Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

There is nothing better than a classic creamy Caesar dressing, it is the perfect combination of creamy, garlicky, cheesy and peppery. With some crisp Romaine and crunchy croutons, you cant beat it.

While I love caesar, I know that traditional store bought creamy dressings are not always the healthiest choice. So, Io and behold this better for you creamy caesar dressing.

This healthier take on the classic uses Greek yogurt as a base. Packed with protein and low in fat, it not only creates the perfect creamy base but also, adds nutritional value.

With the greek yogurt and fresh lemon you will find this caesar dressing to have a light and refreshing feel while still maintaining a creamy indulgence. This dressing has become such a favorite in our home that we no longer even think of buying the store bought version! It takes just a few minutes to whip up and uses ingredients we typically have on hand. So, when the craving strikes-its an easy decision.

Once you give this dressing a try, I am sure you’ll agree. Delicious, creamy and healthier Caesar dressing—what’s not to love?

A few final notes:

  • Anchovies. Now, I know not everyone will love the idea of using anchovies in this dressing. In my opinion the anchovy is what makes this dressing truly taste like a classic caesar. But, if you’re really opposed to it and would like to omit it, you can substitute 2-4 black olives. Also, if you do decide to use anchovies, I recommend buying the anchovies in the jar vs. the little tins. Reese brand makes them in a resealable jar. That way we just keep them handy in the fridge for when we make the next batch.
  • We typically use a 2% fat Greek yogurt for this dressing. You can use full fat, 4% or even 0% fat if you would like. I find the 0% fat yogurt to be a bit more sour tasting, but otherwise it will not affect the flavor.
  • I use an immersion blender for this dressing. It can be hard to chop the garlic and anchovies small enough so you aren’t getting big chunks. You can try using a regular blender or food processor as well but you may need to thin with a bit more water to get it to blend up well. Immersion blenders are relatively inexpensive and an extremely versatile kitchen tool. If you don’t have one, I would highly recommend, I use mine ALL the time.
Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing
  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  1. In a container like a jar or pyrex glass measuring cup add all ingredients except for 2 tbs of water.
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients until smooth (see notes on blog post)

  3. Depending on how thick you prefer your dressing, add additional 2 tbs of water or more based on preference.
  4. Serve with salad or top anything you wish and enjoy!
  5. Store in fridge up to 1 week, you will see some separation when storing, just give it a good stir and it is good to go!

Before you go, if you are looking for any other quick and delicious meals you will love this Maple Glazed Chicken and Kale Salad or this decadent Spiced Balsamic Reduction.

Finally, if you make any of these recipes and decide to share on Facebook or Instagram be sure to tag @Kitchencartographer & #kitchencartographer. I would love to see your kitchen creations!

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Quick Chickpea Masala

Need a super easy, simple meal for meatless Monday? I’ve got you covered with this under 30 minute chickpea masala. During the week the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time cooking. I used to think that if I wanted something healthy and delicious it was going to be time consuming and needed a lot of ingredients, especially if it was vegetarian or vegan. Over the last few years I have come to learn that is entirely, NOT true. This vegan chickpea masala is the prefect example of that.

With all of the delicious and aromatic flavors you love in Indian cooking and only 6 ingredients, this chickpea masala will easily become a weeknight favorite. Not to mention, it’s healthy and vegan! 

Using chickpeas instead of chicken, this Masala couldn’t get any easier. Chickpeas are a great way to add fiber and protein to any meatless meal making it filling and satisfying. With such a mild flavor and meaty texture chickpeas can be use in many recipes as a “meat substitute”. In this vegan masala, you won’t find yourself missing the meat at all—Promise!

So, if you’re running short on time and fresh produce, but want a healthy vegan meal. You’ll just need a few pantry staples and about 20 minutes. So, skip the takeout and make this quick chickpea masala!

