Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Burger

Ah So Yummy (10)

Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Burger

Everyone makes BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers on 4th of July and here I made this vegan black-eyed pea burger! I could have bought vegan hot dogs or hamburgers with gluten-free buns, but decided against it. Even though my vegan black-eyed pea burger may not have been a traditional 4th of July meal, I sure enjoyed eating it, yum!

Having posted very few recipes, it wasn’t hard to find the Mediterranean black-eyed pea salad recipe I created last year. Wow! Where did the time go.  Looking over the recipe, I remembered  how good the combination of dill, black-eyed peas and rice tasted in that salad, so I added the same ingredients to my sister’s basic recipe for burgers which consisted of brown rice, oatmeal and beans to create this vegan black-eyed bean burger.

Since I started Ah So Yummy blog, besides it being a fun hubby, I can refer to my old recipe creations to remember what I used in them. I’ve created so many recipes in the past without having the faintest idea of how to recreate them again. Take the one above for instance. I have these photos because I texted them to my sister. We always text each other photos of the food we create. Back to the photos, I can see the ingredients I added to the patties, but I have no clue what seasonings I used. It looks like I cooked the eggplants with fried onions and spices and then added them to quinoa, green peas, lentils and fresh herbs.

I remember the patties in the photos above turned our real yummy, but for the life of me I can’t remember what I did. This was back when I was vegetarian and used eggs.

I always create my recipes based on what I have on hand. In this case, I had a bag of frozen black-eyed peas, hence vegan black-eyed pea burgers were born. Using my sister’s base recipe, I added cooked black-eyed peas and spices to cooked oatmeal and brown rice. Additionally, I added fresh broccoli and dill to make the burgers real moist.

Because of the fresh broccoli and herbs, these burgers turned out real soft and it wasn’t as easy to turn them over without breaking them. However, I carefully and gently managed to flip them over after 20 minutes. Flipping isn’t necessary and you can let them cool completely to set before moving them so they keep their shape. But, if you are in a hurry to eat them and can’t wait for them to cool, just add a little rice flour or ground flax seed to the mixture. I was real happy with how my vegan black-eyed pea burger turned out and wouldn’t change a thing next time around.

Next I made a creamy and tangy sauce to go with the burgers. I added a little water to vegan mayo to thin it a little. Then I squeezed some lime juice over it and added chopped dill, minced garlic and salt. The sauce turned out so delicious!

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My vegan black-eyed pea burger turned out so tender and moist just like the texture of a good meatloaf. The flavor combination of the ingredients I used in these burgers was just magnificent!

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The creamy herby garlicky citrusy sauce was the perfect choice for these burgers.The vegan black-eyed pea burger with a Mediterranean flair was so delicious that I devoured two as soon as they came out of the oven. This is definitely a keeper recipe :).

Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Burger

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 12 burgers

Ingredients

1 package  20 oz. frozen black-eyed peas 2 cups black beans
1½ cups cooked brown rice
½ cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped dry onion
2 teaspoons garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 bunch fresh dill, about 2 loosely packed cups

Preparation

  1. Cover beans with few inches of water and pressure cook until tender. Mash half of the beans.
  2. Mircowave oatmeal with 1 cup water for 2 minutes.
  3. Finely chop broccoli or use a food processor.
  4. Coarsely chop dill or process in a food processor.
  5. Mix all the ingredients together.
  6. Coat a non-stick oven pan with extra virgin olive oil. Form the mixture into patties and place them on the pan.
  7.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Do not flip over. Let stand in room temperature to firm up before moving them.
  8. Serve with dill and lemon sauce or a side of salad.
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Mexican Black Bean Burger

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Mexican Black Bean Burger

My inspiration for this Mexican black bean burger came from my sister. I like how her burgers turn out moist and soft. She created a basic recipe for burgers that consists of a mixture of beans, brown rice and oatmeal. The bean choices vary, but the brown rice and oatmeal are always the same. She then adds different herbs and spices to her mixture depending on what she is craving or has on hand. The crucial step of her recipe is to refrigerate the mixture overnight to let oatmeal do its thing to soften up and expand. Then the following day she shapes her burgers and bakes them in the oven. She is vegan by the way, so her recipes never contain dairy or eggs and lately she has gone gluten free which means no wheat flour to bind the ingredients either.

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My sister and I are getting together this weekend for our game night. Since she prefers homecooked meals to eating out and we both love Mexican flavors, I created a recipe for these vegan and gluten-free Mexican black bean burgers using her basic burger recipe. Just like me she never follows recipes, just eyeballs the ingredients and throws everything together.

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I had some fresh corn cobs in the fridge and even though I had never made corn salsa, instead of Googling a recipe for it, I used my tomato salsa recipe and subbed fresh corns for tomatoes. Hence, my side dish was created yay!

To spend less time in the kitchen, I started cooking my black beans and brown rice simultaneously. The beans were cooked in my old pressure cooker and the rice was cooked in my good old reliable rice maker and that took only 20 minutes top, awesome! While the beans and rice were cooking, the corn kernels were scraped off the cobs and microwaved for 2 minutes, the spices and herbs were whisked together in a small bowl, and the oatmeal was microwaved with a cup of water for 2 minutes. So, everything was ready to go.

Once the beans were cooked, I strained them reserving the liquid for later use and then smashed them with a potato masher leaving some whole for texture. Now about the liquid from the bean, my sister sent me this article last week about aquafaba and why it is all over Pinterest. Apparently, the liquid from the cooked beans, known as aquafaba, can be used as a vegan alternative to dairy and eggs in everything from meringue to mayonnaise. So, save the liquid from your beans and use it in your mixture if it’s too dry.

All the ingredients were added to a large bowl. Now, this was the messy part. I used the liquid from the beans to wet my hands and grabbed a handful of the bean mixture and shaped it into a patty. I drizzled a large non-stick oven pan with olive oil and placed the patties in the pan.

I made enough burgers to last us both for few days. They baked in the 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes. I flipped them over and baked them for another 10 minutes. And the best part was… the drums please… they did not fall apart, hurray!

Mexican Black Bean Burger (8)I was very pleased with my burgers. They turned out beautiful and tasted yummy. My sister loved the corn salsa so much that she got the recipe to make it at home.

Mexican Black Bean Burger

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 12 burgers

Ingredients

2 cups black beans
1 cup brown rice
½ cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup fresh corn kernels
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped dry onion
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon hem protein powder
1 tablespoon almond meal flour
1 bunch fresh cilantro, about 2 loosely packed cups

Preparation

  1. Cover beans with few inches of water and pressure cook until tender. Mash half of the beans.
  2. Cook rice with 1½ cups water in a small rice cooker.
  3. Mircowave oatmeal with 1 cup water for 2 minutes.
  4. Microwave corn for 2 minutes.
  5. Wisk all seasoning together.
  6. Coarsely chop cilantro.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together.
  8. Coat a non-stick oven pan with extra virgin olive oil. Form the mixture into patties and place them on the pan.
  9.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Half way through cooking, gently flip them over.
  10. Serve with your favorite salsa or a side of salad.

Mediterranean Yogurt Salad

Mediterranean Yogurt Salad

This healthy and delicious Mediterranean yogurt salad goes by many names depending on the country. My Greek friend used to call it tzatziki. She grated her cucumbers and added lots of smashed garlic to hers and I mean a lot! In Turkey this salad is called cacik and the Indian version is called raita. You always see this salad in Indian buffets, because its cooling effect counteracts their spicy curries.

Regardless of the country of origin, the main ingredients in this salad are always yogurt and cucumbers. The Persians have a version that includes walnuts, fresh dill and raisins which is quite delicious. If you are not a fan of plain yogurt, you should definitely try this recipe.

Yogurt has a lot of health benefits. Some of its benefits include boosting immunity, helping in weight loss, and preventing gastritis and stomach ulcers, heart diseases and osteoporosis. More reasons to include it in our diets.

To make this easy salad, you first dice the cucumbers. I left the skins on the cucumbers because I like the texture and color they adds to the salad, but you can peel the skins if you like. Use Persian cucumbers because they have thin and tender skins and are not as seedy as other cucumbers. Besides, they have more flavors. If you can’t find Persian cucumber, use English cucumber.

The fastest and easiest way to dice cucumbers into uniform pieces is to cut them into slices lengthwise, stacking the slices and cutting them lengthwise again into matchstick pieces. Then lining up the pieces and cutting across them. My sister uses a small paring knife and cuts one slice at a time. I’ll go bananas if I do that! The only times I use a paring knife is to peel an apple.

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Once your cucumbers are ready, add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Make sure your garlic is finely chopped or better yet, use a grater or a zester to be on the safe side. There is nothing worse than biting into a piece of strong and spicy garlic! I have a stainless steel zester that I got as a gift over a decade ago that I use for grating. It’s inexpensive and works like a charm, a must for grating garlic and ginger.

I love the taste of dried tarragon with yogurt, but fresh tarragon, dill or mint would work great in this recipe. As for yogurt, use nonfat, low fat, regular or Greek as you wish. You can drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil over this salad and sprinkle chopped herbs over it for garnish. This Mediterranean yogurt salad makes a great appetizer with chips or pita bread. It can be served as a side dish with stews and rice dishes or as a soup. For the soup version, simply add enough water to thin it. You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper over it, yummy! Another pretty garnish is using fresh edible flowers or dried rose petals.

Mediterranean Yogurt Salad

Mediterranean Yogurt Salad

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 0
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups plain yogurt
3 Persian cucumbers peeled and diced
1 small garlic clove peeled and finely mashed (optional)
1 teaspoon dry French tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Combine the yogurt, cucumber, dried tarragon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with chips or pita bread.

Chickpea Shawarma

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Chickpea shawarma is basically chickpeas roasted in Middle Eastern spices.  Shawarma seasoning consists of ground cumin, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. This Middle Eastern seasoning blend can be used on chicken, beef and lamb before grilling or roasting. It can also be used on any vegetable of your choice.

My sister emailed me this shawarma recipe weeks ago. She is always the one trying the new recipes first and sharing them with me. She bragged about it so much that I decided to make it myself. Chickpeas are one of my favorite legumes and I love them in anything from soups to salads. Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans and have been around for over 7,500 years! They are one of the most popular crops across nearly every continent and are packed with protein, fiber and vitamins. I use chickpea powder in my veggie patties a lot as a binding agent.

I was very excited about trying this recipe. What better snack than spiced chickpeas, yum! As always, I got all my ingredients on the counter and measured the spices and added them to a bowl. I always place the ingredients to my left after using them, so I don’t lose track of which one I had already added. It’s better to be safe than adding an ingredient twice and ruining your recipe.

After preheating my oven to 400 degrees, I added the chickpeas to a large bowl and tossed them with extra virgin olive oil to coat them. I sprinkled the spice mix over the chickpeas and tossed them again to distribute the spice mix evenly.

The spiced chickpeas were then spread over a baking sheet lined with foil to reduce cleanup and baked in the oven for 30 minutes.

These chickpeas could be served on a bed of greens or stuffed in a pita bread with veggies and tahini dressing. I looked online for the best tahini dressing and came across this recipe that sounded great. I had all the ingredients so I started making the dressing.

