Category Archives: Vegetarian

Vibrant Collard Green Rice and Bean Rolls

I really like collard greens. I grew up in the South, well if you can count Florida as “the south”, as eclectically diverse as it is. My grandmother cooked them down until very soft, but only in water so they weren’t unhealthy. She had a jar of spicy jalapeno vinegar to splash on them and they were so filling and satisfying. You don’t need to cook them down so much to enjoy them as so many people are catching on to the delights of gently steamed or shredded raw collard greens. For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked Brown or Bhutanese Red rice (preferably organic when cooking with rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (can use chicken stock or water)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (Chick peas), drained
  • ½ cup minced celery
  • ½ cup  prepared cole slaw (cabbage and carrots)
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives (can substitute green if you prefer, I like Cerignola olives particularly)
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup vegan soy mayonnaise (can substitute thick strained plain Greek style yogurt)
  • 1-2 teaspoons your favorite seasoning blend (Jane’s Crazy salt is always a winner)
  • 8 collard green leaves, washed and dried

To make the collard wraps:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with the broth and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then you want to reduce the heat  to a gentle simmer on low, covered, for approximately 40-50 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and soft.
  2. Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the collard leaves. Mix well and set aside to cool.
  3. To prepare the collard leaves, you will need to trim off the stems. You can do this by laying each leaf out on a cutting board and running a small paring knife down the thick central stem in a V-shape towards the middle of the leaf. You do not want to cut the entire leaf in half, just remove the thick vein and stem.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and add 2 or 3 collard leaves. Boil for a minute or two, until dark green and tender. Remove with tongs and transfer to a colander to drain and cool. Repeat with remaining leaves.
  5. Take a cooled collard leaf and lay it stem side facing up. Place 1 cup of rice-bean mixture in the center and roll the collard leaf around the filling to make a wrap. Do this for the rest of the collard greens.

This serves 4 people with 2 wraps each. I recommend a bright and tangy Tahini dipping sauce with this.

Tahini Saice

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste easily found in a grocery store)
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

Combine the ingredients in a food processor or a blender and whiz together into a nice dressing consistency. Adjust the seasoning to your liking, and thickness by adding a little water if you want to thin it out.


Easy Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Crunchy Veggies

Spring rolls are a snap to make once you get the basics down. You may have eaten them at an Asian take-out restaurant before, or have seen them on a buffet somewhere. They are light and fresh and can be filled with almost anything you like.  I like to add whole grains like Bhutanese Red rice for an earthy, chewy texture which contrasts excellently against the succulent, salty-snap of fresh shrimp. I include powerfully nutritious green herbs in this recipe which will align well with your diet plans, and I hope you will make it and enjoy it.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (toasted if you can find it)
  • 4 each 8-inch diameter rice paper rounds (you can use brown rice rounds if you can find them)
  • 1 cup cooked Bhutanese Red rice (cook per package directions)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cole slaw mix prepared (you can find it at the grocery store and it has shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 small avocado halved and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Thai basil (regular sweet basil will work if you cannot find Thai)
  • 6 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 8 each cooked and peeled (deveined) shrimp (medium or large) cut in half horizontally
  1. To begin have a bowl or shallow dish of warm water with a splash of the rice vinegar on hand, as well as a clean dish towel or several layers of paper towels at the ready. You will soak the rice paper wrappers to soften them in the warmed water and lay them out on the paper or towel to drain off excess water.
  2.  Combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together with a little sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. This will serve as your dipping sauce, which you can divide into four small portions.
  3. Soften a spring roll wrapper until it is soft and pliable enough to wave gently in the liquid. Remove it to the towel gently, and add several slices of avocado, then two halves of shrimp. Next add some of the cole slaw filling and the green herbs.
  4. Leave about an inch and a half at the top of your spring roll and at the sides. Make sure you place the filling toward the bottom edge of the wrapper.
  5. Now fold the sides up and roll your wrapper like a burrito up and around the filling, pressing gently at the seam. Set your spring roll aside and finish the others in the same manner.
  6. When you have finished, slice each spring roll at the center in a diagonal slice.

