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Garden Salad

 Everyone needs a quick go-to Garden Salad that will pair with just about anything — and this is that recipe! Toss Romaine lettuce and fresh veggies with a simple vinaigrette that takes mere minutes to whip together.

This post shares how you can customize this salad based on personal preferences or what you’re serving it alongside.

Overhead image of the Garden Salad in a bowl

A Garden Salad Recipe Should Be Simple!

A  salad is typically my go-to as a side dish for just about anything — from grilled chicken to ground beef stroganoff to a flat iron steak — a big bowl of greens and veggies with a light vinaigrette rounds things out nicely. And it especially rounds out heartier meat-heavy dishes well.

Since a Garden Salad often accompanies the main course or larger meal, we believe that salad should be simple and quick to whip together. This recipe is just that — it’s fast and easy to make with minimal prep time. This light and subtle vinaigrette dressing doesn’t overpower ingredients and pairs well with whatever is being served as the main course.

What’s in Garden Salad?

When throwing together a quick Garden Salad, the list below has my usual go-to options. Of course, you don’t need all of these ingredients and alternatively, you can always add more. The idea of this salad is to be quick and easy so if you’re only throwing in a couple of veggies, that’s great too!

  • Tomatoes: Nothing beats garden-fresh, but any tomato will work here! If tomatoes aren’t in season, try using cherry tomatoes, which grow well in greenhouses even in the depths of cold weather! Because of their size, they have less water so you’ll have a more concentrated tomato flavor.
  • Cucumbers: Nothing beats the crispness and flavor of English or Persian (sometimes called “salad cucumbers”) cucumbers.
  • Carrot: We like to quickly grate a big carrot on the large holes of a cheese grater. Alternatively, you could thinly slice (using a sharp chef’s knife or mandolin) or peel into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. And you can pick up pre-shredded carrots at most grocery stores, as well.
  • Avocado: A perfectly ripe avocado adds an amazing creaminess to the salad! 
  • Red onion: If you’re sensitive to the flavor of raw red onion, soak the diced onions in salted ice water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly before adding to the salad.
  • Croutons: If you love some crunch, croutons are the way to go! And if you’re feeling super ambitious, try making your own ahead of time — few things beat homemade croutons in my book!

Process shots-- images of the dressing being made and the salad being assembled

VARIATIONS

Garden Salad Variations

There are practically endless ways to make a Garden Salad; here are ideas for ways to customize your salad:

Add raw veggies: Add fresh, sweet corn cut off the cob, thinly sliced baby Bella mushrooms, sugar snap peas, diced bell peppers, thinly sliced radishes, snow peas, edamame, fully thawed frozen sweet peas.

Or add roasted vegetables: We love adding leftover or freshly roasted (and cooled) veggies to Garden Salads too (it might sound strange, but it’s delicious!) — cubed roasted beets, cubed roasted butternut squash, roasted green beans (give ‘em a coarse chop first), roasted broccoli (again, coarse chop here), roasted sweet potatoes, and roasted carrots.

Add fresh herbs: Adding a handful of fresh herbs adds such a nice dimension of flavor to a simple Garden Salad. Here are some of our favorites: thinly sliced green onions or chives, ribboned basil, fresh mint, fresh dill. A handful of microgreens are also nice for added flavor and texture.

Add protein: Hard-boiled eggs, diced ham, leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced cooked steak, prosciutto, cooked fish, shrimp can turn a salad into an entree.

Switch up the dressing: This vinaigrette is a very simple, all-purpose, mild dressing. If you want some more pizzazz or are looking for a different option, try one of these recipes: balsamic vinaigrette, citrus vinaigrette, lemon vinaigrette, poppy seed dressing, or honey mustard salad dressing.

Cheese is a nice finishing touch: Small cubes or grated sharp Cheddar, feta cheese, goat cheese, freshly grated Parmesan cheese — whatever you like best with veggies and greens!

 

Overhead image of the dressed and ready-to-be-eaten Garden Salad

Garden Salad FAQs

1What is a Garden Salad?

A Garden Salad is a salad served as a side dish. It is typically a type of tossed green salad made with lettuce. As the name would indicate, there are also fresh veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and carrots.

Garden Salads also may include croutons and/or cheese.

2What are the types of salads?

There are so many different types of salad recipes. Most of these salads can be categorized into three subgroups: tossed, composed, and bound.

Tossed salads are made by tossing ingredients and dressing until everything ends up evenly mixed. These types of salads include Caesar Salad, Greek Salad, or Nicoise salad. Garden Salad is a tossed salad.

Composed salads are typically carefully assembled with a certain structure in mind. Think a Cobb salad or a Wedge salad with the ingredients nicely arranged.

Bound salads are held together with an agent like a thick dressing or mayo — they’re salads you’d find at a picnic or potluck like chicken salad, Watergate salad, or Ambrosia Salad

3Is a garden Salad Healthy?

Yes! Salad greens contain vitamins and minerals, plus they are a great choice in a healthful diet because they are naturally low in calories and sodium. The only catch is the optional ingredients. You can really rack up calories and carbs with some of the add-ins if you’re not careful.

4How do you spice up a Garden Salad?

You can add all sorts of interesting tastes and textures to a Garden Salad.

  • Add something crunchy: Think croutons, toasted nuts or seeds, or tortilla strips.
  • Play with texture: Combine creamy ingredients (like avocado) with crisp ingredients (like bell peppers).
  • Add in cooked and cooled grains like quinoa, farro, wild rice, etc.

5What are the three keys to a quality salad?

Keep these qualities in mind for  a top-notch salad:

  1. Use fresh ingredients — Good quality, fresh salad components make all the difference in a salad!
  2. Choose ingredients that mesh together nicely — We want different textures and flavors that complement and blend together well — tang from an onion, creaminess from the avocado, crispness from cucumber, juiciness from tomato, and sweetness from carrots. All these ingredients interplay to make a harmonious-tasting salad.
  3. Give it some eye appeal — We eat with our eyes first! Make sure the salad looks appealing with bright, fresh, and vibrant ingredients.

Up-close overhead image of the Garden Salad

STORAGE

Garden Salad Storage

As with most salads, Garden Salads don’t sit or store well after being dressed. The salad should be eaten soon after being assembled; otherwise, the dressing wilts the greens, and the ingredients soften. You can easily halve this recipe so you don’t have any leftovers. 

To make ahead: Prepare everything, but store ingredients separately in the fridge. You can make the dressing up to a week in advance. Simply store in a glass jar and thoroughly whisk (or shake) to recombine before adding to the salad. Assemble and toss everything together right before eating.

Don’t be alarmed if the dressing separates or forms clumps. It’s just the olive oil solidifying, which it does at cold temps. Take the vinaigrette out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes or so before you need it and let it return to temperature. Then shake it up to remix.

More simple salad recipes

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Garden Salad

5 from 4 votes
Everyone needs a quick go-to Garden Salad that pairs with just about anything -- and this is that recipe! Toss romaine lettuce and fresh veggies with a simple vinaigrette that takes mere minutes to whip together.
Print Recipe

Garden Salad

5 from 4 votes
Everyone needs a quick go-to Garden Salad that pairs with just about anything -- and this is that recipe! Toss romaine lettuce and fresh veggies with a simple vinaigrette that takes mere minutes to whip together.
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword Garden Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 -6 as a side
Calories 168kcal
Cost $5.62

Ingredients

Salad

  • 7 cups chopped Romaine lettuce Note 1
  • 1 cup cucumbers, cut in half moons Note 2
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion optional
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot Note 3
  • Optional: 1 large ripe avocado, 1 cup croutons, Cheese to taste (like feta, goat, sharp Cheddar, or Parmesan)

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (~1 clove)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot, optional
  • Fine sea salt and cracked pepper

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I add 1/4 teaspoon each.) Cover and shake the jar until ingredients are well combined. Use a spoon if needed to stir up settling honey.
  • SALAD ASSEMBLY: Add completely dried chopped lettuce to a large bowl (Note 1). Top with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and grated carrot. If enjoying immediately (Read instruction #3 first) also add in the avocado, croutons, and cheese (if using). Drizzle dressing over salad. (We like it all, but you may want less depending on how dressed you like your salads.) Toss, season salad to taste with salt and pepper if needed, and enjoy immediately!
  • STORAGE: This salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing, croutons, and avocado mixed into it. If you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad at one sitting, toss and add dressing, avocado, and croutons only to the lettuce you’ll be eating right now. The salad dressing can be made in advance and will stay fresh for 3-6 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to thoroughly mix/shake the dressing again before using. If the dressing separates or forms clumps, it’s just the olive oil solidifying, which it does at cold temps. Take the vinaigrette out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes or so before you need it and bring it back up to temperature. Then shake it up to remix.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Lettuce: Chop, wash, and thoroughly dry the Romaine lettuce before tossing it with the dressing. (We love using a salad spinner!) If the lettuce is at all wet from being washed, it will water down the dressing and the salad won't be as pleasant. If time permits, chill the washed (and dried) lettuce and salad dressing and keep refrigerated until you're ready to assemble.
Note 2: Cucumber: We love using crisp and flavorful cucumbers like English cucumber or Persian (sometimes labeled salad cucumbers) cucumbers.
Note 3: Carrot: This is about 1 large carrot. We like to grate it on the large holes of a cheese grater.
Nutrition information doesn't include optional toppings. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 415mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10044IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Cashew Ice Cream

The creamiest Cashew Ice Cream made without any dairy or refined sugars! You won’t believe how deliciously indulgent and sweet this ice cream tastes with such great ingredients — plus only three required ingredients and no ice cream maker needed!

Try some of our other favorite nutritious desserts like our Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, Healthy Banana Muffins, or Healthy No-Bake Cookies.

Cashew Ice Cream in a bowl

Is Cashew Ice Cream Good?

I get it — no dairy and no refined sugars…can this actually taste good?! I’m here to tell you: a resounding yes! It is luxuriously creamy and deeply flavorful with amazing richness and subtle notes of vanilla.

When I gave this ice cream to some friends to try out, they didn’t even know it was made with nutritious ingredients, let alone vegan and dairy-free! Truly, if you love cashews and coconut, you are going to be obsessed with this Cashew Ice Cream recipe.

My husband will eat dairy-filled ice cream occasionally but it never sits well with him. So after trying just about every vegan cashew ice cream (and paying a pretty penny for it), I thought, why not make my own! And we think this is the best Cashew Ice Cream — so much better than store bought! So instead of looking up where to buy cashew milk ice cream, give this homemade version a try! 

QUICK TIP

This isn’t the only super-healthy ice cream we’ve developed.  Remember when we made this Healthy Ice Cream using sweet potato and it was met with rave reviews?! Truly — delicious desserts can start in humbling places!

Process shots: soften cashews in boiling water; add coconut milk and nuts to the blender.

What Is Cashew Ice Cream Made Of?

