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Vegetarian

My farro & chayote squash salad: make it in the fall, make it all year-round!

Who here is a fan of farro? I’ll admit I’ve never had farro in savory applications until recently. Sweet, however, is a totally different matter. Growing up, ever so often, my aunt would make me a dessert that is very popular in my home country, which involves a combination of farro, sugar, cinnamon, chopped nuts and sometimes lemon. I used to love this dessert so much that I would often dream of it – yes, really πŸ™‚ Coming in contact with the cooked farro, the nuts would turn into a velvety mass of milky goodness – and that’s exactly why I liked this dessert so much. What’s not to love about a creamy, ever so comforting sweet treat?

My farro repertoire has expanded recently, and for a good reason. I’ve been trying to find ways to use up a boatload of organic farro I got on sale from the grocery store – and in the process, I came up with a simple recipe for a vegan farro salad we absolutely love.

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Cabbage and curry roasted potato salad: fresh and fiery – and perfect for fall!

I can’t remember the first time I used curry powder in my cooking, but I’m sure it happened while I lived in the UK. Indeed, back in those days, I would find the sophisticated pungent aroma of curry pretty much everywhere: in the dorm room I used to live in while working on my postgraduate dissertation; intermingled with the deep-fried smells coming from the local chippy; on my hands after lunch in the noisy cafeteria. Steeped in a long history and perceived by some as a tool for re-imagining a cuisine largely characterized by robust ingredients and rustic applications, the lasting impact of curry on British dishes is nothing short of extraordinary. Indeed, I fell in love with this ingredient while living in the UK – and I will cherish it forever πŸ™‚

This salad pays tribute to my ongoing fascination with curry while also epitomizing my belief in plant-based eating, which has fueled my inspiration in the kitchen these past few years. I have been roasting a lot of veggies lately (it is fall, after all, lol), and for this recipe I decided to pair roasted veggies with fresh carefully picked ones to create a balance of flavors and textures. This salad is all about the present (fall roasted veggies) and the future (fresh veggies in all their colorful glory). Something fresh, something roasted – and a lot of plant-based goodness in between πŸ™‚

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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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Purple cauliflower, red bean and chickpea salad: one more light dish before fall kicks in!

How do you like your salads: light as in chock-full of greens, or filling as in chock-full of pasta? I’m asking because to me, eating salads is a seasonal experience. While during the summer I usually gravitate toward less calorific lettuce-based offerings, when the cold weather kicks in I want nothing more than a bowl of hearty warm salad, brimming with all the carbs I can find. Since the days are still reasonably mild and the fall seems far and away, I think eating light is the way to go at the moment. Enter one of my latest creations, featuring purple cauliflower, red beans and chickpeas.

I developed this recipe by chance, following a shopping trip during which I found purple cauliflower on sale. It was not just any cauliflower, but organic cauliflower, grown by Amish farmers and sold at one of my favorite local stores. I wanted to treat this nutrient-packed cauliflower variety right, and the recipe development period which followed was truly a labor of love.

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My duck egg sandwich: flavorful, rustic, and perfect for Meatless Mondays!

Ask me about some of my oldest food obsessions, and I’ll have two words for you: duck eggs. I loved these as a youngster growing up in Europe, I love them now, as a busy mom living and working in Chicagoland. What makes duck eggs so special, and how can you best enjoy them? Read on πŸ™‚

Duck eggs are packed with vitamin B12 and selenium, but they are not amenable to tiny appetites: famous for their high fat and cholesterol content, they exhibit an intense yellow yolk color and a rich egg flavor, which makes them a delicious, yet rather decadent treat. I remember eating my first duck egg hard-boiled, with salt and pepper sprinkled on top and crusty bread on the side, and marveling at the depth of egg flavor I was experiencing. It was rather overwhelming, to be honest! The good news is that duck eggs are versatile and can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways, hard-boiled or as an ingredient in cakes and custards.

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My vegan couscous salad: eating from the pantry, summer-style!

What have you been up to this summer? I don’t know about you, but cleaning and tidying up the house has been one of my priorities. I know it sounds boring, routine and uneventful, but that’s the truth: I have been using my summer break to bring some semblance of order to our house. I hardly ever get the chance to do it during the school term, and I have found that two small kids can cause a lot of clutter – or maybe I’m just disorganized and looking for someone else to blame 😛 In any case, these past few weeks I’ve been on a mission to declutter things around the house, starting with the pantry.

Working my way through the pantry has led to many discoveries – who knew I had so many awesome ingredients which needed to be used? Take Bob’s Red Mill’s tricolor pearl couscous, for example. Keep Reading

My watercress soup recipe: Now our summer is complete!

Summer days are here, which means hot humid Chicago weather, trips to the pool with the kids – and watercress soup! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love watercress for its delicious flavor, awesome color, and last but not least nutritional benefits. Watercress is such an amazing nutrient-packed green, but it’s so underrated it makes me sad. Ever since starting this blog I’ve been on a mission to make watercress more popular (check out my posts here, here and here), and my mission’s still going strong. Proof: I’m posting this watercress soup, one of our family’s all-time favorite summer treats 😉

Watercress soup is a work of wonder which requires very little preparation. Keep Reading