Archive | Salad RSS feed for this section

Quinoa Tabbouleh

24 Sep

I am a lover of Middle-eastern food… ever since I visited Israel 15 years ago, I have been a fan of falafels, hummus, pita bread, rice pilaf, dolmades, among others.

Tabbouleh would be part of that fan list, however, the tabboulehs made usually in Middle-Eastern restaurants are too heavy on the parsley for my taste.  And now that I am trying to avoid wheat sometimes, well I rather order the arab salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and skip the tabbouleh all together.  Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat.

For the last time I cooked in the Yoga Center, I wanted to make a Middle-Eastern inspired menu and it all revolved around the fact I wanted to make this salad.  We made hummus, a salad with mixed herbs including mint, rice with spinach, mushrooms and nuts, which is not like the rice pilafs I am used to having at middle-eastern restaurants, but it fit better for the Yoga appetites.

This recipe also makes use of the abundance of avocados we have right now in Puerto Rico…  and what dish is not instantly improved by adding avocado to it??


Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking


2 cups of quinoa

1 vegetable bouillon cube

The zest and juice of 6 yellow lemons

2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 cup of fresh spearmint leaves, julienned

4 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 seedless cucumbers, unpeeled and diced

1 avocado, diced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


  1. Cook the quinoa first… by adding 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan with the vegetable bouillon cube.  When the water reaches a boiling point, add the quinoa.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, just like you would when making rice.  Cover and lower the heat to simmer until the quinoa cooks, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. After the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork and season with ¼ cup of the olive oil and the zest and juice of 3 lemons.  Set aside.  If you are making this ahead of time, you can stop here and store the cooked quinoa in the refrigerator after it has had a chance to cool off a bit.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the scallions, onions, parsley, spearmint leaves, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Add the cooked quinoa and toss all the ingredients together.  Season the whole salad with the additional ¼ cup of olive oil, the zest and juice of the remaining 3 lemons, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss again well to combine.  Let all the flavors combine about 30mins – 1 hour before serving.

When you’re about to serve, garnish with the pieces of avocado.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Avocado Pasta

22 Sep

Avocado season is here…  and even though a few slices of avocado is the perfect accompaniment to any meal, and with so many ripening all at the same time, I’ve had to find creative ways to eat them all by myself…

This Avocado Pasta has become the last few weeks in my go-to lunch… it’s easy to make, mainly an assembly of flavors, because all you are cooking is the pasta.  Think of it like a pasta salad meets a guacamole and they decide to hang out together…  It’s refreshing because of the addition of the spearmint leaves.  Do not skip them… it’s partly what makes this dish special.  Trust… and your taste buds will be rewarded.

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking



2 cups uncooked pasta, I use gluten-free quinoa pasta

2 medium avocados, chopped

1 shallot, minced

15-20 grape tomatoes, halved

15 spearmint leaves and 5 extra ones, all julienned and separated

5-6 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

The juice of 1 lime

3 large handfuls arugula

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic Salt

Salt and Pepper


  1. Cook by boiling your desired pasta in salty water according to the package directions…  I used quinoa pasta this time around.  I buy it at Costco.
  2. While the water boils and past cooks, prepare the avocado mixture – in a bowl mix together the avocados, shallot, lime juice, tomatoes, parsley, 15 spearmint leaves.  Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well to combine the flavors.

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking

3.  When the pasta is fully cooked, drain it well and add to the bowl where the avocados and tomatoes have been marinating.  Toss well to combine.  Add the arugula leaves, a light sprinkle of garlic salt and extra spearmint leaves and toss one final time to combine and for the arugula to wilt a bit.

Serve immediately.

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking

Tofu Mushroom Poke

15 May

Poke is not something you used to do on Facebook…  it’s a salad served raw in Hawaii.  From the looks of it, it’s the Hawaiian ceviche and the correct pronunciation is Poke /poʊˈkeɪ/.

When I traveled to Peru, I had delicious tofu ceviche and white mushroom ceviche.  Both vegan, and both tasted as authentic as ceviche made with fish.  So I decided our Hawaiian ceviche, or poke, would include both tofu and mushrooms. To add more interest, color and crunch, I thought I would include some broccoli florets into the mix.

This is a simple dish with many components coming together.  Feel free to make some parts the night before you’re serving this and finish it off the day of with the broccoli and tossing it all together in the marinade.  This way the tofu marinates overnight and the broccoli is served fresh – the best of both worlds.


