Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It’s the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.

The post Easy Pumpkin Chili appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love all things pumpkin, and I’m not sorry about it. I also love just about every iteration of chili that is out there (see my Homemade Chili recipe and the long list of variations you can make). So it’s only fitting that I combined my two fall loves. Adding pumpkin is a super easy way to add a dose of nutrients to your pot of chili without changing that classic chili feel. The flavor and texture blend seamlessly into a pot of classic chili and even kind of makes it feel a tad lighter, so I’m totally into it!

A bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

What Does Pumpkin Chili Taste Like?

Okay, if you’re looking at me with a side-eye over the idea of putting pumpkin into your chili, just hear me out. The flavor difference is subtle. It makes the chili a little more saucy and rich, without being overly heavy. The pumpkin adds a little earthiness and a super subtle sweetness, which is nice because I usually add a little bit of brown sugar to my chili, but I was able to skip that with the pumpkin. And since I like to load up my chili with a lot of spices (see my homemade chili seasoning), the flavor of the pumpkin is not super noticeable.

And I think this is a good time to mention that you don’t want to taste your chili until it has simmered on the stove a while. You might be tempted to give it a taste right after you add everything to the pot, but at that point, it does not taste good. The chili needs time to do its thing. The spices need to bloom, the flavors need to cook down and combine. Give it time, and then taste. Be patient!

Make it Vegetarian or Vegan

It’s super easy to make your pumpkin chili vegetarian or vegan. Just swap out the ground beef for an extra can of beans, cooked lentils, some crumbled tempeh, or your favorite ground beef substitute. Most of the flavor in this chili comes from the chili seasoning, tomatoes, and other vegetables, so you can safely substitute the beef without too much of an effect.

Use a Different Meat

You can also swap the ground beef out for a different kind of ground meat. Ground turkey is very popular for pumpkin turkey because it has a lighter flavor to match the lighter flavor of the pumpkin, but I also think that some Mexican chorizo would be awesome. Those smoky spices would pair perfectly with the flavor of the pumpkin.

Is Pumpkin Chili Spicy?

The recipe, as written below, is only as spicy as the chili powder you use. Many grocery store chili powders tend to be quite mild, but some brands can be spicy. So, if you’re sensitive to heat, make sure you use a chili powder that is mild. I find that McCormick brand chili powder is pretty mild.

If you want to add more heat to your pumpkin chili, feel free to dice up a jalapeño and sautéing that with the onion and garlic in the beginning. You can also add some chipotle powder to the chili seasoning, or dice up a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and stir that into the chili. There are a lot of options!

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili
Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It's the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.
Total Cost $9.73 recipe / $1.62 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 1.25 cups each
Calories 431kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Chili

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 lb. ground beef $5.35
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained $0.59
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained $0.55
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes $0.69
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée $1.05
  • 1/2 6oz. can tomato paste (5 Tbsp) $0.25
  • 2 cups water $0.00

Chili Seasoning*

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Add the garlic, onion, and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  • Add the kidney beans (drained), black beans (drained), diced tomatoes (with juices), puréed pumpkin, tomato paste, water, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top of the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer, stirring occastionally. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After simmering for 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed. Serve hot with your favorite toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onion, corn chips, etc.)

Notes

*You can use your own store-bought chili seasoning or your favorite mix of chili herbs and spices.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 21g | Sodium: 1131mg | Fiber: 14g
A spoon lifting a bite of pumpkin chili with melted cheese stretching from the bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Chili – Step by Step Photos

diced onion and minced garlic in a pot with olive oil

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

browned ground beef in the pot with onion and garlic

Add one pound ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through.

remaining chili ingredients added to the pot, unstirred.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: 1 15oz. can black beans (drained), 1 15oz. can kidney beans (drained), 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée, ½ of a 6oz. can tomato paste, 2 cups water, ½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir until everything is well combined.

simmered chili in a pot with a spoon

Place a lid on the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed (I did not add any extra).

Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Serve hot with your favorite toppings! I especially like something creamy on my bowl, whether that is cheese, avocado, or sour cream. :)

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili with toppings on the sides

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Black Bean and Roasted Salsa Soup

Colorful oven-roasted vegetables, black beans, fresh cilantro, and lime come together to make a vibrant soup that’s great any time of year.

The post Black Bean and Roasted Salsa Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ll just admit it. I love salsa so much that sometimes I wish I could eat it with a spoon as if it were soup. So that’s basically what I did. I made a homemade salsa with roasted vegetables, combined it with black beans to make the soup more filling, and added some fresh cilantro and lime to freshen things up. This soup is colorful, flavorful, and is giving me all the salsa vibes. I wouldn’t even say no to crushing some tortilla chips on top of the bowl!

