Category: Vegetarian Corner

Chickpea Rotini Pesto Pasta Salad

Chickpea Rotini Pesto Pasta Salad

Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Barilla US. All opinions and recipe are solely mine.


When will this heat let up? Not anytime soon here in California. Usually when the temperatures are scorching I like al fresco dining. Sometimes my family will enjoy dinner in our patio, and other times we will pack up our meal and head out for a picnic in the fresh air.  Doesn’t matter where we decide to eat there is always a salad involved. Lately my go-to meal is a delicious Chickpea Rotini Pesto Salad. I present it as a main meal, and always serve it cold.

I am constantly looking for ways to add more protein and fiber to my salads and have been using @BarillaUS Chickpea Rotini Pasta because it offers just that. Barilla leveraged its more than 140+ years of expertise to create pasta with one simple ingredient – chickpea flour. They offer a delicious taste and always “al dente” texture. Plus it is certified gluten free, and non-GMO Project Verified. Perfect for health- conscious food lovers, like me.


I usually make a batch of Chickpea Rotini Pesto Pasta Salad and keep it in little bowls in the fridge to grab and eat as a mid-day meal or for a quick dinner. Try the recipe and let me know what you think! You can also check out my IG stories to shop for the ingredients.


Ingredients for Barilla Chickpea Rotini Pasta Salad in a Pesto Sauce:

  • 1 box Barilla Chickpea Rotini Pasta (cooked according to box instruction)
  • A jar Barilla Pesto Sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup olives
  • 1 ½ cup arugula
  • ½ cup red onion


Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix until fully combined! I like to sprinkle a little more pine nuts and feta on top, but this of course is optional.


Click here to shop for Barilla Chickpea and Red Lentil Pasta

Tlacoyos de frijol y queso

Tlacoyos de frijol y queso


Tlacoyos de frijol y queso: an oval-shaped Mexican dish of pre- Hispanic origin made of masa, like a long football. They are thicker than fresh corn tortillas. Tlacoyos de frojol are stuffed with cheese and beans before being fried or toasted. They are served as an appetizers for celebrations or main meal. Topped with salsa verde and cotija cheese.

Today, as we kick off Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15th to October 15th I can’t help but to think of all the delicious food Latino Americans make to celebrate our culture and preserve these traditions for our children. Latino food contributions are prevalent everywhere you look here in the United States! The delicious flavors of Real California Hispanic-style cheeses and cremas help elevate meals with quality, authentic ingredients. Let’s face it, we can’t have any type of celebration without QUESO Y CREMA! I always look for the Real California Milk seal, to reassure I’m getting authentic products made with sustainably sourced milk from family farms.

I like to think of food as a social connection, one where we can all agree. Studies show Mexican food as the most beloved cuisine in the country and it makes me happy to connect with people on that level by sharing my Mexican recipes. Recipes my grandparents shared with me that their grandparents shared wth them. Many generations of food knowledge passed down here to the United States to be enjoyed by you and me.


I hope you will jump in the kitchen over the next 30 days in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Whip up these delicious Tlacoyos de frijol y queso. They are absolutely delicious and tie us both to our roots in Mexico and our feet in America.


Ingredients for Tlacoyos De Frijol Y Queso:

  • 2 cups masa harina corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups warm to hot water
  • 1/2 cup refried pinto beans
  • 1 cup Oaxaca cheese, grated
  • green salsa
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 cup crema con sal


Mix masa harina corn flour, salt and warm water in a bowl until fully combined. Knead for a few minutes until it feels soft and a bit springy. Should not be sticky or dry.

Cover masa with a damp towel and allow to rest for an hour.

Divide masa equally into 8 parts. Roll each piece of masa into a ball. Keep masa balls covered with damp towel while you work.

Preheat comal or griddle over a medium high flame.

Flatten a ball of masa between two pieces on plastic in a tortilla press or between two heavy books to form a circle.

Spread 1 tablespoon of beans on the inside center of the masa then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grated Oaxaca cheese on top of beans. Fold masa in half to enclose the beans and cheese. Press the outer rim of the masa firmly with your fingers to completely seal. It should look like a folded taco.

Place Tlacoyo back on plastic in the tortilla press and shape each end into a pointy tip. Then slightly press again in tortilla press to flatten a bit, leaving the tlacoyo still a bit thick.

Place the Tlacoyo on the comal and toast for about 3 minutes, then flip it to the other side. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Oaxaca cheese on the already toasted side and allow it to melt while the other side toasts. Once the cheese is melted flip the melted cheese side directly onto the comal and let it cook until it crisps. I’d say around 3 minutes.

Remove from comal and top with green salsa, 1 tablespoon cotija, and drizzle 1 tablespoon crema con sal.

Repeat until all are made.

Eat immediately.



Visit the RCM website for more amazing recipes using Real California Milk Hispanic Dairy!

