Category Archives: vegetarian

French Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Ugh, I swear this is how French women stay skinny. I crave vegetables in France. There’s just something simple and indulgent about how they’re cooked and presented, and my very favorites are haricots verts, or French green beans. They’re basically American green beans, but super skinny (very French). This is a super simple, incredible tasty side that I could have with almost every meal I make. Enjoy.


  • 1 Lb. haricots verts (you can usually find these in grocery stores like Whole Foods, Wegman’s or Central Market, they’ll be labeled “French green beans.”)
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil
  • Heavy pinch fleur de sel
  • Fresh-cracke black pepper
  • 1/4 c. blanched and slivered almonds (you can find these in a bag in the grocery store, you don’t have to do this yourself).
  1. Heat walnut oil in a nonstick skillet over a little more than medium heat.
  2. Add green beans and a heavy pinch fleur de sel. Stir and cook for about three minutes.
  3. Cover most of the pan with a lid and cook for 6 more minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium, then add walnuts and toast, shaking the pan frequently and watching closely so the almonds don’t burn. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat when golden brown.
  5. Add salt and pepper to haricots verts to taste, then top with toasted almonds. Serve and enjoy. J’adore les haricots verts!

Roasted Vegetable Winter Salad

Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad

Annnnd, I’m back. What a year. For everything we’ve all been through in 2017, I’m really hopeful for everything ahead in 2018. As Nina Simone would say, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and I’m feeling good.

This hearty winter salad helps. Freekeh serves as the base and is loaded with protein and fiber. Roast up some veggies (including a sweet potato), toast some almond slices, whip up a quick lemon-maple vinaigrette and toss it all together. This is awesome and filling on its own, but Brendan has eaten it for breakfast, warmed quickly and topped with a fried egg. And it’s good for you!!  Anyone else need a detox after the holidays?  Hell, anyone need a detox after the dumpster fire of 2017?  Start here.


  • 1 cup freekeh, pre-cooked
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups cauliflower, broken into florets (I had purple cauliflower on hand, which was so pretty in this, but any color will work)
  • 1/4 c. almond slices
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries

Lemon-Maple Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. In a small pot, bring one cup of freekeh (no need to rinse this, like you do with quinoa) and 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.


  3. Toss brussels sprouts, sweet potato and cauliflower with a glug or two of EVOO and some kosher salt & fresh-cracked black pepper. Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes or until browned and tender. 
  4. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice with the salt and pepper. Next, add the maple syrup and then whisk in the EVOO. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the almonds, flipping often, until golden brown – about 3 minutes. Keep an eye on these – they’ll go from perfect to perfectly burned in a span of about 30 seconds. 
  6. In a large bowl, combine the cooked freekeh, the roasted vegetables, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and the dressing. Mix everything together.
  7. Serve and enjoy. Happy 2018!

    Winter Roasted Vegetable Salad



Spinach Pie


Ughhh, I love this so much. It’s like a giant spanikopita, which is one of my favorite foods in the world. It’s both healthy and indulgent enough, needs almost zero seasoning, and can be prepped the day before, then assembled after work for a quick meal that’s ready in no time flat.

  • 32 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained really well
  • 1.5 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 C. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • One sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg (for egg wash on puff pastry)

1.Preheat oven to 375.

2.Heat the 1.5 TBSP EVOO over medium in a large saucepan.

3.Dice onion and mince garlic, then add to the saucepan and stir until soft and translucent.

4.Remove onion mixture from saucepan and set aside to cool.

5.Wring out as much liquid as possible from thawed spinach, using a cheesecloth, or in small fistfuls with your hands.  This is key so you don’t have a soggy spinach pie.

6.In a large bowl, combine the spinach, the room-temperature garlic and onion mixture, the feta, nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill, lemon and two eggs. Mix well to combine. If you’re going to make this the day before, so the flavors really meld together, leave out the eggs until the next day.


7.Roll out the sheet of puff pastry according to directions, then line a standard-size pie pan with it.


8.Top the pastry with the spinach mixture, evenly spreading it around the pie pan.


9.Fold pastry over itself, then brush with the egg wash (use the remaining egg for this).


10.Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.


11.Let cool for five minutes, cut and serve.



Mushroom “Meatballs”


These were the first thing Brendan ever made me, and they’re one of my very favorites. Meatballs are one of the best foods ever, but these are vegetarian, and they honestly stand up to the real thing. Plus, anytime I get Bren in the kitchen is a done deal. He’s an awesome cook.

MUSHROOM “MEATBALLS” (makes about 20 – recipe via

  • 1 lb. white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C. quick-cook oats
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO

1. Finely chop mushrooms, then heat the 1 tbsp. EVOO in a large skillet over medium. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, cook and stir until the liquid has evaporated.

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2. Add butter to the mushrooms, cook until golden brown.

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3. Add onion to the mushroom mixture and cook until it’s translucent, approx. 5 minutes. IMG_6834

4. Remove from heat, add garlic and stir approx. 90 seconds. Add mixture to a mixing bowl.


5. Mix in the oats, approx. 1/3 C. parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and, when the mixture is cool, 1 egg. Add the salt pepper, cayenne pepper and oregano, then mix until combined. Stir in the other egg.

