Za’atar Pasta Salad

zaatar pasta salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube!

 

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

 

Pasta:

16 ounces small pasta of your choice (such as fusilli, geminelli, cavatelli)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

 

Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced on a Microplane (1 teaspoon)

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small (1/3 cup)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Salad:

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10-ounce) jar pitted Castelvetrano olives, drained and roughly chopped

2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 persian or English cucumbers, halved and sliced thinly on a bias

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

4 teaspoons za’atar, plus more to taste

 

Add 16 cups water to a pot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a rolling boil.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

While pasta is cooking, add vinaigrette ingredients to a very large bowl. Whisk vigorously until emulsified just before adding pasta.

When pasta is done, drain (do not rinse) and add to the large bowl with the (now whisked) vinaigrette. Mix thoroughly.

Let pasta vinaigrette mixture rest at room temperature until it has cooled. Stir occasionally.

While cooling, add all salad ingredients except za’atar to a medium bowl.

Once pasta is room temperature, add salad ingredients to the pasta and gently fold to combine.

Sprinkle za’atar over salad and fold again to combine. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and za’atar.

Serve and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Artichoke Pesto Sandwich

artichooke pesto sammy

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1 (14-ounce) can or jar artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained and squeezed of excess water

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

1 (12-ounce jar) roasted red bell peppers, drained

2 cups spinach

2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly

4-ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

 

Place artichoke hearts, basil, ricotta, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth, approximately 1 minute, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.

Place an oven rack on the top rack and line 2 sheet trays with aluminum foil. Turn your oven to broil.

Assemble 4 sandwiches by spreading 2½ tablespoons of the pesto on each piece of toast. Layer spinach, red bell pepper and tomato on one side of the sandwich (atop the pesto). Add mozzarella on the other side of the sandwich. Place sandwiches, open-faced, on the foil-lined sheet trays (2 sandwiches per sheet tray).

Place 1 sheet tray under the broiler until the cheese is nice and melty. (This may happen quite quickly depending on your oven!) Remove from the oven and repeat with the remaining sheet tray.

Brown Butter Sweet Corn Pancakes

corn pancake

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yields: 12 pancakes

Spice Mix:

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

 

Pancake Mix:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted until browned, cooled slightly, plus more for greasing the pan

½ cup low-fat buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal (not coarse)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon spice mix

3 scallions (green onions), very thinly sliced (½ cup)

2 cups fresh corn or thawed frozen corn

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, eggs and adobo sauce.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and spice mix. Add the liquids from the small bowl into the large bowl. Fold together until just combined. Fold in the scallions and corn with a rubber spatula.

Place a large nonstick pan over medium heat for 1½ minutes.  Add a small amount of butter to pan, just enough to lightly coat. Scoop batter into ¼ cup measure cup. Add the batter to the pan using a spoon to get it out of the measuring cup. Gently press the pancake batter with the back of the spoon to flatten it and form a 3-inch pancake. (Cook 3 to 4 pancakes at a time.) Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Pro tip: start your timer after the last pancake is added to the pan. Repeat until all pancakes are cooked.

Transfer pancakes to a cookie rack until all are made and you are ready to serve.

 

Pancake Topping Options:

Sour Cream

Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

Cotija Cheese, crumbled

Avocado, sliced

Green onions, thinly sliced

Spice mix

To serve, place 3 pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of the spice mix and all of your favorite toppings.

Herb Encrusted Chicken Paillard with Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad

paillardquinoa

 

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Chicken:

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme (or a combination of all three)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons), grated on a Microplane

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Adjust an oven rack to the upper position.

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Using a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a saucepan, pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap until ⅓ inch thick.

Remove the chicken from the plastic wrap, then drizzle lightly with the olive oil, just enough to coat both sides, rubbing to coat evenly. Season equally with herbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.

Set your oven to broil. Place chicken on sheet tray and broil for approximately 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through, until the internal temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. (Keep your eyes on that chicken under the broiler – things can happen fast!)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing / serving over the quinoa salad.

 

Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad:

Citronette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the citronette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Salad:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata or green olives, pits removed

 

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Transfer the quinoa to a medium sized bowl. Add the chile flakes, parsley, pine nuts, garbanzo beans and olives. Drizzle the citronette over the salad. Fold to mix everything together. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Sesame Crusted Salmon Rice Bowl

Salmonbowl

Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

4 teaspoons unsweetened rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

 

Mix together in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Bowl Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice (your choice e.g. sushi, brown, forbidden)

4-ounces small carrots, (approximately 2 small carrots) peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

3-ounces cucumbers (Persian or English), (approximately 1 cucumber) thinly sliced

12 seaweed squares (your favorite brand or seaweed snack)

2 teaspoons Nori Komi furikake (use toasted sesame seeds if you don’t have it)

4 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 avocado, cut in half lengthwise, pitted and cut into slices

1-ounce scallion, (1 scallion), dark green part and root end cut off, sliced thinly on a bias

 

Salmon

1 pound wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, preferably Copper River Salmon, skin on, pin bones removed, cut into 4 equal sized pieces, 1-inch thick

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

 

Pat the fish dry (all sides) with a paper towel.

Lightly oil salmon with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Use fingers to ensure oil is evenly coating the flesh. Season flesh side of salmon pieces evenly with salt and pepper.

Place sesame seeds on a plate.

Gently press flesh side of salmon into plate of sesame seeds to coat the flesh.

Add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to a medium nonstick sauté pan and place over medium heat. Let pan heat until hot, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl to coat bottom of pan with the oil. Place fish (cook all 4 pieces at a time if pan is large enough), sesame seed side down into pan and let cook until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Flip fish and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes until skin is crispy and salmon changes in color from bright pink and translucent to opaque and coral.

Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Remove skin before serving if you wish.

 

Bowl Assembly

To assemble the bowl, divide the rice among 4 bowls. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of furikake over each portion of rice. Arrange carrots, cucumbers, avocado, scallions and pickled ginger on top of the rice. Drizzle sauce over each portion, to taste. Place 3 seaweed sheets upright against the side of the bowl and lay a piece of salmon atop each bowl, sesame seed side up.

Serve immediately.

Coriander Spiced Calabacitas Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Coriander Spiced Calabacitas Tacos

Coriander Spiced Calabacitas Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Yields: 12 servings

 

Chipotle Crema:

1 cup organic sour cream

2½ tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Tacos:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, peeled and diced small

1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced small

1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins discarded, diced small, or to taste

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced small

2 medium zucchini or summer squash or mix of both (1 pound), diced small

½ bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

 

Toppings:

12 tortillas, warmed on a griddle, nonstick pan or directly over a flame

Salsa of choice

Cotija Cheese, crumbled

Fresh cilantro leaves

 

Mix Chipotle Crema ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt or making more spicy with additional adobo sauce. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, poblano and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are beginning to soften.

Add the cumin, coriander and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Stir, and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the tomatillos, zucchini and cilantro. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in fresh lime juice. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and/or lime juice.

Assemble tacos by putting a dollop of chipotle crema on a taco, then adding the calabacitas followed by salsa, cheese and cilantro. Repeat – repeat – repeat!

 

Tray Bake Eggplant Parmesan

traybakeeggplantparm

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

 

Tray Bake Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

3 medium Italian eggplants (approximately 2 pounds), tops removed

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups marinara sauce (your choice!)

6-ounces grated/shredded whole milk mozzarella

2-ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

5 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and sliced very thinly (chiffonade)

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise. With the skin side resting on a cutting board, score the flesh into a 1/4–inch crosshatch pattern. Score the flesh as deep as possible while trying not to cut through the skin. Open the eggplant, spreading and bending the eggplant so it lays as flat as possible, flesh side up. The goal is to have it lay almost completely flat – skin down. To accommodate this, you can make small cuts around the circumference of the eggplant to release any tension in the eggplant.

Lay eggplant halves flesh side up on a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Brush olive oil (1 tablespoon per eggplant half) evenly over flesh. Sprinkle each half with a little salt. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray after 15 minutes.

Remove sheet tray from the oven. Spread ¼ cup marinara on top of each eggplant half. Then top each with mozzarella, followed by Parmigiano, some pepper and lastly the panko.

Transfer to oven and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.

Remove from oven. Top each eggplant with pine nuts, basil and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Notes:

  • Want to add a bit more marinara or a bit more cheese? Go for it – it’s only gonna make it better!
  • Although you can use Japanese eggplant for this recipe, I have found that the skin of the Italian eggplant variety is less bitter and therefore works best for this application

 

Tray Baked Chicken Thighs with Roasted Grapes and Arugula

Chicken and Roasted Grapes

 

Yields: 4 servings

 

Zest of 1 lemon (grated on a Microplane)

10 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme

1¾ boneless skinless chicken thighs (approximately 6 chicken thighs)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound seedless red grapes

4 packed cups arugula (5 ounces)

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

 

Adjust an oven rack 5 inches from the broiler and set the oven to broil.

