Foodie Friday: Tabbouleh with Mint and Pistachios

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup fine bulgur
  • 3 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. honey
  • 1 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup finely chopped curly parsley
  • 1 small cucumber, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
1. Place bulgur in large bowl and add 1/3 cup boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and honey, and let stand 5 minutes more, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff bulgur with fork, and stir in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Foodie Friday: Portobello “Philly Cheese Steak” Sandwich

Portobello "Philly Cheese Steak" Sandwich Recipe

4 sandwiches


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed (see Tip), sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced reduced-fat provolone cheese
  • 4 whole-wheat buns, split and toasted


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, oregano and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are wilted and soft, about 7 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth and soy sauce; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, lay cheese slices on top of the vegetables, cover and let stand until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Divide the mixture into 4 portions with a spatula, leaving the melted cheese layer on top. Scoop a portion onto each toasted bun and serve immediately.

Foodie Friday: Roasted Red Pepper Crostini with Balsamic Reduction

Serves 6

  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 3 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1 red jalapeño chile
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1½ Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.), plus 1 whole garlic clove, peeled, divided
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. agave syrup
  • 6 ⅓-inch-thick slices ciabatta bread, toasted


1. Toast pine nuts in skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned, shaking pan constantly. Set aside.2. Preheat broiler, and place oven rack in highest position. Coat bell peppers and jalapeño with 1 tsp. oil. Place on baking sheet, and broil 15 minutes, or until blistered and partially blackened on all sides, turning often. Transfer to bowl, cover, and cool. Peel and seed. Slice bell peppers into thin strips, finely chop jalapeño, and transfer to bowl. Add pine nuts, parsley, mint, minced garlic, and remaining 2 tsp. oil; toss to combine. Season with black pepper.

3. Meanwhile, bring vinegar and agave syrup to a simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 10 minutes, or until mixture reduces to about 3 Tbs. and coats bottom of pan when pan is tilted, stirring occasionally. Stir 1 Tbs. balsamic syrup into roasted pepper mixture. Marinate roasted pepper mixture 30 minutes, or chill overnight. Top bread slices with roasted pepper mixture, and drizzle with remaining balsamic reduction.


Foodie Friday: Chocolate Pretzel & Cherry Popcorn Balls

Chocolate Pretzel & Cherry Popcorn Balls Recipe

12 (2-inch) balls


  • 6 heaping cups popped corn
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (see Note) or honey
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dark chocolate-covered pretzels
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cherries


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Prepare a medium bowl of ice water. Put popcorn in a large bowl.
  2. Combine agave (or honey) and peanut butter (or almond butter) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently but constantly. As soon as the mixture starts to lightly bubble, cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds more.
  3. Immediately pour the mixture evenly over the popcorn; gently mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well coated. Gently stir in dark chocolate-covered pretzels and finely chopped dried cherries.
  4. Dip both hands in the ice water. Working quickly, press small handfuls (heaping 1/4 cup each) of the popcorn mixture firmly into 2-inch balls. (Make sure each ball gets a little bit of the pretzels and dried cherries.) Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. If they seem too fragile, rinse hands with cold water and press and squeeze each ball again to help keep it together.
  5. Let cool completely before storing. To store, individually wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

Foodie Friday: Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil

Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil Recipe

4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine, or spaghetti (see Ingredient note)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, (1 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking pasta.
  2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
  4. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan and 1/4 cup basil to the mushrooms in the skillet; toss to coat well. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining basil.

Foodie Friday: Hot Chile Grilled Cheese

Hot Chile Grilled Cheese Recipe

4 servings


  • 4 poblano peppers (see Note)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, preferably low-sodium
  • 3 tablespoons prepared salsa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 slices sourdough bread


  1. Place peppers in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Let stand, covered, until cool enough to handle.
  2. Meanwhile, combine beans, salsa and salt in a medium bowl. Mash the beans with a fork until they begin to form a paste (some can remain whole). Combine cheese, yogurt, scallions and cilantro in a small bowl.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, slice each one in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds.
  4. Heat a panini maker to high. (No panini maker? See Stovetop Variation, below.)
  5. Spread 1/3 cup of the bean mixture on each of 4 slices of bread. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Place 2 pepper halves over the cheese. Cover with the remaining slices of bread.
  6. Grill the sandwiches in the panini maker until golden brown and through, about 4 minutes. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Foodie Friday: Roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes with honey-pecan drizzle

Serves 6 to 8


2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, parsnips, bay leaf, oil and salt and pepper and then transfer to a large roasting pan. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 1 hour; discard bay leaf. Meanwhile, whisk together juice, honey and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thickened, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in pecans and set aside.

