Quick Burrito Bowl

This burrito bowl recipe is a lightning fast easy dinner idea! Add veggies and drizzle with creamy chipotle ranch dressing.…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This burrito bowl recipe is a lightning fast easy dinner idea! Add veggies and drizzle with creamy chipotle ranch dressing.

Burrito bowl recipe

Here’s a quick dinner idea that’s always satisfying and works for nearly every diet. That’s right, the good old Burrito Bowl! We can thank Chipotle for its widespread popularity, but it really is a killer idea. Throw rice, veggies, and burrito fillings in a bowl and call it meal! Here’s the thing: a good burrito bowl can actually take a while to make at home with all the components. Want a burrito bowl that’s lightening fast to make? We’ve got you. In fact, you can make this one 15 minutes (we timed ourselves).

How to make a burrito bowl… fast!

The longest lead time item in a burrito bowl is the rice. If you want to make a speedy bowl, you’ve got to short cut the rice cook time. There are a few options:

  • Fastest: Use packaged pre-cooked rice! There are a few brands on the market (we used Seeds of Change)
  • Fast: Cook the rice the night before, then reheat it with a splash of water on the stovetop
  • Medium speed: Cook white rice in 20 minutes on the stovetop, or even better make Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Longest: Cook brown rice in 45 minutes on the stovetop (consider doing this in advance)
Black bean and corn salad

Make shortcut black bean salad

The other key to this quick burrito bowl? Our shortcut Black Bean and Corn Salad! We discovered this trick and have been using it ever since. All you have to do is mix together 3 ingredients, and you’ve got a salad that tastes like you spend hours chopping. The keys? Mix together:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 cup purchased pico de gallo: you’ll find this packaged in the refrigerated section at your local grocery! It may be labeled pico de gallo or fresh salsa. It’s a total lifesaver and adds a tangy zing to the entire salad.

You can also use the Black Bean and Corn Salad as a shortcut black bean salsa dip for chips, or try it in our Shrimp Bowls.

Burrito bowl

Whip up the chipotle ranch dressing

When we timed ourselves making this burrito bowl, we used pre-cooked packaged rice for maximum speed. So we had plenty of time to whip up this Chipotle Ranch Dressing! It’s so delicious and easy to put together. Here are the magic ingredients:

  • Yogurt plus mayonnaise: Using yogurt with the mayo helps cut down calories but maintains some of the richness of standard ranch dressing.
  • Adobo sauce: You’ll use adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis. It’s typically easy to find this ingredient next to the Mexican ingredients in your grocery. Only use the sauce from the can.

Want a milder version of this sauce, especially for kids? Just use half the adobo sauce (1 tablespoon). It won’t be spicy, but it will still have great smoky flavor!

Chipotle ranch dressing

Burrito bowl recipe variations

The best part about a burrito bowl, in our opinion? You can customize it to any diet. In fact, you can make these bowls for a crowd and provide options for everyone. It’s absolutely our go-to for large gatherings! As is, this burrito bowl is vegetarian and gluten free. Here’s how to modify it for other diets:

Other add ins!

Of course, you can also make this burrito bowl a whole lot fancier. We designed it as a quick weeknight meal. But if you’re hosting a dinner party, here are ways to step it up:

Let us know what you think of this quick burrito bowl recipe: we hope it comes in handy for times when you need a healthy dinner…fast!

Burrito bowl recipe

More bowl meals

Love meals in a bowl? Us too! Here are a few of our top bowl meals to try:

This burrito bowl recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use chipotle sauce.

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Burrito bowl recipe

Quick Burrito Bowl


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This burrito bowl is a lightning fast easy dinner idea! Add veggies and drizzle with creamy chipotle ranch dressing.


Ingredients

For the burrito bowl

For the chipotle ranch (use chipotle sauce for vegan)

  • ½ cup plain whole milk yogurt (or Greek yogurt plus 1 tablespoon water)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 each teaspoon each dried dill, garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1/4 each teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis**

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice: make the Stovetop White Rice, Stovetop Brown Rice,Instant Pot Rice, or Cilantro Lime Rice. Alternatively, buy a precooked package that cooks in 2 minutes (like Seeds of Change brand). When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork and add a few pinches salt and a drizzle of olive oil, to taste (don’t skip this step!).
  2. Make the black bean and corn salad: In a bowl, mix together the beans (drained and rinsed), corn, and pico de gallo with the kosher salt.
  3. Chop the veggies: Cut the avocado. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and thinly slice the onions.
  4. Make the chipotle ranch: Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl until fully combined.
  5. Serve: Add the rice to bowls, then top with the black bean and corn salad, veggies, and chipotle ranch dressing.

Notes

*You’ll find this packaged in the refrigerated section at your local grocery: it may be labeled pico de gallo or fresh salsa. If you can’t find it, make homemade Pico de Gallo.

**Customize to your heat level. For a mild version, use 1 tablespoon adobo sauce.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired

Keywords: Burrito bowl

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Easy Frittata Recipe

Here’s the best egg frittata recipe: perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! This basic filling is fast and tasty, or…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here’s the best egg frittata recipe: perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! This basic filling is fast and tasty, or any veggies you like.

Frittata

Got eggs and need a meal? Enter, The Frittata! A frittata is an Italian dish that’s best described as a crustless egg pie. It’s often served for breakfast or brunch, but it works for dinner too. You can eat it at any temperature and it saves well: and it’s great for using up odds and ends in your veggie drawer. In fact, we think it’s one of the essential non-recipes every home cook should know!

How to make a frittata: basic formula

Everyone has their own method for making a frittata, and to be honest: there are some duds out there. Many frittata recipes we’ve tried are tasteless, rubbery, or too thin. A good frittata should have lots of flavor and a nice moist texture that’s not too eggy. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this (or skip to the recipe below);

  • Use 8 eggs and a 10-inch skillet. This gives just the right thickness of frittata.
  • Use whole or 2% milk. The dairy fat helps to achieve the desired texture.
  • Use cheese. The combination of feta and Parmesan adds just the right savory nuance to the flavor.
Frittata recipe
The thickness is deliciously substantial

Why this frittata recipe is the best

Why is this frittata recipe better than others on the internet? Well, we’re a little biased (obviously). But this is the best one we’ve tasted. Here’s why:

  • It’s got just the right thickness and texture. Many recipes come out very thin or rubbery. This one has just the right texture.
  • The spinach feta filling is perfectly salted, savory and delicious. You can make it with lots of different fillings, but try the one in the recipe below. It’s a knock out!

Frittata filling ideas

The filling in this frittata recipe is spinach and feta: our ideal filling that we make again and again! Why? It’s easy, and only requires 2 to 3 minutes of sautéing the spinach before assembling the frittata. But if you want to get fancy, there are so many different combinations! Here’s what to know about filling:

  • Chop and sauté the vegetables first. The veggies will not cook inside the frittata: so make sure to give them a good sauté before assembling. Make sure the pieces are bite sized and not too large.
  • Herbs can be used fresh. A nice sprinkling of chopped basil, oregano, thyme, or dill doesn’t need any heat.

