Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

If you can’t tell by now I really like chickpeas. They are so flavorful and packed with protein. I have made this healthy snack for years. I love to make it when I have guests. Recently I have noticed that roasted chickpeas have become popular so I thought I would share my recipe. My secret for making these treats extra crunchy is to dry them out for 2 hours before you begin roasting. I also roast them low and slow.


1 15 oz. can of chickpeas drained and rinsed well
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp sugar

Spread the chickpeas out on a paper towel or a drying rack and leave for about 2 hours. The chickpeas do not need to be completely dry to start roasting just about half dried out.

After two hours pour chickpeas into a mixing bowl and add olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and sugar. Coat the chickpeas well and pour onto a greased baking sheet. Put into the oven at 300 degrees for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Move the chickpeas around every 25 minutes to ensure even roasting. Once they are done baking let them sit on the baking sheet for about ten minutes to cool and then they are ready to serve.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crock Pot Vegan Split Pea and Potato Soup

I had this hearty vegan soup in the crock pot yesterday while it was crazy stormy outside. The house smelled heavenly and the crock pot kept the kitchen warm. I knew were going to have to brave the rain and run a few errands so I wanted something warm and comforting waiting for us when we all got home and it was perfect. The potatoes help add a creaminess to the soup and I topped mine with locally grown Roma tomatoes to brighten up the soup. You will love this!


2 cups dried split peas
1 onion chopped small
2 leaks rinsed well and white parts chopped small
2 tbs olive oil
1 large potato peeled chopped small (I used yukon gold)
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how much heat you like)
5 cups vegetable broth

Soak split peas in a bowl of hot water for about ten minutes while you saute the onions and leeks.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium and add onions and leeks. Sprinkle in salt, cayenne pepper and paprika. Saute for about 8 minutes on medium low. Then add in potatoes and saute for another 2-5 minutes until onions have softened but potatoes are still slightly hard.

Pour onion, leeks and potatoes into the crock pot. Drain and rinse the soaked split peas and add them to crock pot. Pour in 5 cups of vegetable broth. Turn crock pot to low and let sit for 7 hours. After 7 hours turn off crock pot, stir soup a little and then cover and let it sit in the crock pot for about 15 minutes. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields 6-8 servings

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Indian Dahl with Coconut Jasmine Rice and Roasted Vegetables

I got this great recipe for Dahl from my friend Gillian Khawar. She made it for us on New Year’s eve and we couldn’t get enough. Dahl is an Indian lentil dish with different spices depending on where you get it. To add to this dish, I made coconut jasmine rice and roasted asparagus and squash. The whole combination was so delicious and healthy.

Roasted Vegetables Ingredients:

1/2 white onion chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
2 cups of asparagus chopped
1 medium yellow squash sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Place all chopped vegetable on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper over them. Mix them together with your hands so that the seasoning is evenly places. Put into the oven at 425 degrees for 35-45 minutes

Coconut Rice Ingredients:

2 cups of canned condensed coconut milk
1 cup water
2 cups of Jasmine rice

Bring coconut milk and water to boil. Pour in rice and cover. Reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.

Dahl Ingredients:

5 cups water
2 cups red lentils (they look orange but are called ‘red lentils’)
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 cloves of garlic minced

In a large bowl soak 2 cups of lentils in hot water for about ten minutes. In a medium pot pour in water, chili powder, salt, tumeric, and garlic. Bring to boil. Add soaked lentils and bring to boil; then reduce to simmer. Mix the lentils intermittently with a spoon and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until beans have softened completely and absorbed all the aromatic water.

Assembling the meal:

Start with a heaping spoonful of coconut jasmine rice. Top with cooked Dahl and roasted vegetable. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields: 6-8 servings

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Black Bean Potato Pancake Burgers

Last night I made a batch of homemade mashed potatoes and today and I had quite a bit leftover. I thought that I would like to mix them with some protein so I grabbed a can a black beans and voila! Delicious and super easy veggie burgers! These can be made vegan or vegetarian by swapping milk and cheese for non-dairy milk or cheese. It also tastes great with a fried egg on top for any those adventurous vegetarians or meat eaters out there.

