Garden Candy Basics Recipes

Oct 022016

Quick Kale & Walnut Pesto

If you’re a pesto lover, don’t overlook the earthy flavor of kale pesto. It’s a bit sharper tasting than Basil, but it also packs a more nutrient-rich punch.

You’ll whip it up in no time at all and it will keep for weeks in the tightly covered in the refrigerator.

We often, but don’t always, toast our walnuts for 10 minutes at 350°, tossing once. Yes, it adds one more pan, and one more step but to this quick recipe but it can add a welcome toasty tone to your pesto. That said, toasting the walnuts is not essential—feel free to skip it if you’re in a hurry or just not in the mood to turn on the oven.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: chopping, grating, processing
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 1 bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted if you like (see comment in intro above)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pack all ingredients into a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.
  2. Process until a smooth paste.

That’s it. This pesto is great served over pasta as in this dish: Butternut Squash and Kale Pesto, spread onto bread, as a topping for poultry, or stirred into soups.

Fresh kale, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and walnuts blended into pesto

Oct 012016

Kale and White Bean Soup Three Ways

Super delicious Kale and White Bean Soup with polish kielbasa

Our “meatier” version with polish sausage.

This soup is destined to become your go-to fall/winter favorite. You can’t ask more from essentially a one-pot meal that’s this incredibly flavorful and nutritious (that part can be our secret.)

Our very versatile recipe delivers both vegetarian and carnivore happiness – even from the same pot if you simply divide it before adding any sausage. Want a vegan version? Just leave out the sausage and cheese all together. Even in it’s barest form this is a truly worthwhile dish.

Really, if there’s one recipe you try on our website – this might be the one. A meat-eater, vegetarian, and vegan walked into a bar – and you had no problem feeding them all. (Need it gluten-free? Swap the Orzo for a second can of beans or two cups of cooked rice stirred in at the end. Done!)

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥
Skills: Grating, chopping, simmering
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 bunch kale, (we used Lacinato) thick stems discarded and leaves cut into skinny strips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • cup grated or shaved Parmesan (2 ounces), plus 1 piece rind (optional)
  • tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 package polish Kielbasa sausage or other sausage like Chorizo (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beans, pasta, kale, rosemary, vegetable stock, water, and Parmesan rind (optional).
  4. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until the pasta and kale are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the Parmesan rind.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice and a few red pepper flakes.
  8. Stir in sausage until heated through (optional).
  9. Sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan before serving, (optional).
Oct 012016

Essentials: Baking & Peeling Butternut Squash

If we’re honest, we have to admit we don’t like peeling winter squash either. So we get around it whenever we can, and here’s one way.

The next time you’re preparing squash that will be used in it’s mashed or pureed form—like in soups or lasagne—try this:

Skill: Easy
Skills: Cutting, roasting, peeling
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Cut the squash in half.
  3. Remove seeds and pulp.
  4. Lightly coat cut side with oil or cooking spray.
  5. Lay squash on baking pan cut side down.
  6. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a fork slides through the skin and into the flesh very easily and the skin is browned and blistered.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit a couple of minutes until the skin starts to wrinkle.
  8. With the prong of a fork, pierce the skin at a blistering/wrinkled spot and carefully lift the skin away from the flesh. The skin should peel off in good size pieces.  You probably guessed it, the squash is still hot at this point, so be careful.
  9. Continue removing all of the skin.
  10. Discard skin and use the flesh in your recipe.

There you go. Cooked, peeled squash with not a bit wasted.

Butternut squash baked, ready to be easily peeled

butternut squash no fuss peeled


Sep 212016

Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash Slices

I’m picking up a friend’s share of produce at the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this week and her directions for me included “bring heavy bags.” I thought that was just a fun and amusing piece of advice until I saw what I would be getting: potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, apples, grapes and of course kale! No delicate July lettuces and herbs. No mid-summer grape tomatoes. Just as the temperature outside turns from hot to warm and then warm to cool, the crops shift as well from the fast growing to the wait-all-summer-to-pick produce. And if you’re like us, your mindset is shifting too, from wanting that light salad on a 90 degree day, to now thinking about those heartier foods.

acorn squashSo just because summer has officially come to a close, don’t give up on your local farmers’ markets and their offerings – they are still in full swing! Most will still be selling for at least a month or so and are well worth the visit.

