Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Broccoli

One of my favorite dinners to make is stuffed peppers; they are so fun to make, because you can get creative and add whatever vegetable, grain, or delicious morsel you desire to the filling. If you are a meat eater, you can add chopped up sausage for an extra protein punch. Vegetarians will get their full dose of protein when using Quinoa, because it is a complete protein! Stuffed peppers are very filling and are great served with a small salad or delicious crispy Roasted Broccoli. Enjoy this delectable plant based recipe; get creative and have fun in the process.

Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 Bell Peppers(Mixed colors)

2 Cups Chopped Spinach

1/2 Cup Chopped Calamata Olives

1/2 Cup Chopped Tomatoes

1 Cup Mushrooms

1 Onion-Chopped

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

1 Cup Quinoa

2 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees.

To make Quinoa, follow instructions on the package, substitute water for vegetable stock to add flavor. Add coconut oil, salt and cumin to boiling liquid. Make sure all moisture is absorbed into the quinoa. Fluff and set aside.

QuinoaWash peppers and cut off the tops and cut a little bit off the bottoms so the peppers can sit upright. Remove seeds and pepper innards. Set Peppers aside.

Pepper

Sauté mushrooms,spinach and onion in olive until slightly soft, chop tomatoes and olives. With a wooden spoon, fold everything into quinoa mixture. Add lemon, salt, pepper and olive to taste. Feel free to substitute or add different vegetables/beans into quinoa mixture. Also, if for some weird reason you are not a fan of quinoa, this recipe will work with brown rice or couscous.

Place peppers in a glass baking dish. Fill with 1 inch of warm water. With a large spoon, stuff peppers with quinoa mixture. Be liberal with the quinoa, make sure the peppers are fully stuffed.

Bake for 1 hour or until the pepper is soft and the quinoa is browned.

Let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

1 Head of Broccoli

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

2-3 Shakes of Red Chili Flakes

Preheat oven to 425. Wash and Dry broccoli. Chop Broccoli florets off the stems and into smaller bite sized pieces. In a medium bowl toss broccoli with a olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. With your hands, massage olive oil into the heads of the florets ensuring a crispy finish.

Place Broccoli on a baking sheet covered with tin foil or parchment paper.

Roast for 15-20 minutes until broccoli is slightly browned and crispy.

Remember to share as this dish can be quite addicting!

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Cooking Cutos with Cindy

My mom Cindy is a huge inspiration as a chef, gardener and creative being. She has been a vegetarian/pescatarian for over 40 years. She has a bountiful garden full of beautiful flowers, vegetables, herbs, garlic, apples and blueberries. She and my dad live a farm to table lifestyle. The food she must purchase, she ensures is local, organic and sustainable. I am so lucky to have grown up with her as a beautiful example of how to eat and live.

This video shows my mom making her original specialty, Cutos. Lightly fried tofu, tossed with tamari (or soy sauce) and nutritional yeast flakes. The perfect vegetarian treat to enhance any dinner. Cutos go great with brown rice and vegetable stir fry. Enjoy!

Celebrating the Summer Solstice with a Fresh, Plant based Feast

On Saturday, the farmer’s market was full of so many fragrant, colorful fruits and vegetables. I chose to get bright yellow summer squash, basil, juicy tomatoes, fresh avocados, peaches, bloomsdale spinach and some tangy lemons. I had no idea what I was going to do with them….. but to me half the fun of being in the kitchen is creating unique and custom recipes. Letting the ingredients I have determine what make. Last night, I made a brief plan and improvised along the way.  I served:

Grilled Summer Squash with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze

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Slice the Squash into thirds, the long way.

Grill on low for about 8 minutes per side. You want the squash to still be a little firm, to hold it’s shape.

While grilling, thinly slice Humboldt Fog Goat cheese.

While the squash is hot, place a healthy amount of cheese on the squash.

Let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle balsamic glaze or reduction over the top and enjoy!

Basil Chimichurri and Avocado Quinoa

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  Add  1 Cup of rinsed Quinoa and 2 Cups of liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. I use 1 Cup of water and 1 Cup of  Vegetable stock to add flavor. I also add Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, turn to low and cover for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

In a small bowl, add 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 Teaspoon of Pepper and 1/2 Teaspoon of salt. Rinse 1 1/2 Cups of Basil Leaves, chop finely and mix into sauce. Creating a fresh and delicious pestoey/chimichurri sauce.

