Italian Salsa Verde Recipe

Italian salsa verde ingredients

In the U.S., Mexican salsa verde is more popular than its Italian counterpart. These two sauces share a name and a beautiful green color, but the similarities stop there.

What is Italian salsa verde?

Mexican salsa verde is a green sauce made with tomatillos and hot green peppers. It can be used to top meats, tortillas, or enchiladas. It can be mild or quite spicy. 

Italian salsa verde is made with fresh herbs like parsley and basil, capers, and sometimes anchovies. It isn’t spicy, but delivers plenty of powerful flavor.
We love using this piquant green sauce to add complexity to our favorite meals. Our favorite Italian salsa verde recipe is packed with green herbs and briney capers. These ingredients create a sauce with aromatic herb flavors and enough acidity to enhance the flavors in the rest of your dish. We love spooning this sauce over light proteins like chicken and fish, or stirring it into pasta dishes for an herbaceous kick. 

How to make Italian salsa verde

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions 

Mix all prepared ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Leftover salsa verde can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Recipes with Blue Apron’s Salsa Verde

Salmon & Salsa Verde with Roasted Broccoli & Orzo

In this recipe, an Italian-style salsa verde brings bright flavor to warm orzo pasta tossed with roasted broccoli. It’s a perfect bed for rich seared salmon.

Salmon & Salsa Verde with Roasted Broccoli & Orzo

Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Pistachio Breadcrumbs

This sophisticated dish highlights exciting contrast of texture thanks to the irresistibly crispy pistachio breadcrumbs that we’re sprinkling atop soft gnocchi. 

Salsa Verde Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Pistachio Breadcrumbs


Fettuccine & with Zucchini, Almonds & Pecorino Cheese

Our herbaceous parsley and caper-based sauce is the star of this dish—bringing bright, zesty flavor to pan-seared vegetables tossed with tender strands of fettuccine pasta.

Fettuccine & Salsa Verde with Zucchini, Almonds & Pecorino Cheese

Seared Chicken & Creamy Lime Sauce with Potato Salad

We’re making our potato salad extra special by tossing tender potatoes with crisp green beans, fresh tomatoes & tangy green sauce.

Seared Chicken & Creamy Lime Sauce with Salsa Verde Potato Salad

Tilapia with Spinach, Tomatoes & Orzo Pasta

This simple, flavorful dish pairs seared tilapia with orzo pasta tossed with sautéed tomatoes and spinach.


Pasta with Mushrooms & Grana Padano Cheese

This quick-cooking dish brings together earthy mushrooms, creamy mascarpone, and delicate strands of spaghettini in our own vibrant salsa verde—a blend of parsley, basil, capers, garlic, and more.

Pasta with Mushrooms & Grana Padano Cheese

Find more recipes like these in the Blue Apron Cookbook.

Furikake Seasoning: Description, Recipes, & Uses

What is furikake 

Furikake seasoning is one of those ingredients that does your work for you. All you have to do is add a few teaspoons to the top of your dish, and you’ll instantly boost the flavor, texture, and appearance of whatever you’re serving. 

Generally, furikake is a savory mix of sesame seeds, seaweed, and salt that is used as a finishing touch on meals. The mixture can also include bonito, kombu, shiso leaves, and other dried herbs. 

The name furikake comes from the Japanese word for sprinkles, and that’s exactly how we think of this savory, nutty seasoning mix. A sprinkle of furikake is an easy way to add flavor and texture to rice dishes, stir-frys, grain bowls, or countless other meals. The toasted sesame seeds add a satisfying crunch, while the herbs and seaweed bring in savory complexity. As an added bonus, this colorful mixture will make any meal look beautiful on your plate. 

How to make furikake seasoning

It’s easy to find furikake in a store (or in your Blue Apron box!), but you can also recreate this savory seasoning at home with the right ingredients. Here are some things you can add to your homemade furikake 

  • Toasted sesame seeds 
  • Sheets of nori, cut or processed into small pieces 
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Kombu, process into small pieces 
  • Bonito flakes 
  • Dried shiso leaves 

After you’ve assembled your ingredients, chop or pulse larger seasonings until everything is roughly the same size (use sesame seeds as a guide). Store in a sealed jar, and bring it out whenever your dinner needs a kick. 

How to use furikake 

Furikake is the perfect topping for meals looking for a little pop of texture. Here are some ways we like to use furikake. Start with these ideas, then let your imagination run wild!

  • Sprinkle on avocado toast 
  • Top off tofu dishes 
  • Finish rice and poke bowls 
  • Add crunch to stir-frys 
  • Top off fish dishes 

Recipes with furikake seasoning

Pork & Vegetable Lo Mein with Furikake Seasoning

Pork & Vegetable Lo Mein with Furikake

Furikake-Topped Salmon with Edamame & Noodles

Furikake seasoning Topped Salmon with Fresh Edamame & Miso-Sesame Black Noodles

Vegetable & Freekeh “Fried Rice” with Furikake

Vegetable & Freekeh “Fried Rice” with Peanuts & Furikake

Hoisin-Glazed Pork with Furikake Potatoes 

Hoisin-Glazed Pork & Gochujang Mayo with Furikake Potatoes & Snow Peas

Romesco Sauce

romesco sauce ingredients

What is romesco sauce?

Romesco is a thick sauce packed with smoky and sweet flavors. This sauce originated in Spain, but today you can enjoy it around the world. It’s traditionally enjoyed as a sauce for fish or grilled meats, or as a tasty dip for vegetables and breads. 

