easy weeknight meal: sweet potatoes with cheesy pistachio dust (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, it can be tempting for me to post oodles of complicated, fancy recipes that have a big wow factor. Because those are the things that get a lot of splash and attention.

But, that’s not reality.

As a mom of four and business owner two times over, I don’t have time most days for complicated and fancy. I’m guessing you don’t either.

Which is why I’m sharing more of a meal idea than a “recipe” with you today. It’s an easy weeknight meal that is uncomplicated, but tasty. Simple, but satisfying. Light on ingredients but packed with the nutrients your body needs to fuel itself for all the things you do.

That’s the beauty of an easy weeknight meal, isn’t it?

First we start with a sweet potato. Packed with vitamins, fiber, potassium, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods. I like to prepare them either by baking them whole or cutting them in half and placing cut side down on a baking sheet to get a be-you-ti-ful carmelization, like you see with the sweet potatoes in the picture above.

Next comes a side of salad. Here’s where you can find the dressing and basic to a chop salad that frequently makes an appearance on our table. It’s one the kids like, especially since I let them customize their toppings. Just ignore the picture…clearly, I’ve been working on my photography skills.

To amp up the protein and keep this meal from being ho-hum, I whipped up and added some cheesy pistachio dust (dairy free, of course) to both the potato and the salad. You’ll find the recipe for that below.

 

 

If you’re pressed for time during the week, you can prep much of this meal ahead of time over the weekend by pre-baking the sweet potatoes and mixing up the pistachio dust and salad dressing. I don’t recommend prepping the veggies ahead (unless you’re having them the next day) since they start to lose some of their nutrients after being cut. Instead, chop them up while you’re warming the sweet potatoes (I always do this in the oven, as I ixnayed the microwave for food years ago).

So there you have it! An easy weeknight meal that can be partially prepped ahead of time or simple enough to come together even in a pinch.

 

vegan nut Parmesan

A trio of nut Parmesans to get your cheese fix even without the dairy.

Course: Topping
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Pecan Parmesan
  • 1 c. pecans, toasted
  • 4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp. avocado or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
Cashew Parmesan
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 8 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp avocado or olive oil
Pistachio Parmesan
  • 1 c shelled pistachios
  • 9 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp avocado or olive oil
Instructions
  1. For each Parmesan (separately)...add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse or mix until the nuts are finely chopped. Do not over mix or the nuts will begin to release their oils and stick together.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

 

 

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor for the cheesy pistachio dust

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas and citrus garlic tahini sauce (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, I want to believe that everyone will absolutely love what I create and share. One hundred percent. All the time.

This, of course, is not realistic…as my family frequently reminds me.

Take this rainbow plate, for example. Yum, right?!

Except if you don’t like red peppers, sweet potato, chickpeas, kale and/or eggplant, roasted, seasoned or dressed but not disguised in a soup or sauce. Since I happen to love all these veggies, this is a plate I want to dive into on repeat. I was hoping my family would want to do the same.

My youngest, however, “didn’t like that dinner” and it was like pulling teeth to get my other three to finish (they ate their favorite veggies first, but that is different for each of them)). Even my husband didn’t give it glowing reviews, because, well, right now I’m the only die-hard veggie lover in my family.

But despite the ho-hum, yuck reviews from my dearest ones, I’m still sharing this rainbow plate because I loved it and I know there are other veggie-lovers out there that will love it too.

It’s simple to make and balanced with protein from the chickpeas plus it gives you all the vitamins and antioxidants your body is really craving. It’s simply dressed with a citrus garlic tahini sauce (more protein +tang) and the veggies could be roasted up on the weekend to prep for a busy week ahead.

If you absolutely dislike one or more of the veggies I’ve included on this plate, just switch it up for a different vegetable of the same color. Because that’s the beauty of cooking and recipe sharing.

 

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy, delicious way to "eat all the colors," this rainbow plate combines roasted veggies with raw kale to give you all the nutrients and is dressed with a tangy garlic tahini sauce.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Servings: 2 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the Rainbow Plate
  • 1-2 red pepper, cut in strips
  • 2 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 15-oz can chickpeas
  • kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
For the Citrus Garlic-Tahini Dressing
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
Instructions
For the veggies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 as you prepare the veggies. Add sweet potato and eggplant cubes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas by combining them in a bowl with the seasonings and toss to coat well. Spread on a baking sheet.

  3. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and rotate for even cooking. Add the eggplant and red peppers to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and roasted.

  4. At the same time, add the pan of chickpeas to a different rack in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly crispy. It's helpful to stir them a couple times during baking for even crisping.

For the dressing:
  1. While the veggies are roasting, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor, blending until thoroughly combined. Dressing can be stored in an air tight jar in the fridge for one week.

To assemble the rainbow plate:
  1. Add veggies and chickpeas in rainbow order to each plate, using as much kale as desired. Drizzle dressing over each serving.

 

easy black bean dip (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

 

I have a gift for you today…an incredibly easy recipe for you to make and I bet you have all of the ingredients in your pantry. It’s been one of my favorites for years and is inspired by a recipe I found on the Whole Foods recipe site before I even made the transition to a plant-based diet: Black bean dip.

Although the “dip” word would make you think this is appetizer-only, I love making it for our main meal with a side of raw veggies and hummus! All of the “meaty” plant-based protein coming from the beans makes it hearty enough for that.

Because this black bean dip is quick and simple to pull together, I love saving it for Sundays (my low key cooking or no-cooking day) and for times when I’m up to my ears in life and/or have been cooking up a storm. You know, kind of like what will happen this weekend.

 

 

This black bean dip is made of only six ingredients and can be served with the traditional tortilla chips or you could try it with my sweet potato rounds if you have a little more time. Guacamole is an excellent side kick. You can get my basic guac recipe here or my new favorite spicy version here.

Because this recipe is so easy going, I rarely measure the ingredients when I’m whipping it up, but I’ve included suggested measurements for you here. It’s a recipe that works well for experimenting to adapt to your tastes, but if you do so, start with my suggestions and go slowly from there.

Bonus: You can make it a day ahead of time which also gives the flavors time to develop, though you might want to add a little extra salsa on the re-heating.

 

Easy Black Bean Dip
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This six-ingredient is simple to whip up and works well as an appetizer or main dish.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cup black beans, cooked
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • torrilla chips for serving
  • guacamole on the side (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add garlic and onion to a medium saucepan with a little bit of water and saute over high heat until the onion is translucent, adding more water if needed to prevent burning.

  2. Reduce to medium-high heat and add in remaining ingredients. Mash beans slightly for a chunkier dip and more thoroughly for a smoother dip. Cook until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and heated through.

  3. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve with tortilla chips and/or sweet potato rounds and a side of guacamole, if desired.