Category Archives: vegan

Red Lentil Daal & Spiced Rice

This is a quick and easy dish, a nice alternative to rice & beans to get your legume/whole grain protein in.  Pics to come soon.

DAAL

Start lentils cooking in a medium saucepan on the stove. Boil water first then add lentils, ginger/turmeric & salt.

  • 3.5 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • pinch of ginger and/or turmeric – fresh if you have it, can either mince or juice. Powder will do if fresh not avail.
  • pinch of sea salt

Boil & cook for about 10-15 mins

(get the rice started, see recipe below)

While the lentils & rice are cooking (separately), in either a medium saucepan or large frying pan, heat 1-2 Tbs of olive oil. When hot, add seasonings (choose 2, 3, 4, all or whatever you have)

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp masala
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced

Cook for just a few mins until fragrant, then add cooked lentils and let the seasonings meld together.  Add your choice of any of the following – usually I’ll select 2-3 items, or whatever you have around, or none at all is fine too. Cook another 5-10 mins or so on low-medium.

  • 1 potato – regular or sweet, cubed and steamed/boiled before adding
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas or other veggie
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked/sprouted if you have time, otherwise can if that’s all you have)
  • 1-2 carrots , cubed and steamed/boiled before adding
  • 1/2 cup tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets, steamed & cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach

BASMATI RICE PILAF

oil, 1-2 Tbs – I like coconut
seasonings such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, about 1/2 tsp each
1 cup dry basmati rice
1.5 cups water
dash sea salt
about 1/2 cup or more if you like of your choice of veggies – i.e, frozen peas, corn, broccoli, carrots

In a medium saucepan (that has a lid), heat oil. Add choice of seasonings and heat until fragrant, about a minute.

Add rice and let sizzle in the oil for 2-3 mins.

Add water, and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce to low, and simmer for 10-15 mins – check after 10 mins – Done when moisture is absorbed. Fluff with a fork to test consistency.

About 5 mins in to cooking – add frozen veggies.

Serve with Red Lentil Daal and warmed pita bread (I keep stocked in freezer). A dollop of cashew cream goes nicely as well (takes 3 mins to whip up but need hour duration for soaking of cashews, see prior post)

Advertisements
Image

Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is one of my favorite live foods. Cashews are one of those nuts that don’t require an overnight soaking period (1-2 hrs is what I typically do), and are super creamy. Add a handful (soaked) to any soup + Vitamix to make it “cream of”.

Cashews are an excellent natural heart health whole food. The high levels of magnesium help protect against high blood pressure, + high antioxidant content. They’re also rich in iron, phosphorus, selenium, copper and zinc. They are also a good source of protein with about 5g/ounce. To read more about the health benefits of this delicious nut, click HERE.

BASIC CASHEW CREAM

STEP 1- Soak ~1 cup raw, unsalted cashews for 1-3 hrs.

WHY? When nuts/seeds are soaked and/or sprouted in water, the germination process begins and the nut is awakened from a dormant state. Active and readily available amounts of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids begin to be activated and multiply exponentially. Enzyme inhibitors are released along with other toxicities, thus why you always want to rinse well after soaking. Read more HERE.

soakingcashews

Step 2 – rinse well, put in the Vitamix. add water – just enough to barely cover the cashews. Add juice of one lemon, 1/2 tsp sea salt.
Blend on high until well pureed. Add more water if needed, enough so the vitamix can do it’s thing. Refrigerate, it will thicken as it chills. You can use as sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, etc. Flavor it with lemon rind, lime rind, fresh pepper. For a dessert topping, sweeten with a couple dates or maple syrup and some lemon rind, little vanilla.

cashewcrea2

Store in the fridge in a pint size mason jar, usually good for 3-5 days.

For an ALFREDO CREAM SAUCE twist, add lemon zest, 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar, pinch of sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste.
Sautee onions or veggies of your choice in a skillet (carrots, broccoli, onion, red peppers etc) – I like coconut oil. Once caramelized, add the cashew cream and stir until well heated. Add noodles & toss gently until warmed.  Serve.

Zucchini Noodles

I love zucchini noodles. They are light, fresh, and good for you! I use 1-2 medium zucchinis per person, depending on if you are making a side or main dish.

High in fiber, water, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, zucchini offers an  abundance of nutrients. Read more here.

There is a fancy spiraling tool you can use, but I don’t have one (yet) so I use a regular vegetable peeler.

Step 1 – Remove skin & using vegetable peeler, make long wide “noodles” from the flesh. Work around middle seeds.

WP_002011

Step 2 – Stack a few and slice into fettuccini size strips using a large butcher knife. Set to drain in a colander  while you prepare sauce of your choice (another post).

WP_002018

Step 3 – warm your favorite sauce (I typically make either a fresh marinara or  cashew cream “alfredo” sauce)

Step 4 – add noodles to sauce and continue cooking 1-2 mins until softened and warmed

Serve! YUM!!

