Lemon-Parsley Bean Salad

I normally don’t care for bean salads, but this one was really good. And wow, I ate cucumber! I did leave out a couple of ingredients, like the celery, dill, and mint. This tasted just really light and fresh.

rating: 9

Lemon-Parsley Bean Salad

serves 6
time needed: 15 min.


2 (14 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked kidney beans
1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
1 small red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced in half or thirds lengthwise and chopped (I omitted)
1 ripe red tomato, chopped (skip if you can’t find a great tomato)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or mint (I omitted)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¾ teaspoon salt
small pinch red pepper flakes


In a serving bowl, combine the prepared kidney beans, chickpeas, onion, celery, tomato, cucumber, parsley and dill (or mint).
Make the lemon dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper flakes until emulsified. Pour dressing over the bean and vegetable mixture and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately for the most flavor, or let it marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for a couple of hours or longer.


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Sweet Potato-Kale Soup

I saw this recipe in US magazine! It’s by the awesome vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli. I have made a lot of her dishes, and they were all really good. My husband doesn’t love sweet potatoes, but he ate this soup! Other than not having enough kale, this soup was really good! Next time I will add a little more kale. This soup was really good, and it’s vegan!

rating: 9.3

Sweet Potato-Kale Soup
(Us Magazine)

serves 5


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted)
3 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 cup mashed sweet potato (baked in coarse salt)
2 cups green kale, chopped
1/3 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
2 ½ tsp sea salt


In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté chopped onions and sliced apples until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add minced garlic, sea salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper, and let cook 1 more minute until fragrant.

Add vegetable broth and mashed sweet potato, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and in batches, transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth.

Return to pot, add chopped kale and cook about 3 minutes until wilted. Stir in coconut milk and brown sugar, and adjust seasoning to taste.

If it thickens as it sits, feel free to reconstitute with some more veggie broth.


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Pasta with White Beans, Broccolini, and Lemon

This dish was easy to make, but I thought it was a little bland. Not sure what it needed, maybe some grated Parmesan?

rating: 7

Pasta with White Beans, Broccolini, and Lemon
(can’t remember which magazine this came from!)

serves 6


1 lb dry whole-wheat chiocciole (I used a different pasta)
2 bunches broccolini, chopped
1 can white beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp red chili flakes (I omitted)


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Add broccolini during the last 2 minutes; drain pasta and broccolini together.
2. Toss with white beans, olive oil, and lemon juice and zest. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt to taste.


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Cuban Grilled Cheese

One of my favorite restaurants is Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, NC. I ate there again recently, and saw a sandwich on their menu that I wanted to try making at home. For the grilled onions and mushrooms, I just fried them in a pan with some olive oil. My 10 year old doesn’t like mushrooms, so he pulled those out of his sandwich, but husband and I thought these were pretty good.

rating: 8.5

Cuban Grilled Cheese
(inspired by Laughing Seed Cafe)


Swiss cheese
grilled onions
grilled portobello onions
dill pickle slices
sourdough bread


Assemble sandwiches and cook in a panini press or a George Foreman grill.

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Homemade Vegetarian Chili

I am really picky about vegetarian chili. I don’t like most. But this one was really good! My 10 year old had two bowls of it! I think the secret is blending it up a little. Husband asked if I had added any fake meat to it. For toppings you could offer shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, crackers…

rating: 9.3

Homemade Vegetarian Chili

serves 4-6
time needed: 50 min.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
½ teaspoon salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes, with their juices
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice, to taste
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, grated cheddar cheese, etc.


In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika (go easy on the paprika if you’re sensitive to spice) and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the drained black beans and pinto beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes. Remove the chili from heat.
For the best texture and flavor, transfer 1½ cups of the chili to a blender and blend until smooth, then pour the blended mixture back into the pot. (Or, you can blend the chili briefly with an immersion blender, or mash the chili with a potato masher until it reaches a thicker, more chili-like consistency.)
Add the chopped cilantro, stir to blend, and then mix in the vinegar, to taste. Add salt to taste, too—I added ¼ teaspoon more at this point. Divide the mixture into individual bowls and serve with garnishes of your choice. This chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about 4 days (I haven’t tried, but I bet it would freeze well, too).


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Parsnip & White Bean Soup with Crispy Brussel Sprouts

I still can’t decide if I like parsnips or not. They might just be too, I don’t know, “perfumy” for me? Anyway, this soup was good, even with the parsnips! Don’t leave off the Brussel sprouts! They really do add something to the dish.

rating: 9

Parsnip & White Bean Soup with Crispy Brussel Sprouts

serves 2-4
time needed: 45 min.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small (½ cup) white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 cup milk (can sub non-dairy alternative)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white beans
¼ of a lemon, juiced

Sprout Topping:
15 Brussels sprouts
½ Tbsp olive oil
¼ of a lemon, juiced
Dash of salt and pepper


Bring 2 Tbsp olive oil to medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and garlic, then cook gently for 10 minutes, until onions are soft.
Add salt, pepper, and parsnip to the pot. Stir to coat, then add milk and vegetable stock.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until parsnip is fork-tender.
While soup cooks, prepare Brussels sprouts. Clean them well then separate the leaves by trimming off the stem. Pluck off leaves then trim more of the stem as needed until you separated as many leaves as possible.
Toss Brussels sprout leaves with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, using your fingers to work the oil into the leaves.
Spread onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes, until the edges of the leaves begin to brown.
Back to the soup. Add white beans then puree (using either a handheld immersion blender or working in batches with a standing blender).
Ladle soup into serving bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and top with crispy Brussels sprouts.


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Mexican Quesadilla Casserole

Happy new year! I made this casserole last week, and it was pretty good! Instead of ground beef, I used a can of pinto beans. My 6 year old didn’t care for this, but my 10 year old really liked it.

rating: 8.5

Mexican Quesadilla Casserole
(All Recipes magazine, Dec./Jan. 2017)

time needed: 45 min.


cooking spray
1 pound ground beef (I subbed 1 can of pinto beans instead)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and onion in the hot skillet until beef is completely browned, 5 to 7 minutes; drain and discard grease.
Stir tomato sauce, black beans, diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro, corn, and chopped green chiles into the ground beef mixture; season with chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low and cook mixture at a simmer for 5 minutes.
Spread about 1/2 cup beef mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 tortillas, overlapping as needed. Spread another 1/2 cup beef mixture over the tortillas. Sprinkle 1 cup Cheddar cheese over beef. Finish with layers of remaining tortillas, beef mixture, and Cheddar cheese, respectively.
Bake in preheated oven until heated throughout and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.


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