Tag Archives: Corn

Cauliflower “fried rice”

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Some people find it hard to believe that I don’t like rice. I just think it’s boring and a total waste of my time calories. If I’m gonna eat empty calories, it’s gonna be cake and not rice, ya hear? So when I started seeing recipes for cauliflower “fried rice” I was all over it. Genius: fried rice with nutrients!

Cauliflower “fried rice”, makes about 3 servings

-2 T sesame oil
-1 small onion
-1 cup sliced mushrooms
-1 large head cauliflower
-1 knob fresh ginger (we’ll grate this to be about 1 T ginger)
-2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
-1 cup frozen kale
-1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (optional, for crunch)
-1/4 cup raw cashews
-salt & pepper
-2 eggs
-2-3 T soy sauce (or aminos to make it gluten-free)

Let’s do this:

Dice your onion.

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Get the oil heating in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion.
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In the meantime, chop the cauliflower florets into roughly bite size pieces.
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Add the cauliflower in batches to the food processor.
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Process for about 10 seconds – until “riced”. You don’t want to process for too long or it will get mushy.
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Empty the riced cauliflower to a large bowl and move to the next batch.
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Once the onions are soft, add the mushrooms.
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Peel your ginger and grate it. I use a microplane.
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Once the mushrooms are soft, add the ginger and stir to combine. Add the cauliflower and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the cauliflower to soften but not get mushy.
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Remove cover and add the frozen vegetables, kale, water chestnuts, and cashews. Stir to warm up the veggies.
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Crack the two eggs in a small bowl and whisk. We need to cook the egg. You have a choice: you can scramble the egg in a separate pan, or you can make a hole in the middle of the veggies and add the eggs like I did. Either way, let the egg cook through and then stir in with the rest of the cauliflower. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine.
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Serve!
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Spicy salmon and sweet potato cakes

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When I’m planning a party, a predictable sequence of events ensues. It goes something like this:

3 weeks until party: “This will be easy; I’ll just do A and call it a day.”
2 weeks until party: “You know what would be cute… A, B, and C. Definitely doing A, B, and C.”
1 week until party: “Ooooh, D and E would be so perfect. There’s really no point in doing A, B and C if I don’t do D and E too… That’s it; I’m doing D and E.”
4 days until party: “Just saw F and G on pinterest. HAVE to do F and G. So cute; I die!”
1 day until party: Huz sees the insanity of A through G unfolding:  “I thought you were just doing A?!” Me: “I know, but I just saw H, and it. is. beyond. I have to do it.”

Well, I’m at it again! This time I’m hosting a brunch, and I’m in the throws of menu planning. Let’s just call this recipe “A”, otherwise known as the beginning of the snowball.

Spicy salmon and sweet potato cakes, makes 12 small cakes

-2 medium sweet potatoes or yams (makes about 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato)
-5 scallions
-2 T cilantro
-2 T butter (I used earth balance)
-2 6 oz cans salmon
-1 jalapeno pepper
-3/4 c frozen corn kernels
-2 eggs
-1 lemon
-2 t cumin
-salt & pepper
-cooking spray

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Let’s do this:
First thing’s first. Ya gotta cook the sweet potatoes. You can microwave them, but I made extra baked potatoes the night before so mine were baked (I usually bake mine for about 35-40 minutes at 375).

If you microwaved your potatoes, then preheat the oven to 350. At this point, I put my butter in a ramekin and stuck it in the oven to soften it. You can also microwave for about 20-30 seconds to soften. Either way, be careful not to burn it!

Chop your onions and cilantro. (remove the butter if you haven’t already – place in on top of the stove to keep it warm!)
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Zest your lemon and dice the jalapeno, removing the seeds.
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Drain the salmon and add to a large bowl.  Add in the scallions, cilantro, and corn.
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Peel the skin off your sweet potato and then mash with a fork.
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Add to the salmon mixture, along with the lemon zest, jalapeno, eggs, and butter. Stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
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Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray if necessary. Divide the mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups.
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Bake for 25-30 minutes.
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I served mine with a small salad; but at the party they will be served with a frittata, yogurt parfaits, fruit salad, cranberry cocktails, coffee, and lots of cookies. Of course.

Happy Holidays!

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Weekend vegetable stew

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For DR-Dad’s birthday, we went a silent retreat. Luckily, he wasn’t offended that I volunteered to spend time with him as long as he didn’t talk. (Kidding!)

