Roasted & Raw Carrot Salad with Avocado

Roasted and raw carrot salad with avocado recipe

Take my word for it: You need to make this salad. How about tonight? And then again for friends this weekend?

This crazy-looking showstopper features carrots at their best. Caramelized roasted carrots combined with super thin rounds of raw carrots offer an intriguing, irresistible contrast of tender and crisp.

Topped with perfectly ripe avocado, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of my sunshine salad dressing, you end up with a salad that is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

This salad was inspired by the carrot and avocado salad at Corvino, one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City. If you have also had the good fortune to enjoy that salad, you are probably obsessed with it like me.

Continue to the recipe…

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Broccoli Hummus with Spicy Sausage

Broccoli Hummus with Spicy Sausage

Broccoli Hummus with Spicy Sausage

OMG even if you’re not a sausage fan – spicy or otherwise, you have to try this broccoli ‘hummus’. While it’s completely nontraditional, it is soo soo delicious. Use it anywhere you’d normally serve hummus.

I hate to play favourites with my Low Carb hummus-es but at the moment my broccoli is slightly ahead of my roast cauliflower hummus.

And that’s saying something, given the Roast Cauli Hummus is the most popular recipe on my other blog Deliciously Diabetic.

enough for 2
takes 30 minutes
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 spicy sausages
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
baby spinach or parsley leaves, to serve

1. Bring about an inch of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add a little salt and simmer broccoli for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and run some cold water over to stop the cooking process.

2. Puree broccoli with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Taste and season with salt or more lemon, if needed.

3. Crumble sausages and add to a medium frying pan on a medium high heat. Cook, stirring until the sausages is well browned. Add tomato paste and stir until well combined.

4. Divide hummus between 2 plates. Top with spicy meat and finish with spinach / parsley leaves.

WINE MATCH: A crisp dry white like a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

Variations & Substitutions

more veg – soften an onion and add to the meat. Carrot and celery could also be used. And serve with grilled veg like zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and capsicum (red bell peppers).

vegetarian – replace sausages with sliced mushrooms or cooked lentils or chickpeas + roast almonds.

no tahini – use cashew or almond butter instead. Or just use a store bought hummus instead of making the broccoli version.

short on time / less ingredients – use store bought hummus.

no spicy sausage – use minced / ground beef, chicken or pork and add fresh or dried chilli to taste.

carb-lovers – serve with pita bread or tortillas.

more substantial – use more sausage or serve with roast almonds or pine nuts

Video Recipe

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Watch the Video Version of the Recipe

Prepare Ahead

Absolutely! Keep the hummus separate from the spicy meat and keep the parsley / spinach separate too. Hummus and meat will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve allow hummus to come to room temp and reheat sausage until really hot.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

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It’s a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner.

For more details Click HERE.

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6 Simple 5-Ingredient Soups

Addictive Green Curry of Broccoli Soup

Even though it’s 32C (90F) here as I write this, I’ve been thinking about soup a lot lately.

For one of the February bonus trainings for members of my online cooking school, I created a deep dive into the world of soup.

It was a great reminder of the joys of a big bowl of soup. Regardless of the season.

In fact it reminded me of one of the best soup experiences of my life…

A giant bowl of steaming noodle and dumpling soup in a back alley in sweltering Bangkok.

Apart from the deliciousness, the memory of this soup stayed with me because of how unexpectedly refreshing it was.

Today I have some of my favourite simple 5-ingredient soups. Perfect for weeknight dinners, whether you’re currently enjoying the last Summer days or on the constant lookout for signs of Spring.

6 Simple 5-Ingredient Soups

1. Zucchini Laksa
Laksa is a super delicious spicy, creamy coconut based noodle soup from Malaysia. The original version uses rice or wheat noodles (or sometimes both!) but I prefer this lighter version using my favourite spiralized vegetable.

2. Yuuummy Spiced Tomato Soup
Made with all ingredients from the pantry. This comforting soup is a fab one to have in your repertoire for when you unexpectedly need a quick satisfying meal.

3. Simple Mushroom Soup
One of the reasons I started my blog was because I had forgotten my favourite mushroom soup recipe. This isn’t the exact one I lost, but it’s a very satisfying bowl of mushroomy love.

4. No-Cry Roast Onion Soup
I’ve always loved a traditional French onion soup, but hadn’t made it at home because of the thought of chopping all those onions. And all those tears! Then I had the inspiration to roast the onions first. So easy. So good. No tears.

5. White Bean & Eggplant Soup
Super easy. I love how the roast eggplant and white beans combine to make a super silky creamy warming bowl of goodness.

6. Addictive Green Curry of Broccoli Soup
Up there as one of the most popular Stonesoup recipes of all-time. This spicy meal-in-a-bowl is spiked with chunks of broccoli. And the secret ingredient? Peanut butter!

