Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

This salad is so good!!!!!! I can’t use enough exclamation marks to convey how delish it is. Picture your favorite spring veggies (which can totally be subbed out based on what you have at home), loads of fresh herbs, warm and fluffy wild rice, and an easy homemade lemon vinaigrette drizzled over top. It doesn’t get much better than that, in my opinion.

This dish is hearty enough to be a vegetarian main for lunch or dinner, or serve it with a protein of your choice, such as grilled chicken or broiled salmon. It’s great for meal prep, too! If meal prepping, I like to pack it with an extra wedge of lemon to give it a bright pop just before eating. Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

You’ll need a few cups of cooked wild rice and a boat load of veggies to make this salad. I’ve listed the ones I used for this recipe (also the ones I believe taste the best), but don’t be afraid to substitute, omit, or embellish as desired. No veggie is a bad veggie in this salad. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wild rice blend
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Shelled english peas
  • Scallions
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

That’s really it! It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but the nice part is that most of them are found in the same area of the grocery store. So, you won’t have to do a lot of searching while shopping.

Tools used to make Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

I love this dish because it uses so few tools to pull together. I love batch cooking a grain on Sunday to use throughout the week ahead, so you could easily do that here! My favorite method for cooking wild rice* is as follows: combine 1 cup wild rice blend with 2 cups water or broth in the bowl of your Instant Pot, then cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the Instant Pot naturally release the pressure and you’ll have perfectly fluffy (and hands-off) wild rice! Then, to make this a “warm” salad, I simply heat the rice over the stove or in the microwave before adding the other ingredients. You could do that, or just make your rice right before preparing the dish. Either option works.

If you cook your wild rice ahead of time, then your equipment list is literally this short:

If you cook your wild rice just before making this dish, you’ll need to add either an Instant Pot or a pot with a lid to your equipment list, as well as a dry measuring cup. Pretty simple stuff!

How to make Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

You’ll begin by cooking your rice, either in the Instant Pot or over the stove according to package directions. If using the Instant Pot, see above for my favorite method for cooking it*.

While the rice cooks, prepare the vegetables. Slice, dice, chop, mince, etc. and add it all to a bowl. To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine the juice of one lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, salt, and black pepper and whisk until emulsified.

When the rice is done, add ~2 cups cooked rice to the bowl with the prepared veggies and herbs. Add the dressing and toss thoroughly, seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or chilled!

Looking for other salad ideas?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Recipe Ingredients

1 cup dry wild rice blend

2 cups water or broth

3-5 small radishes, very thinly sliced or cut on mandoline

1 medium carrot, very thinly sliced or cut on mandoline

1 medium English cucumber, quartered then sliced

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup shelled English peas, blanched

1 cup mixed herbs, minced (I used parsley, dill, and mint- but anything works!)

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp honey

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Make the wild rice. Combine wild rice and water or broth in a pot and cook according to package instructions. If using Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, allow natural pressure release, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Prepare the vegetables. Slice radishes, carrot, cucumber, and scallions. Mince the herbs. Blanch the peas by boiling them in water until they just start to float (about 2 minutes), then drain and immediately rinse with very cold water. Add all the veggies to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make the lemon vinaigrette. Combine juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk until emulsified.
  4. Once the rice is done, add ~2 cups cooked wild rice to the mixing bowl with the prepared veggies and herbs. Pour the lemon vinaigrette all over and mix very thoroughly.
  5. Season again with salt and pepper, and enjoy warm or serve chilled later.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Orange Glazed Pork Tenderloin

I absolutely love pork, but it’s gotten a bad rap over the last few years as regenerative and sustainable meat production has grown in popularity and large-scale pork producers continue utilizing worst-practice methods of raising animals. Luckily, I’ve been able to source some delicious cuts of pork from local farms, natural markets in my area, and meat delivery services such as Butcher Box.

If you feel lost, I’d encourage you to do a quick web search of local meat purveyors in your area! Many local farmers have begun selling their products to stores in their area, so you may not have to travel far to get your hands on delicious, local, regeneratively-raised pork, perfect for making these Orange-Glazed Pork Tenderloins!

A quick glaze of fresh orange juice, honey, mustard, and loads of herbs is the perfect accompaniment to oven roasted pork. I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as I do!