Romesco sauce ingredients

Our favorite version of this sauce is made with almonds, roasted red peppers, and garlic. The almonds are toasted and puréed until smooth, creating a thick, creamy sauce. Some versions of this dish call for roasted tomatoes as well as peppers, or substitute hazelnuts for almonds. Those additions can be delicious too! The key elements is combining creamy blended nuts with smoky paprika and the sweetness of roasted produce.

How to make romesco sauce

Make your own romesco sauce with this easy recipe. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week, and use it to recreate your favorite Blue Apron meals at home. 

  • 1-2 roasted red bell peppers from a jar 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
blending romesco sauce

Combine the the first peppers, garlic, almonds, sherry vinegar, and paprika in a  a food processor. Process until a rough paste forms. If you don’t have a food processor, finely the chop peppers, garlic, and almonds and place in a bowl.

Once the other ingredients have been processed, stream in olive oil to reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

homemade romesco

Recipes with romesco sauce

Try pairing romesco with grilled meats, vegetables, or whole grains. These are some of our favorite recipes using this blended sauce. 

Find more ways to use romesco in recipes on the Blue Apron cookbook. 

How to Roast Vegetables: A Guide to Crispy, Delicious Veggies

This guide to oven roasted vegetables was contributed by Jonathan Bender. Jonathan is a food writer who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. He’s the author of a pair of cookbooks: Stock, Broth & Bowl and Cookies & Beer.

Roasting vegetables is a chance to try new spices and rediscover flavors you’ve been missing since childhood. 

Vegetables are versatile. They can be the star attraction of lunch at your office, or the side dish you crave weekly. You’ll never look at Brussels sprouts the same way once you’ve crisped them up in a sheet pan with maple syrup and red pepper flakes. 

Whether you’re making a roasted root vegetable salad or creamy roasted spaghetti squash, this guide transforms weeknight dinners. Learn how to prepare vegetables, pick the right oil and temperature, and time everything properly so your entire meal arrives at the table together. Then go ahead and try some of the tasty recipes we’ve included below. 

Getting started: preparing vegetables for roasting

The good news with roasting is that most of the work happens up front, and your oven takes over the rest of the way. 

Whether or not you’re chopping your vegetables, always start with a good wash. Preheat your oven (see our temperature guide below) before rinsing and patting dry your vegetables with a towel. Onions or potatoes might also need a good, hard scrub with a bristled brush to remove dirt. 

Next, slice off fibrous ends, which can be tough or bitter. Save any greens – like the kind attached to radishes – for a small side salad. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds you’ll find inside a pepper or squash.

A note on skins: While you can cook carrots with the skins on, a vegetable peeler makes short work of carrot or squash skin. Slice an onion in half lengthwise before you try and remove the papery outer layer.   

To cut or not to cut? You can roast vegetables whole, in slices, or in chunks. Keep your pieces roughly the same size (when in doubt, consider what will fit on a fork easily) so they’ll roast evenly. 

The final prep step is to toss your vegetables with oil and spices in a bowl or right on the sheet pan. Use enough oil, typically one to two tablespoons, to leave a faint sheen on the veggies; but try not to drown them.

Roasting brings out latent, deep flavors in vegetables, so you may not have to use more than a light dusting of salt and some freshly ground pepper. This is also where you can play with complementary or contrasting spices to do things like add heat to green beans and sweetness to squash. 

What oils are good for roasting vegetables

When it comes to picking the right oil for roasting, consider flavor and the smoke point (the temperature where the oil will smoke, lending a bitter, unpleasant note to your veggies). 

Light olive oil or virgin olive oil is a good place to start. A neutral oil – you could also use canola or vegetable oil (up to 400℉) – has enough fat to keep vegetables from drying out without overshadowing delicate flavors.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for an alternative to oil, opt for ghee, a clarified butter that lends a silky touch to potatoes. When roasting at lower temperatures, grab coconut oil, which has a smoke point of 350℉, to give a light, fragrant note to sweet potatoes.On the other end of the oven dial, avocado oil is a great choice for flash roasting (high heat for a short amount of time) vegetables. It has a high smoke point, nearly 520℉, and a mild temperament suited to green beans and cauliflower alike. 

A note on finishing oils: Love the flavor of toasted sesame or flaxseed oil? Use boldly flavored or infused oils for a finishing drizzle, instead of in the pan, as many react strongly to heat.

oven roasted sweet potatoes

Setting your oven temperature to roast vegetables

While many vegetables will be fine roasting at 400℉ for between 20 minutes (asparagus) and 60 minutes (beets); you’ll want to check in frequently to ensure you don’t go past caramelized to burnt. Let’s consider what to roast – and what you can roast in the same pan – from lowest to highest temperatures. Below are some of our favorite vegetables to roast, and the best oven temperature to use by type.

325℉ 

Roast greens, kale and collards, in a single layer on a sheet pan. Strip the leaves from the ribs and coat generously in oil. Start checking after 15 minutes. You want the edges to be barely brown and crispy. 

350℉

Roast whole garlic for between 45 and 60 minutes. Place the head, cut side up, on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with light olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Close the ends of the foil around the garlic. The cloves should be soft enough to spread on crusty bread. Mushrooms, brushed with oil and salt, get silky after only 20 to 25 minutes in the oven. 

375℉

Slice bell peppers in half. Remove the seeds and ribs. Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast with the insides down for 30 to 40 minutes. 