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6. Heat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then roll the mixture into little meatballs.

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7. Bake for approx. 15 minutes or until mushrooms are golden brown. Eat alone or over pasta – these are the bomb.

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Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Bulgar, Sausage and Feta

One of the things that entertains me the most about dating Brendan is his ridiculous appetite. The boy can EAT. He’s the best taste tester ever, and  I don’t think he’s ever met a meal he didn’t like. As a Colorado guy, he’s used to more meat-based meals, but sometimes I’ll make something totally vegetarian, and healthy too, and I swear he doesn’t even miss a beat. These portabellos have a pretty meaty flavor, anyway, so maybe that was the middle ground? I added some sausage just for a little more substance and flavor, but you can leave this out if you want.

– 4 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
– 3 sausage links, uncooked
– 3 scallions, chopped
– 1/3 c. crumbled feta
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1/4 C. EVOO
– Italian herbs
– 1 cup bulgar
– 2 cups water
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– 1 tbsp. butter
1. Clean the mushrooms, scrape out the “gills”. Take off the stems and set aside (don’t throw these away).
2. In a bag, marinate the mushrooms with the lemon juice, 1/4 c. EVOO & the Italian herbs for at least an hour.
3. Boil 2 cups of water. Place 1 cup of dry bulgar in a bowl, add the 2 cups boiling water, cover. Let this steam for about 30 minutes.

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Black Bean, Acorn Squash, Kale & Cheddar Jack Quesadillas

Let’s say that you and your boyfriend are going to a city council meeting one night, and you’re both working basically right up to the time it starts. Do you A. Go to the grocery store and buy things for dinner which would probably consist of pasta, and a jar of sauce B. Pick up something on the way to the meeting or C. Think about the hodgepodge of ingredients in your refrigerator on your drive home from work, throw this together in 45 minutes and then watch your boyfriend inhale an entire quesadilla in the 5 minutes he’s home before you both have to leave for the council meeting, knowing that it’s made of almost completely healthy things? 
C. If this town could run itself as efficiently as this recipe came together, it would be a whole new world. 
– 1/2 an acorn squash, sliced
– 1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
– 2 cups kale, ribs removed, torn into pieces
– 1/2 vidalia onion, really thinly sliced
– 1/3 shredded jack cheese
– 4 flour tortillas
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– kosher salt & pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400. 
2. Carefully (these are really hard), with a serrated knife, cut the acorn squash into strips. Rub the cut sides with a little olive oil.
3. Place acorn squash on a baking sheet, roast for about 30 minutes, flipping sides around halfway through.

4. Thinly slice an onion, then cook it over medium heat in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp. EVOO until it soften and starts to caramelize. Continue reading

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Parmesan and a Honey-Lemon-Mustard Dressing

Up until a couple years ago, I hated brussels sprouts with a passion. When I was a kid, my mom tricked me into trying them by telling me they were “little cabbages”, which as the daughter of an Irish dad, I obviously loved. A couple bites, though, were all I needed to realize brussels sprouts don’t taste anything like “little cabbages”, and I avoided them for years after that.

But maybe these little guys just needed to be made differently, because now I freakin’ love them. Parmesan-dusted brussels are eaten like candy in our house, and this is one of my favorite salads. The key is to slice everything into really thin strips, so you can use a food processor to simplify this process, or put on a good episode of This American Life and get cutting. This salad seriously tones down the flavor of the red onion by putting the slices in water first, the whole-grain mustard seeds are perfect with the sweetness of the honey-lemon dressing, and the parmesan gives it a nice kick of saltiness. It all comes together for a beautiful, filling, totally delicious side. Oh, brussels sprouts. You guys don’t deserve your bad rep.
  3 cups  brussels, sliced into super thin strips
–  ½ red onion, also sliced into super thin strips
  Curls of Parmesan
–  Juice of 1 lemon
  1 tsp. honey
  1 tsp. whole grain mustard
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
  Kosher salt & pepper to taste
1.   Using a food processor or a sharp knife, slice the red onion into veeeerrrrry thin strips. Submerge in water while you assemble the rest of the salad to take out that onion-y bite.

2.  Trim the brussels, then slice them into super thin strips and put into a large bowl.

3.   Make the dressing – combine the lemon, honey, mustard, and kosher salt & pepper, whisk to combine. Add the EVOO and mix everything together.

