Category Archives: Vegetarian

Vegan Week: Quinoa Muffins, Spelt Bread and Veggies

Vegan, gluten-free quinoa corn muffins with cumin, chili powder, garlic, green onions and cilantro.

As readers of this blog know, J and I love our veggies. A meal just doesn’t feel complete without some sort of salad, and most of our meals have at least two, sometimes even three, vegetarian components. However, I’ve never really gone vegan- after all, what’s a girl without her cheese but a raging, freaking lunatic, right? Continue reading

Quick Bites: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos

Wanted to share with you a really delicious, vegetarian taco that I made at home, inspired by ones I had at the uber-healthy-crunchy-granola restaurant, Cafe Gratitude. Although I like their food, I can’t say I’m a fan of the names of dishes. I mean, I feel kind of silly asking the waitress for one order of the “I Am Awesome” with a side of “I Am Gorgeous.” I mean, hello- I already know these things about myself and don’t feel the need to remind everyone. Just kidding. Seriously- it is kind of ridiculous when tacos are called “I Am Transformed.” And for the record, I don’t know how happy the food makes people- last time I was there I saw a very pissed off Jeremy Piven chuck a menu across the counter and storm off after learning Cafe Gratitude doesn’t serve decaf. Guess someone wasn’t feeling very grateful that day. Sheesh.

To be fair, I kind of was transformed after trying the, um, “I Am Transformed”- Two seasonal corn tacos with caramelized butternut squash, black beans, sliced avocado, salsa fresca and cashew nacho cheese. They were slightly sweet from the squash, spicy from the beans and salsa and nutty from the corn tortillas. Since I wanted to eat them again but didn’t feel like spouting off how transformed I was, I thought I’d make them at home.

The process was relatively simple but time consuming: I roasted one butternut squash, scooped out the flesh and whizzed in the food processor with garlic and a bit of cayenne pepper. Made pico de gallo (onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, salt). Opened a can of black beans, rinsed well, then tossed with some salsa verde (my touch!). Piled everything onto my new favorite Ezekiel sprouted corn tortilla, then topped with a bit of crumbled cojita cheese.

They tasted pretty much identical to the ones at Cafe Gratitude- sweet and spicy, creamy and fresh. I’m glad I was able to recreate these, but I have to admit I may still have to pop over to Cafe Gratitude in a pinch- roasting a butternut squash takes time. After all, I can’t be waiting forever to be transformed.


Healthy Twist: Quinoa Pasta Mac and Cheese

I’m always trying to find ways to make my favorite comfort foods healthier, and now- thanks to the wide variety of higher fiber, lower sugar and generally all around better-for-you alternatives to pasta, breads and other foods, it’s getting a lot easier.

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The Green Burrito: Falafel Collard Wrap

I’ve been meaning to make Andie’s baked falafel for awhile now, and finally got around to it last weekend. J and I loved them so much, I whipped up a double batch tonight, and took the opportunity to try another idea I’ve been toying with: to use collard greens as the wrap instead of pita or a tortilla. Hmm…

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It’s 2012, The Year of Blogging; The Year of Whole Foods

Whoa…has it really been…THREE MONTHS since my last blog post? Thank goodness Google remembers my password to WordPress for me- it’s been that long, ya’ll. It’s been so long I actually forgot the 6th anniversary- November 11- of this here Tuna Toast blog! I’m a bad blog mom, seriously.

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Client Profile: The Vegan

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve started catering and personal-cheffing because I could no longer push away my desire to cook and feed people. I can say with every fiber in my being that I love cooking more than anything else, and after some prodding from friends and family, I’m finally doing it.

I plan to post the occasional profile of some of my clients, which for the most part will focus on the food and less on the actual person. First up: The Vegan. Continue reading

Catering: Staff Lunch, Sargent House

When I relaunched this blog a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’ve started catering. I love cooking more than almost anything else and my friends have been telling me for quite some time to just get out there and do it, so I had to listen.
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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

Quick Post: Beet Green & Carrot Top Soup

Don’t worry- this soup doesn’t contain one creepy, red headed comedian but instead some healthy, vibrant greens that you might otherwise toss in the garbage. I had a lot of greens left over from the tart I’d made for a vegetarian dinner party, so I figured I’d try them in a soup.

It started just like all of my other soups do: sauté diced onions, carrots and celery, then some minced garlic and thyme. Then I chopped up the beet greens and carrot tops, slightly worried that it would taste too “green” but went with it anyway. After a few minutes I added veggie stock and let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes before whipping out my new favorite kitchen tool- the Cuisinart hand blender- and pureed the whole thing. (By the way, I highly recommend getting this if you make pureed soups often like I do. It saves you from having to ladle hot soup into a blender, then pureeing, then putting back into the pot.)

The soup, like the tart, was savory, rich and tasty and I was amazed that beet and carrot tops could create such an amazing soup! Definitely a keeper!

It made a couple of nice lunches- one veggie- served with an avocado, arugula and hummus tartine:

And another with a turkey sandwich on quinoa bread:

Good and good for you!

Veggie Feast

Spring has sprung, and that means some pretty incredible produce at the local farmers markets. I’ve never really met a vegetable I didn’t like, so walking through and gawking at all of the gorgeous asparagus, avocados, fava beans and kale is akin to a teenage boy sifting through an issue Playboy magazine. Yes, my friends, springtime farmers markets offer the very best in food porn, but because it’s all good for you and stuff, you never end up feeling guilty. It’s a total win-win!

Speaking of veggie food porn (we were, weren’t we?!) one of my favorite food blogs on earth is 101 Cookbooks, because it features so many clever ways to feed a body good. The food Heidi prepares is so incredibly gorgeous you don’t even realize it’s all meant to give your body all the nutrients it needs and deserves. She’s really inspired me to think differently about vegetarian cuisine- instead of serving up pasta with marinara, why not toss some swiss chard ravioli with cranberry beans, arugula and a generous shower of pecorino cheese? I get some many ideas from reading both her blog and her cookbooks.

Last week I noticed a particularly inspired dish on 101 Cookbooks: Turnip Green Tart. The emerald green hue first caught my attention; the fact that it was encased in a corn meal crust pretty much closed the deal. I headed to my local farmers market in search of some turnip greens, but only one vendor was selling turnips, so I decided to switch gears and ask all of the farmers selling beets for their discarded beet greens and carrot tops. They were more than happy to give them to me, and I think I went a little bonkers on my newfound high of getting good, useable veggies for FREEEEEE and came home with a GIANT bag of both.

In addition to switching out the greens in the recipe, I put in a few more tweaks of my own- I sautéed the greens (80% beet and 20% carrot tops) with 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of thyme and 1 chopped onion in some olive oil until they were soft, then I blitzed them in the Cuisinart with the liquid ingredients. I noticed there was way more liquid than greens so I decided to toss in some raw beet greens and carrot tops and blitzed it again until I was happier with the consistency. I also decided to add about ½ cup of grated gruyere to the actual mixture before pouring it into two tart shells (I doubled the mixture recipe, and the crust recipe is already for two) and garnished both the extra cheese halfway through baking.

See the red from the beet greens that bled out into the gooey cheese:)?

I was a little curious about how such a loose mixture (Heidi often uses veggie broth to cut heavier liquids often called for in these types of dishes, like cream) would firm up, but I was happy to see that it set beautifully. After letting it cool slightly, we sliced it up and dug in. IT WAS AMAZING. Kind of a revelation, actually. It was so flavorful and not at all “green-tasting” in a bad way…the greens actually made it so rich in texture that you’d never guess the main ingredient was something many people simply discard. I thought it was better than any quiche I’d ever eaten, because although it was satisfyingly hearty, it lacked the dense fattiness of most quiches. This one is a keeper, and I can’t wait to try it with different kinds of greens.

With the tarts we had an array of side dishes that showcased the vegetables I snagged at the market:

Cumin roasted multicolored carrots:

Corn and fava bean succotash with a basil vinaigrette:

Butter lettuce, avocado and grapefruit salad with a grapefruit vinaigrette:

Strawberry, pistachio and spelt flour crumble (we ate warm spoonfuls piled high with vanilla soy ice cream!). The tart crust calls for spelt flour so I had some left over and decided to combine it with some oats, oat bran, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to make the topping.

Next up: Beet greens and carrot top soup- sounds weird, but it was deeeelish!

Have a great weekend!