Churro Cup Fried Ice Cream Banana Split

Churro Cup Fried Ice Cream Banana Split


I’m having the most delicious Summer! #SnackHappy vibes all around in this house. I’ve been whipping up Churro Cup Fried Ice Cream Banana Splits in my kitchen to enjoy as a sunset treat. The crispy cinnamon dusted churro is the perfect ice cream bowl for a scoop of vanilla, some banana action, crunchy cornflakes, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry on top. Okay, so I didn’t actually fry the ice cream, but the corn flake crumbles give it that CRUNCH. The whole bowl is so dreamy… so creamy! I usually ditch the spoon and just eat it with my hand.

Mini Apple Pies

Mini Apple Pies


I usually repurpose one of my senior pie photos on #PiDay because I make pie all year round. I felt this year deserved a brand new photo and something a little fantasy and hopeful. Mini apple pies seem to be a good portrayal of how I’ve been feeling. It’s almost as if I could touch the beginning of Spring and am anticipating some happy changes in the next couple of months. Fingers crossed. To be completely honest, I’ve hit the pandemic fatigue wall and know we are in the final stretch… just gotta hold on tight a little longer.

Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas

Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas


I’ve been making Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas for a while now. When I first started sharing my food creations back in 2011 I made a potato corn and cheese version of these empanadas… at the time I was calling them ‘Presley’s Pantry Veggie Gourmet Empanada/Pockets!’ – I know that’s a mouth full. I had decided to share them back then after hosting my extended family over for dinner one night. It was something to document since they had been a huge hit.

Torta De Milanesa De Calabacita

Torta De Milanesa De Calabacita


I remember it like it was yesterday.  I had just crossed the border into Tijuana, Mexico with my Dad (which was a rare occasion, since I hardly ever spent time with him).  He was determined to take me on an adventure and show me all the customs of TJ. From the stories that my Dad shared, TJ was a place with no rules, a grown-up fun house where you could take your shoes off and run through the streets and no one would say anything or look twice.  He also had a big love for the food and was hard set on taking me to his favorite torta shop.  My Dad has always loved a good torta de milanesa and this is one thing I know for sure about him, so I wasn’t surprised when this was the first thing he had on our agenda.

Enchiladas Rojas de Queso

Enchiladas Rojas de Queso


Enchiladas Rojas de Queso make me really happy because I know I’m about to bite into the most heavenly dish. I think it’s fair to say enchiladas are my most favorite thing to eat of all time. They hold such a heavy anchor to my childhood, and my grandfather making them for our family. He would make his own enchilada sauce, and my little eyes would watch worried they might be too hot. They never were…. they were perfect.

As I got older I realized enchiladas were a source of comfort for me, wanting them for birthdays or anytime I needed a little extra pop of pizazz in my life. I learned many ways of making them over the years from canned enchilada sauce to various types of fillings and cheeses. Gotta be honest, it’s only been on a very rare occasion I’ve met one I didn’t like, but nothing quite hits like the ones my grandfather used to make.

I have taken his enchiladas rojas de queso recipe and made it more times than I can count, and have the homemade enchilada sauce down. At this point I believe mine taste just like his and am grateful that I still have that little piece of him here on earth… even if only through an enchilada.


Ingredients for Enchiladas Rojas de Queso:

  • 1 white onion
  • 2.5 oz New Mexico Chile
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2.5 oz California Chile
  • 2 Pasilla-Ancho Chiles
  • Salt (to taste)
  • corn tortilla 
  • vegetable oil
  • queso fresco 
  • 1/4 of red onion, sliced in rings
  • cilantro
  • crema


Enchilada sauce:

  1. Let’s make enchilada sauce! Boil onion, New Mexico chile, garlic, California chile, pasilla-ancho chiles, and salt until chiles soften about 35 minutes. 
  2. Remove chiles from water and discard stem and (optional seeds). 
  3. Place all chile skins, onion, garlic, and 3 cups of boiled chile water to blender. Blend until smooth. 
  4. Pour chile sauce mixture through a sieve and into a bowl. Press chile flesh against sieve to squeeze out all the liquid. Discard any seeds and skin collected in sieve. Place to the side until ready to use. 

Enchilada time:

  1. Fill a frying pans with 1 cup vegetable oil over a med-high flame.  Allow to get hot.
  2. In a seperate frying pan, fill with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over a medium flame and allow it to heat. Pour in 3 to 4 cups of your enchilada sauce. Let the oil and chile combine then lower your flame very low to simmer the chile.
  3. Dip your corn tortilla into the frying pan filled with oil, and let it fry on each side for 30 seconds. What you’re looking for is a tortilla that is slightly hard but still bends.
  4. Dip the fried tortilla into the enchilada sauce with tongs.
  5. Remove the dipped tortilla from pan and place on a clean surface.
  6. Fill the center of the tortilla with 2 tablespoons of cheese.
  7. Gently roll into a tube shape.
  8. Place in a 9×13 baking dish. Then start the frying process all over again until you fill your baking dish with as many enchiladas as you can.
  9. Once the baking dish is filled take remaining enchilada sauce from hot pan and spoon over top. 
  10. Drizzle crema over the enchiladas, then sprinkle a couple tablespoons of queso fresco and chopped cilantro over the top. Lastly adorn with red onion slices.
  11. Enjoy!

Looking for a delicious bowl of lentils? Click here.