Tag 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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Red Lentil Burgers

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Last week, I bought red lentils from Whole Foods because, for some reason, they were out of every single type of other lentil (perils of grocery shopping on Sunday night).  Unbeknownst to me, red lentils cook a little bit differently than green or French lentils and end up really soft and smooshy.  In other words, they are not good for making a lentil salad.  But they are absolutely perfect for burgers.  So this recipe happened.  I served it with the same roasted eggplant that I posted here, but you could serve it with a salad, soup, whatever your heart pleases.

What you need:

  • 1 lb red lentils
  • bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, cut into 3 large pieces
  • celery, cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1/4 of a small onion
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • 1/2 t ginger

What you do:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Add the lentils, bay leaf, carrot, celery and onion.  Cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked (they’ll be a little mushy).
  2. Drain the lentils and allow to cool in a medium mixing bowl.  Add in the egg, parsley, garlic
  3. Once the lentils have reached room temperature, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until it reaches a burger-patty-like consistency and the mixture can be packed into burger patties without falling apart.  If you need to, add more panko bread crumbs.
  4. Heat about 3 T of olive oil in a large skillet.  Using, a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the lentil mixtures into balls and then flatten into patties.  Place in the skillet and allow to cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Enjoy!
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Chia Seed, Cranberry, and Raisin Granola

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I’ve been craving granola like crazy lately.  I want it on my yogurt, in my oatmeal, in my trail mix (is that a thing), basically, wherever I can include granola, I’m going to.  So, after checking out the sugar content of my store-bought granola and coming close to having a heart attack, I decided to cut that out of my grocery-shopping list.  From now on, grocery-store granola goes into the dessert category, at least in my book.

So, I went onto the internet because in this day and age, that’s where all of the answers are.  There are tons of blogs out there (including this one!) but Oh She Glows is my go-to for vegan food that’s original and delicious.  And you know what, she has several granola recipes, and I found one that was awesome.  I didn’t have some of the thing she listed in her recipe, but you know what, that’s what’s great about granola, you can put anything you want in it.  So here’s how I made mine:

What you need:

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 T agave-maple syrup blend
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the oats, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside. 
  3. In a  cooking pan, combine the maple-syrup blend, coconut oil, applesauce, peanut butter, and honey and bring to a boil.  Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, or until it starts to thicken up.  Remove from heat and stir in with the oat mixture until combined.
  4. Spread the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure an even cooking on all sides.
  5. Once the granola has achieved a golden-brown color, remove and allow to cool.  Stir in the cranberries and raisins.  Serve with yogurt, almond milk, regular milk, oatmeal or anything else your heart desires.  Feel free to sprinkle some additional cinnamon on top.
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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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Book Review: Power Foods for the Brain

I think Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia is the scariest disease out there.  My grandmother and step-grandmother both suffered from dementia and the thought of ever getting it terrifies me.  Dementia means forgetting who you are, where you’ve been, who you love and even what you love.  You turn into someone else, and you can’t remember anything, even if the event happened less than a minute prior.

Because of this fear, and because I have a history of dementia in my family, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the causes of dementia and any possible ways to prevent it from seizing hold of me.  I came across Dr. Neil Barnard’s Power Foods for the Brain at the Cambridge Public Library and decided to read it, to see what he has to say about what I can be doing better to prevent the onset of dementia.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Barnard recommends a three-pronged approach to preventing the onset of dementia.  These three steps include eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fiber and other nutrients, regular exercise, and brain stimulation through games, social interaction or reading.  These shouldn’t be too ground-breaking to anyone since these are basic tenets of a healthy life.

Where Dr. Barnard does take an innovative approach is in the nutrition section.  He heavily recommends an animal-free diet, including the elimination of fish and dairy as well as the avoidance of any kind of multi-vitamin that contains minerals.  He argues that fish has similar fats to other meats, and while they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, that we can get those fatty acids from plant-based sources.  He also points out the fish are often full of dangerous chemicals such as mercury which can deposit in the brain and could lead to the onset of dementia.  Similarly, minerals in multi-vitamins are often way above the recommended daily allowance, and he says minerals like Aluminium especially could form harmful deposits in the brain.  If you follow his animal-free diet, he recommends to take a vitamin that either only contains B vitamins or contains no minerals to make sure you get B12.

If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend checking out his book.  It’s an easy read and the last third or so of the book is a set of menus that follow his recommended nutrition plan.

Let me know if you’ve read this book or if you’ve been reading any other great books on health and nutrition that you think I should check out!

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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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