My Top 10 Favorite Vegetarian Recipes

Happy New Year!!  I have noticed that a lot of bloggers are doing an end of year round-up, so I thought that I would share with you a beginning of year round up of my top 10 favorite vegetarian recipes.

Meyer Lemon Basil Pesto Meyer Lemon Basil Pesto

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup

Kale Persimmon Salad Kale Persimmon Salad with a Red and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Black Lentil Chili Black Lentil Chili with Crispy Shoestring Fries and Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

Triple Chocolate Cookies Triple Chocolate Cookies

Oregano Feta Hummus Oregano Feta Hummus with Greek Pico de Gallo

Cream of Potato Chive Soup Cream of Potato Chive Soup with Roasted Jalapeno

Black Lentil Greek Salad Black Lentil Greek Salad with Fried Halloumi and Oregano Feta Lemon Pesto

Creamy Artichoke Mac ‘N’ Cheese Creamy Artichoke Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Strawberry Ricotta Shortcakes Strawberry Ricotta Shortcakes with Honey and Tarragon

Multi Roasted Pepper Hummus

This Multi Roasted Pepper Hummus is freakin delicious if I do say so myself!  The hummus has wonderful roasted pepper flavors in and of itself and when topped with the Multi Roasted Pepper Salsa it gains an extra depth of flavor and texture.  The salsa can also be served alongside the hummus with pita and corn chips.

Multi Roasted Pepper Hummus Ever since Robby fixed up our bikes we have gone bike ride crazy and loving every minute of it.  We also inspired Jill and Beto to get their bikes working so that we could all go on a bike ride together including Paloma and Severin.  They suggested a couple places that would be nice and we decided on the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.  We rode on a paved bike path for part of the way and then on a dirt path alongside the marsh.  There were a lot of birds and I believe that it’s considered one of the best places to bird watch on the West Coast.  It is an insanely beautiful spot that I highly recommend checking out.

 It’s always awesome to be in nature with Beto because he is a biologist and is well versed in animals, plants and sea life.  There were bright orange patches of what I thought were flowers from a distance, but Beto clarified that it was a sort of bacteria called Salt Marsh Dodder that looked like spaghetti.  It was so pretty with the yellow mustard flowers and all the blues and greens.  This was Severin’s first bike ride and boy was he excited.  He ended up passing out during the ride, which was way too cute!

After the ride, we headed back to Beto and Jill’s to enjoy some good company, a lovely cheese platter served with some wine that was the perfect end to such a beautiful day!  Have you been to the Baylands before?  Where do you like to ride bikes?

This hummus is best with a white wine in my opinion.  I like it with a White Rioja, Verdejo or a Rueda.
Multi Roasted Pepper Hummus Multi Roasted Pepper Salsa Hummus Recipe: 
Approx. 3 Cups
  •  3/4 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans – 1 1/2 Cups Cooked
  • 1 Cup Roasted Multi-Pepper Salsa – or to taste – recipe below
  • 2/3 Cup Roasted Tahini
  • 1/2 Cup Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Filtered Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Roasted Multi-Pepper Salsa: Approx. 2 3/4 Cup
  • 2 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 2 Red Bell Pepper  –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1/2 Large White Onion – blanched
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Cups Cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
 Pita Triangles
  • 8 Pita – cut into 6 wedges each
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Preparing garbanzo beans
You can cook the garbanzo beans two different ways: one is a quick way, the other is by soaking the beans overnight which is better for your digestion.  This is how I prepare them, plus if you are going to make falafels, this is the way to go.

Place them in a large bowl and cover with filtered water, they will expand to over double their size, make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion.  Soak overnight for at least 12 hours then drain and rinse.

Quick method
Place the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water above the beans and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the beans soak in the warm water for 1 hour then drain the water and rinse.  Follow cooking the beans instructions below.

Cooking the beans

If you want extra smooth hummus you can do as Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi do from their cookbook “Jerusalem”  and remove the skins from the garbanzo beans.

Just add soaked chickpeas and 1 teaspoons of baking soda to a large saucepan over high heat.  Stirring constantly for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Covers the chickpeas by about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 – 60 minutes or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.  Skim off the foam and skins that float to the surface.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.


Put the beans back in the pot and cover with several inches of filtered water.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 – 60 minutes or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.   They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.  Pinch each bean to remove skins if desired.

While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the salsa.

Roasted Multi-Pepper Salsa
Turn oven to broil.
Put all the peppers, jalapeño and onion on a baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven.  Set the timer for 5 minutes and turn everything over,  Set timer for 3 minutes, then check on the onion, anaheim, poblano, and jalapeno.  If they have a nice char, take them out.
 Flip the bell peppers over, roast for 12 to 18 more minutes and check on them a couple times.  You want them to be wrinkled and charred.
Put into a covered dish or a rolled short paper bag to steam for at least 10 minutes. 
Add the garlic into a food processor and turn it on until it sticks to the sides.  Add the onions, cilantro and jalapeño and pulse until slightly chunky.  Pour into a medium sized bowl.  Add the lime and salt.
Remove the skin, stem and seeds from all the peppers and dice into small squares, add to the onions and stir well.

In a food processor or blender, add 1 cups of the salsa and all the ingredients for the hummus and puree until really smooth. Pour into a bowl and smooth out the top then add some salsa on top.  Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Baked Pita Chips
 Turn down the oven to 350 degrees

Cut each pita into 8 triangles and place on one side of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and gently toss.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until crispy.

Multi Roasted Pepper Hummus Health benefits:

Garbanzo beans are super high in protein and extremely high in fiber, just one cup provides 50% of the Daily Value.  Because of the fiber, they are great for your heart, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack, as well as help, prevent constipation and digestive disorders.  Just one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value of manganese, which is an antioxidant that acts as a monitor of the free radicals in the body.  If you are low in energy the high iron content will help and will transport oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.  They also help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Garbanzo beans are helpful for weight loss as they keep you full longer.

Bell Peppers are extremely high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight especially night vision.  It is also very high in vitamin C, which is really important for the skin.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum, and manganese.  Red peppers are one of the veggies highest in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, that are great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas.

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma.  They are also helpful with the increase of oxygen helping the body to burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They are full of vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium.

Anaheim Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, a half-cup provides over 100 percent required daily intake for adults.  They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which is helpful for skin and eye health.  Anaheim peppers contain phenols; flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss.  The bioflavonoids are a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen blood vessels.  They aid the immune system and contain vitamin E that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage.  They also contain vitamin K, which increases bone mass more than any other pepper.

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella in Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette Crostini

This is a truly delightful and easy Marinated Fresh Mozzarella appetizer that is sure to impress!  I absolutely adore the simple yet extraordinary combination of tangerine with basil.  Add them to a toasty crostini or any crusty bread for that matter and I can’t get enough.

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella

My last post was on a marinated tomato salad.  I had leftover dressing from the marinated tomatoes so, I used it for this recipe.  You can either make the dressing just for this recipe or do like I did and get two for one.  This appetizer goes well with the marinated tomato salad as they both have the same marinade/dressing.  The next time we have guest, I am going to make both of these dishes and bring them down to the beach for a beach picnic.  Who’s in?

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella

I like a sparkling wine with this appetizer, like a Cava or a Prosecco.

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Recipe:
about 7 – 10 crostini
Mandarin Salt or plain Madron Salt – a pinch on top of each crostini

Whole batch

  • 1 box – (1 1/4 Cup) Maldon Salt
  • Zest of 4 – 8 Mandarin Oranges – depends on how much citrus you want (I used 5, which is mild)

Small batch

  • 1/4 Cup Maldon Salt
  • Zest of 1 – 2 Mandarin Orange
Start by making the vinaigrette.
Slice the mozzarella balls 3/4 of the way through making sure not to cut all the way through the ball.  Or you can cut them in half if you prefer.  Add the cut mozzarella balls to the marinade and let marinate overnight or for at least four hours.

Mandarin Salt

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees.
I included a whole recipe for the salt if you desire to use it on other dishes or you can make the smaller batch for this recipe only.
Zest the mandarins with a microplane, spread the zest out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Take out and separate any clumps with your fingers and put back in for 5 additional minutes and then repeat separation of any remaining clumps and put back in for the final 2 minutes.
Put salt into food processor and pulse about 5 times to break it down just a bit.
Mix the zest with the salt.
The rest
Wash, dry and pick the basil leaves off of the stems.  You can
keep the leaves whole or chiffonade them.
Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices and follow this recipe.
You can either serve the marinated mozzarella and basil on the side and let your guest top their own crostini.  Or, top the crostini with two or three mozzarella balls and a few basil leaves.  (They stay on the crostini best when cut in half, but I like the way they look whole.)  Serve with a side of marinade to be drizzled on top or to dip the bread in.
Another option is to put the mozzarella balls on the crostini and stick it under the broiler for a minute to melt, then add the fresh basil leaves to serve.  Serve with a side of marinade to be drizzled on top or to dip the bread in.
 Health benefits:
Tangerines are a type of mandarin orange. They are a valuable source of flavonoid anti-oxidants that are several times higher than oranges, but have even more vitamin A and iron. The vitamin A in them helps with immune function, vision and reproductive health. As with all citrus they are still very rich in vitamin C that stimulates the production of collagen and helps keeps your skin supple as well as stimulating cell generation in the body. Antioxidants are found in high concentrations in the rind of tangerines, which fighting off free radicals keeping the body’s cells healthy while purifying the blood and remove toxins.  They contain natural soluble and insoluble fiber that improves digestion and restrict the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which helps cut the risk of obesity and reduce inflammation. Tangerine fruit has been used effectively against skin diseases and arthritis. They also help to absorb iron from food in to the body and contain a good amount of Folate and Potassium.

Easy Crostini

A crostini is a sliced bread lightly oiled then toasted or grilled until it becomes crispy.  These Easy Crostini are fast and easy to make for all sorts of appetizers, like this “Pear and Coconut Gouda Crostini“.   Or to accompany cheese, soups, salads and pasta dishes.

Easy Crostini

 Crostini means “little toast” and are usually made with an Italian ciabatta bread and are often served with cheese, meats and wine.  The Italian peasants would use the crostini in place of a plate for there meats.


Easy Crostini Recipe:

12 Slices

  • Approx. 12 Slices of Italian Ciabatta or French Bread
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.