Tag Archives: parmesan

Gluten-Free Side Dish

Spicy Braised Kale with Parmesan

The kale craze isn’t over yet, right? Okay, good, because I have a great recipe for you today!

Spicy Braised Kale with Parmesan Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

This spicy braised kale is everything you want in a side dish: quick, easy, and extremely healthy!

Spicy Braised Kale with Parmesan Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

All you need is kale, extra-virgin olive oil, chicken or vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, and parmesan. I bet you already have a majority of that in your pantry, right?

Spicy Braised Kale with Parmesan Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

This is a great way to eat kale for those of you who struggle to digest it. It is no news that kale leaves are extremely tough, making it very difficult for our stomachs to break down. However, when you braise kale in liquid, like in this recipe, the leaves become soft, and thus a lot easier on our bellies.

Spicy Braised Kale with Parmesan Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

The first time I made this braised kale, I ate it on its own (yes, it was that good!) I know it would be a delicious side dish served with my grilled skirt steak or roasted chicken.

 

Spicy Braised Kale with Parmesan Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ lb. Tuscan kale, torn and stems removed
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ cup shaved parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil. Once hot, add the kale in batches (adding an additional handful every 20 seconds or so). Cook until kale begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about 12 minutes until the kale is tender and almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer the kale to a serving dish. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and parmesan. Add a small amount of salt and pepper to taste.
 

Appetizer Gluten-Free Salad Side Dish Vegetarian Meals

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

I bet many of you have jumped on the healthy new year bandwagon, so I’m bringing you a delicious AND nutritious kale salad recipe today.

This salad has everything you need – a great balance of flavors, varying textures, and jam-packed flavor in every bite. You can serve it as an appetizer or feel free to add a piece of protein, such as grilled chicken, and make it a meal of its own.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

Pomegranates are SUPER healthy – they’re packed with antioxidants, which help to protect you from heart disease and cancer. I’ll admit, peeling pomegranates is not my favorite activity, but it’s worth it for the delicious sweet crunch you get from each tiny aril. (Don’t be stupid and wear a white shirt while peeling them like I did – you’ll get the juice everywhere!) I know you can buy the arils on their own, but I find that the price tends to be astronomical, so I usually opt to peel the pomegranate myself.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

Pomegranate molasses is something I’ve had in my pantry for years and I’ve talked about it a bunch on the blog. I use it in my Muhammara as well as various chicken recipes. It adds a sweet and tangy punch to whatever you’re making. When adding it to a salad dressing, it adds a more complex acidity than you get from lemon juice or vinegar.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

You can find pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern supermarkets and I know Whole Foods carries it as well. I actually make my own molasses from pomegranate juice, and I will be sure to share a tutorial on how to do that soon.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

 

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
  • 1.5 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Salad
  • 6 cups kale, tough ribs removed
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate arils
  • ¼ cup roasted, unsalted pistachios (shelled)
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar, dijon, and honey. Slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large bowl combine the kale, pomegranate arils, pistachios, and parmesan. Toss with about ¼ cup of dressing, or to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper. The dressed salad will keep for about 24 hours.
 

Soup Vegetarian Meals

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this Butternut Squash Soup over the weekend. Travis has been under the weather for a few days now, so I wanted to make something warm and comforting for him.

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps Recipe

I love butternut squash soup, but I was looking for a way to enhance the flavors of the soup and differentiate it a bit. These parmesan-shallot crisps do just the trick! They’re incredibly easy to make and 100% worth the extra step. The salty flavors in the crisps are the perfect contrast to this slightly-sweet soup. It’s a match made in heaven.

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but special enough to make for company. I made it on Sunday and we enjoyed leftovers throughout the week. Make sure to store your leftover crisps separately from the soup, so they do not get soggy.

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps Recipe

This butternut squash soup embodies fall. I know I will making it again and again during these colder temps.

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Soup
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ½ apple, diced small
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
Parmesan-Shallot Crisps
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup grated fresh parmesan
Instructions
  1. In a large pot melt the butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes. Add the apple and cook for 4 minutes. Add the squash and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the squash, apple, and onion pieces with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Place the pureed mixture back in the pot with the stock and mix. Place the pot on low heat and add the nutmeg, brown sugar (optional), and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add the shallot and sautee for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the parmesan into 5-6 small mounds on the baking sheet and press down with your fingers to flatten. Spoon equal amounts of the shallot on top of each cheese mound and press lightly with the back of a spoon. Bake the crisps for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the crisps with a spatula and serve with the soup.
 

Beef and Lamb Gluten-Free Grilling Main Meal Salad

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans

When I got back from Boston on Monday, Travis told me he bought all of the ingredients to make our favorite steak salad. I was so excited because we had not had it in months.

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

We started making this steak salad a little over a year ago after trying something similar at one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Monica, The Library Ale House. As I am sure you could have guessed from the name, we love the Ale House for their great selection of beer and wine. They also make a mean burger, but we usually opt for their steak salad instead. It has everything you could want in a salad – bold flavors, fresh ingredients, contrasting textures, and a serious dose of protein.

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

When I set out to recreate this at home, I made some changes to better suit my taste buds. I subbed green beans for asparagus, used sweet potatoes instead of yukon gold potatoes, and seasoned the steak with my favorite spice rub from Serious Eats. The result? Absolutely AMAZING.

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

Don’t be turned off by the number of ingredients below. If you’re a steak-lover, then I guarantee it is all worth it! This recipe serves 4, but feel free to make extras because leftovers are great for lunch the next day (I even eat the steak cold and love it!).

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

 

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Steak
For the Salad
  • 1lb sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup green beans, ends trimmed and steamed
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan
For the Mustard Dressing
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping half way through. Remove from the oven and allow to set aside.
  2. Season the steak with a seasoning of choice. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side, until medium. Remove the steak from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. After it has rested, slice the steak into 1 inch think slices against the grain.
  3. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Prepare the salad. Divide the mixed greens among four salad bowls. Top each with the cherry tomatoes, green beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and shaved parmesan. Then add 3-4 slices of the steak and drizzle with dressing.
 

 

 

Gluten-Free Grilling Side Dish

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan

Chances are you’ll be grilling this weekend, am I right? So why not grill something a little outside the box…something that is sure to please everyone’s tastebuds: grilled romaine!

The first time I tried grilled romaine was in Philadelphia during college. The food scene in Philly is incredible and I feel so lucky that I got to experience it for four years. I actually think Philadelphia was a BIG influence on my passion for food and cooking, as it constantly encouraged me to try new cuisines and flavors.

My first grilled romaine experience was at a tiny BYOB restaurant on South St. in Philly. The romaine was a special on the menu that night and the waitress urged us to try it.  I have to admit, I was hesitant at first. Why would you grill lettuce? Wouldn’t that make it wilt or burn? Ooooooooh boy, was I wrong! It was simply incredible – charred to perfection and unlike anything I’ve ever had.

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe

Surprisingly, I haven’t had grilled romaine since that one experience in Philly. This weekend Travis and I were at Whole Foods browsing the many Fourth of July specials. There were large bunches of organic romaine on sale, so we grabbed one and threw it into our shopping cart. All of a sudden I had flashbacks to that incredible grilled romaine from college, and I knew I had to recreate it that night.

This healthy side dish couldn’t be easier! If your romaine comes with extra leafy greens on the outside, simply pull those off and save them for a salad later in the week.  Slice the romaine heart in half and brush each half with extra-virgin olive oil. Then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and throw them on the grill for about 3 minutes total.  Without blinking an eye, you have a very low calorie side dish in a matter of minutes! I decided to add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese for added flavor, but the romaine is simply delicious on it’s own, too.

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe

We paired our romaine with juicy grilled steak, but it would be great with burgers, chicken, fish, or whatever else you are grilling up this weekend! So easy and healthy!

 

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 Large head of romaine lettuce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan (grated or shredded)
Instructions
  1. If your romaine has extra loose leaves on the top and outer layers, remove these leaves and save them for a salad or another use. Rinse the romaine well, making sure to remove any dirt. Cut the romaine in half, vertically.
  2. Place the romaine pieces flat side down on a large cutting board. Brush the rounded backs of the romaine with olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Flip over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Grill the romaine on three separate sides (like a triangle): first, place the romaine flat side down on a hot grill in direct heat. After about 1 minute, turn the romaine so it lays on half of the rounded side and grill for an additional minute. Complete on the final part of the curved side. Be careful - the romaine cooks quickly so do not walk away from the grill during this process.
  4. Remove the romaine from the grill and place it on a large serving platter. Squeeze the lemon juice over the romaine and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve immediately.
 

Soup

Summer Squash and Zucchini Soup with Parmesan

Soup in the summer? Not exactly something you’re craving in 100+ degree weather, is it?

Well, this soup is different — it takes full advantage of summer vegetables and fresh herbs and most importantly, it tastes DELICIOUS either hot or chilled. I served it hot the first night, but enjoyed cold leftovers straight from the fridge over the next few days and I swear it got better with each day.

 

Summer Squash and Zucchini Soup with Parmesan Recipe

This soup came out of one of those “let’s use everything in the fridge and throw it in a pot” evenings. Honestly, sometimes these types of creations turn out terribly (it turns out Peanut Butter doesn’t go with everything…), but when you have such fresh veggies and flavorful herbs, anything can be tasty.

Summer Squash and Zucchini Soup with Parmesan Recipe

This soup is ready in no time – great if you’re in a hurry.

For a simple dinner or a flavorful appetizer, try this. One piece of advice – I urge you to use fresh herbs (not dried) and a good quality block of parmesan to make this extra special.

Summer Squash and Zucchini Soup with Parmesan Recipe

 

Summer Squash and Zucchini Soup with Parmesan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2.5 cups uncooked whole wheat fusilli (I used Trader Joe's brand, most types of whole-wheat pasta should work)
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups yellow squash, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs (I just used thyme because it is what I had, but feel free to use whatever you have. Oregano would be delicious)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
  • ¼ cup basil for serving, sliced
Instructions
  1. Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the zucchini, squash, parsley, basil, lemon juice and herbs. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the pasta is done and the squash is tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve among bowls and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil.

 

Side Dish

Simple Things: Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan

Recently, I have received a lot of requests for simple and healthy recipes. Many of my friends are in the same position as me: recently graduated from college, working full-time, and have very little time to cook in the evenings.

Whereas I get home from work and actually enjoy trying new (and sometimes complex) recipes, I know that feeling is not common among the majority of my friends.

Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan Recipe

So this dish is for you:

– Friend who claims they don’t have enough time

– Friend who has burned everything they have ever put in the oven

– And even you, friend who has never even turned on the oven in their new apartment…

These tomatoes are super easy, use only 3 ingredients, and are a perfect addition to almost any main dish.  Pasta, chicken, steak, you name it.

Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan Recipe

Don’t these look yummy? You can even make a bunch and reheat them the next day — they’ll still taste great.

Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan Recipe

So for those of you who read, but haven’t tried a Little Chef recipe yet — please go try these. They’re nearly impossible to mess up, really tasty, and good for you, too.

 

Simple Things: Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 medium tomatoes (heirloom, roma, etc), halved horizontally
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan (a good quality parmesan will make a BIG difference in this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet place the tomatoes, cut side up. Sprinkle each half with oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Then sprinkle with parmesan.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on the tops of each tomato and bake until roasted, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes and enjoy.
 

 

Main Meal Salad

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Travis and I tried a new (to us) restaurant, The Misfit in Santa Monica recently. We had been there for drinks but never for dinner and after hearing rave reviews from numerous friends we finally decided to tough out the hour-long wait and try it out.

Most items on the menu were served tapas style, so we ordered a bunch of things to share (my favorite kind of meal). The item on the menu we were most impressed by was their shredded kale and quinoa salad. It was OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD. We spent a good 20 minutes (you think I’m exaggerating) trying to figure out every ingredient in the salad so that we could try to recreate it at home.

And that’s precisely what we did.

I read somewhere that it can be good to soak kale in water mixed with some sea salt for a few hours. (If you have never tried it, kale is a very tough green, so it can sometimes be hard for your body to break down…the salt water mixture helps with that).

In the end, I think we did a good job detecting all the flavors in the salad. Our version may not have tasted EXACTLY like The Misfit’s, but I’d say it’s pretty darn close.

I’ve made this three times in the last two weeks, so yeah, it’s THAT good.

Look at me being all vegetarian and whatnot!

P.S. Travis ate this with some grilled chicken on top. I think it is totally filling on its own – up to you!

 

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Salad
  • 3 large bunches kale, soaked in salt water for a few hours and drained, then chopped or shredded
  • ⅓ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • ⅛ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 1 cup red grapes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Lemon Vinaigrette
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 Tablespoon shallot, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons dijon
  • ½ teaspoon agave
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the lemon vinaigrette to taste.