400℉

Roast carrots and parsnips sliced on the diagonal in 1-inch chunks for 30 minutes, whole onions for roughly 45 minutes, and whole beets and halved winter squash for 50 to 60 minutes. 

425℉

Slice broccoli florets into ½” to 1” inch size pieces. Drizzle on oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Crisp up chickpeas for 30 minutes and give whole potatoes (pierce the skin with a fork first) a full hour. 

 450℉

Brussels sprouts get a bad name. Try cutting them in half and let those oil-glistened sprouts caramelize for 20 to 30 minutes. If you can, flip them halfway through cooking to ensure all sides get browned. 

Try radishes sliced in half and summer squash cut into chunks, oiled and laid cut side down, for 20 and 30 minutes, respectively. If the squash’s flesh isn’t easy to pierce with a fork, keep roasting and checking every 10 minutes. 

Green beans, with the ends trimmed, a splash of avocado oil and fresh cracked pepper, are delectable after 15 to 20 minutes of high heat. You can also cook celery, sliced eggplant or cauliflower florets for roughly 25 minutes at the same temperature. 

Pro tip: Remember to let whole vegetables like beets or onions cool before peeling and chopping.

When to start roasting vegetables for dinner

Once your oven is preheated, place the veggies in a single layer in a sheet pan. Then, stage your cooking. Begin with the vegetables that require the most time at the highest temperature. When your beets or squash come out of the oven to cool, drop the temperature and add your kale or collard greens. 

If you’re making a medley of root vegetables that cook at the same temperature, feel free to mix them together. You can also purchase silicone dividers for your sheet pans to keep vegetables and different seasonings separate. 

Recipes we love with oven roasted vegetables

If you loved these tips, check out our guide to cooking with frozen vegetables.

A Guide to Kale

Chopped Lacinato Kale

It’s hard to deny that we’ve become kale obsessed. There are millions of ways to cook kale. You’ll find it in chips, smoothies, and pesto; there’s nothing that this leafy green can’t do.

It might seem like we’ve always been a country that runs on kale, but that’s not the case. Kale skyrocketed in popularity just a few years ago. USA today reported that kale increased on restaurant menus by 400% between 2008 and 2013. Before 2013, the largest purchaser of kale was pizza hut, and they weren’t buying it for salads. Kale was the leafy green decoration that they used to fill out their buffet stations. How did kale move from garnish to salad staple?

History & Facts About Kale

Kale has a long history as a reliable crop. According to the Agriculture Department at Texas A&M, the Ancient Greeks and Romans grew it. Some theories say it dates back to 600 BC, when the Celts brought it to Europe. Since it is resistant to frost, it comes as no surprise that kale has done well in colder regions, and it played a role in early European history before making its way to North America in the 17th century.

Kale might be a relatively new addition to American restaurant menus, but that isn’t the case everywhere. In Germany, there’s an annual Grühnkohlfahrt, basically a celebration dedicated to eating a lot of cooked kale. In the Netherlands, where traditional dish stamppot boerenkool,mashed potatoes and kale, graces winter tables. The green was such a staple of Scottish fare that in the local dialect ‘kail’ means ‘food’ in general, and the expression “to be off one’s kale” implies that you are ill.

Why Kale? Nutritional Benefits of Eating Kale

We could equate the rise in kale’s popularity to an increased awareness of health. As Jennifer Iserloh, co-author of 50 Shades of Kale, puts it, “Kale is the king of the superfood kingdom. People are incredibly interested in health and more and more people are cooking at home—kale is cheap, versatile, and one of the best foods you can put in your body.”

But it’s not just because of a desire to eat better. Kristen Beddard Heimann, founder of The Kale Project, sort of agrees. She equates the soaring rise to a combination of health awareness, an increased popularity in farm-to-table restaurants and the rise of the internet and high profile food bloggers and celebrities. As she puts it, a lot of it has to do with stars “creating a lifestyle that people aspire to.” Case in point, Gwenyth Paltrow makes kale chips on Ellen. People go crazy.

Then there’s the influence of our personal relationship to food and our ability to share that relationship; “If Instagram had been around when sundried tomatoes (1985) or arugula (1990) were hot, I’m sure there would have been more backlash. because the trend would have spread so much. like it has with kale. Kale just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” says Beddard Heimann.

Is Kale Still Cool?

Based on search trend data, the official kale trend kicked off somewhere between 2007 and 2009. According to Bon Appétit, 2012 was the Year of Kale. That puts us well past the prime of the kale trend, but it’s far from over. Today, there are more ways to cook kale than ever. It make no longer be an essential salad in fine dining establishments, but it’s a hearty and widely available green that we love cooking at home. Trends come and go, but kale’s nutritional power means it’s here to stay.

Recipes with Kale

We love adding kale to our dinners. There are several types of kale available in grocery stores. Curly kale, lacinato kale (also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale), and baby kale are the most common. Compared to curly kale, lacinato kale is darker and more tender. Baby kale is the most tender of all, and can easily be thrown in a salad without marinating or de-stemming.

Seared kale can be the perfect side dish to complete a meal, like in this recipe for Seared Steaks & Garlic Kale with Cheesy Roasted Potatoes. We used curly kale in this recipe, but you could easily swap in lacinato kale with the same instructions.

Seared Steaks & Garlic Kale with Cheesy Roasted Potatoes

Kale is a satisfying way to add a vegetable to pasta dishes, like in this recipe for Creamy Pasta & Kale with Fried Rosemary & Walnuts.