Once Quinoa is cooked, put it in a large glass bowl and toss it with the Chimichurri Sauce. Finely chop 2 Scallions, peel and cube 2 ripe avocados. Toss together and enjoy this delicious and nutritious dish! Quinoa is a complete protein, so this can act as your main dish as well as your grain.

 Bloomsdale Spinach salad with Truffle Parmesan and Tomato

Spinach!

Wash, Slice and Half 1 large flavorful tomato. The tomato juices double as a component to the salad dressing. Rinse and rough chop about 4 Cups of Spinach. Finely slice 1/4 of a red onion. Add the juice of 1 Lemon. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the spinach. Grind about 1/2-1 teaspoon of pepper into the salad.  Give the salad a drizzle of about 2 Tablespoons of High quality olive. Toss with your hands. Add a handful of sunflower seeds and voila, your salad is ready!

Enjoy The Taste of Summer!!

The full Meal

Holy Guacamole!

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One of my favorite foods is guacamole. There is nothing better than a salty crunchy tortilla chip dipped in a bowl full of chunky, tangy, rich guacamole. My guacamole recipe has been evolving since I was a small child. My mom’s recipe called for smashed avocados mixed with several heaping spoonfuls of fresh salsa. This was one of my favorite after school snacks. In college, I began to chop onion and jalapeño and add it to this recipe. As my taste buds matured and my chopping skills improved I learned a new way to make guacamole.

I call it Chop Til You Drop Guacamole

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4 Avocados Peeled, Pitted and Halved

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro

1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion

2 Medium sized tomatos, de-seeded and finely chopped

1/2-1 Jalapeño finely diced

1 Teaspoon Salt

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Place avocado halves in a medium sized bowl, pour the juice of 1 lemon over the avocado to keep fresh. Chop all the other ingredients. Place ingredients in bowl with avocados. Use a small sharp knife to slice avocados and ingredients together. This keeps the guacamole chunky and beautiful. Enjoy with chips, tacos, or just eat it with a spoon!

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Ooh Baby It’s Hot Outside

Watermelon Juice!

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With temperatures soaring to the high 90s by the beach and into the 100s inland, Angelino’s are feeling the heat. Make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of cold WATER. If you are looking for something refreshing as well as tasty I suggest making this simple and tasty drink. As well as being completely natural and fat free, it is full of vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium.

1/2 Ice Cold Water Melon
3-4 Ice Cubes
4 Leafs of Mint
1/2 Lime

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Blend Watermelon, lime juice and ice until frothy and smooth.
Add Mint to garnish.
Serve over ice with a straw and enjoy!!!

Top 10 Vegetarian Friendly Lunch Spots in LA

I am a big fan of cooking at home, but when time requires something quicker or I schedule a lunch date, I often head to one of the following establishments for a healthy and delicious meal. Each restaurant listed has amazing vegetarian and vegan options. Click on the Restaurant title to visit their website.

10. Veggie Grill– Vegan fast food. Beware the burger and fries…. they are still burger and fries even if they are vegan. Go for one of their delicious chopped salads or soups. My favorite salad is the All Hail Kale; delicious, chopped and massaged kale with pecans, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage with a tasty fruity vinaigrette  either served alone or with blackened tempeh or “chicken.” If you must indulge the Kickin Buffalo Wings are amazing and served with a sauce so similar to ranch it is scary. Check their website for locations, there are new ones opening all the time. $$

9. Native Foods– Tasty vegan fast food. Try their Rockin Moroccan Bowl if you have a hearty appetite or go for the Ensalada Azteca for a light, crisp salad, I often add tempeh or fake chicken for a protein boost! Their Lavendar lemonade is divine. $$

8. True Food Kitchen– Located in the Santa Monica Place mall, this place has a diverse and delicious menu. Everything is very good and mostly very healthy! My go-to dish here is the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl with Avocado and Tofu with Sambal on the side. The presentation and preparation is perfectly executed. It is a fine place for dinner as well.  Other highlights on the menu are the Inside Out Quinoa Burger, Shitake and Tofu Lettuce Cups, Edamame Dumplings, Carrot Lemonade and the Farmer’s Market Salad! $$$

7. Whole Foods– Delicious deli and salad bar, filled with organic produce, soups and cuisine from all around the world; fresh sushi, tacos, sandwiches, pho, raw foods, as well as pre made salads to die for! Some of my favorites are the lemon cranberry quinoa salad, the potato leek soup, sesame tofu sticks, raw kale salad etc! Check the website for locations… my favorite one is on Rosecrans and PCH in El Segundo, it is spacious, has ample parking and is rarely crowded. $-$$$

