Hummus Pesto Pasta

Hummus Pesto Pasta

This…was on a lark.

During the height of this damn COVID-19 pandemic, I downloaded TikTok for perhaps seven days, and I’ll never get those seven days back. 😆 However! I did come across some great recipes on my For Your Page area, one of which was a three-ingredient pasta dish: hummus, pasta, and pasta water. It was ideal for hummus lovers, as well as vegans or anyone dairy-adverse looking for a creamy pasta option.

One work day, I actually had a spare 45 minutes to cook a proper lunch – I take advantage of those rare moments! – and that recipe sprung back into my head! I also had some yellow summer squash that was turning a little rubbery, so I wanted to dice it up before it met its possible death in the compost heap.

Hummus Pesto Pasta
Hummus Pesto Pasta

I was quite impressed, after holding my breath a little too much during its creation. (As if wearing a mask for the past 3 months hasn’t made me hypoxic enough. Ha!) Not only was it creamy, but it remained creamy for the duration of my meal; it didn’t try out, and cakey hummus is truly unpalatable. (Ugh.) I’m a huge fan of Esti Foods, namely their pesto hummus. It worked wonderfully here! (And this isn’t a sponsored post, but if you’re looking, Esti, I’ve got a media kit all ready for y’all… 💁)

This idea may seem a little…strange – on a poll I did on my Instagram Stories, it clocked in at approximately 85% for the sauce and 15% against this idea – but have a little faith and try something new. 😊

Hummus Pesto Pasta

Hummus Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. (approximately) linguine, strands split in half
  • 1 cup yellow squash, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons pesto hummus
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water

Before We Get Started…

  • I hope it goes without saying that you can substitute in your pasta of choice here, but if you didn’t come to that conclusion already…
  • If you can not find pesto hummus, substitute 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of hummus and 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite pesto; your favorite hummus, in general, can be substituted here if anything pesto-based isn’t your thing!
  • Yellow squash can be replaced with zucchini, or squash can be omitted.

Directions:

1.) Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Prior to draining, reserve pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and return to saucepan.

2.) While pasta is boiling, sauté diced summer squash over medium heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

3.) Add hummus to pasta, one tablespoon at a time, and mix; drizzle in reserved pasta water to loosen up the hummus. (Note: You may not use all of the reserved pasta water.) Stir until creamy. Add sautéed summer squash. Eat immediately; this recipe does not make for good leftovers, so enjoy it when you’re done cooking it!

Panzanella with Picked Red Onion

Panzanella with Pickled Red Onion

Panzanella has become one of my go-to summer meals over the past few years. It’s incredibly easy to whip up on a hot night, and I often make it in batches so I can have a bowl for lunch on my busier work days.

As COVID-19 cases have started to decrease – errrr, for now – in NYC, I am happy that, for the first time since the end of March, it’s safer for me to go on small grocery store runs. (It’s the little things. 🙏) My cart is almost always filled with those quintessential panzanella ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, a bell pepper, and fresh mozzarella. (Also included? Some obscenely overpriced iced tea and a box of Frosted Flakes. It’s all about balance.)

Recently, I made my first batch of pickled red onions after months of saying, “I wanna, I wanna, I wanna.” Well, I did, and it was an excellent decision. An even better one? Adding a huge heaping spoonful of them to my panzanella! The pickled red onions counter the raw red onions beautifully, and some of the brining liquid can be used in lieu of where a splash of vinegar is used in traditional panzanella recipes.

Do you want to know a good time-saving hack? Toast two slices of good bread – I love to use sourdough – in the toaster for 4 minutes, cool slightly, then rip up to use as your croutons! That’s my ace in the hole. Summer is for being lazy, I am not about to fire up my oven to make croutons. Get outta here. 😏

Panzanella with Picked Red Onion
Panzanella with Picked Red Onion

Panzanella with Pickled Red Onion

(How many servings is this? You’re asking the wrong person, I could eat half of this at once.)

Ingredients:

Panzanella

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeds removed and diced (your color preference!)
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brining liquid or red wine vinegar
  • 2 slices thick bread (I prefer sourdough)
  • 1 generous spoonful of pickled red onions
  • Salt, to taste

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced (by knife or by mandolin)
  • 2 garlic cloves, scored
  • 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar (<— my preference, you can also use white vinegar or red wine vinegar)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Before We Get Started…

  • Feel free to also add basil to this recipe! Though I am a basil fan, I tend to prefer my panzanella without it.

Directions:

1.) Make the pickled red onions prior to starting the panzanella. After slicing or using a mandolin to cut the onions, set aside in a 16 ounce glass jar or container along with the scored garlic cloves. (There may be more, depending on if the onion veers closer to medium-large than medium-small.) Heat vinegar, water, sugar, and sea salt over low heat just until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat, cool for five minutes, then pour over onions and garlic. Seal and allow to sit for at least one hour, but up to overnight; pickled onions should last about 3 weeks refrigerated.

2.) For the panzanella, prepare all vegetables and mozzarella as listed in the ingredients section. Add to large bowl, and thoroughly toss with olive oil, brining liquid or vinegar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

3.) Toast bread slices. Remove from toaster, cool slightly, and cut or tear into chunks.

4.) Serve panzanella topped with toasted bread and pickled red onions.

5.) If saving leftover panzanella or making a batch of it for meal prep, do not mix in bread or pickled onions. Add as a topping when ready to serve.

Mini Blackberry Waffles

A few years ago, I received a donut pan for my birthday. Last year, my friend and former neighbor @allisonkimchi passed along another donut pan to me…and let’s not forget the two mini-donut pans I inherited, as well!

As this pandemic took hold, time spent at home turned into time spent in the kitchen. Though I’m not a huge sweets person, making homemade baked donuts satisfied any dessert craving I had. They’re so simple to whip up!

Well…I made too many donuts in the span of a month. I’m not sure if I ever want to see another donut again.

So now I’m hopping on the mini-waffle bandwagon!

Mini Blackberry Waffles, with a few ol’ fashioned regular mini-waffles in the mix.

Let us see how long it takes until I get sick of making multiple iterations of this. 😆

I received this Dash Mini Waffle Maker a few years ago at work during a very cutthroaty Cutthroat Santa years ago. I’ve gotta say, I’m quite impressed with its output! The waffles come out incredibly light and fluffy with the slightest crisp on the exterior.

Mini Blackberry Waffles

Mini Blackberry Waffles

(Makes 8 waffles)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup blackberries, roughly chopped

Directions:

1.) Turn on waffle iron to heat.

2.) In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

3.) If using butter, melt. Add milk, butter (or oil), milk, egg, and vanilla to dry ingredients, and mix to combine. Fold in blackberries until thoroughly incorporated.

4.) Lightly spray waffle iron with non-stick spray. Spoon 1/4 cup of waffle batter into waffle iron and close; cook waffle for approximately 1 minute or until it starts to turn a light golden brown. (Batter may be a slight blue color due to the blackberry juices!)

5.) Transfer waffles to a cooling rack; leaving them on a plate will cause condensation beneath, resulting in a soggy bottom!

6.) Freshly-made waffles can be quickly reheated in a toaster for two minutes or microwave for 10 seconds. If you have leftovers, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in your freezer. To reheat, turn oven to 350 degrees, unwrap and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and heat up for 10 minutes.