Some might not know but the HUBS is an excellent cook.  In fact, one of my favorite memories from when we first started dating was the first time he cooked for me.  It was a first week of dating and refused to let me do anything.  It was so romantic and sweet! He literally did everything - prepped, cooked, and cleaned up.  I was so impressed.  Turns out the HUBS was and is a great cook!  

Over the past few years, he's really started exploring and delving beyond his heirloom recipes, or simply adapting them to be healthier.  This recipe was adapted from his moms "dalia" recipe which was an assorted porridge with lentils, grains & milk.  The HUBS adjusted this recipe to include super seeds like chia & hemp hearts.  Its seriously delicious and its vegan, vegetarian, refined sugar-free, vegetarian, and gluten-free!  

Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Porridge Recipe Charisma Shah





  1. 1/2 c steel-cut oats
  2. 1/2 c quinoa
  3. 1/4 c chia seeds
  4. 1/4 c hemp hearts
  5. 5 cups of water
  6. 1 packet of instant chai 
  7. dash of cinnamon
  8. blueberries, dates, pumpkin seeds, pepitas, bananas, honey (garnishes)
  9. vegan milk



  1. Lightly roast the grains & seeds in a pan until fragrant (light roasted smell)
  2. Add water, cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower to simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until grains are fully cooked.  
  3. Add the chai packet & cinnamon.  Stir well.
  4. Garnish with honey, dates, fruits and seeds.  Enjoy!
Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Porridge Recipe Charisma Shah
Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Porridge Recipe Charisma Shah




Legend has it that those who share this dish fall in love.  Ok...not really, but that is how our love story began.  According to the HUBS, he was enamored when I shared my Tom Yum soup with him the weekend we met almost 6 years ago!  It is definitely true that great dishes and homemade recipes can really bring people together.  Naturally this soup is one of our favorites, but in truth my love affair with tom yum soup began wayyyy back in the day.  I think I first tried it at my best friend's thai restaurant in Nashville.  We would go as a family and stock up on hearty, savory oh-so-spicy and vegetarian friendly dishes each weekend.  As a family, our standard order ALWAYS started with tom yum soup.  The way the lemongrass, kaffir lime & thai chilies danced together in the soup excited our taste buds - it was guaranteed satisfaction.  I always loved saving some broth at the end to add to my red curry & rice.  So the HUBS and I finally decided to give this dish a shot. 





  1. 6 c vegetable stock (I used ~ 50 oz of vegetable stock)
  2. 8 kaffir lime leaves (fresh/frozen)
  3. 6 two inch slices of galang root
  4. 6 two inch slices of lemongrass stalk
  5. 15 oz can sliced button mushrooms
  6. 2 tsp adu marcha (or minced thai chilies to taste)
  7. 1 limes (juiced; half added while cooking, half added fresh)
  8. 1 yellow onion (julienned)
  9. 1/2 c of fresh coarsely chopped cilantro
  10. 2 tbs tom yum paste 
  11. 1 bunch of green onions (diced on bias)
  12. 1 tbs vegetable oil
  13. tofu (optional)
Vegetarian vegan gluten free authentic thai tom yum soup recipe charisma shah


  1. In a medium - large pot over medium-low heat, sauté the adu marcha/thai chiles in the oil.
  2. Add the tom yum paste and sauté.
  3. Add the sliced onion and lightly sauté.
  4. Add in the stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galang root.  Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until very aromatic.
  6. Add soy sauce, tomatoes, and green onions.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes at a boil.
  7. Just before serving soup add the fresh lime juice & cilantro.  For extra heat, garnish with chili garlic oil (😋).


I have a sweet tooth.  I love chocolate (obsessed) and I can eat an entire pan of chocolate chip cookies in about 2 minutes.  Cookies are absolutely my kryptonite (besides frozen kitkats).  In fact, that was how I started getting into cooking...via baking!  

I have tried an abundance of GF recipes for cookies primarily in an effort to decrease the carbs and eliminate the use of all-purpose flour.  I have tried baking with quinoa, brown rice, whole white wheat, oat, and bean flours.  Yep.  All of them.  Believe me when I say in cookies the flour really matters.  Or at least I thought so until about a week ago, when I tried some meringue cookies.  To my absolute surprise they were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  If I had not been told these were GF without any flours at all, I would have just assumed they were normal cookies but thinner!

The entire experience inspired me to whip up some of my own, so I did some research and fused some recipes, added a touch of my own flair and incredulously on my first attempt they turned out excellent!  If you have baked before you know how precise of a science the entire process is and how unlikely successful first attempts are - cue macaroon failures.  




  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 1/8 cream of tartar powder
  3. 6 oz + 2 oz of chocolate chips
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 c sugar
  6. option 1: pinch of powdered coffee + chopped hazelnuts
  7. option 2: 1 tbs peanut butter



  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Melt 6 oz of the chocolate chips in the microwave (or double boiler).  If melting in microwave - melt in increments of 30 seconds to prevent the chocolate from burning!  Allow the chocolate to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. While the chocolate is cooling, whisk your egg whites until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar while continuously whisking.  Then add the sugar.  
  4. Whisk until stiff peaks form (aka removing the whisk creates peaks that stay firm and don't disappear at all).  In my experience it is best to whisk eggs at medium high until this happens on an electric mixer.  
  5. Gently fold (not whisk) in your chocolate, adding a little bit at a time to the eggs.  
  6. At this point I divided my batter into two batches:
    1. Option 1: add a dash of finely ground coffee powder, chopped hazelnuts, and  chocolate chips.  Fold in thoroughly.
    2. Option 2: add peanut butter and chocolate chips. Fold in thoroughly.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown/crisp on the outside.
  8. Eat fresh or store in air-tight container (eat within a week).


Finding something cooked & ready in the freezer is like finding money in your pockets!  Suddenly your not dreading having to cook because you have a tasty, spicy FLAVORFUL meal ready to go.  With that being said, pretty much anytime we make Indian shaaks/subjis (aka veggie entrees) we make double and set it aside for later.  Well earlier this week we happened to come across some Chole in our freezer so we decided since we didn't have fresh baturas on hand we would make popovers out of it.  Y'all.  This might be the best decision we made this week.




  1. leftover chole (see homemade recipe here)
  2. 1 roll of puff pastry (cut into 12 even pieces)
  3. 1/2 c fresh pico de gallo
  4. 1/2 c of mozzarella cheese
  5. eggs (optional) whisked 
  6. oven cooking spray
cheesy chole popover recipe charisma shah vegetarian


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Prep a cupcake pan with nonstick spray
  3. Thaw 1 roll of puff pastry as instructed on the box (about 20 minutes).  Cut roll into 12 even pieces.  Roll each piece into 4 inch squares.
  4. Place pastry squares into cupcake pan.  Lightly mold to cupcake pan shape.
  5. Spoon 1 tsp of cheese into pastry "cups" to create the bottom later.
  6. If using eggs, evenly pour into cups.
  7. Remove EXCESS LIQUID from the chole before spooning.  Allocate into cups (about 1.5 tbs/cup).
  8. Add 1 tsp of cheese on top along with pico de gallo (again, remove excess liquid before).  
  9. Bake for 15 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown.  



When the HUBS and I travel we love to try new dishes from other cuisines, but inevitably about after a week, we start really missing good ole' indian food.  For vegetarians, nothing seems to be easier, as nutritious, and satisfying.  That being said, after about a week of poutine in Banff, we just NEEDED naan, shaak, and dal.  We decided to check out Masala, a restaurant that came highly recommended by our family in India.  Y'all:  it was phenomenal.  We do not give out 5 stars  to just anyone - in fact the HUBS and I have a strict rule.  Restaurants only get a 5 star review if we would happily hop a flight just to eat there.  To date I think we only have a handful that have met this criteria - but Masala definitely earned this honor.  We decided to venture out and try their Tava Paneer.  I was honestly expecting a dry roasted paneer dish, but was more than happy when instead the dish was saucy, savory and finger-licking good.  

