Crunchy Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

Crunchy Summer Rolls

I’ve had a terrible case of snack attacks this week.

Chips, fruits, bagels, yogurt, granola…uh, chocolate covered pretzels. Sure, that’s not all terrible but when you’re eating almost every hour on the hour, it’s time to admit to yourself that things have gotten out hand.

Not wanting to slide back into old, unhealthy habits, I knew I needed a veggie detox stat. It’s what I always do when I feel out of sorts. I had a plan but there was one more hurdle.

This week included a killer schedule that had me running all over the place. Getting to play around with new veggie recipes just wasn’t possible for me.

So, on the menu for this Meatless Monday was a super fast, super easy, super healthy mean-green dish that could get me back on track.

These crunchy summer rolls? Perfection.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

A bit of prep to chop, grate, and grill your fillings is worth the effort. Trust me.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

Forget the rice paper. Go for big, dark, leafy greens. Not only are they packed with healthy nutrients, they’re built to easily roll up whatever you want. How cool is that?

Crunchy Summer Rolls

Having attempted and failed to roll burritos and wraps in the past, I have to say this was simply done. There’s no way to screw this up.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

Sweet and savory with a dash of heat? Sign me up.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

And bonus points for being so pretty to look at.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red beet root, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut in half if thick stalks
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced in thin sticks
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 6 large mustard green leaves, washed and dried
  • ½ Haas avocado, sliced
  • Olive oil spray
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsps of warm water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (or fish sauce)
  • 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ¾ crushed red pepper (or sriracha sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsps grated carrot

1. Heat a grill pan and spray with oil. Once hot, place half the asparagus bunch in pan. Spray oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Grill for 3-5 minutes on each side and set aside with the rest of the fillings.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve warm sugar in water. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Allow the sauce to chill in the fridge.

3. Working with one leaf at a time, trim the stems. Place a small amount of each of the fillings in the center. Fold the bottom up towards the center, then tuck in the sides and keep rolling until the fit is snug with the seam on the bottom. Repeat with the rest of the leaves.

4. Place rolls on a serving plate with the dipping sauce and slice in half. Done!

Wasn’t that easy? You can customize this with whatever ingredients you want. I’m not a fan of tofu, but that would go perfectly here, as well as mushrooms, micro greens, or even quinoa.

The next time I feel that snack attack coming on, I can roll up one of these veggie bad boys. Problem solved.

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Do you have a Meatless Monday recipe to share?

As always, please feel free to share your comments below or on FB and Twitter.

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Meatless Monday: Quick & Easy Aloo Gobi

 Quick & Easy Aloo GobiNew York City is damn expensive. This isn’t breaking news to anyone really, but I thought I should point that out, given that I write a blog with “NYC” in the title and happen to live in the most expensive city in the US.

And that’s verified by the way. In a recent report, Manhattan came in as #1 in with a cost of living index of 225.4 against a national index average of 100.

Ouch.

Given the price tags that often make me blink twice or cause a sudden wave of nausea to wash over me, I find ways to get creative with saving a buck here and there. This is where my kitchen and I become best friends.

I’ve experimented plenty with various gluten-free and paleo recipes in the past year, and those were all fantastic. But sometimes that gets a bit pricey too. One of the things I love about Meatless Mondays is that it gives my wallet a break by encouraging me to shop for produce in season and avoiding expensive meat, especially since I tend to go for leaner, pricier cuts.

Quick & Easy Aloo Gobi

The upside to living in New York (yes, there’s a plus here too, even though this place makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes), is that given the close proximity to so many different cultures, I can often try cooking different cuisines because I have the ingredients handy.

So I thought I’d give my favorite Indian vegetarian dish a try; Aloo Gobi. It’s healthy, with nutritious additions like cauliflower and tomatoes; it’s hearty and filling; and it’s really, really delicious. 🙂

I’m actually amazed at how easy this was to pull together, and also how fast. It was done in under 30 minutes! Plus the best part is that you can make a big batch, and have some leftover for a few days, which is great because the flavors really start to meld and intensify over time too.

Oh and in true budget cooking fashion, I was very pleased to see that this all came in at under $10. Do yourself a favor and invest in some spices. Some of them may cost a bit depending on what’s available in your area, but they’ll add so much depth to your dishes. It’s worth the cost in the longterm.

Quick & Easy Aloo Gobi

INGREDIENTS

serving 4; serving size, approx. 1 cup

  • ½  large cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 medium yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
  •  1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • ½ large white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, stalks chopped separately from leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp chili powder (or chopped fresh green chilis if you prefer)
  •  1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup of water

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt coconut oil in a large non stick pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cumin seeds to the pan and cook until the onions soften and become translucent. Then add the turmeric, coriander, salt and chopped cilantro stems and mix well.

2. Add the tomatoes, garlic and ginger and cook with the onion mixture for a few minutes.

Quick & Easy Aloo Gobi3. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, and water. You want to be sure the veggies are coated in the curry sauce so mix everything together well. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Allow it to cook for approx. 20 minutes or until the cauliflower and potatoes are fork tender.