Ingredients needed to make Orange Glazed Pork Tenderloin

To make this delicious pork, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the Pork

  • Pork tenderloins
  • Avocado oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh thyme
  • Ground ginger
  • Fresh garlic
  • Black pepper

For the Orange Glaze

  • Navel oranges
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard
  • Water
  • Tapioca or cornstarch
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Tools used to make Orange Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This pork recipe is easy to make and requires just a few kitchen basics. You’ll need the following items:

That’s it! In case you’re missing one of these items, I’ve linked to a few of the products I have in my own kitchen that never fail me.

How to make Orange Glazed Pork Tenderloin

I love this pork dish because you can sort of “set it and forget it,” as with most things you cook in the oven. It’s no-fuss and the glaze is delicious. You’ll start by combining a few ingredients to make a basic rub for the pork. Slather that on, add to your baking dish, and bake the pork until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the pork roasts, you’ll make the glaze. Combine all the ingredients except the orange zest into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the glaze bubbles. Turn the heat down and allow the glaze to bubble for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Remove the herb bundle and stir in the orange zest.

When the pork reaches temperature, pull it out and brush (or spoon) a layer of glaze over the pork. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, but watch it carefully- it can burn easily!

Let the pork rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing, and enjoy!

Looking for other easy main courses?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Pork Chile Verde

Harissa Chicken Thighs

Mediterranean Grilled Strip Steak

Recipe Ingredients

For the Pork

2 pork tenderloins, each about 1.25lbs (usually two come in a pack)

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 tsp salt

6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only 

½ tsp ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

Black pepper 

For the Glaze

Juice of 4 navel oranges, approximately 1 cup

Zest of 1 navel orange

¼ cup honey

2 tbsp dijon mustard

¼ cup water

1 tsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch) 

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 

3 thyme sprigs 

2 rosemary sprigs 

Salt, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the salt, fresh thyme leaves, ground ginger, minced garlic, and black pepper. Rub the pork tenderloins with the avocado oil, then evenly coat in the spice blend. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, pausing after about 15 minutes to add a layer of glaze (see below*)
  3. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients except for the orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then lower the heat and let simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened.
  4. At about 15 minutes* into the pork cooking time, remove from the oven and brush with the glaze. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. To finish, brush with one more coat of glaze and place pork under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until slightly caramelized.
  5. Let the pork rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve with additional glaze and enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe’s

Man is this recipe good. I almost cringed writing the title because I really hate the idea of “hidden veggie” anything, but I felt like the world needed to know just how versatile and nutrient-packed these SJ’s are. Whether you’re cooking for picky kiddos or just trying to add a bit more vegetables into your dinner, I’ve got you covered with this one-pan wonder of a meal.

Ingredients needed to make Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe’s

This recipe makes a large amount of SJ filling. It calls for two pounds of ground beef, plus a large portion of food-processed veggies that leaves you with enough for 6-8 servings. I created this recipe on the larger side on purpose, firstly because Jeff eats the equivalent of two adult portions in one sitting and secondly because this recipe works wonderfully for meal prep. The leftovers keep for a solid 5 days in the fridge and it’s incredibly versatile. I serve it over buns, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, scooped up with chips, or even eaten with a spoon as-is. If you don’t need this much sloppy joe action in your life, just half the recipe! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Grass-fed ground beef
  • Zucchini
  • Red bell pepper
  • Mushrooms, any variety
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Canned tomato paste
  • Maple syrup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hamburger buns, for serving

You may be wondering, can you:

  1. use ground chicken or turkey, instead? Yes! Since ground poultry is leaner than ground beef, I would add two Tbsp cooking oil per pound of meat
  2. substitute other veggies in your kitchen for the ones listed in this recipe? Yes! I have made these using cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, different varieties of mushrooms, hot peppers instead of bell peppers for extra heat, and fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Use what you have and what you like, just keep the amounts the same.
  3. omit the sweetener? Yes, but I would be aware that traditional sloppy joe’s are on the sweeter side. Omitting the sweetener will leave you with more of a chunky Italian meat sauce rather than a sweet sloppy joe flavor. You can, on the other hand, sub out the maple syrup for whatever you’ve got on hand- honey, agave nectar, or other forms of sweetener.
  4. use beef that isn’t grass-fed? Absolutely! Grass-fed is my preference for a multitude of reasons, but regular beef is just fine.