Although I love tahini dressing and have tried a few recipes in the past, this dressing was too watery and not as tasty. I thought maybe I didn’t measure the ingredients correctly, but after checking the recipe I realized I had followed it to the T.

Regardless, I added some greens to a plate, topped with chickpea shawarmas, and drizzled with the tahini dressing. It looked very pretty and appetizing, but honestly I did not care for either recipe. The chickpeas had a tough-to-chew exteriors and the tahini dressing was sort of bland. After spending over an hour in the kitchen and dirtying tons of dishes, I was very disappointed at the end results. As much as I love my chickpeas, I would not be making this recipe again and I am sure there are far better tahini dressing recipes than the one I tried. Oh well, not all recipes are worth saving!

If you have a tahini dressing recipe worth keeping, please share it with me :).

Chickpea Shawarma

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 mins
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon shawarma spice mix (recipe follows)

Shawarma Spice Mix:
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To make the spice mix, combine all the spices in a small bowl.
  3. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl, toss with the olive oil and spice mix.
  4. Spread out the spiced chickpeas on a nonstick baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. 

Quick and Easy Banana Cake

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I used to make this banana cake regularly prior to learning I was allergic to eggs and milk. This cake recipe was fool proof and always turned out very moist and delicious making it hard to believe it came out of a box.  But, then again all those fresh ingredients I added made it taste like it was made from scratch. Even though I don’t bake this banana cake anymore, I wanted to post the recipe here, because it’s worth saving it and it used to be my family’s favorite.

Any yellow cake mix works with this recipe, but I mostly used Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix. I would stock up on yellow cake mixes when they went on sale. They came in handy when I had unexpected guests dropping in. I always kept frozen ripe bananas in my freezer for cakes and smoothies. So, all I had to do was add the frozen bananas to the cake mix along with eggs, oil and milk and have a yummy cake ready in less than an hour to serve my guests.

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Add vegetable oil, bananas and eggs to the yellow cake mix in a large mixing bowl. Use fresh ripe bananas. If your bananas are turning brownish don’t toss them out. That’s the perfect time to use them in this cake. To store ripe bananas, place them in the freezer keeping their peels on. When you need them, hold under running water for few seconds then using a pairing knife peel them. You can also freeze peeled bananas in Ziploc bags.

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Using an electric hand mixer, beat the ingredients for about 2 to 3 minutes until the batter is smooth. At this point, if you like, you can chop some walnuts and toast them for few minutes over medium-high heat until fragrant and then add them to the batter.

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Spray a nonstick cake pan with cooking spray,  and pour the batter into it. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate and dig in, yummy!

Quick and Easy Banana Cake

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 12 servings

Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas smashed
2 eggs

 Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour batter into a prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate.

Quick and Easy Vegan IC-Friendly Meal Ideas

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Being a vegan newbie and having to follow a strict elimination diet can be real difficult and frustrating. You think what is left to eat after eliminating all meat, eggs, dairy, and acidic foods –like Chinese, Mexican and Italian… seriously! – along with all acidic fruits, vegetables, and condiments that could trigger bladder pain. After you get over the initial shock and mourn the loss of your favorite foods, you start thinking about all the possibilities and choices out there instead of just focusing on what you cannot eat.

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With an IC elimination diet, just as the name implies, you eliminate all the known offensive foods – whatever they may be for your specific condition – from your diet. Then after few weeks, you start adding the foods back to your diet, one at a time. You monitor your symptoms or reactions to the added food for few days before introducing a new food. If all goes well, you continue adding the foods back to your diet until you find out which one causes your symptoms. It’s like being a food detective.

For those who haven’t read the previous post, IC or Interstitial Cystitis is a bladder condition that results in constant or recurring pain or discomfort in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. Although, there is no scientific evidence linking diet to IC, some foods and beverages are known to cause bladder irritation and inflammation in IC sufferers.

There are lots of IC-friendly recipes and food blogs online, but I wasn’t going to spend time exploring those sites. Instead, I used the IC-Food List as a guide and came up with a list of easy and tasty foods and snacks a vegan IC-sufferer could prepare at home without needing any cooking skills.

I thought re-training the taste buds would be a good start for an elimination diet, especially one with so many restrictions. That’s why I limited the number of the ingredients, spices and the seasonings I used except for the salt of course. At the end of my elimination trial, I was pleased and surprised to learn how much I enjoyed the simple and clean flavors of natural foods without all the added fats and flavoring from other sources.

Ah So Yummy (28)The very first food I made was a simple carrot and sweet potato soup. My soups are usually made with sautéed aromatics like onions, garlic and herbs, but to keep the ingredients to the minimum and flavors as simple as possible, I threw these beautiful multi-colored carrots I had bought from the store into a stockpot along with sweet potatoes and grated ginger. All I added was plain water to cover the vegetables and some salt.

After the vegetables were cooked through, I pureed the soup using a hand blender. The soup turned out creamy and delicious without adding any fat. If you are on a low-fat diet or any special diet, you can turn any mixture of root vegetables you have on hand, like parsnips, turnips, celery roots and potatoes into a delicious low-calorie soup like this one and eat as much as you want without feeling guilty :). Of course topping this soup with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice would take it to another level.

The best way of always having ginger on hand is to freeze some in a Ziploc bag. Anytime you need it, all you have to do is peel and grate a section of it using a microplane or a regular grater. Frozen ginger keeps real well and is much easier to grate. Another clever way of storing ginger in the freezer is grating it first then rolling it in a plastic wrap like a candy and twisting the ends. When you need it, all you have to do is unroll it and snap a piece off.

