Hummus, barrata and fig jam: vegan and vegetarian


Hummus Ingredients:

1 can chick peas (garbanzo) drained and rinsed
3 tbsp tahini
3 cloves of garlic
juice of one lemon or orange
1/4 of the above fruit including the peel
1 tsp cumin


In a food processor add all of the hummus ingredients and pulse till well mixed. This will give you a bit of a dry chunky hummus. To avoid extra calories and if you want it smoother, add a bit of water and pulse again. Add salt as needed.

If you don’t mind extra calories you can add 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Eat one serving of hummus with 2 ounces of burrata cheese, 1 tbsp of fig jam and an english muffin.

Hummus alone serves 4: 159 calories per serving, 636 total calories for the whole batch. If you add oil up each serving to 200 calories. Vegan

Meal calories: oil free hummus, burrata, fig jam and english muffin: 481 calories. Vegetarian

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Yummy. We got this idea from a local restaurant, Ocotillo. They add a little more flair to their servings with a bit of cooked squash and some grilled bread, from a local baker, Noble, and ginger in the fig jam.

We find it just perfect to use english muffins or toast. The combination of the ingredients is amazingly delicious. If you have never had burrata cheese, it is a soft mozzarella outer layer with cream and soft cheese in the center.

There are so many ways to make hummus. Try it with a half an avocado, or add a cup of fresh spinach. Sometimes we like it a bit spicy so we add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce. Have fun with it.

Belgian Wit


“Wine: Pinot Noir – I would go with an Oregon/Washington Pinot for this dish as California styles tend to be more fruit forward. The smokiness will be an excellent compliment to the sweetness of the fig and the richness of the burrata. 

Beer: Belgian Wit or Bavarian Hefeweizen. These bright and crisp styles are a great compliment to any Middle Eastern mezze dish. Lemon and clove will really bring out the natural flavors in the hummus.”

– Damian Kelley

Peanut sauce: vegan



1 c water
4 tbsp peanut butter (preferably all natural)
1/2 tbsp molasses
juice of one lemon
two cloves of garlic minced
tabasco sauce to taste


In a heavy, small sauce pan add all the ingredients and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Add salt if needed.

Serves 2: 225 calories per serving, 450 total calories for the whole batch.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is our favorite peanut sauce. My Indonesian mother-in-law gave me the recipe. It’s great served on boiled mung bean sprouts. I put a pot of water to boil, add the mung bean sprouts and just bring back up to a boil, stir and drain.

We ate these with the mung bean sprouts and a cup of soba noodles tonight. Total calories per serving 384.

Massaman curry: vegan



2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 green pepper chopped
1/4 c white wine
2 medium potatoes chopped
3 carrots sliced in rounds
2 cloves garlic minced
2 c unsweetened coconut milk*
1 c water
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamum
1 tsp red chili flakes
salt to taste

1/3 c chopped peanuts



In a large sauce pot sauté onions and peppers in olive oil. When just started to brown, at the last minute add garlic to just bring out the flavor and deglaze the pan with white wine. Add coconut milk, water, potatoes, carrots and all the spices.

Bring to a boil then cook covered over medium to low heat so that the liquid evaporates a bit as it is cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes. You want the vegetables to be tender.

Add the peanuts and serve.

Serves 4: 240 calories per serving, 960 total calories for the whole meal.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This curry is very hearty and will fill you up. I add pre-cooked tofu to my bowl before filling it with the curry and a half a cup of cooked white rice. This adds 290 calories to each dish.

*To keep this dish low cal i use the coconut milk that you can drink, the one you would put in your coffee, in the alternate dairy aisle, not the one in a can. It’s not as creamy but it tastes fine.

If you are vegetarian you can substitute butter for the olive oil.

Carignan red wine


“Wine – Carignan; This medium bodied red from the South of France is a great pair for massaman. Subtle spice notes if cinnamon and star anise will compliment the coriander/cardamom/nutmeg while ripe raspberry notes and mid tannins will cut through the richness of the coconut milk. Serve cellar temp in a red wine glass.”

– Damian Kelley

Carrot ginger soup: vegan



2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb bag of baby carrots
1 large onion chopped
1 small diced potato
1/4 c white wine
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 c water
2 tbsp veggie bouillon
Zest of 1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped dill or parsley



In a large sauce pot sauté carrots, onions and potato in olive oil. When just started to brown, deglaze the pan with white wine. Add ginger, water, bouillon, orange zest, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Carrots should be soft enough to pierce with a fork. Turn off the heat.

Use and immersion blender* to puree the soup in the pot.

Place in bowls and sprinkle with dill or parsley.

Serves 3: 225 calories per serving, 675 total calories for the whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This soup tastes really good and it’s very low in calories, a bonus. We like it to be a little chunkier than totally pureed, it’s up to you.

*If you don’t have an immersion blender, put soup in small batches into the regular blender, make sure the lid is on tight and hold it down covered with a towel to avoid splashing.

India Pale Ale


“Beer – IPA; India Pale Ales are known for their high hop content. The citrus notes in these beers make them a perfect compliment for ginger. They will also hold up to the sweetness of the carrots. Serve chilled in a goblet.” 

– Damian Kelley

Cold sesame noodles: vegan



3/4 lb of spaghetti
2 tbsp sesame oil or olive oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts

sliced cucumbers



Cook pasta according to directions, drain and rinse with cold water.

While the pasta is cooking mix all the rest of the ingredients, except sesame seeds/peanuts, in a bowl and whisk till creamy and smooth.

Pour over the pasta and mix. Sprinkle each serving with some sesame seeds/peanuts and serve with sliced cucumbers. Add salt if needed.

Serves 4: 411 calories per serving, 1644 total calories for the whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is one of our favorite recipes, it equals cold sesame noodles that we used to get as take out in New York.

Ginger Lemongrass Martini


“Cocktail – Ginger Lemongrass Martini; 
Ingredients: 2 oz vodka, 1 oz ginger liqueur, 1 oz simple syrup, 1/2 lime juiced, 1 slice fresh ginger, 1/2 stalk fresh lemongrass.

Method: Muddle ginger, lemongrass, and lime juice in a shaker. Add ice and all other ingredients. Shake vigorously. Strain into frozen martini glass. Garnish with lemongrass stalk.

Wine – Off dry Riesling Pfalz Region of Germany; This region neighbors the Alsace region of France so a Riesling from there would also pair nicely. Dry mineral content and lingering peach and apricot compliment the rich nutty flavors in the dish and will bring balance to the salty soy sauce. Serve chilled in a white wine glass.”

– Damian Kelley

Wilted brussels sprout salad: vegetarian or vegan



1 lb of cleaned brussels sprouts cut in strips
1 c fresh baby spinach
1 endive cut in strips
1 clove garlic
1/2 c vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

4 oz goat cheese for topping
1 tsp toasted caraway seeds


In a large bowl combine the brussels sprouts, spinach and endive.

In a small sauce pan, mix the garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil, over medium heat about 3 to 5 minutes till mixture thickens a little, whisking constantly, add salt and pepper as needed.

Pour over salad ingredients and toss. Serve warm topped with 1 ounce of goat cheese and sprinkle with some caraway seeds.

Serves 4: 232 calories per serving, 928 total calories for the whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This salad is delicious. The first time I made it I halved the brussels sprouts and tossed them in the olive oil and baked them at 400˙F for 15 minutes till they started to brown on the edges. I tossed them into the spinach and endive mixture and made the rest of the salad dressing cold eliminating the olive oil. Poured that on the salad and the added the goat cheese and caraway seeds.

Vegan: If you want to make this vegan use maple syrup instead of honey and add 1/2 c chopped pineapples and 1/3 c almonds to the salad. Eliminate the goat cheese. Making the serving 186 calories and the whole salad 743 calories.

Farmhouse ale


“Beer – Saison; these “farmhouse” style ales have a very high carbonation level that helps to cleanse the palate. Often fruity, they will bring balance to the bitterness of the endive and sprouts. They also pair up perfectly with goat cheese. Serve chilled in a flared goblet.”

– Damian Kelley

Miso vegetable soup: vegan



6 c water
1 tbsp veggie bouillon
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (carrots/broccoli)
1 bag frozen shiitake mushrooms
half head of green cabbage cut into bite size pieces
3 cloves of garlic diced
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 tbsp miso concentrate
6 chopped scallions
Salt and pepper to taste



In large sauce pot place water along with bouillon, and all the vegetables, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, lower and cook for about 15 minutes.

Add the miso concentrate and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve topped with scallions. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 4: 62 calories per serving, 247 total calories for the whole meal.

If you want to add soba noodles you can do that in the last 4 minutes of cooking. One small banded pack makes about two cups of noodles. That will add 57 calories to each serving.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This dish is very nutritious and very low in calories. It was tasty, but i think next time I would like a little more creaminess and might add a potato or maybe sauté some onions and the mushrooms before making the soup part.

You can use fresh vegetables instead of frozen for this dish, but we shop weekly and sometimes by the end of the week we are throwing away vegetables, so we like to have some dishes that use frozen veggies that won’t go to waste.

This was based on a recipe in Forks over Knives magazine Summer 2020


Semi Dry Hard Cider over ice


“Beer – Semi Dry Hard Cider; Crisp apple flavor will brighten the dish while the residual sugar will offset some of the saltiness of the miso. Serve ice cold or over ice in a pint glass.

Wine – Unoaked California Chardonnay; Mellow stone fruit and tropical fruit flavors will bring balance to the savory shitake mushrooms without overpowering the subtleties of the miso. Serve chilled in a white wine glass.”

– Damian Kelley

Orzo and beans: vegetarian



1 tbsp butter
1 chopped onion
1/4 c white wine
2 c water
1 tsp bouillon (vegetarian)
1 c orzo pasta
1 can kidney beans
salt and pepper


In a medium sauce pan sauté onion in butter. After it turns golden brown add white wine to deglaze the pot.

Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil. Add orzo, lower heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Drain and rinse the beans and add to the cooked orzo. Stir and turn off the flame and let sit for 5 minutes, the orzo will absorb some more of the liquid this way.

Add salt, pepper and cilantro to taste. If you like, you can add 2 tbsp of salsa to the dish.

Serves 4: 303 calories per serving, 1212 total calories for the whole meal. Salsa adds about 5 calories per tbsp.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This recipe was really good. We both agreed we liked the orzo better than rice and beans, but rice would also work, giving it a different calorie count of 323 per serving.

We might add in right before serving a diced avocado and 1 c of fresh grape tomatoes (sliced in half) for variety next time, adding 64 calories per serving.


White wine


“Albarino, a medium bodied white wine from the Rías Baixas region of Spain will stand up to the richness of the beans and butter while complimenting the herbaceousness of the cilantro. Serve chilled in a white wine glass.”

– Damian Kelley

Blueberry chili: vegan



1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 carrot chopped small
1 large onion chopped small
1/3 bag of mini peppers or 2 red peppers chopped small
1/4 c white wine
1 c Rao’s Arribiata sauce
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 c frozen blueberries
2 cans red kidney beans
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
juice from 1 fresh lemon
cilantro to taste


In a large sauce pot sauté carrot, peppers, and onion in olive oil. After it turns golden brown add garlic and sauté for a minute longer. Add white wine to deglaze the pot.

Add canned tomato and Rao’s sauce, blueberries, cumin, chili powder, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, lower and simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pot with lemon juice and cilantro. Stir and turn off the flame.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4: 380 calories per serving, 1520 total calories for the whole meal

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This recipe was delicious. Tonight we ate it plain without any rice or pasta. I think I would like it with some rice next time. To keep the calories down I would have a half a serving with a 1/2 cup of rice for 311 calories.

This was based on a recipe in Forks over Knives magazine Spring 2020


Chocolate Stout


“Chocolate Stout of UK origin; Chocolate and Blueberries, am I right?!? These brews often have a bit of sweetness that will cut through some of the heat that the red peppers will bring. Earthy tones will compliment the root vegetables. Serve cold in an imperial pint glass (20 oz).”

– Damian Kelley