Category Archives: vegetarian recipes

Recipe: Baked Tofu Egg Rolls

Did you know it’s currently National Vegetarian Week? If ya didn’t, now ya do, so go out there and eat a carrot or ten!

I do love myself a beautiful piece of rare meat now and again, but I find that I cook vegetarian more often than not even though I’m not consciously planning it. I guess it may have to do with the fact that I don’t really know what I’ll be cooking on any given week and therefore rarely buy meat or fish on my weekend shopping trips and prefer to buy it the day of when I figure out what’s for dinner. Add that to the fact that I’m usually running behind, and it leads to me making our meals out of whatever we have on hand, which is always vegetables and some sort of protein that keeps well for longer periods than fresh meat, like tofu, cheese or beans. Continue reading

Recipe: Spring Vegetable Frittata

I hate to start off a Sunday afternoon post with a rant, but I just have to get it out. I’m done paying money for bad meals and mediocre food. Just done. It seems I’ve had some bad luck especially when it comes to breakfast or brunch outings (there have been a few dinners as well, darn it!), and I guess it’s partially my fault for trying to tweak a scramble so it’s made with egg whites or to ask for “easy cheese.” Maybe I should just order an omelet the way it is without adjustments. But even as I type that sentence, I’m not totally convinced that trying to eat relatively healthily at a restaurant is reason enough for a bad plate of food. What restaurant these days doesn’t offer a “substitute egg whites” option anyway? They all do, right? Grrrrr….. Continue reading

Recipe: Soba Noodle Salad With Tofu

Tofu. A lot of people think of “big cube of bland whiteness” when they hear that word. I, on the other hand, grew up eating tofu and never thought negatively about it until I realized how the poor loaf has been butchered into some pretty insane and tasteless creations in order to fill some hole in the healthy food world. Although it certainly makes a good, high-protein substitute in one’s diet for chicken or fish, it doesn’t always mean tofu will be good when used in the same way that meat or fish is used. It’s got a completely different makeup, texture and flavor than any meat or fish so it should be treated like the unique ingredient it is.

I have to admit, tofu does make a pretty great substitute for eggs. When mashed with a fork and sautéed with veggies, salsa and spices, the texture comes close to that of scrambled eggs. However, just because you miss a juicy burger doesn’t mean that forming mashed tofu into a patty and throwing it on a grill will make you kiss beef goodbye. Tofu is a great added to dishes that need some neutral tasting protein kick and works best, in my humble opinion, with Asian flavors.

Here’s a simple recipe for a refreshing summer noodle salad that is a perfect vehicle for seared tofu. Although chicken or beef would work fine in this dish, the softer texture of tofu marries especially well with the slightly al dente-ness of the soba noodles.


Soba noodle salad w/ tofu

Whenever you’re cooking tofu, try to get the water out of it by putting it in between two thick layers of paper towels, then setting a plate on top of the top layer of paper towels. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and it will drain a lot of the water out.

½ pack of extra firm tofu

1 package dried soba (buckwheat) noodles

1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
½ cup diced scallions
¼ cup chopped cilantro

4 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS toasted sesame oil
2 TBS grated fresh ginger
2 TBS honey
2 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
1 TBS rice wine vinegar

Sesame seeds

Take tofu out of the pack and drain between two thick layers of paper towels for 20 minutes.

Put the tofu in your hand, and cut the tofu while holding it very carefully (so you don’t cut yourself). This is the traditional way to cut tofu- Japanese don’t put it on a cutting board because tofu is so absorbent. If you are careful you should be able to do this easily, and tofu is very soft so it doesn’t require a lot of pressure. Cut into rectangles about 2 inches long and ½ inch thick. Sear tofu for about 3 minutes on each side in a hot, non-stick skillet. Set aside.

Mix all of the ingredients of the dressing in a blender or a jar- blend well. Set aside.

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes, then remove from the heat and shock in cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a large bowl combine the noodles with the vegetables and dressing, toss well, top with tofu and sesame seeds. Serve cold or room temperature.

Recipe: Farro, Black Bean & Corn Salad

Lately, I look at the bookshelf in the kitchen just heaving with cookbooks and I feel a bit, well, guilty. After all, up until a few short months ago I was a bona fide cookbook addict. When I wasn’t reading one of the 100 or so that I have, I’d be surfing through Amazon looking for the next fix or printing out recipes from Epicurious and stuffing it into my “homemade” cookbook – AKA The Overstuffed Folder. There was never a Sunday morning spent without one cookbook in hand while three others were piled in front of me on the coffee table, waiting for me to take a look. It was a good relationship we had, the cookbooks and I, although I might have been a little dependent.

It’s odd now- I cook a lot but haven’t used a recipe in months. If I have thumbed through a cookbook recently it was merely to gain inspiration, not to follow any recipe word for word. The deciding factor in terms of what I will cook is one question- “What do I want to eat?” Seems simple, but for those of you who are recipe lovers like me, you’ll understand that sometimes the challenge and technique of a new recipe is the biggest motivator in what you make. I did that for so long and believe me- it resulted in plenty of delicious and beautiful meals- but I’m in this phase of just listening to my senses, collecting all of the knowledge that is floating around in my brain and then combining it all into a dish that is exactly what I want to consume at that particular moment.

Last week, after a tequila-and-wine-fueled trip to Mexico- I wanted to have a big batch of something hearty but healthy to take for lunch each day. So I decided to whip up a batch farro, black bean and corn salad. Farro (type of wheat, also called emmer) has become one of my favorite grains over the last year and is great in so many dishes. It’s becoming more readily available in supermarkets but can almost always be found at any Italian market. I love the toothsome bite it retains after cooking and its slightly nutty but generally neutral flavor is very versatile. In the cooler months I like to toss it with sautéed mushrooms, thyme and baked butternut squash, but now that it’s warmer it’s the base of many great cold salads. This farro, black bean and corn salad is the perfect example of a recipe borne from what my body and taste buds were craving at the moment it was conceived, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Farro, Black Bean & Corn Salad

(The key to flavoring any salad using farro is to bathe the still-hot farro with whatever dressing you’re using so it really soaks up the flavors. In this instance I made a cilantro vinaigrette but you can use whatever dressing you prefer (creamy dressings probably won’t be as good) as long as you make sure you coat the farro grains while they are still warm).


1 ½ cups farro, rinsed
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I used Wolfgang Puck Vegetable Stock because it was on sale!)
2 ears sweet corn
1 can black beans, rinsed clean
2 red bell peppers
4 green onions

Cilantro vinaigrette

1 large handful of cilantro (about 1 cup packed). Stems and all are fine.
1 medium jalapeno pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
3 TBS red wine vinegar
3- 4 TBS good extra virgin olive oil

Make the vinaigrette first: With tongs, hold the jalapeno directly over the flame on your stovetop or gas grill to blacken it all over. Cut the stem off, cut in a few pieces and pop into a food processor or blender. Add all of the other vinaigrette ingredients except for olive oil and pulse until relatively smooth. While the food processor or blender is running, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until it reaches a slightly-thicker-than-salad-dressing consistency. Season with salt & pepper to taste and set aside.

Bring vegetable or chicken stock to a boil, add the farro. Boil on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes- just check the consistency of a farro grain- you want it to be “al dente” so to speak. The farro probably won’t soak up all of the stock so if it doesn’t, simply drain it in a colander. Put drained farro in a large bowl and immediately toss with about ¾ of the vinaigrette. Mix well and set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add corn. Boil for about 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water until corn is cold. Cut the kernels off by standing one ear of corn up at a slight angle and cutting down each side of the corn. A lot of it will come of in chunks but you can crumble it up into kernels with your fingers. I like to leave a few of them chunky so it looks more homemade. Add to the bowl of farro.

Rinse the beans in a colander under cold running water until clean, add to farro bowl.

Chop the red pepper into fine dice and the green pepper crosswise into thin circles, add both to farro bowl.

Toss in remaining vinaigrette and mix all ingredients together. Serve cold or at room temperature.