Vegetarian Recipes

Cinco de Mayo Recipes to Satisfy Everyone's Chile Spice Preferences

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th within certain regions of Mexico and the United States. Festivities include showcasing Mexican foods and beverages, music and dancing, parades, concerts, and celebration of Mexican culture and traditions.

The following Cinco de Mayo recipes embrace traditional Mexican fare with a hint of American flavor. These Mexican food recipes are easy to prepare and can be adapted to suit your taste buds and spice tolerance. Not only are these spiced-up recipes great for Cinco de Mayo parties, they are tasty any time of the year!

Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped (1/2 for soup and 1/2 for meatballs)
4 cups Water
2 tablespoons fresh Cilantro, stems removed and loosely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 16-ounce can diced Green Chiles
2 medium Tomatoes, diced

½ pound Ground Round Beef
½ pound Chorizo Sausage
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper


1. Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add one-half of chopped onions. Stir frequently and cook until onion is translucent.
2. Add four cups water, along with cilantro, oregano, green chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil for 10 -12 minutes. Stir frequently.

To Prepare Meatballs:
1. In medium bowl, combine ground round, chorizo, remaining onion, garlic and oregano.
2. Blend well and roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Carefully add to soup base and continue cooking until meatballs are done; about 30 minutes.
5. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately.

If desired top with shredded longhorn or cheddar cheese and serve with tortilla chips.


Serves 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 40 minutes


3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced
1 15-ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can Refried Beans
1 15-ounce can Corn
1 15-ounce can diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper flakes (or Cayenne Pepper)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, optional


3 cups Yellow Cornmeal
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Salt
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Water


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Sauté until crisp tender.
3. In medium mixing bowl, combine black beans, refried beans, corn, tomatoes, spices and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
4. In small mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, honey, salt, olive oil and water. Mix until smooth.
5. Pour bean mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass baking dish.
6. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of bean mixture.
7. Using a large spoon, place dollops of tamale pie topping on cheese and bean mixture. Carefully spread across the top as if icing a cake.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cornmeal topping comes out clean.
9. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes.
10. Transfer to serving dish. Top with sour cream, if desired.


Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

This Mexican food recipe has quickly become one of our family favorites. We serve it with tacos, burritos, nachos, enchiladas and quesadillas as well as a side dish served with steak. Leftover rice can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days and can easily be reheated in the microwave or stovetop. Add a tablespoon or two of water or broth to fluff it back up


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup short grain White or Brown Rice
1 small Yellow Onion, finely diced
2 medium fresh Tomatoes, medium diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeds removed, finely diced (use 1 pepper for mild spiciness)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 cups Beef Broth


1. Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add rice and coat each kernel in oil. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until rice is light brown (medium brown if using brown rice).
2. Add onion, tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and beef broth and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is soft and all water is absorbed.
4. Remove from heat and set 5 minutes.
5. Gently fluff rice with fork. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie Recipe

Vegetarian-tamale-pieIt is believed tamale pie dates back to the early 1900s, when women were encouraged to conserve meat. Nearly all tamale pies contain corn, cornmeal, tomatoes and beans. Some add beef, pork or chicken to the pie mixture, while others include cheese or olives.

The spiciness of tamale pies can be controlled through the use of peppers. The Jalapeno is relatively mild, whereas Habaneras boast the highest level of heat. The pepper rule of thumb is the smaller the pepper, the higher the heat.

When working with hot chili peppers, it's best to wear gloves. If this is not an option, be certain to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after removing seeds and chopping.

The following Vegetarian Tamale Pie recipe was developed by me when I worked at a health food store. This turned out to be one of the most requested dishes on the menu. I have since altered it with the addition of chile pepper and red pepper flakes. Feel free to adjust the heat by adding more or less of these ingredients.


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Serves 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 40 minutes


3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced
1 15-ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can Refried Beans
1 15-ounce can Corn
1 15-ounce can diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper flakes (or Cayenne Pepper)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, optional


3 cups Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Water


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2) In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Saute until crisp tender.

3) In medium mixing bowl, combine black beans, refried beans, corn, tomatoes, spices and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.

4) In separate medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, honey, salt, olive oil and water. Mix until smooth.

5) Pour bean mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass baking dish.

6) Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of bean mixture.

7) Using a large spoon, place dollops of topping on bean mixture. Spread mixture across bean mixture as if icing a cake.

8) Place inside oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the cornmeal topping comes out clean.

9) Remove from oven and serve immediately.

10) Top with sour cream, if desired.

