Build A Meal 2 – Three-Course Veggieful

Okay, there’s quite a bit of chopping going into this meal, but it’s worth the taste of tons of fresh vegetables.


Tomato Vegetable Soup

Main Course

Creamy Asparagus Penne


Masoor Dhal Salad

Dessert (pick one)

Let’s go with the simple and healthy here… fruit salad.  You want to be a little bit unhealthy?  Add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream or mascarpone cheese creamed with a little honey and lemon zest.


For something quick and warm, try out my Sweet Pastry Bites.


Tomato Vegetable Soup

This recipe is originally from the Canyon Ranch cookbook, with minor tweaks.  When you include just veggies, it’s a great, light soup.  Add some crushed red pepper for a spicy kick.  Stir in a bunch of whole spinach leaves at the end to add more green to your meal.  Add beans or potatoes to make it heartier, and some pasta to make it a one pot meal.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 or 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 zucchini, unpeeled and diced

1 summer squash, unpeeled and diced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (feel free to use a pinch or two dried)

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (feel free to use 1 tsp dried)

2 cans peeled and diced tomatoes, including the liquid

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 quart vegetable stock

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste


1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute onions, carrots and celery until the veggies start to sweat and the onions are starting to soften.  Add the zucchini and herbs and mix well.  Saute for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Add the cannellini beans and vegetable stock, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, and mix thoroughly to combine.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat.  Stir in red wine vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa

Found a great recipe online for quinoa chili and, of course, had to recreate it with my personal tweaks.  I served it garnished with a little fresh cilantro, and with avocado veggie quesadillas on the side.  Without further ado…





3/4 cup quinoa, washed and cooked

1 tsp olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced, seeds included

1 dried guajillo chilli pepper, crushed

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp chilli powder (or 2 tsp red chilli pepper flakes)

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 zucchini, diced

1 golden zucchini, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cans peeled and diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 quart vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Cook the quinoa in water or vegetable stock and set aside.

2.  While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a 5 or 6 quart pot over medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and saute until the vegetables are sweating.  Add the spices and peppers and continue to saute a few more minutes.  Now, add the tomato paste and mix well.  Allow to cook for a few minutes.  Now, add the zucchini, bell peppers and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Continue simmering for 7 or 8 minutes.

3.  Add the black beans, kidney beans, vegetable stock and quinoa and mix.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and continue simmering for about 30 minutes.  Add more vegetable stock or water if the chili looks like it is getting dry.

4.  Remove from heat.  Serve hot with bread, tortillas or quesadillas on the side.  Optional garnishes: cilantro, scallions, jalapeno peppers, avocado, fresh tomatoes, onion slices, sour cream, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, etc.  Can be stored, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Moroccan Quinoa with Chick Peas and Zucchini











Got this recipe from a blog sometime last year and slightly tweaked it.  It was super served warm with some carrot and tahini soup on the side.  I couldn’t find the original blog post but will look a little harder later this week and post the link. The soup recipe was from the New York Times website (