You should have 4 servings of an appetizer portion of these delicious spring rolls. Now that you have the technique figured out the sky is the limit for what you can add. Steamed or grilled chicken slices and a creamy, citrus peanut sauce would be a filling treat, as would a spring roll chock full of crunchy veggies alone! If you cannot find fish sauce, or do not particularly enjoy it, feel free to omit it and instead substitute 1/8 cup tamari sauce with 1/8 cup of citrus juice; such as lemon, lime or orange, or even some stock if you have it handy.


Lucky Peas and Kale

The year is almost up and if you’re just beginning the diet, or an old hat by now, you will want to prepare some of these black eyed peas for your New Year. Lucky or not they are sure good for you!
You will need:

  • 2-cups Dried Black Eye Peas
  • 1-medium white or yellow onion, minced
  • 1- large, fresh Bay leaf, dry is ok too, I prefer fresh
  • 2-good cloves of garlic, smashed and minced (about 1 teaspoon if using prepared garlic)
  • 2-Tablespoons Olive oil, or Grapeseed oil
  • 1 -6 ounce can chopped tomatoes, organic if possible
  • 4-cups Kale, washed, rinsed and chopped or 1 ready to use bag
  • 2-Tablespoons Apple Cider vinegar
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1-teaspoon smoked Paprika
  • 1-teaspoon ground Cumin
  • Juice of 1-sour orange, or 1/4 cup of a blend of lemon and orange or lime and lemon
  • Fresh black pepper in a grinder, about 1 teaspoon
  • 2-teaspoons sea salt
  • Optional sliced Serrano, or Jalapeno chili.

In a pot have your soaked beans at the ready in double the amount of water to beans. 4 cups water to 2 cups beans in this case. To quick soak you can boil the peas in water and set the cover off the heat and let it sit until room temperature again. This takes about an hour or two. Or you can soak overnight, or even use canned, but drain and wash well due to the excess sodium that tends to be used in canned peas. Dried are best and easy if you just soak and drain them prior to use.

Depending on  how you like your kale add it at the beginning or the end. I prefer it to be tender and silky in a dish like this, so I add it with the dried peas at the beginning with the garlic, onion, spices (except salt) Bay leaf, oil and tomatoes to the pot. You will want to sweat the onion in the oil first on medium-low heat. Then add the spices and garlic and stir until fragrant and add the peas, tomato and water. Bring it up to a boil and skim off any scum that arises.  Bring it down to a simmer and gently cover with a little ventilation. Cook for about 45 minutes until the peas are nice and tender as you like them. Don’t add salt until the end when cooking beans and dried peas. When it’s ready for the salt test and add the citrus juice and vinegar. That should brighten things up and not necessitate more salt, but just in case, taste again and add it if you like. Let it sit to cool some and serve over wild rice or brown rice if you like, or just as it is.

Makes about 6 hearty servings

Variation: Use same amount of low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth or stock in lieu of water.

Corn Tomato Chowder

Summer is coming to a close and tomatoes and corn are abundant in the markets for several more weeks. This is an easy and delicious way to utilize nature’s bounty.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions ( Vidalia are good, so are white or yellow)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • fresh ground black or white pepper to taste

In a soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook them, stirring occasionally to ensure no scorching, about 5 minutes until they are softened.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, cut the corn off of the cob, ( if you are using frozen corn about 2 cups-though the crunch and taste of fresh summer corn is ideal) by setting the cob on a cutting board horizontally and slicing the corn off with a sharp knife, rotating the cob as you go. This is easier than setting the corn upright vertically and is easier to control the knife. After the kernels have been removed, you want to scrape out any of the milky liquid from each cobb and use this in the soup as well. Add all of the corn kernels and milk to the pot with the onioins and garlic.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Stir and add the salt and pepper, and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook 5 more minutes. Take off the heat and add the cilantro. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy with a dollop of sour cream if you desire.


Simply delicious collard green salad

I want to share a recipe from one of my favorite cooks and authors Robin Asbell.

Her Collard Green Waldorf salad is perfect for winter. Check out her site for more information about this recipe, and great pictures on how to prepare the collard greens.  Here is the link to her website and the recipe as follows:


Collard Green Waldorf Salad

A great thing about using resilient leaves like these in a salad is that you can dress it and serve it for days. Like coleslaw, it just gets more tender as it sits.

