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Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Hello hello!

School is going well, but busy. I just had my first exam of the new semester this week – whew! But I am so happy to finally be delving into the “meat” of the nutrition courses! This semester I am taking Methods in Nutrition Education, Energy Nutrients, Nutrition of the Life Cycle and Management in Dietetics; all of which are interesting in their own ways. Energy Nutrients is going to be toughest one because it is nutrition, chemistry and biology all coming together to talk about metabolism. Nutrition of the Life Cycle is the most interesting as we cover so much and get to do some case studies and “pretend” to be dietitians. I also started a new job at the local VA hospital as a diet aide. (I did the same thing previously, just at a different hospital, and for less money.) Three weeks in and all is well there too. Keeps me out of trouble, right?

And I am *trying* to be a good chairperson for our local support group. I have so many things I want to do with and for the group, but they all take time. Which is in short supply these days. And so I am working to improve my time management skills.

So, to honor that, I’ve been cooking, just nothing fancy. This is one of those easy and quick, no-recipe meals. An old friend of mine made this for me many years ago when I came to visit her (Hi, Jessi!). I’ve probably changed her recipe unknowingly over the years, but in spirit it is still her recipe.

Oh, and if you have some extra zucchini lying around from your overflowing garden, here’s another recipe to use up a couple of them!

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Italian Chickpea and Pasta Skillet

Adapted from Jessica’s recipe, as remembered by me

8 oz pasta, cooked

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced thinly into rounds

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 small zucchini, halved and sliced

1 Tbsp oregano

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1 can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups of fresh, chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste, (or nutritional yeast for vegan)

Cook the pasta according to the directions. (Tonight, for the first time, I tried Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa fusilli pasta. It was pretty good but be careful, it overcooks quick. I set the time for 6 minutes and it was already past al dente.)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium.Add onions and carrots and cook until the carrots begin to soften. (It will depend on how thinly they were sliced.) Add garlic and zucchini and cook until zucchini begins to soften. Stir in oregano. Then add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in salt to taste.

Serve over the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.

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No official name here, not even a *real* recipe, just a framework for you.

We fell in love with kale salads a few years ago. And I was actually surprised that my husband went for it the first time I made one!

I almost always have a bag of Trader Joe’s curly kale in the frig – it lasts quite a while and is pre-prepped (torn and washed) so this salad is easily thrown together. I also always have a ripe avocado – they’re either ripening on the counter or there are ripe ones *on hold* in the frig. This salad frequently accompanies our other “go-to” meal item, our homemade frozen tamales, as the flavors are complementary.

"Go-To" Kale Salad

“Go-To” Kale Salad

Kale, washed and torn from stems

Olive oil

Salt

Garlic powder

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Avocado, diced

Lemon (or lime) juice, just a squeeze, to taste (a few drops of bottled works in a pinch too!)

Sriracha Sauce (aka Rooster Sauce), to taste, if desired

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Place your kale in a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a dash of salt. Massage kale with your hands until the leaves are coated. Sprinkle with garlic powder and let it rest while you make the other parts of your meal; the leaves will soften. Top kale with remaining ingredients and serve.

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Well, it’s been a while! Let’s just say that it was a tough semester but I got through it with flying colors – and most of my sanity intact. (My husband may say otherwise.) Woo-hoo! In addition to school I was also volunteering and started working a couple of days per week at a hospital. So it’s been a blur, but I am finally beginning to feel like I can see straight again.

I am only taking one class during this summer semester and working two days a week so I should have a little extra time! Yay! I might actually be able to cook and blog about it again.

The past few months we’ve depended on more convenience foods than usual due to my crazy schedule. Dinners weren’t quite as elaborate as they had been. As well, there was one day per week this past semester where I was on campus the entire day and so I would bring a lunch and multiple snacks to keep me full and gluten free. I enjoyed using my thermos to bring hot or cold foods to eat, whether they were dinner leftovers, a can of soup or a heated up frozen dinner.

One of those items that I would make and stick in my thermos was Saffron Road’s frozen entrees. They have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. I buy both, the vegetarian ones for both of us and the non-vegetarian ones for me. I started buying the non-vegetarian ones when my local grocery store had them on sale since they say right on the package “Gluten Free Certified” by GFCO. (Not every single one of their products are certified GF but the vast majority are, please check out their FAQ’s for more information.) And I also could feel good about eating these meaty meals because the animals are humanely raised.

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Recently I was offered some free samples of their vegetarian frozen entrees and I was game. Unfortunately, finding the vegetarian entrees was a bit more challenging for me in this not-so-vegetarian-friendly, cattle-heavy state! I don’t often venture to Whole Foods but I was finally able to find the vegetarian entrees there. They had two of the vegetarian entrees to choose from: Manchurian Dumplings and Chana Saag (but the company produces many others).

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Look! You can even see the little GFCO stamp of approval in the bottom right corner!

The dumplings were intriguing and different. They are made of rice flour and vegetables and they tasted good. But I expected them to be more dumpling-like, in that they would have stayed together on my fork, more like a meatball would. Instead, they sort of crumbled when I tried to stab one with my fork. Despite this, the flavor was good and although it says spicy on the package, I didn’t find it to be especially spicy, although others might. I liked the tangy sauce as it had an interesting flavor profile. The basmati rice was perfectly cooked (surprising for a microwaved entree). It should also be noted that this entree is vegan – no animal products whatsoever. It comes in at 340 calories, mainly from the generous serving of rice, and only 6 g of protein. In the end, it was a tasty entree but not one I would likely buy again since it didn’t keep me very full for long. I liked the unique flavor and concept but it didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped.

Chana Saag Entree

The other entree was the Chana Saag, chickpeas in spinach, with cumin rice. This entree is vegetarian, it does contain dairy in the form of cream, as is typical of saag. This one was more my style as I love chickpeas (chana) and I love saag. And the cumin rice was dynamite. Again, the basmati rice was light and fluffy and nicely flavored. I could recommend this entree to almost anyone new to Indian flavors as it is not spicy, although it does have a lot of flavor from spices (it’s different, you know?). This one came in at 420 calories, more than the dumplings but also 12g of protein, since the chickpeas are the star of the show here.

This entree was more filling although I did go ahead and throw it over some fresh greens once it was cooked. I often do this with a frozen entree, to get more bang for my buck and to fill me up. (It’s something I learned from my time at Weight Watchers.) You can use anything, mixed salad greens, lightly steamed kale, spinach, etc. I like how when I spoon the hot entree over the greens it lightly wilts them. Try it!

I will definitely buy the Chana Saag again. And I will also continue to buy the meaty entrees for myself for emergencies.

So now for the GIVEAWAY – Saffron Road is offering one of my readers coupons for three free frozen entrees. And you can get either the meat-based or vegetarian entrees, your choice. All you have to do is visit the Saffron Road website and then come back here and indicate in the comments below which of their frozen entrees you’d be interested in trying. This giveaway will close next Wednesday, June 12th at midnight, mountain time. The winner will be notified via email on Thursday, June 13th.

Also, when you’re over on their website, check out the flavored crunchy chickpeas!! They sound awesome – and all three flavors are GF. I love making my own but haven’t done it in quite some time. I am keeping my eyes peeled for these!

*Products were provided free of charge but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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This recipe comes to us from one of my favorite blogs, Use Real Butter. Not only is she a fabulous cook but an amazing photographer too. (And she has a super sweet black Lab who often cameos, how could I not be smitten?) The first time I made this, like with most new recipes, I make it the way it is written. But hubby wasn’t too keen on it. I think it was the tahini flavor that got him. So the next few times I’ve made it with almond butter instead, which for us paired better with the maple, orange and sliced almonds. I also prefer a less oily dressing usually, so I reduced the oil.