This recipe contains three integral ingredients and two optional flavor enhancers. Let’s break it all down:

  • Cashews are the base of this ice cream — not only do they add flavor, but they’re also integral to thickening the ice cream. Use whole cashews without added ingredients.
  • Coconut cream is what we prefer to use in this recipe, but coconut milk will also work. See “quick tip” box below for more information.
  • Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener (unlike corn syrup or pancake syrup) made from the sap of a maple tree which gets boiled down to a thicker consistency. Maple syrup is just one ingredient and all natural — the perfect way to sweeten this Cashew Ice Cream recipe!
  • (Optional) Fine sea salt helps intensify flavors and balance all the ingredients nicely.
  • (Optional) Vanilla extract adds a nice flavor complexity.

QUICK TIP

What’s the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream? They’re made from the same ingredients (coconut and water), but coconut cream has a higher fat content than coconut milk (more coconut, less water) so it is richer and thicker. The two taste very similar, so it’s more about consistency. We want a rich and creamy ice cream which is why we use coconut cream. If using coconut milk, be sure to use full-fat. Lite coconut milk will yield a thinner and icier dessert.

Process shots: Add maple syrup, vanilla and salt to the blender; blend until smooth; pour into ice cube trays

How To Make Cashew Ice Cream

  • Soften the cashews. To ensure the cashews will blend smoothly, we need to soften them first. You can do this one of three ways: soak overnight, cover in boiling water and soak, or boil in water. 
  • Blend. Once the cashews are softened, add them to the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Give it a whirl and it’s time to freeze!
  • Freeze. You can chill this mixture and then add it to an ice cream maker to freeze per the maker’s instructions OR try my foolproof method using ice cube trays instead of an ice cream maker! Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Once solid, pop ’em out and put them back into the blender. Blend to the perfect ice cream consistency!

Process shots of cashew ice cream: Freeze mixture until solid; add frozen mixture to the blender; blend to a soft-serve consistency; scoop and serve

Tools Needed

  • Powerful blender OR food processor. (We use a Blend-tec®). It’s imperative the blender can handle the cashews without overheating. You’ll also need a lot of power to break down the ice cream “cubes” into smooth and creamy ice cream without making it watery.
  • Ice cream maker OR ice cube trays. Here’s the ice cream maker I use and love, but you can make Cashew Ice Cream without an ice cream maker by using ice cube trays. We freeze the mixture in the trays then blend those cubes into smooth and creamy ice cream!

QUICK TIP

Be sure to thoroughly blend the ice cream mixture to ensure cashews are fully broken down and completely smooth. With a high-powered blender, this goes quickly, but with a less powerful blender, you may need to blend the mixture a few times to ensure the mixture is nice and smooth.

Cashew Ice Cream FAQs

1Is Cashew Ice Cream healthy?

Health will vary from person to person, but if you’re looking for a dairy-free, vegan, and refined-sugar-free recipe, this cashew ice cream recipe ticks off all those boxes!

Ice cream made with cashews tends to be lower in saturated fat and calories than dairy-based ice cream.

 

2Is Cashew Milk Ice Cream bad for you?

One concern with dairy-free ice cream is the amount of saturated fat found in coconut cream. If you are concerned about this, try using coconut milk instead!

3What does cashew cream taste lLike?

We make our own cashew cream in this recipe by blending softened cashews with coconut cream. The result is a rich and creamy consistency with buttery notes and a hint of savoriness among the sweetness. If you love cashews and you love coconut, you are going to be obsessed with this ice cream!

4Why is vegan ice cream so expensive?

Besides a smaller consumer base for vegan ice cream than the dairy-based alternatives, the ingredients are more costly as well.

While the ingredients to make this ice cream are certainly costly, if you break down the yield amount of all the ingredients compared to a store-bought cashew ice cream, it’s definitely cheaper to make it at home! (So Delicious® Cashew Milk Ice Cream is a good reference point for cost analysis.)

5Can you make ice cream with cashew milk?

We are essentially making our own cashew milk or cashew cream by blending whole cashews so you don’t need to purchase cashew milk in addition to the cashew!

From a legal perspective, ice cream must contain certain percentages of dairy milk fat. So when we call this product ice cream, it’s in a general way,  not a legal definition way!

A bowl of Cashew Ice Cream

Leveling Up Cashew Ice Cream

  • Make a brownie ice cream sundae! Prepare a batch of our best-ever Healthy Brownies (or our sugar-laden Brownie Recipe!) and top it with a few scoops of ice cream and a generous scoop of Whipped Cream.
  • Make a salted caramel cashew ice cream recipe: (our favorite!) Add a drizzle of Caramel Sauce and sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes — delish! Or try our Healthy Caramel Sauce if you’re avoiding refined sugars.
  • Add some chocolate: We’re obsessed with this Hot Fudge Sauce and it would pair perfectly on this Cashew Ice Cream!
  • Make a cashew milkshake: Add in some milk and caramel sauce and blend to a thick milkshake consistency! (Use general quantities from this Strawberry Milkshake recipe.)

Recipe Source: Inspired and highly adapted from @katieclarimore’s TikTok page! Thanks, Katie for the idea!

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Cashew Ice Cream

5 from 1 vote
The creamiest Cashew Ice Cream made without any dairy or refined sugars! You won't believe how deliciously indulgent and sweet this ice cream tastes with such great ingredients -- plus only three required ingredients and no ice cream maker needed!
Print Recipe

Cashew Ice Cream

5 from 1 vote
The creamiest Cashew Ice Cream made without any dairy or refined sugars! You won't believe how deliciously indulgent and sweet this ice cream tastes with such great ingredients -- plus only three required ingredients and no ice cream maker needed!
Course Dessert, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword cashew ice cream, cashew milk ice cream
Prep Time 15 minutes
Freezing Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings (small servings, the ice cream is rich!)
Calories 311kcal
Cost $6.17

Equipment

  • High powered blender (Note 1)
  • Ice cube trays OR ice cream maker (Note 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (140g) whole plain cashews
  • 1 can (13.66 oz.; 403mL) coconut cream OR coconut milk (Note 3)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Note 4)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Optional: caramel sauce and Maldon sea salt flakes

Instructions

  • SOFTEN THE CASHEWS: We need to get the cashews soft before blending; a few different ways to go about this:
    *Add to a bowl and cover with water. Let stand for 6-8 hours or until soft and bloated. Thoroughly drain.
    *Place cashews in a heatproof bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over the cashews. Let stand for 30 minutes to an hour or until soft and bloated. Thoroughly drain.
    *Add cashews to a small pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes or until cashews are soft and bloated. Thoroughly drain.
  • BLEND: Meanwhile, add the entire can of coconut cream (including the liquid that may have settled) into a large and powerful blender. Add remaining ingredients and well-drained cashews. Blend on high speed until very smooth, 2-3 minutes.
  • FREEZE: Pour mixture evenly into ice cube trays (we use 2). (Reserve 1/3 cup and chill in the fridge if you don't have a high-powered blender -- Note 1). Freeze in ice cube trays for at least 8 hours.
    OR if using an ice cream maker: Chill mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes (it gets warm from blending!); then add to an ice cream maker and churn per ice cream maker instructions.
  • ENJOY: Pull out the ice cube trays and run the bottoms under hot water for about 30 seconds or until they release easily. Add ice cream cubes to a high-powered blender. (No liquid needed, unless using a lower-powered blender-- then add in the reserved 1/3 cup.) Blend the cubes into smooth and creamy ice cream. This takes a little patience -- scrape down the sides of the blender frequently and stir everything to get it all to blend evenly. Once smooth and creamy, scoop out into bowls and serve. We like it drizzled with a caramel sauce and a few sprinkles of Maldon sea salt -- delish!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: High-powered blender: (we use a Blend-tec®). It's imperative the blender can handle the cashews without overheating. You'll also need a lot of power to break down the ice cream "cubes" into smooth and creamy ice cream without making it watery. If you do not have a high-powered blender, use caution in blending the mixture to avoid overheating. You may need to blend an additional minute or 2. Additionally, if you don't have a high-powered blender, set aside 1/3 cup of the mixture to blend with the frozen ice cream ice cubes later on.
Note 2: Ice cream maker/ ice cube trays: If you use an ice cream maker, just be sure to chill the mixture before adding it to the maker. Here’s the one I use and love.  Otherwise, add the mixture to ice cube trays and blend the frozen ice cubes -- works like a charm!
Note 3: Coconut milk versus coconut cream: Both are made from the same ingredients, but coconut cream has a higher fat content than coconut milk (more coconut, less water) so it is richer and thicker. They both taste very similar, so it's more about consistency. We want rich and creamy ice cream which is why we use coconut cream. If using coconut milk, be sure to use a good brand that is full fat. Lite coconut milk will yield a thinner and icier dessert.
Note 4: Maple syrup: This is a natural sweetener (not to be confused with corn syrup or pancake syrup) made from the sap of a maple tree which gets boiled down to a thicker consistency. Maple syrup is just one ingredient and is all natural!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.3g | Protein: 5.4g | Fat: 22.3g | Sodium: 13.4mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 17.3g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Cheesy Sausage Pasta (One Pan!)

This simple Cheesy Sausage Pasta is all made in ONE baking dish — the oven does all the work! No need to pre-boil the pasta or pre-cook the sausage; just dump it all in the pan and bake.

Overhead image of the Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Cheesy Sausage Pasta made in ONE Pan

For years we’ve shared dinner recipes made in one pan, one pot, or by dumping everything in a slow cooker and forgetting about it. It doesn’t get much better than a dinner fully prepared and cooked in one vessel — less work and fewer dishes.

And today is no different. We’ve got ultra-creamy and cheesy sausage, broccoli, and pasta all baked in one dish in the oven. No need to pre-cook anything — the oven’s got your back here.

QUICK TIP

Some of your favorite recipes throughout the years that are prepared in one dish in the oven: Herb Rice, Tuna Casserole, Chicken Parmesan Pasta. Favorites prepared on a single sheet pan: One-Pan Italian Sausage and VeggiesOne-Pan Lemon Chicken and Asparagus, or this One-Pan Potatoes and Sausage. And favorites in the slow cooker: Quinoa TacosCrockpot Cowboy Casserole, or Chicken Chili. Which of these recipes have you tried?!

Process shots-- images of the pasta, flour, seasonings, garlic, butter, chicken stock, and milk all being added to the 9x13

How To Make Cheesy Sausage Pasta

  • Generously grease a 9×13-inch pan. We recommend ceramic or glass, but we have tested this recipe in a metal pan, and that works as well.
  • Dump just about everything in. Right into the dish, we add uncooked pasta, flour (to thicken), seasonings, butter, chicken stock/broth, and milk. Top with broccoli.
  • Cover and bake!
  • Add everything else in. Remove the foil and give everything a good stir. Add in the cheese and top with sausage. Finish off with another sprinkle of cheese.
  • Bake again! Bake everything once more and, if you’re feeling ambitious in the meantime, whip up a quick side dish like this Cucumber Salad or Lentil Salad.

Process shots of Cheesy Sausage Pasta-- images of the broccoli, cheese, and sausage being added and it all being mixed together

What Type Of Sausage To Use

We recommend using a fully cooked smoked sausage for this recipe. We love using hardwood smoked turkey sausage (to keep this dish on the healthier side).

