Edamame & Cashew Burgers

I never knew about this kind of a veggie burger until I was visiting Johnson & Wales University. A nutrition lab made mini edamame & cashew burgers on buns with slaw. They were delicious. I never did get the recipe, so I recreated it at home. It makes a great lunchbox especially for Spring! It’s even fun for little ones because of the color. You could  do this for St.Patricks day. Or on a Shrek movie night. You can convince the kids that these green burgers are “Shrek” burgers! You know they’ll go for it. It’s simple, check it out, this is all you are going to need:

All your ingredient san pepper

All your ingredient sans pepper

Gourmet lunchbox

Gourmet lunchbox

Yields: 4 burgers


  • 1 bag (10oz) shelled edamame, defrosted
  • 1/3 c  roasted cashews
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 3-4 T light soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c panko crumbs
  • dash of pepper or siracha
  • salt, if desired
  • 1-2 T olive oil

How to:

1. Place cashews in the bowl of the food processor. Process for about 30 seconds, until tiny in size, but not powdery.

2. Next, place defrosted, room temperature edamame in food processor. Also add, green onion, garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Pulse until blended to a paste-like consistency.

3. Add egg to processor. Process for a little longer, until smooth and uniform.

4. Scrape contents from the food processor into a large mixing bowl. Add panko crumbs. Mix well with hands and form 4 burger patties. (Optional: you can coat the burgers with additional panko crumbs, if you would like a crust on your burger)

5. In an cast iron skillet, place 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, and get it very hot. Make sure its a large enough pan so you can comfortably turn over the burgers. Place burgers in hot skillet, cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

Hot skillet! Two left in the pool.

Hot skillet! Two left in the pool

Storing for later!

Storing for later!

Caprese Sandwich with Avocado

We are almost ready to give up our hearty stews and soups as Winter is leaving us until next year. For lighter fare, I turn to this sandwich, which makes for the perfect transition into Spring. Its great alone, as the sourdough speaks for itself. Or a great companion to that soup we were talking about relinquishing. Or maybe not just yet 😉


Yields: 1 big sandwich

What you’ll need:

  • 2 big slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 3 fresh mozzarella cheese slices (I used 3 oz)
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • drizzle of Italian olive oil
  • Optional: pinch of salt for your tomatoes

How to:

Start by slicing your sourdough bread with a serrated knife. Believe it or not, the order in which the filling is placed on the sandwich makes a difference on how well your sandwich stays together. I place the tomatoes on the bottom, that way they create the most stable “base”. Next, layer mozzarella, avocado, then basil. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the other piece of sourdough. Presto!



Spinach-stuffed Portobellos

Filling. Delicious. Easy. Can it get any better than that? Oh, and its healthy too!

Pop these guys in the oven for an easy dinner tonight!


What you’ll need:

  • 5 Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, part skim
  • 1 cup Mozzarella part skim 2% shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach, drained and squeezed
  • dash of salt and pepper

How to:

1) Preheat oven to 375 F and line one cookie tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2) Sautee onion and garlic in frying pan on stove top.

3) Snap cap off of each portobello and using a spoon, gently scrape the underside, or gills, of it out. Discard. Place portobellos on lined cookie sheet.

4) In a large bowl, place spinach, ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, panko crumbs, rice, tomatoes, sautéed onions, garlic and lastly salt and pepper. Stir.

5) Fill each portobello with spinach mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

6) Place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until cheese starts to bubble.


I served the stuffed mushrooms with a tomato & hearts of palm salad.


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


It’s amazing the difference between homemade hummus and store bought-seriously! This recipe will convince you to always have some on hand at all times. Pair with cucumber & carrot slices for the perfect Friday night dip or for the kiddo’s lunch, spread on a sandwich bread instead of mayo. Get creative!


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
  • 3 tablespoons cooking water from garbanzo beans
  • 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 roasted red pepper

Yields: approximately 2 cups hummus

How to:

First, halve the red pepper and place face down on a baking sheet. Pop ’em in a 350 degrees oven, for about 20 minutes. When done, let rest for about 5 minutes, as it will allow the skin to peel off easily. When cooled, discard stem, seeds and skin. Next, in the bowl of a food processor, place garlic. Pulse until fine. Add garbanzo beans and pulse until they get sort of stuck to the outside of the bowl. Now, add cooking liquid, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper, cumin, lemon juice and the roasted red pepper. Pulse all again until smooth consistency is achieved; about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Serve either room temp or cold. Drizzle additional olive oil over the top. Pair with pita chips.

Note: Home cooked garbanzo beans yield a tastier hummus versus using canned garbanzo beans. About 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans yields 2.5-3 cups cooked. (The variation is due to soaking time, cooking time and type of bean.)



Sweet potato soup


Using local produce is important to me. I can’t buy local all the time, year round, but I make sure that I push for it in the Summer and Fall months. It’s easy in North Carolina to get local apples starting in August and sweet potatoes almost all year long.  I’m not a huge sweet potato fan like the rest of my obsessed family, but with such a demand in the household I had to get creative! This soup takes a little prep time but with some effort, you’ll have a great big pot of soup to serve up and satisfy.