A few final notes:

    • Fresh ginger makes a huge difference in recipes. I wouldn’t recommend substituting ground for this recipe. If you’re like me though, and hate buying things you think will go bad before you use it all, don’t worry! Fresh ginger is great frozen, in some instances I prefer to have my ginger frozen. Typically when I buy a fresh ginger I cut it up into about 1-2 inch pieces and freeze it. Ginger grates really well frozen, better than it does fresh so for recipes that I want really finely grated or chopped ginger, it’s perfect. For this particular recipe I like to mince the ginger. So I will take it out of the freezer and thaw it in the microwave for about 10 seconds at a time until It is just soft enough for me to mince. That way I almost always have fresh ginger on hand. ‘
    • This chickpea masala is great served with brown rice, cauliflower rice, white rice or quinoa! Sometimes I even use a blend of cauliflower rice and brown rice.
    • I made the fenugreek in this recipe optional only because I know it is not always readily available at all grocery stores. I found mine at a local Indian grocery store, but I believe I have seen it at Whole Foods before. I will say though, if you can find it, it’s worth getting. Fenugreek has such a unique flavor and aroma, it defiantly makes the dish taste more authentic. I absolutely love the herb and have found ways to incorporate it in other dishes!
Quick Chickpea Masala
Servings: 6
  • 2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbs fresh ginger minced
  • 2 tbs or about 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk canned, reduced fat or full fat
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbs fenugreek optional
  1. In a heavy bottom pot heat 1 tbs of olive oil over medium heat, add onions, ginger and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent and begin to soften.
  2. Add garam masala and sauté for about 30 seconds with the onions, ginger and garlic or until fragrant.
  3. Add chickpeas, tomato sauce, coconut milk and sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add fenugreek (optional)
  5. Salt to taste and serve over rice or base of choice!
  6. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes



Before you go, if you are looking for any other quick and delicious meals you will love this easy Skillet Bruschetta Chicken or this quick Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry!

Finally, if you make any of these recipes and decide to share on Facebook or Instagram be sure to tag @Kitchencartographer & #kitchencartographer. I would love to see your kitchen creations!

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Cashew Curry Satay Bowls

These Cashew Curry Satay Bowls are basically begging to be made all summer long. I know it’s only March, but a girl can dream right?

Tender strips of Flank steak are simply marinated in lime, ginger and garlic. Grilled to perfection they top a fresh bowl of Cauliflower rice, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots and cilantro. Pulling it all together a creamy cashew curry sauce that will keep you coming back for more. This dish is ALL about the sauce.

I am not gonna lie I have already made these bowls three times. Not including the recipe testing phase… I can’t help it, they are just SO good and make great leftovers! The best part is, you can use the leftovers to eat it as a bowl—with rice or cauliflower rice ORRRR you can eat it as a salad! Both ways are equally delicious.

I recently had a reunion with all my friends from college. We stayed at a friends place up north for the weekend and hung out, played games, ate delicious food and spent a lot of time catching up and reliving old memories. It was SO fun. There were 14 of us in total and I made this dish for dinner.

It was literally the easiest thing to make for a group and satisfied a lot of different diets. In our group we have people who are vegetarian, gluten-free, low carb and just generally health conscious. The only thing I had to do to satisfy all these requirements was to have a vegetarian option and for that, I simply diced extra firm tofu and marinated it the same way the meat was then baked till crisp.

Because it is a “make your own bowl” kind of dish this recipe is great for feeding a crowd for a casual dinner. I prepped pretty much everything ahead of time so when it came time to make dinner I was able to put everything In the oven and not spend the whole evening cooking. Here is how I did it:

The day before:
Make the sauce
Sliced and marinate the meat and tofu
Shred the cabbage
Shred the carrots

The morning of:
Bake the tofu
Skewer the steak
Sear the steak on an indoor grill ( you can wait to do this part if you have an actual large outdoor grill but where we were we only had a small stovetop grill and 6 lbs of steak!!) then placed it in a large baking tray in the fridge.

An hour before:
Bake the cauli rice 45-mins to an hour
Bake the steak skewers about 25-35 mins until finished cooking and heated through
Reheat the tofu in a skillet with a touch of olive oil
Slice lime wedges
Dice cilantro
Take the sauce out of the fridge and let come back to room temp ( it gets thicker in the fridge)
Once the rice and meat are done it is ready to serve!

Curry Cashew Satay Bowls
For the Meat:
  • 1.5 lbs flank steak
  • 1 lime juiced and zested
  • 3/4 tsp Finley minced or grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic mince or grated
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 3/4 cup reduce fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced or grated
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder I used Spice Islands curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3-4 Thai birds eye chilies or a pinch of chili flakes to taste optional
For the Bowls:
  • 2 12 oz bags frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 head red cabbage shredded
  • 4 large carrots shredded
  • Cilantro
  • 1 Lime cut in wedges
  1. Sliced the flank steak in thin strips. About 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut the meat against the grain at a 45 degree angle. Place into a bowl or a plastic gallon zip lock and set aside
  2. Into the bowl or zip lock bag add juice and zest of one lime, finely grated or minced ginger ( tip: fresh ginger grates best when frozen), finely grated or minced garlic, 3/4 tsp salt and 2 tbs of olive oil.
  3. Toss the marinade with the meat to coat evenly and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. While the meat is marinating make the sauce. In a medium sized bowl add cashew butter, coconut milk, grated ginger and garlic, soy sauce, curry powder, salt and chilies. Stir to combine and set aside.
  5. Thinly slice cabbage and shred carrots, set aside
  6. Mince cilantro and cut up a lime into slices, set aside.
  7. Once the meat has marinated for at least 30 minutes preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and skewer the steak then set aside.
  8. Spread the cauliflower out onto a baking tray and cook for 45 minutes to an hour until cooked through (you can also sauté in a skillet with a little olive oil but I personally like the texture baked)
  9. While the cauliflower is cooking heat the grill and start grilling the steak since the slices are relatively thin it should only take a few minutes each side.
  10. Once all of the steak is cooked and the cauliflower is done you are ready to Start assembling!
  11. In a bowl add cauliflower rice, shredded cabbage, carrots and cilantro. Add a couple of steak skewers then top with the sauce and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy immediately!

Turkey Pho

Winter is soup season. If you’re like me and live in the snowy Midwest, you quickly learn to accept the fact that once October rolls around you’re in for endless soups, stews and chowders until at least April.

This winter in particular has had me craving the comfort of a warm bowl of soup. With endless ups and downs and snow and ice storms one after another it’s nice to know there is a warm bowl of soup waiting for me at the end of the day. So, while the winter weather is still trying to decide if it wants to snow or rain, I’ve been busy in the kitchen combating the winter blues with this bowl of brothy goodness.


Pho has long been a favorite of mine, my husband and I live right down the street form a little Vietnamese restaurant where we love to go and order pho for takeout. It has quickly become my favorite soup for when I am feeling under the weather or just need a pick me up on a cold winter day.

While traditional pho is made with beef by stewing beef bones with herbs and spices, I decided to go a more nontraditional route. Slow cooked for a rich and flavorful broth, this pho is made with turkey for a broth that that is reminiscent of home cooked chicken soup (with a twist!). Loaded with perfectly cooked rice noodles and turkey meat then topped with fresh basil, bean sprouts, onion, jalapeño, and a fresh squeeze of lime this pho will melt away the winter blues in no time. With soup this good, who needs the take out?

So, cozy up in your favorite sweater and grab a bowl because we’ve still got at least 3 months left of soup season.

Turkey Pho
For the Broth:
  • Canola or olive oil
  • 1 raw or cooked turkey carcass
  • 2 turkey drumsticks raw or cooked
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves are garlic smashed
  • 2 1/4 inch slices of fresh ginger
  • 4-5 pieces of star anise
  • 6-8 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried shitaki mushrooms
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
To Serve:
  • 1 package of rice noodles
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Fresh basil
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Bean sprouts
  1. In a very large pot heat add 2 tbs of oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook until translucent. Add the Turkey carcass, drumsticks, garlic, ginger, clove, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, shiitake mushrooms, cilantro sprigs and enough water to cover or mostly cover the turkey carcass.

  2. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam that comes to the top. Lower the heat down to a simmer the cook and simmer with the lid on for 2-3 hours checking occasionally to skim the foam off the top.
  3. Remove the carcass and drumsticks and set aside.
  4. Strain the broth through a find mesh strainer and discard the solids. Pour the broth back into the pot keep warm over low heat while you season to taste with fish sauce and salt and pepper.
  5. Shred the meat off the drumsticks and any remaining meat form the carcass, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and thinly slice some red onion and jalapeño.
  7. To assemble, Add the noodles to a bowl top with broth and turkey meat then garnish with fresh basil, onion, bean sprouts, jalapeño and a fresh squeeze of lime. Serve immediately and enjoy!!
Recipe Notes

I typically make this soup after we have roasted a turkey or chicken. I will wrap the carcass and freeze it until I am ready to make soup. If you do not have a leftover turkey or chicken carcass you can buy just wings and drumsticks to make the broth. For a turkey, I would use at least 4 wings and 4 drumsticks. 

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Red Cabbage

Beef and broccoli is a classic stir-fry. Growing up it was always my favorite. I love the way the broccoli soaks up all of the stir fry sauce and is cooked until just tender leaving the perfect amount of crunch.

The simplicity of this stir fry is the best.  Just beef, broccoli, water, gluten free soy sauce, and cornstarch are all it takes for delicious meal. Although,  in this recipe, I like to add red cabbage for some extra veggie. I know it’s not traditional, but one night I had some extra red cabbage so I decided to toss it in. It was so good and we loved the extra veg so much that I make it that way every time now!
With stir fry, you can put just about anything you want in it. Keep it traditional and just add the broccoli or get creative and use up what you have in the fridge. To get a good stir fry, it is more about technique than anything. If you have a wok that is ideal, but if not, just a large stainless steel pan will work too.

Traditional woks are cooked over an open flame so they are able to get up to insanely high temperatures. The food is added to a hot wok and consistently stirred to keep from burning (STIR fry…get it?) while cooking it incredibly fast. Unfortunately, with the average household stove, you wont be able to get to temps that high. Especially if you are using a regular stainless steel pan. But don’t worry! You can still make a great stir fry!

Here are a few tips before you move onto the recipe:

  1. Make sure the pan is hot before you add anything and don’t be afraid to use high heat!
  2. Canola or peanut oil is best because of the higher flash point.
  3. PREP, PREP, PREP! Having all your veg, meat and sauce prepped and ready to go in bowls is essential. Once your wok or pan is hot you want to be able to move quickly.
  4. Cook your meat in batches. For a nice sear on the meat be careful not to overcrowd the pan. If you do, it will get watery (eww).
  5. Stir your stir fry–but not too much. Because you pan will not get as hot as a traditional wok, it is less important to stir consistently. You will need to let your meat and veg rest for a few seconds here and there to get a nice sear. But, since you are working over high heat you will need to stir more often than you are probably use to. So don’t leave your pan unattended for too long.
  6. Use a wooden or metal spatula or spoon. Stay away from plastic when working with high heat.
Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Red Cabbage
  • 3 tbs peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 3 stalks green onion
For the meat:
  • 1.5 1-2 lbs of lean flank steak
  • 2 tbs gluten free soy sauce I use Tamari
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper optional
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper optional
  1. Start by prepping all of your ingredients— Chop your broccoli into bite sized pieces. If you have broccoli with stems you can use a vegetable peeler to peel off the rough bark and slice the stem to use in the stir fry as well. Place chopped broccoli into a large bowl and set aside
  2. Roughly chop the cabbage. No need to thinly slice here, big bite sized chunks are good. Add chopped cabbage to large bowl with the broccoli and set aside
  3. Thinly dice green onion and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Now, with a very sharp knife, it is time to cut the flank steak. You will want to thinly slice the steak at a 45 degree angle, against the grain. This will allow the steak to cook quickly and be nice and tender. Place the sliced flank steak into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  5. Add 2 tbs of soy sauce, 1 tbs cornstarch and 1/4 tsp of white pepper to the bowl with the flank steam and use your hands to toss until it is incorporated with the meat.
  6. In a small bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients and stir well until the cornstarch is dissolved, set aside.
  7. Add 3 tbs of oil to your wok stainless steel pan. Heat over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add all the broccoli and cabbage. Cook until just tender. Once the vegetables are done, remove from the wok or pan and place them back into the bowl you used for prep.
  8. Next you will want to cook your meat, if your pan look a bit dry you can add a touch more oil if needed. Let the pan heat back up so it is nice and hot. This is especially important if you added more oil. Then, add half of the meat to the hot pan. Use your wooden spoon or spatula so spread the meat out in the pan so it can get a nice sear. Stir occasionally until the meat is cook. Remove from pan and set aside in a clean bowl. Add the remaining meat to the pan to cook through.
  9. Once the second batch of meat is cook add the first batch back to the pan along with the cooked vegetable. Toss for a minute to get everything heated back up. Grab you sauce and give it a quick stir (the cornstarch will have settled) then pour it into the pan, then add about half of the diced green onion.
  10. Toss the ingredients in the sauce until everything is coated and cook for another minute or two, the sauce will thicken slightly as it cooks.
  11. Remove from heat and serve immediately with brown, white or even cauliflower rice and enjoy!