You could also use chicken sausage for a lighter option. We don’t recommend using uncooked sausage; it will make the dish too greasy.

Process shots-- images of more cheese being added to the top and returning it to the oven

Cheesy Sausage Pasta Tips

  • Seasonings go a long way! There is no onion in this dish (we’re emphasizing quick prep!) so you’ll want to make sure to add the suggested seasonings and then adjust to personal preference. A few seasonings go a long way and add lots of flavor. 
  • Add freshly grated cheese. To avoid clumping, I like to freshly grate the cheese (packaged grated cheese has a cellulose coating that keeps it from melting as smoothly). Yes, this recipe is supposed to be simple, but freshly grated cheese makes a world of difference in a recipe like this one! Speed up the grating by using a food processor with a grating attachment. 
  • This one-pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta does not cook up the same in smaller pans; you’ll want a 9×13-inch pan or a dish that can comfortably fit 14-16 cups.

Images of the Cheesy Sausage Pasta fresh out of the oven

Cheesy Sausage Pasta Ingredient Notes

  • We recommend sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar for maximum flavor. A sharp white Cheddar will also work nicely
  • The better the stock, the more flavor this dish will have. We love and use Swanson® Chicken Stock (not sponsored). If using chicken broth, you may need a bit more seasoning for a more robust flavor.
  • We use and recommend whole milk. This is intended to be a creamy recipe, and the lower-fat milk choices won’t achieve the right texture. That said, you can use 1% or 2% (for a less creamy dish). Unfortunately, skim milk or a dairy milk alternative doesn’t work the same in this Cheesy Sausage Pasta.

Overhead image of Cheesy Sausage Pasta in a bowl ready to be eaten

More Recipes Using Smoked Sausage:

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Cheesy Sausage Pasta

5 from 1 vote
This simple Cheesy Sausage Pasta is all made in ONE baking dish -- the oven does all the work! No need to pre-boil the pasta or pre-cook the sausage, just dump it all in and bake.
Print Recipe

Cheesy Sausage Pasta

5 from 1 vote
This simple Cheesy Sausage Pasta is all made in ONE baking dish -- the oven does all the work! No need to pre-boil the pasta or pre-cook the sausage, just dump it all in and bake.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Cheesy Sausage Pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 773kcal
Cost $9.42

Ingredients

  • 11-14 ounces smoked sausage Note 1
  • 2-1/2 cups (8 oz.) penne or rotini pasta Note 2
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock/broth Note 3
  • 2 cups milk Note 4
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped broccoli (~1 small bunch)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, separated
  • Optional: fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  • PREP: Start by removing the milk from the fridge, measuring 2 cups, and setting it aside for now. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Coin sausage then cut coins in half.
  • COMBINE: Add the following ingredients in this order to the pan: uncooked pasta, flour (sprinkled evenly on top), seasonings (mustard, onion, and garlic powder), and salt/pepper to taste (I add 3/4 tsp of each), minced garlic, chicken broth/stock, milk, and butter (cut into 2 pieces). Stir well. Top with coarsely chopped broccoli Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • BAKE AGAIN: Remove foil, and stir ingredients together really well. Add in 1 cup Cheddar cheese and stir through again. Place the cut sausage on top of ingredients in one even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar on top. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered, and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until pasta is tender and the top is golden brown (don't overbake or sauce will bake out). Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes (it thickens more as it stands). Enjoy immediately, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sausage: I recommend using a fully cooked smoked sausage for this recipe. We love using hardwood smoked turkey sausage and have also tested chicken sausage. I don't recommend using uncooked sausage; it will make the dish overly greasy and won't cook properly. Anywhere in the range of 11-14 ounces will work great. We typically use a 13-ounce package.
Note 2: Pasta: We've tested with penne and rotini and recommend either. If using a different type of pasta, check the label to be sure the boil time is similar timing to penne/rotini (9-11 minutes)
Note 3: Chicken stock: The better the stock, the more flavor this dish will have. We love and use Swanson® Chicken Stock. If using chicken broth, you may need a bit more seasoning.
Note 4: Whole milk: Remove from the fridge, measure, and set aside before starting to cook. Room-temperature milk will heat quicker! This is intended to be a creamy recipe, and the lower-fat milk choices won't achieve the right texture. That said, you can use 1% or 2% (for a less creamy dish). Unfortunately, skim milk or a dairy milk alternative doesn't work the same in this recipe.
Note 5: Cheese: To avoid clumping, I like to freshly grate the cheese (packaged grated cheese has a cellulose coating that keeps it from melting as smoothly). Yes, this recipe is supposed to be simple, but freshly grated cheese makes a world of difference. Speed up the grating by using a food processor with a grating attachment. I recommend sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar for maximum flavor.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 773kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.4g | Protein: 33.9g | Fat: 43.1g | Cholesterol: 111.4mg | Sodium: 942.1mg | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 9.7g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup is packed to the brim with flavor and so many great ingredients — shredded chicken, tender beans, crisp corn, and tangy salsa. Throw everything into your slow cooker and forget about it — no prep required beforehand!

We also have directions for preparing this soup in a pressure cooker (Instant Pot)!

Try some of our other favorite soups with similar flavor profiles like this Healthy Chicken Tortilla SoupCrockpot White Chicken Chili, or Chicken Taco Chili.

Overhead view of Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

This chicken soup with green salsa is one of the easiest recipes to assemble — simply dump everything into a slow cooker and forget about it! No chopping veggies at all, just open up the cans and a jar of salsa verde and throw it all in!

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup is a total family favorite. Everyone loves it and each person can customize this meal to their own tastes with the toppings they add to their own bowl.

Serve this soup buffet style with topping options and let everyone fix their dinner just how they want it! In mine — loads of pepper-jack cheese, a scoop of sour cream, a diced avocado, and all the tortilla strips! 

Process shots: add trimmed chicken thighs to slow cooker; add remaining ingredients

Let’s Chat Salsa Verde

The salsa verde is arguably the most important ingredient in this salsa verde soup recipe — it’s responsible for the majority of the flavor and the spice in the soup.

  • Use a salsa verde you enjoy. You can make this soup very mild or quite spicy, depending on the salsa verde used. 
  • Of course I’m partial to homemade salsa verde, but store bought is great too!
  • Spice levels: For a mild chili, use a mild salsa verde sauce (one you know is mild or taste it first to ensure mildness). We use Herdez® Mild Salsa Verde and the kids love this soup! This particular brand of salsa verde does have a little heat, but with the creamy cool toppings, we think it’s perfect.
    • For a spicier salsa verde soup, use medium or hot salsa verde, and/or add in 1-2 tablespoons diced jalapeños. 

Process shots: stir ingredients together and cook; remove chicken and shred.

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup Notes

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are our meat of choice in this soup. The meat is extremely tender, easy to shred, and more forgiving (meat doesn’t dry out) if the soup is cooked longer. The fat in the thighs adds a nice richness to the soup.
  • Use a high-quality, flavorful stock that adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson® chicken stock — it’s our favorite! The stock makes a huge difference in the end flavor of this soup recipe.
  • Don’t leave out the cilantro and lime juice: Both add a nice flavor complexity, needed acidity, and good vibrancy.
  • To make a creamy Salsa Verde Chicken Soup, add 4 ounces of very soft cream cheese (full fat) to the pot, after pulling out the chicken to shred. Let it melt for a few minutes and then briskly whisk to incorporate. Add the chicken, lime, and cilantro back in after cream cheese is fully melted and incorporated.
  • To make this soup keto-friendly, reduce the black beans, leave out the corn, and leave off the tortilla strips.

Our Favorite Salsa Verde Soup Toppings

  • Cheese: Our favorite is pepper-jack cheese. A Mexican blend or sharp Cheddar are also great choices. Whatever cheese you use, we recommend freshly grated so it will melt nicely into the soup instead of clumping or becoming greasy– which pre-shredded cheese has a tendency of doing. 
  • Avocado: A diced fresh avocado adds a nice and healthful creaminess. We also have done scoops of guacamole, which is delicious! 
  • Fresh cilantro and/or lime juice: Both of these ingredients are added to the soup, but if you love these flavors, feel free to add a touch more to your individual bowls.
  • Fried tortilla strips or pre-packaged tortilla strips: We love a handful of tortilla strips in this soup. It makes it taste more like a salsa verde chicken tortilla soup with this addition!
  • Sour cream: Fat-free or low-fat is typically what we add (great flavor, less fat), but regular works well too. Mexican crema is also delicious in this green salsa soup.

QUICK TIP

Making your own tortilla strips is simple! Take some extra-thin corn tortillas and cut them into thin strips. Add in a single layer to hot oil (375 degrees F) and fry until golden brown, about 20-30 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper-towel-lined plate. Immediately add a light sprinkle of salt and let stand to firm and cool.

A bowl of Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

STORAGE

Salsa Verde Soup Recipe Storage

This soup (without the toppings) stores well for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat gently over medium heat on the stovetop. You’ll likely need to add in an additional splash of chicken stock to slightly thin the soup. It does thicken as it sits and is stored.

More Easy Crockpot Recipes

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Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

4.91 from 10 votes
Salsa Verde Chicken Soup is packed to the brim with flavor and so many great ingredients -- succulent shredded chicken, tender beans, crisp corn, and tangy salsa. Throw everything into your slow cooker and forget about it -- no prep required beforehand!
Print Recipe

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

4.91 from 10 votes
Salsa Verde Chicken Soup is packed to the brim with flavor and so many great ingredients -- succulent shredded chicken, tender beans, crisp corn, and tangy salsa. Throw everything into your slow cooker and forget about it -- no prep required beforehand!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Salsa Verde Chicken Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

  • 5 or 6-quart Slow Cooker OR Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts -- Note 1)
  • 3 cups (660g) chicken stock or broth (Note 2)
  • 1 cup (240g) salsa verde, (Note 3)
  • 1 can (15 oz.; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.; 432g) southwestern or fire-roasted corn, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons each: ground cumin, chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, onion powder
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Add later

  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Toppings: sour cream, additional fresh lime or cilantro, fresh avocado, pepper-jack or sharp Cheddar cheese, tortilla strips

Instructions

  • PREP: Spray a 5-6-quart slow cooker or Instant Pot insert with nonstick spray.
  • ADD TO CROCKPOT: Trim the fat from chicken thighs or breasts (if using breasts, cut each breast into 3-4 pieces). Add to slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients up until the "Add later" ingredients. Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper). Stir and cook on high for 3-5 hours or low for 5-7 hours or until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily.
  • OR INSTANT POT: Trim the fat from chicken thighs or breasts (if using breasts, cut each breast into 3-4 pieces). Add to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients up until the "Add later" ingredients. Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper). Stir and add the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealed and cook on manual for 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 7 minutes; then manually release the rest of the pressure.
  • FINISH SOUP: Remove chicken to a separate bowl and shred with two forks. Add shredded chicken back into the soup, along with the lime juice and cilantro. Stir through and then taste, adjusting any seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, more cumin or chili powder -- there's a bit of variance based on the salsa verde used).
  • SERVE: Ladle soup into bowls. Top soup bowls with your desired toppings - freshly grated pepper-jack or Cheddar cheese (we love lots of it!), a dollop of sour cream, extra lime, extra cilantro, a chopped avocado, and/or tortilla strips.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chicken: We definitely prefer chicken thighs --the meat is much more tender and flavorful plus it adds a nice richness to the soup. That said, breasts will work too. Cut breasts into smaller pieces so they'll cook in time. (We have only tested thighs in the instant pot.)
Note 2: Chicken stock: Chicken stock has more flavor than broth, but either will work. We love and highly recommend Swanson's chicken stock in this soup!
Note 3: Salsa verde: You can use homemade or store bought. If you're worried about heat, choose mild. We use Herdez Mild Salsa Verde and the kids love this soup! The salsa verde is a big component for flavor and the major contributor of heat, so be sure to use a tasty salsa verde with a heat level you enjoy!

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

This healthy crockpot salsa verde chicken soup is mega flavorful and takes less than 10 minutes prep! | chelseasmessyapron.com

Healthy Ice Cream

The absolute best Healthy Ice Cream made with wholesome, nutritious ingredients, and no frozen bananas! What are we using instead of bananas? Sweet Potatoes! Don’t worry — you can’t taste them! This recipe can be made dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Top this creamy chocolate ice cream with a healthy caramel sauce and finely chopped dark chocolate.

Overhead image of the Healthy Ice Cream

Healthy Ice Cream

This isn’t your typical banana “nice cream” that has taken the internet by storm. Essentially, “nice cream” is blended up frozen bananas with a few other ingredients added and labeled as healthy ice cream.

To me, those concoctions just taste like flavored bananas with a smoothie-like consistency — not a thick and creamy ice cream texture. So today we’ve got a healthy ice cream without bananas and it actually tastes like ice cream. It’s rich, creamy, and deeply chocolate-flavored. This healthy ice cream is made with natural, wholesome ingredients and free of artificial sweeteners. It’s also very easy to make — the mixture can be whipped up and loaded into the ice cream maker in a matter of minutes!

Healthy Ice Cream doesn’t have strange, specialty ingredients — there’s no need to make a trip to a health food store. Everything can easily be found at just about any grocery store. And, there are only six ingredients needed!

So if there are no bananas in this recipe, what exactly are we using? Promise you’ll stay with me here? A sweet potato. More on this below!

Process shots of the sweet potatoes being prepped and the chocolate chips being melted

Let’s start by chatting about ingredients.

Healthy Ice Cream Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoI know, this sounds crazy in an ice cream recipe, so you’ll have to trust me on this. Although you may think there would be a sweet potato flavor of some sort, none of the taste testers (and there have been a lot!) has ever been able to detect the sweet potato in this healthy ice cream. The flavor is masked behind the chocolate, but it gives the ice cream a thick and creamy base, plus loads of nutritional benefits.
  • Dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats, among other benefits. For the richest and sweetest possible ice cream, I recommend Nestle’s® 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels. For a vegan/dairy-free healthy ice cream, you’ll want to use Enjoy Life® Dark chocolate chips.
  • Coconut milk. To keep this ice cream dairy-free and vegan while ensuring it’s also very creamy, I recommend canned coconut milk. I do recommend Lite coconut milk because it has a less overwhelming flavor that makes the ice cream taste more chocolate-y instead of coco-nutty. (See “quick tip” box below).
  • Coconut sugar. To keep this ice cream on the more nutritious side, I use coconut sugar, which is a natural (not refined) sugar; you can read more about it here. If you’re okay with less-sweet ice cream, you can leave out the coconut sugar. Alternatively, replace it with brown sugar or add some liquid stevia (I’d start with 1/4 teaspoon). For sweeter ice cream, feel free to increase the amount of coconut sugar in the mix.
  • Vanilla and sea salt. These two ingredients enhance and balancing the flavors in this ice cream.

QUICK TIP

Confused about coconut milk options in the grocery store? Look for shelf-stable, unrefrigerated cans of coconut milk. You’ll find canned coconut milk on the international aisle, with Latin or Asian products. For this ice cream, I personally use Lite Thai Kitchen ®Coconut Milk.

Process shots of all the ingredients being added to the blender and being blended and added to the ice cream maker

Let’s talk more about sweet potatoes

  • Red and orange sweet potatoes are often labeled as “yams” at the grocery store, which is actually inaccurate. True yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes with thick and fibrous skin. (They’re also very hard to find in American grocery stores.)
  • There are lots of different varieties of sweet potatoes. I recommend skipping tan or purple-skinned sweet potatoes (known as the “dry” varieties) and sticking with orange or red-skinned sweet potatoes. This variety (known as “moist” varieties) is sweeter and has a creamier texture. My favorite sweet potatoes for healthy ice cream are either Red Garnet or Jewel.
  • When picking a sweet potato at the grocery store, look for firm potatoes without growths or discolorations on their skins and avoid soft potatoes.
  • This roasted sweet potatoes recipe describes sweet potato benefits in more detail. If you’d like to avoid using the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes, use the method outlined in this baked sweet potatoes recipe.

Recipe tips

  • Freeze the ice cream insert ahead of time. An ice cream insert takes a good amount of time to be thoroughly frozen, which is a requirement for the ice cream to set up — otherwise, it may never reach the consistency you’re looking for.
  • Chill the mixture. Depending on the quality of the blender used, the blender may warm up the mixture as it works to blend it all together. If this is the case, I’d recommend chilling the mixture for 30 minutes to an hour before adding it to the ice cream maker.

Healthy Ice Cream going into the freezer

Ice Cream Maker

  • For this healthy ice cream recipe, you’ll need an ice cream maker. Here’s the one I use and love. 
  • If you’re determined to try this recipe without an ice cream maker, here’s the method for that. The consistency isn’t quite the same, and it’s a lot of extra work, but you’ll arrive at a similar outcome.

QUICK TIP

In my particular ice cream maker, it takes about 25-30 minutes for this ice cream to set up. If the ice cream is still too soft for you after being churned, you can transfer the contents into an airtight container and freeze until further thickened. We typically put it through the ice cream maker and then freeze it for another 2-3 hours.

Up close image of a bowl of the Healthy Ice Cream

Can I substitute ingredients in this recipe?

Of course, you can always experiment and try any substitutions you’d like, but I likely won’t be able to tell you if your specific substitution will work out. I’ve only tested this recipe as written and can’t say how recipe substitutions will work out.

The most common question on this recipe is how to replace the chocolate chips. There is no substitute I know of that will work for chocolate chips. Cocoa powder won’t work the same in this recipe.

QUICK TIP

One substitute you can make (that we’ve tested) to boost the protein content of this ice cream is to replace the coconut milk with a Premier Protein® chocolate shake. With this addition, you may want to leave out the coconut sugar since the protein shake is fairly sweet.

Image of a bowl of Healthy Ice Cream about to be eaten

Healthy Ice Cream Dietary Concerns

  • Gluten-free: While the ingredients in this ice cream are naturally gluten-free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to verify they weren’t processed in a facility with gluten.
  • Dairy-free: Use dairy-free dark chocolate chips.
  • Vegan: Use dairy-free dark chocolate chips.
  • Vegetarian: As written, this healthy chocolate ice cream is vegetarian.

More nutritious treats

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Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream

4.92 from 12 votes
The absolute best Healthy Ice Cream made with wholesome, nutritious ingredients, and no frozen bananas! What are we using instead of bananas? Sweet potatoes! Don't worry -- you can't taste them. This recipe can be made dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
Print Recipe

Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream

4.92 from 12 votes
The absolute best Healthy Ice Cream made with wholesome, nutritious ingredients, and no frozen bananas! What are we using instead of bananas? Sweet potatoes! Don't worry -- you can't taste them. This recipe can be made dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword healthy ice cream
Prep Time 25 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 214kcal
Author Chelsea, Adapted from The Vegan 8
Cost $5.81

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (~1 pound; 500g)
  • 1 bag (10 oz.; 283g) dark chocolate chips (I use Nestle's 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels) Note 1
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1/4 cup (48g) coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1 can (13.66 oz.; 403mL) lite coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)

Instructions

  • SWEET POTATO: Wash and scrub the sweet potato. Pierce several times with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook for 5 minutes; flip and microwave for another 5 minutes or until very tender. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Meanwhile, place the bag of chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in increments of 20 seconds, stirring in between each increment for 15 seconds until smooth and melted. Add the melted chocolate to a large blender jar (use a spatula to scrape every bit of chocolate from the bowl). Add in the coconut sugar, vanilla, and sea salt.
  • SWEET POTATO CONT.: When the sweet potato is cool enough to touch, remove the skins and THOROUGHLY mash the potato with a fork. Pack into a measuring cup to get exactly 3/4 cup (180g). Add to the blender along with the canned coconut milk.
  • BLEND: Place the lid on the blender and blend on high for at least 1 minute or until ingredients are completely smooth and incorporated. If the mixture is warm, put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • CHILL: Use a spatula to scrape every bit of the mixture from the blender into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer's directions. (I have a Cuisinart and it took about 30 minutes to get to a soft-serve consistency.) Transfer and smooth into an even layer in an airtight container. Place in the freezer to continue firming up, about 2-3 hours or over-night. (We like it best the next day!)
  • NO ICE CREAM MAKER: If you don't have an ice cream maker, it will still work just a little more effort. Place the mixture in an airtight container in the freezer. Stir every half hour for 3-4 hours or until the mixture is ice cream consistency.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Use dairy-free chocolate chips if you want this ice cream to be vegan and/or dairy-free.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 6438IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

A healthy chocolate ice cream made with wholesome and natural ingredients (no added/unnatural sugars) and withOUT frozen bananas! Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free chelseasmessyapron.com

Panang Curry (With Sweet Potatoes)

This simple Panang Curry combines aromatic veggies with fragrant Panang curry paste and a combination of sweet and golden potatoes, all combined in a rich and creamy coconut base. Garnish with basil, crushed peanuts, and plenty of fresh lime juice! 

This curry is naturally vegetarian, but still has protein thanks to the peanuts and sweet peas. That said, it’s easy to add in additional protein — throw in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, prepare some tofu, or add in some chicken.

Overhead image of Panang Curry in a bowl

Panang Curry

Years ago while traveling, my husband and I had some Panang Curry in a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant (aren’t those always the best ones?!) and I have worked for years to re-create it. It was very rich with a slightly sweet and nutty sauce, loaded with veggies, and packed with both sweet and gold potatoes. 

finally feel like this recipe replicates the one we enjoyed so many years ago. It’s such a satisfying and hearty meal that even my kids love — that’s right, it’s not too spicy! There’s a touch of heat, but overall it’s balanced with a sweetness from the coconut milk. There are underlying notes of peanut and a complementary freshness from the citrus.

Process shots-- images of the oil, vegetables, and curry paste being added to a pot

Let’s Chat Panang Curry Paste

The curry paste in this recipe is the main flavor of this dish. While Panang curry paste can be a bit more tricky to find than other curry pastes, it’s essential for this recipe. 

  • Where to find it: You may find it in the international section of your grocery store, but I haven’t had much luck there. I typically buy it online or from an Asian grocery store.
  • What it tastes like: Panang curry paste will differ a bit from brand to brand but typically you’ll find the following ingredients in the paste: dried red chiles, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, sugar, salt, kaffir lime, galangal, spices (coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, bay leaves). Panang curry paste is typically sweeter with an earthier flavor.
  • What brand to use: If you have special dietary restrictions you’ll want to check the ingredients of the curry paste — a lot contain fish sauce or shrimp. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll want to make sure the brand you use is vegetarian/vegan. If you’re gluten-intolerant, check for that too — a lot of curry pastes are made without gluten. My favorite brand to use is Maesri.
  • What Panang Curry is similar to: It has a deep red color and similar ingredients to a traditional red curry, but less spicy and much sweeter than red curry. 
  • How much curry paste to use: Again, the intensity of the curry paste will vary from brand to brand. We found 2 tablespoons of Maesri curry paste (offset by the sweet coconut milk) to be perfect for kids, but my husband and I prefer 3 tablespoons for a little more heat. 

Process shots-- images of the sweet potatoes, potatoes, and coconut milk being added and simmered for this Panang Curry

Panang Curry Ingredients

There are a few ingredients worth mentioning and offering suggestions or substitutes for:

  1. Kaffir lime leaves are found in a lot of Panang curries. They add a vibrant, citrus flavor, but can be tricky to find. If you have access to some, crumple a few up and throw them in when you add in the coconut milk and remove them before serving. To get a citrusy flavor without the leaves, zest and juice a lime and mix through right before serving.
  2. Fish sauce is a common finishing ingredient in Thai curries — it adds that final seasoning and umami flavor. If you aren’t vegetarian, feel free to add some in, but since I wanted this to be a vegetarian recipe, the recipe calls for soy sauce instead. Use regular (not lite) soy sauce.
  3. Thai basil is the preferred topping for Panang Curry, but I can’t get my hands on it where I live. If you can, great — use that! If not, we enjoy regular basil on this curry.
  4. Peanut butter is another common ingredient in curry, but we prefer crushed peanuts as a topping instead. If you don’t have peanuts, mix about a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter into the curry sauce instead.
  5. Coconut milk. More on this ingredient below

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is an integral part of this recipe. It’s sweet and nicely balances the spice from the curry paste. It’s also thick and creamy which makes this curry very rich and indulgent tasting.

To mimic the thickness, sweetness, and richness of Panang Curry we enjoyed so many years ago, I created this recipe with 2 cans of coconut milk. If 2 cans are too much for you, use 1 can of coconut milk and replace the other can with 1 cup of vegetable (or chicken if you aren’t vegetarian) stock.

It can be overwhelming to navigate coconut milk in the grocery store. Look for shelf-stable, not refrigerated, cans of coconut milk. You’ll find canned coconut milk on the international aisle, with Latin or Asian products. Here’s an article outlining the best brands to use. I personally use Imperial Kitchen® since I can find it at my local grocery store and enjoy the richness of this brand. Use full-fat coconut milk for the best flavor and thickness. Lite coconut milk won’t thicken and give you the rich, full flavor that regular coconut milk will. Cream of coconut is far too sweet and coconut cream tends to be too thick (and overpoweringly coconut flavored) for this curry.

Process shots-- images of the frozen peas being added along with all the finishing flavors

Panang Curry Tips

  • Take time to sauté the curry paste. Instead of immediately dumping everything else into the pot, we want to take time to sauté the curry paste. This creates a more heightened flavor dimension.
  • In order for everything to cook in time and ensure the veggies are tender, it’s important to cut both types of potatoes very small (1/2-inch pieces). We recommend peeling the sweet potatoes, but it’s fine to leave the peels on the golden potatoes. (The peels are so delicate you won’t notice them.)
  • Salt is hugely important in helping to bring out and enhance existing flavors. Seasoning throughout the cooking process is going to bring out the most robust flavors!
  • Finishing the curry. After the curry has thickened and potatoes are tender, it’s time to really bring the flavors alive. This is where some taste testing and experimentation come on your part. Add fresh lime juice and zest, sugar, soy sauce, salt, etc. all to personal preference. The amounts of these ingredients will vary based on the curry paste and coconut milk you used and your personal taste preferences. 

Overhead image of Panang Curry in the pot

STORAGE

Panang Curry Storage

One of my favorite things about curry recipes is how well they store! Leftovers only get more and more flavorful as they sit. Store any leftover curry in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat over low heat, adding a splash of vegetable broth/stock (chicken stock if you aren’t vegetarian) as needed to thin the sauce.

Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost fully in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop.

More curry recipes

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Panang Curry

5 from 1 vote
This simple Panang Curry combines aromatic veggies with fragrant Panang curry paste and a combination of sweet and golden potatoes, all in a rich and creamy coconut base. Garnish with basil, crushed peanuts, and plenty of fresh lime juice! 
Print Recipe

Panang Curry

5 from 1 vote
This simple Panang Curry combines aromatic veggies with fragrant Panang curry paste and a combination of sweet and golden potatoes, all in a rich and creamy coconut base. Garnish with basil, crushed peanuts, and plenty of fresh lime juice! 
Course Dinner, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, Thai, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword panang curry
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 742kcal
Cost $8.95

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil works)
  • 1 cup (130g) each: finely diced red onion, red pepper, and carrot Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 cups (435g) peeled and diced sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup (150g) diced gold potatoes (or more sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons (35g) panang curry paste Note 2
  • 2 cans (13.5 oz. 400ml each) coconut milk regular (full-fat) Note 3
  • 1 cup (130g) frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce Note 4
  • 1-3 tablespoons light brown sugar (add to taste) Note 5
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice Note 6
  • Optional toppings: roasted peanuts and fresh basil Note 7
  • Serve over: cooked rice with warmed roti bread, if desired

Instructions

  • PREP: Start by prepping ingredients: dice the red onion, carrot, and bell pepper (by hand or quickly in the food processor). Mince the garlic and ginger. (I peel the ginger with a spoon or vegetable peeler first.) Peel and then chop the sweet potatoes into small bite-sized pieces (1/2-inch in size). No need to peel gold potatoes, but chop them into small pieces (1/2-inch in size). Keep the potato pieces fairly small so they’ll cook at the right time.
  • COOK: Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and red pepper and sauté for 7-10 minutes, until onions begin to turn golden. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir to coat everything with the oil. Season to taste with salt. (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt.) Lower the heat to medium and add in curry paste. Stir often for 2-3 minutes or until very fragrant. Add in the sweet and gold potatoes and stir to coat for 1 minute.
  • COOK CONT: Pour in the 2 cans of coconut milk. Stir. Scrape the bottom of the pot periodically and press all potatoes below the liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to rapidly simmer (it should be bubbling at the edges but not boiling) for 18-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The potatoes should be fork tender and curry sauce reduced; this happens at around 20-22 minutes for me. Add a splash of vegetable stock/broth or water if the sauce is reducing too quickly and potatoes aren't getting tender. (This also means you may need to lower your heat a little. Alternatively, increase the heat slightly if potatoes aren't getting tender and the sauce isn't reducing.)
  • FINISHING: Turn off the heat and stir in the peas. Add sugar (start with less-- you can always add more), soy sauce, and lime juice to the curry (feel free to adjust these three ingredients to personal preference -- adding more soy sauce for seasoning/umami flavor, more lime for a fresh flavor, and more sugar if it's too spicy). Taste and add more salt if needed-- (I'll typically add another 1/4 up to 1/2 teaspoon) flavors should be vibrant and curries typically need a lot of salt!
  • ENJOY: Remove curry from heat. If desired, serve curry over cooked rice. Garnish individual bowls with basil and coarsely chopped peanuts. I also like to serve lime wedges on the side. Serve over cooked rice with warmed roti bread. Enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Veggies: This is about 1 large red onion, 3-4 large carrots, and 1 bell pepper. Dice finely -- we want fairly small pieces.
Note 2: Curry paste: The curry paste in this recipe is the main flavor of this dish. While Panang Curry paste can be a bit trickier to find than other curry pastes, it's essential for this recipe. You may find it in the international section of your grocery store, but more likely to find it in an Asian grocery store. My favorite brand to use is Maesri. The intensity of the curry paste will vary from brand to brand. We found 2 tablespoons of Maesri curry paste (offset by the sweet coconut milk) to be perfect for kids, but my husband and I prefer 3 tablespoons for a little more heat.
Note 3: Coconut milk: To mimic the thickness, sweetness, and richness of a Panang Curry I had while traveling, I created this recipe with 2 cans of coconut milk. If 2 cans are too much for you, use 1 can coconut milk and replace the other can with 1 cup of vegetable (or chicken if you aren't vegetarian) stock. I personally use Imperial Kitchen® since I can find it often at my local grocery store and enjoy the richness of this brand. Use full-fat coconut milk for the best flavor and thickness. Lite coconut milk won’t thicken and give you the rich, full flavor that regular coconut milk will. 
Note 4: Soy sauce: Fish sauce is a common finishing ingredient in Thai curries -- it adds that final seasoning and umami flavor. If you aren't vegetarian, feel free to add some instead of the soy sauce, but since I wanted this to be a vegetarian recipe, the recipe calls for soy sauce instead. Use regular (not lite) soy sauce.
Note 5: Sugar: Add sugar to personal preference and to offset potential spiciness-- you may not even want any! Add slowly and to taste preference.
Note 6: Lime: We love lots of lime in this curry -- it adds a nice freshness. You may want more -- we often serve additional lime wedges on the side. For more citrusy flavor, you can add in lime zest too. If you happen to have Kaffir lime leaves, throw a few in (crumple them up) when you add in the coconut milk.
Note 7: Peanuts and basil: We prefer the peanuts as a topping, but if you don't have peanuts and still would like more of a peanut flavor, mix through 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter. If you have access to fresh Thai basil use that, but if not regular basil is still great!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 742kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 43g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 1680mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 38472IU | Vitamin C: 81mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 9mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Simple and DELICIOUS Lemon Garlic Shrimp with the best butter sauce! via chelseasmessyapron.com #shrimp #garlic #butter #dinner #easy #30minutes #roasted #asparagus #easy #quick #kidfriendly

This easy Lemon Garlic Shrimp is made with fresh lemon, garlic, and butter in about 20 minutes or less! This simple meal is packed with flavor and sure to become a family favorite. Overhead image of the Lemon Garlic Shrimp

A Quick And Easy Dinner Recipe

This Lemon Garlic Shrimp is one of our weeknight go-to recipes. It requires minimal ingredients, minimal time to prepare, and best of all, minimal clean-up!

The shrimp is bathed in a luxurious lemon-garlic butter sauce with plenty of extra sauce. Use the extra sauce to drizzle over the plated shrimp or mop up the leftovers with some crusty garlic bread (my personal favorite use of the extras!).

