If you’re like me, you may not be vegetarian, let alone vegan, but you have more and more vegans in your life and sometimes you need to cook for them. Hey, I’m cool with that.
Basil pesto is a classic in more ways than one – a classic dish from my childhood, a classic dish from Italy and a classic recipe from the Magic Bullet. This is the perfect time of year for making pesto, too, with basil overflowing from every stall at the farmers’ market.
Classic basil pesto contains parmesan cheese and it turns out that making pesto without cheese is tricky. You can’t really just leave out the parmesan or you’ll really notice the difference and parmesan substitutes like nutritional yeast are, well, not my style. Instead, the idea here is to get nuttiness and umami from really well-toasted almonds and edamame. It’s not exactly the same as parmesan, but it’s just as good and hits all the same flavor notes.
I ended up using this pesto on a pizza with cherry tomatoes and shrimp. The pizza had mozzarella on it, which sort of defeated the purpose of keeping the pesto vegan, but you could use a vegan mozz substitute (much better than a parmesan substitute) or just use the pesto on pasta.
Vegan Basil Pesto
- 1 cup deshelled frozen edamame, microwaved for two minutes
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- leaves from a big bunch of basil
- olive oil to taste
- Add a dash of olive oil to the almonds and microwave for two minutes. Stir and microwave for another minute. Stir and repeat until almonds are nice and brown, but not burned.
- Add all ingredients to Magic Bullet with two big glugs of olive oil. Blend, stirring as necessary, and keep adding olive oil until mixture is a paste.
When I was a kid, eggplant wasn’t even on my radar. After discovering it as an adult, the consistency and flavor were so unique that it took some time to learn to fully appreciate its taste and versatility. Now, though, it’s a food I seek out and anytime I see it on a menu, it’s my go-to.
This recipe combines roasted eggplant, pepper and onion in a hearty and delicious spread that works great as an appetizer or snack.
Eggplant can be difficult to cook – it takes patience in the oven and when fried and can often soak up a lot of oil. Be careful! Cook all the way through, or you’ll end up with a spongey texture that is less than appetizing.
Roasted Eggplant, Pepper and Onion Spread
- 3/4 eggplant
- 1 bell pepper
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 Tbsp tomato paste
- Salt & pepper
- Lightly chop eggplant, pepper, onion and garlic and combine in a mixing bowl.
- Add oil, salt and pepper to vegetables and mix thoroughly.
- Place all vegetables on oiled baking tin and roast for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees, until brown.
- Let cool.
- Combine roasted vegetables with tomato paste in Magic Bullet and blend roughly, until you reach spreadable consistency.
Served best on slices of a toasted baguette!
If you’re looking to improve your regular salad routine, I have you covered. Sometimes, it’s fun to spice things up with an exotic ingredient, but this dressing takes it to a whole new level with two unusual components: tahini and miso. While you can use each of them individually to add a little bit of kick and flavor (and believe me, I have), this is the first time I’ve tried experimenting with tahini and miso together. And it really worked!
Tahini is a staple of Middle Eastern cooking – it’s a paste made largely of sesame seeds and has the texture of somewhat thin natural peanut butter. It’s salty and has a decadent, rich mouth feel while giving food a bit of unusual flavor. You can find it either with the peanut butter or in the international food aisle at most grocery stores.
Miso is… well, I could write a sonnet to miso. As fermented soy paste bursting with umami, miso takes everything and turns it up a notch. It’s used extensively in Japanese cooking and can be found in the international aisle.
This salad dressing combines the two, with just a little bit of water to manage the consistency – all of which comes together perfectly in the Magic Bullet.
East Meets Further East Dressing (Tahini-Miso)
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp. miso, any kind (I use Awase, which halfway between mild and funky)
- juice of ¼ lemon
- 2 Tbsp water, or more to taste
- Add all ingredients to Magic Bullet. Blend, adding water as necessary.
Saturdays and Sundays are usually the two worst days to visit any grocery store. For me, the exception is Zabar’s, an ancient specialty food store on the Upper West Side of New York City. Weekends at Zabar’s are ruled by fancy and exotic samples given out across the store, and the one I look forward to most every week is a platter of smoked mussels and horseradish sauce on a cracker. But why should I have all the fun? Here, you’ll learn to make a delicious horseradish sauce (don’t worry, I was cautious at first, too) that will delight at every occasion – from a house party to a night in relaxing on the couch.
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup grated horseradish
- 1/4 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- First thing up is grating your horseradish. If you’re like me, you’ve never paid attention to horseradish before and are not sure how to do this. Fear not! Just peel and grate it like you’d peel a carrot.
- Combine grated horseradish with all other ingredients in the Magic Bullet and blend.
As mentioned above, I love this with steamed mussels and crackers, but you can substitute other fish or meat if mussels sound a little too adventurous.
Pasta with pesto sauce is a classic Italian dish that everyone can enjoy. Basil, garlic, cheese, oil… What’s not to like? Here, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit by using pistachios instead of traditional pine nuts. Pistachios add a subtle and very nice nutty flavor to the dish, not to mention that they’re far less expensive than pine nuts. Another plus? They’re green! Perfect for any pesto recipe.