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White beans and cauliflower soup was another simple and tasty soup I made.

Again, all I added was plain water and salt. I covered the white beans with few inches of water in a pressure cooker pot and cooked them until almost tender. I then added the fresh cauliflowers and cooked them until tender and pureed with a hand blender, my favorite tool for pureeing. This soup was amazingly creamy, nutritious and yummy!

These pureed soups also make great baby food since babies usually start solid foods without any added fat, spices or seasonings. They are also great for people on special diets or fat-free diets. I made a lot of pureed soups using different mixes of beans and vegetables. Since the soups didn’t look very appealing, I pureed them. Any vegetable can be pureed into a soup with or without starch. You just have to adjust the amount of the liquid, add more for a thinner soup and less for a thicker soup.

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Towards the end of the elimination trial, I started adding herbs and olive oil to the food. I made this simple and tasty white beans stew with chopped garlic and fresh parsley and rosemary from my garden. I plant new herbs every year, but these two herbs grow all year long in my garden.

The beans were soaked overnight and cooked with plain water, salt and chopped fresh garlic, parsley and rosemary. Before serving, they were drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil, not that they needed it, but it sure made them yummier. Some of the beans burst open during cooking adding creaminess to the liquid.

I tried the same stew concept with garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils…the list was endless. The stew was the perfect vehicle to add fiber and protein rich beans to my diet. Each cup of cooked beans contained about 15 grams of fiber which was more than half of the daily recommended intake, as well as about 15 grams of protein.

The options for salads were endless. The only dressing I used on the salads was a little extra virgin olive oil and of course salt. I actually started preferring my salads without any acid. The salads tasted so fresh and clean when dressed with just a drizzle of olive oil.

Top a bed of spring mix salad or any type lettuce with your choice of bladder-friendly vegetable and cooked beans from the IC Food List, and you will have a nutritious meal ready in no time. Let your imagination go wild and create tasty combinations.

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I always kept few cups of cooked quinoa in the fridge and added it to my salads for protein. Any combination of vegetables tasted delicious when mixed with quinoa. For this salad, I mixed cooked quinoa with some chopped celery, zucchini and cilantro.

Before serving, I added chopped avocado and sometimes fresh warm basmati rice, yummy! My sister came up with a lot of creative combinations of beans and vegetables for salad and shared them with me. I will post some of her recipes in future.

Another meal idea that required more work, but provided quick meals when done in advance, was making vegan burgers or wraps. I used one of my old recipes for vegan patties and made enough patties to last for few days. Before baking, I formed the patties into three different sizes, small round-shaped patties for slider buns, large round-shaped patties for regular burger buns,  and oblong-shaped ones for wraps. Using different vegetable and herb with each sandwich made it seem like I was eating a different meal, haha, smart huh!

I love avocados and used it in my salads and sandwiches. I found the best way to preserve the unused portion was to cover it with the empty half shell, seed intact, and wrap it tightly in a plastic wrap and refrigerate. Any acid like lemon juice or vinegar, splashed over the exposed flesh, could keep it from turning brown, but acid was a no no on this diet. I scooped out the flesh with a large spoon to keep the shell intact.

Lightly steamed vegetables made great side dishes or healthy and filling afternoon snacks. There is nothing worse than an overcooked vegetable, yucks! If you have never cared for steamed vegetables, chances are they were overcooked and mushy. I steamed my vegetables in the steamer basket of my old rice cooker just long enough for them to slightly cook yet preserve their shape and color. With just a drizzle of a good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt the vegetables were transformed from boring to yummy!

If you have never had artichoke, you are missing out big time. I just learned from this article How to Eat an Artichoke that you are not supposed to cover the pan when boiling them or else acids in the artichoke will not be able to escape and they will turn the artichokes brown. Well, that explains why mine turned brownish! However, the flavor was amazing, especially the creamy hearts, yum!

The elimination trial and re-training my taste buds taught me to appreciate all the vegetables in their natural state. I learned to enjoy them raw, steamed or roasted. But, I have to admit roasting them in the oven was my favorite way of preparing them especially with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. My sister can down any vegetable without salting it, but I have to add a little salt to mine. She roasts her vegetables with a little water, no salt and no fat added.

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Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots provided a sweet snack for the times I craved sweets.

I sprinkled some cinnamon and drizzled some olive oil over the vegetables before roasting them in the oven at 400 º F. I think the above photo speaks for itself, YUMMY :).

I used to have trouble telling yam and sweet potatoes apart. I finally learned how to pick the right one. They are basically both considered sweet potatoes. What we call yam is the variety with a darker skin and a dark orange flesh that is much sweeter and moist in texture than sweet potatoes. The one I used here was sweet potato and had a pale skin with a light yellow flesh. The flesh had a dry mealy texture and was less sweet than yam. So, here we have it yay.

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Eggplants and mushrooms are incredibly versatile and work in any recipe from Italian to Asian. They also make a very tasty substitute for meat and happen to be my absolute favorite vegetables.  As for eggplants, I particularly love the taste and texture of Japanese eggplants. They cook quickly and don’t even need peeling because their skin is so tender.

My favorite method of cooking eggplants is roasting which uses the minimum amount of oil, not to mention the heavenly aroma that fills my kitchen when they roast. For this elimination diet, I turned roasted eggplant rounds into sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Some of my favorite fruits were among the bladder-friendly fruit choices which made me very happy :).

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I have never been a big fan of brown rice, but thanks to my sister’s preaching about all its health benefits, I started eating it few months ago and gradually developed a taste for it. I still prefer white fragrant rice, but don’t mind brown rice as much as I used to. I even started using it in my vegan patties and soups.

