Category Archives: Appetizers and Side Dishes

Pear Pizza

Looking to spice up a pizza, use fresh in season ingredients, and still be healthy? Next time you visit a Farmer’s Market or the grocery store, grab some pears! Pears are in season and when coupled with a creamy cheese, make a delicious meal.

Pear Pizza serves 2-3

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


1 prebaked pizza crust
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Salad greends
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese
1 pear

Bake the pizza crust according to the directions for 10 minutes or until warm.  Mix vinegar, oil, garlic, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Toss in salad greends.  Evenly spread salad greens over crust.  Top with sliced pears and gorgonzola cheese.

Recipe from Weight Watchers

Smoky-Sweet Salad with Dijon Mustard Dressing

My friends make fun of me a lot for my obsession with greens like kale and for my vegetable hoarding tendencies (see our Instagram feed for proof). My collection of squash, onions, avocados, tomatoes, and whatever else I’ve found at the farmer’s market is currently taking up about three square feet of counter space. Thankfully arugula can be hidden away in the crisper so it’s less obvious that I have an absurdly overfilled cornucopia on my hands.

smoky sweet fall salad arugula goudaThis simple salad combines one of my absolute favorite raw greens- baby arugula- with crisp Asian pear, smoked gouda, and the tart sweetness of dried cranberries. I’m not really a dressing person, but I loved the easy combination of quality mustard and olive oil to add warmth and a light kick to the mix.

Smoky-Sweet Salad with Dijon Mustard DressingServes 2
Prep time: 8 minutes

2 large handfuls of baby arugula
1.5 oz smoked gouda
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1/2 an Asian pear

1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

Place washed and dried arugula in a medium serving bowl (or two individual salad bowls). Shave or thinly slice gouda, then cut into small wedges. Halve an Asian pear, slice thinly, then slice again into fork-size bites. Add gouda, pear, and cranberry to the salad bowl and toss until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk dijon mustard and olive oil until emulsified. Add pepper to taste.
Add more olive oil if you’d like a more liquid dressing.

Summer Squash Salad

Green. Refreshing. Light.   That’s how I would describe this Summer Squash salad.

This salad is a great segue from summer into fall.  The summer squash reminds us of the sunshine and fun times, while the zucchini and ricotta cheese slowly eases us into the crunching leaves and beautiful oranges and reds.

Ingredients- Serves 2-3
Prep time: 15 minutes

1 zucchini
1 summer squash
3-4 handfuls of arugula
4 scoops of ricotta cheese
Olive oil

Begin by cutting the zucchini and summer squash lengthwise and chop into one inch pieces.

In a large bowl, mix together arugula, zucchini, summer squash, and a few scoops of ricotta.  Since ricotta is so rich, it acts as a yummy dressing.  If you need a little more, dress it up with a little olive oil.

Barely a Recipe: Heirloom Tomatoes & Dressing

Everywhere I look, blog posts are popping up about using up tomatoes from the summer harvest. While I have canned tomatoes this summer and would love to make homemade marinara, sometimes a light snack is all I want from this tangy summer fruit. Heirloom tomatoes combined with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mixed with a few pinches of fresh basil, hit the spot for a classic appetizer.

mini heirloom tomato salad with basil

The ingredients for this dish are so simple they barely require a recipe. You can adjust the quantity for however many people you want to serve.

Mini Heirloom Tomatoes and DressingServes 2 as a side dish
Prep time: 5 minutes (no cooking)

Two handfuls miniature heirloom tomatoes (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
several leaves fresh basil
fresh cracked pepper

Wash and dry tomatoes, then halve or quarter as desired. Chiffonade the basil (we’re getting real classy) by stacking several leaves, rolling them up, then cutting thin strips. Add basil to a small bowl with olive oil and vinegar, then add tomatoes and toss til evenly dressed. You’ll have a little extra dressing sitting at the bottom- more tomatoes, anyone?

mini heirloom tomato salad ingredients old town oil chicago

If you live in the Chicago area, I highly recommend olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Old Town Oil. Their products are well worth the splurge, and you can taste in the store before buying!

Favorite Recipes from Friends & Readers

You may have seen on the Humble Foodie Facebook page the other day that we were so excited to pass 100 “Likes”! In celebration, we sent out a request for favorite recipes from readers. Our goal is to collect and share 100 recipes, so please keep sending them in! You can post them on our Facebook page or email them to thehumblefoodie (at) gmail (dot) com.