Creamy Pasta & Kale with Fried Rosemary & Walnuts

Kale doesn’t have to be cooked. We love a robust salad with raw kale and a delicious dressing, like this Chicken & Kale Caesar-Style Salad with Radishes & Almonds. This recipe calls for curly kale, but raw salads are a great way to use baby kale too.

Chicken & Kale Caesar-Style Salad with Radishes & Almonds

For a heartier salad, try this Warm Cauliflower & Kale Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs & Sauce Meunière. This dish uses lacinato kale, but curly kale would work just as well.

Warm Cauliflower & Kale Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs & Sauce Meunière

Ready to start cooking? Try our favorite method for removing kale stems.

13 Lean Protein Food Sources

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. 

lean pork protein

No matter what time of year it is, it can’t hurt to check in on your diet. Ask yourself: what are you eating, and how does it make you feel? As a Registered Dietitian, I feel it’s important to focus on the foods or food groups we want to add into our diets, versus those we try to eliminate. If you focus on the additions, there isn’t much room in your mind (or your stomach) for anything else.

Science teaches us the benefits of consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. These foods provide our bodies with important micronutrients like vitamins and minerals needed to carry out normal functions in our body. These foods also provided beneficial macronutrients known as protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Fats can be saturated or unsaturated. Unsaturated fats called mono- or polyunsaturated fats help support a healthy heart. . Carbohydrates, specifically in the form of fiber, help you feel full and satisfied. But what about protein? There is a lot of confusion about protein. Why do we need it? What type of protein is best? How much do we need? That’s what we will explore here.

Why do we need Protein?

Protein is a very important part of our diets. This nutrient supports muscle growth and repair, enzymatic responses, the functioning of hormones, tissue repair and even daily cell maintenance. Protein can come from either plant or animal source.

What type of protein is best?

Protein can come from many sources including meat, poultry, pork, fish, shellfish, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds. A balanced diet includes a combination of any of these sources. When we talk specifically about a lean protein, that means a 100g (about 3 ½ ounce) portion has < 10 grams of fat, < 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and < 95 milligrams of cholesterol. You may also come across the term “extra lean”, this means that the same portion of protein would have < 5 grams of fat, < 2 grams of saturated fat, and < 95 milligrams of cholesterol[1].

What are some sources of lean protein?

Chicken, turkey, seafood (shellfish, fish) are arguably the most common lean protein sources, but let’s think outside of the protein-box.  Foods like pork loin, eggs, beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh, dairy (low fat or nonfat Greek yogurt) and quinoa are excellent options for lean protein sources. Tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, etc), peanuts, and seeds are another great option when it comes to protein. While these foods are not considered low fat, the fat that they do provide comes in the form of heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats.

Beef can also be a source of lean protein; it just depends on the cut and the portion size. Aim for about 3.5 oz a cut like top sirloin roast or filet mignon, or 90% lean ground beef.   

How much protein do you need in a day?

Protein needs vary from person to person. Factors like age, gender, height, weight, and activity level are all important factors used to determine an individual’s daily protein needs. On average, a sedentary person should consume .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Another way to easily calculate this is multiplying your weight in pounds by .36, meaning a sedentary 150-pound woman would need about 54 grams of total protein per day (150 x .36 = 54 grams).

Chicken breast1 small31 grams
Ground Turkey4 OZ22 grams
Ground Beef4 OZ22 grams
Shrimp3.5 OZ17 grams
Salmon4 OZ23 grams
Tofu3 OZ8 grams
Pork loin4 OZ24 grams
Beef tenderloin4 OZ22 grams
Almonds1 OZ6 grams
Egg16 grams
Greek Yogurt1 container 170g17 grams
Quinoa¼ cup6 grams
Chickpeas½ cup10 grams

[1] https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-does-lean-and-extra-lean-beef-mean-on-a-nutrition-label#:~:text=Lean%20means%20that%20100%20grams,than%2095%20milligrams%20of%20cholesterol.

11 Carb Conscious Dinners We Love

Counting carbs? Let us help. We love healthy carbs, but sometimes when we’re looking to lighten our plate we turn to carb conscious dinners that focus on lean proteins and whole grains. 

Our carb conscious recipes provide a balanced approach to carbohydrate consumption by replacing refined carbohydrates from sources like white flour, rice, and cane sugar with high-fiber foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These dinners were designed to have 42g or less of net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber) per serving. Try these recipes to cut down on carbs without compromising on flavor or satisfaction. 

Conscious Dinner Recipes 

Grilled Garlic Shrimp & Spanish-Style Potatoes with Onion & Bell Pepper

Grilled Garlic Shrimp & Spanish-Style Potatoes with Onion & Bell Pepper

Tender grilled potatoes with spices like cumin, paprika are a robust complement to plump, juicy shrimp. Try this recipe on the grill to add a beautiful charred flavor. 

Sheet Pan Italian Pork Roast with Fingerling Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas & Hot Honey Dressing

Sheet Pan Italian Pork Roast with Fingerling Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas & Hot Honey Dressing

We paired our Italian-seasoned pork roast (drizzled with a punchy garlic-chile dressing), with a hearty trio of vegetables for a satisfying dinner that’s low in carbohydrates. 

Tahini Chicken & Roasted Sweet Potato with Kale & Pickled Peppers

Tahini Chicken & Roasted Sweet Potato with Kale & Pickled Peppers

Try seared chicken with a hearty side of sautéed kale and roasted sweet potatoes. We topped this recipe off with an irresistibly rich and creamy dressing of tahini, soy sauce, mayo, fresh lemon juice, and punchy garlic paste for a memorable dinner. 

