Falafel Hummus

Falafel Hummus | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

As a vegetarian, one who eats veggies, a veggie-eater, it’s a little odd to admit that I have vegetable aversions.

Especially because they’re fairly non-offensive veggies, like celery, cucumbers, and carrots. Sure, I like eating them IN things (soup, mostly), but raw? Nahhhh man. That ain’t right.

Falafel Hummus | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

You know how I make myself eat these things? Hummus. Always the hummus. I really don’t even know how I ate raw veggies before I discovered hummus in college.

Falafel Hummus | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I also discovered falafels in college, and that is a STRONG love. If there are falafels on a restaurant menu, I will order them every time.

So, logical next step? Falafel hummus!

Falafel Hummus | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

In case you’re unfamiliar, falafels are a middle eastern food made from chickpeas, spices, and herbs, and then deep fried (although I usually bake them at home). Since hummus is made of chickpeas, it just takes a few spices to emanate that falafel flavor in smooth hummus.

Falafel Hummus | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

While it may seem easier to buy a tub of hummus at the store, it really only takes 5 minutes in a food processor to whip up hummus at home. Plus, I far prefer making my own and spicing it to my liking, especially when it leads to falafel flavor.

Bonus – it totally makes celery, cucumbers, and carrots palatable to me, even in raw form.

#hummusismagic

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Spicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Spicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblanos | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

My blog is having a sort of existential crisis lately. WHO AM I. WHAT AM I EVEN DOING.

I’m in one of those creative lulls where I just want to eat peanut butter with a spoon, top it with a few chocolate chips and call it good.

Spicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblanos | veggieandthebeastfeast.comSpicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblanos | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I tried to make some interesting things lately, like chia jam, which is supposed to be easy but mine turned out sososo gross. I told my mom this and she goes, “Who makes chia jam?”

I do, mom! Or at least I try to.

Spicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblanos | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

But then I wonder if those who read this blog even want to make things like chia jam? Do they wish I would post crazy indulgent desserts more often? Or more vegan meals? Or vegetarian comfort food?

See? Crisis of self, right here on this internet space. Your thoughts are welcome and encouraged.

Spicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblanos | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Although I may be a little wishy washy in my sense of blog-self, I have realized one focus I want to hone in on: easy meals. My favorite meals, and the ones I come back to again and again, are simple, needing a short list of ingredients and minimal time.

Spicy Salsa and Bean-Stuffed Poblanos | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

These peppers, for instance, are healthy, high protein, grain and gluten free, and so easy to throw together. The filling is a flavorful mixture of onion, red bell pepper, pinto beans, lime juice, and salsa.

While the bean mixture is still warm, I stirred in some queso fresco to give the filling a bit of creamy tanginess. Stuff the peppers with the filling, brush some oil on to ensure the peppers roast up nice and tender, and then top it all off with a sprinkle of extra cheese.

Easy meal for the win!

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Mini Banana Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Fair warning: this is a post about my dog….and cupcakes that I baked for my dog….for her birthday.

Eeeek. I feel crazy. If you’re not into dogs, you may not care about this post – that’s okay! Let’s hang out next week with our people food! Deal? Deal.

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Teia turned 1 this past Sunday. I can’t believe it’s coming up on a year since we decided to get her on a whim. I convinced Ryan to get a dog on a Thursday night in October, we found Teia online the next day, and took her home that night.

Despite an uncharacteristic lack of research on both our parts, Ryan and I ended up with the sweetest, quirkiest, most lovable little thing. For real, she’s the best.

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.comMini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.comMini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

For a number of reasons that are too overshare-y to post on my internet food space, this year has been a difficult one. On days when I came home as a fiery block of anxiety, seeing excited little Teia greet me at the door made everything feel a little brighter and more manageable.

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Good friends and family make all the difference when things are tough, but having a dog squeal and jump so high that they fall on their face (/pee a little) every time they see you? It’s hard not to smile, no matter the circumstances.

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I bake to show my love and appreciation, so I figured this pup of mine deserved a treat on her birthday, even though to her it’s just another day in her very exciting world.

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

These PUPcakes (which are really muffins) come together quickly, require 1 bowl and NO mixer, and are made up of ingredients you probably have on hand. The mini muffins are fluffy and lightly sweet, so you (or your kids) can enjoy them along with your pup. That being said, the frosting isn’t sweetened (because dogs don’t care), so if you’re giving them to humans either 1) eat them without the frosting or 2) add sweetener to taste (maple syrup or honey would work well).

Mini Banana Pupcakes | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Happy birthday Teia! You da best.

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Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

So remember last week how I made a really healthy kale salad to try to detox a bit from my vacation? Let’s talk about what happened later that week…

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I set out to make a healthy pesto pasta sauce with roasted cauliflower. I succeeded, but then I decided it needed some cheddar, a dab o’ butter, and sliced burrata.

If you’re unfamiliar, you need to know thisveryinstant that burrata is the BEST THING EVER. It’s fresh mozzarella stuffed with shredded mozzarella that’s soaked in cream. Yes, cheese in cheese in cream, and yes, it is every bit as good and dreamy and laughably ridiculous as it sounds.

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

The roasted cauliflower works really well with the nutty pesto (I used my pistachio pesto because it’s my favorite as-of-late), and adds extra depth to the sauce. I like making cream sauces with whole milk because, well, creamy, but 2% would be fine as well. The sharp white cheddar doesn’t overpower the pesto flavor, but gives the sauce a boost in tanginess and makes it feel more like a proper mac and cheese. Speaking of, I always like tomatoes in my mac-and-cheese-type meals, and especially these suuupah fresh local grape tomatoes that just burst with sweet, juicy flavor.

Then, friends, we top it all off with the burrata. Just yes. Just so much yes.

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Perhaps this doesn’t fit my detox week criteria…and by “criteria” I mean things that just “feel” healthy, because who has time to have actual criteria?…but it IS one of those meals that tastes super decadent despite being a (slightly?) better-for-you alternative to restaurant meals.

Let’s be real though – I’m not going to sit here and try to pretend burrata is super healthy. There are too many other types of praise that it deserves without resorting to outright lies.

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

How did the rest of my detox week go, you ask? After eating burrata all week I went to a good friend’s wedding, had an awesome time, but had far too many whiskey gingers. I don’t really drink in excess, and hardly ever opt for hard alcohol when I do, so you can imagine how that turned out for me.

Except I hope you can’t imagine it, because I wouldn’t wish that pain on anybody. Eeeep.

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Eat your burrata and drink your whiskey. In excess and moderation, respectively. Life lessons, folks.

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Three Bean Greek Kale Salad

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

If you aren’t a Minnesotan, you may not quite understand how obsessed we are with our lakes. We LOVE our lake time in the summer. Until last week, I hadn’t gotten enough lake time. Not even close.

Last Tuesday I headed up to northern MN for 5 days of relaxing, reading, and boating with Ryan’s family. Now that I’m back to the real world, with a hefty week of stressful work, I’m missing those slow mornings of long breakfasts followed by hours of boating with a book or fishing reel in my hand.

Teia misses the lake too, but probably not those scary lake waves (sorry if you’re not into dog videos…it’s just too damn cute to not share).

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.comThree Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

As is usually the case with vacation, the food situation left my body longing for some nutrient-dense meals, so I came home and made a big salad filled with all the healthy things (kale, tomatoes, beans), along with all the tasty things (Greek dressing, feta, kalamata olives) and have been eating it every day since.

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I used to be a romaine girl when it came to salads. I still like the crunch of romaine every so often, but I have recently been super crushing on kale salads. Unlike other greens (like romaine), which turn mushy and slimy when stored in the fridge, dressed kale becomes more tender (a GOOD thing), and the time in the fridge allows the other flavors in the salad to deepen.

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Since the “other flavors” in this salad are my favorite Greek salad ingredients, deepening those flavors is a really good thing, because those flavors are the best. This salad is tangy, fresh, juicy, salty, and packed with protein from 3 different types of beans. It’s like hitting the reset button on your body after 5 days of drinking beer at noon and eating fried potatoes for breakfast. Right? Yes.
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