Air Fryer Asparagus

This Air Fryer Asparagus might be the easiest recipe I’ve ever developed. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish and is so good!

The post Air Fryer Asparagus appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Air Fryer Asparagus might be the easiest recipe I’ve ever developed, and you know what? I’m not mad about it! Sometimes the simplest method truly is the best, and this crispy asparagus is proof of that. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish, and it’ll change the way you think about this sometimes polarizing veggie. Did you know asparagus takes 3 YEARS to fully mature so it looks and tastes the way you see it at the grocery store?! For that reason alone, let’s respect this ingredient, keep it simple, and truly let its flavor shine!

overhead view of asparagus on a black plate with lemon wedges.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Asparagus

Here’s what you’ll need to make air fryer asparagus:

  • Asparagus: I never have trouble finding a bunch at my local grocery store. However, prices can vary throughout the year, so take advantage of them while they are in season and sometimes on sale. Asparagus is in season during the spring and early summer from the end of March through late May or early June.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil helps keep the asparagus spears from burning. It also helps to evenly distribute the seasonings.
  • Seasoning: A mix of garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper adds just a touch of flavor that pairs well with just about any meal.
  • Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (totally optional) adds a pop of freshness!

What Else Can I Add to Air Fryer Asparagus?

I love the simplicity of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but feel free to get creative. Try:

Tips for Making Air Fryer Asparagus

  • Trim only the bottom 1/2-1 inch of the asparagus spears. These woody ends are tough and can be unpleasant to eat. Some people like to use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin at the bottom. I find that method works often, but the ends are usually still too tough for my liking.
  • Try to leave a bit of space between the spears so they crisp up rather than steaming. You may want to cook the asparagus in batches.
  • Don’t overcook the asparagus. Overcooked asparagus will go limp and soggy and turn a greyish color. When cooked asparagus turns a brilliant bright green, that typically means it’s done!
  • Serve this asparagus as soon as it has finished cooking for the best taste and crisp texture.

What to Serve with Air Fryer ASparagus

This crispy asparagus goes so well with simple, wholesome meals like Parmesan Risotto, Chicken Cordon Bleu, or Honey Sriracha Tofu.

close-up view of asparagus tips on a black plate with lemon wedges.
overhead view of asparagus on a black plate with lemon wedges.
Print

Air Fryer Asparagus

This Air Fryer Asparagus might be the easiest recipe I've ever developed. It takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish and is so good!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.07 recipe / $1.02 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 4 (about 5 stalks each)
Calories 41kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus (1 lb.) $2.99
  • 1 tsp olive oil $0.06
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.06
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper $0.12
  • 1 lemon, to juice and zest (optional) $0.79

Instructions

  • Cut off the woody ends of asparagus and preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 4 minutes.
  • Combine garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper to create the seasoning blend.
  • Toss asparagus with olive oil and seasoning blend.
  • Air fry at 400°F for 3 minutes, stopping halfway through to shake.
  • Remove asparagus and spritz with a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with lemon zest if desired. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 41kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 294mg | Fiber: 3g
asparagus spears in an air fryer.

how to make Air Fryer ASparagus – step by step photos

a bunch of asparagus with the ends cut off on a cutting board.

Cut off the woody ends of 1 lb of asparagus and preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 4 minutes.

spices and oil in separate glass bowls.

Combine 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper to create the seasoning blend.

hands tossing asparagus in a white bowl.

Toss asparagus with 1 tsp of olive oil and then the seasoning blend.

raw seasoned asparagus in an air fryer.

Place in the air fryer and air fry at 400°F for 3 minutes, stopping halfway through to shake.

cooked seasoned asparagus in an air fryer.

Remove asparagus and spritz with a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with lemon zest if desired. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!

The post Air Fryer Asparagus appeared first on Budget Bytes.

White Bean Eggplant Caponata (1 Pan!)

Have you tried caponata? If not, let us introduce you! It’s a delicious Sicilian eggplant dish with sweet and savory flavor, and we ADORE it! While commonly served as an appetizer or side, it’s worthy of being a main when a little protein and fiber are…

White Bean Eggplant Caponata (1 Pan!)

Have you tried caponata? If not, let us introduce you! It’s a delicious Sicilian eggplant dish with sweet and savory flavor, and we ADORE it! While commonly served as an appetizer or side, it’s worthy of being a main when a little protein and fiber are added in. Introducing: white bean eggplant caponata! 

Made in 1 pan with just 10 ingredients, this is an effortless, plant-based entrée that pairs well with pasta, polenta, bread, or even mashed potatoes.

White Bean Eggplant Caponata (1 Pan!) from Minimalist Baker →

Taco Salad

This taco salad recipe is super customizable without compromising on its hearty and satisfying flavors. It’s the ultimate meal prep salad!