UPDATE: I got a fancy new spiralizer tool and am now making gorgeous zucchini noodles just by running it thru the tool

zuc noodles

Here’s the finished product – zucchini noodles w/lemon-pepper cashew cream YUM

zuc alf

Yam and Bean Patties

Talk about party in my mouth! Inspired by the West African Yam & Bean Patties recipe from THRIVE foods (Brendan Brazier), these vegan burgers are simply amazing, even my carnivore friends ask for seconds.  I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I made a modified version for dinner this week. THRIVE is one of my favorite  cookbooks, filled with really tasty and delicious recipes, it’s definitely one of the more regularly frequented on my shelf.

Here’s what I used:
coconut oil
1 chopped onion
3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped in cuisinart (super high in vitamin A)
1 large carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic (should have used more), chopped
about 1.5 cups white beans (I prefer to soak/sprout when I can)
1 cup cooked brown rice
about half cup chopped raw unsalted mixed nuts (almonds/walnuts/cashews)
spices: ginger, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt

In a little coconut oil, saute onions then add sweet potatoes and cook until mostly done (will cook fast). Add garlic & seasonings, stir and cook few more mins. Put mixture in large glass bowl.
In small bowl, roughly smash beans. Add to sweet potato mixture.
Add rice, carrots & nuts. Mix well, folding ingredients together as not to mash the potato.
Form into patties and cook in coconut oil (let crust form), or freeze for use later.
Makes 8.

I like to serve in a whole wheat bun garnished with avocado slices, tomato slices, sprouts, lettuce. AH-MAZINGINGLY DELICIOUS!!!

watermelon agua fresca

Believe it or not, watermelons are a vegetable, not a fruit. They are part of the Curcurbitacae family which includes cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. They are super nutritious and high in vitamins A & C. Watermelons are also a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, thiamine, magnesium, potassium and copper. They contain the antioxidant carotenoids beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene (in which it is especially high). Lypocene has been studied for it’s antioxidant activity and how it induces apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells but not normal cells. Prostate cancer in particular seems to be mentioned frequently with the study of lypocene.

Watermelonsbelieve to have originated in Africa, with the first recorded watermelon harvest nearly 5,000 years ago. Watermelons were held in such high regard by the Egyptians that they were even placed in the tombs of kings! Early explorers used them as canteens. Today watermelons are grown in over 96 countries with over 1,200 varieties.

What’s in a serving? One 10-oz wedge of watermelon contains 86 calories, 1.7 g protein (wow!) and 1.1 g fiber. The recipe below uses half of a small watermelon or about three 10-oz wedges. 5 g of protein in my juice, not bad!
Traditional aguas frescas are made with fresh fruit, water & sugar.  Since watermelon is plenty sweet and full of juices, I prefer to omit both when I make my own super easy Watermelon Agua Frescaat home.

HERE’S HOW:


Step 1 – select your watermelon

  1. Gently tap or knock on the watermelon. The more hollow the sound, the riper the melon.
  2. Look on the underside of the watermelon for the spot where it rested on the ground. This spot should be light yellow not white.
  3. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Look for one that weighs a little more than similar ones of the same size.
  4. Look at the stem area, it should be shrunken and dark green to brown.

Step 2 – slice & core
For this recipe, I use half of a small melon which I have pre-refrigerated so it’s cool and crisp. Leave the seeds in but cut the green/white rind off (although that part is perfectly edible).
Step 3 – Vitamix! If you don’t have a super duper Vitamix, any blender will do. Blend on high until seeds & fruit are well pulvarized. You know how much I love my Vitamix – it will pulverize any fruit or veggie down to it’s cellular level, creating a juice which your body can easily absorb with all those great vitamins while retaining all the fiber. I don’t add any water or liquid, tho I do use the push down tool the vitamix comes with to get it going.


Step 4 – Pour and serve

YUM-O! makes 2 tall glasses.

black beans | barley | bells

My new year “resolutions” are simple.  Create & nourish healthy habits – eat healthy, be happy, run more.  2010 was a year of transition & healing. 2011 is kicking off strong! Although it takes some building and consistency, you see it is actually a very simple equation:

eat healthy = helps me to run more effectively
eat healthy + run more = increase endorphins & makes me be happy

Since I practically took 2010 off and lost all my base, I needed to jump-start my rear into gear. I joined a 100 day challenge committing to be active daily for the first 100 days of 2011. This is plentiful time to re-create a healthy habit and helps me to run more. So far I am on track, and the increased endorphins are energizing.

Of course consistency is key and I’ve been recording my workouts on Daily Mile to help hold me accountable. I like the colorful charts & graphs they have. You can switch the filters & see improvement (pace, distance, duration, etc). It’s kinda like Facebook but all the commentary is on workout posts. Great way to create a virtual community which can be inspiring on those hard to get out the door days. What is important to remember for me is that every – single – time that I go out for a run, I ALWAYS come back feeling energized & refreshed. It is one of the best feelings.

So. Starting with the basics of eating healthy. Tonight’s dinner was BLACK BEANS, BARLEY & BELLSinspired by the Barley and Red Bean Bowl recipe in the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.  Because it has both legumes (black beans) and grains (barley), it forms a complete protein.  And the bell pepper is full of nutrients: high in vitamins C, A and B6, good source of vitamin E, folate, antioxidants, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese.  Nice!

I made it w/a couple minor variations and had all the ingredients on hand in the pantry plus an extra bell in the fridge. It turned out very tasty and made a huge amount so there will be leftovers for a few days.

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups water
1 vegetarian bouillon cube – low sodium
1 cup barley – uncooked
2.5 cups black beans – cooked  (about 1-1.5 cup dry – soak overnight then simmer for an hour)
1 colorful bell pepper – I used orange – yellow or red would be nice
2 tablespoons vegetarian worcestershire sauce
couple tablespoons under 1/4 cup olive oil
couple cloves of garlic – chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. boil water & bouillon cube in a medium saucepan
  2. reduce heat & add barley
  3. cover and let cook until all water is absorbed, about an hour (maybe little less)
  4. meanwhile chop bell pepper
  5. mix bell & black beans in medium-large bowl
  6. make dressing: shake in Tupperware or a glass jar the olive oil, worcestershire sauce,  garlic, salt & pepper
  7. mix barley w/beans & bell mixture once it’s finished cooking
  8. add dressing & toss
  9. ta-da & serve

swiss chard

Swiss chard is extremely nutritional, and a good source of Thiamin, Folate, Phosphorus and Zinc. It’s also a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. With one cup of chard, you’ll also get 3 grams of protein. With all these nutrients, I’m grateful that chard is also very tasty!

You may also be interested to know that recent research has shown chard leaves to  contain at least 13 different types of polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempferol, the cardioprotective flavonoid that’s also found in broccoli, kale and strawberries and his been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Besides kaempferol, one of the primary flavonoids found in the leaves of chard is a flavonoid called syringic acid, which has received special attention in recent research due to its blood sugar regulating properties. You can read more about the benefits of chard HERE.

Sautéed swiss chard over brown rice (or any other grains) is a delicious quick, easy and healthy meal. I  make this at least once a week.

HERE’S HOW:

Ingredients:
1 bunch swiss chard – any variety, organic preferred
1/2 onion – yellow, white or any bulb variety
olive oil
sea salt
pepper
brown rice
quinoa

brown rice and quinoa1) start rice cooking – brown will take about 45 mins. Double water to rice, and I like to throw in a handful of quinoa (along w/extra water) which adds some extra protein, fiber & iron.

2) while rice is cooking, chop onion (dime size pieces) and start sautéing in a splash of olive oil.

3) wash swiss chard – don’t dry. stack together lining up by stem. cut an inch or two inches of  stem. next cut cross wise, then length wise. you should have loosely chopped chard. This will shrink down once heated.

4) add chard to onions, folding the greens frequently with tongs to rotate the heat. add some grated nutmeg (not too much), then salt & pepper to taste.

5) once wilted, serve immediately over grains.

green smoothies

Green smoothies are one of my very most favorite morning drinks. yum yum yum!  I make mine in my VitaMix – a super high powered blender which pulvarizes the produce to it’s cellular level so that my body can easily absorb.

Here are some of the Health Benefits you might find interesting (see full blog post by green smoothie expert Victoria Boutenko)
  • Green smoothies are very nutritious. The ratio in them is optimal for human consumption; about 60% ripe organic fruit mixed with about 40% organic greens.
  • Green smoothies are easy to digest. When blended well, most of the cells in the greens and fruits are ruptured, making the valuable nutrients easy for the body to assimilate. Green smoothies literally start to get absorbed in your mouth.
  • Green smoothies, as opposed to juices, are a complete food because they still have fiber. Consuming fiber is important for our elimination system.
  • A molecule of chlorophyll closely resembles a molecule of human blood. According to teachings of Dr. Ann Wigmore, “consuming chlorophyll is like receiving a healthy blood transfusion”.
  • When consuming your greens in the form of green smoothies, you are greatly reducing the consumption of oils and salt in your diet.
HERE’S HOW
You’ll want about 60% fruit to 40% greens/veggies. I also add a wedge of lemon or lime. Be creative and use what you like. Here are some of my favorites:
Fruits: Green apple, green grapes, kiwi, melon. I use mostly green fruits in my green smoothies, but many recipes call for non-green.
Veggies: Spinach (very mild taste, you won’t even know it’s there!), Kale, Cucumber, Broccoli, Fresh herbs such as dill, basil, mint.
My favorite Good Morning Green Smoothie recipe
handful of green grapes
1 kiwi (peeled)
cucumber – leave skin on, about 1-1.5″ wedge
1/4 to 1/2 Granny Smith green apple (depending on size) – remove core/seeds
handful of spinach
small handful of broccoli
lemon wedge
little water (1/4-1/8 cup?)
couple ice cubes
blend on high for a couple minutes until pureed, garnish with cucumber & enjoy immediately!