Posts Tagged ‘healthy vegan recipes’

Red Lentil Soup

How’s the weather where you are?

 

Is it still cold?

 

The beginning of March in NYC still has a little bite in the air even though the end of February gave us a nice glimpse into spring weather last week.

So if you’re still stuck in winter weather like me, I have just the thing. If not, just pretend you’re in your sleeping bag jacket and in desperate need of a recipe that will warm up what my dad calls “your kishkes” (or to the rest of us, your soul).

 

How does red lentil soup sound? My recipe is perfect for when you’re craving something hearty and comforting yet nutritious.

 

This soup has 6 ingredients and has convinced even the biggest lentil naysayers that these pink-hued legumes can taste so freaking good. Bonus? It takes less than an hour to make and requires minimal cleanup as it is a one-pot recipe.

The combination of simple ingredients that this soup calls for consists of things that are often hanging around in my fridge and pantry, allowing me to whip it up on a whim. Plus, this soup reheats up beautifully and the lentils provide plenty of plant-based protein and fiber, making it a perfect dish to have for lunch or a light dinner throughout the week.

Anything that is this delicious, super heart healthy, easy to make, and hits the spot on a cozy winter day gets an A+ in my book.

 

Red Lentil Soup
Red Lentil Soup Author: Michele Wolfson
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb red lentils, picked over and rinsed very well
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 8 cups stock or water
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the lentils very well until the water runs clear.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot and sauté onions and celery for 5 minutes until soft. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Add tomato sauce then add vegetable stock and the lentils. Stir well.
  4. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
  5. Serve hot. Delicious!

 

Berry Cherry Energy Bars

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It’s 1:38 pm and you are schlepping to the next activity in your jam packed day. All you’ve had is a cup of coffee and a banana and you’ve been on the run since 6:30am. At this point of the day, if you are anything like me, you are going to be VERY hangry. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, hangry was coined for those of us who get angry when hungry. If you can relate, then you’ve experienced what it’s like to be a “hangry” person. See below.

When my husband agreed to love me for better or worse while reciting our vows on our wedding day, it meant that he was promising to love me through my rare dark states in which I never mean what I do or say while in the heat of a hanger attack, but like The Hulk, my barbs can sting nevertheless. If you are familiar with Tina Fey from 30 Rock, you will have a better understanding for what I am like when I am hangry.

I have the perfect solution to cure a hanger attack and they are my Berry Cherry Bars. They are energy bars and they require very little work to create in your own kitchen. Let’s get back to discussing those times when you are running out of the house and you are on-the-go all day… Those are some of the hardest moments to eat healthy and keeping our metabolisms going. One reason I think Berry Cherry Bars are great is because I can eat something homemade and the ingredient list doesn’t sound like a science project.

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I love having control over knowing what exactly is going into my food, especially in this case because energy bars that are sold at the grocery store can be deceiving. The store-brand bars are often labeled “healthy” but in actuality, they are loaded with refined sugars, low-quality fats, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Have you ever checked the first ingredient in a commonly sold energy bar? I can guarantee that some sort of sweetener will be the first ingredient listed.

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Making your own nutrition bars takes a short amount of time and this recipe is loaded with whole grains and protein. I only wish I knew how to make these back in college when I was eating “South Beach Diet” bars practically every single day in an effort to obtain a svelte figure and curb my hanger. I think I carried more of those bars around with me in my backpack than actual textbooks. I consumed them on the regular, and as a result, I put on an extra 10+ lbs (the daily pasta intake while studying abroad in Florence didn’t help matters).

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I tried to create my protein bar recipe with the idea of keeping it simple, affordable, and containing some of the most nutritionally packed foods you could possibly eat. I love eating nuts and seeds because they are a delicious source of protein. Sunflower seeds are also loaded in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Individuals who consume them on a regular basis have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. I opt to use sunflower seeds instead of peanuts in some of my recipes because these power seeds are full of vitamin E, which has anti-aging effects! Anything natural that prevents wrinkles is top-notch in my book. They are also full of iron and potassium.

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I make sure to add both dry and fresh fruit to these bars. They give these energy nom noms (another name we use for these guys) their soft, chewy texture. I often swap out the raspberries for blueberries and the dried cherries for dates, whole dried cranberries or apricots. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use pretty much whatever you have on hand. Dried fruit is so easy to store, making it simple to whip up these bars on a whim if you wish.

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You can even add 2 TBS of a plant based protein powder to my bars because it helps keep the belly fuller for longer. This has been a new trick of mine because one of my favorite times to eat these power bars is after a killer workout, so it’s important for me to eat plenty of protein to restore my fatigued muscles. Most of the time though, I leave this step out when I am making these bars for a large group.

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I brought some Berry Cherry Bars and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad to Pure Barre Financial District (aka my second home) so that my fellow barre babes can be inspired to make healthy food choices after an intense workout.

Berry Cherry Bars will last a few days at room temperature and for up to a week in the refrigerator. I like to freeze them as well because they defrost beautifully.

Note: Make sure you buy your nuts raw and unsalted for this recipe

Berry Cherry Energy Bars
Berry Cherry Energy Bars Author: Michele Wolfson Berry Cherry Energy Bars Author: Michele Wolfson Berry Cherry Energy Bars Author: Michele Wolfson Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 35 mins Total time: 55 mins Serves: 12 bars Adapted from Ellie Kreiger's Walnut and Dried Cherry Bar http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/walnut-and-dried-cherry-bars-recipe.html
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup honey (agave for vegan version)
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs (I use ½ finely blended walnuts until they make a paste as a binder for a vegan version to replace the egg)
  • ¾ cup chopped dried tart cherries
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans or sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup of blueberries or raspberries
  • ¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes (optional)
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the honey (agave for vegan version), applesauce, oil, and egg (or walnut paste if making vegan until well combined.
  3. Stir in the dry mixture with the wet until well combined. Add the dried cherries, pecans, blueberries, chocolate and coconut flakes.
  4. Coat an 8½ inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars, about 4 by 1½ inches each.

Spinflower Soup

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I have been craving a soup that seems creamy, but doesn’t actually have any cream. You know what I mean? Like when you want to fit into your skinny jeans, but you don’t actually want to put in the effort of going outside, heading over to the gym, and then getting on the treadmill for 45 minutes. I was starting to think that my desire for a healthy soup that would taste unhealthy wasn’t going to be possible. My husband often tells me that I am a skinny girl on the outside with the thoughts of a very large (and in charge) person on the inside.

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Whenever my refrigerator is filled with produce that will go bad in a few days, my mind goes to combining all of these extra ingredients and making a scrumptious soup. This dish is easy to make a delicious lunch or light dinner. You can replace the cauliflower with broccoli rabe if you want a super green soup. I added the superfood spinach at the end to wilt.

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If you have an immersion blender, you are going to want to cook this soup in a nice, deep pot. Turn your heat way down, put your immersion blender all the way to the bottom of the pot, and stand back a little so you don’t get splattered. Then, just start whizzing that up and you have your healthy, vegan, no-cream creamy soup all ready to roll! If you do not have an immersion blender, you can just blend this soup in batches. I used my vitamix (a chef’s best friend) and the soup came to a perfect texture. My husband likes to add some grated parmesan cheese on top, which is over-the-top delicious, but I keep mine vegan and I love it just the same.

Spinflower Soup
Adapted mostly from Rachael Ray's Spinoccoli Soup
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (omit butter and use more olive oil if vegan)
  • 2 leeks, whites and light green tops, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, small cubed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 10 ounces spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful basil, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add butter and melt; when it foams, add leeks and garlic, and stir 2 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high and cover to sweat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add stock and bring to boil. Wilt in the spinach, then throw in the shredded basil and then blend with an immersion blender or purée in batches in a vitamix, blender, or food processor. You can add a cup of water if soup is too thick. Adjust seasoning.

 

Red Quinoa, Sweet Potato & Avocado Bowl

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I am amazed that we have gotten all of our wedding gifts to fit into our one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Many people have been in awe over the amount of kitchen supplies we received and the constant question that keeps being asked, “Where are you going to put everything?” is usually followed by this question, “Wouldn’t you guys just prefer getting cheddar (the green kind) as opposed to all of this STUFF?” Those people just don’t understand the purpose of wedding registries. They wonder, who could possibly need all that stuff?

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I am here to tell you that the answer is “me.” Yes, to the Vitamix AND the Cuisinart Food Processor. Yipee to the half dozen Le Creuset pots and Staub grill pan. Hooray to the Breville Juicer, the Indian copper serving bowls, and the William-Sonoma monogrammed salt and pepper grinders. There is no shame in my game… I get pure joy out of having a fully stocked kitchen.

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I don’t blame my fellow New Yorkers who think I am crazy for outfitting my kitchen with all of these top-notch supplies. The amount of stuff we now own probably wouldn’t even fit very well in a space that was 4x the size of where I currently reside. I have learned that there are two different types of people in this world; the ones who love registries and the ones who don’t. Some of us have been fantasizing about our registries at places like Williams-Sonoma, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware longer than we have been dreaming about our actual wedding.

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When I was left to my own devices building our registry completely unmonitored by my former fiancé (now husband), I realized that I can peruse the Internet for hours because things like All-Clad pots and pans in all shapes and sizes truly excite me to my core. I am sure that a candied thermometer has never made the day of any registry nay-sayer.

Since I am a chef, I have had a lot of the cool crap that most pre nuptial people have been coveting for years like the Kitchen-Aid mixer and many of it’s appliances. I have owned knives that I consider some of my most prized possessions since I graduated from culinary school in 2011. My kitchen wasn’t in desperate need of an upgrade, but it has made cooking even more fun and I look cuter over my stovetop too (thanks Antropologie for making the CUTEST aprons and oven mits)!

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Choosing a favorite appliance would be like picking a favorite child, but many of my readers know how much I love my Vitamix. We call it “the baby” here at the Broderson household and I use it very regularly. The baby comes out to play anytime I make this nut butter miso dressing. This concoction gets put on a multitude of different roasted veggies because it’s so delicious and in this food obsessed kitchen it is our version of crack.

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This recipe goes perfectly with my efforts to go to Pure Barre class 4-5x a week, which I am still maintaining post wedding. I forced myself to sign a 6 month contract so I didn’t try to get lazy. If you have anything green from edamame, to peas, or even a leafy green, you can throw that in here too and it will be delish. It is my belief that you can never have too many greens!

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Red Quinoa, Sweet Potato & Avocado Bowl
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the bowl
  • 1 cup dried red quinoa
  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 large bundle cauliflower (about 1 pound)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 cup raw baby kale
  • 2 avocados, diced


  • For the nut butter miso dressing
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place quinoa in salted water on the stove and cook according to package directions.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cut tops off cauliflower and separate into bite-sized florets.
  3. Toss sweet potatoes with 1 TBS olive oil, place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until browning underneath. Flip and toss chunks around, then add cauliflower to the baking sheet, season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until cauliflower is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is fully bronzed and tender. Toss chunks around one more time if it looks like they’re cooking unevenly.
  4. In a small skillet, toast sesame seeds until fragrant and then let cool.
  5. While vegetables roast, prepare the nut butter miso dressing: Combine everything in a vitamix and blend until very smooth, scraping down sides once. Taste and adjust ingredients if needed, but try to resist adding more sweet since the saltiness pairs wonderfully once added to the sweet potato.
  6. Assemble bowls: Scoop some red quinoa into each, then pile on the roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and toss in the baby kale. Coat lightly with sesame-miso dressing and finish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced avocado. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

X’s and Oats Granola Recipe

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The Gift of Gourmet Granola + Engagement Party Pictures

This past weekend, my future in-laws hosted our engagement party in Sam’s hometown of Newton, MA and they invited some family and many of their friends to the celebration. I had very little responsibilities when it came to organizing this shindig until I volunteered to make the party favors. Even though I host my fair share of gatherings, the only party favor that I usually send my guests home with is a hangover, so coming up with an edible, cute, healthy, and fairly easy concept, was a bit of a challenge. I figured that as a personal chef, it would be a nice touch to make something for the guests that came straight from my kitchen.

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My future in-laws really admire my attempts to be health conscious, even mentioning it in their speech on Sunday. So in an effort to stick to my health-supportive ways, I wanted to make sure that the edible favor wasn’t cookies, pies, or any sort of treat loaded with white sugar.

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I was brainstorming with my business partner and we came up with making granola and having a tag made up that said “x’s and oats! Love Michele & Sam.” This recipe is AWESOME! I want to sprinkle it on my yogurt every single day. It is simple, but full of flavor and it’s super easy to make one batch (making enough for almost 100 people is another story, but it was worth the effort)! There are hints of vanilla, coconut, and cinnamon as well as chunks of crunchy almonds that balance the flavor of this yummy snack.

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There is no comparison… homemade granola tastes WAY better than the store bought brands and it’s way more economical to make at home. I went to the bulk section of Whole Foods and got all of my organic ingredients, which cut down the cost as apposed to buying each individual ingredient in packaged form. Make sure that you buy the big coconut flakes and pick the ones that are unsweetened. This will help keep down the sugar content and if you are using this recipe as a present like I did, you can still feel like you are giving the gift of healthy inspiration.

Your friends will thank you. So will your in laws. And your doormen.

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X's and Oats Granola
Author:
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • 4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1.5 cups coconut flakes (the big ones)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. finely ground sea salt
  • ⅓ cup agave
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350°F.
  2. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, whisk agave, oil, and vanilla together.
  3. In a large bowl combine oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and sea salt.
  4. Pour oil and agave mixture over dry ingredients and stir very well to coat. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and stir. Place back in oven but remove and stir every 5 minutes or so until the oats are golden brown ( total time is approx. 20-25 minutes).

 

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Slimming Spring Salad Rolls

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I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for a healthy snack with fresh ingredients. The trouble is that these kinds of quick bites aren’t always easy to come by and when I want to munch on something to get “over the hungry hump” I am usually about to hit starvation mode. Often, my final decision is to just quickly shove something down the hatch and run along to the next activity on my schedule. The truth is, when one is trying to eat a healthy, it’s easy to get off track by choosing an easy-to-open packaged snack that is filled with sugar and processed ingredients.

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I love this recipe because it goes back to the basics. It’s a sexier way to snack on raw veggies. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know my feeling about a lackluster boring vegetable crudité snack. That’s why I call these spring salad rolls, because it’s taking all of those raw salad ingredients and wrapping them up into a thin rice paper, so you can bring your healthy ingredients on the go!

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Rice paper wrappers (also sold as spring roll skins) can be found in the Asian section of many markets. Cut all the filling ingredients about 3 1/2 inches long. Cut crunchy ingredients, like carrots or bell peppers, the thinnest; slice softer ones, like cucumbers, thicker. If making ahead, place rolls in a plastic container, cover with a damp towel and seal tightly. They will keep at room temperature up to 3 hours. I like to prepare all of these ingredients ahead of time, so that when I want to make these wraps in a pinch, it only takes me 2 minutes!

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I truly fell in love with Thai food when I was traveling in Sydney, Australia. They got it going on with their food scene down under in Sydney. I had spring rolls similar to these with the most delicious black rice and tofu curry and I thought, “I wish I could eat here all the time.” To my delight, I found that spring rolls are surprisingly easy and fun to make, while also looking pretty fancy at the same time. I put a spinach leaf on the top of my rolls not only for health purposes, but also because it makes them look so pretty. These rolls are a fan favorite with my guests.

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This recipe lists what I typically put into my spring salad rolls, but you can fill them with whatever you have or buy things that you think might be good. I dip these in a low-sodium tamari sauce, but they are also so good with a spicy almond dressing. If you find brown rice paper wrappers, grab those because they are hard to find!

Slimming Spring Salad Rolls
Author:
Serves: 6-10 Spring Rolls (depending on how much filling you add)
Ingredients
  • 12 8-inch round rice paper wrappers
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 8 oz. Thai-style baked tofu, cut into 24 strips
  • ¼ seedless European cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 green onions, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1 small, firm, ripe mango, seeded, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup basil leaves, sliced
  • ½ cup mint leaves, sliced
  • Low-sodium tamari sauce
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges for garnish
Instructions
  1. Fill bowl with hot water; immerse wrappers, 1 at a time, until soft and it becomes flexible enough to wrap, about 1 minute. I do not do the wrappers all at once, I dip one in the hot water and then proceed to fill it up. If you leave it in the water for too long it will get soggy and tear and if you don't leave it long enough it will be too dry and snap. Gently remove the wrapper with both hands and place it on the constructing plate.
  2. Now it's time to put together your spring rolls. Lay spinach leaf on the middle of the wrapping paper. Arrange 3 or 4 strips each of tofu, cucumber, carrot, green onion, mango, bell pepper and avocado in center of lettuce; top with sprinkling of basil and mint. Starting at closest edge, lift edges of wrapper and lettuce up and over filling, then fold in sides. Roll into tight cylinder like a burrito. Place roll, seam side down, on platter. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
  3. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve with low sodium tamari sauce or a spicy almond sauce.

Eggplant Balls: FOUR WAYS!

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One of the recipes that I have been fiddling around with is eggplant parmesan. My goal was to make an eggplant parm-type of dish without the tedious and unhealthy frying step of the process. Eggplant parmesan is DELISH, but if you’ve ever made it before, you know that it can be a bit labor intensive—hence, the birth of the eggplant balls. This dish is much easier to make because they are baked instead of fried, making it a healthier version of the classic dish.

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I have made four different versions of eggplant balls because I was obsessed with the original Italian version, but wanted to put an Indian-flavored spin on it one night when creating an Indian feast for four. I added spices like cumin, paprika, and garam masala to the eggplant balls and topped them with a homemade tikka masala sauce.  No shock here—they were a HUGE success. I mean, what’s not to like?

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A few days later, I had a vegan client and I wanted to make her the eggplant balls, but then realized “Oh shoot, there are eggs and cheese in this recipe.” My discouragement was fleeting when I decided to make the eggplant balls vegan by eliminating the egg and cheese and adding brown rice for the binder and miso for the cheesy flavor. The balls held together and still tasted fantastic!

photo taken by William Meng
The fourth version are Greek and they came into existence mainly because I had to use the rest of my feta in the fridge and I was in the process of doing research on honeymooning in the Greek Islands. I was fresh off scouring a site that featured luxurious hotel surrounded by the classic blue and white views, so I decided that night we would eat Greek and since the eggplant balls are always a hit, why not turn them into a Greek dish by adding feta and mint and dipping them in a tzatziki sauce?
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These eggplant balls are perfect as an appetizer or as a main dish. One day I was really craving a sandwich, so I bought fresh Italian bread and made an eggplant ball sub topped with homemade marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella. It tasted heavenly. If you use any of these recipes, I think you’ll agree.

Eggplant Balls
Recipe adapted from Aunt Mary's Eggplant Balls Serve with tomato sauce if serving with sauce.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: Makes about 16
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel
  • 1½ tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and saute garlic just until lightly browned. Mix in eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes. Place eggplant in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Mix cheese, parsley, eggs, and bread crumbs into eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make mixture workable. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.
  4. Place eggplant balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

 
Vegan Eggplant Balls
Recipe adapted from Aunt Mary's Eggplant Balls Can serve with tomato sauce, tikka masala, or tzatiki sauce.
Author:
Serves: Makes about 16
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon miso + 2 tablespoon warm water, mixed
  • ¾ cup dried bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and saute garlic just until lightly browned. Mix in eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes. Place eggplant in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Mix miso mixture, parsley, brown rice, and bread crumbs into eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make mixture workable. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.
  5. Place eggplant balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

 
Indian-Style Eggplant Balls
Recipe adapted from Aunt Mary's Eggplant Balls If serving with sauce, I use a tikka masala
Author:
Serves: About 16
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup grated aged goat cheese cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅔ cup dried bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Dry heat spices for 1 minute over medium heat while stirring. Then pour in olive oil and saute garlic just until lightly browned. Mix in eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes. Place eggplant in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Mix cheese, goat cheese, eggs, and bread crumbs into eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make mixture workable. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.
  4. Place eggplant balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

 
Greek-Style Eggplant Balls
Recipe adapted from Aunt Mary's Eggplant Balls Serve with either tomato or tzatiki sauce if serving with a sauce.
Author:
Serves: about 16
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup grated feta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and saute garlic just until lightly browned. Mix in eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes. Place eggplant in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Mix feta, parsley, mint, eggs, and bread crumbs into eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make mixture workable. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.
  4. Place eggplant balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Cabbage Soup

This recipe is NOT related to “the cabbage soup diet,” although it’s very healthy, so if you are looking to stay slim and trim, this recipe will do the trick. Believe me when I tell you that this soup tastes incredibly delicious. When I tell people I am making cabbage soup, it usually invokes the that-doesn’t-sound-so-appealing facial expression, but those people couldn’t be more wrong!

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This soup contains few ingredients, yet it is packed with flavor. I learned how to make this recipe back in 2004 when I was a freshmen in college and my aunt & uncle would invite me over to Staten Island to their house for Sunday supper. The prospect of not having to ingest another gross meal from the college cafeteria was pretty much my version of Heaven on Earth, especially because I knew that I was going to eat an incredible meal prepared by my Aunt Elena.

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When I would arrive, all of my favorite dishes would be splayed across the table like eggplant parmesan, potatoes and eggs, vodka sauce, and cabbage soup. My aunt and uncle would encourage me to bring along whoever I wanted and Aunt Elena would make enough food to feed an army. She insisted that I take home all of the leftovers and would also send me home with a grocery bag filled with gourmet cheeses and pasta as well. I would come home and struggle to shove all of my goods into my sad little mini-fridge. My aunt’s generosity and delicious food, paired with my Super Nintendo setup, made me the most popular room to hang out with on the entire floor.

Shredded Cabbage

Back then, I was a novice in the kitchen, but I craved home cooked meals since I didn’t even have a kitchen on my floor in my college dorm. My Aunt showed me how to make her cabbage soup and it’s so easy, that even a beginner in the kitchen such as my 2004 self could handle. Aunt Elena uses only water in her version and it’s delicious, but I add some broth to mine. This is another old Italian dish that is considered to be “peasant food.” I guess I would have been a really good peasant when it came to eating because all of those recipes are my favorite!

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According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Woods, “cabbage ranks as one of the healthiest of vegetables, with good reason. It supports chi circulation, clears heat, and tonifies the lungs, large intestine, and stomach.” Cabbage in general—but also Savoy cabbage in particular—turns out to be an especially good source of sinigrin. Sinigrin is one of the cabbage glucosinolates that has received special attention in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC. This isothiocyanate compound has shown unique cancer preventive properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Cabbage also helps treat contipation, poor circulation, mental depression and irritability. It was used by the Romans as a hangover cure, so maybe plan to have yourself a bowl of cabbage soup the day after your upcoming holiday party!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cabbage Soup
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 gloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups green or savoy cabbage (about ½ head), shredded
  • ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups water
  • Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes (if making vegan) OR ½ cup parmesan cheese (if making vegetarian)
Instructions
  1. Detach and discard the first few outer leaves of the cabbage. Slice the remaining head of leaves into very fine shreds. If you are going to do it by hand, cut the leaves into fine shreds, slicing them off the whole head. Turn the head after you have sliced a section of it until gradually you expose the entire core, which must be discarded. If you want to use the food processor, cut the leaves off from the core in sections, discard the core and process the leaves through a shredding attachment.
  2. Put the olive oil and garlic into a large pot, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the garlic until it becomes vey pale gold colored. Then add the shredded cabbage. Turn the cabbage over 2 or 3 times to coat it well, and cook it until it is wilted, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, white beans and water. Turn the cabbage over once completely, lower the heat to minimum, and cover the pan tightly. Cook for 50-60 minutes, or until it is very tender, turning it from time to time. If while it is cooking, the liquid in the pan should become insufficient, add 2 tablespoons water as needed. When done, add nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and then taste and correct for salt and pepper. Add as much broth as desired. Allow it to settle a few minutes off heat before serving.

Maple Baked Beans

I am not sure if Friendsgiving is officially a word in the dictionary yet, but it should be because it’s definitely a thing. If Thanksgiving were pumpkin pie, then Friendsgiving would be pumpkin bourbon cheesecake… a bit over the top, but totally worth having. It’s a coming together of friends to feast Thanksgiving-style but without all the family mishigas (yiddish term for craziness). A friend who is very dear to me hosted Friendsgiving supper last year, which was especially sweet because most of my girlfriends from this group were transients like me, so it made us feel more like a little family when we all came together for this fairly new and trendy meal.