Some creative filling combinations to get you started:

How to make a frittata

Find the right frittata pan

The only equipment you’ll need to make a frittata recipe? The right pan. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 10-inch seasoned cast-iron skillet. Make sure that it’s well-seasoned to break it in before making this recipe (otherwise it will stick).
  • Or, a 10-inch oven-safe skillet. You’ll cook on the stovetop first, then place it in the oven to finish cooking. Speaking of…

Start on the stovetop, finish in the oven

The key to a frittata recipe is watching it closely during the cooking! You’ll cook it in two parts: first the stovetop, then the oven. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Cook on the stovetop until the top is set and the bottom is lightly browned. Don’t overcook, or it will get too browned in the oven! We like to use a spatula to pull back the sides and check to see if it’s firming up.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the top solidifies. You’ll want it to just harden into a solid texture on the top.
Frittata recipe

What to serve with a frittata

Let’s say you’re making this frittata recipe for dinner. What to serve with it? It’s easy to think about breakfast or brunch side dishes (hash browns, biscuits, etc). But what about dinner sides? Here’s what we like to pair:

More tasty egg recipes

More to do with eggs? We’re egg-sperts (sorry!) with using this ingredient to whip up meals. Here are some favorite egg recipes for dinner…and for eggs for breakfast:

This frittata recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Frittata

Easy Frittata Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make a frittata recipe: an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner! This basic filling idea is fast and tasty, or any veggies you have on hand.


Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup feta crumbles, plus more for sprinkling*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces (about 6 cups) packed spinach leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Optional: fresh basil leaves, for the garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oregano, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Whisk in the Parmesan and feta cheese.

  3. In a 10-inch oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the spinach leaves, stirring until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes, spreading it around as you cook so that you spread oil up the sides of the pan. Add the garlic powder and 2 pinches kosher salt and sauté for another minute.

  4. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. If necessary, use a fork to rearrange the spinach in an even layer so you can see if on the top. Sprinkle the top with a little more feta cheese. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until the bottom is set and lightly browned, checking for doneness by pulling back the side with a spatula.

  5. Place the skillet in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until the top is puffed, set, and slightly browned. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve warm, with sour cream or crème fraiche if desired. Leftovers save well: refrigerate for up to 5 days and serve them cold, room temperature, or warmed.

Notes

*Or use goat cheese crumbles or mozzarella cheese and add one more pinch of salt. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Frittata, Frittata recipe, How to make a frittata

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Easy BBQ Tofu

This epic BBQ tofu recipe is fast, easy and full of savory sweet flavor! A great way to make anyone…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This epic BBQ tofu recipe is fast, easy and full of savory sweet flavor! A great way to make anyone into a tofu fan.

BBQ Tofu

Here’s a must-make recipe for tofu fans: and eaters on the fence, too. Try this irresistible BBQ Tofu recipe! Each bite has just the right chewy texture, bathed in a silky, sweet, savory sauce. You’ll want to keep eating it for days. This plate disappeared very quickly at our house! This recipe is easy to put together and a great starter recipe for people who are wary of the stuff. In fact, it might turn them into unabashed fans,

How to make BBQ tofu: fast & easy

One huge advantage to this recipe: you can use the tofu out of the package, no pressing required! Many tofu recipes call for pressing the water out of the tofu for 30 minutes prior to making the recipe. But if you’re like us, you don’t have an extra 30 minutes to spare. This BBQ tofu recipe uses tofu right out of the package! Here are the basic steps (but for the full recipe, scroll down!):

  • Cut the tofu and pat it dry with a towel.
  • Pan fry it 5 minutes in a skillet on medium high heat. Flip and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Add BBQ sauce, soy sauce and chili sauce and cook another 4 minutes on low heat until the sauce thickens.

That’s it! It’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to make tofu taste irresistibly good.

BBQ Tofu

Use a good BBQ sauce

We used an organic BBQ sauce for this BBQ tofu recipe. Using a quality brand is key, because the flavor of sauces can vary. Look for sauces that are sweetened with sugar or natural ingredients, not high fructose corn syrup. You can also use homemade BBQ sauce, like one of these recipes:

We also have Mustard BBQ Sauce and White BBQ Sauce recipes, but they’re a bit different in character so we wouldn’t suggest them here.

Vegan BBQ sauce

Is tofu healthy?

Misinformation swirls about tofu and soy products. Is tofu healthy? Here’s what to know about eating tofu and other soy products like tempeh and edamame:

  • Tofu in moderation is part of a healthy diet (several times per week). Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week.
  • Tofu is likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. For more, go to Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?

Ways to serve this BBQ tofu recipe

Once you’ve got your BBQ tofu recipe, there are endless ways to serve it! Turn it into a healthy dinner recipe with a few easy sides. Here are a few of the ways we’d pair it with sides to make a meal:

BBQ tofu recipe

More great ways to eat tofu

Here at A Couple Cooks, we used to avoid tofu because it felt like it was trying to be meat. But we’ve learned that tofu is so much more than that! It’s a delicious plant-based protein that can be eaten in so many delicious ways. Here are some favorites:

This BBQ tofu recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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BBQ Tofu

Easy BBQ Tofu


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This epic BBQ tofu recipe is fast, easy and full of savory sweet flavor! A great way to make anyone into a tofu fan.


Ingredients

  • 14-ounces firm or extra firm tofu*
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon chili garlic sauce, if desired

Instructions

  1. Cut the tofu into large cubes (about 1.5″ x 2″) and pat it dry with a towel.
  2. Add the oil to a non-stick pan and add the tofu cubes and a few pinches kosher salt. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
  3. Briefly remove the pan from the heat to reduce spitting. Flip the tofu with chopsticks (the easiest method!) or tongs. Return the heat to medium-high and cook additional 5 to 6 minutes until browned.
  4. Meanwhile, stir together the BBQ sauce, soy sauce and chili garlic sauce.
  5. Briefly remove the pan from the heat again and drizzle with the sauce (watch for spitting). Return to low heat and cook 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until sauce is thickened. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Note: You can also use this method with Grilled Tofu: simply substitute BBQ sauce for the sauce in that recipe.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tofu

Keywords: BBQ Tofu, BBQ Tofu Recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Tomato Basil Gnocchi

This tomato basil sheet pan gnocchi recipe is so easy: there’s no boiling required! Bake it up with pesto and prepare to be amazed. Did you know one of the easiest ways to cook gnocchi is…baked on a sheet pan? Nope, no boiling a big pot of water involved! Throw them onto a sheet pan, top with pesto and add veggies, and throw them in the oven. They bake up to a deliciously crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside texture that’s ultra delicious and so so easy. We’ve been wanting to try this method forever, so we jumped on it when Jessica Merchant offered to let us share a recipe from her brilliant new book, Everyday Dinners. This recipe is perfect for summer and totally customizable for any season. Come experience the magic! What you need for this gnocchi recipe Gnocchi (say it like NYOW-kee) is Italian pasta dumplings made with potatoes, egg and flour. For this recipe, we’ll be using store-bought gnocchi, easy to find at your local grocery. Sheet pan gnocchi is a dream, because instead of boiling it all you have to do is pop it on a baking sheet! There are many variations on […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This tomato basil sheet pan gnocchi recipe is so easy: there’s no boiling required! Bake it up with pesto and prepare to be amazed.

Gnocchi recipe

Did you know one of the easiest ways to cook gnocchi is…baked on a sheet pan? Nope, no boiling a big pot of water involved! Throw them onto a sheet pan, top with pesto and add veggies, and throw them in the oven. They bake up to a deliciously crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside texture that’s ultra delicious and so so easy. We’ve been wanting to try this method forever, so we jumped on it when Jessica Merchant offered to let us share a recipe from her brilliant new book, Everyday Dinners. This recipe is perfect for summer and totally customizable for any season. Come experience the magic!

