This watermelon gin fizz is perfect for summertime sipping! Pureed watermelon is muddled with fresh mint, floral gin, lime, and seltzer. Served on the rocks for the perfect summer cocktail.Continue reading “Watermelon Gin Fizz with Mint”
White peaches roasted in the oven with fresh ginger, honey, and vanilla. Serve baked peaches with plain Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.Continue reading “Baked Peaches with Honey & Ginger”
A PERFECT BLUEBERRY GALETTE WITH TENDER, BUTTERY CRUST, LEMONY, SPICED BLUEBERRY FILLING, AND HOMEMADE HAZELNUT FRANGIPANE!Continue reading “Blueberry Galette with Hazelnut Frangipane”
HOMEMADE FUNFETTI CUPCAKES WITH LOTS OF RAINBOW SPRINKLES AND A CREAMY MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM! THIS IS A HIGH-ALTITUDE CAKE RECIPE WITH SEA-LEVEL INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED!Continue reading “Funfetti Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream”
ONE WEEK OF PANTRY STAPLE MEALS THAT ARE MOSTLY HEALTHY AND USE LESS THAN TEN INGREDIENTS. ALSO INCLUDES A SHOPPING LIST TO MAKE DINNER PLANS EVEN EASIER!Continue reading “7 Pantry Staple Meals with 10 Ingredients or Less!”
VEGETABLE FRIED RICE WITH BROWN RICE, SOY-BASED SAUCE, FROZEN VEGGIES, AND RUNNY EGGS. A DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY DINNER WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE COOKING OR HAVE MINIMAL INGREDIENTS!
Back in college, I went through a major Chinese food obsession. I still do occasionally, but I would say my peak happened sometime around late freshman/early sophomore year. When I felt like taking myself on a date, I would get cute, go to a coffee shop, visit my favorite local book store, and finish the day with Chinese food at one of my two favorite spots. I would always end up ordering way too much food and wanting to roll my ass out of the restaurant. But, under no circumstances could I leave without ordering egg drop soup (with lots of Sambal Oelek!) and a side of fried rice. At the very least, those leftovers fed me for a solid three days.
Anyways, I miss my college-era metabolism, but I still get hard cravings for fried rice. As much as I prefer it in my usual takeout order, unfortunately Marc likes steamed rice better than fried rice (which ???). But, he still loves my homemade version as a meal, and with it being so easy, we have it quite often! It’s not my go-to greasy version with BBQ pork, but it’s soooo good for a healthy weeknight dinner!
Some key details about this vegetable fried rice
Vegetable fried rice is a meal I make when I have no ingredients and no patience. It’s my “I don’t feel like cooking” meal or my “I forgot to buy three ingredients for dinner tonight that I swore we had in the cabinet” back-up dinner. It requires only basic pantry ingredients by using rice, frozen veggies, and basic condiments from the Asian aisle at the grocery store! Oh, and eggs, because that’s the best part of fried rice!
To make it a bit healthier, I swapped brown rice for white and added a ton of extra veggies. I like runny eggs on top, but you could always scramble them as well! And the best part is that the dish takes thirty minutes to make from start-to-end. (I know a million recipes say they take “30 minutes”, but it’s actually true in this case).
These are the ingredients you’ll need
Hopefully, you have most of these ingredients on hand, but if not, I would highly recommend stocking up! This is the perfect meal to have as a back-up, and almost all of the ingredients will last in the pantry or freezer. Make sure you have:
- Brown Rice: White also works. Just make sure it’s long grain, such as jasmine. You will want this pre-cooked and cooled, preferably overnight. I usually always have leftover brown rice in the fridge which is perfect. We’ll discuss what to do if you don’t have leftovers/pre-cooked rice!
- Frozen Broccoli: Fresh would work as well but it will take longer to cook.
- Frozen Mixed Vegetables: I use the frozen veg with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans. Whatever you like (or have in your freezer) will work.
- Neutral Oil: I use grapeseed.
- Garlic: Fresh is best but ground will do in a pinch.
- Brown Sugar: You only need a little, but you can sub with honey or maple syrup if you prefer.
- Ginger: Again, fresh is best but ground will do.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Regular would probably be fine, just expect a saltier flavor.
- Sesame Oil: Toasted or un-toasted both work!
- Rice Vinegar: I use unseasoned.
