Black bean pasta with beans -- a delicious healthy weeknight dinner. Vegan and gluten free!

Black Bean Pasta with Peas

This month’s Recipe Redux is fun for me because it’s something I write about all the time — getting back to the dinner table.

Show us your favorite recipe to help families get ‘back to the dinner table.’ It might be a favorite family recipe from your childhood that you’ve ReDuxed…or a current family favorite. Let’s all gather back at the table!

Most of my meals are healthier renditions of childhood favorites, so this was a cinch.

Black bean pasta with beans -- a delicious healthy weeknight dinner. Vegan and gluten free!

I chose pasta with peas, or as my mom would call it pasta e piselli. If this dish doesn’t bring me back to the table, nothing will. I’ve been enjoying this super simple dinner for as long as I can remember, and it never disappoints. Usually made with white pasta, I health’d it up a bit using my favorite Explore Asian black bean noodles. I love the contrast of color and nutty flavor the black bean pasta adds.

Black bean pasta with beans -- a delicious healthy weeknight dinner. Vegan and gluten free!

As I’m sure is the case in any Italian family, this dish dates back well beyond my own childhood. My grandmother made pasta with peas for my mother when she was a kid, too. It was a classic Friday night go-to meal made with budget-friendly pantry ingredients!

For more delicious ways to bring your family back to the table, click the little blue box under the recipe below, and you will find a ton of healthy and delicious meals to pin for later.

Buon Appetito!

Black Bean Pasta with Peas

Black Bean Pasta with Peas


  • 1 lb Explore Asian Black Bean Pasta
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bag frozen peas (canned peas work, too)
  • Sea salt and pepper


  1. Saute onions in olive oil on med-low heat until translucent.
  2. Add peas, herbs, salt and pepper and continue cooking until peas are tender.
  3. While peas are cooking, bring pasta to a boil in salted water and cook until al dente.
  4. When pasta is ready, drain noodles (reserve some extra pasta water for the sauce).
  5. Toss the peas with the pasta, adding a little of the pasta water, if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Black bean pasta with beans -- a delicious healthy weeknight dinner. Vegan and gluten free!



fall clean eating detox program

crispy cauliflower topped with tahini sauce and chopped fresh mintA side dish everyone will be fighting over! Oven roasted, crispy cauliflower with tahini lemon sauce. @danielleomar

Crispy Cauliflower with Lemon, Tahini, Garlic & Mint

Crispy cauliflower topped with tahini sauce and chopped fresh mint. A side dish everyone will be fighting over! via @danielleomar

Last weekend I celebrated a friend’s almost 40th birthday at a restaurant here in DC called Proof. Although the food was decent, the best thing we ate that night was a fun cauliflower side dish. It was a crispy cauliflower tossed in a delicious Tahini sauce. I could have just eaten a few bowls of that dish and nothing else.  I think we all could have.  It was that good.

crispy cauliflower topped with tahini sauce and chopped fresh mintA side dish everyone will be fighting over! Oven roasted, crispy cauliflower with tahini lemon sauce. @danielleomar

This restaurant has been around a while and after a quick internet search, I discovered it is known for this popular lebanese-inspired cauliflower side. My girlfriends and I were clueless; we had no idea we had stumbled upon the restaurant’s signature dish. I decided to try and recreate the deliciousness for our next supper club dinner and I got busy testing.

crispy fried cauliflower topped with tahini sauce and chopped fresh mint.

The original recipe is fried but I wasn’t about to fry mine. Not for anything, but I really didn’t want to spatter oil all over my freshly-cleaned stove top. I went for the roast. I tossed the chopped cauliflower pieces in olive oil, spices, and panko bread crumbs, hoping to get that “fried” feeling. Once roasted, I poured on the tahini dressing and gave it a gentle stir. I finished it off with a sprinkle of fresh chopped mint. Do not skip this step, the mint is really what gives this dish a punch of flavor. It was pretty simple to make and so tasty. It was so good that after I took these lovely photographs I ate the whole bowl. Yes, I ate an entire cauliflower myself. For lunch. It happens.

Here’s how you can make it happen, too.

Crispy Cauliflower with Lemon, Tahini, Garlic & Mint

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Crispy Cauliflower with Lemon, Tahini, Garlic & Mint


  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • For the Tahini Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (I use Gourmet Garden)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint


  1. Heat your oven to 425. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, garlic and onion powder and salt. Shake the bowl or stir well. Then add panko bread crumbs and stir or shake again. Pour cauliflower into sheet pan and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring 2-3 times while cooking.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more water if too thick. When cauliflower is done, gently toss with the dressing and sprinkle with chopped mint before serving.


Formula Meal: no-bake energy balls are a favorite snack! healthy, gluten free and no added sugars! Learn how to make them yourself in a few easy steps! @danielleomar

Formula Meals: No-Bake Energy Balls

Formula Meal: no-bake energy balls are a favorite snack!  healthy, gluten free and no added sugars! Learn how to make them yourself in a few easy steps! @danielleomar

I was fixing up a batch of my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough energy balls last week and realized that this is a formula recipe! If you’re new around here, a Formula Meal is basically a dish that you can whip up using a specific formula each time, switching out the ingredients to create new and delicious flavors.

No-bake energy balls, bites, bars — whatever you want to call them — are great for a variety of circumstances: morning or afternoon snack, grab-n-go breakfast, post-workout or pre-run fuel, and even dessert if you get fancy with them. My no-bake energy balls are all nut-based, so if nuts are not your thing you are out of luck. They are also gluten-free and dairy free. I have seen energy ball recipes online where honey, agave, or maple sugar is added, but my no-bake balls do not contain added sugars.

There is one catch to making my no-bake bites, you need a food processor. I know for some people the food processor can be very intimidating, but it’s really very simple to use. Food processors run from $60-$200. If you don’t think you’re going to use the food processor very much you could get a mini one for about $30. I like this one.

I use my food processor all the time! Not just for my no-bake energy balls, but for slicing, dicing, and shredding vegetables (I hate to chop onions). I also use use it to make applesauce, hummus, nut butters, and a ton of other things. Most come with a few different blade options that you can use in a lot of different ways. This is the machine I have.

Now let’s get busy making some energy balls! Below are my favorite ingredient tips and a simple formula that will make you an energy ball pro in no time.

What’s the Formula?

2 parts dried fruit:  the dried fruit is going to play an important role in your balls because it helps to keep them sticky, which allows them to stay together when forming the balls. I always use Medjool dates because they are delicious, soft, and moist. The pitted dates in a bag at the grocery store are definitely not as moist as Medjool dates, so you will have to soak them in water first to soften them. I use about 10 dates to make one batch of balls.  Other dried fruits you can use are figs, cherries, cranberries, and apricots!

2 parts nuts: here’s where you can get as creative as you want. I always use raw nuts.  Raw cashews are a secret weapon for giving that cookie dough flavor.  Almonds are always a go-to, peanuts, macadamia, walnuts, pecans, even pistachios are good. You can combine a few different nuts or go with one for a very consistent flavor. Like for cashew lemon balls, you would go straight cashew. If you want a more complex flavor, mix them up. I usually do 1/2 cup total nuts.

1 part nut butter: the nut butter is for keeping the balls together. Natural almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, and sunflower butter are great choices. I usually use about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons.  If you don’t want to add nut butter you could substitute with coconut butter/oil.

1 part spice: adding spice can give your balls some complex flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, lemon or orange zest, sea salt, vanilla powder/extract, ground ginger, cardamom, and pumpkin pie spice are all fun!

1 part seed: seeds can add some fiber, protein and healthy fats to the balls. Options include ground flaxseed, chia seed, or hemp seed. You can also use sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, too! I usually add in 1/4 cup.

1 part flavor (optional):  the flavor can be any combination of add-ins. I usually use about 1/4 cup. These are a few of my favorites:

  • raw oats
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • cacao nibs or powder for chocolate
  • matcha tea powder
  • freeze-dried fruit (apples, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
  • extracts (mint, almond, hazelnut, etc.)
  • frozen wild blueberries
  • rice krispies
  • pretzels

1 part protein (optional): protein add-ins include protein powder, hemp seeds, or spirulina powder, and even cooked quinoa.

If soaking dates or making a paste, do this first. Then add dates to food processor and pulse until chopped up pretty well. Then add nuts and nut butter and process again. Finally, throw in your extra add ins and pulse until well combined and mixture looks like sand. You know they are ready when you squeeze the “dough” with your fingers and it sticks together. Then just roll the mixture into balls. Once you have your balls you can also roll them in cocoa powder, shredded coconut, or anything you want!

Below is some inspiration to get you started:

Chocolate Lemon Energy Balls



No-Bake Fig Newtons

no-bake fig newton balls


Cranberry Macadamia Nut Squares

Cranberry Macadamia Nut Energy Bars


Gingerbread Hemp Balls

gingerbread hemp bites


Lemon Apple Cocoroons

No-bake lemon apple cocoroons



fall clean eating detox program