Transfer vegetables to a platter, drizzle honey-pecan mixture over the top, garnish with parsley and serve.


Foodie Friday: Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce

Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce Recipe

4 servings



  • 1 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 6-1/2-inch whole-wheat pitas, halved and warmed, if desired


  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, (see Ingredient note)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. To prepare burgers: Place chickpeas, scallions, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. (The mixture will be moist.) Form into 4 patties.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.
  3. To prepare sauce & serve: Meanwhile, combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Divide the patties among the pitas and serve with the sauce.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the uncooked burger mixture and tahini sauce for up to 2 days.
  • Ingredient Note: Tahini is a smooth, thick paste made from ground sesame seeds and commonly used in Middle Eastern foods. Look for it in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters in large supermarkets.


Foodie Friday: Layered Pasta and Veggie Bake

Serves 8

A deliciously different take on lasagna, with little (or no) cheese and big on veggies, here’s a healthy, hearty and satisfying meal-in-one.


1 (10-ounce) box lasagna noodles
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound yellow squash (about 3), chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano and parsley, divided, plus more for garnish
1 cup 365 Everyday Value® Organic Unsweetened Almondmilk
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added white beans, such as navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) tub 365 Everyday Value® Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (or make your own tofu ricotta)
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed
1 (16-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
1 large tomato, diced


Cook noodles per package instructions. Rinse in cold water after draining and spread out in a single layer to prevent sticking. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat broth in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, squash, onions and 1/2 cup of the herbs and cook, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor, purée almondmilk, beans and ricotta until smooth; transfer to a bowl and set aside. In a 9-x13-inch baking dish (this recipe makes a very full pan, so make sure your dish is at least 2 inches deep), layer lasagna as follows, scattering remaining herbs in between layers: ricotta mixture, noodles, broccoli and spinach, noodles, squash mixture, noodles, ricotta mixture. Top with tomato and bake, uncovered, until hot throughout, about 45 minutes; set aside to let rest 15 minutes. Cut into squares, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.


Foodie Friday: Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin

Serves 6

Ingredient List

  • 1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder, preferably New Mexican
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ lb. tomatillos, husked and quartered (1½ cups)
  • 1 15-oz. can hominy, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 3- to 4-lb. pumpkin, either sugar pie, cheese, red kuri, kabocha, or buttercup squash
  • 2 oz. grated sharp Cheddar cheese (½ cup packed)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté 7 minutes, or until softened. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook 3 minutes more, or until spices darken.

2. Add tomatillos, hominy, ı/2 cup water, and salt. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, 10 to 12 minutes, or until tomatillos are softened. Uncover, and cook 5 minutes more to thicken stew, if necessary.

3. Meanwhile, cut top of pumpkin around stem to make lid. Scoop out pumpkin seeds and strings. Rub inside of pumpkin with remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and sprinkle generously with salt. Sprinkle cheese in bottom of pumpkin.

4. Fill pumpkin with stew, then top with pumpkin lid. Place on parchment-covered baking sheet and bake 1ı/2 to 2 hours, or until pumpkin flesh is fork-tender. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.

5. Scoop stew, including pumpkin, into bowls and serve hot, topped with Poblano-Cucumber Salsa (Click here for recipe).


Foodie Friday: Chickpea, Beet, and Apple Panini

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbs. vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 8 slices sesame semolina bread (8 oz.)
  • 1 medium golden beet, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Granny smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup broccoli or radish sprouts
  • 4 Tbs. prepared black olive tapenade


1. Pulse chickpeas, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and tarragon in food processor until chunky.

2. Spread chickpea mixture on 4 bread slices. Top with beet and apple slices, and sprouts. Spread remaining 4 bread slices with tapenade; close sandwiches.

