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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Rice/Beans/Grains/Seeds




TOP PHOTO: Almonds with a sriracha kick.
Photo courtesy Blue Diamond. BOTTOM
PHOTO: Bean & Tortilla Chips from Food
Should Taste Good.


Brands we enjoy and have previously reviewed are busy launching new lines. Here’s what we tasted lately.


Companies that have jumped on the “hot” bandwagon have figured out how to make products hot enough to please hotties, but not so hot that they loses sales from the other segments.

These “bold” roasted almonds are delightful, and not as intense as the can indicates, or we would not have been able to eat them (medium salsa is the hottest we go).

Consider them as stocking stuffers. Almonds are a healthful nut, so this is a guilt-free snack. The line is certified kosher by OK. More information.

Our favorite line of tortilla chips, known for deftly combining other foods with corn-based tortilla chips, is now adding beans to the mix.

Food Should Taste Good Black Bean Chips and Pinto Bean Chips combine nutritious, fiber-filled beans to deliver real bean flavors.

Food Should Taste Good Bean Chips are gluten free, have zero grams trans-fat and are certified kosher by OU. More information.

We must shout out to the line of tortilla chips in flavors galore. Beyond Cantina chips, there are Cheddar, Falafel, Guacamole, Harvest Pumpkin, Jalapeño, Jalapeño With Cheddar, Kettle Corn, Lime, Multigrain, Olive, Sweet Potato, The Works and White Cheddar.

Love those chips!




Who says tofu isn’t flavorful? Nasoya, the country’s largest producer of tofu, has added a new flavor to its line of TofuBaked.

Chipotle TofuBaked is ready to eat, sliced cold into salads or sandwiches, or heated for scrambles, omelets and Tex-Mex favorites (burritos, fajitas, tacos). Recipes on the website include Seven Layer Chipotle Dip, Southwest Breakfast Bake and Chipotle Tortilla Soup.

We’re also fans of Ginger TofuBaked.

The product is USDA certified organic and certified kosher by Star K.

More information.

Quite hot, if not crazy hot, these chips are also quite tart, with as much vinegar as heat.

In addition to red chili pepper flavor, there are hints of Cheddar cheese. We think it’s a winner for hot stuff lovers.

The line is certified kosher by KOF-K and certified gluten free. More information.

Runa Clean Energy has no sugar added iced teas, which, thanks to the guayusa from which the tea is brewed, has a natural sweetness as well.

The line is certified kosher by OU, Fair Trade Certified and a Certified B Corporation.

In 8.4-ounce/250 ml cans, flavors include Berry, Orange Passion and Original. More information.



popchips-crazy-hot copy-230

TOP PHOTO: Spicy tofu, ready to eat from Nasoya. BOTTOM PHOTO: More hot stuff, this time in crunchy potato chips from Popchips .




RECIPE: Moroccan Quinoa & Roasted Carrots

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, the annual kickoff to Vegetarian Awareness Month.

Vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, are kind to animals and help to preserve the Earth (meat production is a major source of greenhouse gas and deforestation).

According to, some prominent vegetarians include/have included: Lord Byron, Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci, Ellen DeGeneres, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Dick Gregory, Steve Jobs, Carl Lewis, Franz Kafka, Paul McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Pythagoras, Voltaire and Leo Tolstoy.

But you don’t need to have particular beliefs to enjoy this delicious vegetarian (actually vegan) side or main course. The quinoa supplies excellent nutrition, and the Moroccan spices are irresistible.

The recipe is from Good Eggs, a San Francisco purveyor of artisan foods.


The addition of allspice, cinnamon and raisins impart a wonderful North African flavor profile and fragrance to this simple dish.
Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 2 bunches carrots, tops cut off, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 handful* parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • Squeeze of lemon†
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: plain or seasoned yogurt‡

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/roasted carrots quinoa goodeggs 230

    Delicious, nutritious and good-looking: quinoa and carrot salad with Moroccan seasonings. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.


    *What is a “handful” of parsley? It’s an indefinite amount; please don’t write recipes like this! The size of “a bunch” varies widely by retailer. Try this: For “a bunch,” use one cup loosely packed herbs and 1/2 cup for “a handful.”

