For July’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Becky of A Calculated Whisk. She also cooks gluten free (and paleo), so I was was spoiled in my options and with the eye candy of her beautiful photos!
Becky also loves putting avocados in smoothies, Salted chocolate hazelnut cookies, Mexican almond pulp brownies, Vietnamese caramelized pork meatballs vermicelli bowls and Pico de gallo de frutas.
I had a few avocadoes on my counter and some fresh basil that needed using up, so I ended up making her avocado cilantro pesto pasta salad.
I did modify the recipe as I had basil to use up, so I replaced the cilantro in my version. I added garlic because what pesto is complete without garlic? I used my single serve blender instead of a food processor as it’s much easier to clean. I think pestos are supposed to be chunkier, but I blended mine smooth. I used hemp hearts instead of the feta as I had it on hand and I try not to eat a lot of cheese.
I tried it both warm and cold and I prefer the cold version of it. It goes very well with barbecued meat, making this the perfect healthy summer side dish! Mr. Bean and I liked it so much we are definitely adding it into our repertoire!
Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad
1 clove of garlic
1 c. Fresh basil
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. Hemp hearts, divided
Juice of 1 lime
Green onions, sliced
1 lb. pasta (I used go go quinoa circle pasta, but feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you want.)
- Cook pasta to Al Dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, blend together avocados, lime juice, olive oil, garlic and basil. Once smooth/to the desired degree of blendedness, add 1/4 c. of hemp hearts and blend.
- Pour pesto over pasta, adding green onions, peas and remainder of the hemp hearts.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
What’s your favourite summer pasta?
For the rest of Group D’s recipes, please click below!
For May’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. She likes to cook healthy and low fat – and has lost ~100 lbs, which is quite the accomplishment! Christie is definitely an example of how healthy recipes don’t have to be bland or boring!
Christie has tons (and I mean tons – I’m so impressed with how regularly she posts!) of delicious looking recipes like her Orange Beef Stir Fry, One Pot Paprika Chicken with Spinach, Poutine for Dessert and her Banana Waffles with PB Syrup (I totally need a waffle maker!) She also makes macarons. So much talent and delicious food! It was so hard to choose!
I ended up choosing her Bean and Basil Pesto Penne and I was definitely pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ve always wanted to try pesto, but it seemed really complicated or full of dairy. Fortunately, Christie’s version is simple (2 steps!), vegan and delicious! Mr Bean liked it so much that he had huge amounts of seconds! I upped the recipe a bit so that I would use the entire 398mL (14 oz) can of beans.
Gluten Free and Vegan Bean and Basil Pesto Penne
1 – 14 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed (I used navy as I’ve never been able to find Cannellini)
3/4 c. fresh basil
1 oz almonds
1/2+ c. vegetable broth
2 -3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 box of Catelli gluten free Penne (or whatever kind of pasta you want), cooked to al dente
- Add beans, basil, almonds, broth, garlic, oil, salt and pepper to food processor and process until smooth, adding more broth if required.
- Pour over hot pasta and toss to coat.
Christie, it was a treat looking through your blog! :)
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!
For February’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Lynsey of Lynsey Lou’s. Lynsey is a natural in the kitchen – she learned to cook with her family as a child and continues to spend lots of time trying new recipes! I am so impressed with her beautiful photos and how many recipes she has – I wish I had her level of dedication and inspiration!
She has tons of delicious recipes, including her peanut butter caramel skillet cookie, homemade coconut almond granola and roasted banana pudding! She even has theme weeks like peanut butter week, waffle week and slow cooker week!
I ended up choosing her Brussel Sprout Slaw. It’s a bit of a Christmas-y dish, but I knew I couldn’t pass it up. It didn’t disappoint!