Kung Pao Tofu Recipe

Kung pao chicken chinese food recipeKung Pao Tofu is an excellent Chinese food option for individuals who follow a Vegetarian diet. This recipe can be adapted using chicken for those who cannot stand the thought of tofu. However, before you turn up your nose, give this recipe a try. Tofu takes on the flavor of the ingredients it's cooked with. When properly cooked few people notice any difference in texture or flavor.

Use extra-firm tofu when preparing Kung Pao Tofu; otherwise the tofu will crumble when cooked. And, if you chicken out (no pun intended), instructions for preparing this popular Chinese dish with chicken are listed at the bottom of this recipe. Simply cook the chicken first, then follow the recipe below.


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Serves 4
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 5-8 minutes


2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Arrowroot or Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Ginger, minced
2 teaspoons dried Red Pepper flakes
1 green Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small yellow Onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound Extra Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup dry roasted Peanuts
4 cups cooked Rice (white, brown, Jasmine)


1) In a small bowl, mix together Balsamic vinegar, Tamari (or soy sauce), honey and sesame oil. Set aside.
2) Mix arrowroot (or cornstarch) with small amount of water until smooth. Add to sauce mixture and stir ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
3) Heat a large, heavy pan or Wok over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
4) Remove pan from heat and carefully add olive oil. Return to burner and heat oil for about 30 seconds or until it reaches the smoking point.
5) Add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10 seconds and stir frequently.
6) Add green and red peppers and onions. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently until crisp-tender.
7) Add tofu and gently stir to incorporate with vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes.
8) Add sauce and gently stir to incorporate ingredients. Continue stirring and cook until sauce boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.
9) Add peanuts; stir to mix.
10) Remove from heat and serve over rice.


1) Replace tofu with 8-ounces of skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes.
2) In medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil.
3) Add chicken, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
4) Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken turns white and cooked through; about 2 minutes.
5) Drain chicken in colander set over a bowl. Set aside.
6) Reserve 1/4 cup of this cooking liquid and add to the vinegar, soy sauce, honey mixture.
7) Follow directions in the recipe above and replace the tofu with chicken when called for.

Black-eyed Peas Salsa Recipe

I was introduced to black-eyed peas salsa while dining at Flip Flops; a favorite local restaurant that became famous when head chef, Chef Danny Veltri won the reality TV show, Hell's Kitchen. Flip Flops serves used to serve the salsa to bar patrons and diners as they awaited their meals.

I became addicted to black-eyed peas salsa the first time it crossed my lips. One of Flip Flops bartenders, who just happens to be the brother of Executive Chef, Erik Amalfitano, shared the ingredients so I could make the salsa at home. The recipe has become a staple in our house and is the first appetizer I make for guests. Everyone loves this salsa and I hope it becomes a favorite for you as well!


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Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes


1 (15.8 oz) can Seasoned Blackeye Peas, drained
1 medium Celery stalk, sliced thin
1/4 Red Onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Drain blackeye peas and place in medium size container.
2. Add celery, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
3. Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or flat bread.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup Recipe

One of my favorite soups is roasted red bell pepper soup. Years ago, while working as a prep chef for a country club, we served this soup for special occasions. There rarely was ever any leftover and the Executive Chef refused to share his recipe so I could make it at home. 

I recently discovered a roasted red bell pepper soup recipe at which sounded similar to the one made at the country club. I made a few minor changes and attempted to go from memory. I'm happy to report the soup turned out magnificently. In fact, my husband, who isn't too fond of red bell peppers, enjoyed the soup so much he went back for seconds!

To make roasted red bell pepper soup, you need to roast the peppers. This can be accomplished by broiling them in the oven or roasting on a grill. I chose the oven method, but need to let you know that roasting peppers in the oven generates substantial smoke, so be certain to turn on the exhaust fan.


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Peppers can be roasted whole, but I cut them in half and remove the seeds. I find this method to be more efficient and less messy. Roast the peppers prior to making the soup. The entire process takes less than 20 minutes. The roasted red bell pepper soup recipe uses 4 whole peppers.

1. Turn oven to broil.
2. Wash and dry peppers. Slice in half and remove stems and seeds.
3. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat pepper halves with vegetable oil. It's important to use vegetable oil because of its high smoke point.
4. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, skin side up.

5. Place on the highest rack in the oven and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until skin starts to bubble and turn brown.

6. Remove peppers and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making certain it is sealed all the way around. This provides steam which makes it easier to remove the skins. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. When peppers are cool, gently remove skins and chop peppers into bite-sized pieces.


Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes


1 stick Unsalted Butter
1 small Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks Celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Red Bell Peppers, roasted, skin and seeds removed and loosely chopped
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Heavy Cream, warmed
8 fresh Basil leaves for garnish, thinly sliced (optional)


1. In a medium size pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until soft.

 2. Lower heat to medium. Add garlic and cook until vegetables are completely softened; approximately 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

3. Add the roasted red bell peppers and cook for another 10 minutes.

 4. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 

5. Puree vegetables using a hand blender, food processor, or blender. Return to cooking pot and remove from heat.

 6. Heat heavy cream in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until warm to the touch. 

7. Add cream to soup and stir until incorporated.

8. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with basil leaves and cracked black pepper. Serve with rustic bread, if desired.


Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

Pumpkin pancakes are a great way to start your day. Pumpkin is rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can carry you through the day. These low-calorie pancakes are so flavorful that there is no need to add butter and syrup. They can be made in batches and frozen for later use. Simply prepare the following recipe, allow pancakes to cool, then store in an airtight container or wrap pancakes in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer for up to three months.

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes

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Serves 2

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes


3 Eggs, whites only
1/2 cup Pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon Coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Coconut milk
1/3 cup Flaxseed meal
1 packet Truvia Natural Sweetener
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Cloves, ground
1/4 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda


1. In a medium bowl, lightly beat one egg white.
2. Blend in pumpkin, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut milk.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients; mix well.
5. On a lightly greased skillet or fry pan, pour out about 1/3 cup of batter to make each pancake.
6. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, then flip. Continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
7. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.

Gado Gado: Spicy Indonesian Nut Sauce

Gado Gado is a spicy nut sauce originating in Indonesian. It is served over an arrangement of cooked or raw vegetables. This recipe uses almond butter and creates a smooth, silky sauce. Pour gado gado sauce over vegetables and garnish with apple slices, lemon or orange slices, toasted sunflower seeds or almond silvers.

Recommended vegetable selections include: steamed cabbage, shredded raw cabbage, baby carrots, celery slices, steamed broccoli, or fresh green beans.


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Serves 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Ready in: 55 minutes


2 tablespoons Coconut oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Bay leaf
2 teaspoons Ginger root, freshly grated
1 cup Almond Butter
1 tablespoon Maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
1 Lemon, juice only
1 tablespoon organic Apple cider vinegar
3 cups Water
1 teaspoon Sea salt


1. In a saucepan, cook the onions, garlic, bay leaf and ginger in coconut oil.
2. When onion becomes translucent, add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly.
3. Simmer on lowest possible heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Orange Almond Salad Recipe

Orange Almond Salad is refreshing and incredibly easy to prepare. It makes for a great lunch or can be served as a side with dinner. One serving equals 2 cups of salad mix and 1 tangerine. Use a combination of iceberg and romaine lettuce, if desired.


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Serves 2
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 0 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


1 head Lettuce, green leaf
2 Tangerine Oranges, fresh
2 tablespoons Almond slivers, toasted
1 Lemon, juice only (optional)


1. Wash, rinse and dry green leaf lettuce.
2. Chop into bite-size pieces. Place into salad bowl.
3. Peel and separate tangerine orange slices. Place on top of salad.
4. Add almond slivers.
5. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, if desired.
6. Serve immediately.

Cooking Tip: Instead of purchasing roasted almond slivers, roast your own. Heat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange almond slivers in a single layer on baking pan. Place in oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on how brown you like them. Keep a close eye though, as almonds will burn quickly.

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Homemade Vegetable Stock Recipe

The following homemade vegetable stock recipe is super easy to make. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen up to 3 months. Homemade vegetable stock makes a great soup base and is perfect for cooking rice, quinoa or millet or as a substitute for chicken broth. It adds an earthy flavor to Quick and Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings!


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Serves 10
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours, 15 minutes


1 Onion, yellow (skin on)
3 cloves Garlic (skin on)
3 Celery stalks (with leaves)
2 Carrots, large (unpeeled)
1 bunch Spinach, fresh
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon each sage, thyme, marjoram, turmeric, parsley
2 Bay leaves
6 Black peppercorns, whole
pinch of nutmeg and ginger
10 cups Water


1. Wash and rinse vegetables, leaving skin intact.
2. Sauté whole veggies in olive oil for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
3. Add seasonings and cook an additional 2 minutes.
4. Add 10 cups water. Bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 1-2 hours. If the taste isn't strong enough, simmer for an additional 1/2 hour.
5. Strain through a cheesecloth squeezing veggies to extract any juice.
6. Freeze or use within 5 days.

