Simple Walnut Pesto

Simple Walnut Pesto | katielean #summereats #pesto #cleaneating #katielean

I used to hate pesto.  I’m not really sure why…I think maybe it was the cheese?  Anyways, I’ve been craving it lately, especially since everything is so fresh and I don’t really feel like eating anything too heavy because it’s SO HOT OUT.

Fresh basil is a must-have for this recipe.  So is something equally as delicious to spread it on.  I went to a local bakery and picked up a fresh baguette for the occasion.

Simple Walnut Pesto | katielean #summereats #pesto #cleaneating #katielean

While I was searching pesto recipes for inspiration I found this one: “How To: Make Pesto” from Gimme Some Oven.  I didn’t quite have as much basil as that one asked for, and I knew I wanted to use walnuts instead of pine nuts, but that’s the recipe that I learned from to create my own!

Simple Walnut Pesto | katielean #summereats #pesto #cleaneating #katielean

Why walnuts instead of pine nuts?  For me it’s mostly about flavor, but nutritionally there’s a difference too.  Walnuts have more fiber, calcium, and protein than pine nuts.  The difference isn’t huge, but it’s there!

Simple Walnut Pesto | katielean #summereats #pesto #cleaneating #katielean

I made an insanely delicious dinner to go with this recipe…so make sure to read all the way through so I can tell you about it!

Here’s the recipe:

Simple Walnut Pesto

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed down
  • 1/2 cup shelled, halved walnuts
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined + smooth.
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Simple Walnut Pesto | katielean #summereats #pesto #cleaneating #katielean

Pro-Tip: Store your pesto in a glass jar with a layer of olive oil covering the top (in the refrigerator).  This will “seal” it and prevent it from going brown so quickly.

The other items I made for this dinner were rosemary twice-baked sweet potatoes from the Thrive Market e-cookbook and sautéed green beans with olive oil and salt.  It was a perfect summer meal.

Simple Walnut Pesto | katielean #summereats #pesto #cleaneating #katielean

Looking for a different type of sauce or rub to entertain with this summer?  Check out what Undiscovered Kitchen has to offer!

 

Roasted Potatoes and Mashed Butternut Squash

Roasted Potatoes and Mashed Butternut Squash #katielean #healthysidedish #easysummercooking

Summer is right around the corner so I thought I would give you two simple, easy vegetarian side dishes that are perfect for warmer nights when you don’t really feel like cooking.

 

Roasted Potatoes and Mashed Butternut Squash

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

    For the squash:
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • For the roasted potatoes:
  • Petite potatoes (any variety will do), enough to fill up your largest baking pan
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper

Instructions

    For the squash:
  1. Fill a pot with enough water to submerge the squash.
  2. Add the squash (either whole or cut into chunks) to the water and bring to a boil.
  3. You know the squash is ready to be mashed when you can pierce it with a fork with ease, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Mash the squash until there are no chunks.
  5. Stir in the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.
  6. For the potatoes:
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Wash and scrub potatoes.
  9. Slice them in half, skins on.
  10. Spread onto baking pan and drizzle with olive oil.
  11. Add the salt and pepper and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to evenly coat all the potatoes.
  12. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove pan and stir with a wooden spoon.
  13. Place pan back into oven and roast for 15 more minutes.
  14. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the potatoes you choose, so keep an eye on them!
  15. Adding some fresh sprigs of rosemary to this recipe adds another great layer of flavor.
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What are your favorite side dishes?

Red Lentil Curry

Red Lentil Curry #katielean #vegan #healthy

UMass happens to be quite good at making Indian-style food.  Not that I’m any sort of aficionado on the stuff, but I love having curries and Indian-style Naan bread a couple times a month.  Long story short, Hampshire Dining Commons makes an amazing red lentil stew…and this recipe is me trying to create a tasty combination of it and another dish they serve: curried lentils.

Here’s what I came up with:

Red Lentil Curry

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Tiny pinch of chopped, freeze-dried garlic
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • About 3 cups dried red lentils

Instructions

  1. In the morning rinse about 3 cups of dried red lentils and place them in a large bowl (this will be about 7-8 cups by the end of the day because of the increase in volume, so make sure you're using a big enough bowl).
  2. Cover with water and let sit all day, adding more water if necessary.
  3. Before it's time to cook, measure out all the seasonings (except the freeze-dried garlic) into a little bowl so you can add them in at once.
  4. When it's time to cook add the olive oil to a large, deep sauté pan.
  5. Once the oil begins to heat up add the freeze-dried garlic.  Stir for a minute or two.
  6. Add the entire can of diced tomatoes to the pan, including the juice.
  7. Stir in your seasoning mix.
  8. Drain the lentils from their water (if there is any...they might have soaked it all up).
  9. Once the tomatoes are hot (or some of the juice is beginning to boil), add in the lentils and the cup of water.
  10. Add some salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
  11. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes, or until the lentils have heated up.
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I added some fresh avocado to mine and it was perfect!

This is an easy, inexpensive red lentil curry dish that’s amazing as leftovers.  You could add it to rice, use as a side dish, or add a protein of your choice and have it be a main part of your meal.  Lentils pack a huge punch with tons of fiber, protein, folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and potassium.  They are one of my favorite foods right now and are super versatile, especially in vegan and vegetarian dishes.