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One of the most exciting parts of travel is immersing yourself in the local culture.  And, one of the best ways to do that is with food. Whether you are thinking about your bucket list trip or want to reminisce about a trip you’ve already taken, preparing that local flavor at home can really hit the spot.  Here in Italy, this is classic Italian street food – la piadina!

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Sugar, Spice and Everything in Between

Do you like sweet, spicy or salty? Whatever your go-to crave is, a piadina has got it covered……literally!  A piadina is a thin, rustic Italian flatbread sandwich, made of some of the most basic ingredients, which you likely always have on hand.  Originating from the Emilia Romagna region, “la piadina” is  one of the traditional regional foods in this area of northern Italy, world famous for its food and wine. I’ve spent a great deal of time in this region’s capital, Bologna. It’s where my husband grew up and where my mother-in-law and I have spent countless hours going through old family recipes.

rolling out dough for a piadina
Rolling out dough for the classic Italian street food: la piadina

Any time you visit Italy

Nowadays, any time you visit Italy, and in whichever of the 20 regions of Italy you may find yourself, you’ll find the piadina.  Venice is in Veneto, the region just north of Emilia Romagna.  When you walk into gam gam goodies, our kosher bakery/pizzeria a few doors down from GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant, you’ll often hear someone ordering a piadina. Read on to find out what what you eat in a piadina! Similar to a wrap or tortilla, you can fill a piadina with whatever suits your tastes.  Here are three of my favorite piadina fillings:

Piadina Pizza

Making a Piadina Pizza is super easy.  Choose your favorite sauce and cheese.  Then, spread them on a baked piadina.  Add seasonings like fresh basil and oregano, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Heat this open-faced piadina in an oven or in a pan on the stove top until the cheese is melted. 

Piadina with Chocolate and Fresh Strawberries 

Whether you choose white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate, you can’t go wrong.  You can use a ready make creamy chocolate spread or make your own. My Best Ever Chocolate Mousse is perfect for this.  You can get that recipe here: https://rebbetzinunplugged.com/best-ever-chocolate-mousse/

Using a large spoon or spatula, spread a generous portion of chocolate on a piadina. Then add fresh cut strawberries on top. Like the piadina pizza, this can be eaten open-faced, or folded in half.  Feel free to add a mix of fruits, such as peaches, forest berries, pear or whichever are the seasonal fruits in your area. 

Veggie Piadina

If you want to step up your vegetable intake, the Veggie Piadina is a delicious way!  Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Then, in a sauté pan, cook your favorite combination of vegetables, such as red & yellow pepper strips, zucchini, Roma tomato halves, mushrooms, onions, carrot ribbons or eggplant.

Load your veggies in a horizontal line on the piadina, add seasonings and extra virgin olive oil to your liking.  To create a barrier to prevent the vegetables from falling out, fold in the left and right sides of the piadina just a bit.  Then, from the side closest to you, begin to fold the piadina  over the vegetables.  Halfway, tighten the roll if necessary.  Continue rolling until the piadina is completely closed.

Here’s my four ingredient recipe for homemade piadina.  https://rebbetzinunplugged.com/4-ingredient-recipe-for-homemade-flour-tortilla-wraps-in-just-30-minutes/

Tip: If you are packing this in a lunchbox or to take on a trip, wrap a napkin around the piadina first, then wrap well with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.  This will prevent the piadina from getting soggy.

The Italian region of Emilia Romagna is famous for agriculture, cuisine, wine and Italian street food, like the piadina.

Are you ready for some Italian Street Food? Which of your favorite fillings would you put in a piadina? I can’t wait to read your comments below!

This Colorful Vegetable Salad is one of my favorite salads ever! It is delicious, crunchy and has so many wonderful tastes that blend perfectly together.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

I love cool, crispy salads during the spring & summer! This one is sure to be a favorite amongst your family & guests. And it’s so easy to prepare!

Whether it’s for a weekday lunch or you are in search of something fresh for Shabbat, everyone will enjoy this colorful vegetable salad.

The details are in the way the vegetables are cut, so read the recipe below. Remember to use a good knife and decent sized cutting board to make your time in the kitchen as efficient and easy as possible.


