Category Archives: Vegetarian

Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame


After a weekend of indulgences, I could feel my body craving some real, whole foods. The cookbook Clean Slate from the editors of Martha Stewart Living has become our clean eating go-to when we feel like we need to hit the reset button in the kitchen. All of the recipes we’ve tried have been delicious, easy to execute, and because it’s clean eating, the number of ingredients is always minimal. I even enjoyed the recipes we made during our cleanse earlier this year, I just got sick of eating carrot & dill soup 3 days in a row. We made this Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame  for dinner last night and I’ll be eating it for lunch today. It’s light but still filling, which is perfect for today’s 90-degree temps. It’s also easy enough that I was able make the entire dish while chatting on the phone with a friend! Now that’s a double whammy.


Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame adapted from Clean Slate

Serves 4


16 oz quick-cooking barley (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz frozen shelled edamame

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & minced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, stems removed and roughly chopped

12 oz baby spinach

crushed red pepper flakes

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the barley and cook about 15 minutes until tender. Add the edamame to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until just fragrant, about a minute. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute until just caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the remaining tbsp oil to the pan and add in the spinach. Toss until wilted. Add in the barley and stir until combined. Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.



Black Rice Salad with Sweet Potato & Kale


Though I love Halloween, now that it’s come and gone, I’m already getting excited for Thanksgiving preparations. (For those of you wondering, we ended up dressing up as Crazy Ira & The Douche, mainly because we could wear hooded sweatshirts and backwards hats. Though one mom told her kid not to be afraid of us because we were just “teenagers”. Must have been the backwards hat.) This Black Rice Salad with Sweet Potato & Kale would be the perfect side to add to your Thanksgiving table this year. Even though my family prefers more traditional Thanksgiving dishes, you can’t deny that this dish is the perfect combination of fall colors and flavors!

DSC_1072Black Rice Salad with Sweet Potato & Kale


2 cups black rice, uncooked

10 oz kale, ribs removed and cut into ribbons

2 large sweet potatoes or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1. Prepare rice according to package directions.

2. Fill a large skillet with about a cup of water. Bring to a boil and add the kale. Cook until just wilted. Drain water from the kale and set aside.

3. In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato and brown sugar and cook until tender and slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

5. When the potatoes are cooked, add the kale and rice to the skillet. Pour in the maple vinaigrette. Stir to combine and top with pumpkin seeds.




Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pecorino & Pepitas

Oyy it has been far too long since I my last blogged. Between marathon training, starting a new job, traveling and searching for an apartment, this new schedule has gotten the better of me. Sadly it’s been lots of quick meals of plain chicken or eggs with some veggies (read: whatever I can throw together the fastest) as I’ve barely had time to go grocery shopping, which I’ve weirdly missed.


After a weekend away for work, I finally got myself to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some healthy goodies and get back in in the kitchen. More importantly, it’s time for me to start recipe testing some dishes for my first big catering gig next month! I was beyond flattered when my friend Allie asked me to cater her sister Eileen’s bridal shower in Brooklyn. Eileen used to babysit me and my siblings back in the day, and Allie and I have been friends since preschool, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to make the special day especially delicious.

First up on the recipe testing schedule was Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pecorino & Pepitas. With fall creeping in, I couldn’t wait to start using some seasonal ingredients and the squash in this salad makes this feel much more substantial than any other green salad.

The best part of this recipe testing? I finally have a delicious, home-cooked lunch to bring with me to work.


Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pecorino & Pepitas

serves 4


1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt


1/4 cup pepitas

4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, cubed

8 oz arugula

2 lemons, juiced

2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425. Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 30 minutes until tender and browned.

