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green summer rolls with zero fat carrot-ginger dipping sauce

11 May

sorry i didn’t take any pictures of the process..but its pretty self explanatory..

the actual roll is basically the same as my spring roll recipe . it’s just romaine lettuce, avocado, cucumber, snap peas, thai basil, mint, cilantro and a few carrots.

for the carrot-ginger sauce:

you need:

1 cup of carrots, sliced into rounds

1 T of ginger, chopped

1/4 c water

2 tsp thai chili garlic sauce

1-2 T low sodium soy sauce

1-2 limes, juiced

saute 1 cup of round carrot slices in a pan coated with pan spray. add salt and pepper and saute about 6 minutes. add in 1 T of chopped ginger until fragrant. pour the carrots and ginger into a blender with the juice of one juicy lime (or 2 limes), a tsp of sambol–thai chili garlic sauce and about 1/4 cup of water. it should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and not at all chunky. taste it and adjust flavors! enjoy.

(sorry this wasn’t much of a recipe….)

whole wheat spaghetti with roasted grapes, chevre, and squash blossoms

27 Apr

1. my camera isnt working properly, hence the low quality photos. sorry.

2. i am currently in love with roasting grapes and i decided it was high time i made a pasta dish in which i could use them.

3. eat this. its really good.

oh 4. i actually hate whole wheat pasta, it always tastes like bird food pasta to me BUT there is ONE brand that i will eat (sorry its only available in Texas) but if you can find a whole wheat noodle that you like then use it because the nuttiness that it contributes to the dish is wonderful, if not, then use regular pasta.

What You Need for 2 Servings: (or one LARGE me sized serving)

4-6 ounces of spaghetti (take the bowls that you plan to serve your pasta in, fill ONE up with enough dried pasta so that it looks like the amount you’d eat (if you were going to be eating dried pasta) and thats going to be the amount you want to use total because it will double in size)

1 cup red seedless grapes

6 squash blossoms

1/2 c all purpose flour

dried italian blend herbs

cayenne or red pep flakes

3 T goat cheese

good olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

salt, black pepper

How To:

1) preheat your oven to 425

2) clean your squash blossoms. cut off the end and pull out the stamen (pollen parts) cut the blossoms into 1/2 inch rings

3) combine the flour, italian seasoning, a pinch of salt and some cayenne or red pep flakes in a bowl. toss the squash blossom rings in the flour.

4) heat up some canola or veg oil in a sauce pot over medium

5) put the grapes on a sheet tray with a drizzle of olive oil, big pinch of salt and black pepper. put them in the 425 oven for about 8 minutes, until they are darker in color and kind of blistery (taste one and see) they are like salty, sweet, warm wine gushers.

6) while your grapes are roasting drop the floured squash blossoms into the hot oil for about 2 minutes just until they start to turn golden. don’t expect a deep fried kind of coating on these, the flour is just to enhance the crispiness.

set the fried blossoms on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

7) your grapes are probably almost finished..

8) heat up 1.5 T of olive oil and the smashed garlic clove in a saute pan

9) goat cheese out of the fridge. crumble it up.

10) once your pasta is cooked, strain it and transfer it to your saute pan with olive oil and garlic (remove the garlic clove first) add in your grapes, squash blossoms and half of the goat cheese. give it a little shake shake to get the cheese melting and all the flavors hangin’. add a liberal amount of cracked black pepper, a pinch of salt and serve garnished with the remaining goat cheese.

roasted red pepper soup with parmesan crisps

11 Apr

what you need for 2-4 servings:

3 and 1/2 red bell peppers

2 cups of chicken or veg stock

1/2 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 t crushed red pepper

basil, if desired for garnish

1 T of grated parmesan cheese per crisp

How To:

roast the bell peps! if you have  gas stove, you can just turn the fire on and place the peppers directly on the fire and rotate until they are completely black on all sides.  if you do not have a gas stove, like me, turn  your broiler on. put the peppers on a sheet pan or directly on the oven rack under the broiler about 8 minutes on each side and rotate using tongs until all sides are blackened and blistered.

regardless of which method you use, immediately transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. set aside for ten minutes.

while the peppers are roasting, which takes about 20-30 minutes in the oven, saute the onion, garlic and 1/2 of diced bell pepper in a sauce pot. once translucent and fragrant, add the crushed red pepper and the stock and let simmer until ready to use.

once the peppers have been sitting for ten minutes, take them out of the bowl and just peel the skin off, it should come off very easily. discard the skin and stems.

put the bell peppers in the blender and add one ladle full of stock and a pinch of salt. continue adding stock as necessary, making sure to get all of the diced bell pepper from the stock into the blender :). once you have your desired soup consistency, adjust salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper as needed. stir in a bit of basil and soups on!

to make parmesan crisps:

preheat oven to 400. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. spoon 1 T of cheese and spread out to be a flat circle

leave about 1/2 inch space between each crisp. bake for about 4 minutes or until slightly melty but crispy and firmed. let them cool before removing them from the pan–they firm up a lot more once they’ve cooled and if they are not as crispy as you’d like after cooling you can always pop them back into the oven for a bit longer.

top your soup with 1/2 T of good extra virgin olive oil or a bit of heavy cream for a little added richness!

baked brussel sprout chips!

9 Mar

CRISPALICIOUS!

I LOVE KALE CHIPS. so then i thought O_M_G what if I make brussel sprout chips!! and then, this awesome creation was born. super healthy. super delicious. same idea as kale chips but totally different flavor, so go ahead, switch it up!

thank me later.

What You Need:

as many brussel sprouts as you want chips–you have to figure that you’ll only get 3-5 good leaves off each brussel sprout. (i’ll explain later)

1 tsp really good extra virgin olive oil

salt

crushed red pepps

 

How To:

preheat your oven to 250. (NOT 350–too hot)

so, remove the outer leaves from the brussel sprouts, most of them should be easy to peel off..it gets more difficult as you go on because the leaves get smaller. so you really won’t get more than 5 or 6 leaves off each sprout. sometimes you only get 2 good leaves off.

you want  them to look pretty so you want the whole leaf, not ripped pieces.

so, carefully and slowly peel off as many leaves as you can from each brussel sprout and put them into a bowl. toss with the teaspoon of olive oil, just enough to lightly coat them. season liberally with salt. (taste one to check the saltiness) lay them spread apart in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. sprinkle with crushed red pepps and bake about 12-18 minutes until they are really crispy but NOT browned or burnt!

spaghetti squash with home made tomato sauce

4 Mar

OKAY. lets talk about spaghetti squash. it is a type of squash that looks like spaghetti once its cooked. it is NOT spaghetti. it does NOT taste like spaghetti. the texture is NOT spaghetti like. that being said, its DELICIOUS. the squash has a really mild, sweet flavor that makes it a perfect vehicle for a great tomato sauce or a pesto. i find that it is just as satisfying to eat spaghetti squash as it is to eat spaghetti (most of the time 😉 ) so it is a great healthy swap. one note: please please please do not make spaghetti squash and top it with jarred marinara sauce–look in the mirror and repeat after me: “I AM BETTER THAN THAT”. now, proceed:

What You Need for Two Servings:

for the squash:

1 2 lb spaghetti squash

1/2 T of olive oil

salt and pepper

for the tomato sauce:

1.5 cups of small tomatoes sliced in half (cherry, grape etc. i use the little mixed box of orange, red, yellow and green varieties) but whatever you have on hand or is cheapest is fine!

1 T olive oil

2 garlic cloves, slivered into thin rounds

1/4 cup of Pomi boxed chopped tomatoes

1/2 yellow or white onion, diced

crushed red pepper, dried thyme, dried sage to taste.

fresh basil, chiffonaded

parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)

 

How To Getchyo Spaghetti Squash On!:

preheat the oven to 375. using a SHARPPPPP knife. cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out the seeds.

put 1/4 of a T of oil on each half, rub it around and then coat with salt and pepper.

lay it cut side UP (lots of recipes tell you cut side down but i have my own agenda here.) on a lined baking sheet and place it in the oven for likkeeee 25 mins. checking periodically to make sure that it’s not getting too brown (if it is, flip it over, if it’s not-let it do its thang) after 25-30 minutes, flip the squash over so it’s cut side down and continue baking about another 10 minutes. at that point you can (carefully, it’s hot) check how tender it feels and if needed put it in for another few minutes. it takes about 40-45 minutes total to roast the squash.

why do i do it cut side up? because i like to get the squash slightly caramelized and brown. it really enhances the flavor. if you roast it cut side down the entire time then the part you eat gets no happy color. and that is sad for my taste buds.

so, once it is ready–get the squash spaghetti-ing! using tongs to hold the squash in it’s place (its HOT HOT HOT) use your other hand to rake the squash lengthwise with a fork to pull out the spaghettis into a bowl.

