Friday, March 6, 2020

Citrus Salad With Pistachios & Balsamic Reduction

Citrus Salad With Pistachios is a refreshing, sunny salad celebrating the abundance of delicious citrus fruits of all kinds. Mix and match your favorites to create a lovely composition that is a delight to the palate as well as the eyes!

Citrus Salad is a great as a potluck offering as well as accompaniment to any meal. Serve it cool but not cold to enjoy the fragrant fruit.

The Balsamic vinegar reduction is a simple, lovely, tangy-sweet sauce that makes anything it is drizzled on tastier. If you like a sweeter sauce, maple syrup or sugar, brown or regular sugar etc maybe added while making the reduction. Save the extras for drizzling or adding to salads, veggies, fruit, berries, etc.

Pomelo maybe used in place of the grapefruit. Kiwi fruit is another tasty and lovely addition.

Serves 4


1 Grapefruit
1 Blood Orange
1 Navel or other Orange
2 Mandarins/Tangerines
2 Sweet Limes
1/2 cup pitted Dates
1 small bunch Cilantro
1/2 cup shelled, roasted and salted Pistachios
1/2 Pomegranate, arils gathered (optional)
1 Tbsp Balsamic Reduction for drizzling (optional)


Peel and trim the citrus fruits and cut into thick slices using a sharp knife; catching and combining all the juices. Make sure to remove all white pith especially from the grapefruit. Arrange the fruit on a platter and drizzle with the juices. 

Sprinkle the cilantro, pistachios, and the pomegranate arils on top. Cover with a wrap and chill the salad until ready to serve. 

Remove the salad from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so that it is not so cold. Drizzle the balsamic reduction on top just before serving.

Balsamic Reduction

1 cup good quality Balsamic Vinegar

Heat the vinegar in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Lower the heat so the vinegar is just simmering; cook stirring ocassionally until reduced and thickened slightly. Cool and store in the fridge for up to one month.  


Friday, January 24, 2020

Southwestern Layered Salad With Chipotle Dressing

This lovely and delicious salad is fabulous in large communal bowls or individual containers; layer the colorful ingredients in glass bowls or jars so you can feast the eyes as well as the palate!

 NOTES: If freshly cooked beans are not an option, use a 15 ounce can black/pinto beans, rinsed and drained. You may use a vinaigrette or Italian dressing instead of the Chipotle dressing given below.

Salsa maybe homemade or purchased. Here are a few options for preparing at home: Salsa ISalsa II or Salsa Roja.

Vegenaise is vegan eggless mayonaise; you can use purchased or homemade.

Add the avocado just before serving.



½ cup Vegenaise
1 clove Garlic, finely mashed
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed Lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
1-2 Chipotle Chiles in adobo sauce
1 tsp Adobo sauce (from chipotles chiles)
1 tsp Maple syrup or Agave nectar
½ tsp ground Cumin
½ tsp salt
Unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy milk/beverage, as needed 

2 cups Freshly cooked Black OR Pinto Beans
1/4 cup Salsa, homemade or purchased
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped, divided
3 cups Romaine Lettuce, thinly sliced
2 cups Fresh or Frozen Corn kernels
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Bellpepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
½ cup Vegan Cheddar-type cheese, shredded (optional)
½ cup Manznilla Green Olives, sliced
1 Avocado, diced
1/4 cup Dressing


Place the dressing ingredients in your blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If you are not sure about the spiciness, use 1 chipotle chili for a mild dressing (remember that the flavors are diluted when mixed with the salad) and 2 or more for spicier flavor.

Thin the dressing with the non-dairy milk/beverage, 1 teaspoon at a time until just right. Taste and adjust all the ingredients necessary to get the dressing perfect. Store in a covered container in the fridge until ready to use.

If using frozen corn, thaw to room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together beans, salsa, and half the cilantro.

Layer the ingredinets in a glass bowl in this order: black bean mixture, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, bellpepper, cheese, olives, etc. The salad maybe prepared upto this point and reserved in the fridge upto one day ahead. 

Top with avocado and drizzle the dressing over the top when ready to serve.

Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve immediately. Pass the extra dressing at the table.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Artichoke & White Bean Salad

Turn frozen artichoke hearts into this fabulous salad that can be served warm, cool, or cold with just a few ingredients. You may use canned beans also; about 2 standard cans should do it. 


1 cup Great Northern Beans
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Shallot, thinly sliced
1 Lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tsp Olive oil
1/2 medium Onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Ripe Tomatoes, diced
2 (9 oz) pckges frozen Artichoke Hearts
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp Salt, to taste
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives
8-10 fresh Basil leaves, torn
Freshly ground Black Pepper


Prepare the beans: sort, soak overnight, and rinse the beans. Cook in water to cover until soft but not mushy. Drain the beans while still warm and add the garlic, shallot, salt and pepper, and lemon to taste. 