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Colorful Vegetable Salad

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 61

Ingredients

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 3 tomatoes (I prefer Roma tomatoes for this salad)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 can pitted green olives
  • 1/2 cup tahini (prepared with garlic, parsley & lemon juice (all fresh!))
  • Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (optional)

Instructions 

  • Slice the lettuce in strips
  • Cut each tomato in eight pieces
  • Peel & cut the cucumber lengthwise. Place the flat side down and slice on an angle.
  • Peel & cut carrots in half or thirds and then make carrot ribbons with the peeler.
  • Cut thin slices of celery
  • Slice olives. Or, using an immersion blender, blend a can of olives, one garlic clove and some extra virgin olive oil. (You can check out my 3 Ingredient Olive Dip recipe here)
  • Tahini
  • Sprinkle with the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend or your favorite seeds. (Don't live near a Trader Joe's? Click the link to order it or to see the seasonings and make your own!)
Calories: 61kcal
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Kosher
Keyword: appetizer, salad, shabbat salad, spring salad, vegan, Vegetarian

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3247IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

What’s your favorite ingredient in this colorful vegetable salad? Let me know in the comments below. I love reading your feedback!

What is aquafaba and what can I make with it? Delicious Vegan Meringues – Without Egg!

🤍 Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

If you want to know how to make aquafaba, just read on. Aquafaba is the liquid in cans of legumes, like chick peas.  It can be used as an egg white replacement in various recipes and one of my favorite uses is to make meringues.  Yes, you read that right! 

This isn’t a recipe for vegans only. Whether you eat eggs or not, you will enjoy this recipe. It is so easy. And, meringues are so elegant. Everyone will think you spent many hours in the kitchen crafting these little lovelies. I gave some to a friend as a little appreciation gift. When I told her how easy they were to make, she couldn’t believe it! It’s practically as easy as whip, bake, eat.

Whenever I make humus, I use the aquafaba to make these delicious and beautiful treats. The best part about it is that you likely have the rest of the ingredients in your kitchen. To make these vegan meringues without egg, all it takes is some sugar and some vanilla extract. You could use cream of tartar, but that is optional. The cream of tartar helps the merigunes hold their shape a bit. We don’t have kosher cream of tartar here, so I never use it and my meringues come out just fine.

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There are so many options with meringues. You can change the shape, size, color, flavor and even add fillings. I’ve added a drop of food color or flavored extract to make all sorts of varieties. My family loves these double meringues with chocolate between them like the ones pictured here. It’s simple. Just melt some chocolate, use the back of a spoon to apply some to the bottom of one meringue and stick a second meringue to it. These also make a beautiful gift to bring over to a neighbor, a teacher or someone at work.

Meringues

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16 meringues
Calories 31

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (120 grams )
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • 5/8 cup sugar (120 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 250F (120 C)
  • Pour aquafaba in bowl
  • Add cream of tartar (optional)
  • Add sugar slowly while mixing, until peaks are stiff
  • Use a pastry bag to form meringues on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sometimes I use a star tip to get a swirled shape, but most often, I use a round tip and make these macaron shaped meringue. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a plastic bag (like a ziploc) with a tiny hole cut at one of the corners.
  • Cook at 250F (120C) for one hour until just firm, and not sticky on the outside.

Notes

Tip: The aquafaba to sugar ratio is 1:1.  I do the recipe at home in grams, but I’ve also listed the measurements in cups.  Measuring in grams is a bit more precise.  If you have a digital scale, just set it to grams and measure away!
Calories: 31kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dessert and treats

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 31kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 31mg | Sugar: 8g

If you like dessert, you’ll love these Italian Bisse Cookies from the Jewish Ghetto of Venice!

I love to saute vegetables and fennel is no exception, especially when paired with plump raisins.

Fennel has a light taste of liquorice or anise and can be eaten raw or cooked. The beautiful fennel fronds can be used as a garnish or in various recipes.

There are many ways to slice fennel. Slice it lengthwise to create a beautiful side dish to accompany your favorite lunch or dinner recipes. It’s just one of those vegetarian recipes that is so easy, yet adds a special touch of elegance to your table!

Sauteed Fennel with Raisins

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions 

  • Prepare fennel by cutting off the stem and removing any hard outer pieces.
  • Rinse the fennel well.
  • Slice lengthwise.
  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
  • Add fennel, raisins and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix to coat fennel well with olive oil and seasonings.
  • Saute’ approximately 5 minutes.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: fennel, knish, side dishes, rice, grains and breads, potato, tuna, root vegetables, vegan, Vegetarian

Everyone’s Favorite Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
These chocolate chip cookies will not last long because everyone around the table will devour them.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (177 grams)
  • 1 packet baking powder (10 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (Dark or light works great. I love moscovado sugar.)
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed (Buy pre-ground or easily grind at home)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions 

  • Mix both sugars with the oil well.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.
  • In a cup, mix ground flax seed, water and vanilla well.
  • Add to the flour mixture.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Use an 1/8 cup or a tablespoon to scoop out cookies on cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375 F / 190 C for 14 minutes.
  • Transfer baked cookies to a cooling rack.

Notes

The dough has a different texture than typical cookie dough, so you may need to shape the cookies or press in some chocolate chips that aren’t sticking in the dough.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: chocolate chip, cookies, dessert, vegan, Vegetarian

Let’s get back to our roots! Our root vegetables, that is. This simple yet fabulous roasted root vegetables recipe works great as a weekday dinner side dish and can be dressed up with garnish for a holiday meal. I also love them as a lunch sandwich with my homemade tortilla wraps.

Roasted root vegetables have a tasty deep flavor, are high in fiber and very satisying. The roasting process brings out their natural sweetness. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, root vegetables are the perfect accompaniment to any meal. This classic comfort food will have all your family, friends or holiday guests at the table feeling right at home.

Simply Delicious Roasted Root Vegetables

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 274

Ingredients

  • 5 carrots
  • 4 beets
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spring rosemary ((optional))

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
  • Wash and peel vegetables 

Tip: Use gloves and an apron to peel beets, as the color may stain. I peel in a circle around the beet, beginning at the top and work my way down. The delicious taste and health benefits far outweigh the small bit of effort to peel them.
  • Cut beets into quarters
  • Cut carrots into halves or thirds (depending on their size).
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss with extra virgin olive oil until well-coated
  • Add rosemary, if desired
  • Spread evenly on a lined baking sheet for easy clean up
  • Roast until tender, approximately 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Calories: 274kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: beets, carrots, healthy, root vegetables, side dishes, sweet potato, vegan, vegetables

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 1082mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 36812IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg

Let me know down below in the comment section what main course you would prepare this with. I love hearing your ideas!

Classic Italian Bietola e Patate (Swiss Chard & Potato)

No ratings yet
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
When it comes to classic dishes of a particular region in the world, this dish would definitely come to mind for anyone from Venice, Italy.
Easy in the pan with olive oil, garlic and for those who like to have a little cake, some mini hot peppers, in Italian called peperoncino. Low in fat and calories, Swiss Chard (bietola) is nutritious and delicious.
Just like it’s cousin spinach, Swiss chard is a high powered protein, coupled with the rich taste of potatoes and extra virgin olive oil, this comfort food makes a great side dish for everyone around the table or even a main course for vegetarians and vegans.
What’s more is that Swiss chard is loaded with vitamins and minerals. This nutrient list will have you incorporating Swiss chard into your meals more often! It’s full of vitamins k, a and c and has potassium iron and magnesium.

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 bunch of bietola
  • salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (sliced)
  • optional: peperoncino ((fresh hot pepper))

Instructions 

  • Peel and cut potatoes into sixths or eighths.
  • Boil in a large pot of salted water until fork tender.
  • While the potatoes have been cooking for about 10 minutes, cut the ends of the white stems (leave some of the stem) and roll the bietola leaves and rough chop.
  • Heat evoo in a large saucepan and add the bietola, season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Peel the garlic clove.
  • Tip: cut each end off the garlic clove. Laying your knife horizontally parallel to the cutting board, gently smash the garlic clove. The peel should come off easily.
  • Add the garlic to the bietola.
  • Add some chopped peperoncino, if desired.
  • Tip: Handle hot peppers with care: wash your hands completely with soap because the oil residue can remain for on your fingers for some time, causing pain if you accidentally touch your face.
  • Drain the potatoes when fork tender and add them to sauté pan and gently mix them into the bietola.
  • Re-season if necessary.
Author: rebbetzinunplugged
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: italian, side dishes, vegetables

From Spaghetti and Meatballs, to Vegetarian Lasagna and Risotto, these meatless lentil meatballs are so easy and delicious, they’ll be stars amongst your dinner rotation ideas.

