Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

These Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are an easy vegetarian dish with plenty of options for customizing to fit your tastes and budget.

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I had a craving for a grilled eggplant sandwich the other day but 1) I don’t have a grill and 2) that sounded like a lot of work, so I made this quick skillet version instead. The resulting Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are a “meaty” combo of sautéed eggplant drenched with marinara sauce, piled high onto a garlic butter toasted bun, then topped off with melty mozzarella cheese. YES PLEASE.

Three Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches on a wooden board

What to Serve with Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

These eggplant sandwiches are pretty filling, so I would pair them with something super simple, like a very basic side salad (greens + vinaigrette) to kind of lighten up the plate. Or, if you want something more vegetable-packed, they would be awesome with Marinated Cauliflower Salad, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, or Simple Sautéed Vegetables.

Sandwich Sizes and Servings

This recipe makes about 3-4 sandwiches, depending on the size of your eggplant and the size of your rolls or buns. I used hoagie buns that were about 6 inches in length and an eggplant that was about 8-inches long and I was able to make three large sandwiches. If you were to use round rolls, you’d probably get four piled-high sandwiches.

How to Store Leftovers

These sandwiches definitely need to be consumed right when they’re assembled, so if you’re in a smaller household that won’t be eating all three or four sandwiches at once, make sure to store the components separately. Keep the sautéed eggplant with red sauce in its own container and reheat either in a skillet or in the microwave. Butter and toast your bread just before assembly, then add the eggplant and cheese, and briefly heat to melt the cheese.

Mozzarella Options

I used fresh mozzarella because it melts so beautifully and I can get it for a decent price. If fresh mozzarella is not available or not available at a reasonable price, you can use shredded mozzarella instead. Full-fat mozzarella will always melt better than part-skim, but part-skim will work in a pinch.

three eggplant mozzarella sandwiches in a line, angled away from the camera
front view of one eggplant mozzarella sandwich

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

Total Cost $6.41 recipe / $2.14 each
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 to 4 sandwiches
Calories 455kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant (8" length) $1.49
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1 cup marinara sauce $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 4 rolls $1.53
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.11
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 4 oz. mozzarella $2.00

Instructions

  • Cube the eggplant into ½-inch cubes. Mince the garlic.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the cubed eggplant and Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).
  • Add the marinara sauce to the skillet with the eggplant, stir to combine, then heat through (3-5 minutes). Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).
  • Preheat the boiler on your oven and make sure the oven rack is positioned in the middle. Combine the second 2 Tbsp olive oil with the butter and garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds to melt the butter, then stir to combine.
  • Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Brush the butter and olive oil mixture over the cut surfaces of the rolls. Bake under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are just barely golden brown (watch them closely as broilers can vary).
  • After removing the rolls from the oven, switch the setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Pile the eggplant mixture onto the toasted rolls, then top with mozzarella. Return the sandwiches to the hot oven and bake for about 5 minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 1110mg | Fiber: 6g
front view of one eggplant mozzarella sandwich

How to Make Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos

Cubed eggplant

Cube one eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Mince two cloves of garlic.

Minced garlic in oil in a skillet

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Cubed eggplant in the skillet with Italian seasoning

Add the cubed eggplant and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).

Marinara sauce being added to sautéed eggplant in the skillet

Once the eggplant is soft, add 1 cup marinara sauce.

Finished eggplant with marinara in the skillet

Stir to combine the eggplant and sauce, then heat through. Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).

Garlic butter and oil being brushed onto rolls

Preheat the broiler on your oven and make sure the oven’s rack is in the middle position. Place your buns or rolls on a baking sheet, cut side up. Combine the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter, and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until melted, then stir to combine. Brush the butter and oil mixture over the cut surface of the rolls.

Eggplant mixture being spooned onto toasted rolls

Toast the rolls under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are barely golden brown. Watch them closely, as broilers can vary quite a bit. Once toasted, switch the oven’s setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Spoon the eggplant mixture onto the rolls.

sandwiches topped with mozzarella

Top the eggplant mixture with mozzarella (about 1 oz. per sandwich).

Baked eggplant sandwiches on the baking sheet

Return the sandwiches to the oven and bake for a few minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted.