Ingredients for mashed potatoes:
4 large yukon gold potatoes washed and cut into quarters
1/4 cup butter or vegan butter (I use Earth Balance soy free butter)
1/2 cup boxed coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk or regular milk
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tsp of salt and pepper to taste

Put potatoes in a pot and fill with water enough to cover the potatoes with an extra inch of water. Bring to boil and let simmer until potatoes are tender and ready for mashing about 12-15 minutes. Drain water from the potatoes and return to the pot. Add butter and mash together with a masher. Add milk slowly as you my need more and you may need less. Add garlic, salt and pepper and continue to mash until potatoes are to a desired texture.

Ingredients for Black Bean Pancake Burger:

3 cups mashed potatoes (see above for my recipe)
2 cups whole black beans rinsed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional for vegans)
3-4 tbs olive oil
8 leaves of cabbage
1 tomato sliced
1 avocado sliced

In a bowl pour in black beans and mash slightly with a masher. Add mashed potatoes and mix together well. Add parmesan to the potatoes and mix well. Heat up olive oil in a large skillet to medium high. Using your hands make patties out of potato and black bean mixture. Place 3 or 4 patties on heated oil but do not crowd the skillet. Let the patties cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium high until bottom side is dark brown. Then flip and cook the other side for about another 5 minutes. Repeat this process with the rest of the mixture till all patties are cooked. (Remember you want each side of the patty to cook till darkened so that the patties stay together). Place your patty on a cabbage leaf and top with 1 slice of tomato and 1 slice of avocado. You may want to also use your favorite hot sauce on top. Then it ready to serve.

yields: about 8 servings

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kale and Broccoli Soup

Kale is one of my favorite vegetables. It is full of fiber, vitamin K and cancer fighting properties. Lucky for us (Californians) Kale is available year round but it’s peak season is in the winter months between January and March. This vegan soup is light and flavorful packed with hearty kale, broccoli and aromatic flat leaf parsley. Vegetarians may want to add parmesan cheese on top and meat eaters may enjoy chicken stirred into the soup.


2 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped
2 leeks; white parts chopped and rinsed well
2 cup celery chopped
2 cups carrots chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1-2 tsp pepper to taste
2-3 tsp salt to taste
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
5 cups kale; stems removed, rinsed and chopped to about 2 inch pieces
5 cups vegetable broth
3 cups broccoli chopped
2 bay leaves

In a large stock pot heat olive oil over medium and add onion, leeks, celery, and carrots. Saute together and add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Saute together on medium low for about 15 minutes until vegetable have softened. Add tomato paste and stir together until paste has dissolved. Add fresh flat leaf parsley and stir together for a minute. Then add kale and broccoli and pour in vegetable broth. Bring to boil and add bay leaves. Once the soup is boiling reduce to simmer on low for about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaves and then it is ready to serve.

Yields 6-8 servings

Friday, January 13, 2012

Parsley and Garlic Capellini

This pasta couldn’t be any easier to make and it’s great for those days when you are out of groceries. I love to use fresh parsley in my recipes because it adds so much flavor. By combining parsley and garlic together and tossing it with thin pasta you get a fresher lighter tasting pasta meal.


3 tbs olive oil
5 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbs dried parsley
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 cups cooked capellini or angel hair pasta (I used gluten free pasta)

In large pot bring water to boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the package.

In a large saute pan heat oil on medium. Add garlic, salt, crushed red pepper and dried parsley. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes. When garlic has turned light brown add fresh chopped parsley and cooked pasta and stir together while slowly adding in parmesan cheese. If pasta gets too thick ladle in some salted pasta water. Stir together, plate and then it is ready to serve.

Yields 2-4 servings

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tomato Cucumber Salad

It has been so warm in California lately that I have been craving a fresh cold salad. This salad does the trick and it is very light and healthy to boot. With just a few simple steps and handful of ingredients you can make a refreshing salad to eat alone or pair with almost any meal.


