Category Archives: Vegetarian Meals

Salads Vegan Vegetarian Meals

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts…Plus a Complete Labor Day Barbecue Meal!

Hi friends! I hope you had a great weekend.

I am so excited for today’s post because I am teaming up with some of my blogger friends to bring you a complete healthy Labor Day barbecue feast! We each put together a different course for the menu, and oh man, I want to dig into all of these delicious creations. Let’s take a look!

Kacy from Healthy For Real made a Hearty Black Bean Corn and Kale Appetizer.

Black Bean and Corn Appetizer from Kacy at Healthy For Real

I made a grain-based Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts (Vegan and Refined Sugar-Free)

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts Recipe ll Vegan and Refined Sugar Free! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Dani from Dani California Cooks made Grilled Dijon Salmon Skewers (Paleo).

Grilled Dijon Salmon Skewers from Dani at Dani California Cooks

And Chef Vanessa Musi made a delicious Peach Bourbon Pie for dessert (Gluten-Free, Vegan and Refined Sugar-Free).

DSC04530

Make sure to click over to their posts to check out their amazing recipes!

 

Now are you ready for this delicious Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts?

You guys know I am OBSESSED with farro — it’s my all-time favorite grain. Farro is perfect for big batch salads like this one because it doesn’t get soggy after being dressed and it holds up very well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts Recipe ll Vegan and Refined Sugar Free! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I love, love, love the sweet-tart flavor that the cherries give to this salad, and there are so many different textures thanks to the added crunch from the walnuts and celery.

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts Recipe ll Vegan and Refined Sugar Free! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I know you guys are going to love this one and I can’t wait for you to try it!

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts Recipe ll Vegan and Refined Sugar Free! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup uncooked farro
  • ⅓ cup diced celery
  • 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1.5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon raw honey (or maple syrup for a vegan option)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the farro and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes or until al dente. Drain and cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine the farro, celery, cherries, walnuts and parsley.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss the farro with the dressing. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
 

 

Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts Recipe ll Vegan and Refined Sugar Free! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Salads Vegetarian Meals

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

I bet many of you have jumped on the healthy new year bandwagon, so I’m bringing you a delicious AND nutritious kale salad recipe today.

This salad has everything you need – a great balance of flavors, varying textures, and jam-packed flavor in every bite. You can serve it as an appetizer or feel free to add a piece of protein, such as grilled chicken, and make it a meal of its own.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

Pomegranates are SUPER healthy – they’re packed with antioxidants, which help to protect you from heart disease and cancer. I’ll admit, peeling pomegranates is not my favorite activity, but it’s worth it for the delicious sweet crunch you get from each tiny aril. (Don’t be stupid and wear a white shirt while peeling them like I did – you’ll get the juice everywhere!) I know you can buy the arils on their own, but I find that the price tends to be astronomical, so I usually opt to peel the pomegranate myself.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

Pomegranate molasses is something I’ve had in my pantry for years and I’ve talked about it a bunch on the blog. I use it in my Muhammara as well as various chicken recipes. It adds a sweet and tangy punch to whatever you’re making. When adding it to a salad dressing, it adds a more complex acidity than you get from lemon juice or vinegar.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

You can find pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern supermarkets and I know Whole Foods carries it as well. I actually make my own molasses from pomegranate juice, and I will be sure to share a tutorial on how to do that soon.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe

 

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
  • 1.5 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Salad
  • 6 cups kale, tough ribs removed
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate arils
  • ¼ cup roasted, unsalted pistachios (shelled)
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar, dijon, and honey. Slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large bowl combine the kale, pomegranate arils, pistachios, and parmesan. Toss with about ¼ cup of dressing, or to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper. The dressed salad will keep for about 24 hours.
 

Soups Vegetarian Meals

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this Butternut Squash Soup over the weekend. Travis has been under the weather for a few days now, so I wanted to make something warm and comforting for him.

