Watermelon and Chicory Salad

V, GF

The combination of watermelon and balsamic vinegar may sound strange to you, but balsamic vinegar pairs wonderfully with fruit. The balsamic reduction is slightly syrupy, which truly enhances the watermelon’s natural flavor in a gourmet at home kinda way.  Also try this balsamic reduction with strawberries for a healthy dessert.  You could add sugar to the vinegar, but since the fruit is in season there is no need.

Food 103

Watermelon and Chicory Salad
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 c chicory, chopped
2 c watermelon, chopped
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 c red onion

Add balsamic vinegar to a small pot and turn heat to medium high.  Cook vinegar until reduced by half to 2 tbs.  Add extra virgin olive oil to vinegar, set aside.  In a large bowl add chicory then top with watermelon, feta cheese, red onion.  Drizzle dressing over the top then toss gently to combine.  Serve immediately.

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Cherry Salad with Pesto Croutons

DF, V, VG

I feel like every time I go to the grocery store I see cherries starring me right in the face.  They are not only in season, but they’re also usually on sale.  Sounds like the beginning to a wonderful new recipe, and the best inspiration for new ideas.  Fresh ingredients packed with flavor make my job very easy.  So why not add them with other seasonal items like fresh crisp lettuce and scallions then pour a light vinaigrette over the top.  Yum!

Food 196

Cherry Salad with Pesto Croutons
2 tbs pesto, see recipe below
4 slices of sourdough bread, chopped into cubes
1 c cherries, pitted and sliced in half
4 c boston leaf lettuce aka butter or bibb lettuce
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
2 tsp honey
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine pesto and bread cubes. Lay out onto a sheet pan and bake until lightly toasted and crisp, about 15 mintues, then let cool slightly. In a large bowl combine cherries, lettuce, scallions, and croutons, set aside. In a small bowl use a fork to combine honey, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Pesto
2 c packed basil
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 c olive oil
1/2 c parmesan cheese (do not use for dairy free or vegan)

Combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped. scrapping the sides as needed, then stream in olive oil until pesto is thick and smooth.  Stir in parmesan cheese if using.

Balsamic BBQ Meatballs

DF, GF

I recently made a homemade batch of bbq sauce and realized how much better it is than anything you can buy in stores.  So naturally I’ve added it to a lot of things like BBQ Turkey Meatloaf.  Meatballs are great, but like anything else that you eat a lot you have to find different ways to make them, so why not add some bbq sauce?  It was probably the best decision I made this week; do the same and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Food 118

Balsamic BBQ Meatballs (makes 15-17 meatballs)

For the Meatballs:
1.25 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c warm water
2/3 c italian seasoned panko bread crumbs (or 3/4 c cooked quinoa if gluten-free)
3 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper

For the Balsamic BBQ Sauce:
1/2 c onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c ketchup
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 tbs worcestershire sauce (make sure label says gluten-free)
2 tbs molasses
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 c balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the balsamic bbq sauce and bring to a simmer.  Let sauce reduce for 20 minutes.

Dump all ingredient for the meatballs into a bowl and fold together with your hands until just combined.  Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. form meat into 1.5 inch balls (should make between 15 and 17). Bake for 20 minutes, then place meatballs in simmering balsamic bbq sauce and cook for another 10 minutes.