Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons

Some people don’t like generalizations, but, well…that’s a generalization too, isn’t it? However, you sometimes need to paint a picture in broad strokes. And differences which are specific to certain cultures are interesting, which is why many of us travel, to experience them. (It’s also what makes us all delightfully different.) Most don’t come out of thin air, and often contain a kernel of truth,…

Some people don’t like generalizations, but, well…that’s a generalization too, isn’t it? However, you sometimes need to paint a picture in broad strokes. And differences which are specific to certain cultures are interesting, which is why many of us travel, to experience them. (It’s also what makes us all delightfully different.) Most don’t come out of thin air, and often contain a kernel of truth, although I’ve heard some doozies from people in various corners of the world about their perceptions of others.

One generalization that I’ve experienced, which has been confirmed by other Americans who have French partners or spouses, is that we’ve had things said to use that are rather…abrupt, or would be considered borderline insultant back in the States. If you read L’Appart, you may recall dear Romain saying to me probably the worst thing that you can say to a man, whereas I thought the obstetrician did a pretty good job with what he had to work with down there, and I’ve never had any other complaints from partners. But his best friend is half French, half American, so he sort of grew up experiencing some of our good aspects, and some of our…uh, eccentricities, so I can just laugh that stuff off.

Well, most of the time.

Continue Reading Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons...

Cheezy & Spicy Vegan Spinach Dip

If you are looking for a cheezy and spicy vegan spinach dip, this might just be the perfect recipe for you. It is whole foods plant-based all the way as veggies and of course spinach leaves are turned into a smooth and creamy dip. Think of it as a Gree…

If you are looking for a cheezy and spicy vegan spinach dip, this might just be the perfect recipe for you. It is whole foods plant-based all the way as veggies and of course spinach leaves are turned into a smooth and creamy dip. Think of it as a Green Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce. Are...

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The post Cheezy & Spicy Vegan Spinach Dip appeared first on My Pure Plants.

Crispy Rice Paper Spring Rolls

Let’s make delicious and crispy spring rolls with rice paper! I am talking about these cute rice paper rolls that have a colorful, pre-cooked veggie filling (with carrots, purple cabbage, spring onion, bean sprouts in this recipe) and baked in th…

Let’s make delicious and crispy spring rolls with rice paper! I am talking about these cute rice paper rolls that have a colorful, pre-cooked veggie filling (with carrots, purple cabbage, spring onion, bean sprouts in this recipe) and baked in the oven until crispy. If you add the shredded hoisin tofu as well, you have...

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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!

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

Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

This week I had a killer craving for some classic spaghetti and meat sauce. But, as you may know, I like to add vegetables whenever and wherever I can to recipes. So I shredded a couple of handfuls of vegetables, tossed them into the sauce, and added some extra herbs and spices to make this […]

The post Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This week I had a killer craving for some classic spaghetti and meat sauce. But, as you may know, I like to add vegetables whenever and wherever I can to recipes. So I shredded a couple of handfuls of vegetables, tossed them into the sauce, and added some extra herbs and spices to make this absolutely incredible “hidden vegetable” pasta sauce. It has more flavor, more color, and more texture (read: fiber). It’s a win-win-win!

 Originally posted 11-21-2015, updated 4-17-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce and garlic bread on the side

Shown with Homemade Garlic Bread

Balance Your Costs with Vegetables

My favorite trick for stretching ground meat in recipes is to use vegetables or beans to replace half of the ground meat. This time I shredded vegetables, which mimicked the texture of the ground meat, but added a subtle sweetness and a whole lot of extra flavor, texture, and nutrition to the sauce. This sauce is so delicious that I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls while I took photos!

Can I Make This Sauce Vegetarian?

If you want to make a vegetarian version of this hidden vegetable pasta sauce, I suggest mincing an 8oz. container of mushrooms and sautéing them with the onions and garlic. The minced texture will mimic the ground meat and mushrooms have that umami flavor that is similar to ground meat.

