Sautéed Chard and Beet Greens


My childhood memories mostly revolve around the kitchen and the dinner table. I heard a lot of stories there and met a lot of people. I helped, tried to cook, I tasted, smelled, learned.

My mother cooked from scratch every day. It didn’t matter whether the main coarse was a vegetable dish or not, there was always a salad on the dinner table. We ate a largely plant-based diet. She used olive oil for cooking; two tablespoons for one pan. She taught me what to eat and how to cook. As a child, I wasn’t crazy for the cooked vegetable dishes but I started to enjoy them when I was a teenager. By the time I was a grown up, I fully appreciated these dishes and had established healthy eating habits.

Chard and beet greens happened to appear in our CSA box this week. That immediately made me think of one of my favorite sautés. I added the recipe below but first, there is an important trick to keep in mind: Olive oil vegetable dishes need to wait in the fridge overnight to fully develop their taste. And they should be served cold or at room temperature. Never heat them up.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 bunch beet greens
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper (or half of a big one), chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Salt, as needed


First finely chop the beet and chard stems. Leaves should be sliced bigger.

Add the olive oil in a pan over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook until they start changing color. Add the garlic, red bell pepper and water. Continue cooking for 7 minutes.

Add the stems and the maple syrup, keep cooking for about 4 minutes. Add the sliced leaves last and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Let it wait in the fridge overnight, serve cold (or at room temperature) with lemon juice. Although it can be enjoyed by itself, I had mine over some brown rice. Delicious!

Chocolate Pecan Tart


I love flourless, no-bake vegan desserts. For one thing, they are more or less guilt free and what little guilt they have usually come with a ton of nutrition which makes it OK as occasional treats. There is this sense of cheating the system. You can have that second slice of  chocolate tart and not worry about feeling heavy and gross later. I usually keep a dessert like this in the freezer, ready for those times when I feel like brewing tea.

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Chard Soup


If there is one thing good about cold weather, it is the soup claiming its place back on the dining table. Granted, we don’t get much of a cold here in California but still, anything under 70 is winter for me. And of course the only cure for winter is a bowl of hot soup, with a little lemon juice, fresh green onions and parsley elevating the flavor. After it is served, and the freshly ground black pepper and crushed red chilies are added, the warmth of each gulp makes itself felt in the entire body. That’s not just food anymore, that’s an experience.

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Homemade Veggie Pasta


When my son craved pasta and used his puppy looks on me, I had to oblige. So I chopped onions, garlic, red bell peppers, celery sticks, carrots and tomatoes. I boiled it all together and pureed them with a hand blender. When that cooled down a little, I used the puree along with whole wheat flour, semolina, salt and black pepper to make a dough. After letting the dough wait for half and hour, I rolled it flat, cut it in strips and there, fresh pasta that comes with the veggies built-in.

Well, my son loved it and so I had another successful mommy moment. Yay!

Chocolate Cheesecake Square


It’s been a while since I started to refuse eating desserts made with unholy amounts of cream and eggs, as they mostly are. That doesn’t mean I don’t still crave for desserts. Fruits are great for that but chocolate is chocolate! So at those times, I go nuts in the kitchen and start searching for new recipes. I usually end up fusing a few recipes and adopting them to my own taste. I then make a single serving sized sample of it, like this one.

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Black Bean Hummus Panini

Black bean hummus panini

One of the best ways to cook something is inside of a bread, in a panini maker.

After shying away from simple(r) carbs for a while, I recently realized I was overdoing it and starving myself. My latest bike ride was an eye opener in that sense. I lost nearly 40 lbs over the past 7 months and I am now at a decent bike climber body composition. But my body was protesting it and begging for energy during high intensity workouts. So I decided to give it a break and treat it to an all time favorite comfort food every now and then: paninis.

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Vegan Almond Lemon Cake


This is proof that vegans don’t just eat grass, we have treats as well. A regular cake recipe usually calls for something like two dozen eggs and a couple of sticks of butter which always baffled me. Here is one that has no eggs, and no milk products either. It uses whole wheat flour and olive oil! This is about as guilt-free as it gets for a cake.

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