Harissa Roasted Carrots & Quinoa

‘Twas the day before Friday, when all through the city the people were chipper, one could even say zippy!

They say at their desks, productivity abounding, in hopes that weekend joy would soon be surrounding. 

Their lunches were nestled snug in tubberware, while at visions of pinterest meal prep they did stare. 

When out of the blew there arose such a clatter!

Katie’s here to announce that sauces matter!

When you need a quick meal to be ready in a flash, pop open some Haven’s sauce and cook with a dash!

When you use up all your mental energy writing a random food poem, what’s actually left for the body of a blog post?

How about some pretty pictures while I tell you how fabulously delish and easy this recipe is.

Let’s start with the quinoa base.

The number one thing I want you all to remember when making quinoa: TOAST IT!

This will turn a bland, blah grain into a nutty delicious goodness.

Especially when you add garlic? Woot woot yay.

So cook up some quinoa, add some Haven’s Kitchen Zippy Harissa, and some spinach as well.

Cause greens are always good.

Hold up.

Before we move on to the carrots, let’s spend a second on the sauce I’m obsessed with for this: Haven Kitchen’s Zippy Chili Harissa.

Not only does it check all the boxes: vegan. gf, non-gmo, local…

It’s freaking delicious!

I love my spice cabinet, and seasoning things is super fun.

But an easy button I can count on?

Yes please.

So for this recipe, I rely on the zip zip tang from Haven’s Kitchen.

Just toss the carrots in the sauce and roast.

Boom. Done.

Add them to your quinoa and you’re ready to go.

Simple. Easy. Win.

Enjoy!

Harissa Roasted Carrots & Quinoa

Toasted gralicy quinoa and roasted carrots kicked up a notch with Haven’s Kitchen Zippy Chili Harissa sauce! Perfect for an easy side dish and meal prep.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1/4 cup Harissa Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups spinach
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Slice the carrots, then coat 1/4 cup of the sauce.
  • Roast for 20 minutes.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the quinoa and garlic. Toast for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the water into the quinoa pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.
  • Cook the quinoa (covered) for about 15 minutes).
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, salt, pepper, and some extra sauce.
  • Serve the carrots on top of the quinoa with an extra drizzle of harissa.

Citrus Kale Salad with Orange Maple Salmon

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to cater a corporate event in partnership with Misfits Market.

The lunch-and-learn focused on how to reduce food waste through purchase and utilization of the “ugly ducklings” in the produce world.

So I created an entire menu based on two large boxes of produce that Misfits sent my way! I used everything from carrots to mangoes to green beans to potatoes.

But the star of the show in my option?

This salad.

I added salmon to mine after the fact, but it is delish as a plant-based option as well!

Now it’s no secret that kale can be straight-up rabbit food.

Tough, fibrous, tasteless…who wants to eat that?

So how do we transform cardboard of the greens world into a tender nutrient-dense salad base?

Vinaigrette.

Specifically this Orange Maple Vinaigrette.

The acidity of the fresh orange juice breaks down the rough kale, producing a deliciously marinated result.

To get all of the dressing goodness to work it;s magic, a nice plant massage is required.

Pour in the dressing and massage for about 5 minutes.

And the cool thing about this? The longer the marinade time, the more tender the kale. So you can prepare in advance!

Now, let’s talk about the other goodies on this salad.

These are watermelon radishes.

Slicing through the seemingly drab exterior reveals a gorgeous hot pink center.

They can be eaten raw, but I was going for a tangy, crunchy salad topping.

So it was time to slice and pickle.

I pickled these like I would any other veggie.

(And if you’ve never pickled anything…jump on the train!)

Bring apple cider vinegar and water to a boil on the stove. Dissolve some salt. Pour boiling mixture over the radishes.

Then let it cool down and transform into this masterpiece.

Then they can be stored in the fridge for quite a while.

The Misfits boxes came packed with shishito peppers as well.

Not a huge fan of plain hot peppers, and I wanted to add a backyard-bbq-char element to my salad. So I blistered them in a hot cast iron skillet.

See them on the left there? All black and scrumptious.

To top it all off, I sliced the Misfits grapefruits into segments and poured a bit more dressing over the top.

Now if you wanted to add salmon (recommended IMO), you can use the leftover vinaigrette as a marinade!

Just pour some over the top of a fillet and add an orange slice.

Stick in the oven for 10 minutes, and you have yourself a flavorful protein topper!

That’s it folks!

Super simple dressing that can be made in advance.

Pickled radishes to last a lifetime.

Flaky sweet salmon.

Now that’s a winner in my book!

Citrus Kale Salad with Orange Maple Salmon

A delish harmony of fresh spring flavors! Perfect for a spring get-together or weeknight meal.

Ingredients

Orange Maple Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp pomagraate vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Pickled Radishes

  • 2 watermelon radishes
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt

Salad

  • kale
  • shishito peppers
  • grapefruit
  • salmon

Instructions

  • Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and shake until homogeneous.
  • Remove kale from the stems and rip into pieces.
  • Add kale and 1/2 cup of vinaigrette to a large bowl and massage for about 5 minutes.
  • Pour a bit of the vinaigrette on the salmon. Add a slice of orange over the top.
  • Bake the Salmon at 350 degrees for 10 minutes,
  • Blister the shishito peppers in a hot cast iron skillet.
  • Segment the grapefruit (removing all skin).
  • Plate it up, and drizzle an extra bit of vinaigrette over the top.

Naturally-Dyed Pickled Eggs

The sun has been shining, birds have been chirping, and every day brings a light April drizzle.

It’s spring time folks!

And it’s also the week leading up to Easter.

You know what that means?

Time for an EGG-cellent experiment!

Dying eggs was totally part of the Wells fam Easter traditions growing up. Tie-dyed, crayon drawings, that eye-dropper method thing. We did a little bit of everything.

But pickled? Nope. And there were definitely no beets or turmeric involved…

After this adventure I think that needs to change.

Gorgeous natural colors and a more flavorful deviled egg?

Also super easy.

Serious win.

So let’s get started!

What you need: eggs, vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar), water, turmeric, cooked beets, salt, and a few other spices.

Also some good ‘ol mason jars.

Add the peeled hard-boiled eggs to the mason jars with the coloring agents.

For yellow-orange: one piece of beet and a teaspoon or so of turmeric

For pink: a couple pieces of beet

I added ground mustard and garlic to both for some extra flavor!

When using beets, try to layer with the eggs for even coloring.

Three to four eggs fit best in the jars.

The pickling liquid is 1:1 vinegar and water.

Bring to a boil on the stove, then dissolve some salt and a tad bit of sugar.

Pour the liquid over the eggs, cover with the lid, and give them a gentle shake to evenly disperse the colors.

Let them cool slightly and then place in the fridge.

I let mine sit for about 36 hours I think?

It’s not an exact science, but at least 12 is preferred.

Then it’s time for the reveal!

Look at them!

Beautifully vibrant.

All from turmeric and beets!

Are you kind of in awe?

Cause I was…

Not ashamed of my appreciation for these eggs.

Now these are fine and dandy all on their own (think with salads, on toast, etc.), but why not kick it up a notch?

Let’s make deviled eggs.

Since they already have a tangy pickled flavor, these deviled eggs are gonna pack a punch!

I kept things simple with some dijon mustard, mayo, and a bit of Montral Steak Seasoning (a Wells fav).

Just spoon the mix back into the crevice and wal-a!

Perfection.

Creamy, pickly goodness!

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta. Pasta. Pasta.

Why does it get such a bad rap?

I grew up on the stuff. Spaghetti and meatballs. Fettuccine alfredo. And straight up bowties with melted butter and Freddy’s seasoning after swim practice.

Delish.

When I broke up with gluten (sorry bud), I thought pasta would be a long-lost memory.

Not so. Especially now-a-days!

There are so many delicious alternatives – even packed with veggies!

So let’s all enjoy our pasta. With happiness in our hearts and joy in our taste buds.

And today’s PASTA-bility of choice?

