Summer to me is all about enjoying the sunshine and outdoors with friends and family, without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. Sandwiches, salads, cold soups, grilled meats and veggies come to my mind.
This month I will share my spin on the egg salad sandwich which uses Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise as the base and is seasoned with red harissa, which is a spicy Moroccan red pepper sauce. This is a great daytime meal to serve at a picnic or park.
Harissa has become a staple condiment in our house and I use it on almost everything for a flavor punch. I have yet to make the homemade version of harissa, but for now I purchase the Mina brand which can be found in most grocery stores. They do a spicy and non-spicy version and in addition they also do a green harissa which is delicious. If you are unable to find at your local grocer, you can purchase it online.
It has taken me some time to master the art of a hardboiled egg and after researching several online recipes, this method has worked for me. It is important to ensure that your pot has enough space to place the eggs in a single layer with a bit of wiggle room. If you don’t, you run the risk of unevenly cooked and/or cracked eggs.
Secondly, place the eggs in cold water, not warm or boiling water, as this also prevents cracking and unevenly cooked eggs. Adding vinegar and salt to the water makes it a hell of a lot easier to peel the eggs. It is important to remove the pot from the heat once the eggs have come to a boil and let them sit for 10-15 minutes covered… 10 minutes for creamy firm eggs and 15 minutes for extra firm eggs.
There is nothing worse than an egg that has a gray-green colored crumbly yolk and/or is rubbery on the outside. It is also important to place the eggs in an ice bath once the sit time is done till they are cool enough to peel.
Hard boiled eggs are good in the refrigerator for up to a week so I usually like to boil a few extra so I have a quick and easy breakfast on the go. I often toast some bread and top with the egg salad for a quick protein filled breakfast.
I love to add some kind of leafy green with tomatoes and pickles or with roasted peppers and avocado to complete these sandwiches but they do also taste good on its own. I also sometimes add crumbled feta to the egg mixture for added flavor and texture. Since I’m gluten free, I either use gluten free bread or gluten free baguette. If I don’t have bread, I just top the mixture on a salad.
Creamy Harissa Egg Salad Sandwiches:
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
6 cups cold water
1 tsp salt (for boiling eggs)
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
Water and ice for ice bath
¼ cup celery finely chopped
⅓ cup red onion finely chopped
1 cup Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp Mina red harissa
1 tsp dill
½ tsp sumac
½ tsp salt (for egg salad mix)
⅛ tsp black pepper
2 cups arugula
2 roma tomatoes sliced (optional)
1 avocado sliced (optional)
8-12 slices bread or baguette
Making It, Step by Step:
1. Add 6 cups cold water, vinegar and 1 tsp salt to a pot and stir.
2. Place the eggs in a single layer in the pot and ensure there is enough wiggle room for the eggs to move.
3. Heat on medium high to high heat and once the pot comes to a boil, turn off and remove from heat and cover. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes depending on your desired level of firmness.
4. Then place the eggs in an ice bath once sit time is done, peel the eggs once they are cool enough to peel.
5. Chop the eggs roughly and add to a large bowl with the yoghurt, harissa, celery, onion, dill, sumac, salt, and pepper.
6. Mix well and and adjust seasonings to taste.
7. Top bread slices with arugula, tomato and /or roasted peppers and avocado and then top with the egg mixture.
To me, summertime is all about being outdoors enjoying the sunshine with family and friends. And what better way to celebrate these moments than a firing up the grill for burgers?
This month I share my recipe for vegetarian burgers. My version consists of a patty made with a mixture of black & kidney beans, portabella mushrooms, quinoa, onions, carrots, seasoning, egg and gluten free panko bread crumbs. I love the addition of the earthy portabella mushrooms as they provide a meaty flavor and firm texture. I chose to use two kinds of beans since I’m all about different textures but this is not necessary.
Burgers = Family Fun!
To me, burgers are a fun food to make for the entire family; the kids can take part in putting their burgers together with all the topping and condiment options. Whenever we do burger night, my kids get a plate with the bun and patty, and I layout a buffet of condiments and fixens’ for them to use in the assembly of their burgers.
For this recipe, I am skipping the cheese and instead adding avocado slices and topping it with a chunky mango-cucumber salsa. If you are not into avocados, top with your favorite cheese, pickles or even a fried egg. If you’re not a fan of fruity salsa, you can substitute with the following: sriracha, ketchup, bbq sauce, harissa sauce, honey mustard, hummus or tzatzizki.