Typical Hawaiian Dish from KarmaFree Cooking


2 blocks of extra-firm tofu

1 pint of cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 bunch of broccoli, florets only cut in half or thirds

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

2 shallots, finely minced

4-6 scallions, thinly sliced

About ¼ cup Garlic and Herb Seasonings

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup tamari

2 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt to taste


  1. Slice each tofu block in 4 slices.  Place slices in a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels.  Cover with 2-3 additional paper towels, top with an additional baking sheet and weigh with something heavy.  Drain weighed tofu slices for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. After tofu slices are drained, season liberally with Garlic and Herbs seasoning.   Cook tofu slices in a dry non-stick skillet.  After you’ve placed them on the skillet, leave them for a while without touching them.  The crust they will develop will prevent them from sticking to the skillet and make it easier to turn them.  Sear them on both sides.  Set aside to cool off.
  3. Cut each slice of tofu in 12 pieces – cut into 3 pieces on the long side.  Cut those 3 strips in half and then those halves in half again.   Set aside.
  4. Mix the marinate in a container with a lid that you can cover and marinate tofu for a while – tamari, olive oil, sesame oil, shallots, scallions, grated garlic, grated ginger, lime juice.  Add tofu slices to marinate.  Add shredded carrots.  Marinate for about 4 hours or even overnight in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch broccoli florets for about 1 minute, until they turn bright green.  Scoop them out of the boiling water and shock them in a bowl filled with salted ice water.  This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.  Working in batches will help you control the blanching process and avoid any over cooking.   When broccoli is cooled, transfer to a colander for the florets to drain well and dry.
  6. About 2 hours before serving, combine marinated tofu/carrots mix with quartered mushrooms, cooked broccoli florets and sliced scallions.  Toss well to combine and allow marinate all together.  Toss every 20 minutes to make sure all components are marinated.

Serve at room temperature.


If you enjoyed this recipe…  you can check out the other dishes we served at the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival here in a previous post serving as anchor for all the recipes.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

Lomi Tomato

9 May

Lomi Tomato is the vegetarian version of Lomi Salmon, without the salmon.  This reminded me so much of when I used to order in Chinese restaurants Chicken with Cashew Nuts, without the Chicken.  Somehow people would understand it better when explained like that.

This was the salad portion of our Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival at the Devanand Yoga Center a few weeks ago.  To me it’s really important to include in a menu a salad, but I couldn’t find a typical salad in all the searches I did on Hawaiian cuisine.  So I adapted a version of this very popular dish and made it vegetarian.

I have never tasted the original… to me it sounded very similar to a tartar or a ceviche, both of which I’ve had.  But I thought that by adding macadamia nuts it could be made very interesting.  The audience agreed…  and you??


Hawaiian Tomato Salad


4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

½ cup fresh Italian leaf parsley, chopped finely

½ cup olive oil

1 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper

 A pinch of red pepper flakes, optional


  1. Just place tomatoes, scallions, macadamias and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. In a measuring cup combine the ingredients for the dressing – olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Whisk well to combine.  Add over the tomato salad and toss to combine.
  3. Allow flavors to marinate tomatoes for about 30 minutes before serving.


We served it over a bad of mixed greens…  somehow, a salad is more of an salad when lettuces and something leafy is involved, no?

Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival

26 Apr

Manolo gave me a challenge… Why don’t we plan a Vegetarian Festival with the flavors of Hawaii??  Hawaii??  Why??  I asked.   He replied: “Well…  I did this Rice with Pineapple the other day and I think it’s pretty awesome… so I thought it would go well within a Hawaiian-themed festival.”

33  stock-footage-aloha-form-hawaii

Just like Manolo… he gets an idea in his head, and then the rest of the world needs to accommodate to it.   “Oh… and the decorations would look so pretty!!!! Don’t you think, Madelyn??”   And that’s how the idea about this Hawaiian Festival came about.  Because… I have never been to Hawaii, Manolo has never been to Hawaii and the closest we have been to something truly Hawaiian are our friends Kenny and Tim, who one is from Hawaii and the other lives currently in Maui.

Hawaii Festival - ENG

So I went to the internet and social media to gather some ideas of what a traditional Hawaiian Luau would be like and how could I make it into a vegan, gluten-free affair.  My friends were enthusiastic about the idea and recipes started to flow.  What surprised me the most was that many of the ingredients in Hawaiian/Polynesian cuisine are the same as in Puerto Rican cooking – taro root, breadfruit, sweet potatoes… with a few unexpected twists, such as nori, gomasio, rice vinegar, and macadamia nuts…

During the next few weeks I will be sharing with you the menu of this Vegetarian Hawaiian Luau.  But this post will serve as an anchor and summary of all the recipes served that Sunday at the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand.   Let’s all travel through our taste buds…

Alohas and Mahalo!!!

23  shaka-sign

 Lomi Tomato

Longrice Soup


Tofu Mushroom Poke

Lau Lau

Eggplant Musubi

Roasted Breadfruit with Spices

Haupia with a Carob Drizzle

Banana Mango Bread

Lilikoi and Grapefruit Juice


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,659 other followers

%d bloggers like this: