Gazpacho Andaluz

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

La Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain

After a few years of tweaking, I’ve finally perfected my recipe for Gazpacho Andaluz, a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold. You’ll love this easy, naturally gluten free and vegan recipe!

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Don and I took an amazing trip to Paris and Madrid in 2013. I hadn’t been back to Madrid since college. So much of the city had changed, yet the food stayed the same: gazpacho, paella, sangria, patatas bravas, tortilla espanola.

For me, gazpacho is summer in a bowl.

As soon as we got home, I started experimenting with different combinations of vegetables to make my gazpacho taste exactly as did in the Plaza Mayor. I needed to recreate that experience of sitting under a misting umbrella with cobblestones underfoot and a sangria in my hand. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what ingredient I was missing. Finally I realized that the secret ingredient to Gazpacho Andaluz is white balsamic vinegar! 

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I made Gazpacho Andaluz a few weeks ago when I was a guest chef at Mandarava Kitchen. Newburyport Olive Oil graciously contributed their robust white balsamic vinegar to cook with that night. It definitely elevates the flavor! If you haven’t tried their oils and vinegars, it’s quite an experience! I have a few more favorites, which I’ll be sharing soon in my next recipe post from our Mandarava tapas menu.

It only takes 15 minutes to make this soup without a stove or pot in sight. Don’t peel anything and only cut each veggie into chunks. Let the blender do the work for you! Once you quickly chop each ingredient, toss it into the blender. When the soup is ready, the only clean up should be a cutting board, knife, blender and spatula — don’t leave behind a drop!

This type of gazpacho is the traditional preparation you would experience if you visited the southern region of Andalusia in Spain. Gazpacho is particularly popular during hot summer nights because it is refreshing and cold. The color is perfection.

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Photo credit: Meg Manion Photography

Gazpacho Andaluz is a recipe that the whole family will enjoy. You can make it ahead and store it for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Serve it as is or with toppings to stir in, such as cucumbers, peppers, red onion, parsley, and croutons. It’s the perfect summer recipe for a no-stress dinner.

When I studied abroad in Madrid during college back in 1998, my Señora Encarna would say, “Cómelo todo!” at dinnertime. It translates to, “Eat it all!” I sometimes say it to my monkeys with a smile, remembering that incredible experience. That’s why I include “Cómelo todo!” at the end of my recipe posts as a tribute to the lovely lady who made sure I was well fed all those years ago in Spain.

Try this Gazpacho recipe and let me know how you like it in the comments or click on the stars to review it. Cómelo todo!

Gazpacho Andaluz
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Ingredients
  1. 2½ pounds tomatoes (about 8 medium)
  2. 2 medium cucumbers
  3. 2 small sweet red peppers
  4. 1 yellow or white onion
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  7. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1-2 tablespoons of honey or agave
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  10. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  11. Freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash the vegetables and cut into chunks, leave the skin on the cucumber.
  2. If you're using a large high speed blender, everything should fit into one batch. Otherwise purée in small batches until smooth.
  3. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  4. Let sit for several hours or overnight in the fridge. The garlic flavor will become stronger over time. Serve chilled.
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients when possible.
  2. - Yields 48 ounces.
  3. - This gazpacho will keep for 4 days.
  4. - Newburyport Olive Oil's white balsamic really boosts the flavor in this recipe.
Adapted from Farm Girl Fare
Adapted from Farm Girl Fare
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup recipe - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I always crave soup this time of year. This Potato Leek Soup really warms both the heart and soul. You’re going to love it!

Seemingly French inspired, this soup is actually an Irish recipe. I found it about 4 years ago after taking the advice of one of my doctors to cook with my roots in mind. I’m Irish, so we’re not shy with potatoes at our house. Potatoes get a bad rap but they’re actually pretty good for you because of their fiber, protein, vitamins B6 + C, and potassium.

Add the folate, vitamins K, A + C, and fiber from the onion and leek, and this soup packs a nutritious punch! Think about Potato Leek Soup as healthy comfort food. You won’t believe how rich and creamy it tastes without dairy.

Potato Leek Soup is a staple recipe in our kitchen. The monkeys request it frequently and often pack the left overs in a thermos for school lunch. With 7 basic ingredients, the recipe is super easy to make and really flexible. Add an extra potato and some extra broth and no one will notice. We end up eating it at least once a month. Everything in moderation, right?

If you don’t have one already, this immersion blender is fantastic. It’s a lot faster than transferring the soup to a blender and then back to the pot. I make quite a few soups that require blending and absolutely love the speed and simplicity of it.

Try this Potato Leek Soup recipe and let me know how you like it in the comments or click on the stars to review it. Cómelo todo!

Potato Leek Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 leek, chopped
  3. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  4. 6 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  5. 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  6. Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the vegetables. Use only the white part of the leek.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until soft, 8–10 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring just to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft, 30–35 minutes.
  5. Purée with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth.
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients when possible.
  2. - Try different kinds of potatoes. We like a combination of yukon and russet.
  3. - Serve with a green veggie like kale salad, sautéed zucchini or green beans.
  4. - Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or scallions.
Adapted from Saveur
Adapted from Saveur
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Rustic Sweet Potato Salad

Rustic Sweet Potato Salad Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Sometimes happy accidents happen in my kitchen. A few weeks ago, I was staring into my refrigerator willing the shiny appliance to make me some lunch. I ended up mixing together some left overs with a can of beans and Rustic Sweet Potato Salad was born.

This recipe is a perfect make ahead lunch to grab before work, or an easy Meatless Monday dinner. Serve it over a bed of arugula or just dig in with a spoon. Maybe add a fried egg and try it for breakfast. You can eat this Rustic Sweet Potato Salad anytime!

Next time you have the oven on, throw in a few sweet potatoes (roughly 400 degrees for about 45 minutes). Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and are full of vitamins (A, C, B6 and potassium). Add in some black beans for fiber and protein; then onion and pepper for crunch. The recipe is naturally gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, nut free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and delicious! 

Rustic Sweet Potato Salad comes together quickly. Mix it in one bowl for easy clean up. I always start with the dressing and just whisk it at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry about cutting everything perfectly; that’s what makes it rustic! Be generous with the sea salt. Maybe even add a few cracks of Himalayan pink salt when serving.

Cómelo todo!

Rustic Sweet Potato Salad
Serves 2
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Maple Vanilla Vinaigrette
  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. Sea salt and pepper to taste
Salad
  1. 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  2. 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  3. 1 cup of cooked, cubed sweet potato (skin on!)
  4. 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
Instructions
  1. 1. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  2. 2. Add black beans, pepper, sweet potato, and red onion.
  3. 3. Gently stir to combine.
  4. 4. Serve chilled, warm, or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients when possible.
  2. - Double the dressing ingredients for another day's garden salad.
  3. - Always check your labels: sometimes canned beans are full sodium. I love Eden Organic because there's no added salt.
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Tuscan White Beans

Tuscan White Beans Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars

Recipe time! Tuscan White Beans is a solid recipe I’ve been making all summer. You’re going to love it – even if you’re not a big bean person.

Tuscan White Beans is a super easy side dish that compliments fish or chicken beautifully with a green vegetable like broccoli or zucchini. Add a little extra water and a handful of leafy greens like spinach or kale to make it a main dish.

You can keep these simple ingredients on hand and make Tuscan White Beans anytime. The dish comes together really fast. Cook it whenever you have time because it doesn’t need to be served hot. I throw it together while I’m baking muffins or cooking dinner. Tuscan White Beans will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days but these beans never last in our house more than a day or two!

The recipe calls for cannellini beans, which are white Italian kidney beans that you can buy in both dry and canned forms. It’s healthiest to soak dry beans and cook them yourself, but there’s not always time. Sometimes you need homemade shortcuts and Tuscan White Beans is just the dish. This recipe gives you the benefits of cannellini beans without the extra steps.

Packed with protein and fiber, Tuscan White Beans are low in fat and contain negligible sugar (just a smidgen from the tomato). The dish is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, nut free, soy free, and naturally gluten free.

Fresh rosemary adds so much flavor to this dish. I used a ton of rosemary sprigs from our container garden this summer. I’m planning to move the rosemary plant inside this winter. Fingers crossed my black thumb can swing it.

Did you know rosemary has anti-cancer properties? And it’s a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Rosemary also boosts your immune system — for real. It’s that time of year, and frankly, I’ll do anything to boost our immune systems. Bring on the rosemary!

Cooking an easy, family friendly dish like Tuscan White Beans will help you minimize eating processed foods while saving money. Beans are cheap! I buy Eden Organic beans at Market Basket: 2 cans for $5. Make sure the brand you buy comes in a BPA-free can without added salt.

Try making Tuscan White Beans this Fall for your family. My monkeys absolutely love the mild flavor and texture of Tuscan White Beans. It’s perfect to pack in lunch boxes! I brought this dish to my friend’s Champagne and Kleenex party last week and it got rave reviews — even among the toddler set.

Cómelo todo!

Tuscan White Beans
Serves 4
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 garlic cloves, smashed and lightly chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 plum tomato, chopped
  4. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  5. 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  6. 1/2 cup filtered water
  7. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  8. Sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized pot, cook garlic cloves in olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add chopped tomato and rosemary. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes, partially smashing beans with a wooden spoon.
  4. Remove the rosemary.
  5. Stir in the water and parsley. Season with salt.
  6. Optional: add a drizzle of olive oil when serving.
Adapted from Food Network Kitchen
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Kale Summer Salad

Kale Summer Salad - Under the Monkey Bars

We love this Kale Summer Salad recipe on a hot day! If you pre-make the rice and chicken, you can throw it together without turning on the oven. Pack it up for lunch or dinner at the beach or bring it to a cookout. 

The combination of chicken, raw kale, brown rice, and sweet fruit in this recipe is nothing short of perfection. With this healthy Kale Summer Salad, you can check off almost all of the food groups with one simple, satisfying dish. 

The ingredients are really flexible and naturally gluten free. For vegans and vegetarians, try using tofu instead of chicken. The tofu will soak up the dressing and be really delicious. If you can’t have nuts, try pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

The original recipe calls for sweet red cherries, which have a really short season (like now!). We love sliced red grapes or chunks of crisp apples sometimes even more than the cherries. Pitting and cutting cherries are a lot of work!

Use left over roasted chicken or grill up some extra chicken a day or two in advance to save time. We love short grain brown rice with this salad, which I make in our rice cooker. It adds a hearty texture and flavor to the salad but can certainly be left out if you avoid rice or follow the paleo diet.

You’re going to love the garlic dressing in this recipe! I make it in my 15 year old Cuisinart food processor — no fancy high speed blender necessary. I typically double the dressing recipe and use it for salads or as a marinade for fish later in the week. Why not, right?

Look for lacinato kale at the farmers market, Whole Foods, or a natural market like the Natural Grocer. Curly kale or boxed baby kale will work in a pinch but it’s not as good as the thin ribbons of the flat leaf kale in this recipe.

Serve your Kale Summer Salad at room temperature. It keeps well in the fridge for up to three days, but it never lasts that long at our house. I hope you love it as much as we do. Cómelo todo!

Kale Summer Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  2. 1 garlic clove
  3. ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  4. Juice of 1 lemon
  5. 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  6. 1 cup cooked brown rice
  7. 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts torn into bite-sized pieces
  8. Fresh-ground black pepper
  9. 1 8 ounce can artichoke hearts: quartered, rinsed, and drained
  10. 2 cups chiffonaded lacinato kale (stems removed, leaves chopped into thin horizontal ribbons)
  11. ½ cup slivered or crushed almonds
  12. 2 cups cherries (pitted and halved), grapes or apples
Instructions
  1. Make the garlic dressing: In a food processor, pulse the basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and sugar until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, mix together the rice, chicken, and kale. Toss with dressing until well coated. Gently fold in the artichoke hearts, almonds, and cherries. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Keep chilled until serving.
Notes
  1. Buy organic ingredients whenever possible.
Adapted from Saveur
Adapted from Saveur
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/