Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Vegetable and Patty Sizzler

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TailgateWithATwist #CollectiveBias

All you need to know to make a Vegetable and Patty Sizzler at home or on a grill. This platter of sizzling ingredients is delicious and easy to make! 

Can you imagine it is Labor Day weekend already? Two thirds of the year is over and we are almost into Fall and waiting for halloween and Thanksgiving! Before we change gears completely to Fall, here is something amazing for your Labor Day weekend; a yummy yet fairly easy to make SIZZZZLER!! 

Yes, you can make sizzlers at home, get all the sizzle and surprise family and friends very easily! While most people are overwhelmed by the idea, this post will guide you on how you can put together a sizzler very easily. 

My sizzler has four main components; MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger Value Pack, steamed and sautéed vegetables, rice and baked fries. While the latter three ingredients are made from scratch, I LOVED how I could get the patty from the freezer and get going in no time. 

I bought MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger Value Pack and MorningStar Farms® Garden Veggie Burger on my last trip to Walmart and now I am so glad I have it stocked in my freezer. They are perfect to make meals that are quick, easy, and still help me (and my family) on our healthier lifestyle journey. Now you can get $3 off with purchase of 3 MorningStar Farms® products using Ibotta

How to get everything together

Coming back to the recipe, this sizzler is pretty versatile. While I decided to use a Garlic based sauce along with a LOT of vegetables to keep the sizzler healthy, adding tofu, paneer or onion rings is a great idea too. 

Once you have decided what all goes on the sizzler, you can prep ALL of it ahead of time. The vegetables can be steamed, fajita and mushrooms prepared, rice cooked and fries baked. I would recommend grilling the patty just before serving, to ensure it is warm and crisp. That makes this recipe PERFECT for get togethers and family weekends like Labor Day. And yes, each person can pick and choose what they want on their sizzler! 

My favorite way to make sizzler is to steam the vegetables, bake the fries, cook the rice and make the sauce at home. Then head straight to the grill and do the remaining there! Fire up your grill, heat the platter and while it heats, make the fajita, grill the mushrooms and grill the patty. It will be done by the time the platter is hot, so you can make the sizzler right away! 

SIZZLE...The most IMPORTANT part 

Once the sizzler is assembled, it only takes THREE simple ingredients to make the platter sizzle. You will find tons of ideas online, but this is my favorite. Butter (salted or unsalted), cold water and vinegar. When they come in contact with a hot platter, they sizzle! And if you heated the platter on a grill while grilling the patty, the sizzle will be a lot. Keep off for the first couple of minutes, to ensure no burns! 

Why MorningStar Farms®? 

On my last trip to Walmart, I was looking for some yummy burger patty that I could stock up in the freezer for a quick meal. That is when I saw these attractive packages with a lot of options. These products are not just for vegetarians, also for regular, every-day people. They are perfect as-is meal solution for days that you need a quick fix. 

Rated America’s #1 Veggie Burger, I had to try the Spicy Black Bean Burger, and trust me, I was thrilled! Try it to believe it! They work great in this sizzler and they are PERFECT for Labor Day grilling. Make a burger or just enjoy grilled patty with some ketchup and mustard...YUM! Looking for more inspiration? Follow MorningStar Farms® on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest


As I mentioned above, you can pick and choose the ingredients you like. Use white or brown rice, steam vegetables of your choice or add meat if you like. Sautéed spinach, grilled vegetables, paneer tikka or grilled tofu is great too. 

The fajita can be quickly made on a grill and the mushrooms as well. Grill the patty on a grill for best results! 

I made a garlic sauce, but a tomato based curry or alfredo sauce is amazing on sizzler too. Especially if you are making a spaghetti and cheese sizzler! So without any further delay, let's head straight to the recipe! 


For the Vegetables
French beans 1/2 cup, sliced
Carrots 1/2 cup, sliced
Cauliflower 1/2 cup, florets removed
Broccoli 1/2 cup, florets removed
Onion 1/4 cup, diced
Peppers 1/2 cup, diced
Oil 2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Oregano 1/2 tsp

For the Garlic Sauce
Cornstarch 2 tsp
Garlic 4-5 cloves, diced
Onion 1/4 cup, diced finely
Salt 1 tsp, Pepper Powder 1 tsp
Soy Sauce 1 tbsp, Vinegar 1/2 tsp
Oil 1 tsp
Water as required

Other Ingredients
White Rice 1 cup
Mushrooms 1 cup, sliced
Potato 1 medium
Oil 2 tbsp
MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger Patty
Cabbage Leaves a few
Butter 1 tsp
Vinegar 1/4 tsp


For the Steamed Vegetables

Wash and slice all the vegetables. In a deep pot add 1 cup water and place a steamer. Arrange the vegetables (French beans, Carrots, Cauliflower and Broccoli). Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes. Once a fork pierces in the cauliflower, they should all be done. Remove and set aside.

For the Mushrooms and Fajita

In a pan heat 1 tsp oil. Once hot, add washed and diced mushrooms. Season with salt and oregano. Sauté for a couple of minutes and remove.

In the same pan heat the remaining oil. Add onions and peppers. Sauté for 4-5 minutes and add salt and oregano. Remove. 

Alternatively, make these two on the grill. To do so, just fire the grill, place a non stick mat and arrange the fajita vegetables and mushrooms. Sprinkle salt, oregano and mix well. Grill till cooked. 

For the sauce

In the same pan as above add 1 tsp oil. Sauté garlic and onion till fragrant. In a small bowl mix together corn starch, water, salt, pepper, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour that into the pan and mix well. Cook on medium flame till thick. Set aside. 

For the baked Fries

Peel and cut the potato into logs. In a bowl add 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp salt and some pepper powder. Add the potato logs and toss well. Transfer to a baking tray and bake at 350 F/ 180 C for 20 minutes, rotating them every 5 minutes. Once they become crisp all over, remove. 

To assemble

Grill the MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger Patty for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, use a pan to cook and crisp the patty. Wash and boil the rice in 2 cups water till cooked and the water is completely absorbed.

Heat the sizzler/fajita platter for 10-12 minutes on high heat. Once hot, place cabbage leaves on the surface. Arrange the rice, fries, steamed vegetables, sautéed mushrooms and fajita. Place a MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger Patty on the rice. 

To sizzle

Mix together 2 tbsp water, vinegar and butter. Pour that on the wooden base of the platter. Place the hot sizzler plate and watch it SIZZLE! Pour sauce on top and enjoy! 

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Vegan Gobi Musallam Biryani

A Vegan friendly Centerpiece for Thanksgiving, this Gobi Musallam Biryani is a complete meal ready in under 60 minutes! 

Can you believe it is almost Fall and everyone is getting started with their Pumpkin creations? I have started my train of all things Pumpkin this year with this Super Quick Eggless Pumpkin Bread and have a delicious recipe coming up before this week ends. And while it is pumpkin fever, I am also thinking of some recipe that would be PERFECT for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Thinking of Thanksgiving, have you imagined a dinner table without turkey? Most meat eaters will strongly deny. However, for vegetarians, there is NO turkey to carve on the Holiday table. However, we now have options; like this Gobi Musallam and Indian Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower

I made these cauliflower based Thanksgiving centerpieces last year. This Thanksgiving I am planning to make a Vegan version of the same. Plus while the earlier versions were baked, this is a rather quick version and needs no baking. You can actually make the entire dish in under an hour! Who knew Thanksgiving dishes could actually be SO EASY and QUICK to make? 

Plus, this dish is actually a complete meal; vegetable, sauce and a bed of rice! You really do not need any other dish, I would make just this for Thanksgiving and enjoy to my heart's content! And yes, this one is Vegan. No butter, no milk, cream or ghee. All this one has is vegetables, spices, rice and a wee bit of oil! 

I made this a few days ago and I can't wait to make this again for Thanksgiving. Now that I have three versions of a Cauliflower centerpiece, I have to pick and choose which one I will make each year. 

Why Cauliflower?

Wondering why cauliflower is the chosen one to replace Turkey on the dinner table? I would say it is because of how versatile it is to absorb flavors and it's size. The big mighty vegetable is awesome to 'carve'; each one gets to choose how big a piece they want and the amount of curry they would want. 

And yes, it is a rather pretty setup seeing the cauliflower set with all the red tomato based curry on top. I LOVE how the table looks with everything Thanksgiving! 

While we get good quality cauliflower in US year round, I remember how we used to get the BEST cauliflower in India in winters only. They are in season around Thanksgiving and they make a perfect candidate to whip up a Holiday dinner recipe! 


I made a medium spicy curry and cauliflower and set it on a bed of non-spicy rice. If you prefer a super spicy version, spice up the rice as well. Adding some Biryani Masala or some chilli garlic paste should work well.

This recipe is a Vegan one. However, if you prefer a super creamy version, substitute the coconut milk with fresh cream. It not only makes the curry rich, it also makes it super delicious! Not a fan of coconut milk but want a vegan version? Soak 1/4 cup cashewnuts in water for 12-15 minutes and purée. Add that to thicken the gravy well.

The same recipe can be used to serve alongside naan too. It makes a great curry for dipping. Also, if you like quinoa, serve the curry on a bed of quinoa. 

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For the Cauliflower 
Cauliflower 1 medium head
Garlic 1-2 cloves
Ginger 1 inch piece
Onion 1/2 medium
Tomatoes 3 medium
Red Chilli Powder 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Garam Powder 1 tsp
Kasoori Methi 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1 pinch
Coconut Milk 1/4 cup
Oil 2 tsp

Cilantro to top

For the Rice
Basmati/ any long rice 1 1/2 cup
Carrot 1 medium
Green Peas 1/4 cup
Onion 1/2 medium
Green Chilli 1 medium
Cinnamon 1-2 pieces
Star Anise 1-2
Bay Leaves 2-3
Cloves 2-3
Salt 1 tsp
Oil 1 tsp


Wash and soak the rice in 2 1/2 cups of water for 30 minutes to an hour. Once soaked, add in chopped carrots, green peas, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and salt. Mix well and cook open till the water is absorbed and the rice cooks. 

In a small pan heat oil, add slit green chilli and bay leaves. Once the chilli pops, add onions and sauté till they are soft. Once they cook, add them to the rice and mix well. 

To start preparing the cauliflower, remove the leaves from it and chop the stem so that it stands upright. Wash in water to clean it completely. 

In a deep pot or base of the pressure cooker heat 4-5 cups of water. Add salt and a pinch of turmeric powder. Once the water starts to boil, place the cauliflower upside down in the pot. Cook for 5-6 minutes, till a fork easily pierces through the florets. Remove and drain. Set aside.

In a pan heat 2 tsp oil and add chopped garlic and ginger. Sauté till the raw flavor vanishes and add chopped onions. Cook till tender and add in chopped tomatoes. Also add in red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. 

Sauté for a few minutes and add 1/2 cup water. Cook till the tomatoes are soft and turn down the flame. Process in a blender to a smooth paste. Sieve and set aside. 

In a pan add the tomato gravy, kasoori methi, salt and sugar. Taste test and add what is required. Add the coconut milk, stir and cook for a few minutes. Turn down the flame.

In a deep casserole dish or bowl add 1/2 the rice. Then sprinkle some cilantro and add 1/4 gravy. Layer the remaining rice and leave a small gap in the middle. Put the cauliflower in the center and pour the remaining gravy on top. Add some more cilantro and serve. 

You may make this beforehand and let the rice soak in the gravy. When ready to serve, heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. I served it with yogurt, Vegans can use yogurt alternative. 

Looking for more Vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes? Try one of these delicious Cauliflower based dishes: Gobi Musallam and Indian Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Monday, August 21, 2017

Everything you need to know about Infusing Olive Oil

This post is sponsored by Thoughtfully Gifts. All opinions are mine alone. #sponsored #thoughtfully

Try infusing your Olive Oils with dried herbs. These oils are not just flavorful, they are super easy to customise and fun to make!

Have you been to an Italian Restaurant and had some delicious flavorful Herb infused Olive oil with bread? Or had a soup topped with Basil infused Olive Oil? Have you had the amazing Gilroy Garlic infused oil? If you like any of these, this post is MADE FOR YOU! 

My husband and me love all sort of infusions. From infusing water with mint and cucumber to infusing oil with varied flavors, we do it all. I have been doing it for a while, but it got way simpler after I got the Olive Oil Shoppe from Thoughtfully Gifts. So I finally put up a post on infusing! 

All about Infusing Olive Oil

Infusion is the process of soaking dried herbs, tea or flowers in a liquid like water or oil to extract flavor. Infusing makes the liquid flavorful, often colorful and super tasty. Oils generally pick up the flavors pretty quickly, but the flavors intensify over time. It is perfectly okay to leave the herbs in there for a long time. 

The ingredients required for infusing oils is rather simple; oil and herbs to infuse. The apparatus I used comes from the set from Thoughtfully Gifts. There is a fusti (container to store Olive Oil) with a wooden stand, funnels, glass bottles, spice rack and dipping plates. Having all this helps in making infused Olive oil in a clean and quick way! 

The process of infusing Olive Oil is rather simple, but one has to ensure everything is clean before you start. If the funnel or bottle is not clean, it can easily contaminate the oil as it stands for weeks in the bottle. And yes, use the BEST quality ingredients to make your oil. It does make a difference, I promise! 