    †What’s a “squeeze” of lemon? Is it a squeezed half lemon or a wedge of lemon? A medium lemon has 2-3 tablespoons of juice, a large lemon can have 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup). For a “squeeze,” try 1-2 teaspoons. Take notes and adjust both parsley and lemon measurements next time, as needed.

    ‡Give plain yogurt some savory flavor by stirring in one or more of the following: roasted garlic, chopped fresh parsley, minced chives or thin-sliced green onions (scallions). You can also use the zest from the lemon.


    Raw White Quinoa

    Uncooked white quinoa. Photo | Wikimedia.



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Soak the quinoa in water for 15 minutes.

    2. PLACE the carrots on a baking sheet and toss with some olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes.

    3. STRAIN the quinoa and add it to a pot with the water. Turn the flame to high and bring to a boil, uncovered. As soon as it boils, reduce the flame to a simmer and cover the pot.

    4. CHECK after 15-20 minutes. When all of the water has been absorbed and the grains are still slightly opaque in the center, turn off the heat and let the quinoa steam with the cover on for 5 minutes.

    5. PLACE the quinoa in a bowl with the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon, the raisins and lemon juice. Add a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Adjust the salt and spices to taste and add pepper to taste.

    6. REMOVE the carrots when they begin to caramelize and crisp up. Toss them gently with a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. To serve, spoon the quinoa onto a serving plate or individual plates and top with the carrots. Pass the optional yogurt as a condiment.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Roasted Peach & Chicken Salad

    Chicken Salad Grilled Peaches

    Inspired feasting: grilled chicken salad with
    grilled peaches. Photo courtesy Good


    There are so many ways to approach an entrée salad. This suggestion, from our favorite artisan grocer, Good Eggs of San Francisco, combines grilled proteins with grilled fruit. (They can be oven-roasted instead.)

    Good Eggs also suggests that instead of an all-green salad, you add whole grains for fiber, texture and flavor.

    Grilled or roasted, the season’s peaches add a wallop of sweet juiciness to a salad. If the peaches in your store aren’t great, you can substitute apricots, mangoes, pluots or nectarines (all are stone fruits like peaches; see details below).

    We happened to have some beautiful red rice from Lundberg on hand, and used it in our first version of this recipe (a hit!).


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 peaches, ripe but still firm
  • 1 cup whole grains (see list below)
  • 2 cups mixed greens (we include 1/3 cup spicy greens like
    arugula and watercress, or radishes)
  • Optional: 3-4 tablespoons basil, cilantro and/or parsley,
  • For The Dressing

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac or za’atar, or a combination of lemon zest and crushed red pepper flakes (more about sumac and za’atar)
  • Optional: minced herbs (some of what you use in the salad)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    For Serving

  • Crusty bread
  • Olive oil for dipping, seasoned per taste*
    *Use infused olive oil (basil, garlic, rosemary, etc.) or season your own with dried herbs and spices.



    1. MAKE the yogurt dressing. Blend the ingredients and refrigerate to let the flavors meld. You can make this a day in advance. If the dressing is too thick at room temperature, thin it a tablespoon at a time with milk or plain kefir.

    2. GRILL the chicken breasts and sliced peaches, or roast them at 400°F, for 20 minutes. You can grill the bread at the same time. When cool enough to work with, shred or julienne the chicken.

    3. COOK the grains to al dente; you don’t want mushy grains with your crisp greens. While the grains are cooking, wash and pat dry the greens.

    4. TOSS and plate the chicken, cooked grains, salad greens and herbs. Garnish with the peaches. Pass the yogurt dressing.

    Whole grains that are common in the U.S. include barley, buckwheat, bulghur, corn, oats, quinoa, rice (only colored rice, e.g. black, brown, red), rye, wild rice and whole wheat.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/red quinoa spoon pour 230

    Read this if you need to be convinced of the benefits of whole grains. Photo of red quinoa courtesy Village Harvest.

    Whole grains that are less commonly used in the U.S. include amaranth, einkorn, farro/emmer wheat, freekeh, Kamut® Khorasan wheat, kañiwa (a cousin of quinoa), millet, sorghum, teff and triticale.

    Learn more about these grains at

    Stone fruits exist in two different botanical families. The temperate climate-based Rosales order, Rosaceae family, includes what we think of as European stone fruits plus almonds, pecans and walnuts. The tropical/subtropical-based order Sapindales, family Sapindaceae, includes familiar fruits, nuts and spices such as cashew, lychee, mango, mastic, pistachio and sumac.

