Spicy Apple Chutney (Thokku)

dsc_0046It’s thanksgiving week!  I went apple picking a few weeks ago and I felt this apple chutney dish would be a perfect vegetarian side dish for thanksgiving. Plus, it helped me use up the pounds and pounds of apples I picked! I bought both fuji and pink lady apples that were slightly tart. I made this chutney South Indian style, it’s actually called thokku in Tamil. It turned out great! I brought it to my office pot-luck and it was a success! Serve it with bread, on sandwiches or a relish to spice up any meal!

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Cold Asian Salads 2 Ways! Soba Noodles with Edamame and Ginger-Honey-Soy Dressing and Cucumber Sesame Salad.

That title was a mouthful! Summer was taking its time to leave us this year…not I’m complaining! I love the warm weather! So I treated myself to a refreshing lunch of cold soba noodles with edamame in a spicy honey-ginger-soy dressing with a side of cucumber sesame salad. The cucumber salad was so pretty! I used a peeler to make delicate little strips. It’s great to make ahead and stays well! The noodles were also super easy to make and would make an excellent side dish or light lunch when entertaining. Trust me, your guests will love it!

The kind of soba noodles I used was King Soba noodles with organic sweet potato and buckwheat. Soba noodles are japanese noodles made from buckwheat, which is a high-nutrient carb that scores low on the glycemic index.  I chose this particular buckwheat noodle mainly for the color, I felt it would contrast nicely with the edamame, cilantro and scallions, but any type of soba noodle will work.


Honey-Ginger-Soy Soba Noodle Salad

You will need:

  • Soba noodles: They come tied up, you can use 2 bunches
  • Edamame
  • Carrot sticks (Or coarsely grated carrot)
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Dressing: Honey, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sriracha
  • Sesame seeds for garnish



  1. Bring a pot of water to boil
  2. Once it comes to a boil, dump the noodles in and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Check to see, to make sure it doesn’t get too starchy. It should not be al dente.
  4. Drain the noodles and submerge them in a bowl of cold water. With your hands, gently rub the noodles to remove the starch. This will help prevent it from clumping.
    • This is a really good blog post that shows how to prepare soba noodles step-by-step.
  5. In a blender, add about a 3/4 inch nub of ginger, skin removed, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil, a squirt of sriracha . Blend until smooth.
  6. Taste, and add water depending on  how strong the flavor is. Add ginger for more spiciness, add honey for more sweetness.
  7. In a mixing bowl, combine soba noodles with 1/2 cup edamame, a handful of carrot sticks,  and the sauce. Mix well.
  8. Serve and garnish with  4 scallions, chopped, cilantro and sesame seeds.



Cold Cucumber Salad

dsc_0005This recipe is super simple!

  1. Cut 1 English cucumber in half length-wise.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler peel the skin, and remove the seeds with a spoon.
  3. Continue peeling the cucumber so it falls in delicate, strips.
  4. Do the same with 1 carrot
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 tbsp rice vinegar  and 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1-2 tsp sugar. Add a few chilli flakes for flavor and salt to taste. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Pour the mixture over the salad. This can be served immediately, or later. The flavor seeps in  more the longer you wait. It’s so delicious I can’t wait for you to try!

This recipe yields 2 servings. double for a larger quantity.


Cajun Roasted Rainbow Carrots

So I got these awesome multi-colored carrots at Trader Joes. It immediately gave me some kitchen inspiration. In the winter time I often love making cajun roasted sweet potato fries. Sometimes I add in some turnips or carrots. There are several different varieties of carrots, but the most popular is obviously orange. Apparently each type of carrot has different nutrient and antioxidant properties


The carrots contain the following properties, according to this Time article:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Fascinating stuff! They each have a different taste too. I find the orange variety to be sweeter, ad the yellow and white varieties to be a little bit more starchy, like potatoes. For the recipe,  you just need 3 simple ingredients and an oven. I just tossed them with olive oil and some spicy cajun seasoning and roasted them up. They were a super delicious snack!

DSC_0022You Will Need:

  • A good bunch of rainbow carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Cajun seasoning (salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes)



To Prepare:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400 or 425 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut the carrots into even 1 1/2 inch  sticks
  3. Lay them out on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with cajun seasoning (generously) and toss them up
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender. The high heat helps the outsides to crisp up a bit. Try not to overcrowd the baking tray or the carrots will steam rather than roast and might become mushy.
  6. Enjoy as a healthy side dish or snack! DSC_0044DSC_0080

Prep time: 10 mins

Bake time: 20 mins

1 bag of carrots serves 4 as a side dish.


