Broccoli Pesto with Cavatappi Pasta

If you're looking for a simple way to add more vegetables into your (or your kids'!) diet, broccoli pesto makes it easy! Simple swap out the traditional basil with 'riced' broccoli. It's easy and delicious!

Broccoli pesto is a simple way to add more vegetables into your (or your kids') diet! Simply swap out traditional basil with 'riced' broccoli. Here's how.
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Broccoli Pesto with Cavatappi Pasta
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 small head of broccoli stem removed and chopped into florets
  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup ground parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup olive oil plus more
  • 2-3 cups cooked cavatappi pasta
Instructions
method:
  1. Add the broccoli florets to a large food processor (6-8 quart) fitted with an "S" blade. Pulse 5-6 times, scraping the sides of the bowl down as necessary. Turn the food processor to high and blend the broccoli. the broccoli will be ready when there are no more lumps and it has a sandy, "rice"-like appearance.
  2. Add the pine nuts, parmesan cheese, salt, garlic, and 1/2 cup olive oil to the food processor.
  3. Pulse again, 3-4 times, and the scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue pulsing 3-4 times, then scraping, until the pesto has come together to form a rough paste.
  4. Turn the food processor to high and pour in the remaining oil through the feeder tube. Pause to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  5. If the pesto is still 'dry' looking and not a smooth, oiled paste, add another 1/4 cup of olive oil and blend again, pausing to scrape the sides after a minute or so. Continue adding oil 1/4 cup at a time and blending until the pesto is a cohesive, smooth paste.
  6. Fold 1 cup of pesto into the cooked pasta and serve. Freeze any remaining pesto (see notes)
Recipe Notes

This pesto makes about 2 cups, which is more than you'll usually need as a simple side. I recommend using 1 cup to fold into 2-3 cups cooked pasta, and freezing the rest. It will last in the freezer for up to 6 months if stored in a tightly covered container or freezer safe ziplock bag, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Feel free to swap out the cavatappi for any other type of pasta! We like this pesto on penne as well.

Loaded Sheet Pan Cauliflower Nachos

Using cauliflower as a meat substitute works SO well, I even surprised myself! It adds a nutty, flavorful depth that it will knock your socks off.Using cauliflower as a meat substitute works SO well, I even surprised myself! It adds a nutty, flavorful depth that it will knock your socks off.

Using cauliflower as a meat substitute works SO well, I even surprised myself! It adds a nutty, flavorful depth that it will knock your socks off.

Using cauliflower here as a meat substitute in these loaded sheet pan cauliflower nachos works SO well, I even surprised myself, to be honest.

I’m not sure that up until this point I had ever even thought nachos could be vegetarian, let alone shine; but these loaded sheet pan cauliflower nachos completely proved me wrong.

Healthy, low-carb, super easy loaded cauliflower nachos recipe! Use cauliflower as a meat substitute on these simple vegetarian nachos; it's so good, I even surprised myself!

Cauliflower is such a ‘hip’ vegetable these days, it almost seems overdone to use it on something as simple as a nacho. But then again – add anything to crispy, salty nachos, topped with some sour cream, cilantro, corn, Valentina hot sauce (my favorite hot sauce for nachos and all things Mexican-flavored, hands down), and it’s pretty hard to not make something freaking delicious.

The roasted cauliflower adds such a nutty, flavorful depth that it will knock your socks off. I recommend slicing the florets in wider, thinner strips as opposed to chunks; they will have more surface area to caramelize, which ups that great flavor exponentially.

Healthy, low-carb, super easy loaded cauliflower nachos recipe! Use cauliflower as a meat substitute on these simple vegetarian nachos; it's so good, I even surprised myself!

You can roast a whole head beforehand and then slice, but that takes a lot longer – up to an hour for the cauliflower to cook through. If you’re in a hurry, chopping and then roasting is key.

These loaded sheet pan cauliflower nachos just confirm my love of all things sheet pan dinner. Maybe I’m starting to become obsessed with the bauty of throwing ingredients on a rimmed sheet pan (<those are my fave brand, btw) and popping it in the oven. Maybe I’m already obsessed.

I mean, really: is there any type of easier dinner than a sheet pan meal? They’re fully customizable, a great way to use up leftovers, and (often) ready in about 20 minutes. Pretty much my favorite type of meal.

Pair sheet pan meals with loaded nachos, and you just get something… special. Like, loaded sheet pan nachos topped with roasted cauliflower. It’s practically perfect.

Healthy, low-carb, super easy loaded cauliflower nachos recipe! Use cauliflower as a meat substitute on these simple vegetarian nachos; it's so good, I even surprised myself!

Top these sheet pan nachos with any extra veggies you have lying around!

I love fresh corn and radish with avocado and hot sauce, but you can add zucchini, tomatoes, even wilted spinach.

I like to turn to sheet pan nachos on nights when I can’t think of something more creative to cook and have extra veggies that need to be used up. Have fun!

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Loaded Sheet Pan Cauliflower Nachos
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
for nachos:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 handfuls tortilla chips
  • 6-8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes , halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn
for garnish:
  • 2 radish , sliced
  • 1/2 avocado , sliced
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3-4 tablespoons sour cream
  • hot sauce , to taste
  • 1 lime , quartered
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450*F.
  2. Remove the core from the head of cauliflower, then roughly slice into thin florets.
  3. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil, tossing to coat evenly with the oil.
  4. Roast the cauliflower for 15-20 minutes or until browned and soft, and gives away easily when pricked with a knife or fork.
  5. While the cauliflower is roasting, line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Spread the tortilla chips evenly on the pan.
  6. Once the cauliflower is roasted, turn into a bowl and then scatter evenly on top of the tortilla chips.
  7. Add the cheese, then the tomatoes and fresh corn.
  8. Bake the nachos for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is bubbly.
  9. Remove and garnish with sliced radish, sliced avocados, fresh cilantro, and sour cream. Add hot sauce to taste and fresh lime juice.

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Notice: there are affiliate links in this post, which means I’ll get a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.

Veggie Skillet Chili

A quick and simple skillet chili, loaded with vegetables! Everything cooks faster in a skillet, and the recipe is customizable for an easy weeknight meal.

This quick and simple skillet chili is loaded with vegetables! It’s super customizable as well; you can add ground beef, if you’d like, or punch up the flavor with beer added in for the stock. Play around with your vegetables, add in extra seasonings; this is a great recipe to use up what you’ve got in your kitchen and still get on the table in time for a weeknight meal. 

Making this skillet chili in a skillet or pan means there’s more surface area to cook on; therefore the vegetables cook faster, meaning the chili comes together quickly and on your table much faster than simmering a pot on the stove for a few hours.

A quick and simple skillet chili, loaded with vegetables! Everything cooks faster in a skillet, and the recipe is customizable for an easy weeknight meal.

The real base of this skillet chili is in the sweet potatoes and black beans, which add heft to the chili. That way, you can easily go meat-free without needing meat to do any of the heavy lifting flavor-wise. I used fresh corn, but feel free to sub in frozen corn if that’s all you have on hand. Adding corn brings little pops of sweetness to this skillet chili that really complements the black beans.  

If you want to add beer to this chili, then swap it out in equal parts to the stock. After you add it to the skillet chili, the alcohol will cook off over the course of cooking, but you may want to give it whift just to make sure! I would recommend using something dark and heavy, like a brown ale. 

A quick and simple skillet chili, loaded with vegetables! Everything cooks faster in a skillet, and the recipe is customizable for an easy weeknight meal.
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Veggie Skillet Chili

This skillet chili is cooked in a skillet instead of simmering for a few hours in a pot. It comes together quickly, making it a perfect weeknight dish! It's also super customizable - you can add in ground beef if you're not in a vegetarian mood, and swap some of the stock for a dark beer to punch up the flavor. If you want to add ground beef, add it in after Step 4, after the pan has been deglazed. Brown the bef, crumbling it as it cooks, then proceed to Step 5. 

Serve with your favorite garnishes, like sour cream, corn chips, hot sauce, and cheese!

Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 oz peeled sweet potatoes about 1 cup
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced about 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatillo about 8-10 small
  • 16 oz vegetable or beef stock/broth
  • 15.5 oz cooked canned black beans or 1 heaping cup
  • 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chiptole powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
garnish suggestions
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • hot sauce
  • corn chips
  • diced avocado
Instructions
  1. Begin by heating the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet, until shimmering

  2. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions and cook until the onions are cooked through and the potatoes and carrots have started to soften, about 5-8 minutes. 

  3. Add the garlic, bell peppers and diced tomatillos and stir to combine, cooking until the garlic has whitened and become fragrant, about 1-3 minutes.  

  4. Deglaze the pan with the stock, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 

  5. Add the black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, paprika, chipotle powder, salt and cumin, then stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the vegetables have cooked through and softened. Stir occasionally.  

  6. Remove chili from heat and serve hot with garnishes. 

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Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Tahini-Miso Dressing

This Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Tahini-Miso Dressing is packed full of nutty, tart, umami flavor! the best part? It comes together in just 15 minutes.

This Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Tahini-Miso Dressing is packed full of nutty, tart, umami-full flavor! Bonus? It comes together in under 15 minutes!

I initially made roasted eggplant with creamy tahini-miso dressing and it was perfection (cue angels singing, it is that delicious). But then I introduced some leftover dressing to a bowl of uninspiring brussels sprouts in the fridge and suddenly, true love was born. Call it a meet-cute of vegetables and umami. 

Roasting eggplant on its own turns it from a slightly bitter, tough veggies into something that is velvety and sweet. But, when paired with this creamy tahini-miso dressing, roasted eggplant really sings. 

The creamy dressing is a blend of salty umami flavors from the miso, nuttiness from the tahini paste, a touch of tart from a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and just enough light, sugary sweetness.

This Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Tahini-Miso Dressing is packed full of nutty, tart, umami flavor! the best part? It comes together in just 15 minutes.

 

Roasted eggplant the right way, in two parts

To really get a good depth of flavor into the roasted eggplant before it’s brushed with that utterly creamy tahini-miso dressing, it’s most important to make the roasted eggplant in two parts; first, just a sprinkle of salt and a light addition of the dressing, which will help bring out the creamy texture of roasted eggplant while leaving the flavor of the dressing light. Then, brush on the rest of the tahini-miso dressing and roast the eggplant little more, which deepens the flavor of each and brings the whole dish together. If you wished, you could also double the creamy tahini-miso dressing, and then drizzle it cold on the hot eggplant after the dish is out of the oven, or just, you know, drink it straight with a straw, but that’s entirely up to you.

When shopping for eggplant, look for the small ones. Not only will a smaller eggplant cook faster than a large one, but the sweet, roasted flavor is easier to come by than the big ones, which sometimes take a while longer in the oven to lose the bitterness.

The final result? Roasted eggplant with creamy tahini-miso dressing that’s smooth, velvety, sweet and tart. It’s practically perfect in every way.

 

This Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Tahini-Miso Dressing is packed full of nutty, tart, umami flavor! the best part? It comes together in just 15 minutes.
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Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Tahini-Miso Dressing
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425*F/218*C.
  2. While the oven is heating, cut the top off the eggplant, then slice into pieces about 1/2"/1.27cm thick. You can cut the eggplant into thick strips, or you can slice it into steaks- just make sure the thickest part of the eggplant is no more than 1/2"/1.27cm thick. Lat the eggplant pieces on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Lightly sprinkle the eggplant with salt, then set aside while you make the dressing.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the miso paste, tahini paste, sugar and lime. Use a fork or a small whisk to mix well; there likely will be lumps. Add the hot water a little at a time, whisking in between each addition, until the dressing is smooth. You may not need to use all the water.
  5. Brush the tops of the eggplant lightly with the dressing, reserving the rest. Place the eggplant in the oven and roast for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the eggplant from the oven and brush with the remaining dressing. Place back in the oven and roast a further 5-8 minutes, until the eggplant is completely soft all the way through.
  7. Remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm.

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Loaded Sheet Pan Cauliflower Nachos