Tag Archives: whole grain

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…

Soyrizo Apricot Quesadilla

24 Oct

My dear friends Angie and Ana are taking these cooking classes on Wednesday nights… I am not participating because these classes are not vegetarian and I would not be able to cook or actually taste almost anything they make. But the ideas their teacher shares are quite good sometimes and I like to vegetarianize them to be able to enjoy them.

Such is the case with a croissant idea filled with chorizo and apricot jam… Refrigerated croissant dough does not come in whole wheat form, unfortunately. So I decided to make-over the recipe given to me by Angie into a quesadilla.

Never been too fond of Mexican chorizo… I much preferred Spanish chorizo. But this Soyrizo tastes like the Mexican version with strong cumin notes. I take it easy with this soyrizo because after my first trip to India, I developed a strong aversion to cumin. For years I was not able to taste cumin or even smell it up close. Now I’m better, but I am still not a cumin fan.

What I do love about this recipe is the salty/sweet combination… and it has a very rich flavor, so be prudent and don’t over stuff your quesadilla.


1 FlatOut flatbread or whole wheat tortilla
2 handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ tbs of apricot jam
About 2 inches of soyrizo
2 large scallion, chopped finely
2 tbs softened butter
2 tsps brown sugar
Butter-flavored spray
Olive oil
  1. In a small non-stick skillet over medium high heat, with a tad bit of olive oil, cook the soyrizo. Start moving it around allowing it to brown on one side before mixing it up and moving it around. It will cook and brown until it turns into crumbles. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat toaster oven to 425F.
  3. In a baking sheet, spray butter-flavored oil to make sure your tortilla or flatbread does not stick. Place your flatbread halfway in the pan.
  4. Start mounting the fillings… spread most of the apricot jam on the bottom half of your quesadilla. Add the cheese, the crumbled cooked soyrizo, the scallions and a tad bit additional apricot jam if you wish. Fold the tortilla to create a half moon. Press it lightly to make it all “stick together”.
  5. Spread some softened butter on top of tortilla or flatbread and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.
  6. Place in oven for about 5-7 minutes. The cheese will melt, the fillings will fuse together and the top will get brown and crunchy. Take it out if the oven and allow a few minutes for the cheese to cool down.
  7. Cut into wedges and enjoy…

I did this with 2 tortillas and the flavor was too rich for me. But I encourage making it with two tortillas if you are sharing.

The scallions are my addition to this recipe and I feel they help cut a bit of the oiliness of the cheese and soyrizo plus it adds some freshness.

Try it… and tell me if you like it or not. What are your favorite quesadilla ideas???

Healthy Lifestyle Change for APRIL– Eat only Whole Grain flours

1 Apr

Whole grain flours are much more nutritious than white refined flours.  Whole-grain flours have insoluble fiber very necessary to help our intestines eliminate properly.  There are several benefits to transition from white-refined baked goods:

  • Baked products made with whole-grain flours have more flavor
  • Whole-grain flour has fiber that helps our system with constipation issues
  • Fiber has complex carbohydrates to help you feel more satisfied longer after eating
  • Whole-grain products contain more nutrients

Instead of buying at the grocery store the regular, same-old white bread you usually buy, you’ll now purchase instead:

  • 100% whole-wheat bread – it’s important to read the labels, because there are many sandwich bread brands out there that contain some form of whole-wheat flour, but still the main flour is white.  The label should say 100% whole-wheat and the first ingredient in the list should be whole-wheat flour.
    • Now, there are brands of whole-wheat semi baked baguettes too.
    • Local bakeries, even Pan Pepín in Puerto Rico, bake whole-wheat pan criollo – order this the next time you order a sandwich in a local panadería
    • Buy whole-wheat pita breads – these are great for sandwiches and even for pizzas.  They come in a small and larger sizes.





  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain pastas
    • In any major supermarket now there’s a variety of whole-wheat and alternative grain pastas in a variety of presentations – penne, macaroni, lasagna and fettuccini noodles, among others.
    • Try some alternative grain pastas – like those made out of Rice, Brown rice, Quinoa, etc.



  • Baked Goods made from Whole-Wheat or Whole Grains
    • In many supermarkets and health food stores there’s a wide variety of baked goods made from whole-wheat and other whole grains, such as:
      • Guava Pastelillos – Made in Las Marías, here in Puerto Rico
      • Health Food stores carry several boxed cake mixes made with whole-wheat or alternative flours, for the Baker who does not feel comfortable making cakes from scratch.
      • But if you’re comfortable making things from scratch here are a few cake and cookie recipes you can certainly try:

It’s not that difficult to transition from white/refined baked goods to whole-grain… it just takes a few different choices when we go to the grocery store will bring much more health and nutrition to our lives.  Try it… you will not regret it.

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