What you need for this gnocchi recipe

Gnocchi (say it like NYOW-kee) is Italian pasta dumplings made with potatoes, egg and flour. For this recipe, we’ll be using store-bought gnocchi, easy to find at your local grocery. Sheet pan gnocchi is a dream, because instead of boiling it all you have to do is pop it on a baking sheet! There are many variations on the concept of baking gnocchi on a sheet pan: Jessica has a few seasonal variations in Everyday Dinners. Here’s what you’ll need for this simple summery version:

  • Packaged uncooked gnocchi: use your favorite brand! Look for gluten-free if desired. See more below!
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes: Use all the best summer produce, or great grocery tomatoes (hydroponic have good flavor)
  • Fresh basil: A must!
  • Basil pesto: Find your favorite purchased brand or make homemade pesto
  • Spices: Garlic powder oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese: For topping!
Everyday Dinners
Keep reading for more about Everyday Dinners — recipe excerpted from the book with permission from Jessica Merchant

How to works: throw it all on a sheet pan!

Standard Italian gnocchi is typically boiled, then warmed in a skillet with a sauce or added to sautéed veggies. This sheet pan gnocchi is a brilliant concept where you simply throw the uncooked gnocchi onto the sheet pan with veggies and seasonings. Here’s what to note:

  • Throw it on uncooked: right from the package. It feels strange the first time, but the steam from the veggies and oven cooks the gnocchi right up!
  • It comes out soft with crisp edges. The texture comes out beautifully crisp on the outside and cooked through. Don’t expect it to be as soft and doughy as boiled gnocchi. It’s like a whole new version of itself!
  • Leftovers need to be re-warmed. This gnocchi recipe is best right from the oven, but you can save leftovers refrigerated. Just note that they become hard in the fridge (vs boiled gnocchi that stay doughy). You’ll need to re-warm leftovers before enjoying them!
Gnocchi recipe

Types of gnocchi to use in this recipe

You can use most types of gnocchi that you find at the store for this recipe. Here are some notes on what to use:

  • Potato gnocchi: Use any brand: we like DeLallo (in fact, DeLallo taught us to make potato gnocchi once!)
  • Gluten free gnocchi: Several brands also offer gluten-free gnocchi
  • Cauliflower gnocchi: You can use the massively popular Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi too! See the notes in the recipe below (thanks, Jessica!)
  • Homemade gnocchi: Don’t use homemade gnocchi in this recipe: the texture won’t hold up in the oven. Use the traditional boiling method for those!
Gnocchi recipe

About the book: Everyday Dinners by Jessica Merchant!

This gnocchi recipe and the sheet pan technique comes straight from Jessica Merchant’s delightful new book, Everyday Dinners. The subtitle is “Real-life recipes to set your family up for a week of success,” and my, does it deliver on that promise! This book is one of those where you look at each page and think…I want to make that! And that. And that!

Jessica is a mastermind in the kitchen: mom of two, author of the website How Sweet Eats and overall incredible human. The book is super practical yet full of fresh, inventive flavors. Some recipes we’ve got our eye on: Crispy Orange Cauliflower with Coconut Rice, Burrata Baked Ziti (I mean, burrata!), and Smashed Chili Sweet Potatoes. Congrats to Jessica on an incredible collection of beautiful, creative recipes!

Variations on this gnocchi recipe

There are so many variations on this gnocchi recipe! You can add other types of veggies that cook in 20 to 25 minutes. Just be careful to not crowd the pan: otherwise it may take a little longer to cook! If you’re adding to this recipe, also make sure to increase the seasonings accordingly. Here are some ideas for other veggies that would work well:

  • 1 or 2 bell peppers
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (cut small)
  • Sliced onions

When it comes out of the oven, you can also add lots of other fresh herbs: like thyme, oregano, basil, chives, or dill. What would you add to this dish?

Gnocchi recipe

Make it vegan / plant-based!

Last note — you can make this gnocchi recipe vegan or plant-based! Here’s what to do:

  • Make sure the gnocchi is vegan. Some brands’ potato gnocchi is already vegan (like DeLallo). Others sell vegan gnocchi.
  • Make vegan pesto. Our Vegan Pesto recipe is to die for!
  • Omit the Parmesan cheese. Make sure everything is salted well, and you don’t need it!

This gnocchi recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan and gluten free, see the notes in the recipe.

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Gnocchi recipe

Tomato Basil Gnocchi


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutese
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minute
  • Yield: 2 or 3 as a meal, 4 as a side
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This tomato basil sheet pan gnocchi recipe is so easy: there’s no boiling required! Bake it up with pesto and prepare to be amazed.


Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce package uncooked potato gnocchi (vegan or gluten free as desired, or cauliflower gnocchi*)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto (use Vegan Pesto for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for topping (omit for vegan)
  • 1 handful torn or chopped basil leaves, for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or line it with parchment paper. 
  2. SPread the gnocchi and tomatoes out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss. Spoon on the pesto and toss until everything is coated. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes and toss well to combine everything. Make sure everything, especially the gnocchi, is seasoned well. 
  3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the gnocchi is tender, tossing once during the cook time. 
  4. Serve the gnocchi immediately. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, additional red pepper flakes, and fresh basil. (As a note, any leftover gnocchi becomes hard in the fridge; you’ll want to reheat it again before eating leftovers.)

Notes

*Look for vegan or gluten-free gnocchi for those diets (some brands are already vegan). You can also make this using Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Use them right from the freezer, and make sure the gnocchi are not clumped together. Roast about 25 to 30 minutes, and note the outsides might not get as crisp as the standard potato gnocchi.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Gnocchi recipe, gnocchi, sheet pan gnocchi

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Quick Shrimp Stir Fry

This shrimp stir fry is a go-to fast and healthy dinner! Use any veggies you like and this flavor-packed stir fry sauce. Here’s a go-to in the fast and easy dinner category: shrimp stir fry! It’s quick to put together and the umami-packed stir fry sauce is full of irresistible flavor. It’s our favorite Easy Stir Fry Sauce that works with any type of stir fry: we’ve used it on tofu, cauliflower, or shrimp, but of course you can riff endlessly. Add your favorite vegetables to make a super-satisfying dinner that pleases everyone around the table. (At least, it did here!) Ingredients in this shrimp stir fry This shrimp stir fry recipe is completely customizable based on your tastes. All you need is shrimp and stir fry sauce: then use whatever veggies you love! Here’s what we included as essential ingredients: but you can customize based on your liking (more on that below!). Shrimp, fresh or frozen Broccoli or broccolini: broccolini has a nice sweet flavor and the lovely look of the long stems Bell peppers: peppers are quick to cook and pack in the nutrients Mushrooms (optional): shiitake mushrooms add big savory flavor, but you can use any type […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This shrimp stir fry is a go-to fast and healthy dinner! Use any veggies you like and this flavor-packed stir fry sauce.

Shrimp Stir Fry

Here’s a go-to in the fast and easy dinner category: shrimp stir fry! It’s quick to put together and the umami-packed stir fry sauce is full of irresistible flavor. It’s our favorite Easy Stir Fry Sauce that works with any type of stir fry: we’ve used it on tofu, cauliflower, or shrimp, but of course you can riff endlessly. Add your favorite vegetables to make a super-satisfying dinner that pleases everyone around the table. (At least, it did here!)

Ingredients in this shrimp stir fry

This shrimp stir fry recipe is completely customizable based on your tastes. All you need is shrimp and stir fry sauce: then use whatever veggies you love! Here’s what we included as essential ingredients: but you can customize based on your liking (more on that below!).