    Stone fruits from the Rosaceae family are members of the Prunus genus, and include apricots, cherries, nectarines, olives, peaches, plums, and cherries and cross-breeds such as apriums, plumcots and pluots.

    A stone fruit, also called a drupe, is a fruit with a large, hard stone (pit) inside a fleshy fruit. The stone is often thought of as the the seed, but the seed is actually inside the stone.

    In fact, almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts are examples of the seeds inside the stones. They’re also drupes, but a type in which we eat the seed inside the pit instead of the surrounding fruit.

    Not all drupes are stone fruits. The coconut is also a drupe, as are bramble fruits such as blackberries and raspberries. June through September is prime stone fruit season in the U.S.

    Enough botany for you?



    TIP OF THE DAY: Pozole (Posole) ~ Not Just For Special Occasions

    Much of what we know about Aztec customs is thanks to Bernardino de Sahagún (1499-1590), a Franciscan friar, missionary priest, scholar and ethnographer who traveled to New Spain* (current-day Mexico) after its conquest. Arriving in 1529, he learned the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs and spent more 61 years documenting their beliefs, culture and history.

    He wrote extensively about Aztec cuisine. This article focuses on pozole (poe-SOE-leh, and often spelled posole in the U.S.), a hearty soup or stew made of hominy, meat, chiles and other seasonings.

    The dish has either a red or green color depending on the chiles used for the soup base; there’s also white pozole. In addition to the traditional pork, later variations used beans, beef, chicken and seafood.

    Pozole† is actually the Aztec word for hominy, corn that is hulled (the bran and germ have been removed) by bleaching the whole kernels in a lye bath (called nixtamalization).

    In Sahagún’s time, pozole was cooked only on special occasions. Later, it became a popular holiday and “Saturday night” dish.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pork pozole chefIngridHoffmann 230

    Pork pozole, garnished with cabbage,
    cilantro, lime and radishes. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.

    Today, pozole is customized by each individual at the table, with garnishes that include avocado, cilantro, diced red onion, lime or lemon wedges, oregano, radishes, salsa, shredded cabbage, sour cream and tortilla chips or tostadas.

    NOTE: Don’t confuse pozole with pozol, a porrige-like drink made from fermented corn dough.
    *After an 11-year struggle for independence, New Spain became the sovereign nation of Mexico in 1821.

    †Also spelled posole, pozolé and pozolli; the original Nahuatl spelling is name is potzolli.

  • Beef Pozole With Red Chiles (Pozole Rojo)
  • Green Pozole With Chicken (Pozole Verde)
  • Red Pozole With Chicken (Pozole Rojo)
  • Red Pozole With Pork (Pozole Rojo)
  • Shrimp & Scallop Pozole (Pozole Blanco)
  • Vegetarian Pozole With Beans (Vegan Pozole Rojo)
  • White Pozole With Chicken (Pozole Blanco)
    A modern variation:

  • Pozole-Stuffed Grilled Onions

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pozole salad kaminsky 230

    Pozole interpreted as a salad, for a first course or side. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.


    Today we feature a vegan pozole salad from Hannah Kamimsky of Bittersweet Blog. It is intended as a first course or a side dish.

    Ingredients For 8 Side Servings

  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 Savoy cabbage ((1-1/4 pounds), shredded
  • 1 can (29-ounces) cooked white hominy kernels (not hominy grits), drained and rinsed
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely minced
    For The Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes depending on size and juiciness)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Toss the cherry tomatoes and onion with the olive oil and oregano, and spread them in one even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15-25 minutes, until the tomatoes are blistered and beginning to burst. Let cool. Meanwhile…

    2. PREPARE the dressing: Add the cilantro, sundried tomatoes and garlic to a food processor or blender, and slowly pour in the lime juice while running the machine on low. Thoroughly purée, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender jar as needed. Once the purée is mostly smooth, add the agave, chili powder, cumin and salt next, and drizzle in the olive oil (with the motor running) to emulsify.

    3. TOSS together the tomatoes and onions, cabbage, hominy, avocados, and jalapeños in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat. Chill for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to fully meld.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Paella On The Grill

    We love paella and don’t make it often enough. So when Fagor wrote to us about their paella pan and included a recipe to make it on the grill, our ears perked up.


