Tag Archives: avocado

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

Avocado Toasts

31 Aug

This is a breakfast inspired by a delicious treat we had last month while traveling in NYC.  We had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, a great French-style bakery/restaurant chain found in many cities in the US.   We were going to see the “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and needed to make some time before the museum actually opened at 10AM.

China as seen by the fashion and movie industries.

We had only had some fruits and we were hungry…   so we ordered steel-cut oatmeal and Avocado Toasts with Kale and Cumin Salt, a seasonal option for breakfast and lunch at the restaurant.    To be honest, I’ve had better versions of the steel-cut oats from LPQ before, but the Avocado Toasts stole the show!!   I don’t know if it was the awesome gluten-free bread they were made in… or the interesting combination of the kale and cumin salt, but we were blown by the deliciousness of these toasts.  I even had to Instagram-it they were sooo good.

Le Pain Quotidien - Avocado Toasts

These days, I have such an abundance of avocados that I decided to have some for breakfast the other day…  I made it my own by exchanging the cumin salt for garlic salt and adding alfalfa sprouts instead of kale.

Avocado Toasts - KFC


2 slices of bread – I prefer whole grain or gluten-free versions

½ avocado – sliced

Vegan Mayonnaise

Dijon or Stone Ground mustard

Alfalfa Sprouts

Garlic Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


I make this just like at Le Pain Quotidiene, open-faced.  But you can pile it all up, make it portable and eat it like a traditional 2 slice sandwich… it’s up to you.

  1. Toast the bread to your liking.
  2. Spread a generous amount of vegan mayo and mustard.
  3. Arrange the avocado slices, in shingle like manner.  Season with a light sprinkling of garlic salt.
  4. Pile the alfalfa sprouts.  Drizzle a small stream of olive oil.  Season with a light sprinkle of garlic salt again.

Mediterranean Open-Faced Sandwich

10 Nov

Lately I have been kinda lazy…  With lots of work and travel, I have not been the most creative in the kitchen, cooking from scratch for myself.  For lunch or dinner, lots of sandwiches and snack foods.  I know… not so good.

But I was training for a half marathon so I needed to get some good vegetarian protein in my diet especially for after my workouts.  They help rebuild muscle when taken right after training.  I sometimes turn to my trusted pretzels with hummus combination… or my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  But I had gone to La Hacienda, a popular gourmet market and deli here in Puerto Rico and I had bought a garbanzo bean salad and this is what I came up with it…  you can call it a pizza or an open-faced sandwich, but there’s no denying that you will certainly be adding “mouth-watering” and “addictive” to whichever name you choose.

Open-Faced Med Sandwich


1 flat bread of your choice…  I like FlatOut brand
½ cup of cooked garbanzo beans or garbanzo bean salad from La Hacienda
3 wedges of avocado
1 roma tomato, sliced
2 large handfuls of mesclun salad greens
Kosher Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is just assembling…

  1. Drizzle and spread some olive oil to the flat bread and toast it in the oven…  I like my flat breads crispy.  I use the toaster feature in Light.
  2. Take the toasted flat bread from the oven and place the garbanzo bean salad and the avocado wedges and mash it all together with a fork trying to cover as much flatbread surface as possible.  You can sprinkle a little salt, pepper and olive oil to the mixture while you’re mashing.
  3. Place tomato slices over the mashed garbanzo/avocado mixture.
  4. Place mesclun greens or even baby spinach over the tomato slices.  Season salad greens with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Cut into pieces using a pizza cutter…  I found it was easier than using a knife.

Med Sandwich Generic - website

Med Sandwich - Just a piece

Tip:   I found the mashing worked best than leaving the garbanzos and avocados in pieces… they would roll off the flat bread and I ended up eating more out of the plate with a fork than over the bread itself.  So that’s why I recommend mashing…

Flip Burger @ Bloomingdales 59th Street NYC

5 Feb

It was the first snow storm of 2014… We wanted to get out of the house, but did not want to manage the snow and cold outside. I suggested: “Let’s just take the subway and it can take us right underneath the belly of one of my favorite department stores in NYC – Bloomingdale’s. Deal??“ They all agreed…


The day BEFORE the storm… but the same cast of characters.

When we arrived it was already 3PM and we were HUNGRY!!! Who can shop while hungry?? I sure can’t. So we looked at the store directory but there were many options to choose from. Let’s just go checking them out floor by floor as we encounter them and we’ll decide what works best, OK?

Flip was the first option available… right up the stairs from the level where the 4-5-6 subway leaves you. When we discovered it was a burger joint, Tere and my mom were discouraged as, more often than not, burgers means meat burgers only. But we were in NYC after all and I said to myself… “Madelyn, read thru all the burger options before dismissing this restaurant”. And there they were!!!! VARIOUS, not just one, various vegetarian options!!!!


I wish I had taken a picture of the menu for you… I was sure I was going to find it online, but unfortunately that is not the case. The menu presented a veggie burger and a Portobello Mushroom burger option, my favorite. We sat down and ordered… You could have your pic of bread, burger, and toppings. The vegetarian options come with 2 toppings included beyond the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. My burger was a Portobello mushroom burger on a whole wheat/multigrain roll with goat cheese and avocados. YUM!!!


They also have fries to accompany your burger… we went for the thin crispy fries and the sweet potato fries. They were both superb… But I should warn you, those thin fries don’t seem to ever end. The more you eat, the more they seem to be in your plate. I ate and ate and we still brought the leftovers back home with us.


Even though Flip @ Bloomingdale’s is not a vegetarian place… in true NYC fashion they have meat-free options for us vegetarian gals. Who wants to go shopping on an empty stomach?? Not me for sure… and the next time I visit Bloomie’s, I know I’ll have a craving for a burger.



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