Brown rice is a whole grain rice with the hull being the only part that is removed from it. Unlike white rice, it has the bran and germ. Brown rice has a mild nutty flavor and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice. It takes longer to cook and requires a higher water to rice ratio. I cooked my brown rice in a rice cooker and it turned out good every time. I added a little olive oil and salt to it too.

Mixing white or brown rice with any type of beans results in a complete protein dish. That gave me incentive to prepare a lot of rice and bean dishes. I even added rice and beans to my salads and wraps.

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I tried herb rice with fresh parsley, chives, dill and cilantro and added fresh chopped spinach, chard and kale to my rice. The addition of each herb and green vegetable created a different flavor profile.

For my kale rice, I trimmed all the stems both from below the leaves and the center of them because they tend to be tough and take longer to cook. I stored the trimmings in a Ziploc bag in my freezer as I always do with all the vegetable and herb trimmings. When I have enough trimmings, I make homemade vegetable stock.

Even though at the beginning of my elimination trial, I found the idea of a vegan on an IC diet very challenging, after experimenting with different simple and basic ingredients for weeks, I discovered a whole new way of preparing quick and healthy meals without having to take nutrition or cooking classes. If one chooses not to consume any animal products at all on an IC diet, they just have to learn how to combine the essential amino acids to get the most protein possible out of a vegan diet.

If you have IC and try any of these food ideas, make sure to check the IC Food List first and keep in mind that every person will have a different reaction to the same food. Cilantro may bother your bladder, but cause no discomfort for someone else. Substitute the ingredients that irritate your bladder with the ones that soothe it.

Mediterranean Black-Eyed Pea Salad

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This Mediterranean black-eyed pea salad is my first attempt at creating vegan, gluten free and interstitial cystitis  IC friendly recipes, boy what a mouthful name! IC – also known as painful bladder syndrome, bladder pain syndrome, and chronic pelvic pain – is a chronic incurable bladder condition that consists of recurring pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, often associated with urinary frequency and urgency. The three cardinal symptoms of IC are pain, frequency, and urgency. Some foods are known to trigger IC flares and an IC elimination diet is recommended to keep the symptoms at bay.

Okay, enough about the IC stuff and on to the fun stuff. After scanning the “bladder friendly” ingredient list and checking my pantry, I came up with this vegan, gluten-free and “bladder friendly” version of Mediterranean black-eyed pea salad.

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Before cooking any dried beans or peas, always inspect and remove any debris or dirt. I learned my lesson the hard way by chipping the edge of my front tooth on a tiny rock that was in my beans. Sometimes, these tiny rocks look like dirt, so be super careful and don’t skip this important step.

I love cooking black-eyed peas. They are not only delicious and nutritious, they usually cook in less than 30 minutes without presoaking. To prepare the peas, place them in a small pot using 3 to 4 cups of fresh water for each cup of peas. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the peas are tender and stir them once or twice. Don’t cook them to a mush. You want to keep the beans whole. Once cooked, strain and set aside to cool.

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To add classic Mediterranean flavors to my salad, I used cucumbers, fresh dill and garlic.

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While the peas are cooling down, peel and finely chop the cucumbers. I prefer Persian cucumbers because they are more flavorful and have thin skins that can be left on. If using other types of cucumbers, just scoop out the seeds before chopping them. Finely mince the garlic and chop the dill.

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Stir in a good quality extra virgin olive oil and salt.

I was very pleased with the flavors in my salad. I could never imagine eating a salad without an acidic element like lemon juice or vinegar, but somehow this salad tasted good without it. I turned my salad into a complete protein meal by adding some cooked warm basmati rice and chopped avocado. Next time I will try it with brown rice.

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Did I say how yummy and healthy this salad tasted? The cucumbers gave it its freshness and the crunch element. The fresh dills added a delicious earthiness and the garlic somehow elevated the flavor combination making up for the lack of acid. And finally, the addition of warm rice and avocado made it heavenly delicious!

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Mediterranean Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 small English cucumber chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh dill chopped
1 large garlic clove minced
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. Add black-eyed peas and 4 cups of water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, cover and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the peas are tender. Strain and set aside to cool.
  2. Wash, peel and chop cucumbers and garlic. Chop the dill.
  3. Add the salad ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Stir in olive oil and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

The Liebster Award

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Last week I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Coco Bean Biscuit which I appreciate very much by the way. I have been enjoying her wonderful blogs about lifestyle, fashion, food and design for some time now. She named her site after her gorgeous Persian tabby cat “Coco Bean Biscuit”, so cute! You have to check her site for yourself. You will love it, trust me.

I have to say though, it took some time to respond to this award and put together the blogs that I like, not to mention coming up with 10 questions to ask the nominees. In the process, I stumbled across some blogs that I may never have discovered had it not been for receiving this award, so thank you Coco Bean Biscuit.

Here are the roles one has to follow once nominated for this award: 

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the lovely person who nominated you.
  2. Include the Liebster Awards sticker (I copied mine from Coco Bean Biscuit) in your post.
  3. Nominate 10 other new bloggers with less than two-hundred followers who you think are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Answer the ten questions asked by the person who nominated you and then make ten questions of your own for your nominees.
  5. Lastly, copy these rules into your post.

Here are my responses to the questions asked by Coco Bean Biscuit :

  1. What is your favorite food? Chipotle vegetarian salad bowl with avocado, oh yum my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
  2. What made you start blogging? Initially, it was a way of saving my new recipe creations and sharing them with my sister. Then, it became more like a challenge to learn what I could about social media and blogging, oh yeah. And eventually, it became a hobby reading awesome blogs written by others and learning something new almost every day.
  3. Favorite place you’ve visited? I was in awe of Niagara Falls, so amazing and serene.
  4. What’s your favorite cocktail/mocktail? I don’t drink so I have to say cherry juice.
  5. If you were stuck in a lift/elevator, which celebrity would you have with you? Gary Zukav
  6. Any hidden talents? Hmm, I have to think about this one!
  7. Who is your biggest inspiration? My beautiful daughter
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? It would be anywhere my daughter and grandson live.
  9. What is your idea of a Dreamy Weekend? Staying in a cabin somewhere deep in the woods, watching the morning fog and feeling the cool mist on my face like I did when I was in my late teens.
  10. Favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate, so yummy!

I’ve discovered a number of new blogs in the past week that I really enjoy reading. I wish I could nominate them all, but for now here are my nominations in no particular order:

  1. Strider’s Journal
  2. Karen’s Healthy Women Blog
  3. La Pura Vida
  4. Mexican Food Memories
  5. Organic Baby Foodie
  6. Chef Mary Berry
  7. Spirited Tulip
  8. Healthy in All Hues
  9. Lucy’s Vegan Recipes
  10. Sabiscuit’s Catalog

 And finally, here are my questions:

  1. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, which color would it be?
  2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  3. Are you a morning person or a night person?
  4. When you “ like” a post on a blog, do you really read the entire post?
  5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  6. What book has influenced you most?
  7. If you could have dinner with any one person, living or dead, who would they be?
  8. What’s your favorite hobby?
  9. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  10. Which is your favorite, sunrise or sunset?

Happy blogging and thank you Coco Bean Biscuit 🙂

Lebanese Fattoush Salad

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The first time I had fattoush was in a Lebanese restaurant. Fattoush is a Lebanese popular salad that has as many versions as there are cooks. It’s normally made with fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs that are tossed with bits of crunchy toasted pita bread. What makes fattoush salad so unique and delicious is the addition of sumac and pomegranate molasses to the dressing.

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The version I had consisted of Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, green bell pepper, radishes, parsley and toasted wheat pita bread. The dressing was made of extra virgin olive oil, lemon and sumac. Whenever I try something new that I like at a restaurant, I take a mental note of the ingredients and sometimes even take photos of it and try to recreate the recipe at home.

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All the ingredients for this salad are readily available at most supermarkets or farmers markets. Make sure to use Persian cucumbers  which are small seedless cucumbers with thin and tender skin. If you can’t find them, use seedless English cucumber.

Chop all the ingredients and add them to a bowl.

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Sumac is the deep red berries of a wild bush native to the Middle East. The berries are dried and ground into coarse powder and range in color from reddish brown to dark red burgundy. Sumac has a tangy lemony flavor and is used in dry rubs, marinades and dressing.

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Make the salad dressing by whisking extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and sumac in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine the ingredients. Sprinkle sumac over the salad before serving (optional). I made my salad without pita bread to keep it gluten free.

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Lebanese Fattoush Salad

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 0 hr
Ready in: 15 mins
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

5 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber chopped
2 large roman tomatoes chopped
1/4 of a small red onion sliced
1/2 small green bell pepper sliced
5 to 6 medium radishes sliced
1 cup fresh parsley leaves chopped

Dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac

Preparation

  1. Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl.
  2. Whisk the ingredients for dressing.
  3. Pour dressing over the salad. Mix to combine the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Dal with Zucchini

Dal with zucchin

Dal with zucchini

Dal with Zucchini

Weeks ago I ordered Mark Bittman’s cookbook “The Best Recipes in the World” and today I finally got around to trying one of his recipes. I picked his Dal recipe with homemade curry powder since I had all the ingredients on hand. Cooking Indian food might seem intimidating to most people, but who can blame them. The list of the spices is always so long and unfamiliar. But let me tell you, after you equip your pantry with the essential Indian spices and learn a few cooking techniques, you will find yourself cooking Indian food more often. The homemade version is always healthier and tastier than the restaurant version. Okay, maybe not tastier, but definitely healthier.

Curry powder is a blend of various dried ground spices and each region of India has its own version. I like toasting and grinding my own spices because I can customize it to my taste, but when I’m in a hurry I use the store-bought version. Curry powder can be made hot, mild, sweet or fragrant depending on the spices used.

I picked an all-purpose curry powder recipe for my dal today. I added all the spices to a small sauté pan and heated it over medium heat for just a few minutes until fragrant.

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The recipe called for toasting the peppercorns, cloves and seeds, but I added all the spices at once. I then ground the spices in my spice grinder, a must-have tool for every kitchen.

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I also made some changes to this recipe. Instead of adding everything to the pot with water as instructed, I sautéed the onions first then stirred in the spices and cooked them for about minute. Toasting spices enhances their aroma and flavor.

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I used 1 tablespoon of the spice blend I had made earlier along with ground cumin and cayenne. Skip the cayenne if you don’t like spicy food. Personally, I like a little kick from the pepper. There is a misconception about Indian food being too spicy, but truth be told most their dishes aren’t spicy or can be made so just by omitting the hot peppers in the recipe. That’s the nice thing about grinding your own spices because you can control the amount of pepper you add to it.

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An easy way of peeling garlic clove is to cut the root end and smashing it on a cutting board with the back of a knife. The skin peels off very easily. That is if the clove is nice and big like you see in the picture below. Have you ever bought a garlic head that looked great until you broke it apart and all these tiny cloves fell all over your counter with few larger pieces lost among them. Well, it happens to me often and I get real frustrated trying to get those pesky skins off. I’ve tried all the tips I’ve read online to no avail. I put all the cloves in a sealed jar as suggested and shook the jar until my arms were falling off. I soaked them in hot water as suggested by another site, but that didn’t work either. If you have a trick up your sleeve, please share it with me in the comment section below :).

