Foodie PenPal Reveal Day and a Summer Salad

Hello! Today is a double post day! It is Foodie PenPal Reveal day and I have a new recipe for you to try out! Lucky you! On to my foodie box for this month!  My PenPal was Michelle Nelson.  This was her first time participating and I have to say she did an AWESOME job!  This was a great box and I loved it! She made sure that I had a bunch of things that I could eat and even included some local goodies!

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  • Quinoa pasta, which I used for dinner on Sunday and it was great!
  • Avocado oil.  I have been wanting to try this oil out so was really excited she included in my box.  It makes an awesome dressing for salads!
  • Local honey.  I love my honey so this was great!
  • Green tea.  I haven’t had a chance to try this out yet but I love tea so I’m sure it will be great!
  • Assorted dried fruits.  Holy yum! This included dried apricot, pineapple, coconut, papaya, and mango. So delicious and I even liked the coconut even though I am not a huge fan of coconut flavored things!
  • Raw fruit and nut bar.  I haven’t eaten this yet but it looks a lot like my lara bars so I am sure it will be awesome!

Thank you again Michelle for an awesome box!  If you want to participate in the next Foodie PenPals (and you totally should!) you can see all the info here at The Lean Green Bean.  It’s a really fun way to connect with other fellow foodies!

Now for the recipe! I made this salad during a heatwave here in Illinois.  I didn’t want to really turn on the oven and I REALLY didn’t want to heat something hot: enter this yummy salad.  You can use whatever combo of vegetables/beans you have in your kitchen, get creative!

Vegetable and Bean Summer Salad 

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  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 zucchini , diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, or 1 can rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, or 1 can rinsed
  • 1 avocado
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • salt and pepper

1.  The first thing you want to cut is your eggplant.  Cut into slices and lay out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt, then press another paper towel on top.  This will help draw out some of the bitterness.  Cut up the rest of your vegetables while your eggplant sits.

2. Rise off your eggplant and cut into cubes.  In a medium skillet or wok heat a little olive oil and cook your onions and garlic until the onion is translucent.  Then add in the eggplant and cook until the eggplant is brown and soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add in the zucchini and green pepper.  Saute for about 5 min.  Remove all the vegetables from the wok and place in a large glass bowl to cool.

3.  While your vegetables are cooling, place the avocado and lemon juice and zest into a food processor and pulse until smooth.  You may need to add a little water to thin it out into a dressing like consistency.

4.  Place the chickpeas, black beans, carrots, and tomatoes into the bowl with the other vegetables.  Pour your avocado dressing into the bowl and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

This is a very simple salad and is easily adaptable to whatever you have.  Fresh herbs really taste good in here too, I actually added a little parsley and oregano from my garden for extra flavor.  Make it however you would like and enjoy!