With the burger patty, I’m using organic canned black and kidney beans to reduce the prep/cooking time. Although I have an egg in this recipe, if you’re vegan, you can substitute with flax seed or chia seed. Just add 1 tbsp of either seed, after it has been ground to a meal, to 3 tbsp of warm water.
Let it sit for approximately 5 minutes till it gets a gooey like texture similar to a raw whisked egg. With regards to seasoning, I’m adding fresh garlic, cumin powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, thyme, S&P and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. I tend to do my burger protein style, and just wrap it in a lettuce leaf but the rest of the family enjoys it with a bun. I was able to find gluten-free buns at my local grocery store.
This recipe calls for cooked quinoa, so while this is cooking, you can go ahead and chop the onions, garlic, carrots and mushrooms and rinse and drain the beans.
Once the beans are drained, go ahead and mash in a bowl with a fork or masher. I like a chunky patty so I do not mash the beans fully but you can if you prefer a smoother texture.
I add all the spices when I am sautéing the onion-carrot-mushroom mixture. It is important to drain the liquid from the mixture before adding the spices otherwise the patties will not bind properly.
Be sure to taste and adjust the mixture before you add the egg. Once you add the whisked egg, ensure you mix well. I prefer to use my clean hands to mix but do what works for you. Once you add the whisked egg, ensure you mix well. I prefer to use my clean hands to mix but do what works for you.
I was so nervous when it came time to form the patties and I’m going to tell you why… So the day before I made this version, I attempted the veggie burger and my mixture came out so liquidy that when I tried to form a patty, it slipped right through my hand. I wanted to cry, but I shrugged it off and told myself that I was going to create an awesomely formed veggie patty, it became a personal challenge.
I used a food processor the day before and obviously over-processed. In this recipe, I chopped with a knife and mashed with a fork just to be safe. I made the patties approximately ¾” thick and ensured the patties were firmly formed.
These patties are firm enough to hold on a BBQ. Unfortunately, my BBQ was out of service when I made this so I used a grill pan on the stove and it worked well. You can also bake the patties in the oven.
When cooking the patties, ensure that they are browned and crispy on the outside. Average cook time on the stovetop is 6-8 minutes on each side on medium high heat, but can vary depending on your stove and your tastes. As they were cooking, I lightly placed pressure on the patties with a spatula. Break of a piece to ensure the center is cooked through.
The mango salsa is simple to prepare, and for added texture I include Persian cucumbers. The mixture consists of just, mango, cucumber, lime, red onion, jalapeno, sumac, cilantro and S&P. For this recipe, I’m using canned organic mangos since I couldn’t find a good fresh one at my local grocery store. I also think pineapple would go well in place of mango.
Hope you all enjoy my recipe for a second attempt at the veggie burger! If you would like to see more of my food creations, please follow me on Instagram @bytesofyum.
Create your Own – Chunky Black & Kidney Bean & Portabella Mushroom Burgers:
Gluten free | Vegan option with no egg
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 20-25 mins
Total Time: 55-60 mins
Ingredients, For Burger Patties:
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 portabella mushroom caps, roughly chopped
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for sauté mix and 2 tbsp for cooking patties)
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 egg, whisked
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
8 lettuce leaves (optional)
8 gluten free buns (optional)
For Mango-Cucumber Relish:
1 14 oz can organic chopped mango, strained
¼ cup Persian cucumber chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ tsp sumac
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions for Burger Patties:
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa is cooking, rinse and drain beans in a colander and set aside.
2. Heat frying pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once heated, add onions, garlic and carrots and sauté for 3-5 minutes on medium high heat.
3. Once onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant, add the portabella mushroom and mix well and sauté for 6-8 minutes or till mushrooms are cooked through and the carrot is slightly softened. Once cooked, it is important to strain the mixture and get rid of the excess liquid released from the mushrooms.
4. Once strained, return to pan and add cumin powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, thyme, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Sautee on medium low till spices meld, approximately 6-8 minutes.
5. Once beans are strained, place in a large bowl and mash with a masher of fork. I prefer a chunky texture so I Ieave some beans whole and half mashed.
6. Once beans are mashed, add the quinoa, the mushroom mixture and the panko bread crumbs. Mix well and do a taste test at this point and adjust spices accordingly. Once this is done, add the whisked egg and mix well.
