Tag Archives: vegetarian

take-it-to-go thursdays: artichoke hummus

I love artichokes. I really do. I think it starts from the times that Mama would make them in the summer. All of my family–cousins, brothers, parents, aunts and uncles–would eat together every night and most nights, boiled artichokes were on the table. Normally with a side of drawn butter. Or French Onion Dip, straight from the fridge. Yum.

While boiled artichokes might still be my favorite, they are not the most convenient food to take on the go. So, as I’ve gotten more wise in the ways of easy lunch food, I’ve found other ways to incorporate them. They even had a cameo appearance in my Tuna and White Bean Salad a few weeks ago. This week, when I was contemplating what my take-it-to-go recipe would be, I was scrounging around my kitchen cabinets and there happened to be a can of artichoke hearts next to a can of chickpeas. Eureka!  Artichoke hummus.

This was a great lunch! Different from what I normally eat but still very filling. I accompanied my hummus with baby carrots, chopped celery, and a chopped toasted everything bagel thin. It was nice to have all of the different dipping options.


  • 1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini 
  • Juice of half a lemon (or more, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water (optional, to thin it out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • small squirt of Sriracha (optional, but kind of amazing)


  • In a food processor, combine garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil.
  • Process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary.  Add salt, pepper, and Sriracha (if using) to taste. Extra lemon juice or tahini may also be added if desired.

Small Details:

  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Makes about 2 cups

peanut butter and jelly green smoothie

I had a long day of working at school last Saturday, one where I was supposed to meet someone at 8:30. No fun. Predictably, I hit snooze on my alarm clock until 7:34 am, giving me less than 45 minutes to shower, get dressed, make my bed, and make breakfast before running out the door. My refrigerator was pretty empty (it was the end of the week!), so I had to improvise and ended up making a pretty delicious peanut butter-banana smoothie to enjoy on the go that morning.

While I was drinking it, I felt like I was enjoying a peanut-butter banana sandwich. So, I started thinking about how I could make it into a green smoothie. Now that I’ve started drinking my vegetables in the morning, I’m hooked. I decided to add some spinach and some strawberries to make it a little bit more like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The flavor profile is definitely there. This is also extremely filling. I had one this morning at 6:30 and don’t even want to think about lunch.


  • 2-3 handfuls of spinach, washed (put in as much as you dare!)
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim, but I think that almond milk would be fantastic in this)
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 large banana, frozen
  • 2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter


  • Put your spinach, oats, and milk into the blender. Mix well, until spinach and oats are completely liquefied.
  • Add in banana, peanut butter, and strawberries. Blend.
  • Enjoy!

Small details:

  • “Cook” time: 5 minutes or less
  • Makes 2 servings

mustard-lemon roasted cauliflower

One of the favorite things I’ve discovered at the prepared food sections at Whole Foods has been their mustard-lemon roasted cauliflower. I found myself buying it almost every day and snacking on it all the time. I know, I know, weird craving, right? It’s just that good.

I know the date says January 24, but don’t worry! These aren’t still in my fridge. I ate them a while ago but thought to snap the picture beforehand because I was planning on making these.

After months of this behavior, I realized Wednesday that I could just make it myself. Why it took me months to realize this, I’ll never know. I went to Whole Foods for one last purchase so that I could attempt to recreate it at home.

A little bit of fiddling with proportions in my kitchen later, I made something pretty close to one of my favorite Whole Foods snacks. Success!

I’m sure that the mustard-lemon sauce would be good on all kinds of other veggies, especially brussels sprouts or broccoli, if you don’t like cauliflower. I’m a recent passenger on the cauliflower bandwagon–I love that it basically takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with.


  • 1 head of cauliflower, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • Juice from 1-2 lemons (I used 1.5 simply because the first one wasn’t that juicy and the second one was)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Chop your head of cauliflower into florets. Put the cauliflower into a large bowl.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter (nuke it between 45 seconds and a minute, depending on how fancy your microwave is).
  • Combine the mustard and the lemon juice with the melted butter. Whisk until combined.
  • Pour the butter-mustard-lemon mixture over the cauliflower and stir to combine. You want to make sure that every floret has some of the deliciousness on it.
  • Roast in your oven for 40-45 minutes, until caramel-y.

