Archives for category: gluten-free

I’m really busy with travel and work these days, so meals have become simple, quick, and in big pots so I can eat leftovers for several meals. So the next few posts will be less recipes and more meal ideas for those times when cooking healthy meals may seem a bit daunting. There’s really no need eat boring or unhealthy foods when you’re really busy (or broke)!

This is another meal that I eat quite often, as it is simple to make, really inexpensive, and delicious so I’m happy to eat the leftovers for days. I have to credit my good friend Caitlin Rueter, who I often stay with in NYC. She makes this all the time and although she  apologizes for the simplicity of the meal, I always enjoy it and crave it again and again.

Did you know that lentils and brown rice cook in the same amount of time? This was a great discovery for me–you can pop both raw (cleaned and picked through) lentils and brown rice into a rice cooker and not have to think about them at all. Meanwhile, cook any sides or toppings you would like and you have several filling, nutritious, and very tasty meals with about as much work as it would take to make a box of mac and cheese.

Caitlin’s lentils, rice and greens

  • Rinse, and pick any stones from about a cup of lentils (I used brown, you can use any you like, French lentils are great, red lentils would result in a more creamy texture)
  • Add lentils and approximately the same amount of raw brown rice (I like long-grain,or Jasmine) to the pot or rice cooker
  • Use the proportions of 2 parts water to 1 part rice/lentil mixture
  • Cook as you would rice
  • Go do whatever you have to do for about half an hour
  • When the rice and lentils are just about done, thinly slice about half an onion, and a little garlic if you like
  • Sautee onion in a few glugs of olive oil, and a couple generous pinches of salt. Add some chile flakes if you like
  • When the onions are translucent and slightly brown, add finely sliced greens or any other vegetable (still damp from rinsing)
  • Sautee until tender-crisp, add more salt to taste, and squeeze a good amount of lemon/lime juice on top
  • Serve vegetables over lentils and rice, with more lemon and your favorite hot sauce

You could use any vegetables you like here–spinach, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, or just let the onions get a little crispy, add a handful of chopped fresh parsley, chives, or cilantro, and leave it at that. Don’t forget a big squeeze of lemon or lime juice before serving.

For a side dish/dessert, I sliced some ruby red grapefruit onto which I drizzled a little bit of real maple syrup.




Here are a few things I’ve made recently that would be good additions to any holiday meal: an extra spicy, whole wheat gingerbread, a delicate and moist persimmon cake recipe that doubled as  persimmon chocolate chip muffins, lots of kabocha pumpkin simply roasted in olive oil and salt until super tender and caramelized, and an autumn salad with spinach, red quinoa, pumpkin seeds, apple, and feta.

spicy gingerbread


1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 ts. baking soda

1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground if desired

1 tablespoon orange rind

3/4 ts. salt

1 egg beaten (or 1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed in 1/4 cup warm water)*

1/2 c. turbinado sugar + extra for topping

1/2 c. molasses (use a fuller flavored  “robust,” un-sulfered or unfiltered molasses if you can)

1/2 c. boiling water

1/2 c. olive oil


preheat 350 degrees

combine dry ingredients into one bowl. in a separate bowl, mix wet in ingredients. combine, then add boiling water last, stirring until smooth.

cook in a loaf pan, cake pan, or whatever you prefer. Bake until golden, coming away slightly from the sides of a pan, and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve alone, or with lemon curd, lemon or vanilla ice cream, or fresh whipped cream. Also wonderful lightly toasted with coffee or tea and sliced oranges for breakfast.

*note: substituting flax seed for egg will make this recipe vegan. the result is just as delicious, but does not hold together as well

persimmon cake/ persimmon chocolate-chip muffins

adapted from bon apetit

note: this recipe results in a lightly sweet cake or muffin. If you would like a sweeter result, use 1 cup of sugar and/or top with a delicately flavored icing, glaze, or sweetened whipped cream (vanilla, orange zest, and/or nutmeg would be wonderful additions)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
  • 4 large, very ripe Hachiya persimmons
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • chocolate chips (optional)
  • chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour muffin tin or loaf pan. Tap out excess flour.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Scoop persimmon flesh from skins into a blender. Purée until smooth. Mix with wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips or nuts if using
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, cake pan, or muffin tins.  Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  • Let bread cool in pan for 20 minutes. Unmold and let cool completely on a wire rack.

caramelized kabocha pumpkin


  • kabocha pumpkin
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt


preheat oven to 400 degrees

cut pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and cut in thin slices or small chunks (more cuts means more caramelized edges!) drizzle generously with olive oil (about 1/4 cup for an entire small pumpkin) and salt. toss to coat.

roast until very tender and edges are lightly browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes

optional additions: sliced onions, fresh black pepper, hot chile flakes, a couple teaspoons of maple syrup and/or french mustard drizzled over squash for the last 5 minutes

Autumn Salad

makes one large salad


6 cups baby spinach, or mixed greens

one firm, sweet/tart apple, like a Pink Lady or Gala, cored and sliced thinly

pumpkin or squash seeds, roasted with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees until golden brown

1/2 cup crumbled feta (or ricotta salata, or fresh goat cheese)

1 cup leftover quinoa (any variety, I like red the best for salads)

your favorite vinaigrette or mix together 1 tablespoon french mustard, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar, black pepper, and a tiny pinch of sugar until emulsified

Toss greens with most of the dressing, leaving a couple tablespoons to drizzle on top. Arrange quinoa, apple slices, seeds, and cheese on top on dressed greens. Drizzle with remaining  dressing and serve.

broiled tofu, vegetarian dinner, vegan dinner

This post doesn’t exactly provide a recipe, but  a few ideas to get you started on creating an easy, super-nutritious, vegetarian/vegan dinner that you can throw together with ingredients you have in your kitchen–one that even a meat-lover will enjoy.

Many Americans are trying to cut down on their meat consumption, but have trouble coming up with ideas. An easy solution is to simply substitute meat with a vegetarian protein such as tofu or tempeh and make your favorite side dishes. Tofu in particular is versatile, inexpensive, and can be found at almost any grocery store. It can be used straight from the tub or frozen and thawed before cooking for a different texture. Although Asian flavorings obviously pair well with tofu, try using the your favorite marinades, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, or flavorings for something different. (Tempeh roasted with rosemary, garlic, salt and olive oil, until golden and crispy, for example, is amazing)

Adapt this recipe to the ingredients you have around or that are your favorite, and depending on how much you want to make.

Broiled Tofu with Quinoa and Collards


quinoa (or your favorite grain, or pasta)

collard greens (or kale, chard, spinach, dandelion, or a mix of your favorite dark greens)


fresh Garlic

fresh lemon juice

chile flakes (optional)

olive oil

salt & pepper

your favorite marinade from a jar (or try making this or this or this, or just puree some garlic, olive oil, salt, and herbs)

tofu or tempeh, cut into large “steaks”


to begin, soak your quinoa (I used red here) in cold water for about 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step, or your quinoa will be bitter!

roughly chop a small onion, and smash a few cloves of garlic with the side of your knife; remove the skins

if using collards or kale, remove the ribs, rinse, then cut into ribbons or medium-sizes pieces

pour your marinade over the pieces of tofu in a large bowl, and set aside

cook your quinoa according to package directions (just like rice, you can even use a rice cooker as I did here)

while your quinoa is cooking, prepare the tofu and greens:

heat a large skillet on medium high. Add a swirl of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons for one bunch of greens), then your garlic, onion, chile flakes, and salt and pepper

when the onion is translucent and fragrant, add your rinsed greens, still a bit damp. stir, and turn the heat down to low/medium low

turn your oven to broil

remove tofu from the marinade, and place on a non-stick cookie sheet or a piece of aluminum foil. spoon a bit of the marinade over the tofu steaks, saving the remaining marinade for later

place the tofu on the highest rack in your oven

in about 5-7 minutes, when the tofu is beginning to brown on the edges and the marinade is bubbling, spoon on a bit more of your marinade and return to the broiler

when your tofu is as brown as you like, remove from the oven

squeeze lemon juice over the greens. taste, and adjust the seasoning.

for each plate, place a scoop of cooked quinoa, a big serving of the greens and onions, and 2-3 pieces of broiled tofu. spoon some of the remaining marinade over the quinoa and tofu and serve.