The post Taco Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Listen, I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next gal, but Taco Salads are really where it’s at. I have always said that salad is the ultimate “fast food”, and I’m sticking to it. Think about it, they’re quick, easy, and almost always require very little cooking. When you want a little extra somethin’ special, this taco salad with lean ground beef is it. You can make taco salad at home for a fraction of the price and have enough salad to meal prep all week long.

overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing and corn chips in a white bowl.

What Is Taco Salad?

Taco salad is everything you love about crispy beef tacos but in salad form! I’ve made sure it’s jam-packed with lettuce and extra veggies to keep you full all day long.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this taco salad:

  • Sour Cream: Forms the creamy and tangy base of the dressing.
  • Lime: The juice and zest of two limes adds acidity and bright citrus flavor to the dressing.
  • Garlic: Adds a balancing earthiness to the dressing.
  • Seasonings: Salt, chili powder, and sugar balance out the flavor of the dressing.
  • Olive Oil: Helps to emulsify the dressing.
  • Ground Beef: The classic choice for a taco salad. You could easily swap for ground chicken or turkey if you prefer. I used a lean ground beef, so I didn’t have to strain off any fat from cooking, saving me a little time. Vegetarian? No problem! This salad is crazy flavorful with or without the meat.
  • Taco Seasoning: Adds that classic Mexican flavor.
  • Vegetables: Red onion, tomato, corn, avocado, and jalapeño add freshness, crunch, and a touch of spice.
  • Black Beans: Add creaminess and extra protein.
  • Corn Chips: Add saltiness and crunch.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds creamy, cheesy flavor.
  • Iceberg Lettuce: The perfect neutral crunchy base lettuce to let the veggies shine.

What Else Can I Add?

I love that this is a great recipe to clean out those leftovers from the fridge. Here are some ideas:

Recipe Tip!

This salad is a crowd-pleaser! If I’m entertaining and have guests or family members who don’t eat certain ingredients, I keep everything separate so everyone can build their own perfect taco salad! I like mine without the ground beef and always use extra beans… yum! I love that everyone can enjoy this salad together with a wide range of toppings and feel full and content.

three-quarters view of taco salad in a white bowl.
overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing and corn chips in a white bowl.
Print

Taco Salad

This taco salad recipe is super customizable without compromising on its hearty and satisfying flavors. It's the ultimate meal prep salad!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Total Cost ($17.89 recipe / $2.98 serving)
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 salads (about 2 cups each)
Calories 804kcal

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 4 oz. sour cream $0.49
  • 2 limes, juiced and zested $1.00
  • 1 clove minced garlic $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil $0.80

Ground Beef Mixture

Additional Toppings

  • 1/2 red onion, julienned $0.37
  • 2 roma tomatoes $0.60
  • 1 cup corn kernels $1.66
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed $0.89
  • 1 avocado, diced $0.99
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed $1.44
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (about 1/2 of an 8-oz. block) $1.25
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into thin rings $0.30
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces $1.79

Instructions

  • Gather and prep all topping ingredients: julienne red onion, chop tomato, defrost frozen corn, drain and rinse black beans, dice avocado, crush tortilla chips, shred cheddar cheese, and slice jalapeno. Set aside or mix together in a large serving bowl.
  • Chop iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  • Combine sour cream, juice and zest from limes, minced garlic, salt, chili powder, sugar, and oil in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Add lean ground beef and taco seasoning packet to skillet. Break apart the ground beef with a spatula and mix in the taco seasoning. Cook until all of the ground beef has turned brown.*
  • Top chopped lettuce with prepped veggies and cooked ground beef. Toss all ingredients together.
  • Drizzle a generous helping of dressing over the top with crumbled tortilla chips! Serve and enjoy.**

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*I used a lean ground beef, so I added my seasoning and beef at the same time. I didn’t have any fat to strain off at the end, which saved me a little prep time.
**If you are meal prepping, keep the wet ingredients (like the beef and salad dressing) separate so your veggies and lettuce do not wilt and the tortilla chips do not get soggy. Just dress and toss when you’re ready for lunch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 804kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 55g | Sodium: 1228mg | Fiber: 13g
overhead view of a serving of taco salad on a white plate.

how to make Taco Salad – step by step photos

overhead view of chopped veggies on a cutting board.

Gather all topping ingredients. Julienne 1/2 red onion, chop 2 roma tomatoes, defrost 1 cup frozen corn, drain and rinse 1 can black beans, dice 1 avocado, crush 3 cups of tortilla chips, shred 1 cup cheddar cheese, slice 1 jalapeno. Set aside or mix together in a large serving bowl.

chopped lettuce in a white bowl.

Chop 1 head of iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

dressing ingredients in a white bowl.

