Tag Archives: tomato

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

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…

Top 10 Mom’s Favorite Recipes

7 May

I love my mom to death… we disagree on many things, we argue, but we also have tons in common.  We both love to travel, to shop, to decorate, work on home projects, and we have also a mutual love for yoga, meditation and the spiritual lifestyle.

And what do you do to honor and celebrate someone who has giving you everything but also has everything she needs??  You cook for them… because everyone is bound to get hungry sometime and especially if they ask you for something in specific.

Sometimes, when my mom and I go to The Boys Farmer’s Market in Florida, she will see products/ingredients and tell me, “Madelyn…  Why don’t you make this tonight?”

So to honor all my mom’s cravings I want to share some of her favorite recipes in KarmaFree Cooking.  The ones she requests over and over and over again.  Maybe YOUR Mom will enjoy them as well.

My mom's favorite recipes published in KarmaFree Cooking


Spinach Pinwheels

Cottage Cheese Dip

Tofu with Snow Peas and Bean Sprouts

Quinoa Pasta with Fresh Baby Spinach and Lemon

White Lasagna with Spinach

Spinach-filled Mushrooms

Tomato Bruschetta

Asparagus Tart

Whole Wheat Bread Budín

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches

Apple Crisp


This is a list of 11…  but the cottage cheese can’t be called a recipe, but believe me, If I have cottage cheese and chips and my mom passes by, she will undoubtedly stand guard in front of me and eat my stuff until I tell her to stop.

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…


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