Asian Grilled Asparagus

 Asparagus brushed with sesame oil is grilled and then tossed with a sweet-spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds for a delicious summer side dish.

Asparagus brushed with sesame oil is grilled and then tossed with a sweet-spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds for a delicious summer side dish.

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BBQWeek. I received product samples from sponsors to use in creating #BBQWeek recipes. However, all opinions are mine alone.

Welcome to #BBQWeek! This was one fun event – hosted by Ellen at Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures – that I missed out on last year but am so excited to participate in this time around. I didn’t get a chance to make as many recipes as I wanted to, but for the recipes I did make – YUM! This week you’ll enjoy more than 70 recipes from more than 20 bloggers. There is also the opportunity to win one of three great prizes from our sponsors (details below). Thank you to Michigan Asparagus for providing bloggers with freshly harvested asparagus, to Adams Extract & Spice for wonderful rubs and spices for grilling and Not Ketchup for bloggers choice of sauce.

So from me, you have two recipes from me to look forward to this week. First, today’s recipe. A side dish that is really quite simple. Asparagus is brushed with oil (sesame oil), grilled, and then tossed with a quick Asian-inspired sauce. The simpleness of the dish makes it great for weeknight dinners when you need an easy side but also for entertaining – no need to be suck in the kitchen while you have guests.

Asparagus brushed with sesame oil is grilled and then tossed with a sweet-spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds for a delicious summer side dish.

I’ll be sharing my next post on Wednesday – a sweet and spicy main dish that pairs well with this grilled side, but be sure to search #BBQWeek on social media to see food porn from all of the BBQ Week bloggers.

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Asparagus brushed with sesame oil is grilled and then tossed with a sweet-spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds for a delicious summer side dish.

Asian Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus brushed with sesame oil is grilled and then tossed with a sweet-spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds for a delicious summer side dish.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian-Inspired
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. asparagus spears
  • 2 1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil divided
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds.

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Rinse asparagus and pat dry. Snap off stems. The bottom should snap off naturally.
  3. Brush asparagus with 2 Tbs. sesame oil. Grill - either directly on the grill or in a grill basket - until tender, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. While asparagus is grilling, whisk together remaining sesame oil, brown sugar, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and ginger.
  5. When asparagus is done, toss with above sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  6. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: 

  • This recipe was rewritten but barely adapted from Weight Watchers magazine, Best Ever Recipes (p. 73, 2018).
  • Asparagus could be made just as easily indoors – sauteed in a skillet or roasted in an oven.
  • If you can find Michigan Asparagus, use it, especially this time of year when it’s in season (early to mid May through June). Michigan Asparagus is one of the only domestic productions regions for asparagus. Plus, the spears are hand harvested – aka “snapped – instead of cut. Between the U.S.-based crop and the harvesting, you’re getting fresher asparagus with less woody ends.
  • I used apple cider vinegar in this dish, but the original recipe calls for rice wine vinegar. Feel free to use whichever you have on hand.
  • Finally, bump up the heat a bit with more chili garlic sauce (or even red pepper flakes). I would have love to do this, but since I was hoping that my little ones would have some, I decided against it. (And, in case you’re wondering, they did – Miss. Hazelnut actually enjoyed it!)

#BBQWeek Recipes

See what the bloggers served up Monday for #BBQWeek, and then scroll down to enter the #BBQWeek giveaway!

Asiago Garlic and Bacon Grilled Asparagus by Daily Dish Recipes
Asian Grilled Asparagus by Books n’ Cooks (above!)
Blackened Chicken, Asparagus & Avocado Salad by Tip Garden
Chicken and Asparagus Grilled Pizza by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Chicken Souvlaki Kabobs by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Double Blueberry Bison Burgers by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Grilled Asparagus Summer Caprese Salad by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Grilled Blueberry and White Pepper Pork Chops by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Easy Lighter Grilled Buffalo Chicken by Jonesin’ For Taste
Grilled Asparagus with Mustard Dill Sauce by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
Grilled Caesar Asparagus by 4 Sons ‘R’ Us
Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa and Asparagus by Simple and Savory
Grilled Eggplant Caprese Salad by Everyday Eileen
Grilled Fruit & Cake Kabobs by Red Cottage Chronicles
Grilled London Broil by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Grilled London Broil with Chimichurri Sauce by Cookaholic Wife
Grilled Pork Burgers with Hawaiian-Style Buns by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Grilled Sweet and Spicy Mustard Pork Chops by Soulfully Made
Meat Lover’s Kebabs by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Southwestern 7 Layered Dips by The Freshman Cook
Tangerine Hatch Chile Grilled Chicken Fajitas by Family Around the Table
Tangerine Hatch Chile Honey Chicken Kebabs by Palatable Pastime

 

#BBQWeek Prizes & Giveaway!