More simple 5-ingredient dinner ideas

See the 5-Ingredients Archive.

More simple soups

See the Soups Recipe Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

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Then check out Soupstones Meal Plans.

It’s a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner.

For more details Click HERE.

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25 Healthy Comfort Food Recipes

Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas recipe!

We’ve enjoyed a few sunny days here in Kansas City, but I know frigid temps are around the corner again. So, I’m sharing some veggie-packed comfort food recipes to get us through the coldest month of the year.

I find that the most enjoyable way to eat well during short winter days is to focus on loading up on vegetables, rather than denying myself the cheesy, carb-heavy meals that I’m craving. Here are 25 delicious dinners that are lightened up with fresh and nutritious ingredients. Sneaky!

1) Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas

“Yet another winner! My husband said, why do we even ever eat meat when vegetarian tastes like this?” – Karen

Continue to the recipe…

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Favorite Banana Cake

spreading cream cheese frosting on banana cake

Here it is! Some sweet mamas have been asking me how to turn my naturally-sweetened banana bread into a cake for their little ones’ birthdays. It took me several tries to get it just right, but today, I’m introducing you to the best banana cake on the internet. Bold statement? Let me back it up.

This banana cake is fluffy, moist, tender and infused with banana flavor. It’s absolutely delicious on its own (it was adapted from banana bread, after all), but I couldn’t resist topping it with my favorite cream cheese frosting. I may have designed this recipe for kids, but it was a big hit my friends. It has officially knocked my favorite local bakery’s chocolate cake down to second place.

how to make banana cake

I made this cake as a single layer for a zero-fuss, foolproof cake. It’s truly so easy to make. I whisked together the batter by hand, and whipped up the frosting with my hand mixer once the cake had cooled. You can make this cake in a square baker if you’re serving up to nine people, or double it for a party (see the final recipe note for details).

Continue to the recipe…

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Is Peanut Butter Safe to Eat?

peanut-butter

One of the things I love about the internet is having so much information at my finger tips.

One of the things that drives me crazy about the internet is knowing which information to trust.

Interesting times.

The other day I got this question from one of my star students at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School

Jules,

I’m curious your thoughts on peanut butter.

I’ve heard a lot against it (aflatoxin, rancidity) but seems maybe those concerns are overblown the more I read.

Carol from Pittsburg

Is Peanut Butter Safe to Eat?

It’s a great question.

Aflatoxin concern is real.

Peanuts are susceptible to mould growth during storage which produces toxins absorbed by the nuts.

Small exposure to aflatoxin generally isn’t problematic to people. However exposure over long periods of time (think years) has been linked to cancer.

Particularly liver cancer.

Luckuly alfatoxin is easy to detect in a lab. And this is a well known problem.

So I buy my peanut butter from a specialist who I trust to test their peanuts for aflatoxin.

Rancidity is the natural result of oils ageing.

It’s easy to detect yourself.

Just smell your peanut butter. If the aroma is fresh and peanutty, you’re all good.

If there’s anything ‘funky’ or ‘off’, rancidity is the most likely culprit. So scrap that jar and get a fresh one.

Again a good quality supplier makes all the difference.

Some Favourite Peanut Butter Recipes

+ Cauliflower, Chicken & Peanut Curry
+ Massaman Curry
+ Hugh’s Sweet Potato Gratin
+ Green Curry of Broccoli Soup
+ Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola
+ Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
+ Home Made Peanut Butter
+ Peanut Butter Coconut Craving-Killer
+ Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge
+ Peanut Butter Cheesecake
+ Peanut Butter Ganache
+ See the Peanut Butter Archives.

Have fun in the kitchen and enjoy your peanut butter!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

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Then check out Soupstones Meal Plans.

It’s a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner.

For more details Click HERE.

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Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice

cauliflower rice side dish recipe

I’m late to the cauliflower rice party. I was skeptical. How could blitzed raw cauliflower, warmed in a skillet, taste anywhere near as satisfying as fluffy, steaming rice? It can’t. The inevitable truth is that cauliflower rice needs some help from other flavors to send me back for seconds.

This is cauliflower rice kicked up several notches by some of my favorite Mediterranean ingredients. Fresh parsley, lemon, garlic, toasted almonds and red pepper flakes make this cauliflower rice an irresistible side dish. It tastes like rice pilaf crossed with tabbouleh, if you will.

how to make cauliflower rice

I first made this cauliflower rice as a side dish for some leftovers, but it turned into dinner when I couldn’t stop going back for more. To be certain that the recipe was blog-worthy, I made the rice again for my skeptical taste testers.

