top 5 convenience vegetables



There were so many things I learned through the #SNAP4aWeek Challenge, but one was that it is so much easier to fit in vegetables when you can buy them washed and ready to eat. Certainly not all vegetables take a long time to clean or prepare, but having a bag of cleaned greens in the fridge means I have absolutely no reason to not eat them for lunch. Having a bag of baby carrots means I have no reason to eat saltines instead of carrots.

It’s definitely something I take for granted.

Here are my favorite convenience vegetables that make fitting in fresh produce SO easy!

  • washed lettuce, salad mix, greens, etc.
  • baby carrots – I actually prefer to peel and cut my own, and I often do, but if I’m short on time, baby carrots do the trick!
  • frozen vegetables – typically they just need a quick saute (green beans are my favorite)
  • bag of washed  broccoli or cauliflower florets, green beans, etc. – you can steam them in the bag, toss them in oil and roast or saute with other vegetables
  • asparagus – a quick rinse and snap of the ends make asparagus on the speedy side

What convenient vegetables do you rely on?

hummus with smoked paprika butter

Adding butter to hummus seems wrong.

But definitely not wrong enough to not try it! In addition to seeming wrong, it also seems brilliant.

Food & Wine recently had an article dedicated to the food scene in Minneapolis and finally the food world seems to be giving Minneapolis/St. Paul the credit it deserves. In the article, they featured a recipe for hummus with smoked paprika butter and za’atar from the chef at Saffron, a modern Mediterranean restaurant. I only visited Saffron once, and don’t recall seeing hummus with butter on the menu, but I know I was impressed with everything we had.

I’m always up for a new twist on hummus and was pretty excited to try this one out. I love hummus as much as the next person but sometimes I need a bit of flair, something special! In addition to the beautiful color, the smoked paprika butter adds a smoky, rich flavor that is a wonderful addition to hummus.

If you don’t have any za’atar seasoning, don’t worry, it can be left out. If you don’t have smoked paprika…you need some.

PS. I tried making this with earth balance, but it was not as good as the real butter version. If you are vegan, you are probably used to the difference and wouldn’t mind, but if you aren’t, use real butter!


Please make your own hummus, it makes a world of difference! :)

Hummus with Smoked Paprika Butter

by Food & Wine

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: appetizer snack side gluten-free vegetarian beans


Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (more if you like!)
  • 2 cups hummus
  • 2 Tbsp za’atar seasoning


Heat butter in small pan.

After 1-2 minutes, when bubbling, sprinkle paprika over butter and whisk until smooth.

Pour over hummus and sprinkle with za’atar.

Serve with pita chips and veggies.

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tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

If you have a garden (or visit the farmers market) you’ve got to have a ton of tomatoes. Right? In addition to having a dog, part of our house-sitting duties were eating the food from the garden! Turns out, that is a very fun chore.

We had a drawer full of tomatoes and they needed to be eaten. Besides throwing them in salads, using them in summer crostini’s and roasting them I was kind of running out of ideas.

So like anyone, I turned to the internet for some tomato inspiration. Here are some of the favorite recipes I found…


market salad with goat cheese and champagne-shallot vinaigrette *photo credit

tomato-basil sauce with polenta

fresh corn and avocado salsa

heirloom tomato bloody mary

fresh tomato soup

white bean, garlic, and tomato salsa

garlic-basil grilled chicken with caprese salsa

canned heirloom tomatoes *photo credit

creole tomato salad

mozzarella and tomato sauce omelet

slow-braised tomatoes 

tomato, onion & gruyere bake

If you’ve got a favorite tomato recipe, please share below! 

PS. While we are on the topic of tomatoes…go read this post about fairly harvested tomatoes and send a message to grocery store chains demanding slave-free tomatoes. (It takes seconds!)

summer crostini

Otherwise known as pesto goat cheese with fresh tomatoes on….crostini.

I thought the latter was a little long.

Few things scream summer like garden-fresh tomatoes and flavorful pesto.

And few things taste as good as summer tomatoes and pesto made from a fresh bunch of basil. Or you know, pesto from a jar – sometimes convenience rules.

It is the combination that never gets old: basil, tomato and bread. Cheese never hurts.

This summer appetizer is great because it can be made ahead of time and then just compiled when you are ready for it. If you are short on time you can always buy pre-made crostini or use melba toasts.

And I totally used jarred pesto – I just didn’t tell.


Summer Crostini

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: appetizer cheese July 4th Italian summer


Ingredients (12 servings)

  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 4-5 Tbsp pesto
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 baguette
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper


Prepare crostini: thinly slice bread, brush with olive oil and broil or grill until golden brown.

Let goat cheese and cream cheese soften in bowl.

Stir to combine until smooth.

Stir in pesto.

Spread mixture on plate or platter.

Layer chopped tomato on top of cheese mixture.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.

Serve with crostini.

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