While you’re there, grab an acorn squash and make this remarkably easy and tasty side dish!

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥
Skills: Slicing, roasting
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!

Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash is so so easy and quick

  • 1 medium acorn squash – seeded, and sliced into 3/4 inch wedges
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)


  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Lay the squash slices on baking sheet and coat lightly with olive oil on both sides.
  3. Sprinkle with thyme,  salt, pepper and parmesan.
  4. Roast the squash until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Sep 192016

Roasting Cherry Tomatoes

They keep coming – we keep cooking.

slicing cherry tomatoes for roastingThe umpteenth batch of cherry tomatoes that we plucked from the garden didn’t got into soup or salads. Nor were they snacked on right off the counter – they were slow roasted with a little olive oil, salt pepper and thyme. You could use rosemary, or you could skip the herbs all together.

Once you start smelling these little gems roasting to into deliciousness, you will be glad you took the tiny bit of time it takes to get these babies into a form you can keep, that still keeps all their flavor – in fact deeply enhances it.

Make more than you think you can eat. Really. Eat one and we guarantee you will find all sorts of ways to use up the sweet flavor-packed morsels. Toss into salads, top your favorite pizza, or just pick ’em out of the jar.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: slicing, roasting
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • Cherry Tomatoes, as many as you like
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Thyme or Rosemary (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 225° f
  2. Cut all of the tomatoes into halves
  3. Spread tomatoes cut side up onto a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment.
    Garden Candy Recipe Jar orangeNote: If you don’t have parchment, use a glass baking dish glass dish instead of a baking sheet. The tomatoes may stick, it’s better to have them stick to glass that you can scrub if necessary.
  4. Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over the tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and herbs if you’re using them.
  6. Let roast for two to two and a half hours, checking after about 90 minutes. The tomatoes will look shriveled and dry when they’re done. You can adjust the roasting time to your liking. Longer for drier, crispier tomatoes, less for softer.
  7. To store put them in an air proof jar and cover with olive oil. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Slow roasted wonders: cherry tomatoes

slow roasted cherry tomatoes preserved in olive oil

Sep 152016

Roasted Cauliflower and Cherry Tomato Pasta

Honestly we weren’t planning to post this, we were just making dinner and went with this because we still have cherry tomatoes bursting out of the garden like crazy and we had a head of cauliflower that we wanted to use. It’s loosely based on Alton Brown’s Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower recipe –  The only suitable pasta we had on hand was whole wheat rotini so that’s what we used.

When it came out of the oven it really wasn’t much to look at but we snapped a (not great) photo of it anyway. Very glad we did because as unimpressive as it is to look at, it was delicious. We finished the entire skillet – two of us. (Yeah, that good.) Just a reminder that sometimes you can start with a recipe, mix it up with your own ideas and ingredients and tah-dah! A new dish you’ll make again—possibly as early as tomorrow having all these cherry tomatoes! 

Skill: Intermediate
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: sautéing, baking, boiling
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb. rotini pasta (tricolor rotini would be great here, we used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400° f.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a 10″ cast iron or other oven-proof and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, carefully stirring halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile cook pasta as directed for al dente, or  even a minute less for firmer bite. Remember to reserve about a 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid when draining the pasta.  Set aside.
  4. Remove cauliflower skillet from oven and place stovetop over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes and until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the cooked pasta into the skillet with the cauliflower mixture followed by a 1/4 to 1/3  cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir in Parmesan and cheddar cheeses.
  6. Top with bread crumbs.
  7. Return the skillet to the oven and cook another 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are golden brown.
  8. Cool slightly before serving.
Sep 092016

15 Minute Turmeric Tomato Soup

This is a great recipe that adds a nice twist to traditional Tomato Soup, and is ready in 15 minutes. Who doesn’t love that? The recently touted benefits of turmeric for inflammation and cancer treatments shouldn’t be overlooked but are really just a bonus. This soup is tasty.

