Mushroom, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas

When you want a healthy and yet quick meal or a snack on-the-go, these quesadillas are a great option. A mix of spinach, corn, mushrooms, black beans, onions, and creamy avocado makes for a filling, delicious vegetarian meal. And if you’re craving meat, just add some shredded chicken to the mix.

Servings: 4 quesadillas Cook and prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Red Onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen Corn
  • 1/2 cup cooked Black Beans
  • 2 large Avocados, removed from shell and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 4 medium Tortillas (I use whole wheat although flour tortillas are usually tastier but less healthy)
  • Salt to taste
  • Salsa, for serving
  • 2 cups shredded chicken, optional (for when you want a non-vegetarian option)

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the Olive oil
  • When oil is hot and shimmering, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and add in the onions, stir occasionally while the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the sliced mushrooms. Fry the mix, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and caramelized, and the water from the mushrooms in the pan has dissipated – approximately 3-4 minutes
  • Add in the spinach, black beans and corn. Cook till spinach has wilted. Sprinkle salt, stir and keep aside
  • Lay out the four tortillas on plates
  • Cover a half of each tortilla by distributing the 1 cup of cheese across the tortillas
  • Distribute equally the spinach, corn, black beans, and mushroom mix over the cheese
  • Layer the mix with equal amounts of avocado slices and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese evenly over it, as well
  • Fold tortilla into half by pressing the empty half of the tortilla over the toppings
  • Heat a medium/large size skillet. When skillet is hot, place the folded tortilla in the skillet. Cook on both sides for a total of 4 mins, flipping half-way through
  • Before serving, cut the quesadillas into 3 equal sizes
  • Serve hot with a side of salsa
  • Enjoy!

Tuvar Dal (Pigeon-Pea lentils)

While growing up, dal, or lentils, was a staple part of a meal. Tuvar dal, moong daal, chana dal, it didn’t matter. There were so many different recipes, and all were so nutritious and delicious. When you were sick, you had a simple dal soup, and on occasions, you had some more complex recipes. This recipe is a staple in our home. It’s flavorful and can be just had with rice. On some days, the perfect accompaniment to dal and rice is fried fish, stuffed with red masala…..but more on that fried fish later!

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup tuvar/tur dal rinsed
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • .5 tsp red chili powder
  • .5 tsp garam masala powder
  • .5 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tsp lime juice

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, or Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot (both on sear setting) heat oil
  • When oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, they will splutter
  • Add in the onion, ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes until onions are soft and translucent
  • Add in the tomato and fry for 2 minutes
  • Add in the dry powders and stir for another minute
  • Add in the dal and 2.5 cups of water along with the salt
  • Put the pressure cooker lid on (for Foodi or Instant Pot, turn setting to Pressure cook and put timer to 16 minutes)
  • Pressure cook for 16 minutes
  • When done, wait until the lid can be safely removed. You can change the consistency of the daal by adding more water
  • Stir in the cilantro leaves (and lime juice, if using) and serve with rice or chapatis

Sesame Garlic Bok Choy

A delicious, crisp vegetable that comes together in minutes. Bok Choy, a Chinese cabbage, can be braised, stir-fried or roasted. You can eat all of it, which reduces prep work. It has a crisp texture with a slightly nutty flavor.

Bok choy is 90% water, negligible fat and full of vitamins A, C and beta carotene. Pair it with soy sauce, sesame seeds, chili flakes, ginger and garlic, and you have a flavorful side on the table.

Sometimes bok choy is harvested when not yet mature and sold as baby bok choy. It’s usually 3-6 inches in length, sweeter and can be cooked whole.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb baby Bok Choy (quartered or halved)
  • 1 small White Onion (diced fine)
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 5 large Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp Ginger (minced)

Method:

To clean Boy Choy: Under running water, rub off any dirt from the leaves and especially at the bottom of the stalks. Chop the boy choy into quarters or halves. Place them in a bowl until you are ready to cook.

To cook: In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 10 seconds. Add in the onions, and ginger and cook over high heat until fragrant, 20 seconds. Add the bok choy and stir-fry until the leaves start to wilt, 2 minutes. Add in the soy sauce and sesame seeds. Stir for about 20 seconds. Remove the bok choy from the heat and serve.


Vegan African Chickpea, Spinach, Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

This chickpea, spinach and sweet-potato stew is a soothing, African-inspired, gluten-free and vegan dish that is oh so delicious and comforting served with plain white rice! Seasoned with spices and a rich tomato broth that is made creamy with peanut butter, it’s oozing with goodness and you won’t even notice there’s no meat in this dish. I took this dish to a pot-luck and made it for parties at home and each time, guests loved it and asked for the recipe.

This recipe has instructions for making this on the stove, a slow cooker or the Instant Pot.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes  Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky but make sure it’s natural and no sugar added)
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (alternatively, soak 3/4 cup chickpeas overnight and pressure cook for 15 minutes)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped (alternatively, collard greens or kale also work well)
  • salt, optional and as desired
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice (optional side)

Method:

  • Slow cooker:
    • Add all ingredients to slow cooker except for spinach, red pepper, cilantro, peanuts and rice. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours
    • When ready, stir in spinach and red pepper and cover
    • Serve in a bowl with rice and top each bowl with peanuts and cilantro
  • Instant Pot:
    • Add all ingredients to Instant Pot except for spinach, red pepper, cilantro, peanuts and rice
    • Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes and then do a quick release of the pressure
    • Remove lid, and stir in red pepper and spinach
    • Serve in a bowl with rice and top each bowl with peanuts and cilantro
  • Stove top:
    • Heat the olive oil in a large pot
    • Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or or until the onion becomes soft and translucent
    • While the onion, ginger, and garlic are sautéing, peel and dice the sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the sweet potato cubes, curry powder, red chili powder, and cumin powder to the pot and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes
    • Add the crushed tomato, peanut butter, chick peas, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir until the peanut butter and tomato paste have mostly dissolved into the broth. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft
    • While the sauce is simmering, wash and then cut the spinach into 2 inch wide strips
    • Once the sauce has simmered for 15-20 minutes and the sweet potatoes are very soft, stir in the spinach and red pepper
    • Finally, taste the sauce and add salt, if desired
    • Serve in a bowl with rice and top each bowl with peanuts and cilantro

Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Company copycat)

We happened to stop at Noodles & Company for lunch with friends and Sophia ordered Pesto Cavatappi. She loved it so much, that we had to try and replicate it at home. We’ve made this recipe without meat, with chicken and even ground turkey. Each time, it was delicious. A quick, easy to make recipe, that’s been a hit with kids and adults.

Servings: 6 as main course

Ingredients:

Some ingredient considerations:

  1. Cavatappi – options include rotini, macaroni, or whatever pasta you have on hand
  2. Dry white wine – instead of wine, you can add more chicken broth, or if you are going vegetarian, vegetable broth
  3. Greek yogurt – while the original recipe calls for heavy whipping cream, I use Greek yogurt as a healthier alternative
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta or other small pasta (see note 1 above)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 ounces mushrooms diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (see note 2)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (see note 3)
  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method:

  • In a large pan, bring 4 quarts of water with salt to boil. Add pasta and cooks until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the liquid is released and almost dry
  • If adding meat, add it now and cook, stirring occasionally. For ground turkey, cook over medium heat, stirring to break up clumps, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes
  • Add tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Stir in the broth, wine, and bring to a boil; stir in the yogurt, reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes
  • Add pesto and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes
  • Add pasta and toss until uniformly coated in the sauce
  • Turn off the stove
  • Serve while hot and garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh, ground pepper