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I always keep ginger in a Ziploc bag in my freezer and any time I need it, I grate a section of it and put it back in the freezer. I find ginger easier to grate when frozen. Freezing it also keeps it from going bad in the fridge.

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Now, if you have never had dal before, it’s a thick stew prepared from any variety of dried lentils, peas or beans that have been split. I used yellow moong dal for my dish. You can find it in Indian stores or online. Some supermarkets might also carry it.

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I added chopped garlic and grated ginger to the onions and cooked them for a minute or so. The amazing aroma of onions and spices filled my kitchen. I’m sure my neighbors were getting hungry from the smell.  I stirred in chopped tomatoes and cooked the mixture for few minutes.

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The recipe doesn’t give the exact measurement for water, just enough to cover the beans by few inches. I forgot to measure the water I added, but I must have added about 8 cups. You can always add more water if needed.

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I let the stew cook for 40 minutes until the beans were tender. Remember to stir it a few times during cooking to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot. I had this beautiful homegrown organic zucchini in the fridge that I had no plans for, so I chopped it and added it to the stew. I cooked it for 10 more minutes until the vegetables were cooked through. Oh, I also added half a teaspoon of store-bought garam masala , another spice blend that is usually used in a very small amount to add flavor to the Indian dishes.

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I must say my version of this stew turned out scrumptious with just enough heat from the spices.

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Organic-Garam-Masala-Ounce/dp/B00AJRKQDU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1435107476&sr=8-2&keywords=indian+Garam+Masala

I don’t own a fancy camera and my basic camera doesn’t do justice to this stew. It looks so much better than the pictures, trust me!

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A food that is cooked with sautéed onions and garlic always tastes better the next day and freezes well. This stew keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Freeze the leftovers for another time.

Ah So Yummy

Dal with Zucchini

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 1 hr
Ready in: 1 hr 5 mins
Yields: 6 to 8 serving

Ingredients

1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon homemade curry powder (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon  cayenne pepper or to taste
4 roman tomatoes chopped
1 pound yellow moong dal rinsed and picked over

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized stockpot. Add onions. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add spices and tomatoes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 50 minutes.
  2. Add chopped zucchini. Cook for 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste and add more water if needed.

Mild Curry Powder

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 3 min
Ready in: 8 mins
Yields: 1/4 cup

Ingredients

1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 cloves
3 seeds from white cardamom pods
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
2 teaspoons ground turmeric

Preparation

  1. Combine the peppercorns, cloves and seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly toasted and fragrant, few minutes. Add the ground spices.
  2. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Store in a tightly covered container for up to several months.

Thanksgiving Vegan Patties

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My sister is a strict vegan, so when she comes over, I always make vegan dishes. We usually get together on weekends and do our fun outing and play few rounds of crazy rummy and feast on whatever I cook that weekend. My sister is my guinea pig and eats anything I cook, trust me on that. That’s why I always ask other people for feedback on my cooking because my sister always says it’s delicious!

Since I got some practice with quinoa and millet patties this week and wanted to use the yams and apples that were desperately waiting to be turned into something delicious, a vision of Thanksgiving vegan patties emerged in my mind, yes Thanksgiving in June!

I got all my ingredients on the counter. I was out of onions so I used shallots instead. I sautéed the shallots and apples, then added my herbs and spices. This was a recipe being born as I was making it. I had no idea how it would turn out, but it sure smelled yummy.

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Besides cooking, I love gardening and growing my own herbs. I tried keeping potted herbs on the kitchen counter like you see in the magazines or on cooking shows, but they never survived. So, I created an organic herb garden in my backyard growing different herbs in the pots. Having your own herb garden is so convenient and worth the effort. Some of the herbs like mint, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, oregano and marjoram are perennial and others like cilantro, basil and dill are annual and have to be replanted every year.

From my earlier experience, I knew in order for the quinoa and millet to hold together, I needed a binding agent and eggs were out of question of course. This time around I was prepared and had boiled and smashed two yams. Sweet potatoes or regular potatoes work too. What you need is a starchy and sticky ingredient to help the mixture bind together.

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I said my prayers and started kneading the ingredients. They went together beautifully and I had room to add another apple, so I grated another apple into the mixture. I shaped the patties and placed them on an oiled oven-proof tray.

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My perfectly shaped patties were ready to go in the oven.

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I didn’t dare flip these patties over because they felt real soft to the touch. When the top of the patties develop lots of cracks during baking, it’s usually a sign that they would fall apart if flipped over. But, if you let them cool completely, they firm up and hold their shape. The aroma of the spices and apples filled the air just like Thanksgiving. The vegan patties turned out delicious. I am sure my sister is going to devour them tomorrow and that’s the best compliment a cook can get!

Thanksgiving Vegan Patties

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 9 patties

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa
1/3 cup millet
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium Fuji apples
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram chopped
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium yams about 3 1/2 cups chopped

Preparation

  1. Cook the quinoa and millet in 1 1/2 cups water for about 15 minutes.
  2. Boil the yams in water. Drain, peel and smash.
  3. Sautee onions and apples for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in spices and seasonings.
  4. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Shape into patties. Place on an oiled non-stick oven tray.
  6. Bake in pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Do not flip over. Patties firm up when at room temperature.

