spring fava beans with pesto & brown rice spirals

every time i think about what to cook in the spring time (yipee! loooonger days, warmer days, brighter days, and…more fresh local produce days) i seem to think greeeen food! right now there’s nothing that makes my mouth water more than minimally processed fresh green produce in our meals. that’s why when i came across the beautifully glistening fava (broad) beans at the market yesterday i couldn’t wait to add them to our dinner menu. these beans were particularly tender, so i decided to boil the larger ones in their skins as an appetizer served with lime and angelica seeds, and use the smaller ones in a quick and easy brown rice pasta dressed with home made lemony pesto (the basil is looking/tasting amazing at the moment). the trick to double peeling these beans (relatively) easily is to remove them from the outer skin (or pod) and quickly boil them in water for just a few quick minutes (5-7) before popping them out of their inner skins by pressing lightly on one end. i’m not sure about you, but i find these types of tasks oddly relaxing and get through them rather quickly (alternately you can purchase double peeled frozen fava beans at most middle eastern markets). having tasted (and consumed way more than intended) the dish last night, i urge you to make some before the season is over-it will be sure to please your taste buds! Continue reading
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refreshing vegetarian pasta salad

cooking minette's vegetarian pasta salad
the other day i was asked to bring a side dish to my sister’s dinner party. i decided on a vegetarian pasta salad mostly because i was having a busy day, and had to do my cooking a few hours ahead of time (this salad keeps really well up to 4 hours prior to serving). my preference is to serve pasta salads at room temperature (not cold), so this one was allowed to sit on my kitchen counter for a couple of hours before we left the house. it was a beautiful night, and dinner was served outdoors: delicious marinated grilled flank steak, green salad with fennel and arugula, an avocado-tomato salad (inspired by this recipe), and my pasta salad, which provided some starchy substance. the pasta was a big hit-at least with the kids, who were less worried about their waistlines (this is California, after all)!! the adults must have enjoyed it as well….the bowl came home empty. the ingredients (as far as the vegetables) for this salad can be easily substituted based on what you have available or is in season. this is a perfect bring along dish…give it a try-you won’t be disappointed.
tomatoes, basil chiffonade, and home made lemony pesto
ingredients for 6-8 servings:

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vegetarian quinoa and lentil patties or “cutlets”

vegetarian quinoa and lentil patties

growing up, when my mom asked us what we’d like to eat for dinner, i’d often request “kotlet” -or the persian version of a meat and potato cutlet flavored with onions, turmeric, cinnamon, and parsley without a moment’s hesitation. the “kotlet” is almost tastier cold or at room temperature than hot, and travels well-which is probably why i always associate it with traveling and the family road trips we used to take (bringing along delicious kotlet sandwiches wrapped in flatbread with crunchy dill pickles, chopped parsley, and tomato slices). here, i’ve taken the traditional persian cutlets ( see kotlet recipe ) and given them a lighter vegetarian twist. you can also coat these in breadcrumbs for added crunch, but i didn’t this time, and as you can see, they turned out beautifully. to make these delicious healthy “cutlets” (or burgers) you will need:

  • 1 cup small green lentils
  • 1 cup mung beans
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 small bunch chives
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean (or organic whole wheat) flour
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tsps turmeric
  • 1-2 tsps cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
quinoa patties or cutlets

1. cook the mung beans and lentils together in about 3 cups salted water until tender, drain, set aside (this also freezes well for later use).
2. cook quinoa in about 1 and 1/4 to 1/2 cups of water for about 15 minutes (should have none or very little liquid left), drain and set aside.
3. finely chop the herbs, then finely cube the 1/2 onion. fry the onion with 1-2 tsp of coconut oil and the turmeric until tender, and let it cool.
4. combine all of the above (in a bowl), including the sea salt & pepper (keep in mind the beans and quinoa were salted), cinnamon, three large organic eggs, chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour, and mix well, creating a “paste”.  5. fry the patties by spooning spoonfuls of the “paste” on to a skillet with a tbs of coconut oil, and slightly flattening the top with the back of your spoon and frying about 2-3 minutes on each side (medium heat). you can also use your hands to make little balls that you flatten between your palms. if you want to serve the patties in buns use a larger spoon and use more paste to make a bigger patty. i served them with basil and tomato slices and a nice salad on the side-it was a good for you delicious meal!

{here is the link to my post on traditional beef & potato kotlet}

vegetarian cutlets or kotlet
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