Add the lemon zest, thyme, chicken thighs, olive oil, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine.

Place chicken thighs on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray.

Add grapes to the same large mixing bowl and mix so that you coat the grapes with the excess olive oil and seasoning left in the bowl.

Distribute grapes on the sheet tray, but do not cover the chicken. (You may need to do some rearranging on the sheet tray so nothing is overlapping.)

Place sheet tray in oven and set a timer for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, flip the chicken. Continue cooking for another 7 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees with a digital thermometer.

Remove sheet tray from the oven and transfer chicken and grapes to a plate (don’t pour out the jus!).

Add arugula to a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of the warm chicken/grape jus from the sheet tray over the arugula. Add the balsamic vinegar and gently fold to combine. Season with salt.

Serve by dividing the arugula onto plates. Top each salad with chicken and some roasted grapes. Got any leftover jus? Drizzle it over each plate for extra flavor.

 

Spiced Mahi-mahi Tacos with Salsa Fresca and Chipotle Crema

LYONMahiTaco

Yield: 6 servings

 

Salsa Fresca:

¼ pound cherry tomatoes, diced small

¼ cup red onion, diced small

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Mix to combine ingredients together in a small bowl.

 

Chipotle Crema:

¼ cup organic sour cream

1½ teaspoons adobo sauce

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Mix to combine ingredients together in a small bowl.

 

Mahi-mahi:

1 pound mahi-mahi, 1-inch thick

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Remove mahi-mahi from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Mix the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Evenly coat the mahi-mahi with the spice rub on all sides. Discard any excess spice rub.

In a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Let sit for 1 minute, until the oil is hot. Add the mahi-mahi and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. You will know the fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and begins to flake. Remove from heat and transfer the mahi-mahi to a plate. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces.

 

Assembling the Taco:

6 corn tortillas, warmed through

2 avocado, pitted and sliced

½ cup shredded green cabbage

 

Smear a dollop of chipotle crema on a corn tortilla. Top with a few slices of avocado. Add some mahi-mahi, cabbage and finish with salsa fresca. Eat. Repeat.

 

NOTE: use the Seafood Watch App or check Seafood Watch online to choose sustainable seafood

Coconut Lemongrass Wild Salmon

coconut-lemongrass-wild-salmon-73-web

Coconut Lemongrass Wild Salmon

Enjoy this recipe recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine! Photo by Ronald Tsang.

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)

6 3-inch pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife

1 large 3-inch piece of fresh ginger (3-ounces), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the back of a knife

2 large makrut lime leaves, ribs removed

1 small Thai chili, cut in half widthwise

1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite, no guar gum)

1 cup water

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

4 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (approximately 25 grape tomatoes)

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

1¾ pound head cauliflower, core and leaves discarded, cut into bite-sized florets

8 ounces baby bok choy, cleaned and quartered

1¼ pound skin-on wild sockeye salmon, 1-inch thick, pin bones removed and cut into 4 equal sized pieces *

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

 

In a large pot (which fits a steamer basket), add the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime leaves, chili, coconut milk, water, chicken stock, grape tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Insert steamer basket. Add cauliflower in an even layer to basket.

Cover with a lid. Turn heat to high and set a timer for 25 minutes.

Once you see steam, reduce heat to medium-low.

After 25 minutes, remove the insert (careful, hot!) and transfer to a plate. (Heat is still set to medium-low.) Add the bok choy evenly atop the cauliflower. On top of the bok choy, add the salmon pieces, evenly spaced, skin side down. Season the salmon with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.

Re-insert the steamer basket, cover with a lid and set a timer for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, your salmon should be opaque and lighter in color. Turn off the heat.

Remove steam basket and place on plate again. Add the lime juice to the steaming liquid, stir and season to taste with salt as needed. Strain liquid, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to get all the delicious broth!

To serve, place some cauliflower and bok choy in the center of a shallow bowl. Remove skin if you prefer and place salmon filet on top of the steamed vegetables. Spoon over ¼ cup of the broth per bowl.

*Salmon note * If your salmon has a slight fishy smell to it – not a problem, give it a quick rinse in cold water and pat it dry.