Breakfast beans

What you need:

15 oz black beans (canned and drained or dry and cooked)img_7359-e1517084649109.jpg

3/4 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 TB ponzu


garlic powder

nutritional yeast (optional)

1 TB grapeseed oil


What to do:

I love savory things for breakfast and this black bean recipe is one of my favorites. It’s quick, nutritious and filling. Beans are a great way to start your day and get moving!

Take the black beans and smash them with the back of a fork or pulse them lightly in a food processor. All of the beans don’t have to be smushed but try to get like 75%. Set aside. Chop the onions and celery. I prefer sweet onions because they are mild. If you’re using a regular onion, you might want to use less. Heat up the oil in a pan. Sauté the onions and celery for a few minutes on medium heat until the onions are translucent and celery is soft (but not mushy). Mix in the turmeric and stir. Add the beans and stir for a few minutes until the beans are warm. Add the ponzu to deglaze the bottom of the pan. (If you haven’t had ponzu before, it has a great subtle citrus taste. You can find it at most grocery stores and definitely at any asian or international grocery store. If you don’t have ponzu, you could probably substitute it with a lime.) Add a few dashes of garlic powder and salt to taste. I also throw in a little nutritional yeast because, why not. This is great with a piece of toast or tortilla. The ponzu perfectly tempers the bitter taste of the turmeric, creating a really awesome flavor.

I don’t need to say too much about beans, they’re amazing, we all know it. Full of protein and fiber, which makes for a great power breakfast. Turmeric (root) is well known for it’s health benefits, especially it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It’s commonly used in indian cuisine (it’s the orange spice in curry powder). Turmeric is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine but is being used more and more widely to treat a large variety of illnesses and conditions that cause swelling.


Green lemon-ginger smoothie

IMG_5457What you need:

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley  (stems included)

1 apple (seeds removed)

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled)

2 TB lemon juice

2 cups water


What to do:

I’m mildly obsessed with this smoothie. It’s tangy and refreshing and I usually have these ingredients in my fridge so it’s become my go-to smoothie. Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. You can play with the amounts based on your taste. Sometimes I add more lemon juice or ginger. As for the apple, I prefer pink lady because it’s tangy but you can use a sweeter apple instead. None of the ingredients are very fibrous so the consistency is more like a juice than a smoothie. And yes, it’s green but honestly it doesn’t taste “green” 😉

The parsley and lemon juice in this smoothie provide a good amount of vitamin C. Parsley is also a good source of vitamin K and folic acid and is full of flavonoid antioxidants. Ginger is known for helping alleviate gastrointestinal issues and for having anti-inflammatory properties. And of course everyone knows that an apple a day…

Zucchini pasta with pea sauce



What you need:

1 zucchini, spiralized

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup water

1 TB olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp zaatar seasoning

salt to taste


What to do:

Spiralize the zucchini using a spiralizer. Yes, you need a spiralizer. I bought this kitchen tool years ago and thought it was silly but it’s a very useful gadget. And fun too 🙂

Put the peas in a bowl with 1/2 cup water, cover and pop in the microwave for a minute. Put the peas, water, olive oil, garlic powder, and lemon juice into a blender. Bend until smooth, adding more water and/or oil if you have trouble blending. Pour the sauce over the zucchini and add salt and zaatar. If you’re not familiar with zaatar, it’s an amazing multipurpose spice mix. You can make your own or buy a prepared mix. There are different versions but the kind I use is with roasted sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, marjoram, oregano and salt. Mix well.

Both peas and zucchini, or summer squash, are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese and a good source of vitamin B-6, vitamin K and folate. Peas are also a good source of vitamin A and iron. 

Vospov kufta/Mercimek kufte/Lentil balls



What you need:

2 cups red lentil
1 cup fine bulgur
1 cup olive oil
4 cups water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato paste or red pepper paste
1tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch green onion, finely chopped

What to do:

I grew up eating this dish. As a vegan, it was always one of my favorites. Great as a side dish, as a main dish with a salad, as a snack. All of my relatives prepare it slightly differently – some use more tomato paste, less onion, more parsley, etc. – but my mom’s was always my favorite. The first time I made it was with my cousin Anet in Turkey and I realized I REALLY like it with extra tomato paste. I attempted to make it again for friends, on my own, when in Armenia.

First, make sure to clean the red lentils IMG_1898
well. Look through them and pick out any stones or funky looking lentils. Rinse them well and boil them until the water is absorbed. Turn off the burner and add the bulgur, salt, and red pepper and stir well, cover and set aside. In a pan, heat the oil and add the white onion and sauté until translucent. Add the cumin and tomato paste and stir until the tomato paste is softened. Turn off the heat. Mix the onion mixture, parsley, half of the green onions and lemon juice in with the lentils until incorporated. The mixture will be sticky but shouldn’t be too dry. If it is, add more oil or lemon juice. Once cool enough, form them into kuftes (see picture) or just eat the mixture with a spoon as I do. Garnish with the rest of the green onions.

Lentils are legumes and are known for being a very good source of cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. They are also an excellent source of molybdenum and folate and a good source of iron, protein, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, zinc, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. 

Refreshing summer gourd smoothie

What you need:

1/3 cantaloupeIMG_4785

2 small cucumbers

Juice of 1/2 Lemon



What to do:

This is a super refreshing smoothie for those hot, uncomfortable summer days. It’s super simple too 🙂 All you need to do is combine all of the ingredients in a blender, blend and enjoy! It’s basically equal parts cantaloupe and cucumber (I like the small Persian ones) and some lemon juice and salt to taste. You can also add some mint or fresh ginger to jazz this up a little more.

Cantaloupes and cucumbers both belong to the gourd family (family Cucurbitaceae). Cantaloupes are known to be an excellent source of vitamins C and A and also a good source of B vitamins, vitamin K, magnesium and fiber. I haven’t tried it but apparently the seeds are also edible and are a good source of omega-3. Cucumbers are a valuable source of phytonutrients which provide us with valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. The antioxidant nutrients present in cucumbers include beta-carotene, vitamin C and manganese. Cucumbers are mainly made up of water so they are particularly great for hydration. Cucumbers have been found to have some of the highest pesticide residue so get organic cucumbers when you can.

Tabouleh with walnuts


What you need:

1 bunch parsley (roughly chopped, with stems)

juice of 1 lemon

1 tomato (chopped)

3 sprigs of spring onion (chopped)

1/4 tsp cumin

handful of walnuts (broken into small pieces)

1/4 cup olive oil

What to do:

Just combine all of the ingredients and let sit for 20 or so minutes, then enjoy. Tabouleh has always been one of my favorite salads. It’s traditionally made with bulgur but I thought I’d play around with the classic recipe and introduce some omegas so I tried it with walnuts instead. The walnuts added a nice crunch. Such a refreshing and easy salad 🙂

Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and folic acid and is full of flavonoid antioxidants. An interesting fun fact is that parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food. It is actually thought of as a “chemoprotective” food, since it can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens.  

Walnuts have been well studied for their benefits for the heart and circulatory system. Walnuts are rich in vitamin E, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

Imam Baildi (stuffed eggplant) with nettle



What you need:

2 large eggplants (long and skinny kind)

4 cups of stinging nettle (stems removed, chopped)

2 small tomatoes (chopped and sliced)

2 small onions (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (pressed)

2 TB lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

salt (to taste)

1/2 TB coconut oil

2 TB olive oil


What to do:

I’m on nettle kick and for my second recipe, I thought I’d modify Imam Bialdi, the traditional Turkish dish that I grew up eating, by switching out parsley with this incredibly nutritious and versatile green (you can see my first nettle recipe which describes its health benefits, here).

First, cut off the ends of the eggplant, peel them in strips (one white strip, one purple). Cut them in half lengthwise and then in half again. Scoop out some of the insides to make a boat (set aside the insides). Soak the eggplant pieces in a bowl of salted water (softens them and reduces bitterness) and set them aside while you prepare the other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375*F.

Chop the onions and 1 tomato and press the garlic. Heat a 1/2 TB of coconut oil in a pot and add the ingredients to the pot. Saute for two minutes on medium heat. Chop the nettle roughly and add it to the pot along with the sugar, IMG_2269salt and eggplant insides you set aside. Stir well, cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. While the nettle mixture is cooking, remove the eggplant pieces from the water, squeeze out any excess water and place them on an oven safe pan. Drizzle them with lemon juice and olive oil. Add 1/4 cup water to bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and place it in the oven for 20 minutes (the eggplant should be soft but not cooked thoroughly). Fill each eggplant with the nettle mixture, cover again and put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil and add thin slices of tomato to each eggplant boat, sprinkle with a touch of salt and sugar. Place back in the oven uncovered until the water has evaporated and the eggplant is cooked thoroughly (about 10 more minutes).

