Salads Sides Vegan Vegetarian

Nutty Roasted Beet Salad with Sambal Oelek

For a couple of decades, beets were relegated to the almost-universally disliked vegetable pile, along with cauliflower and brussels sprouts. It seems all three of these lovely veggies are getting a second chance, and people are loving all of the new iterations of these now-popular foods. 

I’m sure Dwight Schrute would like to take credit for the increased popularity of beets, but I believe the real truth is that people started learning how to cook beets instead of buying them pickled in cans. As it turns out, ruby-colored beets are pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds, especially when they are roasted. This recipe combines roasted beets with salty and sweet, and tangy and spicy ingredients; and the result is a delicious, well-balanced beet salad that is perfect for a light lunch or side dish. 


1.5 lb. beets

1.5 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. Sambal Oelek (Asian chili paste)

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

½ c. walnuts or pecans

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub the beets and cut off the tops and bottoms. Cut the beets in half. Place the halved beets on a baking sheet and mix them with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake them for about an hour, or until tender. When the beets are finished baking, let them cool and then remove the skins. They should slide right off. Cut the beets into long, thin sticks or small bite-sized pieces. 

In a small bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, Sambal Oelek, honey, shallots and nuts. Add to the beets and taste as your pour to make sure you have added the amount of dressing you like. Season with salt and pepper. Add the nuts and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sides Vegan Vegetarian

Spicy Thai Peanut Hummus

I was making a tofu and veggie wrap earlier today and I just couldn’t decide: did I want hummus on it or a peanut dipping sauce on the side? Well, my overly imaginative brain decided to smash the two options together into one, and voila: spicy Thai peanut hummus was born. 

Suddenly, I want to cover everything in this spicy Thai peanut hummus. Or maybe just eat it by the spoonful. Good thing hummus is healthy, right?


1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. sriracha (or more!)

1 clove of garlic

2 Tbsp. tahini

1 Tbsp. agave or honey

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1-inch knob of fresh ginger

⅓ c. olive oil

Juice from ½ lemon

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve with warm pita bread or as a topping or dip.

Sides Vegetarian

Super-Simple Homemade Garlic Naan

I used to be really intimidated by the idea of making naan at home until I actually tried it. I used to pick up a packet of pre-made naan at the grocery store when I was cooking an Indian meal. Some store-bought naan isn’t vile, but it’s just not the same as fresh, warm, slightly brown naan that you get in restaurants. When I finally realized how very simple it is to make naan at home, I pledged I would never again buy naan at the grocery store. 

This naan is seriously good. You will tell yourself that you will only have one piece and that you will save the rest. I’m sorry, but you won’t. Make sure you have lots of extra curry sauce handy because you will most likely be dipping and eating until the whole stack of naan is gone. And you’ll feel no remorse whatsoever. 


2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast (1 packet) 

1 tsp. sugar

½ c. warm water

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 egg, beaten

¼ c. plain yogurt

1 tsp. salt

2 ½ c. flour

Garlic butter topping:

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. butter

Cilantro, for topping

In a large bowl, mix together water, yeast and sugar. Let it sit until it’s bubbly, about 5 minutes. Mix in olive oil, egg, yogurt, flour, and salt. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is pliable and not sticky.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it and let the dough rise for about an hour (or until it has doubled in size). 

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Portion the dough into 6-8 pieces, depending on the size you want your naan. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about ½ inch thick. 

Place the rolled out naan, one at a time, into the skillet and cook each side for about 2 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

Heat the garlic and butter in a small saucepan. Brush each piece of naan with mixture, top with cilantro and serve hot! Of course, you can also omit this part and serve the naan plain. It’s delicious either way.

Sides Vegetarian

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Garlic, Parmesan and Lemon

As far as I’m concerned, potatoes are one of the earth’s crown jewels. They’re healthy, amazing and inexpensive. They taste good plain or even with just a little salt and pepper, but roasting them with garlic, lemon and Parmesan cheese takes them over the top in the flavor department. These colorful fingerling potatoes are not only drop-dead gorgeous, they are drop-dead delicious. 


1 lb. fingerling potatoes, various colors if you can find them, quartered lengthwise

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Juice from 1 lemon

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley, for topping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Toss the potatoes in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. 

Flip the potatoes and add the Parmesan cheese to the top of them. Put the potatoes back into the oven and bake for another 10-15, or until the potatoes and cheese are light brown and crispy. 

Season with additional salt, pepper and Parmesan to taste. Top with fresh parsley.

Sides Soups

Sushi Restaurant-Style Miso Soup

Have you ever made the mistake of buying a packet of pre-fab miso soup? Guilty. Let’s just say it doesn’t quite live up to expectations if what you were expecting was sushi restaurant style miso soup. When I tried the store version that day, I could almost hear the loser music from The Price is Right.

Anyway, one day I was tired of thinking I had to go to a sushi restaurant to get a good miso soup fix . . . so I tried my hand at making my own at home. And guess what? It was amazing. Even better than the miso soup at most restaurants. When you make your own miso soup, you can really customize the level of miso flavor and all of the add-ins. I love a lot of miso flavor and lots of tofu, green onions, and seaweed in my soup. Now it’s perfect every time and I don’t have to go out to an expensive restaurant to enjoy miso soup. When you make this, be sure to taste along the way so that you can choose your own level of miso taste and the amount of your add-ins! 


