Super easy cheesy spinach muffins

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Vegetarian

Healthy spinach meets earthy cheese in 12 tasty muffins

Spinach muffins will be your new breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are super easy and quick to prepare and soooo ridiculously tasty. I love muffins, they are just such a smart food. Not in the way we typically tend to thing now when we talk about smart food – as in hyper healthy. Though I would indeed classify it as a healthy eating option. I mean ‘smart’ as in handy. You bake it, it already comes in a perfect serving size for one and you can just carry it around with you without any fuss. Magic.

This muffin combines the healthy aspects of spinach in all its richness in iron, calcium and vitamin K with the earthiness of Swiss mountain cheese. Also, did you know that spinach is an edible remedy for high blood pressure? The potassium, folate, and magnesium in spinach have the power to help you lower your blood pressure.

Another super tasty spinach focused meal is ricotta zucchini and spinach dumplings. So make sure to check out the recipe and cook it on one of those nights, when you look for a new vegetarian recipe to try out.

At a glance

  • Servings: 12
  • Calories per serving: 12 kcal
  • Preparation time: 10 min
  • Oven time: 20 min
  • Total time from start to finish: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 5.5 ounces (160 grams) of creamed spinach
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) grated sharp Swiss cheese a.k.a. Alpine cheese (like Gruyère, Appenzeller or Emmentaler)
  • 1 1/2 cups (225 grams) of flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teapoon of pepper

How to prepare cheesy spinach muffins

Step 1: Add the eggs, creamed spinach, vegetable oil, and milk to a bowl and whisk them until well combined. Next, mix in the grated Swiss cheese of your choice. If you have larger cheese chunks, the cheese will come out more prominent in the final muffin. If you use fine grated cheese, it will dissolve more into the dough throughout the baking process in the oven.

Step 2: In a next step, add the flour, baking powder, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Use a mixer to combine everything well. Don’t overdo it. Mix it for approximately one minute, that should do the trick.

Step 3: Afterwards, prepare a muffin pan with 12 molds by either buttering the molds or using a baking spray.

Step 4: Use a spoon to distribute the spinach muffin dough to the 12 muffin molds. Fill them to about 2/3.

Step 5: Bake the spinach muffins for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius. Luckily, muffins – just like cupcakes – only take a few minutes to cool down. Besides, there is something extremely homely in eating freshly baked, warm muffins – to me anyways.

Light lemon couscous with cilantro

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Vegetarian

A zesty couscous salad to boost your vitamin C intake

How lemon couscous came into my life. Many moons ago, I had the amazing opportunity to spend a college year abroad in France. For many reasons, this was one of the best experiences I ever had and I will be forever grateful for all the great memories I collected there. While it deepened my love for France and French culture, it also introduced me to a great dish that I had not known of before: couscous.

Although couscous is not French, but from the Maghreb region in Northern Africa, it is widely available in France, thanks to the many French of Algerian, Moroccan, or Tunisian descent. When I returned home after my year abroad, I soon began to miss couscous and was very happy to be able to find it in Middle Eastern stores here so as to recreate it at home.

Couscous is amazingly versatile. It serves as a great side dish, but you can also have it stand-alone as a small meal. You can add just about anything to it that you think might be tasty, like tomato, pepper, meat or, as in the case of this recipe, give it a lemon character.

Lemon couscous is rich in vitamin C and will give your taste buds a zesty treat. This makes it a perfect healthy and uplifting light lunch or a unique companion for grilled chicken breast.

Lemon couscous at a glance
  • Food category: Side dish
  • Servings: 2
  • Calories per serving:
  • Preparation time: 5 min (if you use instant couscous), 15 min if you cook it
  • Soaking time for the couscous: 10 min
  • Total time from start to finish: 15 min
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (165 grams) of (instant) couscous 
  • 1.5 cups (360 ml) of low-sodium veggie broth 
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Freshly squeezed juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro
  • ½ a cup of diced up artichokes
  • ½ a teaspoon of kosher salt 
  • ½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes 

How to prepare lemon couscous

The first step will differ a bit, depending on the preparation instructions of the couscous grains you are using. In general, there are typically two different approaches to how to prepare the couscous. Option 1 requires you to cook the grains in a liquid, and option 2 or instant couscous entails boiling water, pouring it over the grains and letting it soak until tender. I tend to prefer the latter, as it’s more hassle-free.