We really did go on a silent retreat though. It was only one day, thankfully, because DR-Dad doesn’t exactly have a career as a monk ahead of him. At one point, he ran around the room shouting “I just LOVE these socks!!!” Yep, that happened. At a silent retreat. Anyone who hadn’t grown up with this man might have been embarrassed.

One great thing came out of the retreat though (besides quality time, of course). This stew. It was served at lunch, and the woman who ran the retreat was kind enough to give me the recipe. It is the perfect fall sunday dinner. I’m packing up the leftovers now for lunch.

Weekend Vegetable Stew, adapted from Veggiyana Cookbook

-8 cups vegetable broth
-2 cups water
-1/2 cup pearled barley
-1/2 yellow split peas
-1/4 cup white beans (I used baby lima beans)
-1/2 cup dried mushrooms (I used shitake, but any will work!)
-1 T thyme
-1 t cumin
-1/2 t coriander
-1 t marjoram
-2 t salt, divided
-1 T celery seeds
-1 bay leaf
-3 medium carrots
-1 onion
-2 roma tomatoes
-1 cup frozen corn kernels
-1 cup frozen peas
-6 kale and/or swiss chard leaves (I used a combination)
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1/4 t paprika
-1/2 t pepper

Bulk aisle goodies:
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Dry goods:
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Veggies:
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In a big ol’ pot, add your water and broth, split peas, barley, beans, mushrooms, thyme, cumin, coriander, marjoram, 1 t salt, celery seeds, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for an hour.
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While you wait, slice your carrots and dice the onion and tomato:
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Add the carrots, onion and tomato to the pot. Cover and cook  for another 10 minutes.
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Remove the stems of the kale/chard and tear into pieces.
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Add the corn, peas, kale/chard, pumpkin, paprika and 1 t salt. Cover and cook  for another 10 minutes.
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Serve with some crusty bread! Pray that your dad doesn’t have any more antics up his sleeve.
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Comfort food salad: Pasta, tomato, corn, and avocado salad with vegan creamy garlic dressing

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Some signs you are not woman enough for the TV series you are currently watching:

  1. Counting down episodes in the same manner one counts down miles in a marathon (“16 down, 10 more to go – you can do this!”)
  2. “Ok, let’s get this over with”, said with a hearty neck roll and shoulder shrug, translates to: time to watch the next episode.
  3. Pausing the show regularly to take deep breaths with your head in your hands, and let your heart rate fall out of the heart-attack zone.
  4. Monitoring the time elapsed on the DVD player and breathing a sigh of relief when you realize there are only a few minutes left. What could possibly happen in 5 minutes?
  5. Any neighbor looking in your windows would assume you actually had a good reason to celebrate given the number of high fives exchanged in celebration of reaching the end of an episode without a brain aneurysm.

In case you are wondering, it’s Breaking Bad. And I have a problem in which I internalize the plight of characters.

***Speaking of getting out of your comfort zone, I need to give a huge shout out to my friend and hero Maureen, who recently quit her day job to pursue her passion full-time. Maureen is an amazing Pilates instructor and wellness coach, which all of Chicago now knows since she was on NBC 5 news!!! Check out her segment, and hit a girl up if you are looking to make a change to your health and wellness. Trust me, peeps: girl knows her fitness, and she’s not the kind of person who is going to send you off with a prescription for protein powder and egg whites at every meal. She’s all about holistic health and wellness. Plus, I just love Maureen more than margaritas.****

We’re talking a lot about comfort here, so let me introduce my comfort food salad. Kind of an oxymoron, I know, but I’ll explain. When I worked overseas, on my first day of work a coworker took me to a salad shop where I learned my first Swedish word: pastasallad. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a green salad with pasta on it. Naturally, I ordered this for lunch for the next 4 weeks since it was one of 3 words I knew. Picture me strolling the city streets exclaiming “Hej” (hi), “Tak!” (thank you), and “pastasallad!”. I was popular.

Comfort food salad: Pasta, corn, & tomato salad with vegan creamy garlic dressing, serves 2
-1 head romaine
-1 cup dry pasta (I used shells, but any kind will work)
-1 ear corn
-1 cucumber
-1/2 avocado
-1 cup cherry tomatoes
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Let’s do this:

Start by making your pasta according to the package directions. Once it’s done, let it cool down a bit.

