Tag Archives: healthy recipes

Baked Falafel Recipe with Israeli Salad

I had no idea that falafel balls were made with such healthy ingredients. Most falafel recipes start with chickpeas, garlic, onion, fresh cilantro and parsley. The deep fryer is what transforms these ingredients into delicious, crunchy, not-so-healthy fritters. So, I decided to experiment with baking rather than frying the batter. This recipe is adapted from a homemade falafel recipe from Mark Bittman’s Bitten Blog. Note: If you are looking for an authentic, deep-fried falafel experience, I recommend going to your favorite falafel joint or investing in a deep fryer.

Makes about 12 falafel patties

1 cup dried chickpeas (original recipe called for 1 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (original recipe called for 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed)
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped parsley or cilantro leaves
a sprinkling of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of half a lemon
1 egg (added)
about 1 cup chickpea flour (added)
a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds (added)
a sprinkling of dried thyme (added)
a sprinkling of chopped walnuts (added)
olive oil cooking spray


1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.
2. Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches; they will triple in volume. Soak for 24 hours, adding water if needed to keep beans submerged.
3. Drain beans well and transfer to a food processor. Add garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt, pepper, cayenne, chickpea flour, the egg, and lemon juice.
4. Pulse until minced but not pureed, scraping sides of bowl down. Keep pulsing until mixture comes together. Taste, adding salt, pepper, cayenne or lemon juice to taste.
5. Make the mixture into falafel balls or patties and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds, thyme and chopped nuts on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the patties are golden brown on both sides.
6. Serve warm in a toasted pita, with tahini sauce and/or hummus, and a simple Israeli salad made with chopped tomato, chopped cucumber and chopped onion, a sprinkling of cilantro, simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (pictured below).


Leave Your Preconceptions at The Door, Try This Simply Delicious Veggie Burger Recipe

In a world where “veggie burger” means a flattened block of soy protein, studded with carrots and peas whose flavor is thankfully masked with ketchup, mustard and lots of relish, it doesn’t take a lot to build a better burger. All you really need to make a delicious, homemade one is a can of beans, some eggs, and rolled oats or breadcrumbs. The good news is that you probably have most, if not all, of these ingredients at home. Add some different spices and fresh herbs, and the burgers can be flavored in a variety of ways. My favorite one starts with lentils, fresh cilantro and ginger, and is topped with melted Jarlsberg cheese. Check out my recipe featured on Good Bite! If you are looking for more ingredient and preparation ideas for burgers, check out a recent blog post in The New York Times “The Burger Experience Without Beef”.

Baked Lentil Cheese Burgers

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings 
TIME: 20 minutes


One 14-ounce can of lentils, drained (feel free to use a different kind of cooked bean)
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 teaspoon chile powder (less or more depending on how spicey you want it) 
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt (less or more depending on how salty you want it)
1 teaspoon sugar in the raw or brown sugar
freshly ground black pepper
grapeseed oil spray (or any neutral oil)

1 tomato, sliced
black sesame seeds
regular or lite Jarlsberg cheese, sliced
onion sandwich rolls

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with the oil.
2. Combine the lentils, onion, oats, ginger, cilantro, spices, salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor and pulse until chunky. You want a mixture that is moist but not wet.
3. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes, then shape into patties.
4. Bake the burgers until they are deeply brown, about 8 – 10 minutes. Then flip and bake for 8 – 10 more minutes.
5. Serve with melted Jarlsberg cheese and sliced tomato on a toasted onion roll.

NYC Chefs Share Their Healthy Recipes: Gary and Isabel MacGurn, Hampton Chutney Co.

One of my favorite Indian restaurants is Hampton Chutney Co., Upper West Side location. Their dosas are excellent, especially with the vegetarian masala filling and mango chutney. As you can imagine, I was delighted when the owners Gary and Isabel MacGurn decided to share a recipe that they make at home with Creative Delites. The recipe is for Punjabi Shrimp– a spicy, richly flavored dish, inspired by the tomato based sauces of northern India. In trying out the recipe I took Gary’s suggestion for making a vegetarian version, substituting eggplant (or you could use tofu) for the shrimp. Dosas and uttapas are the restaurant’s specialties, but if you would like to make Indian food at home and try out some of the classic spices, like turmeric and cumin, Punjabi is a great introduction.

Punjabi Eggplant Recipe
Makes: 4 servings
Courtesy of Gary & Isabel MacGurn, Hampton Chutney Co.

1 large eggplant
Salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons veggie oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 fresh curry leaves
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
½ jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro

1. Season the eggplant with salt. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the eggplant to a plate.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to moderate.
3. Add the turmeric, cumin, and coriander and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Stir in the curry leaves and cook for 30 seconds longer.
5. Add the onion, ginger, jalapeno, and garlic and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes; if the mixture seems dry; add up to ¼ cup of water to prevent sticking.
6. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste and cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
7. Return the eggplant to the skillet and cook, stirring, until they are opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
8. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Flatbreads with Fusion, Weekend in Washington DC-Inspired

This recipe for fusion flatbreads was inspired by a trip this weekend to visit my brother in Washington, DC. Knowing that I like good food, my brother tried to pack in as much eating as possible into the three days. After we finished our poached eggs and toast Sunday morning, we headed to ACKC Cocoa Bar Cafe for their dark chocolate bars with espresso nibs. Saturday night, I ate dinner for two and had dinner twice– First, dove into some spicy Thai dishes at Mai Thai and then enjoyed an unexpected late-night feast at his friend Angela’s place — she greeted us with warmed tortillas,  homemade vegetarian chile and creamy guacamole. Friday night, we packed in Asian and Latin food at the tapas restaurant Masa 14. The menu ran the gamut from chipotle miso black cod to a fruity-spicy coconut tuna ceviche, and most of the dishes succeeded at fusing the ingredients. The wild mushroom flatbread with Oaxaca cheese and avocado, however, had nothing Japanese about it,  except that I  picked out some of the super hot chiles with my chopsticks.  Back home in NYC, I decided to continue the weekend’s gastronomic delights with my own combination creation –Flatbreads with Fusion.

