Tag Archives: vegetarian

Veggie “Hand Roll” with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Hello again everyone!

This week we’re going to move out of the realm of dinner and explore a lighter, and usually more rushed, meal: lunch! The goal is to show you all that lunch doesn’t need to be a rush job. Instead, it should be the mid-day break that you look forward to. So here’s your challenge: pick a day next week that you’re going to forgo to protein bar and on-the-go yogurt and make lunch in the morning. If you need some help deciding what to make, I can help!

Today I’m sharing with you Veggie Wrap “Hand Rolls” with a Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. This recipe is an obvious play on sushi. We’re going to put a ton of fresh, crunchy veggies and hummus in a crisp seaweed wrap. Our “soy sauce and wasabi” is going to be a deliciously sweet and savory honey mustard. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so good.

Here’s what you’re going to need to…

Wrap/Hand Roll

1 Raw Nori Seaweed Sheet

1 Red Bell Pepper

2 Carrots

2 Leaves of Kale

A heavy dollop of your favorite hummus


Dipping Sauce/Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Dijion Mustard

1 tsp. Honey


FIRST… Wash your veggies well. Julienne the pepper and carrots (cut them into long, thing strips as seen below.) Cut the tough, center core out of the kale. Then, just rip the kale into bite-sized chunks.

When all is said and done, your cutting board should look like this…


TO MAKE THE SAUCE…Put your teaspoon of both dijon mustard and honey into a small bowl. Mix it up. (How easy is that?!) You can use another kind of mustard if you have no other choice, but I strongly encourage the dijon. The difference in flavor is really noticeable.  The dijon has a kick that plays off the honey brilliantly. It’s borderline magic.


NEXT… Toast your seaweed. You can do this several different ways. If you have a convection oven, that’s the easiest. Pop the sheet in there and toast it for about 30 seconds, or until it turns green and is flexible to the touch. The change from toasted to burnt happens really quickly, so keep your eye on it. Other ways you can do this is holding the seaweed in tongs over an open flame or in a dry pan on your stove top.

TO ASSEMBLE… Do this quickly while the seaweed is still malleable. First spread a generous heap of hummus into the middle of the wrap on the diagonal (because thats the direction you’re going to roll it.) Then, add your cut vegetables. You can put as many as you feel comfortable with. I like to really load it up. If you have extra, just make another wrap, or dip it in more hummus!

Roll it all up on the diagonal, using your fingers to scrunch in the veggies and keep the roll tight. Channel your inner Chipotle worker. Then, slice it down the middle and you’re ready to eat!


Happy lunching everyone! Let me know how this works for you in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!



Peacefood Cafe: Raw Food For The Soul

After being a non-vegan for two months, I have decided to return to practicing the non-animal product lifestyle. In result, I have to do some hunting for NYC eats for vegans that are highly acclaimed but of course may be overhyped. For my first destination of checking out NYC vegan restaurants, I headed not too far from campus to The Peacefood Café on Amsterdam and 82nd Street (there is also one located at E11th Street and University Place).

I went to the Peacefood Café on a Sunday night at around six in the evening, where there was dim lighting and an earthy smell which created a warm and homey vibe. One can choose to stay and dine, order to go, or deliver as well. The waiting area, which consists of three seats, is filled with pamphlets of vegan recipes. Depending on what one orders the wait may range of 2 minutes to 10.

The menu consists of sides, entrees, desserts, with indicators of what is gluten-free, somewhat gluten-free, and what is raw (meaning nothing was cooked, but still safe to eat). There is also a special menu that is available for order from 5pm-10pm daily, which includes “cheeseburgers”, a vegan version of chicken parmesan, thai curry, among other items. A special breakfast menu, which includes granola, tofu scramble, quinoa porridge, etc., is available to order after 10am until the items are sold out.


Both times I’ve gone, I’ve ordered to go and have only tried the raw items. The first time I tried The Peacefood Café, I had the raw sushi roll, and this time I ordered the raw lasagna which came with “the other Caesar” which is a vegan interpretation of the typical Caesar salad. The sushi roll, which is walnut pate and veggies, is delicious with lots of flavor. It is topped with avo, and on the side are jicama and carrots. The lasagna was pesto and marinara separating layers of zucchini. The taste in both were extremely rich, and while raw, both were extremely filling and satisfying, this goes for “the other caesar” as well!


As a vegan, finding satisfying desserts that don’t taste “vegan” are hard to find. Both times I’ve gone to The Peacefood Café I’ve gotten a dessert. The first time I tried out the raw key-lime pie, which was full of flavor, tasted like a key-lime pie, and as I had the last bite I wished for another slice to appear so I could finish that one off too. The next time I went I tried the raw cacao mousse pie, thinking that no other raw vegan dessert could live up to the standard set by the key-lime pie. No disappoint whatsoever. The cacao mousse pie was to die for and lived up to all my expectations. It was rich, and creamy, and did not taste “vegan” at all, but rather tasted like any other cacao mousse pie.


Overall, I would highly recommend The Peacefood Café for everyone, vegan and non-vegans. Definitely a good place to go to try something new; the desserts are a must and highly recommended for all.

Time to change your mind about Brussels Sprouts

From the blog, The Neurotic Kitchen, http://www.neurotickitchen.com/2012/10/restaurant-inspiration-ilili-brussels.html

Brussels sprouts. My mother never really cooked them when I was a kid. The first time I heard of them, I also heard that they tasted like rotten socks. And so I avoided at all cost for the majority of my life until I had them as a mezze at Ilili, a modern Lebanese restaurant in Flatiron. They were bitter, salty, sweet, and tangy all at the same time. Recently, I’ve decided to try my hand at making them. I looked up the recipe online and made them for myself and I was so surprised at how easy they were to make. There really aren’t any measurements involved, and so I’m not going to give quantities in this recipe.

All you need are brussels sprouts, a good quality fig preserve, yoghurt, and fresh, finely chopped mint.

First, blanche the vegetables by cooking them in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.

Then, on high heat, shallow fry the sprouts in vegetable oil until they become very golden brown and crispy.

Next, make a mint-yoghurt by adding the amount of mint that you’d like to the yoghurt. Mix equal parts fig preserve and water, and heat them in the microwave until you get a nice smooth mixture.

Finally, assemble your dish by layering the mint-yoghurt, and fig jam over the fried sprouts. Optional but delicious toppings are fresh grapes, cut in half, and toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped. This is a really easy recipe to make, and I hope that it changes your mind about brussels sprouts the same way it did for me!

Image taken from the blog, Marisa's Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/
Image taken from the blog, Marisa’s Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/


Quick n Easy Salad

Today was one of those dark, grey days that really feel like the worst of winter. Definitely not a day to go to the grocery store. So, when lunch time hit, I had to make do with what was left in the fridge. That meant onions, micro greens, and tomatoes. And not just any micro greens: micro arugula, sunflower sprouts, and baby beet leaves. Just so everyone is on the same page, baby beet greens are bitter. Really, really bitter. So eating a salad of really small greens wasn’t gonna cut it, flavor wise. I was rescued by the on the vine tomatoes, which would be sweet and warm, and the yellow onions, which would be even sweeter. It ended up feeling like the perfect Saturday afternoon snack, and was super easy to make but still felt pretty gourmet. I think it was the micro greens. Those little leaves feel fancy.

For this recipe, get some sprouts or other small greens. If you can’t find the ones mentioned above, go for kale or raw spinach and chop it up really fine so it looks like ribbons. You’re going to need two onions, about ten small to medium sized tomatoes, and enough green to fit in a salad bowl. That’s usually one to two bunches.

First, plop the tomatoes onto a baking sheet, put a little bit of salt  and a drizzle of olive oil on them, and put them in the oven. Leave them for about twenty minutes. Ten minutes in, start the onions. Saute them with a little bit of olive oil for about ten minutes, so that they start to caramelize. Basically chop the onions, push them around the pan when they start to stick, and take them out when they begin to brown. Put the onions on the bottom of a bowl. Pile whatever greens you want on top, and season to your liking. When you can smell the tomatoes – or they look like an oozing mess – they’re done! Take them out put them right on top of the salad, and viola! If you’re feeling like it needs something else to really beef it up, then cut tofu into squares and bake them at 350 degrees for about twenty five minutes, and throw those in there too. The tofu will add texture and turn it from mid day snack to full on meal.



