Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Meatless Monday: Tofu Chopped Salad


This is my version of the M chopped salad at M Cafe in Los Angeles. So stinking healthy, you feel light and airy after eating it.

Tofu Chopped Salad

Angelinos loved chopped salads, each bite is a colorful bust of textures and flavors. In this case it’s smoky chewy tofu, creamy avocado, crisp celery, earthy sweet beets and salty tamari almonds all tossed with creamy vegan ranch dressing.

Tofu chopped salad with vegan ranch

Tofu Chopped Salad

Serves 4

Dice all the vegetables the same size so your salad looks pretty and is easier to eat! You can buy roasted beets on the salad bar of any supermarket if you don’t have time to roast and peel them yourself.

4 handfuls of mixed greens

1/2 cup diced cooked beets

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced avocado

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1/2 cup diced seasoned cooked tofu (I used Thai flavored cooked tofu)

a large handful of Tamari or Bragg’s seasoned Almonds (available at health food stores)

1/2 cup of sprouts

Store bought vegan ranch dressing (I often thin this out with a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice)

Place a large handful of mixed greens into 4 bowls or plates. Toss all the chopped vegetables and garbanzo beans together then divide the mixture evenly over the salads. Top each salad with a haystack of sprouts and a sprinkling of almonds. Serve with store bought vegan ranch, on the side like we do in LA.



A Day in the Food Life: Sandra Sanchez of


sandra sanchez

What does a hip, hot eco-blogger eat when she spends a day working from home? Today we are pleased to feature the food diary of our friend Sandra Sanchez, founder/editor-in-chief of A vegetarian since birth, Sandra keeps her her daily food choices ecologically responsible by abstaining from meat and eating mostly organic foods. Make sure you subscribe to Orglamic for daily updates on sustainable luxury living.

A Day In The Food Life – Sandra Sanchez of

7:45am Coconut Cream Pie Lara Bar

I am completely obsessed with these.  I love that they are made of such pure, vegan ingredients and add a perfect punch of protein and fiber, which is generally what I look for when picking out energy bars.  Also, I know that eating nuts is super healthy, but I don’t really like eating them plain so this is a good way to get them into my diet.

Water in Vapur Anti-Bottle

I love this reusable, portable water bottle (or anti-bottle, shall I say.)  It is super lightweight and fits easily in my purse so I can carry it with me throughout the day.  I pretty much only drink water, unless I am socializing with friends in which case I drink wine or vodka sodas.  I also love a good fresh-squeezed fruit juice and tend to get that when I am out to breakfast or brunch.

9:45am Beverly Hills Juice Club Banana Manna Shake: Apple Lemon Double Ginger w organic banana and almonds.

I love love love this place and totally think it is worth the price!  Sometimes I’ll try to do a 3-day juice fast so I’ll get all my juices from here.  Most of the time I just swing by for a protein-filled pick-me-up smoothie.  I just moved across town though, so I am going to check out Pressed  Juicery, which is just down the street from me, and hope that it is as good.

Sandra Collage

12:45pm 2 mini 100 Grand chocolate bars

Yes, despite my best intentions to eat healthfully, I have a perpetual, insatiable sweet tooth and will literally pull into gas stations and 7-11’s for a fix.  I know, it is tres tacky, but I can’t help myself, nor do I want to.

2:00pm vine ripened tomato, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, dried oregano, French bread and 2 dates

I went to the Brentwood Farmer’s Market this weekend and picked up some goodies, so I am trying to eat more at home this week.  More often than not, I am out to lunch (either business or with friends.)  As for the dates, I always have to end my meals with something sweet, so these were my attempt at being healthy.

3:45pm 6 avocado rolls and 2 dates

Okay, so maybe I didn’t make my sandwich big enough, or maybe it is bc I am working from home just a stones throw away from the kitchen, but I am inspired to have another mini-meal.  The avocado rolls are from Whole Foods.  Simple and yummy.

5:00pm ½ fresh mozzarella ball

Now I swear I am just eating because I know that I have to write it all down.  It is almost like when I tried to diet and only ended up eating more than usual bc I was thinking about food the whole time.  Nevertheless, the mozzarella is mouthwatering.

6:10pm about 15 Snapea Crisps

More snacking…

6:45pm 2 mini 100 Grand chocolate bars

Must really build a wall between my office and kitchen…

9:45pm spinach and tomato sautéed in olive oil and pepper and a bowl of Pacific Natural Foods Curried Red Lentil soup

Again, I usually go out to dinner with my boyfriend or friends, so this is quite uncharacteristic.  I am trying to use the fresh spinach and tomatoes from the market and they turn out great when paired with a hearty bean soup.  This reminds me of the kind of European-style dinners I had as a child, and I often tend to eat that way…just throwing together a small salad, soup, cheese and bread.  And of course, dessert!