  • Shrimp, fresh or frozen
  • Broccoli or broccolini: broccolini has a nice sweet flavor and the lovely look of the long stems
  • Bell peppers: peppers are quick to cook and pack in the nutrients
  • Mushrooms (optional): shiitake mushrooms add big savory flavor, but you can use any type of mushroom, like portobello, cremini, oyster, or maitake
  • Green onions: quick to cook and add a fresh flavor
  • Ginger (optional): fresh ginger root adds big flavor if you have it
Shrimp stir fry

More veggie ideas!

There are lots more veggies you can add to customize this shrimp stir fry. All you need to know is the relative cook time. But important: don’t overstuff your pan! More veggies is not necessarily better. Using too many makes them stack on each other and steam instead of stir fry, resulting in soggy veggies. You’ll want to use your largest skillet and approximately 6 to 8 cups of vegetables. Here are a few ideas for more veggies:

What shrimp to buy

There are lots of options at the store when it comes to shrimp! When you’re shopping for this shrimp stir fry, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Wild caught. Always opt for wild caught if you can afford it. It’s the most sustainable!
  • Find medium shrimp (or large). Medium shrimp is our favorite, because it’s bite-sized and distributes well with the veggies. Large works too! Medium is labeled as 41 to 50 count, and Large as 31 to 40 count (this indicates how many shrimp there are per pound).
  • Use tail on or peeled. Tail on looks nice, but you do have to remove the tails with your hands as you eat them! Peeled is nice, especially when serving kids.
  • Fresh or frozen. Both have essentially the same freshness because most shrimp are immediately flash frozen. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance.
Shrimp stir fry

The stir fry sauce

This shrimp stir fry sauce is customizable to work for any stir fry! We made it first with our Tofu Stir Fry, then realized it would be delicious with just about any protein. Use this sauce for any stir fry that’s intended for 4 servings and 1 pound of protein, be it chicken, tofu, steak or shrimp. You can also make the sauce in advance: whip it up and store in a covered jar or container until you’re ready to cook. Here’s what’s in this sauce:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Miso
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic powder

How to serve shrimp stir fry

Once you’ve whipped up this shrimp stir fry: how to serve it? Of course, you can add rice and call it a day. But here are a few more options for serving suggestions and side dishes to make it a complete meal.

Shrimp stir fry recipe

A few nutrition notes

Lastly, a few notes on nutrition! This shrimp stir fry is big on both flavor and nutrients! We like to design meals that add a big nutritional punch using our favorite go-to veggies. Here’s what to note:

  • Bell peppers are packed with vitamin C: 1 medium red bell pepper provides 169% of your daily vitamin C. So using two peppers in this recipe knocks this vitamin off the charts (source).
  • Broccoli is full of fiber and Vitamin C. 1 cup of raw broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber (source) and 140% of your daily vitamin (source). This recipe uses about 4 cups.
  • You also get all the benefits of mushrooms, like anti-oxidants and Vitamin B (source).

This shrimp stir fry recipe is…

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and pescatarian.

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Shrimp Stir Fry

Shrimp Stir Fry (25 Minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This shrimp stir fry is a go-to fast and healthy dinner! Use any veggies you like and this flavor-packed stir fry sauce.


Ingredients

For the shrimp stir fry

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound shrimp, deveined and shelled (or tail on), wild caught if possible
  • 1 pound broccoli or broccolini (stem on), about 4 cups
  • 2 bell peppers, any color
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger, optional

For the stir fry sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow or white miso
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Thaw the shrimp, if frozen.
  2. Chop the veggies: Chop the broccoli. Thinly slice the bell peppers. Remove the stems of the shiitake mushrooms and slice (or if using baby shiitakes, you can leave the stems on). 
  3. Make the stir fry sauce: Whisk together all ingredients until a smooth sauce forms.
  4. Cook the vegetables: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli or broccolini, bell pepper and mushrooms. Add 2 pinches kosher salt and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender. Remove the vegetables to bowl.
  5. Cook the shrimp: Add the additional 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the pan. Add the shrimp and green onions. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the shrimp are almost opaque, turning once. Then add back the vegetables and the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce is thickened.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired

Keywords: Shrimp stir fry

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Pecan Crusted Salmon

This pecan crusted salmon is fast and easy, with a deliciously crunchy topping! Make it to impress on weeknights or for dinner guests. Here’s a meal that consistently makes everyone who takes a bite say Wow. Try this Pecan Crusted Salmon! It has an air of restaurant-style fancy, but it’s quick and easy to whip up on a weeknight. It takes basic salmon to the next level, coating it in a crunchy topping of nuts, seasoned breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The flavors are elevated enough for dinner guests, but also tasty enough for kids to shovel in bites. Pull it out for dinner guests or an easy weeknight meal…you choose! (And keep reading for a custom side dish that pairs beautifully.) What you’ll need for pecan crusted salmon Aside from the fish, all the other ingredients in this pecan crusted salmon are pantry ingredients! That makes this preparation great for if you’re looking for a great way to cook salmon but don’t want to think too hard. Once you’ve bought the Italian panko, you can keep it on hand for months. Here’s what you’ll need: Salmon (wild caught if possible, see below) Dijon mustard Honey Pecans Italian panko (see more below) Grated […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This pecan crusted salmon is fast and easy, with a deliciously crunchy topping! Make it to impress on weeknights or for dinner guests.

Pecan Crusted Salmon

Here’s a meal that consistently makes everyone who takes a bite say Wow. Try this Pecan Crusted Salmon! It has an air of restaurant-style fancy, but it’s quick and easy to whip up on a weeknight. It takes basic salmon to the next level, coating it in a crunchy topping of nuts, seasoned breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The flavors are elevated enough for dinner guests, but also tasty enough for kids to shovel in bites. Pull it out for dinner guests or an easy weeknight meal…you choose! (And keep reading for a custom side dish that pairs beautifully.)

What you’ll need for pecan crusted salmon

Aside from the fish, all the other ingredients in this pecan crusted salmon are pantry ingredients! That makes this preparation great for if you’re looking for a great way to cook salmon but don’t want to think too hard. Once you’ve bought the Italian panko, you can keep it on hand for months. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Salmon (wild caught if possible, see below)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Pecans
  • Italian panko (see more below)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (that’s the kind that’s the texture of sand, not shredded)
  • Salt and pepper
Pecan crusted salmon

What salmon to look for

The number one most important part of a salmon recipe? The quality of the salmon. Try to find the best quality salmon you can afford. Here are a few tips on locating a great piece of salmon:

  • Buy wild caught salmon. Wild caught is the way to go! It’s most sustainable and has the best flavor.
  • Fresh salmon is best. You can find decent frozen salmon. But for the very best salmon, buy it fresh from your local seafood counter.
  • Coho is a good choice. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Try to avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.

Italian style Panko, and a substitute

A key to this recipe? Italian-style Panko. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. Italian panko is panko with herbs and salt added. You can also use breadcrumbs or Italian breadcrumbs here, but we like how panko give it just the right crunch. You should be able to find panko easily at your local grocery store. If you can’t find the Italian-style panko, you can do the following:

  • Use regular panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. Mix the 2 tablespoons panko with 1 pinch kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or 1/4 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil)
  • Or look for Italian or plain breadcrumbs instead, or make your own breadcrumbs! For plain breadcrumbs, use the seasoning recommendations for panko above.
Pecan crusted salmon

Make it gluten-free

Panko is made from bread, so how to make this recipe gluten-free? Look for gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs in stores or online to make this a gluten free recipe. You can also omit the breadcrumbs, but keep in mind the topping will be less delightfully crunchy (but still delicious).

