Category Archives: Soups, Salads and Sandwiches

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.



Asian Noodle Bowl



A Power Bowl punch for lunch is a great idea.

Recently I’ve been trying out various “bowl recipes”, which is essentially real food in the easiest way: one simple bowl.

The great thing about this recipe is that you only need a few basic ingredients, and can just throw in whatever you have on hand.

I like to use leftover beans, but you can substitute those for any ingredients that you love.

This recipe is courtesy of Reena.

Asian Noodle Bowl Recipe:

Serves: 4; Level: Easy;  Total Time: 15 minutes



  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic and ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup onion cube
  • 1/2 cup cut carrot
  • 1 cup kale or spinach
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 vegetarian bouillon Knor brand
  • Salt and pepper to taste Less is better
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five spice
  • 1 cup Rice noodles
  • Few sticks of lemongrass tied

How To prepare:

  1. Cook rice noodles separately. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan heat the oil. Saute onion, garlic.and ginger.
  3. Add carrots, spinach and any other veggies you want.
  4. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add quinoa, vegetable bouillon, salt, pepper, soy sauce and Chinese Five Spice.
  6. Let it boil and cook for five to seven minutes.
  7. When its ready, add noodles into bowl and top with hot soup.
  8. Feel free to garnish with sprouts, crushed peanuts, spring onion and my favourite: cilantro.

Sautéed Tofu cubes are a great addition to this meal.

This soup tends to be on the watery side, so it is fun to slurp it up.

I enjoy this soup thoroughly and I think you will too!

I would love to know which are your favourite toppings to add to this soup!!

Let me know in the comments!




Papaya Salad

Finished Papaya Salad

Papaya is easily available all over India and Thailand. One of my favorite salads is made with papaya. It is healthy, tasty, and adds exotic flavor to any meal.  I’d like to share my version of the traditional Indian way of making papaya salad.  It is low in fat, packed with antioxidants, and high in vitamins.
Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan
1 Small Slice Green Papaya (check freshness by denting
with fingernail–milk should ooze out)
1 Small Green Chili cut into piece lengthwise
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/4 Tsp Mustard Seed
2 Tsp Oil
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida(optional)
Salt to Taste
Fresh Chopped Cilantro

How to prepare:

  1. Wash papaya well. Peel and grate with grater.
  2. Add sugar, salt, lemon juice, and mix together.
  3. In a small butter warmer, add oil on medium heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds, green chili, Asafoetida and turmeric.
  5. Add mixture on top of grated papaya. Add cilantro.
  6. Mix well and serve.

Tip:  Green papaya is available in an Asian store near you.

Falafel Sandwich

I love food so naturally I love to dine at fancy restaurants.  There’s something so special about being served on white linen and I savor a fine cup of coffee with dessert.  But there is one exception to my usual preference for fine dining: the falafel sandwiches served at a certain fast food restaurant around the corner.
For those of you not familiar with falafel, it is basically when you take fried balls made from chickpeas or fava beans and put them in a pita pocket  (as you can see in the picture above).
My family is my fan club. My friends and my cousins favor falafel over any food item from India. It is bit time consuming but it’s all worth it.
I am sharing my recipe with you. I don’t know if it can be called authentic or not, but I enjoy it every time I make it.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Approximately 1 Hour
Serves: 4-5

Falafel Patties or Balls



  • 2 Cups Lentils
  • 1 Cup Dried (not canned) Chickpeas
  • 1 Head of Lettuce (washed and chopped – can be mixed with romaine for extra nutrition)
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • 1-3 Green Chili Peppers (or Jalapeños)
  • 1 Small Fresh Ginger
  • 4-5 Cloves of Peeled Garlic
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds

Wash lentil and chickpeas very thoroughly and check for stones.

How to Prepare:

  1. Soak lentil and chickpeas for at least three hours in warm water.
  2. Cut and chop parsley, green chili, ginger, and fresh garlic.
  3. Add salt, cumin, coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Grind all of ingredients together to make a batter.
  5. Heat the oil on medium in a frying pan.
  6. Make small balls from batter and us a teaspoon to drop them into hot oil.
  7. Once fried, the falafel balls/patties are ready for the sandwich.

Sauce recipes below:

Green Tahini Sauce
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro (washed & chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Cup Cucumber (chopped garden or seedless)
  • 1 Small Ginger and Chili (to your taste)
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream or Drained Yogurt or Garlic Cucumber Dressing with Buttermilk (from store)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic

Blend all ingredients together. Now your green sauce is ready for the Falafel sandwich.

Red Sauce

4-5 Cloves Fresh Peeled Garlic
1 Red Hot Chili or Red Bell Pepper (for mild taste)
Salt to taste
10 Oz. Tomato Sauce Can
2 TBsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 TBsp Lemon Juice
2 TBsp Ketchup

Blend all ingredients together. Your red spicy or mild sauce is ready for you.


  • Pita pockets are very tasty and come in a variety of flavors. I either pop them in the toaster and or warm them at 200º in a toaster oven until till they puff up.
  • Usually I mix two different kind of lettuce: Romaine and head lettuce.
  • Top everything off with 3-4 washed and cubed tomatoes.