Combine 4 oz sour cream, juice and zest from 2 limes, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 4 Tbsp oil in a small mixing bowl.

creamy white dressing in a white bowl.

Whisk to combine.

raw ground beef and spices in a frying pan.

Add 1 pound lean ground beef and 1 packet of taco seasoning to skillet. Break apart the ground beef with a spatula and mix in the taco seasoning.

cooked seasoned ground beef in a frying pan.

Cook until all of the ground beef has turned brown. I used a lean ground beef, so I added my seasoning and beef at the same time. I didn’t have any fat to strain off at the end, which saved me a little prep time.

overhead view of taco salad with ingredients separated in a white bowl.

Top chopped lettuce with prepped veggies and cooked ground beef.

tossing taco salad in a white bowl.

Toss all ingredients together.

drizzling dressing over taco salad in a white bowl.

Drizzle a generous helping of dressing over the top with crumbled tortilla chips! Serve and enjoy.

overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing in a white bowl.

This hearty taco salad is sure to satisfy!

More Southwest-Inspired Recipes

The post Taco Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

If you love hummus and the rich flavor of tomatoes, you’ll ADORE this simple sun-dried tomato hummus. It’s SO versatile, creamy, easy to make, and adds instant flavor to just about everything. Enjoy it on pita, veggies, crackers, sandwiches, and more.

Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

If you love hummus and the rich flavor of tomatoes, you’ll ADORE this simple sun-dried tomato hummus. It’s SO versatile, creamy, easy to make, and adds instant flavor to just about everything. Enjoy it on pita, veggies, crackers, sandwiches, and more.

It’s perfect for parties, picnics, meal prep, road trips, and everything in between! Just 15 minutes and a food processor or blender required. Let’s make hummus!

This recipe is adapted from the Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus in our cookbook!

Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus from Minimalist Baker →

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

This vegan Mediterranean Lentil Soup is bright and refreshing. Finished with a squeeze of lemon, it’s the perfect meal for rainy spring days.

The post Mediterranean Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

In my opinion, a bright and refreshing soup is the perfect way to welcome spring, and this vegan Mediterranean Lentil Soup is the perfect comforting meal for the rainy days to come. A rich and flavorful broth loaded with veggies, lentils, and kale will fill you up for pennies and is a great recipe for fridge clean out day. Finish it off with a squeeze of lemon juice for a delicious and easy weeknight meal.

overhead view of a bowl of mediterranean lentil soup with lemon slices.

Why Make Mediterranean Lentil Soup?

The first time I experienced cinnamon in a savory dish was while cooking at a Lebanese restaurant and it was life changing! This Mediterranean Lentil Soup is the perfect introduction to the savory use of cinnamon. This clean and flavorful lentil soup is a vegan flavor explosion. It’s loaded with protein and fiber, naturally gluten-free, and super versatile. You can toss in just about any veggie or green, so raid the fridge and get cooking!

Ingredients for Mediterranean Lentil Soup

Here’s what you’ll need to make Mediterranean lentil soup:

  • Oil: Olive oil is our preferred choice in this recipe for its Mediterranean flavor profile, but vegetable or canola oil will work in a pinch.
  • Mirepoix: A combination of small diced yellow onion, carrots, and celery creates an earthy and sweet base of flavor for this soup.
  • Garlic: The large pieces of crushed garlic versus mincing it fine is intentional to bring out the natural sweetness and flavor of cooked garlic instead of the sometimes-overwhelming bite it has when minced.
  • Cumin: Adds a savory and nutty Mediterranean flavor to this soup.
  • Cinnamon: A great savory application of the spice! It will warm you up from the inside out and make your house smell fantastic.
  • Lentils: We used brown lentils for their firm texture.
  • Vegetable Broth: We used Vegetable flavored Better Than Bouillon in this recipe. If using another brand, make sure salt is not the first ingredient or it’s a waste of money!
  • Lemon Juice: Gives the soup a brightness that is seriously addictive. You can use fresh-squeezed lemon juice and save half of your lemon for garnishing each bowl, or you can use a bottled lemon juice. I always have lemons in the kitchen, so we had some to garnish with, too!
  • Kale: Swiss chard, rainbow chard, spinach, escarole, and all varieties of kale work great, too.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhance the natural flavors of the soup.

Which color lentils are best for soup?

Brown or green lentils work best for this soup, as they will keep their shape after cooking, which is what we’re looking for texture-wise. Red lentils are not recommended because they cook quicker and will dissolve into the soup as they cook, creating a thick and mushy texture.

