Tag Archives: Vegetarian

{ Asian Sesame Noodles }

Asian Sesame Noodles

I love cold pasta salads.

…..which is probably why Whole Foods rapes my wallet every time that I set food in their prepared food’s aisle–I am an absolute sucker for their Asian Sesame Noodles. For those of you not living on a budget, let me just tell you that veggie-laced pasta is not forgiving on the scale at check-out. If your watching your spending, go for the spinach leaves, bean sprouts, mushrooms, seeds, and sun-dried tomatoes because they are light weight ingredients but don’t even think about cucumbers, tomatoes, or fresh fruit unless you want Whole Foods to take your Whole Paycheck!

It never ceases to amaze me how one tiny brown box of protein-less pasta can equate to a meal upwards of $10, but of course I ponder this while handing over my credit card to pay the cashier for my overpriced, yet highly anticipated, meal. Tonight I just couldn’t justify it though. Between my sparkling probiotic beverage and my sesame noodles, I was going to be out at least $15, so I passed on the salad bar and set out to make my own Asian noodle dish using whatever I already had in the pantry at home. Fortunately, that included an box of buckwheat Soba noodles that I had bought for a previous recipe and never used!

This recipe is nothing like the Whole Foods Asian noodles, but it incorporates a lot more veggies and makes for a more satisfying meal, especially if topped with grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, or tofu. It is very easy to make, and holds in the fridge for about 3 days without drying out.

The Whole Foods noodles will continue to tempt me, but this recipe is a fantastic alternative and entirely more budget friendly.

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 package of soba noodles
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 4-5 tablespoons EVOO (depending on how much dressing you like)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded napa cabbage
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons black toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, crushed for garnish

{ To Make the Noodles }

Cook soba noodles according to package directions. When finished, place the noodles in an ice water bath to cool, and then drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili oil, and EVOO. Mix well with a whisk.

Combine the noodles, prepared vegetables, and cilantro and toss with sauce until evenly coated.

Top with toasted sesame seeds and chopped peanuts, and serve with a wedge of lime.

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{ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette }

Cilantro Dressing on Fajita Salad

I love Southwestern-style salads, but I hate the calories that come with Chipotle Ranch salad dressing. So I set out to make a healthier alternative with fewer calories. The result?

This flavorful cilantro-lime vinaigrette made with greek yogurt. The yogurt gives the dressing a smooth creamy texture without the fat, while also sneaking in some additional protein.

I use this dressing as a veggie dip, as a sauce for chicken and beef empanadas, and of course, for salads (my favorite is over spinach in combination with with my black bean corn salad recipe).

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup 0% plain yogurt (I like Fage or Chobani)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Cilantro Lime Ingredients

{ To Make the Dressing }

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

In food processord

  1. Continue to add olive oil 1 tbsp at a time as necessary to create a smooth finish.
Finished Dressing

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{ Herbed Israeli Coucous with Apples, Cranberries, & Almonds }

A day characterized by complete gluttony, laziness, and endless vino, it is no wonder that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American holidays! Unfortunately though, the dinner, which normally packs about 3,000 – 4,000 calories (not including the next-day turkey sandwiches), leaves most American’s feeling stuffed for days/weeks/months. So why not lighten the meal up a bit?!?

The easiest way to cut back the number of calories in your Thanksgiving feast, it to serve lighter and healthier side dishes. Get rid of that artery-clogging green bean casserole, which costs you about 276 calories, and end the tradition of sweet potato and marshmallow casseroles, which add an additional 476 calories to your plate! Instead, opt for for sautéed and steamed fresh veggies that are prepared without incorporating a stick of butter and heavy cream.

This recipe for herbed Isreali couscous, encompasses all the flavors of fall and would make a delicious (and healthy) addition to any Thanksgiving buffet table! The herbs serve as a refreshing palate cleanser and the light vinaigrette is an interesting contrast to the richer gravies and sauces on the table. Furthermore, the cubed green apples and slivered almonds work together to deliver just the right amount of crunch to the dish.

