Papaya-Peach Smoothie

Papaya-Peach Smoothie

This week’s fun, Colorful ChoicesTM inspired dish is a Papaya-Peach Smoothie.  In addition to the challenge to eat colorful produce, two other factors contributed to my recipe:

(1)    I may have overbought a variety of fresh fruit this past week.  Peaches were a steal and it had been awhile since we had eaten papaya.  This was in addition to the wealth of apples, cherries, blueberries, and strawberries that I had stocked.

(2)    My daughter wanted to make a special treat to enjoy with her neighbor friends. She had suggested muffins or cupcakes. Since it is the middle of July I wasn’t keen on the idea of firing up the oven, so sly mom that I am, I offered up the mommy-wants-to-use-up-excess-fruit smoothie idea instead.


Keeping the smoothie simple, I used my food processor to blend papaya, peaches, almond milk, honey, flax meal, and Saigon cinnamon into a delicious treat that the whole family enjoyed.  The mix of papaya and peaches was the perfect blend of exotic and sweet tastes.  Just like in my Orange Creamsicle Kefir Smoothies, the flax meal amps up the omega-threes and fiber to make this Papaya-Peach Smoothie a healthy breakfast alternative.

Papaya-Peach Smoothie

Now I just have to eat my way through the rest of our fruit!

Papaya-Peach Smoothie

2 cups chopped, ripe papaya
3 ripe peaches, pitted and chopped
½ cup almond milk
4 tablespoons flax meal
1 ½ teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey

Add the papaya and peaches to a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth again.


purple cauliflower dip

Purple Cauliflower Dip

Every now and then the wellness program at my office highlights a challenge. The one starting this next week is to eat 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit in the colors of the rainbow for a whole month.  Doing so (and logging my progress) earns me points towards a better health care plan rate, but I also see it as a great reminder to vary my fresh food.  We sometimes get in a rut, such as always grabbing an apple or carrot sticks for lunch.

When you stop and think about it though, how much blue or purple food do you eat? Probably not much, which I had demonstrated with my Does Color Effect Taste Experiment, but there are other options besides blueberries.

purple cauliflower

Take, for instance – purple cauliflower. Like many other blue/purple veggies and fruit it gets its color from anthocyanin which is thought to help reduce chances of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is also the chemical behind the acid-base indicator made from cabbage. You may notice the cauliflower gets a pinkish hue when you add the lemon juice in this recipe as a result of the lower pH in that area.

purple cauliflower dip

Chemistry aside, I used the purple cauliflower to make a unique, light take on hummus. Mixing in the cauliflower not only gave the dip color, it also adds a sweetness to the snack. I enjoyed this with carrots and crackers, so be creative (or sneak in another color). I’m sure you will see some other challenge inspired dishes over the next month.

purple cauliflower dip

Purple Cauliflower Dip

1 lb purple cauliflower florets
One 15.5 can garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek


Add the cauliflower and garbanzo beans to a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the lemon juice and the olive oil and continue to process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.  Once smooth, stir in the salt, garlic powder, basil, and fenugreek. Serve with crackers, chips, or carrot sticks.


Farro and Mixed Berries Salad

Farro and Mixed Berries Salad

If you often get bored with the typical dinner sides of rice and potatoes, then you will like trying this ancient grain as much as I did.  Farro is a hulled wheat that provides a good source of fiber, protein, and magnesium among other nutrients.  When cooked, it has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor.  I used it to create a Farro and Mixed Berries Salad that was both refreshing and delicious.

Farro and Mixed Berries Salad

I also thought it would be a fun side dish for 4th of July parties by mixing in a bit of red, white, and blue through my add ins.  The strawberries and blueberries add a pop of color and just the right amount of sweetness, whereas the onions and feta add enough savory balance.  Who knows, the unique grain might also serve as a great conversation starter during your meal!

Farro and Mixed Berries Salad

Farro and Mixed Berries Salad

Farro and Mixed Berries Salad

1 cup farro
2 ounces balsamic vinegar
2 ounce olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup chopped strawberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup diced white onion
½ cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon chopped mint


Rinse the farro, then add to a large pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes then drain and add to a large bowl.  In a separate small bowl, stir together the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, mustard and honey.  Pour over the farro and stir to coat. Add in the strawberries, blueberries, onion, feta, and mint and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Apricot Ginger Salmon

Apricot Ginger Salmon with Poblano Cauliflower Puree, and Wilted Watercress

I couldn’t wait for The Saucy Mama blogger challenge to open this year.  I absolutely fell in love with the Saucy Mama products when I entered my Baked Tarragon Lemon Sea Scallops in last year’s contest and I must admit I trolled their website the weeks leading up to this year’s contest to make sure I didn’t miss it.  The products I chose to experiment with in the kitchen were:

  • Saucy Mama Poblano Ranch Dressing
  • Saucy Mama White Balsamic & Honey Dressing
  • Saucy Mama Parmesan Marinade
  • Smoky Garlic Mustard
  • Champagne and Honey Mustard
  • Apricot Ginger Mustard

 Saucy Mama

Once I tasted the Apricot Ginger Mustard I just knew I had to build a recipe around it.  The sweetness of the apricot and zing of the ginger are perfectly balanced, which I thought would make an excellent topper for salmon. I complimented the Apricot Ginger Mustard with a bit of Saigon cinnamon and I divided the cooking time of the salmon between searing for a textured crust and baking for even tenderness.

Apricot-Ginger Salmon

Even though the Apricot Ginger Salmon is the main attraction, I utilized two other Saucy Mama products in the equally as tasty accompaniments. A cauliflower puree with the consistency of mashed potatoes earns its flavor from the Poblano Ranch Dressing, and the watercress that has been wilted to tame its spiciness (and pack in more servings per plate) is tossed with a bit of White Balsamic & Honey Dressing.

Apricot-Ginger Salmon

The plated dish, which was garnished with a dusting of kumquats, blackberries, and pistachios, made my husband utter an audible “wow”, which is always a welcome compliment to any cooking contester.  Even better, he said he felt like he had dined in a fancy restaurant – I just hope the judges agree with his review!

Apricot-Ginger Salmon

Apricot Ginger Salmon with Poblano Cauliflower Puree, and Wilted Watercress

2 tablespoons crushed pistachio meat
4 blackberries, diced (~ 2 tablespoons)
2 kumquats, diced (~2 tablespoons)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
2, 6-7 ounce boneless, skinless salmon filets
8 ounces frozen cauliflower
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Poblano Ranch Dressing
2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces fresh watercress leaves
2 tablespoons Saucy Mama White Balsamic & Honey dressing

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, stir together the pistachios, blackberries, and kumquats; set aside.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, and Saigon cinnamon; set aside.

Place the cauliflower and water in a microwave safe bowl with a lid and microwave for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked throughout.  Drain the cauliflower than add to a food processor. Process the cauliflower until rice sized chunks are formed, pour in the Poblano Ranch dressing and then process again until smooth; keep warm.

Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the salmon filets dry, then sprinkle the salt mixture evenly over the top side of both filets, spreading with your fingers to cover the entire top evenly. Once the cast iron skillet is hot, place the salmon filets in the pan, salted side down, and sear for 3 minutes. Turn off the stove, flip the filets over, top each filet with 1 tablespoon of the apricot-ginger mustard, spreading evenly over the entire surface, then transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 6 minutes.

While the salmon is baking, melt the butter in a large saute pan.  Add the watercress and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until watercress is just wilted.  Add the Saucy Mama white balsamic & honey dressing and stir to coat.

To plate, divide the watercress between two plates, top with even amounts of the pureed cauliflower, then place one salmon filet over each pile of pureed cauliflower.  Evenly sprinkle the kumquat relish over both filets and serve immediately.


Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

Lucky New Year Penne Pasta

The start of the New Year brings renewed, optimistic goals in addition to wishes of good will for family and friends. As I mentioned in last year’s lentil salad post, there are some food dishes that are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck. One such dish is a combination of black-eyed peas, greens (such as collard greens or another leafy item), and a pork item, such as bacon. While the history of the tradition may be a bit murky, and its true impact on good fortune untraceable, I embrace the opportunity to consume a food item that I haven’t thoroughly explored – the black eyed pea.

Instead of making a traditional Hoppin’ John or salad, I opted for a pasta dish, which I have dubbed Lucky New Year Penne Pasta. I also swapped collard greens for chard and ham hock for prosciutto for an Italian rendition of the prosperity trio.

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

I added the black eyed peas to my pasta water prior to the pasta, to make sure they had extra time to soften, and I added the chard at the last minute of cooking to just barely wilt the greens. The pasta gets smothered in a lemon butter sauce that is flavored with onions, prosciutto, basil, and pecorino Romano, giving it a fresh and light taste.

My exploration of a newer food – the black eyed pea – made me realize that I should use it more often. It has a mild taste, which means that it can easily be masked by stronger ingredients while offering a budget friendly way to add needed protein and fiber.

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

Whether you try my Lucky New Year Penne Pasta, sample another unique black eyed pea dish (such as this curry from Strength and Sunshine), or opt out of “lucky” dishes all together, may your New Year bring success and happiness!