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Cauliflower Medley Soup Recipe

Cauliflower Medley Soup is a filling, yet light-flavored soup that is great year-round. Two cups of soup is a mere 62 calories and packed with vitamins and minerals. This cauliflower soup recipe can be made with water, vegetable or chicken broth. Personally, I prefer the added flavor of chicken broth.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes


2 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Onion (white or yellow), chopped
2 Carrots, shredded
1 head Cauliflower, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10-12 each Spinach leaves, freshly chopped
6 cups Water (or vegetable broth)
Sea salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste


1. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté celery, onion and carrot in water for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Steam cauliflower in a colander over boiling water or in a vegetable steamer until tender. Drain water and mash cauliflower with a fork.
3. Add the mashed cauliflower to the vegetable mixture, return to stove and cook over medium heat. Add the water or vegetable broth.
4. Add spinach leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soup is heated thoroughly.

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Tart and Tangy Marinated Vegetables

The following Tart and Tangy Marinated Vegetables need to marinate overnight to release the robust flavors. This is a great recipe for brown bag lunches and is certain to be a hit at parties, picnics, pitch-in's and cook-outs.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Marinate Time: 24 hours
Ready in: 15 minutes


2/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Lemon, juice only
2 teaspoon Sea salt
1 cup Broccoli
1 cup Cauliflower
1 cup Zucchini
1 cup Carrots
1 cup Red Onion, sliced


1. Wash, rinse and dry vegetables. Cut into bite size pieces.
2. Blend olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to make a marinade. Toss with cut-up veggies.
3. Marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours, stir and serve.


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Green with Envy Tossed Salad Recipe

The following Green with Envy Tossed Salad recipe is perfect for parties, cook-outs, as a brown bag lunch or served for dinner. Add a grilled chicken breast or salmon fillet for a satisfying low-calorie meal. The main ingredient of any tossed salad is lettuce. To add variety and enhance the flavor try using a variety such as Romaine, Red or Green Leaf, Chicory, Escarole, etc.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 0 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


1 head Romaine lettuce
1 bunch Spinach leaves, fresh
2 Carrots, medium, sliced
6 Radishes, sliced thin
4 Green onions, sliced
1 cup Broccoli, chopped
1 cup Cauliflower, chopped


1. Wash, rinse and dry all vegetables.
2. Chop lettuce into bite-size pieces.
3. Remove stems from spinach leaves.
4. Slice carrots, radishes and green onions.
5. Chop broccoli and cauliflower.
6. Toss all ingredients in large salad bowl, cover with lid and store in refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

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Fresh Green Beans with Shallots and Ginger Recipe

Today, I'd like to share my favorite fresh green beans with shallots and ginger recipe. Ingredients are sauteed in coconut oil; a healthy saturated fat known to fight off harmful bacteria and aid in digestion. One cup of these flavor-bursting beans provides 9.3 grams of protein, has zero-cholesterol and relatively lo-cal at 272 calories per serving.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes


1 tablespoon Coconut oil
1 medium Shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1/2 teaspoon Ginger, freshly grated
1 pound Green beans, fresh, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 teaspoon Thyme leaves, fresh
1/2 cup Water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup toasted Almonds, chopped


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat, in a large skillet.
2. Add shallots and cook until translucent.
3. Add ginger and heat 5 minutes.
4. Add green beans and cook 5 minutes.
5. Add thyme and water, reduce heat to low and cover.
6. Steam until green beans are bright green and tender but still with a bit of crunch. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Transfer beans to a serving dish and top with chopped almonds.

You might also enjoy Four Ways to Prepare Fresh Green Beans; a collection of green bean recipes that include: fresh steamed green beans, grilled green beans, sesame green beans and Italian green beans with potatoes and Parmesan cheese.

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Diva Delicious Chickpea Salad Recipe

Spring has finally sprung and many of us are ready to shed those extra winter pounds. This month, The Cheap Gourmet will be presenting low calorie, high flavor recipes that are easy to prepare. Recipes are taken from my cookbook, The Diva Diet, which I co-authored with Heidi Whitaker; an autoimmune disease expert.

Today, I'd like to share one of my favorite spring salads, Diva Delicious Chickpea Salad. One cup of this tasty bean salad offers nearly 8 grams of protein; making it a great choice for a quick pick-me-up. This zero-cholesterol dish is also low-calorie at only 153 calories per cup. Better yet, it is easy to prepare and is perfect for serving at cook-outs and family gatherings.


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Serves 3
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours, 15 minutes


1/4 cup Parsley, fresh, minced
1/4 cup Onion, white, minced
1 Garlic, clove, minced
6 tablespoons Lemon juice, fresh
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1-1/2 cups Chickpeas, drained
1-1/2 cups Zucchini, diced


1. Whisk together everything but the chickpeas and zucchini.
2. Stir in the chickpeas and zucchini.
3. Let marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours for flavors to blend.