Pistachio Pesto Sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- Basil leaves (1 or 2 handfuls: more or less depending on preference)
- 1 Tbsp pistachios
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- A few pinches of parmesan or pecorino cheese
- Pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in your Magic Bullet and blend until creamy.
- Boil your favorite pasta and pour the pesto sauce generously over top until it’s thoroughly green and delicious!
Who doesn’t love a good hazelnut spread? It’s a delicious and decadent treat that’s almost universally approved of. Have you met anyone who doesn’t love Nutella? Seriously? Stop being friends with them. Or make them this instead! This recipe highlights a fun and easy way to make your own spread, so you know exactly what you’re eating. Enjoy it for dessert or as an early morning treat. Or any time, really. It’s that good.
Hazelnut Cocoa Spread
- 1 cup roasted hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup sugar (powdered sugar is preferred, but we can powder it ourselves using the Magic Bullet)
- 1/6 cup cocoa powder
- 4 Tbsp oil (olive or vegetable)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- If you don’t have powdered sugar, don’t worry – use the Magic Bullet to powder your own! Add your sugar to the Magic Bullet cup, attach the sifting blade and blend briefly to powder.
- Add hazelnuts to Magic Bullet and blend until mostly creamy – I’d recommend doing this in two batches to make the process easier.
- Add all ingredients to Magic Bullet and blend until creamy. Add in ingredients slowly to allow for an easier blend. Use additional oil, if needed.
Recommended with sweet raisin bread!
Preparing your own fresh batch of homemade ketchup is so much easier than you’d think! All you need is a few fresh tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients are most likely already in your pantry. Seriously.
The first part of the process takes some time since the vinegar has to boil down to almost nothing, leaving only the flavor. But, once the boiling is over, all you need to do is transfer the remaining ingredients to a Magic Bullet cup and blend them together to create your very own homemade ketchup!
By making your own ketchup at home, you can choose the best tomatoes and control the salt and sugar content. There are no preservatives added to this recipe, so be sure to store your ketchup in the refrigerator and use it up within a few days.
- 1 lb ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. celery salt
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Allow to cool, then transfer the mixture to a Magic Bullet cup and blend until smooth.
Makes 1 cup
My absolute favorite dish to order at Mexican restaurants is fajitas. Why? They are the most exciting, usually brought out on a sizzling hot cast iron pan, steaming and made to order!
It may not seem like the easiest thing to make at home, but it’s actually simpler than you’d think. Add the required marinade ingredients to your Magic Bullet, pour over your meat and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to absorb. For the authentic experience at home, serve the fajitas still sizzling hot from your cast iron pan right onto the dinner table!
Steak Fajita Marinade
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Fresh juice of 1 lime
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, freshly chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Pinch crushed red chili peppers
- Add all ingredients to your small Magic Bullet cup and pulse a few times until blended.
- Pour the marinade over the chopped meat, mix well and cover.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before cooking.
Makes 1/2 cup marinade
You may think you’ve had good hummus. And maybe you have. But have you had the best hummus? This is a reasonably quick and quite easy way to make what I think of as restaurant-style hummus: ultra smooth and rich with tahini, night and day better than the stuff in the tubs.
This hummus has secrets on top of secrets beneath secrets. The first secret is to use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, rather than canned, to give a fine and not mealy texture. The second secret is to peel the chickpeas. If that sounds like a drag, then wait for the third secret: cook the chickpeas in baking soda, then boil them, and the chickpea skins slid right off. The peeled, dried chickpeas produce the smoothest, finest hummus of all time. And a healthy dose of tahini and fresh lemon doesn’t hurt, either.
If all that sounds like a lot of work, it isn’t really: soak the chickpeas overnight, give them a quick sauté and boil, and blend them up to make the best hummus of your life.
The Absolute Best Hummus
- 1/2 cup dried chickpeas
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups water, plus two tablespoons
- 1/3 cup tahini
- juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- ½ tsp. salt or to taste
- The night before, put the chickpeas in a bowl and cover them with water, at least twice as much water as chickpeas by volume. Soak overnight.
- The next day, drain the chickpeas and put a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the drained chickpeas and the baking soda and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the two cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface, for about thirty minutes.
- Blend the garlic clove in the Magic Bullet. Drain the chickpeas and put them and all the other ingredients in the Bullet. Blend, adding more water, salt or lemon to taste. Serve.
Have you ever made cashew dip? It’s healthy and tastes delicious when used as a dip for vegetable snacks. Cashews are soaked in water and blended with garlic, lemon juice and mustard for a vibrant and savory flavor and then turned into a creamy dip. You can control the consistency by adding more or less water. For more of a spread, which goes great with crackers, add a little less water.
For your next party, give this healthy dip a try on your appetizer table and watch it disappear!
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in 2 cups water 2-4 hours or overnight
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Add all ingredients to a small Magic Bullet cup and pulse several times until you reach a smooth consistency.
Makes 1 cup