Category Archives: Vegetarian

Couscous, Spinach, and Fig Salad

Israeli Couscous, Fig, and Goat Cheese Salad

I’ve been spending too much money on lunch lately and was looking for a filling, delicious salad that I could make instead. I had figs, I had hazelnuts, I had Israeli Couscous. It was a start! What was it missing? Cheese! And I guess some sort of salady something to make it pretty and healthier. And so this salad was born:

Couscous, Spinach, and Fig Salad

It was really freaking delicious. My recipe was enough for four very satisfying lunches. I love it when I can eat a salad for lunch and actually feel full! If you’re wondering why I chose Israeli Couscous (other than the fact that I had it in my pantry) it’s because I thought it would work better in a salad than the regular, smaller couscous. It mixed in well with everything, and didn’t really sink to the bottom. I used a baby spinach based mix the first time I made this, and a regular baby greens mix the next time. I say you should just pick what you like!

Israeli Couscous, Figs, Goat cheese, spinach salad

I went home this past weekend, and thought it would be nice to make it for my family’s Memorial Day picnic. I chose to double the recipe, and it made for a very delightful picnic salad. Also it was super convenient because I was able to make it the day before. People seemed to like it, and I promised I would have the recipe on my website, and I never lie! I’d write a more fun story, but I have lots of homework to pretend to do now.

Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

Israeli Couscous, Fig, and Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe type: Salad
A perfect summer-time salad with a very simple lemon dressing.
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup dried figs, quartered
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 5 oz baby greens mix (spinach, baby lettuce, etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the couscous in lightly salted water according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. In a large bowl mix cooked couscous, figs, toasted hazelnuts, and olive oil. Cover and let cool in refrigerator at least 10 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, add goat cheese and salad.
  5. Toss with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Keep chilled before serving.

If you aren’t sure how to toast hazelnuts, here’s how I do it:

On the stop top, spread the chopped hazelnuts out in an ungreased pan. Keep heat on medium/medium-low, stir hazelnuts frequently until they are lightly toasted. Make sure you watch them so they don’t burn! It should only take a few minutes. Remove them to a separate bowl once finished, so they don’t continue to cook in the hot pan!

Cheesy Apple Pie Rolls

Cheesy Apple Pie Rolls

Is the title confusing? I don’t know how else to describe these! Any ideas, let me know! I thought I would try these out after seeing a picture on Pinterest of a piece of apple being rolled up in a crescent roll. It seemed like an easy enough thing to do, so why not try it out? For mine I added a bit of sharp cheddar cheese because I had some left over from my fancy Cheesy Rice recipe and because my dad claims that apple pie is best with cheese. So again, why not?


It’s easy enough. I didn’t really measure things like cinnamon. Just a light dusting I suppose? My dad is Diabetic, so I didn’t add any sugar to these and they were still quite tasty, but I do think they would have been a tad better with extra sweetness, so go ahead an add a dash of sugar too if you want.


I only used a small bit of sharp cheddar cheese because I was unsure of it. The result? Next time I’ll definitely use more!

plus apple

Then I just put the apple on top and rolled it up!

apple cheese pie


Cheesy Apple Pie Rolls
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Crescent rolls, an apple, cinnamon and some cheese are all you need to make these pie-like creations!
  • 1 container Crescent Rolls
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 8 small slices of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Sugar (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss sliced apple pieces with cinnamon and sugar(optional), and set aside.
  3. Unroll crescent rolls, lightly sprinkle with cinnamon (optional). Place one piece of cheddar cheese at the wide end of the roll. Place an apple slice on top, and roll it up.
  4. Bake rolls at 350 for 11-13, or until lightly golden brown.
  5. Best if served warm.



Farro al Funghi

Farro Fajitas

With my sample of Farro ai Funghi from Tuscan Fields for the Eat Write Retreat  contest for a ticket to a conference in Philly, I thought it would be fun to make vegetarian fajitas. Also I made this on Thursday, which is taco night, so why not? Also, alliteration is fun. I wanted to have more fun and make it Farro Fajita Pitas, but I couldn’t find pitas at the store :(

Since the farro has a lot of protein in it to begin with I didn’t feel the need for any other protein source, like meat or beans. Also, I just wanted to taste the flavor of the farro.I added mushrooms because 1) I like mushrooms a whole lot and 2) I think the texture of them makes for a great meat substitute. This is a really simple recipe, and was satisfyingly filling. Although next time I might try it with the Farro Perlato because the Farro al Funghi was so delicious on its own that it seemed almost criminal to mix it up with salsa and cheese. I still did it, and still enjoyed it, so overall it was a huge success.