Tools used to make Hidden-Veggie Sloppy Joes

I love this meal for easy, weeknight-friendly meal prep. It comes together in one large skillet or pot, making for easy clean up. You’ll need just five pieces of equipment for this recipe, which are as follows:

How to make Hidden-Veggie Sloppy Joes

As mentioned above, this recipe can happen rather quickly, making it perfect for weeknights. It’s also very kid friendly, if that’s something you’re looking for in the kitchen. I don’t yet have kids, but I can imagine the joy on their faces while helping food process all the veggies in this recipe. Every kid loves to push the button, ya know?

You’ll start by processing all the vegetables in the food processor. You may need to work in batches, because an over-crowded food processor can lead to some veggies being pureed and some being too large. We’re looking for everything to be a nice, uniform mince that is similar in size to pieces of cooked ground beef. Once everything is processed, set it aside.

Brown the ground beef in your large skillet or pot. While the beef cooks, you can measure out the remaining ingredients.

Once the beef has browned, add the minced veggies and let everything cook together for 10-15 minutes, until all the water from the veggies has cooked out. Then, add the remaining ingredients to create the sauce. At this point, the sauce can be done after just 10 minutes. However, if you want even more developed flavor, you can let it go over very low for a few hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. If I’m making this on a lazy Sunday, I’ll often opt for the longer route, but both options taste delicious!

Serve the sloppy joe’s over whatever your heart desires. Traditionally, they’re served on hamburger buns. I’ve also been known to eat it over rice or cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, or even as-is with a spoon. Jeff loves to dip tortilla chips into the filling, like a sweeter version of chili on chips. Go for it!

Looking for other veggie-packed recipes?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

Chicken and Dumplings

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Recipe Ingredients

2lbs grass-fed ground beef

1 large zucchini, minced

2 medium carrots, minced

1 red bell pepper, minced

4oz baby bella mushrooms, minced

½ yellow onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

28oz can crushed tomatoes

6oz can tomato paste

¼ cup maple syrup

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce 

Salt and pepper, to taste

Hamburger buns, for serving (optional)

Recipe Instructions

  1. Process or very finely mince the zucchini, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Set aside. 
  2. In a very large skillet, brown the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper,
  3. Add the minced veggies and stir everything together thoroughly. Season again with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until most of the water from the vegetables has cooked out.
  4. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture come to a boil, then simmer an additional 10 minutes to let the flavors meld together. 
  5. Adjust salt and pepper as needed, and serve over hamburger buns for a traditional sloppy joe. Alternatively, serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or mashed potatoes for a fun twist. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

A Year of The Ardent Cook: Favorite Recipe Roundup

I woke up this morning to a complete shock: an annual charge had been pulled from my bank account for my domain name, which means that I’ve officially had this blog for an entire year! While the unexpected withdrawal hurt a little, I’m floored at how quickly a year has passed and how far this project of mine has come. Since The Ardent Cook’s inception, I’ve developed and shared over 100 recipes, gained hundreds of followers, failed while testing numerous recipes, and succeeded in creating a community for myself that I’m proud of. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of you as readers and followers, and I’m incredibly humbled by it all. Thank you for being here for the past year! I’m looking forward to many more together here at The Ardent Cook.

To celebrate, I’ve rounded up a list of my top 10 most favorite recipes from the past year. I hope this serves you well in your cooking endeavors, whether they be sharpening your skills in the kitchen, feeding a crowd, or serving a comforting dinner to your loved ones. Enjoy!

#10 Whipped Feta Dip

#9 Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings

#8 Blistered Green Beans with Garlic and Ginger

#7 Quick(er) Chicken Shawarma with White Sauce

#6 Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

#5 Favorite Roast Chicken

#4 Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

#3 Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

#2 Salted Raspberry-Swirled Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

#1 Brie-Stuffed Soft Pretzels with Rosemary Butter and Fig Mustard

Once again, thank you! Stay tuned for another year filled with delicious recipes for the home cook. Yum!

Miso Ginger Meatballs

Miso Ginger Meatballs are little bombs of umami flavor perfect for adding protein to any meal or serving as a delicious appetizer. Made using just 8 ingredients and baked in the air-fryer or oven, these meatballs are quick to whip up and great for meal prep, if that’s your thing. You may consider doubling the recipe if you’re feeding a larger family or adding them to lunches for the week, as this recipe makes approximately 15 meatballs.