5 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)

4 Tbsp. white miso 

3 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

3 green onions, sliced

Dried seaweed, for topping

Bring the chicken broth to a boil, and turn off the heat immediately. Whisk in miso and make sure that there are no lumps. Add the tofu, green onions, and seaweed. Serve hot!

Salads Sides

Warm Farro Salad with Arugula and Feta

Sometimes a cold salad just doesn’t hit the same way when it’s blizzarding outside. In the winter months I find myself wanting to eat salads, but I often skip it because I don’t want to be cold. 

This warm farro salad is the answer to your deepest salad wishes for winter. It contains tons of healthy greens your body needs and offers the warmth and substantially your body craves during cold weather. The warm farro bathed in a lemony shallot dressing and tossed with feta is just what the arugula needs to be its most perfect self. 


1 c. uncooked farro

2 c. chicken broth

¼ c. olive oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 shallot, minced

2 c. arugula

3 oz. feta cheese

Salt and pepper

Cook farro with chicken broth according to package directions. Remove from heat and let the farro cool for about 2-3 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, shallots and salt and pepper to make a dressing. In a large bowl, combine the warm farro, arugula, and dressing. Stir together. Add the feta and stir again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sides Vegan Vegetarian

Shiitake Sesame Bok Choy

Shiitake sesame bok choy is a quick and easy side dish that is versatile and can be paired with anything from grilled fish to ramen. This particular version brings together two vegetables, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, that are truly a match made in heaven. The very simple sauce of sesame oil, green onions, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce meshes perfectly with the vegetables and sesame seeds to create a delicious umami side dish that is both healthy and lip-smacking. 


4 small baby bok choy, halved

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

5 green onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch knob ginger, minced

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Salt and pepper

Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the bok choy in the skillet and cook until brown on one side (about 2 minutes). Turn over gently and cook until the other side is browned (2 more minutes). Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and cook for 2-3 more minutes until the bok choy is tender. Set the bok choy aside on a plate.

Add the shiitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and green onions to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Add soy sauce and cook for 30 more seconds. Place the mushroom mixture on top of the bok choy. Season with salt and pepper and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Salads Sides Uncategorized

Kale Caesar Salad

There’s just something about those curly, hearty leaves that makes a kale Caesar salad even better than the original. A kale Caesar is substantial, filling, and made especially delicious by the way the dressing sticks to all of those nooks and crannies in the kale leaves. It’s like kale and Caesar dressing were made for each other. 

This salad is amazing on its own or topped with chicken, salmon, or baked tofu. It’s quick, simple, and tastes like a garlicky, heavenly treat. Whip up this 5-minute salad for lunch and you’ll be happy for the rest of the day.


1 bunch of organic kale, curly or lacinato 

¼ c. grated Parmesan

1 garlic clove, minced

4 flat anchovies, patted dry and finely minced

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise 

¼ c. olive oil

2 Tbsp. water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, for topping

Italian breadcrumbs, for topping

Whisk together the Parmesan, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil, and water until an emulsion is formed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with your hands for about 30 seconds. This helps to make the kale more tender. Toss in dressing, mixing with your hands. Top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Enjoy!

Sides Uncategorized Vegetarian

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Most people don’t associate mashed potatoes with a Japanese meal, but let me tell you . . . it works. It really, really works when the potatoes include wasabi. 

The other day I was planning on making some miso salmon and cucumber salad. I wanted some kind of carby yumminess in the meal, but I wasn’t feeling rice. I had some potatoes and I thought, “I could make these, but they don’t feel like they fit the Japanese theme of the meal.” I decided I didn’t care and that I wanted mashed potatoes anyway. Then the lightbulb went off in my head – I could add wasabi to regular ol’ mashed potatoes. 

And guess what? They were some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten. As a result, I now know that Japanese food and mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven. 


2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

½ c. milk

½ c. sour cream

3 Tbsp. butter

1-2 Tbsp. wasabi (powdered or from the tube)

3-4 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water in a large pot. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. 

Add butter, milk, and sour cream and mash them until smooth with a potato masher or a ricer. Add wasabi, tasting as you go for desired strength of zip. Top with green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Sides Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Sunomomo (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

Aren’t the cucumbers served at sushi restaurants magical? Don’t get me wrong, I love sushi. It’s one of my favorite things on earth. But the cucumber salad that is served with sushi is nearly as exciting as the main event. I’ll probably get some backlash for that statement, but I stand by my word. 

I absolutely love the fresh, clean taste of Japanese cucumber salad. The flavor is delicate, but also tangy. Cucumber salad is not overpowering, and it showcases the authentic, unadulterated taste of cucumbers but with a little extra zip. It’s delicious alongside just about anything, easy to make, and healthy as can be. 


2 cucumbers, very thinly sliced

Pinch of salt (to dry out cucumbers)

3 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. soy sauce

Pinch of salt (for dressing)

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Slice the cucumbers very thin. A mandonline works best if you have one, but hand-cut works too. 

Place the sliced cucumbers in a strainer and mix with a pinch of salt. Let the cucumbers drain for about 10 minutes and then gently squeeze out excess water with clean hands. Place in a large bowl.

Mix together rice vinegar, sugar, pinch of salt, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Pour on top of the cucumbers and mix together. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.