3. Spray panini with cooking spray. Coat skillet or grill pan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Place panini in pan; weight with smaller-diameter saucepan weighted with 2 cans. Cook 3 minutes. Flip, replace weight, and cook 2 minutes. (Or cook 4 minutes in panini maker.)


7 Delicious Meat Alternatives That Are NOT Related to Tofu

Did you know that you don’t have to go full-time veg to green your lifestyle? Many people are surprised to learn that simply cutting back on meat consumption is one of the most significant ways to help the planet. And it doesn’t require subsistence on tofu. (Personally, I find tofu delicious, but it’s one of those vegetarian protein sources people either really love or really don’t.)

There are so many delicious options available that slipping out of meat mode is breeze. Try one meat-free dinner a week, and build from there:


Your kitchen is not complete without highly nutritious quinoa. Known as the “Mother Grain” of the Andes, quinoa (pronounced KEE-nwah) comes complete with all necessary amino acids, high iron content, a delicious nutty flavor, and a faster cooking time than rice. Try it hot with steamed vegetables, cold in a salad, or in the ingenious form of quinoa pasta.


Even carnivores love a veggie burger – they no longer resemble sorry imitations of meat that isn’t that choice to begin with. Amy’s Kitchen makes the tastiest organic ones, in my opinion, but there are dozens out there. Rare is the veggie burger that really tastes like meat, but I personally wouldn’t want that, anyway. You’ve got a variety of flavors to choose from, each typically made with protein-rich soy and organic vegetables.


King of the nuts, the amazing almond is high in both protein and calcium (it’s a great low-carb snack with only a few grams of non-fiber carbohydrate per serving). Try almond milk or Living Tree’s naturally sweet organic almond butter, too. For a real splurge, go for raw.


With a 4,500 year history, organic yogurt is here to stay. Boasting protein, calcium and living cultures, organic yogurt with fruit slices makes for a healthy and filling breakfast or dessert. Buy plain, organic, full-fat yogurt – it’s the best for your body. Low-fat yogurt is highly processed and flavored yogurts are very high in sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup.


O.K., technically this is tofu. But wait! Organic and non-GMO tempeh, made from fermented soy beans and rice, is high in fiber and protein. It has a nutty flavor and tastes amazing in a stir-fry or on a kabob. I recommend Henry’s Gourmet. It’s much nuttier and chewier than tofu, which will satisfy a serious protein craving.


Legumes, like lentils, black beans and chickpeas are filling and high in protein and fiber. A Middle Eastern staple, hummus is simple to make, making it one of my favorite foods!


Though it’s not a vegan option, you can find cheeses that come from animals raised humanely (look for artisan or organic choices). Cheddar and mozzarella top the list of organic cheeses for protein content. I recommend raw dairy if you’re comfortable with that. Here’s a cheddar cheese scone recipe – simply substitute whole-grain flour.



Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Breakfast

Usually, when someone thinks of vegetarian food, they think “Am I going to be full?” or “I don’t like tofu”.  Well, this recipe is one of our family favorites and will be included in the upcoming cookbook CD that I’m writing entitiled “Getting Lean by Living Green”.   Enjoy, and feel free to let me know how you like it once you try it! 

This super-quick scramble is made by sauteing frozen O’brien potatoes with diced vegetarian sausages and crumbled tofu.  Soy cream cheese (or the dairy version) added just before serving makes it taste extra creamy and rich- without an abundance of excess calories.
Tofu-Potato Scramble  (Serves 6)
2 Tb olive oil
1/2 c green pepper, diced
1/2 c red pepper, diced
1/4 c yellow onion, diced
1 16oz bag frozen O’Brien potatoes
6 vegetarian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 14-oz pkg firm tofu, drained
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1/3 c cream cheese (soy or dairy version)
2 green onions, with and green parts, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add peppers and onion and saute until onions are transleucent.  Add potatoes and sausages and cook about 8 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown (stirring occasionally).
  2. Combine hot pepper sauce, turmeric, and 1 Tb water in small bowl.  Crumble tofu coarsely over totato mixture, and drizzle hot sauce mixture on top.  Sprinkle with Creole seasoning.  Cook 3 minutes, or until tofu is heated through, stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.  Stir dollops of cream cheese into scramble.
  3. Transfer to platter, sprinkle with green onions, and serve