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps Recipe

I love butternut squash soup, but I was looking for a way to enhance the flavors of the soup and differentiate it a bit. These parmesan-shallot crisps do just the trick! They’re incredibly easy to make and 100% worth the extra step. The salty flavors in the crisps are the perfect contrast to this slightly-sweet soup. It’s a match made in heaven.

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but special enough to make for company. I made it on Sunday and we enjoyed leftovers throughout the week. Make sure to store your leftover crisps separately from the soup, so they do not get soggy.

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps Recipe

This butternut squash soup embodies fall. I know I will making it again and again during these colder temps.

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan-Shallot Crisps
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Soup
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ½ apple, diced small
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
Parmesan-Shallot Crisps
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup grated fresh parmesan
Instructions
  1. In a large pot melt the butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes. Add the apple and cook for 4 minutes. Add the squash and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the squash, apple, and onion pieces with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Place the pureed mixture back in the pot with the stock and mix. Place the pot on low heat and add the nutmeg, brown sugar (optional), and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add the shallot and sautee for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the parmesan into 5-6 small mounds on the baking sheet and press down with your fingers to flatten. Spoon equal amounts of the shallot on top of each cheese mound and press lightly with the back of a spoon. Bake the crisps for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the crisps with a spatula and serve with the soup.
 

Salads Vegetarian Meals

Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

When summer hits, I hate using my oven. It is already too dang hot, so why add another ten degrees to my kitchen? That is why I LOVE making salads during the summer. You may remember how much I love farro – I’ve posted two yummy farro salads already here and here. This Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella is my current obsession.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Fresh Basil ll A healthy and filling vegetarian salad that's perfect for meal prep and potlucks! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The thing I love most about grain salads is that you can make a large batch and eat it throughout the week. Unlike lettuce salads, they do not get soggy – in fact I think the flavor gets better after sitting for a couple of hours.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Fresh Basil ll A healthy and filling vegetarian salad that's perfect for meal prep and potlucks! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This salad is packed with summer flavors like juicy cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Fresh Basil ll A healthy and filling vegetarian salad that's perfect for meal prep and potlucks! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ve doubled the recipe for a large potluck at work and it was a big hit! This farro salad is great for potlucks because it is easily transportable and can be served either cold or at room temperature – no heating required.

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Fresh Basil ll A healthy and filling vegetarian salad that's perfect for meal prep and potlucks! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you do not have farro on hand, I think this would be delicious with wheat berries or barley. If you try a different grain, let me know how it turns out!

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Fresh Basil ll A healthy and filling vegetarian salad that's perfect for meal prep and potlucks! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 cup dried farro
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ⅛ cup red onion, minced
  • ⅛ cup kalamata olives, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch cubes
Dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add the farro and a pinch of salt. Cook for 13 minutes. Drain. Spread the farro on a large plate and allow to cool.
  2. Once the farro has cooled completely, combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Toss half of the dressing with the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional dressing as desired. You can serve the salad right away or refrigerate and serve the next day.
 

Summer Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Fresh Basil ll A healthy and filling vegetarian salad that's perfect for meal prep and potlucks! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Appetizer Salads Side Dishes Vegetarian Meals

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Panzanella Salad

Is it me or is burrata everywhere right now? Whenever we go out to eat it seems to pop up on the menu.

Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Panzanella Salad Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Not that I am complaining! I adore this creamy cheese. It seems to pair well with just about anything!

My favorite burrata salad to date was at Rustic Canyon, a restaurant in Santa Monica we tried last weekend. The textures were on point, the flavors blended together perfectly, and it wasn’t overly dressed (a crucial one for me).

Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Panzanella Salad Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Because I just can’t get enough of this cheese, I set out to recreate a similar dish at home. Many people recommend using stale bread for Panzanella salads. I personally don’t understand that because you’re going to toast the bread anyway, so I used two fresh multi-grain rolls from Whole Foods and the result was delicious. I recommend a good crusty bread here  like ciabbata or french bread.

Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Panzanella Salad Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are few ingredients in this salad, so the key is to make sure the ones you do use are good quality and flavorful. I used a delicious farmer’s market heirloom tomato and a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon Balsamic vinegar my brother and sister-in-law bought for me in Napa Valley.

Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Panzanella Salad Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This burrata panzanella salad is a perfect appetizer or side dish for spring and summer. (Can you believe it is the middle of March already?)

Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Panzanella Salad Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis and I sat at the table, each with a fork in our hand, and dug right in. I particularly  loved the bites of bread soaked in yummy balsamic, but that is probably because I am a carboholic…

 

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Panzanella Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups Baguette or other crusty bread (cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • Cooking Spray
  • 4oz Burrata
  • 2oz Baby Arugula (about 3 large handfuls)
  • 1 large Heirloom Tomato (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Set oven to broil on High. Lay the bread cubes on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Broil for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Place the burrata ball at the bottom of a medium bowl. Arrange the arugula, tomato, and bread cubes around the burrata. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a pinch of both the salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic mixture over the burrata salad. Mix together gently to coat. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
 

Vegetarian Meals

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula

A few weeks ago Travis and I enjoyed a delicious date night out at Momed.  Momed is a casual and modern Mediterranean restaurant in Beverly Hills. Every bite we had that night was outstanding. If I had any more room in my belly I would have just kept eating. Although, I did make sure to save room for a piece of their Baklava because I was eyeing it in the display case since the moment I walked in.

Our favorite dish of the night was their Fig and Arugula Pide (Turkish Flatbread). The figs were just so fresh and flavorful. I couldn’t stop going, “Mmmm” after every bite.

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula Recipe

So I set out to recreate that meal at home. Although, instead of a traditional flatbread, I made whole wheat flatbreads for this version.

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula Recipe

Now before you run away from this recipe because this involves super-scary bread making, just hear me out, would’ya?

This flatbread only requires one rise and not very much kneading. You can do it – I promise. 

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula Recipe

And when you do, you’ll be so freakin’ proud of yourself!

But I am gunna warn you…the feeling won’t last that long because you (and whoever your lucky dinner date is) will devour these flatbreads in no time.

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula Recipe

This recipe makes about four 8-inch flatbreads. I only used two of them for this dish and decided to freeze the other two balls of dough to use at a later time.  Alternatively you could make them all and serve the extras with hummus or a yummy dip of choice. Up to you!

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula Recipe

These flatbreads are to die for. I devoured one to myself easily. Good luck sharing…

 

Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fig and Arugula
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
Flatbread Ingredients
  • ¾ cup warm water, about 95 degrees F
  • 1 package (about 2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Topping Ingredients
  • 1 pint (about 10-12) fresh figs, split in half
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4oz. Halloumi**, sliced thin
  • 1oz. Arugula (about 2 handfuls)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
Flatbreads
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture should begin to foam.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, thyme or rosemary, salt and pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yeast and water mixture. Using a fork, bring together the mixture until the dough becomes shaggy and there are no dry flour bits. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times to bring together.
  3. Coat the medium bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil and place dough ball in bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour (I left mine on my kitchen table near a window). The dough will double in size.
  4. When the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured work surface and knead it again for another minute. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
  5. Heat a non stick pan over medium heat (a cast iron pan works very well here)
  6. While the pan is heating, roll the balls of dough out to about 8-inch circles on the floured work surface. Cook the flatbreads one at a time in the ungreased pan, first for about 1-2 minutes on the first side and then another minute on the second. The flatbreads will puff up while cooking in the pan - this is normal and to be expected. They will settle down once on the pan. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Putting everything together
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the fig halves in the olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Spread them out onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Turn your oven to the BROIL setting.
  3. Using a large spoon, scoop the insides of the figs (now softened) into a small bowl. Mash the figs so there are no large chunks.
  4. Place the flatbreads on a baking sheet or back onto your cast iron pan. Place the halloumi slices on the flatbreads. Spread the fig mixture on top. Place the baking sheet in the oven and broil for 4-5 minutes (make sure to watch them carefully as to not let them burn). Remove from oven. Sprinkle with arugula and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Notes
**Halloumi is a unique cheese, known for its non-melting properties (that is why you will often see it cooked on the grill). If you cannot find Halloumi at your supermarket, you can substitute mozzarella.
 

