avocado

1) Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu 2) Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

We’ve finally moved into our little apartment in Milan.  The entire place is still a mess, full of boxes waiting to be unpacked.  From the way I see it, it’s gonna take another whole month to get this home sorted.  Never knew my other half is such a hoarder.  

I’m just glad that we’ve finally got internet here so I can start my rant.  ;)  Lately, I’m a little obsessed with roasted vegetables because I’ve also got my awesome oven installed finally.  I don’t even have a fan in the kitchen yet I must have my oven first.  Those guys who installed it must’ve thought I was weird though; not to mention those awkward lost in translation moments we got there.  I kept asking if I could start using the oven right away with my broken Italian.      

So roasting vegetables has become my new forte and the best sauce to go with that, in my opinion, is the wonderfully nutty great old tahini.  I have two simplest and healthiest recipes to go with my easy tahini dressing here.  Hope you’ll like them.  Happy roasting! :D

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu - this is one delicious hearty salad 

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 small bowl broccoli florets

1/2 avocado, cut into finger-sized strips

1/2 package hard tofu, cut into finger-sized strips

1 bowl fresh salad greens

1 bowl cooked soba, rinsed and drained

1 fresh lemon, juiced

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 tbsp chopped fresh spring onion

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1 small garlic, finely chopped 

2-3 tbsp sesame oil/extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for tahini dressing: 

1/2 cup tahini sauce

1/2 cup water 

1 small garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp vinegar 

1 tbsp honey

1/2 lemon juice and zest

1 tsp grated ginger

1-2 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1-2 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions:

1)  Preheat the oven at 180-200ºC.  

2)  Marinate the tofu with chopped garlic and soy sauce for 10-15 minutes.

3)  To make tahini dressing, add tahini, garlic, vinegar, honey, ginger, lemon juice, tamari, sesame oil and add water to thin until smooth.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  

3)  On a baking tray, mix broccoli, avocado, tofu, dried chilli flakes, oil, and season. Roast for about 10 minutes or less.  

4)  On a large dish, assemble the salad, soba, and roasted vegetables with some toasted sesame seeds, nuts, spring onions, and tahini dressing.  Add a twist of fresh lemon before serving. 

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Here are the simplest and healthiest ingredients for my second recipe: Roasted Purple Carrots & Avocado Salad

Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 lb fresh purple salad

1 avocado, cut into slices

1 lemon zest 

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 handful chopped walnuts

1/4 cup tahini dressing (recipe is above)

handful chopped fresh parsley (you can use mint and others; they are just as good)

extra-virgin olive oil/sesame oil 

On a baking tray, mix carrots, oil, and season. Roast for about 15 minutes then add avocado.

Add avocado after 15 minutes of roasting the carrots.  

Instructions: 

1) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  

2) On a baking tray, mix carrots, oil, and season. Roast for about 15 minutes then add avocado.  

3) Roast for another 5-10 minutes.  I usually toss in the walnuts in the last few minutes of roasting for an extra nutty flavor.  

4) Garnish with fresh parsley, sesame seeds, tahini dressing and a drizzle of oil.  

5) Add a twist of fresh lemon juice to give the refreshness of this warm salad before serving.  

Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

Vegan Cuts Snack Box January 2015 Review

This is my first time being appointed as an ambassador for Vegan Cuts and here I am writing a review for their amazing January's snack box.  To tell you the truth, I was pretty nervous before because I wasn't sure what I was expecting.  I was worried about writing a review that I didn't like.  A few questions immediately came to my mind like what if I don't like those snacks?  What am I gonna say about that?  I certainly don't want to lie about it... 

I went berserk for no reasons.  The snack box was really good.  I'm not gonna hard sell it.  I'm just gonna tell you the ones that I liked the most and how I developed some easy peasy recipes to go with them.  My favorite snacks amongst all are 1) rosemary baked lentil chips and 2) organic black rice ramen (wheat & gluten free).  The lentil chips could be eaten just as it is or you could create some dippings to go with that.  I happened to have an avocado at home so I whipped up some fresh guacamole.  

As for the black rice ramen, I had it elaborated into 3 easy recipes.  This ramen is a healthier choice for those who love instant noodles.  I highly recommend it to the college students who don't have time to cook a full-blown meal during the finals.  Geesh, I wish I had that when I was a student back in the old days.  

I'm so grateful to have been chosen to write this review.  It was so much fun for me.  Thank you, Vegan Cuts.  

Vegan Cuts in brief:

  • ●  7­10 vegan snacks

  • ●  Sweet and savory: Chips, cookies, bars, chocolate, crackers, tea, and more!

  • ●  Mostly gluten­free snacks

  • ●  Mix of full and sample size products

  • ●  $19.95 a month

  • ●  Cancel anytime, though we doubt you'll ever want to

  • ●  Free shipping to the U.S.

  • ●  The Vegan Cuts Snack Box ships worldwide 

These were the goodies inside of the snack box from Vegan Cuts.

First thing I opened was the two bags of chips.  :) I also whipped up a fresh guacamole to go with them.  ProTings doesn't need dipping at all because the chips itself was pretty tasty already.  

Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients: 

1 avocado 

2-3 small cherry tomatoes, chopped into small chunks

1/2 lime juice and zest

1-2 tbsp chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper

1 bunch coriander, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Scoop out the flesh of an avocado.  Add red onion and garlic.  Add lime juice and season.  Mix well.  

2) Add a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika and garnish with chopped coriander before serving.  

My first attempt with the organic black rice ramen; gluten and wheat free is called "the budget ramen dish."  

Recipe for "the budget ramen dish" 

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to the packaging label (3 minutes)

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 egg, sunny side up

hot sauce

Instructions: 

1) To make the sauce to go with the cooked ramen, simply add sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.  Mix well.  

2) Coat the ramen with sauce and add an egg.  Garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion.  Add a dash of hot sauce to give an extra kick of this simple dish before serving.  

The second ramen recipe is with miso soup.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 3-5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

80-100g extra firm bean curd

1 small ball of cooked spinach

1 boiled egg, halved

2 buttoned mushroom, halved

80g daikon, sliced

1 handful dried seaweed

2-3 sugar snap peas

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp white miso paste

1 tbsp soy sauce

800ml vegetable stock 

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a small pot, bring the pot of vegetable stock to boil.  Add mushroom, daikon, and tofu.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Let the pot simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add soy sauce and miso paste.  Heat off.  

2) Pour the soup into the cooked ramen.  Top with a ball of cooked spinach and a boiled egg; drizzle a little bit of sesame oil.  Garnish with sesame seeds, dried seaweed, and spring onions before serving.  

Last but not least, black rice ramen with a korean twist! 

I made my all-time favorite Momofuku's red dragon sauce to go with this ramen.  

Organic Black Rice Ramen (Wheat & Gluten Free) with shredded dried seaweed, cucumber and carrot in Momofuku's Red Dragon Sauce.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

1 handful shredded cucumber

1 handful shredded carrot

1 handful shredded dried seaweed

1 tsp sesame seed

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

extra-virgin olive oil

For the Momofuku's red dragon sauce:

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp ssamjang

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sherry/apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cook onion for 4-5 minutes under medium-low heat.  Add the cooked ramen to the pan.  Mix well with the caramelized onion.

2) To make the red dragon sauce, simply add all ingredients together and mix well.  Add a tablespoon of red dragon sauce to the ramen.  Mix well.  

3) Transfer the ramen to a dish.  Garnish with fresh cucumber, carrot, sesame seeds, spring onions, and seaweed.  Add a few extra tablespoon of red dragon sauce to complete the dish before serving.