4.   Drain and dry the onions, then add to the brussels.

5.  Just before serving, add the dressing and mix everything together. Top with curls of parmesan and enjoy.

Shredded Red Cabbage Salad with Carrots, Scallions, Cilantro and Lime

For the record, I think coleslaw is the worst. The name is bad, the texture is weird, the mayo-y ness of it is gross, it’s just yuck. That said: this is not coleslaw. This is antioxidant-rich shredded red cabbage (from the Scranton Farmer’s Market, hurraugh!), carrots, cilantro and scallions, dressed with lime juice, rice vinegar, cumin and olive oil. It’s fantastic. We were making shredded chicken tacos with leftovers from a roasted chicken in lemon gold that we had for Sunday dinner, and decided it needed some crunch, so I threw this together and I’m so glad I did. Brendan came home, took one bite and said, “This tastes exactly like my favorite cabbage salad from my favorite Mexican restaurant in Colorado” soooo….you’re welcome, JBG. This was perfect on tacos, but honestly, I would (and did) eat this with a fork by itself. You can throw it together in 5 minutes, but make sure you let it marinate for about 30, so all the flavors come together into a little colorful shredded salad of deliciousness. 

SHREDDED RED CABBAGE SALAD WITH CARROTS, CILANTRO, SCALLIONS AND LIME (makes enough for 2 as a side or at least 6 small tacos) 
– ½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 2 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
– 2 carrots, shredded 
– 1/3 C cilantro, chopped 
– juice of 1 lime
– ½ tsp. cumin
– ½ tsp. honey
– 2 tbsp. rice vinegar 
– 4 tbsp. EVOO 
– kosher salt & pepper to taste 

1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips. 

2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cumin, honey, rice vinegar & kosher salt & pepper. Whisk together so the seasonings can blend in well with the acids. Add EVOO and give everything a good mix so it emulsifies. 

3. To the bowl with the cabbage, add the shredded carrots, chopped scallions and chopped cilantro. Mix to combine. 

4. Top the cabbage mixture with the dressing and mix it all together really well. Cover and let it sit for approx. 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while to redistribute the dressing. 

5. Serve on its own or on top of tacos for a perfect crunch and super bright flavor.

Grilled Romaine with Smoked Blue Cheese and Balsamic Reduction

The lovely Jonelle hosted us for dinner last week, and it everything was so delicious. From the pretty apps to the unbelievable gin & earl grey tea cocktail she made, to the london broil & grilled romaine…we had so much fun we decided to make it a monthly thing with all of us rotating as hostess. Anyway, I’d never even heard of grilled romaine, but this was incredible. If I had even the slightest clue how to work a grill myself, I’d be making this all the time.

– 6 Romaine Hearts
– 1/4 C. smoked blue cheese (or gorgonzola)
– Balsamic reduction (makes sure it’s a reduction, not balsamic vinegar), drizzled
– A blend of EVOO, a little salt & pepper, and some oregano

1. Um, I guess, fire up the grill?

2. Brush the washed romaine hearts with the EVOO/salt & pepper/oregano mix.

3. Grill the romaine hearts pretty quickly, about 2 minutes on each side. You want them to have grill marks but not get burned.

4. Crumble the smoked blue cheese (or gorgonzola) over the try of romaine, then drizzle the balsamic reduction in a nice little pattern. Serve & enjoy. My girlfriends have got skillz. 
The hostess at work!

Tortellini and Basil Shrimp in a Lemon-White Wine Sauce


So, let’s say you go to the grocery store and shop for the week, then get to the checkout aisle and only after the checkout girl starts ringing you up, realize that you’ve forgotten your wallet back at the office, and have to leave everything there. Then, let’s say you go back home and wing a recipe by putting cheese tortellini, lemon, shrimp and basil together, make a lemon-white wine sauce with a little butter and parmesan, then sit down for a really delicious meal that’ll knock your socks off and only leave you with one pot to clean. Who needs a wallet anyway. It’s Monday. This is a great recipe to start the week.

– 1 lb. shrimp, frozed, uncooked, peeled & deveined, tails off 
– 1 12-oz. bag of frozen tortellini
– zest of 1 lemon 
– juice of 2 lemons (divided) 
– 2 tbsp. butter 
– 1 tbsp. EVOO 
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
– Bunch of fresh basil, chiffonaded 
– 1/3 grated parm (use same microplane you used to zest the lemon) 
– 1/4 c white wine 

1. Cook tortellini in salted water in a french oven (I would cook absolutely everything in this), set aside.

2. In the pot that you used to cook the tortellini, melt butter, add EVOO & simmer with the lemon zest on low for 5 minutes.

3. Add chopped garlic and shrimp, cook until pink (2-3 mins).

4. To this mix, add juice of 1.5 lemons, and 1/4 c white wine, then let infuse for another 2 minutes on low.

5. I removed the shrimp at this point and put them on a plate to rest, so they didn’t overcook, then cooked down the wine/lemon/butter/garlic sauce a little bit. When the shrimp cooled, I chopped it up into bite-size pieces. 

6. When sauce is mildly reduced and the alcohol has burned off the wine, add the shrimp & the juice collected on the plate, tortellini (dry – don’t add EVOO or anything, or it won’t stick!), parm, basil, and give everything a big stir.

7.  Remove from heat, cover, let sit to warm up the tortellini and shrimp again (get a salad ready or something – we had it with a green salad topped with my favorite avocado-cilantro dressing).

8. Right before serving, put a little slice of butter in, along with half a lemon, juiced, and a little more grated parm. Taste and adjust seasonings, and enjoy.