Serving suggestions for variety:

  • Serve along side a few slices of rustic bread, buttered.
  • Couple it with grilled cheese with cheddar or American on wheat.
  • Pair it with a crisp kale salad for some added vitamin K love.
  • Top it with crumbled bacon.
  • A scoop of cooked rice makes this soup even more comforting.
  • Add some fresh pasta—perhaps Ditalini or Mini Shells.
  • Beef it up with leftover meatballs, or even chunks of leftover hamburgers.
  • Dollop with a spoonful of cream sour cream.

You can add whatever you fancy. And we’d love to hear about your additions in the comments below.

Oh, did we mention this soup is perfect for freezing? You’re not going to have those cherry tomatoes forever. Mix up this in double batches and freeze it for those chilly winter nights when you want to snuggle up with some arm flavors of summer. Just let it cool a bit then portion it to your liking and tuck it in the freezer.

Just don’t do what we did…don’t serve it using a white plastic ladle…it might wind up a yellowy orange. Perhaps permanently. Ours did.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Dicing, chopping, sautéing, blending
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in halves
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or, we used 2 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Sauté onion and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add turmeric, cherry tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft. (5-7 minutes)
  3. Add diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar, and basil.
  4. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, then cover and let simmer on low heat for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Transfer in batches to a blender, blend until smooth or use an emersion blender and blend until creamy.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
Aug 302016

Crunchy Pita Chips

You’re never far from a delicious, healthier than chips snack that will satisfy your crunch craving if you keep a package of pita bread in your pantry. Pita bread quickly transforms into a wonderful snack that you can decide how to flavor based on your mood or what you’re serving it with.

We used cumin and coriander in this recipe for a Middle Eastern taste, but chili pepper, cayenne, or just salt are other equally tasty possibilities. Experiment!

Another aspect of pita chip snacks that you’ll love – the price. A pack of six loaves will make a bowlful of chips and costs and in most areas will only set you back $1.50 or less!

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Slicing, seasoning, baking
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!

  • 3 whole pita loaves
  • olive oil
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Slice each pita loaf into eighths, creating triangles.
  3. Carefully open the folded triangles and separate them into two pieces by tearing or cutting them at the wide end.
  4. Arrange on a baking sheet.
  5. Lightly brush (or spray) each triangle with olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle salt, cumin and coriander on all the chips.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Keeping an eye on them as the bake as they’ll burn quickly if left unattended for too long.

Seasoned homemade Crunchy Pita Chips

Jun 042016

Beet Hummus


  • 1/2 pound roasted beets (about 4 medium size beets)
  • 2-3 tablespoons tahini sesame paste
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest from approx. 2 lemons)
  • generous pinch salt (Kosher or sea salt is preferred)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor (or you may use a blender) and pulse until smooth.
  2. Chill and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or freeze for longer storage.
  3. Enjoy with pita chips, crackers, or with sliced cucumber, celery, or carrot sticks for dipping, or spread on hearty crackers or crusty bread, add goat cheese and fresh mint for a party appetizer.
May 202016

How to Roast Beets

  1. Wash beets and remove the leafy greens.
  2. Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with tin foil and place the beets on it.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Fold tin foil in half to seal in the beets (pinching the sides of the foil together).
  5. Roast in a 400° oven for up to an hour.
  6. If a fork slides into one easily they are done. If not, continue and check every 10 minutes.
  7. When they’re done let them cool, then peel with a vegetable peeler and the skin should slide right off.

Garden Candy Recipe Jar orangeNote: When you’re roasting beets that vary widely in size, wrapping them individually in foil allows you to remove the smaller, faster-cooking beets while the larger ones continue to cook.

May 182016

Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese, Fennel & Walnuts

Chopped fresh rhubarbRhubarb is often the star of our spring and early summer desserts. (Our simpler-than-pie rhubarb pie recipe celebrates this surprisingly versatile vegetable in its more traditional form.) But here, paired with some early spring greens, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts, it gets a seat at the grown-ups table. This salad is a wonderful twist for both rhubarb, and salad. Even lifelong rhubarb detractors give this rendition thumbs up.