Is Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce Freezer Friendly?

This sauce freezes great if you want to make a double batch and have it on hand in your freezer for busy nights. Just make sure to cool the sauce completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer. The sauce will stay good in the freezer for months. To reheat, empty the freezer container into a sauce pot and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Side view of hidden vegetable pasta sauce in a skillet with a spatula

Overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce

Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Give your spaghetti an upgrade with this hidden vegetable pasta sauce that contains a medley of vegetables plus extra herbs and spices for maximum flavor.
Total Cost $6.21 recipe / $1.55 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 366.78kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini $0.57
  • 2 carrots $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional) $0.02
  • 1 24oz. jar pasta sauce* $1.49
  • 12 oz. spaghetti $0.75

Instructions

  • Use a cheese grater to grate the zucchini and carrots. You'll want about 1.5 cups of each, but the amount is flexible. Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Add the olive oil and ground beef to a large, deep skillet. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it is fully browned. Add the diced onion and garlic and continue to sauté a few minutes more, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the shredded zucchini and carrots to the skillet along with the basil, oregano, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of red pepper. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are wilted (about five minutes).
  • Add the pasta sauce to the skillet and stir to combine. Allow the contents of the skillet to come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and simmer the sauce as you prepare the spaghetti. Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain in a colander. Return the drained spaghetti to the pot with the heat turned off. Add one cup of the prepared sauce to the pasta and stir to coat. Divide the pasta into serving bowls and top with additional sauce.

Notes

*Use your favorite brand or flavor of red pasta sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 366.78kcal | Carbohydrates: 46.73g | Protein: 25.98g | Fat: 13.53g | Sodium: 979.83mg | Fiber: 7.78g

Close up of a fork twirling spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce

How to Make Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Shredded zucchini and carrot on a cutting board

Start by preparing your vegetables. Use a cheese grater to grate one small zucchini and two carrots. You’ll want about 1.5 cups each, but this is flexible so don’t sweat it if you have a little more or less. Also dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic.

Browned ground beef with onions and garlic

Add 1/2 lb. ground beef in a large deep skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook over medium heat until the beef has browned. Once browned, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté for a few minutes more, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

Shredded vegetables added to the skillet with the meat

Add the shredded zucchini and carrots to the skillet along with 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp salt, about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Continue to sauté the vegetables until they soften, or about five minutes. 

Pasta sauce being poured into the skillet with the meat and vegetables

Finally, add one 24oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce and stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and continue to let the contents of the skillet simmer as you begin to prepare your spaghetti.

Simmered hidden vegetable pasta sauce in the skillet

Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers. The vegetables will continue to soften as the sauce simmers, further “hiding” them in the sauce.

Spaghetti and sauce in the stock pot

Cook 12oz. of spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain in a colander. Return the pasta to the cooking pot with the heat turned off and add about 1 cup of the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.

Overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce

Divide the pasta into serving bowls, then top each bowl with additional sauce. This stuff is seriously so good, my mouth is watering just looking at that bowl!

Pasta sauce in a freezer bag

And don’t forget, this sauce is freezer-friendly! Just make sure to cool it completely in the refrigerator first, then place in a freezer-safe container (I used freezer bags), label, date, and freeze for later! It can be thawed in a saucepot over low, stirring occasionally.

The post Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls

These Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls feature light and airy rice noodles, cold crunchy vegetables, and a deliciously bright peanut lime dressing.

The post Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m sooooo ready for the lighter foods of spring and summer! This week I made a deliciously light and fresh noodle bowl with crispy tofu, fresh vegetables, and a simple peanut lime dressing. I’m just loving all the cold crunchy vegetables and the light and airy rice noodles in this bowl. As always, I’ve got some substitution options for these Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls below, so make sure to keep reading!