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftover Mediterranean lentil soup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This soup also freezes super well for up to 3 months when stored properly in an air-tight container. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in a pot set over medium-low heat until warmed through.

overhead view of mediterranean lentil soup in a red dutch oven.
overhead view of 2 bowls of mediterranean lentil soup with lemon slices.
Print

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

This vegan Mediterranean Lentil Soup is bright and refreshing. Finished with a squeeze of lemon, it's the perfect meal for rainy spring days.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Cost $7.59 recipe / $1.08 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 7 (about 1.5 cups each)
Calories 185kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small $0.78
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small $0.24
  • 3 stalks celery, diced small $0.36
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed $0.30
  • 2 tsp ground cumin $0.20
  • 1 tsp cinnamon $0.16
  • 1 cup uncooked brown or green lentils $0.68
  • 8 cups vegetable broth $1.44
  • 4 oz. lemon juice $0.48
  • 3 cups kale, chopped and lightly packed $2.48
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.10

Instructions

  • Rinse the lentils in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until they become tender, about 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon. Heat until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add the lentils to the pan and heat for 1-2 minutes to slightly toast.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth, water, and lemon juice, then bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Stir in the greens, season with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste before serving.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1452mg | Fiber: 11g
three-quarters view of mediterranean lentil soup in a white bowl with a lemon slice.

how to make Mediterranean Lentil Soup – step by step photos

mirepoix in a red dutch oven.

Rinse 1 cup brown or green lentils in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Add in 1 diced yellow onion, 2 diced medium carrots, and 3 diced stalks celery and cook until they become tender, about 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper.

mirepoix, spices, and lentils in a red dutch oven.

Stir in 5 crushed cloves garlic, 2 tsp ground cumin, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Heat until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add the lentils to the pan and heat for 1-2 minutes to slightly toast.

broth added to lentil soup in a red dutch oven.

Pour in 8 cups vegetable broth and 4 oz. lemon juice, then bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30-45 minutes.

kale added to lentil soup in a red dutch oven.

Stir in 3 cups chopped kale, season with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste before serving.

overhead view of a spoon lifting a scoop of mediterranean lentil soup from a red dutch oven.

This Mediterranean lentil soup is going to be your new favorite!

The post Mediterranean Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Air Fryer Potatoes

Air fryer potatoes are soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and made for dipping. They’re the perfect side for any meal!

The post Air Fryer Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Potatoes, or “spuds” as my Irish brother-in-law affectionately calls them, are truly a favorite for just about everyone. Potatoes can be cooked 1,000 ways and they always steal the show! These air fryer potatoes are proof of that. Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, they’re like mini baked potatoes. They are seriously delicious dipped in ketchup, mayo, or Comeback Sauce. This air fryer potato recipe is great to use with whatever potatoes you have on hand, making it the perfect recipe for fridge clean out day.

air fryer potatoes in a bowl with ketchup.

Why Make Potatoes in the Air Fryer?

Listen, we love roasted potatoes. They’re simple and delicious. But sometimes you need potatoes right now, and roasting just isn’t quick enough. Using an air fryer, these potatoes are roasted to perfection in less than half the time. So, the next time you have a potato emergency, this air fryer potato recipe is here for you. You can thank us later!

Ingredients for Air Fryer Potatoes

Here’s what you’ll need to make air fryer potatoes:

  • Potatoes: You can use any variety of mini potatoes. We found some tri-color potatoes on sale, so we used those!
  • Oil: Helps keep the potatoes moist as they cook and helps them get nice and crispy on the outside. We used olive oil, but you could also use vegetable or canola oil.
  • Spices: A combination of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper creates a smoky and savory flavor and the paprika adds a pop of color.
  • Fresh Parsley: Adds a little bit of greenery and freshness.

Should I Soak the Potatoes?

We did not do this, but cutting and soaking potatoes in cold water releases some of the starches and can make the potatoes crispier! Our potatoes were more like tiny bites of the perfect baked potato!

What Else Can I Put On Air Fryer Potatoes?

We love the seasoning mix listed in the recipe below, but the sky is the limit! Here are some other ways you can season your air fryer potatoes:

What To Serve With Air Fryer Potatoes

These air fryer potatoes are a great side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They go great with dishes like Breakfast FrittatasAir Fryer Bacon, Homemade Meatloaf, or Baked Chicken Drumsticks.

Or, if you want to just add some dip and serve them as a snack, try dipping them in Comeback SauceLemon Dill Tahini DressingChimichurri Sauce, or Homemade Ranch Dressing.

seasoned potatoes in an air fryer basket with herbs.
fork dipping an air fryer potato into ketchup.
Print

Air Fryer Potatoes

Air fryer potatoes are soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and made for dipping. They're the perfect side for any meal!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $3.60 recipe / $0.90 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 106kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F for 4 minutes. Wash and quarter the baby potatoes.
  • Add the potatoes to a large bowl. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 15 minutes in the air fryer, until golden brown with crispy edges, stopping halfway through to shake.
  • Garnish with minced parsley and additional salt and pepper, if needed.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 17mg | Fiber: 3g
seasoned potatoes in a bowl with herbs.

how to make Air Fryer Potatoes – step by step photos

cutting tricolored potatoes on a bamboo cutting board.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 4 minutes. Quarter 1 lb. of baby potatoes.

seasoned potato wedges in a white bowl.