The honey-roasted rhubarb becomes brings a sweet tang to the flavors and pulls all of the other ingredients into place. We see this little gem appearing at a lot of our summer barbecues.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Chopping, roasting, toasting, slicing, tossing
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/ 3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 5-8 ounces of your favorite spring greens (or arugula, kale or baby spinach)
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss rhubarb with honey.
  3. Roast rhubarb for about 4 minutes until it begins to soften.
  4. Remove rhubarb from oven, set aside and let cool.
  5. Spread walnuts on another rimmed baking sheet and put into oven.
  6. Toast walnuts for about 6 minutes, until fragrant. Let Cool.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add greens and fennel and toss to combine.
  9. Top with rhubarb, walnuts, and goat cheese.
May 162016

Baby Kale with Roasted Chickpeas, Lemon & Asiago

This post could be titled how to make everyone a kale lover. This is an exceptionally tasty dish with roasted chickpeas, lemon-garlic dressing, and Asiago cheese, that card-carrying kale-lovers (like Christine) will be all over, and kale protesters just might be converted by. The chickpeas add another dimension—a distinctive nutty flavor—and a bonus protein boost. (This recipe is based on one at Once Upon a Chef, a website worth visiting!)

*Do yourself and everyone else a favor and double the chickpea amounts. Yes, roast twice as much as the recipe calls for since, we’re warning you, you’re likely to snack on them while you’re cooking. And if you aren’t tempted to nibble while you work, you can store any extra in an airtight container and they’ll be ready for bag-lunches and midnight snacks. (Cook once, eat twice. That’s our favorite mantra.)

Also, don’t feel pressured. Fresh lemon juice and hand-grated cheese make this dish extra-memorable, but don’t be afraid to substitute bottled lemon juice or even container grated parmesan cheese. We’ve all been a lemon short at one time or another. It’s still a wonderful, satisfying salad.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥
Skills: roasting, shaving/grating, mincing, tossing, roasting
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


For the Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well (see * above)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 5oz Bag or Container Baby Kale**
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, shaved or grated


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the chickpeas on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and Pepper
  4. Roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the chickpeas are crispy.
  5. Let chickpeas cool.
  6. While chickpeas are roasting, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  7. Add the greens and toss until evenly coated.
  8. Arrange on plates and top with cheese shavings and crispy roasted chickpeas.

Garden Candy Recipe Jar orange**What? No baby kale? No worries. You can used regular, curly or Lacenato (dinosaur) kale, or even other hearty greens. If using more mature kale, slice it thinly and remove any thick stems. Let it sit in the dressing little longer before serving. You’ll still add this to your favorite side- or entrée- salad list.

May 132016

No Fail Friday: Stir-Fried Snow Peas with Carrots and Scallions

This easy stir-fry is great with rice as a meal, or as a side dish, paired with chicken or pork. If you’re growing peas and scallions in your garden this quick delicious dish will make all your efforts in weeding and tending completely worth it. You can mix up the quantities of the vegetables, and even omit the sugar if you prefer, but the sesame oil is a must for the true intended flavor.

Skill: Intermediate
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥
Skills: Slicing, stir-frying,
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 3 thin slices of ginger
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 1 pound snow peas, strings removed and cut in half crosswise at a fairly steep diagonal
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into fine julienne strips about 2-1/2 inches long
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3-4 scallions, both green and white sections, first cut crosswise into 2-1/2 inch lengths and then sliced lengthwise into fine strips
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. When oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic. Stir and fry 10-20 seconds, pressing down on the garlic.
  3. Add the snow peas and carrot. Stir and fry for 10-20 seconds.
  4. Add the salt and sugar, stir once to combine.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and reduce heat to low, and cook 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender crisp.
  6. Uncover, turn the heat to medium-high, and add the scallions and sesame oil. Stir for 20-30 seconds.
May 062016

Curried Carrot Raisin Salad

Anyone who can measure and stir, can master this recipe. To make it even simpler, buy pre-shredded carrots, about 1-1/2 10 oz. bags works for the measurements in this recipe. This carrot salad will become the first choice for seconds for any curry lover and is an ideal side dish to whip up for picnics and potluck gatherings.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥
Skills: shredding, measuring, stirring
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (make your own it’s easy!)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon curry
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins


  1. In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, curry, vinegar, honey, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the carrots, onions, and raisins. Stir until carrots are well coated.
  3. Let stand in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Serves 4-6

Apr 242016

Guacamole Pizza. Yep, it’s that easy.

