Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Side Dishes (page 1 of 4)

Tangy Green Beans with Almonds

Take fresh green beans to the next level with this mouth-watering recipe.  Tender-crisp green beans, lightly roasted almonds, and a zesty dressing with just the right balance between tangy and sweet make this green beans with almonds recipe an irresistible side dish. Garden-fresh green beans are great this time of year.  But let’s face it, sometimes they need some added flavors to keep them interesting.  This recipe is adapted from one I found in the June 2017 issue of Real Simple magazine.  I used slivered almonds instead of walnuts, but otherwise it is basically the same, and it is a keeper.  The tender-crisp pop of the green beans, the nutty crunch of the almonds, and the zingy miso-mustard-honey dressing all combine to make a flavor-filled and healthy side dish.

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Colcannon

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale, milk or cream, and often leeks or green onions.  There are endless variations of this cozy, rustic, and comforting side dish, and it is a great accompaniment to ham, bacon or sausage.  In the recipe below, creamy mashed potatoes are mixed with shredded cooked cabbage, sliced green onions, salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  A square of butter goes in the center of the bowl to melt, infusing the potatoes with even more comfort and flavor.

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Pomegranate-Pistachio Quinoa

This nutrient-rich dish is full of flavor and color.  The mild taste of quinoa is dressed up with the beautiful, sweet-tartness of pomegranate seeds, the savory crunch of pistachios, the bright flavor of fresh parsley, and a homemade dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

pomegranate quinoaAt a time when many of us might reach for comfort in the form of snacking on processed foods, this recipe comes to the rescue and helps balance that out.  Quinoa, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and parsley are whole foods full of vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and naturally delicious flavors!  Our bodies need this kind of nutrition to function optimally, and functioning optimally, though not always possible, is definitely a worthy and meaningful goal.

pomegranate quinoaPomegranates are on sale at my regular grocery store these days, and we have been enjoying them very much.  There is something so festive about the beautiful seeds.  They are like little sparkling gemstones, or little glowing holiday lights.  Each little seed bursts with flavor.  Spooning them out can take a bit of time, but it can be fun.  We had a friend of my son’s over a couple of weeks ago, and my son, his friend, and my daughter were completely entertained for a good while, standing at the counter scooping the seeds out of the pomegranate halves….I’m telling you, in this age of electronics, bitter politics, and rushed schedules, it is satisfying to see kids get excited about a fruit, getting their hands and faces all juicy, and laughing together in the kitchen.

pistachios and pomegranateI get a bit emotional about that kind of stuff, and perhaps it is because I’m a bit raw as I write this post.  I purposely stay away from politics on this blog most of the time.  It is primarily a food blog, along with bits and pieces about my own life thrown in, and how the beauty of food, nature and the seasons can influence our lives.  But a couple of days ago, the people in my country elected someone to be our next president, someone who has no political experience, and who has said some very disrespectful things.  The people in my country are deeply, and sometimes bitterly, divided.  I am not a very political person, and I will not say much about this here, but I will say that I hope love, dignity, respect, and peace can prevail in ways we cannot always understand or yet fathom.

The harsh words of this election cycle have left me cherishing the simple moments of joy, like watching kids standing together around a pomegranate, laughing and popping the seeds into their mouths. My yoga instructor said something earlier in the week that has stuck with me.  She said that the earth meets us right where we are.  On one hand, that sounds so obvious that it is almost humorous.  On the other hand, it is exactly what I needed to hear.  Wherever we are in our imperfect journey, the earth is there to meet us and support us.  Eating food that comes from the earth is nourishing us right where we are as well, helping us to go out and live our truths and open our hearts.  We need to come together around a table and nourish and support each other.

This dish is really easy to put together, and makes a delicious, beautiful, and healthy side dish. If you are looking for a simple and festive salad to take to Thanksgiving dinner or any other dinner, give this a try! I am going to share this over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday and see what the others there have brought to the table. pomegranate quinoapomegranate seeds

Pomegranate-Pistachio Quinoa

  • Servings: 4-8
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Ingredients:

For the salad

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds (also known as arils)
  • 1/3 cup of pistachios, shelled
  • 1/3 cup of fresh parsley, chopped

For the simple dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  (Or, rinse the quinoa in a fine-meshed colander under running water.  Add 2 cups of water and the cup of rinsed quinoa to a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, scoop the seeds from the pomegranate and shell the pistachios.  Wash and chop the parsley.  Mix up the dressing and whisk it together in a small bowl.  Taste and adjust the seasonings and ingredients to your liking.

Transfer the quinoa into a serving bowl and fluff it with a fork.  Add the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and parsley.  Pour the dressing onto the ingredients.  Stir till everything is well combined.  Serve at room temperature or put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it and serve it cold. Enjoy!