In accordance with our plan to eat healthier, higher protein meals, I decided to try my hand at this dish.  The result was a good second to Masala's - it'll have to carry us over until we can make it back there for the real deal.  We decided to eat this with homemade low carb kati rolls (recipe here).  

tava paneer kati roll recipe vegetarian low carb indian charisma shah





  1. 1 pack of frozen paneer (ingredients should just be whole milk & vinegar)
  2. 2 large green bell peppers (diced)
  3. 1/3 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
  4. 2 tbs butter
  5. 1 tsp jeera
  6. 2.5 tsp minced garlic
  7. 1 1/2 tsp adu marcha
  8. 1 yellow onion (diced)
  9. 1 1/2 tsp mirchi
  10. 1 tsp dhana jeeru
  11. 1 tbs tomato paste
  12. 1/2 c cream (or substitute with homemade cashew cream)
  13. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  14. 1/4 tsp amchur powder
  15. 1 tsp kasoori methi 
  16. pinch of ground cardamom
  17. 1 tsp sugar
  18. salt to taste (about 1.5 - 2 tsp)



  1. Melt the butter over medium low heat. 
  2. Add the jeera and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds (you should see tiny bubbles form around each cumin seed).  Do not over cook these otherwise you will have a strong roasted flavor.
  3. Add the minced garlic and saute until golden brown.
  4. Add the adu marcha and let saute until aromatic (about 1 minute).
  5. Add the diced onions and saute until translucent (about 3-4 minutes)
  6. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, dhana jeeru, and red mirchi.  Cook until tomato smell goes away (about 5 - 7 min).
  7. Add the kasoori methi, amchur powder, sugar, and garam masala and bring to a light simmer.
  8. Add the fried paneer and bell peppers.  Cover and cook until paneer is tender (about 3-5 minutes).  Do not overcook the bell peppers.  These should still be bright green and have a little bit of crunch to them.  
  9. Serve with low carb kati rolls (click here for recipe), fresh naan, or parathas.  
 *please note that these values are an approximation and are for just the tava paneer (not the kati roll)

*please note that these values are an approximation and are for just the tava paneer (not the kati roll)


With new years, come new resolutions.  This year the HUBS and I are trying to be more mindful of pairing our meals with our workouts.  On weight training days we try to eat high protein, low carb meals, and since every Indian dish tends to be pretty carb heavy, we created these: low carb kati rolls.  These are a great alternative to naan (plain or garlic), have a decent amount of protein, and like the name states: low carb 🙌🏽.  Scroll down to the bottom to see the complete nutrition information.  

low carb kati roll naan roti paratha recipe charisma shah





  1. 1/2 c greek yogurt (2% fage)
  2. 1/2 c full fat cottage cheese
  3. 1/2 c quinoa flour
  4. 1/4 c vital gluten wheat flour
  5. 3/4 c whole white wheat flour
  6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/4 cup of milk (we used protein nut milk)
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp sugar


  1. Mix all ingredients with electric mixer.
  2. Place dough in a warm place and allow to rise for at least 1 hour (I usually try to do 2 hours)
  3. Flour a surface for rolling.  Pinch dough into smaller 1.5" round balls.  Flatten and roll out into 6" diameter rolls.
  4. On a skillet/tava cook the dough on both sides until lightly browned.  
  5. Lightly spread with ghee (optional).
 *please note that these values are an approximation

*please note that these values are an approximation


One of my favorite things to eat growing up was Petro (aka tennessee chili).  Petro was this incredible fast food joint founded in Knoxville, TN that made vegetarian chili (and meat chili) topped with fritos, green onions, and sour cream.  Its seriously delicious, but unfortunately the one near my home closed down well before I learned to cook.  My mom & best friends mom did their best to recreate the dish (and they did a pretty amazing job) that it became one of the first dishes I made for the HUBS when we were dating.  He loved it so much that he made it for his parents...and well we got married.  Coincidence?  I think not 😂.  Fast forward 20 years, the HUBS and I recently came across a Petro and tried the real thing again.  It was as delicious as I remember.  