Latasian Flatbread Recipe


1 store-bought flatbread (options: Indian naan, store-bought pizza dough, flatbread crackers)
1/2 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 habanero chiles, seeded and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 slices Monterey Jack Cheese
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon miso paste
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


1.Place a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Allow at least 30 minutes for the pizza stone to heat.
2. In a food processor, puree the edamame, chiles, miso, soy sauce, and sesame oil until smooth.
3. Spread the mixture over the flatbread.
4. Top with chopped tomato and Monteray Jack cheese.
5. Slide the flatbread onto the stone and bake for about 6 -8 minutes, until puffed and golden. Transfer the flatbread to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Last Minute Ricotta Frittatas with Friends

I woke up this morning at 9:30 am. At 10:00 am, David told me that we’re having friends over for brunch at 11:00 am. So I took a two-minute shower and frantically ran around the kitchen, pulling out pots and pans. Somehow, with a few eggs, ricotta cheese, a butternut squash, and honey, I was able to whip up a pretty good frittata.   The omelet worked nicely with David’s breakfast potatoes, sweet mimosas, and a beautiful fruit salad that our friends brought over. Our kitchen was a mess, but our breakfast table looked like an elaborate brunch buffet. Check out the yummy frittata recipe below.


Ricotta Frittata Recipe

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into thin wedges
6 eggs
1 teaspoon skim milk
1 cup low-fat or fat-free ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons light olive oil
11/2 teaspoons wildflower honey
sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 450F degrees or the broiler to high. 
2. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet and set over high heat. Add the squash and cook for about 5 -7 minutes, turning often, until golden. Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with honey, and transfer to a bowl. 
3. Wipe the skillet clean. 
4. Beat the eggs with the skim milk. Add the beaten eggs to the squash. Season well with sea salt.
5. Heat the clean skillet over medium heat. Swirl the remaining olive oil so that it coats the entire skillet.
6. Pour the frittata mixture into the skillet. 
7. Arrange small spoonfulls of the ricotta cheese over the top of the frittata. 
8. Cook for about 6 -8 minutes on medium-low heat, until the sides of the frittata start to set.
9. If you are using the oven, place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes, or until well set, puffy on the sides, and lightly browned on the top.  If you are using the broiler, cook for 1-2 minutes just to set the top. 
10. Let cool a little. Flip onto a plate and drizzle with more honey.

Create: Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Toasts

After the combination of heavy holiday eating– eight days of latkes, Friday night’s baked ziti, midnight chocolates, and champagne toasts– it’s refreshing to have a simple, light meal. From the Ross Dobson cookbook, Market Vegetarian— a rustic roasted tomato soup finished with parmesan cheese toasts. It’s the kind of dinner that makes you feel good– especially good with all of this rainy, windy weather!


2 pounds Roma tomatoes, halved
2 small red onions, chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock
freshly grated parmesan cheese (variation, optional)
low fat ricotta cheese (variation, optional)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (variation, optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Put the tomatoes, onion, thyme, sugar, salt, garlic and oil in a large bowl. Toss the ingredients to combine.

3. Place the ingredients on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil and roast in the oven for 45 – 55 minutes.

4. Discard the thyme and pour the roasted vegetables into a large saucepan.
5. Use a hand blender to process the ingredients until smooth. You may need to add a bit of the stock if the mixture is too thick to process.
6. Add the rest of the stock and cook over gentle heat for 10 minutes. Season to taste.

7. Serve with a dollop of ricotta cheese and some toasted baguettes with bubbling parmesan cheese.

How to Spice Up Popcorn

This post is all about how to make your popcorn interesting and flavorful, not how to make your own popcorn. That being said, please don’t use microwave popcorn. It contains all kinds of weird ingredients. Instead, make your own. All you need is a brown paper lunch bag and some unpopped kernels. See lots of great options for popping your own corn here.

Now, onto the good part. Flava!

Stuff To Sprinkle on Popcorn

Once  your popcorn is done turn it into a large bowl. Use either: all-natural olive oil cooking spray or just put some olive oil in a spritz bottle and spray the popcorn (because it’s in a spray form, you tend to use less). Sprinkle the popcorn with salt and toss. Place the popcorn in a skillet on low-heat and shake the popcorn with your favorite topping (ideas below) until the popcorn starts to turn golden.  Some of the seasonings are more flavorful than others, so make sure to adjust the quantity to your liking and toss thoroughly to ensure an even coating.

1. Parmesan & Garlic Popcorn

Shake the popcorn with finely grated Parmesan and some minced garlic.

2. Cinnamon & Sugar Popcorn

Shake the popcorn with sugar and cinnamon. Add more salt if you like the contrast of salty-sweet.

3. Japanese Spice Popcorn

Shake the popcorn with a few touch of sesame oil and black sesame seeds. I also had these special wasabi seeds on hand so I used those as well.

4. Indian Three-Spice Mix Popcorn

Shake the popcorn with a sprinkle of tumeric, garam masala and ground coriander. Note: the tumeric will give your popcorn a brilliant yellow color, but unless you want it on your hands, be careful with the sprinkling.

Other Seasonings to Try:

5. Cayenne or hot red pepper flakes

6. Za’atar (a mixture of dried thyme, ground sumac, toasted sesame seeds, salt and round black pepper)