I’ve traveled a lot over the past few months and although I love adventures in new places, I missed my kitchen terribly. Apparently my garden missed me too because I am overrun with produce, especially of the zucchini variety. I also have a metric ton of ridiculously hot jalapenos that I’ve yet to come up with a good use for. Anyway, since getting home from North Carolina, I’ve made a few great dishes to celebrate being back in my beautiful kitchen. The joke in our house has now become, did Sarah hide zucchini in this? And the answer is yes, I probably did.
Zucchini Rice: This first dish is a DELICIOUS side dish or perfect vegan/gluten free filling for burritos. I did coconut oil instead of butter (to keep it vegan**) and otherwise made it as listed on Damn Delicious. Like other dishes of its sort, you could swap out the kind of bean and corn to change the flavors. For example, kidney beans or navy beans plus italian dressing could make a delicious Mediterranean style dish while garbanzo beans plus curry powder and coriander could take it in a Middle Eastern direction.
Zucchini Chickpea Quinoa Salad: Another vegan, gluten free option that uses up zucchini and is delicious. I made this for a team dinner and quadrupled the recipe which made mixing the ingredients a bit difficult. If I were to do it again, I would do it in two bowls and then combine so that it was easier to stir. The other thing I did was cook the zucchini; I’m not sure why, but raw zucchini doesn’t appeal to me at all. It probably added a little liquid to the salad but it was delicious.
Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken: Perfect for serving with the zucchini rice as above! I changed this recipe quite a bit because I didn’t have all of the ingredients and am trying to work through some stockpiled supplies but I’m sure her version is totally delicious too. I did fresh jalepenos from my garden (2, cut with gloves on…) instead of the green chiles and left out the liquid smoke. I also used chicken thighs; they have a higher fat content and I think they make a better shredded meat than chicken breast. They are also significantly cheaper, a must for me with crockpot cooking.
Caprese Calzones: I love homemade pizza and any combination of cheese and basil rocks my world, but what I liked most about these was that I could make them before practice and then just throw them in the oven when I got home. I used tomatoes and basil from my garden and they were delicious! I highly recommend splitting a portion of pizza dough into 4 so you can make roll size calzones. It created a much better stuffing to crust ratio!
Finally, the best for last: Homemade Falafel. Holy s&*$. I love falafel but it’s hard to find good falafel around these parts so I often just wait until I’m in a city to have some. I’ve made falafel at home once before and it was a bit of a disaster, so I was anxious about how this would turn out. However, this recipe is AMAZING and I can’t wait to make it again. I did add more flour than she called for which paid off when I started to fry them because they stayed together beautifully. For the frying, I put 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on 6/10 heat until it was warm and then started frying. I found that about 2 minutes per side was just perfect. I didn’t make the tahini sauce and instead served them with just fresh tomatoes and lettuce and they were perfection.
** I have a number of athletes who are vegan (much to my chagrin but I pick my battles) and friends who have Celiac, so I’m always on the hunt for recipes that they can enjoy that are healthy and hearty.
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