Chickpea “Tuna” Bowl

This fresh chickpea “tuna” bowl is one of my favorite summer lunches.

It’s so easy to make, it only takes like five minutes to make, has five ingredients, AND it’s protein-packed. Plus it’s yummy… but it wouldn’t be on the blog if it wasn’t! It’s packed with some of my favorite ingredients: chickpeas, celery, and fresh tomatoes (from work!).

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Believe it or not, tomorrow is my last day working at the hydroponic tomato hut. Say what!? Where did the summer go?

I have mixed feelings about my last day of picking tomatoes. On one hand, it’ll be nice to be done with work for the summer. Plus, I won’t get so dirty ever again- that is, unless I work there again next summer, which IS a possibility.

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Seriously, look at how dirty I get.By the end of my 9 AM to 3 PM shift, I’m covered in dirt, pollen, and tomato flowers!

On the other hand, it means summer is almost over. Which stinks because summer is my absolute favorite season. Also, I won’t be picking any more tomatoes which means I won’t get to bring any more tomatoes home. I’m seriously going to go through fresh tomato withdrawal. Which is why it’s a good thing that the cherry tomatoes from my garden are ready- at least I’ll have those to eat!

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Beautiful purple tomatoes from my family’s little square foot garden. Perfect for snacking!

Other than working at the tomato hut, I babysat a lot this summer. Boy do I have stories to tell about that. One boy I sat for almost shocked his dog to death with a shock collar that his grandmother gave to him to use, and another family I babysit for had to come to my rescue with putting a stop to it while we were out on a walk. By the end of the night, I wanted to cry. Mostly for the poor dog who was probably in a lot of pain. That’s the worst thing that happened though, besides having to babysit six kids by myself multiple times (HARD work). Other than that, babysitting this summer consisted of lots of beach days, trips to the candy & ice cream store, and outside playtime. Fun stuff.

Within the next week I’ll be posting some snapshots from my summer for you! 

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But before then, let’s all enjoy this chickpea “tuna” bowl. Because it’s summer, and it’s nice out so you don’t want to spend a lot of time inside preparing food, and there’s a lot of fresh produce to use.

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Chickpea “Tuna” Bowl

Serves 2

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp Vegenaise (or other vegan mayonnaise)
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp coarse seasoning salt
  • 2 tomatoes, optional but recommended

Instructions:

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add them to a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the Vegenaise.
  3. Smash the chickpea mixture with a fork (so it looks more like tuna).
  4. Chop the celery then add it into the mixture.
  5. Either serve “as is” in bowls or on bread as a sandwich OR add in tomato and serve in bowls. OR you can hollow out the tomato as a bowl and spoon the chickpea mixture into it. YUM.

Happy end-of-summer!

xx Ellie

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Fancy Filled Tomatoes

I love tomatoes. Do you love tomatoes? If so, this recipe is for you!

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It starts with fresh tomatoes, bursting with flavorful juices. These tomatoes are then filled to the brim with a hearty quinoa mixture and topped with an agave-sweetened balsamic dressing. What’s not to love?

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I get my tomatoes from a local greenhouse called TLC. They grow their produce hydroponically, which means plants are grown in mineral solution with water instead of in dirt. My mom and I go to TLC at least once a week, and a few weeks ago my mom found out they needed help harvesting tomatoes.

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So…. guess what?! I’m working in TLC’s hydroponic greenhouse harvesting tomatoes!! I work Monday and Thursday from 9-3 picking beefsteak, orange wellington, and cherry tomatoes. Four other girls and I pick 300+ pounds of tomatoes each time I’m there! Do any of you have a “summer” job?

I get a lot of tomatoes working at TLC, and I’ve mostly just been eating them plain. However, sometimes I’ve been getting fancy with my food and making dishes where tomato is the star ingredient, like in this dish.

Please HMU with tomato recipes though because I have so many tomatoes.

Look at all these ripe tomatoes at TLC. The red ones are beefsteaks and the orange ones are called orange wellingtons- they’re sweeter than most other tomatoes. 

Back to this dish. It’s super fancy, fresh, and yummo… so you should try it. Honestly, why not!? My favorite part of making this dish is scooping out the tomatoes and eating their entrails (guts? Insides? There’s no good word to use). I also like plating the dish. Serve it to someone you’re trying to impress, as it’s easy to make but it looks fancy-schmancy.

Go use ALL the fresh tomatoes and make this quinoa-filled tomato bowl. Then enjoy it.

xx Ellie

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Fancy Filled Tomatoes

Serves 6 (1 serving = 1 filled tomato)

Quinoa Filling (adapted from this recipe)

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I like olive oil)
  • ½ a large onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 and 3/4 cup veggie broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  1. Soak the quinoa for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and sauté it until it’s brown (about 4 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper to the pan with the onion and sauté for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add in the quinoa, and stir everything around.
  5. Add in the veggie broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Once the mixture is at a boil, cover it with a lid and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is soft and you can’t see broth.
  7. Drain the chickpeas from the can.
  8. Add the chickpeas and parsley to the quinoa mixture. Your filling is complete!

White Balsamic Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. Vigorously whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl until they’re combined.

To assemble the dish:

  • 6 big tomatoes
  • quinoa filling (recipe above)
  • balsamic dressing (recipe above)
  1. Cut the tops of each tomato off (like in the pictures). With a spoon, scoop out the insides of the tomatoes and discard (by eating them right away or by saving them to put on salads).
  2. Spoon the quinoa filling into the tomato “bowls” and plate them.
  3. Drizzle some balsamic dressing onto the filled tomato bowls.
  4. Garnish your filled tomatoes with more dressing, tomato slices, more fresh parsley and pepper. ENJOY!

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Gingery Veggie Stir-Fry

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I’m all about using fresh vegetables in the summer. We have a square foot garden at my cottage, which is where I live in the summer. I live in the cottage, not the garden btw. I may eat a bag of baby carrots a day, but  I’m not THAT much of a rabbit.

We grow all kinds of vegetables in our garden, but the plants that thrive there are broccoli, green beans, swiss chard, lettuce, and kale! I used three of those five fresh vegetables in this stir-fry, which is one of my go-to summer meals. It has a great natural flavor thanks to the fresh veggies, but it also has a little kick from the ginger and garlic.

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fresh veggies from our garden  : green beans, broccoli, and swiss chard

I use the vegetables we have on hand when I make this stir-fry. I often just step outside and grab veggies from the garden! No worries if you don’t have a garden. You can just use whatever veggies you have in your kitchen for this stir-fry! This ginger / garlic combo tastes great with almost any vegetable (although I’m not sure how great it would taste with beets or cucumbers…).

It is the perfect light summer meal, but it also makes a great side dish. I can see this being served at a dinner party, as a potluck dish, or as a side to a veggie burger!

Enjoy one of my favorite simple, flavorful, and fresh meals!

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Gingery Veggie Stir-Fry

serves 2

*This is a very “laid back” recipe. Below is what my mom and I usually stir-fry, but you can add and subtract as many veggies as you’d like!*

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1-2 cups beans
  • 1-2 ears of corn
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups swiss chard (3-6 large leaves)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger OR you can use squeeze-able ginger like the one linked HERE.
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Chop the veggies into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Spray / oil a large pan with cooking spray / olive oil.
  3. Add the veggies to the pan. Turn the heat on the pan to medium-high. Sauté the veggies (stir them back and forth with a spatula) until the swiss chard is wilted and the veggies are a tiny bit brown and look ready to devour! Pour the veggies into two bowls, season with more ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper (if desired) and enjoy!

Have a happy, veggie-filled day!

xx Ellie

P.S. – a great post-meal snack is one of these cupcakes! I made these yesterday for my street’s block party. They’re banana chocolate chip spice cupcakes with expresso frosting. I guess they’d be called banoffee  spice cupcakes? The recipe is from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli (I’m kind of obsessed with her and her recipes if you haven’t noticed… 🙂 ). I topped them with cinnamon and a Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chip (I’m also obsessed with these chocolate chips!!!).

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Pesto Protein Bowl

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What is your favorite “type” of food? By type I mean ethnicity, a.k.a. where the food originally came from.

I honestly don’t have one favorite type of food. I LOVE Mexican food (salsa’s where it’s ATTTT), Costa Rican food (beans and riceeeeee), Thai food (peanut noodles = heart eye emoji), and Mediterranean food (baba ganoush and HUMMUS >>> ). But sometimes I crave Italian food (pasta, pizza, and LOTSA BASIL) and “American” food.

Okay change of subject (but it’s related) : what counts as American / USA food? I feel like it’s a mix of a bunch of other cultures’ food. When I think of USA food I UNFORTUNATELY can only think of McDonald’s type of food : burgers, fries, milkshakes, ice cream. I also think of pizza and spaghetti (but then I’m like, “aren’t those Italian!?”). SO anyway, tell me in the comments what YOU think is “American” food!

So back to my favorite food culture. I LOVE Mexican food, but I also like Italian food. That’s why I love this bowl. It’s a Mexican-type bowl full of grains, black beans, and salsa-like ingredients like corn and tomato. Then you add pesto and it adds an Italian flair to what I previously decided was a Mexican-themed bowl. So if you have a hankering for Mexican food and ALSO Italian food, try this bowl! That way, you can enjoy the foods and flavors of both cultures!

It’s a pesto protein bowl because it’s very pesto-y and chock-full of protein thanks to the quinoa and black beans. Enjoy it!

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Pesto Protein Bowl

serves 4

*It’s SUPER quick and easy to make!*

For the Pesto

from pg. 12 of The New Basics cookbook

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Process the garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in the food processor. Slowly add in the oil through the “feed tube” while the motor is running. Process until the basil is puréed.

For the Bowl

  • the pesto (obvi)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1  15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 3 tomatoes
  • basil leaves (to top the bowls)
  1. Measure 1 cup of dry quinoa and cook according to package directions. Pour the quinoa into a big bowl when it’s done cooking.
  2. Drain and rinse the black beans (keep the liquid to make aquafaba!) and add them to the bowl.
  3. Cook some corn and add it to the bowl.
    • Side note: a great way to cook corn is to wrap the ear in a wet paper towel and cook it in the microwave! Cook each ear for 2 minutes on high. So if you do 2 ears at a time, set the microwave for 4 minutes. ***Thanks Dama for the tip!***
  4. Wash the tomatoes, then cut them into small pieces and put them in the big bowl.
  5. Pour all the pesto into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
  6. Scoop the mixture into bowls, and serve with fresh basil leaves and salt + pepper. Enjoy!

Have a fun day!

xx Ellie

Hearty Party Bowl

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This is one of my favorite dinners EVER.

Sweet golden beets juicy plump mushrooms + crunchy green asparagus + crispy toasted tofu + purple sticky rice = 
the perfect meal!

It’s a delicious, hearty meal full of veggies, protein, and complex carbohydrates. In my opinion, it’s the perfect meal taste-wise and nutrition-wise!

Enjoy this nutritious, delicious, earthy, and filling meal!

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Hearty Party Bowl

Serves 2-4

    • 3 cups purple sticky rice
    • 3 to 6 large golden beets, chopped into 1or 2 inch squares
    • 3 large sweet potatoes, cubed
    • olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 head of broccoli
    • a few handfuls of asparagus
    • 8 oz container of button mushrooms
    • 1 brick of tofu
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  1. Press the tofu to get the moisture out.
  2. Make 3 cups of your favorite sticky rice. Follow the directions on the back of the rice container for how to make the rice. We love purple sticky rice!
  3. While the rice is cooking, cube the beets, drizzle olive oil over them, then roast them at 400 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes. Stir them, then cook for another 18 to 20  minutes, or until they’re golden-brown and not as crunchy anymore.
  4. At the same time, cube the sweet potatoes, and roast them with a bit of olive oil and 3 cloves of garlic for about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into strips and coat the strips with a bit of soy sauce (approx. 1/4 cup). Put it in a pan and roast for 20 minutes per side, or until they’re golden-brown and crispy.
  6. Wash and cut the broccoli and mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Either sauté the broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms OR roast them. When the beets only have 10 or so minutes left in the oven, add in the other veggies and let everything cook until the timer goes off (and the veggies are soft).
  7. Add some rice to bowls, then top the bowls with tofu, beets, broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, and mushrooms. Enjoy!

xx Ellie

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Fancy Stir-Frys

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve had a WONDERFUL week thus far! I sure have!

I’ve been eating lots of veggie stir-frys this week. A stir fry I often make (and love) consists of corn, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes. I love putting tomatoes into stir-frys because the heat releases their sweet juices and makes the stir-fry more stew-like!

The “recipe” is basically veggies and spices. However, I made this stir-fry fancy by hollowing out a farmer’s market tomato and putting the veggies (including the tomato “guts”) into it.

Fancy Stir-Fry (serves 1)

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 2 large handfuls (about 2 cups) of spinach
  • about 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • cooking spray

Gut the tomato by cutting off the top and taking the insides out with a spoon. This will leave you with a hollow tomato (picture below). Then take out a big pan, spray it, and cut the veggies. Then add the corn, broccoli, and tomato “guts” into the pan, spray them with cooking spray, and turn the heat up to high. Add the spinach and the spices and stir frequently until the spinach has decreased in size and the veggies look cooked. Turn off the heat, scoop the veggies into the tomato “bowl”, and enjoy!

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Another veggie dish I’ve been enjoying is zucchini “noodles” with a homemade tomato “sauce”. All you have to do to make it is…

  1. Julienne a zucchini to make the noodles (if you don’t have a spiralizer, just use a carrot peeler!!!).
  2. Cut up and sauté a large tomato, a handful of mushrooms, a handful of broccoli, and a handful of cauliflower.
  3. Add ½ tsp italian seasoning.
  4. Add the “sauce” to the “noodles” and enjoy! I ate this meal with a delicious pumpkin muffin.

Enjoy your veggies and have a fantabulous weekend! Have any fun plans?

xx Ellie