Michigan Asparagus

Prize Number 1: $100 Gift Card Courtesy of Michigan Asparagus (Value $100)

Michigan Asparagus is known for its hand snapped fresh asparagus. It is available May – June and grown mostly in Oceana County along the shores of Lake Michigan. Michigan Asparagus has excellent flavor and a long shelf life. It is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie vegetable with no fat, no cholesterol, and very little sodium. Approximately 120 local Michigan farmers produce approximately 20 million pounds of Michigan Asparagus during the state’s 6-7 week harvest. Remember to buy U.S. for the freshest of the fresh.

Not Ketchup

Prize Number 2: Not Ketchup Sampler 5-Pack (Value $40)

Not Ketchup is a line of fruit gourmet grilling and dipping sauces with no added sugar, no corn syrup and no artificial sweeteners. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, paleo, vegan, low-carb and Whole30 friendly.

Flavors in the sampler pack:

Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup blends sweet-tart California tangerines with a touch of heat from authentic Hatch chiles from New Mexico. Favorite pairings: fish, chicken, turkey

Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup combines ripe cherries with the subtle, smoky heat of chipotle pepper. Favorite pairings: burgers, steak, salmon, ribs, meatballs

Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup takes blueberries to the savory side with a touch of mustard and a little kick of white pepper. Favorite pairings: lamb chops, shrimp, scallops, pork tenderloin, goat cheese

Smoky Date Not Ketchup mixes the natural sweetness of sun-ripened California dates with aromatic smoked paprika. Favorite pairings: pork chops, roast turkey, rotisserie chicken, ham, sausages

Spiced Fig Not Ketchup blends rich California Mission figs with warm spices like cinnamon, anise and black pepper. Favorite pairings: Leg of lamb, steak, roast chicken, cheddar cheese
Adams Extracts and Flavors

 

Prize Number 3: A bottle of vanilla and a selection of rubs from Adams Extract & Flavors (Value $30)

Adams Extract

From humble beginnings in Battle Creek, Michigan, to a rooted history in Texas, one thing has stayed the same: a commitment and passion to provide only the highest quality and innovative products and services. For over 125 years it’s really been that simple…make great food taste even better! Today, Adams proudly manufactures and markets under several Adams Brand banners, including Adams Best®, Adams Extract®, Adams® Seasoning & Spice, Adams Reserve®, Flavor King™, Pantry Basics™, Sear-n-Crust®, ClearVan™, Carniceria®, Cocina del Rey®, Naturals™, and Urban Canner™ along with the Adams Frozen Skillet Desserts and Adams Premium Ice Cream lines.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BBQWeek Sponsors Adam’s Extracts, Michigan Asparagus, and Not Ketchup for providing the prizes free of charge. These sponsors also provided bloggers with samples and product to use for creating #BBQWeek recipes. All opinions are my own.

The #BBQWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. There will be three winning entries that will be verified. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BBQWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize package. Participating bloggers and their immediate family members cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with social channels mentioned in the #BBQWeek posts or entry.

Asian Grilled Asparagus - Asparagus brushed with sesame oil is grilled and then tossed with a sweet-spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds for a delicious summer side dish.

Roast Carrots with Pine Nuts & Feta #BrunchWeek

Carrots are roasted until browned but still crispy and then topped with toasted pine nuts and salty feta for a light, bright, flavorful side dish.

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.
Carrots are roasted until browned but still crispy and then topped with toasted pine nuts and salty feta for a light, bright, flavorful side dish.

This was a big week – my Little Man turned 3! I just can’t believe it. I tease him that he’s Trouble with a capital T – and he is a little bit. He’s my child that will get into the things he’s not supposed to, give me a devilish smile as he does exactly what I told him not to… but he is the sweetest boy. He’s quick to cuddle and hug. We can’t leave the house without him running after us yelling, “hug, kiss!” He adores his sister and will offer her anything she wants. And now he’s 3!!

His birthday was a relatively quiet event with cupcakes for his classmates and a family dinner at home. This coming weekend, my parents will be in town and we’ll have a couple of families over for a PJ Masks “party.” Which means that I got each of the kids a PJ Masks mask (but never got around to making the kids their own cape). I opted out of a themed lunch for this gathering. Instead, we’re finally going to enjoy the spring weather by grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. I’ll do a couple of easy sides (chips and restaurant-style salsa, Texas Caviar, Southwest Quinoa Salad, and grilled corn on the cob) and call it a day.

Carrots are roasted until browned but still crispy and then topped with toasted pine nuts and salty feta for a light, bright, flavorful side dish.

After the prolonged winter, we’re very much enjoying making some light and refreshing side dishes. We’ve had grilled something at least twice a week for the past couple of weeks as we willed spring to come. And a simple veggie is the perfect side to such meals.

Growing up, I never ate roast carrots. My mom never made them. All I knew about roast carrots was that they were mushy and unimpressive. And then I grew up and learned what a properly roasted carrot tasted like. It’s sweet and if cooked right, not mushy at all. I like my roast carrots just slightly crunchy with just a bit of char to the tips. In this side dish, roasted carrots are topped with toasted pine nuts and salt crumbled feta cheese for a fun twist on a classic side dish.

Carrots are roasted until browned but still crispy and then topped with toasted pine nuts and salty feta for a light, bright, flavorful side dish.

Don’t forget to enter to win one of the prize packs donated by our generous sponsors. Read about the prizes and our sponsors here, and then scroll down to enter in the Rafflecopter below.

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Roast Carrots with Pine Nuts & Feta

Carrots are roasted until browned but still crispy and then topped with toasted pine nuts and salty feta for a light, bright, flavorful side dish.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch carrots greens removed, peeled and large ones halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts toasted
  • 2 Tbs. crumbled feta

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and fine a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Toss carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, until carrots are starting to brown on ends. Carrots should be cooked throughout but still be slightly crunchy.
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and feta.
  5. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes:

  • This recipes serves 2-3 as a side dish. Recipe is easily multiplied for additional servings.
  • I used Cal-Organics carrots in this recipe.
  • Pine nuts and feta proportions can be adjusted according to taste.
Carrots are roasted until browned but still crispy and then topped with toasted pine nuts and salty feta for a light, bright, flavorful side dish.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Blackberry Ginger Mint Julep from The Crumby Kitchen
Peppermint Mocha Coffee Syrup from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Strawberry Bellini from Caroline’s Cooking

BrunchWeek Appetizers:
Barley and Apple Salad with Kale Pesto from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Asparagus and Cheese Tart from Brunch-n-Bites
Muffin Tin Frittatas from Sweet Beginnings
Red Pepper, Asparagus and Cheddar Quiche from Family Around the Table
Shaksuka from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains, and Pastries:
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal from Cooking with Carlee
French Toast Sticks from The Barbee Housewife
Khachapuri – Georgian Cheese Bread with Eggs from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes from For the Love of Food
Strawberry Streusel Crescent Muffins from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Tiramisu Pancakes from Tara’s Multicultural Table

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Everything Bagel Breakfast Pockets from Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
Frutti di Mare Marinati from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Artichoke & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad from Eat Move Make
Asparagus Tart from Mildly Meandering
Creamy & Luscious Italian Asparagus from Girl Abroad
Roast Carrots with Pine Nuts & Feta from Books n’ Cooks (above!)
Sweet Potato Avocado Toast from Forking Up

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Chocolate Caramel Muffins from The PinterTest Kitchen
Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut and Blueberry Frosting from Love and Confections
Chocolate Rum Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Beet Frosting from Daily Dish Recipes
Espresso Coffee Cake from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Peach Brown Butter Coffee Cake from The Redhead Baker

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, LorAnn Oils and Flavors, Cento Fine Foods, Michigan Asparagus, Cal-Organic and Eggland’s Best for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The#BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan for #BrunchWeek

Simple roasted asparagus topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese – it’s a side that’s delicious for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Simple roasted asparagus topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese - it's a side that's delicious for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Today’s post is a simple one – one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus. Dressed simply in olive oil, salt and pepper, the asparagus is roasted (or sauteed or grilled depending on my mood and the weather) and then topped with fresh Parmesan cheese. Yum! The simple fixing allows the spring vegetable to shine, whether you serve as a brunch, lunch, or dinner side dish. Pair it with a frittata or some roast chicken, and you have a satisfying, delicious meal.