7. Form 8 ¾ “ patties and heat a grill pan on medium high.
8. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan and once heated, place the patties on the pan leaving enough space between the patties to flip.
9. Cook for approximately 6-8 minutes on each side till the patties are browned and crispy on the outside and cooked through. Serve in bun or lettuce leaf and top with sliced avocado and the mango-cucumber relish or whatever topping and condiments you desire.
Directions for Mango-Cucumber Relish:
1. Combine above ingredients listed for relish in a bowl and mix well.
2. Taste and adjust spices accordingly.
3. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate till ready to use.
I am thrilled to introduce you all to Natasha, a sweet Mom I met on Instagram last year! Her lovely page @bytesofyum is a mix of delicious dishes, and I always leave hungry. 🙂 She will share awesome recipes with us every month! Yay! Go grab a cup of tea, and your notebook. You’ll definitely want to try making this dish!
This month I’m sharing my recipe for rajma, which is a North Indian vegetarian dish consisting of kidney beans simmered in a spiced tomato-onion broth. My version tends to be more soupy and not as spice heavy as the traditional recipe.
This is one of my favorite Indian comfort foods, and the bonus is it’s simple to prepare, and kids love it also. I guess you could call this the “Indian” vegetarian version of chili. For my friends that need meat at their meal, do not fret, add some ground meat to the dish and you’ve got a meaty-meal.
I absolutely love cooking with aromatic spices. Growing up in an Indian household, we literally ate Indian food every day for dinner. The majority of Indian dishes involve tempering the spices in ghee, oil or butter until they become fragrant and crackle. The resulting smell is just divine and evokes many fond memories for me.
All of the spices in this recipe with the exception of the amchur (mango) powder should be available at your local grocery store. If you are unable to find some of the ingredients and you have an Indian grocery store in your area, head on over there. The amchur power is not necessary for this recipe so if you can’t find it, all good.
For this recipe, I’m using organic canned kidney beans since I’m usually short on time due to my lovely little angels and that so called thing called life. If you’ve got the spare time, I recommend using the dried version but ensure you soak properly to eliminate toxins.
I add the liquid from the canned kidney bean cans in this recipe since I feel that it adds a certain kind of richness to the dish but feel free to rinse and drain. I go back and forth on this one.
I prefer to use fresh tomatoes but you can use the boxed or canned version also and if you don’t like tomato chunks in your food, just puree before adding. If I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, I just use the jar version. Do what works for you!
When heating the spices, ensure that you cook till they become fragrant, it makes a big difference in flavor. Also make sure you do the same with the onions, they should be translucent and slightly browned before you move forward.
I tend to use medium to medium high heat for my cooking since my stove is a bit crazy on high heat. All stoves are different, so you may need to adjust the heat accordingly.
Once the spices have simmered in the tomato-onion broth, I taste and adjust the spices accordingly. This is the time to experiment and tailor the dish to your tastes.
Please note that my recipe calls for dried red chili, chili powder and green chili. This maybe a bit spicy for some and not so spicy for others so adjust the heat to your liking. Also, if you find that the gravy is too thick for you, add more water and adjust spices accordingly.
Usually, I serve this dish with basmati rice or naan (Indian flat bread) for the family. If I’m feeling creative, I pair it with polenta cakes or corn muffins. Me, I just eat it on it’s own. Hope you all enjoy!
Rajma (Spiced Kidney Bean Soup)
Gluten free | Vegan option with no chicken broth
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 60 mins
Total Time: 75 mins
2 15.25 oz cans kidney beans
3 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
4 cups chopped tomato
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp ghee or butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups water or chicken broth
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 dried red chilis
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp amchur(mango) powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 green chili finely chopped
Handful of chopped cilantro
Add butter and oil to pot and heat on medium high heat.
Once butter is melted, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cumin seeds and dried red chili. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until cumin is lightly browned and spices are fragrant.
Add onions and sauté for approximately 7-10 minutes or until onions are translucent and slightly browned.
Add garlic and mix well and sauté for 3-5 minutes on medium heat ensuring garlic does not burn.
Add tomatoes and cook for approximately 10 minutes or till they are softened.
Add water or chicken broth and tomato paste and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger powder, amchur powder, chili powder, green chili, lemon juice and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add kidney beans with liquid from the can and simmer for 30 minutes on medium low heat. Towards the end of cooking time, add the chopped cilantro and mix well.
Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges when ready to serve.