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Iiiit’s throwback time! Who else remembers that cool, creamy spinach dip with the crunch of water chestnuts, served up in sourdough bowl? (*raising my hand* – me too!)

Well, that’s exactly what I have here for you today. Except a little different. I hope that’s okay with you. Here’s the scoop:

Did you know the classic cold spinach dip recipe, in the style of many recipes hailing from the mid-to-late 1900s, called for dried vegetable soup mix? Well, maybe you did, but I didn’t! And I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly keep veggie soup mix hanging around in my pantry.

But I do have onion powder and garlic powder, and I thought maybe those two ingredients too could help make Creamy Cold Spinach Dip nirvana.

And you know what? I think I was right! In fact, I even made a point to buy some veggie soup mix so I could compare the two. I made the batch with onion and garlic powders and then another batch with veggie soup mix. We thought the non-veggie-soup-mix version was actually SO much better!

So here I am today in a retro sort of mood, sharing Creamy Spinach Dip with Water Chestnuts.

This stuff is so easy. Just mix mayo, sour cream (read on for equally delicious vegan and dairy-free options), spinach, water chestnuts, scallions, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper together. Aaand done! Seriously that easy.

For a dairy-free version, I use my cashew sour cream. So good! And to go all the way vegan, go with cashew sour cream and vegan mayo. Done and done.

Serve it up all classic-like in a sourdough bowl and some sliced sourdough baguette on the side.

Now that we’ve got this 1980s-style business settled, I just have to ask: Who exactly did shoot J.R.?

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Moist.

Did I just make you cringe? I want to say people either hate or love the word, but really, it’s more like hate or … tolerate.

In this case, I hope you can tolerate, because “moist” is a really good thing when we’re talking cake, am I right? Especially pineapple upside down cake.

Golden, caramely, bites of juicy pineapple, and – yes – moist vanilla cake. Nothing better, am I right?

For this vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe, I set out to create something that tasted just like the traditional version that’s made with dairy and eggs. But I didn’t want it to be overly complicated. And it’s not! We’re talking pineapple and brown sugar in a skillet, then a super easy (and I mean easy!) cake batter made with oil, applesauce, reserved pineapple juice, flour, sugar, vanilla (lots of it!) and not much else.

The first time I sort of winged (wung?) it and it came out (muy delicioso hand gesture) so good! I was actually kind of floored. And happy. Because having a recipe work out perfectly the very first time in food blogger land is a happy, happy thing.

Okay, so we’ve got pineapple. Sliced, because of course. Grab your cast-iron pan (a must) and warm the pineapple slices along with the brown sugar.

Yum.

And then some maraschino cherries. I chose vegetable-dyed maraschinos but if you’re not strict about it, go traditional. (Note that some maraschino cherries are not vegan – you can find more details here.)

And then, something I’ve never put into pineapple upside down cake before but they do it here and I thought hey, why not – an entire can of crushed pineapple! Just drain then get that pineapple into all the nooks and crannies. Trust me. So worth it.

Then, the cake batter! It whips together so simply and takes but one bowl and a minute or so to whip up. Glorious, glorious, glorious.

Bake that bad boy, let cool for a bit, and flip!

Oh, glorious cake. Glorious, moist, golden cake.

I mean, I’m sorry! But it’s true!

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This quinoa chickpea salad might just be the easiest you’ve ever made. And with loads of lemon and dill, possibly the tastiest too!

Good thing it’s simple AND tasty, because I’ll be honest: I’ve been struggling with meals the last few months. Nothing really sounds that great and I don’t ever feel like making dinner. Or breakfast or lunch for that matter. And I rarely have anything healthy, satisfying, and that fits my narrow parameters at the ready in the fridge. SO off I go to Starbucks for another glorified fast food meal. Hey, I might be all about creating recipes, but this is real life, my friends. And real life is up and down, am I right?

After chatting with my awesome intuitive eating nutrition counselor (a story for another day!), I realized that, yep, I am just plain burned out.

Why? Well, for one, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 17 years. And I don’t think I can ever go back to eating meat, even though meals might be a lot easier if I did. Plus, I eliminated dairy a couple of years ago. Bye bye cheese (sob) and yogurt (whimper). Then, last year, I took a food sensitivity test. Soy and eggs were on my naughty list. So I eliminated them for awhile to see if it made a difference (it didn’t – I actually felt even worse without them).

But since then, mentally, I realized I’ve really only been considering beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds valid sources of protein. Maybe eggs, but only one per day! Because high cholesterol!

UGH.

Nothing like a severely restricted diet to take the joy out of the kitchen. I mean, it kind of makes sense that I burned out, right?

Well, this salad was kind of a weird little revelation. Granted, it’s another beans-for-protein situation (well, and the quinoa has protein too), but it’s just SO EASY to whip up and have in the fridge, at the ready for snack attacks or quick lunches. And that’s half the battle, because I’ve been feeling like I never have anything wholesome and healthy that I CAN eat actually available TO eat.

So I’m working a few angles to help bring the joy back to the kitchen and into my diet, one being expanding my list of proteins, like putting store-bought meat substitutes back on my mental “okay to eat” list and experimenting with goat/sheep cheeses. Another is just always having something super easy in the fridge to grab at a moment’s notice. Something exactly like this Simple Lemon Dill Quinoa Chickpea Salad!

And by simple, I really do mean simple. Only 8 ingredients, and that’s including the olive oil and salt!

This salad really is super easy to throw together, especially if I’m cooking up a batch of quinoa for another meal. I cook extra to throw together this salad, add a can of drained chickpeas, some scallions, a whole lotta fresh dill (YUM), and the super simple dressing. DONE!

This quinoa chickpea salad tastes best after a day of lounging around in the fridge, giving the dill time to really mingle with the other ingredients.

It’s delicious atop a bed of arugula for an easy lunch or perfect as a hearty side with dinner. I’ll be honest, I’ve even had it for breakfast – with all that protein, it’s kinda perfect for that meal too.

Ahhhhh. I think I’m finally coming out of my food burnout. Having salads like these at the ready is definitely helping!

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One of my top recipes is this almond flour chocolate chip cookie recipe – a soft-baked, melt-in-your-mouth gem of a cookie that is surprisingly gluten-free, dairy-free, relatively low in sugar, and ridiculously easy to whip up. It’s a fave in our family, and I’ve been wanting to create a lemon variation for awhile.

Done!

These gluten-free lemon cookies are the perfect cookie for spring – bring on Easter, Mother’s Day, or just your sunny day citrussy cookie craving.

If you’ve ever baked lemon-flavored goodies before, you undoubtedly know it can be tough to get the lemon flavor to shine through. These cookies make use of zest, lemon extract, and juice (in the glaze) for a nice lemony pow. The cookie itself has more subtle lemon flavor, but that seriously zingy glaze on top is what really makes it happen.

Together they make for a pretty darn glorious lemon cookie situation – soft, sweet, and melt-in-your mouth goodness.

These cookies come together so, so easily – so much easier than traditional cookies.

Simply melt some coconut oil and mix it in with the sugar, lemon zest, lemon extract, and eggs. Then stir in the almond flour, baking powder, and salt.

One bowl. So easy.

Scoop out the dough, press down a bit with your fingers, and bake.

Once they’ve cooled, dip the cookies in your lemon glaze and let it harden.

Good to go!

If you’ve been looking for the ultimate gluten-free lemon cookie recipe that’s dairy-free too, I hope you feel the same way I do about these lemon cookies – my search stops here!

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Hello hello! Things have been extra busy around here, what with life and the half-bath remodel that I shared a few days back. And now spring break is upon us! So with all of that, I haven’t had a chance to share any new recipes in a couple of weeks. So I thought I’d reshare this fave from a few years ago. I adore this unique spin on pesto pasta salad, with peas in the pesto for a spring-y spin that also packs a surprising bit of protein. Perfect for potlucks and make-ahead lunches. Happy spring!

At first glance, peas don’t seem like they’d be a great source of protein. They seem like a veggie – like any other veggie. Healthy, sure. But not necessarily protein-rich.

Did you know, though, that peas are actually legumes? You know, like beans and lentils? (Am I the last to stumble upon this glorious little nugget of information?!)

One cup of shelled peas, in fact, has 8 grams of protein. Those unassuming, ordinary orbs are, actually, a bit of a nutritional powerhouse.

Of course, there’s no time better than spring to celebrate all that pea-riffic goodness. And this Pea Pesto Pasta Salad is full of peas. And P’s.

Yes peas. Peas and thank you. Peas pass the …

Sorry.

So, pea pesto! Peas are a great way to bulk up your typical pesto, plus they add a nice sweetness and a bit of creaminess to boot. Not to mention that glorious green we’ve got going on.

This particular pea pesto boasts peas (of course), parsley, fresh mint, toasted pine nuts, and a good squeeze of lemon. Tossed with a nice curly pasta, the pesto clings to every nook and cranny and makes for one seriously yummy pasta salad. Bonus: it’s vegan – and, if you use brown rice pasta, which I love in this, it’s gluten-free too.

And, with all that protein, it can kind of work as a meal in and of itself.


Peas out!

Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »
Yield: Serves 6-8
Pea Pesto Pasta Salad

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Total: 20 minutes

This easy vegan salad boasts a creamy pea pesto with parsley, mint, pine nuts, and lemon. Perfect for make-ahead lunches and potlucks.

Ingredients:
  • 1 (12-ounce) box fusilli pasta (white, whole wheat, or brown rice pasta are all great)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed (about 2-1/2 cups), divided
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add to a large bowl. Let cool.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts. Place them in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Zest the lemon. Reserve zest for garnish. Set the lemon and zest aside. (You’ll top the finished pasta with the zest and use the juice for the pesto).
  4. Make the pesto. To the pitcher of a blender, add 1/3 cup of the toasted pine nuts,  1-1/2 cups peas, parsley, mint, garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice from the lemon you just zested, salt, and 1/3 cup olive oil. Puree until relatively smooth, adding more olive oil if necessary until the pesto is a saucy consistency. Taste and add additional salt and lemon juice if desired.
  5. Pour the pesto over the pasta that’s already in the bowl. Add the remaining peas. Toss gently until the pasta is coated and the peas are distributed. Garnish with remaining pine nuts, lemon zest, and a few sprigs of parsley and mint if desired. Serve.
  6. Can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.
Gluten-free option:

Use brown rice fusilli pasta.

All images and text ©Kare for Kitchen Treaty.

Originally published March 14, 2016. Republished March 31, 2019.

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My mom (hi Mom!) used to make Irish Soda Bread every Saint Patrick’s Day. That and Reuben sandwiches. I’ve yet to create a vegetarian Reuben (and I’m not sure I could duplicate that one successfully if I tried), but Vegan Irish Soda Bread? Completely, utterly doable, as it turns out! Talk about luck. (Get it? Luck? Saint Patrick’s Day? Moving on …)

This Irish Soda Bread tastes just like the real thing – or at least just like my previous go-to recipe. My go-to was this Irish Soda Bread recipe, based off of Ina Garten’s recipe, which is prettttty dang perfect.

But now that I’m a dairy-avoider, I wanted to come up with a dairy-free version. So I swapped in vegan buttermilk and vegan butter and decided to see what would happen if I left out the egg while I was at it.

And guess what? It’s still totally delicious! Which I guess makes sense because the most traditional Irish Soda Bread is actually made of a very simple list of ingredients – baking soda, flour, buttermilk, and salt.

I’m pretty fond of this version, though, with its added sugar and a nice bit of (vegan) butter. Plus, a nice handful of currants for a bit of sweetness studded here and there.

Look at that loaf. All golden brown, tender, flaky … just waiting for a big ‘ol smear of butter. And maybe marmalade, if you’re so inclined.

This Vegan Irish Soda Bread comes together in minutes. It’s so easy!

First, you create your vegan “buttermilk.” Add one cup of non-dairy milk to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, then stir in some vinegar. Set that aside to do its thing. Meanwhile, toss the currants in a bit of flour. Doing this helps to keep the currants evenly distributed throughout your loaf.

Next, you stir together your dry ingredients. Then cut in your vegan butter. I like to use a pastry blender, then my hands to really get the butter distributed, because what the heck. Next, you’ll stir in the buttermilk situation, then turn your wet dough out on your floured surface. Then incorporate the additional flour – just enough so the dough’s no longer sticky – and knead 4-5 times for good measure.

Round your loaf, place on your baking sheet, and cut the signature “X” in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.

Plop it in the oven, brew up a pot of coffee, and worry not – your Irish Soda Bread will be baked up piping hot, golden brown, and truly delicious before you know it.

Pinch me.

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Oh hello! Here is where I write all about this delicious recipe and do my best to convince you to make it.

The thing is, I’m feeling a bit fresh out of words. In part, it’s because I’m tired and I can’t believe it’s snowing outside again and the truth is I have other (non-life-threatening, but distracting) things on my mind. Plus, I’m fresh off a lovely reader comment who insisted I was far too wordy for my own good and needed to take a good look at what kind of blogger I want to be, because apparently I’m all over the map. Ooookay thanks, reader!

As much as I try to brush off negative comments (after carefully considering them, because whether I like it or not, there’s usually there’s something to learn), sometimes they’re a bit … demotivating? Which makes me feel like I just don’t have much to say. And even if I did, does anyone even want to hear it?

