roasted chickpea blt salad with pesto parmesan dressing

chopped salad 1

We’ve finally reached triple digits here and today they even graced us with the courtesy of an “excessive heat warning” as of 10:00 AM. This warning is technically scheduled until 8:00 PM tonight, but we know better than that. This warning will be renewed daily probably until the middle of September. Yay.

Try as I might, I have not been able to successfully devise a way for FH and I to find an alternate summer residence, where we could work remotely from somewhere that does not feel like the surface of the sun.

Until such a day exists (or until the end of the summer) I am likely to crave all things cold and vegetable-laden. Something about it being a million degrees out makes me want to stay inside and eat cold, crunchy veggies all day every day. Enter this salad.

Crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy chickpeas, and creamy pesto parmesan dressing. What more could a girl ask for?

This salad is from Pinch of Yum‘s latest cookbook Everyday Healthy. This e-cookbook is full of quick and healthy recipes and even comes with a nutrition guide (with substitution recommendations) and a meal planning guide.

I modified the recipe a bit by tossing my chickpeas in olive oil before roasting them (I like the crunch it gives them), upping the pesto in the dressing (call me a basil-holic if you will), halving the amount of tomatoes called for (they are not my favorite), and adding cucumbers. Because cucumbers make everything better.

roasted chickpea blt salad with pesto parmesan dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    For the salad
  • 1 14-oz can of chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 medium tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, rinsed
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • For the dressing
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 5 Tablespoons water
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons pesto
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400?F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas.
  2. Toss chickpeas with olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until crisp, tossing halfway through. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes, cucumber, and bacon to desired size. Toss together with lettuce and set aside.
  4. In a food processor, combine sour cream, pesto, parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice until combined. Stream in water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve salad in bowls and top with chickpeas and desired amount of dressing.

Notes

* Experiment by tossing your chickpeas with other seasonings like smoked paprika and cumin or even with parmesan cheese.

* Will easily serve 4 as a main salad or 6 as a side salad.

* Add more or less pesto to your taste.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Healthy by Lindsay Olstrom

http://wee-eats.com/2014/06/02/roasted-chickpea-blt-salad-with-pesto-parmesan-dressing/

chopped blt salad with roasted chickpeas and pesto parmesan dressing | wee eats

pesto pasta

pesto pasta
I never realized how often I make pasta until I saw the number of pasta recipes in queue for this site. I don’t feel like we eat pasta that much, I don’t even particularly like pasta. It must just be that it’s so easy to just boil some water and throw a sauce together after 8 hours of work, 2 hours of commuting, and an hour of gym time. When all I want to do is just go home and crash, apparently pasta is my go-to dish.

One type of pasta that I started making often just involves sauteing some fresh veggies, adding a bit of butter, a splash of cream, and a bit of garlic then tossing it with the pasta. On the off-chance that I have a bit of pesto lying around – even better. Add a tablespoon or two of pesto and voila – delicious creamy pesto pasta.

This dish has all the nutrition of fresh veggies mixed with the bright flavor of basil pesto, all rounded out with a dash of cream. Just a dash – not so much to make you feel guilty but just enough to turn it saucy. Of course, if you’ve been good all week – add as much cream as you like :) If you’re the type who feels guilty (like yours truly), just a splash of cream and a bit of starchy pasta water will do.

Creamy Pesto Pasta

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • Pasta (enough for 2 -3 people)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons pesto (fresh is better, but store-bought will do)
  • Splash of heavy cream
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter

1. Cook & drain pasta, set aside in a bowl. Reserve a bit of the cooking water.

2. Saute onions in a drizzle of olive oil until translucent, add chicken and heat through. Add tomatoes and garlic, stirring constantly until heated through. (Make sure not to burn your garlic) Transfer to bowl with cooked pasta.

3. Melt butter in pan, stir in pesto, chicken stock, and a splash of heavy cream. Let simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened (a few minutes). Add pasta, chicken (if using), and veggies and toss to coat. If you need more sauce, add some reserved pasta water or cream and continue to toss until sauce completely covers the pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning (lots of cream means you will probably need to add more salt).

road trip { + salami puffs }

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This post is not about salami puffs. This post is about vacation.