Turkey Swedish Meatballs (Dairy Free)

In this dairy free version of Turkey Swedish meatballs, I use cashew cream mixed with chicken stock as the based for the creamy gravy. Often, cashew cream is associated with vegan or vegetarian cooking, but I find that it is a great dairy free alternative for anyone. Not only is it dairy free but compared to dairy cream, cashew cream it is arguably nutritionally superior.

While it is still high in calories and fat, cashews are full of healthy fats. 76% of the fat from cashews are a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good stuff). On the other hand, the fat in cream is comprised of 62% saturated fat (the not so good stuff). Cashews also contain tons of protein and fiber. 1 cup of cashews contains 24g of protein and 4.3 g fiber while cream contains 0g of fiber and only 4.9 g protein per 1 cup.

In summary, even if you aren’t dairy-free or vegan, cashew cream may be worth trying. Nutritionally, you are just getting a lot more out of it. Plus, the added protein and fiber help to keep you feeling full for longer which is always a bonus. If you are new to cashew cream this Turkey Swedish meatball recipe is a great way to start.

Turkey Swedish Meatballs
For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs ground flax can substitute with bread crumbs
For the sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp worcestershire
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh sage for garnish (optional)
For the Cashew Cream
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Soak 1/2 cup cashews with just enough water to cover for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove form soaking liquid and blend with 1/4 cup of water until smooth. If you do not have time to soak for 3 hours you can boil the cashews for 10-15 minutes. This will work in a pinch, but the result may not be as smooth. 

  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Prepare baking sheet with parchment
  4. In a large bowl combine turkey, diced onion, salt, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, egg, and ground flax. Use your hands to mix well. Then form into small golf ball sized meatballs and line up on the prepared pan.
  5. Place the prepared pan with the meatballs in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking in a saucepan, heat chicken stock, Dijon, Worcestershire, cashew cream and bring to a boil.
  7. In a small bowl combine 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp water then add cornstarch mixture to the saucepan to thicken the sauce.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Once the meatballs are done, add them to the saucepan and bring to a boil again. Once heated through, serve immediately with mashed potatoes, or cauliflower and a veggie of choice and enjoy!


Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowls

These Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowls are one of the easiest and best dinners ever. My husband was doing a lot of traveling for conferences this summer so he was out of town a lot. I don’t really like cooking just for myself, I don’t know why, but I usually just end up eating some form of eggs and toast. This last time though, I decided to make up at batch of roasted veggies and rice for Buddha bowls. I made it on Monday and ate it the rest of the week for dinner.

You would think maybe I would have gotten sick of it, but you’d be wrong. It was so good! It’s my new go to for when I cook just for me. Don’t get more wrong, I still love my eggs and toast but the best part about this is being able to cook enough so I have leftovers for lunches or dinners throughout the week.

In this recipe, the most important part is the sauce. That is what really makes this dish. It’s a creamy, garlic and lemon Tahini dressing and it is to die for. It’s good on pretty much everything (especially eggs and toast! 🙂 ), but I made it specifically for this dish.

The veggies you use and the amounts can really be up to you. In the recipe I listed what I put in this particular version, but get creative with it. Brussels spouts are really good as well, carrots too! The amounts can also be mixed up based on preference and the space you have available on your baking sheet. I have even done two baking sheets before when I want to have extra leftovers. So grab a tray and get baking, meal prep has never been so easy!

P.S. Since I have a soft spot for eggs for dinner, especially when I am home alone. I have even topped these veggie bowls with an over easy egg. I would highly recommend giving that a try too!

Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowls
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups radishes
  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 2 broccoli florets
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups brown rice uncooked
For the sauce:
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed or finley minced
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 3 tbs Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice.
  • 1/4 cup water- or to desired consistency
  • salt and pepper.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Prepare of baking sheet with parchment or nonstick baking mat.
  3. Cook brown rice according to package instructions
  4. Prep your veggies by chopping them all into bite sized pieces.
  5. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan first, drizzle with olive oil and sesason with salt and pepper
  6. Place the tray with just the potatoes in the oven for 10 mintues. The potatoes will take longer than the rest of the veggies to cook so it will need a bit more time.
  7. When the timer goes off remove the pan and add the remaining veggies. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender and cooked to your liking. (I like my veggies a little crunchy still so I tend to cook them for shorter amount of time).
  8. While the veggies are cooking you can prepare your sauce.
  9. In a medium sized bowl add the tahini, Greek yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice and mix well. Measure out a 1/4 cup of water, but add only a small amount at a time, mixing as you go to reach a desired consistency. The amount of water will vary depending on how thick the tahini is. I have found that sometimes the tahini is thicker at the bottom if it wasn’t originally stirred well and a new bottle of tahini always tends to be runnier.
  10. Salt and pepper to taste.
  11. When the veggies and the rice are done prepare a bowl this Buddha bowl of goodness. Top your brown rice with roasted veggies and a generous serving of the creamy tahini sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!!

Chinese Five Spice Wings

There is nothing better than a big tray of crispy, saucy wings to snack on while you watch your favorite football team. In my case, that would be Michigan State Football. But whatever team you root for, these wings will be a win on game day.

I have struggled over that last few years to perfect a wing recipe. I wanted one that flavorful, crispy, saucy and oven baked. After much trial and error, I have finally come up with a recipe that I don’t want to change at all.  These wings hit all the criteria. And if I hadn’t told you, you would have never guessed they were gluten-free AND oven baked.

These wings are coated with Chinese five spice and cayenne then baked till crisp. After being brushed with a sweet and spicy garlic soy sauce, they are finished off in the oven for a perfectly caramelized coating.

If you have never tried Chinese five spice before, you should definitely try these wings. You can usually find Chinese five spice at your local grocery store in the normal spice isle. Spice Island is usually the brand I buy. If you cant find it at the store you can also find it Amazon.

Make sure to follow the directions while making these wings and add some water to the bottom of the tray while baking. Without it, you will likely end up setting off your smoke alarms a few times. Not because the wings are burning but as the fat melts off the wings it starts to burn to the pan. Especially once the sauce is added.

Chinese Five Spice Wings
  • 6 whole chicken wings cut into drumettes and wingettes or if you can find precut wings you will want 12 pieces
  • 1 tbs Chinese five spice
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbs Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degreed Fahrenheit
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with foil and place a cookie rack on the tray. This is what the wings will sit on and is the key to getting crispy wings.
  3. Cutting the wings: Using a sharp knife cut the wings at the joint to separate the whole wing into drumettes and wingettes. Cut off the tip attached to the wingette and discard. For a great explanation and visual of chicken wing anatomy click here!
  4. Pat the wings dry best you can and place in a large bowl.
  5. In a small bowl combine Chinese five spice, salt and cayenne.
  6. Add spice combination to the bowl of wings and toss with your hands to coat the wings evenly
  7. Line up with wings on the cookie rack on the baking sheet making sure they don’t touch. Pour 1/2 cup water on the bottom the the tray, this keep it from getting as smoky. 

  8. Place the tray of wings in the oven and set the time for 35 minutes.
  9. While the wings are cooking prepare the sauce
  10. In small saucepan combine maple syrup, sliced garlic, miso paste, gluten-free soy sauce, chili flakes, rice vinegar. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  11. After the first 35 minutes in the oven, take the tray of wings out and brush the wings with the sauce (this is where things might start to get a little smoky). Place the tray back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the sauce has caramelized.
  12. Once the wings have caramelized remove form the oven, serve with remaining sauce and enjoy!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

To be completely honest, I never really liked broccoli cheese soup growing up. My sister always loved it but it never really did much for me. That being said, I don’t ever go out of my way to eat it, let alone make it.

The other week, I was in Yosemite camping and hiking with my sister and friends. Being November, it got quite chilly at night and broccoli cheese soup came up in conversation as the soup that everybody LOVED. I was still holding strong to the fact that I had never really liked it.

Last week, it snowed for the first time this year and not just a few flurries. We got a good inch of snow. On my way home from work I spotted a Panera delivery car at my neighbors house. Immediately my mind went to broccoli cheese soup and the conversation we had in Yosemite. I got home and forced myself to throw on  some fleece-lined leggings to go for a run with Indy (my dog). The whole run, I could not stop thinking about broccoli cheese soup. For some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my head.

4 miles later and hungrier than ever, I was pretty tempted to call Panera myself and order some soup. But, I didn’t feel like waiting and I had a perfectly good head of broccoli sitting in the fridge.

To my surprise, this soup has ended up being one of the best I have ever made. It was so good and it came together in just about 30 minutes. The best part is there is, there is no heavy cream or butter but it still tastes creamy decadent. It could also easily be made vegan by subbing the cheddar with a vegan cheese or using nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

All in all, coming from someone who doesn’t typically like broccoli cheese soup, I can guarantee I will be making this many more times this winter!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Servings: 6
  • 2 heads of broccoli with stems
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 cup cashew cream see below for directions
  • 5 cups Unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Generous amount of fresh cracked pepper
  • salt to taste
Cashew cream:
  • 1 cups raw cashews soaked for at least 3 hours or overnight
  • 1/2 cup of water for blending.
  1. In a bowl add 1 cup of raw cashews with enough water to cover completely and let soak for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  2. Once the cashews have been soaking for at least 3 hours discard the soaking liquid and add to a blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend till smooth then set aside.
  3. Prepare your vegetables by dicing 1/2 onion, peel and dice 2 carrots. Dice your broccoli heads and stems into bite-sized pieces. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the rough bark of the stem before dicing.
  4. It a large pot heast 2 tbs of olive oil over medium heat and add carrots and onions and pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Sautee until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add the cashew cream and almond milk. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the broccoli and bring the soup to a boil. Stirring occasionally
  7. Once boiling, add the shredded cheddar, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until broccoli tenderness is to you liking. At this point taste the soup and add salt to your liking. I like to wait to add the salt after adding the cheese because the cheese is also salty.

  8. After simmering you can use an immersion blender to blend up some of the large chucks. If you don't have an immersion blender you can blend just a potion of the soup in a normal blender then add it back to the rest of the soup. You can skip this step as well if you don't want to deal with blending, I just like to break up some of the large chunks. 

  9. once blended serve immediately and enjoy!! 

Recipe Notes
  • This version of broccoli cheese soup has a light cheese flavor so it is not overly cheesy. If you want a stronger cheese flavor start by adding 1/2 cup more shredded cheese or use a sharper cheddar.
  • If you would prefer it a cheesier you can up the amount of cheese used or use sharper cheddar. Can be made vegan by subbing out the cheddar for vegan cheese or by using nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

P.S Check out my instagram page for a step by step video!! 

Garlic and Salted Black Bean Fried Rice

Fried rice was one of the first real meals I learned to cook. If we ever had a lot of leftover rice, my mom would whip up a batch of egg-fried rice for us for lunches or dinner. It was her way of cleaning out the fridge.

Still today, whenever I have a bunch of leftover rice I always make up a big batch of fired rice. It is easy and quick and I can put whatever I want in it. These days I like to load it up with lots of veggies. I also add in garlic and Chinese fermented black beans (or salted black beans). You can find the beans at your local Asian grocery. They usually come in square bag and are typically no more than a dollar. The bag will certainly be more than you need, but they last forever in the fridge as long as you keep them in an airtight container.

They have a wonderful and unique flavor, mixed with garlic, it is one of my favorite things to add to stir-fry’s. Don’t let the word fermented scare you away, these don’t taste fermented. They just taste like super salty little beans with an earthy flavor. Lee Kum Kee brand actually makes a black bean and garlic sauce that you can probably find at your local grocery. The only problem is, it is not gluten-free. So, if you are gluten-free it is just as good, if not better to buy the beans and garlic and make your own sauce.

In this fried rice recipe, don’t be afraid to change amounts and get creative using what you have on hand. The amounts in this recipe are more of a suggestion than anything. Personally I like to have a high veggie to rice ratio. Frozen veggies also work just as well as fresh. You can really use whatever you have on hand for an easy and satisfying weeknight meal.

Garlic and Salted Black Bean Fried Rice
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Servings: 6
  • 2 cups cooked rice ( I prefer brown rice)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage
  • 1 head and stem of broccoli
  • 3 eggs scrambled
  • 2 stalks green onion diced
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs salted black beans
  • 1 tbs gluten-free soy sauce + more to taste
  • 1 tbs water
  • 3 tbs grape seed oil plus more if needed (personally I like to use grape seed oil for the mild flavor when it comes to stir fry’s but you could also use olive oil or canola oil)
  1. Prep all of the vegetables. Peel and dice the carrots, roughly chop the cabbage and dice the broccoli in bite-sized pieces. You can use the stem of the broccoli too, just make sure to peel off the rough outer layer then dice into bite sized pieces. Place all veggies in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare your sauce. Mince together the 3 cloves of garlic along with the two tablespoon of salted black beans until a rough paste is formed. Place into a small bowl and combine with 1 tablespoon of gluten free soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside.
  3. Scramble 3 eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat with 3 tbs of oil. Add the veggies and cook over high heat stirring pretty consistently until the veggies are tender but not mushy. The goal is to cook the veggies quickly in stir fry which is why you cook over high heat and why you need to stir consistently so the veggies don’t burn. Only let the veggies sit for 30 seconds or so without stirring. Once the veggie are tender transfer them back to the bowl they were in.
  5. If you pan or wok looks dry add a touch more oil then add the scrambled eggs. These will cook very quickly. Scramble them in the pan or wok like you normally would for scrambled eggs, but try not to break them up too much at this point. Once done transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.
  6. Again, if your pan is looking a bit dry you can add a touch of oil, then add the garlic and black bean sauce sauté for a couple of seconds stirring constantly, it will be come fragrant very quickly. Add the cooked rice and stir to coat. Add the veggie and the eggs back to the wok. Add the white pepper and continue to cook for another minute or two until the rice is heated through and combined with the veggies and eggs. If you have green onion you can add at this point.

  7. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed. Remove form heat and serve immediately
Recipe Notes

** Note: its very important to have all your ingredients prepped before you start cooking. Stir fry is a very quick cooking method and once you start you need to have everything ready to go since you are cooking on such a high heat.