After trying the dish again, I was inspired to try recreating the dish fused with the Fresh & Easy canned vegetarian chili (which is delicious and unfortunately no longer exists).  This recipe is the result and was designated with the name "petrini" by the HUBS.

All this being said, if you are looking for a 5 min or less sort of dinner, than my Petro recipe is a better go to.  This requires marginally more effort but is delicious (and freezes well too!).  Enjoy!

vegetarian vegan gluten free paleo raw chili recipe instapot slowcooker 10 minute dinners lunch charisma shah marie sharp




  1. 1 tbs butter (substitute with olive oil for vegan)
  2. 2 tsp minced garlic
  3. 1 tsp garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp onion powder
  5. 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  6. 2 tsp red mirchi (or cayenne pepper)
  7. 1.5 tsp hot chili seasoning
  8. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  9. 1/8 tsp cream of tartar powder
  10. 1/2 tsp Williams Sonoma chili lime seasoning (optional)
  11. 1 (15 oz) can of Bush Chili Beans (pinto beans in a mild chili sauce)
  12. 1 (15 oz) can of Kidney Beans (drained)
  13. 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  14. 1.5 tbs tomato paste
  15. 1.5 c of frozen corn kernels
  16. salt to taste (about 3/4 tsp)
  17. 1 tbs lime juice
  18. hot sauce of choice for garnish (we ♥️ this one)
  19. sour cream, chopped red onions, tortilla chips, fresh cilantro for garnish
vegetarian vegan gluten free paleo raw chili recipe instapot slowcooker 10 minute dinners lunch charisma shah marie sharp


  1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic.  Saute until golden.
  3. Add all the spices & seasonings.  Stir until aromatic (~1.5 minutes).
  4. Add the tomato paste.  Mix well.
  5. Add the canned beans & tomatoes.  Cook until simmering.  
  6. Add the corn.  Stir well, cover and bring to a light simmer (about 5-7 minutes).  
  7. Serve with garnishes of your choosing.  We love to add lots of hot sauce, tortilla chips and fresh red onions!
 with our favorite hot sauce,  Marie Sharp's , that we picked up when we visited Belize earlier this year!  its soooo good y'all!  you must try this hot sauce - not too acidic, garlic & tomato based.  

with our favorite hot sauce, Marie Sharp's, that we picked up when we visited Belize earlier this year!  its soooo good y'all!  you must try this hot sauce - not too acidic, garlic & tomato based.  

NOTES:  This recipe can be adapted pretty easily for the instapot or slow cookers.  For the Instapot users: simply use the saute setting and proceed with the instructions as above (do not cover).  For slow cooker users: add all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook covered for 6-8 hours.  

 these nutrition facts are an estimation

these nutrition facts are an estimation

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner 8-Course Menu With Recipes

Being a first generation American, Thanksgiving is not the most traditional but definitely the most easily adoptable Western/American holiday.  Due to the likely overlap by lunar calendars, Thanksgiving was usually masked by the tremendous amount of celebration surrounding Navratri & Diwali, but on occasion - our family would celebrate Thanksgiving.  Its pretty easy as an Immigrant family to be thankful for the opportunities and happiness each year brings.

That being said, this year was the first family Thanksgiving that the HUBS and I hosted.  Since traditional menus are not that filling for vegetarians, or that flavorful compared to ethnic cuisines, we decided to deconstruct and create dishes that capture the essence of Thanksgiving without being trite.  

We also wanted to be fancy 😂 and serve each dish as a separate course in a plated fashion.  I just have always wanted to recreate the experience of dining out at farm-to-table restaurants in my own home and what better occasion than a holiday?

Keep reading to find out more about how we prepared for the HUBS' entire family to come visit, decorated our thanksgiving table, and created new classic dishes that were a tremendous hit!  