Meatless Monday: Allergen Friendly Almond Noodles


Sarah’s INCREDIBLE peanut noodle recipe is starring this week on The Meatless Monday site as a featured Lunch recipe! Yipee! Check it the complete nutrition information of the MM site and if you have ever made this recipe be sure to give it a 5 star rating.

Peanut Noodles topped with vegetables

Last Summer I did a cleanse and ate only low allergen foods for 3 weeks. Naturally I craved satisfying meals so I adapted the magic peanut noodle recipe to fit into my cleanse and had really good results. This recipe below is Gluten Free, Peanut Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian and Vegan. If you are allergic to almonds then I’m sorry this recipe won’t help you any.

Allergen Friendly Almond Noodles

adapted from Sarah Lagrotteria’s Peanut Noodle Recipe


For sauce:

1/4 cup sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar or fresh lime juice (or a combination of the two is nice)

1 tablespoon Gluten Free Tamari

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced or 1 teaspoon chili paste (we like Sriracha)

2 heaping tablespoons almond butter (available at natural food stores)

12 ounces Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti or linguine (available at Whole Foods and Trader Joes)

3 large carrots, julienned (cut into matchsticks)

2 small or 1 large cucumber, skin on and large seeds removed, julienned (cut into matchsticks)

Any other vegetable of choice, cut into matchsticks.  Broccoli, kohlrabi, snap peas, celery or radishes are great. Shredded broccoli slaw or cabbage slaw mix from the grocery store are good and fast additions. It’s an anything-goes, clean-out-your-fridge kind of dish.

Fresh mint, Thai basil, basil, cilantro or any combo of the four, roughly chopped

Chili paste and sea salt, to taste.


Sarah’s Crisp Vegetables Tip- If the day feels particularly sticky, I recommend crisping your cucumbers and carrots in an ice bath before adding them to the dish.  Once you cut them into matchsticks submerge them both in a bowl of ice water in the fridge.  Let sit while you prepare the sauce and noodles and then drain just before adding to the dish.  Even a short soak in an icy water bath will give the vegetables more crunch.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat.  Cook the noodles according to the package directions.   Drain.

In a large bowl or in your blender, whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar or lime juice, tamari, garlic and jalapeno.  Add the almond butter and continue whisking until smooth.  You may need to add a teaspoon or two of hot water if the almond butter sauce is too thick. Add the warm noodles and gently toss until evenly coated.

To serve place a portion of almond noodles in a bowl and top with an assortment of the crisp vegetables. Then top with the freshly chopped herbs and serve with salt and chili sauce at the table for last minute seasoning.

Enjoy in good health!


Snow Day Menu


Image: James Jordan

Hi, loves.

I’d like to be a snow shut-in for one day more.

Yesterday was sunny and bright and busy in Los Angeles and I missed the thick blanket of white that quieted our Chicago days.

Friends invited us for a ladies lunch one blustery afternoon.  There was prosecco, a Concolor Fir Christmas tree, the citrus scent of which bursts forth from between your fingers exactly like the juice of a clementine as you peel, and sweet Lily, a gentle giant of a dog with a grizzled face.

Claudia and Catherine served a perfect snow day menu starting with grapefruit and avocado salad, soft polenta topped with (Top Chef) Stephanie Izard’s mushroom ragout and ending with chewy chocolate chip and dried cherry cookies.

The ragout was sweet and smoky thanks to the addition of miso paste and harissa, two of my favorite ingredients that I’d never considered combining.

Here are links to recipes for a similar snow day menu, including Orangette’s take on Judy Rodger’s polenta recipe from The Zuni Café Cookbook, my all-time favorite cookbook for reading.

The ragout and cookie dough can be made the day before.

This makes a good rainy day menu as well.

Snow Day Menu

Raw Kale Salad with Apples and Currants

Mixed Mushroom Ragout

Zuni Café Polenta

Thin & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Add the zest of 1 orange to the dough


Meatless Monday: Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard


Like a lot of people, I started making chili in college.  In an apartment for the first time, I needed to learn to incorporate foods other than Instant Oats, peanut butter and fruit sandwiches and Wegman’s sushi into my diet.  Chili was an obvious addition — cheap, easy and even better the next day and the day after that.

Works for Meatless Monday for the same reasons.

And so I started paying more attention to recipes in the magazines I read while procrastinating.

(Side note: my favorite glossies back then were Shape and Self.  The quasi-athletic years!)

In a recipe for turkey chili with squash and chard I found this pearl of information— you can peel a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler.  Open sesame, the thick-skinned gourd that intimidated me with its hard, bulbous bottom was suddenly so Cooking 101.   I bought one the same day, followed the recipe and made the acquaintance of Swiss Chard, now a favorite friend.

I no longer have the recipe, but we make a vegetarian version that goes like this.  The cocoa powder adds richness and depth.

As our friend Vanessa pointed out, certain dishes just just taste better when stirred with a wooden spoon.


Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

Yield: Serves 8


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, roughly diced

2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed, stems removed and cut into a small chiffonade (you want the pieces of Swiss Chard to be short and small enough to fit in your spoon while eating.  Nothing burns more than a long piece that doesn’t quite make it into your mouth and lands on your lip or just below.)

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil followed by the onions and carrots.  Saute until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Add the squash and stir, 3 minutes more.  Add the chili powder, cocoa powder and cumin, stirring with a wooden spoon until the spices are evenly distributed and darkening.

Stir in the beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and let simmer until the squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the chard just a few minutes before serving.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve alongside bowls of sour cream or Greek yogurt, freshly chopped cilantro and shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheeses.   I like Jiffy Cornbread as well.

Meatless Monday: Cranberry Coconut Granola


Confession: I am not cooking this year.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and my favorite meal in a year full of cooking, but we’re just not doing it this year.  We’re running off to the desert for a few days of relaxation under the sun.

Playing holiday hooky.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll be forgoing every bit of Thanksgiving.  I’ll get my turkey and sweet potatoes and I’m already getting my cranberries by munching on our cranberry coconut granola. Slightly sweet and coco-nutty, this granola is great for breakfast and snacking on a Meatless Monday.

If I were hosting Thanksgiving, I’d have it out for breakfast and leave it out as an antidote to the hunger pains that only a roasting turkey can cause.  If I were a Thanksgiving guest, I’d scoop some into a jar, top it with a ribbon and present it as a hostess gift for a delicious morning-after breakfast.  The perfect warm up to your leftover turkey and mashed potato sandwich.


Cranberry Coconut Granola

Yield: 10 cups


4 cups rolled oats

2-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

2 cups nuts of choice (we like sliced almonds or chopped walnuts)

1-1/2 cups dried cranberries

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8th of a teaspoon fresh nutmeg (2-3 swipes of a microplane zester)

1/2 cup coconut oil (make sure the bottle is marked good for medium-high heat)

Scan 1/2 cup honey


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconuts, nuts and cranberries.  Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to combine.

Add the coconut oil and honey, stirring with a wooden spoon until the wet ingredients are mixed throughout.

Pour onto the prepared baking sheets, spreading the granola so that it will bake in an even layer.  Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, removing the pan from the oven 1-2 times to stir the granola so that it brown evenly.  Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.  Granola will keep up to 1 week.

Meatless Monday: Spinach and Cheese Quiche


When one of our clients asked us to make a spinach and cheese quiche I realize I hadn’t made one since I was a little girl helping my mom prepare lunch for her girlfriends.  What an important, almost solemn task it seemed then.

Now I know quiche is an easy-peasy egg custardy delight.

If fresh corn were in season, I would have added one cob’s worth to the mix.

Meatless Monday for ladies who lunch, then and now.


Spinach and Cheese Quiche

Yield: 8 servings

*dough must be made and chilled at least 2 hours before baking


1 recipe pâte brisée

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 sticks butter, chilled ad cut into small pieces

1/4 -1/2 cup ice water

For filling

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 cups fresh baby spinach, cut into a chiffonade

1-1/2 cups shredded cheese (i like Gruyère but any Swiss or cheddar will work)


To make the quiche dough:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Alternatively, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the butter cubes and work to combine, using your thumb and forefinger to pinch the butter into the flour mixture.  Keep pinching until the mixture has a sand-like consistency.  Add a few splashes of the ice water and continue mixing with your hands until dough comes together in one ball, adding more water (up to the full half cup) bit by bit if necessary.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

To make the quiche:

Preheat the oven to 375°

Roll 1 ball of chilled dough into a 10-inch round about 1/4-inch thick.  Gently lay your dough into a 9-inch pie plate, gently pressing at the sides and crimping the edges as desired.

Place the prepared pie plate on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any overflowing custard.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender.  Layer the cheese and spinach into the bottom of your pie crust then pour the egg mixture on top.  Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Let cool until the puffiness settles and the crust is cool enough to touch before cutting into wedges.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until blended.

Meatless Monday: Rosemary Spiced Nuts


Were you hoping for tonight’s Meatless Monday dinner recipe?  I hope you’re not disappointed. You won’t be if you actually make these nuts.  And I hope you will.  They kick off dinner with a woodsy pop of rosemary brown sugar.  And they have real heat.   They buddy equally well with cocktails or wine.  I can eat them all day straight from the bowl.