I made SIX tiny bottles of Infused oils with varied uses. The result was PERFECT in a week, yet I am going to wait to try the oils post another week. I already used the Basil Oil on my Roasted Tomato Soup and we instantly fell in LOVE with it! I am so glad I used my Fusti et al to make the oils. No mess, no wastage and a fun activity to spend a lazy Sunday with hubby! 

Heads up to the upcoming Wedding Season! 

Can you believe we are planning for the upcoming wedding season already? This season is going to be great for us because my brother gets married to his love this year. I can hardly wait for his BIG DAY! 

If you are also planning a wedding, yours or that of a close one; I would suggest you head straight to Thoughtfully Gifts. I would have happily added them to my wedding registry when I got married! They have some really unique and fun products, this Olive Oil Shoppe being my favorite and The Tea Lab following close! 

Though I did not get any of these special gifts on my big day, I am glad to be trying it out now. We got the Olive Oil Shoppe and had such a wonderful time last Sunday; infusing oils and mixing flavors to make our personal favorites! 

When this BIG package from the company arrived, I was overwhelmed. Neatly packed, well curated and easy to understand instructions define them! All their products are fun and they definitely make a gifts that last and are remembered throughout the year! 

So with all this information, you need to head straight to the instructions and start infusing! Don't forget to share your infusion ideas with me in the comments below! 


Good quality Olive Oil 2 cups
Infusion Herbs like Oregano, Rosemary, Garlic, Chilli flakes


Wash and dry the bottles, funnel and fusti well. Fill the fusti with olive oil. You can store oil in the fusti for upto a year, so don't worry about the remaining oil post infusing. 

Using a funnel add 1 tsp of herbs you want in the bottle. You can mix and match from basil, oregano, chilli flakes, garlic, rosemary and thyme. 

Pour the olive oil into the bottle, close the bottle and shake well. Store the bottle in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks to allow the flavors to infuse well. 

Do a taste test after a week and keep it for longer if it still does not taste as you like. Enjoy this oil with the following:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Super Quick Eggless Pumpkin Bread

An easy peasy bread made from Pumpkin Purée. Who knew TWO simple ingredients could make this Fall perfect bread SO MOIST and YUM? 

Pumpkin 🎃 🎃 in August? YES! I was not sure if I wanted to start making Squash and Pumpkin dishes this month but I finally did. On my last trip to Michael's Craft store I saw Fall decor, Pumpkin and a ton of other things for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Starbucks is advertising Pumpkin Spice Latte already and not to forget that Walmart and World Market is stocking up on Fall essentials. 

Last year I wasn't happy seeing all these arrangements in August, but this year my love for squash is on a new high. I have already made one batch of this Pumpkin Soup, this loaf of Multigrain Pumpkin Bread and a few servings of Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yes, all this even before half of August has passed us by! 

As I mentioned, last week I bought myself two cans of Pumpkin purée while shopping for other grocery items. The first thing I wanted to make was Pumpkin Dinner Rolls. However, I wanted to make something that needed twine. As I was out of it, I decided to make a sweet bread using the pumpkin. 

This recipe is pretty similar to most other quick breads; uses flour, sugar, baking powder and pumpkin. I wanted to skip the eggs from the classic recipe so I used buttermilk instead. The result was fabulous; absolutely moist and soft bread thanks to the buttermilk and pumpkin purée. 

The best part of this bread you ask? I used just the base of the stand mixer and ONE more bowl to make it all! No mess, no extra vessels and no complex procedures. It is as simple as mix, pour, bake! 

If you want a Fall bread or something for Thanksgiving breakfast, I bet this one is for you. make a couple of loaves and serve with some maple syrup. I loved the combination and my husband even enjoyed some warm bread with Vanilla Ice cream! It was such a pleasure to have the same bread for breakfast and dessert! It is lovely how the kitchen smells when you just warm the bread, not to forget how lovely the house smells when it is baked! We finished the whole loaf in under 3 days; yes two people, one loaf of pumpkin bread and 3 days! 

This recipe is really easy and convenient to make because I bet you have everything needed here in your pantry, and milk in the refrigerator! No complex ingredients, no exotic requirements. If you like a crunchy add-in in the bread, toss in some pumpkin seeds or chocolate chips in the bread. Better still, top the bread with a mixture of seeds like this Multigrain Pumpkin Bread. It makes the bread even better!   

Not a Pumpkin Lover?

I urge you to try the squash a couple of times before giving up on it. It is pretty addictive I promise! But if you cannot get yourself to like it, you can very well make the bread using mashed banana or carrots. It works really well with those too. 

Pumpkin Lovers?

