A new wave of vegetarian cooking!

Archive for the tag “vegan”

Ironclad Review #1! Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels


My vegetarian family needs more protein. In the 60’s if you were a vegetarian, protein meant the cheese off a slice of cheese pizza. Luckily in the past 10 years there has been a wave of Vegan & Vegetarian products in the market that will substitute meat protein. Some products are tasteless or dry and other products really satisfy!

The Ironclad Review for the Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels is a big 3 knives out of 4. One of the better soy products on the market. Mostly organic, these morsels are easy to make and are similar to the taste of real chicken (for the carnivores turned herbivores). The orange sauce keeps the soy protein moist and chewy. Finally, with a couple bites you can fill your protein intake for the day. The only drawback is that the bag only portions for 1 person/1 meal. (9.25 ounces for $2.99). Viva la Veg!



Salty Oatmeal: kick the sweet turn up the heat

I’ve decided to write about a simple, healthy and quick oat recipe that we have for breakfast. A funny incident occurred on the cruise that we recently took around South America that reminded me of oats.  My husband mixed the ingredients (mentioned below) to make the same style of oatmeal in the midst of awkward glances of everyone around on the ship. When people think of oats they think sweet… with fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.  The food court on our cruise carried abundant nuts, seeds, dry fruits, salsa, sauces, diced vegetables for omelets and a variety of other stuff.  Every morning there was hot cooked oatmeal to which we added fresh salsa, diced veggies, nuts and of course salt…

Recipe makes a one serving bowl.


  • 1/2 heaping cup flat oatmeal
  • 1/2 big Roma tomato – dice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro – finely chop
  • 1 Thai chile – mince (remove chile seeds to reduce heat)
  • 2 tsp ginger – thin julienne cut
  • ~ 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • ~ 2 to 4 tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts or flavored  (add less salt if peanuts are salted)
  • Sprinkle on the oatmeal your favorite toppings: seeds – flax, hemp…wheat germ, etc


  • In a cereal bowl place flat oats and the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour boiling water to submerge  and 1/2″ more over the oats. Let it stand for a minute.
  • Then microwave for another minute. This way oats are cooked and not too mushy.
  • Garnish with some more cilantro and enjoy!


  • Sometimes I add the fresh blend (fresh turmeric, ginger, green chile, garlic, curry leaves, onion, sweet peppers, etc) that I make which keeps for 4 days.
  • I also enjoy it with a tbsp of strained yogurt or cottage cheese and chutney pudi (spicy lentil powder).
  • Try also with some of your leftover sabjis.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin and more Pumpkin (Pasta)


  • 10 0z/~250 g Gemelli spiral pasta (100% organic durum wheat semolina) – cook pasta in boiling water for about 11 min with 1/4 tsp salt, drain, but keep 1/4 cup of the liquid
  • 2 cups Brussel sprouts – cut in halves and microwave covered for 4 min in 2 tbsp water
  • 6 cups pumpkin scrap threads (looks like spaghetti) – microwave uncovered to reduce for 3 min
  • 5 garlic cloves – slice
  • 2 jalapeno – thin julienne cut
  • 4 tbsp fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) – finely chop
  • 2 tsp pasta seasoning blend (available at Traders Joe’s)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp red chile flakes or to taste
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes – cut in halves (optional – if tartness desired)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – grate or shave


  • Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno, fenugreek, red chile flakes and saute for 2 min.
  • Add Brussels sprouts and sear, then add pumpkin for few minutes.
  • Add pasta, salt, pasta seasoning and stir for few min – then add little of the pasta liquid.
  • Turn off heat and add cherry tomatoes.


  • Top it with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.


  • Vegan – Don’t add the cheese.

Toor Daal, White Bean and Spinach Soup

This soup goes by it self without bread or rice. I usually top it  with a scoop of cottage cheese.


  • 1 cup Toor Daal
  • 1 can washed white bean or 1/2 cup soaked white beans overnight
  • 1 can cut tomatoes coarsely blended
  • 1/3 to 1/2  Costco spinach chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric


  • 1/3 tsp cumin, 2 or 3 whole dried red chile, 1/4  tsp whole black pepper, 1 small stick of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp chana daal, 1/2 tsp urad daal, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds  and 1 stem curry leaves.
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 tbsp tamarind pulp or 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 clove minced garlic optional


Cook  toor daal and soaked beans in 4 cups of water in pressure cooker until soft. Add  tomatoes, spinach, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and the blended mix. Simmer for 10 to 15 min on medium heat.

Blended mix-

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil on medium heat add cumin, chana, urad, black pepper, red chile,coriander, cinnamon,  fenugreek and curry leaves until golden. Do not burn! Cool and blend with coconut milk, tamarind pulp and 1/8 tsp raw mustard seeds.

Add water if required to make a medium consistency. Lastly, temper  mustard and asafoetida (hing)  in 1 tsp of clarified butter and mix it in the thick soup.

Warm Cabbage Salad


  • 1/2 cabbage shred
  • 1 tbsp suji (cream of wheat)
  • 2 to 3 Thai chile cut in halves
  • 1 stem of curry leaves rolled and julienne cut
  • 1/4″ fresh turmeric and 1/2″ ginger blend in small food processor
  • Salt to taste


  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain/carom seeds
  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • 1/4 10 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • Pinch of  asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil


Temper all of the above seasoning and add green chile, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves. Reduce heat, add suji and salt. Saute  for a min or 2 then add cabbage for 1 min. Garnish with shredded coconut and cilantro.

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