- Scallions/Chives: I usually use chives, because I almost always have them either fresh or dried. However, scallions are also great!
- Eggs: At least one per person.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste, always.
Now let’s make vegetable fried rice!
To start, make sure that you have cooked + cooled the brown (or white) rice and defrosted the frozen veggies! I just microwave the frozen broccoli for two minutes and drain out extra water. Then, I repeat these steps with the frozen veggie mix.
Next, you’ll whisk together some brown sugar, low sodium soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of neutral oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and let it cook undisturbed until the broccoli is slightly charred and crispy on the edges, about 4-5 minutes. Do not stir! You want everything to get brown and charred.
When the broccoli is nice and brown, add the mixed veggies cooking until warm, about another 2-3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
Next, add the rice and the sauce, stirring until everything is well mixed. Taste, and add salt if necessary. Press the rice into an even layer, and let cook another 5 minutes, until the rice is crispy. If the pan seems a bit dry, you can add a little more oil. Either way, the rice may stick a little, and that’s ok! More crunchies for you.
While the rice gets crispy, fry your eggs however you like. I recommend sunny side up or over easy!
When the rice is crispy, divide between four bowls, and top with scallions and an egg. Enjoy yolk-y, crispy rice bliss forever.
Um, I don’t just have cooked + cooled rice laying around?
On one hand, I don’t understand because I almost always have a tub of rice in the fridge. On the other hand, I totally understand because I almost never have cooked rice when I actually need it. Here’s what I do in those cases:
- Microwave Rice: Ok, I know microwave rice isn’t the best thing in the world, and I hate that the containers are not recyclable. But, if there’s one thing that microwavable rice does really well, it’s being too dry. Which, coincidentally is what we need for fried rice! So, if you’re in need of a quick fix, just use two packets of microwavable brown rice and everything will be A-ok.
- Quick Cooled Rice: Just make rice as usual, spread it around on a sheet pan in an even layer, and place it in the freezer until it’s cold and dried out (about 10-15 minutes). You can also place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Fresh Rice: Worst case scenario, you can just make fried rice with fresh, hot rice. It might get a bit mushy since it has extra moisture. But, if the craving is real, it will still work.
Use long grain instead of short grain rice
For vegetable fried rice, or any fried rice for that matter, you should go with long grain! Short grain rice has a lot of extra starch, which will make the rice a bit more sticky and mushy when you mix it with other things. However, long grain rice doesn’t have quite as much starch, so it will dry out nicely and keep the vegetable fried rice from getting mushy. Rinsing the rice with cold water prior to cooking will also help keep the rice from getting sticky by removing extra starch.
Making a perfect sunny side up egg
I finally learned the secret to a perfect sunny side up egg, and I am pleased to discuss it here today. It’s actually v easy! First, heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Olive oil or grapeseed oil are both great choices. Crack the egg in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cover the pan with a lid (preferably glass so you can see what’s going on). Let the egg cook until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny. Remove with a spatula. The bottom will be nice and crispy, and the yolk will be perfectly runny!
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. When reheating, add a little water to the rice, stir, and microwave for a minute or so. I would not recommend storing leftover eggs, because they get a little weird in the fridge, and they’re hard to reheat. Just make as many as you plan on eating, and make eggs fresh if you have leftovers!
However, if you cannot make fresh eggs, go the scrambled route. Just make a few scrambled eggs like you usually would, stir them into the rice, and enjoy the leftovers later!
Vegetable fried rice variations
Vegetable fried rice is completely customizable, so you can pretty much use whatever you have in your fridge. Here are a few variations that would be delicious:
- Scrambled eggs instead of fried
- Adding protein such as chicken, beef, pork, or prawns
- Switching up the veggies with cauliflower, asparagus, peppers, or bean sprouts
- Adding hot sauce such as Sriracha!
- Mixing in some sliced kimchi
- Adding a bit of diced pineapple
- If you’re going for a no-rice route, you can always use cauliflower rice instead!
A few tips and tricks
This is truly a basic recipe, but there are a few things you can do to make sure it tastes just like fried rice from the hibachi instead of fried rice that has been sitting in a condensation-infiltrated takeout container!
- Rinse the rice with cold water prior to cooking to make sure that there’s no extra starch! The rice is properly rinsed when the water runs clear and no longer looks murky.
- For perfect fried rice, always use cold rice. Hot rice will get sticky and clumpy when it hits the pan.
- Don’t be afraid of high heat. The high heat will crisp everything up and make sure the ingredients don’t simply steam together.
- Fresh ingredients are always best, of course, but dried spices and herbs always work! Garlic powder, ground ginger, and dried chives are always great subs in a pinch.
- I use frozen veggies, but fresh is always good too! You will just have to saute the veggies until they are completely cooked, which will likely take 10-15 extra minutes.
- Don’t be afraid to let things char/crisp up. Letting the rice get crispy is what will help vegetable fried rice taste like it came straight off the hibachi!
Dishes To serve with Vegetable Fried Rice!
Vegetable Fried Rice with Runny Eggs
Vegetable Fried Rice with Runny Eggs
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp ginger, grated
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 cup frozen broccoli
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of choice
- 3 tbsp neutral oil (I use grapeseed) + more as needed
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cup cooked brown rice, cooled and chilled (preferably overnight)
- 2 tbsp scallions (or chives), sliced
- 4 eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ginger, low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar until combined. Set aside.
- Next, defrost the broccoli by microwaving it in a heat-safe bowl for two minutes. Drain any water, and set aside. Repeat these steps with the frozen vegetable mix.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the broccoli, and cook undisturbed (seriously, don’t touch!), for about 3-4 minutes. The bottom of the broccoli will be slightly charred and crispy on the edges. Stir, and add the vegetable mix, cooking another minute or two until the veggies are all warm. Next, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (add more oil if necessary).
- Add the rice to the vegetable mix, and stir. Pour the sauce over the rice, and fold everything together until nice and mixed. Press the mixture until it’s flat, and let cook undisturbed (again, don’t touch!) for about 5 minutes, until the bottom of the rice is crispy. (You may have to scrape the bottom of the pan a bit to get everything off, but don’t worry. Crispies are a good thing).
- While the rice gets crispy, cook your eggs as desired. I like sunny side up or over easy!
- To serve, divide the rice between four bowls. Top with the scallions or chives and a runny egg. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Rainy Days by Culture Abuse
SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN BOWLS WITH KALE, SEEDS, AVOCADO, AND LEMON-TAHINI SAUCE. A LIGHT BUT FILLING SHEET PAN DINNER THAT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE VEGAN!
In case you’re getting to a point where you can’t stand to eat one more damn cookie from the batch that you thought would be a good idea to freeze in case you got snacky and sad, here’s some vegetables and super foods! When I said in my blog post last week that I meal prepped, I meant it! I threw together these sweet potato and black bean bowls early last week, and they lasted so long, that Marc and I definitely won’t be eating them again for at least two more months. But, it was fun while it lasted, and I learned how to switch up veggie bowls so that I don’t get entirely too sick of them!
On top of feeding us for lunch and dinner for a few days, these bowls also happened to make a great breakfast! Rice is unnecessary when you go the breakfast route, because you can just plop the veggie mixture on a plate, top with a runny egg, and voilà, it’s suddenly a hash.
Here’s what you’ll need for sweet potato black bean bowls
The best part of these bowls is that they require mostly basic pantry staples + a few things from the produce aisle! While the lemon-tahini sauce is optional, I would highly recommend making it! It adds so much delicious, nutty flavor to the dish. However, if you can’t find tahini, no worries. We’ll talk about it later.
Also, I realize this looks like a ton of ingredients, but a lot of it is spices and other typical things you probably already have in your kitchen. You can mix up the ingredients if you want to customize your bowls, but here’s what I used:
- Sweet Potatoes: I use jewel sweet potatoes, but any are ok!
- Olive Oil: Or whatever oil you like to use for roasting.
- Chili Powder: For spice.
- Smoked Paprika: Or regular!
- Cayenne: For more spice.
- Salt and Pepper: Always.
- Garlic: A necessary component of any savory dish.
- Rosemary: Fresh or dried is fine!
- Kale: I use curly, but get whatever you can find.
- Red Bell Pepper: Or pepper of choice.
- Black Beans: Just one can.
- Tahini: See substitutions below!
- Lemon: Goes perfectly with tahini.
- Brown Rice: Or any grain you like.
- Toppings: Avocado, seeds (I like pumpkin, chia, and flax), cheese, eggs, etc.
Time to make sweet potato black bean bowls!
Before you begin, remember to start your rice! How many times have you forgotten to start the rice and then dinner is half an hour late? The woooorst.
Next, spread the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with the chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up the pepper and tear the kale. Toss with more olive oil, salt, and pepper, and add to the sheet pan. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the kale is crispy. Sprinkle the black beans over the sheet pan, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, just until the beans are warmed.
While everything is baking, you’ll want to prepare your rice, any toppings, and the sauce! If you’re making the lemon-tahini sauce, just whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, some water, a clove of garlic, and a pinch of salt. It will seize and get clumpy, but just keep going! If it’s thick, continue adding water or lemon juice until it’s nice and saucy.
Serve the veggies over rice with sauce, seeds, avocado, and other toppings of choice!
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowl Toppings
These bowls are customizable, which is the best part! You can use different veggies, different grains, whatever you like. As for toppings, I like to add avocado, a squeeze of lemon, and lots of seeds to my bowls! (Seeds are basically savory sprinkles, yeah?) However, if you’re feeling a little ambitious, there are lots of other fun things you can add to round out the meal:
- Fried Eggs: Obviously not vegan, but so delicious!
- Feta Cheese: Parmesan or queso fresco are great too if you can’t find feta.
- Pickled Onions: Anything pickled, really.
- Fresh Herbs: There’s never a bad time for fresh herbs. Try chives or cilantro!
- Greek Yogurt: I’ll put plain Greek yogurt on anything.
- Chicken: If you need some meat, grilled or sauteed chicken would be delicious.
What if I can’t find tahini?
I’m lucky that tahini just sits on the shelves in my grocery store. However, I know that’s not the case for everyone. If you can’t find tahini, but you still want to make a sauce, try plain Greek yogurt! As much as I love tahini, I will never say no to garlicky, lemony yogurt sauce. Or, you can always order tahini online!
Bonus: Sweet potato black bean bowls are vegan!
If vegan is your thing, then these bowls are for you! Obviously, if you add eggs and cheese and yogurt, that will not be the case. But, they will still be vegetarian! They also happen to be gluten free. So, you can pretty much make these bowls for anyone which is gr8.
How to meal prep sweet potato black bean bowls
These are my perfect meal prep situtation! Once you get all of the ingredients prepped, all you have to do is layer the bowls together into six airtight containers however you please. Top with a lid, and store them in the fridge for up to one week. I would recommend adding seeds right before you eat, or they may get soggy in the fridge. Also, maybe add avocado last-minute, or it’ll get brown and funky.
A few tips and tricks
- Make sure not to crowd the veggies, or they will steam rather than bake. If necessary, use two sheet pans so that the veggies get nice and crisp.
- Double the tahini dressing if you have no self control (hi, me).
- The veggies may get a bit soggy in the fridge. To crisp them back up, reheat them at 350°F just until they are warm.
Other delicious veggie recipes!
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp rosemary, chopped (fresh or dried)
- 1 head kale, ribs removed, leaves torn
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Brown rice (or another grain), for serving
- Avocado, seeds, feta cheese, fried egg, etc., for serving
Lemon-Tahini Dressing (Optional but Highly Recommended)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
- Salt, to taste
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a sheet pan. Spread the diced sweet potatoes on the sheet pan, and drizzle with 2 Tbs. olive oil. Sprinkle with chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the kale and bell pepper with the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the mixture with the semi-cooked sweet potatoes, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the kale is crispy.
- Stir the can of black beans into the veggie mixture and bake for 3-5 minutes, just until the beans are warmed through. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the veggie mixture over rice with avocado, seeds, tahini sauce, and/or other toppings of choice.
- While the veggies are baking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and a pinch of salt. It will seize, but just keep whisking until it’s smooth. Add more lemon juice or water to get a saucy texture. Drizzle over bowls!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: What Would I Do? by Strawberry Guy
THAI CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE COZY, ONE-POT WEEKNIGHT DINNERS THAT WE USUALLY MAKE ONCE A MONTH, REGARDLESS OF THE SEASON. WITH LIME JUICE, FISH SAUCE, SOY SAUCE, AND FRESH HERBS, IT’S SPICY, FRESH, AND PERFECTLY SALTY!Continue reading “Thai Chicken and Rice Soup”
CHEESY, PEPPERY, AND PERFECTLY AL DENTE CACIO E PEPE WITH FRIED SHALLOTS.
