Vegetarian

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Why do mini food items always taste better? Does their cuteness enhance their deliciousness? Or is it that knowing you can eat more of the tiny bites makes them even more irresistible? Whatever the reason may be, the mini raviolis in this dish certainly increase the tasty factor.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

And using store-bought raviolis and prepared sauce is a winning weeknight dinner combination. This pasta meal was an unplanned dish born from the ingredients in my fridge, but I was so happy with the results I decided to share it here on Lemon & Mocha.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

The sautéed garlic, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes tend to be my go-to pasta trifecta. They are the perfect base to almost any pasta dish, providing full-packed savory flavoring.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

The fresh spinach leaves are a great way to sneak in some veggies and are a great pairing for the ricotta-filled raviolis. The goat cheese adds a depth and creaminess to regular prepared sauce, almost giving it the taste of a vodka sauce.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Feel free to swap out the spinach and use your favorites veggies to mix and match this pasta dish. I think asparagus and mushrooms or eggplant and zucchini would both be delicious variations. I might have to go give them a try!

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese
 
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, regular or garlic & herb
  • 1-2 cups prepared tomato sauce, depending on sauciness preference
  • 1 pound mini raviolis, prepared according to package instructions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, if desired, for serving
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the minced shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened and started to lightly brown.
  2. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, a handful or so at a time, stirring often, until all the spinach has been aded and wilted.
  3. Stir in the goat cheese until melted. Add the tomato sauce and stir until warm.
  4. Carefully stir in the prepared mini raviolis until coated. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

 

New England Harvest Salad

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you heard of Boloco? They are a Boston based burrito joint, but these are not your average Mexican burritos. Self-described as “globally inspired burritos” they take it to the next delicious level with creations like Bangkok Thai, laden with addictive spicy peanut sauce, and the Mediterranean, complete with black bean hummus made in house.

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although Boloco, which is a mashup of Boston Local Company, is mostly based in Boston, they do have several locations in Massachusetts outside of Boston and have spots in New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and even Maryland! And in case you were wondering, no Boloco is not paying me for this or even aware I’m writing this blog post, I just love their food that much!

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

One of my favorites was a recent addition last year: the New England Harvest Salad. I normally don’t get so jazzed up over a salad, but this dish is so outrageously tasty I eventually had to re-create it myself. This here is a sautéed kale salad topped with quinoa, roasted squash and fresh cranberries, shredded beets, roasted balsamic mushrooms (told you those bad boys were going to make an appearance!) and goat cheese.

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you told me I could only eat one salad for the rest of my life I would pick this one without even hesitating. In addition to the addictive mouthwatering qualities of this salad, which caused it to never even make it to the table and instead be eaten standing at the counter, this salad is healthy. Just look at all those superfoods!

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since all the components are warm, other than the shredded beets and goat cheese, I made extra so all Matt and I had to do was throw the leftovers in the microwave the next day then top with the cold ingredients for a quick, healthy and satisfying dinner.

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

New England Harvest Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces peeled and cut butternut squash (1” cubes)
  • ⅔ cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces roughly chopped kale, hard stems removed
  • 1 small red beet
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 batch Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil and set aside.
  2. Toss the squash and cranberries with the 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil then place on the prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and half a cup water. Cook until the kale is tender and the water has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Peel the beet with a vegetable peeler then grate with a microplane. Set aside.
  5. To plate the salad first layer the kale. Top with the quinoa, followed by the shredded beets, balsamic roasted mushrooms and the roasted squash and cranberries. Finish by sprinkling with the goat cheese. Serve warm.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

To me, the ultimate telling of a great salad is that it doesn’t seem like you are eating a salad. It doesn’t taste diet-y or as though all you’re doing is consuming a large bowl of raw vegetables like a rabbit raiding the produce aisle.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

It simply tastes like a really delicious dish. The flavors are well-balanced and the textures vary. Extra bonus points if there are both hot and cold components.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

This warm lemon and mustard potato salad hits all the marks on my great salad scale. The key to this meal-worthy salad is that the potatoes aren’t just average roasted potatoes. Before being placed in the oven to get nice and crispy, the potatoes are tossed with a lemon and mustard vinaigrette.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tart, tangy and creamy, these potatoes are even better when combined with the freshness of the salad greens and the nuttiness of the walnuts. This dish is great for a vegetarian main dish or an elevated first course that will have your guests requesting the recipe.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
for the salad
  • 1½ pounds baby red-skinned potatoes, halves
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the dressing
  1. Whisk together the mustard, parsley, zest, juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 3 tablespoons of the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.
for the salad
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the potatoes to the large bowl with the dressing and toss until coated. Place the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy.
  3. When ready to serve, toss the bell pepper and greens with the reserved dressing. Place on the serving dish then top with the roasted potatoes and toasted walnut pieces.

