Friday, July 12, 2013

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

I made this for dinner tonight ... and I could hardly keep myself out of the fridge for "taste tests" while it chilled.  I am such a sucker for the chipotle adobo flavor.

For the salad:
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon safflower oil
  • salt + pepper
  • lime wedges + fresh parsley/oregano/cilantro, to top
For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • scant 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper
  1. Add dressing ingredients to a jar and shake vigorously until fully combined.  Set aside.
  2. Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add chopped potatoes to the pot of boiling water and boil for about 8-12 minutes until just tender.  Do not overcook.  Taste-test a few cubes for doneness.  
  4. Pour potatoes into a large colander and rinse with cold water for ~1 minute to stop the cooking.
  5. While the potatoes are cooking, heat a medium pan over medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon oil.
  6. Once hot, add the onion and a large pinch of salt to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds then add the corn and cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the corn starts to slightly brown and the onion is soft.  
  8. Remove from heat and pour onto a plate to cook for a few minutes.
  9. Empty the sweet potatoes, black beans, bell peppers, and corn mixture into a large bowl.
  10. Pour about 3/4 of the dressing overtop and gently toss to coat.
  11. Place in the fridge [uncovered] until fully chilled and then cover until ready to serve.
  12. Gently stir the mixture, then taste and add more dressing, salt, and pepper if needed and stir again to distribute.
  13. Place in individual bowls or in a large serving dish and top with fresh parsley, oregano, and/or cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mediterranean Wraps

I enjoy simple summer meals that don't involve turning on an oven.  This recipe is not only simple and fast, but it tasted pretty darn good as well.

 4 soft tortillas or flat bread
Sun-dried tomato pesto
Field greens (lettuce)
1/4 seedless cucumber, diced
Grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Kalamata olives, sliced in half
Roasted red pepper strips (from a jar)
Feta cheese, crumbled

I used the following pesto recipe (Mirien's recipe) 

Spinach Pesto

3 cups of raw spinach, packed tight
1/2 cup raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 t. honey (balances any bitterness from the spinach)
juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)
fresh ground salt & pepper, to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine nuts, cheese, garlic & honey. Pulse until they make a paste. Add spinach, pulse a few times. Then slowly add olive oil until it’s a creamy consistency - but small chunks of spinach are fine. Lastly, add salt & pepper and lemon juice to taste. If desired, add a little fresh parsley or basil (or use dried) for more flavor.
Lay the tortilla or flat bread on a clean counter. Spread about a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato pesto over the surface of the bread, leaving about a 1/2-inch at the edges. Repeat with a tablespoon or two of the hummus. Top with a small handful of field greens, followed by an even layer of the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers and finally the feta cheese. Tightly roll the wrap and lightly press to secure. Carefully slice in half with a slightly diagonal cut. Repeat with the remaining bread and ingredients. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vegetable Lime Chickpea Chili

I know, I know.  Hot soup in the summer?  I had almost everything to make this so I just went for it and I'm glad I did.  I went ahead and replaced one of the cans of chickpeas for a can of white beans.  I used a red pepper in place of the mini sweet peppers and I omitted the mushrooms. This soup is crazy easy to whip together last minute.  I think the "term" soup fits this recipe better ... it is definitely not thick like a chili.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped white onion
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups yellow squash
1 cup chopped mini sweet peppers
1 8-ounce package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the olive oil in a  large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet peppers, and baby bells and cook, stirring, until tender, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper, stir to combine and cook until hot, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lentil Cumin Soup

This soup is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make.  I added more carrots than what is called for and it turned out great. 

Cook this rich and fragrant soup in the pressure cooker and have it on the table in about a half hour. But if pressure cooking is not your style, simply cook it in a covered pot over low heat, adding extra water as necessary, until the lentils are tender and then proceed with step #3.