So far this week, I have done enough squats for my legs to turn into jelly, planned (but not yet planted) a small front-porch garden, and made a Sunday dinner consisting of leftover Easter brunch cinnamon rolls and chicken with brown rice and veggies. I even *meal prepped* and took a two-hour nap which, for me, is unheard of. The line between productivity and self-annihilation is thin, but it is one I’m willing to ride out.
Anyways, I know it’s important to stay healthy right now, so we’ve been eating lots of veggies and working out every (week)day. But sometimes, things still feel a bit overwhelming, yes? And we must indulge ourselves with self-care and comfort food akin to mac and cheese! And that, my friends, is when we put on cashmere drawstring sweatpants and make cacio e pepe!
What is cacio e pepe?
Cacio e pepe is a Roman pasta dish that literally translates to “cheese and pepper”, a.k.a. two perfect ingredients. It’s made up with only the most basic pantry staples: pasta, black pepper, and Pecorino Romano cheese, and it’s pronounced “ka-chee-oh eh peh-peh” (which borderline reminds me of Lightning McQueen, but let’s not go there). Think of it as adult mac and cheese, but without all the fancy stuff that comes in “adult” mac and cheese recipes, like gruyere or prosciutto or spring peas. It really is the most basic of dishes but it’s a dream of a comfort food. And in this version, we take it up a notch with fried shallots. Because tbh, there’s really never a bad time for fried onions. 🙂
Cacio e pepe ingredients
I really can’t think of a recipe with more basic ingredients, but in this version, we’re getting a little *fancy* with fried shallots! However, this only requires two extra ingredients, so we’re really keeping it simple here. Pantry pasta forever. <3
- Shallots: Go for two large or three small! Sometimes, I make extra just to have around.
- Neutral Oil: You’ll want something neutral for frying like vegetable or canola oil. I usually go with canola!
- Pasta: You’re going to want a long pasta here. I believe that bucatini is the most traditional, but I usually use regular spaghetti since I always have it around!
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper: The freshly-cracked part is important. The fresher the pepper, the more flavorful your pasta will be!
- Pecorino Romano/Parmesan: Some people swear Pecorino Romano is the only way, but I’m fine with Parmesan, and I think you should be too! Use what you have or what’s available to you.
- Salt: For flavoring the pasta water!
Let’s make fried shallots!
I know, frying, ugh. I can undoubtedly tell you that I usually hate frying. But, shallots are the exception, because they are sooo easy and not messy! Plus, the leftover oil is actually useful and doesn’t need to be thrown away immediately.
To fry shallots, I use the Bon Appetit method! You start by thinly cutting a few peeled large shallots. The best way to do this is with a mandolin, but I don’t like washing a mandolin over two shallots, so I just do it by hand. 🤷 You just want them to be about as thin as a dime! Next, place them in a pan, and fill the pan with just enough canola/vegetable oil to cover the shallots (about 1/3 cup).
Set the heat to medium-low, and cook until the shallots are deep golden-brown about 20 minutes. Stir often with the tines of a fork to separate the shallots! (Pro tip: Keep an eye on these, especially towards the end! Once they start browning, they will brown quick). Drain the fried shallots through a fine-mesh strainer (reserve the oil!) and place on a paper towel to mop up any extra grease. Season with salt and let cool! Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
How to make Cacio E pepe with fried shallots!
While you are frying your shallots, you will want to start your pasta! Fill a large pot with water and add a few heavy pinches of salt. Cook your pasta for one minute less than the package directions recommend. (We will continue cooking the pasta in the sauce later). Before you drain the spaghetti, make sure to save at least one and a half cups of the cooking liquid which will make up our sauce!
After draining your pasta, dry the pot, and return it to the stove. Heat three tablespoons of the leftover shallot frying oil over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked pepper (about 50 turns) to oil, and cook to bloom the flavor, about one minute. Stir in half a cup of the leftover pasta water until everything is combined. Add the pasta, and coat well with the sauce, stirring until perfectly al dente. Add more pasta water as necessary until the cacio e pepe is perfectly saucy.
Remove the pasta from the heat, and quickly stir in the Pecorino Romano/Parmesan until you have a smooth, silky sauce. Taste, season with salt, and divide between four bowls. Top with fried shallots and enjoy!
Parmesan or pecorino Romano?
Traditionally, Pecorino Romano cheese is used in cacio e pepe. But, I’m all about accessibility and not every store has the cheese aisle of a French market. If you can’t find Pecorino Romano, just use some grated Parmesan! P.S. of course freshly grated is always better than pre-grated. But I don’t like shredding cheese, and if you don’t either, let’s just use pre-grated and not feel bad about it, ok?
How do I know when spaghetti is al dente?
Pasta is al dente when it has just a tiny bite to it. It will not be mushy or crunchy, and the center will have a slight white core. Package directions are not always clear, so it’s important to try your pasta to make sure it’s perfectly al dente!
You need to use freshly cracked black pepper, trust
Ok, I know this seems fussy, but it’s v important for cacio e pepe! When pre-ground black pepper (or any herb for that matter) sits around exposed to air, it rapidly loses flavor over time. But, when we use freshly ground black pepper, it isn’t exposed for the air for too long before we start cooking with it. This will lead to bright, aromatic, spicy flavors, not dull and boring nothing-ness.
cacio e pepe is great with all kinds of pasta
Bucatini is the most common pasta used in cacio e pepe, but it’s not the only option! Usually, I use spaghetti because it’s what I can find in the grocery store. While long, thin pastas work best with the cheese and pepper sauce, there are a few other types of pastas you can use! Besides bucatini or spaghetti, I would also recommend:
- Fettuccine: A flat, long pasta
- Pappardelle: A very thick, long pasta. One of my faves!
- Linguine: A little thicker than spaghetti but not as thick as fettuccine.
- Stuffed pastas: Tortellini, ravioli, etc.
Unfortunately, tubed pastas such as penne or rigatoni don’t work great, because they don’t hold on to the sauce quite as well.
pasta water vs. regular water
The reason we use pasta water to bring everything together is the starch! The salts and starches in the water not only adds flavor, but it also binds the oil, pepper, and cheese to the pasta so you get a smooth, silky sauce! If you use regular water, you’ll just end up with a puddle of water at the bottom of the pot instead of a sauce.
Butter or shallot oil?
A lot of recipes call for butter in the sauce, because butter is just straight-up delicious. However, I like to use the reserved shallot oil, because 1. it’s adds soooo much good flavor, and 2. less waste. You will probably have more shallot oil leftover after this recipe, so just store it in a jar and use it for other sauces, stir fries, and salad dressings in the future!
Storing Cacio E Pepe
Cacio e pepe is really one of those dishes that is just better day-of. The pasta will dry out a little bit once you put it in the fridge. It’s not necessarily bad, just not as good as fresh cacio e pepe! If you refrigerate the leftover pasta, just keep it in an airtight container, and add a small splash of water before you microwave the pasta. Stir well, top with leftover fried shallots, and enjoy! Definitely don’t store the cacio e pepe with the fried shallots in the fridge, or the shallots will get soggy!
How to serve cacio e pepe
Cacio e pepe is honestly good on its own, but if you’re like me, a veggie or side completes a meal! Here are a few things we like:
- An arugula salad with a simple vinaigrette
- Roasted broccoli or green beans
- Grilled asparagus or zucchini
- Caprese salad
- Melon with prosciutto!
- Garlic bread (duh)
Cacio e pepe ad-ins
If you want to take cacio e pepe up a notch, you can always add:
- A couple handfuls of arugula or spinach (let it wilt before serving)
- Fresh spring peas!
- A few cloves garlic
- Cooked chicken, bacon, or prosciutto
- A squeeze of lemon!
- Fresh herbs. I like a little fresh parsley once in a while.
A few tips!
Cacio e pepe is a pretty simple dish, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure it’s perfect!
- When boiling the pasta, make sure not to use too much water! We want the pasta to cook in a small amount of water so it gets very starchy and flavorful.
- Reserve some of the pasta water right before you drain to make sure it’s nice and starchy!
- Bloom the freshly ground pepper by cooking it in the oil for about a minute. This will bring out all of the amazing flavors!
- Remove the pasta from the heat before you add in the cheese, or it will get too hot and clump up.
- Add more pasta water as necessary to get a nice, silky sauce.
- Top with fried shallots right before serving so they don’t get soggy.