Overhead view of a peanut tofu noodle bowl on a blue background and a fork on the side

What Kind of Noodles Can I Use?

I love rice noodles for this bowl because they’re super light and they taste great cold. I used a vermicelli style rice noodle because that was what was available at the store, but a slightly wider noodle would probably work best (wider noodles tangle less).

If you don’t have rice noodles available or want a less expensive option, these bowls are very similar to my Cold Peanut Noodle Salad, which uses whole what spaghetti, so I think that could also work here.

A third option is to serve these bowls over rice in stead of noodles. Jasmine rice would be my pick!

A fourth option is to serve this like a salad over shredded cabbage or lettuce.

Can I Substitute the Tofu?

Sure! I think both chicken and shrimp would also go great in this bowl. For chicken, just cube it up and sauté in oil until cooked through. You could even toss it in a little bit of the peanut dressing, making sure to save some for the rest of the bowls. For shrimp, just make sure they’re peeled and tails removed, then sauté in oil over medium until they’re opaque and pink (this only takes a few minutes).

Are Tofu Peanut Noodle Bowls Served Hot or Cold?

I eat this bowl cold. When you make them fresh the noodles may still be slightly warm or room temperature, but they’ll be cool enough to not heat the rest of the ingredients. The tofu also cools very rapidly.

How Are the Leftovers?

These bowls hold up pretty good in the fridge! The tofu doesn’t stay crispy, like any fried food, but it’s still tasty in the bowl. You can refrigerate these bowls, with the dressing kept separately, for about 4 days.

Three peanut tofu noodle bowls in glass containers, dressing being poured over one
Overhead view of a peanut tofu noodle bowl with a black fork on the side

Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls

These Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls feature light and airy rice noodles, cold crunchy vegetables, and a deliciously bright peanut lime dressing.
Total Cost $10.40 recipe / $2.60 serving
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 53.25kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu $2.79
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04

Peanut Lime Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter $0.38
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice $0.50
  • 2 tsp soy sauce $0.04
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil* $0.04

Bowls

  • 8 oz. rice noodles $2.69
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 cucumber $1.49
  • 1 carrot $0.08
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro $0.40
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • Start by pressing the tofu. Remove the tofu from the package, then place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Place a cutting board, plate, or another flat object over top, then place something heavy on top of that, like a cast iron skillet or a pot of water. Let the tofu sit with the weight on top for about 30 minutes to press the excess moisture out of the tofu.
  • While the tofu is pressing, prepare the peanut lime dressing. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger, lime juice, soy sauce and oil in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • You can also prep the vegetables while the tofu is pressing. Slice the red bell pepper, slice the cucumber into thin sticks, shred the carrot using a cheese grater, and remove the cilantro leaves from the stems (or just roughly chop them).
  • After the tofu has been pressing for about 30 minutes, pour off the excess water from the baking sheet. Transfer the pressed tofu to a cutting board, and cut the block into ½-inch cubes.
  • Place the tofu cubes in a bowl or shallow dish and sprinkle with salt and cornstarch. Gently toss the tofu cubes until they are coated in cornstarch.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu cubes and cook on each side until golden brown and crispy. Once crispy, remove them from the heat.
  • Finally, cook the rice noodles. Bring a pot of water to a full boil, then add the noodles. Boil only for about three minutes, or the recommended time on the package. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Let the noodles drain well.
  • To assemble the bowls, place ¼ of the noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Top with some bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, and crispy tofu. Sprinkle some chopped peanuts over top, then drizzle with the peanut lime dressing. Enjoy!