Recipe from Giada’s Feel Good Food.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes I’m in the mood to just go to town on a big plate of food. I don’t like feeling guilty about it though so I recently came up with this easy stuff-yourself-silly dish:  spaghetti squash with spinach and mushroom marinara. Are you familiar with spaghetti squash? When baked the squash’s strands resemble angel hair pasta in appearance and texture. The taste is pretty mild and is a great pasta substitute. Plus one cup of cooked spaghetti squash has only 42 calories. Yes I typed that number accurately.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you get home from the grocery store with this huge oblong squash your first challenge will be breaking the sucker open. Do not underestimate this task! You will need a large sharp knife and a level cutting surface. It may take a few tries and certainly will not be perfect, unless of course you are skilled in the art of slicing large hard objects in half lengthwise, but try your best.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once the spaghetti squash is cut in half you will shake your head and think I’m playing an early April Fool’s Day joke on you as you wonder how in the world is that solid hunk of squash ever going to resemble spaghetti strands. Well you just have to trust me on this! It is purely amazing food magic. Scoop out the seeds then bake the squash until tender. Once it’s cool enough to handle a simple scraping with a fork transforms the squash into thin strands. Mix with some marinara, cooked spinach, sautéed mushrooms and fresh Parmesan and you’re ready to indulge!

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package sliced cremini mushrooms, about 5 ounces
  • 1½ cups preferred marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach, prepared according to package instructions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet flesh side up. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Scrape the tines of a fork along the cooked squash to create the strands. It sounds weird, but as soon as you do it you will understand what I mean. Continue scraping until you reach the skin and all the flesh has been turned into strands.
  4. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds then add the sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked then add the marinara and prepared spinach.
  5. Add the spaghetti squash strands and toss well with tongs until well combined with the sauce and spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot topped with the Parmesan.

 

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t believe I waited so long to share this recipe. Matt and I love these eggplant pizzas so they get made quite often in our apartment. Aside from being out-of-this-world delicious, they are perfect for vegetarian nights, quick weeknights and carb-free nights.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carb-free pizza, you ask? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Slices of melt-in-your-mouth roasted eggplant serve as both the base and the topping for these individual pizzas. The first time I came across this idea I was extremely skeptical. I am a pizza fiend and seriously doubted that anything could compare to chewy, crispy pizza dough. Well, my friends, I am here to let you know that I doubt no more!

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

These easy eggplant pizzas are so darn tasty that I don’t even miss the pizza crust for one second. Did I mention the ease of this meal? That is the second reason these bad boys are made so often in our place.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thinly slice an eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and season it up. I like to do a mix of salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic powder to really take-home those Italian pizza flavors. Roast in the oven until tender, about ten minutes, then pull out of the oven. Top each roasted slice with tomato sauce and shredded cheese, usually mozzarella or whatever well-melting cheese you have on hand.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I recently used Gruyere and oh-my-heavens! I’ll just leave it at that. Anyways, through the topped eggplant slices back into the oven for another minute or two so the cheese melts and voila! Dinner is served.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Eggplant Pizzas
 
Yield: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced (about ¼” thick)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt, pepper, dried oregano & garlic powder for sprinkling
  • ½ cup tomato sauce, more or less depending on quantity of eggplant slices
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, more or less depending on quantity of eggplant slices
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to very lightly coat. Spread the slices out so they are evenly spaced with none touching. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top.
  3. Roast until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices.
  4. Carefully pull the pan out of the oven. Use a spoon to top each eggplant slice with tomato sauce then top each with shredded cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese melts, about 1-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.