I had to make a few changes as finding pomegranets at this time of year is equivalent to finding the holy grail and I can’t eat Greek yoghurt. I made 2/3 of her recipe, but only made half the sauce as I’m not a soggy salad person. I used vegan mayo, and olive oil instead of vegetable and we ended up adding bacon (not pictured) as what salad isn’t made better with bacon?
Vegan Brussel Sprout Slaw
1/2 c. pecans
1 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed
3 tbsp. vegan mayo (feel free to use regular if you can eat it)
1 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Dried Cranberries (I used apple juice sweetened)
Bacon (optional as not vegan, not in photos)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 – 7 minutes until fragrant.
- Let pecans cool, then coarsely chop & set aside.
- Using a food processor (or knife if you’re really ambitious), shred Brussel sprouts using the slicer (not the grater).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, honey, oil and orange zest. Add the orange juice and vinegar and whisk until smooth.
- Add shredded Brussel sprouts to bowl and toss until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with pecans, dried cranberries and bacon (if using).
- Cover and refridgerate for 2+ hours.
Check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!
Have you ever put an avocado in a smoothie before? If not, you’re missing out! Imagine pudding without the sugar, dairy or eggs that is actually good for you. Plus, smoothies are way better when you can eat them with a spoon. I’ve made variations of the above smoothies for breakfast for the last few weeks and they are too good not to share!
They are super simple to make (throw everything in a blender) and a great way to get eat healthy this Christmas while still feeling a little bit decadent! Feel free to adjust what you put in it or double the recipe to make two servings – it’s all about creative license!
“Green” Christmas Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 pear, cut into chunks
1 mandarin orange
1/2 large avocado
1 – 2 handfuls of spinach
Scoop of Protein Powder (optional)
Splash of orange juice
“Red” Christmas Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 pear, cut into chunks
10 – 20 fresh cranberries
1/2 large cooked beet (if you don’t have any, use any red fruit like cherries, raspberries, etc. but the colour won’t be as vivid)
2 pieces honey-candied ginger (or a slice of fresh ginger root and a small squeeze of honey)
Small handful of spinach
1 squirt of lemon juice
Splash of orange juice
- Place all ingredients except avocado in a single serve (or regular blender) and blend until smooth. Add avocado and blend until mixed. (If you have a high-powered blender, add everything at once).
- Pour into a glass and eat with a spoon.
I hope you have a blessed and merry Christmas! All the best to you and your family for 2015!
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Sally of Bewitching Kitchen. Sally is Brazilian and a biochemist. She has a beautiful smile, an awesome kitchen, and mad cooking and baking skills! I feel like we have a connection as we both went grey early. :)
She has TONS of delicious looking recipes, like this Cauli-Couscous, this simple non-roasted “roasted” broccoli, this ultimate Apple Cake and this granola. She is also a champion bread maker and I am so impressed by all her Brazilian Food!
I ended up choosing her Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing – definitely a winner! I changed it up a bit – I used a blender for the dressing as I’m too lazy to chop things that small), added orange zest and added toasted almonds instead of seared scallops (shellfish = bad for me). I expected it to be fairly spicy, but it wasn’t – just really tasty!
Bewitching Kitchen’s Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (I used 1 orange plus the juice left in the membrane from the segmented orange)
Zest of 1 orange
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
2 oranges, cut in segments
Mixed greens (I used power greens mix)
Toasted Almonds (Optional – I ran out of time and didn’t toast mine, but I definitely recommend it to take the flavour to the next level)
- Simmer orange juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp. It should take a little over 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Roast jalapeño directly over a gas flame (I used my BBQ), turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds.
- Place shallot, vinegar, reduced orange juice orange zest, olive and the jalapeño in a single serving blender container (i.e. magic bullet or similar) and blend until all chunks are gone; season with salt and pepper.
- Toss avocados, orange segments, salad greens, and vinaigrette in a bowl. Serve with toasted almonds if desired.
Sally, it was a joy to read through your blog! I love how your fun personality shines through in all of your posts and your wide array of recipes!
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes below: