Cajun Chickpea Sweet Potato Burgers

Cajun Chickpea and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers with Cajun Aioli

I say this quite a bit, but how on Earth have I gone my entire life without these burgers!?

This cajun spin on my classic Sweet Potato Chickpea Burger is something you’re going to want in your life, stat. Flecked with the foodie equivalent of the holy trinity and spiced to zesty perfection, these veggie burgers are full of flavor and easily compliment a number of dietary needs.

Swap out the egg and sub in a flax or chia egg to make them vegan and for a meal that’s gloriously gluten-free, crumble them over salads, spuds, or slap them on your favorite GF bun!

Cajun Chickpea and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers with Cajun Aioli

Cajun Chickpea Sweet Potato Burgers

Chickpea Sweet Potato Veggie Burger

Cajun Chickpea Sweet Potato Burgers
  • 1 sweet potato yielding 1 cup puree
  • 2 cups chickpeas [canned or cooked from dry]
  • 1 and ½ cups whole oats
  • ½ cup red pepper [about ¼ the pepper]
  • ½ cup diced onion [half a small onion]
  • ¼ cup diced celery [approx 1 stalk]
  • 2 tsp olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 large egg or 1 flax egg
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cayenne
  • salt and pepper, to taste [I used a pinch of sea salt]

  • cajun chipotle aioli:
  • ⅓ cup quality mayo [store bought or homemade]
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chipotle adobo sauce
  • ¼ tsp cajun seasoning blend, or to taste
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • a pinch of salt

  • The sauce is good on *everything* :: you may just want to double it!

  • extras:
  • spring mix lettuce
  • sliced avocado
  • your favorite burger buns
  1. Bake, microwave, or boil your sweet potato until tender.
  2. Remove/discard the skin and, using a food processor or blender, puree the sweet potato until smooth but thick.
  3. Scoop out the sweet potato and add to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Next rain and rinse your chickpeas, then add to the food processor. Pulse just a few times to break up the beans, still leaving lots of great texture. Add to the sweet potato.
  5. Next pulse one and a half cups of oats in your processor until flour-like [it doesn't have to be super fine by any means; just ground] then add to the sweet potato mixture.
  6. Next saute your onion, bell pepper, and celery in approx 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat.
  7. After about 7 minutes or so, add garlic and continue to saute until the veggies are translucent and tender.
  8. Once your veggies are ready, transfer to the bowl with the sweet potato and add 1 egg [or flax egg] to the bowl along with cajun seasoning blend, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.
  9. Stir to incorporate and divide burger mixture into 4-6 balls. I wound up making 5. The sizing seemed right for my buns.
  10. Cup each ball in your hands and squeeze, pressing it into a compact disc. Think of it as stress-relief!
  11. Form into into patties, cover, and refrigerate for approx. 30 minutes to set the burgers.
  12. Feel free to prep these overnight for the following day.
  13. Ready to eat? Pour a teeny bit of oil in a skillet, heat to high, and cook for a few minutes on each side until you're left with a golden crust and a warm center. Cook only a few at a time, trying not to overcrowd the skillet.
  14. While they cook, whisk together your aioli.
  15. Pile a lightly toasted bun high with greens and your fresh-from-the-skillet burger, top it off with a generous helping of aioli and dig in!

Cajun Chickpea and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers with Cajun Aioli


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Spinach and Artichoke Loaded Potato Skins

Creamy spinach artichoke dip and crispy loaded baked potato skins join forces, resulting in the ultimate party appetizer!

Spinach and Artichoke Loaded Potato Skins

Organic spinach went on sale recently [BOGO!] and I couldn’t resist picking up a box [or four!] to stir into my favorite recipes. I froze two and put the third on green smoothie duty.

The fourth box? It pimped my potato skins! It was kismet, really.

There’s something about hot, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip nestled into crispy baked potato shells that just makes sense.

Spinach and Artichoke Loaded Potato Skins… 

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Chipotle Hummus

This healthy hummus is spiked with smoky chipotle pepper and just the right amount of lemon and garlic to make this addictive dip your new favorite snack!

Homemade Chipotle Hummus

Not to toot my own horn, but… I’m totally going to toot my horn. This is hands-down the best hummus I’ve ever had. Roasted red pepper hummus has always been my go-to but this? This is a total game changer! I’m glad my recent chipotle-a-thon migrated from my bean dip makeover into a big bowl of chickpeas. Grab a jar or your favorite canned chipotle peppers and join me! You know you want to!

Chipotle Hummus
Recipe type: dip
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 TBSP tahini
  • 2 TBSP quality olive oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper [packed in adobo]
  • 1 and ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp adobo sauce
  • ¼ tsp minced garlic
  • ⅛ tsp salt

  • top it with:
  • ½ chipotle pepper, minced
  • a hearty drizzle of olive oil [I used harissa EVOO - so good!]
  • a sprinkle of paprika

  • serve it with:
  • pita chips
  • fresh pita wedges
  • tortilla chips
  • fresh veggies
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas, chipotle pepper, tahini, adobo sauce.
  2. Blend to incorporate.
  3. Scrape down the sides and add your garlic, salt, and lemon juice.
  4. Blend until deliciously creamy.
  5. Dive in with a pita chip for a taste-test and add more of your favorite ingredients if desired [more oil or tahini will thin out the hummus, more chipotle pepper will add heat and smoky flavor and more lemon juice will add some zest to the dip] - the above measurements were my idea of hummus perfection! Love it so!
  6. To fancily, top with half of a chopped chipotle pepper, a hearty drizzle of your favorite olive oil [I broke out the harissa-infused evoo for mine! Yum!] and a sprinkling of paprika.

Homemade Chipotle Hummus

The hummus [or yummus as we call it here!] will keep for a few days in your fridge, but you’ll be too busy licking the bowl clean to worry about leftovers! Next time I’m doubling the batch! Or maybe I should triple it? It’s hummus time, baby!

dip it: dip it good!

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Healthy Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Pico de Gallo

Spicy Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Pico de Gallo

This smoky vegan black bean dip is low in fat and big in flavor! Soup isn’t the only way to warm up on a cold day!

Spicy Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Pico de Gallo

Healthy Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Pico de Gallo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: dip
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 can [15 oz] black beans or refried black beans
  • ½ cup roasted salsa verde
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce [start with one then add another to taste]
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • a pinch of cumin, to taste
  • a pinch of salt, to taste

  • pico de gallo:
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • ⅛-1/4 cup diced jalapeno [optional but awesome!]
  • fresh cilantro, to taste
  • fresh lime juice, to taste
  • a pinch of salt

  • extras:
  • tortilla chips and veggie sticks for dipping
  1. Combine black beans, green salsa, garlic, lime juice, cumin and salt in a food processor.
  2. Next add one chipotle pepper and puree.
  3. Taste test for heat, then add the additional chipotle pepper if you're in the mood for a kick, then blend again.
  4. You can even sneak in a little cayenne if you feel like kicking things up a few more notches. Have at it! Make this dip as spicy or as mild as you'd like!
  5. Heat a small saucepan to medium heat and warm up the dip. Alternatively the microwave can be used if desired.
  6. While the dip warms, chop pico de gallo ingredients and combine.
  7. Serve over warm dip with an assortment of tortilla chips and veggies.

Spicy Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Pico de Gallo

The heat doesn’t hit you at first, but has a slow after-burn that, for heat lovers, keeps you coming back for more! P and I scarfed the entire bowl within a few hours, fanning our faces dramatically before diving back in for another face full of fire. We have a few dishes that we make on the regular that can only be described as painfully delicious. This baby just made the list.

As always, dips are uber easy to customize and you can control the heat by reducing the amount of chipotle used and also choosing a mild green salsa. If you’re a rebel like we are, feel free to up the heat with extra chipotle and even jalapeños or cayenne pepper. It can go either way!

I purposely didn’t share this batch with the chickpea, because the last time I let her dive into a spicy dip she spent the remainder of the day trying to rub red pepper flake after-burn off her tongue while I offered up buckets of yogurt and bananas to help the poor kid out. She’s either a masochist or a spice addict, because she decided to creep over to my set-up and help herself. Multiple. Times.

Spicy Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Pico de Gallo

At first I thought she was in it entirely for the tortilla chips, but each bite was followed by another dunk into the dip and another dramatic “my tongue is meltingggggg!!!” moment followed by, you guessed it, more dip! Poor kid. I’ll throw her a bone and make her some guac today.

still hungry?

Skillet Black Bean Queso

skillet black bean queso

craving more chipotle?


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Skillet Black Bean Queso

Skillet Black Bean Queso

There’s a burrito barn in Wilmington that has the most ridiculous black bean queso ever. It was getting to the point where I was starting to fantasize about driving two hours just to quell the craving. In traffic. With. A. Toddler.

Once I got a handle on my queso-goggles and came to my senses, I did what any hungry food blogger would do. I made my own. Though I skipped over the questionably processed cheese product and went straight for the good stuff. There’s almost always a brick of Cabot in my fridge and it beats the pants off of the shelf stable block of… what is that stuff anyways? It scares me. On second thought, I don’t want to know! I’ll stick with pepper jack.

5.0 from 1 reviews
black bean queso dip
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: dip, appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4 cups
  • ¾ cup tomatillo salsa verde
  • 15 oz [1 can] vegetarian refried black beans
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese, freshly grated, plus a few extra ounces for topping
  • 1 oz grated mozzarella, for topping
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes for topping [deliciously spicy + optional!]
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley for topping
  • tortilla chips and veggies for dipping

  • notes notes notes: I beelined for Target's Archer Farms Salsa Verde and Cabot Pepper Jack for this recipe, they're my go to for dips and taco nights! No cast iron skillet? No problem! You can make the dip in your favorite pot or pan and then transfer the mixture to a baking dish for the final step, basically grab any oven-safe dish that doubles as a serving dish and you're good to go!
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take out pepper jack cheese and cream cheese ahead of time and allow to soften.
  3. Next combine your beans and green salsa in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and bring to medium heat on your stove top, stirring frequently.
  4. Add softened cream cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  5. Once the beans are hot and the cream cheese has fully melted, slowly add freshly grated pepper jack cheese, stirring constantly to incorporate.
  6. Top with extra pepper jack, grated mozzarella cheese, parsley and red pepper flakes, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly!
  7. To make the cheese bubbly and golden, switch your oven to broil on high for just a minute or so [keep an eye on it to prevent burning]
  8. Dig in right away and store leftovers for up to 4 days in a covered bowl. May be reheated in the oven or microwave. Enjoy!

Cheesy Skillet Black Bean Queso

 It tastes great the first day, fabulous the next, and the third day? You’ll have to make more because it’s gone baby gone!

still hungry?

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20 fabulous freezer-friendly recipes

20 Fabulous Freezer Friendly Recipes

So while Paul was gone these past several months, things got a little crazy in my kitchen. I devoted nearly all nap times to recipe testing and meal planning and I cooked my freaking face off! So much so, that I wound up with a multitude of leftovers. The chickpea and I would stuff our faces for a day or two and then into the freezer it would go!

Now that my other half is back, we have the bulk of our meals already made for us! How freaking awesome is that!? Last year we purchased a stand-alone deep freezer for Mia’s milk stash and it’s now serving as my handy dandy  “fast food” freezer filled with blog recipes that I can’t wait to dive back into. In fact, since writing this post we’ve already made a considerable dent in my stockpile, so it gives me an excuse to test a few more! I love a good win-win situation, especially when it’s edible!

Curious about which recipes on P&C are freezer-friendly? Here’s a round-up of dishes you can stash away for a rainy day or make use of during the super-busy holiday season that’s pretty much about to hit us like a freight train in 3…2…

20 fabulous freezer-friendly recipes: Homemade Veggie Burgers

These uber-tasty burgers are all gloriously gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan too!

Cook up the burgers as directed, freeze individually, then bake at 400F for around 20 minutes. Add the essentials and pop them on a fluffy bun, crumble them over salads and sweet potatoes, or even wrap them in lettuce! The possibilities are endless!

Butternut Black Bean Burgers: These are my latest obsession! Hearty black beans and buttery roasted squash are a match made in heaven. The flavor is further amplified with sauteed onion, celery, and garlic and seasoned to compliment. My current track record involves eating no less than four of these a week. I regret nothing. Extra sriracha aioli on mine, please and thank you!

Mexican Veggie Burgers: They’re Taco Tuesday in burger form! I love these crumbled over a fluffy baked sweet potato with a mountain of taco toppings!

Pumpkin Burgers: I only eat pumpkin in savory forms, so these burgers were the perfect opportunity to combine gorgeous pureed pumpkin with garlic, white beans, and a sweet-yet-savory spice blend including cinnamon and allspice. Yum!

Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers: These beauties are one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and for good reason too! They’re delicious! Serve them up over a crisp salad, wrapped in a giant leaf of lettuce as a wrap, or on the fluffiest bun you can get your hands on. They great every which way!

Triple Bean Veggie Burgers: My first veggie burger has a special place in my  heart, and my freezer! These use a combination of mashed and whole and mashed beans to deliver an amazing texture that will win over vegetarians and carnivores alike!

Vegetarian Chili Burgers: Another one of my chunky textured burgers that tastes like a warm bowl of hearty veggie chili, in sandwich form! Chili-spiced and served with a zesty chipotle aioli, they’re simply amazing!

Freezer Friendly Soup Recipes

Snag a bowl for now, and freeze a few for later!

Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup: I LOVE THIS SOUP! Ok to be fair, I love all my soups [they’re not allowed on the blog unless I heart them dearly] but this one has a special place in my heart. I’m thinking it’s because of the smorgasbord of veggies, beans, and toppings involved. I’m a hussy when it comes to my food and I want it all. The more variety the better. Though this soup is packed with ingredients, they’re all super simple to find and the slow cooker does all the work for you! Easy peasy!

Slow Cooker Veggie Loaded Baked Potato Soup: A vegetarian spin on the classic loaded baked potato soup… in the crock-pot! This soup is a warm hug for your tastebuds and one of my all-time favorites to make and devour. I rarely have enough left over for the freezer so It’s clearly time to make a double batch!

Slow Cooker Mexican Potato Soup: Ole, mofos.

Chicken Parmesan Soup:  Man this soup is dreamy. I think I love the soup more than the dish it was inspired by! As a bonus, this comfort food remix is healthier than the original, which means I get to add more cheese.

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup: Yup! I went there! Another kicked up comfort food in slurpable form that absolutely rocks my socks. Keep it mild or turn up the heat and make it spicy!

Creamy Tomato Soup and Mozzarella Balls: Both elements freeze really well! I typically freeze the soup in one container, and the cubed mozzarella in another [yup! freeze it!] and then while the soup is heating up, I’ll dip the mozzarella in flour, egg, and herbed panko and bake. By the time the soup is warm and bubbly the ooey gooey mozz balls are ready too! Well, assuming you didn’t stand over the stove eating them all first =) Watch out, they’re hard to resist!

I haven’t tested it yet [I totally need to now!] but I’m thinking my slow cooker Black Bean Soup will freeze + reheat like a champ too! I’ll freeze a few bowls next time I make it and keep you posted!

[This site] has some really great tips for freezing soups, like leaving out the pasta in noodle based soups and making a fresh pot of pasta for the soup while you reheat it. Cheese and cream based soups can curdle and look a little different the second time around, so you can absolutely leave out the dairy from the recipe and add it after reheating as well. It’s a small step that requires so little effort that it’s often worth the delicious results! I do this often with my homemade Broccoli and Cheese Soup.

20 fabulous freezer-friendly recipes: fiesta favorites

Baked Black Bean and Sweet Potato Flautas:  I love that one of my most raved about recipes is also gloriously freer friendly! Freeze a batch and reheat in small batches  for speedy snacks or bake up the entire tray for a Taco Tuesday with a delicious twist!

Triple Bean Flautas: a re-mix of my famous SP flautas, these triple-bean flautas rock! I amped up the flavor and maxed out the beans for a fiber filled recipe that serves double-duty as a snack or a meal!

Mexican Pizza Lasagna: I clearly have a soft spot for all things Mexican, and my freezer loves it too! This super easy, super speedy lasagna is as easy to assemble as it is to reheat.

Fiesta Enchilada Casserole: These are hands-down my FAVORITE enchiladas… especially since they nix the soggy corn tortillas in favor of fluffy egg noodles. Game on! I freeze the seasoned meat and veggies as well as the sauce and while they’re defrosting I boil the egg noodles. Then simply combine and top with your favorite grated cheeses! Finish the dish off with your favorite toppings [like cilantro or pico de gallo!] and enjoy!

Lentil Veggie Tacos: The super-flavorful filling for these crunchy tacos can be frozen and defrosted whenever you want a speedy taco night! You’ll never miss the meat!

Something Sweet:

Crock-Pot Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Honey: If you’re craving traditional cranberry sauce this is totally your jam! Er.. sauce! This is your sauce! The apples lend yum-factor while also releasing pectin to thicken the sauce to perfection. A little honey and fresh orange juice lend all the sweetness you’ll need for this delicious condiment. It keeps for four days in the fridge and months in the freezer so make a large pot and put it on everything in sight! Especially Thanksgiving leftovers! Yum!

Apple Strawberry Cranberry Sauce: like all cranberry sauces, this one can be made on the stove or in a slow cooker and both options are beyond easy! Don’t be scared of the strawberry in this one, it’s not enough to turn this flavorful sauce into jam but enough to add a little sweetness and that little something extra that will keep guests guessing as to what your secret is! Orange juice, fresh lime juice and zest, honey, and cinnamon all join the party for a sauce that just plain rocks on everything!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Cake: Did you do a double take? Heck yes this can be frozen! I wanted to save half of the cake for P’s homecoming but didn’t quite know if it would work. HOLY COW IT DID! It was downright fabulous too! I’m happy to know I can freeze leftover cookie cake for future snacking and celebrations. Cue happy dance.

 There’s a party in my freezer, and you’re invited!

What’s your favorite dish to stash away for a rainy day?

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

Yes I’m sticking with that title. It’s a mouthful and after one bite you’ll want another. And another. And then you’ll walk away and pretend like you’re done but we KNOW you’re coming back for another bite.

At least that’s how I operate at parties. I try to play it cool, do the whole socialization thing, hug hands, shake babies, all that jazz, but I’m as transparent as a jellyfish. It’s allllll about the food. If I get cornered by a friend who doesn’t quite know the drill by now, Paul is usually quick to step up to the plate and grab me something to eat. I love that man. I’m also still continuing my love affair with cranberries, if you haven’t noticed by now.

This Pollack-esque interpretation of a cheese log is quick, easy, and is sure to put the “HO-ly cow this is good!” in your holiday spread.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley
Recipe type: appetizer
  • 1 large log of your favorite goat cheese
  • ¼-1/2 cup cranberry sauce [recipe]
  • ¼-1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 TBSP [or more!] dried or fresh parsley

  • extras:
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • a drizzle or two of honey
  • crackers, crostini, and veggies, for spreading and scooping!
  1. Remove goat cheese from wrapper and allow to soften to room temperature.
  2. Warm up your favorite cranberry sauce [hello great use for leftover sauce!] and spread it on a cheese tray or serving platter.
  3. Next chop your nuts and cranberries and mix together along with parsley.
  4. Roll your goat cheese in the mixture, pressing gently to coat.
  5. Set the festive goat cheese log atop the cranberry sauce and surround with all your favorite crackers, crostini, and veggies!
  6. Feel free to get a little trashy and sprinkle any leftover nuts all over the tray. Hello edible confetti!
  7. Ohmygosh and please please please take this baby over the top with a nice hearty drizzle of honey. It's divine.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

Well that was easy!

Butternut Black Bean Burgers

Butternut Black Bean Burgers

First off, these are totally veggie burgers. I was forced to leave the veggie bit out of the title because I suffer from severe AA. Alliteration Addiction: it’s legit, Google it. No wait don’t, I’m totally lying. But I’d never lie about food; these burgers are borderline bitc– oh gosh, maybe I really DO have AA!

Secondly, I totally have spinach on my finger in the above photo and while it’s making me positively twitchy to look at it, I can’t photoshop veggies out of my photos. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

Lastly, I ate these so fast I’m fairly certain I stopped breathing for the entire duration of this veggie burger. After that first glorious bite it became imperative that I smash that sandwich into my face as fast as possible. I really need to work on my speed eating issues, huh? I’ll tackle it right after I figure out how to nix that pesky AA.

Phew! I feel so much better! Now that my dirty laundry has been aired, let’s eat!

Butternut Black Bean Burgers

Butternut Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Butternut Black Bean Burgers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 burgers
  • 1 flax egg [1 TBSP ground flax + 3 TBSP water] or 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed black beans [refried black beans work too!]
  • 1 cup pureed butternut squash
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • ⅓ cup diced celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil [or butter]
  • ¾ tsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend [like mrs. dash]
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried parsley [or fresh if you have it!]
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]

  • the toppings:
  • 4 burger buns [I used a bakery poppyseed onion bun - amazing!]
  • 4 slices of pepper jack cheese
  • romaine lettuce
  • fresh baby spinach
  • mayo [store-bought or homemade] mixed with sriracha chili sauce

  • note: Most weekends I'll cube and roast an entire butternut squash and use it for soups, salads, and even these burgers! You can puree roasted butternut squash at home for this recipe or opt for a store bought puree, totally up to you!
  1. Whisk together 1 TBSP ground flax with 3 TBSP water and pop it in the fridge to set.
  2. Next mash black beans in a large bowl and set aside. Alternatively you can use refried black beans, I've made it both ways! Measure to ensure you have a cup and you're good to go.
  3. Add your butternut squash to the beans and set aside.
  4. Next saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender and near-translucent, adding the minced garlic towards the end to prevent burning.
  5. Season the veggies with your Italian seasoning blend, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to coat.
  6. Add the freshly sauteed veggies to your beans and squash and stir in your oats.
  7. Remove your flax egg from the fridge and add it to the bowl.
  8. Stir to fully incorporate and roll mixture into four balls.
  9. For optimal burger shape, cup each ball in your hands and squeeze tightly, rotating as you gently, but firmly, press it into a disc.
  10. Giggles aside, pop your burgers onto a plate, cover with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate as you prep your buns [or lettuce wraps!] and toppings. This will give them a little while to set. You can even leave them overnight and cook them up the following day. I often make one after 15-30 minutes of chill time and cook up the rest the following day.
  11. Ready to eat?
  12. Pour a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet and heat to medium-high, so the burgers sizzle when you add them to the pan!
  13. Cook for a few minutes on each side until you're left with a golden crust. and a warm center. Repeat for each burger, or cook two at once if you have a big enough pan! I'd skip crowding all four together just because they're a pain to flip when all up in eachother's business. A tip for perfectly shaped veggie burgers? While sizzling away in the skillet, I use my spatula to gently help form the sides into a perfect disc. Works like a charm!
  14. Slather your buns with sriracha mayo, pile them high with lettuce, spinach, pepper jack and top each with a yummy butternut burger. Enjoy!

A certain someone couldn’t keep her paws off them. I won’t point fingers… but she will!

Butternut Black Bean Burgers

so… how were they!?

In a word? Awesome! Need a few more words than that? They’re flavorful, filling and f– I should stop before the alliteration takes over again! Yikes!

I’ve made these so many times in the past few weeks that my freezer is like a shrine to butternut burgers. I’ve been pacing myself, having a veggie burger every few days so I don’t have a repeat episode of the time I made no less than 5001 Sweet Potato Burgers and Paul held an intervention. To be fair I was eating sweet potato burgers like a madman. It was glorious.  I should make more and just alternate between the two until I have a rockin’ beta carotene tan. Or I could be normal and eat a varied diet like a civilized human being. Let’s pretend I’m the latter. We’ll all get gold stars for imagination use on that one.

I’ve rambled oodles, let’s part ways so you can frolic into your kitchen and make these. I’ll whip another up too and we can cheers veggie burgers over the ordeal. Too weird? Nah!

Still hungry?

Sweet Potato Chickpea BurgersVegetarian Chili Burger Pumpkin Burgers

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Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta: a fabulous Fall side dish for any occasion!

Who has two thumbs and just rocked her self-implemented post deadline!? This girl! Of course it took posting a photo of this plate-o-yum on IG to give me the push I needed. I have some very awesome friends with some very impatient squash [squashes? squashi? I think I’m overthinking this!] awaiting this recipe. I had to deliver!

Without further adieu, here’s my  all-time favorite butternut squash recipe. Hands-down. No question. This savory sweet side dish is perfect for the holidays; make it!

Well, make it now, and then make it AGAIN for the holidays. All of them. Duh.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

5.0 from 3 reviews
Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta
Recipe type: side
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled + chopped
  • a hearty drizzle of olive oil [approx 1-2 TBSP]
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2-3 TBSP honey [or extra, to taste]
  • ¼ cup finely crumbled feta
  • ground cinnamon, to taste [optional but delicious!]
  • fresh or dried parsley, to garnish [optional]
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly drizzle or spritz a baking sheet with olive oil.
  3. Add cubed squash to the sheet along with another drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with a light layer of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, based on taste preference.
  5. Roast at 400 F for 25 minutes on the center rack.
  6. At the 25 minute mark, pull out the oven rack, and add your fresh cranberries to the roasting pan.
  7. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries have started to soften and burst a bit, resembling really juicy craisins vs fresh firm cranberries.
  8. Remove from oven and add a sprinkle of cinnamon [approx ⅛-1/4 tsp depending on preference] along with feta and honey. I listed the honey measurements I used, but depending on whether you used fresh cranberries or dried, sweeten to taste.
  9. Garnish with parsley for a burst of color and dig in while it's hot!

So I read somewhere that when honey is cooked it loses a lot of it’s coveted antibacterial properties, boo. I still bake with it because it’s an awesome natural sweetener and I adore it so, but if I have the option to keep it as close to raw as possible, I do. Hence adding the honey after roasting the squash and cranberries in this recipe. The fruit and veggie medley is still just warm enough to allow the honey to cover the dish as a deliciously sweet glaze, but not so scorching that it’s spending 30+ minutes in my oven losing all it’s fabulous benefits. File this under things I tell myself so I can eat more honey.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

This simple side can be whipped up with just a few fresh ingredients and is loaded with Fall flavor! As an added bonus, as the butternut squash roasts away it fills the house with the most delicious aromas. I had to hold myself back from climbing in the oven with it after the twenty minute mark. It was a little less Sylvia Plath and a little more was more  “LET ME AT THAT SQUASH!” I may have stolen a few cubes to munch on when I added the cranberries. So good!

still hungry?

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Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

While I love a good bowl full of Summer, festive Fall salads have a special place in my heart and, quite frankly, my stomach! I’m thinking it’s the change of pace that gets me all riled up. By the end of summer I’m so positively over salads that I eye-roll at the thought of having one for anything other than a side dish to a more exciting main course. Of course those last few weeks of Winter leave me craving a fresh cucumber salad so badly I might die. If you’ve been reading long enough you’re probably used to my end-of-season whine fest and how quickly I throw myself into the next season out of sheer exasperation over the last. I’m a sucker for tradition. [and dramatics apparently]

Now that it’s fall all I want are my favorite comfort foods! Of course I still want salads too! There’s also the fact that I need to get creative if I want to partake in the holiday cookie chomping spree that happens ever year, and that means throwing some lightened up fare into the mix.

Now I know you kids are still cuckoo for pumpkin puffs, but I’m all about that bass those cranberries.