Step 1: Mix the veggie broth, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and bring it to a boil. Then, add the couscous grains and either let them soak or cook them, depending on the preparation instructions provided on the package.

I always already add the salt, pepper and olive oil in this first step, as you thereby ensure that the grains are nicely infused and don’t become glued together like cement. You thus essentially ensure that you have a fluffy result.

Step 2: After the lemon couscous has sufficiently soaked, which tends to be the case after 10 minutes, the grains should have softened up and all the liquid should be gone. Now, fluff the couscous with a fork.

Step 3: Add the cilantro and artichokes to the couscous, as well as a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Voilà – your lemon couscous is ready. This is really about all there is to it, which makes this vitamin C-infused recipe not only a great and healthy side dish but also one that you can prepare without much thinking involved, a.k.a., perfect at the end of the day, when you just want to unwind and not focus too much on cooking and not risk burning anything.

Loved the lemon couscous recipe and want to discover more tasty side dishes?

Rich mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows

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Vegetarian

The soft and tender texture of mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows make you feel in 7th heaven with this ultimate holiday side dish. No thanksgiving dinner or roast is completely without this unassuming casserole. Sweet potatoes are super versatile, yet, we always underestimate them.

And the marshmallows? Yes, they make all the difference. They add just the right amount of sweetness and nicely compliment the savory sweet potatoes. Isn’t it anyhow funny, how we call them sweet potatoes, yet they are not. So the marshmallows put the sweet back into it.

While you obviously can’t go wrong with the standard white marshmallow, I recommend using mini versions and opting for some colorful ones while you’re at it. I fell in love with golden mini marshmellows as they make everything instantly a little more festive and cheerful. This is especially true, if you prepare them for Thanksgiving or around christmas time. The shinnier, the merrier. Marshmallows all the way…

The recipefor my mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows uses brown sugar as it gives the dish a nice caramlizing flavor. So the reason for sugar is not to simply make it sweeter, but to enhance the overall richness of the mash and that includes the savory components. You will achieve this with brown sugar, but not with white sugar.

At a glance
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories per serving: 284 kcal
  • Preparation time: 15 min
  • Oven time: 25 min
  • Total time from start to finish: 40 min
Ingredients
  • 3 sweet potatos
  • 2 garlic cloves or 1 tablespoon of powdered garlic
  • 3 tablepoons of brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3-4 handful of mini marshmellows

How to prepare mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.

Step 2: Chop the sweet potato into dices – right there and then, you will have finished a full workout. Congrats! I think chopping sweet potatoes for mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows should be considered a legitimate fitness routine.

Step 3: Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking tray until soft and tender. Depending on the size of your chunks, this should be the case after approx. 15 minutes.

Step 4: Add the sweet potato dices, butter, brown sugar, milk, chopped or powdered garlic and spices to a bowl. Now either use a masher or a blender or a fork if you have neither of the two, to create a mash. Unlike their standard potato cousin, sweet potato is super easy to mash up and have a smooth result.

Step 5: Fill the mash into a casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Distribute the marshmallows on top and bake everything in the oven for 10 minutes. For the perfect mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, you want the marshmallows to be nicely caramalized and browned, but not crunchy or burned.

Loved the mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows and are looking for more amazing side dishes to discover

Healthy creamy roasted cauliflower soup

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Vegetarian

Recently, I heard someone say that it makes no sense to eat cauliflower, as it’s essentially just a broccoli ghost, so you might as well just eat the real deal in color, not its pale blanket-white counterpart. Well, there won’t be anything ghost like about this roasted cauliflower soup, I promise.

Cauliflower has somehow recently gotten this weird reputation of being a big faker and the go-to solution whenever you need to replace something “naugthy” that is normally an integral part of a meal – like steak. This innocent veggie has been turned into fake rice, a.k.a., low-carb rice, or cauliflower steak. I admit that I happily take part in that trend, for instance with my cauliflower pizza crust or my mashed cauliflower.