YAY now you have your “spaghetti”.

 

so, while the squash is roasting you are going to make your sauce.

heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauce pot over medium.

add in the onion, cook about 3 minutes until translucent. add in a good pinch of crushed red pepper, dried sage, dried thyme.

add in the sliced tomatoes and the slivered garlic.

stir to coat in the onions and spices, add a nice pinch of salt and let it cook about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes get soft. once the tomatoes are soft, use a wooden spoon or fork or whatever to mash up the tomatoes. you basically want to just break them all up so that their juices are released. then, add the chopped tomatoes, stir and let it simmer for a while as your squash continues to roast.

right before you eat it, stir in the chopped fresh basil and let it cook just for a minute.

 

garnish your dish with some parmesan and more fresh basil if desired!

confession: i didn’t have any basil OR any parmesan cheese 😦 but the dish would be prettier and yummier with both.

happy healthy eating!

ras el hanout inspired roasted chickpeas

29 Feb

ras el-hanout is a morrocan spice blend that is filled with lots of different flavor profiles and depths. it’s savory, spicy, smokey, sweet and deliciously complex. the spices i use for these chickpeas are very ras el-hanout-esque but are still a unique blend of flavors.

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what you need for 3 servings:

1 can or 1.5 cups dried chickpeas. (if canned, drain, rinse and dry)

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 T salt

1/2 T black pepper

1/2 T dried or fresh ( if fresh, minced) oregano

1/2 T hungarian paprika

2 t cayenne pepper

2 t cinnamon

2 t chili powder

2 t cumin

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t nutmeg

preheat the oven to 375. in a small tupperware container, mix all of the spices together. coat the chickpeas in the olive oil and toss into the tupperware. close the lid and shake shake shake like a polaroid picture until the chickpeas are happily coated 🙂 put the chickpeas onto a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are crispy on the outside but still a little mealy on the inside.

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underrated tomato basil soup

19 Feb

tomato basil soup is underrated. i don’t know why, but it is. but before i get into the tomato soup issue, i have a confession.

i am on a diet. a BIG diet. as we all know, i’ve been happily eating my way through work and school for the last 6 months under the guise that my boyfriend, currently in korea, would not be seeing me for a year. a wonderful turn of events would have it that we are seeing each other in ONE month-this is amazing news. but then! it dawned on me. i am ten pounds heavier than when he left me–and at that point i was already ten pounds heavier than i should have been. RUH ROH. so, as it were, the year long food coma is briefly turning into the month long vegetable coma. can salad induce the food itis?? if only.

i would like to note though, i truly have not had any qualms about what my body, or my love pudge-as i’ve recently named it, looks like. BUT, since i now have one week out of a whole year to see my boyfriend, i would like to look the best i can.

anyway, my sister told me i should post what i’m eating while on a diet on my blog so that i can hopefully help some of the women who are still of the mind set that eating raw celery and cabbage soup is the only way to slim down.

SO BACK TO TOMATO SOUP. LOW CALORIE, MOSTLY TOMATOES. its also perfect for dunking that ooey gooey grilled cheese on rye when NOT on a diet. no, no grilled cheese here. sorry, i’m a cook, not a zero fat grilled cheese inventing magician.

What You Need for 6-8 Servings:

1 box of pomi chopped tomatoes (box not can because of my aluminum erosion paranoia. see: hypochondria)

1 cup of veg stock or water

1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped

3-6 garlic cloves roasted or raw. i have no time so mine are raw. roasted is more delicious.

a few dashes of tabasco or franks or whichever hot sauce you like

2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 bunch of fresh basil (a bunch being like 10 leaves? i don’t know, lots of basil.)

 

What to Do:

heat 1 TEASPOON of olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium. add in the onion and sweat about 5-6 minutes until translucent. don’t brown. if using non-roasted garlic add that in after the onion has sweat. let that cook about 2 minutes, just until fragrant.

pour in the box of tomatoes, the stock/water, the hot sauce, the Worcestershire and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and let it simmer for 10ish minutes.

in batches, pour the soup into a blender (if using roasted garlic, add it now into the blender batches) add in 3/4 of the basil leaves and puree until smooth. do this until all the soup is pureed, return to the pot and taste. add salt and pepper as needed. chiffonade the remaining basil and stir in.

the end!