Their response? “You know, this is really good. Like, really good. Why is this so good?” That’s when I threw my fists in the air and started making slow victory laps around the kitchen island.

You could make this low-carb cauliflower rice to round out a light meal, or to lighten up an otherwise heavy dinner. It will go well any recipe that is loosely Mediterranean in flavor, especially with dishes that contain lemon and fresh herbs. Serve this recipe when a green salad won’t cut it!

Continue to the recipe…

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Steak with Herb & Chilli Oil

Steak with Herb Chilli Oil

Steak with Herb & Chilli Oil

I‘m always trying to come up with fresh new ways to dress up a simple steak and salad. This herb and chilli oil is my latest favourite. Love how it adds so much freshness with so little effort.

I’ve used coriander / cilantro but feel free to play around with other herbs. Parsley is great if you want something neutral and fresh. Or choose basil if it’s summer time and you’re after a flavour explosion!

enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes
2 steaks
2 small fresh chillies
1 bunch coriander (cilantro)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
baby spinach or salad leaves, to serve

1. Preheat a frying pan, griddle pan or your BBQ until super hot. Rub steaks with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook steaks on a very high heat for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.

2. While the steak is cooking, finely chop chilli (remove seeds if you are heat sensitive) and coriander / cilantro. Place in a small bowl and stir in the lemon, oil and a big pinch of salt. Taste and season with more lemon, salt or chilli if needed.

3. Place cooked steaks on two plates. Drizzle over the herby oil and add spinach / salad leaves. Stand for a few minutes to rest (while you pour yourself a nice glass of vino).

WINE MATCH: A gutsy red like a Shiraz or Zinfandel.

Variations & Substitutions

different herbs – parsley, basil, oregano or mint are all good. As are any combination of the above.

different chilli – dried chilli flakes or crumbled whole dried chilli can also be used.

carb-lovers – serve with roast or boiled potatoes.

vegetarian – serve the chilli oil with pan fried halloumi, mushrooms or eggplant / aubergine.

different meat – the spicy herby oil is also great with chicken, lamb chops or pork.

more veg – serve with roast or pan fried veg like eggplant, zucchini or capsicum / bell peppers.

budget – use burgers instead of the steak.

limey – use lime juice and the zest of 1 lime instead of the lemon.

smoother oil – puree in a food processor or stick blender.

Video Recipe

Watch the Video Version of the Recipe.

Prepare Ahead

Best when served fresh. You could make the herby oil a few hours in advance but the coriander / cilantro will start to brown.

Steak with Herb & Chilli Oil

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

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Then check out Soupstones Meal Plans.

It’s a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner.

For more details Click HERE.

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Spaghetti Squash “Pizza” Bowls

pizza spaghetti squash after baking

It’s about time. I teased this recipe in my post on how to cook spaghetti squash (the best way), and I’ve been holding it hostage the past few days. Sorry about that!

I’ve always been skeptical about treating spaghetti squash like regular spaghetti. It does go well with marinara sauce, though, especially when it’s stuffed with garlicky sautéed spinach and topped with golden mozzarella.

spaghetti squash before and after baking

I came up with this idea when I had a bunch of leftover cooked spaghetti squash. I had spinach in the fridge and marinara in the pantry, so it was meant to be. I wasn’t sure what to call these cheesy babes. Garlicky spinach spaghetti squash boats was a mouthful, so we settled on pizza bowls. Who doesn’t love pizza?

Unlike delivery pizza, these “bowls” offer extra servings of vegetables and greens. The spaghetti squash contains lots of fiber, so this would be an excellent meal to serve the guy who claims that vegetarian dinners never fill him up. Like my brother, but I love him anyway.

Continue to the recipe…

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (The Best Way!)

best way to cook spaghetti squash - halved, seeds scooped out, baked cut side down, with olive oil and salt!

Let’s talk about spaghetti squash for a minute. I’ve been working on a new spaghetti squash recipe (coming Friday), and I noticed that there are quite a few different ways that people suggest cooking spaghetti squash.

Here are the methods: Baked or microwaved whole, steamed in a pan of water in the oven, sliced into rings, halved lengthwise or crosswise, baked cut-side up or down.

ways to cook spaghetti squash

All of those options will work, but I have a strong preference for one method, which reduces the amount of moisture in the squash and yields golden, caramelized edges that add extra flavor.

Here’s my trick: Cut the spaghetti squash in half from the stem end to the base, rub the inside lightly with olive oil, and roast it cut-side down. There’s a little more to it than that (see the recipe below), but that’s the gist.

Easy, right? No fuss, no mush, just tender and delicious spaghetti squash! This way, the moisture can pool on the pan instead of collecting inside the spaghetti squash, and you end up with a perfect built-in bowl that you can load up with toppings.

Continue to the recipe…

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