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean


Lucky New Year Penne Pasta

4 ounces frozen black eyed peas
12 ounces gluten free penne pasta
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 cup diced, yellow onion
½ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chopped green chard
4 ounces diced prosciutto
½ cup Pecorino romano (plus more for serving)

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add the black eyed peas and boil for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and boil for an additional 11-13 minutes, or until tender. While the pasta is cooking, melt ¼ cup of butter in a non stick pan, and add onions. Saute onions for 8-10 minutes, or until just begin to brown. Add the remaining butter, lemon juice, dried basil, salt and pepper to the onions and bring to a simmer. During the last minute of cooking for the pasta, add the chard, then drain the pasta once the chard has wilted and turned vibrant green; transfer to a large bowl. Add the prosciutto to the butter sauce, saute for 1 minute, then pour over the pasta and stir to coat. Sprinkle on the pecorino Romano and stir to coat. Serve with additional pecorino Romano, if desired.

Lucky New Year Pasta


Blackberry-Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is usually a staple at a Thanksgiving meal. The bigger debate around this popular side dish is typically canned, jellied version vs. homemade, whole berry cranberry sauce. While I like both, I really enjoy the flavor variety you can add to homemade sauce. Plus it is super easy.

For this year’s meal I wanted to add a second type of berry. I chose blackberry since it also goes well with poultry. In addition to blackberry, I added a hint of hibiscus and orange zest (which I cut in larger chunks rather than finely grating the peel), resulting in a very ruby colored and delicious Blackberry-Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce.

Blackberry Habiscus Cranberry

The exotic flavored cranberry sauce has been a fun treat to enjoy all week, both as a sauce for my turkey and stirred into my morning parfait.

Blackberry Habiscus Cranberry

Even if you are a lover of the canned variety, I encourage you to give this cranberry sauce recipe a try!

Blackberry Habiscus Cranberry


Blackberry Habiscus Cranberry

Blackberry-Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce

1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup pulp-free orange juice
½ lb frozen blackberries, thawed (~1 cup)
3 cups fresh cranberries (wrinkled berries removed)
1 tablespoon dried hibiscus
Zest of one orange

Place all of the ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the cranberries skin begin to burst and sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Let cool, then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Sweet Potato and Curry Corn Chowder

For the first course at my Thanksgiving meal I usually start with a festive salad, but this year I wanted to try a soup. While smooth, root based soups typically abound for the holiday meal, I wanted to go for a chunky, curry corn chowder.

sweet Potato Chowder

One of the key ingredients I wanted to use is sweet potatoes.   I LOVE sweet potatoes, but my husband doesn’t care for them. Somehow that doesn’t stop me from picking up a large bag full this time of year. My thinking is that if I sneak them into a soup so filled with other vegetables, maybe he won’t even notice that they are there.

In addition to the sweet potatoes, I used a variety of other vegetables: carrots, celery, onion and corn, plus acorn squash to thicken the soup, eliminating the need for flour or corn starch (whoo hoo – gluten free!). To give it a kick, I stirred in just a bit of hot madras curry powder. Not only did it add just a hint of exotic flavor, it ramped up the golden hue of the soup.

The resulting sweet potato & curry corn chowder is a perfect start for a Thanksgiving meal – full of fall flavor yet not too rich that you can’t enjoy the rest of your meal. But why wait for a holiday meal? It is easy to whip together and is a great addition to any dinner feast or a tired lunch box.

sweet Potato Chowder


Sweet Potato and Curry Corn Chowder

2 lb acorn squash
¼ cup butter
¼ cup diced shallots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
3 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
2 cups frozen corn kernels
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups cashew milk
2 teaspoons hot madras curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
Crumbled, precooked bacon (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Cut the acorn squash in half and place cut side down in a 9×13 inch pan filled with 1 in of water. Roast for 1 hour or until flesh becomes soft.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, celery, and carrots. Saute for 3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Add the sweet potato, corn, stock, and cashew milk and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes or until the sweet potato pieces are tender. Scoop the acorn squash flesh from the skin (equals about 3 cups) and add to a food processor, along with 1 cup of hot liquid from the soup. Blend the acorn squash until smooth, and then add to the soup pot; stir to mix evenly. Add the curry powder and salt to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Ladle into bowls and serve with crumbled bacon, if desired.


Persimmon and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I know it is only mid-October, but my brain is on planning for Thanksgiving already.  You can blame it on a multitude of house projects, a few out-of-town guests between then and now, and a few other odds & ends tasks. With the flurry of activities I fear I am going to blink and find my expectant Thanksgivings guests looking back at me, wonder what is on the menu.

Hence, I am going to try to work in new ideas over the next few weeks so that come Turkey Day my preparation is smooth and stress free. First up – an appetizer – Persimmon and Goat Cheese Bruschetta.


As the weather turns colder, a common grocery store item is the persimmon. For whatever reason, I haven’t experimented much with persimmons until now. The fuyu persimmons, which are shaped like a tomato and are a vibrant orange are ripe and ready to eat when firm (basically as-is from the grocery store), unlike the hachiya persimmons which must be soft before eating. Similar to a vine-ripe tomato a fuyu persimmon can be eaten simply by slicing off the top and remove the slender core.


To keep it simple, I mixed the diced persimmon with dried cranberries, and served it over to sweet potato & cinnamon crackers topped with goat cheese that had been flavored with garam marsala and ground cloves. Even my two kiddos loved the snack, so I’m sure it will be a winner on Thanksgiving.


I chose the crackers mainly since they went with my theme (they were not sponsored) and because I didn’t want to go to a second grocery store just to find the rye cocktail bread that had been my original intent. If you decide to try my Persimmon and Goat Cheese Bruschetta on the rye bread I’d love to hear how it turned out!


Persimmon & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

2 Fuyu persimmons
½ cup dried cranberries
10 oz creamy goat cheese
1 teaspoon garam marsala
½ teaspoon ground cloves
48 sweet potato & cinnamon crackers*


Remove the stem and core of the persimmons, dice, and add to a bowl. Add the cranberries and stir to combine. In a separate bowl add the goat cheese, sprinkle the garam marsala and cloves over the cheese and stir until well mixed. Lay out the crackers on a platter, then roll ½ teaspoon of the spice goat cheese in a ball, press onto a cracker and top with a bit of the persimmon & date mixture. Repeat with the remaining crackers, cheese, and persimmon mixture. Serve immediately.

*note – if you can’t find the sweet potato & cinnamon crackers, substitute 24 rye cocktail bread squares.


Mushroom & Cheese Omelet

A typical weekend breakfast in my house involves eggs, and even some mid-week breakfasts too (if you haven’t guessed by now, given all my posts involving eggs). Since we eat so many, we have been on a quest to continually improve the quality of eggs that we purchase. For a little over a month we have been trying pastured eggs from a local rancher. While pricey, the eggs are loaded with higher nutrients than the conventional, supermarket egg (typically double to triple the vitamin E, A, and omega-3 content) since the hens are allowed to roam their pasture freely.


After speaking with the rancher on my egg drop-off day I was intrigued to try one of her other products – duck eggs. Duck eggs are large, resembling jumbo chicken eggs in size. I found the shells harder to crack and the yolk took up a larger fraction of the egg. While the taste was basically the same, I would say they have a more potent egg flavor.

You may ask why try duck eggs if they don’t have much of a difference in flavor. According to my supplier/rancher, she has heard or three reasons (and I found similar confirmation here and here):

  1. The egg whites are more firm, creating better texture in baked goods
  2. People with chicken egg allergies can often eat duck eggs
  3. They are an alkaline food, which is thought to help fight cancer

Give their large size, I only needed two duck eggs to make an omelet as compared to 3 large chicken eggs. My omelet fillers rotate with what I have on hand, so this time I thought  sautéed mushrooms,  sautéed red onion, and pepperjack cheese would complement each other well. The resulting Mushroom & Cheese Omelet was a great way to start my day. I can’t wait to test the superior baking qualities listed above . . . and the other products my rancher has to offer. Anyone want to share a half of a hog with me?

mushroom and cheese omelet

mushroom and cheese omelet

Mushroom & Cheese Omelet

8 duck eggs or 12 large chicken eggs
8 tablespoons butter
8 ounce sliced, button mushrooms, sautéed
1 large red onion, sliced in half moons and sautéed
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese


To make each omelet, first whip together two duck eggs (or 3 chicken eggs). Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Pour in the eggs and let the eggs begin to set. Once the eggs start to set, sprinkle 1/4th of each of the fillers (sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions, and cheese) on one-half of the omelet. Fold the other half of the omelet over the fillers. Continue to cook until the egg is set and the cheese begins to melt. Plate and repeat three more times to make 4 mushroom & cheese omelets total.


Kiwano Melon Sippers

If you need a good ice breaker, pick up a kiwano melon (also known as a horned melon). Their orange, spiked exterior is what really grabs people’s attention. It certainly did at my house. I had one sitting on the counter during one of the Sunday’s we hosted our church group. After a variety of sideway glances at my counter I finally heard, “what is that?!?”