In case you’ve forgotten, or are visiting for the first time, I want to remind you that our generous sponsors have donated some amazing prizes for #BrunchWeek readers. There are more than a few prizes to get excited about – high quality food from our sponsors, gift cards, gift sets that include marble pastry boards and slate cheese boards… Seriously good prizes. You can read about the prizes and our sponsors here, but scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter below.

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Roasted Asparagus & Parmesan

Simple roasted asparagus topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese – it’s a side that’s delicious for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 Tbs. good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Rinse asparagus and pat dry. Snap off bottoms. The bottom should snap off naturally.
  3. Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper, adding more if needed. Spread out in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until asparagus are cooked to desired degree of doneness.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese (I used a microplane grater).
  5. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes: 

  • This recipe serves 4 as a side dish.
  • I roasted the asparagus for 15 minutes, for asparagus that was a still a bit crunchy. Cook longer if you prefer no crunch to your vegetable.
  • If you can find Michigan Asparagus, I’d recommend it – it’s just now showing up in markets. The season runs from mid-May to early June. Michigan Asparagus, one of the #BrunchWeek sponsors, is the largest as well as one of the only domestic production regions for U.S. grown asparagus.
  • Feel free to add additional Parmesan after serving. You can never have too much. 😉
Simple roasted asparagus topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese - it's a side that's delicious for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

A Books n’ Cooks Original.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Carrot Grapefruit Smoothie from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Cranberry Orange Mimosas from The PinterTest Kitchen
Hazelnut Coffee Syrup from The Redhead Baker

BrunchWeek Appetizers:
Antipasto Salad from Cooking with Carlee
Egg & Asparagus BLT Salad from Sweet Beginnings
Spring Brunch Veggie Tray from Wholistic Woman

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
California Club Omelet from The Barbee Housewife
Quick & Easy Cheesy Cheddar Asparagus Frittata from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us
Huevos Rancheros Cups from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Omelette) from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains, and Pastries:
Buttermilk Scones from Mildly Meandering
New York Style Garlic Knots from Girl Abroad
Miso Butter Toast from Brunch-n-Bites
Pecan Belgian Waffles with Strawberry Sauce from Family Around the Table
Savory French Toast with Asparagus from Forking Up

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Breakfast Macaroni and Cheese from Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
Canadian Bacon, Egg & Asparagus Quesadilla from Kudos Kitchen by Renee

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Asparagus Fried Rice from Tara’s Multicultural Table
Asparagus Bacon Rollups from For the Love of Food
Creamy Baked Cheesy Asparagus from Daily Dish Recipes
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan from Books n’ Cooks (above!)

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Blueberry Raspberry Chocolate Bark from Caroline’s Cooking
Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake from The Crumby Kitchen
Red Velvet Cake Macaron from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Succulent Vanilla Sugar Cookies from Love and Confections

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, LorAnn Oils and Flavors, Cento Fine Foods, Michigan Asparagus, Cal-Organic and Eggland’s Best for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The#BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that’s also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that's also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

One of my favorite things about spring and summer BBQs, picnics, and potlucks is getting to try out a variety of new dishes. I can sample a bit of everything, and have seconds of the things I love. One of the dishes I always enjoy is the Italian Antipasto Pasta Salads that tend to show up at those events. I love them every time, but until this month, had never made one myself.

Today is National Picnic Day, and it was the perfect excuse for me to make my own version of this potluck favorite. My version below has a good proportion of veggies, meat, and cheese to make this salad filling enough to be a meal in and of itself. But the nice part about this salad is that it’s easily customizable. Don’t like something in here? Swap it out, or skip it all together. Play with the proportions to add more of your favorite ingredients. Here are a few ideas for tweaking this recipe to your taste (or to what’s in your fridge/pantry):

  • Swap the rotini for tortellini
  • Skip the cheese or replace the mozzarella with provolone
  • Add marinated artichoke hearts (yum!)
  • Toss in some fresh spinach
  • Swap the pepperoncini for whatever olives you have on hand

 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that's also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

Don’t forget to check out scroll down and check out the rest of the recipes our Festive Foodie bloggers have for you, for your upcoming picnics.