Grilled Shawarma-Spiced Pork Chops with Lemon Potatoes & Poblano

Grilled Shawarma-Spiced Pork Chops with Lemon Potatoes & Poblano

Our trout gets a bright lift from a piquant vinaigrette—made with chopped niçoise olives and dijon mustard whisked together with olive oil and red wine vinegar—that dresses both the fish and the bed of arugula served underneath.

Seared Chicken & Kale Salad with Peach & Sesame-Dijon Dressing

Seared Chicken & Kale Salad with Peach & Sesame-Dijon Dressing

The star of this wholesome salad is the rich, savory dressing (made with tahini, dijon mustard, parmesan, and more) that brings together tender kale, sweet peach, and sautéed carrots—all topped with seared chicken and crunchy sesame seeds.

Dijon-Roasted Trout & Potatoes with Arugula Salad & Honey-Olive Vinaigrette

Dijon-Roasted Trout & Potatoes with Arugula Salad & Honey-Olive Vinaigrette

Our trout gets a bright lift from a piquant vinaigrette—made with chopped niçoise olives and dijon mustard whisked together with olive oil and red wine vinegar—that dresses both the fish and the bed of arugula served underneath.

Chimichurri Shrimp with Barley, Pepper & Tomatoes

Chimichurri Shrimp with Barley, Pepper & Tomatoes

This hearty dish is bursting with bold, zesty flavors thanks to the herbaceous mix of cilantro sauce, pickled jalapeño, and fresh lime juice (a nod to classic Argentinian chimichurri) that we’re drizzling over our shrimp, sautéed vegetables, and barley.

Spanish-Spiced Salmon & Veggie Quinoa with Almond-Date Topping

Spanish-Spiced Salmon & Veggie Quinoa with Almond-Date Topping

In this dish, we’re pan-searing salmon in a blend of spices like paprika, coriander, and more for vibrant, smoky flavor—perfectly contrasted by the hearty veggie quinoa and swoosh of cooling yogurt served underneath. A topping of sweet, chewy dates and crunchy roasted almonds (dressed with a bit of fresh lemon juice) lends even more exciting texture and flavor.

Za’atar-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Warm Farro Salad & Creamy Feta Dressing 

Za’atar-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Warm Farro Salad & Creamy Feta Dressing

In this flavorful Middle Eastern-inspired recipe, za’atar-coated chicken roasts alongside a trio of carrots, green beans, and red onion. You’ll then toss the vegetables with warm farro to make a hearty grain salad, and finish the dish with a drizzle of creamy labneh mixed with feta cheese.

Tomatillo-Poblano Chicken Thighs with Roasted Butternut Squash & Potatoes

Tomatillo-Poblano Chicken Thighs with Roasted Butternut Squash & Potatoes

This dish showcases our bright tomatillo-poblano sauce, which we’re mixing with rich mascarpone cheese to make a creamy, zesty sauce for our seared chicken—perfectly accompanied by a trio of roasted squash, potatoes, and onion.

One-Pan Chickpea & Curry Shakshuka with Tomatoes & Spinach

One-Pan Chickpea & Curry Shakshuka with Tomatoes & Spinach

For this vibrant shakshuka, we’re nestling rich eggs between a mix of chickpeas, spinach, and fresh tomatoes simmered in our fragrant ginger and yellow curry-spiced sauce.

Find more carb conscious meals like these on the Blue Apron Wellness menu.

Our Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

basil pesto ingredients
Simple ingredients

What is Basil Pesto Sauce

Basil pesto is a simple but flavorful sauce. The traditional Italian recipe is made from just basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. Blue Apron sends a delicious, fresh nut-free recipe. There are hundreds of variations available on the internet, but our favorite recipes stick pretty close to the classic. 

How to Make Basil Pesto

The name pesto comes from the Italian word ‘pestare,’ meaning to pound or crush. This name refers to the traditional method of preparing pesto—crushing ingredients by hand with a mortar and pestle. Most modern recipes simplify this process with a food processor or blender. Making your own pesto at home is easy, the goal is just to combine all of the ingredients and form a smooth sauce. 

Basil Pesto Ingredients

When you’re only working with 5 ingredients, quality makes a big difference. If you can find good tasting olive oil and flavorful Parmesan, your pesto will be absolutely delicious. Pine nuts can be expensive, but their subtle rich flavors provide a luxurious base for the sauce. If pine nuts aren’t available in your local grocery store, or you have a sensitivity to tree nuts, try the nut-free alternative below. 

Homemade Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

  • 1.5 Cup basil picked
  • 1/4 Cup toasted pine nuts 
  • 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or microplaned 
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil

In a food processor, mix basil, cheese, garlic, and half the olive oil. Pulse for 20-30 seconds until roughly chopped. Stream in remaining olive oil, and continue to blend into a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Basil Pesto Recipe Without Nuts

  • 1 Cup basil picked 
  • 1 Cup parsley leaves picked 
  • 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or microplaned 
  • 1/3 Cup Olive oil

In a food processor, mix basil, parsley, cheese, garlic, and half the olive oil. Pulse for 20-30 seconds until roughly chopped. Stream in remaining olive oil and blend into a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe with Basil Pesto 

Sheet Pan Pesto Salmon with a Roasted Vegetable Medley

Sheet Pan Pesto Salmon with a Roasted Vegetable Medley

For this simple sheet pan recipe, rich salmon is coated with a sauce of vibrant pesto and creamy mayonnaise, topped with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs, then baked to achieve a crispy, flavorful crust.

