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Food & Recipes

Sweet and Salty Roasted Kalettes

September 24, 2015

If I had to choose my favorite vegetable, I would have a seriously difficult time deciding between kale and Brussels sprouts. I know, I know, how chilché and expected, right? But here’s the thing about food trends: most of the time foods become trendy because they’re actually really delicious, so I’ll sing the praises of trendy veggies for as long as I live.

Why all this talk about kale and Brussels sprouts? Well, I recently tried Kalettes, a kale-Brussels sprout hybrid, for the first time while eating at the Lunds & Byerly’s salad bar in Edina and have been hooked ever since. They require zero prep before cooking (something I can’t say about kale OR Brussels sprouts) and have a fun taste and texture that really is a good cross between the two veggies. A crisp-tender base with leafy, tender, kale-like tops.

Since I am all about the sweet-salty combinations, I turned these little Kalettes into an Asian-inspired side dish. They’re crispy and caramelized around the edges thanks to a bit of brown sugar but have plenty of salt to balance out the sweet. My personal favorite way to serve this dish is on top of brown rice (the kind that cooks in the microwave in 3 minutes!) for an easy, healthy lunch or dinner. If you’re looking to add a little bit more protein, you could always scramble the brown rice with an egg for a quick fried rice as well!



Asian Roasted Kalettes
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 bag (xx oz) Kalettes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Hot-cooked brown rice for serving (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 425F. Toss the Kalettes with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roast 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, curry paste and ginger.
  3. Drizzle mixture over Kalettes after 10 minutes of cooking and toss to coat evenly. Roast 5 to 10 minutes more or until edges of Kalettes are crispy and caramelized and they become tender. Serve immediately over hot-cooked brown rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

*This post is sponsored by Kalettes. All opinions are my own. 


Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts

November 3, 2014

Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts | Espresso and Cream

Can we talk side dishes? I’ll be the first to admit that when planning meals during the week, I think about dishes more commonly thought of as “sides” (mainly veggie and grain sides) as the building blocks for my meals before I think about anything else. It seems to be a way for us to focus on eating whole, healthy foods and makes the meat of our meals a supplement rather than the star of the show.

These Brussels sprouts I made last week are totally worthy of being the star of any meal. They’re simply roasted with oil and salt, then finished off with a quick sweet and salty sauce made with Asian sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and a little toasted sesame oil for rich, nutty flavor.

I think the best part is how easy it is to make these sprouts. Just toss them in oil, roast for 20 minutes and stir together the sauce for drizzling on top of the sprouts just before serving. And if you have someone in your family that doesn’t love Brussels sprouts (my husband comes to mind…) I promise these Brussels sprouts have the power to win them over.

Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts (1) | Espresso and Cream

Sweet and Salty Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil or vegetable/canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Toss Brussels sprouts with the ½ tablespoon oil. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt.
  2. Bake 20 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until Brussels sprouts are deep golden brown.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the toasted sesame oil, chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger until well combined. Drizzle over roasted sprouts until well combined. Serve immediately.



Vegan Thai Chopped Salad

June 23, 2014

Thai Chopped Salad (2) | Espresso and Cream
Last month I developed a Thai Chicken and Kale Chopped Salad recipe for the Tasteseekers Kitchen blog at work that I’ve since made a handful of times. Big, colorful salads are one of my favorite things to make for lunch and dinner, especially when the salad is substantial enough to keep you full and satisfied hours later.

This past weekend Joe helped one of his friends paint his house. It was a two-day ordeal that involved quite a few hours out in the sun so when they got done on Saturday night and headed to our house for a late dinner, I was in charge of preparing a side dish to go with their very large grilled steaks. Steaks and a vegan salad: It goes together, right? I didn’t exactly set out with the intention of making this recipe vegan, but as I chopped and tossed things together, I realized that’s just what I did.

Don’t be intimidated by all the ingredients, chopping and making of your own dressing. I promise that it really is quite simple, and the flavors of all the fresh veggies paired with the thai peanut dressing is nothing short of amazing. The recipe itself serves quite a bit, enough for four main-dish portions or six to seven smaller side-dish sized salads. I highly suggest chopping all the ingredients in advance and making the dressing, then tossing everything together just before you plan to eat. And since the ingredients in this salad are heartier than, say, a Romaine lettuce salad, dressing the salad a little early won’t leave your salad soggy.

Thai Chopped Salad (1) | Espresso and Cream

Vegan Thai Chopped Salad
Recipe type: Entree, Side Dish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 10 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bag (16 oz) coleslaw mix
  • 4 miniature red sweet peppers, thinly sliced (or ½ cup chopped red sweet pepper)
  • 3 medium carrots, grated
  • 2 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. In a very large bowl, combine the kale and olive oil. Work together the kale and olive oil with your hands until kale is evenly coated with the oil. Add the remaining salad ingredients to bowl.
  2. To make dressing, whisk together the peanut butter and hot water until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until well combined. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until well combined and salad is evenly coated.