As you can see above, the HUBS and I hosted and served our Thanksgiving meal by plating each dish rather than having a buffet.  I was really determined to make sure our vegetarian thanksgiving dinner would be just as good if not better than its turkey counterpart, so creating a captivating and exciting menu was a challenge.  I was on a mission to make sure my non-vegetarian guests wouldn't even miss the turkey, and apparently they didn't!  Yay!  🤗

After we found out we were officially hosting Thanksgiving, I started planning the menu.  I knew I wanted to serve this Macaroni & Cheese (one of my favorites!) but that was basically it.  I also knew that I wanted to really hone in on the colorful veggies that make thanksgiving so festive, so I set out to imagine some dishes.  Eventually, I ended up with the menu above: homemade root chips with charred fennel dip, cranberry canapés, herbed mashed potatoes, delicate squash salad, calabrian chile & date mac & cheese, and truffled portabellas served with leek quinoa dressing and herbed béchamel.  Each dish was such a big hit that there was very little rinsing of the plates needed before dishwashing 😂.  #goals #cleanplateclub


 creamy roasted fennel dip served here with a baked baguette.

creamy roasted fennel dip served here with a baked baguette.

In the past I have tried to make vegetable chips myself without really any success.  The chips were always to thick to bake all the way through - and there is nothing more annoying than soggy chips.  That being said, I really wanted to recreate a dish I had tried at this great little restaurant in Nashville called 5th & Taylor (if you haven't been you should go!).  They make some seriously good eats including a creamy fennel appetizer dip that is incredible addictive.  Instead of serving the dip with store bought root chips, I tried my hand one last time at making baked chips at home.  The HUBS, his mom, his dad, and I used this slicer to cut carrots, parsnips, apples and sweet potatoes into 1.5mm thick pieces - the thinner the piece, the better it will bake.  The slices were then tossed in olive oil with a pinch of salt and sugar.  You can find the full recipe for this dip here:

 baked sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, and apple chips served with creamy roasted fennel dip.

baked sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, and apple chips served with creamy roasted fennel dip.

For the second course the HUBS and I wanted to serve a Thanksgiving spin on one of our favorite recipes.  We bought some wonderful mini french baguettes from our local market, and topped them with goat cheese, fresh arugula and cranberry compote.  We used this exact recipe, however substituted the cherries with 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, halved.  

The third course, our herbed mashed potatoes, is actually a recipe from one of my friend's.  After college, I attended my first traditional thanksgiving meal with an actual turkey.  I was such a fan of his herbed mashed potatoes that they have become a mainstay in our household with some slight variations.  You can find our adapted recipe here:  

 homemade garlic & herb mashed potatoes garnished with chives.

homemade garlic & herb mashed potatoes garnished with chives.

So at this point we had already incorporated sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and cranberries.  Our next dish focused on squash.  As much as I love squash soups, it just has not been cold enough here to warrant a warm soup.  Instead we opted for a baked squash salad with arugula, pickled onions, parmesan, dill creme fraiche, toasted pepitas, and pomegranate.  The recipe for this dish can be found here:

Since the portions of each course were becoming larger and larger, we started to slow down a little - taking and giving longer breaks between each course.  For our next dish we decided to serve our absolute FAVORITE macaroni and cheese recipe ever.  Really this mac n cheese can not be topped.  I'll spare you from my excessive & obsessive love for this dish.  Since mac n cheese is a Thanksgiving staple, we just HAD to make this rendition.  To see the full recipe click here:

 When making this dish we suggest using radiatore or toscani pasta to really sop up the sauce.  

When making this dish we suggest using radiatore or toscani pasta to really sop up the sauce.  

At this point most of our family was pretty stuffed.  Actually I was completely stuffed (that macaroni is very filling and rich)!  I was so full I didnt even get to try this last dish.  In lieu of turkey, I needed something really filling.  The last thing my menu was missing was dressing, so I decided to make a vegetarian truffled quinoa dressing served on marinated portobello mushrooms with an herbed béchamel sauce.  This was the dish I was most worried about since A) I hadn't even tried it and B) was completely made up haha.  It ended up being a huge hit!  So much that the little nephew loved it too 😀.  To view this recipe click here:

Finally the best part, dessert!!!  I am not the biggest fan of pie, so I opted to make a Churro Pumpkin Funnel Cake topped with Vanilla Bean ice cream and toasted oats.  Yummmm.  I could've eaten this all day 😋.  To see this recipe click here:

 dipped in cinnamon sugary goodness.  

dipped in cinnamon sugary goodness.  

