21 seasoning vegetable pasta

Photo credit

Did you read “21 seasoning” and feel a little overwhelmed? Don’t! This is the easiest recipe ever.

Remember when I wrote about Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute and the soup I made with it? Well, I was determined to make a delicious pasta dish using only this seasoning. Success!

You can really use any vegetables for this {cauliflower and broccoli would be good} but here’s what I did:

Prepare pasta {gluten-free if you’d like} according to directions. Reserve some of the pasta water. Set aside.

Drizzle a skillet with olive oil. Over medium, saute a shallot, half an onion, and half a leek until they begin to caramelize. Add in chopped zucchini, yellow squash, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle with 21 Seasoning Salute. Saute until tender. If needed, add some of the pasta water so the vegetables don’t dry out.

Combine vegetables and pasta; sprinkle with shaved or grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Done!


  • I didn’t have any fresh parsley so I popped a parsley cube on top of the prepared pasta in a Tupperware. By the next morning, the parsley cube had melted!
  • I think this pasta is actually better the next day; it allows time for the seasoning to marinade with the other flavors.
  • This would be an even quicker recipe if your vegetables are already chopped. If you’re more tight on time than money, pick up pre-chopped vegetables at the grocery store. I even saw one blogger who grabs vegetables from the salad bar and uses them in recipes!

my week in images

None of this

Lots of this

Some of this

A little of this

Tons of this

A dash of this

And, of course, boatloads of this

cristina discovers sunflower chokes

I mentioned the other day that I picked up something called sunflower chokes at Harris Teeter. What on earth, you may ask? Speaking of earth, these are also called earth apples, Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes, sunroot, and topinambour (imagine ordering a topinambour in a restaurant!). And, yes, they are part of the sunflower family (I know I was wondering that).

The taste been described as a cross between a potato and an artichoke, which I think is definitely accurate. Sarah of Cucina  Bella says she and her husband agreed that the taste “bears a stunning likeness to Terra chips.” I’ve never had Terra chips but I can wager a bet that roasted sunchokes are a healthier alternative!

Sarah also inspired me with her super-simple roasted sunflower choke recipe.

1 lb sunchokes
A drizzle of olive oil
A dash of sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the sunchokes under cold water, scrubbing lightly to remove any dirt. Cut into quarters and place onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the sunchokes with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 35-45 minutes, flipping once or twice.

So delicious, especially when dipped in ketchup. I would absolutely eat these again!

proving that girls can grill!

I recently discovered that I have a grill in my apartment’s garden patio, so my friend and I decided to try our hand at grilling. I was on a mission to prove that girls can grill, and I was definitely successful. And I say “I” instead of “we” because her only job was to make the margaritas haha.


on the menu

Roasted Garlic Teeny Tiny Potatoes: based on this recipe; for tomorrow’s BBQ, I’m going to parboil the potatoes to ensure that they are cooked throughout. I’m also using Tuscan Italian dressing as a marinade this time around.

Italian-Style Mini Zucchini: based on this recipe; I simply cut the mini zucchinis in half and marinated them in homemade Italian dressing. Amazing!

Chile Lime Chicken Burgers: from the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. Incredibly easy to prepare.


For tomorrow’s BBQ, I am making the above adjustments to the potatoes; preparing more mini zucchinis; marinating peppers, onion, tomatoes, and more zucchini in Island Soyaki; grilling summer squash; brushing herb butter on husked corn; and tossing together a crunchy cabbage salad.

Photo credits: here, here, & here

roasted brussel sprouts, leeks, & onion

Last year, my good friend Dominique taught me how to roast brussel sprouts. Before she taught me, I had the stigma most people do: that they’re a gross, inedible vegetable. Little did I know!

That way: Preheat oven to 400. Cut fresh brussel sprouts in half. Blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Place on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy as a healthy side dish to a meal.

A new way: Preheat oven to 400. Shred fresh brussel sprouts with a grater or a just a knife. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Place in roasting pan with strips of onion and chopped (and trimmed!) leeks. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a tiny dash of cayenne over top. Layer with parmesan cheese (preferably freshly shaved). Roast for 15 minutes then throw chopped walnuts on top. Roast for about 10 more minutes, tossing occasionally. So flavorful- nutty, cheesy, and healthy!

Before & After

Recipe inspiration: Kalyn’s Kitchen, Dishing Up Delights, & 101 Cookbooks


P.S. Happy belated birthday to Miss Dominique! You’re the best tapi a girl could have 🙂

polychromatic vegetable soup

In case you didn’t know, polychromatic = multi-colored. How’s that for “spicing” up a soup title?

(Okay, done with the puns)

I sauteed chopped celery, carrots, garlic, onion, and trimmed leeks for a few minutes in a skillet then threw it into a pot with: 5 cups of water, 4 1/2 chicken bouillon cubes, canned corn, leftover canned diced tomatoes, a peeled and chopped potato, chopped zucchini, a pinch of salt and pepper, and dashes of crushed red pepper, dried parsley, and cumin. It’s now simmering on low for 15-20 minutes. The last step: toss in baby spinach and chard leaves.

I promise, it sounds much more labor intensive than it is. That is a wholeeee bunch of vegetables packed into one soup- enjoy!

[photo credit- here]

recipe: quick and easy island stir fry

The other day, I had 4 hours to write an 8 page paper (oops!), so I had to make a quick lunch. When my friend smelled it, she had to have some!


  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 container of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • a handful of TJ’s steamed lentils
  • 1/2 cup(ish) of TJ’s Island Soyaki sauce
  • dash of olive oil

Heat skillet over medium-low. Add olive oil, garlic, onion, and zucchini. Saute until zucchini is slightly soft. Add lentils and tofu. Pour in sauce. Heat through. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re on a faraway island (not writing a paper).

Note: tofu is always better when left to marinate for several hours or even overnight. Simply put it into a Tupperware with soyaki sauce and refrigerate

7 vegetables, 11 recipes: part 6

Throwing sauteed vegetables into jarred tomato sauce is easy, inexpensive, and healthy. Just saute as usual (chop vegetables, add a dollop of olive oil to a skillet on medium-low heat, add vegetables, saute until tender) and toss with sauce. Pour over pasta and you’ve got yourself a meal!