How to store pecans

Another key to this recipe: the pecans! The nuts are great for adding a bit of protein and crunch to the top of the salmon. We like to buy a nice big bag of pecans…but did you know it’s not best to store them in your pantry? Here’s how to keep them fresh longer:

  • Store pecans in the refrigerator for up to 6 months! Most people think of storing nuts in their pantry. But pecans stay freshest in your refrigerator! We place them in our cheese drawer.
  • Store pecans frozen for up to 2 years. Did you know you can freeze pecans? This extends the life for years. They thaw quickly when you remove them!
Arugula Goat Cheese Salad

A great side dish to pair with pecan crusted salmon!

For this pecan crusted salmon, we decided to create a custom side dish to go alongside! Readers often tell us it’s hard to find side dishes that are easy enough to make, fit with the vibe, and fill in the needed nutrients. Here’s one we developed to fit with this recipe: Arugula Goat Cheese Salad! Here’s more about it:

  • Start with a few handfuls baby arugula, fluffy leafy greens. Make sure to buy baby, not standard arugula (which is very bitter). You can also substitute spinach or mixed greens.
  • Drizzle it with this Creamy Balsamic Dressing, which has the best tangy sweet flavor.
  • Top with goat cheese crumbles, sliced shallot, apples, and pecans. It’s simple, but the flavors are tight and it tastes incredible.

Other side dishes to pair

Just a salad and pecan crusted salmon might need a little filling out as a full meal. So here are a few other quick side dishes to consider!

This pecan crusted salmon recipe is…

Pescatarian and gluten-free (with gluten-free panko).

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Pecan Crusted Salmon

Pecan Crusted Salmon


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This pecan crusted salmon is fast and easy, with a deliciously crunchy topping! Make it to impress on weeknights or for dinner guests.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound salmon fillet or fillets, skin on (wild caught if possible)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs; gluten-free if desired)*
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Bring the salmon to room temperature and pat it dry. Season the salmon with the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the Dijon mustard and honey, then brush it on to the fish in an even layer. 
  3. In another small bowl, mix together the finely chopped pecans, Italian panko, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the pistachio mixture on top of the fish.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the salmon flakes with a fork; the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center. Serve immediately. 

Notes

*We recommend Italian panko or Italian breadcrumbs because they’re already seasoned. Panko is best since it’s the lightest and crunchiest. If all you can find is regular panko, mix 2 tablespoons panko with 1 pinch kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or 1/4 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil). 

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Pecan crusted salmon

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Mushroom Pasta with Parmesan

You won’t want to stop eating this mushroom pasta recipe! Its savory, buttery flavor pops with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan. Calling all mushroom lovers! Here’s the meal for you: this Mushroom Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce! It’s creamy and savory, harnessing the power of lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese. It makes the most of the intense umami of mushrooms: one of the most powerful ingredients in all of cooking. This dish has just the right proportion of ‘shrooms to pasta, so that each bite has a generous pop of flavor. We couldn’t stop shoveling in bites. In fact, our 4 year old told us he wanted to eat it forever (the best compliment). 3 elements to this mushroom pasta recipe This mushroom pasta combines three elements to get the very best, mushroom-studded pasta recipe you can find! Here are the essentials: Short cut pasta: Long noodles look lovely, they can clump together and make it hard to get bites mushrooms. Short cut is your best bet here. We used casarecce pasta, which has a lovely twisted shape. Other options: penne, rigatoni, bowties, orecchiette, and gigli. Sauteed mushrooms: This riff on our sauteed mushrooms brings peak flavor! Baby bella or cremini […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

You won’t want to stop eating this mushroom pasta recipe! Its savory, buttery flavor pops with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan.

Mushroom pasta

Calling all mushroom lovers! Here’s the meal for you: this Mushroom Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce! It’s creamy and savory, harnessing the power of lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese. It makes the most of the intense umami of mushrooms: one of the most powerful ingredients in all of cooking. This dish has just the right proportion of ‘shrooms to pasta, so that each bite has a generous pop of flavor. We couldn’t stop shoveling in bites. In fact, our 4 year old told us he wanted to eat it forever (the best compliment).

3 elements to this mushroom pasta recipe

This mushroom pasta combines three elements to get the very best, mushroom-studded pasta recipe you can find! Here are the essentials:

  • Short cut pasta: Long noodles look lovely, they can clump together and make it hard to get bites mushrooms. Short cut is your best bet here. We used casarecce pasta, which has a lovely twisted shape. Other options: penne, rigatoni, bowties, orecchiette, and gigli.
  • Sauteed mushrooms: This riff on our sauteed mushrooms brings peak flavor! Baby bella or cremini mushrooms have great flavor, but you can use other types too (see below). We also threw in a few breadcrumbs to add texture.
  • Garlic butter sauce: All you need is olive oil, butter and garlic to make a killer sauce. Add grated Parmesan cheese at the end and bam! You’ve got an incredible simple pasta sauce that pairs perfectly with these ‘shrooms.
Mushroom pasta

Best types of mushrooms for pasta

What are the best mushrooms for pasta? Some of our favorites are the standards, but there are lots of more unique varieties to try as well. A mix of mushrooms makes for an even more interesting pasta! Here are our top types of mushrooms to pair with pasta:

  • Baby bella (cremini): Baby bella, aka cremini mushrooms, are a younger version of the portobello; they have a savory, meaty flavor and a lovely shape. They’re one of our top choices for mushroom recipes.
  • Portobello: You can go super-meaty with slices of portobello mushrooms.
  • White button mushrooms: Button mushrooms are younger versions of the baby bella; they have less robust flavor, but work if it’s all you can find.
  • Shiitake: Shiitakes are great for mixing in for texture and have a super meaty flavor. Make sure to remove the tough stems before you use them.
  • Oyster: Oyster mushrooms also add great texture in a mix of mushrooms.
  • Maitake: Maitake or Hen of the woods mushrooms have a peppery flavor and feathery texture that works well in a mix.

How to cook pasta to al dente

The key to this mushroom pasta recipe? Cook the pasta to al dente. Al dente means “to the bite” in Italian: it’s pasta that’s cooked until it’s perfectly tender but with a firm center. Over-cook your pasta and it’s not only rubbery: it actually has less nutrients and makes you less full. Here are a few tips on how to cook pasta perfectly:

  • Check before the package instructions indicate. Most pasta packages have timing that results in overcooked pasta. Start tasting the pasta a few minutes before the package indicates.
  • Taste often! You want to catch it right when there’s a small white fleck at the core, or just when it disappears.
  • Move quickly! Pasta can go from al dente to overcooked in a matter of seconds.
Mushroom pasta

Variation: Creamy mushroom pasta

Love creamy mushroom pasta instead? You can easily make this pasta creamy using our favorite trick: goat cheese! Crumble in up to 4 ounces soft goat cheese (chervre) at the end of the recipe. It combines with the butter sauce and forms a creamy sauce that perfectly coats the pasta. You could also make our Creamy White Sauce instead of the garlic butter sauce.

A note on portion size

This mushroom pasta recipe is for half pound of pasta. Depending on you and your family, this makes about 4 modest sized servings. But if you’ve got big eaters, you may want to increase the amount of pasta. Or, you may want to just make sure you have a few filling side dishes to go with it.

We served this with a few side dishes and it served 2 adults and 1 child. But if you’re serving it as your only vegetarian protein or for teenagers, you might want to make double the recipe and go for 1 pound.

Mushroom pasta

Make it a meal: sides for mushroom pasta

How to make this mushroom pasta recipe into a filling meal? You’ll want to find side dishes that are veggie-filled to infuse fiber and vitamins, and protein-packed sides to make the meal more filling. Here are a few ideas:

This mushroom pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten free pasta.

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Mushroom Pasta with Parmesan


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 modest servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This mushroom pasta recipe is all about savory, buttery, creamy flavor! Mushrooms pair perfectly with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan. 


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces* short pasta, like penne, rigatoni, or casarecce, plus saved pasta water
  • 16 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms (or a mix of other types)
  • 1/2 small sweet onion or yellow onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs or panko (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or sliced fresno pepper)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Creamy variation: 3 to 4 ounces soft crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta (and save the pasta water!): Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Set the timer for a few minutes less than the package instructions and then taste: the pasta should be just done, still with some firmness. The pasta should also taste salty from the salted water. Drain the pasta and save out 1/2 cup pasta water (you’ll likely only need a few tablespoons).
  2. Meanwhile, start the mushrooms: Clean the mushrooms, then slice them. Thinly slice the onion. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is cooked out and the mushrooms are tender (taste to assess doneness). Add 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice and increase heat to high. Cook 2 minutes until the edges of mushrooms are golden brown. Taste and add a few more pinches of salt until the flavor pops. Stir in the Italian breadcrumbs or panko and remove the mushrooms to a bowl. 
  3. Make the garlic butter sauce: Mince the garlic. In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove from the heat before garlic browns.
  4. Serve: Toss with the pasta, grated Parmesan cheese, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and just enough pasta water until saucy (we used 2 to 3 tablespoons pasta water). Taste again and add a few more pinches of salt if desired. If using, stir in the soft crumbled goat cheese at the end until it makes a creamy sauce. Enjoy warm. 

Notes

*Double this amount for a larger, more filling plate of pasta. Or, complete your meal with a filling vegetable side dish or salad.

  • Category: Main dish or side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta

Keywords: Mushroom pasta, mushroom pasta recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Quesadillas in the Oven!

These baked quesadillas in oven are easy to make on a sheet pan and have the best crispy exterior! Game changer, right here. Want to make quesadillas for a crowd, but don’t want to hover over the stove while making them to order? Enter: quesadillas in the oven! This recipe makes the humble solo meal into a delicious dinner, resulting in a big batch all at once on a sheet pan. All the quesadillas are done at the same time, and they come out with a beautifully crispy exterior. In fact, it feels like a whole new version of this classic: like Quesadillas 2.0. Here’s how to whip up a pan of baked sheet pan quesadillas that are so good, everyone will be begging for more. (Everyone around our table was: true story!) How to make quesadillas in the oven You can use this method to make any type of quesadilla in the oven: fillings are up to you! (Though we’ve shared our favorite filling below with smoked mozzarella…so good!) Here are the basic steps for how to make baked quesadillas instead of using a skillet: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Place […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

These baked quesadillas in oven are easy to make on a sheet pan and have the best crispy exterior! Game changer, right here.

Quesadilla in oven

Want to make quesadillas for a crowd, but don’t want to hover over the stove while making them to order? Enter: quesadillas in the oven! This recipe makes the humble solo meal into a delicious dinner, resulting in a big batch all at once on a sheet pan. All the quesadillas are done at the same time, and they come out with a beautifully crispy exterior. In fact, it feels like a whole new version of this classic: like Quesadillas 2.0. Here’s how to whip up a pan of baked sheet pan quesadillas that are so good, everyone will be begging for more. (Everyone around our table was: true story!)

How to make quesadillas in the oven

You can use this method to make any type of quesadilla in the oven: fillings are up to you! (Though we’ve shared our favorite filling below with smoked mozzarella…so good!) Here are the basic steps for how to make baked quesadillas instead of using a skillet:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Place tortillas on the sheet (rub them in a bit so they get coated with oil).
  • Add toppings, taking care not to overfill!
  • Fold over the quesadilla into a half-circle. (This makes it easier to flip.)
  • Bake 8 minutes, then flip and bake 6 to 7 minutes more until golden brown. Cut into pieces and serve immediately.
Baked quesadilla

Fillings for baked quesadillas

The key to baked quesadillas: don’t overfill them! The quantities in our recipe below seem small, but trust us: they’re more than enough. You don’t want to deal with fillings falling out all over the sheet pan. Here’s what we used for these quesadillas in the oven, which we think was pretty perfect:

  • Smoked mozzarella cheese: the flavor key! It makes this vegetarian quesadilla taste incredible
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Black beans with spices like cumin, onion powder, garlic powder
  • Green onion
  • Pico de gallo

This filling was just the right combination of flavors and tasted like a restaurant-style quesadilla (if we do say so ourselves.) Everyone around the table couldn’t stop eating them. Suffice it to say these disappeared very quickly!

Other filling ideas!

What other fillings to use for sheet pan quesadillas in the oven? There are too many ideas to count, so we’ve curated a few of our favorites:

Baked quesadilla

Sides to serve with sheet pan quesadillas in the oven

How to make these quesadillas in the oven into a filling healthy dinner recipe? Here are a few of our favorite ways to accessorize it:

More easy sheet pan dinners

These sheet pan quesadillas are a fun way to make a quick and easy dinner: throw everything on a sheet pan and use the bake time to clean up and make your side dishes. Here are a few more easy sheet pan dinners we love for weeknights:

This quesadilla in the oven recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use grain free tortillas.

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Quesadillas in the Oven!


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 (8 half quesadillas)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These baked quesadillas in the oven are easy to make on a sheet pan and have the best crispy exterior! Game changer, right here.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 drizzle olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 small green onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 8 6” tortillas (flour or corn)
  • For topping: Guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drain the rinse the beans, then mix them with the olive oil and seasonings. Thinly slice the green onion
  3. Brush a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Place the tortillas on the sheet and rub them to coat them in olive oil. 
  4. On each tortilla, place 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon seasoned beans, 1 tablespoon green onion, 2 tablespoons smoked mozzarella, 1 tablespoon pico de gallo, and 1 pinch kosher salt. If desired, add a drizzle of hot sauce. Fold over the tortilla into a half circle (this makes it easy to flip, instead of making full quesadillas with 2 tortillas). Complete for each tortilla, then brush the tops with oil. 
  5. Bake 8 minutes. Then flip and bake 6 to 7 minutes more until browned and crisp on the outside. Cut into 3 wedges each with a pizza cutter. Serve topped with cilantro and sour cream, and with guacamole and extra pico de gallo for dipping.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired

Keywords: Quesadilla in oven, Baked quesadillas, how to make quesadillas in oven, sheet pan quesadillas

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Shrimp Bowl with Cilantro Lime Rice

This shrimp bowl recipe gets 5 stars! An easy lunch or dinner, it stars cilantro lime rice, black beans and chipotle ranch dressing. Here’s an irresistible recipe you’ll want to make again and again…this Shrimp Rice Bowl! It got 5 stars in our house. Of course, that’s an unofficial poll judging by how quickly it disappeared! Mix up a batch of cilantro lime rice, then top it with tender shrimp and a black bean and corn salad. This best part is a creamy, zingy chipotle ranch dressing that covers it all in deliciousness. (Yep, that’s the technical term.) This is one of our favorite bowl meals we’ve made in a while. And while it’s basic, every element is seasoned to perfection. Ingredients in this shrimp bowl recipe It has several components, but you should be able to finish this healthy dinner recipe in 30 minutes or less. Here’s the breakdown of the elements in this shrimp rice bowl: Shrimp: You can bake, broil, or sauté the shrimp for this recipe! See below to determine your favorite method. We like using tail-on shrimp for the look, but you can use peeled for easier eating. Cilantro lime rice: This bowl features our […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This shrimp bowl recipe gets 5 stars! An easy lunch or dinner, it stars cilantro lime rice, black beans and chipotle ranch dressing.

Shrimp Bowl

Here’s an irresistible recipe you’ll want to make again and again…this Shrimp Rice Bowl! It got 5 stars in our house. Of course, that’s an unofficial poll judging by how quickly it disappeared! Mix up a batch of cilantro lime rice, then top it with tender shrimp and a black bean and corn salad. This best part is a creamy, zingy chipotle ranch dressing that covers it all in deliciousness. (Yep, that’s the technical term.) This is one of our favorite bowl meals we’ve made in a while. And while it’s basic, every element is seasoned to perfection.

Ingredients in this shrimp bowl recipe

It has several components, but you should be able to finish this healthy dinner recipe in 30 minutes or less. Here’s the breakdown of the elements in this shrimp rice bowl:

  • Shrimp: You can bake, broil, or sauté the shrimp for this recipe! See below to determine your favorite method. We like using tail-on shrimp for the look, but you can use peeled for easier eating.
  • Cilantro lime rice: This bowl features our favorite cilantro lime rice: and it really does step up the recipe vs plain rice!
  • Black bean and corn salad: Here’s a fun trick: mix black beans, corn, and pico de gallo and it becomes and impromptu salad!
  • Chipotle ranch dressing: This healthy chipotle ranch is so easy to make, and you’ll want to drizzle it on everything! It’s got yogurt, mayo, and adobo sauce (see below).
Shrimp bowl recipe

Baked vs broiled vs sauteed shrimp!

There are a few different methods you can use for the shrimp here! Here are the pros and cons of each:

  • Baked shrimp: This method is easy and hands off! Pop the shrimp in the oven and cook 4 to 6 minutes. The only con? You have to preheat the oven.
  • Broiled shrimp: Even easier! It’s even quicker to broil shrimp, and you don’t have to preheat. The con? You’ll have to keep an eye on it in the last few minutes.
  • Sauteed shrimp: Super simple and quick: the fastest method for cooking shrimp! It also comes out more browned than the other methods. The con? You have to be hands-on the entire cooking time, and be good at quickly flipping the shrimp. Be careful not to overcook!

The type of shrimp to buy

There are lots of option at the store for shrimp, and it can get confusing! Here’s the type of shrimp we like to grab for this recipe:

  • Find medium or large shrimp. Medium shrimp is sometimes labeled 41 to 50 count, and Large is labeled as 31 to 40 count.
  • Use tail on or peeled. Tail on looks nice, but you do have to pull them off when eating. So use shelled if you like! Do not use shell on. If you accidentally buy shell on, remove it before cooking.
  • Fresh or frozen. Both are essentially the same freshness since most shrimp are immediately flash frozen. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance.
  • Wild caught. Look for wild caught: it’s the most sustainable!
Chipotle ranch dressing
You’ll want to use this chipotle ranch dressing on everything!

The shrimp bowl sauce: a healthy spin on ranch dressing!

Who doesn’t love ranch? For the drizzle for this healthy shrimp bowls recipe, we created a healthy spin on ranch that’s seriously delicious. Here’s what to know:

  • The dressing uses both mayonnaise and yogurt: the yogurt helps to cut down on calories but keeps it deliciously creamy.
  • It has only 38 calories per tablespoon, vs 73 calories in store bought! So we’d call that healthy version. It’s also gluten-free, keto and low carb.
  • You can customize the spice level! Use more adobo sauce if you love the heat, and less if you’re cooking for kids. What’s adobo sauce, you ask?

Using chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

The key ingredient to the chipotle ranch dressing? Adobo sauce. It adds a smoky nuance and complexity that is impossible to replicate! Here’s more about this special ingredient if you haven’t worked with it before:

  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are easy to find at most grocery stores near the Mexican products. The can includes chipotle chiles: smoked and dried jalapeños that are rehydrated and canned, and adobo sauce, a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.
  • Use only the sauce in this can! Use a spoon to work around the spicy peppers.
  • It’s not ultra spicy. Use 1 tablespoon for a mild ranch, and 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons for a medium spicy ranch.
  • What to do with the leftovers? Refrigerate or freeze leftovers, and use it for more adobo sauce recipes, like tortilla soup, taco soup, fajitas, or enchilada sauce.
Shrimp rice bowl

Meal prep and storage for this shrimp bowl recipe

Can you make this shrimp bowl recipe ahead? How long do the components last for lunches and easy healthy dinners? Here’s what to know:

  • Cooked shrimp lasts 3 days in the refrigerator. So you can cook in advance and use for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
  • You can make the rice in advance, then reheat. But rice does become dried out in the refrigerator. To reheat it, place on the stovetop or in the microwave with a few tablespoons water. It will re-absorb the water and become moist again!
  • Make the dressing up to 1 week in advance. Then refrigerate! It will likely last even longer.

And that’s it! Let us know what you think of this shrimp bowl recipe in the comments below! Serve it up for healthy dinners or easy lunches throughout the week!

Cilantro lime rice
Cilantro lime rice is a tasty basic staple

This shrimp bowl recipe is…

Pescatarian and gluten-free. For dairy-free and vegan, substitute vegan mayonnaise for the yogurt or go to Chipotle Sauce.

Print
Shrimp Bowl

Shrimp Bowl with Cilantro Lime Rice


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This shrimp bowl recipe gets 5 stars! An easy lunch or dinner, it stars cilantro lime rice, black beans and chipotle ranch dressing.


Ingredients

For the shrimp bowl

  • 1 recipe Cilantro Lime Rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined (tail on or peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon each kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 15-ounce can corn
  • 1 cup pico de gallo 
  • For serving: avocado slices, cherry tomatoes (optional)

For the chipotle ranch dressing (or Chipotle Sauce for vegan)

  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (or use mayo for dairy-free)*
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 each teaspoon each dried dill, garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1/4 each teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis**

Instructions

  1. Start the rice: Start the Cilantro Lime Rice (open the rice recipe in a separate tab).
  2. Cook the shrimp: Thaw the shrimp, if using frozen. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or preheat the broiler (or you can sauté it: keep reading!). Pat the shrimp dry. Mix it in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and spices. Place the shrimp in an even layer on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if you’re baking). Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until juicy and opaque, about 4 to 6 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Or for broiling, broil for 3 to 6 minutes, until juicy and opaque, rotating the tray as necessary for even cooking. If you prefer, you can sauté the shrimp: In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until just opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs.
  3. Make the beans and corn: Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans. Drain the corn. In a medium bowl, mix the beans, corn, and pico de gallo with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. Make the chipotle ranch dressing: Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. 
  5. Serve: To serve, place the rice, black bean corn salad, and shrimp in a bowl. Add avocado and cherry tomatoes, if using. Drizzle with dressing and top with extra chopped cilantro (leftover from the rice). 

Notes

*Make sure the yogurt has a creamy consistency. Most yogurt brands we’ve used work, but we found one brand that was very runny which didn’t work well for salad dressing. You can also use Greek yogurt, but since it’s thicker, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until the dressing comes to a creamy consistency. 

