Goat Cheese Quesadilla with Balsamic Onions and Squash

Goat Cheese QuesadillasI was given a challenge for a friend’s birthday: bring a vegetarian dish that was filling and not pasta. I had goat cheese and squash at home and so I decided quesadillas it shall be! I also noticed some tomatoes in the refrigerator while I was there looking for that squash. And then I saw the onions and some balsamic vinegar in the pantry and voila! These quesadillas (kay-sa-di-ya) are creamy and have a subtle balsamic taste from the onions and crunchiness from the squash. The melting feeling when you bite in is just divine! I’ll admit that this is one of my new favorite dishes because I can indulge while still feeling kind of healthy about it(whole wheat+veggies-that’s healthy right?)balsamic onions

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Arugula Basil Pesto

Basil-Arugula PestoThis pesto is a fresh take on the Italian classic. A beautiful, bright green, this pesto is zesty, fierce, peppery and not for the faint of heart. While keeping the tradition of the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic, I decided to add some more bitter and bold arugula to give it some pop.

The key to excellent pesto is excellent ingredients. As simple as that. So when you’re out shopping for ingredients try to look for good quality extra-virgin olive oil, artisan cheese and most of all, fresh greens. The freshness is what gives the light, earthy taste with all the vibrant green color. I would recommend this sauce on a dish paired with something a little sweeter to balance out the bitterness of the arugula. May I suggest some pasta with this palate-teasing pesto and some sweet, ripe tomatoes to counterbalance.  Plus green pesto with bright, red tomatoes look absolutely beautiful!P1030266

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Santa Fe Salad with Homemade Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Santa Fe SaladWow! Already July. Well, nothing says summer like fresh salad with lots of fresh vegetables. So I decided to make a Santa Fe-style salad complete with homemade, creamy guacamole and zesty, crisp pico de gallo. I was channeling my inner Chipotle, but I also wanted to use some of the fresh ingredients at my disposable via my backyard and local supermaket produce section.  Luckily, I even had some extra cans of beans(from all the rice and beans made at my home) so it was perfect for a south-of-the-border inspired salad. Continue reading

Lentil Bruschetta Dip

Lentil Bruschetta DipI’ll start by saying this is probably one of the easiest and tastiest dips I’ve ever had. To be honest, I eat it as a side dish all the time too. It has a sweet tomato flavor from the bruschetta with a satisfying crunch from the chunks of tomato. And the feta adds little bites of creamy saltiness while the basil adds freshness to the dish. And lentils: Hello, protien!(magic to a vegetarian’s ears) Another great thing, you can get all the ingredients at your local Trader Joe’s. Continue reading

Homemade Raw Cashew Butter

Raw Cashew ButterSo I was really trying to find something to do with some leftover raw cashews. I had eaten half the bag, but then I felt guilty  eating them just plain(although delicious) knowing that they are such a versatile ingredient: great for vegans, tasty when roasted…and then I thought of cashew butter. I mean there is the commonly known peanut butter and the up and coming almond butter; so why not cashew butter. I will tell you now that it is wonderfully creamy and really retains the nuttiness that we all love. Continue reading

Health(ier) Strawberry Shortcake with Goat Cheese Whip Cream

  Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake

Happy National Strawberry Shortcake Day! I know, healthy strawberry shortcake and goat cheese??? Trust me, it’s so delicious and light! I decided to give this classic dessert a healthy update today by using low-carb muffins and a goat cheese whip cream made partly with Greek yogurt for a more protein-packed dessert. Of course, who could forget the star of the show: beautiful, sweet, ripe, red strawberries. This treat features a moist muffin where you can really taste the agave paired with a contrasting zesty whipped cream and then the freshness of the strawberries kicking in! I love this treat for it’s wonderful textures and flavors. I also love how it isn’t an overload of sweetness. A perfect summer treat if you ask me. Continue reading