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I’ve been told that most Friendsgiving meals are a little more toned down than actual Thanksgiving in ways, but a setup crafted by Robin Haller is never going to be anything less than extraordinary. I posted a few pictures for some inspiration in case you ever plan on hosting a Friendsgiving. I really appreciated how she went the extra mile from renting tables and chairs to all the decorations including handwritten name cards, personalized notes with party favors, and a huge menu with clever names for all of the dishes.

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Addy was more into Friendsgiving than she may appear above…

This is my third year in a row where I was invited to a Friendsgiving meal. Usually, I try to get myself in charge of the stuffing in order to ensure that it will be vegetarian because that’s my favorite dish, but this year I am heading over to a new Friendsgiving supper in a little place called Astoria, Queens. Vik and Shalini are hosting their 2nd annual Friendsgiving meal and they have assigned me to dishes that I have never been in charge of before: string bean casserole & baked beans.

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This baked beans recipe comes in handy when I least expect. Everyone has their own T-giving traditions, but baked beans were never on the table at my family meal. The last time I made them was for a wedding, which seemed like another unusual setting to make baked beans, but it was a backyard BBQ wedding, so they ended up working out perfectly. I am sure that they will work out perfectly again when they sit next to the mac & cheese at this Friendsgiving meal and I am excited that I get to eat this dish in a few days!

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“Dem beans” has been the nickname for this recipe amongst my fellow culinary school grad friends. This dish comes from a recipe that was given to me in culinary school. The maple syrup in this recipe gives it a Thanksgiving feel, but I personally love to make my baked beans this way all year round. If you bring this dish to your Friendsgiving meal, let me know how it went over, although I can tell you now that it will not disappoint!

Baked Beans
Adapted a little from NGI recipe and a little from The Barefoot Contessa
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups navy beans, soaked, rinsed, and drained
  • ¼ cup tomato puree
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons white miso, dissolved in ½ cup bean cooking liquid
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine beans, onion, and bay leaf in 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, skimming foam off the top as needed. Lower heat and simmer covered, until soft, about 60-70 minutes. Drain beans, reserving ¼ cup liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, mustard, chili paste, miso, salt and reserved cooking liquid; mix with cooked beans.
  4. Place bean mixture into a medium Dutch oven or bean pot and baked covered for 60 to 90 minutes. After 1 hour, check every 15 minutes to make sure that sauce has not dried out. Beans are ready when the sauce has thickened. If you like, you can remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve hot.

 

Cauliflower & Apple Salad

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I’ve been working on creating cold weather meals that aren’t heavy and highly caloric because, let’s be honest, I don’t want to add layers of fat AND layers of clothes during these fall and winter seasons. Hence, the birth of this hearty fall salad. Its seasonal ingredients paired with a nutty, tangy tahini dressing hits the spot for lunch or a first course at dinner.

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I am trying really hard to create recipes that are exciting to cook and also hold up well in the fridge for a few days. Living in Manhattan, it’s so easy to get any kind of cuisine at any given hour, but it isn’t easy to make healthy choices in the process.

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This recipe was inspired by a sample I had while grocery shopping at Whole Foods. I was rushing around, trying to get all of the groceries for a family that I was working for as a personal chef, running into Rachael Ray (pretty cool!), but I had to stop for a moment and take a taste when I saw this salad in a little tasting cup. I am really glad I did because with some minor tweaks, it has become a fan favorite in my apartment!

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You can add some crumbed feta to this salad if you’d like, but I keep it vegan over here in an attempt to maintain my girlish figure and not succumb to cheese at EVERY meal. Also, my vegan-ish cousin Carrie comes over for lunch often and she appreciates the lack of dairy in this dish. This recipe is very good the day it’s made, but it’s EVEN BETTER the next day.

Cauliflower & Apple Salad
Adapted from Wholefoods recipe
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium tamari
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets, very finely chopped
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and diced ¼ inch
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional. I do not like capers, but those who do LOVE when I add them)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, make dressing by combining tahini, water, lemon juice, and tamari. Wisk well to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Fold in dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let salad mixture rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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