The last course was simply mulled wine.  The HUBS and I took two bottles of Rioja, added some chopped granny smith and red delicious apples, oranges, 6 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, pinch of nutmeg and let this slow cook on the stove over low heat for 4 hours.  Immediately before serving, we topped off each glass of mulled wine with a splash of sugar-free orange soda.  Delicious and not too sweet! 

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our first official Thanksgiving with our family.  We are so thankful that it worked out for everyone to come together from all over the country for this holiday.  It could not have been more perfect!



P.S.  I will be posting a tutorial tomorrow on how to we created our tablescape! 




Churro Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake Recipe Charisma Shah


  1. 1 pint olive oil (for frying)
  2. 1.5 c all-purpose flour
  3. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 2 tsp cinnamon (ground)
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/4 c packed brown sugar
  9. 3/4 c canned pumpkin pie filling
  10. 1 c milk
  11. 1/3 c granulated white sugar
  12. 1/3 c granola
  13. 1 tbs vanilla extract
  14. vanilla bean ice cream 


  1. Heat the oil for frying.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, and salt.  
  3. Beat the egg, brown sugar, pumpkin pie filling, and milk together until well blended.  
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until all has been well mixed.  
  5. In a shallow wide plate, mix the remaining 1 tsp of cinnamon with the granulated white sugar for dipping. 
  6. Pour the batter into a plastic funnel.  Cut open a 1/2 inch hole at the tip of the funnel.  Squeeze into the frying oil.  
  7. Fry until golden brown on both sides (flip).
  8. Dip into the cinnamon sugar.  Top with vanilla bean and toasted oats.


Vegetarian Thanksgiving Entree Alternative

Marinated Portobella Mushrooms, Truffled Leek Quinoa Dressing, & Herbed Béchamel Sauce Recipe




  1. 8 portobella mushrooms (stems removed)
  2. 10 springs of thyme
  3. 2 tsp minced garlic
  4. 1/3 block of boursin cheese
  5. 2 tbs butter
  6. 1 tbs olive oil
  7. 1.5 tsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  10. 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper


  1. 1 pint cream
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 3 tsp minced garlic
  5. 1.5 tsp freshly (finely) chopped parsley
  6. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  7. 2 tsp salt
  8. 1 cup grated parmesan
  9. 2 tbs butter


  1. 2 cups of quinoa (cook as per instructions on package)
  2. 3 tsp freshly chopped parsley
  3. 2 tsp minced garlic
  4. 2 tbs butter
  5. 3 tbs truffle oil
  6. salt to taste
  7. freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1/2 leek (washed & finely chopped)



    1. Thoroughly wash the mushrooms (remove the stems) in warm/hot water.  Pat dry and place in ziplock bag.
    2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil & melt butter (medium low).  Add the minced garlic and saute until golden.  
    3. Add the crushed red pepper and saute until aromatic (about 1 minute).
    4. Add the thyme & boursin cheese.  Mix well until cheese in completely dissolved.  Cook on low for 5-7 minutes.  
    5. Remove the thyme and add the parsley.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  
    6. Add to the ziplock bags with the mushrooms.  Marinate overnight.
  2. The next day bake in oven at 300F for 15 - 20 minutes or until tender.  


  1. Cook the quinoa as per the instructions on the packet.
  2. Heat the oils and melt the butter in a large wok or skillet.  
  3. Add the minced garlic and saute until golden brown.  
  4. Add the finely chopped leeks.  Saute until translucent.
  5. Add in the quinoa once cooked and mix thoroughly.  
  6. Add the salt, pepper, and parsley.  


