Our Veggie Eats

All about the food we eat at home, pack in our lunch boxes, and try everywhere else…. And feel it's blog worthy!

Sandwiches for Lunch

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Having spent a good part of the day gardening, a quick lunch was in order. Spicy grilled black bean Boca Burger patties topped with melty Cheddar, Guacamole, Jalapeño, tomatoes on toasted crusty whole wheat bread with  Coriander chutney spread. Served with a side of toasted chips with more Guacamole dip. Not pictured here but we washed it all down with homemade Mango shake. Yummmm….

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Happy Valentines Day

Valentines Day breakfast

Valentines Day breakfast

A special Valentine’s day breakfast. As last week was spent diligently making Valentine’s Day cards for all her classmates, how better to reward the effort than with heart-shaped whole meal blueberry pancakes with apples. Happy Valentines day!

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Baked Potato Makeover

Baked Potato Makeover

Baked Potato Makeover

 

Baked potato topped with creamy  black beans, Cheddar cheese, onion and cilantro are a huge favorite for lunch and dinner. I had a leftover baked potato that I wanted to crisp up, especially the skin. Cut into wedges and sautéed in a combination of butter and olive oil, the skin was crispy and the wedges were golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside. Seasoned generously with pepper and a touch of salt. For sweetness, caramelized red onions and topped with whipped plain yogurt and cilantro. Comfort food 101!

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Cilantro (Coriander) Chutney

Coriander Chutney

Coriander Chutney

Having a good chutney or spread handy in the refrigerator makes the morning rush to fix lunch for office and school easy. Cilantro chutney is a great one to have to impart flavor to burgers and sandwiches. Making it at home is economical and of course, it tastes better than store-bought!

Heat 4t of sesame oil in a pan and add 1t of mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sputter add 1t of urad dal and sauté till golden brown. Add  3 small dried red chilies and sauté for a few seconds. Substitute with chili flakes if necessary. Remove the seasoning into a bowl. Wash 2 bunches of cilantro and sauté for a minute in the pan with 1t of sesame oil. Pulverize the coriander with salt to taste, 1/4t tamarind paste (or lime juice)  and some water in a food processor. Add the seasoning and grind again. Adding the seasoning last gives the chutney a little texture from the urad dal. For variation try half coriander and half mint for a mint and coriander chutney.

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Cooking hungry

Quick Lunch

Starving after a trip to the grocery store, I willed myself into cooking lunch.  It must have been the guilt of having bought so much fresh produce that I started chopping some red cabbage. With stomach growling, I pounced on a carrot and while chopping ate a few big chunks. I was grateful as the growling stopped. Now I could concentrate on the delicate job of slicing ginger and jalapeno. All the veggies got a quick wash before ending up in a sizzling hot wok with a few teaspoons of sesame oil. A very hot wok guarantees a caramelized taste that transforms the red cabbage. Salt to season and the veggie was ready to be topped on a lightly warmed whole wheat tortilla with cilantro and Queso Fresco Cheese. I made enough veggie to fill 3 tortillas. A great meal for one.

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Power Greens Salad

salad

A box of shredded wheat cereal with no sugar added lay in the cupboard. No one dared eat it as a cereal as it tasted like cardboard soaked in milk. A bag of salad leaves (spinach, chard, arugula) and no croutons inspired the conversion of the cardboard into something special. Once toasted with some olive oil and chili flakes, it transformed itself into a better-than-crouton avatar. It packed flavor, crunch and oh yeah….a whole lot of fiber to this salad. Along with the leaves and better-than-croutons the salad has buttery toasted pecans, radishes, orange and seasoned with sesame oil and OJ. We all skipped the sandwich and went for seconds of this salad for lunch.

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Sweet Beginnings

Poli

This is the time of the year when we celebrate the Harvest festival in India. It is also the beginning of a New Year. Celebrations include bonfires the day before the festival to symbolize the age-old New Year tradition of “out with the old and in with the new”. And of course something sweet to eat. “Poli” is a flatbread filled with a mix of lentils and jaggery seasoned with sweet spices like cardamom and nutmeg. A real treat for kids and the kid in all of us! These disappeared as fast as I could make them yesterday. The last one was forcibly photographed before being devoured!

  • Great as a sweet lunchbox treat.
  • Recipe upon request.
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Simple Vegetarian Mexican

Easy Vegetarian  Mexican lunch

Easy Vegetarian Mexican lunch

One of our absolute favorite dishes at a wonderful Mexican restaurant is a tortilla filled with slaw and Queso Fresco cheese. As we now live far away from this restaurant, we decided to give this recipe a go. Turned out great with our own little spin on it. We first thinly shredded red cabbage, green cabbage and carrot and sautéed it gently with some red onions; adding red chili flakes and salt to season. Charred Poblano peppers; peeled the skin and cut into strips. Then heated up some wheat flour tortillas though the original called for corn. Also in the filling fresh Queso Fresco cheese drizzled with fresh lime juice and cilantro. All the lovely fillings along with  avocado and blue corn tortilla chips made for a great lunch last weekend. And now it has become a regular lunchbox menu item; both for work and for school.

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Snack choice

It’s funny how fast kids learn if we find the right way to get the message across. As a matter of choice, I would pack fruit and a snack bar for school snack time. And the fruit would always come back uneaten. I gathered that it was not cool to eat fruit! Lecturing her about healthy choices did not work. And she zoned me out when I talked to her about artificial “something something” in her bar. You know when the look comes into their eyes when they figure that they could just sit there and pretend to hear what mom’s saying! 🙂 Having recognized the look, I asked her to read the ingredients list on the wrapper of her favorite snack. Even though she is just in upper elementary, she quickly realized that most of the ingredients listed were not what we consider FOOD! She now prefers to eat fruit at snack time even though she has a choice. Not to deprive her of all fun eats, I make snacks like these crispy chickpea and rice flour fried noodles at home. It allows for both portion and quality control and most importantly, something unique to share.

To make these mix 2 cups of chick pea flour (besan), 1 cup rice flour, 3t Cayenne or Red chilli powder, 21/2 t salt, a pinch of asafoetida and knead into a firm dough with 1/5 C of clarified butter (ghee), adding enough water. Heat oil on medium heat for deep frying. This dough goes into a press (available at Indian grocery stores) that squeezes out the dough into ribbons. Squeeze the ribbons into the hot oil and fry until the ribbons are golden brown and crisp. Turn the ribbons occassionally to allow for even cooking. Drain the oil and remove to absorbent paper towels. These can be cooled and stored in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks.

Ribbon Noodle Press

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Vegetarian Calzone

Vegetarian Calzone

Every now and then I get a request from my daughter for something Italian in her lunchbox. As she is not picky about veggies, I usually make vegetarian calzones using the Healthy Pizza Dough recipe. The dough is enough to make 3-4 calzones. Today’s version has sautéed spinach with black olives, garlic, homegrown cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Making your own pizza dough might seem intimidating at first. A few pointers to get it right.

  • Make sure the yeast you will be using is not past its expiration date.
  • Once opened yeast should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Dissolve sugar in the warm water before adding yeast.
  • Good rule of thumb for adding yeast to correct water temperature is to test by inserting a finger into the warm water. The water should feel hot but not hot enough to make you pull out your finger instantly. This will kill the yeast.
  • Stir the yeast into the sugar solution and let stand for 10-15 minutes. If the yeast is OK, it will be foamy on top. Then the rest of the ingredients can be added to make the dough.
  • It is important to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes to get a nice smooth dough. This makes it easy to stretch or roll the dough out after it proofs.
  • As I don’t own a pizza paddle, I like to transfer the rolled-out dough for pizza or calzone to a baking sheet before adding the toppings.  

Hope these tips help if you will be attempting making your own pizza dough for the first time. You’ll have your family and friends saying Bellisimo ! Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

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