This weekend BF whisked me off to Flagstaff to escape the heat. I never thought I’d be going somewhere that was “only 80 degrees” to get out of the heat, but I guess stranger things have happened. (Like the fact that it’s been a crazy triple digit heatwave back east, where my mom went to escape the heat… oops?) The picnic was super sweet, he made delicious Italian sandwiches on a baguette along with some pasta salad. So sweet. Plus, we got to use my giant cooler that I got on super sale at Target. I bought it specifically “for picnics”, even though I haven’t actually been on a picnic in the 3+ years I’ve lived here (and probably even a few more before that). It seemed like a good idea at the time, it was such a good deal. I was practically losing money if I didn’t buy it!

Here in the desert we don’t see a lot of green, or any other color besides brown, so it was definitely a nice change. It was nice to be able to walk in grass instead of rocks, and see flowers instead of cacti. We found a nice, shady spot near the lake and set up our picnic.

After we ate our lunch, we relaxed a bit, debated what to do next, and met some ducks. BF is so sweet, he even let the duckies join in on our picnic. Turns out they like baguettes just as much as we do.

After that we walked around downtown Flagstaff for a little while, perusing shops and whatnot. Then we decided we needed ice cream, so we looked up the nearest ice cream stops but most of them were just chains. I didn’t drive two hours to eat somewhere I could eat at home. We found a place that had good reviews in Sedona, so we decided to take scenic route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona on the way home. The drive takes you down a windy two lane road through ponderosa pines, along canyon walls to Sedona, known for its red rocks. Once in Sedona we stopped at Black Cow Cafe for “Sedona’s Best Ice Cream”. To be honest, it was pretty darn good.

Even got to watch a storm roll in on the way home! When you live in the desert, anytime you see rain you get really excited. Weird, I know.

The weekends are generally reserved for the kitchen. Since clearly one of my days was completely taken, that didn’t really leave a lot of time for you guys. What would I do for you? I couldn’t just leave you here to fend for yourselves!

I was feeling kinda guilty about taking the weekend off, so Sunday afternoon I raided the fridge and found: puff pastry, leftover salami from the sandwiches, and pesto. Done! I give you: Pesto Salami Puff Pastry Rolls! (what a mouthful, eh?) I recommend dipping them in some marinara sauce, but that’s just me.

Pesto Puffs

Print Me!

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • Pesto
  • Salami, diced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan, shredded

1. Unfold puff pastry, spread with pesto. Sprinkle evenly with salami and parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Roll pastry up tightly, then cut into 1/2″ slices.

3. Place evenly spaced on 2 baking sheets and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

pesto

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My love affair with pesto and all things basil started at an early age. I remember the first time I had pesto – my dad took me to dinner at Avenue Bistro in Toledo, OH. I was a nasty hybrid of vegetarian + picky-teen-eater at the time so my dinner was essentially a house salad and this mystery green concoction on the table. I probably ate at least two loaves of bread covered in pesto. My dad must have been horrified at the amount of food I consumed, since he was the type who ran five miles a day and lived off of iceberg lettuce alone. But oh man that stuff was good.

Now that I’m a “grown up” I can make my own pesto. Honestly, it’s so easy I’m sure I could have made it back then, too. The bright flavor of basil with the salty parmesan cheese, plus the subtle depth added by the toasted pine nuts (mmm, pine nuts)… pesto is just divine on all accounts. It’s a perfect, refreshing snack in the summer – just buy a loaf of crusty bread at the store, rip off a piece, and dunk it on in! Don’t want the guilt that accompanies realizing you’ve eaten a whole loaf of bread in one sitting? Try using it as a pasta sauce – just toss it with pasta. Maybe add a splash of cream if you feel so inclined… I think I like where this is going….

[[PS – I’m entered in a kitchen contest – VOTE FOR ME HERE!]]

Pesto

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  • 1 C basil leaves
  • 1/2 C freshly-grated parmesan
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted (some stores will sell them pre-toasted if you’re not a fan of toasting them yourself)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Splash of fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C olive oil

1. Whir everything except the oil in a food processor until it forms a paste.

2. Pour oil in, a few tablespoons at a time, while the food processor is running until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. (Some people like theirs with less oil, ideal for spreading, while others like it with more oil, which makes it more dip-able)

3. Taste and adjust salt and pepper

*Tips

*This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for company

*It’s not baking – so don’t worry about exact amounts. Adjust the taste to your liking – you can even add a different kind of cheese or different leafy greens – spinach & feta perhaps?

*A splash of lemon juice is always a welcome addition to pesto

*Extra pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays – it makes a great addition to pasta sauces. I like to add a pesto cube to red sauce for an extra boost of flavor.