Category Archives: Vegetarian

Vegetable Frittata with Ricotta

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Have you ever just needed to get your hands on a tub full of ricotta only to find that every store in apparently the entire Boston Metropolitan region is out of it?  I recently had to suffer through a similar experience.  I even went down to the North End (where there should be little Italian delis everywhere) only to find they too were out of ricotta.  After two hours of searching, I gave up and got on the T to come back to Harvard Station.  Turns out, what I was looking for was nearby all along!  There was a little deli right on top of the Harvard T station that had copious amounts of ricotta.  Fresh
, organic, hand-pulled.  I was smitten.  So it came home.

After playing around with some ideas for a while, I finally came up with a vegetable frittata, loaded up with ricotta.  This is easy, fast and the perfect meal for breakfast lunch or dinner, so I highly recommend making it as soon as possible.

What you need:

  • 3 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a small onion, thinly chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

What you do:

  1. Combine the 3 eggs and milk in a small bowl.  Beat the mixture to blend and set aside
  2. In a small cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil.  Once the olive oil is ready, add the garlic and onion to the pan.  Cook, stirring every now and then, until the onions start to become translucent.  Add the mushrooms, broccoli and the zucchini and cook the vegetables until they’re soft.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the pan and place teaspoon-sized drops of ricotta evenly throughout the pan.  You can sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top if you’d like.
  4. Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the cheese is bubbling and the egg mixture is cooked through.  About 10 minutes.
  5. Once fully cooked, you can remove the skillet from the oven and allow it to cool on the oven.
  6. Enjoy!
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Seaweed Salad

I love going to sushi restaurants and ordering a bowl of seaweed salad as a side.  It’s so fresh and the salty-sweet flavors meld together so perfectly.  So naturally, as I have a habit of spending $7 on a very small bowl of the stuff, I decided to figure out how to make it on my own, at home.

Seaweed is one of the absolute best things for you to be eating.  It’s got Vitamins A, C and Calcium and Iodine in addition to an enormous number of antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation (which in turn helps to prevent some chronic diseases).  It also contains a high amount of fiber and is very low in calories.  It’s also pretty delicious, so I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already had it.  I got my seaweed from an Asian supermarket and it was only about $3 for a pound of it dried (this goes a long way, I promise).  So it’s also really inexpensive.

So now I just need to figure out what to do with the seaweed.  These are a few recipes I found that I’m curious to try, but let me know if I’m missing out on a really good one!

Japanese Seaweed Salad from Food 52

Photo from Food52.com

Sesame Seaweed Salad from Weelicious

Photo from Weelicious.com

Seaweed Salad from Epicurious

Photo from Epicurious.com

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Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce and Lentils

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To continue my very clear obsession with all things Yotam Ottolenghi, I’m going to share with you one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.  This eggplant dishes graces the cover of his book Plenty and is something you should add to your list of things to make as soon as possible.

To be honest, I used to hate eggplant.  I thought the texture was rubbery, the taste was terrible and there just weren’t a whole lot of dishes I liked that included eggplant, so I never bothered to learn how to cook it properly.  This recipe is worth it though and makes me want to find ways to work eggplant into a little more of my usual dishes.

What you need for the eggplant:

  • 2 large, long eggplants (organic preferable since you’ll be eating the skin)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus 1 T
  • 1/2 tsp thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seeds from half of a pomegranate
  • za’atar to taste
  • 9 T buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (you can use regular or Greek)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.  Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and use a knife to cut a diamond-shaped pattern in the flesh of the eggplant, without piercing the skin.
  2. Place the eggplants on the pan, flesh-side facing up, and brush with the 1/3 cup of olive oil-brush until all of the oil has been absorbed by the olive oil.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper and roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the flesh of the eggplant has turned golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. While the eggplants are roasting, combine the buttermilk, yogurt, the remaining 1 T olive oil, the garlic clove and a small amount of salt.  Stir to combine and keep chilled until serving.
  4. To serve the eggplant, spoon the yogurt sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle some of the za’atar and pomegranate seeds on top.  If desired, you can finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

I served the eggplant alongside a lentil salad, which I will share in a future post, but I’d love to know if you have any other ideas of what to serve this delicious side with.  I was thinking lentil or quinoa cakes or maybe baked fish or something along those lines.  I’ll let you know!

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Dinner Party Brainstorming

I have a dinner party (!) to attend this weekend, and I’m in charge of bringing appetizers.  I love dinner parties more than any other kind of party.  They’re the perfect way to catch up with friends, get to know new people all while sharing and enjoying delicious food and drink in a relaxing comfortable setting.  Also, they tend to be much more affordable than going out to dinner which is why they’re pretty high on my list of preferred entertainment.

This particular dinner party is going to involve steak and seafood, so I’m thinking of bringing a non-meat item for the appetizer.  Below are a few of my ideas so far, but please let me know if you have any great ideas!

Cauliflower Fritters with Pomegranate by Smitten Kitchen

Grilled Artichoke Pesto Zucchini Bites by Fifteen Spatulas

Panzanella Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette by Naturally Ella

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Kale, Carrot, Tofu and Quinoa Stir-fry

Quinoa Kale Stir-Fry

Being back in school, and getting a science degree, means taking a lot of lab classes.  Unfortunately most of my labs are at really inconvenient times. I have one from 5:00-7:40 and another from 5:30-9:40, so it cuts into dinner time, especially with a 40-minute commute tacked on both ends.  So I’ve had to start getting creative about meals, especially around dinner.

This meal is really easy and the various pieces can be prepared in advance so that you can just throw everything together when you get home.  It’s super simple and very healthy.  Both the kale and the carrot are great sources of Vitamins A and C, the Tofu is an excellent source of Iron, Calcium and Protein, and the Quinoa is very high in Magnesium, Iron and Protein.  The garlic in here also helps to fight infections, so eating it is a really good precaution during winter months.

Here’s what you need:

  • Package of Extra-Firm tofu
  • 2 T each of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T each of fish sauce, rice vinegar
  • 3 carrots, peeled, and cut into coins
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut in half and then into thin slices, reserve one small piece for the quinoa
  • 1 head of kale, removed from stems and cut into large pieces
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 splash of olive oil (optional)
  • sriracha or other hot sauce to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Meanwhile, drain the tofu, trying to press out any liquid, then wrap the tofu in paper towels, pressing out more of the liquid.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes and place in a small mixing bowl along with 1 T each of fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Allow to marinate for about 5-10 minutes then transfer to a lightly-oiled glass baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tofu is golden brown in color.  Remove from oven.  If making ahead of time, allow tofu to cool, then move to a container for refrigerator storage.
  3. Rinse the quinoa and then put in a pot.  Cover with at least 3 inches of water and add in the bay leaf, small piece of onion and some salt.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is fully cooked.  Drain and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the toasted sesame oil in a large frying pan and add in the carrot, onion and garlic.  Cook until softened, but still a little firm.  Add in the kale, tofu and the rest of the soy sauce.  Cook until kale is just wilted and stir in the quinoa.
  5. In another frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and fry the egg.  I like to leave the yolk a little runny, but it’s up to you how well-cooked you want it.
  6. Serve the egg on top of the quinoa-kale mixture and use as much sriracha or hot sauce as you want.
  7. Enjoy!
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Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

I love love love Yotam Ottolenghi.  His cookbooks are amazing and every recipe I’ve ever made is the epitome of perfection.  The pictures also happen to be gorgeous and he always provides a nice background on each recipe.  We made this recipe for the Superbowl party we attended, with some minor adjustments.  It’s incredibly healthy, very simple and should definitely be on your list of dishes to make.  The roasted garlic in this recipe is easily the best part, so I doubled the amount that Ottolenghi called for in his recipe.  Feel free to cut that amount back in half if you aren’t as big of a garlic fan as me :).

