Simple white bean salad with fresh herbs (gf + v)

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At my new place, I finally have a little outdoor space and can actually grow fresh herbs – so exciting! (I have grown fresh basil indoors in sunny windows in the past, but it’s not the same…) – so now I have a little potted basil plant as well as fresh parsley and thyme growing on my balcony, all which feature in this recipe.┬áThis is a quick and super tasty salad you can throw together in just a few minutes to complement any number of wonderful Mediterranean-themed meals. Definitely an upgrade from those soggy canned three-bean salads of yesteryear.

I try to always keep a can of cannelini (white kidney) beans in the pantry because they are so versatile and recipe-friendly. Though hearty and filling, their flavor is very mild and unassuming, but this salad is quite lively thanks to a variety of aromatic fresh herbs and a little bit of purple onion for bite. Serves 2-3, but can easily be scaled up for larger crowds. Can be made 1 day ahead and pre-chilled, and will keep 1-2 days in the fridge.

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Balsamic roasted eggplant (gf + v)

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Things got crazy over the past few months what with taking my boards and moving from NorCal to SoCal, but I am happy to finally be back in the kitchen cooking! I hope you’ve had a great and delicious summer! This recipe was inspired by a visit to my new local farmer’s market, where I was absolutely thrilled to find a large variety of eggplants for sale: lovely green Thai eggplants shaped like eggs, slender lavender Chinese eggplants, deep purple Italian eggplants, pale green Filipino eggplants…thanks to my husband “egging” me on, the next thing I knew I was buying one of each! Eggplant is a finicky vegetable, as I have mentioned in past recipes – the key is to cook it into sweet tender submission (undercooked eggplant is just bitter and gross!). While there are many ways to cook eggplant, my personal favorite to oven-roast it. I was very lucky to have been recently gifted a lovely bottle of seriously delicious balsamic vinegar as a graduation present from a dear coworker, so that also featured in this recipe. I hope you enjoy this versatile summer dish, which tastes great on its own, is lovely over a green salad or a bed of simple pasta marinara, or would also be great as an hors d’oeuvre served with toasted baguette slices or pita triangles. Serves 3-4.

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