Category Archives: Meatless Monday

Basil Cashew Potato Pasta Salad

There were a lot of things mixed into one bowl last night, and somehow it all worked. We don’t often do pasta-based dinners, but I was inspired by a recipe posted recently on Mind Body Green (Creamy Cashew Potato Salad). Well, Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell Vegenaise and peas aren’t allowed in our kitchen, so a few changes needed to be made.

Also, there is a seemingly bottomless bag of Farmers Market-fresh basil leaves in our fridge. I’m not complaining.

Basil Cashew Potato Pasta Salad*
Makes 3-4 servings

1 medium sweet potato, peeled & cubed
1 medium red potato, peeled & cubed**
~4 oz. uncooked {gluten-free} pasta
We used brown-rice spaghetti noodles, but elbow pasta or penne would work
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews, chopped
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. dill leaves (dried or fresh)
~2-3 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1-2 tbsp. dried)

*You could serve this chilled or warm.
**I mixed types of potatoes because that’s what we had on-hand. You could also do 3-4 small red potatoes.

Fill a small pot with cold, salted water & the cubed potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook 8-10 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain and let cool.

Cook pasta; meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients (balsamic v. through fresh basil leaves) in a large bowl. Mix in potatoes & drained (cooked) pasta.

Voila! You’re done. You could put this in the fridge to chill for later, or enjoy it warm like we did.

basil cashew pasta salad 2

The crunchy cashews + pasta and mixed basil + dill flavors were totally new taste-bud experiences. I’ve now looked at a pasta dish and seen a long list of possibilities. We still have a {bottomless} bag of basil & cashews to use and there are ideas swirling…

What are your favorite,unusual pasta bowl add-ins?



Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, Meatless Monday, recipes

TTT: Dinner, Tour Faves & Idle Time

A mid-week holiday is one way to totally throw off any routine, an uncharacteristically strong storm that causes power outages all around this city’s suburbs is another! Either way, we’re still here and finding ways to enjoy summer as we ignore the 100+ degree days and continue the countdown to vacation. In the meantime, these {Three Things Thursday} highlights take precedence:

1. The 15-minute Polenta Bean & CSA Zucchini dinner:

White Bean Zucchini & polenta Mix

1 zucchini, halved & sliced
1/4 c yellow onion slices
1/2 polenta “tube”, sliced & quartered (or 1 cup polenta, uncooked)
1 tomato, middle removed, sliced
1 cup white kidney beans
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
~1/4 cup water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium; add zucchini and onion, sautéing until softened.

Add polenta pieces & tomato slices. Stir frequently – polenta will soften and begin to spread, use water as needed, adding in 1 tbsp at a time. Mix in basil leaves & kidney beans, continue to stir and cook until the mixture is heated through. Season if needed.

Grab a fork, and enjoy!


2. Cav & Cancellara – making us proud!

I’m a huge fan of both Mark Cavendish & Fabian Cancellara. Luckily their strengths are different (sprinter, all-around strong rider + Time-Trial King), so I can cheer for them at the same time. Cancellara is proudly donning the Maillot Jaune (aka Yellow Jersey) – meaning he’s currently in the lead, thanks to his ridiculous TT performance in the Prologue. Cavendish took his first stage win nice & early, showing us how it’s done and doing his World Champion jersey* justice:

Cavendish World Champion TDF Stage win 2012

Image Source.

*The striped white jersey is only worn by the World Champion of that year. His “SKY” team name is clear, along with their sponsors, but he stands out from the team. 


3. Summer Speak: Are you “Busy”, too?

Opinionator, New York Times – The Busy Trap

D found and shared this article yesterday, and I couldn’t help but do the same. This is worth a read, a re-read, and a long thought process about how “busy” we are and why. My favorite line is undoubtedly this:

If your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.

If you know the books, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of the statement. It’s true.

The point of it all, is this :

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. …it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

Downtime/rest/recovery – whatever it’s called in your routine – is necessary. Our brains need the break, just like muscles do. Think about it, and pencil it in! We’re all “busy”, for whatever reason(s), but we can all make room for an idle moment (or two…).


With that, cheers to your day! Enjoy it. We’re almost through the week!