2. Meanwhile, place pepitas in a small sauté pan and toasted over medium heat for 5-8 minutes.

3. Allow the squash to cool for a few minutes before tossing the salad. Once cooled, add the squash to a large bowl with the pepitas, Pecorino and arugula. Pour lemon juice and remaining olive oil over the salad. Season with salt and pepper then toss. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

Summer Vegetable Frittata

After a weekend full of indulgences – delicious calamari and grilled mahi-mahi at Isabella’s, pasta at Frankies 457, brownie sundaes at Brooklyn Farmacy, brunch and beers at Sweet Afton in Astoria – I was weirdly looking forward to getting back into a normal eating routine come Monday. This Summer Vegetable Frittata was the perfect healthy and simple solution.


I love frittatas for their cooking ease, durability (makes great take-to-work lunches), and versatility – you can pretty much use any vegetables, meats or cheeses if you follow the simple procedure. Just sauté your desired veggies (if you’re adding meat like sausage or bacon that needs to be cooked, do this before the veggies), add the eggs, top with cheese, bake off the in the oven, and you’re done!


This version incorporates some of my favorite summer vegetables: zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, red onion and rosemary (!!!) for a deliciously fragrant, flavorful and satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the ready!


Summer Vegetable Frittata

serves 4


8 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small zucchini, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 small tomato, sliced

1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, yellow pepper, onion, and rosemary. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grind of black pepper. Sauté until vegetables start to brown and soften, about 8 minutes.

3. Add the beaten eggs directly to the skillet. Allow the eggs to cook for a few minutes on the stovetop until they are just set around the edges, about 5 minutes.

4. Top the eggs with the tomato slices and crumbled goat cheese. Place the skillet in the oven and bake 10-12 minutes until the eggs have puffed up and are just barely golden brown. Let cool several minutes before slicing into wedges. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold as leftovers!

Guacamole Quinoa Salad

To accompany my quintessential summer meal of grilled steak with caprese salsa and grilled corn salad last week on vacation, I had planned to also make guacamole as an appetizer. To me, you can’t get more relaxed than guacamole and chips with some cold bevies outside on the deck. Unfortunately,  after visiting two different markets I couldn’t find any ripe avocados, so we had to settle for premade guac, which definitely wasn’t as good as the real stuff. Though the dinner as a whole was delicious, I’ve been craving guacamole, since my fix was never really satisfied.


Enter this recipe for Guacamole Quinoa. While I wish it was acceptable to eat a big bowl of homemade guac and chips for lunch everyday (though I have done this before), I know it probably isn’t the most practical or healthy option. So to save myself from potential food shaming, I turned your typical guacamole into a salad with quinoa and black beans. The guacamole acts like your sauce or dressing, and the tomatoes and black beans help round out the dish into a healthy meal.


This salad would be a great weeknight dinner for hot summer nights, side dish for backyard BBQs, or take-to-work lunch as this makes great leftovers! Now if only it was acceptable to pack an ice cold Corona in my lunchbox…


Guacamole Quinoa Salad

serves 4-5


1 cup dry quinoa

2 avocados, pitted, skinned and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 tbsp plus 2 tbsp (divided) fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

pinch of salt

1. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 10-15 minutes until quinoa is cooked and tender. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine diced avocados, garlic, onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and the juice of 1 lime. Mash with a fork as you would guacamole to desired consistency. I like mine on the chunkier side.

3. Add tomatoes, black beans, remaining 2 tbsp cilantro, and cooked quinoa to the bowl with the guacamole. Stir to combine and season with a big pinch of salt. Enjoy cold, at room temperature, or as leftovers!

Vacation Tales: Grilled Corn & Zucchini Salad

Hi there! Feels like ages since I last blogged! This past week was a wonderful and much needed break from the sticky and crazed city. After a near 9 hour drive from NYC to the Cape, it kicked off with a relaxing girls weekend, complete with many round of cornhole, Guesstures, and a fun dinner at The Beachcomber, an awesome beachside restaurant and bar in Wellfleet.


Next stop was Boston, where we managed to sneak in a trip to one of my favorite ice cream shops, J.P. Licks, and enjoyed a fantastic tapas dinner at Toro in the South End (a new location is opening in NYC soon!). The much anticipated Beyonce concert far exceeded any and all expectations. It was by far THE best show I have ever seen. I still get chills just thinking about Queen Bey belting and shaking it 150% nonstop.


