Hearts of Palm Cakes

Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes

When I received Crazy Sexy Kitchen, this recipe was one of the first I wanted to try. It took me a while to get there but here it is.  In her book, she offers them with a remoulade sauce which I made, but for me the cakes are fine just as they are, with a dollop of greek yogurt or a side of something yummy. I served them alongside a good salad such as her Crazy Sexy Salad or  my Sugar Snap and Garden Pea salad. I’ve included the remoulade sauce recipe at the end of the post for those of you who want to try it out. Enjoy!

Hearts of Palm Cakes
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
  • Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
  • 2-4 Tbsp oil, more as needed
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
  2. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that can be used for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
  4. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator until firm (30 – 60 min).
  7. Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  8. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven until you finish all of the cakes.
  9. Place the cakes on a plate and garnish.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with homemade chimichurri or another one of my dips, sauces and spreads!

Photo courtesy of Kris Carr.

Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine

Root Vegetable Tagine

I made this dish for Scott and I a few weeks back and we loved it. This week we were bringing dinner to a friend and his wife and I had to come up with something I could cook earlier in the day and then reheat as I was coming straight from the studio and this was the first thing that popped into my mind. This dish can easily be made earlier or even the night before and then just reheated prior to serving as it allows the flavors to really soak in. A few of the comments I got that night included: “This is exactly what they serve in Morocco” & “This might be the best dinner ever”, so I would say it was a success. I got this from the fabulous Kris Carr and her amazing book Crazy, Sexy Kitchen, but modified a bit to fit my tastes.

For new and improved recipes, please visit my new site The Simple Kitchen!

Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ⅔ tsp ground cumin
  • ⅔ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes [adjust based on desired spiciness]
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I prefer red or yellow)
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 6 ounces artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered
  • 1½ cups peas
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint
  • Sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy-bottom shallow pot or deep skillet [cast iron works best] on medium heat, add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and golden, stirring continuously for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the spices, tomato paste, vegetable stock, carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnip. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Cooking time may vary based on the thickness of chopped veggies.
  3. When the root veggies are tender, add the bell pepper, chickpeas, artichokes, and raisins. Continue simmering for about 5 to 8 minutes. Liquid should be reduced and thicker at this point.
  4. Add parsley, cilantro, mint and sea salt, folding in all of the herbs. Cover and remove from the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. Garnish with lemon zest, red sliced chili and any leftover parsley, cilantro or mint if desired.

Serving Suggestion: Serve over cauliflower mash, quinoa or grain of choice.

Tofu Lime Ceviche

Tofu CevicheThe weather here is SF has just been fabulous lately and there is nothing more refreshing that a crisp cool meal or snack when the weather is nice. I loved this idea of a vegetarian ceviche when I saw this recipe on the Whole Foods website and I have recently started to get avocados and tomatoes in my CSA box, so I thought it was the perfect time to try it out… and this will be a great addition to your cinco de mayo menu (don’t forget to serve with some yummy Guacamole as well). I love the fresh flavor combo’s of the avocado, lime, cilantro, coconut and ginger.

Tofu Lime Ceviche
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat tofu dry with paper towels, then transfer to a bowl and toss gently with Worcestershire sauce. Spread tofu out evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, turning once, for 30 minutes. Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
  2. Put tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, salt, onions, avocado, ginger, garlic and coconut milk into a large bowl. Add tofu and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight, before serving. *If marinating for a long time or overnight, you can add avocado in prior to serving in order to avoid browning.

Photo Credit: Whole Foods

Sweet Potato, Green Chile and Curry Soup

Happy 2013!!! This is a modified version of a soup from Andew Weil, as I found his recipe a bit bland and not hearty enough for my tastes. It has so many health benefits and happens to taste delicious. Just a few of the benefits are listed below:

Sweet Potatoes: They are a good source of Vitamin C and D, which play an important role in digestion, maintaining the skin’s youthful elasticity helping us cope with stress and overall health. Sign me up!

Tumeric: It is a natural liver detoxifier and one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available. It also has powerful antioxidant properties that fight cancer-causing free radicals.

Cayenne Pepper: The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. which has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to fight inflammation.

Sweet Potato, Green Chile and Curry Soup
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potato
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 quart veggie broth
  • 1½ lb zucchini, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 (4oz) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15oz) can light coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Heat broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss potato, onion, corn, carrot, garlic, and oil in a large bowl. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on prepared sheet and broil, tossing once halfway through, until browned, about 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or medium pot, add oil and leek. Cook until leeks are turning brown. Turn off heat. Add 1 quart veggie broth.
  3. Transfer broiled vegetables and stir in zucchini, spices, salt, beans, chilies and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
  4. Once everything is cooked through, stir in coconut milk Place and then transfer 2-4 cups (depending on how thick you like your soup) to a blender and pulse a few times. Pour this mixture back into the original soup pot and stir until mixed evenly.
  5. Serve and enjoy 🙂

 

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

Eggplant Parmesan CasseroleI had been eyeballing this dish for a while and given the fact that I just had some delicious leftovers for lunch, I am happy I tried it!!!

This gives you the feel of a lasagna but is lighter as it has less cheese and no noodles. I got the original recipe from Martha but of course modified it to add a few extra veggies in :).

I hope that you enjoy it!

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Olive oil, for baking sheets
  • 2 large eggs (can use egg replacer for a vegan version)
  • ¾ cup plain dry breadcrumbs, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large eggplants (2½ pounds total), peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) homemade or store-bought chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced (approximately 2 cups)
  • 10 oz kale or spinach or combination of both
  • 4 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella or parmesan or a combination (can use non dairy cheese for a vegan version)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a pan, add onion and cook until fragrant. Add mushrooms and kale or spinach and cook until greens wilt. Set aside.
  4. One eggplant is done, spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then the mushroom mixture. Add 2 more cups of sauce. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, then sprinkle with basil and mozzarella. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

Holy Guacamole!

GuacamoleAvocados are incredibly healthy but if you are like me when it comes to guacamole, it is pretty easy to eat the equivalent of four avocados in one sitting… That’s where this recipe comes in handy (and just in time for Cinco de Mayo)! Not only does adding green vegetables to the avocado reduce the fat content but it also boosts the nutritional value of the guacamole. Grab some homemade chips and enjoy!

Holy Guacamole!
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium red or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, process the peas until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher. Add the juice, tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Add the peas and mix well.
  3. If the guacamole won’t be served immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent browning.

Variation: Instead of peas, use 1 cup well-cooked broccoli, edamame, or cooked asparagus tips.

Photo Credit: Simply Recipes

Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini

About 90% of the time I go out to dinner I want Italian food, so I love love love to experiment with healthy Italian dishes at home. I made this tonight and have a ton of leftovers… anyone want to come over?! I got the recipe from Veggie Belly but of course adapted it to make it my own. It was quite simple and very tasty. It will definitely fulfill your desire for a tomato sauce dish (which I love)!

Vegan Eggplant Rollatini
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided into 2 Tbsp portions
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into ¼th inch thick strips
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup couscous, uncooked
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 12 oz spinach
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil or parsley
  • 1½ cups marinara sauce, use more if you like it saucy
  • ¾ cups of shredded mozzarella (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the couscous according to package instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Pan fry the strips on 2 Tbsp olive oil till both sides are golden.
  4. In a separate pan, heat remaining oil and cook onion until fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add spinach and garlic and cook until mushrooms are tender and spinach is wilted.
  5. Add cooked couscous to mushroom and spinach mixture.
  6. Place a spoon of the the couscous mixture on one end of an eggplant piece, and roll it. Repeat with all eggplant strips. Place the stuffed and rolled eggplants onto a baking dish. Add any left over couscous to the center of the baking dish. Sprinkle basil or parsley on top. Then pour marinara sauce over. Non vegans can add ¾ cups of shredded mozzarella.
  7. Bake till the sauce is bubbly, about 15 minutes.

 

 

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale

Lentils with Sweet Potato, Mushrooms and Kale

This is my go-to week night dish. I honestly think I end up eating it about once a week on nights where I don’t really feel like “cooking” or I get home late. It is super easy, tasty, filling and healthy! This recipe shows lentils but I have made it with almost every type of bean you can imagine: black, white, garbanzo… use whatever you have in the house!

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1-2 tsp garlic
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 – 2 bunches kale
  • 1 can (15 oz) or approx 2 cups of homemade beans of your choice (photo shows lentils)
  • Seasoning: I usually use a combo of spicy paprika, salt and pepper but I have also used taco seasoning when making with black or pinto beans or curry when using garbanzo. You need approx 2 -3 Tbsp of spice and then salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onion and cook until fragrant and then add sweet potato. Saute approximately 6 minutes or until sweet potato starts to become tender.
  2. Add in garlic and mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are cooked.
  3. Add kale, beans and spices and continue to cook until sweet potatoes are cooked through, mushrooms are tender and kale is wilted.
  4. Season to taste and serve.

Serving suggestion: Often times I serve this over a bed of arugula and put sliced cherry tomatoes on top 🙂

Spinach, Mushroom and Green Chile Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole

This is the perfect recipe for hosting a brunch. It is super simple and you can tend to all your other responsibilities while it is cooking. I planned a surprise 30th birthday for my husband this past weekend where 14 friends stayed at a house in Santa Barbara and this was the perfect (and much needed) treat on Saturday morning. We ended up using the garlic bread that was left over from dinner the night before, which added a nice little touch. You can swap or add any veggies you like to this dish!

Spinach, Mushroom and Green Chile Breakfast Casserole
 
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Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 10 cups French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 oz spinach
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cans (12 oz) chopped green chiles, drained
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Guacamole, salsa and cilantro, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Put the cubes of French bread in the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the onion, mushrooms and spinach to the pan and cook until browned and softened. Set aside in a bowl and add in the green chiles and stir all to combine. Pour the mixture over the bread in the baking dish, distributing as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and half and half. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture on top, making sure the bread all gets saturated by the egg mixture. (Use your hands to press the bread down into the liquid to make sure it is all saturated, if desired.)
  4. Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Serving Suggestion: You can cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight if you want to make ahead of time!

Sweet Potato Curry

Potato Roti Curry

I made this tonight and it was divine. It is a soupy curry dish that is quite easy to prepare. While roti is traditional thing to serve with this, whole wheat tortillas or pitas are great accompaniments for sopping up the liquid. You can also saute up beans and spinach and serve over that too for a gluten free version.

Sweet Potato Curry
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1½ pounds)
  • 3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled acorn squash (about ¾ pound)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (14oz) light coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add spice mixture; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add potato, squash, and bell pepper, stirring to coat with spice mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in water and coconut milk, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil.
  3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until potato is tender. Season to taste (I added a little curry powder at the end). Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Photo Credit: Cooking Light