On the other 364 days of the year, this couscous makes a fabulous side dish for lamb and roasted chicken. It is also great to bring to picnics and parties!

{ Ingredients }

For the Couscous:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous (or barley or orzo)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 medium green apple, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted in oven*

*Note: To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before using.

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

{ To Make the Couscous }

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. You really want to open up the nutty flavors of the couscous so it is important that you let it brown properly!. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, and almonds.

{ To Make the Vinaigrette }

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

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{ Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde }

Turns out my spicy avocado dipping sauce was so good last night, that it was eaten at an unproportional rate with repect to my empanadas. I have left over empanadas, but no more sauce, providing me the perfect opportunity to experiement with cooking a new one. In keeping with the green theme, I decided to give roasted tomatillo salsa (aka salsa verde) a whirl tonight. I would love to say it is my own recipe, however, I stole it from Tyler Florence. And with this confession now out in the open, I say that it deserves two thumbs up and earns a respectiable place among my collection of favorite recipes.

This salsa combines the favors of roasted garlic, Spanish onions, sweet tomatillo tomatoes, spicy jalapeños, and lime juice to create a condiment suitable for topping any protein or corn product. You can put it over chicken, over pork, over seafood, over nachos, hell, you can even spread it on a piece of toast for a banging Mexican-inspired snack. It is flavorful, yet not overpowering, which makes it one of my new favorite condiments.

{ Ingredients }

  • 10 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1-2 jalapeños, stemmed
  • 1 spanish onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

{ To Make the Salsa Verde } Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tomatillos in half (NOTE: you should have already removed the husks and washed them). Place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves, jalapeños, and onion to the tray and roast for 12-15 minutes.

Transfer the roasted vegetables and the juices from the pan into a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse the mixture until well combined but still chunky.

Adjust the seasonings to desired taste. I always add a couple dashes of tobasco for more spice, as well as extra lime juice.

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{ Curry Roasted Calabaza with Apples & Honey }

If you think that grocery shopping in the Unites States is annoying and tedious, then you would not believe what it takes in Argentina. It is an all day, sometimes doble day process, that requires one to visit multiple verdulerias (veggie markets), canicerias (meat markets), fruterias (fruit markets), and superchinos (the adopted name for small Korean-owned markets, which clutter the city). There is no such thing as one-stop shopping in Buenos Aires, and finding even the most basic ingredients (i.e. black beans, peanut butter, jalapeños, ect…) can often be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. As a result, my culinary skills were contsantly put to the challenge as I was continuously forced to rethink many of my weeknight dinners and side dishes. Given that there is absolutely NO shortage of calabaza  in the city of Buenos Aires (calabaza = Spanish pumpkin), I decided to start incorporating it into my meals to simplify my shopping experience. It very quickly became a grocery staple, right up there along with bread, butter, and eggs.

One of my favorite ways to prepare calabaza is to simply roast it with a seasoning of olive oil, salt, pepper but then one night I decided to add a sprinkling of Indian curry into the mix and it turned out amazing. The next time I prepared the dish, it evolved even further when I added chopped granny smith apples to the roasting pan halfway through baking. The apple cubes compliment the spice of the curry and add the skins provide a little texture to contrast the smooth butteriness of the pumpkin. Drizzle a little honey on top after everything has roasted and viola….deliciousness!

This has undoubtably become one of my favorite side dishes (served either hot or cold), and I even like to eat it as a main dish over white rice.

{ Ingredients }

  • 3 cups calabaza, chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry, depending on your taste
  • 1 cup green apple, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • Honey, optional for finishing

 { To Prepare } Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare you calabaza, cutting it into 1″ cubes. You can either clean down your own calabaza, or use pre-packaged ones cleaned by the store (as I have shown below).