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While pasta is cooking, cut up your other salad toppings. I stand my raw corn on one of the long ends in a bowl and use a knife to remove the kernels (you can also cook the corn if you prefer, but I like the crunch of raw). Cut up your tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and cut the romaine into bite-size pieces.
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When pasta is cooled, add the romaine, then pasta, and remaining ingredients. Top with your favorite dressing – I like a creamy garlic (4th Swedish word learned: vitlok) with this salad.
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Vegan Creamy Garlic Dressing, Adapted from the Chicago Diner recipe found here, makes about 1 1/2 cups
-4 garlic cloves
-1 t olive oil
-salt & pepper to taste
-2 t lemon juice
-1 cup dairy-free milk (I used flax milk, but any unsweetened milk, like soy or almond, will work)
-2/3 cup Vegenaise (any mayo will work, but may not be vegan, if you care)
-2 T fresh parsley
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover your garlic cloves in a 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
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Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until cloves are golden brown.
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Combine the milk and lemon juice and stir. Let sit for about 2 minutes. Milk will get a little lumpy, but that is ok – this makes a vegan “buttermilk”. If you prefer, substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the lemon/milk combination.

When the garlic is done, transfer the milk/lemon juice mixture and the garlic into a blender and process until garlic is smooth. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the Vegenaise, parsley, and more salt & pepper to taste.

Off to bite the last of my nails off – finishing season 4 of Breaking Bad!!!

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Shrimp Tex-Mex Salad with Vegan Creamy Cilantro Dressing

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I’m at it again with the Mexican/Spanish/Latin food. Must be Cinco de Mayo – I just can’t help myself! I think I’m trying to convince myself that it is warm enough here in Chicago to eat this outdoors.

I had this dressing on one of my Pinterest boards for ever, and now that I’ve finally made it, I don’t know what I ever did before! I have seriously been putting it on everything. If you don’t usually make your own salad dressing, give this one a try – sooo much better than bottled, and it only takes a few minutes!

This salad is pretty versatile, so try your own variation. If you don’t like tomatoes, you can be friends with Ruby. Girl ate a receipt yesterday on our walk, but wouldn’t touch a tomato that fell on the ground while I was making this.

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That’s her “It wasn’t organic, ma!” face.

Shrimp Tex-Mex Salad, serves 2, inspired by this recipe
-1 T. olive oil
-1/2 lb. shrimp (I bought cooked shrimp because the little guys were on sale, and it makes preparation a little faster, but raw shrimp will work too!)
-1 T taco seasoning
-1 head romaine
-1/2 avocado
-1 ear corn
-2 cups cherry tomatoes
-2 green onions
-1/4 cup sunflower seeds

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Creamy Cilantro-Lime-Avocado Dressing (inspired by this post, makes about a 1 1/2 cups):
-1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
-1/4 c. lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 c. canola oil
-1/2 cup fresh cilantro
-1/2 avocado
-1/2 t. sea salt

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1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the shrimp. Sprinkle some taco seasoning on the shrimp and stir for about a minute, until coated in seasoning. Remove from heat.
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2. Chop your romaine, tomatoes, avocado, and remove corn kernels from cob.
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3. Make dressing: add all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for about 30 seconds to a minute.

4. Add all salad ingredients to a bowl and serve with dressing!
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Cornbread: Then and Now

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In Mrs. Johnson’s second grade class, we made our own Thanksgiving recipe book.  Each child contributed a recipe that they made up themselves. This is exactly as big of a disaster as you might imagine.

Without further ado, I present my first recipe ever:


Clearly, I was at the head of the class.  Cornbread in 2 minutes and 4 seconds!?! I can hear all of you running to crack your eggs into your muffin tins right now.

On the next page, my BFF Johanna shows her stripes early in her recipe, which calls for a very particular arrangement of the accoutrements:

Unlike most mashed potato recipes, the mashing of the potatoes is the easy part here. The hard part: the precise arrangement of fruits (?!) and vegetables around the potatoes.

We could go on and on (there’s a gravy recipe that calls for chocolate, coffee beans, and dirt), so let’s stop here and improve a little on the cornbread recipe. Of course we can’t possibly improve on the cooking time, so I tried to improve on taste. Pretty sure I succeeded.

Fresh corn, basil, and jalapeno cornbread, adapted from Bon Appetit

-1 1/2 c unsweetened plain almond milk (any kind of milk will do)
-3 T fresh lemon juice (the combination of this and the above is a substitute for buttermilk)
-3 eggs
-1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
-2 c stone ground cornmeal
-1 c flour
-1/2 c sugar
-4 t baking powder
-1 t salt
-1/2 c butter (I used Earth Balance)
-3 ears of corn
-1 jalapeno pepper
cooking spray

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Equipment needed: whisk, large mixing bowl, food processor, spatula or spoon, baking pan (I used a 9″ pie pan)

Let’s do this:

Preparation: remove corn kernels from cob, dice jalapeno pepper, chop up your basil, and cut butter into cubes. Combine the milk and lemon juice, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes until curdled.  Spray your baking pan with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the newly made buttermilk, basil, and eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk.