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Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that’s also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

Course Lunch, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. whole wheat rotini pasta cooked according to package and cooled
  • 1/2 c. red onion small dice
  • 3/4 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 c. bell pepper any color, small dice
  • 3/4 c. pepperoncini small dice
  • 3/4 c. mozzarella pearls or fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 9 slices pepperoni small dice
  • 9 slices genoa salami small dice
  • Italian dressing and/or extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine pasta, red onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, pepperoncini, mozzarella, pepperoni and salami. Toss to combine.
  2. Drizzle with Italian dressing and/or olive oil to your liking. (See notes below).
  3. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used half Italian dressing (I like Good Seasoning’s Italian Dressing and Newman’s Own) and half extra-virgin olive oil, as the antipasto gives the salad quite a bit of flavor. I add just enough dressing and oil to coat.
 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that's also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch..

Big thanks to Ellen at Family Around the Table for hosting this event! Don’t forget to check out more spring/summer picnic (or BBQ or potluck) inspiration from the Festive Foodie bloggers:

 

Jerk Scallops with Pineapple Salsa over Coconut Rice #RecipeForTwo

Celebrate Valentine’s Day (or the weekend) with a sweet and spicy dinner for two. Sweet pineapple salsa compliments jerk scallops full of flavor in a dinner that comes together quickly.

Jerk Scallops and Pineapple Salsa over Coconut Rice - a sweet and spicy dinner for two. Sweet pineapple salsa compliments a jerk scallop full of flavor in a dinner that comes together quickly.

Like so many other couples, my husband and I rarely eat out on Valentine’s Day. And since having kids? We rarely get to go out around Valentine’s Day. Instead, we try to celebrate with a special dinner at home. Sometime’s it’s something that’s a little more expensive, something it’s something that’s more time consuming to make than usual, or something it’s just something that I know my husband will love.

This dinner meets two of those criteria. Scallops are something that my husband enjoys immensely but that I don’t make super frequently. They’re a bit pricey and since having kids, I haven’t quite been as excited about seafood as I used to be. Plus, it is one of those proteins that I’m always (inexplicably) nervous about undercooking. #Paranoia

So for this Valentine’s Day, I paired some of my husband’s favorites for a quick but killer meal. Spicy scallops are topped with a sweet pineapple salsa and a rice, flavored ever so slightly of coconut. He was in heaven.

Sweet pineapple salsa compliments spicy jerk scallops in a dinner for 2 that comes together in 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes:

  • My husband has a big appetite, so this recipe serves two in our house. Depending on your appetites, you may want to adjust the amount of scallops.
  • This pineapple salsa is mild, with no jalapeno. It was a perfectly sweet pairing for us, since the scallops have a good bit of kick, but feel free to add a jalapeno (minced, seeds included or removed per your preferences) if you’d like this dish even spicier.
  • Although the recipes is for searing on the stove top, the scallops can be grilled as well.

Jerk Scallops with Pineapple Salsa over Coconut Rice 

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 2-3

Ingredients for the Pineapple Salsa: 

    • 1 c. pineapple, small dice
    • 3 Tbs. red onion, minced
    • 2 Tbs. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

Ingredients for the Coconut Rice:

  • 1 c. jasmine rice
  • 3/4 c. coconut milk
  • 3/4 c. water

Ingredients for the Scallops:

  • 3 Tbs. jerk seasoning
  • 3/4 lb. sea scallops (8 scallops)
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Make the Salsa: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until serving.

Make the Rice: Bring coconut milk  and water to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, or until rice is cooked through. Turn off stove and allow to stand for a few minutes.

While the rice is cooking, rinse scallops and pat dry.

Heat a heavy, cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, add oil.

Place jerk seasoning on a plate. Coat scallops with seasoning on top, bottom and sides. Place in hot skillet. Sear for 2 minutes per side. If needed, lower heat and continue to cook until scallops are cooked throughout.

Serve scallops hot, over rice. Top with pineapple salsa.

Looking for more recipes designed to serve two? Check out the links from my friends below, or search #RecipesForTwo on social media for a visual tour of some amazing dishes.

Savory

Sweet