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Plant-based recipes that hit the spot

EDITOR’S NOTE: Newsroom Nosh is a recipe column created by the Sun-Gazette newsroom staff and compiled of family or personal recipes.

No one can mistake the familiar refill-able lemonade cup at the fair. The lemonade, which is always filled to the brim, had this sweetness yet bitterness about it, truly hit the spot.

What if I told you that you can make this lemonade from home? It is simply sweet, refreshing and great for family gatherings throughout the whole year, not just summer.

Sweet and Citrusy Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

6-10 fresh lemons/refrigerated lemons, rolled then squeezed

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

3-5 cups of water

1 cup blended frozen berries (optional)

can substitute agave for sugar (work this substitute in sparingly)

Grab your pitcher or container you’d like to store your lemonade in and get your lemons and sugar ready. For your water you can do two things, you can get water straight from your spicket or filtered water either room temperature or cold for the lemonade. Sometimes it can be very difficult for the sugar to dissolve in cold liquid.

Wash your lemons, roll them out on a hard surface or cutting board and cut each one in half.

Start squeezing your lemons. You can use a juicing tool for this or you can use your muscles and squeeze all of it into a separate dish so you can dig the seeds out with a spoon.

Once all lemons are squeezed, add the juice into your pitcher/container. This should equal about 3/4 to 1 full cup of lemon juice.

Then add your water and sugar/agave/honey, stir until well combined.

Here is where the fun comes in. It’s time for a taste test.

If you taste your lemonade and you think it is too sweet, you will need more lemon juice or water. If you taste your lemonade and you think it’s too bitter or lemon-forward, you can add more water or more sugar. Sugar will sweeten it up, water will take the bitterness away.

And if you think your lemonade is missing something you can add fruit juice made from fresh or frozen fruits like berries. To do this, all you need to do is make sure your fruit is thawed enough to puree or blend down.

Lemonade pairs well with berries and peaches. You can take out your frozen fruits approximately 20-30 minutes before use.

Take your fruit in a blender and blend until smooth. Some will even add some of their lemonade to the mixture to make it as liquid-y as possible.

Put this blended/purred mixture into your lemonade and stir until combined.

If you don’t have a blender or would rather not use one, you can also just cut your fruit and put the pieces into the lemonade and let it sit. The fruit flavor will add a little kick to your drink.

If you used room temperature water, I suggest you refrigerate overnight before serving.

-Mallorie McIlwain, mmcilwain@sungazette.com

If you’re looking to mix things up with simple, flavorful and delicious plant-based meal, falafel is the way to go. Not only is it super easy to make after a busy work day, but it is also nutritious and filling.

Flavorful Falafel

2 cans chickpeas, soaked in water overnight and drained

Handful chopped cilantro

Handful chopped parsley

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 medium yellow cooking onion, chopped

1 teaspoon dried roasted red pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dill

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of water or as needed

2 tablespoons of cornstarch or as needed

Avocado or olive oil

To make a sandwich, add veggies of your choice with pita bread. Suggested vegetables include diced tomatoes, cucumbers and avacado. It also tastes great with the addition of Tzatziki sauce of your choice.

Fry onions in a pan with avocado oil until they are caramelized.

In a food processor or blender combine soaked chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, carrot, caramelized onion, dried roasted red pepper, cumin, garlic powder, dill, salt, pepper and water as needed. Blend until well mixed.

Put the mixture in a bowl. Add cornstarch and mix until it’s a thick and sticky consistency. Make small, round patties out of mixture.

Put avocado oil in a large frying pan and put heat on medium.

Fry each side of the patties until they are goldenbrown.To make falafel into a sandwich, put patties on pita bread paired with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado. Add Tzatziki sauce to your liking.

-Bethany Barrett, bbarrett@sungazette.com

Growing up every summer and early fall meant one thing: insalata for lunch. The Italian salad was a staple of my Italian grandparents and is simple to make any time of day and is always delicious.

Insalata

Ingredients:

1-2 small cucumbers

1 ripe tomato

1 banana pepper

1 onion

Salt, pepper, oregano and vegetable oil (to taste)

Cut the stem out from your tomato and slice it into wedges in your bowl. Make sure you have a decent size bowl.

Add roughly 1/4 cup of oil to the bowl

Peel your cucumbers, slice and add to bowl (thin or large slices, whatever you prefer)

Cut one slice of onion and cut it into small pieces roughly an inch-and-a-half or so in length and add to bowl

Slice your banana pepper into rings and add. Make sure to cut over your bowl so any seeds that fall out drop into your bowl.

Add a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add more oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

Once you’re finished enjoying the insalata, make sure to have bread handy to dip into the oil at the bottom of the bowl.

-Jon Gerardi, jgerardi@sungazette.com

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