Summer Vegetable Tortellini

Ah, summer nights- how do you like to spend yours? When the sun goes down and, hopefully, the temperatures get cooler, heading out for dinner for with a loved one is a great way to spend a summer weekend. Yet, at the same time, with tasty summer produce in full swing, sometimes cooking a meal at home in the air conditioning and with your own half-priced bottle of wine is the way to go!

This past Saturday night Danny and I had date-night-in and made a seasonal vegetable pasta dish that I just had to share with you! Although we were cooking at home, that certainly did not mean that we made this the most elaborate meal. We still kept it simple with the prep time and it all came together in about 20 minutes. Pour your favorite white wine, light some candles, and enjoy a summer meal at home!

Summer Vegetable Tortellini- Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pre-made tortellini- we used a prosciutto and cheese variety, but feel free to use only cheese, or even a spinach and cheese one
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup skim ricotta
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook tortellini according to package instructions. You know they are al dente when they begin to look soft and pillowy and float to the top of the boiling water. Just before fully cooked, add the frozen peas to the boiling water. Once finished, drain and set aside in a mixing bowl. Mix in ricotta cheese and reserve.
  2. Make the zucchini into ribbons by cutting off both ends of the squash, then using a vegetable peeler carefully slice the zucchini lengthways into long strips. When you reach the seeds on one side, turn it over and repeat making ribbons on the other side. Set aside while you prepare the remaining pieces.
  3. Slice garlic into thin discs and set aside. On a low heat, toast pine nuts until just turning golden brown- careful not to burn! Remove from heat and save for garnishing. In a small bowl, combine the zest of half of one lemon, the juice of the lemon, and 2 tbsp olive oil.
  4. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, then add a small amount of olive oil and the garlic slices. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the zucchini ribbons and cook until starting to soften, stirring constantly. Add the zucchini to the pasta and peas mixture. Drizzle lemon and oil mixture over mixture and gently fold everything together with tongs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Lentil Fajitas with Charred Peppers

Are there certain foods your other half prefers not to eat, or even downright dislikes? For my husband, that would be most beans and legumes. Recently he had “accidentally, on purpose” eaten black beans in a dish out at a restaurant, which gave me hope that more beans would come into our rotation. Yet, I know it’s not something to push with him- all in good time! So, when I have a night making dinner for myself, I usually go for some kind of plant based protein.

With no cans of beans in the house, and no patience for soaking and boiling my dried pinto beans, I pulled out some red lentils from the cupboard and set to coming up with a quick, tasty dinner for one. Based on the other ingredients I already had at home, a Mexican dish with a plant focused twist came to mind- grab the shopping list and recipe steps below!

Lentil Fajitas with Charred Peppers- Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Lentil- 1 cup cooked
  • Red bell pepper- cut 1/2 of pepper into thin strips
  • Shaved brussels sprouts- 1 cup total, buy pre-shredded or cut your own
  • Tortillas- 2 small corn or Siete Foods cassava coconut
  • Small tomato- 1/2 chopped
  • Leftover tomato sauce or tomato paste- 1 tbsp or 1 tsp respectively, use only one depending on what you have on hand
  • Avocado- a quarter cubed
  • Limes- 1/2 juice
  • Oil- olive or avocado
  • Spices: cumin, chipotle, garlic powder- 1 tsp of each

Directions

  1. Cook lentils until soft. Strain excess water and return lentils back to small pot on stovetop. To lentils, add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce or paste, and spices. Cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes until ingredients are well mixed and tomato has broken down and softened. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. In a saute pan, heat a small amount of oil and add sliced peppers. Cook peppers on high to medium heat until starting to char. The trick to getting them caramelized and browned is to not move them too much, so stir infrequently.
  3. While peppers cook, in a small bowl mix shaved brussels sprouts and juice of a half of one lime. I like to use my hands to massage the brussels and help soften them up. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired.
  4. To assemble the fajitas, lay two warmed tortillas on a plate, add a base layer of the brussels, top with charred peppers and cooked lentils evenly, and finish with chunks of avocado.