    Paella (pronounced pie-AY-ya) originated in Valencia, a region on the Mediterranean (east) coast of Spain. It was originally a peasant dish, made by agricultural laborers who cooked a mixture of rice, snails and vegetables in the fields. Cooked in a pan over an open fire. it was a communal dish, eaten directly from the pan with wooden spoons.

    Valencianos who lived closer to the coast added local eel plus butter beans (lima beans). Paella is the type of dish that lends itself to adding whatever you have on hand, so can change seasonally. Recipes thus evolved in many directions.

    The paella we know today—saffron rice mixed with chorizo, chicken and seafood—did not evolve until the late 18th century century, when living standards rose affording the use of more expensive ingredients—especially saffron, the world’s costliest spice.

    It’s easy to vary the ingredients to create any type of paella, including vegetarian and vegan recipes. But three main styles developed in the 19th century:

  • Paella Valenciana combines rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), snails, beans and seasoning
  • Paella de marisco, a seafood paella that replaces meat and snails with seafood, and omits the beans and green vegetables
  • Paella mixta, a freestyle combination of meat, seafood and vegetables. Note that in the U.S., dishes called “Paella Valenciana” are actually paella mixta, the combination of ingredients preferred by most people.

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/paella on grill acouplecooks. 230

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/fagor paella pan 230

    Above, paella on the grill; photo courtesy A Couple Cooks. Underneath, the Fagor paella pan; photo courtesy Fagor America.


    By the mid-1800s, paella included short-grain white rice and a mix of proteins: chicken, duck, rabbit and snails (less affluent people often made do with snails alone). The dish was actually a “rice and beans” dish, with a mix of butter beans, Great Northern beans (white beans) and runner beans (green beans). Artichokes and tomatoes replaced runner beans in the winter. Spices included garlic, pimentòn (sweet paprika), rosemary, saffron and salt. The dish was cooked in olive oil.

    The recipe continued to evolve as chorizo, green peas, olives and roasted red pepper found their way into the dish. We’ve seen recipes with chopped chard or escarole, eggplant, fennel, mushrooms, oives, onion, piquillo chiles, red or green bell pepper, snow peas, tomatoes (fresh diced or roasted) and seasonal (spring asparagus and winter squash, e.g.). Some cooks garnish the top of the paella with sliced hard-boiled eggs and lemon wheels.

    The cook’s favorite ingredients were sure to be included. The chef at Soccorat, Soccarat, a group of tapas and paella restaurants in New York City, devised a paella menu that includes:

  • Arroz negro (black rice): calamari, fish, scallops, piquillo peppers and shrimp with squid ink rice.
  • Carne (meat): chicken, chorizo, mushroom sofrito, short ribs and snow peas.
  • De la huerta (from the orchard, i.e., vegetarian*): artichokes, cauliflower, eggplant, snow peas and tomatoes.
  • Fideuà† de mar y montana (ingredients from the sea and mountains): Brussels sprouts, chicken thighs, cuttlefish and shrimp, with noodles instead of rice
  • Langosta (crustacean): lobster, roasted peppers, scallops, shrimp and squid.
  • Pescados y mariscos (fish and seafood): cockles, English peas, mussels, scallops, shrimp, squid and white fish.
  • Socarrat‡ (house signature recipe): beef, chicken, cockles, cuttlefish, fava beans, mussels, shrimp and white fish.
  • Valenciana: asparagus, pork ribs, rabbit, scallions and snails.
    *The word vegetariano does exist in Spanish, but there is some poetic license involved with the orchard reference.
    †Fideuà denotes the a type of cuisine from Catalonia, the northeastern part of Spain (north of Valencia). The style originated in the 1920s in the city of Gandia, when thin noodles like vermicelli (fideu in the Catalan language) were used instead of rice in the paella. The pasta is broken into short lengths and cooked in the paella pan. There are many variations of it, and it is optionally served with allioli sauce, the traditional Catalan garlic and olive oil sauce. Other examples of the cuisine: calçots—barbecued spring onions with romesco sauce—cured anchovies, embutidos y butifarras (cured meats and sausages), sparkling Cava wine and anything made with the local bolet mushrooms. Canelons, Spanish cannelloni, and Pa amb tomaquèt, bread rubbed with tomato (and sometimes with with garlic and olive oil), and Escudella de carn d’olla, is a hearty Catalan stew, round out the list of “must trys” when you’re next in Barcelona.
    ‡Soccorat is the hard, crunchy rice crust that develops on the bottom of the pan from its proximity to the heat. Some people particularly enjoy it.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/chicken Wm Son paella 230

