Tag Archives: bell pepper

Colombian Breakfast Arepas

8 Sep

I’ve never been to Colombia…  YET.  But I have many Colombian friends who boast the deliciousness of their native cooking – Rubén, Andrew, Karina, Enrique, and my good friend, Dolly.  Whenever we visit our Yoga Center in Queens, she always wants to please our Guruji, and all of us who visit, with many of her Colombian favorite recipes.

Lately, she’s been making us her Colombian Arepas.   These arepas are made with yellow cornmeal and topped with your favorite veggie mixture.  We are busy yogis, so Dolly uses frozen pre-made arepas from La Venezolana, but there are many good brands out there.  Try to pick a brand that’s as natural as possible, with the least preservatives.

Here, I will share the recipe for the delicious topping…

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking


4 corn arepas – the refrigerated kind

6 large white mushrooms, chopped finely

1/4 lb oyster mushrooms, chopped finely

1 yellow onion, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

½ yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 tbs garlic and herb butter or use vegan butter if you prefer

2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbs soy sauce

¼ cup wáter, if necessary to make a sauce

1 cup vegan shredded cheese – I used Trader’s Joe’s vegan cheddar/monterrey jack mix

Vegan mayonnaise

2 tbs Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. To thaw the arepas, place them in a 350F oven in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper… or place them on top of a griddle.  The oven is helpful because it can fit as many arepas as you want.  This recipe is good enough for 4 arepas, but it’s easily doubled if you need more for your crowd.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to the garlic/herb butter.  Add the mushrooms
  3. and toss them to coat them with the oil and butter.  Spread them out in the skillet so they can get browned.  Resist the urge to move them around.  Wait until the mushrooms start to give off the smell of a cooked steak…  I know…  I know…  but you’ll remember me when the smell hits your nose.  You might want to turn on the smoke extractor in your kitchen for this one…
  4. When you’re ready to move the mushrooms again, add the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper and toss the whole contents of skillet so the onions and peppers cook.
  5. The arepas should be warm now in the oven… take them out, spread a generous schmear of vegan mayo and place about ¼ cup of shredded vegan cheese on top of each arepa.  Place back in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt thoroughly.
  6. After a few minutes reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and season with the thyme leaves.  After about 1-2 minutes, add the vinegar and soy sauce to start to create a sauce.  If the tomatoes do not give out too much liquid, add a little water to create a sauce.
  7. As soon as the cheese is melted and the mushrooms, onion, tomato mixture is cooked, you can assemble…  Place one arepa with melted cheese onto a plate and cover with a healthy helping, about ¼ of the mushroom mixture over it.  Serve alongside a simple green salad on the side.


I’ve had this dish originally as a hearty breakfast/brunch item… but I have also made it as a light dinner option.   Add a few slices of avocado, and you’ll be golden.  It’s easy to make and super filling.  Hope you enjoy ittoo…

Tofu Scramble

7 May

This was one of the main dishes we created for our 3rd KarmaFree Cooking class recently.  We were super excited because we got picked up by the local newspaper El Nuevo Día and we received tons of calls from people interested. We hosted 7 students who are not vegetarian, but are very interested in following a more natural and meat-free diet.  I was thrilled!!

Angie is the expert among us making tofu scramble…  but I made sure the ingredients were colorful, vibrant and easy to find in any supermarket.


Tofu Scramble and Potatoes 1



1 package of extra-firm tofu
1 vegetable bouillon cube with seas salt and herbs
½ red onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 package of fresh baby spinach
2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Butter or Dairy-free alternative like Earth Balance
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
½ tsp turmeric


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, a pat of butter and add the onions and peppers to soften.  Add the bouillon cube too and dissolve it in the mixture.
  2. Drain the tofu as much as you can.  In a bowl, pat it with a few paper towels.  Mash the tofu and add to the onions and peppers in the skillet.  Miox it well so the tofu starts infusing itself with the flavors in the skillet.
  3. Season with black pepper and turmeric.  Mix well.
  4. Add the tomatoes and spinach to the mixture.  Mix it all well and cover for a few minutes so the spinach wilts .
  5. Uncover and raise the heat a bit so the liquid that most probably accumulated at the bottom can evaporate a bit.


Tofu Scramble with tomatoes, onions, peppers and fresh baby spinach.



Serve alongside these Double Mustard Roasted Potatoes and your favorite toast.

A new Salad to start 2014

18 Feb

This was a post I should have written to publish early in January. Well, it’s already early in February and this will have to do.