This soup is very simple and easy to make, and is very versatile–it and makes a great light meal with a vegetable side dish, or a heartier main dish when topped with a fried egg and chopped fresh cilantro, or a generous grating of your favorite hard aged cheese.

I use Kabocha pumpkin here, because that is my favorite, but substitute with any winter squash you have around or that you like best. Don’t forget to save the seeds and roast–these make a great topping for the soup, or for a simple side salad of greens tossed in a vinaigrette.

Pumpkin Rice Soup


2 cups brown jasmine rice, cooked (or left over)

1 medium winter squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into bite-sized chunks

1/2 package soft or silken tofu, cut into bite-sized chunks

vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, sliced thinly

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger (optional)

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper


In a large soup pot, saute the ginger, onion, and scallions in olive oil until fragrant. Add all other ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook on medium heat until the pumpkin is very tender, about 30 minutes. Add tofu cubes and fresh lemon juice, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


I have to admit I really don’t know how to cook authentic Thai food. I live just a few minutes away from the Richmond district of San Francisco so I have easy access to some of my favorite Thai restaurants, but once in a while I do like to try my hand at it, using the ingredients I have around. (Which happens to include kaffir lime leaves grown by a friend that I keep in the freezer)

This is a great sauce to make a large batch of when you have a busy week coming up; it can be used to make a variety of dishes. Try poured over your favorite protein and veggies and rice, quinoa, or rice noodles, or thinned with a bit of water or broth for the base for soup with spinach, or any leftover vegetables you like. I even poured some over leftover brown rice and microwaved for a few minutes for breakfast one morning.

If you are using rice, start cooking it while you prepare the sauce. I chose to steam my vegetables for this dish, so I got those started at the same time. You could also roast or stir fry your vegetables and tofu/tempeh with a bit of oil, salt, and garlic instead. You want your veggies to be cooked really well for this dish, not al dente, so the sauce can permeate your toppings.

Use the veggies you have on hand or that are your favorite. Here I used cauliflower, pumpkin, mushrooms and tofu. The sweetness of the pumpkin is a wonderful combination with the flavors of the sauce, and the seeds, roasted with a bit of oil and salt, makes for a nice crunchy (and nutrition-packed) topping.

Thai-Inspired Sauce

Ingredients (for approx 5 servings)

1 can light coconut milk

fresh ginger or galangal–a large knob, enough to result in about 2 tablespoons when crushed

2-3 cloves fresh garlic

3-4 scallions

1 fresh chile

2-3 kaffir lime leaves (if you can find them)

1/2- 1 cup fresh herbs, finely minced (any combination of cilantro, basil, mint, lemon grass)

juice from one lime

2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (or maple syrup, or agave)



While your rice is steaming and your veggies are cooking, prepare the sauce.

Roughly chop the garlic, ginger or galangal, chile, scallions,and add to a mortar and pestle with a bit of salt. (You can use a food processor for this step as well) Crush the ingredients well, then add the kaffir lime leaves and continue pounding to release their essential oils.

Add these ingredients to a saucepan with the coconut milk, sugar, lemongrass if you are using, and a dash more of salt. Simmer on low/medium low to combine the flavors, but do not bring to a boil. When your rice is steamed, and your vegetables are very tender, add the fresh herbs and lime juice to the sauce and take off the heat. Taste and adjust your seasonings.

For each serving, put a scoop of rice in a bowl, and top with your vegetables and tofu. Pour about 3/4 cup of the sauce on top, sprinkle with additional fresh herbs and roasted pumpkin seeds if you are using, and serve with more lime wedges and hot sauce.