Add the potatoes to a large bowl. Toss the quartered baby potatoes with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp onion powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

seasoned potatoes in an air fryer basket.

Cook for 15 minutes in the air fryer, until golden brown with crispy edges, stopping halfway through to shake. Garnish with 1 tsp minced fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper, if needed.

fork dipping an air fryer potato into ketchup.

These air fryer potatoes are the ultimate crispy side dish!

The post Air Fryer Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes are the PERFECT appetizer, side dish, or snack. They are fun and easy to make and do I dare say that they are better than French fries? Start with small potatoes and then boil, smash, drizzle with olive oil and butter, and bake! Finish…

Smashed Potatoes are the PERFECT appetizer, side dish, or snack. They are fun and easy to make and do I dare say that they are better than French fries? Start with small potatoes and then boil, smash, drizzle with olive oil and butter, and bake! Finish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chives for extra…

Easy Steamed Asparagus

Making steamed asparagus unlocks the vibrant flavor and tender-crisp perfection! This simple method delivers a healthy and delicious side dish…

Making steamed asparagus unlocks the vibrant flavor and tender-crisp perfection! This simple method delivers a healthy and delicious side dish ready in minutes. It’s ideal for busy weeknights or a quick addition to any meal.

Steamed asparagus in bowl with lemon.

Looking for a quick and healthy way to cook asparagus? Try steamed asparagus. Our favorite ways to cook this veggie are lemony baked asparagus or broiled asparagus, or sauteed asparagus cooked with olive oil in a hot pan. But steaming is a great way healthy to cook vegetables and tastes great too!

What we love about this recipe: It’s quick, simple, and healthy! The spears come out bright green and crisp tender: perfect with a zing of lemon and a hint of grated Parmesan.

Gear tip

You’ll need a steamer basket or steamer pan to make this recipe. Here’s the steamer basket we recommend: it’s easy to find online!

How to make steamed asparagus: step by step

The trick to steamed asparagus is this: don’t overcook it! Because all asparagus differs in size and maturity, you’ll use a range for how long to steam it. The perfect timing for steaming this green veggie is about 2 to 5 minutes. Again, this all depends on the thickness: thin, slender asparagus steams faster than thick, tougher asparagus.

Asparagus on cutting board

Step 1: Chop the asparagus to remove the woody, tough ends. Then chop the spears into roughly 2-inch pieces.

How to steam asparagus

Step 2: Add water to a pot under the steamer basket. Add the basket and bring the water to a boil. Add the asparagus and steam with the lid on for about 2 to 5 minutes until crisp tender, taste testing with a fork to assess doneness. Make sure not to overcook.

Steamed asparagus

Step 3: Remove the asparagus to a bowl, draining away any water. Toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Ways to serve steamed asparagus

You can eat this steamed asparagus simply seasoned with lemon juice and zest, but there are many more serving ideas. Here are a few other options:

Steamed Asparagus in bowl with spoon.

More asparagus recipes

Love that healthy green vegetable? Here are some of our best asparagus recipes:

Dietary notes

This steamed asparagus recipe is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

How long does it take to steam asparagus?

Thin asparagus spears only need 2-3 minutes of steaming, while thicker spears might take 4-5 minutes. The best way to tell if it’s done is to pierce a spear with a fork – it should be tender-crisp with a slight give.

What can I do with leftover steamed asparagus?

Leftover steamed asparagus can be chopped and added to omelets, frittatas, or pasta dishes. You can also toss it with a vinaigrette for a quick and refreshing salad.

Can I steam frozen asparagus?

We don’t recommend it! Frozen asparagus loses its texture, so it can become mushy when steamed.

Print
Steamed asparagus

Easy Steamed Asparagus


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Making steamed asparagus unlocks the vibrant flavor and tender-crisp perfection! This simple method delivers a healthy and delicious side dish ready in minutes. It’s ideal for busy weeknights or a quick addition to any meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch asparagus
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the asparagus. Chop off the tough ends of the stalks and discard them. Cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Boil the water: Add water to a pot so that the surface is right under the steamer basket. Add the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Steam: Once boiling, add the asparagus. Steam with the lid on for about 2 to 5 minutes until crisp tender at the thickest portion, taste testing with a fork to assess doneness. Take care not to overcook it.
  4. Season: Carefully remove the asparagus to a bowl, draining away any water. Toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Steamed
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Steamed asparagus, how to steam asparagus

Homemade Italian Dressing

Make restaurant-quality Italian dressing at home with this simple recipe! This zesty dressing is full of flavor and perfect for…

Make restaurant-quality Italian dressing at home with this simple recipe! This zesty dressing is full of flavor and perfect for salads, pasta salads, and more.

