Tag Archives: appetizers

parmesan-baked edamame

Let’s be honest, I really let my sweet tooth get out of hand this holiday and now I’m trying to dial it back a tad. And since it’s the beginning of the year and I know a lot of people (including myself) are trying to stick to their New Year’s goals of cutting back on the sweets, it didn’t seem right to tempt everyone with a blog post of baked goods covered in frosting or peanut butter. Also, can I even still write about New Years? It’s February.

Baked Parmesan Edamame

For this recipe, I grabbed some inspiration from my friend, who commented on one of my MyFitnessPal statuses about her favorite high-protein, low carb snack. She suggested edamame and I picked some up on my last shopping trip.

If you’ve never had edamame, it’s a soybean that you usually steam in the pod. You can eat it by salting them in the shell and sucking them out of the pod. It’s really good and crunchy and satisfying when you want to reach for a potato chip. It doesn’t have an overwhelming bean or pea flavor either.

I normally eat edamame like the method I described above, but this time I decided to venture out and am I glad I did.

I told my boyfriend that these baked parmesan edamame are like Cheeze-Its, but with protein. They’re certainly as addictive.

These are best eaten warm and on the same day, or else they’ll get soggy. But they’re so good that you won’t have any problems with that. We devoured these.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Generously coat your edamame beans with the olive oil.

Baked Parmesan Edamame

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, parmesan, salt, and pepper until well combined.

I recommend using a fresh grated parmesan (one you’ll find in the refrigerated aisle), instead of the green tubes of parm you find by the pasta. I used to think I hated parmesan because my only exposure to it was that stuff. It’s packed full of preservatives and tastes incredibly bland. Do yourself a favor and either grate your own or buy it freshly grated. It changes everything.

Baked Parmesan Edamame

Using about a handful at a time, place your oil covered beans into the flour mixture and generously coat them.

Baked Parmesan Edamame

Baked Parmesan Edamame

Place your battered beans on a silpat or a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Baked Parmesan Edamame

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes. Be sure to turn them half-way through to cook them on both sides.

Baked Parmesan Edamame

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. I’ve seen variations where people have added wasabi, and I was tempted to add sriracha – so let me know if you do!

parmesan-baked edamame
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Try this high-protein snack.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Yields: 2 cups
  • 9 oz. (or 2 cups) of shelled edamame, cooked, and thawed, if frozen
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 ° F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, parmesan, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  3. Generously coat your edamame beans with the olive oil
  4. Using about a handful at a time, place your oil covered beans into the flour mixture and generously coat them.
  5. Place your battered beans on a silpat or a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes, turning halfway through..


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summer peach salad

I’ve been away for a few weeks, settling into the new home and neighborhood. For the past few weeks, the only cooking we’ve been doing has been on the grill. Otherwise, we’ve been exploring the amazing selection of restaurants around here.

Summer Peach Salad

This weekend, we went on an impromptu date to the little Italian restaurant down the street, enjoying the restaurant’s quiet and tree-filled backyard. The sun was setting and heat dissipating, leaving cool and breezy air behind. We lingered for a while, with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

I ordered the peach salad, expecting the usual tiny slices of peach over a bed of greens but was delightfully surprised when I received a plate full of large, crunchy peach slices, no greens, and a huge slab of parmesan. The combination was entirely satisfying.

Summer Peach Salad

The next day, I  ran out for some peaches and re-created the salad. I’m already fairly certain this will be at the top of my summer salad list. By the middle of summer, I’m usually sick of salads loaded with greens and am ready to switch it up.

Summer Peach Salad

I recommend just-ripe, or slightly under-ripe peaches for this recipe. It gives the salad a great crunch. I don’t think it would be the same if the peaches are too ripe and soggy.

summer peach salad
Prep time
Total time
Cuisine: Salad
Yields: 2
  • 2 peaches, peeled, pitted and just ripe
  • 1 oz. hard parmesan, thinly sliced or grated
  • 1 sprig of parsley or mint, chopped
  • thick balsamic vinegar
  1. Peel and slice peaches in large, thin pieces
  2. Top peaches with parmesan and parsley
  3. Drizzle with thick balsamic vinegar, to taste

This salad feels so fancy. It would make a great addition to a picnic or lunch.

Peach Salad

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summer favorite: tofu garlic dressing

Since bathing suit season is almost here, I have been thinking a lot about what I used to eat in the summer. I have to say goodbye to the warm baked foods that kept me warm and sane in the winter. Now it’s time to think about foods that fuel summer playtime, runs in the sun, and long days. Salads aren’t my obvious choice, but this dressing is packed with enough protein to keep you going without weighing you down with heavy carbs.

tofu garlic dressing

I’ve been a vegetarian since high school. Back then, the only food I could eat in the cafeteria came from our salad bar. So every day I ate shredded iceberg lettuce piled high with yellow fake cheddar, ranch dressing, and croutons. Sometimes I added carrots if I wanted to make it “healthy.” After eating that every day, it took me years before I could eat another salad.

