Weeknight Dinners For Two

Do you ever look in your pantry or fridge and find ingredients bought for recipes or on a whim that now sit neglected in a back corner? We tap into three such versatile ingredients for recipes that help use them up — with thrilling results.

3 Versatile Ingredients

 

 

3 Versatile Ingredients
Seed and/or Nut Butters

Seed and/or Nut Butters

Pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sesame seed (tahini), cashew, almond and hazelnut butters offer a change from peanut butter and can be more versatile in their flavour profiles, lending a creaminess and a nutty flavour to recipes. Use natural seed or nut butter with no added sugar or oil. Stir well before using.

Harissa Paste

Harissa Paste

A blend of chilies and spices, and sometimes rose petals, used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, harissa is spicy without being too fiery. Pastes contain oil and they blend well into lightly cooked or uncooked dishes. If you have a dry powder, stir in enough oil to make a thick paste and let stand for at least a day or up to a week to blend the flavours.

Wild Rice Blends

Wild Rice Blends

Packaged blends of rice and grains come in many combinations, with some including traditional white or brown rice, wild rice, more exotic rices such as red and black varieties, and other grains, seeds and even lentils. These blends add more texture than plain rice, more fibre and a more complex flavour.

    

Wild Rice Cakes with Harissa Carrot Slaw

A mixed wild rice blend is the base for these whole grain and lentil cakes that make a satisfying meatless meal. The brightly flavoured carrot slaw adds crunch and zip. Try it with a fruity wheat ale, such as KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale.

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Weeknight Chicken & Wild Rice Paella

A whole-grain wild rice blend adds substance and fibre to this simplified take on a traditional dish. With pantry ingredients and a streamlined method you get the flavour of paella with a lot less fuss. This substantial weeknight paella merits the fruit-forward spiciness of a smooth Spanish red such as Montecillo Crianza Rioja DOC.

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Harissa Shrimp, Potato & Asparagus Sheet Pan Meal

 

Don’t you love it when something so simple looks and tastes like you put in a lot of effort? Harissa paste adds a load of flavour with virtually no work. With a little timing coordination you can cook an entire meal in the oven on one pan, which means less time doing dishes and more time getting on with your evening. Pair this dish with a crisp white, such as Willm Réserve Riesling, to elevate the sizzling spice and juicy shrimp flavours.

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Pumpkin Seed Butter Fettuccine with Spinach

 

Do you ever have a craving for a creamy pasta only to find there’s not a drop of cream in the fridge? Move over Alfredo, there’s a new pasta in town. Call on a surprising pantry ingredient—pumpkin seed butter—for a creamy-style sauce and a few fresh ingredients for a pasta dish that’s ready in minutes. Serve it with a nice white, like J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay, to pick up on the nutty, butteriness of the dish.

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Open-Face Sunflower Harissa Grilled-Chicken Sandwiches

 

Open-faced sandwiches are a good stand-by for nights when you want something light but filling enough to keep you from hitting the snacks an hour after dinner. Whisk up a double-duty sunflower seed butter dressing and harissa spiked marinade, and grill chicken for a chunky salad atop a hearty slice of sunflower bread with greens. Enjoy it alongside a rosé, such as L’Orangeraie Rosé Pays d’Oc.

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