Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Quinoa black bean tacos with avocado crema! Quick, easy and delicious. cookieandkate.com

You guys are the best. You know that, right? Two months ago, when I shared my roasted cauliflower and lentil tacos recipe, I asked you to hop over to Facebook and vote for my recipe. You did, and my tacos won!

That means my tacos will represent the United States at the United Nations’ 2016 International Year of Pulses celebrations. (Pulses are beans, lentils and other dried legumes and they were selected based on their significant health, economic and environmental benefits.) Basically, you’ve made this food nerd verrrry happy. Thank you! Thank you to the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council for letting me participate, too.

quinoa black bean tacos ingredients

Since 2016 seems so far away, I thought we’d celebrate today with some more tacos! These are inspired by some that I ordered last week at my friend’s bachelorette party. I was sitting next to my college roommates, sipping my cocktail very slowly, and feeling sappy about how grown-up we are now.

The waiter came by and I ordered some quinoa tacos, hoping that they would be hearty enough to fill me up. They were, fortunately, and they were so tasty that I had to recreate them at home right away.

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Peanut Dipping Sauce

This peanut sauce is a healthy party veggie dip! cookieandkate.com

After a weekend full of wedding festivities, I have party food on the brain. Feeding one hundred people at once is no easy feat, you know? I have enough cooking and restaurant experience to really appreciate the planning and preparations that go into big events… which is not to say that I want to take on the task myself. Oh no! I’m thrilled to sit down and eat dinner with friends while the dirty dishes disappear like magic.

peanut sauce ingredients

Since we’re entering the season of potlucks and barbecues, I thought now might be the perfect time to share my go-to peanut sauce. It’s been the backbone of my peanut noodle dishes and the dip for spring rolls. You can drizzle it on steamed or roasted vegetables or tropical fruit for some extra protein and tons of flavor. It also makes a stellar veggie dip, which are notoriously full of preservatives. It’s creamy, savory, a little spicy and totally satisfying. Make some and you’ll want to drizzle it on everything!

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12 Healthy Barbecue Salads and Sides

12 healthy barbecue salads and sides! See them all at cookieandkate.com

Oh happy weekend! I’m a bridesmaid for the most lovely and laid-back bride this weekend (you’re the best, Tessa!). The past couple of days have been full of laughs and good food, too.

It’s hot down here in Oklahoma, so I thought I’d share a collection of my best barbecue salads, side dishes and snacks today. They’re all meatless, of course, and many are vegan and/or gluten free as well (see labels below recipe titles). Here we go!

Asian chopped kale salad

No. 1: Chopped Kale Salad with Edamame, Carrot and Avocado
Gluten free and vegan

“Delicious recipe! A weekly staple at my house. I add 1/2 Tbs of Sesame Oil for a little extra flavor in the dressing.” – Peter

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Summertime Aguas Frescas

Refreshing and simple blended fruit drinks for summertime! - cookieandkate.com

Summer is almost here! I can feel it. I’m downright giddy about the explosion of colorful summertime fruit at the farmers’ markets right now. My dear strawberries, cherries, blueberries and cucumbers, it’s been too long since I last saw you!

It seems serendipitous that the hottest season of the year would produce produce that hardly requires any help. I treat ripe strawberries like dessert; just rinse and eat. Of course, I love them roasted in a crisp, too, but on the hottest of summer days, I just want fresh fruit.

Aguas frescas ingredients - cookieandkate.com

One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh fruit is in agua fresca form. Agua frescas are refreshing fruit drinks made simply of fruit blended with water, lime juice and a bit of sweetener. They’re popular in Mexico and Central America, although I ordered the most incredible pineapple agua fresca in Austin, Texas, earlier this year.

I’m not much of a juice drinker, but I love agua frescas because they can be served unfiltered. So, unlike regular juice, you’re sipping up all the fiber that is inherent in the fruit rather than filtering it out. In theory, that means that they won’t cause quite the blood sugar spike that regular juices can. Plus, you can make it in a blender and skip the filtering step.

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Summertime Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Jalapeño Pesto

Healthy summer pasta salad with tomatoes, corn, black beans and a bold herbed pesto - cookieandkate.com

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of June, and I’m looking out at gray skies. Why?! I don’t know about you, but dreary weather slows me down and sunshine motivates me to skip right along. At least I have a bowl full of summertime goodness in the fridge to tide me over for a while.

pasta salad ingredients

This salad concept came to me when I found an ear of corn in my vegetable drawer, a remnant of my cowboy caviar recipe. I whipped up a bold pesto made with fresh cilantro and parsley, toasted pepitas and a jalapeño, which adds extra freshness and a bit of kick.

Then I tossed in some sliced tomatoes, raw corn and black beans. Pasta salad for days! You can easily change up the flavors, and I’ve typed up some suggestions below.

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Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt

Healthy homemade mango frozen yogurt with all-natural ingredients! cookieandkate.com

Last Friday, I stepped off the plane from Montana into Kansas City summer. Ninety degrees and sunny. I ditched my jacket and daydreamed about all the summery outfits I’d rather be wearing while I waited for the bus to take me back to my car. Acclimating to skin-prickling heat is never a pleasant process, but I am so ready for non-stop sunshine and long afternoons by the pool.

mango frozen yogurt ingredients

I’m also ready for some frozen treats! I’ve had mango on the brain lately (remember those mango spring rolls and that mango salsa?), so when the idea to make a frozen version of a mango lassi popped into my head the other day, I got right to work. Mango lassis are super refreshing blended mango and yogurt drinks. I always make room for one when I visit an Indian buffet.

This frozen yogurt version is just as refreshing as the traditional version, if not more so. It’s smooth, creamy and scoopable right from the freezer, thanks to honey’s mysterious anti-freezing properties (can someone explain the chemistry behind that?). Fresh mangos can be a little pricy and difficult to work with, so I recommend using frozen mango so you can save money and skip the slicing steps!

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