Basil Pesto & Broccoli Subs with Romaine Lettuce & Orange Salad

Basil Pesto & Broccoli Subs with Romaine Lettuce & Orange Salad

In these crowd-pleasing sandwiches, verdant broccoli is topped with herbaceous basil pesto and creamy, melty mozzarella cheese—all layered between golden brown baguettes.

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna with Pancetta & Arugula Salad

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna with Pancetta & Arugula Salad

To make the decadent filling for this wintry lasagna, we’re using seasonal favorite butternut squash—mashed with a bit of cream and a touch of rich brown sugar. It all comes together under layers of melty fontina cheese, fresh pasta sheets, and herbaceous basil pesto for a crowd-pleasing dish.

Zucchini & Pesto Focaccia Pizza with Mozzarella

Yellow Tomato & Basil Pesto Pizza with Hot Honey Cauliflower

Try baking chewy focaccia bread under layers of aromatic tomato sauce, melty mozzarella, and tender zucchini. Spoonfuls of our basil pesto and pickled peppers bring bright, punchy flavor in every bite.

Yellow Tomato & Basil Pesto Pizza with Hot Honey Cauliflower

Zucchini & Pesto Focaccia Pizza with Mozzarella

This crowd-pleasing pizza gets a sunny twist from yellow tomatoes cooked into a simple sauce, whose sweet, mellow flavor gets delicious contrast from herbaceous basil pesto dolloped on top just before serving.

Italian Steaks & Panzanella with Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Pesto

Italian Steaks & Panzanella with Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Pesto

To make this easy version of panzanella (or Italian bread salad), you’ll make your own golden brown croutons to toss with fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, sweet peppers, and basil pesto.

Pesto Pasta with Zucchini & Lemon Ricotta

Pesto Pasta with Zucchini & Lemon Ricotta

This easy pasta gets its verdant color two ways: we’re stirring in tender zucchini (sautéed with red pepper flakes for a lightly spicy kick), then bringing it all together with our herbaceous pesto.

Seared Chicken & Zucchini with Pesto Rice & Parmesan

Seared Chicken & Zucchini with Pesto Rice & Parmesan

To pair with our seared chicken (coated in a blend of earthy, Italian-style seasonings) and sautéed zucchini, we’re perking up a simple side of rice with fragrant sauce and sweet pickled peppers.

Are Frozen Vegetables Healthy?

This guide to cooking with frozen vegetables was contributed by Erika Sweeney. Erica is a journalist covering food, nutrition, and wellness. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, Real Simple, and lots more. 

We all know we need to eat at least two to three cups of vegetables every day. They’re packed with nutrients and boast a number of health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk for heart disease, stroke and some cancers. But, after a long day, getting dinner on the table quickly is a priority, and washing, chopping and peeling veggies is the last thing you want to do. Cooking with frozen vegetables is a  time-saving (and nutritious and delicious) option.

Frozen vegetables sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is that they’re flash-frozen at the height of their freshness, and research shows that the nutritional value of frozen produce is often greater than (or at least equal to) its fresh counterpart. The freezer aisle contains a variety of exciting veggies these days, such as riced cauliflower, multi-colored carrots, butternut squash and artichoke hearts, along with the classics like frozen peas, corn, broccoli and spinach. 

Still, frozen vegetables need to be handled a bit differently than fresh produce, and if you don’t know how to cook them, you could end up with a mushy mess. To keep that from happening, here are some things to know about how to cook with frozen vegetables. 

Frozen broccoli is excellent in pasta dinners like this spicy fusili dish

Frozen vegetables are often just as nutritious as fresh ones

Frozen vegetables are harvested at their ripest state. Within a few hours of being picked, they’re blanched, or partially cooked, and then flash-frozen. The process helps veggies retain many of their nutrients. Fresh vegetables, on the other hand, might be picked before they’re fully ripe, and then have to travel long distances to reach a grocery store. By the time you purchase them, they’ve most likely lost some of their vitamins, especially if they’re refrigerated in transit. 

Always check a frozen vegetable product’s label, though. While many frozen products are free from additives, some could contain added salt and sugar. Consuming too much sodium and sugar could have negative health effects. 

They make eating your veggies more accessible 

Not everyone has access to fresh vegetables on a regular basis, so frozen options make eating produce much more convenient. Frozen vegetables also have a longer shelf life and can be stored in the freezer for several months. This enables you to enjoy your favorite veggies even when they’re not in season. Frozen produce is also usually cheaper, making it more accessible than fresh vegetables. 

Some veggies freeze better than others 

Not all vegetables are destined to end up in your grocery store’s freezer section. That’s because some veggies freeze better than others. Vegetables with a high water content, like celery, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, peppers and endive, tend to not freeze well. They become soggy and mushy when thawed. 

Cook’s Illustrated lists peas, corn, pearl onions, lima beans and spinach as “recommended” frozen vegetables. These tend to retain their texture and flavor when frozen. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and green beans are cited as “acceptable,” especially when used in soups, stews and other dishes that cook for a while.

Try using frozen corn in a fresh salad

Best ways to cook with frozen vegetables 

Ready to stock your freezer with frozen vegetables? There are endless ways to cook with them. Here are a few things to know, first. 

Frozen veggies don’t always need to be thawed

Most of the time, you don’t need to thaw frozen vegetables before cooking with them—but it depends on what you’re making. For soups, stews and pastas, you can toss still frozen vegetables right into the pot. These dishes can withstand some extra moisture, and the warmth will thaw out the veggies. 

Eat thawed frozen vegetables on their own

When you want to toss frozen corn into a salad, top a pizza with frozen artichokes or make a spinach dip, you’ll want to thaw the veggies first. Otherwise, the extra moisture will make the dishes too watery. When thawing frozen vegetables, it’s best to do so slowly. Place the packages in the refrigerator to thaw or run under cold water. Then, drain off extra moisture or wring out spinach to get rid of the excess liquid. 

Avoid boiling frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are already full of moisture, and boiling them adds even more. This results in water-logged, mushy veggies that won’t be much fun to eat. Plus, boiling can cause some of the nutrients to seep out. Instead, steam or microwave the vegetables with a tablespoon or two of water.  

Roast or stir-fry frozen vegetables 

To help frozen vegetables keep their structure, roasting, sautéing and stir-frying are the best cooking methods. To roast vegetables straight from the freezer, The Kitchn suggests tossing them with oil, layering on a hot pan, seasoning well with salt, pepper and other spices, and roasting in the oven on high heat. Sauté or stir-fry frozen or thawed vegetables in a hot pan and cook through. 

Frozen greens are a perfect addition to warming soups like this white bean stew

Adjust the cooking time 

Frozen vegetables don’t need to cook for as long as fresh produce. They’re already at least partially cooked, after all. Many frozen veggies also aren’t as firm as fresh ones, so you can slash the cooking time in half when roasting, sautéing or stir-frying. Add the veggies to soups or pastas near the end of the dish’s cooking time to avoid overcooking. 

Stick with fresh veggies in some cases

There are instances when cooking with frozen vegetables isn’t your best bet. When a vegetable is the main feature of the dish or the produce needs to have a firm texture, choose fresh instead. 

On your next trip to the grocery store, don’t skip the frozen vegetable aisle. Frozen vegetables are a great cooking hack and equally nutritious as fresh produce. Knowing how to cook with frozen vegetables will help you make delicious, healthy meals in a snap while avoiding the time-consuming prep. 

Fore more tips like these, check out our guide to baking with frozen berries.

What Is Fiber and Why Is It Important

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. 

Brussels sprouts are high in fiber
A serving of Brussels Sprouts is a good source of fiber

According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), women should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber and men 38 grams of fiber per day. Most Americans are not reaching that goal. On average, Americans are consuming 9-11 grams per day, less than half of the recommended amount.

What is fiber?

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that helps promote healthy digestion and regularity. It is commonly found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. It provides satiety (that sensation that keeps you feeling full) because it takes longer for your body to digest.

What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?

First and foremost, both types of fiber are important and beneficial to consume. Many foods contain both types. As it’s digested, soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance which slows digestion, giving you a feeling of satiety or fullness. It supports healthy cholesterol levels and helps maintain healthy blood sugar. Soluble fiber is found in foods like oats, beans, legumes, nuts, barley, oat bran and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool, helping usher it through the gut faster, thus making it easier for the body to pass. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains, wheat bran and vegetables. 

Benefits of fiber

Fiber fills you up with fewer calories. It does this because foods higher in fiber typically are lower in calories. Fiber adds bulk to your diet and slows down your digestion. Fiber helps keep blood sugars level and promote sustained energy.

Adding fiber to your diet doesn’t have to be a challenge. Focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Be sure to increase your water intake along with your fiber. Below are some foods which provide a good source of fiber.

black bean bowl with fiber
Veggies, black beans, & quinoa all contribute to the wonderful fiber grain bowl

Foods that are a good source of fiber

  • 1 medium apple- 4.4 grams
  • ½ cup cooked black beans- 7.5 grams
  • ¼ cup cooked farro- 5 grams
  • ½ cup chickpeas- 7 grams
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli- 2.4 g
  • 1 medium artichoke- 10g
  • 1 small sweet potato- 4g
  • 1 cup Brussels Sprouts- 3.3g
  • 1 cup chopped carrots- 3.6g 

Achieving your goals can be easy! Find nutritious recipes on the Blue Apron wellness menu.

10 Grain Bowls For Healthy Weeknight Dinners

When we’re looking for healthy satisfying dinners, grain bowls are one of our go-to choices. They’re easy to make, nutritious, and delicious. There’s no firm recipe! You probably have the ingredients to make a grain bowl on hand right now. The basic formula goes like this:

Make a base

This is the grain part of the grain bowl. You can use white or brown rice, farro, barley, quinoa, or any other grain that you like. Whole grains are full of protein, fiber, and healthy minerals. 

Add some toppings 

You need at least one topping, but the more you add the more luxurious your dinner will feel. We love topping our grains with sautéed or roasted vegetables, beans, or roasted meats. A fried egg is always a beautiful way to add filling protein.

Don’t forget the fun stuff

These finishing touches are what make the meal special. Salty pickles, crunchy toasted nuts or seeds, and creamy sauces are ways to add textural contrast and delicious flavor to your bowl.  

These are some of our favorite grain bowls for healthy weeknight dinners.  

Mediterranean Chickpea Grain Bowls

Mediterranean Chickpea Grain Bowls with Glazed Carrots, Dates & Lemon Yogurt

These colorful vegetarian bowls feature hearty barley tossed with crispy chickpeas, earthy marinated beets, and sweet carrots glazed with harissa paste—a smoky, punchy condiment made from sun-dried chile peppers, cumin, coriander, and more. It’s delightfully tempered by the bright, creamy lemon yogurt drizzled on top.