  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Add the minced garlic and saute until golden brown.
  3. Add the cream and bring to a light simmer.
  4. In a bowl thoroughly mix the whole milk with the flour.  Add to the cream.  Stir well.
  5. Add the parsley and cook for 2 minutes. 
  6. Add the parmesan slowly while constantly stirring.  Allow each batch to melt completely before adding more.  




Baked Delicata Squash Salad Recipe Charisma Shah


  1. 2 delicata squash (halved lengthwise, seeds removed, cut into 1/2 inch rounds)
  2. arugula
  3. pickled red onions (recipe here
  4. pumpkin seeds (toasted)
  5. 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
  6. 3 tbs dill (finely chopped)
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. 1 tbs dijon mustard
  9. 2 tbs olive oil
  10. 1 tsp white vinegar
  11. 1/4 tsp salt
  12. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  13. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper/red mirchi
  14. pinch of cinnamon
  15. 1 pomegranate


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone mat.
  3. Lightly spray with oven cooking spray.  Set aside.
  4. Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds.  
  5. Cut the squash into 1/2 inch rounds.  Place all rounds in ziplock bag.
  6. Toss in 1 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, cayenne pepper/red mirchi, cinnamon in the ziplock bag.
  7. Place on baking sheet in 1 layer (do not overlap).
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender.  Remove and allow to cool.
  9. In a squirt bottle, mix dill, ground black pepper, salt, white vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard.  Add water until desired salad dressing consistency is reached.  
  10. Create salad by placing a couple squash on a plate with arugula, toasted pumpkin seeds, pickled onions, parmesan, dill creme fraiche, and pomegranate seeds.  





  1. 6 - 8 Yukon Gold small/medium potatoes
  2. 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
  3. chives
  4. 3 tsp minced garlic
  5. 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  6. 4 tbs butter
  7. water


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil.  Add the garlic and saute until golden.
  2. Add the cream and the thyme.  Bring to a light simmer and then remove from heat.  Set aside. 
  3. Place the potatoes in a large pot.  Add water until all potatoes are covered.
  4. Bring to a light simmer.  Cook until tender/steamed (approximately 15 - 30 minutes)
  5. Once potatoes are completely cooked (if you can't tell, stick a knife in them.  The knife should easily go in and out of the potato without friction) allow to cool.  Remove the skins.
  6. Using a masher, ricer, or fork - mash the potatoes until smooth and whipped.  
  7. Remove the thyme from the cream mixture.  Add the cream into the potatoes.  Whip/stir until well blended.  
  8. Garnish with chives before serving.  


Ok.  So this is my absolute favorite Punjabi dal.  Its got a long history with our family.  Growing up, my brothers and I LOVED eating black dal.  I used to always think it was too involved for my cooking capabilities and patience.  But I finally caved and asked my mom and Devi to teach me how to make this, turns out its pretty easy!  OMG.  Y'all.  I feel like its #adulting to make it myself.  

**I still maintain that being fed Black dal is better than making it yourself - mom cooked food is ALWAYS better (right?).  BUT this is a really really close second.**




  1. 1 c whole urad dal (soaked overnight)

  2. 1/4 c rajma (soaked overnight)

  3. 3 3/4 c water (for pressure cooking)

  4. 2 tbs olive oil

  5. 1 whole bay leaf

  6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera

  7. 1/8 tsp hing

  8. 2 tsp kasoori methi

  9. 1 small white onion (finely chopped)

  10. 1 stick of butter (unsalted)

  11. 1 large sandwich tomato (blended)

  12. 3 tsp garlic (minced)

  13. 1 1/2 tsp adu marcha

  14. 1/2 tsp haldi

  15. 1 1/2 tsp mirchi

  16. 1 tsp dhana jeeru

  17. salt to taste

  18. freshly chopped cilantro


  1. Soak the dal & rajma overnight in hot water.

  2. Pressure cook the dal & rajma with 3 3/4 c of water for 45 minutes (use manual mode, high pressure & venting when using this cooker).  If using a traditional pressure cooker please adjust your cook time accordingly - dal should be soft & mashable with a spoon when done.