Heat oil with the garlic and onions; when they soften and become translucent, add tomatoes, artichoke, lemon and a sprinkle of water. Cook covered for about 5-7 minutes until artichokes are done. Remove from heat, stir in  the rest of the ingredients - olives, basil, and pepper to taste.

Pour the artichoke salad into a large platter or shallow bowl and pour the marinated beans over. 

Serve immediately.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Waldorf Salad With Balsamic Dressing

Irresistible and treat-filled Waldorf Salad has so many colorful and favorite components – crisp apples, juicy grapes, tangy 'cheese', and sweet crisp walnuts – all topped with a delicious balsamic dressing! I love this type of salad which makes a filling meal - perfect for a lovely lunch to linger over with company or by oneself.

NOTES: The cheese and walnuts maybe prepared at home ahead of time or purchased.

4 servings


2-3 Tbsp olive oil 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp sugar or Maple Syrup to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt, to taste

1 block (14-16 oz) Extra-firm Tofu, diced or coarsely chopped
1 Apple, diced
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, quartered
1/2 cup celery,  diced
6-7 cups Spinach OR mixed Baby Salad Greens
1/2 cup toasted/glazed walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled Vegan Gorgonzola cheese


Dressing: whisk mustard, oil and vinegar together. Add remaining ingredients, and whisk until combined. Taste and adjust the ingredients and seasonings until just right. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing maybe made a couple of days ahead.

Salad: gently toss tofu, grapes, apple, and celery together; add enough dressing (about half) to moisten. Chill until ready to serve.

Toss together the spinach or salad greens and required amount of dressing and divide among 4 plates. Divide the tofu mixture and place on top of the greens. Drizzle any leftover dressing over the salad.

Sprinkle with walnuts and Gorgonzola, and serve immediately. 


Monday, December 30, 2019

Spicy Mango-Cucumber Salad W/Lime Dressing

Spicy Mango-Cucumber Salad W/Lime Dressing is a refreshing side salad or can be paired with your favorite chips or tortillas instead of or in addition to the regular tomato salsa for a lovely starter.  Serve this delicious salad any way you like with any meal. Simple and simply delicious!

Serves 4-6


1 large ripe but firm Mango, peeled and diced
1-2 green Onions, thinly sliced 
1 English Cucumber or about 3 small Persian type, diced
A little Salt
1 Shallot OR 1/2 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
4-5 Tbsp Cilantro leaves

1-2 cloves Garlic
1 fresh red Thai Chile OR 1/2-1 Serrano/Jalapeño Chile, minced
a generous pinch of Salt
1 Tbsp Jaggery (Indian brown sugar)
1 large fresh Lime,  juiced - divided


Make the dressing: 
Carefully mash garlic and chiles with the salt into a coarse paste using the mortar and pestle. Avoid getting splattered with the juices. Add jaggery and mash until it is incorporated and dissolves. Add  about 3-4 Tablespoons of the lime juice and mix well. 

Make the Salad:
Combine the mango, cucumber, green onions and cilantro in a bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Taste and add more salt, lime, jaggery, etc to taste.

Serve immediately or reserve for up to 30 minutes in the fridge. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Qinoa Bowl With Marinated Tofu & Spicy Chickpeas

This protein-packed Quinoa Bowl is so full of tasty ingredients that each bite is a treat! Marinated Tofu and the Seasoned Chickpeas could stand alone as starters, snacks or side dishes; so I often double the quantities so there is plenty for extras and for another recipe.

This recipe is great for batch cooking; make the components in double or triple quantities as desired so you can mix and match for a few meals. The tofu, chickpeas, and roasted veggies maybe added to pasta or salads to change them up.


Instead of the quinoa, other favorite grains like farro, brown and wild rice, millet, or a combination of grains maybe used.

Marinate Tofu and Chickpeas at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours ahead. If marinating more than 30 minutes to 1 hour, reserve them in the fridge until needed.

4 Servings


Marinated Tofu:
½ teaspoon Chinese type sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha type hot sauce
2  tsp thyme
1  tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Garlic, minced (optional)
8 oz tofu

Seasoned Chickpeas:
1 1/2 cups cooked Chickpeas (1 standard can)
1 Tsp Oil
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper, freshly ground
½ -1 tsp Red Chile powder
½ tsp Garlic minced (optional)

Roasted Vegetables:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
2 Carrots, cut into bite-size cubes
1 Large Onion, diced
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
1 Tsp oil (optional)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Fresh or dried herbs

For the Bowl:
1 cup dry quinoa or other grains
2 cups Spinach, Arugula, or other favorite greens
1 Small Avocado, peeled and diced
1 Lemon, juiced

4 Green Onions, thinly sliced including green part
1 Handful Fresh Coriander/Cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 Lemon cut in wedges


TOFU: Drain tofu well and wrap in paper towels and place a heavy weight on top for about 30 minutes. Combine the marinade ingredients for tofu in a small bowl and whisk to mix well. Cut the tofu into cubes, batons, or slabs, mix well with the marinade to coat. Place tofu a resealable plastic bag or other container along with all the marinade; let marinate.