Hearty Vegetable Grain Bowl with Avocado & Creamy Fig Dressing

Hearty Vegetable Grain Bowl with Avocado & Creamy Fig Dressing

For this wholesome grain bowl, nutty freekeh is studded with sautéed brussels sprouts, then topped with a bright trio of roasted sweet potatoes, smooth avocado, and crisp apple. We’re bringing it all together with a drizzle of our irresistibly sweet and tangy dressing, made with fig spread, buttermilk, and dijon mustard.

Roasted Vegetable Grain Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas & Yogurt Sauce

Roasted Vegetable Grain Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas  & Yogurt Sauce

This vibrant vegetarian meal features earthy farro tossed with a trio of roasted chickpeas, sweet peppers, and zucchini—all finished with a creamy pickled pepper yogurt and crumbly feta cheese.

Peach & Snap Pea Grain Bowl with Goat Cheese & a Sunny Side-Up Egg

Peach & Snap Pea Grain Bowl with Goat Cheese & a Sunny Side-Up Egg

Bright, seasonal flavors abound in this vibrant vegetarian bowl thanks to sautéed snap peas and a duo of marinated sweet peach and fresh tomatoes. We’re stirring it all into our hearty, ras el hanout-infused farro, then topping it with a rich fried egg, creamy goat cheese, and fresh mint.

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl with Harissa-Glazed Carrots, Currants & Almonds

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl with Harissa-Glazed Carrots, Currants & Almonds

A fresh lemon and shallot dressing provides bright contrast to the smoky carrots in our hearty freekeh bowl—also studded with roasted chickpeas, which develop a delectably light, crispy texture in the oven.

Hot Honey Brussels Sprout & Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

Hot Honey Brussels Sprout & Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Pickled Shallot & Walnuts

For these vegetarian grail bowls, a base of hearty barley is served with a bevy of toppings: roasted sweet potato and brussels sprouts (finished with hot honey), tender kale, pickled shallot, crunchy walnuts, and a dollop of creamy yogurt to bring it all together.

BBQ Chickpea & Corn Grain Bowls with Spicy Cucumbers & Hard-Boiled Eggs

BBQ Chickpea & Corn Grain Bowls with Spicy Cucumbers & Hard-Boiled Eggs

This farro salad boasts delicious contrast from tender chickpeas tossed in a savory-sweet barbecue sauce, crunchy marinated cucumbers, and bites of sweet corn (charred to lightly caramelize the kernels for even more flavor).

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl with Grapes, Almonds & Watermelon Radish

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl with Grapes, Almonds & Watermelon Radish

A fresh lemon and shallot dressing provides bright contrast to the harissa-dressed watermelon radish in our hearty farro bowl—also studded with roasted chickpeas, which develop a delectably light, crispy texture in the oven.

Salmon & Sushi Rice Bowls with Avocado & Spicy Mayo

Salmon & Sushi Rice Bowls with Avocado & Spicy Mayo

This umami-rich dish highlights a bevy of toppings for delicious contrast in every bite: flaky salmon dressed with citrusy ponzu, cooling avocado, and soy-marinated peppers and cucumbers all come together with a zesty sauce of mayo and sambal oelek (a type of Indonesian chile paste).

Shawarma Cauliflower Grain Bowls with Cucumber-Tomato Salad & Fried Eggs

Shawarma Cauliflower Grain Bowls with Cucumber-Tomato Salad & Fried Eggs

To make these flavorful bowls, you’ll roast cauliflower florets in a blend of bold shawarma spices, then serve them over lemony freekeh alongside rich fried eggs. It’s all finished with a drizzle of creamy labneh and a garnish of roasted pistachios for delightful crunch.

Find more recipes like these on the Blue Apron Wellness menu.

Make-Ahead Breakfast for New Year’s Brunch

What’s better than staying in on New Year’s Day? With a little planning, you can use the quiet hours during the afternoon on New Year’s Eve to prep a delicious brunch. Come January 1st, all you’ll need to do it lounge on the sofa and contemplate your resolutions.

Enter: This genius breakfast strata.

A strata is an egg casserole made with generous amounts of bread. The bread soaks up the eggs, and the entire dish bakes up into a moist, savory delight. You can add cheese, meats, herbs, or any of your other favorite breakfast flavors.

For our version, you’ll need eggs, half and half, cauliflower, onion, butter, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, and some spices. If you have leftover bread or rolls around, use them. If not, be sure to stock up before New Year’s Eve day.

make-ahead breakfast casserole ingredients

Before you go out on New Year’s Eve, tear up the bread or rolls. No need to be precise about this step, uneven chunks are totally fine.

Spoon big scoops of cream cheese on top of the bread. The dollops will melt into creamy centers when the strata cooks. To balance out the richness of the cream cheese, layer on the savory caramelized onions and cooked cauliflower.

assembling breakfast casserole

Finally, douse the bread base with a mixture of eggs, milk, seasonings, and cheese. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Storing this dish overnight will actually improve the final product. The rest gives the egg mixture time to thoroughly saturate every morsel of the bread, guaranteeing a custardy final dish.

Come the next morning, all you have to do is pop the strata in the oven.

finished breakfast strata

After 45 minutes in the oven, the cheese will melt and the vegetables will develop a deep caramelized flavor. The bread, like a pudding, puffs up and then sinks again.

Allow the dish to cool slightly, then cut into wedges, garnish with scallions, and serve to any friends who ended up sleeping in your living room.

Keep reading for the recipe!

Breakfast Casserole | Blue Apron
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