What you need:

  • 3 parsnips (1 pound), peeled and cut into sticks
  • 3 large red onions, peeled and cut into eight wedges
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut in half, and then into six wedges per half
  • 50 grape tomatoes, halved
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 T small capers
  • 1/2 T agave syrup
  • 1/2 t Dijon mustard

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the onions and the parsnips in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of olive oil, the thyme and rosemary sprigs, the garlic, 1 tsp of salt and black pepper to taste.  Roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan with the onions and parsnips and roast for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Stir in the grape tomatoes and roast for an addition 5-10 minutes.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together 2 T olive oil, the lemon juice, the capers, the agave syrup and the Dijon mustard.  Serve over the vegetables.
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Toasted Garbanzo Bean and Tofu Middle Eastern Salad

Chickpea SaladI don’t know about you, but since it’s been freezing, all I’ve been eating has been warm, filling and often heavy food. To break out of that rut, I decided to make this salad last night since it’s still warm, filling but on the lighter side and is sort of a reminder that eventually winter will go away and it will be warm again :).

This recipe is adapted from one I found in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, which, if you’ve never checked out, I definitely recommend you do.  It has so many creative and original recipes and is making me want to hop on a plane to Jerusalem as soon as possible.

Here’s what you need:

  • Block of tofu, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large cucumbers (preferably the smaller, Middle Eastern kind)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 5 T chopped parsley
  • 3 T chopped cilantro
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 T ground cardamom
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 T of olive oil, plus more for toasting beans
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Begin by combining the sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl.  Add in the tofu and stir until coated.  Place on a baking sheet and roast in the over at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tofu is golden on the outside.  Remove from oven.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, parsley and cilantro in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the garbanzo beans with the cardamom and cumin until coated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium sized pan.  Add the garbanzo beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each size or until warmed through.  Keep warm.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, zest and garlic.  Pour the dressing over the tomato, cucumber and carrot mixture and toss lightly.
  6. Serve by spreading a layer of the tomato, carrot salad and top with tofu and beans.  If desired, you can put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.
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Roasted Cauliflower, Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, Kale Salad

It’s a brand new year, and I’m officially starting school to get my Dietetics certification in less than 2 weeks.  I’ve spent the last month or so getting ready to move up to Cambridge, and after a few painful days of packing, driving up the East Coast and unpacking, I’m finally settled in and cooking again.

For the new year, and the resolve to detox just a little after the insanity that was the holidays, I made up this easy, super healthy, vegan salad that can be made ahead, stored in the refrigerator and then warmed up when you’re ready.  The tahini dressing that goes with this salad can also be used for other salads or as a marinade for fish, so feel free to get creative with it.

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 cup of dry farro
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T cayenne powder
  • 1/2 T paprika

What you do:

  1. Start by soaking the farro for 6 hours or overnight.  This will greatly reduce the actual cooking time. When ready, bring farro to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.  It will have a slightly nutty texture to it.
  2. Lightly coat the sweet potatoes and cauliflower in the olive oil, cayenne and the paprika.  Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft.  Remove from oven.
  3. For the kale, you should lightly saute a pan with olive oil, and then cook the kale down until just barely wilted.  Add in the sweet potatoes, cauliflower and toasted pumpkin seeds.
  4. When the farro is finished, stir the farro into the vegetable mixture and top with the tahini dressing mixture (directions below).

What you need for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 T olive oil

What you do:

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl adjusting flavors as necessary.

Are you also in serious need of a detox after this holiday season?  How are you going about your detox plan?

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Rainbow Carrots

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New ingredient alert!  Rainbow carrots.  A few weeks ago, my friend brought these to a dinner party we had, and I’ve been so intrigued since.  I really love to add tons of color to my dishes, and rainbow carrots make that so easy.  They taste just like regular carrots, except they come in an amazing amount of different shades like purple, green and yellow.

Here’s a breakdown of what these means for the nutrients in the carrots:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Read more: Eat This Now: Rainbow Carrots | TIME.com http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/20/eat-this-now-rainbow-carrots/#ixzz2kHrlocbl

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Curried Chick Peas and Tofu

Curried Chickpeas and Tofu

This is a super super easy recipe.  Like you don’t have a lot of time but you want to make yourself enough food to last you a week.  This recipe is adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook, which is a cookbook from one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in New York.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • package of extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 6 cups spinach
  • salt to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent.  Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne.
  2. Add the tofu and cook for about 5 minutes or until it starts to get a little brown.
  3. Add the chickpeas and 1/2 cup of their liquid and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and spinach and cook until the tomatoes are thoroughly heated and the spinach is wilted.  Add salt to taste
  4. Serve with wild rice or brown rice.
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