Side Dish

Massaged Kale and Quinoa Salad

It’s been a while since my last post. Sorry for the delay! i just started a new job and have been busy adjusting to the new schedule. One thing that I’ve been making a point to do, is to pack my lunch almost every day. This helps me save money, but also ensures that I’m getting healthy food with good quality ingredients. I tend to keep my lunches light to avoid the afternoon slump. This Kale Quinoa salad can be quite filling though! Feel free to add proteins, like chick peas, or boiled egg for a more filling meal. I just tossed this with a simple lemon vinaigrette, but tastes great with balsamic too!

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Chilled Gazpacho


The weather lately has been so unpredictable lately! A few days ago it was 90 degrees, and then yesterday it went down to 50! Well now that Memorial Day is coming up looks like the weather is just going to get hotter and hotter.

Gazpacho was one of the first recipes I learned how to make when I first started cooking. It is so cooling and refreshing, and packed with veggies so it’s good for you! Here’s my recipe for a pretty simple Gazpacho soup.

You Will Need:

  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2  medium-large vine-ripened tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 medium English cucumber, seeds removed and peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic (3 if you want it really sharp)
  • 2-3 slices of any kind of bread. I used multigrain.
  • 2.5- 3 cups of tomato juice or v-8
  • A splash of white vinegar
  • Olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
  • A blender ( I used  a Ninja)


To Prepare:

  1. Chop up the veggies into large chunks
  2. Fill the blender half way with veggies and start pulsing 2-3 times.
  3. You might need to stir. Break in pieces of the bread.
  4. Add tomato juice and pulse until all the vegetables have been incorporated and are grainy, but not pureed.
  5. Season with vinegar,salt and pepper. Adjust as needed.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors set in.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil before serving and enjoy!

Tip: When pulsing, add the garlic and onions last so that they don’t overpower the dish. Different people have different preferences and add as much as you can handle. This also tastes great topped with avocado. But what doesn’t taste great with avocado!


Moroccan Lentil Soup

I’m on a cooking at home roll! I’ve been trying really hard to make protein-rich lunches and dinner without spending money to go eat out. I love lentils, but I’m a bit tired of having it the same old way, so I decided to make Moroccan Lentil Soup. Spicy, tomato-ey, and  hearty. Moroccan lentil soup is full of flavor and really fills you up. For this dish I used two different types of lentils, red split lentils, or Masoor dal, and I also used brown lentils, which are more traditionally used in Middle Eastern recipes. Brown lentils hold their shape after being cooked, but if you’d like softer lentils, feel free to soak them. The recipe takes no more than 20 mins cooking time and maybe 10 minutes of prep. And it keeps incredibly well. I thoroughly enjoyed this as my next-day lunch :). Hope you enjoy!


You will need:DSC_9711

  • 1/4 cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed well
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 4 San Marzano whole tomatoes, crushed
  • Parsley or cilantro to garnish
  • Optional: Cayenne pepper


  1. In a pot, heat a few tbsps of  olive oil and add onions, garlic, celery and carrots
  2. Let the vegetables saute until the carrots rae slightly softened and the onions are transcluscent
  3. Crush 4 tomatoes into the vegetable mixture
  4. Now add the spices, 1 tsp of cumin powder, a tablespoon of paprika (Some people don’t like the flavor of smoked paprika, so feel free to use regular paprika), Salt, pepper and optional pinchcayenne.
  5. Stir the mixture and let the spices toast, but not burn.
  6. Crush in 4 whole San Marzano tomatoes from the can. I  had some left over and I love the sweetness of these tomatoes, so this is what I prefer to use, but you are welcome to use fresh or canned tomatoes of your choice.
  7. Add lentils and 1 cup of vegetable broth.
  8. Add water to cover and reduce heat to medium
  9. Simmer on medium for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are softened
  10. Garnish with flat leaf parsely or cilantro and serve!

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One-Skillet Quinoa with Sweet Potato

I love cooking, but I hate the cleanup! The cleanup often prevents me from cooking as much as I’d like to. This one-skillet quinoa helps! It’s everything you need in a meal in one pot! It has veggies, healthy carbs (quinoa and sweet potato), and protein (beans). It’s super simple and delicious and saves great if you want to have it for lunch the next day. All of these veggies are optional. Feel free to add in any veggie that you enjoy.


You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • half a jalapeno pepper.
  • 1 small sweet potato (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 small can sweet corn, rinsed
  • a handful of cooked black beans
  • Scallions
  • cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • Cilantro
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, rinsed.
  • 1 can low sodium vegetable broth

To prepare:

  1. In a skillet, heat up a little bit of olive oil and throw in 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  2. When they start to sputter, add onions, garlic and jalapeño
  3. Add sweet potato and saute for a few minutes
  4. Add the can of tomatoes and 1 tbsp cumin powder and stir
  5. Add the quinoa (rinsed) and saute for just a minute
  6. Add 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 cup water,  black beans and corn and reduce heat to medium
  7. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes
  8. Stir in some chopped cilantro and scallion, season with salt and pepper and serve!
  9. Optional: garnish with Avocado slices and lime



Stufft Poblano Peppers with Goat Cheese and Crumbled Tofu

Over the break I wanted to treat my parents to a nice, healthy meal that was a treat for the eyes and the tummy. My cousin Vika had made this really yummy dish over Thanksgiving, that really was the highlight of the meal. His dish had charred poblanos and was stuffed with peppers, beans and goat cheese. I decided to make a variation of this and give it more substance using crumbled tofu! It passed the test. Even my little sister, who is a huge critic of health food loved it!


Crumbled tofu has no flavor but has an interesting  texture. It’s basically just regular extra firm tofu that you crumble using a fork. Tofu has very little flavor so be sure to use plenty of salt when doing this and wring out excess water using a cheesecloth. Lay the tofu out to dry before using.

**TIP: This works great as a vegan/Indian vegetarian alternative to scrambled eggs. DSC_9408



I broiled the poblano peppers and stuffed them with a mixture of tofu, beans, veggies and goat cheese and served it in a tomatillo sauce. (Also super simple to make but will post a recipe in another post.

All in all, a protein-packed, healthy, spicy delight! Hope you enjoy!


  • 4 poblano peppers
  • Extra firm tofu (1/4 of packet crumbled)
  • 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 orange pepper chopped
  • Canned sweet corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • About a 4 oz goat cheese packet
  • Assorted beans (I had some extra from other recipes but I just used a handful of garbanzo and a handful of black beans)
  • Cilantro



  1. Preheat oven to 400-425
  2. On a baking sheet spray olive oil on peppers and
  3. Crumble the tofu and let it sit  on a towel to remove some of the liquid.
  4. Prepare any veggies you will be using


  1. Broil the peppers for about 15 minutes turning  the peppers about half way. When done, the peppers will have a nice char, but not too charred
  2. Once the peppers are cooled, gently slice the pepper on one side lengthwise so that it can be stuffed. Remove veins and seeds. Remove excessively charred skin gently.
  3. In a wok or saucepan  saute peppers. Add the tofu and let it brown slightly. Mix in beans, corn and goat cheese. Depending on the consistency you can add more goat cheese. Taste to make sure the mixture is seasoned with enough salt and pepper.
  4. Grab the pepper in one hand and spoon the mixture in with the other hand. It should be enough for 4 peppers.
  5. Garnish with salsa and serve with warm Tomatillo salsa.

Serves 4


Cauliflower-White Bean Soup and Sautéed Broccolini with Garlic

This recipe is quick, easy and so healthy.  Because of the beans, the soup tastes rich and creamy, without having to add any cream at all. It is packed with fiber and protein from the white kidney beans and  a ton of vitamins and minerals from the cauliflower.  Broccolini, or baby broccoli, is softer and slightly sweeter than regular broccoli. It is a cruciferous vegetable rich in Vitamins C, A and K. It was sautéed with a liberal quantity of garlic.  I hope you enjoy this light, but delicious meal!

You will need:

  • Half a cauliflower, washed and cut into pieces
  • 1 can white kidney or canellini beans rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Fresh thyme
  • Paprika

To Prepare:

1. Sautee shallot and onion  in  1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive  oil until translucent

2. Add cauliflower and white beans and sauté for a couple minutes

3. Add water and salt and bring to boil.

4. Add the leaves of 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme.

5.  Reduce to simmer until cauliflower is soft.

6. Remove from flame and blend the soup with immersion blender or regular blender. Add water or simmer until you achieve the desired consistency. Careful  to cool the soup enough before you blend it.

7. Season with paprika and pepper and serve with whole wheat bread.

Sautéed Broccolini with Garlic


 You will need:

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced.

To prepare:

1. Super simple: sauté garlic in  2 tbsp of olive oil, and when the garlic is translucent add the broccolini and sauté for another minute or so.

2. Add a little bit of salt and water, cover and reduce the flame for a few minutes.

3. Remove from the pan when the broccolini is a bright green color and water has evaporated. You do not want to overcook this.

4. Crack some pepper over the top, and optionally shave some parmesan cheese and serve!


This recipe serves 2

I-Miss-Miami Cuban Chop Chop: Black Beans, Rice and Maduros

As a vegetarian, if there’s one thing I miss about Miami, it’s Cuban chop chop.: A rice bowl with black beans, veggies, salad and different types of toppings. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to make. For this meal, I made  black beans, maduros (fried sweet plantains), and a spicy roasted red pepper-jalapeno sauce.   Black beans are one of the healthiest of the bean group as it is high in fiber in addition to protein. This is a filling and healthy recipe and makes great leftovers. (Tip: I often use the beans in tacos or quesadillas the next day.)  Here’s the recipe!

Black Beans


You will need:

  • One cup dried black beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 /2 yellow pepper and 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 serrano pepper, chopped (optional)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cilantro

To prepare: 

  1. Cook 1 cup of  black beans in a pressure cooker with salt and water. Let it reach 2 whistles, then reduce to med-low and cook for another 15 minutes. It should be close to completely cooked though. Alternatively, you could boil until it is cooked well.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to a deep saucepan and saute cumin seeds until they sputter.
  3. Add onions and garlic and saute until transluscent.
  4. Add peppers, and serrano chili  and cook for a few minutes more.
  5. Add tomatoes  and black beans. Do not drain the black beans, the water has a lot of flavor.
  6. Simmer on medium for 10 minutes. The longer you cook the beans, the tastier it will get.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve with brown rice.


  1. Cut 2 sweet plantains in half length-wise, cut in angled small pieces.
  2. In a separate pan, heat some vegetable oil. You can add a tablespoon or so of butter for flavor.
  3. Fry the plantains until golden-brown.


Roasted Red Pepper-Jalapeno Sauce

You will need: 

  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper, seeded
  • 1 jalapeno (You can leave the seeds in for extra heat. I removed half of the seeds)
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic

To prepare:

1. Bake in oven on high heat around 425  until the top blackens a bit and the meat of the veggies are soft

2. In a magic bullet or blender, blend together ingredients with a little bit of salt, adding water if necessary until it forms a thick paste.

3. Mix with beans for added spice and flavor.



Serve!  This recipe serves 4