Category Archives: Vegetables

Mexican Black Beans and Quinoa

Mexican Black Beans and Quinoa

I love this dish. The idea came to me on the walk home from the gym when I needed a quick, protein-packed dish that could cook on its own while I took a shower! I had less than an hour to eat, shower, and head back off to class, so those were the rules my lunch had to live by. Black beans and quinoa seemed like the perfect combination.

There was some trial and error the first few times I made it. I cooked the quinoa separately and added it to the bean mixture at the last minute, but that left the quinoa too flavorless, and the beans too dried up. Next, I tried cooking the quinoa with the beans, but left the lid on like you normally do with quinoa. It puffed up just fine, but there was too much liquid leftover that had to cook off in additional time. I’ve also added bacon to it before. Crisped up the bacon, then crumbled it and cooked the veggies in the bacon fat. You can add the bacon on top for a salty, delicious crunch. But, the bacon is also extra time (and money!), and I’ve found that it’s perfectly fine without.
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Spinach Avocado Pasta

Spinach Avocado Pasta

It almost feels like I’m cheating when I make something so simple, yet so good. Like… it shouldn’t be this easy. Have you ever gotten an assignment or an exam that was so easy that you thought it must be a joke? Like the teacher was going to snatch it back with a malicious laugh and pass out an absurdly challenging assignment? I usually think I’m doing something wrong if something seems that simple…

This spinach avocado pasta? It IS that simple. You can’t mess it up. Okay, maybe you could, but then I might have to reconsider our friendship. Just kidding, I will cook it for you.

The most time-consuming step of spinach avocado pasta is cooking the pasta. I kid you not.
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Coconut Curry Risotto

Coconut Curry Risotto

Well, I made another risotto. I couldn’t get tender, creamy rice off my mind after I cooked Parmesan risotto earlier this week. There’s something special about Arborio rice that sets it apart from every other Italian rice and pasta. What’s even better is that it lends itself to so many international flavors, like this Thai Coconut Curry Risotto here. I imagine you could incorporate Mexican, African, Indian, or other Asian flavors very easily as well.

Speaking of Asia… I am going to Asia in less than a month! My mom and I are taking a trip to celebrate my early graduation from college. We also just like traveling together. We’re going to see Japan, a tidbit of South Korea, and China. The part I’m most excited about? THE FOOD! If you’ve ever been to Asia, PLEASE let me know what foods you’d recommend. Apparently I’ve promised to eat a bug. So… we’ll see how that goes.

Back to the curry risotto. Can I keep telling you how awesome it is? Do you need more proof? Well, it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and it’s vegetarian/vegan if you swap out the chicken broth for veggie. So all you special diet peeps, this is the one for you.

Coconut Curry Risotto

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Brussels Sprout Breakfast Hash

Brussels Sprout Breakfast Hash

My ideal brunch food toes the line of both breakfast and lunch. That’s certainly what the word “brunch” implies, right? A dish that’s not to sweet, like pancakes, and not too definitively lunch, like a sandwich.

Let’s be real. I’ll take anything delicious as long as it has an egg on top.

An egg at breakfast gets the day going in the right direction. What accompanies the egg is a minor character in it all. This particular dish features Brussels sprouts, but it’s only there to mop up and flavor the egg yolk.

When I studied abroad in Spain, my host mom thought it was absurd to eat an egg for breakfast. One day, she made me bacon and eggs for lunch. It was my first meal of the day, so I was over the moon with excitement to “trick” her into giving me eggs for “breakfast.” I’ve never again taken for granted eggs at breakfast.

A Brussels sprout breakfast hash is so perfectly strange. My dad’s response was, “Huh. Weird.” But it works. They’re cooked down and ever so tender, with a browned and garlic-y essence throughout. The fresh red tomato is a colorful compliment to all the green goodness. This would be great with bacon or crumbled sausage as well, but what wouldn’t be even better with bacon added to it? No matter how you make them, eggs will continue to be my favorite way to kick the day off right.

Brussels Sprout Breakfast Hash

Brussels Sprout Breakfast Hash

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Mushrooms Roasted with Pine Nuts

Mushrooms Roasted with Pine Nuts

I’ve been taking a few minutes at the end of the day to write down one “transcendent” moment I had. Like how it felt to go out of my way for someone, or how the pouring rain wasn’t so awful when I looked at it falling in a street light. Writing down one good thing each day that goes beyond the obvious. I hope that filling up a notebook with these wonderful feelings and reflections will, in turn, bring a deeper sense of spirituality and admiration for the world that my life has been missing.

I think that food could be almost every entry in my notebook. Food has changed my life. It has brought me new skills, appreciation for nature and nutrition, and helped bring me closer to my friends and family. I love the creativity of a recipe where an ingredient is stuffed with another version of itself. Like stuffed zucchini and these mushrooms. The caps are filled with a sauteed mixture of the stems and garlic, bread crumbs, and pine nuts, taking the mushroom to a whole different level and then bringing it right back to its origins. Does that make sense?

I normally don’t make side dishes for my meals. I make the main course, and that’s all. I usually have a decent amount of vegetables in my main dish already, but I’m trying to incorporate more creative ideas on the side. It’s nice to be able to eat a little bit of one dish, and then nibble on another.

For this meal, I paired the mushrooms roasted with pine nuts alongside a polenta gnocchi with roasted red pepper sauce. The two dishes complimented each other, and the winter season, wonderfully. Plus, the mushrooms can be cooked with the polenta gnocchi and come out of the oven right at the same time! It’s like they’re meant to be together.

Mushrooms Roasted with Pine Nuts
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