With the summer season coming on we have put together a collection of easy, delicious Potluck Ideas! These are some of our most popular tried and true recipes, loaded with delicious comforting flavors that appeal to all ages. Our Favorite Potluck Idea…
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Chicken, broccoli, onion, and a creamy pesto dressing make this quick salad a delicious new lunchtime staple!
Last year I made an amazing Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad that was just to die for, and ever since I’ve wanted to try a pesto-based version. Well, that day has finally come and I’m here to say that it’s just as easy and totally delish! So if you need another quick and filling refrigerator salad to make for lunches, this Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad is it!
What Kind of Chicken to Use
This Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad is the perfect recipe for store-bought rotisserie chicken, but if that’s not your jam you can totally cook your own boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs. You’ll need about one cup of chopped cooked chicken (the amount is flexible), which will be about one chicken breast or two chicken thighs.
What Kind of Pesto to Use
I like the freshness of a basil pesto for this recipe. The herbal flavor really lightens up the dish. Pesto can be on the pricey side, but there are several brands that are a bit more affordable. Look for Alessi, Barilla, Classico, or Filippo Berio. And don’t let the rest of that jar of pesto go to waste! Check out our pesto recipe archives for ways to make sure every last drop gets put to good use.
Is the Broccoli Raw??
Yes, this salad is made with raw broccoli. The extra crunchy broccoli gives this salad tons of texture and helps it hold up well in the refrigerator for days. If you absolutely can not do raw broccoli, the next best option would probably be very lightly steamed broccoli, so that it still has some texture but that edge of raw flavor has been taken off.
How to Serve Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad
You can eat this salad alone in a bowl, stuff it into a pita, scoop some on top of a green salad, or wrap it up in a tortilla. There are so many options!
Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad
- 1 cup chopped cooked chicken* $3.50
- 1 lb. fresh broccoli (about 2 cups chopped) $1.25
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion $0.08
- 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.00
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.29
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
- Chop the chicken and broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the red onion.
- In a bowl, stir together the pesto, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.
- Add the chicken, broccoli, and red onion to a large bowl. Pour the creamy pesto over top, and add the freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.
- Taste the salad and add salt or pepper to your liking. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
How to Make Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad – Step by Step Photos
You’ll want about one cup (give or take some) of chopped cooked chicken for this recipe. The easiest option is to use store-bought rotisserie chicken. But, if you aren’t using a rotisserie chicken, you can cook one chicken breast or two chicken thighs to use for this recipe. If you need instructions for cooking chicken breast in a skillet, see my tutorial here. Make sure to let the chicken cool before using it in the recipe.
To make the creamy pesto dressing, stir together ¼ cup basil pesto, ¼ cup mayonnaise, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
Chop about two cups of broccoli into small bite-sized pieces. Making sure to chop the broccoli small enough is key to making this salad work. They should be small enough that a few pieces could fit onto a fork.
Chop the chicken into small ¼-½ inch pieces (the cutting board pictured above is quite small, for reference)
Finely dice ¼ cup red onion. Place the broccoli, chicken, and onion in a bowl.
Pour the creamy pesto dressing over the ingredients in the bowl. Add about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.
Stir everything together, give it a taste, and add salt or pepper to taste.
Enjoy in a bowl, stuffed into a pita, or on a green salad!
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Oven roasted carrots are extra sweet and delicious, plus they’re a super easy side dish that goes with just about any dinner.
What do you do when there are supply chain issues and the only carrots left in the store are in five-pound bags?? Make roasted carrots! Lots of them! Roasted carrots are an easy side dish for dinner, they’re inexpensive, and are definitely my favorite way to eat carrots. Oven-roasted carrots become extra sweet and delicious in the oven, plus they can be paired with several different herbs and spices, making them very versatile.
Why Roasted Carrots are So Good
Roasted carrots are, in my humble opinion, the best way to cook carrots. The dry heat of the oven concentrates the flavors and caramelizes the natural sugars in the carrots making their sweet flavor extra delicious. There’s no water to dilute the flavor of the carrots, it’s just 100% carrot heaven. Not to mention, they’re so easy.
How Do You Season Roasted Carrots?
I usually keep seasonings very simple when roasting vegetables to allow their natural flavors to shine through. For instance, in the recipe below I seasoned the carrots simply with salt, pepper, and a small amount of garlic powder. But roasted carrots go with all sorts of different seasonings. Here are some other seasoning ideas for your roasted carrots:
Do You Need to Peel the Carrots?
You do not need to peel your carrots before roasting, as long as you clean the carrots well. A soft-bristled vegetable brush does a great job of getting sand and dirt out of the textured surface of the carrot.
What to Serve with Roasted Carrots
Roasted carrots have such a versatile flavor that they really can go with just about any dinner. They’re great with some simple pan-seared chicken breast, Glazed Ham Steaks, Classic Meatloaf, Crunky Kale and Chicken Salad, or Honey Mustard Pork Chops.
- 2 lbs. carrots $2.00
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel or scrub the carrots, then cut them into one-inch sections.
- Place the carrots onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss the carrots until they are well coated in oil and spices.
- Roast the carrots in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then give them a good stir. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of browning.
- Taste the carrots and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Serve hot and enjoy!
How to Make Roasted Carrots – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel or scrub two pounds of carrots.
Slice the carrots into one-inch sections. I like to slice them on a diagonal to create a more visual appeal. Because pretty food tastes better!
Place the sliced carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over top.
Season the carrots with ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Toss the carrots until they are well coated in oil and seasonings. Spread the carrots out on the baking sheet so they have room to breathe (this is important for getting good caramelization).
Roast the carrots for 20 minutes, then give them a good stir. Continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of browning.
Give the carrots a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. I garnished with chopped parsley, but it is not needed to flavor the carrots. Serve hot and enjoy!
Try These Other Roasted Vegetables:
- Roasted Radishes
- Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli
- Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Delicata Squash
Spicy pickled carrots are an easy and delicious snack that can also be served as a side dish or condiment with your favorite meals.
Back when I lived in Baton Rouge, there was a restaurant, Ninfa’s, that kept jars of spicy pickled carrots and other vegetables on the tables as an appetizer. Practically every time I went there I would ruin my appetite on those pickles before I even had a chance to order an entree. So, when I saw this post for Ninfa’s Spicy Pickled Carrots on The Homesick Texan, I got very, very, very excited. I didn’t have all the ingredients called for in that recipe, but the version I made below is still AMAZING and I literally can’t stop eating them.
Originally published 8-11-2011, updated 4-27-2022.
What’s in Spicy Pickled Carrots
These spicy pickled carrots are a “quick pickle” not a fermented pickle, so they start with a vinegar brine. This particular brine includes white vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and oil. To add even more flavor, the carrots are pickled along with red onion and jalapeño. The original recipe that I used for inspiration also included garlic, but I completely forgot to add it to mine, so if you have it, add a couple of cloves of fresh garlic in there, too!
How Long Do Pickled Carrots Last?
These deliciously spicy carrots will last about 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
What Else Can I Add?
I’m dying to add all sorts of other vegetables to my spicy pickled carrots the next time I make them. I think small cauliflower florets would just be incredible in there, but it would be fun to also try some sliced radishes, green beans, or maybe even some mini bell peppers.
How to Serve Pickled Carrots
As mentioned above, I was first introduced to these carrots as a sort of snack or appetizer. But I think they’d also be great added to a salad, bowl meal, tacos, or salads. Basically, anytime you want to add a tangy-spicy bite to your meal, add a spicy pickled carrot!
Spicy Pickled Carrots
- 1 lb. carrots $1.00
- 1/2 red onion $0.21
- 1 jalapeño $0.08
- 1 cup water $0.00
- 2 cups white vinegar $0.50
- 1/4 cup cooking oil $0.16
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
- 2 tsp salt $0.05
- Peel and slice the carrots into ¼-inch thick slices. Slice the red onion and jalapeño into ¼-inch thick slices as well.
- Add the water, vinegar, oil, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper to a pot. Bring the brine to a boil.
- Carefully add the sliced vegetables to the boiling brine, then continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
- After boiling for 5 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and carefully transfer the vegetables and all of the brine into jars or another heat-proof container.
- Store the pickled carrots in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
How to Make Spicy Pickled Carrots – Step By Step Photos
Begin by slicing 1 pound of carrots (about 8 carrots), ½ of a red onion, and one jalapeño. I like to slice my carrots on a diagonal to give them a more interesting shape.
Make the brine by combining the 1 cup water, 2 cups white vinegar, ¼ cup cooking oil, ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp salt, and about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Bring the bring up to a boil.
Add the sliced vegetables to the boiling brine (carefully) and boil for about 5 minutes. You don’t want the carrots to get too soft or for the color to fade too much.
After boiling, carefully ladle the vegetables and all of the brine into jars or another heat-proof container. You can eat them right away (I couldn’t help it!), but the flavor is even better after refrigerating for at least a day.
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