We received quite a few vegetarian and vegan recipes, so the first recipes we have to share are all gluten free and vegan. From breakfast, to dinner, to entertaining friends, our wonderful foodie friends have you covered! Thanks to Emily, Shannon, and Megan for these recipes!

gluten free vegan pancakes

from The Daily Dietribe

Emily says: This is the most straightforward guide to making delicious pancakes that everyone can enjoy.  Being a gluten-free vegan kinda kills your enthusiasm for traditional breakfast fare (French toast, why do you have to be so full of things I can’t eat?), but this recipe cures that.  If you like sweeter pancakes, add a little more sugar or agave, but I like them as is with some blueberries tossed into the batter.

red curry soup with purple kale and rice
Emily says: I love the flexibility of this soup.  I’ve made this with lentils instead of rice, and usually throw in a few other vegetables, like red peppers or chard.  Isa is a genius, and I highly recommend checking out her blog/cookbooks.
moroccan carrot salad
Megan says: This carrot salad is a perfect summer side and a fun excuse to use a grater. Plus its gluten free and vegan!
Black Bean and Veggie Salsa Recipe from Shannon’s own kitchen!

for the base:

one can black beans, rinsed

one can corn, rinsed
one red pepper, chopped
one red onion, chopped
cilantro (as much as you want), chopped
(you can also add one chopped green pepper if desired, I leave it out cause I’m not a big fan)
for the dressing:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
a whole bunch of chili powder (I generally use several tablespoons)
Mix up all the base ingredients, in a separate bowl mix up everything for the dressing. Pour the dressing over and taste, add chili powder if desired. I find it best to make this the night before and then refrigerate overnight before serving. Serve with tortilla chips – this is always a popular appetizer at get togethers. You can also add to tacos!
thank you from the humble foodies
Thanks to everyone who has shared recipes so far, and I hope more of you choose to share via Twitter, Facebook, or email! We love to hear what you like to eat…and hopefully it will inspire some new creations from our own kitchens.

How to Braid and Bake Challah Bread

After resisting the lure of stylized pictures and cute frames for several months, I finally caved and downloaded Instagram a couple weeks ago. Honestly, I spent most of those months thinking it was weird how some people use it to take pictures of literally everything they eat. Once I got the app, I started looking at my food through the Instagram lenses and began to understand the obsession. Somehow even the simplest meal takes on a new sheen with the rounded edges of an old photograph, the dusty warmth of one filter, or the super-saturated intensity of another. What I’m trying to say is…get ready for some Insta-Foodie illustration today.


Since my friend Dara shared a shabbat in Israel menu on Monday, I thought I’d contribute a simple recipe for homemade challah bread. As I grew up eating challah simply because it tastes delicious and not as part of my religion, the fact that this recipe contains butter doesn’t bother me. The menu Dara prepared includes meat, so if you keep kosher and want to make this bread for your own shabbat, you should be able to substitute margarine or olive oil in place of the dairy.


I made this challah as a welcome gift for new neighbors and housemates. Whenever I want a simple but impressive bread recipe for such an occasion, I turn to The Frugal Girl. She gives simple, step-by-step instructions illustrated with clear photographs and patient explanation.

Challah can be braided in many different ways- round loaves, two stacked braids, four-strand or six-strand braids…I included a link to a YouTube video of a woman demonstrating how to make a six-strand braid. While it takes just a bit of concentration, this method results in lovely loaves to share.


Challah Breadmakes two loaves
From The Frugal Girl with adjustments
Active Prep Time: about 50 minutes
Inactive Prep Time (Rising): 75-105 minutes
Baking Time: 20-25 minutes

1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 pkg. (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup melted or softened butter
5 to 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 whole eggs and 1 separated egg (yolk + white)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon water

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, pour 1 cup warm water and add yeast. Stir until dissolved, then add sugar, salt, butter, and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Blend well, then add three whole eggs and one egg white. Save the yolk to make the egg wash. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Oil a mixing bowl and place dough inside. Cover with a cloth tea towel and let rise for 45-60 minutes or until doubled.

Punch down dough and again turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (each piece will be one loaf.) Divide each piece into six equally sized balls. Gently stretch and roll each piece into a thin tube of about 12-16 inches long. Learn how to braid six-strand challah by watching this video. There are many others ways to bake including an easier method on The Frugal Girl- it’s up to you! Place braided challah loaves on an ungreased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled. Start preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit at some point during this rise.

In a small bowl, beat reserved egg yolk with water and brush over loaves. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden browned. Let cool on wire racks.

Food and Friends: Shabbat in Israel

One of the wonderful things about this blog has been the way it lets us keep in touch with old friends as well as make new ones. A few weeks ago, we sent out a request for ideas and recipes from our friends around the world. Dara, a college friend of Alicia’s, is currently living in Israel and working towards a Masters degree in International Affairs. Along with cultural and linguistic immersion, she has been honing her skills in the kitchen and was kind enough to share what she called “a simple shabbat menu” with recipes (it is several courses long and sounds amazing.) Thank you Dara!

Dara posing on her balcony with a view of the Knesset (Parliament) in the background. I asked her to give us some cheesy pictures and she is a wonderfully kind friend for obliging!

One of the most delightful ways to learn about another country is through its food, so we hope you enjoy reading the first international post in our Food and Friends category. We would love to hear about different cultures and diets no matter where you live, so if you have recipes to share, please email us at thehumblefoodie (at)!

First course:

Challah (not homemade)
Hummus, Matbuka (chunky and spicy tomato sauce dish)
Israeli salad: Finely chop cucumbers and tomatoes. The smaller the cucumbers and tomatoes are, the tastier and more “Israeli” the salad is. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings.

Lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Soup course:

Usually we make either a chicken soup or a veggie soup:
Veggie soup: Pour oil in crock pot. Throw in onions and cook until they are translucent and golden. Pour lots of water and a jar of tomato sauce in. Add chopped veggies. Let cook on low for a few hours.

White onions
Green onions
Jar of tomato sauce
Olive oil etc.

Fish course:

Salmon: Oil a pan, put salmon fillets on the pan, stick chopped garlic around the salmon, quarter tomatoes and stick them around the pan. Pour teriyaki sauce over salmon. Put salmon in oven (not sure about the temperature because it’s C so we just guess, but maybe 200F) Cook until slightly browned on the top.

Salmon Fillets
Cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Teriyaki Sauce

Roasted cauliflower with tahini

Main Course:

Some chicken Dish (we usually do one from the Humble Foodie but here’s a recipe we invented)
Breaded chicken: Heat pan with a fair amount of canola oil and make pan really hot. Wash chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces. Put egg in a bowl and beat. On a plate, mix flour, spices, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in egg. Dip that on the plate with the flour etc. Fry in the pan. Repeat.

Fillet Chicken breasts (they call it schnitzle here)
A lot of random spices (I don’t know what they all are because the labels in Hebrew but just random ones)
Canola Oil

Rice/and or Pasta
Deli roll
Veggie Side dish (recipe for cauliflower-tahini): Cut cauliflower, put olive oil in pan. coat cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Put in oven–like broiling. After it cooks for a while–browns the cauliflower–add tahini and serve.

Tahini (can be bought ready-made or made homemade)
Here’s a good site for directions on homemade tahini
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Dessert Course:

A few different cakes that we usually have someone buy (Parve or dairy-free because we ate meat for dinner)
Home-made rugula: Melt chocolate chips in a pot with the cream and margarine until it is nice and gooey. Spread the chocolate spread on filo dough and add melted chocolate. Roll up the dough and cut into small pieces. Beat the egg and spread some over it to prevent burning and provide a golden glaze. Put in oven and cook until melty and delicious looking.

Filo dough
Chocolate Spread (this is really really popular in israel and I have not really seen it in the states, it’s kind of like nutella without the hazelnut flavor)
Bittersweet chocolate and chocolate chips
Dairy-free cream

Zucchini Chips

I recently moved to the city of Chicago, and as I explored the many events going on in my new neighborhood, I discovered a weekly farmer’s market. A farmer’s market is a foodie’s love, so naturally, I quickly fit it into my schedule.  Farmers markets are now a popular summer craze, not only for fresh produce but also for baked goods, decor, and crafts.

Continue reading

White Pizza with Oregano

Cheese is the best part of pizza right? So why not use cheese as your only topping and skip out on the sauce? Pure deliciousness.  I often order white pizza or a four cheese pizza and was ready to recreate it.  I thumbed through my cookbooks and was inspired to finally give it a try.

It’s amazing what a little cheese, oil, and oregano can do! This dish can either be used as a bread appetizer or a main dish.

Ingredients- Serves 1-2
Prep time:
Cook time:

1 ball of dough (1 pizza)
Olive Oil
Mozzarella cheese
Gorgonzola cheese
Parmesan cheese


Begin by rolling the dough on a floured surface until flat.  Drizzle olive oil over dough, about 3-4 tablespoons.  Cover evenly with cheese and top with oregano. Short and sweet, and delicious.