Ribollita – Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ribollita / @loveandlemons

Bread making has become Jack’s new weekend hobby. Over the last few weeks, he’s made some really delicious focaccia and a few loaves of ciabatta which, I have to tell you, were super impressive. I previously had this idea that rustic crusty bread would require wood fired ovens and other non-household equipment to make. It doesn’t. The ingredients are simple, but it does require an afternoon’s worth of babysitting. Knead, fold, wait, rest… repeat… like 15 more times.

After all of this hard work, when the last chunk of ciabatta went stale a few days later I couldn’t bear to toss it. While I commonly talk about my cooking inspiration coming from what I find at the farmer’s market, there are times like this where the ideas come from not wanting to waste ingredients that someone made (or grew) with love.

The bread was way too hard for panzanella, so that was out. Luckily, there’s a soup that loves rock-hard stale bread – ribollita.

Ribollita / @loveandlemons

Ribollita is a Tuscan white bean stew made from leftover vegetables and thickened with day-old (or in our case many days old) bread. My version starts with a base of onion, carrots, tomatoes, white beans, rosemary, and kale. I cube up the leftover bread and stir it in towards the end, making a thick and hearty soup – perfect for a cold autumn night.

Ribollita / @loveandlemons

This recipe makes about 3 large servings, but next time I will double it. The leftovers were delicious for lunch the next day and I only wished I had more…

And p.s. if any of you have bread making tips, we’re all ears…

Ribollita / @loveandlemons

Veggie Tacos with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce

Roasted Vegetable Tacos with Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Salsa / loveandlemons.com

I know – another taco recipe already? Well, I like tacos. I’m sure you do too because you are here after all. In all honesty, these were originally going to become enchiladas until I stopped short. Which is why they’re in a baking pan. Plus, it was a convenient way to get floppy tacos to stand up for the photo.

The plan was to make something similar to this creamy poblano enchilada sauce, but using avocados, pepitas, spinach and tomatillo salsa instead (see below, you can use store-bought salsa if you don’t have tomatillos). The end result? It’s like a tangy creamy pesto and I couldn’t stop eating it straight from the food processor with a spoon.

It’s so fresh and bright and I knew I’d wreck it if I tried to cook it. So taco night it was – with extra green sauce on the side.

Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Salsa / loveandlemons.com

I roasted patty pan squash, eggplant, a red pepper, and cherry tomatoes. But you can roast whatever vegetables you have – anything goes. If you’re craving fall foods, roasted sweet potatoes would be delicious here instead. I stuffed my tacos with black beans and topped them with serrano slices and a little cotija cheese. Skip the cheese if you’re vegan, (it’s not all that necessary).

Roasted Vegetable Tacos with Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Salsa / loveandlemons.com

This taco recipe serves about two with lots of extra sauce – double your taco count to serve four. Or save the leftover sauce and eat it yourself the next day.

Roasted Vegetable Tacos with Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Salsa / loveandlemons.com

Avocado Corn Salsa & Vegetable Skewers

Avocado, Grilled Corn & Black Bean Salsa  / loveandlemons.com

Happy holiday weekend! If you’re hosting a cookout this Labor Day weekend, here are a few simple (yet super delicious!) veggie recipe ideas. And if you’re attending a cookout this weekend – well, it’s always good to be a bringer especially if you’re the one with the special food requirements. (Who me?)

 Marinated Mushroom Vegetable Skewers / loveandlemons.com

Ok, let’s get started – first we’re going to load up some skewers. (Actually, first, we’re going to make some margaritas). Once you have a drink in hand, get started by marinating the mushrooms. My secret not-so-secret-anymore marinade is so easy –  olive oil, balsamic, soy sauce and black pepper. The mushrooms become deeply browned and caramelized on the grill. Plus, it takes only two seconds to make.

If anyone complains that there’s no meat at this party, just show them these cute animal barnyard skewers! Ok, seriously, you can include meat here too if you want – I won’t judge. Either way, it’s a good idea to invest in a set of metal skewers because wooden ones can catch on fire, even when you think you’ve soaked them long enough (not that I know this from personal experience).

Avocado, Grilled Corn & Black Bean Salsa  / loveandlemons.com

The skewers can be assembled in advance, but be sure to make this avocado salsa just as your guests show up. It’s basically fancy chunky guacamole with grilled corn and black beans – serve it with chips and (if there’s any left) as a side dish with your skewers and corn on the cob.

Grill up the rest of your corn and top it with a squeeze of lime, cotija cheese (skip if you’re vegan) and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. For dessert? This peach & plum crumble, it’s grill-able version, or DIY fancy s’mores.

Smoky Grilled Corn on the Cob / loveandlemons.com

For the recipes – click over to Crate & Barrel’s blog!

This post is sponsored by Crate & Barrel and all of the gorgeous serving pieces were generously provided: Baltic Low Bowl / Calista Platters

Sara’s Strawberry Tabbouleh

Sara's Strawberry Tabbouleh / loveandlemons.com

After I posted my list of favorite spring cookbooks, I could tell that this is the book you’ve all been waiting for – and I’m here to tell you that Sara & Hugh Forte’s new book, Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon, doesn’t disappoint. The photos are of course gorgeous, and the food… well it makes you want to dig in with a spoon because it all looks so incredibly vibrant and delicious!

The book has been sitting on my desk for a little while now, among a slew of papers, books, and other messy-desk things – which is how this recipe from the back cover happened to catch my attention. I love tabbouleh, I love strawberries, and I love salads mixed with sweet and savory things, so here we go…

Sara's Strawberry Tabbouleh / loveandlemons.com

Instead of putting my own spin on things, I thought I’d go crazy and just follow the recipe exactly as Sara wrote it. (Except I didn’t have parsley so at the last minute, I chopped up basil). I don’t cook a lot with bulgur but I should – it’s so easy to make and I love how it has a more mellow flavor than quinoa. Of course, if you’re gluten free, go ahead and use quinoa in this recipe.

Sara's Strawberry Tabbouleh / loveandlemons.com

Feta is optional, but since she made a special note about how her “resident taste tester would argue it’s absolutely necessary,” I went for it. The only thing that was really missing here was the pretty picnic scene that should have been in the background. We ate this for dinner last night, but it would definitely be picnic-perfect.

Sara's Strawberry Tabbouleh / loveandlemons.com

Other recipes that are on my list: the Hippie Bowl (check out this cute post from A Couple Cooks), the Tahini Kale Slaw & Roasted Tamari Portobello Bowl, and this mixed berry tiramisu. Click here to get the book!

the Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon

romanesco & chickpea salad

romanesco and chickpea salad / loveandlemons.comromanesco and chickpea salad / loveandlemons.com

Two things happened on Monday: It was Jack’s birthday and also we won the Saveur Reader’s Choice Best Cooking Blog award! Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who voted for us! As someone who’s not used to winning things, I really didn’t see this coming. I’m shocked and just so flattered.

I realize — I probably should be posting cocktails and cake, but it’s been a heck of a busy week, so today I bring you: Celebration Salad. (Although, stay tuned, I have some yummy birthday carrot cake coming up next week).

But for now, this salad. (Which I think is worth celebrating). It’s fresh, springy, and would be so perfect for easter. I had some gorgeous romanesco, but you could sub cauliflower just as easily. I blanched the romanesco just a bit and tossed it with a lemony dijon dressing along with chickpeas, avocado, eggs, capers and smoked salmon.

Happy Easter!