingredients back together (peppers and tomatoes may float to the top while it simmers).
  • Pour the prepared tomato sauce over top, then sprinkled the shredded mozzarella over the sauce. Place the lid back on top and let the heat from the skillet melt the mozzarella. Once melted, sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.33cups | Calories: 320.53kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.55g | Protein: 15.75g | Fat: 12.78g | Sodium: 646.32mg | Fiber: 3.88g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A fork lifting some rice and cheese from a bowl of unstuffed bell peppers

How to Make Unstuffed Bell Peppers – Step by Step Photos

browned ground beef with diced onion, bell pepper, and herbs

Mince one clove of garlic and dice a yellow onion and bell pepper. Add ½ lb. ground beef to a deep skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it has fully browned. Add the diced bell pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, and about ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are soft.

Tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet.

Next, add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, and 1.5 cups beef broth to the skillet. 

Combined ingredients in the skillet

Give everything a brief stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid still in place, for an additional 5 minutes.

Worcestershire sauce being added to tomato sauce

While the rice is simmering, prepare the tomato sauce. Combine one 8oz. can of tomato sauce with 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Set the sauce aside.

Rice being fluffed with a fork in the skillet

After the rice has rested for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, gently folding the tomatoes and peppers back into the rice.

Cheese being added to the skillet

Pour the prepared tomato sauce over the rice in the skillet, then top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Place the lid back on the skillet and let the residual heat melt the cheese.

finished unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet topped with parsley

Top with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve!

Unstuffed Bell Peppers skillet with lid on the side

The post Unstuffed Bell Peppers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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.

The post Spinach Rice with Feta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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

The post Spinach Rice with Feta 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

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

Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens

It’s said that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings you good luck. Now, I’m not usually superstitious, but after a year like 2020, I’m willing to try anything (just kidding, but I’m not). So let’s ring in good luck for the new year with this quick pot of black eyed peas and greens. Vegetarian and meat options included!

The post Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s said that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings you good luck. Now, I’m not usually superstitious, but after a year like 2020, I’m willing to try anything (just kidding, but I’m not). I have an awesome recipe for slow simmered black eyed peas and greens that I made years ago, but it’s a long process that starts with dry peas. So I wanted to make a “quickie” version, using canned black eyed peas, that’s a little faster and easier for times when you haven’t planned ahead.

Overhead view of a pot of black eyed peas and greens on a wooden surface

How to Serve Black Eyed Peas and Greens

There are two basic ways that I like to serve a bit pot of beans or peas like this. Either in a bowl with rice, or in a bowl with a big chunk of crusty bread for dipping. Having some sort of starch to kind of balance the meal out makes it super satisfying and filling.

A little dash of hot sauce on top of your bowl or even a dollop of sour cream on top is also pretty awesome. ;)

Can I Use Dry Peas?

This recipe is specifically made for canned peas, which are already cooked. If you’d like to make something similar using dry peas, follow my recipe for Slow Simmered Black Eyed Peas and Greens.

Can I Add Meat?

The recipe below is vegetarian (vegan, actually), but it’s super easy to add meat to this meal. You have three easy options to keep this a “quick” meal: bacon, ham, or smoked sausage. Whichever one you decide to use, just sauté the meat in the pot before beginning with the onion and garlic in step one below.

Can I Freeze Black Eyed Peas?

Yes! This recipe is great for stocking your freezer. Just divide it into single portions, cool it in the fridge first, then once cool transfer it to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months or so). Any freezer-safe container will do. To reheat, either use a microwave or heat in a sauce pot over medium-low, stirring often, until heated through.

Side view of a bowl of black eyed peas with greens and rice
Side view of a ladle lifting some black eyed peas and greens from the pot

Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens

Ring in good luck for the new year with this quick pot of black eyed peas and greens. Vegetarian and meat options included!
Total Cost $4.43 recipe / $1.11 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 330.33kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 3 15oz. cans black eyed peas $2.37
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.85

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add both to a large soup pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Drain the canned black eyed peas, then add them to the pot along with the oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium high, and bring the pot up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the peas to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After the peas have simmered for about 15 minutes, use the back of a spoon to smash some of the peas against the side of the pot to thicken the broth (or use an immersion blender to blend a small portion of the peas).
  • Add the fresh spinach to the pot and stir until it has wilted into the peas. Give the peas a taste and adjust the salt or seasoning to your liking. Serve hot with bread or rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 330.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.3g | Protein: 19.88g | Fat: 7.18g | Sodium: 1414.65mg | Fiber: 14.68g
Close up of a ladle full of black eyed peas and greens with the pot in the background

How to Make Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens – Step by Step Photos

Onions and garlic in soup pot

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Beans, seasoning, and broth added to the soup pot

Drain three 15oz. cans of black eyed peas and add them to the pot along with ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and 2 cups of vegetable broth.

Black eyed peas before simmering

Stir the peas, broth, and seasoning together. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmered black eyed peas in the pot with a spoon

After simmering, the peas will have swelled even a little bit more and they will be even more soft. Use a large spoon to smash some of the peas against the side of the pot, or use an immersion blender to purée a small amount of the peas.

Thickened peas in the pot

Smashing some of the peas makes the broth thick and creamy.

Spinach wilted into the peas in the pot

Add 4 oz. fresh spinach (½ of an 8oz. bag) and stir until it has wilted into the peas. Give the peas a taste and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking.

Overhead view of a bowl of black eyed peas and greens with rice in the center

Serve with crusty bread or rice and enjoy your good luck in the new year! :)

The post Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.