appetizer

Sweet Pea Mint Soup

Summer is almost over! It already is starting to feel like Fall! Before fall comes around, I wanted to share this recipe for pea soup. It is so lovely and refreshing with fresh mint and can be served both hot and cold. Personally, I prefer this as an appetizer or side dish along with some veggies, salad, or something a bit more hearty. Peas are high in nutrients and antioxidants and contain more protein than most other veggies because they are not technically a veggie, they’re a legume. Frozen peas are just as good, but if you are concerned about plastic waste, summer is a good time to find fresh sweet peas at local farmers markets.

This recipe is so simple, you could even make it tonight!

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You will need:

  • 1 bag frozen peas ( or 2 cups fresh peas
  • 1 can vegetable broth or 1 bullion cube
  • 1 small onion, chopped or half a medium-sized onion
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • Optional garnish: Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt

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To Prepare:

  1. In a pot, heat a few tbsps of olive oil.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and allow to saute until translucent.
  3. Add in the peas. If using frozen, defrost the peas first, and salt to taste.
  4. Then add 1 can of broth and 1 can of water, or water and a bullion cube.
  5. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and add in a handful of mint.
  7. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup. Check for consistency, adding water or salt if needed.
  8. Serve either hot or chilled with a dollop of yogurt of choice and a few more sprigs of mint for garnish.

Enjoy!

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Tangy Green Mango Chickpea Chaat

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It’s mango season in many parts of the world! Back home in Florida, my parents have a mango tree that’s fruiting really well! But with a heavy storm, a bunch of mangos fell to the ground without fully ripening. I couldn’t let good mangoes go to waste, so I made us a really refreshing snack using the green mangoes! If you are buying mangoes in the grocery store, choose one that hasn’t fully ripened yet. I mixed the tangy pieces in with some red onion, chickpeas and indian chaat masala. Chaat masala is a tangy spice blend that is made usually by mixing black salt (kala namak), cumin, red chili powder, and sometimes dried mango powder (aamchur). So if you don’t have chaat masala, you could simply use cumin powder and red chili powder. But the black salt and amchur really adds a special tang. Make this for guests or just for a healthy snack. I’m sure you’re going to love it!

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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.

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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

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Directions

  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.

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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.

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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

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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)

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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