Ingredients needed to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

As mentioned, you only need 8 ingredients to make these meatballs, and many of them are pantry staples. Here’s the list:

  • 85/15 grass-fed ground beef
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Rice vinegar
  • White miso
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Scallions (optional, for serving)

Tools used to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

To make these meatballs, you’ll really only need a few kitchen tools. The mandatory items you’ll need are as follows: cutting board, sharp knife, measuring spoons, mixing bowl, and an air fryer OR rimmed baking sheet (if using oven method). If you’d like to make your life slightly easier, I’d also recommend a #40 cookie scoop (this fits about 1 1/2 tbsp) to make sure each meatball is the same size, as well as a microplane or citrus zester for grating the garlic and ginger. Both of those items are completely optional, however. That’s all you need to make delicious meatballs in no time!

How to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

This recipe is as simple as combining all the ingredients, shaping the meatballs, and baking. It’s really that easy. No eggs, no breadcrumbs, no fuss. There is one caveat, which is that you really should use 85/15 ground beef. The fat ratio is very important to achieving juicy meatballs without adding extra ingredients, so don’t go any leaner than that ratio. I beg!

If using an air-fryer, I like to line the basket with parchment and bake the meatballs in two batches so they get nice and crispy outside while staying juicy inside. Adding all the meatballs at once would make for a crowded air-fryer and soggy, not crispy meatballs. If using the oven method, it’s helpful to line the baking sheet with parchment to minimize sticking, but you could also just spray your pan very well to avoid this issue.

Once baked, I let them cool slightly before topping with scallions (and sometimes cilantro) and devouring. They’re so delicious!

Looking for other make-ahead recipes for meal prep and beyond?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Harvest Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, and Golden Raisins

Recipe Ingredients

1lb 85/15 ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

½ inch piece ginger, minced or grated

1 tbsp soy sauce 

1 tsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp white miso

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Scallions, optional, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the air-fryer or oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the air-fryer basket or sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients except scallions in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a #40 cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop approximately 1 1/2 tbsp of the meat mixture into your hands and roll to form a meatball. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed.
  3. If air-frying, bake the meatballs in two batches. Lower the temperature on the air-fryer to 390 and cook for 9 minutes, then repeat with the second batch.
  4. If baking, add the meatballs to the prepared sheet tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches at least 155 degrees and the meatballs are beginning to brown on the outside.
  5. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired, and serve hot. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa are your new favorite way to eat buffalo chicken. Perfect for a quick dinner, party appetizer, or game-day treat, these tacos are simple to pull together and crisp up in the oven in no time. Plus, the celery salsa is unexpected in the best way. Yes, you read that right, I said celery salsa. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until I dreamed up this recipe and honestly, I was unsure of myself when I got in the kitchen to test it out. But trust me, you do NOT want to skip out on making this delicious condiment. Let’s get to making some tacos!

Ingredients needed to make Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

This recipe calls for cooked and shredded chicken, which is simple to do on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or pulled from a store-bought rotisserie chicken ahead of time. I love to make mine in the Instant Pot with a little splash of water and hot sauce then cooked on high pressure for 12 minutes. It shreds in seconds between two forks every time. Once you’ve got your cooked chicken, the recipe comes together in a snap. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Hot sauce
  • Butter
  • Coconut or brown sugar
  • Soft corn tortillas
  • Avocado oil
  • Grated/shredded cheddar cheese
  • Celery
  • Jalapeno
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Avocado
  • Salt

Tools used to make Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

When it comes to recipes, this one requires minimal tools to execute it. All you really need is a medium saucepan, two sheet trays, a knife, a cutting board, and a mixing bowl. That’s it!

How to make Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

As mentioned above, you’ll need to cook and shred 1-1.5lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast ahead of time. You could do this in the Instant Pot as described above, or simply grab yourself a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it. Either way, once you have your shredded chicken, this recipe takes less than 30 minutes to pull together.

You’ll make a simple wing sauce by combining hot sauce, butter, and either coconut or brown sugar and simmering it for a few minutes on the stove until the sugar has dissolved. Add the shredded chicken and stir to thoroughly combine.