Nectarine and Roasted Corn Salsa

This salsa is so perfect! I had a farm basket delivered a few weeks ago with random produce and decided to pair corn with nectarines. I love both of these things! Nectarines are so sweet and delicious, and corn has a lovely sweetness too. This salsa tastes amazing plain, with chips, or on tacos, salads or anything really! If you are entertaining, this dish is sure to amaze.


DSC_0728You will Need

  •  1 ear of roasted corn
  • 2 nectarines
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno
  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • lime

Step 1: Roast the Corn

  1. Preheat the oven  to 425°
  2. Remove corn from husks and lay on a baking sheet
  3. Spray evenly with cooking spray, butter or whatever oil you prefer
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once half-way
  5. End result is this beautifully sweet, roasted corn.


DSC_0711Step 2: Prepare the salsa

  1. Remove corn from cob by holding upright on a cutting board, and cutting downward.
  2. Remove pits from 2 nectarines and chop into fine pieces
  3. Chop half a red onion
  4. Finely chop half a jalapeño, seeded if you prefer less heat
  5. Finely chop cilantro
  6. Chop 2 small tomatoes, or 1 large tomato
  7. Combine all the ingredients
  8. Toss with the juice of 1 lime and salt.
  9. Serve!


Be my Valentine Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

Happy Valentine’s day everyone! Today I’m going to a small get together with my coworkers so I thought I’d bring along a little something yummy. This sundried tomato hummus takes no time at all and is sure to wow. Tastes great in salads, and sandwiches too.  Here’s the step-by-step:

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Spicy Black Bean Hummus


Planning to entertain? Here’s a really quick and easy recipe for black bean hummus. I also use it in sandwiches and atop toast! It is high in fiber and protein and really smooth and delicious 🙂 I really like making my own hummus because I can control what goes in it. You can also switch up the flavors and blend it to the kind of texture you like.

You Will Need

  • 1 1/2 cup of cooked black beans (using the liquid it was cooked in)  or 1 can black beans, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno
  • cumin powder
  • Garlic
  • cilantro
  • A squirt of lime
  • olive oil
  • optional tahini paste

To Prepare

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine  beans, half a jalapeño, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp cumin powder and break off a few leaves of cilantro. Use the juice of 1 lime wedge, just for flavor.
  2. Be careful with salt if the beans were salted when cooking. Season with salt.
  3. Add a little  water, or the liquid the beans were cooked in. Drizzle in a bit of olive oil.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. If you would like a creamy consistency, add a tablespoon of tahini and blend. If you would like it more sharp, add garlic.
  6. Serve!

Beat the Heat with Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Cucumber and Scallions


This is one of my favorite dishes. It is really easy to make and it is great to entertain with too. In many restaurants they serve it cold as an appetizer. For this recipe I used soba noodles, which is made with buckwheat flour.  The dish is easy to make, using a sauce peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar and cayenne pepper.  You mix it all together with some cold cucumbers, scallions and fresh cilantro and you a refreshing meal!

Health Stuff

Buckwheat is an extremely healthy food and if you are not using it in your diet you should be! It is gluten-free and packed with essential nutrients like manganese, magnesium and copper. The nutrients in buckwheat help with blood sugar control and studies have found that people who consume soba noodles have a lowered risk of developing cholesterol problems.  The noodles also cook quicker than egg noodles or pasta.


You will need:

  • Soba noodles (you can find these in the asian section of any grocery store. The brand I used is called Wel Pac)
  • Crunchy unsalted peanut butter. (Try to use good peanut butter, not Jif)
  • Rice Vinegar (If you don’t have this, try lemon juice)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Half an English cucumber, seeded, peeled and sliced into small pieces
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Scallions, chopped


To Prepare:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of  peanut butter, with 2-3 even tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Tamari, or soy sauce.

2. Whisk this sauce until  it is smooth and creamy. Add some warm water to loosen up the peanut butter. Taste the sauce! Add more of each ingredient to your taste. Tis is very important because each person has different tastes, some like it more salty, so add more soy sauce, some like it more tangy, so add more vinegar. But the important thing is to make sure the sauce is smooth enough to coat the noodles. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper at the end.

3. Make sure the veg are prepped. Chop a bunch of scallions, cut up some cilantro (I don’t like to finely chop this for this recipe, let the leaves show nicely throughout), and peel, seed and slice an english cucumber.

4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in the soba noodles. The packet comes with 3 bunches of soba noodles. I used one for 2 servings. Cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer the noodles to the mixing bowl to mix together with the sauce.

5. When the noodles have cooled enough, add in the cold ingredients and mix well.

6. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator and serve!


Servings: This recipe makes enough for 2 as I made this for me and my roommate. Increase the quantities for larger groups.