Eggplant sandwiches ready to serve

Serve the eggplant mozzarella sandwiches while they’re still hot! (I added a little chopped parsley for color, but it’s not needed for flavor)

three stacked eggplant mozzarella sandwiches on a wooden board

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Cinnamon Pecan Cauli Oats

Cinnamon Pecan Cauli oats combine riced cauliflower with rolled oats for an extra dose of vegetables and texture with your breakfast!

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A few weeks ago I made some riced cauliflower and stashed it in my freezer. Since then I’ve been adding a little here and a little there to just about everything. It’s such a versatile way to bulk up recipes and add some extra fiber. This week I stirred some into my morning oats and OMG it was so good! Who would have thought? So today I present to you my Cinnamon Pecan Cauli Oats. A totally unexpected winner!

Overhead view of a bowl of cauliflower oatmeal with a spoon in the side

Look at that bowl of oats. You can’t even see the cauliflower in there! And I promise, it doesn’t taste like cauliflower, either.

What Does it Taste Like??

Okay, I know some of you are cringing reading about this right now, but let me promise you, these cauliflower oats do not taste or smell like sulfur (you know, that classic cauliflower smell). The cauliflower itself barely has any flavor, so it’s easily masked by the cinnamon, brown sugar, and milk.

And the texture? It’s absolutely delightful. I don’t know how else to explain it other than that. If you’re someone who has avoided oatmeal because it’s too goopy, you’ll welcome the added texture of riced cauliflower.

What Kind of Oats Can I Use?

The cooking method listed below will work for quick oats, rolled oats, or old-fashioned rolled oats. I highly suggest using old-fashioned rolled oats because they give the most texture. quick oats are more processed and tend to create that more gloopy-gluey texture that so many people dislike about oatmeal.

While you can certainly add cauliflower rice to steel-cut oats, you’ll need to follow the cooking instructions on the package for your steel-cut oats. They require more liquid and a much longer cooking time than rolled oats. You shouldn’t need to change anything about the cooking method when adding the cauliflower rice. Just add it in with the oats and go with it, or if you want more texture, add the cauliflower rice toward the end of the cooking time (about 5 minutes or so) so it doesn’t break down as much.

Do I Need to Cook the Cauliflower Rice First?

Nope, the cauliflower rice will cook right along with the oats, so whether you’re using fresh or frozen riced cauliflower, just toss it in there with your oats. No need to thaw frozen cauliflower rice first.

Side view of a spoon lifting a bite of cinnamon pecan cauli oats out of the bowl
Overhead view of a bowl full of cinnamon pecan cauli oats with a spoon in the center

Cinnamon Pecan Cauli Oats

Adding a scoop of riced cauliflower to your morning oatmeal is an easy and delicious way to add more vegetables to your day!
Total Cost $0.76 per serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 388.6kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats $0.09
  • 1/2 cup riced cauliflower $0.21
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter $0.07
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 cup milk* $0.19
  • 1/4 cup water $0.00
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans $0.13

Instructions

Microwave Instructions

  • Combine the rolled oats, riced cauliflower, butter, cinnamon, salt, milk, and water in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every minute or as often as needed to avoid the oats from boiling over (you'll need to stir more often toward the end).
  • Stir in the brown sugar and pecans just before serving.

Stove Top Instructions

  • Combine the riced cauliflower, butter, cinnamon, salt, milk, and water in a small sauce pot. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the pot up to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Once boiling, add the rolled oats and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let the oats simmer for three minutes, stirring occasionally. After three minutes, turn the heat off and allow the oats to rest for 2-3 minutes.
  • Top the oats with brown sugar and chopped pecans just before serving.

Notes

*Any type of milk (dairy or non-dairy) can be used for this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 388.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.6g | Protein: 11.1g | Fat: 17.1g | Sodium: 409.6mg | Fiber: 6.2g

How to Make Cinnamon Pecan Cauli Oats – Step by Step Photos

Cauliflower oatmeal ingredients in a bowl, milk being poured in

To make your cauli oats in the microwave, combine ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup riced cauliflower, ½ Tbsp butter, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ⅛ tsp salt, ½ cup milk (any type of milk), and ¼ cup water in a bowl. Stir to combine.

Microwaved cauli oats in a bowl

Microwave the ingredients for three minutes, stirring every minute or as often as needed to prevent it from boiling over (this tends to be more often toward the end of the three minutes.