Smothering Cybele’s Lentil & Parsnip spirals with a vegan, cashew-less sun-dried tomato cream sauce.

Oh yes please.

This sauce is cauliflower based.

Sound weird? Don’t freak. Just trust me. It works.

When you steam and blend the cauliflower, it turns into a creamy canvas by which the tomato flavor can shine.

To the cauliflower we add roasted garlic, lots of sun-dried tomatoes, and some smooth nutty tahini.

And almond milk to blend.

Oh and salt and pepper of course.

We’ll also saute some mushrooms and onions for the base of this pasta. Adding another element of flavor and some plant-based heartiness.

I like to splash some pasta water into these veggies to create the start of a starchy sauce and get all the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan.

Cybele’s rotini was my pasta of choice for this.

Full of plant-based protein and made with only 3 ingredients: lentils, cauliflower, and parsnip.

Also, it doesn’t get all gummy and gross like other gluten-free pastas can!

Now you add the pureed sauce.

It’s a thick hummus-like consistency, so feel free to thin with an extra splash of pasta water.

Mix it all up.

Just look at that.

Would you even believe it’s vegan and gluten free?

Bet you could fool even the most avid pasta-lovers.

Serve it up with some greens, fresh parsley, cherry tomatoes, and feta.

And you have yourself a plate of pasta perfection!

Enjoy every bite friends!

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Enjoy flavorful creaminess without the dairy! This cauliflower-based sauce includes rich sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and nutty tahini. Delish!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes *packed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 8 oz pasta

Instructions

  • Cut the cauliflower into florets and steam.
  • Roast the cloves of garlic at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower, garlic, tahini, almond milk, tomatoes, salt and pepper to a blender and puree.
  • Saute the mushrooms and onions for 5 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta. (reserve some of the cooking water)
  • Drain the pasta, then add to the pan with the mushrooms and onions.
  • Dump in the sauce and stir, adding bits of pasta water to thin if necessary.

Frittata & #FiveFridayFaves

We’re gonna start a new tradition over here on The Sunflower Files.

Each Friday, I’ll post a fun new recipe and my #FiveFridayFaves (aka a handful of things I’m currently obsessed with).

Sound like a plan?

Great. Let’s start with the recipe. Yummmm.

So here’s the frittata. In all it’s fabulousness.

We start with onions (cause all good things start with onions…).

Cooking them first allows for sweet, golden caramelization.

Glorious.

After the onions have cooked down for a bit, we add the seasonings, garlic, and broccoli.

Covering the skillet for a hot second allows the broccoli to steam.

Then throw in a can of salmon. Cause why not?

Mix the eggs, egg whites, and almond milk in a separate bowl, then pour into the skillet.

All that’s left? Some oven time.

Bake for 20 minutes – or until the eggs are set.

Top it off with some fresh cherry tomatoes and feta.

Serve it up!

Easy as that.

Now let’s dive into my #FiveFridayFavs shall we?

 

1. Misfits Market: It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of theirs. Rescuing produce that would be wasted? Providing high quality produce to consumers at a discount? Shipping it straight to your door? I don’t think vegetables could get any more fun.

2. Cereal: Specifically rice krispies with raisins. This combo with forever remind me of my dad. Deliciously nostalgic and fabulous.

3. Banded Workouts: I’ve been incorporating bands into my workouts and holy moley sore! Using bands creates a constant state of resistance for your muscles. Meaning they are continually enraged and strengthening. Some studies have shown banded moves to be more effective in building lean muscle mass. It is a great option for travel / at home as well.

4. Athleta Leggings: These ones are my favorite. Super soft and with pockets on the sides!

5. Georgia Grinders Hazelnut Butter: It lives up to the hype y’all. Just hazelnuts and salt. Perfection. Stay tuned for a delicious hazelnut biscotti recipe hitting the blog soon!

 

That’s all for now folks!

Have a great weekend!

Caramelized Onion, Broccoli, and Salmon Frittata with Feta

All of the veggies loaded into a protein-packed fittata. Cheap, easy, and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 handfuls broccoli florets
  • 1 can of salmon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the olive oil and onions. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the spices, garlic, and broccoli. Cover and steam fro 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the salmon.
  • Mix the eggs and milk in a bowl, then pour into the skillet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Top with cherry tomatoes and feta.

Mexican Arancini

Alright team. Raise your hands if you’re not drooling over this pic…

(Everyone’s hands are down as they rapidly scroll through this post to get the recipe.)

What even are these?

What’s crispy, spicy, cheesy, fried, and actually good for you?

Dairy-free, gluten-free, air-fried Mexican Arancini.

Arancini – cheese-stuffed fried rice balls dunked in marinara – are traditionally Italian. But in true Katie fashion, I took a leap away from tradition. Homemade dairy-free cauliflower “cheese”, chickpea “rice”, bean tortilla chip “breadcrumbs”, and vegan queso. Totally not traditional. But totally DELISH.

Now my first call to action: DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED.

These are deceptively easy to make. And you really don’t need to be all fancy with the boujie ingredients. Normal cheese and rice will work just fine if you’re down for that. Pick your battles people.

First things first, let’s cut the cheese.

It’s made with steamed cauliflower, coconut oil, roasted hot peppers, some other spices, and gelatin.

Say what? Guys. It works. Just look at these cubes of delish pepper jack “cheese”!

The cheese also shreds like a charm. Which makes it a perfect addition to the arancini rice mixture.

Just combine with Banza chickpea rice, arrowroot powder, and an egg and you’re good to go.

To form the arancini, scoop a couple tablespoons of the rice mixture into your hand (helps if it is slightly damp).

Enclose a cheese cube in the center and place on a parchment-lined plate. Repeat.

Once you’ve formed all the balls, freeze them for at least 30 minutes.

It will be immensely helpful when it’s time to coat them for frying.

Speaking of coating, lets talk about this flavor-packed combo that’s gonna turn into crispy goodness.

Three different steps: a light arrowroot flour coating, and egg dip, and crushed toritlla chips for the final layer.

I used Beanfields Pico de Gallo flavored chips. And bam. They’re goooood. And made from beans! Hello delicious protein.

When all of the arancini have been rolled, dipped, and coated, it’s time to fry.

I used my air-fryer. I’m kind of obsessed. So quick. So easy. So healthy. And minimal clean-up. Just 12 minutes and you’ve got crispy golden perfection.

The arancini are done. It’s time to devour.

Let’s get saucy with some vegan queso and fresh salsa.

Sound like a plan?

Great. Now dig in people!

Mexican Arancini

Spinning tradition on it's head with these dairy-free, gluten-free, crispy bites of goodness. Dip them in salsa and/or queso and head straight to flavor-town heaven.

Ingredients

Homemade Pepper Jack "Cheese"

  • 2 cups pureed steamed cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3 roasted mini hot peppers
  • 3 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Rice Mixture

  • 2 cups cooked rice *I used Banza chickpea rice
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 egg *beaten
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Breading

  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips *I used Beanfields

Instructions

For the Cheese:

  • Puree all ingredients until smooth.
  • Scoop into a lined loaf pan and smooth out.
  • Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours to set up.

For the Arancini:

  • Shred some of the cauliflower cheese (1/2 cup worth).
  • Mix the cheese, rice, egg, arrowroot, and seasonings.
  • Scoop 2 tbsp of the mixture into the palm of your hand. 
  • Place a cheese cube in the middle, and form the rice mix around to enclose it.
  • Repeat with the remaining mixture, placing formed balls on a parchment-lined plate.
  • Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes. (Will make breading so much easier!)
  • Mix the arrowroot powder and spices together in one bowl.
  • Beat the egg and almond milk in a second bowl.
  • Have the crushed tortilla chips ready in a third.
  • Take the balls out of the freezer. 
  • Roll one of the balls in the arrowroot mix, dip in the egg wash, then coat in tortilla chips.
  • Place coated arancini to the side and repeat with the remaining balls. 
  • When all arancini are breaded, set your air-fryer to 400 degrees.
  • Working in batches, fry them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
  • Serve with queso and salsa.