  3. Heat oil on medium.

  4. Add the bay leaves, sauté for 1 minute.

  5. Add the cumin seeds, sauté for 1 minute.

  6. Add hing, sauté for 1 minute.

  7. Add methi, sauté for 1 minute.

  8. Add garlic, ginger, adu marcha and sauté til golden.

  9. Add 2/3 stick of butter.  Melt.

  10. Add onion and sauté until translucent.

  11. Add mirchi & haldi.  

  12. Add tomato and salt.  Bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 8 minutes.

  13. Add the pressure cooked dal and bring to a boil.  Cook for 10 minutes.

  14. Add the remainder of butter on top.

  15. Using an emersion blender, blend half of the dal in the pot and add water until desired consistency is reached.

  16. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve with my personal favorite - aloo parathas!  

 Black dal (dal makhani) garnished with yogurt, freshly chopped cilantro, lassan chutney.

Black dal (dal makhani) garnished with yogurt, freshly chopped cilantro, lassan chutney.

Vegetarian Indian Black Dal (Dal Makhani) Recipe Charisma Shah
 please note that this is an estimate

please note that this is an estimate


A couple years ago, I was eating at this quaint little Spanish restaurant in downtown Decatur (Atlanta) called the Iberian Pig.  I was hosting my favorite college friends for a reunion and we were eating there for dinner.  Although not seemingly vegetarian friendly, the staff modified several of dishes so that I could share alongside my friends, including one amazing ravioli dish smothered in a pistachio cream sauce.  The sauce left such a lasting impression on me that I went on to try recreating it for the HUBS.  Its now one of our favorite (super easy) recipes!




  1. 1 tbs butter
  2. 1/2 tsp olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  4. pinch of crushed red pepper
  5. 30 - 40 pistachios (unsalted)
  6. 1 c heavy whipping cream
  7. 1 c whole milk
  8. 1/2 c grated parmesan
  9. handful of fresh spinach (for color/optional)
  10. freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  11. salt to taste


  1. In a nonstick saucepan, melt the butter over medium - low heat
  2. Add the olive oil and minced garlic.  Sauté until golden.
  3. Add the crushed red pepper and sauté until aromatic. 
  4. Remove shells from pistachios, then add pistachios to saucepan.  Cook for 5 - 7 minutes or until aromatic.  
  5. Add cream & milk.  Bring to a light simmer.  Stir frequently to prevent the milk from burning.
  6. Remove from heat and allow sauce to cool.  Blend (with spinach) until smooth and then return to pan.
  7. Add the parmesan and stir until smooth.  
  8. Serve with al dente spaghetti and veggies of choice (we love eating this sauce with sauted asparagus, mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach)!
 Spaghetti smothered in homemade pistachio cream sauce served with mushrooms, onions, and spinach.

Spaghetti smothered in homemade pistachio cream sauce served with mushrooms, onions, and spinach.





  1. 1/2 box of fettuccine
  2. 2 tsp minced garlic
  3. 2 tbs butter
  4. 2 tsp truffle oil
  5. 1/8 tsp dried parsley
  6. pinch of crushed red pepper
  7. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  8. 1 tbs minced shallot
  9. 7-10 dried mushrooms (blended into a powder)
  10. 1 tsp minced fresh parsley
  11. 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  12. 1/2 cup whole milk
  13. 1/3 cup of starchy water from boiled pasta
  14. 2/3 c grated parmesan


  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat
  3. Add the truffle oil.
  4. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden.  
  5. Add the minced shallots and sauté until translucent.
  6. Add the pinch of crushed red pepper, dried parsley and sauté for about a minute.
  7. Add the cream and milk, bring to a light simmer.
  8. Add the powdered dried mushrooms.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the parmesan and stir slowly until completely melts.  
  10. Drain most of the starchy water from the boiled pasta, keep 1/3 cup and add to the sauce along with the boiled pasta.
  11. Garnish with fresh parsley and stir.
Truffled Mushroom Fettuccine Recipe Charisma Shah
Truffled Mushroom Fettuccine Recipe Charisma Shah