Carrot salad with roasted chickpeas and pistachios

This salad is so good that if I were left to my own devices, I would eat all 4 servings in one sitting. Gulp.

Yield: 4 servings (or 1 really big one)



  • one can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and lightly dried
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin


  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • juice from 1 lemon, strained
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • to consider for next time: one crushed, smoked serrano pepper


  • 4-5 grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pistachios (I usually find the roasted and salted variety, but this would work with the roasted and unsalted type as well)


  1. After tossing with the oil and spices, bake the chickpeas at 220C for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing and prepare the salad.
  3. Toss everything together. and serve with a bit of parsley as garnish. Alternatively, you can keep the chickpeas and pistachios separate until moments before you eat (so as to preserve the crunch)

Swamy’s Bean Dip

Did you know bean dip can double as dinner? Don’t be shy, it’s not simply an appetizer!
Yield: a 9×12 in baking dish, as pictured above



  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 2 tbsp of taco seasoning mix to taste (unsalted)
  • 250 g Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 200 g shredded cheddar

Veggie mix

  • 1/2 of a diced onion
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 diced green bell pepper (optional)
  • 1 can of corn (optional)


  • 1 diced avocado or 1 cup of guacamole
  • 2 diced vine tomatoes
  • a handful of chopped cilantro
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning (unsalted)
  • 1 diced jalapeƱo (if you’re feeling sassy)
  • salt to taste


  1. Mix the cream cheese with the taco seasoning
  2. As the bottom layer in the pan, spread the refried beans evenly around
  3. Next, spread the cream cheese over the beans
  4. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the cream cheese
  5. Then sprinkle the veggie mix evenly over the shredded cheese
  6. Bake this in the in oven 375F/190C for 10 min or less – pull it out of the oven when it’s warm and melty
  7. Top with the salsa
  8. Tuck into this with tortilla chips

Spicy sauteed green beans

It’s spicy, crunchy, and juicy… need I say more? I like this as a side dish to a braised tofu main dish over some white rice. It hits the spot, big time. Sometimes, if I have fresh shiitakes on hand, I will toss them in as well.

Serves 3


  • 300g green beans, cleaned and cut into 1in pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh chillies, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • some chili oil, to taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water


  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, corn starch mixture, salt, and pepper.
  2. Separately, in a skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the fresh chili, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions. Fry for about 30-60 seconds.
  3. Before the garlic browns, add the green beans. Stir occasionally. They should be fully cooked in 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the sauce and cook for another minute or so (medium-high heat).
  5. Add extra chili oil to taste.

Green onion flatbread with garlic soy dipping sauce

You could call this a few different names: flatbread, pancakes, Asian roti, etc. The garlic soy sauce livens up this classic Chinese side dish/snack. It’s addictive.

Servings 1 (if you’re a piggy) or 4



  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 tsp ground Chinese Five Spice
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Vegetable oil and a brush

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
  • 1 finely sliced green onion


  1. Mix the flour, sesame seeds, five spice powder, and water until it forms a dough
  2. Knead the dough well (5 min) – it should be quite smooth
  3. Let it rest for 30 minutes, covered
  4. Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small container and set it aside
  5. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts
  6. Roll each piece into a 7 in circle
  7. Brush the circle with a little oil, cover with scallions, and roll it up tightly (like a fajita/burrito/spring roll)
  8. Coil the burrito tightly into a spiral, and roll it out again
  9. In a hot skillet with some oil, lightly fry each pancake (~3 minutes per side)
  10. Cut into wedges and enjoy with the dipping sauce

Lemon Basil Orzo with Goat Cheese and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

The delicate flavors in this easy pasta salad were a hit with our German friends, but left something spicier to be desired with our resident Indian (Swamy’s two cents: “It’s no Bachelor Boys, I’ll tell you that”)

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 cups of uncooked orzo pasta (250 g)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g goat cheese
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 75 g sunflower seeds


  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to package directions
  2. Dry roast the sunflower seeds (toast the seeds in a pan on the stovetop, no butter/oil needed)
  3. Stir all ingredients together

Italian Breadsticks

Here is a tasty and simple recipe for breadsticks that go well with soup or a simple bruschetta. The prep time was about 30 minutes, inactive time was 45 minutes, and baking time was 15 minutes, for a total time of 1.5 hours.

Yield: 8 breadsticks



  • 2 and 1/8 cups of flour (2 cups + 2 tbsp)
  • warm water separated as 2/3 cup and 2 tbsp
  • 1 and 1/8 tsp yeast (half of a package of yeast)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning mix
  • 2 tsp garlic salt


  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of Italian seasoning mix
  • shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Add 2 tbsp of warm water to the yeast in a large bowl. Mix it well, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate container, mix the flour, sugar, Italian seasoning, and salt together.
  3. Once the yeast is ready, add the dry mixture, the remaining water, and the olive oil to it.
  4. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes in this bowl, until it is slightly sticky.
  5. Flour a flat surface and transport the dough there. Knead it by hand until it is very smooth, about 3 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough into a log at approximately 1 inch thickness.
  7. Bisect the log until you have 8 pieces.
  8. Set the dough aside to rest under a towel in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  10. Lightly oil the bottom of a cooking pan or a cookie sheet.
  11. Place the bread sticks in the pan, and brush them with olive oil.
  12. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning mix and the shredded cheese (if using it).
  13. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Asian Cabbage Wraps

Omnomnom… hearty tempeh and mushroom filling in a piece of crunchy cabbage with some spicy peanut sauce to the side… sign me up!

This makes about 4-5 servings.


  • Peanut sauce
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp sriracha
  • Filling
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 10-15 shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, trumpet mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms, take your pick. Or you can have a boring portabella mushroom cap… Dice the mushrooms.
    • 1 bell pepper, diced (organic!)
    • 2 tsp minced ginger
    • 2 tbsp chili sauce (try chili bean sauce or Guilin chili sauce)
    • 1 can of water chestnuts (8 oz), diced
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 1 package of tempeh (8 oz)
  • Wraps
    • 1 head of green cabbage, or red cabbage, or lettuce
    • 3 large carrots cut into ribbons (use a vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer)
    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Blend all the ingredients for the peanut sauce together in a blender or food mixer. Mix well!
  2. Heat some oil in a large skillet and add the tempeh to it.
  3. After it turns a little brown, add the onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms to it. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger and chili sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve with the filling in the cabbage leaf, and add carrots, cilantro, and sesame seeds to your liking. Drizzle the peanut sauce over it, and enjoy!