Yields: 6 big bowls

What you’ll need:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, baked and then skinned and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped and steamed
  • 16 oz. low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • salt and pepper, as needed
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, as desired

How to:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Place sweet potatoes directly on the middle rack. Slide a cookie sheet one level below just in case sweet potatoes leak. Bake for about 45 minutes, depending on size of sweet potatoes. Once done, take out of oven and let cool on countertop for 15-20 minutes. Once cool, peel and chop.

Next, over medium-high heat brown onions and leeks in butter and olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper. Once onions are translucent and leeks are soft, add cup of milk.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, chicken broth and water. Let simmer again for about 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender on the highest setting (I use a Bamix) blend until soup is a good consistency.  I like it a little chunky, but you may like it more smooth, so blend a little bit longer. It’s your soup, so make it the way you like it! If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could ladle it into a standard blender. But be careful; it’s hot. When done blending, serve in bowls and top with freshly grated aged parmesan cheese.

Spinach artichoke bites

For my cousin’s NC backyard wedding I was appointed to provide appetizers for the event. I cringed wondering if she would regret asking the nutrition-conscious person in the family to provide to a group of fried-chicken-eating friends! I knew I couldn’t disappoint the bride on her big day but I secretly wanted to sneak some vegetables in any way I could. Always looking for a way to get more nutrients in, I adapted this Ina Garten recipe into my own party-pleaser appetizer! Watch these bites disappear!


Yields: 18-20 pieces


  • 2 packs of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 small jar of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1- 8 oz. tub of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 3 cup of shredded Parmesano reggianito cheese
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 box of phyllo dough, room temp
  • 6-8 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Special equipment:

  • pastry brush

How to:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese and spinach until well mixed. Now add eggs, and parmesan, salt and pepper. Now, take bowl out of mixer holder and fold in artichokes with spatula.  The filling is complete. Now for the phyllo dough. Unwrap dough, and discard top sheet if it feels dry or breaks. Peel one sheet off and place it on the clean counter top in front of you. Using the melted butter and the pastry brush, lightly  brush the sheet. Peel off a new sheet and place it on top of the buttered one. Don’t worry if its not perfect. Be careful not to press hard when painting or the dough could break. Repeat for 10 layers. Now, at the bottom of the rectangle, lay out spinach mixture like a log. Use about half and reserve the other half for the next log. Using your hands, “roll up” the log so it looks really long. Transfer to the parchment lined cookie sheet. With a serrated knife, cut on a diagonal about 8-9 times. Brush with butter. Bake for 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. When done, finish slicing. Serve warm.

20130914_190229 20130914_190254

Pumpkin pie pancakes


Fall is on it’s way and pumpkin-flavored everything is coming out in stores. But there is something about a crisp Sunday morning with a steaming cup of black coffee and a hot-off-the-griddle pumpkin pie pancake! (of course with maple syrup too) These pumpkin pie pancakes are the perfect hybrid between pumpkin pie and pancake, but they are fluffy just like a pancake. The trick to these perfect flavored pancakes is the pumpkin pie spice.

Yields: 14 pancakes


  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Begin by mixing the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. With a whisk, add pumpkin, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter. In another bowl, add all the rest of the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, add wet ingredients into the dry. Don’t over mix batter. On a hot griddle, ladle the pancake mix onto a hot, buttered griddle in about 1/3 c portions. When pancakes bubble, they are ready to flip. Repeat until batter is used up! Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.







Picture above: the lighter cooked ones are more doughy, and the more cooked ones have a better pumpkin pie flavor.

Stuffed peppers with tempeh and kamut


This recipe is worth the time that it takes because it tastes amazing, has an excellent presentation and lasts for leftovers too! Kamut, an “ancient grain” quoted to have originated from Egypt, has  particularly bite to it. It looks like rice but does not taste soft like rice. Another key ingredient to this recipe is tempeh. If you are not familiar with it, this is a great opportunity to get to cook with it. All it is, is fermented soy beans. Sort of like a variation of tofu. If your not feeling it, you can sub out with pulled pork or chicken. I just love how all the stuffing vegetables are green and stand out against the brightly colored pepper. Between the bite of kamut and the nuttiness of the tempeh, this flavor combination is an international explosion!

Yields: 8 stuffed peppers

You’ll need:

  • 2 orange peppers, cut in half
  • 2 red peppers, cut in half
  • 2 cup kamut, cooked
  • 1/2 cup edamame, shelled
  • 1 head baby broccoli florets, steamed
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 package of tempeh, steamed and chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper

How to:

The best way to start making this recipe, is to cook the kamut the day ahead. Keep in mind, it does take about 60-70 minutes to cook through. I cook it in half chicken broth, half water (if vegetarian use vegetable stock). On a greased baking sheet, place pepper halves face down and bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, steam tempeh in a steam basket for about 12 minutes. While you have all that going, in a large bowl, add kamut, edamame, broccoli, green onions, olive oil and lime juice. This is your filling. When tempeh is done (you can marinate it in teriyaki if you have additional time) chop it and add to the mixture. When peppers are done in the oven, flip them over so they are ready to be filled. You can transfer them to serving dish if you would like. Using a medium-sized spoon, evenly distribute in each pepper some of the mixture. They are pretty as a picture and ready to go. Time to eat!