  • 2 cups brown or green lentils, uncooked
  • 8 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, thickly sliced
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 large gold or red potatoes, cut into large cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (use if water is used instead of broth)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Additional seasonings: 1/4 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach (chopped if large leaves)
  • 2 teaspoons Red wine vinegar or lemon juice


  1. Pick over the lentils and rinse well.
  2. Start the water or broth heating in the pressure cooker while you chop the vegetables. Add all ingredients except the additional seasonings, salt, spinach, and vinegar into the cooker and bring to a boil. Seal the cooker and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using a quick-release method to release the pressure. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can simply cook this on the stove until the lentils and vegetables are tender, about an hour.)
  3. Check to make sure the lentils and potatoes are tender; if not, cook, covered but not at pressure, until done, adding water if it seems too thick. Remove the bay leaves, and add the additional seasonings, salt, and spinach. Check the seasonings, adding more cumin and coriander as needed. Cook for just a few minutes to wilt the spinach. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and serve.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Healthy Cookies

My husband, Mitchell and I have really made a conscious effort to eat more healthy these past few weeks.  At times it has been hard, we both are MAJOR sugar addicts.  So I was incredibly grateful when our sister-in-law, Ashley, shared this recipe.  Thanks Ashley!

I didn't have any pineapple on hand so I used pumpkin instead.  I also used applesauce instead of oil so I wouldn't feel as guilty about adding some chocolate chips.

1 c. carrots, finely grated 
  1/4 c. pineapple, drained and crushed
  1/2 c. almond milk
  2 egg whites
   1/4 c. canola oil
  1 tsp. vanilla extract
  3/4 c. brown sugar
  1 c. white whole-wheat flour
 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  2 tbsp. flax seeds (optional)
 1 tsp. cinnamon
  1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  1 1/2 c. rolled oats
   1 c. raisins or chocolate chips (optional)
  1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

1.       Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease cookie sheet.
2.       Combine carrots, pineapple, milk, egg whites, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl.
3.       In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, flax seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
4.       Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while stirring.
5.       Add rolled oats and stir, and then add raisins and nuts.
6.       Let sit for a few minutes (5-10) to let oats soak up a bit of moisture.

7.       Drop in spoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. Makes approximately 30 cookies.

I was a little worried because the dough was thinner than I was anticipating....

But they turned out great! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Creamy White Bean Avocado Wraps


2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced red onion
4  whole wheat wraps or tortillas

Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in medium bowl.  Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine.

Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork.  Stir in cheese and onion.  Spread about 1/2 cup of bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage slaw.  Roll up.  Cut the wraps in half to serve.

I wouldn't recommend making this without the chipotle chiles.  They added a great smoky flavor.  We left out the cheddar cheese and added more cilantro than what was called for ... we like our cilantro.  We will be making these again in the future for sure. 

Dairy Free Spinach Stuffed Shells

 This was my first time working with tofu and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with how the texture turned out. 


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
16 ounces extra firm tofu
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted
1 box jumbo shells
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce


1. Drain the tofu and pat dry with paper towels.  Crumble into the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender along with the olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic and nutritional yeast.  Process on high until smooth and "ricotta-like" 
 2.  Add the defrosted spinach to the blended tofu mixture.

3. Cook shells in boiling salted water until el dente.  Drain
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour about 1/2 cup pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Repeat until all shells have been stuffed.
5.  Pour remaining pasta sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 mins.  Serve!


Yield:  6-8 servings.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cilantro & Quinoa Soup

 I made this for dinner tonight, it was very simple and full of flavor.  Mitchell and I give it two thumbs up.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed 
4 cups vegetable stock, plus additional water as needed 
1 large bunch cilantro [yield about 1 cup chopped] 
3 small (or 1 large) red onions, thinly sliced 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
Olive oil
Sea salt 
Black pepper 
Fresh lime juice, from 1/2 lime 
Ground coriander, to taste 
Pinch cayenne pepper 
To serve: 
Grilled shrimp 
Diced avocado 
Charred corn-off-the-cob 
Fresh cilantro
Freshly cracked black pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Add garlic and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add sliced red onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Rinse 1 cup quinoa and add it to the pot with the onions and garlic. Stir to coat and cook for a minute or two, until quinoa becomes fragrant and toasted. Add 4 cups vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until quinoa is cooked. (Add more stock or water if the soup is too thick). Season with salt, freshly cracked black pepper, ground coriander, and a pinch of cayenne. Squeeze in juice from 1/2 lime. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
3. Serve warm, topped with grilled shrimp, diced avocado, corn-off-the-cob (grilled or fresh), and more fresh cilantro and black pepper.

