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Appetizers

Squid ink pasta salad: two trends, one dish!

This salad is the result of an impulse purchase I made at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago. It sounds so random, doesn’t it? And yet, I must confess that I have actually found shopping trips very inspiring, as of late. Gone are the days of me heading to the stores with lists on hand and neatly organized recipes on my mind. More often than not, I “squeeze” in shopping between professional and family commitments, I don’t make lists, and I forget to buy the basics (ooops!). On the plus side, not having preconceived ideas about what’s for lunch or dinner has made me more open to experiment with impulse buy ingredients – which brings me back to… squid ink pasta 😉

Preserving the natural beauty of this pasta was my priority, and the decision to use it in a salad came in naturally. I wanted to pair it with vibrant fresh ingredients such as cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas. Lastly, I wanted my salad to include one of the hottest ingredients of the moment: the oh-so-delicious Everything Bagel seasoning mix. Later on, upon doing some research, I discovered that ingredients and dishes featuring squid ink are also very popular, and their appeal may actually go beyond a passing fad for very interesting reasons. Keep Reading

Super Bowl the plant-based way: vegan beetroot appetizer – and previous years’ recipe suggestions

What are your thoughts on Super Bowl party food? I don’t know about you, but as much as we love chicken wings and pizza, this special weekend we also tend to eat rather light dishes, such as salads and vegetarian patties (check out my previous years’ recipes here, here and here).

This vegan beetroot appetizer is a case in point 😉 With beets being so healthy and popular nowadays, I thought for this year’s Super Bowl I should bring back a recipe my mom and aunt used to make very often when I was growing up, especially during the winter months: beetroot & horseradish salad. Keep Reading

Stuffed mushrooms are on the menu this fall: so delicious!

What’s your go-to fall dish? Maybe a creamy soup? Maybe a hearty stew? I don’t know about you, but soups and stews are big hits in our family at the moment. As soon as the mornings get cooler and the nights get longer, these two kinds of quintessential comfort foods start calling out our names πŸ™‚ They don’t necessarily have to include meat – as a matter of fact, we thorough enjoy vegetarian or even vegan dishes at this point in the year. I grew up eating lots of fruits and veggies (we didn’t have access to meat back in the day), and my earliest childhood experiences cooking alongside my mother have inspired me to continue this family tradition of eating a diet chock-full of produce.

And yet, soups and stews are not the only things you can eat during the fall, right? Enter these delicious stuffed portabella mushrooms I’ve been making with increased frequency lately 😉 I wanted to get out of the usual “soup and stew routine” and to challenge myself, and the weekly sale at the local grocery store could not have come at a better time. My recipe is vegetarian, but you can leave the cream cheese out or use a plant-based alternative for the ultimate vegan treat. Stuffed mushrooms can be such an exciting and creative dish, after all!

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New version of my quinoa patty recipe: living life to the fullest, vegetarian-style!

Who’s here for a delicious quinoa dish? I hope some of you are πŸ™‚ I have been dying to update a few of the recipes on my blog, but life has got in the way, as usual. My nights caring for our newborn baby have been tough, with very little sleep, and finding the time to think and to write has been a struggle. And yet, I’m back now, and happy to report I have a new version of one of our all-time-favorite foods: quinoa patties. This new recipe features grilled corn, fennel and Aloha peppers and is light, wholesome, and packed full of quinoa goodness. To make the patties I used a special organic quinoa blend made by Better Body Foods, whose reps contacted me recently and sent me some to try. Perfect timing! 😉 Keep Reading

Aloha pepper and purple potato salad: spicing up your lunch, vegetarian style!

This salad has everything you want from a summer dish. It’s light yet satisfying thanks to the addition of purple potato carbs. It’s flavor-packed, and its explosion of fresh aromatic herbs will make your belly and your soul happy. It looks deliciously gorgeous on the plate. Last but not least, it contains lesser used ingredients which are sure to stir up curiosity. Aloha peppers have stolen my heart – and I know they’ll steal yours too πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

St Patrick’s Day vegetarian tart: There’s spring in every slice!

This tart is a great vegetarian alternative to the corned beef dishes that are typically served on St Patrick’s Day. It is light and chock-full of veggies, and it leaves you satisfied and feeling great in your own skin, as any spring dish would. DH loved it so much that he had it for lunch at work several days in a row – believe me, that’s some serious compliment coming from a carnivore, lol The freshness of the dill coupled with the mildness of the potatoes and cabbage and the assertive notes of the authentic Irish cheddar make this tart a flavorful treat fit to enjoy all year long πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

Call it zacusca, ajvar, relish, dip, or any other way you like: Its real name is delicious!

Looking for a recipe to make on Game Day? Look no further, I have what you need! This is an appetizer I ate a lot as a child, and I love eating it today with my family. We call it zacusca, but you will find it in other Eastern European cuisines under the name of ajvar. This light, low calorie dish is a bit time-consuming, yet also unbelievably easy to make: it’s a a delicious concoction of open-fire roasted eggplant and bell peppers and oven-roasted tomatoes, with extra helpings of crushed tomatoes. It’s aromatic, wholesome, and truly addictive in its simplicity. My daughter loves to eat zacusca on fresh bread, and her hands and smiling face smeared with this colorful spread are truly a vision of happiness πŸ™‚ Make this at home instead of buying it from the grocery store, and you will not be disappointed! Keep Reading