Place into a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, curry, salt, and pepper, tossing with your hands to coat. Arrange the calabaza on a baking sheet in a single layer and put in oven. NOTE: Make sure to turn over calabaza with a spatula every 3-4 minutes, to ensure even cooking!

While the calabza is cooking, prepare your 1/2″ apple cubes. Add the apples to the baking sheet 10 minutes into the baking process, and return to oven.

Continue to bake for additional 5-10 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and the apple is golden.

Remove from oven, drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of honey, adjust seasonings, and serve!

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{ Parmesan Roasted Asparagus }

What is a meal without the supporting cast?! Every good entree deserves a delicious side dish, and these parmesan roasted asparagus are one of my all-time favorites! They compliment any protein and taste delicious over rice and risotto. Recently, I have been cooking them in the oven using the broiler setting, but when the weather is nice I prefer to cook them out on the grill. Either way, they taste great!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

{ To Make the Asparagus } Turn the broiler setting of your oven on high.

Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and toss to coat. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in oven. Cook for 8 minutes, turning the asparagus halfway through cooking process. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately!

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San Telmo’s Burrito Boy *****

Near the corner of Defensa and Chile
San Telmo, Argenetina
Sundays Only!!

It’s Sunday morning and although I haven’t set an alarm, my phone is ringing. The message reads:

“Yo kids,  u know i b in SanT every sunday afternoon with burrito boy. Come hang!” – M. Koo

My head is pounding, but I am salivating at the thought of a warm, flour wrapped, beef burrito. I want it almost as bad as a glass of ice cold water and advil. I look at the time and it is 3 O’Clock, which means I have approximately two hours to get my ass to San Telmo before burrito boy leaves the market. I grab 10 pesos off my nightstand, wake up the girls, and head out (still wearing remnants of last night’s 80’s Halloween costume, might I add!).

We plow through the sea of vendors and tourists that crowd the narrow streets, until we reach him–Burrito Boy. Since my entire Sunday revolves around this burrito, he is my idol. We kiss on the cheek, and he places in my hand that shiny, foil-wrapped, piece of heaven. Cue eating frenzy.

I think it is a fair statement to say that I am a burrito connoisseur, given my love for Mexican food and my weekly burrito consumption. As such a qualified connoisseur, I assert that Burrito Boy has by far the best burrito in all of Argentina. It is a bold statement, I know. But here is why I arrived at this conclusion:

  1. The burrito only costs 10 pesos 
  2. The wraps are all homemade and hand rolled by Burrito Boy
  3. The burrito is actually hot, in fact steaming hot, when you get it
  4. Burrito Boy’s wrapping technique is fail proof, it never falls apart
  5. Burrito Boy serves his Mexican masterpiece with an incredible spicy sauce that will keep you at his stand for the duration of you burrito eating experience, God forbid you should have a bite without the sauce
  6. Burrito Boy has personality–he will talk to you the entire time you are eating (without passing judgement as you double fist with your burrito in your one hand and the bottle of hot sauce in your other)
  7. Lastly, Burrito Boy has an entire roll of paper towels, which he will give out freely to anyone with a face covered in hot sauce (which is everyone by the time they are done)
Now, I cannot take the credit for discovering Burrito Boy (although I wish I had). Instead, I got the tip from another fellow foodie, Mr. M. Koo, who sent the text message above, and can in fact be found posted up at Burrito Boy’s stand every Sunday afternoon (with me now, of course!). If you care to come join us–I encourage that you do–you can find Burrito Boy located on Defensa near the corner of Chile.
I didn’t even bother to describe the burrito in this post, because some things are just too delicious for words–this being one of them. But I will give you the heads up that there are just two kinds of burritos: vegetarian (with sauteed spinach) and carne (with barbacoa). I am normally a meat person, but happen to think that the vegetarian burrito is better because it isn’t as dry. Then again, you should be slathering every bite in Burrito Boy’s hot sauce, so pick which ever one tickles your fancy!

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