Also, check out the beautiful onion I found at the grocery store! I couldn’t find onions this pretty even when it was my job to pick out beauty onions for the sets of Food Network shows! The peel wasn’t broken at all!


Crazy, right? I almost didn’t want to cut it up!

Here’s the Farro al Funghi on its own so you can see how delightful it is.

Farro al Funghi

Seriously, that alone makes an amazing side dish. I might have to get some for Easter.

On to fajitas!

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See, thin but still appetizing!

Any Way You Like It Frittata

When I use recipes, unless they are for baked goods, I tend to use them simply as guidelines.  You can always substitute ingredients and play with recipes to make them your own. For example, when recipes call for mushrooms I frequently just use canned mushrooms instead of fresh because I’m cheap and lazy. And it works just fine. When I decided to try my hand at making a frittata recipe I thought it would be more fun to give you a frittata base and then some ideas for the filler.

The salad was made by my mom, she’s a good helper!

What’s a frittata? It’s an egg dish, like a fancy omelet or a crust-less quiche. It begins cooking on the stove on low heat, and finishes in the oven (at least that’s how I do it). You should make it in an oven-safe non-stick pan to make your life less stressful. My frittata is a bit on the thin side, but that’s only because of the size pan I used. I could have used a smaller pan, but this is the non-stick pan of glorious amazing fantastic non-stickiness (I used the 12 inch one because the 10 inch pan is still packed somewhere). It makes me happy.

See, thin but still appetizing!

I have the recipe for the egg base below, so for now I will share with you flavoring fun ideas. I like to work with 3-4cups worth of deliciousness. For the frittata in the pictures I chopped one onion, used one can of drained mushrooms, and added a bit from a bag of frozen  spinach and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. In total it came out to be about 3.5 cups of uncooked vegetables. This is just what I chose to do because I had these ingredients on hand.

This is all it takes to make awesomeness happen

What can you do? The same thing, or something different. Frittatas are fun because you can play with them. You can add cooked pasta, ham, any vegetable that strikes your fancy, beans, etc. You get the idea. In the summer I’ll probably make it with tomatoes from our garden and fresh herbs. See,  you can do whatever the hell you want! Ok, enough chatter, let’s check this out.

Printer Version

Any Way You Like It Frittata

3-4 cups filling (meat, veggies, cooked pasta, etc)
2 tsp. butter, melted
½ cup milk
4 egg whites (1/2 cup liquid egg whites)
3 eggs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup shredded cheese, optional (mozzarella, cheddar, etc.)
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with cooking spray and cook filling ingredients until everything is cooked through and excess moisture has evaporated. Drain if necessary. Remove from pan, and wipe the pan clean. Let mixture cool slightly.

My filling! Still a little frozen in this shot, but it has potential for greatness.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Add filling, and stir to combine.

Heat the pan over medium-low heat, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Add egg mixture.

I got bored waiting for the sides to set, so here’s a picture.

When the edges begin to set (about 4-6 minutes), gently lift edges of frittata and tip the pan letting uncooked egg touch sides of the pan. Go around the frittata doing this at least once. Continue cooking until almost set, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and wrap the handle with foil.

Bake at 450 for 8 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let cool at least 5 minutes, and then with a spatula gently remove from pan. Cut into 8 pieces and serve.

I’m very proud of myself for not breaking it at all


Dinner time!



Parsley and Walnut Pesto, featuring roasted garlic

So…I haven’t posted anything in a while, do you forgive me? I was a little busy this summer with my internship, but I will try to never again leave you waiting for so long.

Although I will leave you waiting for the recipe due to my usual rambling, so here’s a preview of the actual purpose of this post.

I haven’t been able to check on the garden at my parent’s house very often this summer, but I do know it wasn’t quite as prosperous as last year. There was probably too much rain for some of the vegetables. We still got a lot of tomatoes and green beans, but practically no squash or cucumbers. It was a little sad. We attempted beets and carrots this year too, and it looks like we may have planted them too close together, but it’s ok because we still got some delicious product from it!

Check out these lovely beet greens, and the carrot greens behind them

Tomatoes! You might see these a couple times in this post as a garnish

We did manage to get a ton of herbs, which we smartly planted right outside the kitchen door. I came home from NYC on August 26th, so my mom and I made sure to cut as much of the herbs as we could to save them from Hurricane Irene. It started raining while we gathered, but the hurricane didn’t really get going until much later.


We decided to freeze most of the basil. So we cut, picked the leaves, washed them, let dry, then put into freezer storage bags and hoped the hurricane wouldn’t knock out our power (it didn’t). I saved some unpicked bundles in a container of water to use during the week.

I love me some parsley

We did pretty much the same thing with the parsley, except I kept a lot more unfrozen to make a parsley pesto for dinner.

I know many people make basil pesto. I had a ton of basil, why did I make the pesto predominantly with parsley? Well, because I felt like it. Were you expecting a real reason? And why walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts? Because we had walnuts in the house, and because they are way cheaper than pine nuts and still delicious.

One more explanation before I present you with the recipe: why did I roast the garlic? That’s an easy one. My parents don’t like raw garlic. Even in a delicious pesto they find the flavor to be too overwhelming. So, I roasted it. A head of garlic might sound like a garlic festival to those who aren’t fond of the tasty morsels, but when you roast it the flavor becomes much more subtle and bearable. Just cut the top off of the head leaving the cloves exposed. Don’t worry, there’s a picture coming later.

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Vegetarian Winter Soup

I’m not a vegetarian again, however I am sometimes too cheap to buy meat. This soup is lovely to make when I want cheap ingredients and a sustaining meal. Plus, it makes a large volume so I can freeze some and enjoy it throughout the winter.

So much left over when you are only cooking for one person!

I got the idea for this recipe from a book I bought when I was a vegetarian, Italian Vegetarian Cooking by Paola Gavin. In the book there is a rice and lentil soup recipe, which is the basis of this one, and I just jazzed it up a bit. I realize that if a recipe already has lentils in it then there is really no need for black beans too, but I thought it would add more texture and depth to the soup. I also happened to have a bunch of carrots lying around so I figured I might as well add those too. The original recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes, but I only had crushed and so that’s what the recipe says. If you’d rather use diced, go right ahead. I’m sure it will still be delicious.

Since I was making this with the plan of freezing most of it, I opted to not add the rice to the entire mixture. Sometimes the rice will absorb all of the liquid and when you go to heat some up it won’t be soupy anymore. I plan on just adding some rice to it as I reheat it.

Just add a little rice when you reheat it and it will be perfect :)

An issue I had with the original recipe is that it says to simmer the lentils for an hour and a half. I guess that would depend on the kind of lentils you’re using. Since I use the Goya brand, they only really need to simmer about 20 minutes on their own. I would check what the instructions say on the packaging of whichever brand you buy before you follow this recipe.

Remember not to go crazy with salt while you’re cooking. Adding the cheese at the end will give it that extra salty and savory kick that it might seem like it’s lacking while it cooks.

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Italian Tofu Subs

A few months ago I came across a section about tofu in an issue of Food Network Magazine. Having been a vegetarian once-upon-a-time, I was intrigued and added the recipes to my scrapbook. I’ve been planning all this time to try out the recipes, but just kept forgetting to buy tofu. I was clever recently though, and remembered to get some while at Trader Joe’s. As I was trying to decide what to make with the tofu and all the tomatoes I have, I remembered my scrapbook and the lonely, untested, tofu section. I had also just made Italian seasoned breadcrumbs with a baguette that I didn’t want to go bad so I had to find a way to use those too. I was looking over the Tofu Parmesan Subs, and thought it would be fun to try, except of course I would change it.

And isn’t my version lovely?

I didn’t feel like making a sauce since I wanted to use slices of tomatoes, and I’m poor so buying spinach seemed silly. I happened to have leftover mozzarella in my fridge from when I had my friends over, and I also retrieved my herbs from my house last time I visited so I had fresh basil to work with. Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil. How very classic! If nothing else, I know these things all work together, so I fearlessly jumped into my new recipe.

If you’ve ever cooked with tofu before, chances are that it totally sucked. Did the tofu stick to the pan and fall apart? Did the coating slide right off after you thought it was all done? Yes, well, these have been frequent issues of mine. If it’s never happened to you, then I hate you. Luckily, my new skillets are amazing and since I bought them I have had no tofu issues. I’m no longer paranoid about making sure they’re crazy dry before cooking, I just do a little towel drying then go for it. These skillets are kinda pricey, but I adore them and it’s worth it. It also helps that I used my prize money from the Food Network to buy them :)

Look at how perfectly it cooks a thin, crunchy coating

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Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Soup

I decided I wanted to make soup today. After spending 9 days, 6 hours a day, in a Stocks, Sauces and Soups class and then suddenly not making soup for several days after that I had a craving to simmer, season, and strain. There are a lot of soups on the JWU recipe website, so I thought it would be fun to try one I didn’t get to make in class. I was caught between Puree of Celery Soup and the Roasted Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. Ultimately I decided on the chowder, planning on buying celery for it anyway and making the celery soup later on.

The thing with the JWU recipe, however, is that it doesn’t seem to be a chowder. When I think of “chowder” I think of a soup that has milk or cream in it. This one has none. And so I changed the name. I also didn’t feel like buying some of the ingredients. I already have yellow onions, so why bother buying a red onion and shallots? And since I have dried herbs I stuck with those instead of buying fresh. What can I say, I’m cheap! I also went with chicken broth instead of veggie stock plus veggie broth because I wanted to buy those delicious chicken broth packets from Trader Joe’s. I love that stuff!

It’s blurry, but you get the idea

The JWU recipe also had a lot of steps that I’m simply too lazy for. They probably make sense if making a huge batch of soup, but I only made like a quart and a half worth so it was unnecessary. I planned on blending the whole thing at the end with my immersion blender, so I skipped steps such as pureeing the corn before adding it in.

I also thought this would be a good Fall recipe, despite the crazy heat that’s going on. Sweet Potatoes are a pleasant, homey type of potato, and Fall is all about homey comfort. Not to mention they are freakin tasty. The soup itself turned out so deliciously that I bypassed the spoon, picked up the bowl and drank it. How barbaric of me!  :)

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Lentil Chili

I really really like culinary school. I’m learning lots of fascinating things about the intricacies of cooking (there are more cuts than just dice, chop, and slice!), I’m getting a chance to make things I’ve never made before (hello Hollandaise), and I get to hang out all day with other people who enjoy talking about food. Not to mention the dining time when I get to eat all the delicious treats the other kitchens have made! The only downside is that when I get home I’m too wiped out to bother cooking for myself. But I promised myself I would make something by the end of this week, and so here it is!

The only reason this is a lentil chili instead of a meat chili is because I happened to have a bag of lentils.

So many lentils!

My family visited over the weekend and dropped off more treats from our garden, such as jalapenos, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and therefore a chili seemed like the best use of these ingredients. I’m in finals right now for one of my labs, so this also seemed like a good chance to practice my brunoise cut with onions.

I think I need more practice…

I think the chili came out tasting quite fantastic, even though every time I taste it I notice something is missing. What could it be? Ah yes, meat. Alas, I am poor and lentils and beans are both considered good meat substitutions and I will just have to get use to them again. Remember that time I was a vegetarian for 6 years? Yea, I’ve learned since then.

It is good though, seriously.

If you’re looking for a healthy, tasty, cheap, relatively quick, vegetarian chili then this is the recipe for you! If you’re looking for something that has bacon, then just cook bacon, take the pieces out and sweat the onions in the bacon fat and crumple the bacony goodness on top later as a texture friend. Trust me.

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fritelle 1

Zucchini Frittelle

I like to think of these as zucchini pancakes. They are slightly cake-like and a little eggish and very zucchini flavored. I got this recipe initially over a year ago from my mom’s friend, and this year when her friends were over and looking in the garden they reminded me of this recipe and how it would be a good way to use some of the zucchini. I tried it out, not really remembering how I made it before, and they came out pretty well. I think they are a little darker than they should be, but I still enjoyed them and my family quickly devoured them.

I tweaked some bits of the recipe a little to fit the ingredients I had on hand and wanted to use, or didn’t have on hand as the case was. The recipe called for 2 small zucchini, I only had 1 large one, so I decided it was acceptable.  The recipe also called for just basil leaves, but as I was in a charitable mood I allowed parsley to join the party as well. It’s an easy recipe to play with. My only problem was the recipe only vaguely said ‘heat some oil’ and I wasn’t sure how much that meant. Should I pan fry? Deep fry? I went with the cheaper and healthier option and just used a little oil and pan fried it, like so.

There isn’t much to say about this recipe. It’s very simple and doesn’t have all that many ingredients, and there aren’t any intricate preparation instructions. I did enjoy using one of the shredding blades on my food processor to finely grate the zucchini with no effort at all on my part. It totally beat the days when I used a box grater like a chump. Then just mix, fry, eat! Although I will warn you, it is a little oily so I recommend laying them on a paper towel covered plate while they cool!

mmmmmmm…cheesy and green, a good combination

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