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Homemade Potato Soup Recipe

Homemade potato soup is one of my favorite soups because it conjures up childhood memories. Over the years, our family potato soup recipe has changed to make it healthier, but the original recipe is still my favorite. It includes an entire stick of butter - YUM!

What I love about homemade potato soup is the endless possibilities. It can be made with all types of potatoes - Idaho, Yukon Gold, Russet, Yellow, White or Red. Whole milk can be replaced with Soy, Rice or Almond milk. The broth can be made with canned Cream of Mushroom Soup or Cheddar Cheese Soup. A variety of spices and shredded cheeses can be added. Real butter can be exchanged for soy butter, rice oil butter or margarine. A variety of onions can be used, as well as shallots or leeks. In other words, potato soup begs for experimentation!

Below is the basic Homemade Potato Soup recipe that originated with my grandmother. When my mother was in hospice she craved this soup and I made it for her on a weekly basis. She was very happy that I had mastered the family recipe and asked me to pass it along to others so they could enjoy it too! I hope our family potato soup becomes a favorite for your family.


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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes


6 large Russet Potatoes; diced into bite-size pieces.
1 medium White Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 quart whole Milk
1 stick Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Place potatoes, onions and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, if desired.
2. Cook over medium-high heat until potatoes are fork tender; about 10 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes in colander and return to pan.
4. Add milk and butter.
5. Heat ingredients over medium-low heat until butter is melted; about 5 minutes.
6. Transfer to serving bowls. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

This recipe is further enhanced by adding an ounce of shredded Cheddar Cheese and bacon bits.

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Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

In light of the recent massive beef recall, many people are seriously considering becoming a Vegetarian. I'm one of them. In fact, I was a Vegetarian for several years. It wasn't until I met my husband that I converted back to a meat and potatoes kind of girl. But, the more I hear and learn about tainted meat, the less I desire to eat it.

As you may recall, several years ago I worked as a chef for a health food store. One of our most popular dishes was known as a Nut Burger. Made from a variety of nuts and shaped into patties, these burgers are packed with protein, essential fatty acids and they taste amazingly delicious.

My favorite way to serve them is on a lightly toasted whole wheat sesame seed bun with Dijon mustard and pickle slices. Just as with a regular hamburger, you can top Nut Burgers with your favorite condiments including mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, pickles and even cheese.

While I no longer have the recipe for the Original Nut Burgers, I have created one that is similar and tastes nearly identical to the ones we sold at the health food store. These are made using chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans. For best results, these burgers should be cooked on the grill or under a broiler. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


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Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10-14 minutes


2 small Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon Sunflower or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 medium Green Onions (or Scallions), white and green parts cut into 1-inch strips
1 15-ounce can Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Sunflower seeds, toasted and ground into a coarse powder in spice grinder or blender
1-1/2 cups plain Bread Crumbs
Sea Salt (to taste)


  1. Add 3 to 4 inches of water to a large saucepan. Add potatoes to a steamer basket, cover and bring water to a boil. Cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes and transfer to a small bowl. Mash with a fork.
  3. Transfer 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes to the workbowl of a food processor.
  4. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and cook until limp, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add scallions, chickpeas, ketchup, and ground sunflower seeds to food processor. Pulse on and off several times until ingredients are well blended.
  6. Transfer mixture from food processor to large bowl. Add bread crumbs. Mix by hand using a large spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  7. Season with salt to taste. Mixture will be moist, but should hold together well.
  8. Divide and shape mixture into eight patties approximately 3-inches across and 1/2-inch thick. Add extra bread crumbs if patties don't hold their shape.
  9. Prepare grill or preheat broiler.
  10. If using a grill, place patties on vegetable grid to avoid sticking. If using the broiler, place patties on a broiler pan or large cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil.
  11. Grill over medium-hot coals or broil 3 to 6 inches from heat until lightly browned, approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side.
  12. Check often to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Transfer to serving platter and serve with favorite toppings and condiments.


Penne Pasta with Spicy Peppers Recipe

I'm a huge fan of penne pasta. I love the flavor and texture and find it to be one of the most versatile pastas on the market. Below is one of my all-time favorite Penne Pasta recipes. If desired, you can add grilled shrimp or chicken to this dish. I've also added thinly sliced strips of London Broil and chunks of Italian sausage. No matter what you add, it all tastes good!

Penne Pasta with Spicy Peppers can be served as an entree for either lunch or dinner. My family enjoys this dish along with a tasty crisp salad and homemade garlic bread or breadsticks. I hope your family enjoys it too!


