Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

I love a good crudité board. I feel like they get a bad rap because the grocery store versions with the sad celery, raw cauliflower, and grubby carrots are never the most exciting appetizer at a party, but this board fixes that by being bright, fun, and delicious! It’s a yummy mix of fresh things, salty/savory bites, and even a sweet element from the delectable Tart Cherry Thyme Compound Butter.

Each little recipe is made up of super simple combinations of creative ingredients that together, make a really unique appetizer board! I brought this platter to my family’s father’s day gathering a few weeks ago and it got gobbled up in minutes.

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

This recipe comes from the gorgeous book Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen of the blog Vegetarian Ventures. It’s filled with recipes to create fun, beautiful, yet very doable spreads for any occasion. There’s everything from a Beach Board, to a Holiday Hosting Spread, to a Lazy Sunday Brunch Board.

What I love most is the part where Shelly talks about how a board can be blank canvas for your creativity… or your leftovers. “It’s a great way to use up whatever vegetables, cheeses, jams, or meats you have hanging around your refrigerator, or use it as an opportunity to try new foods. Take a trip to that new cheese shop you’ve been meaning to visit or spend some time in the bulk section of your grocery store.”

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

While my wheels are turning about what other types of boards I can create, let’s turn back to this one and talk about this marinated feta. I’m SO OBSESSED with this Marinated Feta with Sun Dried Tomato, Thyme, and Garlic. It added a wonderful pop of flavor to this board, and to the salad that I made later with the leftovers. It’s tangy, briny, and so fresh with the addition of the thyme leaves. I think thyme is such an underrated herb – it’s time to start using more thyme!

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

The crowd pleaser on this board was this Tart Cherry Thyme Butter (again with the thyme – so delicious!). Shelly’s recipe calls for dried blueberries, which I couldn’t find, but dried tart cherries offered a bright, sweet element. I would have never thought of adding compound butter to a veggie board, but it was a wonderful, fancy addition that was easy to make!

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

For more fun board inspo, get the book, Platters and Boards!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

By popular request: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars!

I did a poll on Instagram last week asking which strawberry rhubarb dessert I should make. If you were one of the many that voted for crumble bars – you win! Well, actually, I win too, because these were yummy.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

This recipe is super easy because the crust and the crumble topping are one and the same. It’s a gluten free mix of oats, nuts, brown sugar, flax, and cinnamon. Pulse it together in a food processor and press 2/3 of it into the pan to form a crust. Save the rest to use as the crumble on top!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

The strawberries and rhubarb are mixed with lemon juice, vanilla, and just a touch of maple syrup. I don’t like to sweeten my fruit too much because I like the sweetness of the fruit itself to really shine.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Assemble and bake! The hardest (yet very necessary) part is letting them cool completely before slicing and eating.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Unless you’re serving these all on the same day, store the remainder of the bars in the fridge. Enjoy!

Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad

Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad

One day last week, I woke up earlier than normal with the sun shining brightly into my eyes. I never used to consider myself a morning person, but when you don’t have window coverings on the windows of your still-new-ish house – guess what? You wake up with the sun… and as the sun rises earlier and earlier, you do too. I laid there for awhile trying to keep my eyes shut and I drifted into a half-sleep where I dreamed about a sunny, breezy picnic on the beach. Most importantly, I envisioned exactly what I wanted to be eating on that beach picnic, which is when this recipe floated into my mind.

This is basically a big bowl of sunshine where curly noodles intermingle with sunny spirals of yellow squash. It’s full of colorful produce, like tomatoes and green beans, with a few briny bites provided by the artichokes and olives. It’s all tossed in a creamy, tangy (no-mayo) dressing that travels extremely well, making this a perfect dish to bring to a cookout or a dreamy beach picnic.

Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad

This recipe is slightly based off of the broccoli tahini pasta salad that so many of you already know and love. That recipe is a favorite of mine as well, but I love THIS one even more. The tangy dressing is made with a tahini base, but instead of mixing water into the dressing like I normally do, I decided to mix it with my go-to Almond Breeze almond milk. Better yet – the Cashew Blend. It’s so creamy and delicious, and it plays so nicely with the tangy flavors in this dressing.

Below is the undressed shot, I just thought these rainbow colors looked so magical together!

Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad

While I’ve listed this recipe as a side dish, it can also work as a meal on its own – there’s substantial protein from the navy beans, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds as a wonderful crunch.

Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad

Once you toss it with the dressing, it can be served immediately at room temperature OR it can sit in the fridge for up to 2 days. It’s a great make-ahead salad for parties and picnics.

Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

We’re crazy about these veggie burgers. I’m not usually one to title recipes as “Best Ever!!,” or “Ultimate!!” because I’m quite a shy person and that seems loud, but I am absolutely smitten with these.

First of all, they’re grill-able! Bring them to your backyard bbq or your 4th of July cookout. You can even make them a day or two in advance because, of course, you’d rather be spending time in the sun versus spending time in the kitchen.

Second, YUM!! A mix of shiitake and portobello mushrooms are the base of these burgers. creating great texture and umami-rich flavor. They’re seasoned with tamari, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, and sriracha. It may sound like an odd combination, but these ingredients help build an amazing savory/smoky flavor. Crushed walnuts give them a not-mushy texture, and freshly made sticky short grain brown rice gives them grillable cohesion. Even if you’re not a mushroom person, I think you’ll still love these. In the end, they’re just really darn good veggie burgers.

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

In these photos, I made the burgers as sliders, but the recipe works as larger-sized burgers as well.

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable) Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

Did I mention that these are vegan? Between the sticky brown rice and the flaxseed, there’s no need for an egg to bind these. Flax is the way to go here, whether you’re vegan or not.

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

So meaty! Of course, these are not intended to replicate real meat – it’s just a really good veggie burger! As they come off the grill, I brush them with vegan Worcestershire sauce (which I prefer to it’s non-vegan counterpart). It adds even more flavor and is a nice juicy addition.

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

Buns out (suns out)! Load these up however you like – I like mine with avocado, red onion (rinsed if you have a strong onion), mustard, avocado mayo (which is not vegan, but you can use vegan mayo if you wish), sprouts, and a squirt of sriracha. If you simply like ketchup and mustard, that’s fine too!

Best Darn Veggie Burgers (Vegan & Grillable)

Happy Grilling!

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

If you made Thursday’s stuffed peppers and have leftover pineapple salsa and leftover chipotles, this recipe is for you! And if you didn’t, well that’s ok, you can still make it anyway 🙂

This is a nacho plate that you can feel good about! Instead of weird boxed nacho cheese, we’re making oozy, spicy cheese-like sauce out of cauliflower. Seriously, is there anything that the mighty cauliflower can’t do?

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

Cook the cauliflower and the potatoes, then blend everything in a blender and voila! The special ingredient (aside from the hidden cauliflower) is the chipotle pepper. You can find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce at nearly every grocery store in the Mexican aisle. These canned peppers are spicy but – most importantly – they also have a wonderful, deep, smoky flavor. That smoky flavor in the sauce is such a delicious contrast to the sweetness of the pineapple salsa.

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

Load these up with black beans, tomatoes, diced red onion, and cilantro and you have a hearty, healthy nacho plate that’s practically meal worthy and definitely party ready.

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa