Tag Archives: veggie

Summer Veggie Tacos with Spicy Fresh Salsa & Cumin Scented Guacamole

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I think I have tried almost every Mexican restaurant here in London. The bottom line is: I can make better Mexican food at home. So why not? Salsa and guacamole are so quick and easy to make, full of fresh ingredients, each bursting with their own distinct flavor.

After having spent so much time eating Mexican food in California, I know exactly what I like and how it should taste. So through memory and trial and error, I have perfected my recipes to suit my taste buds. The amazing thing is, once you have fresh, good quality ingredients, it’s quite simple to make. Smoked chipotle peppers are key, as is fresh coriander and great tasting cumin powder. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.

Mexican food has to be one of my favorite cuisines. It’s perfect for summer and thanks to the tasty spices, vegetarian options are a no-brainer. Luckily I found a great little authentic Mexican grocery store right here in London. I can buy deliciously fragrant dried chipotle peppers and homemade corn tortillas. If you are in the area you can check them out. They also have a home delivery service: http://www.casamexico.co.uk

You will need a mini food processor for this. The salsa and guacamole are a one pot dish, therefore they take about 2 mins to make and clean up is a snap!

INGREDIENTS:

SALSA:

  • 3 juicy ripe tomatoes
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 smoked chipotle pepper (these come dried, so you should let them sit in a bowl of boiling water for 2 min before using)
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • s&p
  • the juice of 1 lime

GUACAMOLE:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • s&p
  • 1/2 handful of fresh cilantro

TORTILLAS:

  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 6 corn tortilla shells (minimum)
  • 1 tsp each: chipotle powder, chili powder and coriander powder
  • s&p
  • drizzle of olive oil

THE FIXINGS:

  • red cabbage slaw (red cabbage shredded, olive oil, 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, s&p)
  • low-fat creme fresh, sour cream or greek yogurt
  • all natural, organic corn chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Chop the peppers and zucchini into match sticks about 3 inches long.
  2. Place in a large bowl with the minced garlic, spices and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a pan over medium high heat, sauté the veggies until al dente, about 6 min, tossing frequently.

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  1. In the food processor add all of the guacamole ingredients and blend until relatively smooth, a little bit chunky, or if you prefer creamy and smooth all the way.
  2. Give the bowl a quick rinse under hot water and repeat with the salsa ingredients. Blend until somewhat smooth, “salsa” consistency. The salsa will have a bit of liquid as the tomatoes weren’t de-seeded. I personally like it this way, but to each his own, so if you prefer less liquid simply pour the salsa into to a strainer and strain the liquid out.

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  1. In a small pan over high heat, place the tortilla shells and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. No need to oil the pan.

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Ready to build your tortillas! Creme fresh on the bottom, veggies, red cabbage slaw and a spoonful of salsa. Done. Ready to inhale – I mean “eat” 🙂

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Homemade, fresh, healthy and delicious. Why settle for less than the best at a mediocre restaurant (and pay for it) when you can simply make it yourself, exactly how you like it? Nothing can be more satisfying than that. Enjoy!

Super Quick Curry- Yogurt Veggie Skewers with Coriander Rice and Cumin Spiced Dip

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Its 7 o’clock in the evening, just walked through the door and am starved! Don’t have the energy to make anything grand but not into ordering take-out either.  So I open the fridge to find a handful of veggies, greek yogurt and halloumi cheese.  Perfect.  Dinner will be ready in 10 mins!

I always keep a package of halloumi cheese in the fridge, it’s a great vegetarian substitute and it’s perfect on the grill.

If you don’t have a BBQ you can always bake these in the oven on about 220C/420F for about 10 mins.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water so they don’t burn.
  • any grill-able veggies you have on hand: for example: 1 zucchini, 1 red pepper, 2 small eggplants, handful of mushrooms.
  • 125g halloumi cheese (there is low-fat available).
  • 1 cup of low-fat organic yogurt.
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder.
  • 1 clove of minced garlic.
  • s&p.
  • 1 cup basmati rice (rinsed).
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander.
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced thinly to make cole slaw-like strips.
  • drizzle of olive oil.
  • drizzle of apple cider vinegar.

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add in the basmati rice.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 mins, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked and fluffy.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add curry powder, minced garlic, and S&p to 1/2 cup of the yogurt, mix well.
  3. Chop up your veggies and halloumi into 1 inch pieces.
  4. Add veggies and cheese to yogurt mixture and stir well.
  5. Take your wooden skewers and fit as many veggies and cheese as you can onto each skewer.
  6. Grill veggie skewers for about 5 mins (turning after 2-3 mins).
  7. Meanwhile add the cumin, s&p to the remaining yogurt.  This will be your dipping sauce.
  8. Slice the cabbage and drizzle olive oil and apple cider vinegar, add s&p, toss well.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and add in the chopped fresh coriander and grated lemon zest.

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Ready to plate up!

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NOT your boring Pasta Salad- to go!

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I LOVE pasta! I don’t care what anyone says 🙂 There is a time and place for it, this I will admit. Preferably lunch time, so you can burn off the calories from the carbohydrates throughout the day and as for place, pasta in pasta salad should have a supporting role. I like to have equal amounts of veggies as I do pasta, to keep a good balance of nutrients.

It’s finally summer here in London and a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine AND save some money, is to picnic in the park for lunch. I have these great little BPA free reusable containers, with the fork and knife built in the lid, I just fill them up, grab a blanket and off I go!

Be creative with what you have. This was a mid-week lunch made with veggies I found in my fridge. Lots of different flavors will work, so you can substitute depending on what you have at home.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups dried good quality pasta, I like penne or fusili for pasta salads, cooked al dente
  • handful of sugar snap peas
  • 1 heirloom tomato (if you can)
  • 1 small head of endive
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 can of artichokes
  • 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano (dried can be substituted)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small garlic clove raw
  • 1/4 cup of grated good quality parmesan cheese (or a veggie substitute or for vegans, try some toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds)
  • drizzle of good quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon rind
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (you could also try some red pepper flakes if you want some heat)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil for your pasta, cook for 10 min until al dente, drain and plunge into a bath of ice water to cool and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  2. Wash and chop all the veggies into bite size pieces, the peas I left whole.
  3. In a large bowl, add your pasta, fresh ingredients and lemon rind. Top with the parmesan cheese (or toasted seeds/nuts) and add enough olive oil and s&p to taste. Mix together well.

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4 steps and you’re done! Pack into lunch containers and head to your special spot for a healthy, homemade, inexpensive lunch under the sun.

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Grill Time! Veggie & Halloumi Kebabs with Homemade Humus and Barley Couscous Salad

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BBQ Season!! My favorite way to cook! Finally some good weather, which means its time to bust out the BBQ.

I like making kebabs (veggies on a stick). If you make too many they can be frozen for an easy super at a later time, so make a little more. Use any veggies you like (mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus), with or without Halloumi cheese (vegan option).

I love Halloumi. It’s really salty and has a tough texture making it perfect for cooking. This cheese originates from Cyprus and is usually made with Sheep and Goats milk, it has a high melting point making it easy to fry or grill.

I use Barley Couscous instead of wheat, it has 10g (or 40% daily requirement) of Fiber per 100g. Its light and nutty in flavor and is so versatile you can use it in many dishes. Oh and did I mention that it takes 5 minutes to make? Amazing.

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Ingredients:

  • 200g Barley Couscous
  • 400 ml boiled water
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can of chick peas, drained
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • 6-8 button mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Ras el Hanout spice – this is a Moroccan Spice blend, if you don’t have that you can use 1 tsp each of cumin, smoked paprika powder, and turmeric or chili powder will also work
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder (for the humus)
  • 1 tbsp of Tahini Paste or toasted sesame seeds
  • half packet of Halloumi cheese, cut up into cubes
  • 6-8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 min
  • warmed whole wheat pita bread (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

A hand blender, blender or mini food processor for the Humus.

A BBQ or grill pan for the stove.

Instructions:

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  1. First start with the kebabs. Chop the pepper into 2 inch chunks, slice the mushrooms in half and the halloumi into 2 inch cubes.
  2. Alternate with the veggies and cheese on the skewers (make sure they were soaked before hand so they don’t burn on the grill)
  3. Make the marinade for the kebabs: on a plate or large bowl add 3 tbsp of light olive oil with the spices and mix together. Add the kebabs and incorporate the marinade, salt & pepper.
  4. Meanwhile heat the grill or grill pan.IMG_4510
  5. Boil the kettle and place the couscous in a large boil with a pinch of salt, add 400 ml of boiling water and cover with a dish towel or plate. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Chop the tomatoes in half and the cucumber into 1 inch cubes. Juice the lemon.
  7. Fluff the couscous with a fork and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes so it can cool down.
  8. Add the cucumber and tomatoes with the 1/2 of the lemon juice, S&P and a drizzle of good olive oil to the cooled couscous, mix together. IMG_4508
  9. In a food processor add the drained chick peas, 1 tbsp of Tahini paste (or 1 tbsp of sesame seeds), 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp of cumin powder, s&p, 1/2 of the lemon juice, drizzle of good olive oil and 3 tbsp of water. Blend until smooth. Add a little more water if need be.
  10. Cook the veggie kebabs for about 8 minutes, on high on the grill, make sure to turn several times so they don’t burn. Same idea for a grill pan.

What I like about this dish is the different consistencies. Creamy humus, with fluffy couscous, crunchy cool cucumber and spicy, fragrant crispy veggies.  Enjoy! 🙂

Health Benefits:

Garbonzo Beans or Chick Peas are extremely high in Fiber. 2 cups would provide you with the total daily requirement. They have been shown to reduce colon cancer, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and insulin secretion and are helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

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Chart from http://www.WHfoods.com