So Cal Cooking: Mushroom Pancit

I’ve actually only eaten pancit in my friends’ homes, usually cooked by their mothers or fathers. The recipe itself is relatively easy, since the staple ingredients of thin rice noodles, soy sauce, and citrus are the only things one really needs. Everything else is subject up change: you can add shrimp, vegetables, or beef. It’s super easy, and a perfect dish to make a huge batch of and then reheat leftovers. It can be a main dish or a side dish, and you can jazz it up by serving it with lumpia!



1 15oz pack of chinese noodles

1 head of green cabbage

1 onion, sliced

3 green onions

1 large carrot

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

4 cups of sliced mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 cans of vegetable broth

3 teaspoons cumin

A dash of curry

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mushroom Pancit


1. Chop the garlic and the onions.

2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sized skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cumin.

3. Cook the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent

4. Add the chopped carrots and cabbage, and continue to cook on high heat. Reduce the heat once the cabbage and carrots have softened.

5. In a separate medium sized pot, add the vegetable broth, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Heat on medium.

6. Once the sauce mixture is boiling, add the noodles. Cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, or until they are soft.

7. Add the noodles to the vegetable mixture. Turn up the heat to high, and fry for about 8-10 minutes, frequently stirring the noodles.

8. Remove heat, and let the pancit sit for a few minutes. Serve when ready!



Voracious Vegan: Tofu 101: Three Recipes to Get You Started

Tofu has a bad rap for being a flavorless, almost alien-like vegetarian food–but it’s so much more! Tofu, also known as bean curd when used in Chinese cuisine, is made from soy milk that is fermented and pressed into small, white cubes that come in a variety of textures–extra firm, firm, soft, and silken. Tofu isn’t overly processed, but always try to buy non-GMO and organic (pro-tip: you can easily find it at Trader Joe’s)! Because it doesn’t have much of a flavor on its own, it is often marinated or sautéed with a variety of spices. Tofu can seem pretty intimidating at first, but it’s so versatile and easy to make once you learn how. Here are three of my favorite tofu recipes to get you going! Once you get the hang of it, try testing our your own recipe with different spices and seasonings.

1. Basic Baked Tofu (4 servings)

This is the tofu I grew up with. Simple, savory, and not too much prep. If you’re a newbie to tofu, this is your starting point. Ingredients: 1 block extra firm tofu, 2 tbsp Tamari or soy sauce of choice, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp sage, and 2 cups water

Directions: Set oven to “broil.” Slice tofu into rectangles, approximately 1/4 inch each. Lay out slices on a baking sheet and place in oven for 10 minutes, until tofu browns. Flip each piece and broil for another 10 minutes. In a Tupperware container (or a tall plastic container from takeout), combine lemon juice, Tamari, and sage. Place tofu slices, stacked, in the container and pour 2 cups of water over them. They should be completely submerged. Marinate for 1 hour. Set oven to 350 degrees and bake tofu for 5 minutes, until warm. Serve.

2. Scrambled Tofu with Spinach and Mushrooms (1 big serving or 2 moderate servings)

Having trouble giving up your morning eggs? This breakfast tofu will make you forget all about them. Silken tofu gives these faux huevos a soft texture and turmeric gives them the yellow coloring that may just make you forget that what you’re eating is completely vegan.Ingredients: oil of choice (I went for grapeseed), 1 package silken tofu, 2 handfuls spinach, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/4 tsp turmeric, sprinkle himalayan salt, sprinkle nutritional yeast, pepper

Directions: Heat oil in a pan, letting it spread out evenly. Chop mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Gently crumble the tofu into large chunks. You don’t want them to be too small, because they will break apart further as you cook them. Add tofu to pan, stirring occasionally. Add spices and nutritional yeast. Once becomes a bit more composed (think scrambled egg texture), add the spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt, stirring frequently. Serve.

3. Maple-Cider Seared Tofu (serves 4)

This tofu is my most recent soy creation. Using seasonal maple syrup and farmers’ market apple cider, I whipped up this delightfully autumnal protein source.Ingredients: 1 block firm or extra firm tofu, oil of choice, 1/4 cup apple cider, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Tamari or soy sauce of choice, 1/8 tsp ginger,

Directions: Press your tofu for at least 30 minutes or longer to get as much water out as possible. Heat oil in a skillet. Slice tofu into rectangles that are about 1/4 inch thick. Place slices (as many that fit) in the pan and allow to brown, flipping so that each side is browned. Apple cider, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, Tamari, and ginger. Once all slices of tofu are seared, add them back to the pan and pour the cider mixture over them. Allow the mixture to bubble and flip the slices a few times to ensure they are wholly covered. Repeat with all the slices and serve.

Try out these recipes and you’ll be a tofu expert in no time!



SoCal Cooking: Chickpea Picadillo

In the middle of a semester, these things called midterms that screw up students’ sleep cycles, challenge the efficiency of their work habits, and worst of all, distort their eating habits. I believe the best way to combat this stress-induced state of malnourishment (or sometimes gluttony) is to make a lot of really good food, and I mean a lot. And yes, this recipe is just that. 

Picadillo itself is a Latin American and Filipino dish, usually composed of potatoes and beef with tomato sauce as the base. Picadillo is served atop something like rice or plantains. It is essentially a spicy stew with diced vegetables. The Filipino variation, the one I made, is not as thick as a stew, but a bit more soup-like, and usually eaten atop rice. The best thing about this dish is that it serves up to  6-8 people just from 40 minutes of cooking, and, most importantly, it’s versatile! Especially during the weeks of midterms, versatility and brevity are the foundations of every college student’s meal. If the midterm stress is making you feel like you can’t accomplish as much as you want or that you’re not doing as great as you want, cook this dish. You’ll get it done, do it right, and feel good.  

Chickpea Picadillo


  1. 1 large white onion, diced
  2. 2 Green chili peppers, diced
  3. 4 large potatoes, cut into cubes
  4. 1 1/2 cup of corn
  5. 1 14oz can of chickpeas 
  6. 5 large carrots, chopped
  7. 3 green onions, chopped
  8. 1 clove of garlic
  9. 2 cups white rice
  10. 1 can tomato sauce
  11. 2 cups water
  12. 2 tablespoons of  black pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon of cumin 
  14. 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes

1. Oil the pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
2. Add the garlic, cook for just a minute on medium heat.
3. Add onions, cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the spices, stir well, continue cooking on medium high heat. 
6. Add the corn, carrots, chickpeas, green onions, and green chiles. Cook for 6-10 minutes.
7. Add potatoes, tomato sauce, and water
8. Cook, uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

9. Spread over rice and serve!

Fancy Mac and Cheese

You can call it a Gruyere Alfredo, but I prefer my name

I’m dedicating this recipe to midterms. In my opinion, there are few other organized institutions so well designed to make victims feel like they’ve lost control of their lives. I stumbled through a particularly fun one the other day, and like Stu Pickles, felt the need to stress-cook my way out of sobbing uncontrollably at my professor’s office hours.


I knew that I needed to create something extravagant, something to let The Man know that he can’t kill my vibe. And I find few things more satisfying to make than a velvety smooth cheese-like sauce (seriously, it’ll make you feel like a superhero). So I checked out some recipes online and found this one, which gave me a good start. I threw in some classy veggies, and in the name of extravagant and defiant cheese sauces, I created my masterpiece of love and joy and self-esteem, this “Fancy Mac and Cheese.”

It took quite a while, but by Alma, it let me taste the sweet flavor of achievement again.

Ingredients (This fed 6 hungry people):

1 medium/large white onion, chopped roughly

3 cloves garlic, diced

~1 cup asparagus tips

1/3 cup dry white wine or water

1 tbsp flour

1 cup whole milk

8 oz Brie cheese (or a similar variety), rind removed

5 oz Gruyere cheese (or a similar variety), shredded

1 lb dry pasta (I like using shells with creamy sauces)

salt and pepper

olive oil

~1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)

shredded cheese of your choosing (optional)


1) Caramelize the onions. This takes a while, but is very much worth it. Put the onions in a skillet with a bit of olive oil over low heat, and stir them while they do their thing. The trick is to hit the (literal) sweet spot between translucent and burnt. Here is a mouth-watering tutorial.

2) Boil the pasta al dente.

3) Preheat the oven to 350 F.

4) Cook the garlic in olive oil over a skillet on medium heat for just a minute or so. Add the asparagus, and cook for another few minutes, until the asparagus starts to get a bit tender. Add the white wine or water, salt and pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Remove the asparagus from the pan, leaving the wine mixture. Turn the heat to low.

5) Add the flour to the garlic pan. The consistency we’re looking for is similar to hair conditioner or a little bit thinner. If it is too dry, add a little bit of milk at a time until it gets to the correct texture. Once it’s there, add the rest of the milk and stir until combined. Turn the heat to medium and cook while stirring until the mixture begins to thicken.

6) Remove the milk pan from heat and add the cheeses, a loose handful at a time and stirring well after each handful. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7) Put it all together in a bowl, stir well, and scoop it into an appropriate-sized baking pan (I used a 10-inch pie dish). Sprinkle breadcrumbs and the extra shredded cheese on top.

8) Bake for 20 minutes.


Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

Ever since I my friend Claire introduced me to my first cup of Irish tea back when I was a sophomore in high school, I have been tea obsessed. I would bring chilled coolers of green tea to my softball games, carry a selection of tea packets in my purse, and make my family visit local teashops whenever traveling. By my senior year I was serving tea lattes and brewing pots of loose-leaf tea for customers at Sweet Tease, my hometown’s own tea and sweet shop.

Over the years I have strayed from flavored black teas and the sugared concentrates to the greens, whites, and herbal blends. While I became more aware of the health benefits of teas, I also began experimenting with the different ways I could use them. Soon I was making chamomile, blueberry green, and matcha green tea smoothies every other morning for breakfast- and I still do!

Matcha is an antioxidant powerhouse, packed with cancer-fighting and fat-burning chemical compounds. It transcends the health limits of green tea by which it involves consuming the whole leaf rather than just the brewed water. While the overall taste can be bitter, the recipe below takes a moment to make matcha a refreshing and lightly sweetened smoothie. And yes, it’s caffeinated!


1 frozen medium banana (peeled and cut into chunks before freezing)

1 cup of nondairy milk (almond, soy, rice)

1-2 tsp of matcha green tea powder (if you like a more subtle green tea flavor, I recommend only 1 tsp to start)

1 tsp honey


Additional Add-Ins (optional)

¼ cup of blueberries

1 scoop of originial RAW protein

1 cup of spinach



Put all the ingredients into the blender and blend. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Vegan Superhero Soup

The person sitting next to you in class is coughing up a lung and your suitemates are sniffling through the hall. It’s that time of year again–cold and flu season. While most people grow up with their mother’s chicken noodle soup as the cure-all for any runny nose or fever, vegetable broth was the staple in my vegetarian childhood. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food.”

Driven by my fear of getting sick, I whipped up this veg-tastic soup on a blustery afternoon. Full of healing herbs and super foods, it provided a much needed boost to my immune system. Quinoa replaces the noodles you may traditionally eat in chicken noodle soup, giving an added (gluten free!) punch of protein. This recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on how big your appetite is. Try it out to combat any seasonal sickness!

4 cups organic vegetable stock
6 leaves curly kale
4 carrots
1 can white beans
1 cup quinoa
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp rosemary
pepper, to taste

1. Combine 2 cups water with 1 cup dry quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until water is fully absorbed.
2. In the meantime, bring vegetable stock to a gentle simmer. Chop carrots and kale and add to the simmering stock. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the mixture. Add herbs.
3. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, allowing the carrots to become tender and the kale to soften. Add quinoa once it is finished and simmer for at least 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve hot!

This soup is simple to make but is bursting with flavor, so be sure to try it out! Your immune system will thank you.