This salad was part of our first KarmaFree Cooking class last December. And what’s different about a salad you should ask… well, besides trying to instill into people’s minds the importance of eating a large green raw salad every day, we wanted to introduce some new and different ingredients people might not use raw in a salad. Can you pick them out in this picture here???

A New Salad

Scroll down to see if you guessed right…













Raw pumpkin and raw beets… They’re usually eaten cooked, but these are sweet and delicious additions to any salad.

I know that all you folks who are going thru winter might not crave something cold and raw like salad when it’s cold outside… but eating a healthy portion of raw veggies each day will certainly keep the cold and doctors away.

Here are the components of our Salad:

Green leaf lettuce
Baby Spinach
Alfalfa Sprouts
Yellow Bell Pepper
Shredded Pumpkin
Shredded Carrots
Shredded Beet
Sliced Red Onion

Toss all the ingredients in your desired proportions together in a salad bowl. Dress with your favorite dressing. May we suggest a healthy serving of our Parsley Garlic Dressing.


Parsley Dressing…. GONE!!!!!

May your winter be pleasant and your salad bowl is always full.

Chili Verde

13 Mar

A few weeks ago my Serious Eats Water Cooler group issued a challenge… let’s make CHILI!!!

I am not a chili girl at heart, as my introduction to chili was Wendy’s chili with meat and beans. Never a fan of beans, therefore never enchanted with chili.

Wanting to partake in the chili challenge, I decided to give a stab to a vegetarian chili recipe. Mixing my Puerto Rican root vegetable “roots” with a few Mexican flavors, this vegetarian chili recipe is hearty and filling like a sancocho but with a nice spicy kick from the salsa verde. This is certainly something you can adjust to your taste.

In regards to the chili debate – beans vs. no beans – this is certainly a bean-less chili that I hope will satisfy the most avid bean eater too. Enjoy…

chili verde 2 KFC


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
One large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into cubes
One white sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbs sofrito
½ large green bell pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup whole kernel corn, I use frozen
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/2 cup water
½ of a can salsa verde – I used Herdez brand
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnishes, such as crumbled cheese, chopped green onions, sliced avocados, lime wedges)
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, vegetable cube and sofrito. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and sweat until the onions are tender, stirring often to prevent browning, about 8 minutes. Mix in the cornstarch. Add the corn, the water and bring the chili to a simmer.
  3. Place the green bell pepper in a processor and mix with the salsa verde. Blend just until smooth. Add the sauce to the pot.
  4. Cover and simmer the chili 30 minutes, until the potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips are tender and the chili is reduced to a thicker consistency. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Gorgonzola Stuffed Bell Peppers

9 Mar

Stuffed peppers are definitely one of my favorite clean-the-fridge meals. I tend to make these recipes a little bit different each time because I work with all the little bits and pieces I have in my fridge. I use mostly left-over rice as a filling, but orzo pasta, quinoa or even couscous work deliciously here. I have even used left-over butternut squash risotto from a large party, added a few extra veggies and made stuffed bell peppers for a crowd after my sister’s baby shower once.


However, the other day I purposely made a conscious effort to think of what I would put in. I am in a blue-cheese kick lately ,so I wondered how would my beloved stuffed bell peppers would taste using gorgonzola as the main cheese. I know I already loved them filled with goat cheese… so this would be a nice twist if successful. And successful it was.



1 large bell pepper – I prefer yellow, orange or red for this… but a green one will do also
1 cup cooked brown rice
½ medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 small carrot, chopped small
1 small tomato, chopped
3-4 white button mushrooms, chopped
3 large handfuls of baby spinach or any other hearty green lettuce
2 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles
½ cup walnut pieces or almond slivers
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded for topping
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, garlic and carrots. Season with salt and pepper lightly and sauté for a few minutes for the onions and carrots to soften.
  2. While this cooks, cut the bell pepper in half and clean the insides of all ribs and seeds. Set aside.
  3. Add the mushroom pieces and cook for a few minutes. Add tomato pieces and cook for them to release their juices.
  4. Add the spinach and mix together so it wilts. Season with salt and pepper to help the spinach release its juices.
  5. Remove from heat. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Add the cream cheese and gorgonzola. If you feel the mixture is a bit stiff, add a drizzle of olive oil to soften it.
  6. Add the walnuts or other nut you might have handy.
  7. Fill generously each bell pepper half with rice/cheese mixture. Top with some shredded cheese to make a nice cheesy crust on top.
  8. Place the pepper halves in a baking dish and cook in a 425F oven for about 25-30 minutes. The filling is already cooked but this will cook and soften the pepper outside.

Serve alongside a crisp green salad and dinner is served!!!


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