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Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Red Bell Peppers, cut into 3/4-inch strips, seeds removed
2 large Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 cup frozen Peas
1 teaspoon Frank's Hot Sauce or Tabasco Pepper Sauce
1/2 cup heavy Cream or Half-and-Half
16 ounces Penne Pasta, cooked according to package directions
3/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add red peppers, onion, garlic, and salt; cook and stir 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.
Add chicken broth, peas and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally.
Spoon half of red pepper mixture into container of food processor or blender; process until smooth and return to skillet over low heat.
Stir in cream and heat through.
Remove from heat and stir in pasta; tossing well.
Spoon into individual pasta bowls and top with cheese.

Lowfat Mock Guacamole Dip and Tortilla Chips

Perfectly seasoned, this lowfat mock Guacamole Dip made from frozen peas tastes just as good as the "real" thing, but without the fat or the guilt! Serve with a basket of homemade low-fat Tortilla Chips and your guests will be raving about your spectacular snack for weeks to come.

Consider creating individual recipe cards for low-fat mock Guacamole Dip and Tortilla Chips and provide a copy to each of your guests. Insert inside their holiday card or leave a stack on the table. Chances are the recipe cards will disappear as quickly as this guilt-free healthy holiday snack!










Low-fat Mock Guacamole Dip
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Yield: 1-3/4 cups
Serves: 14
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours


2 cups frozen tender-sweet Peas
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fat-free Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon fresh Lime juice (or use bottled, if desired)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Garlic Pepper Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Plum Tomato, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Cook peas according to package directions; drain.
  2. Finely chop peas and onion.
  3. Mince garlic using a garlic press.
  4. In a 2-quart bowl, combine peas, onion, garlic, sour cream, lime juice, Tabasco sauce and salt and mix well.
  5. Chop tomato and cilantro, then gently stir into pea mixture.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  7. Serve with homemade low-fat Tortilla Chips

Homemade Low-fat Tortilla Chips
Yield: 80 chips
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 6-8 minutes

10 8-inch fat-free flour Tortillas


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
  3. Arrange wedges on a baking stone or pizza pan.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer chips to a cooling rack or large piece of aluminum foil and allow to cool completely.
  6. Store in airtight container until ready to serve.

Transfer pea guacamole into serving bowl and place in center of serving tray. Arrange chips on serving tray and let the party begin!

Fruits and Vegetables Easy Ways to Get Your Nine a Day

Everyone knows eating a healthy diet means consuming seven to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. For many, trying to accomplish this is a daunting task but with a little creativity and a bit of planning you can easily obtain the USDA's recommended daily allowance.

The following tips can help you easily and effortlessly integrate more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine. Incorporating these tips will provide you with more energy, radiant skin, healthy bones and help you shed those extra pounds.

Fruits ~ Recommended Daily Allowance: 4 to 5 servings per day

Serving size equals: 4 ounces 100% fruit juice, 1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit.

  • One way to easily consume more fruit is to keep a bowl of whole fresh fruit within eyesight. Purchase an inexpensive, yet pleasing-to-look-at fruit bowl and place it on the center of the dining room table, countertop or at eye-level on your refrigerator shelf.
  • Place chunks of fresh fruit on wooden skewers and make delicious and fun-to-eat fruit kabobs. Use banana slices, pineapple or mango chunks, grapes, apple slices and berries. Wrap in plastic wrap to preserve freshness. Fruit kabobs are a big hit with both kids and adults and perfect for lunch boxes and afternoon snacks.
  • Make homemade fruit salad using watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, berries, banana slices, pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, raisins, figs or any of your favorites fruits.
  • For dessert, try baked apples, peaches or pears drizzled with honey.
  • When baking, substitute applesauce for half of the oil.

Vegetables ~ Recommended Daily Allowance: 3 to 5 servings per day

Serving size equals: 4 ounces low-sodium vegetable juice, 1 cup raw leafy green vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 1 small potato, 1 sweet potato.

Vegetables are organized into five sub-categories: dark green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, dry beans and peas, and "other" vegetables. 

  • Keep a tray of cut vegetables in a clear container placed in the refrigerator for easy snacking. Baby carrots, carrot sticks, celery sticks, sliced cucumbers and zucchini, and radishes make for quick and convenient healthy snacks.
  • Shred carrots or zucchini into meat loaf, casseroles or bread and muffin mixes.
  • Garnish plates and serving dishes with brightly colored vegetables such as slices of red, green or yellow peppers, carrot sticks and radish slices.
  • Add chopped veggies to pasta sauces, casseroles and lasagna.
  • Instead of potato or tortilla chips, dip fresh veggies in salsa for a tasty treat.
  • Create a luscious salad consisting of dark leafy greens, sliced red onions, radishes, carrots slices and beets. Use salsa instead of salad dressing.