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

and I’m allllllll about those candied walnuts:

Homemade 10 Minute Candied Walnuts with Honey and Brown Sugar

I’ll never shell out [hah!] for pricey candied nuts again. It’s far to easy to make them fresh AND I get to crack [ha ha!] cheesy nut jokes while I make them. It’s a win-win situation of nutty proportions. Now I’m going to go hide under the bed until I learn how to behave myself.

That… may take a while. You should make this salad to help pass the time.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts
Recipe type: salad, side
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 + ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries [or frozen!] or 1 cup dried
  • ½-1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 TBSP chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • for the candied walnuts:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • the teeniest pinch of salt

  • for the dressing:
  • 2 TBSP light olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced [1/4 tsp]
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a dash of black pepper

  • notes and such: If you're using fresh berries, the dish will have an extra burst of tartness that those juicy little buggers are infamous for! For those of you who find cranberries to be super tart when served straight up, grab a bag of dried cranberries. They're sweeter and still deliver amazing flavor to this dish! Both will result in some serious deliciousness!
  1. First rinse + drain your quinoa.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and lightly toast the quinoa to remove any excess water. Stir as it toasts for just a few minutes. This step is optional but really adds to the fluff factor of the quinoa!
  3. Next add your broth and bring pot to a boil.
  4. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 12-13 minutes.
  5. If you're using frozen cranberries, add them to the pot after 6-8 minutes; if you're using dried or fresh cranberries add them in around the 9-10 minute mark and recover.
  6. Test the cranberries before pulling from heat to make sure they've had enough time to cook, then remove from heat.
  7. Once your quinoa and cranberries are done, season with a teeny bit of salt and pepper, fluff gently with a fork, and set aside.
  8. Add a little water to that same pot and bring to a boil. Gently blanch your broccoli florets until bright green and al-dente [you want it to still be a bit firm yet tender, not mushy] which should only take a few minutes.
  9. Drain, chop into bite-sized bits, and add to the quinoa along with chopped green onion.
  10. Place quinoa in the fridge while you prep your dressing and walnuts.
  11. DRESSING: Smash and mince garlic into a paste and combine with all remaining dressing ingredients. Whisk well and set aside.
  12. CANDIED WALNUTS: Heat a skillet or saucepan to medium heat and butter to melt. Next add in your chopped walnuts, honey, salt, and sugar. Saute for 5-6 minutes and pour over parchment paper, using a spatula to separate the nuts. Otherwise you'll have yummy walnut brittle that you'll want to break apart over your salad, which is no big deal either! Yum! Allow to cool for several minutes until the coating hardens and you're walnuts have officially been candied! Woot! Try not to eat them all before they hit the salad.
  13. Grab your bowl-o-quinoa and top with the walnuts. Drizzle with dressing just before digging in! Serve this up as a salad for lunch [I ate the entire thing myself, ha! It can easily serve 2 if needed] or serve it up as a colorful side dish to stretch it to 4 servings. Serve it chilled or at room temperature, it's great both ways! Enjoy!

inspired by and adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen and  Juan-Carlos Cruz 

vegansaurus chefs: To whip up a vegan-friendly version of this salad, simply skip the honey in the candied walnuts and use a little extra sugar or maple syrup instead!

t-rex chefs: Feel free to add some chopped or shredded chicken to this salad. It also makes a great use for thanksgiving leftovers, so save a little turkey and use it to make this!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Homemade Candied Walnuts

In other news, I wanted to DRINK this dressing! I stole a spoonful while I was taste testing and might have dove back in for seconds or thirds. The combination of juicy lime and orange juice with the subtly fruity undertones of the olive oil and the punch of raw garlic? I just love it. You should probably go ahead and double the recipe so you can pour it on your veggies all week long. Assuming you don’t indeed drink it.

I won’t tell if you do, pinky promise.

Actually, while you’re at it, you may want to double the recipe for the walnuts too. If you’re anything like me you’ll start shoving them in your face the second they’re cool enough to handle. Or while they’re still molten… We live life dangerously around here.

And in case you’re crazy enough to save some for the following day…

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad Stuffed Sweet Potato

Stuff it in a spud!

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