Who’s watching who in the Tour? Favorites?

What will your down time look like over the weekend?


Filed under cycling, dinners, in the News, Meatless Monday, recipes, things I Love

Gluten-Free, Vegan Zucchini Fritters

One goal of ours this week was to try new recipes; summer hours mean later dinners and more time spent out enjoying the season. Those “late” dinners are usually quick ones – we’re just-in from riding, running, yoga-ing, walking, etc and want something five minutes ago! And by “quick”, I mean routine and uncreative.

Pinterest to the rescue! I don’t log on often, because when I do? The next hour is totally gone, sucked quickly into cyberspace to be divided among “Food & Drink”, “Women’s Apparel” and “Travel”.  I have a board full of recipes for the Veg Life, none of which we’ve ever actually made.

Thanks to a tip from our weekend visitors – one board for recipes “to make”, one board for recipes we have made (transfer pins), to keep it all straight! – I used my Veg life pins to inspire our grocery cart.

First up, Zucchini Fritters! This made the cut solely because we have a large, fresh-from-the-(Good Life) farm zucchini in the fridge.

Zucchini Fritters – Vegan & Gluten-Free*
Recipe adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

2 zucchinis, coarsely grated (I had one large, one small)
1 medium white potato, coarsely grated
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup Quinoa flour**
Salt to taste
1 tsp dried rosemary (or herb of choice)
1 tsp dried thyme (or herb of choice)
1.5 Tbsp olive oil, divided

*We’re out of our farm eggs, which I didn’t realize until mixing these together. Egg-free version is vegan-friendly.
**Could substitute any other flour (whole-wheat, oat, etc.).

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl – reserve 1 Tbsp oil for “frying”.

Zucchini fritters cookingHeat remaining oil over medium in a deep sauté pan. Form mixture into “patties” – this is a loose term, as you’ll notice these are very moist and don’t seem to stick initially. Just form those patties and trust the veggies.

Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes, until browned and sticking. Just like a pancake, you’ll know when to “flip” because it will actually do so (vs. crumbling into tiny zucchini+potato pieces).

I could do three fritters at a time; this batch made a total of ~12.  One serving is 2-3, depending on how big you make them.

Zucchini fritters 2

Serving suggestions: atop quinoa (a la us) or pasta, or with tzatziki dipping sauce (great appetizer option!). If you have something else in mind, go with that.

Either way, enjoy this simple veg-filled dinner!


Filed under dinners, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Black, Green & Red Stuffed Peppers

I had my first date with a homemade stuffed pepper last night; it made quite a first impression, as most South-westerners do.

Aptly inspired by Alysa’s “Simple Stuffed Pepper” recipe, I immediately wondered why these had never seen the inside of my oven. They’re delicious. I would order them in a restaurant. I know exactly what I would put in my own version.

WHY have I not made these before?!

Also, why has no one figured out how to grow green chiles in the Northeast?? (Ya know, in these dry, arid conditions up here…) I can’t keep basil alive, therefore I’m not putting a favorite spice at the mercy of my green thumb. But seriously, someone?

No answer to those mind-boggling inquiries yet, but we do have a DOTR-highly-recommended Vegetarian-friendly dinner to show for the efforts.

Quinoa Bean mixturePeppers before baking

Black, Green & Red {Quinoa} Stuffed Peppers
for two

2 Large bell peppers (color is totally up to you)
1/2 Avocado, sliced
3/4 cup (cooked) black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup diced green chiles (find ‘em where you can! TJs carries the Hatch brand.)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 tsp oil (canola or olive)
3/4 cup cooked Quinoa*
2 Tbsp shredded cheese – optional
Cayenne pepper, salt/pepper

*I cooked one cup (dry) of quinoa, so I had plenty of leftovers, and just used 3/4 cup for this. While it was cooking, I added a dash of cayenne & black pepper to the water for flavoring. Optional: cook in low-sodium vegetable broth.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Heat oil over medium; add onions, green chiles and black beans. Season to taste. Heat through; add in quinoa and stir to mix well (see photo above).

