Cauliflower and Tomato Salad @HuntsChef #GuestPost

I’d like to introduce Julie, today’s guest blogger. Julie is a Midwestern gal from Chicago, IL who writes on behalf of Hunt’s. Like most of us, she is a lover of warm weather and outdoor Summer grilling. When not grilling, her favorite meals are homemade meatloaf and anything with a blue cheese topping! Please check out the Hunt’s website for great tomato recipes perfect for meals with family and friends.

Summer cookouts are the best.  I argue there is nothing better than lounging on the back porch with dinner on the grill, kids playing in the freshly-mowed yard, and neighbors stopping by to say hello.  My husband and I frequently invite friends over for cookouts, which means an abundance of steaks, grilled chicken, and bratwurst in our diets.  As much as all of those foods make me salivate, I always try to balance dense foods out with lighter side dishes.

A new favorite on our porch is Cauliflower and Tomato salad.  This vegetarian-friendly side dish option is light, but still retains a ton of flavor.  The lack of cream or meat makes it perfect for picnics or any occasion where your food may be sitting out for a while.  I can vouch that it pairs amazingly with grilled chicken and a glass of lemonade.
Cauliflower and Tomato Salad
Serves 6
2 cups fresh cauliflower florets
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tbsp cider vinegar (or to taste)
½ tsp garlic salt
pinch ground black pepper
  1. Drain tomatoes, reserving ¼ cup liquid. Discard remaining liquid.
  2. Combine drained tomatoes, cauliflower, beans and onion in large bowl.
  3. In second bowl, whisk together reserved liquid, oil, parsley, vinegar, garlic salt and pepper.
  4. Pour dressing mixture over vegetables; toss to coat.

Julie’s Notes
  • Other veggies are totally optional.  I’ve tossed in cucumbers and peppers before, which turned out great.
  • I’ve always wanted to try this out with a touch of garlic, but unfortunately my husband is not a fan.  If you’re feeling adventurous, toss your own spin on the dish and let us know how it worked out in the comments.
My Notes
  • If possible, cook your own chickpeas or buy no-salt-added canned versions
  • Use garlic powder to cut down the sodium, since the Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes are pre-salted.
  • Garlic lovers like myself can use Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes Fire Roasted With Garlic
  • I would blanch the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes before making this so they both absorb the dressing and aren’t so texturally distinct (not to mention they’ll be plastic-fork stabbable!).
  • Add a touch of fresh dill for extra pep
  • Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for more flavour – especially if you add black olives too!
Amount per Serving
Calories 128
Total fat 8 g
Saturated fat 1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 434 mg
Carbohydrate 12 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 2 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A   3%
Vitamin C   33%
Calcium   4%
Iron   7% 
This is not a sponsored post, I do not receive any compensation in any way. 

Creamy Tomato Soup

Well, it seems like Spring is finally here – according to the calendar at least! Today was nothing if not grey and dreary, alternating between wind and rain… the type of outdoor atmosphere that makes you need to take a shower when you come back inside, just so that you can get thoroughly wet and not simply damp. Definitely comfort food weather.

When it’s like that outside, there’s nothing better to me than a bowl of hearty soup filled with bright flavour. Luckily, I still had roasted tomatoes from last year’s harvest packed snugly in my freezer, all screaming of Summer’s sweetness. I spotted a recipe for a chunky, creamy tomato soup in The Greek Yogurt Cookbook: Includes Over 125 Delicious, Nutritious Greek Yogurt Recipes the other day and knew I had to try it – not only did I have the aforementioned tomatoes, but my mom is a Greek yoghurt freak. For a more “authentic” tomato soup texture I pureed the works instead of leaving it chunky, and added a few extra herbs and some Parmesan for a bit of pep. After a short simmer, my mom snuck a spoonful (okay, a bowl-ful) and declared the finished product “Italian Summer in a bowl”, reminiscent of a great spaghetti sauce with a touch of creamy tang. I didn’t get a chance to try it on pasta (or mixed into rice, my favourite way to eat tomato sauce), but you can bet that this Summer this will be on the rotation for sure! 

Creamy Tomato Soup

One thing I will say in terms of ingredients – choose canned fire roasted if you can find them, or low-sodium whole if not, if you don’t have plump, ripe tomatoes right outside your door or at the farmers market. Your mouth will thank you for it. The other note is that you can use low-fat milk, but use full-fat Greek yoghurt (or homemade whole milk yoghurt ) – it’s less likely to curdle, which won’t hurt the taste but throws off the texture. 

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

Creamy Tomato Soup
Makes 4 hearty servings

1 tbsp salted butter
1 large, sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (29-oz) can or 2 (14.5-oz) cans fire roasted or no-salt-added whole tomatoes (or 4 cups home-roasted tomatoes, which I used)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup gluten-free, low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp raw sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried lemon thyme (or regular thyme)
3 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer, until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients, partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. With an immersion blender (or in batches with a standard blender or food processor), puree smooth.
  6. Serve hot. If freezing, stir thoroughly after thawing.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 211.1
Total Fat: 9.7 g
Cholesterol: 22.5 mg
Sodium: 498.1 mg
Total Carbs: 23.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g
Protein: 9.9 g

Banana Berry Granola Bars – Guest Post on Grain Crazy

First of all, I am honoured to be guest posting for Cherie and Britney on Grain Crazy! Being fellow members of the Recipe Redux team, we follow the same philosophy of nutritious, but tasty, foods that can be accessible for everyone!

Stuff like these decadent, gluten free, almost vegan (they contain honey, but you can swap agave) Banana Berry Granola Bars. Yum, right? Find the recipe and more on Grain Crazy today!

Banana Berry Granola Bars