**Customize to your heat level. For a mild version, use 1 tablespoon adobo sauce. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Shrimp bowl

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Easy Salmon Patties (aka Salmon Cakes!)

Here’s how to make the BEST salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes! Canned salmon makes them fast and easy. Serve with tartar dipping sauce. Here’s a delicious lunch or dinner idea that’s worked its way into our regular rotation: Salmon Patties! Otherwise known as Salmon Cakes, these babies are just like crab cakes but they use canned salmon instead. Using canned makes them fast and easy to make — and cheaper than using fresh salmon (like our Salmon Burgers). Pair them with tartar sauce or remoulade sauce, and the contrast of the crisp, herb-scented patties against the creamy dipping sauce is unreal. This was a huge hit in our house, especially with our 4 year old. Who knew salmon cakes are perfect kid food? Ingredients for this salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes What are salmon patties? Also called salmon cakes, they’re similar to crab cakes but made with canned salmon. Ingredients typically include breadcrumbs or sometimes egg as a binder, and herbs and spices for flavor. The mixture is then formed into patties and pan fried until crisp. How is this different from salmon burgers? Salmon burgers often are made with fresh salmon: they’re larger and served on a […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the BEST salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes! Canned salmon makes them fast and easy. Serve with tartar dipping sauce.

Salmon Patties

Here’s a delicious lunch or dinner idea that’s worked its way into our regular rotation: Salmon Patties! Otherwise known as Salmon Cakes, these babies are just like crab cakes but they use canned salmon instead. Using canned makes them fast and easy to make — and cheaper than using fresh salmon (like our Salmon Burgers). Pair them with tartar sauce or remoulade sauce, and the contrast of the crisp, herb-scented patties against the creamy dipping sauce is unreal. This was a huge hit in our house, especially with our 4 year old. Who knew salmon cakes are perfect kid food?

Ingredients for this salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes

What are salmon patties? Also called salmon cakes, they’re similar to crab cakes but made with canned salmon. Ingredients typically include breadcrumbs or sometimes egg as a binder, and herbs and spices for flavor. The mixture is then formed into patties and pan fried until crisp. How is this different from salmon burgers? Salmon burgers often are made with fresh salmon: they’re larger and served on a bun. (But you could certainly make these into 4 large burgers as well!) Here’s what you’ll need to make this salmon patties recipe:

  • Canned salmon (boneless skinless)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Capers
  • Old Bay, onion powder, and salt
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Olive oil, for pan frying

Can you use leftover salmon for salmon cakes? Yes! Simply use flaked cooked leftover salmon in place of the canned salmon.

Salmon patties recipe

More about canned salmon

What’s canned salmon? This is a fairly new product to us, versus canned tuna which is a pantry staple. But canned salmon is absolutely worth stocking in your pantry too! Here are a few things to note:

  • Canned salmon is much cheaper than fresh! Buying canned is a great way to have a shelf-stable seafood protein that’s much more economical than a fresh salmon fillet.
  • Look for boneless skinless canned salmon. Unlike tuna, you can easily find canned salmon that has edible skin and bones. Try to find a brand that’s boneless skinless for best results here.
  • Substitute it for tuna to make salmon salad. Canned salmon is great for salmon salad: substitute it in this Classic Tuna Salad recipe! Or try it in this Tuna Pasta Salad.

How to make salmon patties

Salmon patties are simple to make: the only part that requires a little technique is flipping them! Here are the main steps for how to make salmon cakes (or see the recipe below for specifics):

  • Mix: Drain the salmon and shred it with a fork. Mix it with the other ingredients (parsley, capers, spices, panko, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise).
  • Form and refrigerate: Form the dough into 8 patties that are about 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate 15 minutes to firm up the texture. At this point, you can also refrigerate for about 1 day before cooking them.
  • Pan fry: Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side until lightly browned on both sides. Make sure to flip them very gently.
Salmon Patties

Panko vs breadcrumbs, and how to make them gluten free

The panko or breadcrumbs are an important component to salmon patties. It gives them just the right texture so they’ll form into cakes (otherwise they easily fall apart). We like using panko since it’s easy to have on hand and very shelf stable. But here are a few more options — and some gluten free ideas:

  • Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. It’s easy to keep on hand and great in many recipes (like Pistachio Crusted Salmon or Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms).
  • Coarse breadcrumbs also work! Make sure to look for coarse since normal store-bought breadcrumbs are very fine (almost like the texture of sand). Or use homemade breadcrumbs.
  • Try gluten-free panko or homemade. For gluten-free, it’s easy to find gluten-free panko these days online or at your grocery. Or use gluten-free bread or crackers to make homemade breadcrumbs.

Old Bay seasoning and why it’s necessary!

Old Bay seasoning is the perfect seasoning for seafood like salmon patties! Here’s what to know about using it:

  • Old Bay is an American seasoning blend invented in Maryland that’s used to season shrimp, crab, clam chowder, and other seafood dishes. The main ingredients in Old Bay are paprika, celery salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Where to find Old Bay? In the US, you can find Old Bay in your grocery store in the spices aisle. Or, you can buy Old Bay online or make homemade Old Bay!

Serve salmon cakes with tartar sauce or remoulade!

The best part of salmon cakes? Dipping them! The best seafood sauces are tartar sauce and remoulade sauce. What’s the difference? Here’s what they are, and a few other options to try as well:

  • Remoulade is a cold mayonnaise-based sauce that originated in France in the 17th century and is popular in US Cajun and Creole cuisine. Try this Easy Remoulade Sauce.
  • Tartar sauce is similar to remoulade; it’s a mayo-based seafood sauce made with pickles, capers and herbs that’s popular in the US, UK, Australia, South Africa and more. Try our Easy Tartar Sauce.
  • Chipotle ranch dressing is another fun option; it packs a little heat with adobo sauce.
  • Creamy cilantro sauce is a great sauce without mayo: it’s dairy-free and made with blended cashews!
  • Yogurt dill sauce is delicious and has a Mediterranean flair
Tartar sauce

What to serve with salmon patties

How to make salmon patties into a meal? We served this as an easy lunch to Alex’s mom and our 4 year old recently, and they gobbled it up! It’s also a great healthy dinner idea, served over greens with quinoa or rice. Here are some ideas for how to serve salmon patties or salmon cakes:

This salmon patties / salmon cakes recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy free, and gluten-free with gluten-free panko.

Print
Salmon patties

Easy Salmon Patties (aka Salmon Cakes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 patties
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make the BEST salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes! Canned salmon makes them fast and easy. Serve with tartar dipping sauce.


Ingredients

  • 18 ounces canned salmon (boneless skinless)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each Old Bay seasoning and onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plain panko or coarse breadcrumbs (or gluten free breadcrumbs*)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
  • For serving: Tartar Sauce or Remoulade Sauce (required!)

Instructions

  1. Drain salmon and shred it with a fork. In a medium bowl, mix it with the parsley, capers, Old Bay, onion powder, kosher salt, panko, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. 
  2. Form the dough into 8 patties that are about 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate 15 minutes to firm up the texture (or up to 24 hours).
  3. Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce or remoulade sauce.
  4. When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, then gently flip them with a spatula and cook about 3 to 5 minutes more until lightly browned on the other side. Serve with the sauce. 
  • Category: Appetizer or Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Salmon patties, salmon patties recipe, how to make salmon patties, canned salmon patties, salmon cakes, salmon cakes recipe, how to make salmon cakes, salmon cakes with canned salmon

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes