Twice-Roasted Beets with Fruit and Avocado Feta Cream ♥ A Five-Star First Course!

Twice-Roasted Beets with Fruit and Avocado Feta Cream. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free. Primal. Vegetarian.
My latest beet salad recipe: Roasted beets roasted a second time, this time with summer fruits like grapes and cherries and blueberries. Served warm! On the side? A gorgeous-green creamy sauce of no more than avocado, feta and buttermilk mixed in minutes in the blender. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free. Primal. Vegetarian.

Do you have a certain way you like to "entertain"? There are so many styles that work!

This summer, we've become enamored with simple but sumptuous suppers at the kitchen table (or on the patio, heat permitting), just two couples, room and reason for real conversation. Food-wise some times I wonder if we hit the repeat button a little often but the rhythm works for us. A small nibbly. A first course salad – all summer it's been a variation of Twice-Roasted Beets. Beef from the freezer, simply cooked. A simple vegetable or two or three, at least one from the garden. A fruity dessert. It's easy to prepare, effortless to serve, quick to clean up. Some times I also wonder, Why is it that we go out when we can eat this well at home? Sorry, chefs!

Twice-Roasted Beets started off as a happy accident but has been repeated by design several times since. I love the ease of roasting already-roasted beets a second time – there's no worry about timing and the mix of beets and fruit is quite magical. It remains solidly a savory salad and I must say, I a-d-o-r-e it.

Homemade Zucchini Relish Recipe ♥

Homemade Zucchini Relish, a perfect way to use up giant zucchini from the garden.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's vegetable recipe: A thick zucchini relish, almost a zucchini jam, with a bite of pepper.

~recipe republished 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

Free food: think 'monster' zucchini and 'prolific' peppers. This time of year, free food makes its way into our kitchens where we become its steward, charged with 'no waste' and looking for recipes to use up large zucchini and piles of peppers. With this recipe for zucchini relish, I made good use of two extra-large zucchinis, each one weighing 2+ pounds and still only Size XL beside a four-pound Size XXXL.

The zucchini relish recipe is 'tried and true' – it came from my friend Linda who got it from her friend Kathie who got it from her mother-in-law who got it from, well, you know. Grating and chopping takes a good hour, then the vegetables rest for three hours before getting cooked and processed in canning jars.

The relish is sweet, almost enough to be called a 'zucchini jam' but still, leans to the savory side. It's got some bite too, thanks to a good measure of black pepper which shouldn't be skipped. It's thick and good for spreading (as photographed, on bread atop feta cheese, say). The color is beautiful! The carrots and red peppers stay bright and colorful, the zucchini takes on the amber color of turmeric. Yes, I really like this stuff!

Chilled Carrot Soup with Honey ♥

Chilled Carrot Soup with Honey, bright with spices and small kick of cayenne, sweetened w a drizzle of honey.
graphic button small size size 10 A simple carrot soup, bright with spices and a small kick of cayenne, sweetened with a drizzle of honey, soured with a splash of lemon juice. Served cold and dreamy good! (Looking for a carrot soup recipe serve to serve hot? I recommend my long-time favorite, Laura's Carrot Soup.) graphic button small size size 10

~recipe & photo updated 2011 & 2014, recipe republished 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

2005 Original: I just love pretty food! And this is very very pretty, a deep autumn orange. And it calls for stuff that's likely already on hand. And it's very healthful – only 90 calories a cup and no fat! And it's cheap, to boot!

All these things make this soup a winner, no matter what! Still, be aware that the texture and taste are, to my taste anyhow, a bit unusual, a bit of a surprise. The lemon slices do jazz up the presentation – and while the drizzled honey falls to the bottom of the bowl, by the time you get there, you're spooning up the last drops because it tastes soooo good in contrast to the (mild) heat of the cayenne.

Spiral Zucchini Noodle Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing ♥

Spiral Zucchini Noodle Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing, fresh, healthy, summery. Low carb.
The Recipe: A simple zucchini salad, just zucchini noodles and carrots tossed in a lovely Homemade Catalina Dressing, all made with accessible pantry ingredients. Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 2 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
The Conversation: How I finally came to use the spiralizer purchased almost two years ago.

Amazon, the chiding conscience: "You purchased this item on August 25, 2012."

Me, hanging head in shame about the object of Amazon's reminder, the spiralizer I purchased two whole years ago but never once pulled out of the box let alone used.

Me, grateful to Mari Moilanen, the Finnish food blogger who blogs in English at Something Tasty. It was Mari's Zucchini Spiral "Noodle" Salad salad, which she served at the photography workshop I attended in Helsinki in June, which inspired me to dig out the long-neglected spiralizer on our very first day back!