Finished cinnamon pecan cauli oats in a bowl with a spoon on the side

Top the bowl of oats with 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp chopped pecans just before serving.

cauliflower, butter, and spices in a sauce pot, milk being poured in

To make your cinnamon pecan cauli oats on the stove top, combine ½ cup riced cauliflower, ½ Tbsp butter, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ⅛ tsp salt, ½ cup milk, and ¼ cup water in a small saucepot. Stir to combine.

Oats being poured into the saucepot

Place a lid on top and bring the saucepot up to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, stir in ½ cup rolled oats, then reduce the heat to low. Let the oats simmer over low for three minutes, stirring occasionally.

Finished oats cooked in a saucepot on the stove top

After simmering for three minutes, turn the heat off and let the oats rest for a few more minutes, with the lid on top.

Overhead view of a bowl full of cinnamon pecan cauli oats with a spoon in the center

Top with 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp chopped pecans just before serving.

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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!

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

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

What is Curry Powder?

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

Add More to Your Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls

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

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

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

Swap Out the Vegetables or Grains

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

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

How Long Do The Leftovers Last?

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

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

Curry Roasted Vegetable Bowls

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

Ingredients

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

Lemon Tahini Dressing

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

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

Cooked rice being fluffed with a fork in a saucepot

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

Chopped vegetables on a baking sheet

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

Olive oil and curry powder added to the chopped vegetables

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

Seasoned unroasted vegetables

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

Frozen peas added to the roasted vegetables

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

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

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

Blended lemon tahini dressing in the blender

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

Finished roasted vegetables on the baking sheet

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

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

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

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Easy Vegetarian Minestrone

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

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

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

Isn’t All Minestrone Soup Vegetarian?

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

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

Where’s the Pasta??

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

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

What Other Vegetables Can I Add to Minestrone?

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

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

Vegetarian Minestrone

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

How to Make Vegetarian Minestrone – Step by Step Photos

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

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

Tomato paste in the pot with vegetables

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

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

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

Sliced zucchini on a cutting board

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

Zucchini and green beans added to the soup

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

Chopped parsley and lemon juice added to the soup

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

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

So much vegetable goodness!!

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Cheddar Drop Biscuits

These rich, fluffy, and cheesy Cheddar Drop Biscuits are as easy as it gets when it comes to homemade biscuits.

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OMG, these cheddar drop biscuits are to die for. They’re tender, rich, fluffy, and a total cheddar-cheesy delight. Plus, since there’s no kneading or shaping, they’re insanely easy. So if you’re looking for a simple biscuit or roll to serve with dinner, give these cheddar biscuits a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Cheddar drop biscuits on a wire cooling rack, on a blue surface

What is a “Drop Biscuit”?

Drop biscuits are the easiest biscuit to make in the biscuit world. Why? There’s no kneading, shaping, or cutting the biscuit. You literally just scoop up some batter with a spoon and then “drop” it onto a baking sheet. The dough for a drop biscuit does tend to be a bit more wet and sticky than a traditional biscuit dough to allow you to scoop it up with a spoon.

Can I Substitute the Heavy Cream?

No. Unfortunately, heavy cream is the magic ingredient in these biscuits. Because this recipe does not contain any butter, you need the high fat content of heavy cream to make up for its absence. The fat in the heavy cream is what allows these biscuits to turn out so deliciously light, fluffy, and tender.

Drop Biscuits are Freezer Friendly!

Like most breads and baked goods, these cheddar drop biscuits are freezer friendly! Which is great, especially if you’re a smaller household. To freeze these biscuits, just bake as usual and then allow them to fully cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To thaw, simply allow them to come to room temperature, and then warm briefly in a hot oven.

How to Serve Cheddar Drop Biscuits

These tasty little biscuits make a delicious side for soups, stews, and chili. The cheddar scallion flavor makes a particularly nice side to vegetable soup or chili. They’d also be great with some Red Beans and Rice, Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew, Salisbury Steak, or even with your eggs and bacon at breakfast.

