Archive for the Savory Category

Tomato & Cumin Tofu Scramble

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I made my Tomato & Cumin Tofu Scramble twice in one day as requested by my sister. It’s very easy to prepare, simply flavored with tomato sauce, ground cumin, and fresh cilantro. You might want to keep tomato sauce handy for this and other recipes, frozen in an ice cube tray. Serve with rice or potatoes and top with optional avocado, queso fresco, sour cream, etc.!


 Tomato & Cumin Tofu Scramble

  •  Serves 4

2 tsp. canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 container firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cubed

1/3 cup tomato sauce

1/8 tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tofu, tomato sauce, cumin, and salt to pan and increase heat to medium-high. With a heat-proof spatula break up the tofu, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the tomato sauce coating the tofu and onions begins to caramelize. Adjust salt and cumin to taste.  Mix in cilantro.

Moist Turkey Meatloaf

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Meatloaf is often made of beef, veal, and/or pork, but I always make meatloaf with extra lean turkey. Contrary to what some people believe, a meatloaf made with super lean meat can be tasty and moist!

Moist Turkey Meatloaf

  • Serves 6

1 Tbsp. canola oil plus more for greasing pan

4 carrots, chopped (about 8 oz.)

1 medium onion, chopped (about 4 oz.)

3 garlic cloves, minced

¾ tsp. kosher salt

pinch of dry thyme (optional)

1 cup very small pieces of soft bread

¾ cup skim milk

1 to 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1.3 lb. extra lean ground turkey

2 tsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 Tbsp. plain bread crumbs

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a small bowl; mix in a pinch of thyme (optional), pieces of bread, milk, and parsley. Place bowl in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow bread to soak up the milk and flavors.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, add turkey, soy sauce, grated cheese, egg, bread crumbs, and refrigerated carrot-bread mixture. With clean hands, lightly mix ingredients until combined. Add turkey mixture to a greased 8×8 inch square pan and form into a 6×8 inch loaf . Bake for about 55 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 165°F.


Rosemary Chickpeas & Bell Peppers

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Fast food doesn’t have to come from a restaurant. Rosemary Chickpeas and Bell Peppers is a dish that requires little prep time and cooks up in less than 20 minutes. It’s a great vegetarian recipe that I usually enjoy with polenta or brown rice.


Rosemary Chickpeas & Bell Peppers

  • Serves 4

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, small dice (3/4 c.)

1 rosemary sprig (about 7 in.)

½ tsp. kosher salt, divided

3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)

3 medium bell peppers, large dice (12 oz.)

15.5 oz. can low sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp. dry white wine

pepper, to taste

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, rosemary sprig, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt and cook for about 3 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add peppers, chickpeas, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt and cook covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add white wine, scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook for 2 more minutes or until peppers are cooked. Add pepper to taste, adjust salt as needed, and drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil before serving.

Note: You may have heard that plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, bread, cereal, pasta, and rice), except for soy beans, are “incomplete proteins”. This means that they lack one or more of the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own. To complete “incomplete proteins”, make sure to consume a variety of protein sources throughout the day. For instance, rosemary chickpeas at lunch can be complemented by rice at dinner.

For more information take a look at Diana Burrell’s article: “Build Muscle, No Steak Required” at

Spanish-Style Tuna & Potato Salad

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I recently discovered that Tuna & Potato Salad is a classic Spanish recipe. I should’ve guessed it, since my first taste of this salad was prepared by my Spanish boyfriend’s mother! In writing this recipe, I stayed true to the ingredients that Mama Conde typically uses. However, roasted red peppers and mayonnaise can also be added with tasty results.

Spanish-Style Tuna & Potato Salad

  •  Serves 3 to 4

3/4 lb. white potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½ in. pieces

6 oz. can tuna, drained if water-packed and mixed with 1 tsp. olive oil

½ cup halved Pimiento-stuffed Manzanilla olives, preferably reduced salt*

½ cup cooked peas

2  Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. white onion, very finely chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 boiled eggs, sliced

sweet Spanish paprika, optional garnish

1. Add potatoes to a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool slightly.

2. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with the boiled egg and paprika, as desired.

*Pearls® brand has reduced the sodium content of their olives from 310mg to 70mg per 4 olive serving. Nice!

Creamy Tomato & Hummus Spaghetti

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After enjoying carrots and hummus for a few days a week, I sometimes lose interest in using hummus as a dip. So, one day I decided to add hummus to freshly cooked rotini and I liked it. The tangy “sauce” was made with 1/2 cup hummus and 3 Tbsp. pasta cooking water for 2 cups of cooked pasta. Then, I took the idea one step further and added hummus to homemade tomato sauce. If you’re going to try this recipe, I strongly suggest using homemade tomato sauce because commercial tomato sauces may be too strong/salty to mix with hummus.