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Mexican Quinoa Patties

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I was in the mood for Mexican food today and wanted to do something with my leftovers. Nothing ever goes to waste in my kitchen. I even freeze the trimmings of the vegetables and herbs to use them later in a homemade vegetarian broth. I keep a large Ziploc bag in the freezer and toss the trimmings in it until I have enough to make a broth and let me tell you nothing beats a homemade broth. The cauliflower core is from the soup I made earlier. The herb stems, in this case cilantro, add tons of flavor to the broth.

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What I had to work with was cooked quinoa, millet and black beans, perfect for veggie patties. I added all my ingredients to the bowl and mixed them together. The mixture didn’t hold together. If this happens to you, don’t panic. There is a fix for every disaster in the kitchen, well almost every disaster.

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I could have added flour to remedy the situation, but I wanted to keep the patties gluten free. The oven was already preheated, so I had to move on to plan B. I quickly peeled and diced two potatoes and microwaved them for 5 minutes. I also added a tablespoon of water for the potatoes not to dry out. I then smashed the potatoes and added them to the mixture.

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I have had veggie burgers fall apart on me while cooking in the oven. Instead of tossing them in the garbage, I transferred them to a bowl to cool first. I then added either chickpea or all-purpose flour and reshaped them. This trick always worked like a charm and helped the patties hold their shape. Another trick to use when the patties are too soft, is not to flip them over and letting them cool completely before moving them.

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Adding the potatoes helped my mixture somewhat, but it still felt a little wet. I ended up adding two tablespoons of potato starch and bingo the problem was solved. The first time I heard about potato starch, was over 15 years ago on Jacques Pépin‘s cooking show. I remember checking few stores before I was able to find it. Nowadays, you can find it in every supermarket. Potato starch is made from whole russet potatoes that are peeled, dehydrated and made into ground. They are great for thickening soups and sauces without adding any gluten.

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My patties were perfectly shaped and ready to go in the oven. I was even able to flip them over after 20 minutes without them falling apart on me. They turned out delicious with a crunchy and meaty texture and enough heat from the spices. I consider this a successful day in the kitchen. I got to use my leftovers and I have something tasty to eat for few days yay!

Mexican Quinoa Patties

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 8 patties

Ingredients

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked millet
1 cup cooked black beans
2 medium potatoes cooked and smashed
2 large organic free-range eggs
1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon potato starch
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preparation

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Coat a non-stick oven pan with extra virgin olive oil. Form the mixture into patties and place in the pan.
  3.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Half way through cooking, gently flip them over.
  4. Serve with your favorite salsa or a side of salad.

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Indian Cauliflower Quiona and Millet Soup

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I love experimenting with new ingredients ever since I became a vegetarian. I try to pack as much protein and vitamins as I can in every meal. Today, I finally decided to give the millet I had bought weeks ago a try. I didn’t know that millet is the same seed I feed my birds every day, but it’s not just for the birds. Millet is actually an ancient seed and a major source of food in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. It has a similar protein structure as wheat minus the gluten and it’s a great source of B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.

I usually scan my fridge and pantry for ingredients I can use to create a new dish. As soon as I saw the beautiful head of cauliflower in the fridge, my mind was made up to make an Indian spiced cauliflower soup with quinoa and millet. I was very happy with the end results.  Besides being very nutritious, the soup turned out real tasty. This soup is a meal in itself and freezes well. There is no greater joy than finding food in the freezer on the days you don’t have time to cook.

Indian Cauliflower Quinoa and Millet Soup

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa
1/3 cup millet
1 medium cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground masala
pinch of cayenne
4 cups water
3 cups organic coconut milk

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a medium stockpot. Add onions and garlic, sautee for few mintes until fragrant. Add spices, cauliflower, quiona and millet. Pour in 4 cups of water, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 40 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
  2. Add coconut milk and a dash of masala. Using an immersion hand blender puree the soup to a creamy consistency. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro.

Lentil and Chia Patties with Sweet Potato

These gluten-free lentil and chia patties are loaded with flavor and packed with nutrients. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor and are a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber.  The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.

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Lentil and Chia Patties with Sweet Potato

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 45 mins
Yields: 4 large patties

Ingredients

1 cup green lentils
1 cup sweet potatoes chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 large garlic clove chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup frozen green peas
¼ cup rice flour
2 tablespoons water

Preparation

  1. Cook lentils in 3 cups water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Cook sweet potatoes in 1 cup water until tender. Drain and set aside cool.
  3. Add half of the lentils and the remaining ingredients, except rice flour and water, to the bowl of a food processor. Process to a coarse texture using the pulse feature. Peas add moisture to the patties and serve as a binding agent.
  4. Mix the remaining lentils, lentil mixture and rice flour in a bowl, adding water as needed. Shape into 4 large patties or 8 small patties. Fry in oil or bake in a 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes.

Poached Eggs in Fresh Tomatoes

Poached Eggs in Fresh Tomatoes

Poached Eggs in Fresh Tomatoes

When I think about “breakfast for dinner” meal ideas, poached eggs in fresh tomatoes is the first dish that comes to my mind. I make this dish often because it’s very nutritious and so easy to make.  I love any dish that starts with sautéed onions and garlic because the leftovers always taste better the next day. Eggs are delicious regardless of how they are prepared, but poaching them in an aromatic bed of sautéed onions, garlic and fresh tomatoes makes them irresistibly yummy. Adding garbanzo beans ups its protein content making it a great vegetarian dish.

Poached Eggs in Tomatoes

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 25 mins
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves chopped
4 large tomatoes diced
1 cup cooked chickpeas
4 large organic cage-free eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 2 more minutes or until fragrant. Stir in fresh oregano, tomatoes and seasoning. Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Stir in chickpeas. Gently break the eggs over the mixture. Cover. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolk is soft.
  3. Garnish with oregano and serve with pita bread.