Category Archives: Chutneys, Dressings and Sauces

Healthy Mediterranean Salad for Spring


Traditional seven layer dips are staples of BBQs and other types of get-togethers. But they’re also filled with things that aren’t exactly great for you – like lots and lots of sour cream. The Greek Seven Layer dip is a good alternative for anyone looking for a healthier option.

The Mediterranean diet is well known as one of the healthiest around. This dip celebrates that, offering you wellness in tiers.

Time to prepare: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt (if vegan, use vegan Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed or Greek seasoning (this seasoning is found in specialty stores)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup hummus (of course!)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup seeded, diced cucumbers
  • 1 cup seeded, diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Pita chips, chopped vegetables, or flatbread

How to prepare:

  1. In a bowl, combine yogurt, dill weed or seasoning, lemon juice and garlic. Mix until the liquid is light and fluffy. Then spread into the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
  2. Spread a layer of hummus on top of the yogurt. Then create the rest of the layers in the following order: cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, scallions, and feta cheese. Cover the pan with a plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  3. Serve with pita chips, chopped vegetables, or flatbread.

This layer dip is a summery treat. Forget the Snow Cones and, instead, go Greek.

Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Keeler.



Seven Layer Mexican Dip

This seven layer dip is always a huge hit at parties. Your guests will love you after this one.

It can be made in advance and refrigerated, making it the perfect dish if you have to bring something to a family gathering or party.

Similarly, we have a Homemade Salsa Recipe that is another party hit: Fresh & Mild Salsa

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4-6


2 Can Jalapeño Bean Dip
1 Container Sour Cream
1 Container Avocado Dip
Small Bunch Scallions, washed & cut
3 Large Tomatoes, chopped
1 Can Black Olives
1 Bottle Salsa
1 Cup Cheese, grated
1 Packet Taco Seasoning


  1. Spread out the beans in a flat pan.
  2. Add taco seasoning to the sour cream. Spread the mixture gently on top of the beans.
  3. Spread either a homemade or store-bought avocado dip on top of the sour cream.
  4. Spread salsa to taste.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top of the salsa.
  6. Now garnish with black cut olives and green onions.
  • Health Benefits: Avocados are an excellent source of the healthy monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol and can help protect against breast cancer. They also contain the highest amount of the carotenoid lutein among commonly eaten fruits, along with high amounts of other carotenoids and vitamin E, which together have been found to inhibit different types of cancer growth.
    Additionally, because healthy carotenoids are fat-soluble, consuming avocados, which are naturally rich in monounsaturated fat helps to enhance your body’s ability to absorb these healthy nutrients from other vegetables.
    Cilantro, sometimes referred to as Mexican or Chinese parsley, has a strong flavor that people usually either love or hate. In Mexican cuisine, it’s a popular herb used in guacamole, salsas, and sauces.
  • Health Benefits: Cilantro is rich in beneficial phytonutrients, flavonoids and active phenolic acid compounds, which may be responsible for many of its health benefits. Cilantro and its seeds have been found to help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and fight inflammation and free radicals. Cilantro may also have antimicrobial properties.
    Fresh and dried chili peppers are what give Mexican dishes their characteristic spice, though specific peppers are used for flavor while others are used for heat. Some popular varieties include jalapeno, poblano, serrano, guajillo, chipotle, pasilla, habanero, ancho, Mulato, and cascabel.
  • Health Benefits: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers, giving them not only their spice but also their health benefits. In fact, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. This spicy compound has been found to Fight cancer, prevent sinusitis and relieve congestion, fight inflammation also helping burn fat, provide pain relief and a major factor in protecting the heart by a reduction in cholesterol, triglycerides, and platelet protection
    Beans are yet another staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine, perhaps second only to corn. While a variety of beans, like pinto, lentils, kidney beans and fava beans, are used in Mexican cooking, the focus is on pinto and black beans because they’re far more common in Mexican cooking and they offer many nutritional benefits — loads of antioxidants. Normally Mexican beans are served boiled or fried.
  • Health Benefits: Pinto and black beans are rich in antioxidants, beans are high in dietary fiber, which is an excellent cholesterol fighter, and the complex carbohydrates they contain help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day — essential for staying alert and feeling energized.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!
Join my Newsletter here to be notified when a New Recipe has posted and receive a bi-weekly themed newsletters!

Ridge Gourd (Loofah!) Chutney


Ridge Gourd Chutney
No meal with complete without chutney. It is a must-have condiment that is tantalizing to the taste buds and also packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Chutney tastes very good with meals or you can use it as a sandwich spread. Foodies will enjoy making this recipe as a novel addition for many dishes.
The Ridge Gourd is also known as a “loofah”–yes, the same loofah you use in the shower! When they aren’t all dried out, they’re similar to cucumbers, but more fibrous.
Peel of Ridge Gourd
Ridge Gourd Chutney


3 Peels Ridge Gourds (fresh ones are always better)
1 Small Piece Ginger
1 Small Green Chili
2 TBsp Peanuts
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (optional)
How to Prepare:
  1. Wash the peel of the Ridge Gourds thoroughly.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and blend the mixture well in a blender.
  3. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I’m not usually a big fan of cold appetizers or soups, but once I tasted these cold spring rolls in a new Thai restaurant, I instantly became a fan. So I invited my fellow foodie, Phung Li, to try this recipe with me. This recipe originally came from’s Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce.  I modified it to be Vegan/Vegetarian friendly by switching the shrimp to tofu, so you’re still getting plenty of protein.

With summer coming, these are sure to be a major hit at summer cook outs. This dish would go especially well with my delicious Yellow Thai Curry recipe, so be sure to check that out.

Most of the ingredients are available in the Asian aisle of the grocery store.


Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 8 rolls

Peanut sauce

The peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce (Whisk  all ingredients together and set aside)

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili garlic paste (with rooster picture)
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts



  • 1 packet extra firm tofu
  • 1 packet 8 round rice paper wrappers. They are clear by nature. (I have used Red Rose brand)
  • Rice noodles
  • 16 pieces of basil
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 8 leaves of bibb lettuce, cut into halves
  • Fresh scallions cut cross wise
  • Garden English seedless cucumber
  • Serrano or jalapeno chilis (cored, seeded, and thinly sliced) – optional


1. To store the wrapper, place a wet paper towel or wet cheese cloth at the base. Then cover with saran wrap so it does not dry out.

2. Drain tofu. Cut into cubes. In a wok, lightly season with soy and ginger paste. Set aside.

Tofu cubes

Seasoning the tofu


3. Clear an area on a cutting board or flat surface to roll spring rolls.

4. Wet the rice paper and lay flat on a cutting board.

5. On top of the rice paper, layer a half lettuce leaf, mint, basil, sprouts, tofu, cucumber, and chili. End with a second half leaf of lettuce.

Spring roll filling

Ready to roll!

6. Try to roll on one side. Fold in sides.

Wrapping Spring Rolls

Wrapping up the spring rolls

6. Roll in a way so it is firmly tucked in and shows green lettuce on the top.

Finished spring roll

Ta da! This is what your finished roll should look like.


For more inspiration, join our newsletter (you can find the form in the right hand column). Also, I love to hear from my readers, so leave your comments below and tell me how this recipe turned out for YOU! Let me know what I should try next.

Split Chick Pea With Coconut Chutney

Split Chick pea with coconut chutney

Originally this recipe is from south India. This chutney is popular with dosa, idli and mendu vada and many more dishes. In South India  where coconut is very easily available and very refreshing to taste.

I am huge fan of this special chutney because it incorporates fiber, nutrition and protein. It has all the key ingredients to make this perfect healthy recipe!

 Prep time : 15 minutes       Serves :4         Very easy    Vegan,  Gluten free


1/2 cup channa dal or ready roasted channa dal /Dalia
1 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh piece ginger
1 fresh chili
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 small bunch cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

split chickpea/coconut chutney

  • For tempering;
  • 1/2 tsp. udad dal
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. oil for garnish
  • Red whole chili optional
  • Few curry leaves

How to make:

1.Roast dal over medium heat for about 4 minutes till golden brown. Add 2 cup water. Soak for 2 hours.

IMG_433961938 (3)

Roasting channa dal

2. Mix the entire ingredient in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend it for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer into a bowl.

 For Tempering:

  1.  Heat the oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and urad dal in hot oil. It will start to pop up. Add chili and curry leaves.(optional)
  2. Garnish the mixture with hot oil.
  3. Enjoy with your dosa and Idli!
  4. How do you like the taste? Let me know in your comments!

Healthy house dressing for salads

One thing always attracts me in my kitchen is simple recipes.
Simple recipes are easy, fun and healthy. Instead of ranch salad dressing I use oil and vinegar. Any type of vinegar-red wine, balsamic cider as long as it’s 5% acid it is healthy for you.

To make balsamic vinaigrette,  I use three tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. For variety you may use shallots,   garlic, or dijon mustard and fresh herbs of your choice.

Simple switch gives big results. Olive oil vinaigrette gives protection against cancer,  it helps in managing blood sugar, and  block the growth of human cancer cells.

So next time if you pick ranch salad dressing think of vinaigrette it is good for you.

Here I have Mazzetti Balsamic Vinegar available in stores which has  6% of acidity.

Enjoy with your favorite salads!!

Pesto sauce

Here is the quick recipe for home made Pesto Sauce.

Preparation Time:10 minutes
Serving: 1/2 cup
Cooking Level: Very Easy

RECIPE TYPES:AO = Anti-Oxidant
DF = Dairy Free
GF = Gluten Free
HF = High Fiber
HP = High Protein
LS = Low Sugar
V = Vegan


3 Cloves of garlic optional

3 cups of fresh basil leaves washed and dried

1 and 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts

1/4 tsp salt and crushed black pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan grated cheese


1. Mix everything together in a blender or food processor until

 2. Store it in a refrigerator in air tight container. I prefer to make pesto sauce in summer time. When basil is in abundance and fresh. Also, I use basil sauce as sandwich spread and add red ,white and pesto sauces to my pasta.
3. I make vegetable sandwich using cream cheese, pesto sauce, cucumber,  lettuce, tomato and bread of choice. This is quick fix to any dull lunch.

Please try to make it at home and give your valuable suggestions or comments!!

Date and Tamarind Chutney

Date and Tamarind Chutney
Date and Tamarind Sauce is a sweet and sour combination of tastes. Dates are a great source of energy. All health food sources highly recommend that you include dates in your diet. Medjool dates are the best. They are excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. Though these sauces and chutney are easily available in Indian stores, I highly recommend that you make your own. The freshness and nutrients are the key factor to give a nice flavorful taste to the sauce.  Once made, it can be stored in your freezer for a few weeks. I make a big batch and then store it in several small containers so I can take one out at a time. I use chutneys with vegetable pancakes, muthia, samosa and bhajia to name a few. It is a great accompaniment to any appetizers and a must for Bhel.

Cooking Level: Very Easy
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Blend Time: 10 Minutes


1    Packet Pitted Dates
1    Teaspoon Tamarind Paste or 1/4 Teaspoon Citric Acid
2    Teaspoon Sugar
1    Teaspoon Salt
1    Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1    Teaspoon Coriander Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Pepper
Pinch Astofedia


  1. Soak the dates and tamarind paste for an hour.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and blend well in a blender.

This is a sweet and sour sauce that goes well with samosas and savories, Bhel and all kind of chats.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

Join my Newsletter here to receive a weekly email with The Sneak Peak Recipe and Healthy Cooking Tip right in your inbox for free

This Week’s Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Dates


1. Dates do not have cholesterol in them and they contain very less fat in them. Moreover, they are extremely rich in minerals as well as vitamins.
2. Dates are extremely rich source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B5. They also contain Vitamin C and Vitamin A. 
3. Dates help in improving the digestive system as it is loaded with insoluble as well as fibers. Dates also have amino acids in them which is also good for the digestive system.
4. Dates are excellent source of energy as they have natural food based sugar like glucose, fructose and sucrose. For added benefits add milk and dates for an even more nutritious food. Dates are also very low in calories hence they are also beneficial for those trying to lose weight.
5. If you are facing constipation then soak dates all night long and have it in the morning after along with water for easy bowel movements.
6. It is also said to increase libido. Soak a fistful of dates in goat’s milk the night before. The next morning mash the dates in the milk and (add honey to it for taste) drink the same. 
7. Dates are also rich in potassium and they have very less sodium in it. This is extremely beneficial for the nervous system. Studies have indicated that having potassium rich foods can reduce the risk of strokes to a great extend. Dates are also helpful in reducing the LDL cholesterol.
8. Dates are very good for alcoholic inebriation.
9. The amount of iron is dates are very high and it is helpful in curing anemia. Those having iron deficiency can eat dates everyday for better health. Dates also have fluorine that reduces tooth decay.
10. Dates are helpful in treating abdominal cancer. The best part about having dates is that it is a completely natural food and nutritional supplement with no side effects. Dates are also known to improve the eye sight and it helps treating night blindness also.

