Spring Harvest Rice | Meal Prep Recipe – Vegan

This large batch rice recipe is veggie-packed, vegan and can make enough to feed you throughout the week. Substitutions included in the recipe notes!

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meal prep with spring harvest rice
This recipe is great for meal prep! It makes a large batch and keeps well throughout the week.

Versatile & Meal Prep Friendly

This is a meal prep recipe that can easily be adapted to supplement different proteins and side dishes throughout the week, or to be used as is for a delicious and healthy meal prep lunch!

It’s flavor profile is flexible and truly can be made into a side dish or entrée with anything. Similar to Spanish Rice, Spring Harvest Rice uses fresh tomatoes and a plethora of vegetables and spices.

Make as is and it will yield about 10 cups of rice.

chopped vegetables for spring harvest rice
Make the recipe as written, or substitute ingredients you prefer.

Swap It Out

Not everyone likes peas and bell peppers, and that’s a-okay with me! Here’s a few substitution ideas to suit your tastes.

  • Instead of PEAS try edamame or sliced snap peas
  • Instead of BELL PEPPERS try carrots and celery
  • Instead of RICE try farro, barley, quinoa or couscous. Cook according to package directions and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

When swapping vegetables in this recipe, keep the measurements the same. This will ensure your rice comes out as tasty as possible!

Additionally, I encourage you to use simply whatever you have on hand. Even if it’s a combination of the vegetables in your fridge to match the measurements in the recipe – that’s great! You’ll prep a delicious rice dish and cut down on food waste. Win-win.

See recipe for a full list of substitutions.

Use this spring harvest rice as the base for a delicious burrito! Add roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and cheese of your choosing for an easy meal.

Spring Harvest Rice Meal Ideas

Here’s a few ways you can make Spring Harvest Rice a meal.

Vegan

Eat as is with some fried tofu (thai peanut or teriyaki would go well) and crispy balsamic-glazed roasted brussel sprouts

Vegetarian

Wrap rice with black or refried beans in a flour tortilla topped with shredded cheese for an easy vegetarian burrito.

Omnivores

Serve with rotisserie chicken for an easy weeknight dinner.

spring harvest rice on a plate
Spring Harvest Rice — look at all those veggies!

The Cooking Process

To make this rice the best it can be, the vegetables need time to simmer. Put the pot on while you’re doing other things around the house, and check it periodically. You won’t need to watch it the entire time it cooks, so it’s good to cook when you’re already at home and can peek in on it every once in a while.

Browse through the photos below to see different phases of the cooking process and the final product.

There’s no replacement for time when cooking. Each step of the recipe builds a layer of flavor, toasting the spices, sautéing the aromatics, and then adding the fresh tomatoes and allowing them to cook down. The result is a lightly spiced, flavorful rice packed with vegetables. It’s a hearty, flavorful dish.

Spring Harvest Rice (Meal Prep Recipe – Vegan)

This is a meal prep recipe that can easily be adapted to supplement different proteins and side dishes throughout the week, or to be used as is for a delicious and healthy meal prep lunch!
It's flavor profile is flexible and truly can be made into a side dish or entrée with anything. Similar to Spanish Rice, Spring Harvest Rice uses fresh tomatoes and a plethora of vegetables and spices.
Make as is and this will yield about 10 cups of nutrient-rich rice.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American, Spanish
Servings 10 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups cooked rice (white or brown) 3 cups uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each of the following herbs: oregano, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups fresh tomato diced (subsitute canned)
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • 1 lb frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • First, cook your rice.
    I prefer using an Instant Pot, or Rice Cooker, but you are welcome to use any method you'd like, including microwaved steamed rice (no shame in shortcuts).
    Substitute couscous, farro, or barley and cook according to package directions.
    Set aside for now.
  • In a large, heavy bottomed pot, or dutch oven over medium/medium high heat add oregano, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cumin. Toast briefly (a minute or less) to bolster their flavors.
    Next, add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or preferred cooking oil, and heat until shimmering.
  • Add diced onion, garlic, and bell peppers. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and simmer uncovered over medium heat about 30-40 minutes, until tomatoes are cooked down and there is minimal liquid left in the pot.
    Simply put, it should look less like tomato sauce and more like a big pot of sautéed vegetables.
  • Incorporate the bag of frozen peas and salt and pepper. Mix well to combine and defrost the peas.
    When using frozen peas, it's best to add them at the last minute. If they cook too long, they turn mushy!
  • Add the rice 1-2 cups at a time, mixing well.
    Be sure to break up the chunks of rice to blend with the vegetables. Repeat the process until all of the cooked rice is incorporated.
    Done!

Notes

  • Substitute rice for farro, barley, quinoa, or couscous. Cook according to package directions. 
  • Combine any of your preferred spices for a custom blend. Add some cayenne if you enjoy heat, or swap basil for paprika if you prefer things more mild.
  • Substitute sliced snap peas or edamame for frozen peas, if preferred. 
  • Substitute carrots and celery for bell peppers, maintaining measurements.
Keyword easy meal prep, meal prep recipe, meal prep rice, spring harvest rice, vegan meal prep, vegetarian meal prep

Have you tried this Spring Harvest Rice? What substitutions did you make? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below!