Next, you’ll microwave some corn tortillas for about 30 seconds until they’re very pliable. Lay them flat on a sheet tray and brush each side with avocado oil, then layer on some shredded cheddar on the top half of each tortilla. Add buffalo chicken on top followed by a bit more cheese, then fold the tortillas over to create a taco. It’s helpful to flip each taco over (onto the side that you first put the cheese on) to help them stay closed, and you can also place another sheet tray on top to help them stay closed for the first few minutes of cooking. Let them bake for 10-12 minutes total, removing the top sheet tray after 3 minutes or so, then flipping over halfway through to allow the other side to crisp.

While the tacos bake, make the celery salsa. Combine the celery, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt and mix. Set aside.

Finally, you’ll top the tacos with the celery salsa and some fresh avocado and enjoy!

Looking for more easy dishes like these tacos?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Broccoli Salad with Quick Homemade Ranch

Recipe Ingredients

1- 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cooked and shredded

⅓- ½ cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s, divided

2 tbsp butter

1 ½ tbsp coconut or brown sugar

12-15 soft corn tortillas

2 tbsp avocado oil

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

5 stalks celery, finely diced 

1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

½ red onion, finely diced

¼ cup cilantro, chopped 

Juice of ½ lime

Salt

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium saucepan, combine hot sauce, butter, and coconut sugar and simmer for 3-4 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the shredded chicken and fully coat in the buffalo sauce.
  2. Microwave the corn tortillas for 20-30 seconds until very pliable. Place them on one of the sheet trays and brush both sides with avocado oil. Working only in the top semicircle of each tortilla, layer some shredded cheese, buffalo chicken, then more shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over to form a taco, and repeat until all tacos are filled and folded.
  3. If the tacos aren’t staying closed, place the second sheet tray on top of the tortillas to help them stay shut. Bake for 2 minutes, then remove the sheet tray and continue baking for an additional 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the tacos are crispy and the cheese is melted.
  4. While the tacos bake, make the celery salsa. Combine the celery, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.
  5. Let the tacos cool slightly, then serve topped with the celery salsa and fresh avocado. These tacos also taste wonderful with a side of ranch or bleu cheese dressing and extra hot sauce. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Pork Chile Verde

Pork Chile Verde is an easy and delicious way to infuse some flavor into your weekly meals. Made in either the Instant Pot or slow-braised in the oven or slow-cooker, this pork is delicious served in tacos, over nachos, alongside veggies or a crunchy salad, or as is. My own personal favorite way to eat this pork chile verde is to stir in some fresh or frozen corn, canned beans, diced zucchini, and some greens like spinach or kale for a flavorful pork stew topped with radishes and whatever cheese I’ve got on hand. It’s SO good and perfect for a cold winter meal. Read on for the recipe as well as three different methods to cook this chile verde (Instant Pot, slow-cooker, or oven)!

Ingredients needed to make Pork Chile Verde

To start this recipe, you can choose between making your own salsa verde or using a store-bought ones. Both options are great, but I will say that the homemade salsa verde is next-level. Using just a few fresh ingredients, your broiler, and a blender, you can have homemade salsa verde in under 15 minutes. It’s AMAZING. Here’s everything you’ll need:

For the salsa verde:

  • Fresh tomatillos
  • Poblano peppers
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Yellow or white onion
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro

For the pork:

Tools used to make Pork Chile Verde

Depending on which method you choose to make this chile verde, and whether you choose to make your own salsa, the tools required to execute this dish will vary. Luckily, there isn’t anything out of the ordinary required! I’ll list the tools needed if you make the recipe exactly as written, including the homemade salsa verde. Here’s the list:

For the salsa verde:

  • Rimmed sheet tray
  • High-speed blender

For the pork:

  • Sharp chef’s knife
  • Instant pot, slow cooker, or large Dutch oven with a lid
  • Tongs
  • Two forks, for shredding meat

How to make Pork Chile Verde

This recipe looks and sounds a bit more complicated than it looks. You’ll begin by preparing your vegetables to roast under the broiler. Remove the husks from your tomatillos, halve and seed the peppers, remove the skin and quarter the onion, and peel the garlic cloves and add to a sheet tray. Drizzle all over with avocado oil, then place on the top rack directly under the broiler. Let them roast approximately 10-12 minutes until the skins are charred and the vegetables have begun to release their juices and soften. Add everything to a high-speed blender with a pinch of salt and pureé until smooth.