Well, I’m here, and you’re still reading (and thank you so much for that), so I’m going to assume you might want to know a little about this Slow Cooker Red Lentil & Chickpea Curry.

This chickpea curry recipe is a riff on one of my favorites (and readers’ too), this pumpkin chickpea curry. I don’t know about you, but I’m still firmly OVER pumpkin this time of year, after the bright flash of pumpkin madness all autumn long. Don’t get me wrong – I love pumpkin! Just not in March.

So I wanted to create a version of that recipe that omitted the pumpkin, and, based on reader suggestions (most of the comments I get are awesome, really!), I added in some buttery Yukon Gold potatoes and peas, too.

I love the heartiness the potatoes lend to the whole situation, plus the pop of green from the peas. Plus, adding a green veggie makes me feel like I’m getting a full meal in a bowl. So convenient!

I love the chickpea + red lentil situation because this chickpea curry is HEARTY, my friends. Plant protein pow right here!

This one’s really easy to put together. Just dump all of the ingredients except the coconut milk and peas into your slow cooker in the morning and go on about your day. About 30 minutes before dinner, get your rice going, then stir the peas and coconut milk into the curry so it’ll warm through. Scoop rice and the chickpea curry into your bowl and sprinkle with a bit of cilantro. Dinner’s made!

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When I’m developing a recipe, I try to come back and make notes about how much I liked (or didn’t like) the end result. This one, after the first try? My notes were “SO GOOD – buttery, crispy, delicious.”

And I still feel the way after the second, third, fourth, and (infinity) times I’ve made this one. I TRULY LOVE THESE WAFFLES.

And bonus? They’re vegan! Yet total crowd-pleasers! And no complicated ingredients here, nuh uh. These Vegan Banana Almond Butter Waffles are so, so easy, and with just a handful of ingredients to boot. Perfect.

They’re based off of my Light & Crispy Vegan Waffles, another super easy yet crowd-goes-wild recipe. I do love those waffles, but sometimes I’m craving waffles with a little more heft – a bit heartier. So I thought I’d throw some almond butter and a banana into the mix and oooooh yeah. New fave right here.

They cook up crispy and golden brown. I love them with slices of banana, pure maple syrup, and a drizzle of warmed almond butter. I’ve even thrown a few hemp seeds on top for a bit of added nutrition. Well, not literally thrown – that sounds messy. And angry. And these waffles make me anything but angry. SO GOOD.

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If you follow anyone from Seattle on social media, I’m sure you’ve heard all about the crazy amount of snow we’ve been getting. At our house, we’ve been snowed in for the majority of the past eleven days, and over the last day and a half it dumped probably another foot (!!!) of snow. This amount of snow is almost unheard of around here, and I’d go so far as to say that most of us are wildly unprepared for it.

We’ve been using garden shovels to scoop snow (why have a snow shovel when we only need it once every 10 years?! Oh right, because it would have been really nice to have one for #snowmageddon!) And only yesterday did it occur to us that we should knock snow off of flat roofs and other surfaces, drooping tree branches, and our (previously thriving) garden vines.

Meanwhile, our grocery stash is growing a bit slim. I really wanted to come up with a marvelous Valentine’s Day recipe for y’all, and I’ve been working on an amazing, almost-there raspberry sweet roll recipe. But I don’t have it quite right yet and I ran out of the ingredients to continue testing it.

Luckily, I had just enough groceries in the pantry to make and photograph this Creamy Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, a favorite dinner of late. It used up my last 1/2 of an onion and the basil in the fridge was definitely a little peaked, but I think I pulled it off.

I really didn’t consider this one a Valentine’s Day recipe because instead of being red or pink it’s kind of more of an orange. But if you eat by candlelight and serve it up with some heart-shaped bread or something (is there such a thing? There should be), I think it’ll pass.

So what do we have here? Pasta of course. I like rotini for this one. One with some nooks and crannies is desirable here because it’ll grab and cradle all of that delicious sauce.

And that sauce, my friends. It’s so deceptively simple. Sauteed onion, oregano, and garlic. A bit of tomato paste. A jar of roasted red peppers. Some cashews for their signature glorious creaminess. Puree until smooth and luscious, aaaand done.

This recipe comes together in about 20 minutes, which in my book makes it a contender for many a future weeknight dinner – not just V-Day.

Even if it’s more orange than red or pink, I love this recipe. And Valentine’s Day is all about love, right? I know, I know … it’s a stretch. Either way, Happy Valentine’s Day, and stay warm out there!

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