Category Archives: side dishes

Cauliflower Pizza with Asparagus, Kale and Mushrooms

Ok…. so this is not much of a recipe but more of the art of putting it all together…but I just had to post. Such an amazing crunch and taste that it leaves you craving for more. And it is healthy, nutritious and scrumptious. If Gluten bothers you, this is GF.


My cauliflower pizza base is Cauliflower and Corn flour from Trader Joes or Moms Organic market. On my trip to MOMs, I brought back beautiful garlic, asparagus, fresh Kale, Jalapeño, and mushrooms.  I had some Parmesan and Halloumi in the fridge so putting this together was a breeze.

Note this is not a typical pizza smothering in tomato sauce and cheese. This one showcases the beautiful vegetables so adjust if you need more of the cheeses or add some tomato sauce.


The Kale and chopped mushrooms need to be sautéed in chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside.


Slice or chop some Asparagus, Jalapeño, Roma tomato and set aside

Slice the cheeses.

Cook the crust according to instruction until it is firm and slightly crisp. The TJ version had me cook at 450 degrees and flip the crust to cook 12 mins on each side. That was perfect

Top the crust with veggies and cheese and put under a broiler for 3-4 mins.

Douse with some good avocado or olive oil and red chili flakes.




Sharing at Fiesta Friday featuring Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Alex @ Turks Who Eat as co-hosts this week.


Matar Paneer Curry – Peas and Cheese

Sometimes the simpler the food the more rewarding for your taste buds.  Visons of many a beautiful vegetarian tables with paneer, lentils and pickles seems to stay with me.  The memories range from  restaurants to friends houses after school, to street side travel shacks and many more…..but they are always vivid and connect me to a rich past.


Growing up our family were big meat eaters…it would not be “food” without lamb or chicken 🙂 However, every now and then we would have a vegetarian day where Paneer would be the showcase.


When I first moved to the US, store bought  paneer (cheese)  was not an option so making the paneer at home was the only way. Don’t get me wrong, homemade cheese is the best but sometimes a working girl needs a premade handy version so dinner can be cooked at moments notice.


The local Asian stores now have the most amazing Paneer available so I keep a block in the fridge or freezer for quick dinner situations.


This is a curry, which as always is spicy, tangy, rich, gentle, soft and ever so delicious.


I have paired it with butter rice, lentils and pickles. Naan or roti would be perfect with the platter.




Matar Paneer

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick and easy matar paneer


  • 1 block of Paneer cubed ( I used Nanak Paneer)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 large  chopped red onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 7-8 garlic cloves – sliced
  • 1 inch ginger – grated
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish


Putting it together:

  • Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan on medium heat and add the chopped garlic cloves,  ginger and  onion into the pan and fry this for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, cover the pan and cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened.
  • Blend this sauce in a food processor ( there should be any need to add water)
  • Using the same pan  add 2 tbsp oil into the pan on medium heat, add
  • Add cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until they pop, add turmeric coriander and chili powder.
  • Now you can add the prepared tomato sauce mixture and bring the mixture together.
  • Throw in the cumin powder and a few tablespoons of water and let it cook for a few minutes. Do stir to ensure it does not start sticking
  • Add yoghurt into the sauce and continue stirring.
  • Add the frozen peas and then the paneer cubes
  • Adjust for salt and water for consistency and cover and  cook the curry for  on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with Cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and serve with rice or bread.



Sharing on Fiesta Friday!

Moussakah vegetarian

While I was in NYC for a conference, I had the pleasure of dining with my sister and brother in law at a fabulous restaurant  Cleo at Mondrian Park Ave. The chef certainly had a way with Mediterranean small plates but one particular dish that caught my attention was the vegetarian Moussakah with eggplants and feta immersed in delicious béchamel sauce.


I have made Mousakkah many times with Lamb, beef and also with just vegetables and it always comes out warm and comforting.

Inspired by Cleo I experimented with a new recipe and it was a winner.


Moussakah is a very popular Greek dish but there are many versions of it through the Mediterranean, all equally worthy of trying.

In a  traditional Greek Moussaka recipe,  minced beef (or lamb) is cooked in a tomato base and spices then layered with eggplants and topped with creamy béchamel sauce and cheese.


In this vegetarian version, my basic ingredients are sweet eggplants and mushrooms. Then the béchamel sauce and the topping of feta and gruyere. I have made two small plates here for lunch but you can adjust and make one large one. The béchamel sauce has leftover which was wonderful. I have stored it for use during the week.




