Recipe Redo Blog

Traditional Recipes Redone…Healthier

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Butter Lettuce with Kiwis and Raspberry Viniagrette

For a healthy crunch to brighten your day, consider tossing together a plate of veggies and fruit! This recipe is packed full of everything delicious! Christine Denney, food director of The Oaks at Ojai Spa has a way of making salads that will leave you feeling reenergized and refreshed. I’m in love with the way the kiwis and raspberry vinaigrette add a summer flair that is reminiscent of poolside days. Enjoy this salad on-the-go at work or bring it to a picnic!


Butter Lettuce with Kiwis and Raspberry Vinaigrette

The Greens

  • 1 large head butter lettuce, leaves washed and dried
  • 1 basket fresh raspberries
  • 2 kiwis

Divide lettuce leaves among six salad plates.  Adorn each plate with several slices of kiwi, and divide the berries evenly among them.  Dress with the vinaigrette, below.

The Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 T. honey or agave
  • 1/2 T. arrowroot
  • 1/4 c. raspberry vinegar
  • 1/4 t. stone ground mustard

Combine water, honey and arrowroot in a small sauce pan and cook over low heat to thicken.  Whisk vinegar and mustard into dressing and mix well.  Chill before using.

Nutritional Information:  per serving

  • 6 servings/250 calories each
This recipe was originally penned by Christine Denney, Food Services Director at the Oaks at Ojai Spa. Her recipes are always fresh and inspired by her love of nutrition and eating well. You can find that her cookbook, Recipes from the Heart, is available to purchase here. For more recipes from Christine, check out her chef spotlight  page on Recipe Redo.

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Lentil Burrito Bowls

What I find stunning about this recipe is the deconstructed aspect of the burrito bowl in that all the veggies look as if they are on display. Tossing out out the tortilla allows for the same yummy mix of flavors to shine! I’ve found too that this recipe is easier to eat when it is in this form. No need to get your hands dirty like you would with a classic burrito, a simple fork and knife will do. For an added kick, try amping up the flavor with a bit of homemade salsa on the side to truly make this dish come together.


Lentil Burrito Bowls

Ingredients: (3-4 Servings)

  • 2 cups green lentils or brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Optional toppings: roasted peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa and corn.

For detailed directions that explain how to prepare this Deconstructed Lentil Burrito Bowl, visit the blog My Whole Food Life.

This recipe was originally penned by Melissa, a healthy eats expert that calls Dallas home. She is a self-proclaimed vegetarian of 16 years and considers cooking her true passion and loves developing recipes for her popular blog My Whole Food Life You can connect with the food-maven on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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Polenta Cake with Grilled Vegetables and Red Bell Pepper Sauce

Healthful recipes from The Oaks at Ojai by Christine Denney

Today we have the excellent opportunity to share a recipe from Christine Denney– executive chef and Food Services Director at The Oaks at Ojai. This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free and soy-free. There is even an option for vegans to modify the Polenta Cake by using a vegan cheese. So what’s not to love? We promise that this recipe will delight the tastebuds and have you thinking about eating well in an entirely different way. You’ll be astounded at how well being healthy can taste!


Polenta Cake with Grilled Vegetables and Red Bell Pepper Sauce


(6 Servings, 175 calories each)

  • ½ cup polenta or corn meal
  • 1 ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ¼  cup grated  Parmesan cheese


Bring water to a boil and slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly.  Add the onion, garlic and olive oil and continue cooking for about 30 minutes.  (This is most easily accomplished in a double-boiler over hot water.)  While cooking, spray an 8 x 10 baking dish with a nonstick spray  or brush with a little olive oil.  Pour the cooked and thickened polenta into the pan, spreading evenly so that each round will be about ½ inch thick.  (If you brush your spatula with olive oil, it will be easier to spread.)

Refrigerate the polenta until set. (For this amount ½-1 hour should be plenty of time.)
After it sets, use a 2 ½-3 inch cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of the polenta.  Save the rest for another use or remold. (In lieu of a cookie cutter, you can use a small can—from beans, etc—and remove the top and bottom to make a cutter.)

On a baking pan (a cookie sheet works well), arrange the polenta circles.  On top of each, arrange the following: (for 6 people, one eggplant, 2 zucchini, 2 large portobellos)

1 slice grilled eggplant
1 piece roasted bell pepper
½ oz. mozzarella cheese
2 slices grilled zucchini
A few slices of grilled portobello mushroom or, if baby “bellos”, you can use the whole thing                                       ½ oz. mozzarella cheese (this is a small, thin slice—you can also use fresh mozzarella if you like.)

After layering, the polenta cakes can be refrigerated until you are ready to bake them.  If chilled add about ten minutes baking time.  If room temperature, they just need to heat through and the cheese needs to melt—about 30 minutes in a moderate oven at 350 degrees.
Garnish with freshly chopped basil and the following sauce—just puree it all in a blender or food processor:
½ cup roasted bell pepper
½ tsp. black  pepper
1 TBS. fresh basil
1 TBS. olive oil


Original article posted at The Oaks at Ojai.  To see more recipes from Christine, you can find her Chef Spotlight Page for Recipe Redo here.

