Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers

These super simple Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers are the BEST homemade burgers around. Simple ingredients with TONS of flavor!

The post Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ever since I made my own Homemade Ranch Seasoning the floodgates of recipe ideas have been opened. Ranch seasoning adds so much delicious, tangy, herby flavor to everything, including burgers. These Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers are so stupid easy and crazy delicious that I might just never go out for burgers again. And as always, I’ve got plenty of ingredient options for you below. 👇

an oval platter with turkey burgers on a tiled surface

It’s All About the Ranch Seasoning

ALL of the flavor in these turkey burgers comes from ranch seasoning mix. I used my own homemade ranch seasoning, but you can just make this quick and easy using a store-bought packet of Hidden Valley (or any other brand) of ranch seasoning. You’ll need one packet, which is about 3 Tbsp.

Can I Use a Different Type of Meat?

Yes, you can make your bacon ranch burgers using ground beef, ground pork, or even ground chicken. I chose turkey because the light flavor doesn’t compete too much with the ranch seasoning, and I like the texture of ground turkey better than ground chicken.

You’ll want to use ground meat with a little fat to keep the burgers moist and tender.

Close up side view of a ranch turkey burger held in hands

Other Burger Topping Ideas

I topped my burgers with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, so it was kind of like a BLT on steroids. But you can change up the toppings if you’re not a fan of what I used. Here are some other topping ideas that would work well with these ranch burgers:

  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Red onion
  • Ranch dressing
  • French fried onions
  • Coleslaw
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Comeback sauce

What to Serve with Ranch Burgers

I served my Ranch Burgers with some baked fries, but there are so many delicious sides that would go great with these burgers. A little potato salad would be awesome, or maybe some Broccoli Pasta Salad, Classic Creamy Coleslaw, or a simple side salad.

Side view of a platter full of bacon ranch turkey burgers
Close up side view of a ranch turkey burger held in hands

Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers

These super simple Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers are the BEST homemade burgers around. Simple ingredients with TONS of flavor!
Total Cost $12.15 recipe / $3.04 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 burgers
Calories 541kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon $2.99
  • 1 lb. ground turkey $3.99
  • 3 Tbsp ranch seasoning mix* $0.53
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 4 slices cheese (optional) $1.15
  • 4 hamburger buns $1.25
  • 1 tomato $1.40
  • 4 leaves lettuce $0.55
  • 4 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.25

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon using the directions on the package or the method of your choice (skillet, oven, microwave) until brown and crispy.
  • Add the ground turkey to a bowl along with the ranch seasoning mix. Using your hands, mix the ranch seasoning into the ground turkey.
  • Divide the ground turkey into four equal amounts, then shape into burger patties. The meat will contract quite a bit as it cooks, so make the patties quite wide and flat (about 4.5 inches in diameter).
  • Add a little cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet is hot, add the burger patties and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until the burgers are browned and cooked through.
  • If using cheese, add a slice of cheese to each burger, place a lid on the skillet and allow the heat to melt the cheese.
  • While the burgers are cooking, slice the tomato. Build the burgers using the buns, tomatoes, lettuce, cooked bacon, and mayonnaise. Enjoy!

Notes

*You can use store-bought or homemade ranch seasoning. If your ranch seasoning is in bulk rather than a single packet, use about 3 Tbsp.

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger | Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 29g | Sodium: 1385mg | Fiber: 1g
a bacon ranch turkey burger in a basket with fries

How to Make Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers – Step by Step Photos

cooked bacon strips on a paper towel lined plate

Cook 8 strips of bacon until brown and crispy using either the instructions on the package or your favorite method. I like to cook my bacon in the oven. Here is my tutorial on how to cook bacon in the oven.

ground turkey in a bowl with ranch seasoning

Add one pound ground turkey to a bowl with 3 Tbsp (one packet) ranch seasoning or homemade ranch seasoning mix. Mix the seasoning into the meat until evenly combined.

Shaped turkey burger patties

Divide the meat into four equal portions and then shape them into patties. The meat will contract quite a bit as it cooks, so make them much wider and flatter than you want the final burger to be. My patties were about 4.5 inches wide when raw. Ground turkey can be quite soft and wet compared to ground beef, but don’t let that worry you.

Cooked turkey burgers in a skillet, two with cheese on top

Add some cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add your burgers (you can do two batches if they’re too big to all fit) and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until well browned and cooked through. If using cheese, add a slice of cheese on top, place a lid on the skillet, and allow the heat to melt the cheese.

Burgers being assembled on a platter with ingredients on the sides

Assemble your cooked turkey burgers with buns, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayo. Then DIG IN! :)

The post Bacon Ranch Turkey Burgers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

How to Make the Ultimate Veggie Sandwich

Use what you have on hand to build an ultimate veggie sandwich packed with color, flavor, and texture. Eat the rainbow!

The post How to Make the Ultimate Veggie Sandwich appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love a good veggie sandwich. There are so many colors, textures, and flavors in every bite that it’s just beyond satisfying. And, because they’re super flexible, you can build an ultimate veggie sandwich using odds and ends of things you may already have in your fridge. And that is one of the most valuable characteristics of a recipe or meal when it comes to eating on a budget.

An ultimate veggie sandwich cut in half and stacked, cut sides facing the camera

This is going to be more of a how-to than a recipe because it’s so extremely flexible and it’s unlikely that you’ll end up using the exact same mix of ingredients as I did. For that reason, and because some of these ingredients are nearly impossible to accurately measure let alone calculate the cost of, I didn’t do a cost breakdown this time. But I’m willing to bet that it cost me less than shelling out $8 for a veggie sandwich at a deli!

I will put a recipe card with my exact sandwich ingredients below for anyone who is interested in trying to duplicate the exact sandwich pictured.

Step 1: Choose Your Bread

I suggest a good, hearty bread for veggie sandwiches, like wheat bread, sourdough, focaccia, or ciabatta. You need something that can hold up to the hefty texture of the vegetables without ripping and something that will provide a little weight in your stomach next to all those lightweight veggies. If you want to make your own bread, no-knead bread or focaccia would be awesome.

You could also make your veggie sandwich into a wrap using an extra-large tortilla. A pita pocket might work too, but it might be difficult to squeeze all those veggies in without it ripping.

The sandwich in the photos was made using Dave’s Killer Bread, Good Seed flavor. It was my first time trying this bread and while it was strong enough for the sandwich, it was a little softer than I’d prefer and the flavor was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Step 3: Choose Your Spread

Using some sort of sandwich spread adds moisture, flavor, and a little fat, which gives the sandwich a more satisfying mouthfeel.

I whipped up a quick scallion cream cheese that was basically a scaled-back version of my Scallion Herb Cream Cheese Spread. I just mixed together 2oz. cream cheese with one sliced green onion, ½ tsp lemon juice, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp dried dill, and a pinch of salt.

Other good sandwich spread options include:

  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Pesto
  • Mayo (or a pesto-mayo mix)
  • Thick salad dressings, like ranch or green goddess
  • Boursin
  • Marinara
A veggie sandwich being built, ingredients all around.

Step 4: Add Cheese (Optional)

Since my spread was technically a cheese, I didn’t add any extra cheese. A little cheese can go a long way toward making a veggie sandwich very filling. Here are some good cheese options for veggie sandwiches:

  • White cheddar
  • Feta
  • Goat cheese (chevre)
  • Havarti
  • Swiss
  • Fresh mozzarella

Step 5: Pile On the Veggies!

And here’s where you can start to get really creative! I pulled a lonely carrot out of my produce drawer, grabbed a handful of leftover fresh spinach, sliced up a cucumber and tomato, and used the leftover half of a red bell pepper that I had from the day before. Oh, and I added some alfalfa sprouts because I love the texture they bring to the sandwich! Here are some other vegetables you can add:

  • Sliced button mushrooms or grilled portobello
  • Avocado
  • Coleslaw (this would act like a veggie-spread combo ingredient)
  • Pickles
  • Red onion
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Fresh or grilled zucchini
  • Roasted beets (sliced thin)
  • Sauer kraut
  • Jalapeño
  • Fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro
  • Broccoli (chopped fine)

You’ll want to slice most of your vegetables thinly, which helps keep everything packed together tightly. For hard vegetables, like the carrot I used, it’s helpful to chop or shred them into very small pieces. I used a cheese grater to grate my carrot, but something like broccoli I would just chop finely.

Step 6: Top with Extras

With so many veggies piled onto one sandwich, a little extra ✨spice✨ is never a bad idea. I always like to add some salt and freshly cracked pepper to my tomato layer, but you can also add things like Italian herbs, sunflower seeds, everything bagel seasoning, crushed red pepper, furikake, or nutritional yeast.

A hand holding both halves of a cut open ultimate veggie sandwich

Veggie Sandwich Ideas

Before we get into exactly what was on the sandwich pictured above, here are a few other fun veggie sandwich combo ideas:

  • The Green Goddess: Green goddess dressing, spinach, sprouts, cucumber, avocado, feta on any bread.
  • The Roasted Veggie: Hummus, roasted red peppers, roasted portobellos, roasted zucchini, feta, everything bagel seasoning, on any bread.
  • The “Pizza”: Marinara, grilled or roasted eggplant or portobello, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, black olives, red onion, fresh mozzarella, on ciabatta bread.
  • Coleslaw Sandwich: Creamy coleslaw, tomato, Swiss or havarti, salt and pepper, on sourdough.
A hand holding both halves of a cut open ultimate veggie sandwich

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich

Use what you have on hand to build an ultimate veggie sandwich packed with color, flavor, and texture. Eat the rainbow!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 411kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Scallion Cream Cheese

  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill
  • 1 pinch salt

Sandwich

  • 2 slices hearty bread
  • 6 slices cucumber
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 handful alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper

Instructions

  • Whip the ingredients for the scallion cream cheese together in a small bowl (I used a fork).
  • Lightly toast the bread. Spread the cream cheese over one side of each pieces of bread.
  • Pile the vegetables onto the bread, then close. Slice in half and enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 22g | Sodium: 560mg | Fiber: 9g
Side view of a closed veggie sandwich, uncut

Got Leftover Ingredients?

If you did happen to buy ingredients specifically for making a veggie sandwich, here are some really flexible recipes that you can make to use up any leftovers:

The post How to Make the Ultimate Veggie Sandwich appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chicken Salad with Apples

I’m kind of obsessed with chicken salad lately. It’s easy to prepare, super filling, and the perfect cold meal during these hot summer months. I especially love this chicken salad with apples because it’s full of sweet and crunchy apples, sweet-tart dried cranberries, and a simple homemade dressing that has a bright fresh flavor thanks […]

The post Chicken Salad with Apples appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m kind of obsessed with chicken salad lately. It’s easy to prepare, super filling, and the perfect cold meal during these hot summer months. I especially love this chicken salad with apples because it’s full of sweet and crunchy apples, sweet-tart dried cranberries, and a simple homemade dressing that has a bright fresh flavor thanks to the addition of yogurt. And as usual, there are plenty of ways you can add to or swap out ingredients in this chicken salad, so keep reading for ideas! 

Originally posted 10-10-2011, updated 8-5-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of chicken salad with ingredients on the sides

What Kind of Cooked Chicken to Use

I cooked up some fresh chicken breasts just before making my chicken salad (see the step by step photos below the recipe), but rotisserie chicken is a really convenient option. If using rotisserie chicken, simply pull the meat from the bone, remove the skin, and give the meat a rough chop. You’ll need about 3 cups of chopped chicken for this recipe. You can also use canned chicken breast, if needed, although that option will have the least desirable texture and flavor of the three options.

What Else Can I Add to My Chicken Salad?

Chicken salad is so flexible. Nuts pair really well with the flavors of this salad, so you can try adding some almonds or chopped pecans. Finely diced celery is also nice for some extra crunch. And if you don’t have dried cranberries, golden raisins or fresh grapes also work really well in this recipe.

How Long Does This Chicken Salad Last?

Chicken salad is usually good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but it can vary depending on the freshness of your chicken and the conditions inside your refrigerator. This salad should not be frozen.

How to Serve Chicken Salad with Apples

You can eat chicken salad several different ways. The most common is as a chicken salad sandwich and you can do this on your favorite bread, on a croissant (like in the photos), or in a wrap. Chicken salad is also a great topper for a green salad, or you can serve it with crackers and a delicious dip (you might want to chop the chicken and apples a little smaller in that case).

Overhead view of chicken salad sandwiches with croissants

Love chicken salad? You might also like Curry Chicken Salad or Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad.

Side view of a bowl of chicken salad with apples, croissants in the background

Chicken Salad with Apples

This chicken salad is packed with sweet and crunchy apples, tart dried cranberries, and a light and creamy homemade dressing.
Total Cost $10.35 recipe / $2.59 serving
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 367kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken $7.97
  • 1 apple (1.5 cups chopped) $0.76
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion $0.20
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries $0.22
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise $0.53
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt $0.35
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.18
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Chop the cooked chicken and the apple into small pieces. Finely dice the red onion.
  • Place the chicken, apple, onion, and dried cranberries in a large bowl.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir until smooth.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl and stir until everything is coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 395mg | Fiber: 2g

Side view of a bowl of chicken salad with apples, croissants in the background

How to Make Chicken Salad with Apples – Step By Step Photos

Cooked chicken breast in a skillet

You’ll need about 3 cups chopped cooked chicken for this recipe, so if you’re not using rotisserie chicken, you’ll want to cook some chicken first. I used two chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total). I filleted each breast in half to make two thinner pieces, which helps them cook more quickly and evenly. Then I just cooked them in a skillet with a little oil over medium heat until they were golden brown on each side and cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF.

Chopped chicken on a cutting board

Allow the chicken to cool for 5-10 minutes before chopping it into small pieces.

Chopped apple on a cutting board

Chop one apple into small pieces (about 1.5 cups). You’ll probably want to use a variety of apple that is sweet or sweet-tart, like a Fuji or Gala. Also finely dice about ¼ cup red onion.

Chicken salad ingredients in a bowl

Add the chopped chicken, diced apple, diced red onion, and ¼ cup dried cranberries to a bowl.

chicken salad dressing ingredients in a bowl

To make the salad dressing, combine ⅓ cup mayonnaise, ⅓ cup plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Stir until evenly combined and smooth.

Dressing being poured over the chicken salad ingredients

Pour the prepared dressing over top of the salad ingredients.

Finished chicken salad with apples in a bowl

Stir until the salad ingredients are combined and coated with dressing. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Chicken salad sandwiches made with croissants on a wooden cutting board

The post Chicken Salad with Apples appeared first on Budget Bytes.

TLT Sandwich

A vegetarian TLT sandwich inspired by the classic BLT sandwich. This version includes chipotle-marinated tempeh alongside oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, a bit of shredded lettuce, and a generous avocado slather on a thin slice (or two) of great bread.

Continue reading TLT Sandwich on 101 Cookbooks

At this point in time, no other sandwich I make is more requested. Instead of a classic BLT sandwich, I make a TLT – tempeh, lettuce, and tomato. Not an original concept, but my secret is this…every component needs to be over-the-top flavorful. Roasted Tomatoes for TLT Sandwich
My version features chipotle-marinated tempeh alongside oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, a bit of shredded lettuce and a generous slather of avocado on a thin slice (or two) of great bread. For anyone looking for a hearty, substantial, satisfying, nutritious, and meatless lunch – it’s hard to beat .
Side View of Epic TLT Sandwich
You’ll need to plan ahead a bit to marinate the tempeh and roast the tomatoes, but I promise it’s well worth the effort, and if you make extra you’ll have sandwiches for the week. Tempeh is easy to find in most Whole Foods Markets or natural food stores – here’s a link to another favorite tempeh recipe in case you are interested in other ways of using it.
Side View of Epic TLT Sandwich

I enjoy this TLT sandwich on a big, ultra-thin slice of whole wheat walnut bread – toasted until crisp. You can go the traditional sandwich route, or enjoy it open-faced. And now I’m thinking that miniature versions of these might be great bite-sized party food? 

If you’re game for more tempeh inspiration, don’t miss out on these tempeh recipes. And be sure to pay special attention to this Spicy Tempeh Crumble Bowl, and this Tempeh Taco Salad

Continue reading TLT Sandwich on 101 Cookbooks

Pizza Melts

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They’re fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!

The post Pizza Melts appeared first on Budget Bytes.

What do you get when a grilled cheese and a pepperoni pizza have a baby? A PIZZA MELT! (Sorry for yelling, I’m excited.) I used to eat these as an after-school snack when I was growing up because they’re super easy and who doesn’t want pizza? But now, decades later, I took this pizza-inspired sandwich to the next level by adding an herby-Parmesan butter to the bread which creates an extra crispy finish. It’s to die for and way better than the pizza melts of my teen years. You’ve got to try it!

A stack of pizza melts cut in half on a plate against a blue background

What Kind of Bread To Use for Pizza Melts

You definitely want to use some sort of sturdy bread for your pizza melt. If you try to use a soft white sandwich bread it just won’t hold up to the moisture in the pizza sauce. I used a sourdough loaf, which gave my pizza melts even more flavor. Something like a rosemary olive oil bread or some homemade focaccia would also be amazing. Just make sure the bread is strong!

What Else Can You Put on a Pizza Melt?

A pizza melt, even in its most basic form (pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni), is awesome, but if you happen to have some leftover ingredients on hand and you want to throw them on there, go for it! Here are a few ideas:

  • Diced bell pepper
  • Olives
  • Red onion
  • Bacon bits
  • Ham
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Feta cheese
  • Banana peppers
  • Sun dried tomatoes

I would caution against using any ingredient that is very wet, like fresh tomatoes or canned artichoke hearts, since this can make the bread soggy.

Use Medium-Low Heat for the Perfect Grilled Cheese

Making a grilled cheese with a perfectly browned exterior and melty-cheesy interior can take a little practice. My trick is to cook over a slightly lower heat. This gives the inside time to warm up before the outside gets too brown or burns. It might take a little more patience, but you’ll get the most perfectly delicious grilled cheese. …or pizza melt. :)

cut open pizza melt being held close to the camera
A stack of pizza melts, cut sides facing camera

Pizza Melt

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They're fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!
Total Cost $1.11 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 451kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter, room temperature $0.11
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.11
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 2 slices hearty bread $0.44
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella $0.19
  • 1 Tbsp pizza sauce $0.06
  • 6 slices pepperoni $0.15

Instructions

  • Stir together the room temperature butter, grated parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl until evenly combined. Spread the Parmesan butter over one side of each slice of bread.
  • Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up. Place half of the shredded mozzarella on one slice of bread. Next, add small dollops of the sauce over top of the cheese, followed by the sliced pepperoni. Finally, add the remaining cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top to close the sandwich, butter side facing out.
  • Place the sandwich in a skillet and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown on each side and the cheese is melted on the inside. Cut the sandwich in half and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 991mg | Fiber: 3g
Two pizza melts on a plates with bread, sauce, and cheese on the sides

How to Make a Pizza Melt – Step by Step Photos

Herby Parmesan butter in a bowl

Combine 1 Tbsp room temperature butter with 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan, and ½ tsp Italian seasoning. Mix them together until they form a paste.

Buttered bread on a cutting board

Spread the Parmesan butter over one side each slice of bread.

Cheese and pizza sauce added to the bread

Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up, then top one slice with ½ of the ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella. Add about 1 Tbsp pizza sauce in small dollops over the cheese (that helps make a barrier so the sauce doesn’t soak into the bread and make it too soggy).

pepperoni and cheese added to the sandwich

Next add about six slices of pepperoni, and then top with the remaining shredded mozzarella. Place the second slice of bread on top, buttered side facing out.

pizza melt cooking in a skillet

Cook the pizza melt in a skillet over medium-low heat until it’s golden brown and crispy on both sides and the cheese inside is melted.

pizza melt cut in half on a cutting board

Cut the pizza melt in half and enjoy!

a pizza melt sandwich on a plate with ingredients on the sides

The post Pizza Melts appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pesto Chickpea Salad

I love quick fixes because I am busy and if something takes me more than 15-30 minutes to prepare, chances are I’m not going to do it, especially if it’s not my day off. So this Pesto Chickpea Salad was the perfect answer to lunch this week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, […]

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I love quick fixes because I am busy and if something takes me more than 15-30 minutes to prepare, chances are I’m not going to do it, especially if it’s not my day off. So this Pesto Chickpea Salad was the perfect answer to lunch this week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, it’s so creamy and delicious, and you can eat it a number of ways. Everything about this chickpea salad is my style! 

Originally posted 12-5-2012, updated 6-3-2021.

Pesto Chickpea Salad in a bowl surrounded by crackers

How to Serve Pesto Chickpea Salad

This super simple chickpea salad can be enjoyed several ways. You can serve it as an appetizer with crackers for dipping, like in the photo above, it can be a side dish with dinner, or you can use it as a filling for a sandwich (toasted whole grain bread, a hearty bun, or in a wrap). …Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself just digging into the bowl with a fork. ;)

What Kind of Pesto is Best?

There are a lot of different types of pesto on the market, offering a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly, ALDI makes a super affordable basil pesto that I use in a lot of recipes. Today I happened to be shopping at a different store, so I went with Filippo Berio Classic Pesto, which was still pretty affordable and it had a really incredible flavor. Barilla also makes a very affordable pesto. And since pesto is the main flavor in this recipe, you definitely want to go with a pesto that you know you like. 

How Long Does the Salad Keep?

This Pesto Chickpea Salad will stay good in the refrigerator for about four days, making it great for meal prep! 

Soak Your Onions for a Softer Flavor

If you’re sensitive to red onions, here’s a trick that will make life so much more enjoyable. Soak your sliced onions in cold water for about five minutes before adding them to your recipe. The water pulls out that super sharp flavor, leaving a nice mild hint of red onion that will flavor your dish without hurting your stomach. :)

side view of pesto chickpea salad in a bowl, surrounded by crackers

Pesto chickpea salad in a bowl surrounded by crackers

Pesto Chickpea Salad

This creamy and tangy Pesto Chickpea Salad is a quick and easy lunch. Enjoy with crackers, on a sandwich, or on top of a bed of greens.
Total Cost $3.14 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Calories 363kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.40
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.01
  • 2 15oz. cans chickpeas $1.10
  • 1/4 cup red onion $0.10
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley $0.17

Instructions

  • Stir together the mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Roughly chop the parsley. Finely dice the red onions (soak the red onions in cold water for 5 minutes for a milder onion flavor). Add the chickpeas, parsley, and onion to a large bowl.
  • Pour the dressing over the chickpeas, parsley, and onion. Stir to combine. Serve as is or slightly mash the chickpeas for a thicker consistency. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 245mg | Fiber: 10g

Love chickpea salads? Check out my Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad

Pesto chickpea salad on a bun with greens

How to Make Pesto Chickpea Salad – Step By Step Photos

Creamy pesto dressing in a bowl being stirred
Start by making the creamy pesto dressing. In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup basil pesto, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper. 

Chickpeas, parsley, and red onion in a bowl

Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of chickpeas, then place them in a bowl. Roughly chop about 1/4 cup fresh parsley. Finely dice about ¼ cup red onion (soak for 5 minutes in cold water if you want a milder onion flavor). 

Dressing added to chickpeas in the bowl

Add the dressing and stir to combine. You can either serve the salad just like this, or…

Slightly mashed chickpea salad in the bowl

Or you can slightly mash the chickpeas in the bowl to make it hold together a little more like a potato salad. You can use a potato masher to do this, or just mash some of the beans with a fork against the side of the bowl.

Pesto chickpea salad in a bowl with a cracker dipped into the side

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

close up of pesto chickpea salad on a cracker

So much flavor, so little effort. ;)

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Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

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

The post Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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

Three Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches on a wooden board

What to Serve with Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

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

Sandwich Sizes and Servings

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

How to Store Leftovers

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

Mozzarella Options

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

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

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

How to Make Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos

Cubed eggplant

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

Minced garlic in oil in a skillet

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

Cubed eggplant in the skillet with Italian seasoning

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

Marinara sauce being added to sautéed eggplant in the skillet

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

Finished eggplant with marinara in the skillet

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

Garlic butter and oil being brushed onto rolls

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

Eggplant mixture being spooned onto toasted rolls

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

sandwiches topped with mozzarella

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

Baked eggplant sandwiches on the baking sheet

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

Eggplant sandwiches ready to serve

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

three stacked eggplant mozzarella sandwiches on a wooden board

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Low-Yolk Egg Salad

This easy, low-yolk egg salad is made with a mix of whole eggs and egg whites with a little mayo and scallions. Serve this on your favorite whole grain bread, in a wrap or lettuce wrap. Low-Yolk Egg Salad Don’t get me wrong, I love egg yolks and eat them all the time in me […]

The post Low-Yolk Egg Salad appeared first on Skinnytaste.

This easy, low-yolk egg salad is made with a mix of whole eggs and egg whites with a little mayo and scallions. Serve this on your favorite whole grain bread, in a wrap or lettuce wrap.

Half Yolk Egg Salad
Low-Yolk Egg Salad

Don’t get me wrong, I love egg yolks and eat them all the time in me egg salad! But when I’m counting macros, and looking for ways to get extra lean protein, using half the yolk does the trick. More egg salad recipes you might enjoy are Classic Egg Salad, Chickpea Egg Salad, Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette, and Avocado Egg Salad.

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Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey can be kind of, well, boring if you don’t dress it up right. That’s why for these Mediterranean Turkey Burgers I added fun add-ins to the burger patty for maximum flavor and color. And instead of the ketchup and mustard treatment, these juicy burgers get a homemade lemon dill yogurt sauce, crunchy slices […]

The post Mediterranean Turkey Burgers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ground turkey can be kind of, well, boring if you don’t dress it up right. That’s why for these Mediterranean Turkey Burgers I added fun add-ins to the burger patty for maximum flavor and color. And instead of the ketchup and mustard treatment, these juicy burgers get a homemade lemon dill yogurt sauce, crunchy slices of cucumber, and a few slivers of red onion. If you’re looking to change up your burger game, these Mediterranean Turkey Burgers are it!

Originally posted 3-26-2011, updated 4-9-2021.

Overhead view of a mediterranean turkey burger, top bun off, on a paper lined plate next to cucumber salad

Can the Turkey Burgers be Grilled?

Yes, you can definitely grill these burgers instead of cooking them in a skillet. An outdoor grill or even an indoor countertop grill, like a George Foreman grill, will work great.

Why 19 oz. of Ground Turkey?

I’ll never understand why, but some brands sell ground turkey in 19 oz. packages instead of one-pound packages (if you work in that industry and know why, please let me know). If you can only find a one-pound package of ground turkey, you can still make this recipe. I wouldn’t adjust any other ingredients, just make four patties instead of five and they’ll be a little extra flavorful. 

What to Serve with Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Since I had a half cucumber and red onion leftover from the recipe, I used them to make a small batch of my Super Fresh Cucumber Salad. It’s the perfect light side to these burgers. You could also serve them with something like Steak Fries, Mediterranean White Bean Salad, Quinoa Tabbouleh, or a simple green salad (mixed greens, tomatoes, and a vinaigrette). 

Can I Use Fresh Spinach?

Yes, you can use fresh spinach in this recipe instead of frozen, if you prefer. I suggest chopping the spinach until it’s in small pieces so it’s easier to mix into the meat. You may also want to sauté it briefly in a skillet to get some of the water out. You’ll want about ¼ cup once sautéed.

Side view of a closed Mediterranean Turkey Burger on a paper lined plate

 

Overhead view of an open faced Mediterranean Turkey Burger on a paper lined plate with cucumber salad on the side

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Spinach, sun dried tomatoes, feta, and a dilly yogurt sauce make these Mediterranean Turkey Burgers full of flavor and color.
Total Cost $10.18 recipe / $2.04 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 396.62kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt $0.50
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.03
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Turkey Burgers

  • 19 oz. ground turkey* $3.89
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes $0.83
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion $0.08
  • 2 oz. frozen spinach (1 cup when frozen) $0.25
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta $0.57
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04

For Serving

  • 5 hamburger buns $3.04
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced $0.75

Instructions

  • Make the lemon dill yogurt sauce first. Stir together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, dried dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Prepare the add-ins for the turkey burgers. Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes, mince or finely dice the red onion, crumble the feta, and then thaw and squeeze all the moisture out of the frozen spinach (2 oz. will be about 1 cup when frozen, ¼ cup when thawed and squeezed dry).
  • Add the ground turkey, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, feta, spinach, dried oregano, garlic powder, and salt to a bowl. Mix the ingredients together until evenly combined.
  • Divide and shape the turkey mixture into five burger patties. Make them flatter and wider than usual because they will shrink up and in as they cook.
  • Heat ½ Tbsp cooking oil in a skillet over medium. Once hot, add three of the turkey burgers and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining cooking oil and the rest of the burger patties.
  • To serve, smear some of the lemon dill yogurt sauce on a bun. Add a turkey burger, some sliced cucumber, and sliced red onion, then enjoy.

Notes

*I used 93% lean ground turkey

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger | Calories: 396.62kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.58g | Protein: 30.8g | Fat: 16.16g | Sodium: 602.96mg | Fiber: 2.32g

Close up side view of a mediterranean turkey burger, open-faced

How to Make Mediterranean Turkey Burgers – Step By Step Photos

lemon, garlic powder, and dried dill being stirred into yogurt

Make the lemon dill yogurt sauce first, so the flavors have a little time to blend. Stir together ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ Tbsp lemon juice, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp dried dill, and ⅛ tsp salt. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use. And yes, you can use plain non-Greek yogurt if needed, it just makes a less thick sauce. :)

Chopped burger add-ins on a cutting board

Prepare the burger add-ins. Chop about ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (I use the dry pack, not the kind packed in oil), mince or finely dice ¼ cup red onion (save the rest to slice and place on the burgers), crumble 1 oz. feta (about ¼ cup), and thaw then squeeze all the moisture out of 2 oz. frozen spinach. The spinach is about 1 cup when frozen, ¼ cup after it has been thawed and squezed dry.

Ground turkey and burger add-ins in a bowl

Place 19 oz. ground turkey, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, feta, spinach, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl (sorry, I forgot the oregano, garlic powder, and salt until after the photo was taken).

Turkey burger mixture in the bowl

Mix the ingredients into the ground turkey until it’s all evenly mixed.

Shaped Turkey Burgers on an orange cutting board

Divide and shape the meat mixture into five burger patties. Make the patties thinner and wider than you’d expect because they do shrink up and inward as you cook them.

Three cooked turkey burgers in a skillet

To cook the burgers in a skillet, add ½ Tbsp cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add a few of the burger patties and cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. Repeat with the second half of the oil and the remaining burger patties.