Process shots: pat shrimp dry; add seasonings; toss to coat; add butter and oil to the pan.

How To Make Lemon Garlic Shrimp

The full recipe is below, but here are some of our top tips for making this delicious recipe!

  • Use real butter. The butter is the main flavor here, so margarine isn’t going to cut it. The better the butter, the better the flavor!
  • Use real lemon. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t pack the same flavor as fresh, and lemon is one of the main flavors. Just as with the butter, don’t use substitutes.
  • Pick the right shrimp. Fresh is best, but frozen works great too. If using frozen, ensure it has fully thawed (rinse it under cold water– not warm, which will mess up the texture) before trying to cook it. You’ll also want to pat it dry a few extra times with paper towels to ensure it’s fully dry before cooking! We’ve always had the best results in this recipe with large or extra-large shrimp (see “quick tip” below). Save yourself some work (and hassle) by picking shelled, peeled, and deveined shrimp.
  • While you don’t need a lemon garlic shrimp marinade, per se, you can toss the shrimp with all the seasonings (except salt) and let it stand for 15-20 minutes to infuse a bit more flavor. Add salt right before cooking.

QUICK TIP

When you buy shrimp, the size designation isn’t standard and it’s best to use count per pound. When you see 26/30 on the packaging of frozen shrimp, for example, that means there are 26 to 30 shrimp per pound. U15 means there are under 15 shrimp per pound. The fewer shrimp per pound, the larger they are.

Process shots-- images of the shrimp being cooked and then flipped and transferred to a plate

Shrimp Cooking Tips

  • Shrimp cooks really quickly, which is part of the reason you’ll so often get over or undercooked shrimp. While you could cook shrimp for longer at lower temperatures, you won’t get that great sear (flavor!). Instead, sear the shrimp on high heat — you’ll get the most juicy and tender shrimp this way.
  • Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel — this ensures the shrimp can get a nice sear the minute it hits the pan. If the shrimp is wet, it won’t sear.
  • Use tongs. Instead of stirring the shrimp around, try placing the shrimp in the skillet with tongs, flipping with tongs, and removing with tongs. It’s a game changer for texture!
  • Remove from heat promptly. Even when you turn off the heat, the pan is still hot so lemon garlic butter shrimp will continue to cook. Working quickly, transfer them to a serving platter or immediately over a bed of pasta, quinoa, greens, etc.

QUICK TIP

Did you know that 99.9% of all seafood (including shrimp) is flash frozen right on the ship where it’s harvested? The fresh shrimp you see in the case at the store is almost always thawed from its frozen state. So, unless you know that the shrimp was caught locally and never frozen, buy frozen shrimp with confidence that it’s just as good as the ones in the fish market case.

Process shots of lemon garlic shrimp: add chicken broth to the pan; stir and reduce the sauce; add shrimp and remaining ingredients to the pan; melt butter and serve.

How To Know When Shrimp Is Cooked Through:

The crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein is removed is the thickest part of the shrimp (directly opposite end of the tail).

As soon as the flesh at that base turns from translucent to opaque, the shrimp is done cooking!

Another sign to look for: shrimp will turn pink with bright red tails.

What To Serve With Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Since the shrimp is so simple to prepare, you’ll want to keep the sides easy as well!

We love the shrimp atop a bed of quinoa (use microwave quinoa packets for ease or check out my tutorial for how to cook quinoa) with a side of roasted veggies (specifically this Roasted Asparagus or Roasted Broccoli — yum!). We also love some crusty toasted bread or garlic bread to mop up extra sauce — delish!

Other side dish ideas:

Close-up view of the most delicious Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Variations

  • Grilled Lemon garlic shrimp: Follow this tutorial to grill shrimp (using the seasonings listed in my recipe). Follow my recipe to make the lemon butter garlic sauce on the stovetop and drizzle over the grilled shrimp.
  • To make Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta with white wine, replace the chicken broth in this recipe with a dry white wine.
  • Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp: For more spice, sprinkle individual plates with red pepper flakes. Or increase the amount of cayenne pepper in the seasoning blend!
  • Healthy Lemon Garlic Shrimp: To make this a bit more nutritious, fill up the plate with healthful sides like roasted veggies. You can also opt to not drizzle any extra lemon butter sauce from the pan onto the shrimp.
  • Creamy Lemon Garlic Shrimp: To make this dish creamier, add some heavy cream and Parmesan to the skillet before adding the shrimp back in (and leave out the extra 3 tablespoons butter). Be sure to heat over low heat when adding these ingredients to avoid curdling.
  • To make Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta, prepare this recipe according to instructions, but start by boiling about 8 ounces of pasta in well-salted water. Drain and reserve a cup of pasta water. Before adding the shrimp back in the skillet, toss the cooked pasta with the garlic butter sauce and enough of the reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Add shrimp in the last 30 seconds of tossing to warm through. You’ll likely need a touch more lemon and may want to add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp on a plate with couscous and asparagus

QUICK TIP

Nothing beats garlic shrimp with lemon, so be sure to add a few extra lemon wedges to the side for serving. Enjoy!

More Easy Fish Dinners:

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp

5 from 7 votes
This easy Lemon Garlic Shrimp is made with fresh lemon, garlic, and butter in about 20 minutes or less! This simple meal is packed with flavor and sure to become a family favorite.
Print Recipe

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

5 from 7 votes
This easy Lemon Garlic Shrimp is made with fresh lemon, garlic, and butter in about 20 minutes or less! This simple meal is packed with flavor and sure to become a family favorite.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword lemon garlic shrimp
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 294kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $13.43

Ingredients

Shrimp

  • 1 pound large or extra-large shrimp Note 1
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, paprika
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Fine sea salt

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Instructions

  • SEASON: Thoroughly pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Add to a bowl with lemon pepper seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, and ground cayenne pepper if using. Gently toss to coat and set aside. Assemble the remaining ingredients for the lemon butter sauce -- cooking goes quickly!
  • COOK SHRIMP: Place a large (12-inch or bigger) skillet over high heat. Add in 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter. While the butter melts, add salt to the shrimp (I add 1/4 up to 1/2 teaspoon). Gently toss. As soon as the butter is melted, add shrimp in one even layer so shrimp is not overlapping (it will steam if the pan is too crowded). Cook for 1 minute, then use tongs to flip each shrimp over and cook on the other side for 1 more minute. Transfer cooked shrimp to a clean plate.
  • FINISH COOKING SHRIMP: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 more tablespoon butter to the pan. As soon as the butter melts, add in the remaining shrimp, cooking for 1 minute per side. Use tongs (never a spoon) to place shrimp in the pan and to flip. Transfer all the cooked shrimp to a plate.
  • LEMON BUTTER SAUCE: Back to the empty pan, add in the chicken broth/stock, and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. It should bubble up and reduce. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds to 1 min. or until mostly reduced. Reduce heat to medium-high and add all the shrimp (and accumulated juices) back to the pan. Add the last 3 tablespoons butter (cut into 1 tablespoon pieces), garlic, and lemon juice. Stir. As soon as the butter is melted, remove the skillet from the heat (shrimp should be perfectly cooked through at this point). Sprinkle on parsley and serve with additional lemon wedges if desired. Enjoy promptly!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Shrimp: Buy shrimp sized at 26/30 (26-30 shrimp per pound). Choose shelled, peeled, and deveined shrimp for convenience. If using frozen, thaw according to package directions (overnight in the fridge or in a colander in the sink with cold water running over) and thoroughly dry before using.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7g | Protein: 23.5g | Fat: 22.2g | Cholesterol: 221.2mg | Sodium: 159.7mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.5g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

 

Everything Bagel Seasoning

This Everything Bagel Seasoning is one of our all-time favorite seasoning blends — flavorsome, crackly-crunchy, and garlicky! The applications for this seasoning are nearly endless — obviously, you can add it atop homemade bagels, but it also goes great on eggs, avocado toast, or sprinkled into your favorite chicken breading!

Overhead image of Everything Bagel Seasoning mix

What Is Everything Bagel Seasoning?

Everything Bagel Seasoning (also known as Everything But the Bagel Seasoning) is a favorite seasoning blend created by David Gussin around 1980. According to Gussin, he came up with the idea after he was sweeping up leftover bagel toppings from the oven. 

And today you can find this seasoning blend at many grocery stores or even on Amazon. So, you may be asking why make your own? I love making my own seasoning blends for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s economical. Buying spices in bulk and quickly assembling them into a spice blend is far cheaper than buying a packaged spice blend. You’re paying a premium for someone else to mix it for you!
  2. You can customize it to your preference. Everyone has different taste preferences and in a blend like this one, it’s simple to emphasize some flavors over others. Amp up the amounts of your favorite spices and go lighter on others you’re less fond of. Taste, adjust, and repeat!

QUICK TIP

After you’ve gotten hooked on this Everything Bagel Seasoning recipe, try some of our other homemade seasoning recipes next like this Taco Seasoning, Fajita Seasoning, Pumpkin Pie Spice, or Apple Pie Spice.

Ingredient shot-- image of all the seasonings in this recipe

What Is In Everything Bagel Seasoning?

  • Sesame seeds. We use a combination of white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds. The nutty flavor is the perfect complement to the dried onion, garlic, and salt. If you aren’t able to find both varieties, just use just white sesame seeds. 
  • Poppyseeds. These add color, flavor, and a nice crunch!
  • Dried minced garlic. Garlic adds a deeply savory, garlicky flavor.
  • Dried minced onion. This adds a sharp, sweet, and savory onion flavor.
  • Sea salt flakes. Some blends use coarse sea salt which I find a bit overpowering. The sea salt flakes make the other flavors pop nicely without being too intense. 

QUICK TIP

Not all salts contain the same amount of sodium, so if you aren’t using the sea salt flakes, or you are sensitive to salt, you may want less salt. Add slowly and to taste. If you’ll be adding this seasoning mix to things that are already salted (like a bagel made with salt), you may want to reduce the amount of salt in the blend.

Overhead image of Everything Bagel Seasoning ingredients all in a bowl

How To Make Everything Bagel Seasoning

Making your own seasoning blend is as simple as measuring out the individual spices/seasonings and mixing them together.

QUICK TIP

The smaller spices have a tendency to fall to the bottom, be sure to give your blend a good shake or stir each time before using it.

Image of the seasonings being mixed together

How to Use Everything Bagel Seasoning 

There are practically endless uses for this seasoning blend. Here are some ideas:

Where To Buy Everything Bagel Seasoning

If you aren’t able to find the individual spices at your local grocery store to make this seasoning blend, I’d recommend purchasing them on Amazon. You can usually find the packaged seasoning blend at major grocery stores.

Overhead image of Everything Bagel Seasoning ready to be served

STORAGE

How Long Does Everything Bagel Seasoning Last?

  • Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark/dry place (like a cabinet or pantry). I like to make a big batch to store in a jar or spice containers (we love these!)
  • As long as it is stored properly, this homemade Everything Bagel Seasoning can last 6 months.

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Everything Bagel Seasoning

5 from 1 vote
This Everything Bagel Seasoning is one of our all-time favorite seasoning blends -- flavorsome, crackly-crunchy, and garlicky! The applications for this seasoning are nearly endless -- obviously, you can add it atop homemade bagels, but it also goes great on eggs, avocado toast, or sprinkled into your favorite chicken breading!
Print Recipe

Everything Bagel Seasoning

5 from 1 vote
This Everything Bagel Seasoning is one of our all-time favorite seasoning blends -- flavorsome, crackly-crunchy, and garlicky! The applications for this seasoning are nearly endless -- obviously, you can add it atop homemade bagels, but it also goes great on eggs, avocado toast, or sprinkled into your favorite chicken breading!
Course condiment, Dip, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword everything bagel seasoning
Prep Time 5 minutes
Optional: Toasting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 tablespoons
Calories 14kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (We love Maldon -- Note 1)

Instructions

  • MIX: (Read Note 1). Measure out all the spices and stir them together in a small bowl. Toast (optional -- see next step), transfer to a storage container, or add directly to the dish you're preparing.
  • (OPTIONAL) TOAST: If you'd like to boost the flavor, you can toast the seasonings. (Don't toast if you'll be adding this blend to something that will get baked; if you bake toasted seasonings they'll burn).
    To toast, add the seasoning blend to a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Stir near constantly for 3-5 minutes or until seasonings are fragrant and white sesame seeds are turning barely golden. Watch closely-- the seasonings can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds! Remove from heat, immediately pour from the skillet into a bowl, and let fully cool before adding to a storage container.
  • USE: Before using, shake the seasoning up -- the smaller spices have a tendency to fall to the bottom. Top whatever you'd like with the seasoning blend and enjoy!
  • STORAGE: Store the leftovers or full blend in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (like a cabinet or pantry). I like to store in small plastic bags or make a larger batch to store in a jar or spice containers (we love these!) As long as it is stored properly, Everything Bagel Seasoning can last 6 months up to a year.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Salt: Not all salts contain the same amount of sodium, so if you aren't using the sea salt flakes, or you are sensitive to salt, you may want less salt. Add slowly and to taste. If you'll be adding this seasoning mix to things that are already salted (like a bagel made with salt), you'll want to reduce the amount of salt in the blend.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.8g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 1.1g | Sodium: 581.7mg | Fiber: 0.3g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

 

French Dip Sandwich (Crockpot)

Each French Dip Sandwich is loaded with fall-apart tender beef topped with melty cheese in a toasted garlic-seasoned hoagie roll. The slow cooker does the work to get the meat ultra tender and the sandwiches come together quickly and easily! Dip the sandwiches in the juices leftover in the slow cooker — no extra work required!

Overhead image of the French Dip Sandwich

French Dip Sandwich

One of the most viral recipes I’ve ever shared are these French Dip Sliders — they’ve been pinned over a million times and the page has been visited by millions!

So it’s about time I shared a regular French Dip Sandwich Recipe. And I really think you guys are going to love this one! It took a few months to get it just right, but I’m happy to report these sandwiches are every bit as good as the sliders. We think these are the best slow cooker French Dip Sandwiches and I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

Process shots-- images of the beef chuck roast being prepped and then browned in a skillet

What Is A French Dip Sandwich?

Also known as a “beef dip” is a hot sandwich with thinly sliced or shredded beef. The meat is typically served on a French roll or baguette. It can be served plain or topped with cheese and onions. The sandwich is dipped in an “au jus” which is a dipping sauce made during the meat cooking process. ‘Au jus’ translated from the French simply means ‘with juice.’

What Is The Best Meat For French Dip Sandwiches? 

A beef chuck roast is by far our favorite — especially a good well-marbled roast! The beef cooks to be so tender, it literally falls apart– so we prefer shredding the meat instead of cutting it. 

QUICK TIP

Other favorite recipes where we use a beef chuck roast: Mississippi Pot Roast, Beef GyrosBeef RaguCrock Pot Roast, and this Crockpot Beef Stew.

Process shots of French dip sandwiches-- images of the roast being added to the crockpot and the onions being cooked

How To Make French Dip Sandwiches 

While a lot of slow cooker French Dip recipes add everything into the cooker without browning the meat first, I highly recommend taking the time to sear the beef and onions. This is going to result in the most flavor possible and create the tastiest pan juices (Au jus sauce). This recipe is practically a dump-and-go thing, with just that one preliminary step.

  • So we start by searing the beef until we’ve got a nice crust — we’re creating layers of flavor here!
  • Next, we quickly sauté the onions and remaining sauce ingredients so we can release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (which are where tons of flavor is hidden).
  • Transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook until the meat literally falls apart because it’s that tender!
  • Spread some softened butter on sub rolls, sprinkle the rolls with garlic powder, top with beef, and broil until toasted.
  • Serve the sandwiches with the juice from the slow cooker. Dunk and enjoy!

Process shots-- images of the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth being added to the onions and it all being transferred to the crockpot until meat is cooked through

What Is The Best Bread For French Dip Sandwiches?

White sub rolls are our go-to for French Dip sandwiches. And our “secret” flavor-enhancing tip? Spread melted butter on the rolls and then top with a light sprinkling of garlic powder — divine!

QUICK TIP

Thoroughly drain the meat before adding to the sub roll to avoid soggy sandwiches. Watch very closely as the sandwiches broil — they can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds!

Process shots of French Dip Sandwiches-- images of the meat being added to the bread and cheese being added on top

French Dip Sandwich FAQs

1What is A French Dip Sandwich?

A classic French Dip Sandwich is a hot sandwich filled with thin slices of cooked beef. The beef is topped with shredded cheese or cheese slices and the entire sandwich is broiled. The sandwich is then dipped in a flavorful sauce made from the pan juices (“Au Jus”).

2What is Au Jus sauce?

Au jus is French, meaning “with juice.” This sauce is simply the juices that come from the meat during cooking. The sauce that results from the meat in our recipe is unbelievable! It’s well-seasoned, rich, and indulgent tasting!

 

3Why is it called a French Dip Sandwich?

According to Philippe Mathieu, a restaurant founder, the sandwich was invented in 1918 when he accidentally dropped a French roll into a roasting pan filled with juices. The waiting customer said he would eat the “dipped” sandwich and so the French Dip was born!

4What's the difference between Italian Beef and French Dip?

Typically Italian Beef is coated with Italian herbs, spices, and plenty of garlic while French Dip focuses on a more savory beef flavor without Italian-inspired herbs and spices.

5Is a French Dip Sandwich healthy?

Enjoyed occasionally and in moderation with nutritious side dishes, this sandwich can be part of a healthy diet. Note that these sandwiches are typically quite high in sodium and fat.

If you wish, you can lighten the sauce from a fat perspective. Take the juice and strain it through a fat skimmer. It will remove most of the fat, but not the flavor.

Images of the sandwiches being broiled in the oven

What To Serve With French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches can taste quite indulgent and rich, especially with a well-marbled chuck roast! We like having a lighter side such as roasted veggies or a side salad. Here’s a list of great side dish options (we usually do several of these!):

Overhead image of the French Dip Sandwich with the au jus sauce

More Slow Cooker Recipes:

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French Dip Sandwich

5 from 1 vote
Each French Dip Sandwich is loaded with fall-apart tender beef topped with melty cheese in a toasted garlic-seasoned hoagie roll. The slow cooker does the work to get the meat ultra tender and the sandwiches come together quickly and easily! Dip the sandwiches in the juices leftover in the slow cooker -- no extra work required!
Print Recipe

French Dip Sandwich

5 from 1 vote
Each French Dip Sandwich is loaded with fall-apart tender beef topped with melty cheese in a toasted garlic-seasoned hoagie roll. The slow cooker does the work to get the meat ultra tender and the sandwiches come together quickly and easily! Dip the sandwiches in the juices leftover in the slow cooker -- no extra work required!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword French Dip Sandwich
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings 6 sandwiches
Calories 449kcal
Cost $17.42

Equipment

  • 5 or 6-quart slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2.5 pounds beef chuck roast (Note 1)
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 2 small yellow onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder
  • 2 teaspoons each: garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (Note 2)
  • 2 cups beef broth (Note 3)
  • 1 bay leaf, optional
  • For serving: White sub rolls, softened butter, and slices of Provolone (or shredded Gruyere) cheese, for serving (Note 4)

Instructions

  • PREP BEEF: Remove beef from packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with salt and pepper to taste. I add 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (or 1 tablespoon Kosher salt) and 1 teaspoon pepper. Gently press seasonings into the meat.
  • CHAR BEEF: Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot) over medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches above the pot, load in the beef. Brown for about 5 minutes or until you get a nice crust and it releases easily from the pan when lifted. Flip and brown for another 5 minutes. Don't skip this step. We are adding layers of flavor here. Once the beef is nicely seared with a good crust, remove it from the Dutch oven and place it in the slow cooker.
  • ONIONS: Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle in the seasonings (2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon thyme) and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Pour in the beef broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula as it bubbles. (This is where we're going to get loads of flavor.)
  • SLOW COOK: Pour all the contents of the pot into the slow cooker, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add bay leaf. Cover and cook for 7-9 hours on low or until meat is fall-apart tender. I don't recommend cooking on high, as it doesn't get nearly as tender. (But if you do, about 5-7 hours is how long it will take on high.) Pull out some butter now too so it will be nice and soft come time to make the sandwiches!
  • MAKE SANDWICHES: Use a sharp bread knife to slice sub rolls in half. Butter the insides of both pieces and lightly sprinkle with garlic powder (optional, but yum!). Place on a sheet pan and broil for 20 seconds, watching to avoid burning. Remove. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from the slow cooker (shake off excess liquid) and place it on the bottom half of the rolls. Add cheese on top. Return to the oven and broil for 30 seconds to a minute or two, until cheese is melted and tops are light golden brown. Watch very closely-- they can go from perfect to burnt in seconds! Sandwich the two sides together. Spoon out liquid from the slow cooker into bowls and serve alongside (for dipping) with the sandwiches. Enjoy promptly out of the oven.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Beef chuck roast: We've tested this recipe using anywhere from 2.5 up to 3 pounds. If you use 3 pounds you'll need a bit more salt/pepper. Grab a well-marbled chuck roast for the best flavor. 
Note 2: Worcestershire sauce: Yes, it's a lot, but adds so much flavor! Use a good Worcestershire sauce for best results; this is our favorite!
Note 3: Beef Broth: we love Swanson's beef broth. We use regular, but get the low-sodium version if you prefer. Just keep in mind, a chuck roast does need a good amount of salt!
Note 4: Cheese: We love the ultra-thin sliced Provolone cheese. Swiss is another favorite and for a truly indulgent French dip try freshly grated Gruyere cheese -- delish!
Nutrition information: Calories only take into account the beef, since the bread and cheese calories will vary! If desired, you can strain the sauce through a fat skimmer to reduce the fat content of the au jus.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 781mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 5mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

This Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup has loads of hidden veggies, tender shredded chicken, and plenty of plant-based protein in the form of quinoa and beans — it’s a powerhouse of good-for-you ingredients! Cozy up with a big bowl with your favorite tortilla soup toppings and be prepared to be completely hooked on this soup!

Love chicken tortilla soup? Us too! That’s why we’ve created a few different versions — this 20-minute stovetop Chicken Tortilla Soup and this Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Overhead image of Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup has always been a favorite in my home — especially with homemade tortilla strips; who can resist that?! Since it’s a soup we enjoy so regularly, I thought I’d put a healthful spin on it by adding a few more veggies and a superfood — quinoa! The quinoa adds a nice thickness and texture to the soup while adding loads of health benefits and plant-based protein in every bowl — score! 

QUICK TIP

This isn’t the first time we’ve added quinoa into a soup or chili, check out some of our other favorites: Crockpot Chicken Quinoa SoupHealthy Minestrone Soup, Butternut Squash Chili, or Crockpot Quinoa Chili!

Process shots-- images of the onion, garlic, jalapeño, tomato paste, and seasonings being added and sautéed together

Why Sauté First?

Yes, this is a slow cooker meal which is supposed to be quick and easy, so why do we sauté ingredients first? Sautéing is integral for the flavor and texture of this soup. And I promise it doesn’t take too much extra time — especially if you have a slow cooker with a sautéing function — you won’t even need to dirty another pot!

By sautéing the aromatics, spices, tomato paste, and tomatoes we’re sweetening those ingredients and deepening the flavors of this Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup. We’re adding layers of flavor complexity that only comes from sautéing before slow cooking!

It’s also important to sauté these ingredients to ensure the onion will be fully tender when the soup is finished. Since this soup doesn’t cook for an especially long time, the onion will be under-cooked (potentially crunchy) if not sautéed first.

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredient Notes

A few ingredients worth calling out:

  • Chicken: While chicken breasts will work, I highly recommend chicken thighs. The thigh meat becomes exceptionally tender in the slow cooker and shreds quickly and easily. It’s also more forgiving if it is cooked longer, since chicken breasts tend to dry out if they’re cooked too long.
  • Red enchilada sauce: Enchilada sauce can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. Personally, I love and recommend Old El Paso® mild red enchilada sauce (not sponsored). If you aren’t able to find this specific brand, I’d recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn’t too spicy. If you need to control the heat, add only a portion of the enchilada sauce, replacing the remaining liquid with additional chicken stock.
  • Chicken stock: A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson ® chicken stock — it’s our favorite in this recipe.

Process shots of Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup-- images of the diced tomatoes being cooked and added to the crockpot and all the other ingredients being poured into the slow cooker

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup Notes

  • Rinse the quinoa: Quinoa has a bitter saponin coating that needs to be rinsed off before use. Place it in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it well before adding to the slow cooker.
  • The longer this soup cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs. For a heartier soup, that’s great, but if you want it to remain more broth-y, stop cooking as soon as the quinoa has “popped.” 
  • Each slow cooker is a little different so the cooking time varies. Look for chicken that shreds easily, fully cooked quinoa, and tender veggies.
  • Use a big enough cooker to fit everything: I recommend a 6-quart slow cooker to fit everything nicely. Crock-pot is actually the brand name of a specific line of slow cookers, but most people use it as a generic term for any slow cooker.
  • Cook on high. Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t cook well on low. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through. 
  • Cut the chicken into thin/small chunks. Otherwise, it won’t be done at the same time as everything else. You don’t need to spend much time cutting the chicken; just quickly cut 2-inch (1-inch thick) pieces.

Process shots-- images of the dish being cooked in the crockpot

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup Toppings

Choose 2-3 of your favorites or whatever can be ready the quickest in your home! 

  • Start with tortilla strips (this is chicken tortilla soup after all!). To keep things quick and easy, grab some at the store, or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own! To keep this soup as healthy as possible, use baked or air-fried corn tortilla strips.
  • Cheese: we love adding a Mexican blend, sharp Cheddar, or Monterey-Colby Jack cheese.
  • Layer on the avocados. I like to chop an avocado and put it in the soup. The avocado adds a cooling and refreshing creaminess. Adding avocado instead of cheese is a great way to add creaminess while keeping this soup on the healthier side.
  • Drizzle on some fresh lime juice. The lime adds such a great brightness and freshness to the soup.
  • If you are a cilantro fan, load up your bowl with some finely chopped cilantro. If you aren’t a cilantro fan, just skip it!
  • Add a scoop of light sour cream. Sour cream adds creaminess to this healthy chicken tortilla soup and if you use fat-free or light sour cream you won’t be adding quite as many calories.

Process shots-- images of the chicken being removed from the slow cooker for shredding and then added back in

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup Spiciness

Using mild enchilada sauce (Old El Paso brand) and McCormick chili powder, we’d rate this soup as slightly spicy (mild plus a little). If adding toppings like cheese, sour cream, and avocado (or guac), these additions will mute the spiciness quite a bit. 

If you don’t plan on adding some of these toppings and are sensitive to spice, we’d recommend reducing or omitting the jalapeños, using diced tomatoes without green chiles, using mild enchilada sauce, and/or reducing the chili powder. You will be missing out on some flavor, but the soup will be overall milder.

Quick note: Be sure to use chili powder — not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We’re using American chili powder (I use McCormick which is very mild).

VARIATIONS

Variations

  • Want more heat? Increase the amount of jalapeños, add in a can of fire-roasted diced green chilies, use a medium or hot enchilada sauce, and/or add some cayenne pepper (starting with 1/8 teaspoon).
  • Make a homemade enchilada sauce: If you prefer, make your own to replace the store-bought can!
  • Make vegetarian: Replace the chicken with a vegetable like cubed sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
  • Change up the toppings: Changing the toppings can change the flavor of this soup quite a bit! Stirring in some cheese and/or sour cream makes it a creamier soup. 

Overhead image of the Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

STORAGE

Storage

  • Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup will continue to thicken as the quinoa expands. We still think it tastes great, but it does get thicker and thicker as it stands.
  • This soup is best eaten within 2-3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop and add a splash of chicken stock if needed. It does not freeze well; the soup continues to absorb liquid and quinoa gets bloated.

More delicious soup recipes:

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Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 from 10 votes
This Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup has loads of "hidden" veggies, tender shredded chicken, and plenty of plant-based protein in the form of quinoa and beans -- it's a powerhouse of good-for-you ingredients! Cozy up with a big bowl with your favorite tortilla soup toppings and be prepared to be completely hooked on this soup!
Print Recipe

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 from 10 votes
This Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup has loads of "hidden" veggies, tender shredded chicken, and plenty of plant-based protein in the form of quinoa and beans -- it's a powerhouse of good-for-you ingredients! Cozy up with a big bowl with your favorite tortilla soup toppings and be prepared to be completely hooked on this soup!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 329kcal
Cost $8.92

Equipment

  • 6-quart slow cooker and cooking spray

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup (125g) finely diced yellow onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon each minced garlic, finely minced jalapeño (jalapeño is optional if you like heat)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder Note 1
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1 can (10 oz.; 283g) diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Ro*Tel) Note 3
  • 1 lb (16 oz.) boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) Note 2
  • 1/2 cup (90g) quinoa, white or tri-colored, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (10 oz. 283g) mild red enchilada sauce Note 4
  • 1-1/2 cups (200g) frozen corn (or 1 can drained)
  • 1 carton (32 oz; 907g) chicken stock (or broth) (~4 cups) Note 5
  • Optional finishing touches: 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Toppings: freshly grated sharp cheese, diced ripe avocado, extra squeeze of lime, fried or baked tortilla strips or chips, sour cream, additional cilantro, etc. Note 6

Instructions

  • PREP: Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Trim the chicken of fat and cut each piece into 2-inch chunks. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
  • SOUP FLAVOR BASE: If you have the option to sauté in your slow cooker base, use that; otherwise, use a pot. Add olive oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add in onion and sauté until turning golden, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the tomato paste and the seasonings: chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Season with salt & pepper (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, but add to personal preference). Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant. Pour the entire can (don't drain) of diced tomatoes and mix, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of this mixture into the base of the slow cooker.
  • COOK: Add the remaining ingredients (except for the finishing touches and toppings) into the slow cooker. Stir well, submerge chicken below the liquid and cook on high for 2-1/2 up to 3-1/2 hours or until chicken easily shreds. (See Note 7.) Remove the chicken and transfer to a bowl. Shred the chicken with two forks and return to the slow cooker.
  • FINISHING: Add in the cilantro and lime juice, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt/pepper if desired. Serve into bowls. Add desired toppings and enjoy immediately!
  • STORAGE: This soup will continue to thicken as the quinoa expands. We still think it tastes great, but it does get thicker and thicker as it stands. This soup is best eaten within 2-3 days. Reheat over low heat on the stovetop and add a splash of chicken stock as needed. It does not freeze well; the soup continues to absorb liquid and quinoa gets overly bloated.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chili Powder: Not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We're using American chili powder (I use McCormick which is much milder).
Note 2: Chicken: While chicken breasts will work, we highly recommend chicken thighs. The thigh meat becomes exceptionally tender in the slow cooker and shreds quickly and easily. It’s also more forgiving if it is cooked longer, since chicken breasts tend to dry out if they’re cooked too long.
Note 3: Tomatoes: If you're concerned about heat, use regular diced tomatoes or regular fire-roasted tomatoes instead of tomatoes with green chiles added.
Note 4: Enchilada sauce: This can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. Personally, I love and recommend Old El Paso® mild red enchilada sauce (not sponsored). If you aren’t able to find this specific brand, I’d recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn’t too spicy.
Note 5: Chicken stock: A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson® chicken stock — it’s our favorite in this soup.
Note 6: Toppings: While this soup is tasty right out of the slow cooker, the toppings truly seal the deal, delivering an unforgettable meal, so don't skimp on these!
Note 7: Cooking time: Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t cook well on low. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through.  Each slow cooker is a little different so the cooking time varies. Look for chicken that shreds easily, quinoa that is fully cooked through, and tender veggies. The longer this soup cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs. For a heartier soup, that’s great, but if you want it to remain more broth-y, stop cooking as soon as the quinoa has “popped.” 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 819mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 4mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Simple (Dump it and forget it!) Slow Cooker Mexican Tortilla Chicken & Quinoa Soup

Avocado Toast

The best Avocado Toast recipes ever — five different ways to make this nutritious, filling, and tasty breakfast, snack, or lunch! After 5+ years of regularly enjoying Avo Toast, I’ve narrowed down my family’s top favorites and am sharing them all here.

This post breaks down all five recipes with plenty of tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about this popular breakfast recipe. No need to ask Siri for “avocado toast near me” — you can make it exactly how you like it (for a lot cheaper) in the comfort of your own home!

Avocados not quite ripe yet? Try our sweet Breakfast Toast with blueberries, honey, and banana. (It’s a Jamba Juice copycat recipe we can not get enough of at my home!)