 I skipped out on the shrimp and added some black beans instead.  I also added more broth.  Be sure to not over season in the beginning, you can always add more.   I had to play around a bit with the amounts of spices to get it just right.  

Achiote Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos

 Fall means a lot of things ... football, back to school, fun holidays, pumpkin pancakes, hot chocolate ... and SQUASH.  I have been looking for recipes that incorporate the oh-so-lovely butternut squash and this one seemed to hit the spot for me.
  • 3 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp ground annatto/achiote seed
  • corn oil
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • fresh cilantro 
  • queso fresco, crumbled
  • 6 corn tacos, warmed


  1. On a flat pan, spread out the squash evenly and toss with the corn oil.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cumin, ground achiote, oregano, and 1 tsp of the smoked paprika.  Rub the spice mixture evenly over the squash. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake in a 375F oven for 30 minutes until soft and browned.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little corn oil in a saute pan and add the onions.  Add 2 tsp of the smoked paprika and the rest of the brown sugar and stir.  Cook on medium high heat until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dress the tacos with a few tablespoons each of squash, onions, cilantro, black bean salsa and queso fresco. - makes 6 tacos
I didn't have any ground achiote, so I looked up some possible substitutes.   For 1 teaspoon of achiote, use 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika.   Mitchell, said that he could have done without the sweet caramelized onions, but I personally enjoyed them.  I didn't make any black bean/corn salsa to go with these, but I will next time.  I thought the flavors were great, but it lacked a crunch factor that the corn would have given it.

Lentil Vegetable Meatballs

I made these last week and served them with ketchup and seasoned oven fries.


2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray or oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (or gf bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs)
2 tbs. ground flax seed
3 Tbs. gf Vegan Worcestershire sauce OR2 Tbs. soy sauce plus 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. each paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. chickpea flour plus 2 Tbs. water


Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the lentils and a pinch of salt and return to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Let cool and move the lentils to a large mixing bowl. Mash them with a fork, potato masher or your hands until they are completely mashed.

Heat a large skillet and add the oil or cooking spray. Sauté the onions for about 4 minutes until translucent.  I used yellow onion since I didn't have a red onion on hand.  Add the zucchini, carrot, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender.

Add the hot veggies to the lentils in the bowl. The heat will help soften the lentils. Add the parsley, bread crumbs, flax seed, Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce and vinegar), and spices.  I didn't want to make bread crumbs, so I crushed up some crackers I had laying around (Triscuit to be exact).  In a separate little bowl or cup, put 2 Tbs. of chickpea flour. Add 2 Tbs. of water and mix into a loose paste. This will act as a binder. Add the flour and water mixture to the bowl.  I think the next time I make this recipe I will use an egg instead of the flax seed to help bind everything together better.

Mix everything well. Hands work best. (If using your hands, make sure to let the mixture cool a little bit before diving your hands into the bowl ... not that I'm speaking from experience or anything ...) If the mixture seems too loose, add more bread crumbs. If it feels too dry and tight, add water or non-dairy milk.

Heat the large skillet again with a tablespoon of oil. While it’s heating, form the lentil mixture into little balls. Wet your hands, scoop up about 2 Tbs. worth of the mixture (more or less depending what size you like your balls) and roll between your open hands until it is shaped like a ball. Let them rest for awhile (you can even refrigerate them) so they will hold their shape better.

Put the balls into the skillet and fry on medium heat for about 8 minutes. Turn them carefully with tongs or a thin spatula so that they brown on all sides. Cook them long enough to be sure they get cooked all the way through (that's a great excuse to steal one and taste it :) Remove from the pan and serve however you choose.

I didn't want to stand over the stove and spend a ton of time frying the meatballs, so I just put them on a greased baking sheet and popped them into the oven.  I cooked them for 40 mins total at 350 degrees and flipped them over about 20 mins into their baking.  If at the end of 40 mins they don't look browned enough to your liking, just keep cooking them in 10 min intervals until you reach your desired crispiness.