What is a Jerusalem Artichoke? | Recipe

Today we explore an elusive root vegetable: the Jerusalem Artichoke! Learn what it is, how it tastes, and how to cook it with this quick and easy recipe.

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What is a Jerusalem Artichoke?

A Jerusalem Artichoke, also called a sunchoke, is the root of a species of Sunflower. It’s an ingredient I’ve seen used in restaurants and on cooking shows, all the while thinking, “Where do I even buy that?” Turns out, at a local farm stand. When I saw them for sale at Rutiz Farms, I knew I had to seize the opportunity.

What does a Jerusalem Artichoke taste like?

Though a root vegetable related to the sunflower, the Jerusalem Artichoke tastes like its name – an artichoke! With a mild flavor, the sunchoke tastes how I imagine a cross between a potato and an artichoke would taste. Hearty and starchy with a hint of artichoke heart.

the inside of a sunchoke.
The inside of a sunchoke.

How do I cook Jerusalem Artichoke?

Bake it, boil it, stick it in a stew! But really, I’d suggest roasting Jerusalem Artichokes in the oven, like you would any other vegetable. It’d be great as chips, but true to form I chose to make them into fries, complete with a nice garlic aioli.

Another option is making these Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Brown Butter and Balsamic Vinegar from Bon Apetit. The splash of balsamic acts to balance out the heavy fat of the brown butter, and throwing whole sprigs of Rosemary in the butter as it browns makes for a delicious fried edible garnish.

We found that, in cooking the sunchoke or eating it, our brains kept trying to tell us it was a potato. If you’re tempted to cook it as long as you would a potato, watch out. Taste test along the way to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

Baked Jerusalem Artichoke Fries (Sunchoke Fries)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes)
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt (more to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Scrub the Jerusalem Artichokes clean. You can peel if you prefer, but scrubbing the dirt off will work just fine.
  • Slice the Jerusalem Artichokes into matchsticks.
  • In a clean bowl, toss the Jerusalem Artichokes with olive oil and seasonings. Adjust the seasonings to your preference or taste. Remember you can always add more after baking.
  • Spread parchment on a baking sheet. Lay out the Jerusalem Artichokes in a single layer, making them overlap as little as possible.
  • Bake in a 350° oven for 40-45 minutes until tender.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
  • Serve warm with a side of garlic aioli or your favorite fry dipping sauce!
Orange Espresso cupcakes

Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes | Baking

These marbled cupcakes are sure to impress — no mixer required! Make the separate orange and espresso batters then swirl in the cupcake tins to create the gorgeous marbled effect. Top with the orange espresso buttercream for the perfect treat for the adventurous dessert fanatic in your life — or you know, just to have around as a quick snack!

Making it Marbled

A marbled orange espresso cupcake before baking.
A cupcake before baking — look at those swirls!

To best preserve the individual flavors, I’ve created two separate cake batters for these cupcakes; the orange and the espresso. The two are then playfully layered into cupcake tins and baked.

In order to keep this as simple as possible, no mixer is involved for the creation of the cake. Get two large bowls side by side and make your batter at the same time.

The recipe may look intimidating but I promise you can do it! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.

The cake recipe is DAIRY FREE! No milk or butter used in the making of the cake. For a simple dairy-free swap in the buttercream, follow these replacements:

  • Use dairy-free or vegan butter.
  • Instead of heavy cream, use 2 tablespoons of your favorite dairy free milk, vanilla coffee creamer, or coconut cream.

Orange and Espresso: Delicious Flavor Combination

Initially, perhaps, this flavor combination seems counterintuitive. After all, chasing orange juice with espresso is a bitter experience. However, when layered with sugar in fluffy cupcake form, these flavors complement each other beautifully.

After much recipe testing, I perfected the amount of orange and espresso in each batter so that their true flavors come through but do not overpower one another. Additionally, these cupcakes are sweet which helps blend the two flavors together in a delicious way!

The espresso batter includes a dash of cocoa powder. This helps to round out the deep, bitter flavor of the espresso and complements the fresh orange zest and juice in the orange batter.

The buttercream frosting is a key component of this dessert, really tying the orange and espresso together in a smooth, creamy finish. I highly recommend taking the time to make the buttercream.

If you MUST skip the process of making the frosting, go for a vanilla store-bought, and mix in the orange zest, orange flavor and instant espresso as directed in the buttercream recipe.

Baked Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes
The end result of the marbling technique before frosting.

Orange and Espresso: Special Ingredients

Medagalia D'Oro Instant Espresso

To truly bring out the orange and espresso flavor in these cupcakes, we enlist the help of some special ingredients.

For the orange batter, use fresh, ripe oranges. You’ll zest and juice these oranges to use in the batter, and reserve some zest for use in the buttercream frosting.

In the espresso cupcakes, I chose to use instant espresso. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand for baking, as you can use it in the plain powdered form to incorporate into other cakes, frosting, ice cream or cookies or use the powder to brew just as much espresso as you need for your recipe. Here’s a link to my favorite brand of instant espresso, pictured below.