Some other italian dishes you’ll love!
cacio e pepe with fried shallots
Cacio e Pepe with Fried Shallots
- 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about as thick as a dime)
- 1/3 cup Canola oil (grapeseed or vegetable work too)
- Salt, to taste
Cacio e Pepe
- 8 oz spaghetti (or other long pasta)
- 3 tbsp reserved shallot oil or butter
- 1 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper (about 50 turns)
- 2 1/2 oz grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
- Salt, to taste
- Place the thinly sliced shallots in a pan, and fill the pan with just enough canola oil to cover the shallots (about 1/3 cup). Use a little more if you have to!
- Set the heat to medium-low, and cook until the shallots are deep golden-brown about 20-25 minutes. Stir often with the tines of a fork to separate the shallot rings! (Pro tip: Keep an eye on these, especially towards the end! Once they start browning, they will brown quick).
- Drain the shallots through a fine-mesh strainer, reserve the leftover oil, and place the fried shallots on a paper towel to mop up any extra grease. Season with salt and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Cacio e Pepe
- While the shallots are frying, fill a large pot with water and add a few heavy pinches of salt. Add your pasta, and cook for one minute less than the package directions recommend. (We will continue cooking the pasta in the sauce later). Before you drain the spaghetti, save at least one and a half cups of the cooking liquid which will make up our sauce.
- After draining your pasta, dry the pot, and return it to the stove. Heat three tablespoons of the leftover shallot frying oil (or butter) over medium heat. Add the freshly cracked pepper to the oil, and cook to bloom the flavor, about one minute.
- Stir in half a cup of the leftover pasta water until everything is combined. Add the pasta, and coat well with the sauce, stirring until perfectly al dente. Add more pasta water as necessary until the cacio e pepe is perfectly saucy.
- Remove the pasta from the heat, and quickly stir in the Pecorino Romano/Parmesan until you have a smooth, silky sauce. Taste, season with salt, and divide between four bowls. Top with fried shallots and enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: He Loves Me by Brittany Howard
Make ahead breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, vegetables, beans, cheese, and hash browns, rolled up in a whole wheat flour tortilla!
A few years ago, when I was in college, I spent one whole day making freezer meals, and as luck would have it, my fucking freezer broke overnight. I was devastated and haven’t really gotten back into the whole “make ahead meals” things ever since. But, with lots of craziness in the world, having some frozen meals on hand isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Especially when I can eat said meals in the car with one hand in the form of make ahead breakfast burritos!
I have been planning on making some freezer breakfast burritos for a while, but this past weekend was finally the time I decided to get my ish together and actually do it. I was looking for a burrito that tasted like the greasy hangover breakfast burritos I ate in college but had the nutritional benefits of a kale smoothie. Turns out, that’s impossible! But, I still think I got pretty close thanks to a few healthier swaps like turkey sausage and whole wheat tortillas. 😛
A few Details
These breakfast burritos are perfect for anyone who forgets about breakfast almost every single day (hi) and resorts to eating a salad or Greek yogurt or a chocolate bar just to get something in their belly. But, we all know that breakfast can be so much better. And wholesome. And well-rounded. Which is where make-ahead breakfast burritos come into play.
This recipe has scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, peppers, potatoes, black beans, and cheese stuffed into a whole wheat flour tortilla. Marc insisted on the potatoes, but if you’re going for an extra boost of health, you could always throw in a few handfuls of spinach or arugula instead! I like serving the burritos with guac, salsa, and fresh fruit to complete the whole meal.
Ingredients you’ll need for make ahead breakfast burritos
The beauty of breakfast burritos is that you can pretty much put anything in them. They’re so easy to make vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. However, I eat pretty much all things, so mine just requires basic ingredients you can find in any grocery store. You’ll need:
- Turkey Sausage: The turkey gives us some protein and is a bit healthier than pork sausage! Chicken sausage would work as well.
- Shredded Potatoes: We just used regular potatoes from the freezer aisle, but I also love breakfast burritos with shredded or cubed sweet potatoes!
- Bell Pepper: I use one green and one red pepper for some extra veggies!
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs are a must in breakfast burritos!
- Milk: Makes the eggs a little creamier, but not necessary if you don’t have it around.
- Black Beans: Another source of protein and veggies!
- Shredded Cheese: All burritos need cheese, yes?
- Whole Wheat Tortillas: Regular, spinach, and gluten-free tortillas would all work great.