  • 1 large eggplant or 3-4 slim ones
  • Olive oil
  • Pink salt

Mushroom sauce

  • Cremini mushrooms – I box around 20 pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce

  • Stick of butter – 4 ounces
  • Whole milk – 3 cups
  • Flour – 4 ounces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup Grated Gruyere
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Cut the eggplant into slices (1 inch),  Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
  2. Squeeze the liquid from the eggplants with your hands and pat dry with a paper towel. Drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil and bake them for 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven until golden brown.
  3. Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat and stir in the chopped mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes,  add the garlic and chopped onions and continue to cook. Add the cinnamon and adjust the salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce thickens.
  4. For the béchamel sauce use a deep pan and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste and add warmed milk pouring in a stream. Continue to whisk the whole time to avoid lumps and get to a smooth paste.  Remove the pan from heat and add the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk to incorporate all the ingredient and get a smooth and creamy paste
  5. To assemble I have used 2 small dishes, you can use a large baking dish as well. Sprinkle the bottom with some panko or breadcrumbs and layer the eggplants. Add the mushrooms sauce and another layer of eggplants.
  6. Top with the béchamel sauce, feta, and more gruyere.
  7. Cook in a 400-degree oven for 15 mins until bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before digging in




Sharing at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greensand Shinta @ Caramel Tinted Life.

Cauliflower and Peas Curry – Matar Gobi

Cauliflower has become a staple in the house and is an ingredient in a variety of dishes spanning cuisines. I used riced cauliflower as a substitute for rice which has been a phenomenal adjustment of carbs in our diet.

When you combine cauliflower with a nice tomato curry you just can’t go wrong. My local Traders Joes store has made it even easier for me by selling already riced cauliflower which saves me a ton of time and the mess on my counter with grains of the vegetable flying around 🙂


This is really easy to make and just perfect for a cold winter day. Serve with some flatbread or rice with a side of pickles.


If you love cauliflower do check out my other recipes:





Riced Cauliflower and Peas Curry - Matar Gobi

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a savory tomato curry with peas and riced cauliflower


  • 1 head of Cauliflower – grated
  • 1 cup of frozen organic peas
  • 1 cup of peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch fresh ginger – grated
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green chilies – chopped
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1/4 tsp Asafetida or hing(optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Mustard oil ( or oil of your choice)


  1. Puree the tomatoes in a blender
  2. You can cut the cauliflower in florets and grate them or buy a riced cauliflower bag
  3. In a large pan add 2 tbsp oil and cumin seeds, once crackling add cauliflower and cook for 3-4 mins until slightly brown. Set aside.
  4. In a pan warm up another 3 tbsp of oil, add green chilies, cloves, grated ginger, and asafoetida, and .
  5. Add pureed tomatoes and let the mixture cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add  turmeric, chilies powder and kasoori methi and let the mixture cook until the oil starts to separate from the tomatoes
  7. Add the yoghurt and mix well
  8. Add frozen peas, cook for a minute and add the cauliflower.
  9. Do not cover the pan and use a dash of water as needed. This will only take a couple of minutes
  10. Top with lemon juice and fresh cilantro.


Taking this to Fiesta Friday with the fab  cohosts  Judi @ and Laurena @ Life Diet Health

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Chutney

It was a surreal summer filled with travels, sorrows, beauty, love and new perspectives. When I got back to my veggie garden after weeks of being away the tomatoes ( among other vegetables) were screaming to be picked turned into something divine.

My first instinct was to get all of them out to friends and family ( which I did for some), but….the rest went in preparations like this amazing tomato chutney.


The tomatoes were halved and roasted whole in a 375 degree oven for about 30 mins to bring out the flavor.

The chilies are whole and dried and are a staple in the pantry.  The oil is a mustard oil which brings out a beautiful flavor.


This chutney will last a while in the fridge, my teenager has been using it to smear her morning bagels.  I have used it on top of my grilled chicken for a workday lunch and topped my sandwiches.


You can adjust the heat and seasoning  to your taste but my recommendation would be to keep the heat elevated 🙂 😉


Roasted Tomato Garlic Chutney

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a versatile chutney that goes with everything


  • 10-12 red tomatoes
  • 10 red dried chilies
  • 1 pod of whole garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard oil
  • 1 tsp onion seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Himalayan Salt to taste



  • Slice off the very top of the garlic and wrap the garlic pod in foil.
  • Layer the tomatoes along with the pod of garlic on a sheet pan.
  • Roast  in the 375 degree oven for 30 mins
  • Cool and remove the skin from the tomatoes and the garlic
  • Heat mustard oil in a pan until smoking
  • Add the seeds and let them splutter
  • Add the chilies for a couple of minutes
  • Next add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, and turmeric
  • Once bubbling, cover the pan and let the mixture cook for about 5- 7 mins.
  • Do taste the seasoning and adjust.
  • Cool the mixture and run it through your Vitamix or any other processor.
  • Bottle in jars. It will stay in the fridge for a couple of weeks if it lasts that long.