Notes

*Any light, neutral-flavored oil will work here, like canola, peanut, sesame (not toasted), avocado, grapeseed, etc. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 53.25kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.08g | Protein: 25.35g | Fat: 38g | Sodium: 437.33mg | Fiber: 6.05g
close up side view of peanut lime dressing being drizzled over a peanut tofu noodle bowl

How to Make Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls – Step by Step Photos

A block of tofu on a baking tray with a cast iron skillet on one side, cutting board on the other side

Start by pressing the tofu. This removes the excess moisture and takes about a half hour, so start with this first. Remove the tofu from its package and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Place something flat on top, like a cutting board or plate, then place something heavy on top of that. I use a cast iron skillet, but a pot of water also works. Let it press for about a half hour. You can see in the photo above all the water that came out.

Peanut lime dressing being whisked in a bowl

While the tofu is pressing, make the peanut lime dressing. Add 3 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 clove of garlic (minced), ½ tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp soy sauce, and ¼ cup neutral oil (anything light flavored) in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Prepped vegetables on a cutting board

You should also have time to prep the vegetables while the tofu presses. Slice one red bell pepper, one cucumber (depending on the size you may only need half), grate one carrot using a cheese grater, and pull about ½ bunch cilantro leaves from the stems.

Cubed tofu being sprinkled with cornstarch

After the tofu has pressed, transfer it to a cutting board and cut it into ½-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl or shallow dish, then sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Gently toss the tofu until it is coated in cornstarch.

Crispy tofu in a skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu and cook until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Remove the tofu from the heat.

package of rice noodles

Lastly, cook the rice noodles. I used vermicelli, but if you can find a slightly wider rice noodle that may work better because they won’t tangle as much. I used one 8 oz. package of rice noodles.

Cooked rice noodles draining in a colander

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and boil for about three minutes, or the recommended time on the package. Drain the rice noodles in a colander and rise briefly with cool water. Let them drain well.

rice noodles in a bowl topped with tofu, bell pepper, cucumber, and carrots

Now it’s time to build the bowls! Place ¼ of the rice noodles in each bowl. Top with bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, and tofu.

Finished peanut tofu noodle bowl, minus dressing

Top the bowl with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.

Peanut lime dressing being drizzled over a peanut tofu noodle bowl

And finally, drizzle that delicious peanut lime dressing over top of the peanut tofu noodle bowls when you’re ready to eat!

Half-stirred peanut tofu noodle bowl with a fork in the center

The post Peanut Tofu Noodle 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.

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

“What should I serve on the side?” is one of the most common questions I get. So it’s never a bad idea to have an arsenal of simple side dishes that you know how to make by heart and that can be paired with just about anything you cook. These simple sautéed vegetables are exactly […]

The post Simple Sautéed Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

“What should I serve on the side?” is one of the most common questions I get. So it’s never a bad idea to have an arsenal of simple side dishes that you know how to make by heart and that can be paired with just about anything you cook. These simple sautéed vegetables are exactly that. They’re easy, colorful, delicious, flexible, and go with just about anything you make for dinner.

Sautéed vegetables in a skillet with a spatula

This Recipe is Flexible!

This is actually more of a technique than a recipe because you can swap in just about any vegetable or seasoning that you have to make this match your meal. See all my vegetable and seasoning ideas below!

Vegetable Options

I used carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash for my vegetable sauté, but you can swap in so many different types of vegetables. I suggest aiming for a variety of colors and textures, and chopping them into different shapes to keep things interesting.

The only other thing to know is to add hard vegetables to the skillet first and softer vegetables to the skillet last, so they can all achieve a similar level of doneness. Here are some great vegetable options:

  • Broccoli
  • Red or Yellow Onion
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Snow Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus

While this quick sauté is a great option for most vegetables, here are a few that I’d avoid for this method:

  • Potatoes (unless pre-boiled)
  • Tomatoes (too watery, will create a wet cooking environment)
  • Leafy Greens (you might get away with kale, but others are probably too delicate)
Sautéed Vegetables on a plate with chicken and rice

Seasoning Options

I uses a super simple combination of basil, oregano, salt, and pepper for my vegetables because that mix goes with just about anything. But you can totally switch that up and add different seasonings to match your meal. Here are some other seasoning ideas:

High Heat is Key

The one true key to making these sautéed vegetables turn out well is to make sure you use a really hot skillet. Medium-high works well for me, but this can vary depending on your cookware and the individual settings on your stove top. The skillet should be hot enough that water sprinkled on the surface sputters and spatters, but not hot enough that the oil begins to smoke.