Prepare the peppers – cut around the top edge, take off the “lid”  and remove the seeds (like when you carve pumpkins! Exactly the same thing.). Stuff with quinoa and black bean mixture (I put about 1/2 cup + an extra spoonful in each, with a little bit leftover), and top with cheese.

Place the lid back on top. Bake in a small glass dish (helps prevent tipping over) for 30-35 minutes, until peppers are soft.

baked stuffed red pepper

Please excuse the iPhone photos.

Once they’re done, slice up an avocado garnish and grab your utensils – fork + knife. Dig in! You’ll wonder where this easy, vegetable-centered, high-protein dish has been.


Filed under dinners, Meatless Monday, recipes

Tempos & Ten Minute Tacos

As Kate put it, we seem to have entered a hibernation-mode of sorts – February means it should be (but isn’t, really) cold outside, yes? This means we should be staying warm in bed, not freezing our feet on the sidewalks, right?

Without realizing it, we’ve swapped in frequent evening run meet-ups in place of our usual 6 a.m. roll call. We’ve put the miles in after a day at work, choosing an extra hour of sleep instead. Then, this week marked a big change in my work-life schedule! My motivation was quickly reminded why we love starting the day with a run – nothing else gets in the way, nothing stops you from going or wanes on your motivation (aside from sleep, of course…), nothing feels better than kicking the day off with a good sweat.

Today, that came in the from of tempo miles. Another brutal reminder – those are tough, and made even tougher by an uphill climb to get home. Geeze.

In other news, we had an easy-meal breakthrough in the kitchen last night! Both of us had that wiped-after-work energy level, and both of us could’ve easily gone for those getcha-when-you’re-down neighborhood take-out options. But really, what tastes and feels better is a homemade meal – so, think fast! These tacos took a whopping ten minutes.

ten minute tacos before cheese

Bean & Corn Ten-Minute Tacos

1 (15 oz) can, Black beans (rinsed)
1 (15 oz) can, Whole Kernel Corn (rinsed)
1 cup sliced grape tomatoes*
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 – 1 Avocado sliced**
Taco Shells **
1/4 cup salsa (your choice!)
Seasonings: cayenne, black pepper
1 tsp Olive oil

*Could also use – chopped tomatoes, or fire-roasted diced canned tomatoes

**Depends on how many you’re serving, and/or how much you love these tacos.

Heat oil over medium in a deep sauté pan. Add bean, corn, tomatoes and seasonings. Stir until combined, cook for 5-7 minutes until heated through. Add salsa and mix well.

Line your taco shell with avocado slices, and pile the bean-corn mixture in there! If you’re up for an extra flavor, top with shredded cheese. This step comes highly recommended, but we’ll leave it up to you…

Ten minute tacos

Like I said – this far-surpassed anything a restaurant could’ve handed me in a take-out bag. Taco night always wins!

What’s your favorite ten-minute meal?


Filed under dinners, early morning, Meatless Monday, recipes, Speed workouts

Plate Plan for the Week II

Thanks to the initial post last week, I now know I’m not alone in forgetting to plan ahead more than often than not. My grocery list took kindly to the new menu items and the tasty results! We only missed one planned meal, but it wasn’t substituted with pizza or eating out, so I’m still calling the week a success.

My dinner plate, my rules.

This weekend I sat down with the newest issue of Cooking Light, Google Reader starred items and a pen. The notepad page quickly filled up with ingredients and ideas, and plate plan II was created.

Trader Joe’s, thanks for helping us cross almost everything off the list!
Dupont Farmer’s Market, thanks for the fresh yellow squash!

The invitation is open, once again, for any diners to join us in this week’s menu. I promise taste-bud satisfaction is to follow:

Sunday Night- Mahi Mahi fish tacos

We used up what was left of the yellow & red peppers, a very ripe avocado and almost-expired corn tortillas. This fish was happy to see the light of the fridge; the pan seared result was taco perfection.

FishTacos 006FishTacos 003

2 Mahi Mahi filets
1 T olive oil
1/4 c each – Red & Yellow peppers, sliced
1/2 cup Steamed edamame beans
1 Ripe avocado, sliced
Salt/pepper, Cumin
4-6 Corn tortillas
Salsa to taste

Season filets with cumin, s/p to taste. Heat oil over medium in a sauté pan; cook fish on each side for ~3-4 minutes, until opaque an flaky.