Sounds like the thing for your Thanksgiving cocktail hour, eh?

Plus, I roasted them for Lydia’s exquisite wedding this past Saturday and sharing the recipe lets me share two photos from her special day.

Adorable, right?  Lydia made the cute labels and I bagged the nuts in wax paper bags.  She stationed them next to iced tubs filled with individual bottles of sparkling lemonade—yellow and pink—French coke (made with real sugar instead of syrup) and those darling hot pink cans of Sofia Blanc des Blancs sparkling wine so guests had drinks and munchies to enjoy before the ceremony began.

Candy Stripe Straws

Our girl just thinks of everything.

You’ll have to wait until she’s back to hear and see more.  I can’t wait.

In the meantime, make these nuts.  They’re an amped up version of Ina’s and they never fail to win raves.


Rosemary Spiced Nuts

yield: 2 pounds


2 pounds raw mixed nuts of your choice. I recommend including cashews and pecans in te mix because the former is fantastic with the rosemary and the latter catches all the spicy brown sugar goodness in its crevices.

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne

5 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons melted butter


Preheat the oven to 350 °.

Place the nuts in one layer on an ungreased baking sheet and roast in the oven until fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

While the nuts roast, whisk the remaining ingredients into a brown sugar paste.

Remove the hot nuts from the oven and carefully scoop them into a large mixing bowl.  Pour the spice mix over the warm nuts, stirring gently to spice the nuts evenly.  Enjoy immediately or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Egg Salad


Mayonnaise is the food I like least in the whole world.  I don’t care if it’s homemade, spiked with spice or masquerading as “aioli”–I don’t want an egg yolk and oil whip  polluting my sandwich or my fries and I definitely don’t want it in my sushi.

I don’t even want it in my fridge.

And yet.

I love eggs, especially the yolks, and I love olive oil.

Hence my joy in discovering Le Pain Quotidien’s olive oil-based egg salad, a no-mayo Mediterranean take on the deli favorite.  Capers and sea salt make it brackish and the olive oil softens the yolks to velvet— lovely against thick dark bread.   Cornichons add satisfying crunch.

I also like it with a scattering of sunflower seeds and crisp romaine.  Delicious on Meatless Monday and every other day of the week.

If you have access to a farmers’ market, I can’t emphasize enough how nice it is to have farm fresh eggs.  You’ll notice a difference in the density of the yolks and the overall flavor.


P.S. With plenty of veg and vegan items on the menu, Le Pain Quotidien is a great option for eating out on MM.

Mediterranean Egg Salad inspired by Le Pain Quotidien

Yield: 4 sandwiches or tartines (open-faced sandwiches)


6 large eggs, the fresher the better

3 tablespoons good quality olive oil

1/4 cup wild capers. rinsed

a handful of parsley, roughly chopped to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Cook the eggs until they are just hard boiled.  Fill a medium-sized pot with cool water to just cover the eggs.  Bring to a boil then cover the pot and remove from the heat.  Let sit 8 minutes total then uncover and drain.  Rinse eggs with cold water or submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

When eggs are cool enough to touch, gently crack all over and remove the shells.  The easiest way to do so is under cool running water.

Slice each egg in half and remove the yolks.  Use a fork to mash the yolks in a mixing bowl.   Neatly dice the whites and add them to the bowl as well.  Add the olive oil—you may use 1 tablespoon more or less, depending on how you prefer your salad— and gently stir to combine.  Add the capers and parsley and combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Mac and Cheese


Macaroni and cheese is so appropriate this time of year. Hearty, gooey and satisfying to the soul. Pair it with a big kale salad for dinner and you have a vegetarian feast for a crowd. Serving just your family? Portion the recipe into two smaller baking dishes and freeze one of them before baking for another night.

Mac n Cheese with orange tomatoes

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 8-12 people


1 pound elbow macaroni

1 quart of milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

10 ounces Gruyere, grated (3 cups)

8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)

1 cup Parmesan cheese grated

1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2  pint fresh cherry tomatoes

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a large pinch of salt. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes, do not overcook. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan but be careful not to bring it to a boil. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and and slowly whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, Parmesan and 1 tablespoon salt, pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart buttered baking dish.

Stud the cherry tomatoes on top of the dish and then sprinkle the bread crumbs in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Serve warm.

*The mac and cheese seen in the photo had slices of orange tomato on top instead of cherry tomatoes in honor of Halloween but I really love the pop of fresh tomato in every portion that the little guys provide.

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