Italian Dressing in bowl with spoon, salad, and Parmesan cheese.

One of the top salad dressing recipes to make homemade: Italian dressing! This zingy Italian American vinaigrette is a staple that many of us have grown up with. Ever tried making it at home instead of opting for bottled?

As two cookbook authors, we’ve found the key to a great salad is a homemade salad dressing: they don’t have preservatives or added ingredients, are extremely tasty, and are quick to make! This zesty Italian dressing recipe is a fan-favorite recipe from our popular chopped salad, and it’s become our go-to easy vinaigrette for all types of salads.

Jump to the recipe—now.

What we love about this Italian dressing

This Italian dressing recipe is a standby recipe we’ve been making for over a decade. It all started with our famous chopped salad, which is always a hit with friends and family. Every time we serve it, people ask us for the recipe! Over the years, readers have constantly given us feedback they love it to. Here’s what we love about this recipe:

  • It’s delicious. Our readers have left comments like “IMO, This IS the best Italian dressing!” and “Wow this was so good! I made it for a Italian inspired mixed green salad that I made for guests and everyone loved it. I will definitely be making it again!”
  • It’s simple to whip up in 5 minutes. You need a few ingredients, a bowl and a whisk.
  • It’s versatile. You can use it on many different salads: and even as a marinade!
Italian Dressing recipe in bowl with spoon

Ingredients you’ll need

Turns out, Italian dressing is actually an Italian American creation, not a traditional Italian food! It’s a vinaigrette type dressing used in American and Canadian cuisine. In Italy, salads are dressed with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt at the table, not typically with a pre-mixed salad dressing. Italian dressing is an American creation that approximates the flavors and herbs in Italian food, like olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano and thyme.

The ingredients you’ll need for this Italian dressing are:

  • White wine vinegar: This pantry ingredient brings in the tangy flavor (helpful so you don’t have to buy a fresh lemon). Make sure to use white wine vinegar, not white vinegar, which has a very strong, acidic flavor.
  • Dijon mustard: Mustard adds tangy, savory flavor and helps to make the perfect emulsion.
  • Maple syrup or sugar: Adding a hint of sugar balances the acidity in this dressing. Maple syrup adds sweetness and not a strong maple flavor, so it’s our preference here.
  • Garlic: Everything is better with a little fresh garlic, and it carries the flavor of this dressing.
  • Dried oregano, thyme, and basil: The combination of these herbs make the perfect flavor. We’ve experimented with Italian seasoning, but this combination tastes better.
  • Olive oil: This heart-healthy oil is the binder in this dressing, making it cling to salad greens and vegetables.

Tips for how to make an emulsion

This homemade Italian dressing recipe is incredibly simple. The flavor is zesty and bright, full of garlic, white wine vinegar, maple syrup or sugar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Add to that a mix of Italian-style dried herbs: basil, thyme, and oregano, which bring in earthy flair. To make an emulsion for this homemade Italian salad dressing recipe, simply whisk it by hand. Here are a few tips:

  • Use a medium-sized bowl. To get the oil and vinegar to incorporate into a creamy emulsion, here’s a tip: use a medium-sized bowl to allow for enough movement of the whisk. (Trust us, we’ve tried it in small bowls before and it’s difficult to get the oil and vinegar to combine properly.)
  • Add the olive oil little by little. Add it tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in between each until the oil fully incorporates.
  • Use Dijon mustard. Don’t leave out the mustard! Dijon mustard helps to form and lock in the emulsion. We’ve used this technique in our other vinaigrette recipes, like our Classic Vinaigrette and Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Italian dressing.

Ways to serve this Italian dressing recipe

This homemade Italian dressing recipe is perfect on any type of salad that you throw together! We’ve made it for years and have lots of readers who use it as a go-to salad dressing. It works well on many types of salad recipes, like a chopped salad, kale salad, or any green salad with flavors that would go with an Italian-style vinaigrette. Here are a few ideas of how to use it:

How would you serve this Italian salad dressing recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

More homemade salad dressing recipes

Homemade dressings have big, bold flavor and are easy to whip up! In fact, we rarely buy bottled dressing. Outside of this homemade Italian dressing recipe, here are a few of our other favorite salad dressing recipes:

This homemade Italian dressing recipe is…

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

Print
Italian Dressing

Italian Dressing Recipe


  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About ½ cup

Description

This zesty homemade Italian dressing recipe is full of flavor and easy to make at home! This one will become a go-to on first taste.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated (about ¼ teaspoon) or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup. Grate in the garlic clove, then whisk together with the oregano, thyme, basil, and kosher salt.
  2. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, adding 1 tablespoon at a time and whisking until it incorporates, until an emulsion forms. Serve immediately. Store refrigerated and bring to room temperature before serving (keeps at least 2 weeks).
  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Italian dressing, Italian dressing recipe, Homemade italian dressing, How to make italian dressing,

Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies

This fudgy olive oil brownies recipe is surprisingly easy and delivers rich, chocolaty goodness – minus the butter! Everyone will…

This fudgy olive oil brownies recipe is surprisingly easy and delivers rich, chocolaty goodness – minus the butter! Everyone will love this simple treat.