The rest of the week was spent hanging out with my family in Rhode Island, which of course included trips to all of my new favorite spots: Black Goose for coffee and sandwiches, Gray’s for ice cream, and a trip to Narragansett for Brickley’s ice cream (totally worth the trek). The vacation peaked on Friday with the Taylor Swift concert with Emma, which had me dancing and singing along with the thousands of other screaming Swifties.



After a week of eating out, my last vacation dinner was prepared by me at home: Red Wine Marinated Grilled Steak with Caprese Salsa (How Sweet It Is) and Grilled Corn & Zucchini Salad (my recipe below). It was a simple and delicious meal, perfect for a relaxed summer night. Returning back to New York (begrudgingly as always) full of New England ice cream, lots of laughs and memories, this summer vacation will definitely go down in the books as a great one.


Grilled Corn & Zucchini Salad

serves 6-8


6 ears corn

2 medium zucchini

1 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt


1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 jalapeño, seeded and small-diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

6 oz crumbled blue cheese

1 lime, juiced

2 tsp olive oil

1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Shuck the corn and wrap in tinfoil. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, brush with olive oil, and season with salt & pepper.

2. Grill the corn in the foil for about 10 minutes until kernels are tender, then remove the foil and grill 5 minutes more until it just starts to blacken. Grill the zucchini about 3 minutes per side until tender and grill marks form. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly. When cool enough to touch, cut the kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl. Dice the zucchini into 1/2-inch chunks and add to the bowl.

3. Add the quartered tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro and blue cheese to the bowl with the corn and zucchini. Stir in lime juice and a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Season to taste with salt & pepper.


Sweet & Crunchy Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps

I’m still mourning over the fact that I’m back in New York City with no refreshing pool to jump in after my humid and sweaty morning runs. While I’m counting down the days until I can visit home in Rhode Island again, I’ll have to find ways to cope with real life here. Maybe these tuna salad lettuce wraps will help…


How, you ask? One of my favorite meals enjoyed in Tiverton was the “Swedish Fish” sandwich from the adorable Provender Fine Foods in the historic Four Corners area. I knew I was going to enjoy this meal before even biting into my lunch. The shop is exactly what I dream to own myself someday: a speciality food store that serves simple, classic, and fresh prepared foods and features gourmet, local food products like homemade jams and pies (Barefoot Contessa, anyone?).


Well maybe it was the dreaminess of the lovely shop or too much sun from all that swimming and kayaking, but this was one of the best and most memorable sandwiches I can think of to date. Tuna salad with dried cranberries, apples, alfalfa sprouts, and sunflower seeds on hearty 7-grain bread – the perfect combination of sweet, savory and crunchy.

Image 1

I attempted to recreate and lighten up this wonderful sandwich in lettuce wrap form. Rather than a mayo-based dressing, as used in the Provender version, I opted for some lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and greek yogurt, which worked perfectly. Though not a match for the original, my take was quite delicious. Maybe I’ll be featuring this one on the menu at my own specialty food store someday…


Sweet & Crunchy Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps

serves 4


3 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp nonfat plain greek yogurt

pinch of salt & pepper

2 cans tuna in water, drained

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 medium apple, cored and small diced

1 cup pea shoots (or sprouts), roughly chopped

3 tbsp roasted & unsalted sunflower seeds

1 head of iceberg lettuce, leaves separated

1. In the bottom of a medium-sized bowl, whisk together lemon juice, dijon mustard and greek yogurt. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add in the drained tuna and flake with a fork.

2. Stir in the dried cranberries, apple, pea shoots and sunflower seeds until nicely combined.

3. Serve tuna salad with a few iceberg lettuce leaves. Dollop a spoonful of tuna in the center of each leaf, roll up, and enjoy!