Tag Archives: healthy

30-Minute Gourmet: Sweet Chili Salmon

This week I am finally moving from the stove to the oven with my Sweet Chili Salmon. This recipe is adapted from this recipe from Pinterest and an old family favorite from Mark Bittman, which consists of nothing more than butter, salt, and pepper. Like all my posts, this recipe is versatile and can be paired with nearly any vegetable, starch, or grain, especially my One-Pan Pasta or my Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet.

Like my previous recipes, this is another one-dish wonder. It does require removing the dish from the oven a few times, which can be tricky to do effectively so as to not lose too much heat from the oven. This skill, along with the ability to gauge when to finish cooking the fish, is essential for mastering this recipe. Luckily for us, the rest of the recipe is extremely easy and cleanup takes about five minutes.


Salmon is my favorite fish for many reasons. Firstly, it’s incredibly versatile in that it can be eaten with flavorful sauces, such as teriyaki and sweet chili, but it also has wonderful natural flavors that be brought out with just a touch of salt and pepper. Furthermore, it can stand alone or be incorporated in salads, pastas, and many other dishes. This particular recipe utilizes both salmons natural flavor and it’s ability to pair with sauces to achieve a good balance. I also sautéed some greens quickly in a pan on the stove while the salmon was cooking as a side, which  was done by heating some butter and garlic in a pan and sautéing the greens until wilted.

A side note before I get to the actual recipe, the recipe from Pinterest called for the salmon to be marinated, which could be great for the flavors, however it would make this recipe take longer than thirty minutes to prepare. Also, broiling the salmon as suggested in the Pinterest might create interesting textures, however I have not yet figured out how to use the broiler on my apartment’s oven.


And without further ado, here is the recipe.

1 3/4lb salmon fillet

2-3 Tablespoons of Thai Sweet Chili sauce

3 Tablespoons green onions

1-1/2 Tablespoons butter

Salt (to taste)


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a small baking dish of butter inside to melt the  butter. Once the butter is melted, remove from the oven and place salmon fillet flesh side down in the dish. Cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and flip salmon so the flesh side is facing up. Brush 2 Tablespoons of Chili Sauce over the top of the salmon. Place white part of green onions around the salmon and put back in the oven for 3-6 minutes (or if desired, remove halfway and add more chili sauce)

Garnish with remaining green onions and serve.



Kale Almond Pesto Tagliatelle

Home for spring break? Want to impress your family or treat your friends to a delicious dinner? I have the perfect recipe for you.

The other day, I was testing pesto recipes for work. When I say testing recipes, I mean testing A LOT of recipes. I can officially make pesto with my eyes closed. And yes, I still smell faintly of garlic. You may ask: what does one do with so much pesto? There are three answers: (1) Eat it on chips, (2) Jar it and give it to your boyfriend’s mom for extra brownie points, (3) Make something fabulous for dinner to go with it. We’re going to focus on number three.


This pasta is covered in a kale & almond pesto that I made with all my leftover ingredients from that day. For an added textural component, I threw in some larger pieces of kale. At the very end I tossed in some sliced grape tomatoes for brightness.

This recipe serves 2, but feel free to double or triple amounts for larger parties.

Kale & Almond Pesto 

  • 1 cup of roughly chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons  of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth)
  • zest of a whole lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt & pepper

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until you reach a spreadable consistency that isn’t too creamy. It should not be fully smooth!


To assemble the pasta…

You need:

  • 1 more cup of roughly chopped kale
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes sliced lengthwise
  • Extra parmesan cheese & black pepper to top off

To make the Tagliatelle, follow the boiling directions on the package. I say this because it varies from brand to brand. If you can’t find Tagliatelle, Linguini would work great in this as well.

Roughly chop the kale and stir it in to the pasta after draining. If you put the lid to the pot back on for a few minutes, the kale will wilt perfectly.

Add the tomatoes and the pesto last and toss it all together until evenly mixed.

Serve and top with parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to taste! Enjoy!


30-Minute Gourmet: Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet


I have to correct myself and say that this recipe wins the prize for most versatile, despite my praise for the One Pan Pasta I posted previously. Similar to the pasta, this is one of those recipes where you throw everything in and the rest is almost done for you. Just some light mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula to sauté the ingredients and it’s done in five minutes.

Although this recipe may seem bland (I mean, quinoa, spinach, and mushrooms don’t exactly have the reputation of being the most flavor packed ingredients out there), cooking the spinach and mushrooms brings out flavor many don’t know exists. For my version, I added ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha to add a bit more kick to the dish, but it is really up to the palette of the chef and audience.

And the wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can alter the ingredients according to taste. I have always wanted to try kale for a bitterer, earthier taste, or chard to add some color. I use baby bella mushrooms, but portobello or shitake also can alter the profile dramatically, depending on the tastes. Lastly, something I meant to add this time around but regretfully did not, was cilantro. I, luckily, am not afflicted with the hatred of cilantro, and it would be interesting to try the combination of the earthier mushrooms with the cleaner bite of cilantro. Even if that didn’t work, the legendary combination of cilantro and Sriracha might be enough to save the dish.

Depending on how you cook your quinoa, this could takeover thirty minutes, however I have always been able to throw it together before passing the limit. Furthermore, the quinoa can be cooked previously, as it heats up in the pan once added. Cooking the quinoa the night before could make put the time stamp on this recipe at about five minutes, maybe eight or ten depending on the heat of your stove. Overall though, since cleanup is a breeze with the absence of sticky sauces and the use of only one pan (or two depending on when you cook the quinoa), the cooking time for the actual skillet recipe almost cannot exceed twenty minutes, unless you are really that determined.


With all that being said, here is the recipe for my Mushroom Quinoa Skillet:



(Adapted from Julia’s Album)


Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet

  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 oz fresh spinach (to taste)
  • 2 oz fresh arugula (to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat butter and olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until mushrooms get soft and golden-brown color. Season with salt.

Add fresh spinach and arugula to skillet and reduce heat to low. As spinach begins to wilt, sauté with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa to the skillet and cook on low heat for another minute, allowing quinoa to warm and spinach to wilt more. Add Sriracha, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper, and mix/sauté to incorporate.


Frozen Banana Pops

If you’re like me, the warm weather could not come any sooner. The days are growing a little longer, the slush has disappeared from the streets, and that Spring Break count down is ticking by FAST. Yes!

I know what you’re thinking: the only thing that would make this situation better is a beautiful, yet confusing treat. One that looks like fruit, but tastes like ice cream. One that satisfies your chocolate craving, yet provides a variety of key nutrients. But could such a thing exist?


Introducing the Frozen Banana Pop! A chocolate-dipped banana, covered in sundae toppings, and frozen to perfection.


Here’s what you need to make these gems:

-1 bar of semi-sweet Ghiradelli’s chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer)

-2 over-ripe bananas

-A pinch of instant coffee or espresso (Because the Barefoot Contessa says so)

-Your favorite sundae toppings (I chose crushed pecans and sprinkles)

-4 sticks

-1 old cardboard box you won’t miss (I used the box from my Sleepytime tea)


Step 1: Break down the chocolate into a bowl with the instant coffee/espresso and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted.

Step 2: While microwaving, poke holes in the cardboard box for your skewers.

Step 3: Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Then skewer them lengthwise.

Step 4: Dunk your bananas one at a time in the chocolate, using a spoon to help cover all the spots.

Step 5: Sprinkle on the goods.

Step 6: Freeze for at least 2 hours or until chocolate is hard. Longer is better though :)



That is all! Then invite your favorite friends over and pretend you’re indulging on something naughty.



30-Minute Gourmet: One-Pan Pasta


If you are looking for a quick and versatile recipe to add to your collection, look no further. This recipe for one-pan pasta is probably my #1 go-to when I need to make something impressive. It can easily be prepped, cooked, and cleaned in less than thirty minutes, making it a perfect recipe for nearly any occasion.


Even beyond the speediness, its taste alone will make it one to ad to your bookmarks bar. Cooking all the ingredients together allows the water to absorb all the flavors, which is then absorbed by the pasta. Instead of having a heavy sauce coating the pasta, the recipe relies on the natural flavors to give the pasta a much lighter and subtler taste.


Something else I love about this recipe is that it can stand alone or be a perfect side to nearly any main course. One of my favorite pairings for this recipe is a lightly seasoned salmon. Just a light brushing of butter, salt, and pepper draw out the natural flavors of the fish, much like this recipe does for the pasta, making it a perfect match. And the recipe is highly malleable. I have tried different ingredients and found that as long as the proportions are right, there are very few ingredients that would pair poorly with this pasta. I altered my personal recipe based on food sensitivities and other preferences, so it’s good to try many different variations to develop a personal recipe for your taste.


One final thing I have to compliment this recipe on is that cleanup takes less than five minutes. The cutting board and knife can be cleaned while the water is heating, leaving just the pan, tongs, a fork, and a plate or bowl (unless of course you are sharing the pasta). And because there is no sauce, there is hardly any mess to take care of. Really, it is so simple it can be done in a matter of seconds.



Now onto the actual recipe I have been raving about.


One-Pan Pasta (Adapted from Lottie + Doof  )


12 oz linguine

12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

3 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 sprigs of basil

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 ½ cups of water


Combine all the ingredients in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until water has nearly evaporated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.





Blossom Du Jour: Fast Food Vegan Style

For my last post of the semester, I wanted to find something a little different from the other vegan restaurants I had been going to. Most vegan restaurants are sit-down restaurants, whether they are fancy or more on the casual side, but Blossom Du Jour is a healthier and vegan version of a fast food restaurant. They have five locations, one of which is not too far from Columbia, located at 449 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Street.


The restaurant was very small inside with a decent amount of counter space. A lot of people get take-out, but many also sit at the counter to eat. If you sit at the counter, there is a nice view of Amsterdam Avenue through the windows. It is a nice spot to eat alone, but you can also bring a couple of friends to enjoy the food with.

I decided to try the Strawberry Banana Burst smoothie and it was truly amazing. It was made with strawberries, bananas, and apple cider. I couldn’t even tell that there were no diary products used to make the smoothie!

Strawberry Banana Burst Smoothie
Strawberry Banana Burst Smoothie

I also tried the Midtown Melt sandwich, which is made with cajun spiced seitan, vegan cheese, agave, guacamole, lettuce, and chipotle aïoli. I could not even tell that the cheese used in the sandwich was vegan! Also the guacamole and chipotle aïoli tasted great together, along with the other ingredients in the sandwich. I would have to say the best part was that my food was all made in under five minutes and it tasted like food that I would order at a restaurant, which would take more than quadruple the amount of time to make.

Midtown Melt
Midtown Melt

I really enjoyed going to Blossom Du Jour, and I will definitely be going back sometime soon! I have never been to a vegan fast food restaurant before, and I’d have to say that it was a great experience. I recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a quick and delicious meal in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.

Avocado Egg Boats


Hi everyone! 

As the semester draws to a close there are two things running through every student’s mind:

  2. Finals. Finals. And more finals.

So, because we’re all so busy right now, I wanted to share one of my simplest, healthiest, and tastiest recipes. It’s a hearty, filling treat that takes almost no time and will keep you kicking through these final few weeks. 

An Avocado Egg Boat is basically an egg baked inside an avocado half. There are a few simple steps, and all you need is one avocado and two eggs.

Preheat oven or toaster-oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with tin foil.

First, cut a ripe avocado in half. Remove the pit carefully by piercing it with the knife and pulling it out. 

Next, scoop out another fourth of each half around the pit. You just want to make a bigger hole than there already is. 

Place each half on the tin foil covered sheet.

Then, crack an egg into the hole you just made. One egg goes in each half. Carefully, put baking sheet in the oven.

Cook for 30-40 minutes. Note that a toaster-oven will cook on the faster side.

Finally, top the finished product with salt and pepper. If you have some fresh herbs, add some on top for a bit of freshness!

Eat up, stay nourished, and good luck on your finals! 

A Vegan’s Heaven in the Village

This time when I chose a vegan restaurant to visit, I decided to stray a little further from campus and I found Red Bamboo on 140 W 4th Street in the Village.


The restaurant has a very calming and cozy feel, making it a very nice place to go if you are stressed. I decided to get take-out from the restaurant and it only took them 10 minutes to make my food! So, if you are very hungry after making the trek from Morningside Heights, luckily, you will not have to wait long! And my trek was truly worth it!!

Popcorn shrimp
Popcorn Shrimp

I decided to start off my meal with an appetizer. I chose the popcorn shrimp because one of the things that I miss the most after becoming a vegetarian is shrimp. The vegan popcorn shrimp were absolutely amazing! The shrimp I got had the same texture and taste of real shrimp! The shrimp were fried perfectly and the sauce that came with them complimented them very well. I will definitely be going back to get more!!

Classic blt
Classic B.L.T.

I got the classic BLT for my entrée because I was really interested in trying Red Bamboo’s version of bacon. The tempeh bacon was also really good and it  had a very similar taste to real bacon. The sandwich also included whole wheat bread, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and vegan mayonnaise. The mayonnaise didn’t taste exactly like real mayonnaise, but in some ways it was actually better. It was a little less thick than real mayonnaise and had a little bit of a different taste, which actually went better with my sandwich than real mayonnaise would have. I definitely will have to get this sandwich again!

I loved everything about Red Bamboo and I will definitely be going back sometime very soon. Everything I tried tasted absolutely amazing and now I know that there is a place that makes great substitutes for the food that any vegan or vegetarian misses. I will definitely be recommending this restaurant to everyone I know, whether or not they are vegan or vegetarian!

Peacefood Cafe: Any Vegan or Non-Vegan’s Paradise

Everyone loves dessert, and luckily, Manhattan is home to numerous bakeries for all of us dessert lovers in the city. The problem is that it is almost impossible to find a good vegan bakery, even in Manhattan. I made it my mission to find a good vegan bakery and I found the Peacefood Cafe, which is both a vegan restaurant and vegan bakery.


The cafe is a nice, casual, and cozy spot to have a meal with a friend, while enjoying their many vegan options. It is definitely a stress-free atmosphere! It is located in the Upper West Side on Amsterdam and 82nd, so it isn’t too far from campus. They also have another location in the Village.


The bakery part of the restaurant had many vegan desserts, which all look like they must be made with diary products. Upon walking in, I even wondered if their desserts were actually vegan! In place of the dairy products normally found in these desserts, the Peacefood Cafe uses healthier options, such as avocados. Not only are these desserts vegan, but also many of them are even gluten free.

From left to right: chocolate chip cookie sandwich and raw chocolate mousse pie
From left to right: chocolate chip cookie sandwich and raw chocolate mousse pie

I had a chocolate chip cookie sandwich and a slice of the raw chocolate mousse pie. The chocolate chip cookie sandwich was two large cookies with chocolate inside, which made them stick together. Without the chocolate inside, the cookies were some of the best I have ever had. The chocolate inside was so rich in flavor that it made the cookies taste even  better. The mousse pie was made with avocado, which made me a little nervous to try it, but it was amazing! The taste of the avocado was undetectable and if anything, it made the chocolate taste even richer in flavor. I will definitely be going back to the cafe to get both of these desserts again!

Mango Lassi
Mango lassi

I also had a mango lassi while I was at the cafe, which I was a little nervous about because it is a yogurt-based drink. The mango lassi was pretty good considering it was vegan, but it wasn’t as good as the non-vegan ones I have had in the past. The yogurt used in the drink tasted like regular yogurt, but the lassi tasted too much like yogurt and did not have enough of a mango taste. Overall, it was good, but I think I will try a different drink next time.

I look forward to going back to the Peacefood Cafe to try more of their vegan options! I definitely would recommend this cafe to anyone looking for a nice to spot to eat and hang out with friends or anyone looking for a good take-out place. This cafe is great for both vegans and non-vegans, alike!

Pantry Shakshuka


The best thing about shakshuka is how simple it is to make. It’s pretty quick, completely satisfying, and can me made with just a few basic pantry ingredients and whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. I’ve made this one with spinach and bell peppers, and it was delicious! However, fresh tomatoes, kale, mushrooms, and squash would have all been great options too.

Here’s what you need from the pantry:

-can of diced tomatoes

-tomato paste

-Italian dry spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, & thyme would all work)

-garlic powder

-olive oil

-bread (I use gluten-free of course, Udi’s is good!)

Here’s what you need from the fridge:


-bell pepper (any color, but I used yellow)



First, dice half an onion. Heat olive oil is a frying pan. Once oil is hot, add the onions and cool them until they’re soft and slightly translucent. Add chopped pepper and spinach (or whatever vegetables you choose) and cook until soft.

Then, add the can of tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and stir thoroughly. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes. 

Finally, make a dent in the mixture and crack in an egg. Cover the pan and let the egg cook for about five minutes or until the egg white is just opaque. Any additional cooking would affect the yolk. So, if you like it runny, definitely stop the cooking as soon as the white turns solid, but if you like it harder keep it going for another minute or so.

In the meantime, toast your bread. 

Add hot sauce for an extra kick!

Enjoy! Break into that yolk and scoop the mixture onto your toast. If you haven’t tried it before, you’ll be an immediate convert. It’s so savory and comforting, you’ll want to eat it for every meal of the day. Happy cooking everyone!