Keerai Pachadi (Paalak Raita, or Spinach Yogurt Salad)


2 large bunches spinach, roughly chopped (about 5 cups)

1 tsp canola or vegetable oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp split urad dhal

2 or 3 whole dried red chillies

1 small onion, thinly sliced

7 or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 to 2 cups of non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt

Salt to taste


1.  Place the spinach leaves in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for about 5 minutes.  If you prefer, steam or wilt in a saucepan.  Do not add water or any other liquid.

2.  While the spinach is cooking, heat the oil in a small frying pan.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the urad dhal and dried red chillies.  Saute until the urad dhal just begins to brown.  Add the onions.  Saute until the onions start becoming translucent, but do not allow them to brown.  Add the tomatoes and saute for a just a minute or two.  Remove from heat.

3.  Combine the spinach and the onion/tomato mixture.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Stir in the yogurt and add salt to taste.

Serve as a side dish to an Indian meal.  Can also be served as a dip as long as you chop all of the vegetables, including the spinach, much smaller.


Avocado Veggie Quesadillas

I served this very green quesadilla with my vegetarian chili with quinoa.  I think the only way to make it more green is to use spinach tortillas… hmm… there’s a plan.



2 cups fresh spinach, wilted

1 cup mushrooms, sliced and sauteed with salt and pepper

1/4 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 scallions, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped, seeds included

1 avocado, sliced

4 8-inch flour tortillas

Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Heat a frying pan over low heat.

2.  While the pan is heating, assemble the quesadillas.  Place two tortillas on a plate or on your counter.  Spread 1/2 of the two cheeses on each tortilla.  Split the spinach and mushrooms between the tortillas, topping with the jalapenos, scallions and cilantro.  Next, top with the avocado slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread the remaining cheese over the top.

3.  Slide the loaded tortilla into the frying pan (one at a time).  Top with one of the unused tortillas.  Press down with a spatula.  Allow to heat until the bottom tortilla starts to brown.  Carefully flip the quesadilla and cook the second side.  Remove to a plate.  Allow to rest a few minutes before slicing.

4.  Serve warm, with salsa, soup or chili.  Ingredients can be stored separately in the refrigerator.