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Meals

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry Recipe

I can’t believe I am blogging about tofu. For the longest time I swore that it was the strangest, blandest food. I mean, C’MON, what is up with that consistency?

This summer when I began looking for good alternatives to the carnivorous meals I know so well, I decided to rethink tofu. All my veggie friends love it — but I figured that’s because they didn’t know any better (sorry, guys).

But, I gotta say, now that I know how to cook it correctly, it really isn’t so bad. Actually, it’s kind of great.

I get this tofu from TJ’s:

Lots of protein!

I’ve learned that if you marinate tofu long enough or cook it in the right sauce, it really can be a great substitute for chicken.

The inspiration for this recipe was from this tiny Vegan Thai restaurant close to me. They have a delicious Sweet and Sour Tofu that I love because it is not overly sweet like Sweet and Sour can be sometimes

For this recipe I cook the tofu in a skillet, but you can also bake it in the oven if you prefer a crispier texture.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry Recipe

The end result is delicious, light, and healthy.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry Recipe

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 Tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 14-16oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes (I also recommend wrapping the tofu in a paper towel to remove all excess water before cutting it)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 large bell peppers (color of your choice)
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped into 1 in. chunks
  • 1.5 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1 in. cubes (fresh pineapple really makes a big difference here…and if you have any juice leftover from when you cut the pineapple, add it to the sauce)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the rice-wine vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar (and any leftover pineapple juice). Place the cut tofu in a large bowl and toss with 3 Tablespoons of the sauce. Let the tofu marinate for half an hour.
  2. While the tofu is marinating, add the cornstarch to the remaining sauce. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, add the tofu to the skillet. Add the remaining marinade to the reserved sauce. Cook the tofu, flipping occasionally, until golden brown for about 10 minutes. (For a crispier texture, place the tofu on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes on each side). Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan change the heat to medium. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the bell peppers and the onion, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes. Pour in the reserved sauce and cook until thickened (about 30 seconds). Add the pineapple and tofu and cook until heated through (about 2 minutes).
  5. Serve over brown rice.

Main Meal Salads Side Dishes Vegetarian Meals

Citrus Quinoa Salad

Now that I have started a full-time job, Sundays for me are all about food. I spend about hour figuring out what meals I want to make that coming week (both for dinner and to bring for lunch), then probably too much time at the grocery store(s), and a good part of the rest of the day cooking in the kitchen.

I am a big promoter of bringing your own lunch to work. In my opinion you save so much money and it also tends to be a lot healthier.

Recently, I have been hooked on making big batches of grain salads (like this farro salad) on Sunday and then I have it for the rest of the week. This past week I was loving this citrus quinoa salad.

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

The fresh fruit and homemade citrus dressing makes this absolutely delicious. The original recipe called for candied pecans, so I decided to make my own. Sometimes pre-made candied pecans have so much sugar you would forget there was even a pecan inside.

Citrus Quinoa Salad RecipeCitrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

Sometimes I worry that vegetarian meals won’t fill me up, but the quinoa and beans in this salad have enough fiber and protein to keep you going for awhile.

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

I brought this to work for lunch last week over fresh spinach. So yummy!

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

 

 

Citrus Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 1.5 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup black beans, strained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup candied pecans**
For the citrus dressing:
  • (makes more than needed for the quinoa salad)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons agave
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Serve on its own or over a lettuce of choice. Dress the salad to taste.
Notes
**To make your own candied pecans, heat 1 Tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on low until melted. Add 1 cup of raw, unsalted pecan halves to the pan. Then add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a dash of salt to taste. Stir until the pecans are fully coated and slightly toasted. Make sure to watch them constantly so that they do not burn.

Recipe adapted from: Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
 

Main Meal Vegetarian Meals

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Tomorrow is moving day.

My bags are not even packed. I am trying to squeeze every last item from my room into one of four massive suitcases. I probably won’t be packed until it’s ten minutes past the time I am supposed to leave for the airport.  That’s how these things usually work, don’t they?

