Category Archives: vegetarian

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Gluten Free Asian Vinaigrette

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

I have a tendency to buy things in bulk. It’s next to impossible to say no to three pounds of baby spinach at Costco for under 4 bucks. The only downside is three pounds of baby spinach is a lot of baby spinach. So in another effort to clean out the fridge, I have attempted to add spinach to everything. This isn’t a recipe so much as it is an idea of flavor combinations and the possibilities  are really endless.

I really love this dressing, especially when paired with the sweet mandarins. It was a great combination. I also found this salad to be surprisingly filling. It made for a great lunch. I think the addition of grilled chicken or shrimp would easily make it into a wonderful dinner. If I was to make this salad again, I think adding crumbled feta and dried cranberries would be delicious. Strawberries, granny smith apples, or pecans would also be good substitutes (or additions too).

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Gluten Free Asian Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 2 large handfuls spinach, washed
  • 1 mandarin orange (or clementine), peeled and broken into segments
  • 1 small red onion, thinly cut into circles
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
  • For the Asian Vinaigrette:
  • 3-5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium gluten free Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

    For the Salad:
  1. Place spinach on plate. Top with orange segments, as many onions as desired and almonds. Top with vinaigrette.
  2. Serve and enjoy!
  3. For the Asian Vinaigrette:
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until throughly mixed. Use immediately. Will keep for 1 week in fridge.
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Easy Vegetable Frittata

Easy Vegetable Frittata

This week I am sharing some of favorite brunch recipes. I absolutely love brunch and summer weekends seem to just demand them. These recipes don’t demand too much cook and can mostly be prepared ahead to time, which gives you more time to relax, enjoy your weekend and enjoy some extra mimosas with your friends.

This frittata is pretty much perfect if you ask me. It’s easy to make, it can help you clean out your vegetable drawer and it reheats wonderfully. I just used the vegetables I had on hand, but you can add just about anything you want to this frittata. Broccoli, bell peppers, jalapeños or fresh herbs, like basil or chives, would all be great additions.

Easy Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 6+ large mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tomatoes, chopped with seeds removed
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly torn or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar)
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish (I used a 9 inch pie dish).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until beginning to brown. Then add the green onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or just until the spinach is wilted. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper.
  4. Finish cooking in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center.
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Gluten Free Goat Cheese & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Now that all those cinco de mayo shenanigans are out of everyone’s systems, let’s talk about more important things, like our mothers. I love my mom (hi mom!). She’s one of the few people that religiously reads my blog and she always makes sure to point out when I misspell something. It’s Mother’s Day in the US this upcoming weekend and I have a wonderful weekend of wine tasting and brunch planned for my mama. This week I thought I would share some easy and delicious recipes that would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or any other brunch events you have on the horizon.

This is the simplest appetizer in the world and it’s pretty tasty to boot! You really don’t need all that many ingredients either. Some biggish mushrooms, goat cheese, garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and a food processor (or a strong mixing arm) and you are good to go. I used fresh parsley, because my parsley plants are out of control at the moment, but you can definitely substitute in any fresh herbs that strike your fancy (basil would probably be really delicious). If you aren’t using a food processor, I would recommend letting the goat cheese soften a fair bit before trying to mix it. I would also make sure to finely chop all your garlic and herbs too.

I recently discovered some new to me gluten free breadcrumbs from The Fresh Market. The Fresh Market just opened a new store in my town and it is wonderful! My aunt on the east coast has raved about TFM for years and I definitely see why! Their own TFM brand gluten free breadcrumbs are great. They are almost like panko. I have had great success with them in meatballs and burgers. I recently tried them as coating/breading with baked chicken and with these mushrooms and have been really happy with the results! If you have a TFM near you, I recommend picking up some breadcrumbs!

Gluten Free Goat Cheese & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs(I used TFM gluten free breadcrumbs)
  • 2 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 12 large mushrooms, wiped clean, stems and gills removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 3 tablespoons aside.
  3. Add the goat cheese, parsley, red-pepper flakes and lemon juice to food processor. Season with salt and pepper, and pulse filling until combined.
  4. Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
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Gluten Free Baked Churros

Gluten Free Baked Churros

Make these! Make them right now! You need these in your life and you don’t even need to use cinco de mayo as an excuse. these are good enough to any time! I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since I had a churro, but they were one of my favorite childhood treats. The second I bit into one of these gluten free churros, I instantly had delicious memories of fairs and fiestas and trips to Disneyland.

I was actually shocked by this recipe. One, it was so easy! SO easy. And two, so delicious. Like, sugary, buttery, melt in your mouth, you never want to eat anything else every again delicious. I am always a bit wary of attempting to make desserts with French names and since the pastry used to make churros is choux pastry, I wasn’t feeling super confident going in. Luckily, I was proven wrong! choux pastry could not have been easier to make. Plus, baking the churros not only makes them a bit healthier, but takes care of a lot of the mess and work frying causes. 

This recipe made a lot of churros. I got just over 40 mini churros out of this recipe. I was having piping bag issues, so I only made my churros about half the length of the baking sheet, which I think turned out to be the perfect size.

Gluten Free Baked Churros

Baked Gluten Free Churros

Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup water, brown sugar and salt. Add butter and place over medium-high heat. Heat until butter is melted and mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Mixture will clump and pull away from the sides of the pan. Mix/mash with wooden spoon until no streaks of flour can be seen.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs and vanilla. Scramble mixture with a fork and then add to the dough-ball in the saucepan. Stir and mash, breaking up the dough until loosened. Stir well until eggs are incorporated and mixture has the appearance of mashed potatoes.
  4. Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with Wilton star tip #M1. You could also pipe the dough in a zip-top bag with the corner snipped, but the churros will be ridge-less (delicious, nonetheless).
  5. Pipe dough into long thin lengths on the parchment covered pans. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the end of the dough from the piping tip. Leave about 2-inches of space between the churros.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly puffed. Turn oven to broiler setting and watch carefully as churros toast and turn deep golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. If you're baking the churros one pan at a time, be sure to return the oven setting to 425°F before putting in the next pan.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon and pour onto a long dish. Roll churros in mixture. Serve.
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Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Last weekend I popped up to San Francisco for a quick visit with friends and my blog and computer decided they wanted a vacation too. Technical problems seem to be resolved for the most part, so let’s get back to it. Cinco de mayo is rapidly approaching and since I like any excuse to eat Mexican food, I plan on taking full advantage of the fact this week. Most of these recipes aren’t super traditional or exactly authentic, but they are delicious enough for any fiesta.

This queso is super tasty. I added some of my favorite spring ingredients (mushrooms, leeks and spinach) and they really added a lot of flavor to the queso. They mushrooms added a great earthy flavor, which worked really well with the tangy goat cheese. The chiles add just a little bit of spiciness. I served my queso with tortilla chips, but it would also go well with veggies, crackers or bread.

My oven, like all the other machines in my life, has also been a bit temperamental lately (had to get the igniter replaced… again…), which has changed my oven’s personality somewhat. It seems to be cooking a bit lower or slower (I’m still trying to figure it out).  After 25 minutes the queso was definitely bubbly and ready to serve, but there was absolutely no color to the top of it, which made it look like a blob of boring, white cheese. It’s not a requirement, but I like a little bit of a brown crust on my baked dips. It took me at least 35 minutes to get any type of color to the dip and as you can see in the picture it still came out a bit splotchy. Despite my odd requirements for baked dip coloration, the end product was delicious.

Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Adapted from Whole Foods.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 (10 ounce) can green chiles, diced (chop finely if using whole chiles)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onion cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Spread leeks, mushrooms, spinach over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, Jack cheese, and chiles and mix until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25-35 minutes. Serve hot.
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Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways!  I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

2 salads

Adapted from Donna Hay.

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block of halloumi, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It's going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
  2. When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
  3. For the Salad:
  4. Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
  5. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
  6. Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
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Gluten Free Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad

Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad

 It’s already getting warm here. We had approximately two days of rain and a maybe four cold-ish (by Southern California standards) days and we are apparently heading right back into summer. I’m not a fan. The only plus side is that I now have a legitimate reason to insist on barbecuing as often as possible. I was all set to grill up a delicious meal the other day and it turned out we had no propane left, which is kind of a major component to using a gas grill. Memo to Self: always check for propane.

The meal was not a total loss because I had made some delicious side dishes to go with the meat. This salad is probably going to be in regular rotation over the next few months around here. It’s a very easy to make and very delicious. I originally used white balsamic vinegar in my dressing for this salad, but I honestly thought it turned out a bit too sweet. I think apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar would be a much better match. I used dill in the potato salad because it had a ton on hand, but you could use just about fresh herbs you have on hand. Parsley or basil would be great and I think arugula really would be great too.

Gluten Free Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled red or yellow potatoes
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes, cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and when potatoes have cool enough to touch, cut into quarters and halves (depending on size). Let cut potatoes cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine yogurt, scallions, dill, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooled potatoes and toss to coat.
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Gluten-Free Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Soup

In another round of my second favorite kitchen game*, clean out the fridge roulette, I was lucky enough to come up with a winner! I am sure I am not the only one to do it, but sometimes you buy some vegetables and then kind of forget about them for a week or two. I always feel awful if I don’t rediscover them until after the use it or lose it stage, but luckily I found a kind of wilted bunch of broccoli, a cauliflower that was about to cross to the dark side and some lonely looking carrots.

I like to let my onions get nice and brown (preferably caramelized) in most of my soups, so I diced up the onion and shallot and threw them on first thing. I let them get soft and caramelized while I chopped and washed the rest of the vegetables. I don’t mind my veggie soups having a bit of a bite in them, but if you prefer a softer or more blended soup, you might want to add the carrots with the onions so they get super soft. I added them after the onions were well softened and thought they came out perfectly. Truth be told, I used less stock than usual (3 cups instead of my usual 4) because that what I had left on hand and didn’t feel the need to open or make more. This resulted in a much thicker, almost chowder-like soup, which was delicious and filling.

I topped my soup with a sprinkle of cheddar, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of dill. After tasting the dill with the soup, I wish I had added some to the main recipe. Next time!

* – my favorite kitchen game is Don’t Cut a Finger While Cutting Onions, but I’m really not all that good at that.

Untitled

Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and shallot and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, broccoli, spices and 3 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 10-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. The broth will not totally cover the vegetables but don't worry- stirring will be enough to ensure the cauliflower cooks through.
  3. Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the cauliflower mixture until desired consistency is reached. (If you are using a regular blender, you will probably have to do this in batches so pour the blended soup into another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, stir in the cheese and serve.
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