Marbled Cupcake Technique

What makes these cupcakes so fun and pretty to look at is the marbling technique. The natural colors of the orange and espresso come through in each batter, so you wind up with one light orange batter and a nice tan batter for the espresso. By making the batters separately and marbling them in the cupcake tin, it results in a gorgeous marbled cupcake!

Cake Mix in Two Separate Bowls. Layer and Swirl with Toothpick!

How you marble and layer the separate cake batters is entirely up to you. There truly is no wrong way to do this. Use small spoons to scoop different layers into the cupcake tin, then use a toothpick to swirl the colors together. For a more hands-on tutorial, check out this video from Wilton. The recipe they use utilizes food coloring, which you don’t need when using this recipe. However, its a good video of how the marbling process actually looks and may help if you are feeling unsure about the process.

Orange Espresso cupcakes

Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes

These marbled cupcakes are sure to impress! To keep this recipe as streamlined as possible, I've laid out step-by-step instructions. You'll be making the espresso and orange batters separately, then marbling them together in the cupcake molds. Lastly, while the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream (if desired, or use store bought).
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Clean bowls
  • Coffee mug
  • Zester
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Cupcake tin
  • Cupcake liners
  • Two small spoons
  • Stand or hand mixer for the buttercream frosting

Ingredients
  

Espresso Batter

  • ¼ cup water with 2 teaspoons espresso
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp instant espresso ¾
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB canola or grapeseed oil

Orange Batter

  • 1 tsp orange emulsion
  • tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB canola or grapeseed oil

Orange Espresso Buttercream

  • cup unsalted, softened butter
  • cup + 1 TB powdered sugar
  • 2 TB heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp orange emulsion

Instructions
 

Espresso Cake Batter

  • Stir 2 teaspoons instant espresso into warm water until fully dissolved. Set aside.
  • In a clean bowl, sift flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add in the salt and sugar and ½ teaspoon instant espresso. Whisk gently to combine.
  • In a different clean bowl, add the egg, oil, vanilla and espresso. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Set aside until ready to use. If you prefer, you can pop this bowl into the fridge while you prepare the orange cake batter.

Orange Cake Batter

  • Zest two oranges into a small bowl, avoiding the white pith. In a separate small bowl or cup, juice both oranges.
  • In a clean bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk gently to combine.
  • In a separate clean bowl, add the egg, oil, vanilla, orange juice, orange zest and orange emulsion. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk well to combine.

Marbling the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Using paper or silicone liners, line one full-size cupcake pan.
  • Using two small spoons, scoop a bit of orange batter into the bottom of the cupcake tins, then add some espresso, alternating however you'd like. This is the fun part! Get creative and layer however you'd like. Stop filling the cups when it reaches halfway.
  • Using a toothpick, swirl the batters together in fun and interesting patterns. There's really no wrong way to do this, so have fun with it and experiment freely.
  • Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Prepare the Buttercream

  • Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter until it is soft and fluffy about 5-7 minutes. Using room temperature butter will help speed up this process.
  • Incorporate powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, waiting until fully combined before adding more.
  • Once all the powdered sugar is mixed in, add the salt and vanilla extract. At this point, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is fully combined.
  • Pour the whipping cream in a slow, steady stream while beating the buttercream.
  • If you prefer your buttercream to be plain vanilla flavor, you can skip this step. To get the full orange espresso flavor, add the espresso powder, orange zest and orange emulsions, mixing until fully combined.
  • If you don't have a piping bag, you can cut one corner off a Ziploc bag and use it to pipe, or simply spread the frosting onto the cupcakes with a butter knife.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled fully, frost your cupcakes however you'd like. Incorporate some food dye into the buttercream for an extra burst of color!
Keyword espresso cupcakes, marbled cupcakes, orange cupcakes, orange espresso cupcakes

Have you tried this recipe? Curious about the flavor combination? Let me know in the comments below!

Decadent Peach Buckle | Baking

A delicious peach buckle with a hint of cinnamon. Meet your new go-to summer dessert.

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Buckle or Cobbler?

A buckle is similar to a cobbler, but instead of biscuit dough, a buckle uses a cake-like batter. Classic buckles include a crumbly topping, but to keep things simple, I decided to omit it from this recipe.

To learn more about the difference between a buckle and a cobbler, check this out.

Everyone has their own technique for a buckle, and this recipe uses the cake first, peaches second method.

Closeup of peach cobbler
Simply gorgeous.

Ultimate Layering

I use an easy buttery batter, adapted from this recipe. The batter is poured in first, then skinned peaches tossed in brown sugar go on top.

This way, as the buckle bakes, the batter rises up around the peaches, soaking up all that delicious peach juice and making for the best, sturdiest slice. Serve with some vanilla bean ice cream to cool off the warm summer nights.

I buy my peaches (and a myriad of other stone fruit and berries) from the Okui Fruit Stand in Grover Beach.

I may be biased, but something about Okui fruit just stands out above the rest. That being said, the peaches I used in this recipe were huge, bigger than I could hold in one hand, and may be larger than the peaches you find in your local supermarket.

