Fall is for Roasting

In addition to getting some relief from the heat, Fall brings into season some very delicious veggies and fruits. I look forward to all of the soups, roasted foods and yummy delicacies such as baked apples. We could make them all year long, but who wants to heat up the house? Roasted veggies can be used in a variety of dishes such as a pureed based for soups, a dinner side, a salad topping and more.

(Click each photo to enlarge)

Plain roasted veggies.

Roasted veggie bowl. Top with lettuce & tzatziki

Added to pasta & topped with goat feta.

2 Fennel bulbs
½ medium yellow onion
2 cups steamed or thawed artichokes

16 oz can of chickpeas

1 tsp Sea salt

1 tsp Salt free seasoning

¼ tsp Crushed red pepper

1 tbsp Grapeseed oil (or other high heat cooking oil)

1 tbsp Sesame oil

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

  1. Rough chop fennel, onion, and artichokes into 1” pieces.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add veggies and chickpeas. Toss with dry seasoning and oils.
  3. Spread out the mixture on a non-stick baking sheet and cook on the top rack for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Veggies will be crisp and golden brown when complete.

Shells & Luscious Greens

I’ve always found it slightly amusing when someone says to me ,“You know there are more calories and fat in a salad than there are in a burger and fries!” Now, we know that is an exaggeration, but the person justifying their burger has a point: when you look at the sodium, fat and cholesterol in some of the most popular salads, it is atrocious. Heaped high with avocado, eggs, high calorie dressing and fried chicken strips, some salads can pack 1000 calories! What’s worse, many complain of not being full after making a salad a meal. One thing that making a salad at home can do is, help you lower the calories, and also to find a way to repurpose leftovers that may have otherwise gone to waste.When a salad is made with a generous amount of leafy greens, you can get more of your daily vegetable servings in before the day is over. Green leafy vegetables are surprising powerful as immune system warriors although most associate citrus fruits with getting well over a cold. Did you know that 1 serving of kale has 290% Vitamin A and 190% vitamin C for your daily intake? Yet, we hardly ever hear anyone say, “I’m not feeling so well, I think I’ll go make some kale.”  Some find kale to be a bit of a rough green to eat raw. In nice thin shreds, kale is delicious and easier to blend into salads. I added the shell pasta to introduce an additional dimension of texture to the salad grazing. Enjoy!

*The salad in the picture is photographed with vegan chicken, but you may use any assortment of beans, tofu, salmon, or roasted chicken you may have left over in your fridge.

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


  • Kale, 1 cup, shredded
  • Spinach, 1 cup, roughly chopped
  • Pine nuts, 1 TBSP
  • Pea shoots, 20 to 30 shoots
  • Green olives, pitted, 10 olives
  • ½ lemon
  • Grapeseed oil, 2 tsp
  • Your choice of protein, seasoned and cooked, 3 oz (Cold leftovers are great)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Conchiglie (shell) pasta
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Skillet/ Frying pan/ Wok

  1. Measure ½ cup dry shell pasta and cook according to al dente instructions. Drain when complete and allow to cool.
  2. Heat skillet on medium high, and once it is heated, add 1 TBSP of pine nuts to toast for 15 to 30 seconds, or until browned. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.
  3.  In a large mixing bowl, add kale, spinach, pasta, pine nuts and olives. Toss with 2 tsp grapeseed oil, 1 TBSP balsamic,  1/8 tsp sea salt, pepper to taste, and ¼ lemon wedge. Mix well.
  4. Place mixed contents onto plate or bowl they will be eaten from.
  5. Place your protein of chicken, seafood or beans on top of the bed of greens, Cut off about 2 to 3 inches of the ends of the pea shoots, and arrange on top of the protein.
  6.  Drizzle the juice of another ¼ lemon over the salad once more along with a dash of salt and pepper.

Spicy & Romantic Pesto Pasta

If I had to sum up romance in a sentence, I would say it is taking that which is familiar and ordinary, and continually making it extraordinary through the expression of love. This is eternally true for all aspects of life, and in my case– cooking.I wanted to come up with a delicious recipe that could be used to celebrate Valentine’s day by making others feel loved. If we can put love into the details of what we do by thoughtfulness and creativity, we will never grow bored. With this dish, you have familiar ingredients, with added spice to surprise the taste buds, and undoubtedly, the lucky receiver of this incredible dish!

I rule-bend  a lot in the kitchen, because following traditional recipes leaves me unsatisfied. The chemist in me questions high calorie ingredients and pushes to explore and find new ingredients that don’t skimp on the flavor. Trust me on this: leave nothing out! This has got to be one of the most sensual and delicious dishes I’ve had in a while, and no reservation was necessary!

Serves 7

You will need:

  • food processor (If you do not have a food processor or a good blender, skip the pesto step and buy pesto already made. Sun dried tomato pesto is preferred)
  • 1 box of whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 1tsp 21 seasoning salute
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large jalapenos
  • approximately 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • red pepper flakes, add as desired
  • black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 3 red bell peppers (washed, seeded and cut into thin strips)
  • 5 sun ripened tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • the juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/8 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tsp cilantro
  • Your choice of protein (My recommendation would be shrimp for this dish, but you have many options spicy Italian seitan was used for mine)

1. Cook pasta according to al dente instructions. We want our pasta nice and hearty and able to be tossed with ease.

2. For spicy pesto, add the following ingredients to your food processor: fresh basil leaves, 2.5 jalapenos, 1/8 cup olive oil, garlic, sun ripened tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, Parmesan and cilantro. Also, add salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1/2 tsp of salt and a dash of pepper.