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Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of your food processor and process until combined (about 10-15 seconds). Add the butter and process again until a coarse meal forms.

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Add corn kernels and process for about 10-15 seconds (some corn kernels will still be visible.

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Empty the contents of the food processor into your mixing bowl with the milk mixture. Stir to combine, then add jalapeno and stir until distributed.

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Bake cornbread until top is golden, about 40 minutes.

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Enjoy with the last of your summer gazpacho. Our house will be seeing this recipe a lot now that football season is coming – hello cornbread and vegetarian chili!!!

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Grilled summer veggie tacos

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Today I did something I’ve always wanted to do.

I had the day off, and I went for a long run on the lake with friends (yes, I made them all get up before they had to go to work and run with me – I’m a great friend like that). When it was over, I was hot and disgusting. So I jumped in the lake. It was glorious.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to jump in the lake during a run, but somehow the opportunity never presented itself. Now, am I past the threshold at which one can bare her midriff in sports bra and shorts and jump in the lake? Most definitely. But I wasn’t about to get my tank top wet too, and the only person watching was an octogenarian who thankfully judged me in silence. Afterwards, I went to Starbucks and ordered a huge iced tea with seaweed in my hair. Even less romantic was the soggy bus ride home. But by then I had snacks so I didn’t care.

When I got home, my dear neighbor promptly told me about the seaweed, because she’s one of those people who is always like “well, I wouldn’t want you walking around like that!”. Which, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate most of the time (e.g. spinach in teeth before a big meeting). But when I’m about to walk in my house, I say just let me go on with my bad self, even if I look like the little mermaid.

Anyway, I think this ridiculous story is a vessel for this recipe, which I polished off the other night. If you have some summer veggies to get rid of, I highly recommend:

Grilled summer veggie tacos, serves 2 with leftovers

Go get:
-2 ears of corn
-cherry tomatoes (I used about a dozen, but that’s because the Huz still hasn’t realized that tomatoes are the best things ever. Not sure what’s taking so long)
-1 bunch slim asparagus
-1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
-corn tortillas
-balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I made my own, see recipe below)
-Olive oil for cooking veggies

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Let’s do this:
Prep the veggies by cutting the corn off the cobs, slicing your tomatoes in half, and trimming the asparagus.

Start up your grill and heat it to medium. Spray the veggies with olive oil and put them in your grill pan (you can also use tin foil if you don’t have a grill pan). Here the veggies are on the grill:

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Once the veggies are cooked and charred a little, remove them from the heat and turn the burners off. Throw your tortillas on the grill to warm while the veggies cool a little.

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Remove the tortillas from the grill and arrange the veggies in the tortillas. Top with goat cheese crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!

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Lazy girl’s balsamic:
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 t maple syrup
-1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.

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Summer Gazpacho

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I’ve talked on the blog before about my love for tomatoes. Well, the CSA gods must have heard my cry, because this week we got a bunch of gorgeous tomatoes.

After shoving a few in my mouth straight from the bag, tomato juice dripping down my chin, I decided I needed a plan for these cuties. Cue the gazpacho recipe. Last time I made this, I ate the entire batch in one sitting. Not that this means very much to any of you, since I have repeatedly demonstrated a lack of restraint when it comes to food. See: tomato juice on chin, pesto, sweet potato hummus, etc.

Gazpacho, adapted from Natalia Rose’s Detox for Women cookbook

Go get:
-about 6 medium tomatoes (we got a bunch of cherry tomatoes, so I just eyeballed it)
-1 c fresh basil leaves
-juice of 1 lemon
-1 t soy sauce
-2 cloves garlic
-2 t Spike (this is a seasoning/salt alternative available at Whole Foods. It’s great but if you can’t find it, no biggie, just add more salt + pepper)
-1 bell pepper
-1 small jicama (just add extra bell pepper & corn if you can find this)
-1 ear corn
-avocado (for garnish)
-Salt & peppa

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Let’s do this:
Chop up your bell pepper and jicama. Remove kernels from corn. Combine in a bowl and set aside.

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Quarter your large tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients to your blender or food processor and blend for about a minute. Add the blender mixture to the bell pepper, jicama and corn and mix well.