Photo of fudgy olive oil brownies with shiny tops and chocolate chips.

Here’s a fun simple baking recipe we’re so excited to share with you! These fudgy olive oil brownies are rich and chewy: without the use of dairy. We’ve been re-focusing on the Mediterranean diet and it emphasizes cooking with olive oil. So I wondered: could it be possible to make brownies with olive oil? These dairy free brownies were born.

Jump to the recipe—now.

Why we love these dairy free fudgy olive oil brownies

This brownie recipe is one I created for my nephews as a baking project. I was curious about using olive oil in baked goods and they wanted to include their favorite ingredient, peanut butter. Turns out, nut butter works surprisingly well in olive oil brownies: it adds a chewy texture and robust flavor, complementing the oil perfectly. I referenced this tahini olive oil brownies recipe as a proof of concept, but changed it up quite a bit. The result? A chewy, rich, fudgy chocolate brownie recipe using olive oil! Here’s why we love these brownies:

  • They’re easy to make, with no stand mixer or special equipment required
  • They use healthy fats like olive oil and peanut butter
  • They feature dark chocolate (my favorite food group!)
  • They are rich and chewy, and you don’t notice there’s no dairy! Everyone will love them, no matter their diet.

What people are saying

We passed this recipe by a few readers as recipe testers before sharing it with you. Here’s what they had to say!

  • “The BEST homemade brownies! Fudgy and moist, with a deep chocolaty flavor. I’ll never buy a box mix again…. so easy to make and so delicious!” -Julie
  • “These brownies are sooo rich and fudgy!! Yet somehow I think they’d also appeal to those who prefer cake-like brownies. The chocolate flavor dominates but there’s also a very welcome taste of peanut butter that comes through perfectly.” -Andrea
  • “The brownies baking in the oven were hands down the best air freshener! No heavy oil taste and the peanut butter cuts out some of the richness of a brownie (in a good way). As my kiddo said with a full mouth, “These are really good!” 10/10 would make again.” -Claire-Anne
  • “SO good! So good, in fact, one kid said this “must be” the go-to brownie going forward. We had them still warm and later for dessert, with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. Both were awesome!” -Nicole
List of ingredients for olive oil brownies.

Ingredients you need

These dairy free brownies have simple ingredients and no “tricks” or substitutions, aside from the olive oil and peanut butter standing in for the traditional butter. However, many brownie experts like our friend Tessa at Handle the Heat use both oil and butter in a brownie recipe, so the true swap here might be peanut butter! Here’s what you need:

  • Dutch process or dark cocoa powder: This is the key ingredient! It’s a special type of cocoa powder is treated with an alkali to make it pH neutral, giving it a darker color and milder flavor. This type has deep rich notes instead of the lighter fruity notes that you’ll get with regular cocoa powder. It’s available at most grocery stores!
  • All purpose flour: You’ll need just a hint of flour for this recipe. Almond flour should work for gluten-free.
  • Olive oil: Use only extra virgin olive oil.
  • Creamy peanut butter: Peanut butter brings a rich, savory flavor and offsets any bitter notes from the olive oil. You could use almost butter as well, or any other nut butter. Use sunflower butter for nut free.
  • Dark chocolate chips: Most dark chocolate chips brands are vegan, but make sure the package says dairy-free. We like the brand Guittard 63%.
  • Granulated and brown sugar: A mix of sugar types adds nuance to the flavor.
  • Eggs: Eggs make a smooth batter and bind it together. For an egg free version, go to vegan brownies.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla adds the final nuance to the flavor.
  • Salt: Salt balances the sweet flavor.

Keep in mind, these dairy free brownies do contain eggs. Head here for our vegan brownie recipe for a full vegan recipe!

Fudgy olive oil brownies close up shot.

Can you use olive oil in brownies?

Olive oil works as a replacement for vegetable oil in most brownie recipes. However, it does have a bitter aftertaste, which can compete with the other flavors in baked goods. We suggest using the brownies recipe below, which is customized for olive oil in combination with nut butter.