3. Pulse food processor until the ingredients are minced finely and almost the texture of puree.

4. In a large skillet, use about 1 TBSP olive oil and brown your protein on medium high heat. I used a dash of salt and pepper, and 21 Seasoning Solute generously.  ). Once protein has browned, add bell peppers and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. For additional spice, finely chop additional jalapeno and add to saute. Add baby spinach last, as it wilts the fastest. Remove from heat.

5. Add cooked and rinsed noodles to skillet of protein and vegetables and toss well. Add pesto sauce and serve with additional basil leaves as garnish.

Spicy Pesto Pasta with Italian Seitan Sausage

Nutritional info per serving:

(without protein added)

Calories: 320  Protein: 10g  Fat:10g

I will follow up with a very spicy dessert. Click the button above to subcribe!

The Sleeveless Burrito

A love of Mexican food is almost as much a California tradition as much as it is a Mexican one. Having traveled to more than half the states as well as Mexico, I have to say no other states compare. Burritos, tacos and tortilla chips offer so much variation through different proteins, cheeses, and an array of vegetables. One thing to be considered, though is that some of the “monster burritos” that are colossally sized, can be made from tortillas that are 200 or more calories. Popular restaurants like Chipotle, Rubio’s, and Qdoba offer bowls that can be heaped high with the same delicious fillings as the burritos and tacos. I can honestly say that although I usually opt for these when eating out, when I make Mexican food at home I usually use a tortilla. In finding foods that are friendly to the Daniel fast, and also nice to my pocket book– I have sought to replicate this meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

You will need:
((serves 1))

  • 3/4 cup brown rice, cooked (I used Trader Joes frozen organic brown rice which cooks in 3 mins, or 7 minutes on the stovetop)
  • 1/2 cup of your bean of choice, cooked & drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas thawed
  • Optional: 3/4 Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions
  • 1/4 cup frozen white corn
  • 1 TBSP red onion minced
  • 1 TSP garlic
  • 21 seasoning salute
  • crushed red pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP pico de gallo
  • 1 lime

1. While cooked rice is still warm, add peas. Since I steamed the rice, I added the thawed peas and let them cook together. Once done, add a few piece of chopped cilantro, the juice d 1/4 line, and 21 seasoning solute to taste. Salt if you must.

2. Cook fire roasted veggies in very light oil. I used only 1 TSP of extra virgin olive oil in a small wok. A wok is ideal for this because you can cook at very high temperatures, and benefit from the steam created by the high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes.

3. Once seasoning rice is combined, layer beans on top in bowl.

4. Combine white corn, the juice of 1/4 lime, 1 TBSP fresh cilantro, and 1 TBSP of red onion.

4. Next add fire roasted veggies to the bowl, top those with the white corn topping, and then salsa. For additional flavor, add more cilantro and lime juice on top.

Tip: add avocado slices for additional toppings or shredded romaine lettuce.

Calories: 468 Protein: 16g

The Sleeveless Burrito

Asian-Inspired Croquettes with Sauteed Kale & Spinach

While it may not be a dreaded Monday for everyone, it is usually guaranteed to be full of action. There is always so much catching up to do, and when someone asks “How was your weekend?” it always makes me stop and think, “What weekend?” because it flew by too fast. I really believe we should designate Mondays as a day to make comfort foods. Comfort foods do not have to be heavy and unhealthy, but they are instead foods that are associated with fond memories and hearty enough to satisfy your pallet and your weary body. A food I remember from meals at Gram’s house were croquettes. They were usually salmon and accompanied by fluffy rice with a generous dose of black pepper, and veggies. Funny enough that I didn’t like croquettes very much the first time I tried them. My picky pallet back then did not appreciate the croquettes at all. No, I didn’t eat them for flavoring, I knew at just 7 years old, that this was delicious grown up food. I savored it, and eventually grew to love croquettes. Now that I am older, I have become a vegetarian and I was very curious if I could closely replicate them and find a nice dish for accompaniment. This fusion of Southern style cooking and Asian cuisine will likely be an easy dish you run to when you need a good hearty meal and do not want to spend a lot of time. This is a 20 minute dish that will be eaten in blissful silence or as long as it lasts (probably a few minutes tops 😉 ). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Serves 2

  • 1/4 cup walnuts (leave out if using fish for protein)
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic peeled
  • 6 sheets of roasted wasabi seaweed
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 4 oz tempeh OR your favorite fish, cooked
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Japanese panko crumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. In a food processor, combine walnuts, garlic, seaweed, tempeh and cilantro. Pulse until mixture is combined, and stop when the contents are just a little larger than grains of rice.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix contents adding a dash of black pepper, 1 TBSP of soy sauce, and add 1 raw egg which will hold the croquettes together. Mix well.

3. Meanwhile, heat your skillet on medium high in 1/4 inch of extra virgin olive oil.

4. Take a cutting board and place panko crumbs on it to use for covering the croquettes before frying.

5. With a spoon (I used a teaspoon), or your hand, portion out croquettes and then either dip in panko crumbs or sprinkle on top.

5. With a slotted spoon or spatula, lower croquettes into hot oil. Cook about 2 minutes per side until crisp and brown.

6. Set aside on a paper towel to cool and drain excess oil.

For Kale & Spinach

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sesame seeds
  • soy sauce

1. In a large non-stick skillet, warm sesame and olive oil.

2. Once oil is heated add kale. Move the kale around and allow it to become slightly tender. About 2 minutes later, add spinach, which wilts faster. Just as spinach begins to wilt, the veggies are essentially done.

3. In your last step, turn off the heat and as the mixture still cooks, add soy sauce and sesame seeds.

4. Remove from heat and serve hot with croquettes.