Well, this roasted cauliflower soup is none of that as it’s pure and simple. It doesn’t need anything fancy to shine. It tastes amazing nonetheless. The roasting process brings out the most beautiful flavors in cauliflower.

Also check out my recipe for cauliflower cheddar chowder – A perfect chowder when you want to cozy up from the inside.

At a glance
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories per serving: 186 kcal
  • Preparation time: 30 min
  • Oven time: 30 min
  • Start to finish: 1 hr
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower (i.e.,  1.5-2 lbs = 750-1000 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (alternatively use vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups (720 ml) of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of milk (any plant-based milk works just as well btw)
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • Fresh cilantro/coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare roasted cauliflower soup

Step 1: The first step for preparing your roasted cauliflower soup is roasting the cauliflower, garlic and onion. For this, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/225 degrees Celsius. Cut the cauliflower florets into smaller chunks and place them on a baking tray. Drizzle the sesame oil on top, add salt and pepper and toss the veggies around a little so that they are all lightly coated. Cut the onion and garlic in halves and place them facing downward on the tray as well. Bake everything for 30 minutes in the oven until the cauliflower is tender and golden.

Step 2: Pour the veggies, onion and garlic into a large pot and add the vegetable broth and thyme. Bring the pot to a boil and let it cook for a minute on high temperature. Alternatively, heat up the veggie broth in a microwave. This step is essentially only to warm up the broth, so that you don’t end up with a cold soup.

Step 3: Add the milk and fresh cilantro/coriander and blend all of the ingredients with an immersion blender. You can also use a smoothie-maker for this process. In fact, I would say that the smoothie maker is actually a tini-tiny bit superior, as it really blends everything to perfection.

Step 4: Add salt and pepper to taste and your roasted cauliflower soup is ready for serving.

Magical mashed avocado potatoes

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Vegetarian

Oh dreamy goodness of creamy delight

Mashed potatoes is an all-time classic side dish, like only very few others. That’s not to say though that every once in a while you shouldn’t give that oldie-but-goldie a little kick of refreshment to make things interesting again. Enter avocados to the mix for some extra creamy mashed avcado potatoes. A healthy twist to the classic and a little lower on the carb count. So, the next time you’re making that Sunday roast or are looking for a different kinda twist to add to your Thanksgiving side dishes or a perfect compagnion for your steak, why not give the mashed avocado potatoes a try?

I would normally always add butter to mashed potatoes to give them that little bit of extra creaminess. This is not necessary in this case, as the avocado takes over that job. You can use normal cream or any plant-based alternative if you want to make this a vegan dish; both options work perfectly well.

I love serving these mashed avocado potatoes as a side dish to homemade falafel or German style meat balls. They are a real crowd pleaser. They are tasty and delicious in their own right, but at the same time know exactly how to make the main star of the meal shine, like a perfectly cooked steak or tender chicken breast.

At a glance
  • Servings: 4 (side dish)
  • Calories per serving: 350 kcal
  • Preparation time: 10 min
  • Start to finish: 20 min
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-sized ripe avocados
  • 1.5 lbs (700 grams) of peeled potatoes
  • ½ a cup (120 grams) of (soy) cream
  • ½ a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of ground garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt (plus salt for the cooking water)
  • Optional topping: 4 tablespoons of caramelized or fried onions

How to prepare mashed avocado potatoes

Step 1: First, start by peeling and washing your potatoes and cut them in dices. Then, cook them in a pot with water and salt on the stove for approx. 10 minutes until they are soft and tender.

Step 2: While the potatoes are cooking, peel the avocados. Afterwards, place them in a bowl and add the lemon juice as well. Now mash up the avocado. I like to use a fork for that as I think this is the most straight forward way for it.

Step 3: When the potatoes are done, add them to the bowl with the avocado mash and also pour in the (soy) cream and add garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mash all of the ingredients until you have a smooth mix. Depending on your personal creaminess preference, use a fork (for a more chunky result), a masher (for the middle ground between chunky and super smooth) or a mixer (if you are the extra creamy type, which is most certainly me most of the time).

Step 4: Last, drizzle caramelized or fried onions on top and your mashed avocado potatoes are ready to be served to your hungry tiny tribe.

A picture says more than a 1000 words: Image gallery for mashed avocado potatoes