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Chef Spotlight – Chef Raju

Meet Chef Raju: Head Chef at The Art of Living Retreat Center


Chef RajuChef Raju Bhujel has traveled a long way from home to please guests who dine at the Art of Living Retreat Center. The Center is located near the blue Ridge Parkway outside of Boone, N.C.; Chef Raju is originally from Nepal. Drawing on flavors and spices that span his culinary journey, Chef Raju presents vegetarian dining that is creative, filling and delicious. Meals are served in a 41,000-square-foot dining hall with captivating mountain views.

His culinary experience included learning extensively from his father-in-law, formerly the personal chef to the late king of Nepal. Chef Raju continued his studies professionally, graduating from the National Institute of Hotel Management and working at one of Nepal’s leading hotels. He expanded his horizons by traveling with Crowne Plaza to work in the Middle East, around the world with Carnival Cruise Lines, and at a Michelin-starred restaurant in California.

Specializing in fusion as well as South- and Southeast-Asian cuisine, Chef Raju creates vegetarian menus in the Center’s alcohol-free environment. He describes success in cooking as, “Coming from a fusion of consistency and equanimity.” Chef Raju also believes that cooking is a mindful activity, “I love to prepare food that makes guests feel happy and balanced. Food that is simple and easy to digest.”

The Art of Living Retreat Center includes a Meditation Center that can hold up to 3,700 people, additional halls for events, a labyrinth, pottery studio and gardens. Shankara Ayurveda Spa is one part of the experience at the Center. Including a boutique hotel with three spa suites and 27 rooms, as well as wellness and fitness activities, the Center is quickly becoming known as a great spot for retreatists.

To arrange an interview with Chef Raju,
please contact Debra Locker – 859.536.0282 and

Visit The Art of Living Retreat Center 

Visit Shankara Ayurveda Spa


Chef Raju’s Recipes on Recipe Redo:

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Three Grain Burgers

As the blooms on the trees indicate– warmer weather is making it’s impact. Soon, this will lead to barbecues and patio parties galore! Why not try out this Three Grain Burger and have it star as your main dish? There is a large variety of bean burger recipes, but this meatless option stands out to me with it’s daring taste and nutritious ingredients. What I love about this recipe is the extended option to add smoked gouda pimentos and fried avocados to amp up the flavor even more. Try this recipe out and comment below to share your success!


Image from Vegetarian Ventures

Three Grain Burger with Smoked Gouda Pimento & Fried Avocado


For the patties:

  • 1 cup wheatberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup whole wheat rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup oats, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • salt / pepper
  • flour, as needed

Detailed directions, ingredients and an extended recipe can be found by heading over to Vegetarian Ventures.

Vegetarian Ventures is an excellent resource for those who lead a vegetarian lifestyle. Their eye catching photos featured on their blog are indicative of the food’s wonderful taste! Keep up with VV  on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Slow Cooker Breakfast Quinoa

This recipe is a no stress and no sweat kind of meal (those are the best kind in my opinion). Some days a simple and guilt-free recipe is exactly what you need to jumpstart the morning and get the kids to school on time. Slow cookers are an often overlooked kitchen essential that should be utilized to their full time-saving potential. A slow cooker is are a wonderful addition to the kitchen of an on-the-go family, and is essential to preparing this breakfast quinoa. Prepping for this meal is unbelievably easy, just throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker before you go to bed and set it to low overnight. In the morning this quinoa will be ready to serve for a deliciously healthy breakfast!


Slow Cooker Breakfast Quinoa

Ingredients: (5 Servings)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups milk (or almond milk)
  • 4 medjool dates chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 apple peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For detailed directions that explains how to prepare this Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake, visit the blog My Whole Food Life.

This recipe was originally penned by Melissa, a healthy eats expert that calls Dallas home. She is a self-proclaimed vegetarian of 16 years and considers cooking her true passion and loves developing recipes for her popular blog My Whole Food Life You can connect with the food-maven on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.



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Black Lentil Salad with Cumin Lime

With the lentils, black beans and veggies in between, this hearty meal will have you feeling full and satisfied. Add this recipe to your repertoire and this summer you will have an excellent way to showcase your garden produce! Preparation for this dish is pretty straightforward– to save some time it is most efficient to work on the salad dressing while the lentils are cooking. Feel free to serve this dish immediately following preparation or let the salad chill overnight before serving; this gives the dish’s flavors some time to combine.


Image from the Garden Grazer

Black Lentil Salad with Cumin Lime


  • 1 cup dry lentils (green or brown)
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes
  • Large bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • Optional: green onion

For the Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Optional: chipotle powder, chili powder, pepper, hot sauce, other seasonings, etc.
You can find detailed instructions for this recipe on the blog The Garden Grazer. Enjoy!
Kaitlin, of the blog The Garden Grazer is a self proclaimed vegetable enthusiast who enjoys making recipes that complement her passion for veggies. Her blog features recipes that are a creative and delicious take on eating fresh. For more from Kaitlin and all things The Garden Grazer, connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.