Chia-Chai Vega Protein Pudding {Giveaway!}

April 30, 2014

Chia Vega Protein Pudding | Espresso and Cream

Now that the weather is getting a little warmer and summer is right around the corner, I’ve been thinking more about warm-weather meals and snacks. Okay, it’s still rainy and chilly in Minnesota, but I’m anticipating summer weather soon! For me, that means drinking lots of smoothies and eating lots of chilled snacks, like chia pudding.

A few weeks ago I picked up a new-to-me vegan protein powder and was really turned off by the flavor of the powder. Usually, I’m a total Vega devotee when it comes to protein powders and nutritional shakes, and I seriously regretted my decision to spend some major cash on a competitor’s product that I didn’t care for at all. The good news? After sharing my misfortune with the Vega team, they offered to send me a jar of my favorite Vega One Vanilla-Chai Nutritional Shake and host a giveaway for you on Espresso and Cream! (see more about that giveaway below)

When my Vega arrived I was excited to put it to good use. A few nutritional highlights about the Vega One Nutritional Shake:
-15 g protein
-6 g fiber
-1.5 g Omega 3
-Dairy, gluten and soy-free
-No artificial sugars or added sugar

Instead of making a smoothie (like I said, still too chilly) I made a chia pudding. I’ve been on a huge chia pudding kick lately, and adding a boost of protein with the Vega seemed like a natural addition. To smooth out the mixture, I blended the pudding in a food processor to break up some of the chia seeds and give the pudding a more pudding-like texture. Oh, and I added in a little almond butter as well because almond butter makes everything better, right?!

Chia Vega Protein Pudding 2 | Espresso and Cream

Now let’s get to the giveaway, shall we? The Vega team sent along a little starter package to give to one lucky E&C reader. It includes:
-5 day supply of Vega One in their most popular flavors (vanilla, chocolate and berry)
-Recipe book
-$5 coupon for your next purchase of a Vega product
-Water/smoothie bottle
-Reusable Vega tote bag
-1 box Vega One Nutrition Bars (in your flavor of choice)

You have three ways to enter! The giveaway is open from now until Monday, May 5th at 5 am. I’ll announce a winner later next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Chia-Chai Vega Protein Pudding
Recipe type: snack, breakfast
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Vega Vanilla Chai protein powder or other Vega flavor of choice
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Stevia to taste (I used 3 packets)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (optional, omit if you want a vegan treat)
  1. In sealable plastic container, combine chia seeds, almond milk and protein powder. Stir until very well combined. Cover with lid and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. After refrigeration, add chia mixture to blender or food processor along with the almond butter, vanilla extract and stevia to taste. Blend 2 to 3 minutes or until some of the chia seeds are broken up and almond butter is well combined. Mixture will only be semi-smooth and still have some whole chia seeds.
  3. Divide mixture into four bowls. Top each with ¼ cup Greek yogurt, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.



Cheesy Farro-Broccoli Bake

April 14, 2014

Cheesy Farro Broccoli Bake 2 | Espresso and Cream

Let’s be honest, the amount of cooking that’s been going on in our house lately has been minimal. But as life slowly transitions back to “normal” (and no, it still doesn’t feel normal if you really want to know) it feels good to do things that come naturally, to create something out of raw ingredients and nourish the body. Plus, eating take-out and snack-y type foods can only keep you going for a certain amount of time. Sometimes you just have to get in the kitchen and cook.

I didn’t grow up in a house where we ate a lot of casseroles, and consequently I don’t cook a lot of casseroles to this day. However, there is something about being able to toss all your ingredients together and throw it in the oven when hunger strikes that I find so comforting. Dinner is ready when you need it to be, cheesy and comforting and semi-healthy, too, minus the cheese part. The cheese is absolutely not healthy, but makes this dish taste amazing.

My favorite use for a casserole is to make it on Sunday and have lunches for Joe to take to work for the rest of the week. I grilled up a package of chicken breasts and made this casserole, then divided the chicken and casserole among four containers, a complete meal ready to be tossed into a lunch container when we’re busy and running out the door in the morning.

Cheesy Farro Broccoli Bake 1 | Espresso and Cream

Cheesy Farro-Broccoli Bake
Recipe type: Side Dish/Vegetarian Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Make this dish a meal by topping with grilled or baked chicken breasts.
  • 1 cup farro, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese, divided
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup 2% or full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate or square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the all the ingredients until well-combined. Spoon mixture into baking dish.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.
  4. Alternate method: If you're looking for a more traditional casserole-type dish, I would suggest substituting the Greek yogurt for a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.

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