Announcing: The Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection

It's here!! The fabulous "Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection" is now available as a free download! This 20-page PDF report includes recipes for:

  • Baked Pumpkin with Rice Pilaf
  • Pumpkin Chili
  • Pumpkin and Romano Dumplings
  • Perfect Pumpkin Stew
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Almonds
  • Pumpkin Dip
  • No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie
  • Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • Pumpkin Smoothies
  • Homemade Whipped Cream (including Pumpkin Whipped Cream, of course!) and...
  • A Pictorial Guide to Types of Pumpkins

The Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection is a PDF file that requires the use of Adobe Reader. If you do not have Adobe Reader installed on your computer you can download it for free at

Click here to download
The Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice Pilaf

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice Pilaf
Baked Stuffed Pumpkin
Serves: 6
Pumpkin Prep Time: 15 minutes
Pumpkin Bake Time: 1 hour
Pilaf Prep Time: 5 minutes
Pilaf Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Stuffed_pumpkin_with_rice_pilaf Ingredients:

1 5-6 pound Pumpkin
3-3/4 cups Water
1 cup Brown Rice
1/2 cup Wild Rice
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1 cup Shallots, finely chopped
2 small Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
3/4 cup Pecans, chopped
1/8 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, ground
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp Apple Cider
1/2 cup Golden Raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut off top of pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and pulp and discard.
  3. Place the pumpkin and pumpkin top on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in center of oven until inside of pumpkin is tender, about 1 hour.
  5. Remove from oven and cover top of pumpkin with foil.
  6. While pumpkin is baking, add water to medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  7. Add brown and white rice and return to boil.
  8. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until most of the water has been absorbed, about 50 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
  10. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  11. Add scallions and saute until light golden brown.
  12. Add apples, pecans, spices, salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  13. Add apple cider and saute additional 5 minutes.
  14. Add raisins and saute for 5 more minutes.
  15. Remove from heat and combine with rice. Mix well.
  16. Transfer rice pilaf into pumpkin and cover with top.
  17. When serving, scoop out pumpkin flesh with pilaf.

Pumpkin and Romano Dumplings

Pumpkin and Romano Dumplings
A touch of crispiness and a dusting of cheese is the perfect balance with the smooth pumpkin texture.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18-20 minutes


2 tsp salt for boiling water
1 cup Pumpkin, canned solid-pack
2 large Egg
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Nutmeg, ground or 1/2 tsp freshly grated
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour (or all-purpose white)
6 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1 cup Romano cheese, finely grated


  1. Fill a large pot halfway full of water. Add salt and bring to a boil.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, sea salt, nutmeg and baking powder.
  3. Add flour, 1/3-cup at a time and mix well. Dough will be soft.

You'll want to use the 1/2-teaspoon from a measuring spoon set for the next step. If you don't have a measuring spoon set, use a teaspoon, but only scoop out 1/2-teaspoon of dough.

  1. Dip the teaspoon in boiling water, then scoop up a generous 1/2-teaspoon of dough.
  2. Place the dough into boiling water, allowing dough to drop off spoon.
  3. Continue this process until you run out of dough.
  4. Boil dumplings until thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes.
  5. Drain dumplings in colander.
  6. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  7. Add dumplings.
  8. Sauté until outside begins to brown, about 8 minutes.
  9. Transfer to bowl, sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip
Yields: 3-1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour

Pumpkin_dip Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
1 (16-ounces)  Pumpkin Puree or 2 cups fresh
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice
1 tablespoon Orange zest


  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin together either by hand or using an electric mixer.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended.
  3. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour.
  4. Serve in small, hollowed-out pumpkin, if desired.
  5. Sprinkle a pinch of Orange zest on top for garnish, or add slivers of orange peel.
  6. Serve with sugar cookies, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, pound cake or crackers.

Perfect Pumpkin Stew

October is the perfect month to make this fabulous pumpkin stew recipe. From start to finish, this hardy stew is ready in under an hour. It's rich flavor and creamy texture are delightful and will fill you up and keep you warm during the upcoming cold weather months.

Perfect Pumpkin Stew
Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Pumpkin_stew Ingredients:

2 large white or yellow Onions, chopped
3 cups Pumpkin, skin removed and diced
2 cups Sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup Parsnips, peeled and diced
6-8 cups Water
1 cup Carrots, sliced
1 cup Millet
1/2 teaspoon Cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon Coriander seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon Ginger, ground
2 each Bay leaves


1. Wash and rinse vegetables.
2. Remove skin from onion, remove core and chop loosely.
3. Remove skin and seeds from pumpkin. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
4. Peel and dice sweet potatoes and parsnips.
5. Add 2 tablespoons water to large pot and saute onions until golden brown.
6. Add the rest of the vegetables, millet, spices and water.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for 1/2 hour or until pumpkin, vegetables, and grains are soft.
8. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Meatless Mondays

Are you looking for ways to trim fat from your diet? Are you bored with the same ole' side dishes or burnt out on your summer salads? Would you like to learn more about vegetarian cooking or find delicious, yet healthy, recipes? If so, I have a resource for you! is a website filled with scrumptious goodies for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. According to their website, "Meatless Monday is a national health campaign to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer - four of the leading causes of death in America."

Considering all four of the above run rampant in my family, I want to do everything I can to remain healthy. How about you?

At you can subscribe to their weekly newsletter, Eater's Digest, which is packed with nutrition tips, advice and mouth-watering recipes. Yes, healthy really can be mouth-watering! You'll also find a Nutrition Library that offers a Health and Nutrition Dictionary, Healthy Eating Plans, How to Read Food Labels, and much more. boasts an entire section dedicated to chili, where you will find Chili recipes, a guide to Red Hot Chile Peppers, Chili Origins and History, and more. It's quite interesting!

You'll also find unique recipe e-Cards you can send to your friends and family, learn how to start a community Meatless Monday campaign in your area, download nutrition guides for children, get tips for becoming a Grilling Gourmet, and learn how to eat healthy on the road.

Click the link to learn more about I hope you enjoy your visit!

Bon Appetit!

Homemade Salsa Recipe

SalsagardenAfter months of cultivating my organic salsa garden, the fruits (or veggies in this case) of my labor are ready for harvest.

I tended these gorgeous tomatoes, peppers, and herbs myself, but didn't have much success with the garlic. From what I now know, garlic is grown during the winter months. Other than that, my garden was a success and today I would like to share my favorite Homemade Salsa Recipe with you.

There's nothing better than the rich, robust flavor of homemade salsa made from home-grown vegetables. However, if you don't have homegrown produce you can still enjoy this delicious recipe. Simply purchase the ingredients at your local grocery store, health food store or Farmer's Market. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes


2-3 stalks Cilantro, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
5-6 stems Chives, finely chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 Vadalia onion, finely chopped
1 small Habaneros or Cowhorn pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 Banana or Sweet peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/2 Green, Red, or Yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
3-4 vine-ripened Tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Serve with organic blue chips and enjoy!












Don't feel like making your own salsa? Click the banner below to shop an array of small-batch craft salsas such as fire roasted jalapeno, chipotle kafe, aji pepper, and cilantro pineapple. 

15% off at Mouth with EAT15

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Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring Vegetable Soup uses fresh ingredients which are available year-round. It's easy to prepare and makes a great pick-me lunch or light dinner.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes



1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, minced
1 Garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Carrot, finely diced
1 cup Zucchini, diced
6 cups Vegetable broth, heated
2 cups green Cabbage, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    3. Add hot broth and bring to boil. Cook 1 minute.
    4. Stir in cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until cabbage has softened, but still has a bit of crunch.
    5. Serve hot with lemon wedges to squeeze into each portion.


The Diva DietMore recipes like this can be found in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet".  

Gourmet Italian Side Dish

Green-beans-potatoes-tomato-the-cheap-gourmetGourmet Italian Potatoes, Tomatoes and Green Beans

I am a huge fan of Giada DeLaurentis of Everyday Italian at the Food Network. If you haven't watched her show, and you love Italian food, you should tune in. You'll be glad you did!

Her recipe for Gourmet Italian Potatoes, Tomatoes and Green Beans has quickly become one of our favorite side dishes. It's super easy to make and for about $5.00, you have a delicious tasting, healthy side dish that will serve four.


2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 14-ounce can whole White Potatoes
1 14-ounce can cut Green Beans
1 14-ounce can diced Italian Tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese blend


In a large skillet or WOK pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Drain water from the potatoes and dice potatoes into quarters, or smaller depending on the size of the potato. You want them to be about 1/2-inch bite-sized pieces.

Cook potatoes for about 5 minutes. Drain green beans and add to potatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain juice from tomatoes and add to potato mixture. Stir ingredients together and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the mixture; transfer to serving bowl and serve.

NOTE: You can alter this recipe and use regular Idaho potatoes, fresh green beans and tomatoes; however, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. You can add minced garlic and diced onions if you like. Just saute them prior to adding the other ingredients.


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