 

 

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

Black beans, mango, and corn make up the main part of this colorful salsa.  Cilantro, red onion, mint, lime juice, and honey add irresistible flavor.  Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this salsa is a beautiful, healthy, and tasty addition to any table.  Top a salad with it to add nutrition and flavor, or spoon it onto tortilla chips, or as in my photos, try it with crispy polenta discs. Or just take a spoon and eat it straight!  Either way, it is delicious!

black bean-mango salsaIf left to my own devices, I would probably eat way too much bread and cheese.  So it’s really nice when I can find a super-healthy, clean eating recipe that I love, a dish that can energize my body and help me work hard and stand strong.  The balance of flavors in this salsa is wonderful.  A bit of sweetness from the mangoes and honey is mixed with a bit of zing from the lime juice and cilantro.  It is a great snack, salad topper, or side dish.

black bean-mango salsaI adapted this recipe from my husband’s beloved “Thrive Energy Cookbook” by Brendan Brazier.  I was drawn to it because my grocery store has had mangoes on sale for the past couple of weeks, so we have had mangoes in our fruit bowl waiting to be used.  Now that I have found this salsa, I expect it will become a regular in our rotation, because it is so delicious, easy, and versatile.  I used thawed frozen corn instead of fresh, and substituted honey and olive oil instead of the agave nectar and hemp oil called for in the Thrive recipe.

The days and evenings of this month have been very full.  I have not posted as often as I would like to.  It’s not that I haven’t been in the kitchen–quite the contrary!  I just haven’t gotten the photos or the recipes organized.  But that is about to change.  I am about to get back on track.  Recently, I started playing the piano again, after almost three years away from it.  Since my dad died, I have been unable to touch the piano.  I think it has something to do with the emotions released when playing the piano.

black bean-mango salsaIn any case, although I am very rusty, it feels good to have that part of my life back again, and I know my dad would be glad about it too.  I stumbled across a really pretty song that I am now working on, called The Dance, written by Tony Arata.  Apparently, Garth Brooks also is known for singing it.  I am not usually a country music aficionado, but this song really caught me.  The melody is so beautiful, and the words….they are a good reminder.  We don’t always know how things are gong to turn out.  Sometimes it’s better that way, otherwise we may not take risks or go for our dreams.  If we try to avoid heartbreak, disappointment, or failure, we might miss out on the things that make life worth living.  “Our lives are better left to chance….I could have missed the pain…but I’d have had to miss the dance.”  It’s not like we haven’t heard this message or something similar to it before, but when it is put to music in a beautiful song, sometimes it’s like hearing the message for the first time again.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy the beautiful fall colors if you live in an area like mine, where the leaves are just starting to turn beautiful shades of red and gold.  And if you try this salsa, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do here!  I’m sharing this recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.black bean-mango salsablack bean-mango salsa

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

  • Servings: about 3 cups
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cooked or rinsed canned black beans
  • 1 cup of mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of sweet corn kernels, fresh or thawed from frozen
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, torn and stems removed
  • 3 or 4 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir gently and thoroughly.  Best served immediately, but can also be kept tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Use on top of salads, with tortilla chips or polenta discs, or however you like. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier.

 

Tomato-Pesto Couscous Bowls

This quick and easy couscous mixture is a definite crowd-pleaser.  The flavors of toasted pine nuts, fresh tomatoes, pesto, and Parmesan cheese all combine to make a delicious dish that tastes great warm, room temperature, and cold, so you can refrigerate any that is left over, and easily have it the next day.

dsc_0578-001Sometimes a cook needs a really easy, really quick, yet really delicious recipe to fall back on during busy times.  I won’t list to you my family’s schedule these days (it would take too long, and would most likely be boring to anyone but me!) but let’s just say that on many evenings, there isn’t a lot of time to make a complicated meal.  This couscous dish has been in a regular rotation with us lately, because it takes under ten minutes to prepare, yet it tastes like it took much longer, and it incorporates great flavor with good nutrients.

The Near East company makes all kinds of flavors of couscous mixtures, and I have tried many of them.  For this dish, I like to use the toasted pine nut couscous mix, and then add my own tomatoes, pesto, and cheese.  (I am not getting paid to promote this company’s couscous mix, though maybe I should look into that….)

couscous with tomatoesThough couscous is not gluten-free (it is made from semolina, so it is actually considered a form of pasta), it does have some health benefits, such as vitamins B and E, and a relatively high amount of the mineral selenium.  I am kind of in the middle of the road when it comes to gluten, where I am trying not to eat too much of it, yet I find that eating some foods with it works fine for my body. The thing I really like about couscous is the quick-cooking factor, and also the versatility.  It’s a way to get in some vegetables and herbs, like tomatoes and basil, and feel full and nourished at the same time.

tomato and pesto couscousAnyway, I love the tangy taste of the pesto with the fresh, ripe tomatoes, which are so good this time of year!  If you want to add shredded, cooked chicken to this couscous recipe, feel free.  I know we are having it as part of our dinner tonight, and my husband will probably take a container of it with his lunch tomorrow.  I hope you all enjoy the last few days of summer! It is really starting to look and feel just a bit like fall, which is not a bad thing, but for me, it is a bit nostalgic.  The daylight is fading earlier in the evenings and there is a bit of a chill in the breeze now, yet the sun is still warm and soft in the afternoons.  Have a great weekend!tomato and pesto couscouscouscous against windowtomatoes and parmesanI am sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked.

Tomato-Pesto Couscous Bowls

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • One package of Near East Couscous Mix (I think the toasted pine nut mix works best for this recipe)
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of prepared pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil sprigs for garnish, if desired

Directions:

Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the package.  While the couscous is cooking, chop the tomatoes, and measure out the pesto and shredded cheese.  When the couscous is cooked, combine all the ingredients. Serve in bowls.  May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold out of the refrigerator, if using as a leftover. Enjoy!

 

 

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