Today I said my goodbyes “See you soon“‘s. I had my favorite take-out one last time. I went on one last walk with my buddy, Diesel:

(He totally doesn’t understand that I am leaving. Nor does he understand the concept of posing for a picture…even when bribed with treats).

Next time you hear from me I will be in sunny Los Angeles in a new apartment. I’ll be trying my best to make time for the kitchen after my busy work days.

But for now, I bring you one last meal from my favorite kitchen (home, of course!).

Yummy yummy black bean and sweet potato enchiladas!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas Recipe

I know everything about this dish screams healthy, but trust me, it DOESN’T disappoint. The flavors mixed together are delicious, and even the leftovers taste great, too.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas Recipe

This is a meal that is good to cook with another person (if you can) because you end up using a bunch of different dishes and kitchen appliances. That said, it still is simple enough and WORTH IT.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas Recipe

I served this with grilled corn. Perfect dish for summer.

Bon appetit, my friends! See you in California!

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 large onion, chopped and divided
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 15.5oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (more if you like)
  • 5 8in whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 450 degrees. In a blender, puree the tomatoes, chili powder, half the onion, 1T of the oil, ½t of salt, ¼t of pepper until smooth.
  2. Heat 1T of the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rest of the onion and the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add the black beans, sweet potato, oregano, and ¼t each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are tender (about 6 minutes).
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl to let cool. Stir in half the cheddar.
  4. Spread 1 cup of the tomato mixture at the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Roll the bean mixture in the tortillas (I did about ⅔ cup in each) and place the rolls seam-side down in the baking dish.
  5. Top with some of the remaining sauce (to taste). Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake on the top rack of the oven until the cheese begins to brown (12-15 minutes).
  6. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.

Main Meal Side Dishes Vegetarian Meals

Baked Falafel Puffs

I surround myself with never-ending to-do lists. During the school year I had sticky notes surrounding my desk with lists of errands I needed to run, groceries I had to buy, and a list of assignments with impending due dates.

Now I am at this strange period in between college and “real life” and although I suppose I have all the free time in the world and zero obligations, I still find myself surrounded by these lists. But, why? I guess I do it to myself. I need to constantly be busy.

So, over the next two months, one goal I have for myself is to embrace my “chill” time  better. I want to turn off the clocks and have no obligation to time. I want to be able to sit in front of the TV for hours on end, without fear that I am wasting time. I want a full week with no appointments, no errands, no anything. But, I suppose that wouldn’t really be real life, would it?

I want to rid myself from routine. I need a new running route. I need a new TV show (Law and Order SVU marathons are good and all, but are starting to make me a liiiiiittle too paranoid). My grocery store list needs to be revamped. And I want to cook new things and stop making the same “staple recipes” that may taste great, but bring no new excitement into my life.

So I bring you baked falafel. I LOVE falafel, but had never made it before. I suppose I had figured it would be too complicated. Not. True.

The ingredients and spices are simple and everything just goes right into the food processor.

The dough is rolled into two-inch balls and placed on a baking sheet. Typically, falafel is fried, but this version is much healthier and still crisps up great!

Baked Falafel Puffs Recipe

Baked to perfection so they are nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

 

What new (and possibly even unusual) food should I try this week? Send me suggestions!

 

Baked Falafel Puffs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 30 falafels
Ingredients
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spray the paper with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine onion, parsley, cumin, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and pulse until the mixture is combined (slightly chunky is okay). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Fold in the two flours and the baking powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  4. Set oven to 425 degrees. Scoop small pieces of dough and roll them into 2 in. sized balls. Set them on the baking sheet. (The balls do not spread like cookies, so don’t worry about the spacing). Brush the tops of the balls liberally with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. (At 25 minutes I reduced the temperature to 400 and put the oven on convection to help the balls crisp even more). Allow the balls to cool for 10 minutes and serve warm.  They taste mighty good with hummus!
Notes
Recipe adapted from The Boston Globe
 

 

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