For this recipe, the bigger the better! If you can only find medium sized peaches, adjust the blanching time when you boil the peaches to peel them.

Decadent Peach Buckle

Cake batter and fresh peaches come together in this easy summer dessert!
Cake batter is laid in the baking dish first, then the sugary peaches on top. As the buckle bakes, the batter rises up around the peaches, soaking up all that delicious peach juice and making for the best, sturdiest slice. Serve with some vanilla bean ice cream to cool off the warm summer nights.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 buckle

Ingredients
  

For the filling:

  • 4-5 large peaches, about 4½ cups peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated or turbinado sugar for sprinkling

For the batter:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup milk (almond milk works great)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

Skin the peaches

  • Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Gently rinse the peaches and score an X on the bottom of each peach with a paring knife.
  • Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the peaches in and cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes, depending on the size of your peaches. Larger peaches will take longer than smaller peaches.
  • Remove from boiling water and place in a glass bowl in the sink. Run cool water over the peaches.
  • When they are cool to the touch, peel the skin off starting at the X mark. If ready, the peach skin should come right off, detaching from the peach evenly and easily. If the skin seems stuck, try boiling again for another minute.
  • Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. Cut into quarters, then slice the quarters in half. This should give you sixteen peach cubes per peach.
  • Place all sliced peaches in a large bowl and set aside.

Prep the filling.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • To the bowl with the sliced peaches, add ½ cup brown sugar. Stir to combine. Set aside while you prep the batter.

Prepare the batter.

  • Melt the butter using a microwave safe bowl in the microwave, using 15-30 second intervals to ensure the butter does not spill over. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can use a toaster oven or melt it in a small pot on the stove.)
  • In a clean bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Allow the butter to cool to the touch, so that it is still liquid but not too hot.
  • Once the butter is cool, add it to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the milk. Stir to incorporate well. Set aside.

Bake the buckle.

  • Grease a 9×13” baking pan
  • Pour the prepared batter into the pan, and smooth out to cover evenly.
  • Add the peaches on top of the batter. If your peaches are extra juicy, use a slotted spoon to scoop the peaches into the pan. This way, you will retain some of the juice but don’t have to use all of it.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and the batter in the middle of the cobbler is no longer runny.
  • Allow the buckle to cool before serving. This gives the batter time to soak up any juices left behind by the peaches in the baking process, making for an extra tasty buckle!
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream and a bit of whipped cream. Enjoy!
Keyword easy dessert recipe, peach buckle, peach dessert, summer dessert recipe

Ultimate Banana Bread | Baking

A light, fluffy version of classic dense banana bread. Add chocolate chips for a luscious, cake-like dessert.

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banana bread

Golden brown, light & fluffy

This recipe is an adaptation of the Banana Loaf recipe in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I’ve made a few minor adjustments, converting the self-raising flour to accommodate all-purpose flour instead. I’ve yet to come across self-raising flour on the supermarket shelves, and this bread comes out as cakey and light by making your own.

You’ll notice your bread looks dark golden on the outside. That’s good! This recipe comes out light, fluffy and cakey on the inside, unlike any other banana bread I’ve tried before. In fact, that’s why I’m sharing it — this is my go-to recipe and its the only one you’ll ever need!

I tend to add a couple of generous handfuls of chocolate chips to the batter before pouring it into the pan. It makes for a great dessert, or toast a slice with some butter for a scrumptious breakfast.

banana bread
Golden brown on the outside. Light and fluffy on the inside.

Butter (and) Oil

Mary Berry’s original recipe calls for 4 oz of softened butter. I use half butter and half canola (vegetable) oil because I prefer the fluffier texture you get from using some oil alongside the butter. Make sure your butter is about room temperature, this will ensure it blends easily in with the rest of the ingredients. Melting the butter to a complete liquid state may affect the texture of the cake negatively.

By Volume or by Weight

I make this recipe by weight, but have included volume measurements as well if you don’t have a kitchen scale (though I recommend it!).

banana bread with chocolate chips
Chocolate Chips make everything better!

Ultimate Banana Bread

Light, fluffy, cakey version of the classic dense banana bread. Add chocolate chips for some extra enjoyment!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz softened butter
  • 2 oz canola oil
  • 6 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a loaf tin with parchment.
  • Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat with a stand or hand mixer for about two minutes, until well-blended. Mix in ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  • Bake in the oven for about one hour, until well-risen and golden brown. a fine skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Leave the tin to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack before slicing and serving.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Roasted Pumpkin Curry Soup | Recipe

Take a break from pumpkin pie with this savory, creamy and a little spicy Pumpkin Curry Soup!

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Pumpkin + Curry = A great combination

This dish was inspired by one of my favorite Thai dishes, Pumpkin Curry, which uses a Kabocha Squash in a smooth and spicy curry. Here, I’ve borrowed the flavor profile and used a Baking Pumpkin instead, small and readily available this time of year.

I love Crock Pot soups, and this is one of them! The only prep required is dicing the vegetables and roasting the pumpkin.

I followed this roast pumpkin recipe. Save the seeds and roast them later for a salty, crunchy topping!