A cheddar drop biscuit cut in half, open sides facing camera
Cheddar drop biscuits on a wire cooling rack against a blue background

Cheddar Drop Biscuits

These rich, fluffy, and cheesy Cheddar Drop Biscuits are as easy as it gets when it comes to homemade biscuits.
Total Cost $3.15 recipe / $0.26 each
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 12 biscuits
Calories 261.95kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2.25 cups all-purpose flour $0.35
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder $0.06
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded $0.85
  • 3 green onions, sliced $0.25
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream $1.55

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, garlic powder, and sugar until well combined.
  • Add the shredded cheddar and sliced green onions to the flour mixture and stir to combine again.
  • Add the heavy cream and stir until a soft sticky batter forms.
  • Spoon the batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet, about ⅓ cup for each biscuit. You should get about 12 biscuits. Make sure to leave an inch or two between each biscuit because they will expand as they bake.
  • Bake the biscuits for 18-20 minutes in the fully preheated 400ºF oven, or until they are lightly golden brown on top. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1biscuit | Calories: 261.95kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.24g | Protein: 5.81g | Fat: 17.76g | Sodium: 392.08mg | Fiber: 0.74g
Side view of cheddar drop biscuits on the wire cooling rack

How to Make Cheddar Drop Biscuits – Step by Step Photos

Dry biscuit ingredients in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together 2.25 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp baking powder, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp sugar.

shredded cheddar and sliced green onions added to the bowl

Add 4oz. shredded cheddar and three sliced green onions to the bowl with the flour mixture, then stir to combine.

heavy cream being poured into the bowl with the flour mixture

Pour 1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream into the bowl with the flour mixture.

Sticky drop biscuit batter in the bowl

Stir until a soft, sticky batter forms.

Biscuit batter dropped into clumps on the baking sheet

Scoop up the batter with a spoon, about ⅓ cup at a time, and drop it onto the lined baking sheet. Make sure to leave an inch or two between each biscuit because they will expand while baking. You should get about 12 biscuits.

Baked cheddar drop biscuits on the baking sheet

Bake the biscuits in the fully preheated 400ºF oven for 18-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top.

Side view of baked cheddar biscuits on the baking sheet

Serve warm and enjoy that rich, fluffy, cheesy goodness!!

Cheddar drop biscuits on a wire cooling rack against a blue background

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Quickie Red Beans and Rice

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

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

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

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

You’ll Still Need a Little Time…

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

What Kind of Red Beans Should I Use?

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

Are Red Beans and Rice Spicy?

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

Make Your Red Beans Vegetarian

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

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

Quickie Red Beans and Rice

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

Equipment

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • Slice the sausage into rounds or half-rounds. Add the sausage and cooking oil to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned.
  • While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper to the pot and continue to cook and stir for a minute more.
  • Drain two of the cans of beans. Add the third can to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. The puréed beans will help thicken the pot and make everything extra creamy. Add the drained beans, puréed beans, and chicken broth to the pot, then stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the beans to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the pot continue to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the red beans are simmering, begin cooking your rice. Add the uncooked rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high. Once the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice sit, undisturbed, lid in place, for an extra 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
  • After the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed (between the sausage and canned beans I didn't find I needed to add any, but salt content can vary so be sure to give it a taste). Serve the beans in a bowl, topped with a scoop of rice, and a few sliced green onions.

Notes

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

Nutrition

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

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

browned sausage rounds in a pot

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

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

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

Spices being poured into the pot with sausage and vegetables

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

Pureed red beans in a blender

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

red beans added to the pot

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

Chicken broth added to the pot, beans ready to simmer

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

Cooked rice in sauce pot

While the beans are simmering, begin the rice. Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on top and turn the heat on to high. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, with the lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.

Simmered pot of red beans

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

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

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

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

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

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

The post Mediterranean Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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

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

What’s in Mediterranean Tuna Salad?

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

What Else Can I Add?

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

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

How to Serve Mediterranean Tuna Salad

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

What Kind of Tuna Should I Use?

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

How Long Does it Last?

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

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

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

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

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

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

Salad

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

Nutrition

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

How to Make Mediterranean Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Homemade vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork

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

red onion slices soaking in a bowl of water

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

Chopped vegetables in a bowl

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

Vinaigrette being poured over vegetables in the bowl

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

beans, tuna, and feta added to the salad

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

Finished Mediterranean Tuna Salad in the bowl with a spatula

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

Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a white serving dish from above

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