Eat well. You owe it to yourself.

Tag: vegan

Smashed Chickpea Salad

I love beans.

Seriously, I think they are a majorly underrated food. They are dirt cheap, protein and fiber rich, and, made in the right way, delicious. People who think beans are boring clearly haven’t tried this edamame salad. It’s so good. Go make it right now, I’ll wait.

And now that you’re back, I’ll tell about an even simpler recipe with beans that has been one of my favorite for a long, long time. I don’t know why I’ve never put this up before, I apologize.


This Smashed Chickpea salad is almost a deconstructed hummus, which should be enough to get you to make this recipe right there. I’m really serious about hummus; it would probably make an appearance in my last meal. But Smashed Chickpea salad? This stuff is a solid contender. It’s not much to look at, but the way the flavors meld, especially if you let it sit overnight in the fridge, makes this recipe more than the sum of its rather humble parts.


You can eat it straight from the bowl with a fork – I’ve been known to do that a time or two – or you can heap it on crackers, stir in some quinoa or your other favorite grain, or roll it in a pita. My favorite way to eat it is as an open faced sandwich, bread lightly toasted, and salad piled way too high.  You need this recipe in your arsenal for those busy days when you don’t have time to spare for cooking but you’re tired of frozen pizza. (I didn’t think that was possible either, but I seem to have hit that point.) It’s fast and filling without being too unhealthy, and it’s budget friendly. Also, vegan! Gluten free! Lactose free! With more friends than ever finding out they have food sensitivities, I am becoming a fan of recipes that include everyone, without making those who don’t have allergies feel deprived. This one certainly fits the bill. Image

Smashed Chickpea Salad 

Serves 2-3

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tbsp finely diced red onion

1 tsp finely diced Italian parsley (optional)

Combine the chickpeas with in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Smash with a fork until there are almost no whole beans. A larger bowl, especially with a flat bottom, will make it easier to get the chickpeas smashed well. Add red onion and parsley, and stir to combine. Serve how you see fit.

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Last Friday, a friend of mine made some really awesome vegetarian nachos. They had cheese and corn and edamame and cumin and garlic and man, they were good. Since then, I hadn’t been able to get idea of an edamame and corn salad out of my head. But it couldn’t just be those two things; I also wanted it to have bit of heft, a source of protein. I wanted it to have crunch and color, a slight acidity and a subtle heat. I wanted it to ooze of summer and outdoor barbeques and fresh food, something that feels so far away here in Springfield, MO, where we are experiencing an odd thunder/sleet/ice storm.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

So, late last night, with the cold settling in, I made this and stuck it in the fridge until morning. I had tried a few bites the night before, for research purposes – I am committed to the scientific process and stuff, guys – but it wasn’t until lunch that I sat down with a bowl of it. It was, in a word, awesome. In many other words, it was the type of food that transports you from your current cold, icy existence to sunshiny picnics where you eat drippy watermelon and swat away mosquitoes.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Something cool about this salad is that it’s vegan and gluten-free, perfect to bring to those aforementioned barbeques that can be a minefield for those with special dietary needs. If you’re one of those people, put this recipe in your regular rotation. If you’re not, make this and share with a friend who is. They’ll love you forever. (At least I would.)

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Serves 8, generously

1 cup black rice (wild rice), dry

1 lb. edamame, shelled

12 oz. frozen or fresh corn

1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed

½ large or one small red onion, finely chopped

¼ – 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 2-3 limes

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cook your rice according to the directions on the package.

Boil or steam your edamame and corn. The edamame I bought was frozen and steam in the package, which made things easy. If you have fresh edamame, use these instructions. For the corn, if it’s fresh, I’d boil it. I, again, bought it frozen (Thanks, winter produce!) so I just used the microwave instructions on the package.

When the rice, edamame, and corn are all cooked, combine them in a large bowl with the beans, jalapeño, and onion. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Add more jalapeño, lime, cilantro, or salt to taste.

Eat right away, or store in the fridge until chilled, no need to reheat.

Variations: Add feta cheese or avocado, experiment with different kinds of beans and peppers.

Friendship Soup

I think that if this soup were a statue, it’s plaque would read, Give me your vegetarians, your vegans, your huddled lactose intolerant friends, yearning to eat well… Overly dramatic? Probably. But seriously guys, this soup is a soup for everyone, even the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.


Friendship Soup has been a family staple for as long as I can remember, written on a small index card in my grandmother’s handwriting. But a few years ago, my sister became a vegetarian, and no longer could she eat the recipe as written, with a pound of hamburger and beef bouillon. So, I set out to make a vegetarian version, and realized in the process that it’s also dairy-free, and if you switch out the pearl barley for more lentils, gluten-free. You’re welcome, special dietary needs world!


While following a recipe is generally a good idea for making food taste good, I think it’s also about the experience. So, today, I’d like to offer you some pro-tips on how to make Friendship Soup taste as utterly scrumptious as possible.

The first thing you need to do is make yourself look as unfit for the general public as possible. Do not wear real pants. Pull out your leggings, your yoga pants, your rattiest sweatpants, because we are getting comfortable. I can personally recommend the leggings as pants and oversized sweater combo, it’s excellent.

Now, you have a choice. You can either draw inspiration from the name of this recipe and invite some friends over, or you can go solo and have leftovers for days. These are both perfectly wonderful, valid options.

If you go the friends route, this is not the time to invite over someone you’re not worried about impressing. This is the time to invite your friend who has seen you ugly cry at Les Mis and still likes you, mostly because she was ugly crying right next to you. Seriously, your outfit ideally will not be presentable to anyone else.


You can also go the solo route. For this, I suggest hunkering down with an episode of American Horror Story. Sure, you can watch something funny, because Parks and Recreation or 30 Rock or Arrested Development is always a solid decision. But I think a American Horror Story is perfect for this, because you every time you start feeling sad or scared for the characters on the show, you can look down and remember that, oh yeah, you are cuddled up in your bed eating delicious soup. Nothing can get you down.

Friendship Soup

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 28oz. can diced tomatoes, not drained (I used two 14.5 oz cans and the world did not end)

6-8 cups vegetable stock, depending on how much broth you prefer

½ cup dry split peas

¼ cup pearl barley

½ cups dry lentils

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

½ cup uncooked long grain rice

½ cup quinoa

Salt to taste

Heat the oil on medium in a large pot. Sauté the onions and garlic in oil until soft and slightly browned. Add the tomatoes and broth, then the dry ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour or more, until the grains are cooked through. I added salt throughout the cooking time. You can also keep the soup on low in a crockpot all day.

Magic Broccoli


This summer, some friends and I made dinner, and while shopping, I picked up a massive amount of broccoli. Everyone looked at me dubiously, convinced I was crazy and that the dozen or so of us could not consume that much broccoli. Three of my friends in that group didn’t even like broccoli. In the words of one, (hi Sammy!) “Broccoli tastes like death!”

But that night, not only was every last floret eaten, but those three became broccoli converts. Sammy declared it tasted the least like death of any broccoli she’d ever eaten, and even went back for seconds.


This, friends, is the power of magic broccoli. It’s had other incarnations – I was first introduced via Amateur Gourmet who in turn got the idea from the venerable Ina Garten. I’ve also found, on Pinterest, it referred to as crack broccoli. These recipes have all sorts of extras – Parmesan cheese, sugar, basil, pine nuts, but none of them are necessary. In fact, I think they get in the way. A scant amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, a hot oven, a lemon squeezed over – that’s all you need for broccoli nirvana.


And, GUYS, nirvana it is. This broccoli is so very good that I forget I’m eating something healthy.

It’s simple enough to make on a weekday to accompany dinner, yet delicious enough to be a welcome, healthy side to a potluck or holiday dinner. I’ve provided a recipe here, but take the measurements more as suggestions. This is YOUR magic broccoli, do what feels right to you.


Magic Broccoli

Adapted from the Amateur Gourmet et al.

Note: Do yourself a favor and, for the love of all that is good and holy, buy a real lemon. They’re only whereabouts of 33 cents each. If you have some bottled lemon juice in your fridge, throw it away and never ever look back. In the words of Ina Garten, “There is no substitute for fresh squeezed lemon juice.” That is especially true in this recipe.

Serves 2-4, although it can be easily multiplied.

1 lb. broccoli, washed and dried well

1 tbsp. olive oil

3/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

½ tsp. pepper

2 garlic cloves (I have been known to use minced garlic from a jar, or garlic salt if in a pinch. It’s good no matter what.)

1 lemon, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop the majority of the stems off your broccoli, leaving mostly florets. Spread them across a cookie sheet; they don’t need to be spaced out, but don’t pile them on top of each other.  Drizzle the olive oil across the broccoli, and stir with a spoon to evenly distribute everything, or use your hands if you’re feeling wild. There are no rules here. Slice the garlic cloves into maybe five or six pieces, and toss with the broccoli along with the salt and pepper, making sure it is well coated.

Put it in the oven for 18-20 minutes, stirring once around the ten-minute mark. It’s done when the ends of the florets look brown and crispy. Pull it out, and squeeze your lemon over it and add salt to taste. I usually end up using about half the lemon, but adjust to your taste. You’ll probably have to fish a few lemon seeds out, one of the occupational hazards of being a real lemon lover. While you’re at it, fish out the garlic cloves too, because no one wants to accidentally bite down on a large chunk of garlic. Then enjoy your bit of vegetable heaven, at peace because you’re eating something both scrumptious and good for you.

This is my first post – feel free to leave a comment and introduce yourself! What’s your favorite way to eat broccoli? What other vegetables do you like to roast?