Originally posted 12-13-2010, updated 8-11-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of black bean and roasted salsa soup, cornbread and limes on the side

This soup is based off of my Fire Roasted Salsa recipe, which is one of my absolute favorite salsa recipes. It’s made with fresh vegetables that are oven roasted until they’re all sweet and caramelized on the edges. The flavor is absolutely amazing!

Add More to Your Soup

You know I love flexible recipes, and this black bean and roasted salsa soup is no exception. You can have tons of fun by adding ingredients or toppings to make it your own. Here are some ideas:

  • For a creamier soup, stir in some cream, sour cream, plain yogurt or cream cheese
  • Add a few chipotle peppers in adobe sauce for a smokier, spicier soup
  • If you’re in a meaty mood, chorizo would be a perfect addition
  • Top the soup with a variety of garnishes:
    • Avocados
    • Sour cream
    • Shredded cheese
    • Crushed tortilla chips
    • Green Onion
    • Cilantro
    • Pico de gallo
    • Lime wedges

What to Serve with Roasted Salsa Soup

I served my soup as a main with some Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread on the side, but this soup would also be great served as a side with Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, or Black Bean and Avocado Enchiladas.

Side view of black bean and roasted salsa soup in a bowl with a spoon in the center
Side view of black bean and roasted salsa soup in a bowl with a spoon in the center

Black Bean and Roasted Salsa Soup

Colorful oven-roasted vegetables, black beans, fresh cilantro, and lime come together to make a  vibrant soup that's great any time of year.
Total Cost $8.07 recipe / $1.35 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 1.33 cups each
Calories 195kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma tomatoes $1.43
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 jalapeño $0.07
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 poblano peppers $1.44
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro $0.20
  • 2 15oz. cans black beans $1.60
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, divided $0.39
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.04
  • 1 lime $0.67

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Slice the Roma tomatoes in half. Cut the yellow onion into chunks. Remove the stem and seeds from the red bell pepper and jalapeño, then cut them in half. Peel the garlic. Leave the poblano peppers whole. Place the tomatoes, onion, red bell pepper, jalapeño, and poblano on a large baking sheet. Drizzle cooking oil over top, then toss until everything is coated.
  • Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until they are well browned on the edges, stirring once half-way through.
  • Remove the poblano peppers from the baking sheet and allow them to cool slightly. The skin should be blistered and easily peeled from the pepper. Remove the skin, then open the peppers and scrape out the seeds.
  • Add the roasted vegetables and fresh cilantro to a food processor or blender and pulse until the vegetables are about half-puréed. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large soup pot.
  • Drain the canned beans and add them to the food processor with 1 cup of vegetable broth. Pulse until the beans are puréed. Pour the puréed beans into the soup pot along with the remaining 2 cups vegetable broth and cumin.
  • Stir the contents of the soup pot until everything is evenly combined. Turn the heat on to medium, and bring the soup up to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and add salt to taste (about ¾ tsp). Squeeze about 1 Tbsp juice from the lime and add stir that into the soup as well. Taste and adjust the lime or salt to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.33cup | Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 769mg | Fiber: 10g
black bean and roasted salsa soup in a Dutch oven garnished with cilantro

How to Make Black Bean and Roasted Salsa Soup – Step By Step Photos

prepped vegetables on a baking sheet with oil being drizzled over top

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Slice 6 Roma tomatoes in half. Cut one yellow onion into chunks. Cut one red bell pepper and one jalapeño in half, then scrape the seeds out. Peel four cloves of garlic. Leave 2 poblano peppers whole. Add all the vegetables to a large baking sheet, then drizzle 2 Tbsp of your favorite cooking oil over top. Toss until the vegetables are well coated in oil.

Roasted vegetables on the baking sheet

Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until they’re well browned on the edges, stirring once halfway through.

Peeled poblanos on a cutting board one with the seeds scraped out

Remove the poblano peppers from the baking sheet and allow them to cool slightly. The skin should be blistered and easily peeled from the flesh. Peel the poblanos, then open them up and scrape out the seeds.

Roasted vegetables in a food processor

Add the roasted vegetables and about ½ cup fresh cilantro to a food processor or blender.

puréed vegetables in the food processor

Pulse the vegetables until they’re about half puréed (I like to leave it just slightly chunky so you can see all the separate colors). Pour the vegetables into a large soup pot.

puréed beans in a food processor

Drain two cans of black beans and add them to the food processor with one cup of vegetable broth. Puré until mostly smooth.

Vegetable broth being poured into the soup pot with vegetables and beans

Pour the beans into the soup pot with the vegetables and add the remaining 2 cups vegetable broth and ½ tsp cumin. Stir until everything is combined.

Finished soup in the pot with salt and lime on the side

Bring the soup up to a simmer over medium heat. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes, then season with salt and lime juice. I added ¾ tsp salt and 1 Tbsp lime juice, but start small and add according to your taste buds.