Stinging nettle with lentils

What you need:


3 cups chopped young stinging nettle leaves (remove thick stems)

2 cups brown lentil

1 red pepper (chopped)

1 half onion (chopped)

1/2 cup raw cashews (chopped)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1 clove garlic (chopped)

Coconut oil

1/2 lemon

What to do:


Nettles that I collected from the wild. Make sure to wear gloves or protect your hands somehow when harvesting, they are called ‘stinging’ nettles for a reason! I go after the younger plants as they are less ‘stingy’. After washing them, they are easier to handle.

Nettles are a new ingredient for me but wow, are they delicious and versatile. And they grow wild throughout the world so are an amazing wild edible. This is my first attempt at cooking with nettle so I kept it simple and used other ingredients that I was familiar with.

First, prepare the lentils according to directions with 2 bay leaves. In a separate pan, sauté the onions, red pepper, turmeric, and cumin in a little coconut oil over medium heat. Once the onions are translucent, add the cashews and coconut flakes and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the nettle and garlic and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the nettle is tender. Mix in as much of the lentils as you’d like and add the juice of 1/2 lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste!

Nettles are popular around the world as food and for medicinal purposes. Nutritionally, they contain a significant amount of iron and calcium and a ridiculous (3 times the daily recommended amount) of vitamin A. Some refer to nettle as “nature’s multivitamin”. Overall an awesome green.

Sprouted Lentil Salad



What you need:

2 cups sprouted lentils (I used a mix)

1 Persian cucumber (cut into small pieces)

2 TB pickled ginger (chopped)

1/2 scallion (chopped)

1 TB nutritional yeast

1 TB red wine vinegar


What to do:DSC_0131

Sprout the dry lentils for 4-5 days.  I use sprouting lentils which are organic and non-GMO.  You can use regular lentils from the grocery store but results may vary.  Also, it’s important that they are organic and clean since you will be eating them raw.  If you’ve never sprouted before, you should, because it’s awesome!!  This website has directions on sprouting lentils and is generally a great resource for sprouting and buying sprouting supplies –  When your sprouts are ready, dry them off and mix with the rest of the ingredients.  Eat it as a salad, on a sandwich or in a wrap.

Lentil sprouts contain protein, vitamins A, B, C, and E, iron, calcium and phosphorous.  Since sprouts are a living food, they are rich in bioavailable nutrients and highly digestible energy.  Sprouts are sometimes called “pre-digested” and they have a high level of enzymes which make them even easier to digest.

Hot damn! That’s good SUSHI!

What you need:untitled-0288

2 cups sushi rice

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

carrots (julienned)

avocado (julienned)

green pepper (julienned)

green onions (julienned)

white mushrooms (julienned)

Bragg’s liquid aminos (watered down 2:1, water:Braggs)

6 sheets of Nori


Hot damn! Sauce

1/3 cup cashews (soaked for a few hours)

2 TB veganaise

1/3 jalapeño

1 tsp lemon juice

leaves of 8 sprigs of cilantro

Sriracha (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

What to do:

untitled-0237Cook your rice according to the instructions (NOTE: I used sushi rice for this recipe since it was my first time making sushi but I ordinarily never use white rice (it’s not wholesome) because it’s been striped of all its nutrients.  I’ll try this recipe with brown rice next time).  If you use sushi rice, pour the rice wine vinegar over the rice after it’s cooked and transfer the rice to a bowl.  Set it aside to cool to room temperature.  While your rice is cooling you can julienne your vegetables.  Marinate the mushrooms in the Braggs liquid for about 10 minutes and begin your sauce in the meantime.

untitled-0249Using your favorite kitchen blending appliance (I use a Magic Bullet) blend the cashews, veganaise, jalapeño, lemon juice, cilantro and sriracha until smooth.  It should have the consistency of a thick dipping sauce.  Set the sauce aside.  Once the rice is cool enough to handle, begin your sushi roles.  I don’t have a fancy sushi rolling mat so I just used a kitchen towel.  Lay the towel on a flat surface and place a sheet of Nori on the towel, flush with the side closest to you.  Nori is a seaweed that is a great source of protein, vitamin A, iron, calcium and folate.  Spread a thin layer of rice (about 1/4 inch thick) on the Nori leaving about an inch of free space on the end that’s farthest from you.  Spread a thin 1-inch layer of the hot damn! sauce on the rice.  Layer the vegetables on top of the sauce in any order you wish, paying close attention not to overstuff your roll.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably overstuff your first one and then scale back for the others.  Use the towel to help you carefully roll your sushi roll while holding the vegetables in.  If you’re having trouble, there are some helpful videos on YouTube you might want to check out.  Once your rolls are complete, use a very sharp knife to cut them and serve with the hot damn! sauce, sushi ginger and some soy sauce or Braggs.


This recipe makes about 6-7 rolls. 

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