But now I’m back to eating salads, in a very grown-up way. I’m looking at you arugula and ohmygod chickpeas in salads – incredible.

tofu garlic dressing 2 (1 of 1)

My first lesson in “grown-up salads” was making your own salad dressing. A lot of restaurant salads taste amazing because they don’t used bottled salad dressing. They make their own.  Lately, I’ve been mixing tarragon vinegar, olive oil and these spice blends for a quick, incredible dressing.  But this dressing adds a little more protein in my lunches to keep me fuller.

tofu garlic dressing

So creamy. So garlicky. So wonderful.

Instead of using milk or cream, this uses soft tofu to give it a smooth, creamy texture. Store this in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks, but it’s usually gone before then.

tofu garlic dressing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: dressing
  • 14 oz. soft tofu
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¾ medium yellow onion
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil or 2 tsp of dried basil
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Yields 8 oz.

You can also use this as vegetable dipping sauce or top over brown rice bowls.

tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce

Hey everyone, I’m participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. It’s a fun opportunity to connect with blogs from all over the world and share our favorite vegan recipes.

If you’re stopping by for the potluck, welcome!

For this potluck, I’m bringing these fresh tofu spring rolls and some peanut dipping sauce.

Tofu Spring Rolls

These spring rolls use rice paper, and I don’t fry the whole spring roll, although I did fry the tofu. You can find the rice paper, rice noodles, tofu, and Thai basil at your Asian grocery store.

Prepare the Tofu

First, press the tofu for about 15 minutes to prepare it. To press tofu, drain it, wrap it in a few layers of paper towels, place it on a plate and put something heavy on it. In my case, I use my cast iron.

Once you’re done pressing the tofu, pat it dry and place it on a cutting board to slice it. I sliced mine on the thin side, a little bit bigger than your finger.

Pour your flour into a bowl. The flour helps give the tofu its golden color when frying. Place each piece of tofu into the flour and cover it well on each side.

In a skillet, heat about a half-inch of oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Place the tofu in the skillet and cook until golden-brown, or about five minutes on each side.

When it’s done, drain the oil on a paper towel.

Prepare the Rice Noodles

Rice noodles take very little prep. You’ll be amazed. Pull apart about a cup of dry rice noodles. Place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cover the noodles completely with hot water. I heated up some water in a tea kettle, but don’t bring it to a boiling. Let them set for about five minutes, and they’ll be perfectly soft.

Prepare the Rice Paper Wrapping

Ok, so rice paper is a tricky thing. You’ll need patience and delicate fingers. Be prepared to lose a few wrappers in the process. I lost two. You’ll need something that’s large, round, and flat. I used my skillet (do not heat up the skillet). Fill it with about a half-inch of warm water and place the rice paper in it. Let the rice paper rest in the water until it’s completely soft and you can no longer see the textured pattern. This only takes a few seconds. It may try to curl up on you, simply push it down.

Once the rice paper is soft, gently pull it out of the water and give it a shake. Try your best to prevent it from folding up on itself. If it does, you can probably still rescue it, once you put it on a plate. Only soak one rice paper at a time.

The plate can be your best friend. I found using a plate that’s smaller than the paper, and one that has a dip in it can be very useful for helping you straighten out your rice paper. I also let my rice paper dangle on the edge of the place, so I could smooth it out.


The trick to assembling these is to avoid over stuffing them. Just remember, less is more. The delicate rice paper can’t handle a lot of stretching, so they’ll either tear, or you won’t be able to completely wrap them. The amount of filling depends on the size of your rice paper, but I try to keep my fillings about the size of my palm.

You can assemble however you’d like, but I put the lettuce first, since it helps keep everything contained. Place your fillings about 1/3 of the way down on the plate.

Rolling it up

Lightly fold the top 1/3 over the fillings, and then fold over the right and left sides one at a time. Once you have three sides folded, you can begin to roll it.

These are severed with the peanut dipping sauce, which can be found at the recipe below.

tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 11
Spring Rolls
  • 1 16 oz. package extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dried rice noodles
  • 11 pieces of rice paper
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 5 leaves lettuce
  • Thai basil and/or mint
Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ c hot water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Prepare the Tofu
  1. Press the tofu for 15 minutes, until well drained.
  2. Slice the tofu into ¼ inch thick pieces.
  3. Pour flour into a small mixing bowl.
  4. Place tofu in flour until well coated.
  5. Pour vegetable oil in a skillet. Warm over medium-high heat.
  6. Fry tofu in oil until golden brown, or 5 minutes on each side.
  7. When it has a nice golden brown color, place on a plate with a few napkins, to drain.
Prepare rice noodles
  1. Place rice noodles in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Immerse the noodles in hot water. Let set for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  3. When the noodles are tender, drain the water.
Prepare the rice paper
  1. Place the rice paper in a shallow pool of warm water for about 20 seconds, or until soft.
  1. Place the lettuce, tofu, noodles, carrots, and herbs in the middle of the rice paper, about ⅓ of the way down. The spring roll filling should not be larger than your palm. Do not over stuff. Carefully fold the rice paper around the fillings and roll it up.
Peanut Dipping Sauce
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, peanut butter, hot water, soy sauce, peanuts and sugar, until smooth.

 Thanks again for joining me for this potluck. Please check out the rest of the blogs participating today.

sweet & savory plantains

Plantains Sweet & Savory

Ryan and I have had plantains on a weekly basis since moving to NY. They’re kind of a big deal here, at least for us. I don’t think I ate plantains even annually back in Florida.

And they were a labor of love, which are my favorite things to cook. A few weeks ago I tried and disastrously failed at cooking plantain chips from green plantains that never turned yellow. I tried again and decided to wait longer. The riper the plantain is the sweeter it gets. It took about three or four weeks for these to turn black.

black plantains

I moved twice and took these guys with me. That’s commitment.

On a side note, I was also the new girl who brought rotted fruit into the apartment. The concern was, “maybe you shouldn’t leave them on top of the toaster oven.”

But the embarrassment and the patience paid off. These were incredibly delicious and way cheaper than purchasing them at a restaurant.

How to:

Pour a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Slice the plantains about one inch thick. Place them in the skillet, making sure not to crowd them. Cook them until they’re brown on one side (2 or 3 minutes) and then flip.

To drain the excess oil, place the plantains on a plate covered with a paper towel. Begin eating them as you wait for the others to cook.

plantains on plate

I also got a little fancy and decided to batter some.

plantain batter

Sweet Battered Plantains

1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup water 

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until they’re well combined.

Dip the raw plantains in the the batter. Place them in the oiled skillet and cook until the batter is golden and puffy, about 5 minutes. You may need a bit more oil for the battered plantains. When they’re done you can roll them in regular or powdered sugar for an extra sweet treat!

Yep, gooey and delicious. I was tempted to dip them in maple syrup. Will you try for me?

cheesy squash quinoa bites

For dinner tonight, I initially set out to make oh-my-god-so-good quinoa patties, but I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could sneak in that squash that is going bad in my fridge. You still have to trick me into eating my vegetables. So, I stuck the squash in my food processor until it was about the size of a grain of quinoa. Sauteed it with the rest of my seasonings, and made this dinner in my muffin tins. Yes, instead of  frying the quinoa patties (the preferred choice), I tried to bake them in my muffin tins. For health reasons. And because I feel sorry for them. It’s been months since I last made a cupcake or muffin.

cheesy squash quinoa bite

cheesy squash quinoa bites
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 12
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 6-8 large basil leaves
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Cook your quinoa. Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil, then turn the heat on low for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350.
  3. In your food processor, process your basil leaves, shallots, and squash. Or, you could chop all of this by hand.
  4. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sautee the garlic until light brown. Then add everything in the food processor and sautee until the squash looks soft.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa and contents of the skillet with the green onion, eggs, and parmesan cheese.
  6. Scoop the mixture into a muffin tin. I sprayed mine with Pam, which was a good idea, because they tend to stick. You can fill the tin to the top with the mixture, it won't rise.
  7. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

cheesy squash quinoa bite

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. And by that I mean ranch. Because I’m from the south ya’ll.

maple miso dressing

maple miso

Maple miso should be right up there with peanut butter and jelly and mac and cheese. It’s a perfect mix of salty and sweet. This was my first attempt at a homemade, just throw some stuff together dressing. The salad I create with it feels incredibly gourmet. But I pretty much always feel gourmet when I add fruit to my salads.

maple miso dressing
Prep time
Total time
yields: ½ cup dressing
Recipe type: salad dressing
  • 1 & ½ tbsp. miso
  • ¼ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until well combined.

Serve with a spinach or spring green mix, slices of granny smith apples, and honey roasted anything.


This dressing is packed with flavor, so don’t over-do it. I only used two teaspoons or so on my salad.