Overhead view of an open faced Mediterranean Turkey Burger on a paper lined plate with cucumber salad on the side

To serve, spread some of the lemon dill yogurt sauce on a bun, add a cooked burger patty and a few slices of cucumber and red onion. Enjoy!

Greek Turkey Burgers are a healthy mix of ground turkey and Mediterranean flavors. BudgetBytes.com

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Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for […]

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These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for later!

Originally posted 2-19-2012, updated 1-12-2021.

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a tray with a dish of sour cream behind them

Why I’m In Love with These Quesadillas ❤️

I love these quesadillas for three reasons:

  • they’re bursting with flavor
  • incredibly EASY to make 
  • perfect for the freezer!

Students and other busy people take note: this recipe is perfect for you!

I called them “hearty” black bean quesadillas because they are surprisingly filling. I hastily ate two and then promptly felt like my belly was not just full, but full-full. This is one of those vegetarian recipes that meat-eaters won’t feel deprived when eating. Promise.

How to Freeze Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas:

Just fill and fold your quesadillas, but before you cook them, stack them with parchment paper in between each quesadilla. Place the stacked quesadillas in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or two) and pop them into the freezer. When you want to eat one, take a quesadilla out of the freezer and reheat it slowly over medium-low heat until the outside is crispy and the inside has melted. Using a lower heat gives the black bean quesadilla time to thaw and heat on the inside before the outside overcooks or burns.

Or, for a faster method, microwave from frozen for 30-60 seconds, or until the inside is thawed, then finish in a skillet to crisp up the outside and melt the cheese on the inside. 

What Kind of Taco Seasoning to Use

To make these black bean quesadillas super fast and easy, you can use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Or, if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can use my homemade taco seasoning recipe

black bean quesadillas layered on a serving tray, sprinkled with cilantro

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas are an easy vegetarian snack or light meal that are filling, flavorful, and freezer-friendly!
Total Cost $4.70 recipe / $0.47 per quesadilla
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10 quesadillas
Calories 289.24kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz.can black beans $0.49
  • 1 cup frozen corn $0.20
  • 1/2 cup red onion $0.22
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (about ½ cup chopped) $0.20
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese $1.69
  • 1 batch taco seasoning* $0.67
  • 10 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter) $2.00

Instructions

  • Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, shredded cheddar, and taco seasoning to the bowl with the beans and corn. Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in seasoning.
  • Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat on each side until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted. Slice into triangles then serve.
  • To freeze the quesadillas, stack the filled and uncooked quesadillas with a piece of parchment paper between each quesadilla. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).

Video

Notes

* I used my homemade taco seasoning here, but you can use a store-bought packet of taco seasoning if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadilla | Calories: 289.24kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.29g | Protein: 12.19g | Fat: 11.58g | Sodium: 833.43mg | Fiber: 5.29g

Scroll down for the step by step photos

Overhead view of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray with a dish of sour cream

 

How to Make Black Bean Quesadillas – Step By Step Photos

Corn and black beans in a bowl
Add 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw) and one 15oz. can of black beans (drained) to a large bowl.

Onion, garlic, and cilantro added to the bowl
Next, finely dice about ½ cup red onion, mince one clove of garlic, and roughly chop about ¼ bunch fresh cilantro. These ingredients are super flexible, so you don’t need to be exact on the measurements. 

Taco seasoning spices in a small wooden bowl

You can use either one packet of store-bought taco seasoning, or make your own using my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. 

Cheddar and taco seasoning added to the bowl
Add the taco seasoning and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to the bowl. The cheese is the “glue” that holds the quesadillas together.

stirred quesadilla filling in the bowl with a fork
Stir the ingredients until everything is mixed. 

A tortilla being filled with the bean and cheese mixture
Now it’s time to stuff the quesadillas. You’ll need about 10 7-inch diameter flour tortillas for these quesadillas (the tortillas I had today were slightly larger so my quesadillas ended up being a bit thinner). Place a half cup of filling in each tortilla and fold it over. You can either cook them or freeze them at this point (see instructions for freezing in the post above the recipe).

quesadillas cooking in a skillet
To cook the black bean quesadillas, place the quesadilla in a skillet over medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown, crispy, and the filling has melted. I don’t use any sort of oil or butter, but you certainly can if you want more of a fried finish to the quesadillas.

cut quesadillas on a cutting board
Slice then serve! You can slice each quesadilla into two or three pieces. I find that if I cut starting on the outside edge going in toward the center fold, I get less of the filling oozing out. A pizza cutter also works great!

Overhead view of cut black bean quesadillas on a baking sheet

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