Why high heat? High heat ensures that any moisture coming out of the vegetables evaporates quickly, instead of pooling in the skillet, which would cause the vegetables to simmer and soften instead of staying nice and crisp.

Side view of sautéed vegetables in the skillet
Side view of sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

These simple sautéed vegetables are an easy, delicious, and colorful side dish that can go with just about anything you make for dinner!
Total Cost $2.92 recipe / $0.73 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 102.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots $0.42
  • 1 zucchini $0.72
  • 1 yellow squash $0.78
  • 1/2 red bell pepper* $0.75
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.07
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.04

Instructions

  • Peel and slice the carrots. Chop the zucchini and yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice the bell pepper.
  • Heat the skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the sliced carrots and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Next, add the bell pepper, zucchini, squash, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the vegetables begin to soften. You want to take the raw edge off the vegetables, but not cook them to the point where they are limp.
  • Once the vegetables have just begun to soften, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the butter and toss until it has melted and coated the vegetables. Finally, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, give them a taste and adjust the salt or pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley just before serving.

Notes

*You can use a full pepper. I happened to have a leftover half pepper from something else, which it’s listed as ½ in the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 102.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.98g | Protein: 2.15g | Fat: 6.9g | Sodium: 166.88mg | Fiber: 3g

How to Make Simple Sautéed Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Start by chopping all of your vegetables ahead of time because this dish cooks quickly and you won’t have time to do any chopping after the cooking begins. I used 3 carrots, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and half of a red bell pepper (I had that left over from something else). Whatever vegetables you choose, aim for a variety of colors and textures.

Carrots being sautéed in a skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the sliced carrots and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Since carrots are a hard vegetable and they take a bit longer to cook, they will go in before the rest of the vegetables.

Zucchini, squash, bell pepper, and herbs added to the skillet

Next, add the zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper, along with ¼ tsp dried basil, ⅛ tsp dried oregano, and ⅛ tsp garlic powder. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or until the vegetables just begin to soften. You want to take the raw edge off, but not cook them to the point where they are soft and mushy.

butter added to sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Once the vegetables being to soften a bit, remove the skillet from the heat and add 1 Tbsp butter. Toss until the butter is melted and coating the vegetables.

Finished sautéed vegetables in the skillet with a spatula

Finish the vegetables by seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper. Give them a taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional) and serve!

Close up side view of sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Eat the rainbow!

The post Simple Sautéed Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

How to Store Carrots So They Last for Months

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today: the right way to store carrots.

I rarely buy a lot of carrots unless I’m making carrot cake, a large po…

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today: the right way to store carrots.


I rarely buy a lot of carrots unless I’m making carrot cake, a large pot of soup, or gajjar ka halwa, a carrot-based Indian dessert. The refrigerator I’m stuck with is tight on space and its temperature seems irregular. Sometimes the vegetables in the crisper turn frosty. We even had a frozen carrot situation once, and the only “person” who loves that is my puppy—it helps with his teething. But carrots are one of those vegetables that can last for a good amount of time if stored properly (and if you have a proper refrigerator).

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Lasagna Soup

When it comes to weeknight meals, it doesn’t get any better than Lasagna Soup. It has all the same ingredients and flavors of classic lasagna without the layering and baking! This one pot meal is favorite at our house and I think you will love it…

When it comes to weeknight meals, it doesn’t get any better than Lasagna Soup. It has all the same ingredients and flavors of classic lasagna without the layering and baking! This one pot meal is favorite at our house and I think you will love it too. I really enjoy one-pot recipes. It not only…

The post Lasagna Soup appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.