Tag Archives: vegetarian

Spaghetti Squash with Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Basil

Spaghetti is one of my true loves, but I rarely make it during the week. I try to maintain a healthy diet, with splurges here and there, so spaghetti is not something I prioritize.

However, spaghetti squash is another story. I swear to you – it tastes just like spaghetti cooked al dente. Healthy, simple and tasty. Once you try it, you will be hooked on the guilt-free deliciousness. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Basil

You will need:

FOR THE SQUASH-

  • 1 spaghetti squash, remove seeds and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Brush squash with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle brown sugar on both halves.

3. Place halves cut side down on baking sheets and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside to cool.

4. When cool enough to handle: with a fork, shred the pulp of the squash away from the skin and place in a large bowl.

FOR THE SAUCE-

  • 1 pint organic cherry tomatoes, roasted whole for 15 minutes with salt
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 cipollini onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of loose basil, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

1. Drizzle olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions and saute over medium heat. Cook about 5 – 10 minutes, or until slightly brown. Add garlic and roasted tomatoes. Cook another 10 minutes.

Combine tomato sauce with spaghetti squash. Garnish with basil, and stir in goat cheese.

 

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Roasted Hidatsa Squash with Wilted Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts

I’m really excited about the Fall season (Halloween is around the corner), and I anticipate it with so much foodie excitement every year. The seasonal produce is versatile and perfect for robust soups and vegetable gratins.

Best of all… winter squash is back! I just discovered the Hidatsa variety: it’s super sweet and hearty like pumpkin. Although the name sounds pretty fancy, it’s easily found at the local farmers market.

This dish is hearty enough to eat for dinner, or could be a great side dish as well. Clearly I’m ready for Thanksgiving.

Roasted Hidatsa Squash with Wilted Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts


You will need:

1 small to medium Hidatsa squash; halved and seeded (you could also save the seeds and toast them)

4 cups loose organic spinach

1 red cippolini onion; thinly chopped and caramelized

1/4 cup pure grade A male syrup

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 can red organic kidney beans (optional; you could also use giant white beans)

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a heavy-duty, large chef’s knife, halve the Hidatsa squash and discard the seeds and threads.

2. Place squash halves on lined baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle  maple syrup and olive oil in each squash half, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven* and set aside to cool. *reserve the remaining maple glaze and transfer to separate bowl with toasted pine nuts.

3. Caramelize the onions by preheating a heavy-bottomed pan using medium heat. Add olive oil, heat for another minute add onions. Stir, and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to stir and cook onions until lightly browned or crispy (depending on your preference), about 20 minutes. Add spinach, stir and continue to cook another three to five minutes, or until wilted.

4. When squash is cool, peel using pairing knife and roughly chop. Combine squash and spinach mixture and serve. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and remaining maple glaze. Add beans if desired (great way to add protein) and drizzle seasoned rice vinegar to taste. Voila: a cozy, warm winter salad. Enjoy!

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Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

I’m going to be honest with you. I did not feel like cooking last night.

I just returned from a week-long business trip to Toronto, and spent the day playing catch up. Cooking was not in the cards for me; however, I still wanted to eat something healthy and delicious for dinner. I needed to satisfy my post-workout animal hunger (you’ve been there).

Since I made sure to go to the farmer’s market last weekend, I was fully stocked with fresh vegetables. So, I decided to whip together a farm fresh quinoa salad. This was one of the easiest salads I’ve ever made, requires little equipment, and virtually no clean-up. It’s yummy and completely guilt-free, and I’m obsessed. Naturally.

It’s a lazy person’s perfect post-workout feast. Enjoy!

Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

You will need:

1 cup cooked & cooled organic quinoa (according to directions on box)

1/2 pint organic quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 chopped english cucumber (no need to peel, makes it crunchier)

1/2 chopped ripe avocado

sprinkle of organic freeze dried corn kernels (like this)

1 large garlic clove, minced

chopped basil

extra virgin olive oil

aged balsamic vinegar (or any good quality vinegar)

sea salt to taste

1. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, basil and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; drizzle to your liking. Season with sea salt to taste. Stir.

2. Slowly add the quinoa to the tomato mixture and stir. Keep adding until you achieve the right balance of quinoa to vegetables (aka eyeball it).

3. Top off with chopped avocado and sprinkle with freeze dried corn. Voila! Easy-peasy.

 

 

 

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Broiled Tofu Tacos

I’m excited about this post for two reasons:

1. I just got a new 50mm fixed lens; the photos in this post are seriously improved.

2. I’ve never used my broiler before, and the results were wonderful. It’s my new favorite cooking method (and fast, too!)

I originally found this recipe in my current favorite vegan book, Pure Vegan (also used here and here), but decided to transform it into tacos. It was really very easy: I followed the recipe straight from the book, and then stuffed it in a crunchy corn tortilla. It’s so good, very light, and healthy. I’m a little obsessed.

Broiled Tofu, Carrot, and Shiitake Mushroom Tacos

*serves 4

You will need:

1.5 pounds of carrots (peeling is not necessary)

1.75 pounds extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry

3 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

1/4 cup peanut oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

5 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

lime wedges for garnish

1 package corn tortillas, cooked over an open flame until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side)

1. Set an oven rack 4 to 5 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Cut the carrots crosswise into 3-inch lengths. Cut the pieces lengthwise to a width of about 1.5 inches. Cut the tofu into 1.5 inch dice. Thinly slice the mushrooms.