3 tomatoes chopped into large chunks
1 english cucumber peeled and chopped in equal size chunks as the tomatoes
2 cups fresh arugula chopped
1 tbs fresh oregano chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
2-3 tsp sea salt to taste
1 tsp pepper

On a plate arrange arugula and cover it with tomatoes and cucumber (you can mix it or layer it as you desire). Drizzle red wine vinegar over the salad first so that it absorbs into the tomatoes and cucumbers. Then drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Finally top the whole salad with chopped oregano. Let the salad sit for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour in the refrigerator, so that the vinegar brings out the sugars from the salad. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields 2-4 servings

You can also add feta cheese on top!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gluten-free Vegan Pizza Dough

I love pizza, but the abundance of flour and gluten I tend to eat with each slice doesn’t always sit well. I decided to research some gluten-free recipes and found that most of them called for gelatin which is derived from animal bones. This was not okay with me either. So today I set out to experiment with several different kinds of doughs. I found one that not only works well but tastes delicious. I have tried several different g-free flours and found that the brand “King Arthur” made the perfect flour for pizza dough. I topped my pizza with marinara sauce, kale, tomato slices, red onion and black olives which was so yummy, but you can choose your favorite toppings.

Pizza dough

3 cups of gluten free flour such as “King Arthur”
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 pkg of 7 g active-dry yeast dissolved into 2 tbs hot water
1 tbs ground flaxseed dissolved into 3 tbs of hot water
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup of water (besides the water added to the yeast and flax)
1/4 cup cornmeal

In a small bowl or cup dissolve 2 packages of yeast into 2 tbs of hot water. Whisk together well.

In another small bowl or cup dissolve 1 tbs ground flaxseed into 3 tbs of hot water. Whisk together well.

In a stand mixer add flour and salt. Pour in dissolved yeast and dissolved flaxseed and turn mixer on low. Add olive oil and mix together. Add water slowly as you may not need the full 3/4 cup and you may need more. Mix together on low until the dough has formed a ball and has clung to the beater.

Place dough in a large bowl and set in a warm spot to rise. The dough may not rise very much but you should leave it for at least two hours.

Once dough is ready set the oven temp for 500 degrees. Split the dough into two balls and roll out using parchment paper.( You do not want to add more flour to the dough when you roll it out because it may dry out). Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and place flatted dough on top. (This will help keep the dough from sticking to the sheet). Place in the oven and cook for about 7-8 minutes at 500 degrees until the edges have browned slightly. Take out of the oven and let the dough sit for about 20 minutes because it will continue to cook a little. After 20 minutes add your favorite toppings and put back in the oven at 500 degrees for 8- 10 minutes until cheese or vegan cheese has turned golden. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields 2 pizzas or 8 slices

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Two months ago I made Jalapeno stuffed Tomatoes. They were so good I thought I would try using the same recipe and make jalapeno stuffed jalapenos making an even spicier appetizer. This time I used cream cheese instead of mascarpone. These turned out so good my husband and I couldn’t stop gobbling them up. Here is the same recipe recreated.


5 jalapenos
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs plus 1 tbs for topping
1 clove of garlic minced
1 pinch of salt to taste
1 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs water

Cut 4 of the jalapenos in half and scoop out the seeds. Place them on a baking sheet. Chop the fifth jalapeno in half. One of the halves can be seeded and added to the baking sheet to be filled. The other half should be very finely chopped to be added to the cheese filling. Leave the seeds in this half of the jalapeno if you would like some kick.

In a medium size bowl combine cream cheese, parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs. Mix together well adding salt and a small amount of water at a time until cheese filling is thick and creamy. Add garlic and finely chopped jalapeno half and mix together very well so that each popper has the same amount of kick. (You can also use a food processor for this). Fill each jalapeno on the baking sheet. Drizzle the remaining panko bread crumbs over them and the finally top with a small amount of olive oil to help the tops brown. Pop into the oven at 375 degrees for about 25-35 minutes until the top has browned well.

Yields 9 jalapeno poppers

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mediterranean Quinoa

Tonight I was really craving pasta but my husband was hoping for something a little lighter. So I started sauteing and simmering my favorite vegetables with garlic and onion and decided to mix it all up with healthy protein packed quinoa. The dish turned out so yummy even my little one year old gobbled it up. If you follow the quantities to this meal correctly you should end up with almost twice as much vegetable as quinoa. This makes the dish extra light but satisfying as well.


1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups steamed broccoli florets
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp of salt and pepper to taste
4 Roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives halved

In a medium pan simmer quinoa on med low for about 15 minutes or follow the directions on the package.

In another medium pan steam broccoli until just barely tender.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute together on medium low for about 8 to 10 minutes until onions are softened. Add tomatoes and saute together for another 5 minutes. Add Broccoli and olives and saute till vegetables are heated through; about 5 minutes. Combine vegetables and quinoa together and it is ready to serve.

Yields 4 servings