Slice peppers & steam edamame beans; peel & slice avocado. Set all aside for your taco-building buffet.

Set oven to broil; heat corn tortillas for ~1-2 minutes on each side (watch carefully, they burn quickly!).

Layer avocado, fish, pepper + bean mix & as much salsa as your taste-buds can handle. Fold and enjoy!

Monday – Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas (a la Cooking Light)
We had the beans & corn tortillas already on hand; I’m making a trip to Whole Foods today for the fresh ancho chiles. This meal will be satsisfying my enchilada craving, and also providing leftovers for lunches. Win, win!

Tuesday – Shrimp & Teriyaki Noodles (via Lauren’s Latest)

Photo from Lauren’s Latest – Teriyaki Shrimp Soba Noodle Bowls

We couldn’t find the soba noodles at TJ’s, and went with linguine instead.

Wednesday – Leftovers (Track night)

Thursday – Macaroni & Cheese
(aka The Easiest Homemade Mac n’ Cheese)

macNcheese 007

Of course this meal had to make a quick return! Is it Thursday yet?

This time I’ll be adding some steamed greens & a dash of spices.

Friday – Out / Chickpea Masala redux?

This day remains TBD; the chickpea {channa} masala didn’t make it through last week, but we may have some visitors to treat. Open option here! If you want to cook and have us over, I’d be okay with that, too.


What do you have planned for your plate(s) this week?


Filed under dinners, food, groceries, making plans, Meatless Monday, vegetarian

This Week in Dinners: Mushroom Stars

Since I dropped a life-news-bomb on you this week, I thought it’d be nice to feed you, too. You know, give you some nutrients and help you plan those weekly menus.

If you don’t like mushrooms, these recipes might just change your mind. Or you could just leave them out and enjoy the tastiness of each meal without them.

My blog, your choice! We work collaboratively here.

We’ll start with what we do best around here – pizza.

8.24.dinners 003

Chris-the-houseguest was in charge of this one, and I might have just mind-bookmarked a new favorite homemade pie! This was a flavor explosion.

Bbq Tempeh & Green Chile* Pizza
yes, the green chile returns. It was the last of the bunch!

Tempeh Slices (amount up to you!)
Fresh mozzarella cheese (sliced) **
Whole Wheat pizza dough
Red onion, sliced
Mushrooms, sliced
Tomatoes (canned or fresh)
Bbq sauce
Roasted green chile (sliced or diced)
Asiago cheese (garnish)

Heat the oven to 400*; roll out your dough & top with Bbq sauce. Add tomatoes, veggies, green chiles, tempeh & mozzarella. Garnish with a sprinkle of asiago & bake for ~12 minutes (until crust browns & cheese is melted).

**On a side note: smoked mozzarella has been a shining star in the last two pizzas we’ve made. To say its flavorful does it no justice! If you like a smokey flavor on anything, BUY THIS.

8.24.dinners 0048.24.dinners 006


Creamy Soy Ginger Mushroom Pasta

8.24.dinners 008

With a few mushrooms left, and a lot of broccoli to use up, I chose pasta and cream for the the night’s inspirations.

~1 cup mushrooms, sliced (button mushrooms)
2 cups broccoli, steamed
1/2 c Plain Greek Yogurt
3 Tbsp Soy Ginger sauce (See above)
2 svgs Whole wheat pasta
Asiago Cheese
Salt n’ Pepper
Olive Oil

Heat oil over medium; boil water & add pasta, cook for 10-12 minutes.
Add sliced mushrooms to the oil, saute until soft; add broccoli.
Drain pasta, stir together yogurt + soy ginger sauce.
Combine it all together. Easy!

8.24.dinners 009

Serve yourself a portion & garnish with Asiago (another cheese obsession of the week).

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And there you go! Two dinners, both of which will take less than half an hour of your time, and both of which will fill your veggie + carb + protein quota for the evening.

What’s your favorite mushroom dish? Are you a fan of the fungus?

I admit I can’t stand them raw, but love them cooked. Hence the recipes above; DOTR kitchen-approved!


Filed under dinners, food, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian