We’re at that point in the summer where I’m starting to wonder: is an indoor herb garden possible? I love having a ton of fresh herbs around and I’m really going to miss them when they’re gone. They’re so delicious and oh so PRETTY. I often get asked about my food photography/styling tips and my best tip is always: Whatever dish you have, smother it in herbs!
Aside from lots of fresh thyme and basil, this recipe is all about the tomatoes. I slow roast half of them, and put the other half raw into the salad. It’s a sweet, tangy, bursty, crunchy, herb-y gem of a late-summer salad.
Here’s what’s in it, except I forgot to include the fresh basil in this photo. Just don’t forget to include it in the recipe when you make it 🙂
First, I roast the tomatoes. This is not a difficult step, but it takes awhile for them to shrivel up and get nice and concentrated. I suggest starting these right when you get home… have a glass of wine, check your email… do anything besides stare at the oven waiting for your tomatoes. They’ll be done in no time and your kitchen will smell amazing. Note: if it’s too hot to turn your oven on, you can roast them at a lower temp for a longer amount of time so as not to heat up your kitchen.
Once the tomatoes are roasted, prep everything else and toss it all together in a big bowl. Top with an abundance of fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve this couscous salad with a protein if you like, or just on its own (chickpeas = protein).
This is also delicious the next day for lunch. On day 2, I like to add a little bit more lemon and an extra pinch of salt.
Last week, I wrote all about our beautiful, flourishing herb garden. Over the next 2 days, it poured down rain, our big basil plant got overwatered, and now it’s sort of falling over on itself. It’s a good thing we planted two! It’s also a good thing that we’re not farmers because we can barely keep a few deck plants alive 🙂
We went to the farmers market last to get produce from ACTUAL farmers on Saturday, and I brought home these cute mini zucchini and tiny pattypan squashes. It inspired me to make a big green pizza to go along with our surviving herbs from basil plant #2 and lots of fragrant fresh thyme.
This pizza isn’t complicated to make, but I prepared the squash two ways, which creates a unique mix of flavors and textures on this otherwise very simple pesto pizza. First, I roasted the pattypan squash in the oven on top of the crust and the cheese. Then I peeled the mini zucchini with a vegetable peeler and marinated the thin strips in a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme.
The raw marinated zucchini goes on top of the cooked pizza along with lots of fresh basil, fresh thyme, generous scoops of pesto, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. It’s a fun one to make and assemble because it’s so green and pretty! It’s delicious too – serve it with extra pesto on the side for scooping!
When I first tried to become vegetarian (many years ago), the concept was so new to me that I didn’t really know what to eat. My go-to easy “meals” were those tiny cardboard-flavored frozen veggie burgers. I’d eat them for dinner and I’d bring them to cookouts… they tasted terrible and everyone around me thought I was a little crazy. It wasn’t long until I quit frozen veggie burgers altogether.
A few weeks ago, we gave the Beyond Burger a whirl and wow(!), have plant-based burgers come a long way!
First off, you’ll actually find them in the meat case of the grocery store (which is a place I’m not usually accustomed to going). Second – they really do have a burger-like taste and texture even though they’re completely vegan, made with no soy, gluten, or GMO ingredients – the main protein is pea protein and the pink color comes from beet juice. They’re juicy and substantial, and a quick solution for late summer grilling because you literally just bring them home and put them on the grill. Easy as that.
To go with our burgers, I made a simple guacamole topping:
A tip for grilling the Beyond Burger – they’re easiest to handle if you keep them chilled in the fridge until the moment you’re ready to throw them on the grill.
Because every good burger meal needs some fries, we made some spicy grilled sweet potato wedges to go on the side. The trick is to parboil the sweet potatoes before slicing and grilling. This way, the wedges become fully cooked as the outside chars. After they come off the grill, I sprinkled them with chili powder, smoked paprika, and a little cayenne.
At 20 grams of plant protein per patty, this was really a substantial (and fun!) grilling meal. Click here to find The Beyond Burger at a grocery store near you.
This post is inspired by all of the fresh herbs that we have growing on our little deck. We have a ton of basil and some very fragrant Thai basil, among other plants like Thai chiles, tomatoes, peppers, and even figs. We’re very proud of our little plant escape, and when I say “we” I mean that I’m very proud that Jack has been lovingly watering everything up to twice a day to keep it all going. This might be the longest that we’ve actually kept plants alive.
Since I know many of you also have lots of basil at this time of year, I made these fresh summer rolls with a creamy coconut basil dipping sauce. It’s the kind of sauce that I would normally make with cilantro, but the sweet basil flavor is so fresh and unexpected.
For the filling, I gathered the usual suspects – avocado, cucumber, tofu, and noodles. I felt like it needed a little more, so I thought what I often think in the summer – “peaches!” Peaches and basil are a tasty pairing and, in my opinion, it’s the season to throw peach slices on everything.
Summer rolls can be difficult to wrap (for me, at least), but I have one tip: get these 12-inch wrappers, they’re so much easier to work with than the 8-inch wrappers that I usually get. I have a tendency of wanting to overstuff my rolls, and the larger wrappers are easier to handle.
My favorite category of food is definitely…. summer salads!
Colorful, juicy, crunchy, sweet, bitter, herby, spicy… there are so many flavors and textures to put together with all of the great fruits and vegetables that are in season right now. I love a good salad all year round, but the summer salad will always have my heart.
This one is a nice easygoing slaw – pack it up for lunch, take it to a picnic, bring it to a BBQ… it tastes just as great on the second day as it does the day it was made. So flexible.
Here’s what’s in it:
The sauce is a nutty/tangy ginger miso sauce that’s made with cashew butter, lime juice, and a little sesame oil. Use it to douse the crunchy vegetables, and toss!
It’s so delicious that you might want to make extra sauce to have on hand for salads and grain bowls throughout the week.
We have a TON of basil and mint growing on our patio, so I added a very liberal amount of herbs here, which makes this salad taste really fresh. We also have a flourishing little Thai chili plant, so I added those for spice. And for a pop of sweetness – peaches!
I hope you make this over the weekend! Let me know!