When ready to bake, place on one side of the prepared baking sheet. 

CHICKPEAS: Combine all the ingredients under "Seasoned Chickpeas" and mix gently but well; let marinate. Transfer the chickpeas to another rimmed baking sheet; spread into an even single layer.

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easy clean-up  or with a little oil.

Combine sweet potato, carrots, onion, and garlic if using with oil, salt, and pepper; place on half of a baking sheet with the tofu. Sprinkle the herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc) on top.

Bake the sweet potatoes, tofu and chickpeas for 20-25 minutes shaking and turning the veggies and tofu once half way through baking using a thin metal spatula. Keep the veggies and tofu separate; do not mix while turning. By keeping them separate, you can decide on their usage and arrangement for serving later.

Alternately, tofu, sweet potatoes and chickpeas may be cooked in a skillet; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until done.

QUINOA OR GRAINS: Cook the quinoa or the grains of your choice according to package directions and keep warm.

ASSEMBLY: When ready to serve, Divide the greens, quinoa, carrots, chickpeas, and tofu among four large bowls. Add avocado on top and drizzle with lemon juice. 

Sprinkle each bowl with sliced green onions and coriander/cilantro; pass the lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

Alternately, set out all the components for a buffet style meal.


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Stuffed Karela (Bittermelon With Onion-Tomato Filling)

My friend EJ loves Indian food including karela or bittermelon! She asked for a good recipe for stuffed karela. Since we enjoyed the Karela Atho so much, I thought it might be fun to make it into Stuffed Karela for EJ with a few minor changes!

NOTES: I find that leaving the stem ends of the veggies intact keeps them from falling apart while cooking. Trim off only any excess or discolored stems leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch of the stem intact. Indian or Asian karela may be used to make this dish.

Zucchinis may be used instead of karela. Prepare the zucchini by trimming the blossom ends, and make a slit along the length without cutting through. Remove some of the center carefully with a little spoon or a melon baller; just enough to hold the stuffing. Save the the removed portion, chop and add to the onion mixture.

4 Servings


4 medium Karela
1/2 tsp Salt + 1/2 tsp Sambar/Rasam powder
1 Tbsp oil for cooking the stuffed veggies
2-3 Green Onions, with long leaves for tying the karela

1/4 cup White/Tan Sesame seeds
1/3 cup Peanuts
1 pinch Cumin Seeds
1 large Onion
1-2 tsp grated Ginger
2 large Tomatoes
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp ground Coriander seeds
1-2 tsp Sambar or Rasam Powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Coconut Sugar, jaggery, or Brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped 

2 Tbsp fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped for Garnish


Prepare Karela and green onions:
Karela: Prepare the karela by trimming blossom ends and making a slit along the length, taking care not to cut through. With your fingers or a spoon, remove the seeds and the soft innards; discard the seeds and innards. Rub the 1/2 teaspoon salt and sambar/rasam powder mixture inside each of the veggies; I find that this step seasons the veggies nicely. Steam or microwave the karela or just until softened; about  5-7 minutes for steaming or about one to two minutes for the microwave. Set aside to cool until ready to stuff.

Green Onions: Start a small pot of water to boil; turn off when boiled. Have an ice bath ready: a small bowl filled with water and some ice cubes. Separate the leaves from the green onions and dunk them in boiling water for just a minute. Remove and plunge into iced water. Take them out and keep on a paper/kitchen towel. 

Dry roast the peanuts if raw and the sesame seeds separately; set aside to cool. Pound the sesame seeds first using a mortar and pestle; when the sesame is coarsely ground, add the peanuts and pound a bit more to crush them well. If made ahead, keep in an airtight jar or container until needed.

Heat a skillet. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until soft and beginning to brown a little. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, and Sambar or Rasam powders. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften. Stir in the jaggery and cook for a minute to combine well. Add salt to taste,  peanuts, sesame, and coriander leaves, then turn off the heat and set aside until cool.

Assembly and finishing:
Stuff the prepared karela with the onion-tomato mixture; use one of the green onion leaves to wrap and tie them to keep the stuffing in while cooking. I seldom do the tying as I do not mind some of the stuffing escaping into the pan.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet. Place the stuffed veggies in the skillet in a single layer and cook over low to medium heat, turning to cook all sides until lightly browned and veggies are tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to avoid burning the veggies.

Let rest for 5 minutes, and sprinkle the rest of the coriander/cilantro.

Serve hot with some plain dal and rice, grains, or roti.