As easy-going as my husband is about food, there are still times when I don’t want it to be obvious that I am serving him hors d’oeuvres for supper yet again. (Is anyone else reminded of the Cher movie Mermaids?)

But by assembling all the ingredients of guacamole, including the tortilla, into a pizza I look like a kitchen wizard and he feels like he’s been “made dinner.” Like all Tortilla Toss Pizzas this goes together in 2 minutes and disappears from our plates just as quickly.

An added bonus is that in hot steamy weather that we happen to be “enjoying” right now you can toast these on the grill and not even turn the oven on – keeping the kitchen that much cooler.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥

Skills: cutting, slicing, baking or grilling


Simple fresh ingredients make the tastiest meals

Guacamole Pizza

Ingredients (for a single pizza):

  • 1 small whole wheat tortilla
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced, cubed or mashed
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • tablespoons goat cheese
  • 6-8 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • sprinkle of ground cumin
  • splash of lime juice (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella


  1. Rub a little olive oil on tortilla.
  2. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
  3. Add onion slices.
  4. Add avocado.
  5. Add tomatoes.
  6. Sprinkle with cumin (to taste.)
  7. Splash with a little lime juice.
  8. Sprinkle with cilantro.
  9. Top with Mozzarella,
  10. Bake in 400° oven or on a closed medium-hot grill for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted
  11. Remove from heat, let sit a minute, then cut in half or quarters
Apr 082016

Comfort Food: Cabbage, Onion, Noodles

Some days become noticeably better by simply adding a belly-filling, heart-warming, bowl of cabbage and noodles. This is a recipe that my grandmother often made—calling it peasant food—as she retold stories of my great- and great-great-grandparents’ lives while coming to The United States from Poland and Czechoslovakia. The sugar and onions caramelize a tiny bit during the low temp cooking. And what’s not to love about that!

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Chopping, boiling, sautéing, simmering
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!

Ingredients: halushki

  • 4 cups wide egg noodles
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 6 cups cabbage, (about a half large head) sliced thinly
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pepper


  1. Cook egg noodles according to package directions, strain, and set aside.
  2. While noodles are cooking, melt butter in large, deep skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Add onion and sprinkle in brown sugar. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until softened and beginning to turn golden.
  4. Add cabbage to pan, stir well to incorporate with onion.
  5. Sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to medium, add cooked noodles, salt and pepper, and stir well until noodles are heated through.

Serves 6

Mar 242016

5 Ingredient Sweet Potato Brownies

With only five ingredients these gooey brownie stand-ins whip up in no time. And can also make great sweet use of leftover sweet potatoes. It doesn’t make a ton of batter so bake it in bread loaf pan or similar small pan and it will work great.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Mixing, measuring, baking
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!

Sweet Potato Brownie RecipeA couple of days ago this recipe was “liked” by one of my Facebook pals and when I checked it out, it looked intriguing. Having a leftover baked sweet potato in the fridge, the four other ingredients on hand, AND miraculously, an unassigned hour before dinner, today I decided to give it a try.

I took it as an optimistic sign that I was licking the bowl clean with my fingers as I started clean-up. Once the brownies were baked and out of the oven, I waited until they were well cooled before cutting into them, as the recipe suggests. And then waited until I had a proper dinner before trying them.

They were good! Very cocoa-y. Dense. Gooey like fudge brownies. They were not overly sweet but definitely would qualify as dessert in most households.

I cut mine small (getting 18 from the pan,) so if my math is close, I figure each one is only about 50 calories, plus they carry the nutritional benefits of sweet potato. If you’re looking for a quick brownie alternative, don’t overlook this one. For another possible brownie treat, check out our zucchini brownie too.

Sweet Potato Brownies


  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • ½ cup smooth nut butter of choice (I used almond butter)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Handful of carob chips (optional; I used a half-handful)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a small cake/loaf pan
  2. On the stove, melt nut butter with maple syrup
  3. In a large bowl add the mashed sweet potato, melted nut butter and maple syrup, and cocoa powder and mix well
  4. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Pour mixture into greased pan and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and refrigerating

These brownies are best when cooled completely. Store in fridge or freezer.