4. Remove lid and add garam masala and chopped cilantro leaves. Stir and taste for seasonings; adjust as necessary. Then you’re done!  Serve while warm.

Quick & Easy Aloo Gobi Quick & Easy Aloo Gobi

I served this alone with no trimmings, but this would be great with some fresh whole wheat naan or chapati bread, brown rice, or if you really love cauliflower, then go for cauliflower rice as well.

(Note: Recipe adapted from Chuck Darwin at Food.com)

What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?

Do you have a vegetarian recipe to share?

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

 

 

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Light and Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

Tapping the microphone.

Shaking the dust off my favorite pretty apron.

Clearing the throat. Ahem. AHEM!

Yes, I am still here!!

After a very long winter hiatus, I am back on the blog with a brand new recipe for my favorite day: Meatless Monday!

And while there isn’t a mic, there is a camera. Yes, an actual video camera helmed by my brother who chose me as the subject for his video documentary project for school.

Look ma..no hands!

So under the bright and glaring lights of the…uh tiny handheld camera, I awkwardly walked through this recipe for the one person who will watch this video (okay maybe two assuming my brother’s teacher actually sits through the whole thing) and put together a delicious meal. Altogether, not a bad way to get back into the food blogging game.

More to the point, this soup. This light and creamy Potato Leek soup is really exactly as advertised. And the roasted cabbage? A nice touch if I do say so myself.

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day which gave me an opportunity to do something a bit different while celebrating the holiday the proper way- sharing a pint of Guinness with someone dressed as a leprechaun with Irish food!

Corned beef, boiled potatoes, and cabbage never appealed to me plus it all seemed a bit obvious. Instead, I went for something simple, tasty, and quick while using quintessential Irish ingredients. The best part is I was able to make this whole meal for under $10. Save that pot of gold for something else..er..okay, and I’m done with silly St. Patty’s Day jokes.

A couple of notes before I get started with the recipe sharing business:

  • This is my first time cooking with leeks, but I was forewarned of the extra work involved. Leeks are veritable dirt traps so be sure to clean them properly before you use them in this or any recipe.
  • I couldn’t stand cabbage up until about a year ago. That was until I learned that cabbage could be absolutely wonderful if cooked with the right ingredients. I’d only ever had it raw in salads or cole slaw and it was usually too bitter for my tastebuds. Roasting them seemed a genius move and so simple. Plus they taste AH-MAZING!!!!
  • This recipe can be adapted for vegans by simply eliminating the sour cream. I actually debated this myself when I saw just how creamy the soup was after the vegetables were pureed. The sour cream adds another layer of richness without being overwhelming, but the soup was wonderful without it.
  • You’ll note the color of the soup is a little darker than normal. The vegetable stock I bought was tomato-based which I didn’t realize until I poured it out of the carton. This didn’t affect the flavor of the soup in a bad way, but just a heads up if you’re wondering why the shade seems off.

Now I normally include a nutrition factoids section in here, but I’m doing things a bit differently this time. Needless to say, my raison d’être remains the same: healthy cooking that doesn’t require a lot of fuss and is delicious. I think I accomplished that pretty well in my first pre-Spring go in the kitchen. 🙂

INGREDIENTS

Servings 6-8 people

Serving size, approx 1 cup

Soup

  • 2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (white and pale green parts only!)
  • 4-5 medium-sized yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper

Roasted Cabbage

  • 1 medium sized cabbage, 1″ thick slices
  • Olive Oil Spray (or 2 tsps olive oil)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare all vegetables by peeling, rinsing, and chopping as necessary. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

2. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch-oven and add onions, garlic and leeks once hot. Cook at medium-heat for about 10 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. DO NOT BROWN THE LEEKS!

3. Add the potatoes, stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to the onions. Stir everything together and reduce heat to a simmer. Place the lid and allow it to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.

4. While the soup is simmering, prepare cabbage on an oiled rimmed baking sheet and season both sides. Place in 400°F oven and cook for 40 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Remove from oven once they’re caramelized and brown on the edges.

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

5. Working in batches, carefully place soup in a blender (or food processor), filling it halfway. Do not seal completely, remove the plastic nozzle in the middle and cover with a kitchen towel. Pulse it for several seconds about 3 times before pureeing it completely. Do this for each batch and place the soup in a separate pot.

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

6. Turn the heat on to low and stir pureed soup for several minutes. If you’re going for a vegan version of this dish then you’re done! If not then add the sour cream and continue stirring until it’s completely incorporated. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

7. Serve up a bowl of soup with several pieces of roasted cabbage. Garnish with chopped spring onions. Done!

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

I hope you enjoyed the recipe. I’ve slowly been making my way back into the kitchen, experimenting with new dishes and finding some of that creativity with food that I enjoy so much. This time I managed to get it on camera and onto this blog to share it with all of you, and I couldn’t be happier.

If you tried the recipe, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions below or on Facebook and Twitter!

recipe adapted from Eating Well magazine

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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