- Sides of Choice: Guac, salsa, hot sauce, etc. (This is one of my favorite store-bought salsas but I usually try to find one that’s spicier and fresh!)
How to make freezer breakfast burritos
First, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until combined. Set aside.
Next, heat a pan over medium-high heat and cook your sausage until it’s no longer pink and cooked-through. Drain any fat, and place the sausage in a bowl. Set aside.
Then, add the shredded potatoes and bell peppers to the pan with a little oil, and cook until the potatoes are crispy and the peppers have softened. Add to the bowl with the sausage.
After, pour the egg mixture into the pan, and cook until they are softly scrambled and fluffy. Add the sausage-veggie mixture to the eggs, and then mix in a can of drained black beans. Season with salt and pepper.
Next, divide the mixture between eight whole wheat tortillas. Sprinkle each with a little cheese, roll up, and they’re ready to freeze or serve! You can either warm them in the oven if you’re serving burritos to a crowd, or you can pan fry the burritos to get a crispy outside. Even better, use a panini press if you have one!
How to roll a breakfast burrito
I’m pretty bad at rolling breakfast burritos, and it’s usually Marc’s job any time we make them. But, it’s actually really easy, and I’m just incompetent apparently. All you have to do is place some filling on your tortilla (try to place it more toward the side you’re rolling up so it’s easy to roll).
Next, fold in the shorter sides to make sure the filling stays in place. Then, take the end of the tortilla closest to you, fold it over, and tuck under the filling a bit to keep everything in place. Roll it up, and place the burritos seam-side down!
Serving make ahead breakfast burritos
We like to eat these burritos with salsa, guacamole, and hot sauce! Greek yogurt or sour cream is great too. If we eat them for breakfast, we usually have a little fresh fruit on the side. Or, if we’re eating them for dinner, we like brown rice and grilled/sauteed veggies!
storing/freezing breakfast burritos
To freeze the burritos, wrap them with beeswax/plastic wrap/tinfoil, and keep them in an airtight container for up to two months. The filling will also last in the fridge for up to one week. If you store the filling in the fridge, I would assemble the burritos right before you eat them, or they will get soggy!
Reheating frozen make ahead breakfast burritos
To reheat, unwrap the burrito and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, until they’re warmed through. If the middle won’t warm up all the way, cut the burrito in half and microwave it in 30-second increments until warm!
You can also warm the burritos in an oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes.
To take the burritos *up a notch*, heat a skillet with a small amount of neutral cooking oil, and grill the burrito on each side until it’s nice and crispy. If you have a panini press, you can grill burritos that way too!
What other fillings can I use to make breakfast burritos?
These burritos can be made with pretty much anything you have on hand. Try:
- Bacon, eggs, beans, veggies, + cheese
- Eggs, sweet potatoes, black beans, veggies, + cheese (vegetarian!)
- “Scrambled” tofu, vegetables, + beans (vegan!)
Other easy breakfast recipes you might like!
Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1 lb turkey sausage
- 2 tbsp neutral oil (I use olive oil)
- 2 cup shredded potatoes (fresh or frozen)
- 2 bell peppers (I use green and red)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 8 whole wheat tortillas (regular, spinach, gluten-free work too)
- Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc. for serving
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage in the pan, cooking until no longer pink. Drain any fat, and place the sausage in a bowl. Set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet, and return the pan to the heat. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and peppers to the pan, and cook until the potatoes are browned and the peppers are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Place the veggies in the bowl with the sausage, and return the pan to the heat.
- Scramble the eggs over medium-high heat until cooked through. Turn the heat to low, and add the potatoes, peppers, and sausage back to the pan. Add the can of black beans. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. Stir until everything is warm.
- Divide the filling between the eight tortillas, and sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of cheese over each tortilla. Wrap burrito-style (see photos above to learn how!)
- If serving immediately, either microwave the burritos until warm or cook for about 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350°F. To take it to the next level, heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil. Grill the burrito on each side until crispy. Enjoy with salsa, guac, and hot sauce!
- To freeze, wrap each burrito in beeswax wrap, plastic wrap, or tinfoil. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. To heat, microwave for 3-5 minutes until warm in the center. You can also heat them at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. To take it to the next level, heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil. Grill the burrito on each side until crispy. Enjoy with salsa, guac, and hot sauce!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Plants by Crumb