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Ideally you have time to chill this for about an hour. If you have no time, or if you have no self restraint (yours truly), serve immediately.

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Weekend BBQ, DR-style

Continuing on with my boycott of the stove, I now present you a weekend BBQ menu. This menu makes for an especially fun and relaxed weekend party since you can a few things in advance and just relax until you are ready to eat. Super easy + tasty = DR style. You’ll have plenty of time to go shopping for a new outfit.

Here’s our menu:
Summer Shandys (Fill a glass with 2/3 Pacifico, 1/3 San Pellegrino Limonata)
Black bean & quinoa burgers
Grilled romaine salad
Grilled peaches & vanilla ice cream

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First thing’s first. I made the burgers in advance and kept them in the fridge for a few hours:

Home-made black bean and quinoa burger,
makes about 6 burgers
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can black beans
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup nuts or seeds (I used pepitas, but you can use sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, whatever your heart desires)
1 ear corn
2 carrots (I had a bunch of little ones from the farmers market)
1 egg
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne (omit if you don’t like your food spicy)
2 cloves garlic
bread or buns
optional toppings: cheese, avocado, pico de gallo

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Let’s do this:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions (mine is 1 cup water to 1/2 cup quinoa). Meanwhile, shuck your corn and roughly chop your carrots.
In your food processor, process the garlic until minced. Then I added the ingredients in the following order, processing about 10-20 seconds after each addition:
-seeds or nuts
-carrots
-mushrooms
-cumin and cayanne
-half of the corn, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, and half of the black beans (save the other halves!)
-egg
-half of the quinoa

Looks like this:
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Now combine the remaining black beans, quinoa, and corn in a bowl, and add the food processor mixture:
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Form patties and add breadcrumbs as necessary. I ended up adding the entire 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs since the burgers were a little wet. To ensure the burgers didn’t fall apart I grilled them on our grill pan for about 6-7 minutes per side.
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Toast your bread/buns and serve with cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo!

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Grilled Romaine Salad, serves 4
1 large head romaine lettuce
dressing (I poached this one from Cooking Light and made it in advance)

Let’s do this:
Cut the romaine in half lengthwise:
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Spray or brush both sides with olive oil and place cut side down on the grill for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from grill and cut each half again lengthwise. Serve with dressing.

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Grilled peaches & ice cream dessert, serves 4
4 large peaches
Vanilla ice cream (I used So Delicous Coconut Milk ice cream. If you haven’t tried this, its a must!)

Let’s do this:
Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits.
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Lay them cut side down on a hot grill for about 3-4 minutes. Flip them over and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream:
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Summer Salads: Sweet potato & black bean dinner salad

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As soon as the temperature gets over 80 degrees, I develop a strong aversion for the stove. Last summer I really got into grilling. I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I check the grill with the kind of constant back-and-forth typically reserved for a new mom checking in on her one week old baby to make sure its still breathing. The huz tells me this is breaking rule #1 of being a grillmaster. So I won’t quit my day job just yet.

Anyway, I have become something of a grilled veggie salad connoisseur, and this is one of my standbys for a festive summery dinner.

Sweet potato & black bean summer salad, serves 2

Go get:
-Lettuce (romaine or spinach works well)
-Sweet potato, diced (note, they were all out of sweet potatoes at trader joe’s so I bought these packaged ones and they worked well)
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-2 ears of corn
-1 can black beans
-1 mango
-1/2 avocado
-olive oil
-1 t cumin
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Let’s do this:
Toss the sweet potato in about a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of cumin. Throw ‘em on the grill using a grill pan (If you don’t have one, then you can roast them too. But grill pans are super fun, you should get one. Mine is from Williams Sonoma).
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Meanwhile, cut the kernels off the corn, rinse your black beans, and cut up mango and avocado. Find someone who likes empty corn cobs:
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When the sweet potatoes are nearly cooked through (about 8 mins), you can add in your black beans and corn:
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Grill these together for 3-5 minutes, tossing them occasionally. Top your lettuce with the mango, avocado, black beans, corn, and sweet potato and enjoy!
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This salad is great with a citrus vinaigrette. If you don’t have one, you can make lazy girl’s citrus vinaigrette:
1 T olive oil
1 T vinegar (I had an orange champagne vinegar from Trader Joe’s)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 t honey
dash salt
dash pepper

Combine all of these in a jar and shake!
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Hey, that looks like a pee sample. It’s not, I swear.

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