    Paella is a freestyle dish: Whatever you have on hand can go into the pan. Here, chicken legs and thighs, green beans and corn are included. Our personal favorite combination: a mixto with pimento (red bell pepper in a jar), black and green olives, artichoke hearts and green peas, plus fresh asparagus in the spring. Photo courtesy



    This recipe, sent to us by Fagor, takes about 40 minutes. Created by, can easily be made as a vegan dish. You can also add the traditional mixto ingredients, chicken thighs and sliced chorizo.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 15-inch paella pan or any large, shallow, flameproof pan (stainless steel or aluminum preferable)
  • 12 mussels or clams
  • 12 high-quality deveined shrimp (or substitute cooked chickpeas for a vegetarian version)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ head cauliflower or any vegetables of your choice (we used a classic blend of roasted red peppers [pimento], peas and olives)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup tomato purée
  • 5½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio (short grain) rice
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

    1. HEAT the grill to medium high heat. Prepare the ingredients: Scrub the mussels or clams; place them in a bowl with the shrimp. Slice the zucchini and mushrooms; chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place the vegetables in a bowl.

    2. MINCE 4 cloves of garlic and put them in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil. In a medium bowl, place ½ cup tomato purée and 5½ cups broth; mix to combine. In a another bowl, add 2 cups arborio rice, 1 pinch saffron, 2 tablespoons pimentón, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a good amount of fresh ground pepper.

    3. ASSEMBLE the paella: Bring the bowls of ingredients and the paella pan to the grill. Prior to cooking, add about 15 briquettes to the fire to keep the temperature up. Place the pan on the grill and add the olive oil and garlic; cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seafood; cook for about 2 minutes, flipping the shrimp once. Pour in the rice and spices so that they cover the pan. Add the broth and purée mixture and stir to combine.

    4. COOK the paella for 20 to 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cook uncovered on a charcoal grill or with the cover down on a gas grill. Make sure not to stir, since this when the soccorat develops. (Editor’s note: Soccorat is the rice crust on the bottom of the pan, which some people find very exciting. We personally don’t like hard, crunchy rice).

    5. CHECK to see that the rice on the bottom does not burn; it cooks fairly quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to cool.

    Why not make paella in a roasting pan or other vessel you already have?

    You can, of course; but a paella pan is specifically designed for seamless heat conduction and retention. Fagor’s, with a heavy weight and enamel-on-steel design, is a great heat conductor on the grill, oven or stovetop.

    You can buy it Fagor Paella Pan or at retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond. Be sure to get the 15-inch size. With a dish like paella, you want to make as much as you can and enjoy the leftovers.

    A paella pan is a versatile piece of cookware that can also be used to make:

  • Eggs and bacon
  • Pancakes
  • Roast chicken (the pan goes from oven to table)
  • Stir-frys (or anything you’d use a wok for)
  • Pizza: grease and flour the pan well or use nonstick spray
    And the pan easily goes from stove to table (don’t forget a trivet).


    TIP OF THE DAY: The New Layered Salad Bowls

    What’s hot in fast-casual restaurant dining? Layered salad bowls!

    The bowls have a bed of salad greens, with layers of toppings such as beans, cheese, corn, dips (guacamole, hummus, salsa), grains, legumes, noodles, proteins, sour cream, tomatoes and more. Each layer of ingredients adds more flavor and texture.

    According Katie Ayoub’s article in Flavor & The Menu, Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl now surpasses its burritos in sales. Jamba Juice added five Energy Bowls to its lineup last September. Panera rolled out Broth Bowls in January and KFC launched two new Chicken & Rice Bowls. On The Border introduced Border Bowls in April. The list goes on.

    Bowls cross comfort-food and global flavors with better-for-you fresh vegetables and smaller portions of protein. They provide tastes of multiple favorites in one dish. They’re a hit.

    Make your own bowls at home with the layer-by-layer guide to ingredients below, and add your own to the list.

    A tip: If you plan your menus for a few days, you can have leftover beans, grains and proteins with which to construct your bowls.



