Cuban-Style Shepherd’s Pie

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Lately I’ve had the craving for the weirdest thing: Shepherd’s Pie.

You see, I studied abroad in London during college and, although it’s rare, once in a while I will crave something from those days. Typically it’s something more like fish & chips (fried fish with french fries) or occasionally Indian food (chicken tikka masala is said to actually come from the UK, not India). But this time it was the simple Shepherd’s Pie–a dish made with beef typically cooked with peas and carrots, then topped by mashed potatoes and baked. But this time I wanted to make it myself and I wanted to add a lot of the Cuban flavors that I grew up with. So, voila, my Cuban-style Shepher’s Pie was born! Continue reading

#MeatlessMonday: 10 Latin Vegetarian Dishes

LatinVegetarianI know it’s Cinco de Mayo and everyone in the U.S. is likely celebrating this Mexican-American holiday by, well, imbibing some margaritas and whatnot. But today is also #MeatlessMonday, a trend that I happen to love (and do) very much.

I love eating vegetarian (like my favorite tomato-cucumber salad, which I Latin spice up with cilantro and chili powder) because it allows me to add more vegetables to my diet. And I do mean “add more vegetables” to my diet, not the “I’ll just have a cheese pizza” type of vegetarianism. Instead, I use what is called “crowding in” with my diet–meaning that instead of subtracting the “bad” foods, I simply add a lot more “good” foods and the bad stuff simply doesn’t fit in anymore.

I also love converting some of my favorite Latin recipes into vegetarian recipes, like making vegetarian arroz con pollo, kale and cheese tamales or spinach and mushroom enchiladas. To celebrate this weekly holiday, and to remind myself to always have more vegetables, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite 10 Latin vegetarian dishes. Take a look! Continue reading

Smoky Three Bean & Kale Chili with Quinoa

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About a week ago, it was an absolutely miserable day in New York City. The sky was gray, it was raining on and off, and I just couldn’t get warm all day. It was probably the first truly dreary day this autumn, and I was in an undesirable mood.

All I wanted was to go home and eat some leftovers but, as I made my way home, I just didn’t feel like eating the spicy sweet potato and black bean salad I had (although I had been enjoying it for lunch for several days now). Instead, I needed something hearty. I needed something warm. I needed chili… And I needed it bad.

That’s how my crappy day turned into a great one, ending with a smoky three bean and kale chili that I topped with Greek yogurt and served over quinoa. I knew that it was going to take a lot to improve on this dreary day, and luckily this chili did not disappoint. Continue reading

Spicy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

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When I was younger, you couldn’t pay me to eat a salad. I remember my mami begging me to try one: a Caesar, some spinach, anything! But I refused and stayed a stubborn, picky eater. Now, after having lost 100 pounds, I definitely know better.

I can almost surprise myself with how differently I eat these days. Instead of avoiding salads like the plague, I eat all kinds of greens. I also enjoy seasonal produce, clean eating (you know, as little processed stuff as possible) and making healthy choices as much as possible. That’s why a couple weeks ago, when I saw Fall produce begin to appear in farmer’s markets stalls across New York City, I had to buy a few sweet potatoes. Plus I just had to get some pomegranate seeds. And I admit: I was actually craving a salad.

After thinking about what I had in my cupboards (black beans) and what dressing I recently fell in love with (the avocado vinaigrette), I decided that what I really wanted was to make a spicy sweet potato and black bean saladContinue reading

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