Category Archives: Vegetarian

Lentil Rustica

I came across Chef Robin White’s #SoupWeek on Twitter and was thrilled to see some new vegetarian soup recipes. Soup is my favorite lunch item especially on a cold rainy day. Probably almost everyone’s! The weather lately out in the east coast has been thus, so I was excited to try something new. As always I improvised the recipe cutting some items out either because I did not have them in my kitchen or because I did not fancy them (such as leeks) and added others such as red crushed pepper which I tend to add to most of my recipes.  So here goes my version of the Lentil Rustica:

1 yellow onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 red bell pepper
1 carrot
2 celery sticks
1/2 bunch spinach
2 small tomatoes crushed (instead of paste)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup green lentils (I used a mix of flat whole French green lentils and whole Indian green lentils)

Soak the lentils over night or in hot water for an hour if using only French green lentils

In a pan add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and saute onion, garlic, red bell pepper (chopped) and leeks (if using) with salt and pepper for 20 minutes until the mix turns translucent. Add chopped carrots and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf, mustard, tomato paste (or I used two fresh tomatoes crushed) and parsley and continue cooking for a minute. Then add 1/2 cup dry red wine and cook for another minute. Finally add lentils and broth (in my case I added water). Cover and cook on low heat for an hour. Toss in the chopped spinach and cook for another minute.

Serve hot in a bowl, drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar and garnish with some fresh chopped parsley.


Thai Red Curry with Jasmine Rice


1 cup of Jasmine rice

Curry Ingredients:
1 can of coconut milk
1 bag fresh (from Trader Joes) or frozen stir fry veges ( I usually prefer the frozen Asian vegetables with baby corn, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, brocolli, onion, mushroom, green beans and carrots)
1 tbsp red curry paste (I usually prefer Thai red curry from Whole Foods that does not contain fish or shrimp sauce)
1 tbsp red pepper chilli in oil ( my special ingredient to give the extra oomp! can be found in Whole Foods or Safeway)
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 slab of deep fried tofu. If buying plain tofu, soak in soy sauce and deep fry in a little oil till lightly golden (be careful when doing this!)

Salt to taste

Cook the rice in a rice cooker with two cups of water until fluffy and set aside.

In a large pan mix the red curry paste and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the stir fry vegetables and continue cooking.  Add brown sugar, salt to taste (or soy sauce),  red chilly in oil (optional) and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the deep fried tofu and cook for a few more minutes. Toss in some fresh Thai basil just before removing from the stove. Remove from flame and serve hot with jasmine rice.

For fish or shrimp recipe continue to follow the directions on the Thai red curry  paste bottle


Red Bell Pepper Dip/Chutney


3 large red bell pepper
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 tsp paprika or red chilli powder
1 tsp fenugreek powder (roasted and ground)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
salt to taste

In a pan heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil with some turmeric and asafoetida powder.  Meanwhile chop the red bell pepper into 1 inch pieces. Add red bell pepper to the oil in the pan and continue frying on a low flame. Add a tbsp of tamrind paste or fresh seedless soft tamarind. Continue cooking until the moisture in the pan evaporates. Remove from flame and cool.

Blend the fried red bell pepper with the tamarind in a food processor.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and the paprika or chilli powder and fry until lightly brown. Combine with the processed red bell pepper. Roast a tsp of fenugreek seeds and grind to a powder. Add to the red bell pepper paste. Add salt to taste.

Use as dip or with Roti and yogurt for a delicious meal. Refrigerate left over chutney.


Swiss Chard with ginger

Savory!!! Everything below was inspired by my dear friend, Jaylen.


Swiss Chard or any greens, one bunch (I like rainbow since it’s so colorful)
Onion or shallot, red or yellow or none, chopped
Garlic, 3 -5 cloves, chopped
Olive oil or sesame oil, a few tablespoons for sauting


Fresh ginger, a few tablespoons, grated
Rice Wine Vinegar, a few tablespoons
Lemon, half to a whole
Sesame oil, a tablespoon or two
Pepper to taste
Soy sauce, a few tablespoons


Free for all….experiment….

Cut the chard or any greens into half inch to one inch strips. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft. Place the garlic on the onion….mainly to prevent burning the garlic. Stir and saute. Add the greens. Turn over with tongs or a spoon to lightly coat with juices and oil. While these are cooking down, mix your sauce. In a small bowl combine rice wine vinegar, lemon, soy sauce, sesame oil and a pinch of ginger along with some fresh ground pepper. Stir and taste the sauce. Add whatever you like from here….a little more of this or that until it tastes good. Flip the greens now and then and sprinkle the ginger over the top of the greens after they have reduced in size and released some juices. Once the greens have become soft and wilted, to your taste, pour the sauce over the greens and ginger. Stir and devour!!! EnjoyO!!!


Samosa can be enjoyed as an appetizer or snack any time of the day. Although on a wet rainy day, it is extremely delicious when enjoyed hot with a cup of tea!

1-2 medium potatoes
1 onion chopped
1 jalapeno
1cup peas
1-2 cloves garlic
a little piece of ginger
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red pepper powder
1-2 tbsp oil
turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds

2 cups all purpose flour (or maida)
1-2 tbsp butter or ghee
salt to taste

Mix the flour, with butter (or ghee) and salt. Add some water and mix into a ball. Cover and set aside.

Boil the potatoes unpeeled and set aside. In a pan, add the oil, turmeric powder, some cumin seeds and fry. Add the chopped onion, jalapeno, garlic and ginger and continue frying until slightly brown. Add the peas and cook for 5-10 minutes on low flame. Peel the cooked potatoes, mash and add them to the pan. Add salt, red pepper powder, garam masala. Mix well and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes. Finally add the chopped cilantro and remove from heat.

In a frying pan, add 2 cups of oil and heat. Meanwhile knead the dough and divide into 4-6 portions. Roll out each portion on a flat surface with a rolling stick into a six or eight inch circle. Cut the circle into two halves. Add 1-2 tbsp of filling to each half and fold into a triangle sealing the edges. Deep fry each samosa in the oil until lightly golden.

Serve hot with mint chutney and sweet and sour tamarind date chutney. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!

See also:
Mint Chutney
Tamarind and date chutney
Curry Puff

Sesame Broccoli


2 teaspoons raw sesame seeds, for garnish
2 bunches broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1 tablespoon pure-pressed sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Put sesame seeds in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat. Stir seeds or shake pan almost constantly until seeds are evenly browned and toasted and begin to pop. Once you start to smell them take them off the heat. Remove from pan immediately and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add broccoli florets and cook until barely tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, using a fork, mix sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and black pepper. Toss gently with steamed broccoli. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.