Hearty Lentil & Adlai Salad

Hearty Lentil & Adlai Salad

Salads are a staple to our family table. We are quite big on vegetables at home. What I love about this particular recipe is that it is high on protein (from the lentils), and has a good amount of healthy carbs (from the adlai). Though it makes a great side dish, this can also be an easy main that packs well for school lunches the next day. It is light, yet quite hearty and will fill you up. This salad can be enjoyed cold during the summer, and warm when it is raining outside!


1 cup dry lentils, washed

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 bay leaf

1 shallot, sliced

2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

½ cup squash, chopped

½ cup sweet potato, chopped

2 tablespoons CONTADINA olive oil

1 can CONTADINA diced tomatoes, strained

½ cup adlai, cooked

1 bunch romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

1 bunch baby spinach, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons CONTADINA Extra Virgin olive oil

a pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Boil water and ass lentils, garlic clove and bay leaf. Leave to cook at medium heat.
  2. Once cooked, strain lentils. Set aside.
  3. Marinate shallot in balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  4. Place squash and sweet potatoes in baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast squash and sweet potato at 300c until cooked but still firm (around 15-20 minutes). Once done, cool completely.
  6. Once lentils, adlai, and vegetables are cooked and cooled, combine in a salad bowl with spinach, lettuce, and diced tomato
  7. Put shallots and all the vinegar in, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and toss until properly dressed.
  9. You may chill before serving.
  10. If you would like to serve this warm, just skip the cooling process.
Comforting Veggie Pene

Comforting Veggie Pene

An easy dish like this is the perfect ‘go-to’ for moms on the run, a quick dinner, a simple potluck, or a freeze-ahead meal. I love it because the sauce is packed with vegetables. In fact, you can add whatever vegetable you have in the fridge. I have used zucchini, eggplant, spinach, and even plant based meat substitutes. For pickier eaters, you may grate the vegetables instead of chopping or mincing. Asides from a healthy weekday meal, leftovers make for the perfect guilt-free mommy snack throughout the day.


1 package CONTADINA pene pasta

3-4 tablespoons CONTADINA olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 white onion, chopped

1 large carrot, minced

1 package fresh button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

1 bottle CONTADINA Aglio Arrostito pasta sauce

½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1,2 cup cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Cook pene until al dente, strain (saving half a cup of pasta water), drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, white onion, carrot, and mushrooms. Let simmer over medium heat.
  3. Once vegetables are softened, add CONTADINA Aglio Arrostito pasta sauce.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and let continue to simmer over low heat.
  5. Once sauce has reduced, add cooked pasta and pasta water and combine well.
  6. Transfer to a baking dish and top with a mix of your grated cheeses. Bake until cheese is bubbly and brown.
  7. Serve hot. This dish is best paired with garlic bread.
Savagely Good Dining Experience with American Express

Savagely Good Dining Experience with American Express

In the last decade or so, Manila has become a hub for local foodies – from chefs to restaurateurs, critics, home cooks, and every epicurious individual in between. The restaurant scene has elevated, with delicious options that cross cultures, making use of both local and imported ingredients alike. Whether you are looking for an organic farm-to-table spot, or something with a sophisticated flair that specializes in gastronomic cuisine – you will surely have a slew of places to choose from.


And because of this, American Express has partnered with four of Manila’s most esteemed chefs to allow Cardmembers to ‘taste the experience’ with #AMEXFORFOODIES.  Being a loyal American Express Cardmember myself, I was excited to know that I could use my card in some of my favorite local restaurants to get complimentary treats!


My first stop in the #AMEXFORFOODIES dining experience was at Chef Josh Boutwood’s ‘Savage.’ I have followed his career closely because I was given the opportunity to do a piece on him back when he was new to the Manila food scene. Savage definitely did not disappoint. From our refreshing starters of Fresh Carabao Cheese with heirloom tomatoes and Beef Carpaccio, along with an order of my favorite—the sinfully rich, yet surprisingly light Deviled Eggs (We got an extra serving* of this crowd pleaser, thanks to my American Express Credit Card!), to the superb mains—perfectly cooked Grilled Octopus, tasty Ribeye with charred onions, and Pork Belly—paired with their famous Savage Rice and excellent Grilled Corn—my friends and I were very happy. We ended on a sweet note, having the Sticky Toffee Pudding, generously topped with vanilla ice cream.

I had a wonderful experience and look forward to using my American Express Credit Card at other #AMEXFORFOODIES partner restaurants of Chefs Robby Goco, Miko Aspiras and Chele Gonzalez. Do catch these one of a kind dining experiences, courtesy of American Express so that you too can taste the experience with #AMEXFORFOODIES.


If you want to know more about #AMEXFORFOODIES, just visit bdo.deals/AMEXforFoodies


*For every two main entrees ordered. Minimum of two (2) dining patrons.



Savage is one of those go -to restaurants I frequent. Sharing some of my favorite dishes – Tuna Tartar (ginger, wasabi, cilantro, tamari and onion), Deviled Eggs, Grilled ½ Chicken (holy basil, pickled radish), Pulpo or Octopus (fresh shiso, sesame and calamansi),  Eggplant (avar and pickled mustard leaf) and the excellent Grilled Corn (harrisa and aioli).