No one knew what it was, let alone had tasted it. It was the perfect excuse to wrap them into my foodie world. I cut the kiwano melon open, passed around spoons and everyone tried a bite of the emerald green flesh. Collectively, we decided that the flavor of the pulp has the essence of banana and kiwi, yet provides quite a different texture.

Not wanting to mask the flavor of the melon, I decided to go very simple for my Kiwano Melon Sippers. In fact, I kept it to only two ingredients and blended the kiwano melon pulp with some banana cream pie flavored yogurt. That’s it; Simple, right? You can serve it as-is for an easy way for you (or your kids) to slurp up some extra vitamins, or serve it in the kiwano melon shell, garnished with a few blueberries, as an intermezzo for a noteworthy dinner. Either way you are sure to have your guests singing your praises.


Kiwano Melon Sipper

1 kiwano melon
Two, 6 ounce Banana Cream Pie flavored yogurts
Blueberries for garnish (optional)


Cut kiwano melon in half and scoop out the green pulp and seeds. Add the pulp and seeds to a food processor, and then add the yogurt. Blend until smooth. Pour into two serving dishes and garnish with blueberries, if desired. For extra plating sensation, the kiwano melon sipper can be served in the melon shell.


Chopped Veggie Salad

The tradition of Bridal Showers over the last few centuries has been to help the new bride start off married life with some essentials, including those for the kitchen. At my bridal shower, this included a recipe from each attendee which they wrote on notecards and compiled in a book. The recipes ranged from personal favorites to easy camping concoctions and covered all categories.

One of my favorites in the book is the Chopped Veggie Salad added by my mom. She had found the recipe in Women’s Day magazine and knew I had enjoyed it whenever she prepared the dish. I still enjoy the salad, as I find it is a refreshing combination, perfect for spring and summer gatherings.


When I make my Chopped Veggie Salad, I stay close to the original recipe, with a few slight modifications. I like to double the amount of carrots and trade out the vinegar variety (I used a flavored balsamic for the one pictured). This time I also decided to use black radishes for an unusual pop of color.

black radish

Black Radish

Black radishes add a pungent bite, a bit more so than the red variety. Their black skin is aesthetic only, as the dark skin gives way to a creamy white center. Make sure to buy firm black radishes, as they can get tough. If you can’t find black radishes, don’t worry, since all radishes taste good in this salad.  I can’t think of any better way to get so many vegetables packed into one dish, while at the same time serving such a delicious dish that second servings are a must!



Chopped Veggie Salad

Slightly modified from Women’s Day

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons raspberry-balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

1 cup black radishes, chopped (you can substitute any other radish)

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes

½ cup finely diced red onion

1 large firm-ripe avocado, peeled and chopped


In a small bowl, whisk mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly add oil until well blended; refrigerate until ready to use.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cook 1 1/2 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 1 minute longer. Drain and chill in ice water. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add remaining vegetables to bowl. Mix dressing (if separated), add to bowl, and toss to mix vegetables and coat. Serve immediately.


Adzuki Bean Salad

Since I am always on the lookout for new, healthy foods to incorporate into my family’s diet, it was about time that we tried adzuki beans.

Adzuki beans (also called aduki beans) are a part of the legume family. They are often found in red bean paste used in Asian cooking and are easier to digest compared to other beans.  After slowly cooking the adzuki beans, I mixed them with some butternut squash, avocado, and balsamic vinaigrette to make a colorful and delightful salad.


Why try a new bean, you ask?

*Did you know that beans can count as vegetables or as a protein source in your diet? (although the Botanists among us might argue that they are a fruit)

*They are a source of high fiber, important minerals, and useful nutrients.

*Can you really argue with trying something new?

My whole family (kids included!) enjoy eating this as a side salad, though we have been known to eat it as a lunchtime meal with a bit of chicken stirred into the Adzuki Bean Salad and served over mixed greens.




Adzuki Bean Salad

1 ½ cups dried adzuki beans

2 ½ cups cubed butternut squash, cooked

1 avocado, cubed

2/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced


Place the adzuki beans in a large pot with 4 ½ cups of water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours, or until beans are tender, adding additional water if necessary (I usually have to add 1-2 more cups of water after about an hour). Drain the beans and place in a large bowl, then stir in the butternut and avocado. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, salt, and garlic then pour over the bean salad and stir to coat. Serve immediately; refrigerate any leftovers.

Note: Some cooking instructions recommend soaking the beans prior to use. My package indicated that no soaking was required, however I recommend checking your package and adjusting your cooking time as necessary if soaking is required.