Recipe Swap: A simple way to enhance your prowess in the kitchen

Prowess is a great word and not used nearly enough.

I was a full on vegetarian for a few years but for health reasons am now a ‘social carnivore’ meaning I eat dead animals when I’m out for dinner with friends or whatever. When I was full-on veg, the biggest challenge I found wasn’t giving up cooked flesh – that part was actually surprisingly simple considering I grew up on a meat and potatoes diet. The challenging bit was figuring out new things to cook. I could only eat grilled cheese sandwiches so many days in a row.

Here’s a simple idea that’s both a fun social activity as well as a way of beefing up your personal cookbook (or vegging up as the case may be). Throw a Recipe Swap party. The rules are simple.

  1. Invite your friends over for a Recipe Swap party.
  2. Everybody must prepare a favourite dish of theirs and bring along the recipe
  3. Everybody gets a chance to sample a myriad of different dishes and the host emails everybody the recipes afterward.

Bingo-bango-bongo, you’ve got ten new recipes in your playbook. And the theme doesn’t have to be vegetarian dishes. It can be desserts, salads, cocktails, appetizers – whatever. A nice twist to a potluck get-together.

And encourage your guests to keep it simple – we all want recipes that taste good but are easy to prepare. I was recently in Kentucky where I bought a cookbook as a souvenir. One of the recipes involved several days of prepration and 20 pounds of turtle meat; a good example of the type of dish that does not belong at a Recipe Swap.

what not to bring to a recipe swap

In the spirit of Recipe Swaps, here’s one of my personal favourites that I stole from my friend, Rob.

Black bean quesadilla


  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped red and green peppers
  • Frozen corn
  • Salsa
  • Avocado
  • 2 large tortilla shells


  1. Mix the onion, garlic, peppers and corn in a bowl
  2. Heat up a non-stick or oiled frying pan
  3. Place 1 tortilla shell on the pan and sprinkle with cheese
  4. Spread the veggie mix on, followed by another layer of cheese
  5. Place the second tortilla on top
  6. Cook for a few minutes on each side until the cheese is all melted and the tortilla is nicely browned (the trickiest part to this recipe is flipping it half way without all the contents flying all over your stovetop; you’ll get it with a bit of practice)
  7. Cut into slices and serve with salsa and avocado.
  8. Refrigerate left over veggie mix.

What are your favourite veggie recipes?


Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to purchase a copy.

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