Makes about 4 cups

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and saved for juice or other use

2 tablespoons Meyer or other lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil

1/4 cup vegan or other mayo

1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup

2 ribs celery, split lengthwise and then chopped

1 large Honeycrisp or other apple, chopped

1/2 large carrot, grated

1/2 cup toasted broken walnuts


On your cutting board, roll up the stemmed leaves and slice thinly. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon, olive oil and salt, and massage until the greens are deep green and shrink to about 2/3 their original volume. In a cup, stir the mayo and agave or maple, and add to the greens. Add the celery, apple, carrots and toss to coat. Stir in most of the walnuts, saving some to sprinkle on top at serving.

Fran Costigans Vegan Pecan Chocolate Cake

This comes from Fran Costigan’s “Vegan Chocolate” book. Here is her website.

This combines healthy dark chocolate, Pecans, and Cranberries with healthier ingredients which yields a decadent dessert for your Thanksgiving, or Hanukkah table that doesn’t cost your health much!


Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake by Fran Costigan, Courtesy of Running Press

Makes one 9-inch cake, 10-12 servings


1/2 cup dried cranberries

zest and juice of one medium organic orange

3/4 cup pecans, roasted, cooled, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup rolled oats, toasted

1/2 cup organic whole cane sugar (sucanat or rapadura) ground in a blender to a fine powder

2 tablespoons mild tasting xv olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips


1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup dutch process cocoa

1/3 cup organic granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mild-tasting xv olive oil

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon orange oil (optional)

1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

GLAZE (optional)

1 1/3 cup organic confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dutch-process cocoa

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Mix the cranberries and orange juice in a small bowl and let soak for 10 minutes.

2. Drain the cranberries, reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice. Return the cranberries to the bowl, add the pecans, oats, whole cane sugar, zest, and oil. If the crumb is dry, add reserved orange juice. Think damp sand. Stir the chips into the crumb and reserve while you make the cake.


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Oil the sides and bottom of a 9-inch cake pan, and cut a parchment round to fit the bottom. Line the pan and don’t oil the paper.

2. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the strainer and stir with the whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. If any bits stay in the strainer, add to the bowl, and whisk to aerate the mixture.

3. Whisk the oil, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, vanilla, vinegar and orange oil (if using) in a separate medium bowl until mixed, stir into the dry mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Pour about half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle about half of the crumb over, going light on the center. Pour the remaining batter over the crumb, use a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crumb over, going light on the center.

5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry or with a few moist crumbs.

6. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then cover with a plate and invert. Remove the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Invert the cake again onto the rack to cool completely. If you are glazing, wait til it’s completely cool, or if you want to warm the cake for serving, glaze after it’s warm.


Sift the sugar and cocoa into a small heat proof bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until sugar is dissolved and glaze is smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk.

Carrot and Zucchini Fries

I am just going to post the link HERE for this recipe, as I found it on the PBS parents website. It is originally from Voracious Vander. Enjoy. I would add that optimally you want to buy organic squash and carrots as squash needs a lot of pesticides and herbicides and tends to be GMO, and carrots sit in soil that is heavily laden with pesticides.


Recipe: Carrot and Zucchini Fries

An unbelievably easy and delicious way to cook carrots and zucchini.


  • Olive oil
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Seasonings of your choice. (See note under “Instructions.”)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut your veg into 3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a light layer of olive oil.
  4. SEASON – Go with the usual salt&pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once. (Today I used salt&pepper, smokey paprika and crushed red peppers.)
  5. Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.
  6. Spread your seasoned veg over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

Cranberry Quinoa Pilaf

This colorful pilaf will be a hit on your dinner table. Quinoa is packed with essential amino acids and is high in protein to keep you feeling full.

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cups low-sugar, dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cups sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon minced, fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • pinch cayenne

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and spices, stirring often, until just softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute so as not to scorch the quinoa or spices. Stir in the broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and parsley.


Tangy Chioggia-Jicima Slaw

  • 1-large Jicima bulb, washed, peeled, and julienned
  • 1-medium chioggia beet, washed, peeled and julienned
  • 1-teaspoon grape seed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1-teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch cayenne or chili spice

Serves 2-4

Use a Mandoline with the Julienne blade to shred the Jicima and the Beet. Toss all the ingredients well in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper and the lime juice and herbs. Alternately you could use Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Seasoning instead of salt. There is even a pepper blend now.

This is a tangy, crunchy slaw that pairs well as a side dish for lunch or brunch items. Or as a salad on it’s own with some diced, fresh, avocado added and some minced red onion. The taste of Jicima is similar to a potato, but not nearly as starchy or earthy, and it’s very hydrating as it is full of water. It is full of iron and vitamin C, as well as having 6 grams of fiber per cup. It’s mildly anti-inflammatory and even has 1 gram of protein, which is surprising considering how plain and crunchy it is. Combined with the candy-cane striped Chiogga beet, this slaw is an eye pleaser, as well as being so good for you.

Alternate suggestions: Add a chopped avocado and citrus segments. If you dislike cilantro, parsley or your other favorite soft herbs may be used.

Golden Borscht

Farm fresh beets
High in Betalians and Phytonutrients

I really enjoy making Borscht. A traditional Russian soup that is said to be the reason for so many centenarians living there! A big pot of iron-rich soup that is satisfying and fortifying. Now that the end of Summer is here and Fall is peeking around the corner markets are rich with golden beets, red beets and chioggia beets.

Beetroots are chock full of phytonutrients called Betalains‘. There are two main types of betalains in beetroot: betacynins (red-violet) and betaxanthins (yellow). Both are a water soluble type of betalains found only in a few of the worlds foods like: prickly pear fruit, beets, beet greens, swiss chard, quinoa and amaranth.

These nutrients help strengthen your cells and keep them healthy and strong against bad bacteria and disease. The phytonutrients in beets are strongly anti-inflammatory. Which is wonderful news for you because all autoimmune disorders are associated with, or caused by chronic inflammation.

Betalains in particular contain water soluble fiber that helps reduce LDL cholesterol, as well as cartenoids and flavonoids which help keep cholesterol from being deposited in the arteries. They protect the cells of the liver and brain from toxins, as well as containing both potassium and magnesium.

When you buy beets, you want to look for small or medium-sized beets whose roots are firm, smooth-skinned and deep in color. Smaller, younger beets may be so tender that peeling won’t be needed after they are cooked. Avoid beets that have spots, bruises or soft, wet areas, all of which indicate spoilage. Shriveled or squishy should also be avoided as these are signs that the roots are old and will be too fibrous.While the quality of the greens does not reflect that of the roots, if you are going to consume this very nutritious part of the plant, look for greens that appear fresh, tender, and have a lively green color.

To keep the greens, cut the majority of the greens and their stems from the beet roots, so they do not pull moisture away from the root. Leave about two inches of the stem attached to prevent the roots from “bleeding.” Do not wash beets before storing. Place in a plastic bag and wrap the bag tightly around the beets, squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible, and place in refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 weeks. Raw beets do not freeze well, but cooked ones will.

For the soup you will need:

  • 2-medium sized golden beets, or 1-large one, peeled and small diced (or grated if you feel like it)
  • 2-Tablespoons yellow Miso paste
  • 1-small onion, minced
  • 1-large garlic clove, smashed
  • 2-cups beet greens, chopped (may substitute chard, collards or kale)
  • 1-medium carrot, peeled and small dice
  • 1-teaspoon sweet paprika (smoked paprika is  also good!)
  • 2-Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or grape seed oil
  • 4-cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you have reached the poultry part of the diet)
  • 1-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1-Tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
  • 2-teaspoons dried dill
  • 1-fresh bay leaf (dried is ok)
  • 1\2 cup plain Greek yogurt

In a large soup pot over medium heat, use the oil to sweat the carrot, onion, garlic. When just beginning to soften, add the beets, beet greens, bay leaf, paprika and dill. Stir well for about a minute and add the Miso paste. Cook for another five minutes and make sure to stir so the Miso doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pot. Add the beets and stock and stir again. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat to a low simmer. Let cook,uncovered,  stirring occasionally for another 15-20 minutes. Test for doneness and  stir in vinegar and season with salt and any extra pepper you may like to add.

To serve add a good dollop of Greek yogurt to the top of your bowl of Borscht. Feel free to stir it in.

Serves about-6

Variations: Use red beets and add 1-12oz can diced tomatoes, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste (instead of Miso) for a more traditional Borscht. You could also go full-stop, and add shredded red cabbage, about a cup, instead of (or in addition to) the greens.