Pureed Soups — Color Matters

Feel free to adapt as needed, replacing vegetables with your favorite. One thing I have learned making pureed soups over the years, (more often than not without a recipe) — choose vegetables with a similar color palette. Here, I used orange, red and white vegetables. The result was a beautiful bright orange soup that was appealing to the eye and the stomach.

A quick cautionary tale: In past attempts, I’ve combined green vegetables (like kale and spinach) in with carrots, peppers, other bright orange and red toned vegetables. This, as color theory teaches, results in an extremely unappetizing brown color. The soup may taste good, but you’ll have to trick your eyes when you eat it. My advice: choose a color palette — either orange & red or greens — and stick to it!

To Roast or not to Roast — that is the question

This recipe calls for pre-roasting the pumpkin. Now, if you simply peel and dice the pumpkin (removing seeds), you can throw it in the slow cooker with the other ingredients and cook as directed. However, if you have the time I strongly suggest roasting the pumpkin first.

Why roast? Roasting the pumpkin in the oven brings out more flavor, caramelizing the sugars in the pumpkin and providing a deeper flavor profile. It’s a simple way to add depth of flavor to your soup without too much extra effort.

To take this entire recipe to the next level, you could also roast the onion, bell peppers and sweet potato before adding it all to the crockpot. Again, customize it depending on how much time you’d like to spend on the recipe.

Sweet Potato and Roasted Pumpkin Curry Soup

Lauren Harvey
Indulge in all the fall flavors with this brightly colored and richly flavored fall slow cooker soup.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • Slow cooker (Crockpot or Instant Pot)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small baking pumpkin
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 orange bell peppers, sliced and deseeded
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 red bell peppers or 4-5 sweet red shishito peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 TB Thai red curry paste or 2 TB if you like spice.
  • 2 tsp ground dried ginger
  • 2 tsp ground dried turmeric
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • 12 oz coconut milk (1 small can)
  • 12 oz vegetable broth adding more as needed to reach desired thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • OPTIONAL: Roast the pumpkin.
    Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut the pumpkin in half, using caution. Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin.
    Place pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Rub the flesh of the pumpkin with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
    Bake about 30-40 minutes, until fork tender.
    Once pumpkin is tender, let cool until it's safe to handle. Scrape the flesh away from the skin and add flesh to crockpot.
  • Add the onion, peppers, carrots, garlic and sweet potato to the crockpot with the pumpkin. Stir in ½ can of coconut milk and the one can of vegetable broth. Add in curry paste and all seasonings.
    You should have enough liquid (coconut milk and broth) to cover the vegetables. If not, add more until vegetables are covered.
  • Cook in the slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours.
    After cooking, check to ensure all vegetables are tender by piercing them with a fork. If not tender, cook another 30 minutes.
  • Puree using an immersion blender until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular large blender.
  • Taste the soup. Add salt and pepper if needed. Add liquid as needed to achieve desired thickness.
  • Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of good olive oil, pomegranate seeds and some fresh cracked pepper.
Keyword Fall Soup Recipe, Pumpkin, Slow Cooker Recipe

Made this recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

Berry Stone Fruit Crisp | Baking

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Crisp, Crumble, Cobbler: What’s the Difference?

For the answer to this question, I consulted the experts over at Farmers Almanac. Turns out I’d been calling my crisp a crumble all this time!

The main difference: Cobbler uses a pie crust or dropped biscuit dough on top of the fruit, while a crisp use a streusel topping, typically some combination of oats, flour, butter and sugar. Crumbles are similar to crisps, minus the oats in the topping. Now you know!

close-up of a berry crisp
While it’s not the prettiest dessert, it’s no doubt one of the tastiest.

A Dessert for Any Fruit

This on-the-fly fruit crisp is my go-to when I need dessert STAT. If using berries, you can throw this crumble together in 10 minutes flat. Bring it to a potluck, or let it bake while dinner is cooking! It’s a foolproof recipe that relies heavily on ingredients already in your pantry. No mixer required!

This crisp is also a great way to use up fruit that is right on the edge of turning bad. Even berries or stone fruit that are a little too soft to eat cook up nicely in the crisp.

I’ve made this crisp with various combinations of blueberries, apricots, strawberries and blackberries. I even tried it with only strawberries (super delicious). The point being, as long as your measurements are the same as the recipe, it will be great!

Choose your favorite combination of berries and/or stone fruits. Go with what’s in season, or what looks best at the market. That’s the true secret to a good crisp!

Bring It All Together

No one wants a crisp that’s turned to juice. This recipe requires quite a bit of corn starch, which helps to bind all the juices together as they cook out of the fruit.

Lemon juice & zest provide a contrast in flavor, and also help to draw out those juices! The topping crisps up nicely and also absorbs some moisture, resulting in a perfectly sweet, tart, crunchy, jammy crumble every time.

secondary close-up of a berry crisp
Sweet, jammy, with just a hint of lemon — perfection!

Berry Stone Fruit Crisp

Delicious, simple, comes together quick. This dessert checks all the boxes! Feel free to substitute in whatever fruit you have on hand — just stay away from citrus.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

For the Filling

  • 2 lb fruit Fresh strawberries, blackberries, blueberries; stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, apples; whatever fruit you'd like!
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup corn starch This amount is appropriate for very juicy berries and fruit. If your fruit is not as juicy, you may not need as much, but it won't hurt to add it anyways.
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice Substitute: 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon About 1 teaspoon

For the Topping

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter Equivalent to one stick

Instructions
 

  • Wash the fruit. If needed, trim and slice. The fruit will cook down in the oven, but bite-sized pieces are recommended.
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Pull butter out of the fridge and let come to room temperature on the counter while preparing the rest of the crumble.
  • Using an 8"x8" baking dish, add the fruit. Measure vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest directly into the baking dish with fruit. Stir to combine.
  • In a clean bowl, add sugar, corn starch, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour sugar and corn starch mixture over the fruit in the baking dish and mix well. You can use a spatula but I prefer to use my hands. Set aside.
  • Cut the softened butter into small, manageable chunks using a knife or bench knife. Place in a clean bowl. Add in the flour, oats, and brown sugar. Mix to combine, coating the butter with the dry ingredients and breaking it down into pea-sized pieces. You can use a pastry cutter to do this, which works best. Alternatively, try a hand-held potato masher or just your hands.
  • Sprinkled the topping evenly onto the fruit in the baking dish.
  • Bake about 45-55 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and sticky and the topping is golden brown.
  • Let the crisp stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to cool and thicken thanks to the corn starch. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Keyword berry dessert, dessert in under 30 minutes, easy baking recipe, easy dessert, easy dessert recipe, fruit crisp, stone fruit dessert

Enjoy!

Sweet Peach Cornmeal Cake – Bolo de Fubá | Baking

It’s peak peach season! Optimal time to make this ultra-moist sweet peach cake. Ripe fresh peaches are quickly blanched, skinned, then sautéed in brown butter and sugar. A whole peach is chopped and folded into the batter, for double peach delight!

There’s a secret ingredient in this cake. Don’t be afraid!

I discovered a traditional Brazilian treat, cornmeal cake, a sweet cake often served with coffee. That is the base of this peach cake, loosely adapted from this recipe here. The cornmeal in the cake base lends texture and a subtle flavor that contrasts the sweetness of the peaches quite nicely.

The cake is baked, then set to cool in the fridge. While the cake bakes, the peaches are prepared on the stovetop. Once the cake is cool, the peaches are layered on top in whatever pattern or arrangement suits your fancy. The cake adorned with peaches is then set back in the fridge for an hour, where the buttery sugary juices of the peaches slowly seep into the crumb of the cake, creating that delectable moisture and permeating peach flavor.

Use a 9″ round cake pan for this recipe. You can make this for a party with friends, or just for yourself. It keeps extremely well and even holds up when left out on the counter overnight.

For gluten free and dairy free alternatives to the original recipe, scroll down to the recipe notes. A few simple substitutions turn this cake into a gluten and/or dairy free delight!

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs.
  • 1/4 cup canola oil.
  • 1/2 cup milk.
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar.
  • 1/2 cup regular cornmeal (not coarse).
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder.
  • Pinch salt.

For the Peaches:

  • Five ripe peaches, washed clean and patted dry.
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter.
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 325. Line a 9″ round cake pan with parchment on the bottom.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, prep an ice bath in a separate pot by adding lots of ice and cold water. Fill the pot about halfway (enough to cover all five peaches). Score the bottom of the peaches with a small X. Using a pair of tongs, drop the peaches into the boiling water for about one minute.
  3. Remove peaches from boiling water using tongs and add directly into ice bath. Wait about 5 minutes. Remove peaches from water and set out to dry. Remove the skin from one peach by gently pushing away at the X mark. Dice the skinned peach and set aside. Leave the four remaining peaches until a later time.
  4. In a large clean bowl, add all dry ingredients. Sift in baking powder and flour. Whisk together to combine.
  5. In a medium-sized clean bowl, add all wet ingredients. Whisk vigorously by hand to combine. Bubbles should appear on the surface.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk vigorously by hand to combine. Batter should be smooth.
  7. Add the one chopped peach to the batter. Fold in with a spatula.
  8. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake in oven for about 35 minutes. (Baking times vary. Check cake at 30 minute mark. Insert toothpick. If toothpick comes out clean, cake is done. If not, leave in for another five minutes. The top will brown considerably, as there is a large amount of sugar in the cake.)
  9. While the cake is baking, prepare the peaches. Skin the remaining four peaches and slice into about 1/4″ thickness. Keep the slices nice and uniform, as these will be going on top of the cake.
  10. In a large sauté pan, add 4 tablespoons butter. Let melt. When it begins to bubble and emits a nutty aroma, add sugar. Stir to combine. Then add peaches in a single layer.
  11. Let peaches cook for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. They should be soft and caramelized but not falling apart. Remove from pan and set aside (I like to use a pyrex for this). Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  12. When cake is finished cooking in oven, turn out onto cooling rack. Let cool in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and level the cake, using a large serrated bread knife to even out the surface of the cake. The easiest way to do this is to place the knife level, then gently cut across.
  13. Arrange peaches in a circular pattern, working from the outside in. Use the best-looking slices of peach first, then fill in the gaps with the smaller slices. Set in fridge for about an hour. This will allow the juices from the peach to absorb into the cake.
  14. Slice and serve! Whipped cream optional.