I am pretty sure you will enjoy this dish over and over again. I also enjoy Baba Ganoush, Hummus, and Parsley Salad with Tahini and Spicy Garlic Sauce. Because of my culinary curiosity, I always come home to my kitchen and make these things with my selected ingredients.

Instant Salad For Busy Week nights

Apple, Cucumber Mint Salad

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
cooking level very easy


1 seedless cucumber chopped
1 red apple chopped
1 red onion chopped
1 Salerno pepper seeded, chopped
1/4 tsp of roasted  crushed cumin powder
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of lemon juice
Few leaves of fresh mint and cilantro chopped finely.

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl. Add seasoning stir and Instant salad is ready!

For variation carrots, radishes,  raw mango, parsnips, pomegranate seeds works well. It is quick, easy and instantly adds nutritional value to any meal. Enjoy.

Butternut Squash Soup

Fresh Butternut Squash Soup

I strongly believe in using fresh and seasonal produce. Butternut squash is in season right now at tastes amazingly fresh. This is an easy and fun recipe. 
  • Serves: Four
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • cooking level is very easy
  • Vegan and Gluten free


  • 1 Butternut Squash Peeled, Seeded, Chopped
  • 1 Tart Green Apple, Chopped
  • 1 Onion Chopped
  • 1 Celery Rib Chopped
  • 1 Carrot Chopped 
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 Chopped Serrano Pepper
  • 1 Small Piece of Ginger, Chopped
  • 4 Cups of Water or Vegetable Broth
  • Few Thyme leaves
  • Pinch of Nutmeg 
  • Pumpkin Seeds to Garnish
  • Salt


1. On a medium high heat in a sauce pan add two tbsp of olive oil. Saute onion, celery, carrots for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add butternut squash, apple chunks and saute for  few minutes.
3. Add four cups of water or vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
4. Add salt, ginger and pepper. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree the mixture

5. Using a hand blender, puree the mixture to a smooth consistency. Be careful, it will be hot!
6. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds. Thyme leaves and/or  my favorite sprinkle with nutmeg. (Candid walnuts is another great option if you don’t have pumpkin seeds)

 Butternut squash soup with roasted pumpkin seeds

Bonus Tip: For busy folks, buy pre-cut butternut squash at your local grocery store.

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!!

Low Calorie sandwhich

Sandwiches are staple lunch food all over States.This low calorie sandwich is one of my favorites. Its quick,easy and so loaded with fresh veggies -every one will love it. You may use variety of produce, spices and sauces. So. one can enjoy it all year and any time.

Cooking Time:  10 Minutes
Cooking Level:  Very Easy

AO = Anti-Oxidant, 

DF = Dairy Free

HF = High Fiber, J = Jain
LS = Low Sugar

1.Multi grain Thins
2. Avacado, Onion, Tomato, Cucumber, Lettuce
3.Cilantro Chutney
4. Pesto sauce

1. Take 2 multigrain thins toasted
2. Spread thin layer of butter or cream cheese or sun dried red pepper hummus or pepper jack cheese or pesto sauce or cilantro chutney
3. Add two or three lettuce leaves, tomato slices and avocado slices.
4. You may sprinkle with sandwich masala or salt/pepper

Tips: you can vary the sandwich with use of sprouts, different spreads and vegetables


Arnold 12-oz. Multi-grain Sandwich Thins

Finger Sandwich

Finger Sandwich

Recently, I had party and came up with the idea of finger sandwiches. It was big hit among adults and children. It is very easy, simple, and fun to make!!

Cooking Level: Very Easy
Cooking Time: 20 Minutes

1. Regular white soft bread
2. Cream cheese- pineapple or plain
3. Chutney- Cilantro chutney or Pesto sauce


1. Cut the edges of the bread.
2. Spread with cream cheese on the bread at room temperature.
3. Cut diagonally into 4 triangle pieces
4. You may use even number of bread slices with cream cheese and pesto sauce/ cilantro chutney
5. Spread pesto sauce or cilantro chutney on the bread
6. Cut diagonally into 4 triangle pieces
7. You can arrange the slices in color sequence as you like!!

Tips: For variations white  bread can be substituted with wheat bread. Nutella can be substituted for cream cheese.  Please watch our blog for recipes on red chutney and Pesto sauce.

Beet Salad

It is time to expand your palate! Beets are a  wonderful source of iron, it has been shown to be an immunity booster and guard against cancer.
This beet salad is very simple to make and fun to eat.  The crimson color of beets and red onions looks so pretty on the table. The crunch and sweetness of gives a zest to a meal having your family to eat veggies happily.

Cooking Level: Very Easy
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes


1. One small piece of cucumber
2. One boiled medium size beet
3. One red onion
4. Sea salt
5. Lemon juice
6. 1/4 tsp of roasted cumin seeds powder
7. Chopped cilantro to garnish
8. Carrot


1. Chop cucumber, beets and onion in julienne cut
2. Sprinkle sea salt, lemon juice and cumin powder.
3. Mix all the ingredients and put in the refrigerator for at-least 20 minutes before you serve

Tips: Roast cumin seeds in a pan on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Let it cool down. grind the seeds in the grinder. This powder should be good for 6-7 months if stored in a airtight jar. Can be used for other recipes such as salads, yogurts and dahi wada.