Jan 222016

No Fail Friday: Freestyle Three Bean Salad

Talk about “no fail.” This is one of those recipes that is barely a recipe at all it’s so simple. If you can open a can this will become your favorite go-to recipe for a delicious side dish or a quick mid-week meal because you can always have the main ingredients on hand in the cupboard AND it takes all of five minutes to make.

As long as you have beans and olive oil on hand you’re all set. No parmesan? No worries. Skip it or add a different grated cheese. Don’t like arugula? Spring mix or baby spinach works just as well. Are you a vegetarian? Then skip the pancetta. And if it’s not filling enough for you, serve it over rice instead. But for me, it’s all about the Sriracha!

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Frying, draining,
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • olive oil
  • ½ pound of pancetta, cubed (or crumbled bacon) (both optional)
  • 3 cans of beans – black, kidney, cannellini, pinto, etc (I mix it up to add color to the dish)
  • sriracha sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • arugula (or whatever greens you have on hand)
  • parmesan cheese, shaved or grated (to garnish)


  1. Drizzle olive oil in a frying pan and heat on medium.
  2. Cook pancetta cubes until just crisp.
  3. Drain beans, rinse and shake excess water off and add to frying pan.
  4. Heat on medium-low adding salt and pepper to season.
  5. When beans are just hot, add 2 tablespoons sriracha and stir. Taste and add more to your liking.
  6. In the meantime, line a medium sized serving dish with arugula (or other greens).
  7. When the beans are hot, lay them on the greens, sprinkle with the shaved cheese and serve.
  8. For a cold salad let the beans cool completely before adding to the greens.
Jul 122015

Sweet Pea Dip

This dip goes together just like hummus but that’s where the similarities end. The lemon/mint/peas blend into a refreshing and bright flavor, especially if you don’t skimp on the mint. Light and cool, perfect for summer crudités or spread on crackers.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Boiling, food processing, grating, chopping
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!


  • 3 cups peas, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, packed
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring about 4 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add peas and cook till tender, about 2 minutes for frozen, up to 5 minutes for fresh.
  3. Drain peas and run under cold water to halt cooking. Let cool.
  4. Place cooled peas in a blender or food processor.
  5. Add mint leaves, lemon zest and juice garlic, tahini and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  6. Pulse until smooth, adding remaining olive oil while pulsing until dip is the consistency you like.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with toasted pita chips, veggie sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets. You name it. This dip is very versatile.

Jul 052015

Sunday Things: And A Side of Drumsticks

Yes, we’re pretty much all about vegetables here at Garden Candy but we’re always on the look out for meat side dishes that pair well with them. This chicken recipe is perfect!

Facing a busy summer-packed week? Do what we do: share some Sunday night grill space to cook up a big package of chicken drumsticks. Having them in the house means never being short of possibilities for easy, quick and inexpensive meals.

I experimented a bit with the seasoning with this batch and came up with what we agree is the perfect blend for tasty, juicy chicken. Really, these are the new house favorites!

Throw some of your favorite grillable vegetables on the heat for some of the time, and voila! Dinner is served. Plus, (we love cooking that serves double duty) you can take any leftovers, cut the meat off the bone and toss it into your favorite sandwich, salad or on a pizza for a satisfying lunch.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: Grilling, seasoning
Garden Candy Basics - fundamental vegucation for everybody!

The Best Chicken to Come Off the Grill


  • 4 lbs of chicken drumsticks (about 14 pieces.)
  • 1 generous tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper, to your taste
  • 2 teaspoons Ancho chili pepper


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Place all ingredients into a plastic bag, or other plasticware container with a tightly fitting lid.
  3. Shake to mix together.
  4. Pat chicken legs dry for a crisper skin.
  5. Place 3-4 pieces of chicken into your chosen container, seal, and shake until the chicken is coated. Remove from bag/bowl and set aside. Repeat for all remaining chicken pieces.
  6. Place chicken on the grill.
  7. Turn each piece every 5-7 minutes and grill, covered, for about 30-35 minutes total.
  8. Remove from heat, serve with your favorite grilled vegetables.
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