Since this recipe uses less olive oil than a 1:1 replacement in a standard brownie recipe, it tones down the bitter flavor, which is also offset by the rich melted chocolate and nut butter. The reduced quantity of olive oil in this recipe also helps you save money, since olive oil is more expensive than vegetable oils and most brownie recipes call for a large quantity (½ cup in a pan this size).

Gluten free variation

We’ve had readers test the gluten free variation of this recipe with almond flour and it worked well! Here are notes from reader Lexi:

“I made the brownies and oh my gosh, they are so good! I actually ended up making two batches. One batch I made gluten free with almond flour and almond butter. They turned out very well with a great fudgy texture. Very chocolaty, not too sweet. They were perfect! You couldn’t even tell they were gluten free.

The second batch I made as the recipe was written, with AP flour and peanut butter. They were equally as delicious! They had a slightly chewier texture than the gluten free batch, just as fudgy. Great chocolaty flavor with a hint of peanut butter, a little sweet. Very well balanced.

We actually had a really hard time picking a favorite. I will definitely be making both versions again!”

How to make fudgy olive oil brownies (dairy free!)

Brownies are quick and simple, and don’t even require a mixer! This brownie recipe comes together like most:

First, mix together the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, flour, and salt.

Bowl with whisk and cocoa powder flour and salt.

Then, melt the olive oil, peanut butter, and chocolate chips on the stovetop over low heat until completely melted and smooth.

Saucepan with melted chocolate and peanut butter.

Pour the melted chocolate into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar, then the eggs and vanilla extract. Switch to a spatula and mix in the dry ingredients until a very thick dough forms.

Brownie batter ingredients in a bowl with whisk.

Fold in the remaining chocolate chips. Then pour the batter into an 8 x 8″ pan prepared with parchment paper. The batter will be very thick, which is as expected.

Pouring brownie batter into a prepared pan.

Bake 30 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (though there will be some melted chocolate if you hit a chocolate chip!). Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then use the parchment to lift out the brownies to cool further.

Baked olive oil brownies (dairy free) in pan.

Serving and storage info

Cut the brownies into 16 slices and serve them warm from the oven, or room temperature. Our favorite is room temperature, because the texture is a little more set. But if you just can’t wait, feel free to dig in!

These dairy free brownies store up to 5 days at room temperature. We recommend wrapping them in aluminum foil or they can become slightly dry. For longer term storage, place them in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Just make sure to let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving, since the texture becomes solidified when cold.

A few more brownies recipes

We hope you love these brownies as much as we do! They are a new family favorite. Here are a few more fun brownies recipes to try:

01

Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies

These amazing sweet potato brownies will wow everyone! Fudgy and chewy, they’re loaded with flavor…good stuff, too. One swap and…

02

Gluten Free Brownies

This gluten free brownies recipe is everything: thick, chewy, rich, moist, and absolutely irresistible! No one will guess they’re flourless.…

03

Zucchini Brownies

This zucchini brownies recipe comes out ultra moist with deep chocolaty flavor! Bookmark this one for a deliciously simple treat.…

Dietary notes

These dairy free olive oil brownies are dairy-free. For vegan, go to vegan brownies or zucchini brownies. For gluten free, go to gluten free brownies.

Print
Photo of fudgy olive oil brownies with shiny tops and chocolate chips.

Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies (Dairy Free!)


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 16

Description

This fudgy olive oil brownies recipe is surprisingly easy and delivers rich, chocolaty goodness – minus the butter! Everyone will love this simple treat.


Ingredients

  • ¼ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (or almond flour, for gluten-free)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter (or other nut or sunflower butter)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips* plus one handful, divided (we like Guittard 63%)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8″ baking dish with a piece of parchment paper, cut so that it extends on two sides to easily remove the brownies from the pan. Grease the exposed parts of the pan with butter or oil to prevent sticking. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the Dutch process cocoa powder, all purpose flour, and kosher salt.
  3. Place ½ cup chocolate chips, ⅓ cup peanut butter, and the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat and heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into a medium mixing bowl. 
  4. Immediately whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar, then the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Switch to a spatula and stir in the dry ingredients until a very thick batter forms. Stir in the remaining ½ cup chocolate chips. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle another handful or two of chocolate chips over the top. 
  6. Bake 30 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (though there will be some melted chocolate if you hit a chocolate chip!). Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then use the parchment to lift out the brownies to cool further. Slice into 16 pieces and enjoy warm or cool to room temperature. 
  7. Store at room temperature wrapped in foil for up to 5 days or refrigerated for 10 days. Allow to come to room temperature before enjoying (the brownies solidify when cold).

Notes

*Most dark chocolate chips are dairy free, but look for a “dairy-free” marking on the package.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Dairy free brownies, olive oil brownies, can you use olive oil in brownies,