Overhead view of a bowl full of black bean and roasted salsa soup with a spoon in the center

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Curry Chickpea Salad

This Curry Chickpea Salad is a fast and easy no-cook lunch that’s perfect for summer. Light, fresh, filling, tangy, and flavorful!

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Y’all know I love chickpeas. They’re easy to prepare, versatile, cheap, and full of fiber and other goodies! Chickpea salads have become one of my favorite easy preparations for chickpeas, especially now that it’s mid-summer and a million degrees out. Today I made a light and tangy Curry Chickpea Salad, that you can eat as a wrap, stuffed into a pita, or piled on top of a fresh green salad. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and makes a super tasty lunch!

Curry Chickpea Salad stuffed into a pita on a plate with grape tomatoes

What Kind of Curry Powder Should I Use?

There are so many different types of curry powder out there and they all have a unique flavor. I haven’t yet met a curry powder that I don’t like, so I can’t suggest one over another, but I’ve tried a few different brands such as Sharwoods, 365, Spice Islands, and Simply Organic. If you want to try making your own curry powder at home, here is a great recipe for curry powder from Hari Ghotra, along with a ton of great info about curry powder, its origins, and ways it can be used.

How to Serve Curry Chickpea Salad

As I mentioned in the intro, there are a few different ways to eat this Curry Chickpea Salad. I stuffed it into a pita with some lettuce for the photos here, but I’ve also wrapped it up in a tortilla to make a wrap sandwich. You can also scoop it on top of a green salad, or smash up the chickpeas and dip into it with crackers or vegetables.

I didn’t smash the chickpeas this time, but I often do to create a different texture in the salad. It really just depends on what texture you prefer or how you plan to serve it.

What Else Can I Add?

Chickpea salads are fun because you can add all sorts of other ingredients to make it fancy, if you have them. I think a grated carrot or diced red bell pepper would add a nice texture and the sweetness would work well with the curry flavor. Finely diced celery would also add a nice crunch, as would some slivered almonds. A few raisins would add a fun pop of sweetness. And lastly, if you can’t do red onion, sliced green onion would be a nice mild option to use in their place.

A hand holding a pita stuffed with curry chickpea salad
two pita pockets stuffed with curry chickpea salad on a plate with grape tomatoes

Curry Chickpea Salad

This Curry Chickpea Salad is a fast and easy no-cook lunch that's perfect for summer. Light, fresh, filling, tangy, and flavorful!
Total Cost $1.39 recipe / $0.70 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 1 cup each
Calories 249kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt* $0.35
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.03
  • 1 tsp honey $0.06
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder $0.15
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas $0.55
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro $0.17
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion $0.07

Instructions

  • Prepare the dressing first. Stir together the yogurt, Dijon, honey, curry powder, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  • Rinse and drain the canned chickpeas. Chop the cilantro and finely chop the red onion. If you'd like to soften the flavor of the red onion, first slice it and then let the slices soak in cold water for about five minutes. Drain the onion, then finely chop.
  • Combine the chickpeas, chopped cilantro, chopped red onion, and the prepared dressing in a bowl. Stir to combine. If you prefer, you can slightly mash the chickpeas to create a different texture. Taste and adjust the salt or other ingredients to your liking. Serve cold.

Notes

*You can use either regular-style yogurt or Greek yogurt, keeping in mind that Greek yogurt will create a very thick dressing.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 811mg | Fiber: 11g

Love chickpea salads? Try my Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad, Pesto Chickpea Salad, or Sriracha Chickpea Salad Wraps.

How to Make Curry Chickpea Salad – Step by Step Photos

Yogurt curry sauce being stirred together

First, make the yogurt curry dressing. Stir together ⅓ cup plain yogurt, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, 1.5 tsp curry powder, and ⅛ tsp salt. You can use regular-style or Greek-style yogurt, keeping in mind that Greek yogurt will make a very thick dressing.

Chickpeas, onions, and cilantro in a bowl

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of chickpeas. Finely dice ¼ cup red onion and chop about ¼ cup cilantro. If you want the onions to have a softer flavor, you can slice them first and soak in cold water for about 5 minutes before finely chopping.

curry dressing being poured over salad ingredients in the bowl

Pour the prepared dressing over the ingredients in the bowl.

Finished curry chickpea salad

Stir until everything is combined, give it a taste, and then adjust the salt or other ingredients to your liking. At this point, you can either leave the chickpeas whole or smash them up a bit. It’s up to you!

two pita pockets stuffed with curry chickpea salad on a plate with grape tomatoes

Today I left my chickpeas whole, but if I were going to serve them with crackers for scooping I’d probably mash them up a bit so the chickpeas don’t roll off the crackers. :) Enjoy your quick, cold, no-cook lunch!

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Classic Three Bean Salad

Just a few simple ingredients come together in this Classic Three Bean Salad to make an easy summer side dish, perfect for BBQs and potlucks!

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A salad this simple has no business being so delicious, but it just is. This Classic Three Bean Salad has minimal ingredients, the most basic of basic dressings, and yet I can’t seem to get enough of it. The creamy beans are the perfect contrast to the tangy-sweet dressing, and there’s just enough savory crunch from the red onion to keep the flavors grounded. It’s the perfect summer side dish for all of your BBQs and potlucks, or on those busy weeknights when you don’t want to spend a lot of time fixing dinner.

Overhead view of a bowl full of three bean salad

What Beans Go In Three Bean Salad

My three bean salad has dark kidney beans, cannellini beans, and green beans. You can also try other beans like chickpeas, wax beans, purple hull peas, or black eyed peas.

Three bean salad is really flexible, so you can swap out the beans, and you can even add more than three beans if you’d like. The most important thing to remember when choosing your beans is that you want to have a variety of colors, textures, and shapes. Make sure to have at least one creamy bean, too.

What is the Dressing Like?

The dressing for this classic three bean salad is a very basic, slightly sweet vinaigrette with just enough Dijon to give it a little zing. If you don’t want to make your own dressing, you could potentially swap it out for something like a bottled Italian dressing, although that will have a different flavor.

What to Serve with Three Bean Salad

The sweet-tart flavor of this three bean salad makes it go perfectly with other sweet-savory flavors, like BBQ sauce. This week I served it with my BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken and potato salad. It would also be a great side to something like Honey Mustard Wings, Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin, or BBQ Tofu Sliders.

How Long Does it Last?

Three bean salad is one of those recipes that actually gets better with time in the fridge. As it refrigerates the beans begin to absorb the flavors in the dressing and everything get SUPER tasty. This salad will probably stay good in the fridge for about four days (if you don’t eat it all by then).

Classic three bean salad on a plate with chicken and potato salad
Overhead view of a bowl of three bean salad

Classic Three Bean Salad

Simple ingredients come together in this Classic Three Bean Salad to make a simple summer side dish, perfect for BBQs and potlucks!
Total Cost $2.79 recipe / $0.56 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Marinate 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 5 1 cup each
Calories 301kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans $0.50
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans $0.55
  • 1.5 cups frozen green beans (thawed) $0.44
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.17
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion $0.05
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar $0.24
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.64
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.12
  • 1 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.03

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain the kidney beans and cannellini beans. Place the kidney beans, cannelini beand, and thawed green beans in a bowl.
  • Slice the red onion, then soak the onion in a bowl of ice water for about five minutes before draining and finely dicing. Chop the parsley. Add the onion and parsley to the bowl with the beans.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Dijon.
  • Pour the dressing over the beans, onion, and parsley, then stir to combine.
  • Transfer the bean salad to the refrigerator and let the beans marinate in the dressing for about 30 minutes before serving. Give the salad a good stir just before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 666mg | Fiber: 12g
close up of three bean salad in the bowl

How to Make Three Bean Salad – Step by Step Photos

Three types of beans in a bowl

Rinse and drain one 15 oz. can of kidney beans and one 15 oz. can of cannellini beans. Add them to a bowl with 1.5 cups of thawed frozen green beans.

red onion slices soaking in a bowl of water

Slice some red onion and soak them for about 5 minutes in a bowl of ice water (this takes the sharp edge off their flavor). Finely dice about ¼ cup of the red onion. Chop about ¼ cup fresh parsley.

dressing for three bean salad in a bowl

Whisk together ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard.

dressing being poured over salad ingredients in the bowl

Add the onion and parsley to the bowl with the beans, then pour the dressing over top. Stir everything to combine.

Finished three bean salad in the bowl with a spoon

Refrigerate the three bean salad for about 30 minutes to let the beans marinate. Give it a good stir, and then serve!

close up of three bean salad on a plate with bbq chicken and potato salad

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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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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

The post Kale and White Bean Power Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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!!

The post Easy Vegetarian Minestrone appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Smoky Tomato White Bean Soup

Here’s a simple, hearty White Bean Soup you can make in your Instant Pot or on the stovetop using dry beans. Smoked paprika and optional Harissa paste give it a delicious flavor that will have you coming back for seconds.  Low in calories, high …

Smoky Tomato White Bean Soup you can make in your Instant Pot or on the stovetop using dry beans. Smoked paprika and optional Harissa paste give it a delicious flavor that will have you coming back for seconds.  Low in calories, high in fiber, this soup is vegan and gluten-free.

Here’s a simple, hearty White Bean Soup you can make in your Instant Pot or on the stovetop using dry beans. Smoked paprika and optional Harissa paste give it a delicious flavor that will have you coming back for seconds.  Low in calories, high in fiber, this soup is vegan and gluten-free.   Many of...

The post Smoky Tomato White Bean Soup appeared first on Feasting At Home

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

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