Everyone’s Looking for New Ideas for Dinner 

How about a new twist on an old classic.  Spaghetti and Meatballs is known to be a crowd pleaser, but more and more people are becoming acquainted with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.  Or how about that guest who is on a keto-diet?  

Have no fear, lentils are here.  Lentils are a delicious and easy substitute for meat and cheap too.  In additon to being a great source of protein, lentils are also rich in iron, folate and relatively low in calories.

Meatballs without the Meat

Although canned lentils are fine for ready to eat food, I recommend using dried lentils for this recipe.  Dried lentils are better for cooked foods like soups and stews, whether cooked in a traditional pot or in a crock pot.

Dried lentils are easy to use.  Just rinse them well and cook lentils like rice, one cup of lentils to two cups of water.  Each cup of dried lentils yields approximately two and a half cups of cooked lentils. Another benefit of using dried lentils is that you control the salt/sodium content in your food.

Alongside rice, lentils should be a staple in everyone’s pantry, whether you are new to cooking or very experienced in the kitchen.  Lentils come in many varieties and can be seasoned in a myriad of ways, making them an ideal addition to your cooking, from a simple meal to an extravagant one.


Easy & Delicious 3 Ingredient Olive Dip. Green and black olives, olive tree sprigs

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Real Life Meatball Story:

This story has become one of my children’s favorites.

Before we got married, my Italian husband and I were speaking on the phone.  Hearing the pots clanking and the water rushing from the faucet, he asked what I was up to in the kitchen.  

In his Italian accent, he started the conversation with:

Him: Are you cooking?

Me:  Sure am.

Him: And, what are you going to cook for dinner tonight?

Me: I’m making Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Him: What?

Me: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Him: What’s that?

Me (concerned): What do you mean?

Him (questioningly): You’re having pasta and then you are having meatballs as the main dish?

Me: No, just the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Him: Um…..classic? How does that work?

Me (puzzled): What……..?

Him:  Like, are you going to eat it all at once, everything together?

Me: Um, yesss..…

Him: What do you do, put a meatball on top of the pasta?

Me: No, they are small. Some on top, but most mixed into the spaghetti.

Him: Interesting…..we don’t usually eat the meatballs mixed into the spaghetti.

And so, there you have it! American girl meets Italian boy and now he loves my Spaghetti and Meatballs! Especially when it’s with these meatless lentil meatballs.

Meatless Lentil Meatballs

No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
A Meatless Dinner That Everyone Will Love

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg

Instructions 

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Rinse lentils well.
  • Add lentils and water to pot.
  • Bring water to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, saute onion until carmelized.
  • Add shredded carrots and continue to saute’ for 5 minutes.
  • Combine cooked lentils with onion and carrots and add remaining ingredients, except the egg.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C
  • Pulse with immersion blender (or food processor).
  • Add egg and pulse a bit more.
  • Form meatless meatballs and bake on a baking sheet.
  • Brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. (depending on your oven, you may find it useful to rotate the vegetarian meatballs halfway through cook time).
  • These meatless meatballs are great with spaghetti, as a meatball sandwich or as a Vegetarian / Vegan pate’, similar to refried beans.

Notes

Tip #1: One cup of lentils to two cups of water.
Tip #2:  Use parchment paper for quick and easy clean up (Save even more time by using the pre-cut kind).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, lentil, lunch, meatless, pasta, vegan, Vegetarian

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If you like these Meatless Lentil Meatballs and Italian cooking in general, then you’ll love my Bisse Italian Biscotti recipe. 


What other ways do you incorporate vegetables into your meals? Waiting to read your responses in the comments below!

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