Tag Archives: healthy

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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Roasted Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

This has to be the best end of summer salad. Period. I got both tomatoes and green beans in my farm box, and since it’s a bit too late to grill the green beans, I decided to roast them. Roasting them brings out this amazing sweetness that I didn’t know green beans could even have! It’s the perfect side dish as Fall rolls around. I tossed in some garlic, shallot and fresh tomatoes and a yummy champagne vinaigrette. Green beans are super healthy. They are high in fiber and a really easy source of many essential vitamins and minerals. I know you’re going to love this one!

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You will need:

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  • 1 lb of Green beans
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large vine ripened tomato
  • champagne
  • dijon mustard
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper

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To Prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Set trimmed green beans on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and some salt. Roast for about 20-25 minutes or until they are a bit shriveled
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup champagne vinegar, 1 clove of finely chopped garlic,  1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard and drizzle in olive oil, while whisking until it emulsifies.
  5. Stir in chopped tomatoes, diced shallots and green beans. Toss well.
  6. Allow to sit for around 10 minutes and serve!

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Super simple  and delicious!

 

Summer Squash Curry

DSC_0006I know it’s not summer yet, but I got these beautiful zuchinnis and yellow squashes in my farm basket last week. Zuchinni is not something you typically find in India  and is uncommon in Indian cooking. But Indian cooking does feature dishes with water-based vegetables and I thought I’d try it out. I decided to make a squash curry. It turned out great! Curry, for non-indian readers, doesn’t always mean a gravy-based spicy dish. It includes stir fried dishes with spices as well.  Zuchinni is a low-calorie, water-dense vegetable that is high in Vitamin A and C, magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6.  More importantly, my dinner guests loved the combination of yellow and green. It was a feast for the eyes! This recipe was super simple, takes only 10-15 minutes from start to finish.

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Creamy Red Lentil Dal with Coconut Milk and Spinach (V +GF)

Those who know me know that dal is one of my favorite dishes. I can barely go a week without making it. It is filling, packed with protein and fiber, and quite honestly is any Indian’s comfort food. But sometimes it is nice to make a different take on the traditional dal. I  was inspired by some of the ingredients I had at home to make a nutritious one-pot version using a can of tomato sauce (tomato puree), coconut milk and a bunch of fresh spinach. This turned out so great! Warm, hearty, filling. The best part is that I froze half of the recipe and when I reheated it 2 weeks later it tasted just as good!I served it up with some brown rice and simple roasted cauliflower that I stuck in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes seasoned  with some salt, garlic powder and pepper. I hope you love it!

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Vegan “Egg” Scramble

It looks like egg…it tastes BETTER than egg! And it’s vegan! I have a beautiful vegan friend who inspired me to read more about veganism and animal rights and really opened my eyes to all of the issues involved. While I haven’t yet made the leap to veganism, I am trying my best to make more vegan choices and experiment with vegan alternatives to my favorite foods! And one of those foods is eggs! I live in DC, and love going out to brunch or making brunch on the weekends. This recipe is SO delicious, and packed with veggies. Super simple to make too! The eggs are made from crumbled tofu and the yellow color comes from turmeric and paprika.

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Health Stuff: Turmeric is an extremely healthy indian spice that has tons of medicinal properties. Curcumin, the main active ingredient and it is an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties too.

You will need: dsc_68671.jpg

  • Veggies: I chopped a quarter of each veggie -onion, red pepper, green pepper. A small piece of zucchini and squash and 2-3 mushrooms sliced.
  • 1/2 a block of tofu. Avoid extra firm or super firm. The softer tofu’s give it a more egg-like consistency
  • garlic (or garlic powder), paprika, turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro  and soy cheese (optional) to garnish
  • Optional: you can grate in some ginger to make it a bit spicy

 

To Prepare:

  1. Crumble the tofu. Using a fork break the tofu up into little crumbles DSC_9408
  2. Chop the veggies finely. I used the ones I had on hand, cut a small amount of them  and saved the rest for later.
  3. Heat 1-2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add in the onions and let them saute for a minute
  4. Add in the peppers and saute for another 2 minutes
  5. Add in the tofu, and stir it in well.
  6. Season with salt, add 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp  paprika. Add garlic powder if you didn’t add fresh garlic. This is the point where you can choose to grate a little ginger in. But this step is optional. I usually avoid it for a more classic taste.
  7. Add in the squash and mushrooms and let it cook for a couple minutes until tender, stirring constantly.
  8. If you feel the tofu has dried out too much, unlike actual eggs, you can add in a few tbsps of water and let it simmer out a bit to get the right consistency.
  9. Sprinkle in a little soy cheese. I buy mine at Trader Joes and it’s great! Stir it in and garnish with cilantro and serve!

Prep time: 15  Cook time: 10

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Middle Eastern Spiced Rice and Lebanese Mousaka (Maghmour)

I love middle eastern food. Plain and simple. The flavors go so far beyond just hummus and pita. When I was younger and we lived in South America , we would frequent the Syrian, Lebanese and Armenian restaurants a lot because of their vast selection of vegetarian dishes. Hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh, fattoush salad and one of my favorites, lebanese mousakka. Mmmmm my mouth is watering! This dish is called Maghmour I believe in Arabic, and bares very little resemblance to its Greek counterpart (A layered caserole dish with meat and potatoes.) It is a savory, tangy, and sometimes spicy blend of tomatoes, spices, eggplant and chickpeas. I’ve seen it served both room-temperature and warm. I ate this dish warm. Especially, now that tomatoes are in season I used a bunch of fresh tomatoes.   You are going to love it!

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I paired this with some delicious middle eastern spiced rice. You see this on the streetcarts of NYC and in any shawarma place. Warm Basmati rice cooked to perfection with a blend of freshly ground cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, allspice and paprika. I topped it off with a few slivered almonds.

*On the side was a yummy and simple salad of Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, mint and feta. Drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. (This was the only non-vegan portion of this recipe.

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For the Rice:

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed a few times under running water
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp whole cloves (4-5 cloves)
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Mint, cilantro or slivered almonds for garnish

1) Grind whole spices finely in the above proportions

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2) Heat  olive oil in a skillet and add  spices, saute for less than a minute

3) Add 1/1/2 cups basmati rice (rinsed first) and fold in the spices

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4) Allow the spices and rice to fully blend together (2-3 minutes)

5) transfer to a rice cooker or pot, and add less than 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt, cook covered on medium for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

The result is spiced, savory perfection! Garnish with some mint and slivered almonds if you like!

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For the  Mousaka

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You will need:

  • 2 eggplants
  • About 5-6 Roma tomatoes , chopped(or 3 larger tomatoes)
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Cayenne pepper or any chili powder on hand
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Paprika
  • Cumin powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Can of chickpeas, drained ( I used only half in this recipe)

Before you begin:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°  and trim the ends of the eggplants, and peel in strips (like below image)
  • Then, cut the eggplant into about 1 inch rounds, and lay them on a baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and salt them. Make sure both sides get some olive oil.

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To Prepare:

1. Bake  eggplant rounds for 20 minutes, turning half-way. Remove when eggplants are soft, but not squishy. Cut into cubes and set aside.

4. In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute half a large red onion and 3 cloves of garlic, minced

5. Add in the chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp of tomato paste

6. Saute for a few minutes, and add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp cayenne powder (more if you like it spicy). Add 1 tsp salt and let the tomatoes reduce into a nice sauce, adding water as necessary.  This should take about 10 minutes.

7. Reduce flame to medium and add chick peas. I am not a huge fan of chickpeas so I just added half the can.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar if you feel it is too acidic. This cuts the acid.

8. Add in the eggplant and mix well.

9. Finish it off with some fresh chopped mint and cilantro. Remove from flame and serve with the spiced rice and salad!

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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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