3. In a large bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, salt and ginger. Add the mushrooms and gently toss until evenly coated with the marinade. Transfer the mushrooms to the prepared baking sheet. Put the tofu in the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss to evenly coat.

4. Broil the mushrooms for 5 to 10 minutes, until gender, turning once about halfway through. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Leave the oven on.

5. Add the carrots to the bowl of tofu and toss evenly to coat. Transfer the carrots and tofu to the same baking sheet, reserving the marinade.

6. Broil the carrots and tofu for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, turning a time or two as needed. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When done, transfer to the bowl of reserved marinade. Add the mushrooms, green onions, vinegar, and sesame oil and toss gently until evenly coated. Transfer to a large platter or smaller individual dishes and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Optional Step 7: heat corn tortillas over an open flame on your stove until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side), add tofu mixture and enjoy!

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The Wine Picnic that Welcomed 27

Considering this post is about two weeks late, you can imagine the repercussions of such a fun, memorable birthday celebration. I’m excited to share one of my best birthday events to date, although I don’t know how I’ll ever top this (maybe spend my 30th at St. Barth’s?)

While a lot of work for the hostess (i.e. me), this event was affordable for the quality delivered. Wine tasting for large groups will add up quick, so it’s important to cut costs; yet take it up a level so it’s over-the-top-birthday-special.

On top of paying for transportation and tasting fees, you can either opt to pay a winery for boxed lunches (it’s not cheap and yields little)…or make your own. I decided to cater the lunch myself, that way I could control the menu. I wanted to serve cold, picnic friendly foods that would compliment summer wine tasting in the Sonoma heat.

Most wineries will not let you bring a picnic lunch (and your own silverware/table decorations/serving platters…yes, my mother went there.) so you have to do a little digging. Surprisingly enough, there are some beautiful, large wineries in Sonoma that specialize in Pinots and welcome an outside picnic: Sebastiani was so great and set us up with a private, seated tasting under a grove of shady trees to enjoy our lunch.

It was a perfect day, with the best group. I think 27 is shaping up to be a great year, and couldn’t have been welcomed by a better celebration.

The Wine Picnic Menu

Sweet Corn Ceviche

Pasilla Chile + Lime Cabbage Slaw 

Roasted Rainbow Beet Salad with Feta, Mint, and Fig Vinaigrette

Roasted Red Peppers, Roma + Cherry Tomato Salad with Olive Oil + Basil

Cheeses: Goat, Brie, Gouda, Blue

…don’t forget the crackers

Mint Chutney (to compliment the goat cheese)

Two types of freshly sliced Italian salami

Freshly baked breads (we picked them up that morning)

Grapes

Of course, I had to post the “silly” pic (the expressions are priceless, really)

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Detox Green Wraps

I really like to have fun. Throw a birthday in the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for too much fun.

Too much fun usually involves too much wine, and this calls for a much needed detox, with lots of green vegetables and gallons of water. Don’t worry, if you want to detox, then you shouldn’t sacrifice yummy food. You just have to get a little more creative.

These collard green wraps were my sister’s idea, post-wine tasting trip (you can look forward to tomorrow’s post for those goodies)… I was hesitant, because I’m not a fan of collard greens…but I was seriously mistaken. Collard greens are a hidden gem for healthy recipes: they are versatile, provide interesting texture, and taste great, too.

Give these wraps a try the next time you need to take a break from having fun. Or, just throw them in your weekly rotation of healthy food. These are my newest go-to…hello, skinny? I hear you calling my name.

Detox Green Wraps

I made these wraps with groceries purchased from Whole Foods — everything is already prepared, so this truly is the perfect weeknight meal that takes all of TEN minutes to prepare. Or less. Do it.

You will need:

1 collard green leaf per wrap

Sesame tofu sticks

Avocado, cut into slices

Hummus

Shredded Carrots

Edamame beans

Quinoa Salad (your favorite variety – check out the prepared foods section)

Seasoned Rice Vinegar

1. Spread the hummus on the collard green leaf

2. Pile high with quinoa, tofu, carrots, and edamame beans

3. Add avocado. Drizzle with rice vinegar.

4. Hold like a taco. Munch. Enjoy!

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Weekday Health Spot: The Plant Cafe

My greatest joy — exploring restaurants — is also my greatest weakness, and makes my wallet unhappy.

Since I like to eat healthy during the week, I try to cook at home (saves money, too); which leaves  room to dine about town during the weekend. However, I definitely have those weak moments where I crave a restaurant rendez-vous, so I like to have a strategy:

1. No sit down service. If you plan to eat out, you can avoid a more costly bill by eating at smaller cafes. These types of restaurants usually have fast, healthier options like soups and salads, which are perfect during the week.

2. Organic produce from local farmers. Wherever you go, try to make sure the restaurant has organic produce and local farmers/suppliers. There seems to be an unexplainable correlation between tasty, fresh food and local sources — you really can’t go wrong on this one.

3. Walk instead of alternate transportation. If you are lucky enough to live within a 5-10 minute walking distance to decent restaurants, make sure to take advantage of this exercise opportunity.

If you follow my strategy, then it’s OK to eat out during the week. I am a huge advocate of The Plant Cafe Organic, which falls nicely into the three rules listed above. It’s fast, economical, and the produce is local and organic. Not to mention, it’s absolutely delicious.  You can bet this place is part of my weekly rotation.

Sweet Potato Soup with Sunflower Seeds

Dino Kale Salad with Quinoa, Carrots, Roasted Almonds, Cucumber, Avocado & Sesame Seeds

Spicy Red & Green Juice: beets, carrot, celery, apple and ginger

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