If you have a love for this orange squash, I bet you love the seeds et al! Don't forget to add some seeds in the batter or on it for texture. Better still try one of these recipe to go with this bread: 


All purpose flour/Maida 1 3/4 cup
Brown/White Sugar 3/4 cup
Pumpkin Purée  1 cup
Buttermilk 1/2 cup ( or Milk 1/2 cup + Vinegar 1 tsp)
Oil 3 tbsp
Pumpkin Pie Spice 3 tsp
Baking Powder 2 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp


Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and keep ready.

In the base of the stand mixer add the buttermilk (or room temperature milk mixed with vinegar), oil and pumpkin purée. Whip till smooth. Then add pumpkin spice and sugar. Mix again for a couple of minutes. 

In a bowl sieve together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Transfer to the wet mixture and mix for a minute or so. Do not overmix. 

Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. If the sides start to harden and the center is wobbly, cover with some foil and bake. 

Once a toothpick or skewer comes out clean from the center, remove from oven and cool. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Indian Style Cauliflower Peas Naan Pizza

Combine Cauliflower, Peas and spices with Garlic Naan to get a super delicious and easy to make Naan-iza! You will be addicted, I promise! 

P-I-Z-Z-A; one word is enough to get everyone's mouth watering! Pizzas make a regular appearance on our menu, especially on weekends. But making the same Veggie Pizza all the time can get boring. To break away from that, I make a TON of other pizzas like Chole Naan Pizza, Easy Summer Fruit Pizza, Pav Bhaji Pizza or Paneer Pizza.

Most of the pizzas I have on the blog are made from scratch. However, when I am pressed for time I choose to make pizzas from store bought pizza base. And when I can't get myself to go to the store, I use frozen naan to make pizzas. 

A couple of days ago I was craving pizza and it was pretty close to dinner time to make it from scratch. So I pulled out a few California Lavash Garlic Naan. To keep things simple, I made a super simple Cauliflower Peas sauté to top the naans. The combination was PERFECT and we had an awesome Indian inspired dinner! 

Why Cauliflower? 

Wondering why I chose Cauliflower for the topping? Let me tell you, I am obsessed with this vegetable since a while. I made a ton of recipes lately using this white beauty. From Cauliflower Sauce Mac n Cheese and Cauliflower Dipping Sauce to Gobi Manchurian and Indian Spiced Roasted Cauliflower; I have made these and many more recipes. 

Who would believe that I HATED cauliflower not long ago. And now that I like it, I guess I am making up for all the years that I refused to eat it. Now with Thanksgiving already on my mind, I am planning a couple of Cauliflower dishes to make really soon! 


I was on a small mission of finishing everything from my refrigerator the day I made this. However, if you do not like cauliflower or are looking for something different; try paneer or tofu to top the pizza. And meat eaters have a TON of options to select from. 

Another quick hack is to use leftover sabji that you might have in the refrigerator. If you have an Indian style cauliflower potato or cauliflower peas sabji cooked and stored, just add some sautéed onions and garlic to that. Mix it all and use as a topping for naans. 

If you like a loaded version, add some grated paneer or cheese to the topping. Plus, sprinkle some on top too. I chose to skip that and just sprinkled some cheese before spreading the topping. 

If you make this recipe or any other recipe from my blog, don't forget to share it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag me or use #herbivorecucina. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for latest updates from the blog! 


For the Topping

Cauliflower Florets 1 cup
Green Peas 1 cup (fresh or frozen)
Onion 1/2 medium diced
Garlic 1-2 cloves minced
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Curry Powder 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Oil 1 tsp
Lemon Juice 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

For the Pizza

Plain/ Garlic Naan 2 
Mozzarella Cheese and Cheddar Cheese 1/2 cup, shredded
Onion sliced
Red Chilli sliced 


In a pan heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they pop add garlic and sauté till fragrant. Then add onion and sauté till the onions are cooked. Add cauliflower and peas, mix well and sprinkle a pinch of salt.

Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes, till the cauliflower is soft. Then add turmeric powder, Curry powder and red chilli powder. Mix well and cook covered for another couple of minutes. 

Taste the salt and add more if need be. Add lime juice and cilantro leaves; mix well. Cool till you prep the naans.

If using frozen naans, remove from packing and sprinkle cheese on the sides. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for 5-6 minutes, till the cheese melts. 

Remove from oven, spread the cauliflower topping and bake for another 8-10 minutes, till the base is crisp. Remove from oven, sprinkle some onion and red chillies. Serve warm. 

Looking for more Indian style pizzas? Try these: Chole Naan PizzaPav Bhaji Pizza or Paneer Pizza.