Cilantro Chutney

Cilantro Chutney

Cilantro is also known as coriander leaves. It is commonly used in our daily cooking has many health benefits. Dry coriander seeds are used in everyday cooking, but coriander leaves are known to lower blood sugar by stimulating the secretion of insulin.  For this reason it is called an anti-diabetic plant. This herb is also great for the skin.  For all of these health benefits, I add fresh dhania to my all recipes as a garnish. Though it is readily available in Indian stores, I highly recommend to make your own batch and eat it fresh or freeze it in a small container and use as needed.  This is great as sandwich spread or as a condiment with any meal.

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes


1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
1 Green Chili
1 Piece Fresh Ginger
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Cashews, Almonds or Peanuts
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
Dash Turmeric
Salt to taste
Handful Thin Sev or Ganthia (optional)


  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender. 
  2. Blend it well to make a paste.
  3. You can add water if needed. 

Chutney stays fresh for two days in the refrigerator.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

Join my Newsletter here to receive a weekly email with The Sneak Peak Recipe and Healthy Cooking Tip right in your inbox for free

This Week’s Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Cilantro  

Cilantro is also known as coriander leaves. It is commonly used in our daily cooking has many health benefits. Dry coriander seeds are used in everyday cooking, but coriander leaves are known to lower blood sugar by stimulating the secretion of insulin. For this reason it is called an anti-diabetic plant. This herb is also great for the skin. 

The Best Onion Dip

This onion dip is a huge hit at every party!  There is never any left in the bowl.  It’s great to bring to picnics and barbecues.  The guests will ask you how you made it!


2    Large “Sweet” Onions
4    TBsp Butter
4    TBsp Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Cayenne
1    Tsp Salt
4    Ounces Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/8 Cup Silken Tofu (substitute: mayonnaise)

How To Prepare: 

  1. Cut the onions into quarters.
  2. Melt the butter and oil in a pan.
  3. Add the onions and cayenne, salt and even some pepper.  
  4. Saute over low heat for as long as you can.  The smell as they cook is AMAZING!  
  5. Take them off the stove to cool a bit.  
  6. In the meantime, put the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in the mixer.  Feel free to add more mayo if you like.  
  7. Process til smooth.  
  8. Add onion mixture.  
  9. Blend.  
  10. Best if refrigerated for at least an hour.  Serve it with kettle cooked chips. 
  11. Easy to double or triple. 
  12. The best onion dip!  Enjoy!!!

Nutrition Facts are for Entire Recipe.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

Join my Newsletter here to receive a weekly email with The Sneak Peak Recipe and Healthy Cooking Tip right in your inbox for free

This Week’s Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Onions

Anemia:  The high content of iron in onion makes it beneficial for the treatment of anemia.
Anti-coagulant:  Just by eating half a medium raw onion daily can significantly lower cholesterol and help prevent heart attacks.
Anti-inflammatory:  The anti-inflammatory agents in onion are useful in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and gout.
Anti-septic:  Fights infection bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella, and is effective against tuberculosis and infections of the urinary tract, such as cystitis.
Blood pressure:  Whether you eat it raw or cooked, onions help to lower blood pressure naturally.  It also thins the blood, dissolve blood clots and clear the blood of unhealthy fats.
Cholesterol:  Eating half a medium raw onion daily significantly helps to correct thrombosis, lower the LDL cholesterol and prevents heart attacks.
Colon cancer, prevention:  Fructo-oligosaccharides in onions stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon and help reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon.
Constipation and flatulence:  Add plenty onion in your cooking to help relieve chronic constipation and flatulence.
Diabetes:  Chromium in onion helps diabetics’ cells respond appropriately to bringing down the insulin level and improve glucose tolerance.
Diuretic and blood cleansing:  Help counter fluid retention, urinary gravel, arthritis and gout.
Ear disorder:  In some culture, cotton wool is dipped into onion juice and put into the ear to stop ringing in the ear.
Hair loss:  A study has shown that applying onion juice on scalp twice a week for 2 months will cause hair regrowth. Definitely cost much less that those hair tonic.
Immune booster:  The pungency increases blood circulation and causes sweating.  Useful in cold weather to ward off infection, reduce fever and sweat out colds and flu.
Osteoporosis:  A compound has recently been identified in onions that prevents the activities of breaking down bone. Especially beneficial for women who are at risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.
Respiratory:  Mix equal amounts of onion juice and honey and take 3-4 teaspoons of this mixture daily.  It helps liquefy mucus and prevents its further formation.  It is also one of the best preventive potion against common cold.