Once you’ve made your salsa, you’ll want to prepare the pork for searing. Cut it into roughly 2-inch pieces and heat some avocado oil in your cooking vessel of choice. My preferred method is the Instant Pot for time’s sake, but using a slow cooker or Dutch oven works great as well. Be sure to see the full slow cooker instructions in the recipe below, as you’ll need to sear the meat in a different pot before adding to the slow cooker.

Sear the meat in the hot oil, working in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Once all the meat is seared, add it back to the pot and cover with the salsa verde and chicken broth. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and let it cook!

You’ll know the meat is finished when it is falling apart and easily shreds using two forks. Serve this pork inside tacos or over nachos, with added veggies for a quick stew, or scooped onto a fork and devoured as is.

Looking for other easy and flavorful protein options?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Harissa Chicken Thighs

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

Mediterranean Grilled Strip Steak

Recipe Ingredients

1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed, quartered

2 large poblano peppers, halved and seeded

2 jalapeño peppers, halved and seeded

1 yellow onion, skinned and cut into 6 wedges

4 cloves garlic, skinned

1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, packed

2.5-3 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 Tbsp avocado oil

2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp dried oregano

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh radishes, thinly sliced (optional, for serving)

Additional cilantro, for serving

Recipe Instructions

For the salsa verde

  1. Prepare vegetables as directed and add to a large rimmed sheet tray. Drizzle with avocado oil and broil on high on the top rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until skins are black and blistered and vegetables are beginning to soften and release their juices.
  2. Add to a high-speed blender with a pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings as needed to taste. Set aside. Alternatively, one 16oz jar of store-bought salsa verde may be substituted.

Instant Pot Method (preferred)

  1. Prepare pork as directed and season all over with salt. Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté function and heat avocado oil. Working in batches, sear the pork on all sides.
  2. Add all of the seared pork back into the IP and top with the salsa verde, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Close the lid and place vent to “sealing” position, then cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow for 10-15 minutes of natural pressure release, then quick release the remaining steam before opening the lid.
  3. Shred the pork using two forks. Stir in the fresh lime juice and taste the chile verde for salt and pepper, then add to taste. Top with thinly sliced radishes and cilantro, or add to tacos, nachos, a stew, or enjoy with eggs in the morning.

Slow-Cooker Method

  1. Prepare pork as directed and season all over with salt. Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the pork on all sides, working in batches as necessary to avoid crowding the pan.
  2. Transfer the seared pork to the slow-cooker and top with the salsa verde, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 2.5-4 hours. The meat is finished when it is falling apart and easily shreds using two forks.
  3. Shred the meat, then stir in the fresh lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with thinly sliced radishes and cilantro, or add to tacos, nachos, a stew, or enjoy with eggs in the morning.

Oven Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare pork as directed and season all over with salt. Heat avocado oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the pork on all sides, working in batches as necessary to avoid crowding the pan.
  2. Add all of the seared pork to the Dutch oven and top with the salsa verde, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and bake for 1.5-2.5 hours, checking periodically, until the pork is falling apart and easily shreds using two forks.
  3. Shred the meat, then stir in the fresh lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with thinly sliced radishes and cilantro, or add to tacos, nachos, a stew, or enjoy with eggs in the morning.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad is a healthy main-course salad that still feels hearty and keeps you full. Loaded with crisp veggies, salty feta, and slightly spicy harissa chicken thighs, this salad is perfect for a weeknight or busy weekend meal. To save even more time, you can buy pre-marinated harissa chicken thighs from everyone’s favorite grocer, Trader Joe’s, or try my delicious copycat recipe, available here. I love topping this salad with a quick homemade lemony herb dressing (details included in recipe), but if you aren’t in the mood to make your own, I would highly recommend a store-bought ranch.