RECIPE NOTES

TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Replace flour with Gluten Free AP Flour. Available from Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur or Trader Joe’s! To be safe, ensure the cornmeal package you use says Gluten Free. Cornmeal, by nature, is gluten free, but you never know what may be added in certain products.

TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use unsweetened almond milk in place of the milk in recipe. Use vegan butter in pan with peaches.

Easy Steamed Artichokes Recipe

With this easy-to-follow steam and spices recipe for preparing artichokes, you’ll find these hearty flowers an accessible side dish for any entrée. Though you may find them tasty enough to make them the star!

The Wonder Flower

Though it may be hard to believe when you see them in the grocery store, artichokes are a flower! A big one at that. The stalk of an artichoke flower can grow 3-4 feet in height and measure up to 6 feet in diameter. To grow an artichoke takes time, patience and a steady green thumb.

Artichokes in bloom

Of course, when harvesting artichokes for consumption, you must pick them before they bloom. But they sure are beautiful to see!

Interested in growing your own artichokes? Read more here.

Cooking Artichokes at Home

Artichokes are hearty, succulent, and bursting with richness. Look for bigger artichokes, with more green leaves than purple. This will ensure they are mature enough to be tender, and will yield a big heart (the best part!).

Serve artichokes as a side dish, or the main event. Pair with a sundried tomato orzo and Mediterranean chickpea salad for a fresh summery plant-based dinner!

artichokes ready to enjoy
Artichokes ready to enjoy

How to Steam the Artichokes

Essentially, this is a type of “set it and forget it” recipe. Prep and clean the artichokes, add your spices, and set it on the stove to steam.

Make sure you check on your artichokes periodically to ensure that there is sufficient water left in the pot.

If you forget the artichokes and all of the water evaporates, don’t fear! You’re artichokes will be okay. Add the water back in and continue cooking. Better to learn from my mistakes and keep an eye on it (wink wink).

cooking artichokes
Your pot should look a little like this! The artichokes fit well and the seasoned water covers about half.

Steamed Artichokes – Easy Artichoke Recipe

This is an easy way to make artichokes. Clean 'em and steam 'em! Pair with a decadent butter garlic aioli for the perfect side dish (or main star) of your next dinner.
See recipe notes for vegan substitutions.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2 whole artichokes

Ingredients
  

Steamed Artichokes

  • 2 whole artichokes
  • Artichoke Seasoning Blend 1 teaspoon each of the following: salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, oregano, thyme

Garlic Butter Aioli

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (equivalent to ¼ cup – typically ½ stick in US) substitute vegan butter if desired.
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise Best Foods Mayonnaise recommended, can use any preferred mayo, including olive oil based or vegan.
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions
 

For the Artichokes

  • Trim the stems off the bottom of the artichokes. Cut them flush with the bottom of the artichoke.
    Turn artichoke over. Using kitchen shears, trim the spiny leaves by cutting off the tips only, less than a fingertip in length.
    Create space between the leaves by gently opening them up a bit. You can to this by holding the artichoke right-side up and gently pushing the leaves apart. This helps ensure the artichokes will cook evenly.
  • Choose a pot that is wide enough to fit both artichokes stem side up.
    Add the seasonings to the bottom of the pot. Then, place the artichokes on top. Fill the pot with water until the artichokes are covered about halfway.
    A drizzle of olive oil in the pot is recommended, but not required.
  • Cover the pot with a secure lid. Turn the stove to medium high heat, bringing the water to a boil. Once boiling, turn down a touch to a simmer and set a timer for 45 minutes.
  • Check the artichokes periodically over the 45 minutes. If too much water has evaporated, add more.
    Keep the lid on the pot while cooking, as this is what builds the steam.
  • The artichokes are done when a fork slides through the bottoms easily. To remove from the pot, turn off the heat.
    Slide a slotted spoon underneath the artichokes to help lift and balance while holding the artichoke with a set of tongs. Set on a plate to drain and cool while you prep the aioli.

For the Garlic Butter Aioli

  • Combine garlic, salt and butter. Melt — either in a microwave at short intervals (15 seconds), in a glass bowl in a toaster oven or in a small pot on the stove.
  • In a heatsafe bowl, add mayonaise to the garlic butter mixture. Whisk vigorously to emulsify.
    The butter and mayonaise will come together to create a smooth dip.
  • Enjoy the aioli with artichokes immediately.