Creamy Tomato & Hummus Spaghetti

  • Serves 2-3

2 cups freshly cooked spaghetti

2 tbsp. pasta cooking water, plus more reserved to use as needed

¾ cup homemade tomato sauce

¼ cup hummus

Combine pasta cooking water, tomato sauce, and hummus in a small bowl. Add to spaghetti and use more pasta water to add more fluidity if needed. Garnish with some grated cheese and parsley.


Zucchini Ribbon Salad

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Looking for a new side-salad? Try this salad of raw zucchini ribbons tossed in an almond butter dressing. If you don’t have almond butter, try peanut butter as a substitute.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad 

  • Serves 4

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 tsp. red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. almond butter

kosher salt, to taste

2 small zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise

1. Add the garlic clove, vinegar, oil, and almond butter to a large bowl and mix together until smooth. Season with salt.

2. Use a peeler to make zucchini ribbons about 1/2 inch wide.

3. Remove the garlic from the dressing. Add zucchini and toss to coat.

Tofu Parm

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If you like tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and breaded cutlets, you’ll enjoy my father’s recipe for Tofu Parm. The tofu takes on classic Parmigiana flavors — a great way to introduce tofu to those who have never tried it.

It’s a good idea to incorporate some tofu into your regular diet. When tofu is used to replace meat, it can lower a person’s total calorie, fat, and cholesterol intake. It’s also a source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins A, D, E, and B12.

A winner in my Experimental Foods class!

Tofu Parm Serves 3

1 lb. extra-firm or firm tofu*, drained

½ tsp. powdered chicken bouillon (optional)

¼ c. flour

1 egg, lightly whisked

½ c. flavored breadcrumbs

Canola oil, for frying

½ c. tomato sauce

1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella

1.  Cut tofu lengthwise into 6 slices and press extra moisture out of the tofu slices with paper towel. Very lightly sprinkle powdered chicken bouillon over both sides of the tofu. Lightly coat tofu in flour, dip in egg, and coat in breadcrumbs.

2. Heat pan with a small amount of oil. Fry tofu until golden brown on all sides, adding additional oil as necessary. 

3. Preheat broiler. Top tofu with sauce and mozzarella. Broil about 4 inches from the flame for 2 minutes.

*I often use lite firm tofu to save on calories. Lite tofu has 40 calories, while extra-firm and firm tofu have 70 and 80 calories, respectively.

I hope I’ve gotten you curious about tofu. If that’s the case, you might consider enrolling in Tofu U at for more tofu recipes and tips. What’s more, participants are given coupons and a “graduation present” to encourage cooking tofu at least once a week for a month.

Now that I’ve completed my dietetics major at the City University of New York, I’ve enrolled in Tofu U for the fun of it! Why don’t you join me!

Mexican Rice with Chicken

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During my high school years, my best friend and I enjoyed eating a bowl of Mexican Rice for lunch when it was on the menu. It was tasty and healthy in comparison to the standard fried chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, shoestring chicken, chicken tenders, popcorn chicken, and of course French fries! My recipe for Mexican Rice is made with brown rice and chunks of chicken, which I recommend serving with a green salad on the side for a well-rounded meal.

Mexican Rice and Chicken

  • Serves 4

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ c. onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

¼ c. carrot, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 c. brown rice

2 ½ cup chicken broth

1 lb. chicken breast, cut into large chunks

¼ tsp. kosher salt

 1. Heat oil in a 4 qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

 2. Mix in the rice and then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, stir once, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Then, sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces and add them to the rice. Stir once and simmer, covered, for 20 more minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes, and fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Chicken and Sesame Dumplings

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Here’s one of my favorite recipes that I developed for EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine. It was inspired by the comforting garlic-ginger flavors of the Filipino soup “Arroz Caldo” and the breadcrumb dumplings that simmered in my Sicilian grandmother’s chicken soup on Sunday mornings.  

Chicken and Sesame Dumplings Photo by Kana Okada

Sweet Potato, Kale, & Leek Soup

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A warm, bright bowl of Sweet Potato, Kale, & Leek Soup is perfect for a cool November day.

Sweet Potato, Kale, & Leek  Soup

  • Serves 6 to 8 

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups chopped leeks, white section rinsed well

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups chicken or turkey broth

1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and very thinly sliced

kosher salt, to taste

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until light brown spots appear, about 10 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and also cook until spots appear, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

2. Pour in the chicken broth plus 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Then, simmer the potatoes over medium-low heat until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

 3. Increase the heat and bring soup to a boil again. Add kale and cook for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how done you want your kale. Kale can even be eaten raw. Add salt to taste.

Who needs a multivitamin when you’ve got this soup! The dark green and orange colors of this soup mean that it is rich in vitamins A, C, & K. 

Notes on Ingredients:

  • If you’re not familiar with leeks, substitute 1 large onion.
  • The best way to cut kale very thinly is to stack 4 or 5 leaves, roll them tightly into a long cigar shape, and slice crosswise.