Ingredients needed to make Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

My recipe for Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad includes some of my favorite veggies to add to a salad, but don’t let me stop you there. In my experience, the more a salad has in it, the better it gets. This would also be delicious with some halved cherry tomatoes, a different kind of cheese, fresh corn, roasted broccoli, etc. The options for customization are endless! Here’s the full list of ingredients for the salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Harissa chicken thighs (recipe here)
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Radishes (I love watermelon radishes in this salad)
  • Avocado
  • Feta cheese
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Crispy chickpeas
  • Cilantro

If you also want to make my favorite easy dressing that compliments this salad perfectly, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tahini
  • Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

This salad comes together using the most minimal of kitchen tools. All you need is a few kitchen staples and you’re ready to eat! I used the following tools to make this salad happen:

  • Large cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Large mixing bowl or serving plate
  • Small mixing bowl, optional if making homemade dressing
  • Measuring cups and spoons, optional if making homemade dressing
  • Whisk, optional if making homemade dressing
  • Air fryer, optional if making homemade crispy chickpeas

How to make Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

This dish is as simple as chopping and plating. If you plan to make your own harissa chicken thighs using my recipe, you’ll want to do that as the first step. The chicken thighs don’t take very long as they’re absolutely worth the effort, trust me!

You’ll begin by chopping everything you need for the salad, including the lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, avocado, and cilantro. Add it all to a large mixing bowl or serving plate, crumble the feta and sprinkle the pomegranate arils on top, then add the crispy chickpeas. You can make these using a simple recipe for Air Fryer crispy chickpeas, available here, or just grab a bag of them already made from the store.

To make the lemony herb dressing, combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Alternatively, you could add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender for an even smoother consistency, but I personally enjoy the texture of the chopped herbs in this dressing. Both methods are excellent and the flavor remains the same!

Slice the chicken and add it to the salad, then drizzle all over with the lemony herb dressing (or dressing of your choice)! It’s so good and the perfect hearty salad for any day of the week.

Looking for other simple, healthy recipes?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook

Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Recipe Ingredients

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

Harissa Chicken Thighs, cooked and chopped (store-bought available at Trader Joe’s, or homemade)

1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced or shredded

Handful of assorted radishes, thinly sliced 

1 avocado, quartered 

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled 

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1/2 cup crispy chickpeas (store-bought, or homemade)

1/8 cup cilantro, chopped, for serving

For the Lemony Herb Dressing

⅛ cup tahini

Juice and zest of 1 whole lemon

1 TBSP dijon mustard

⅛ cup finely chopped cilantro

3 TBSP water, or more if thinner consistency is desired

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Combine the chopped lettuce, cucumber, carrots, radishes, avocado, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl or arrange on a serving plate. Crumble the feta and scatter the pomegranate arils and crispy chickpeas on top.
  2. Make the dressing, if using. Add the tahini, lemon juice and zest, dijon mustard, cilantro, water, salt, and pepper to a small mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Slice the chicken and arrange it on top of the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately. To store in the fridge, do not dress the salad. Leftovers keep very well undressed in an airtight container, with the dressing added once you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

I absolutely love all things Chinese food, but when we transitioned to a gluten-free way of eating it ruled out a lot of take-out options. Unfortunately, soy sauce and other soy products contain wheat, and they’re hidden in a lot of dishes. I’ve learned a lot about how to balance the intricate flavors of what we consider “Chinese” cooking (and I’ve still got A LOT to learn about the legit, authentic, traditional recipes), and and I’m pretty proud of how this dish turned out. The combination of the punchy garlic and ginger paired with the sweet honey and earthy toasted sesame oil is mind blowing, plus the dish is pretty healthy! Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

All the ingredients used in this dish are ones I pull out constantly when I’m making anything Asian-inspired. If you love Asian flavors and cook them at home frequently, I would highly recommend stocking up on some of these ingredients to ensure your meals are tasting as true-to-flavor and balanced as possible! Here’s everything you’ll need:

Tools used to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

This take-out-inspired dish is wonderful because it requires very basic kitchen equipment. You’ll need the following items: a cutting board, a sharp chef’s knife, a medium pot with lid, a medium-large skillet, a pair of tongs, and a jar with lid OR a medium mixing bowl with a whisk. There are also a few optional kitchen tools that helped make this meal happen quickly, which are a microplane and a force juicer, although the dish can still be successfully made without those items.

How to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

This dish happens rather quickly, so I find it’s helpful to have most of your ingredients measured out ahead of time. You’ll begin by cutting your chicken breast into thin 1/4-1/2 inch strips and coating them in a mixture of tapioca starch (this helps our chicken get a nice crispy sear), ground ginger, ground turmeric, and garlic powder. Once your skillet is heated, sear the chicken on both sides. You may need to work in batches to do this in order to avoid crowding the pan. While the chicken sears, steam the broccoli and make the sauce.

I love to make this sauce in a mason jar with a lid so I can just dump everything and shake to mix. However, if you don’t have a mason jar, it works perfectly well to mix everything in a bowl with a whisk. Either option is perfect!

Once all the chicken has been seared, return it all to the skillet and pour in the sauce. The honey will help create a delicious, thick sauce that coats all of the pieces of chicken. You’ll let the sauce simmer with the chicken for a few minutes, toss in the steamed broccoli, and garnish with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and more sesame seeds! Serve it over rice, rice noodles, or eat it as-is. It’s so delicious!

Looking for other Asian-inspired dishes?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

Recipe Ingredients

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

2 ½ tbsp tapioca starch

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp garlic powder

2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into florets

3 tbsp avocado oil, divided (1 for searing chicken, 2 for sauce)

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

¼ cup coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

¼ cup honey

1 tbsp sriracha, more or less to taste

1 tbsp raw sesame seeds

1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

2 cloves fresh garlic, grated or finely minced

Juice of 1 lime

Cilantro, for serving

Sesame seeds, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into thin strips, each about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Combine the tapioca, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and garlic powder and coat the chicken in the mixture.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat and sear the chicken, working in batches if necessary. While the chicken sears, steam the broccoli until fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the chicken and broccoli are cooking, make the sauce. In a mason-jar with a tight fitting lid OR a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp avocado oil, sesame oil, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, sriracha, sesame seeds, fresh ginger, and fresh garlic. Shake or whisk to thoroughly combine.
  4. When the chicken is seared, return all of it to the skillet and pour in the sauce. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce with the chicken until the chicken is cooked-through and the sauce has thickened slightly, another 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.
  5. Add the steamed broccoli, then stir once more to coat everything in the sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and more sesame seeds. Serve hot over rice or rice noodles! Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Baked Goat Cheese with Herbed Orange Olives

Baked Goat Cheese with Herbed Orange Olives is a recipe that is sure to impress, plus it looks way more fancy and complicated than it actually is. Tangy goat cheese gets baked in a bath of good-quality olive oil alongside salty olives and lots of fresh herbs and citrus zest. It’s delicious scooped onto crackers to slathered onto bread.

Ingredients needed to make Baked Goat Cheese with Herbed Orange Olives

This recipe requires just a few good-quality ingredients, most of which you likely have in your pantry and fridge already. Here’s the full list:

Tools used to make Baked Goat Cheese with Herbed Orange Olives

The tools required to make this dish are next to none. You’ll need an oven-safe baking dish, measuring cups and spoons, a sharp chef’s knife, a cutting board, and a microplane or citrus zester. That’s it!

How to make Baked Goat Cheese with Herbed Orange Olives

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Before slicing your goat cheese, make sure it is very cold. It helps to stick the log into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before slicing it if you want precise rounds, however this step isn’t necessary if you don’t mind a more “broken” presentation (it still tastes delicious).

Slice the goat cheese into 7 or 8 even rounds and place them in the baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped fresh herbs, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, citrus zest, and a pinch of salt. Arrange the olives around the goat cheese, then cover the entire dish in the olive oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the oil begins to bubble just slightly around the edges and the entire dish is hot.

I love to serve this dish with crackers or fresh crusty bread for a delicious alternative to a cheese board!

Looking for other delicious appetizers?

Try these easy recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Pomegranate Goat Cheese Guacamole

Whipped Feta Dip

Turmeric Cauliflower Hummus

Recipe Ingredients

½ cup good quality olive oil

4oz log goat cheese, chilled, sliced into rounds

5-7oz mixed olives

1tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

1tsp dried oregano

¼-½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp orange zest

½ tsp lemon zest

Pinch sea salt

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice goat cheese into 7 or 8 rounds and add to the baking dish in an even layer.
  3. Sprinkle the fresh chopped herbs, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, citrus zest, and a pinch of sea salt over top of the goat cheese rounds. Arrange the olives evenly around the goat cheese.
  4. Cover the entire dish with the olive oil. It’s okay if the oil doesn’t cover the olives entirely.
  5. Bake the dish for 10-15 minutes until small bubbles begin to appear on the sides of the dish and the goat cheese is hot. Serve immediately alongside crackers or fresh bread. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.