Come join the party at Fiesta Friday!


Quinoa Walnut Salad with Wasabi Dressing

Spring? Summer? Not sure what’s going on with the weather in Virginia but in spite of the incessant rain, the green trees and foliage lends a spark to life.

We have vegetables, herbs and trees we are planting and it is all very uplifting for our own being and the life of this planet.

This salad needs no recipe but here it is…. You should adjust the ingredients to your taste.


The base ingredients are cooked quinoa, chopped cucumbers, chopped walnuts, cranberries, lots of chopped parsley, chopped mint and some arugula. You can really add and subtract what you like but keep some crunch( cucumbers), some carbs( quinoa), some  good fats ( walnuts)  and some sweetness ( cranberries).

I cooked the quinoa in a rice cooker with the setting of white rice. Please use any method that works for you.

quinoa salad-5929

The dressing is another story. I love wasabi and found this dried powder version I am able to use in dressings. It has just the right amount of sharpness. The truffle oil adds an earthy dimension that will leave you craving for more.

quinoa salad-

Quinoa Walnut Salad with Wasabi Dressing

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a beautiful spring inspired quinoa salad



  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped chopped organic cucumbers
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup arugula


  • 1 tsp wasabi powder
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons truffle oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • Pink salt  and black pepper to taste


  • Mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl
  • Whip the dressing together and adjust the seasoning
  • Pour over the salad, toss and serve

I am taking this to  Fiesta Friday #170,  with Angie and our co-hosts Monika and Sue.

I have also shared this with CookBlogShare hosted  by Hijacked by Twins

Fermented Food experiments #2 -Beet Kanji

Fermented foods are just beautiful  not only for the taste buds but also for your gut.  Ancients culture have propagated fermented foods for preservation and taste through the centuries. The souring action if microbes that produced fermentation have been critical in our diets throughout  the globe.  Similar foods can be found in every culture,  just called something different.
Indian “Achar” or “Kanji” are great examples and so is the fabulous “Kimchi” from Korea.
My personal story takes me back to the late 1970’s where as a young girl spending lazy winters vacation in Lucknow, India  I would watch my grandfather ferment and pickle various vegetables in earthenware and produce the probiotic liquid called “Kanji” in India. It  was delicious, tart and healthy and the joy of helping my grandfather  while he worked on these beautiful foods is a memory that is permanent ink in my soul.
True to foods that nourish your soul and help you remember your history, in this series I am sharing different fermented food s I am experimenting with.
Click here for a previous recipe of Kashmiri Achar
Click here for a previous recipe of Red Cabbage Pickle

In this edition: Fermented Beet tonic – Kanji

BeetKanji-5786This fermented beet pickle and tonic fascinates  and mesmerizes with its deep violet color and tangy taste. There many health benefits of both the beets and these are just amplified through fermenting.


“Kanji”  is usually a pungent combination of water, mustard seeds, beetroot and carrots and is full of digestion-boosting friendly bacteria and enzymes. I have only used beets here so the color is quite intense. Beets are high is sugar but the fermentation breaks the sugars down and makes this drink a healthy tonic. Very similar to Kvass which is an eastern European fermented beverage commonly made with rye bread.



Fermented Beets - Kanji

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a zesty beet fermented drink and pickle


  • 3 – 4 large organic beets
  • 3 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 3 whole red chilies ( Serrano)
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 6–7 cups filtered water


  • Wash and Slice and dice the beets in bite size pieces. I like to leave to skin on for organic beets.
  • Crush mustard seeds with mortar and pestle just to a coarse grind
  • Place the diced beets and carrots into a half-gallon glass jar.
  • Add the Serrano pepper, mustard seeds and salt.
  • Add the water, leaving one-inch of air space between the top of the water and the top of the jar. Tightly cover the jar.
  • Ferment the kanji for 2-3 days at room temperature.
  • Stir with a clean wooden spoon and taste. If it’s tangy – it’s fermented and ready
  • You can transfer the jar to the fridge and store for a few weeks.


Enjoy a cup or bowl of this delicious liquid and eat the pickles beet and add them to your salad.




Sharing this at Angie’s Fiesta Friday