6. GTA (Gjelina Take Away)– Modern farm to table counter spot on Abott Kinney in Venice. Delicious pre made salads that change daily, some of my favorites have been sliced hard boiled eggs with asparagus and tarragon, panzanella, and a delicious faro, mint and feta salad. Their dishes depend on what’s in season. There are sandwiches and amazing pizzas available as well. The main restaurant Gjelina is right next door and is my favorite restaurant!!  The only downside to GTA is there is no where to sit, but old milk crates. $$

5. Playa’s Pita– The most delicious Lebanese Cuisine in town! They have the most amazing vegan combo plate with the best baba ganoush, tabouli and garlic sauce you will ever taste! Their falafel is light and tasty on the inside and crispy on the outside. The fattoush salad is perfectly dressed and their swiss chard and lentil soup is among my favorite soups in the city! I hear that the meat dishes are phenomenal. Five star restaurant in terms of flavor and friendliness! $$

4. Tender Greens– Delicious freshly made assembly line style eatery. Fresh salads are tossed to perfection and served up with your choice of protein, soup, grilled vegetables or fluffy mashed potatoes. I recommend the kale salad with grilled vegetables or the happy vegan, a medley of vegan salads; green hummus, tabouli, barley and faro. It is conveniently located next to my gym so I often hit up “TGs” after my workout! Check out their website for a location near you. $$

3. Senor G’s– My Favorite local joint in Playa Del Rey. Serves up fresh, healthy Mexican food, juices and smoothies! I love these guys. The service is amazing, the food is always consistent and delicious and they serve breakfast until 4pm everyday. The guys will make you anything you want and will work with whatever diet you’re on. My regular order is one guacamole taco and a side of black beans with a fresh young coconut to drink! One taco is enough food to fill you up! Plus their salsa is my absolute favorite so indulge in a few chips! The grilled veggie taco or grilled veggie salad are also great. The veggies are fresh and tasty and not overcooked! For breakfast my new favorite thing has been the breakfast Ole with egg whites and black beans and guacamole instead of rice!!! If you’re a meat eater, I hear the Martin’s Kickin Chicken taco is the way to go. Trust me, once you go G’s you’ll keep coming back! $

2. Mendocino Farms– Amazingly crafted sandwiches. My meat eating man’s favorite sandwich in LA is their Vegan Banh Mi! Delicious marinated tofu, crispy julian cut carrots and cucumbers, cilantro, sticky chili sauce, jalapeños, the works! This sandwich is to die for. It is usually served on toasted ciabatta however I opt for the gluten free option from local GF Rising Hearts Bakery. The side salads and soups are delicious as well! Don’t miss the Wheat Berry, Kale and Tofu salad or the curried couscous. There are many delicious sandwiches and wraps at Mendocino, I suggest checking out their website and choosing which ones appeal to your taste buds!!

1. Green Peas– A new discovery! The perfect complete lunch. Everything they have, they offer to make vegan or vegetarian. My favorite salad is the Avocado Kale salad, tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and served with soup and whole wheat pita. The jalapeño “chicken” sandwich is a delightful treat served on pretzel bread with soup, salad or potatoes. The preparation is simple, but well crafted and always very fresh and so tasty. The quesadillas are amazing… stuffed with vegetables and served with salsa. Their mint lemonade is delicious. GO HERE! It’s on Sepulveda just south of Culver! It so tasty and the name is so cute! $$

 

ENJOY!!

Yammy Baby Kale Salad with Herb Honey Dijon Dressing

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You will need:

1 large yam (Peeled, Cubed, and Roasted with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and Rosemary- baked for 20-30 mins at 400 til soft)
2-3 Cups Baby Kale
1/2 Avocado- Cubed
1/4 dried cranberries
1/4 chopped Sweet/spicy pecans fom TJs (I use these in so many of my salads, because they add the perfect punch!)
Shaved Parmesan To taste

Massage Baby Kale with Dressing and pinch of salt and pepper. Toss together remaining ingredients.

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Serve with soup or cheese and crackers and enjoy!!

For the Dressing (Not sure about exact measurements but try the following)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey
Salt and Pepper
1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary- finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme- finely chopped

Whisk Together and add olive oil or balsamic vinegar as needed to balance acidity. (I usually put mine in a mason jar and shake it up… great for storage and limited mess).