Raw Tomatillo Salad with Blueberries ♥

Raw Tomatillo Salad with Blueberries, so simple, so lovely, so delish. Low-carb, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, Weight Watchers friendly.
Today's quick 'n' easy summer salad recipe: Anyone else wonder what-in-heck to do with all the fresh tomatillos that are so beautiful right now? Try the tomatillos raw in this simple salad – isn't it pretty?! – just be sure to follow my quick technique for making tomatillos taste extra sweet and citrusy. Weight Watchers Friendly, low-carb, gluten-free, paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

Every year, I seem to fall in love – head-over-heels in love – with a new vegetable. It's never a new-to-me vegetable, instead an old friend suddenly experienced with new tastebuds. Last fall, it was the tomatillo! When the garden threw off one husk-wrapped, heavy-in-the-hand fruit after another, I tried to figure out how to use so many tomatillos. For a couple of weeks, they sat in a basket on the counter, sure to go bad, waiting on my decision.

By accident, I figured out that the direction that you cut tomatillos makes a difference! If you cut them lengthwise, pole to pole, they taste oh-so-very-very sweet and citrusy! Uncooked! Adorned with no more than a little lime juice and good olive oil! Blueberries? They were in the fridge and lemon and blueberries are a natural pair and bright green and blue look so very pretty together – yes, a match made in heaven!

Green Bean Recipes ♥ Alphabet of Vegetables

Tired of same old green beans? New recipes here! Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, whole30 options.
graphic button small size size 10 Tired of the same- old same-old green beans? Find new inspiration here! Recipes include insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points. Many vegan, paleo, gluten-free, low-carb and whole30 options. graphic button small size size 10

Hello Vegetable Lovers: Over the next while, watch for some housekeeping with the Alphabet of Vegetables here on A Veggie Venture. The goal is to separate out our "most favorite" vegetables so their pages will load more quickly, handy for all but especially those of us who check for recipes on our phones. ~Alanna

PS Facebook & Pinterest users, if you love A Veggie Venture, be sure to "like" and "pin" this page! More and more, search engines and even real-live human beings rely on social media indicators to identify favorite sources of trusted information.

IN A RUSH? Prefer Another Vegetable?
Skip Straight to the Recipes or Switch to the A-Z of Vegetables.

Also called Bush Beans, Common Beans, Runner Beans, Snap Beans, String Beans and often, y'know, just "beans". (Shall we do a quick poll? What do A Veggie Venture readers call beans? Is there one name from your childhood and another from today? This could be fun!)

Including Romano Beans and Yellow Beans

The growing season for green beans is "mid to late summer". Frozen green beans are often excellent, I nearly always keep a bag on hand for a quick, healthy side vegetable. I especially like the frozen thin beans from Trader Joe's. Canned green beans? No haters, please, because canned green beans have their place too! When I did Weight Watchers the first time, a can of green beans was my go-to snack when I was "really hungry" but had no points left. I bought cans by the case at Sam's Club! I could even make a Satisfying Lunch in One Point (Old Points). A few special varieties can be found on occasion. One special variety is Haricots verts [French for "green beans", pronounced har-ee-coat VER], longer and thinner; they are also called French Beans, French Green Beans, French Filet Beans and Fine Beans. An Italian variety is called Romano Beans, flatter, wider and sweeter; if you find these at a farmers market, snap 'em up! And who's seen a Long Bean? They're just that, long, two or three feet long! Green beans are immature but edible pods. Mostly, the "strings" that gave string beans their name, the fibrous thread that joins the two walls of the bean pod, have been bred out of existence although you'll still find strings in some heirloom beans. Beans are so ubiquitous, it's easy to forget that beans are surprisingly fragile, sending the sugars from the pod walls to their interior seeds as soon as they're off the plant. If ever offered the chance to try just-picked green beans within minutes of the field, say "yes"! Beans and peas are both members of the "legume" family, the second-most important family in the human diet after the grasses. Legumes have two to three times the protein of wheat and rice. Beans originated in Central and South America. SOURCES Personal knowledge, also the most-wonderful On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee.


The trick to cooking green beans is to cook beans in plenty of water with plenty of salt. Per pound of green beans, use two quarts of water and a tablespoon of table salt.

Harold McGee says that beans, like potatoes, should be started in cold water, that this preserves their cell structure, keeping them firm. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison yet but this sounds promising! Anyone have experience here?