Notes

  • MAKE IT VEGAN 
    • Use vegan butter and vegan mayonnaise for the aioli. Alternatively, make artichokes as directed and serve with a garlic olive oil dip.
  • HOW TO EAT IT
    • Once the artichoke is cool enough to handle, turn it so the stem side is down on the plate. 
    • Remove leaves one by one, (the outer leaves are always tougher), dip into the aioli and enjoy. 
    • Once you’ve made it to the middle of the artichoke, the leaves become very soft. To access the heart, remove all excess leaves, including the smaller ones that are often purple in color. Beneath the leaves you’ll find a layer of spiky hair-like area. Remove using a spoon or knife. Beneath it is the heart!
    • Caution: Be sure to remove all the hairy spikes and do not ingest. They can cause throat irritation and are a choking hazard.
Keyword artichoke, easy artichoke, garlic aioli, how to cook an artichoke, how to cook eartichoke easy, steamed artichokes

Pasta with Kale and Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) | Recipe

Light and refreshing, Chickpea & Kale Pasta contains no dairy OR tomato sauce (only a dab or two of tomato paste). Olive oil and seasonings allow the pan-fried chickpeas and kale to shine in this dish.

The Bean with Two Names

a bag of chickpeas aka garbanzo beans

Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) contain a plethora of nutritional benefits. In one cup (200 grams) of chickpeas you’ll get:

  • Protein – 39 grams (78% Daily Value)
  • Dietary Fiber – 35 grams (140% Daily Value)
  • Magnesium – 57% Daily Value
  • Vitamin B-6 – 55% Daily Value
  • Iron – 69% Daily Value

Chickpeas are particularly desirable in that they contain carbohydrates, protein and fiber — which means they actually fill you up while giving your body a boost of nutrients.

Such an impressive, versatile bean seems worthy of two names. Garbanzo comes from the Spanish name for the bean; while chickpea has Latin roots in the word “cicer.”

More on chickpeas here.

Kale the Leafy Green Giant

Kale is often associated as being a “superfood,” simply meaning it contains a slew of nutrients and vitamins essential to our diets. One cup (67 grams) of chopped kale packs quite the punch:

A bundle of kale.
  • Vitamin A – 206% Daily Value
  • Vitamin C – 134% Daily Value
  • Vitamin K – 684% Daily Value
  • Magnese – 26% Daily Value

Previous iterations of kale blended in a smoothie or served as a salad may have deterred you from enjoying this leafy green powerhouse. Fortunately, this recipe serves the kale up sauteed in spices, which helps to break down its fibrous tough texture and allows it to absorb the flavors of the dish.

If this pasta recipe isn’t enough to convince you kale is not the enemy, read up on the full benefits of kale here.

Kale and Chickpea pasta in the pan

One Pot Pasta — The Right Way

This Chickpea & Kale pasta is nearly a one pot meal. Sauté the kale and chickpeas in a cast iron skillet (or stainless steel pan) to cultivate the flavors and begin the simple sauce. The pasta boils in a separate pot, and is added directly to the skillet with the vegetables.

The dish comes together easily and makes enough to serve 2 people as a main course. I recommend serving with a side of mixed greens for a complete meal!

Though dairy-free, this pasta does not lack flavor. Nutritional Yeast (parmesan cheese can be used as a dairy-ful substitute) lends its cheesy flavor and chickpeas their creamy texture balanced by the brightness of lemon zest and the fresh green of kale.

INGREDIENTS

Kale and Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Pasta

A delicious one-pan pasta that makes for a quick vegetarian weeknight meal packed with essential vitamins and nutrients.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small can (15 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • cups dried pasta shells, bowties or elbows
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more as needed.
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast substitute ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups tightly packed kale, trimmed and de-ribbed
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed.
  • Zest of one small lemon.

Instructions
 

  • Peel and chop the garlic. Wash and derib the kale and roughly chop. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Zest the lemon. Set aside all ingredients until ready to use.
  • Fill a pot with water for the paste. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Have your pasta ready to add to the water once it boils. While waiting for the water to boil, proceed with the steps below. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron, but stainless steel also works) over medium heat coat with olive oil. Add rosemary. Sauté for 3 minutes, then add tomato paste and chopped garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add chickpeas to the pan, along with salt, pepper, kale, capers, optional hot sauce and ¼ cup water. Lower heat and cover, allowing to simmer for 10 minutes and stirring occassionally. The kale should wilt and get brighter in color.
  • Add pasta to the pan with kale and chickpeas. Sprinkle Nutritional Yeast, or parmesan cheese, depending on your preference. Add lemon zest. Drizzle with olive oil and mix until well-combined.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, if desired.

Notes

*KALE: I used Kale for Cooking from Trader Joe’s. I like using this because it’s prechopped and prepackaged. It requires minimal effort, just some picking out of larger stems. However, you are welcome to use any kale you choose, just don’t forget to wash and derib before adding to recipe. 
*TOMATO PASTE: You definitely won’t use an entire can of tomato paste in this recipe. I recommend buying the tomato paste that comes in a tube, since it’s easier to store and use as needed. Or, use this simple hack: Empty out an ice cube tray. Scoop tomato paste into ice cube tray. Freeze overnight. Break tomato paste out of ice cube tray and store in a plastic bag in the freezer until ready to use. You’ll never waste your tomato paste again!
Keyword chickpeas, dairy free pasta, easy pasta recipe, easy weeknight dinner, garbanzo beans, kale, pasta recipe, vegetarian pasta