    A homemade version of Chipotle’s Steak Burrito Bowl (hey, where’s the grated cheese?). Here’s the recipe, from


    Salad greens plus:

  • Grains: Quinoa, farro, oats, rice (basmati, brown, cilantro, coconut, etc.)
  • Pasta: cappellini, penne rigate, ramen, rice noodles, soba noodles, whole wheat noodles
  • Potatoes: mashed/smashed white or sweet potato, diced boiled potatoes vinaigrette
  • Pulses: beans, lentils, edamame

  • Beef: braised beef or short rib, cubed or sliced steak
  • Chicken: grilled and cubed or sliced
  • Egg: fried, hard or soft-boiled, pickled
  • Lamb: cubed or sliced
  • Meatballs: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey
  • Shrimp: habanero-mango glazed
  • Salmon: mini salmon cakes
  • Fish: grilled, pepper-crusted
  • Pork: pulled/shredded
  • Vegetarian: baked/grilled tofu or seitan, falafel, vegetarian “meatballs”


    From On The Border, the popular Shrimp Border Bowl, with grilled shrimp and
    Tex-Mex fixings.



  • Charred: beans, broccoli, carrots, greens, onions
  • Fresh: arugula, avocado, baby kale, basil, cilantro, corn, jicama, mint, mixed greens, peas/snow peas, radish, tomato, watercress, zucchini
  • Fruit: apple or pear slices, berries, cranberry sauce, grapefruit or orange segments, stone fruit slices
  • Grilled: corn, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, peaches, red onion, zucchini
  • Roasted: bell pepper, jalapeño, mushrooms, onions, shallots, squash, tomato

  • Broth: beef, chicken, miso, roasted vegetable, seafood (add ingredients that work in a soup bowl)
  • Other: Greek yogurt, hummus, sour cream, tzatziki, vinaigrette
  • Salsa: chimichurri, pico de gallo, roasted tomatillo
  • Sauce: chipotle sauce, guacamole, pesto, red curry paste, roasted harissa, peanut sauce, tikka sauce (to drizzle)

  • Cheese: grated cheddar or mozzarella, crumbled fresh or aged cheeses
  • Dried fruit: apricot, cherry, cranberry, dates, fig
  • Fermented produce: cabbage, cucumber, kimchi, turnip greens
  • Nuts and seeds: candied, fire-roasted, glazed, spiced, toasted
  • Pickled produce: beets, carrots, onions, peppers, radish, slaw, watermelon
    We can’t wait until lunchtime!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Quinoa Fried Rice

    Fried rice is a typically made from leftover steamed rice, stir-fried in a wok with leftover vegetables and meats. This leads to countless variations, not just in China but throughout the Pacific Rim.

    There’s American fried rice (with sliced hot dogs, popular in Thailand), curry fried rice, Filipino garlic fried rice, Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng), kimchi fried rice and much, much more. Take a look.

    Then, perusing some online photos from PF Chang’s, we found this photo of quinoa fried rice, topped with a fried egg. So today’s tip is:

    When you have leftover cooked grains of any kind, turn them into “fried rice.”

    Of course, you don’t need leftovers. You can cook the grains from scratch for the recipe. In addition to those you commonly cook, this is an opportunity to try something new from this list:

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Kasha
  • Rice (black, brown, red, wild, white)
  • Quinoa


    Have “fried rice” topped with an egg for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy PF Changs.



    If you want to serve a cooked egg on top of the quinoa, you can opt to leave out the raw eggs that get scrambled into the grain at the end. We prefer using both.

    You also can add leftover corn, beans, or what-have-you. If the item is soft (cooked zucchini, e.g.), add it at the end to warm it, without cooking it further.

    And of course, dice any leftover meat or seafood and add it at the end, also to warm.

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 2½-3 cups cooked* quinoa or other grain
  • 1½ tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • ¼ small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped and divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs, raw
  • ½ cup peas, fresh, cooked or frozen/thawed
  • Optional: 3 eggs, cooked
    *If cooking from scratch for this recipe, cool the grain to room temperature, or preferably overnight in the fridge.



    Quinoa grows in black, red and white varieties. Above, raw white quinoa seeds. Photo by Methyl Soy | Wikimedia.



    1. MIX the sauce: Combine the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

    2. FRY or poach the eggs and keep warm.

    2. HEAT ½ tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté or frying pan over a high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook for two minutes.

    4. ADD 2/3 of the scallions, the garlic and the ginger to the pan. Cook for another two minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil and the quinoa. Stir-fry about two minutes.

    5. ADD the sauce and stir-fry until incorporated, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the quinoa; add the raw eggs and stir to scramble.

    6. ADD the peas and stir until they are warmed through. Top with the optional fried/poached egg, garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Canned Beans


    Southwestern parfait with beans, yogurt or
    sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips. Photo
    courtesy Food Should Taste Good.


    In the process of spring cleaning, we discovered 10 cans of beans at the back of our pantry.

    It had been a New Year’s resolution to eat beans—nutritious, with plenty of fiber and protein, and affordable—at least twice a week. While best practices involve soaking dry beans overnight before cooking, we knew we were less likely to plan ahead.

    Hence, a variety of ready to eat, canned bean choices: black beans, cannellini beans, great northern beans, pinto beans, red beans. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are also an option, but we eat plenty of them each week in hummus.

    Here are ways we’ll be using the beans, along with a hint: Drain the beans in a colander and then rinse them well under cold water to remove as much of the sodium as possible. The un-healthful side of canned beans is the amount of sodium in the can.

    Check out our glossary of the different types of beans.
    Beans For Breakfast

  • Add beans to a breakfast burrito.
  • Fill an omelet with beans.
  • Make a breakfast tostada: beans mashed with ground cumin, heated in the microwave, spread on a tortilla and topped with scrambled eggs and salsa.
  • Include as a side with other eggs or breakfast foods.
    Beans For Lunch

  • Have bean soup with your salad or sandwich.
  • Top green salads with beans to add flavor, protein and texture.
  • Mix them into chicken salad, egg salad or tuna salad.
  • Use kidney or other red beans to add color and nutrition to potato salad or macaroni salad.
  • Have a two-bean or three-bean salad with a sandwich. Combine one can each of different beans with chopped onion, bell pepper and cilantro or parsley in a citrus vinaigrette.
  • Add beans to a wrap sandwich.
  • Make pizza: either add beans whole as a topping, or mash them spread on the crust before adding sauce. Extra nutrition points for a whole wheat pizza crust!
  • Add beans to a Greek or Niçoise salad.
  • Eat chili, with meat or with beans only (vegetarian chili).

    Beans For Dinner

  • Add cannellini or black beans to pasta dishes.
  • Mix beans with rice.
  • Top a baked potato with beans and Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Top green salads with beans to add protein and texture.
  • As a side: cannellini or other white beans combined with sautéed bell peppers, eggplant, garlic, onion, summer squash and/or zucchini, seasoned with garlic, oregano and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • As a main: take the side above and serve over a whole grain (bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) Add steamed vegetables and another (optional) protein: chicken, fish, tofu.
  • Buy or make bean burgers (veggie burgers). Top with hummus for an extra bean hit.
    Beans For Snacking



    As a side, serve beans with sausage or bacon. Photo courtesy

  • Bean dip with crudités, whole wheat pretzels or tortilla chips. (here’s a recipe for starters).
  • Bean and avocado dip—a bean guacamole (stir beans into the guacamole, or mash the beans with the avocado, plus cilantro).
  • Bean chips, like Beanitos.
  • Mashed with the egg yolks in deviled eggs.
  • Baked potato skins with beans.
    Have more ideas? Add them here!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Grains As A Soup Garnish

    When we have leftover cooked grains—barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, rice, etc.—we start using them the next morning in breakfast omelets. By the time lunch comes, we’re ready to make grain salad.

    If we don’t have enough for a salad, we add the grains to soup. They can make quite a handsome garnish, and most grains go with any type of soup.

    In the photo, Brazilian steakhouse chain Texas de Brazil topped a mound of rice with a shrimp garnish.

    But you can use the grain plain, with a simple sprinkling of green herbs or something equally colorful (halved cherry tomato, sliced jalapeño or bell pepper).

    Or, take the occasion to use up leftover proteins to top the grain: bacon, fish, seafood, poultry, steak. It’s a great way to repurpose small bits of leftovers you can’t do much else with.

    Vegetarians can substitute a cube of grilled tofu, a cherry tomato, olive or leftover steamed vegetables.

    And, you can use leftover beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) instead of the grains.

    Whatever you choose, a sprig of green—shredded basil (called chiffonade) or a small basil leaf, rosemary or parsley sprig, cilantro, chives, chopped green onions (scallions) or microgreens–is the final crown on what started out as a conventional bowl of soup.



    Turn rice into a base for even more garnishes. First mound the grain in the center of the bowl, then carefully pour the soup around it. Photo courtesy Texas de Brazil.

    It’s a nice change from croutons.

    Here are 20+ more ways to garnish soup.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Enjoy Tofu Fritters

    Some people wrinkle their noses at the suggestion of tofu. It’s bland, they say. But it’s only bland if you don’t know how to cook it. In a good recipe, tofu becomes healthy comfort food.

    So today’s tip is to try one of these recipes for tofu fritters—hot comfort food on a cold day. If you decide you like it, great: It’s an inexpensive, lower-calorie and earth-friendly source of protein.


    Short for agedashi tofu and pronounced AH-gay DOE-foo (in transliteration, tofu is sometimes dofu), these hot tofu fritters have us hooked. Silken tofu is cut into cubes, which are lightly dusted with potato starch or cornstarch and deep fried until golden brown. The result is a crisp outside with a creamy, soft inside.

    The tofu is served with a hot tentsuyu broth (dashi, mirin and and soy sauce)—sometimes coming to the table in a pool of broth-like sauce, sometimes with the broth served on the side. The tofu arrives garnished with finely chopped green onion, grated daikon, dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and sometimes grated ginger.

    The tofu soaks up the broth, and along with the garnishes, becomes a complex layering of delicate flavors. If you like spicy, you can add shichimi togarashi, a blend of seven spices including hot red pepper (togarishi) and sansho pepper pods.



    One of our favorite comfort foods: age tofu. Photo courtesy


    This recipe is adapted from, where you can see the step-by-step preparation in photos. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.


    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 1 block (14 ounces) silken tofu/soft tofu
  • 4 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
    For The Sauce

  • 1 cup dashi stock (make it with dashi powder, available at Asian markets or online; use kombu dashi if vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
    For The Toppings

  • 1″ (2.5 cm) piece daikon radish, grated
  • 1 green onion/scallion, thinly sliced
  • Dried bonito flakes or grated ginger root
  • Optional: shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)


    Alexander’s Tofu Fritters. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy House Foods



    1. DRAIN the tofu by wrapping it in 3-4 layers of paper towels and placing the block on a plate. Place a flat plate on top of the tofu for 15 minutes to squeeze the liquid out.

    2. CUT the green onion into thin slices. Peel and grate the daikon.

    3. ADD the dashi, soy sauce and mirin to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the tofu from the paper towels and cut tofu into 8 cubes.

    4. HEAT 1½ inch of the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C). Coat the tofu with potato starch/cornstarch and deep fry until the cubes turn light brown and crispy. Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.

    5. PLACE the cubes in a shallow individual bowls and top with the garnishes. Pour the sauce into the dish or serve on the side.



    This recipe is from Alexander Weiss, season one winner of “MasterChef Junior,” FOX’s hit cooking competition series for kids. Alexander makes tofu fritters with a different flavor profile: smoked paprika, chili flakes and red bell peppers.


  • Canola or grapeseed oil for frying
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • ½ package soft tofu, patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of smoked paprika
  • ½ cup fresh corn, stripped off the cob (or substituted drained canned/thawed frozen kernels)
  • 3 tablespoons sliced scallions, or chives
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • Optional: dipping sauce

    1. PREHEAT 3-4 inches of oil to 325°F in large pot or deep fryer.

    2. CHAR/BURN the skin of the peppers on all sides over a gas burner on high heat. Once done, cover the peppers in a heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to steam. Rub the peppers under cold water to remove the skin. Remove the core, seeds and white membrane and dice into small cubes. Set aside.

    3. MASH the tofu with fork in large bowl. Whisk to smooth the tofu; then mix in the baking powder and flour until well combined. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Fold in corn, peppers, scallions and chili flakes with spatula.

    4. DROP the batter into the fryer using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop or two spoons. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season as needed with more salt and pepper, and serve with a dipping sauce.

    5. DIPPING SAUCE: We whisked the recipe ingredients—chili flakes, paprika and scallions, salt and pepper—plus a spoonful of tomato paste, into plain Greek yogurt.
    Find many more tofu recipes at



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