Small details:

  • Makes 4-5 servings, depending on how large your cauliflower head is.
  • Cook time: 40-45 minutes
  • Total time: 45-50 minutes

spicy roasted chickpeas

I love crunchy snacks. And snacks that are bite-sized. Basically, this translates to the fact that I like potato chips, pretzels, and anything else in that genre. I’ve been working on finding snacks that aren’t completely bereft of nutritional value–I know, I know, I’m almost a grown-up.

One of my favorite bars in New Orleans has roasted chick-peas as their bar snack of choice–so much more enjoyable than peanuts,at least in my book. I was playing around with spices earlier this week in the kitchen and found a combination that I really enjoyed, so I thought I would share them with the few people that read this website the whole wide world.


  • 1 can garbanzo beans (or more, depending on how many you want to cook at once)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
I didn’t measure the spice quantities I used, I just eyeballed it. I would say it is between 1/2 teaspoon to a full teaspoon of each:
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pop open your can of chickpeas. Rinse and drain them in a colander.
  • Spread the rinsed chickpeas out on a paper towel (or kitchen towel) and let them dry.

  • Once the chickpeas are dry, spread them on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Toss them with the olive oil and spices. Spread them around until all of the peas are in a single layer and coated with the spices.

  • Place them in the oven. Let them cook for 25 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and toss the chickpeas.
  • Return the baking sheet for another 20-25 minutes, or until the desired crispness. I like mine crunchy.
  • Once cooled, the chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container for up to ten days.

Cooking time: 45-50 minutes. Total time:1 hour, 30 minutes (including time for the draining and drying of chickpeas)

Serving size: 2 cups of roasted chickpeas

take-it-to-go thursdays: mexican confetti quinoa salad

For most summers that I can remember, I have gone spent time in the mountains of western North Carolina at the best summer camp of all. Time in and around that part of the world has exposed me to foods that still aren’t found often in south Alabama. One of those foods is quinoa.

I vividly remember the first time I had it. My birthday was on the last day of camp for the summer and a dear friend who I worked with made me a birthday lunch. I only had two caveats: no tomatoes and no stinky cheese. I have very sophisticated tastes. One of the foods that was served was a quinoa salad (not this one–it was Italian flavored and writing this reminds me I need to get the recipe) and I loved it.

Since I had it so many moons ago, I assume that everyone has had quinoa. However, after talking about it with people, I realize that is not the case. However, it is getting more popular–I’ve seen it all over the blogosphere in the past few months.

What is quinoa though? According to the internet (always a safe source of information), it is one of the world’s healthiest foods. It is a complete protein, it is naturally gluten-free, and it contains all kinds of vitamins. I’ve started substituting it for rice in a lot of dishes and have found that I really do like it better.

This dish was something I concocted last summer when I was looking for something to take to work that didn’t need to be refrigerated, was filling (but not too filling that I wanted to go to sleep after I ate it), and was somewhat healthy.  This dish is super tasty and very filling–with this and a banana, I don’t get hungry again until dinner! I also don’t feel bad about eating every bite that I pack for myself because it good for me, with all the protein and vegetables. This could also serve as a side dish with chicken or fish–or anything really.


Mexican Quinoa Salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (I used red quinoa just because I think its so pretty)
  • 2 cups water (sometimes I do one cup water, one cup chicken broth–but this substitution doesn’t add a ton to the flavor, to be honest)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/2 cup diced red peppers (or yellow or orange–I’ve tried it with green and it isn’t as good)
  • 1 serving Mexican dressing (recipe below)

Mexican Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lime (about one table spoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To make the dressing, simply combine all ingredients. I’m not fancy–I use a tupperware container and shake it until well blended. You could also use a whisk, if that is your preference.


  • Combine the quinoa and the water in a small covered pot on the stove. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat down and let the quinoa cook for twenty minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
  • Once the quinoa is cooked, “fluff” it with a fork.
  • In a bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, the black beans, the corn, the edamame, and the diced red pepper. Stir to combine.

  • Toss the quinoa mixture with the dressing.

Cook time: 20 minutes. Total time: 25-30 minutes.

Makes 5 one cup servings.

This can be stored in a refrigerator for up to five days. I usually make a big batch on Sundays and eat it all week. What can I say? I am a creature of habit.