Avocado and Chickpea Dip

After all the feast of the past several weeks (months?), having something simple, light and green is exactly what I need.  This is a really simple recipe, but all the ingredients really shine.  This is a great dip to take to a party, but it also makes for a great sandwich.  This combines healthy omega-3s of avocados with the protein of chickpeas.  Add it to some whole grain bread and you have a wonderful filling meal.  I served this on thin slices of a baguette which makes nice appetizers or snacks.

Avocado and Chickpea DipAvocado and Chickpea Dip

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 large (28oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • pepper to taste

In a large bowl, use a fork to smash the avocado flesh and chickpeas together.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve with chips, pretzels, bread and/or crudités.

Edamame Dip

This Edamame Dip was a great addition to Saturday’s Women’s Retreat.  Edamame (soy beans) are an excellent source of protein and with flavorful ingredients like sesame oil, siracha, and lemons, it makes a tasty snack!  This would also make an excellent spread for a sandwich!

Edamame Dip

Serves 22

Adapted from La Fuji Mama

  • 2 (16oz) bags shelled frozen edamame
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp siracha
  • 4 lemons, 2 zested and the juice of all 4

Allow edamame to thaw, or run hot water over frozen edamame until thawed.

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until mixture is mostly smooth, or until at the desired consistency.  Mix in batches if necessary.

Scrape dip into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.  Mix well before serving and check seasoning.  Serve with crudites, rice crackers, chips, or pita.

Lentil Spinach Cups

I’ve had this recipe tucked away for a few years; I can’t believe I haven’t made these sooner, they’re so good!.  These come together really quickly and are a lovely vibrant green.  They’d make a great appetizer or light meal.

I also conquered one of my cooking hang-ups (you know those things that seem really impossible to do right, even though it shouldn’t be hard),  I cooked lentils.  While not an impressive feat, lentils have been one of those things that I couldn’t seem to do properly.  When I’ve cooked them in soups they totally disintegrated, or they never got tender!  But I decided to give it a try with these cups, and 25 minutes later I had delicious, tender lentils!

Lentil Spinach Cups

Makes 10 cups

Adapted from Muffin Tin Mania

  • 1/2 cup dry black, brown or green lentils
  • 6oz bag baby spinach
  • 1 large green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add lentils and a pinch of salt.  Let boil for about 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain and let cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease muffin tin (even if they’re non-stick) and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse spinach until finely chopped.  Add ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper and process until well combined.  Stir in cooled lentils.  Scoop into greased muffin tin (will probably fill about 10).  Bake until set, about 18-20 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes before removing from the muffin tins.

Enjoy!

Feta & Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Cups

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and/or a lovely Sunday!

At my church we have a potluck Easter breakfast before the service.  It’s a wonderful time to have a bit more conversation with people and enjoy good food together.

After much debate, Mom and I agreed that I would make vegetarian quinoa cups and two Blueberry Coffee Cakes (even though I’d just made it for church a week or two ago).  We didn’t need that much coffee cake as it turns out, but let’s be honest, I never know how much food to make for a crowd!

I also recently made these with roasted mushrooms instead of the bell pepper, also delicious but more risky since there seem to be a lot of mushroom-haters out there.

Feta & Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Cups

Makes 24 mini cups (plus 1 ramekin)

Adapted from Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups (originally from Iowa Girl Eats)

  •  2 cups cooked quinoa* (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  In a greased (or nonstick), mini-muffin pan, spoon mixture into each cup (fill to top, as these don’t rise).  Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and the center is set.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing to a cooling rack.  Store in the refrigerator, reheat in microwave for 30 seconds.

*To cook quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh sieve, then place in pot with twice as much water as quinoa and about 1 tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.  (If you’re too lazy to rinse the quinoa, like me, you can put it in the pan and toast it briefly on medium-high heat before adding the water.  The rinsing is supposed to remove whatever makes quinoa taste slightly acidic/bitter.  I’ve never really noticed/had a problem with it when I just toast the quinoa.  Do what feels right to you!)

Miniature makes it better

I have to say that one of my favorite kitchen tools is my mini-muffin pan.  There’s just nothing as cute as a mini little bite of something.  That said, I was instantly drawn to these Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups.  These are like mini quiches, but without the decadent crust.  The quinoa (a high protein seed that works well as a whole grain) adds delicious substance and extra nutrients.  The fact that their mini, makes them great for snacks, buffets, appetizers, and kids’ meals.  Although if you don’t have a mini-muffin tin I’m sure they’ll be just as delicious in a regular muffin tin (although slightly less cute).  While I haven’t had a chance yet to experiment with new flavors, I’m sure these would be great with a variety of flavors!  I’m eager to try various vegetarian versions, so I’ll keep you posted on my experiments!

Mini Quinoa Bites

Makes 28 mini muffins (or 24 with 1 ramekin sized one)

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  •  2 cups cooked quinoa* (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  In a greased (or nonstick), mini-muffin pan, spoon mixture into each cup (fill to top, as these don’t rise).  Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and the center is set.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing to a cooling rack.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  Reheat in microwave for 30 seconds.

*To cook quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh sieve, then place in pot with twice as much water as quinoa and about 1 tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.  (If you’re too lazy to rinse the quinoa, like me, you can put it in the pan and toast it briefly on medium-high heat before adding the water.  The rinsing is supposed to remove whatever makes quinoa taste slightly acidic/bitter.  I’ve never really noticed/had a problem with it when I just toast the quinoa.  Do what feels right to you!)