I’ve also made this for a GF Gals night and one of our local support group potlucks. It has gone over well at both occasions.

Crunchy Kale Salad | Beyond Rice and Tofu

Crunchy Kale Salad

Adapted from Use Real Butter

4 cups kale, stems removed, torn
2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped if large

Dressing:

1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp almond butter
pinch of salt, if desired
3 Tbsp olive oil


Whisk together the orange juice, maple syrup, almond butter, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Slowly add the olive oil while constantly whisking.

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Note:

It’s best if the dressing is stirred in an hour or two before serving so that it has a chance to soften the raw kale leaves, especially if the recipients aren’t as big on raw kale as we are.  Or, if you love raw kale salads, you can make it and serve it right up.

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I ended up with the flu this past week. First time in more than 12 years. But it got me. I made these the day that I was starting to get sick, but I was still in denial. I was SURE I was just getting a bad cold. Nope. But luckily I didn’t lose my appetite while I was sick. And these leftovers called my name all week in the frig. I had to make a deal with the hubby to split the last of them, we both loved them so much.

We enjoyed these topped with a dab of sour cream, chopped avocado and my homemade tomatillo salsa with its tangy taste, which is a nice complement to the other sweet and savory elements.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Tacos | Beyond Rice and Tofu

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Tacos

1 pound of sweet potatoes, 1/4″ dice

2 tsp oil, divided

2-1/2 tsp cumin, divided

2-1/2 tsp chile powder, divided

3/4 tsp salt, divided

1 onion, chopped

2 cups cooked black beans

3 cups kale, torn

Corn tortillas

Sour cream (omit for vegan or dairy-free)

Avocado, chopped

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Preheat oven to 450*. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chile powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Arrange potatoes on baking sheet. Roast for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how small you cut them, turning once.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion until tender. Add remaining 1-1/2 tsp cumin, 1-1/2 tsp chili powder and stir, cook for 1 minute. Mix in black beans. Add kale and 1/4 cup of water and stir well. Cook until kale is wilted down. Add roasted sweet potato and cook until potato is heated through again. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste. Add more cumin and/or chili powder as desired.

Heat a skillet or griddle on medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil and allow to heat through. Lightly fry corn tortillas in oil on both sides.

Assemble tacos with sweet potato mixture, sour cream, chopped avocado and tomatillo salsa in corn tortillas.

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Here is a tasty meal to help you with eating more vegetables in the New Year! First up, spinach!

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

inspired by others, long ago…(not sure where or who)

1 Tbsp oil

1 large onion, chopped

1-1/2 Tbsp ginger, grated

1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (more or less)

1-1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

1-14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

6 cups fresh spinach, torn if large

1/4 – 1/2 cup water, (depending on how juicy your tomatoes are)

1/2 tsp salt

plain yogurt

rice, if desired

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until soft. Stir in the ginger and saute for another minute or so. Stir in the curry paste and sugar until the onions are coated with the paste and there are few lumps, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and let it simmer for a minute or two. Stir in the spinach and water and cook until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, taste and add more if desired. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, over brown rice.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Click on over and check out the other recipes!

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Still feeling like you indulged too much over the recent holiday? Here’s a healthy, hearty chili to offset some of those feelings of guilt.

Chili with Smoked Gouda-Squash Pupusas

Three Bean Chipotle Butternut Chili

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

1 cab diced tomatoes

8 oz can tomato sauce

2 cups (or more) vegetable broth

12 oz butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into chunks, pre-cooked slightly *

3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed well *

1-1/2 Tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo puree, add more or less as desired, check ingredients *

1/2 – 1 tsp salt

Heat 1 Tbsp or so of olive oil in a large soup pot. When hot, add onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and saute until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for one additional minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently so that spices do not burn.

Stir in diced tomatoes and sauce. Add broth and squash. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until squash is tender (when pierced easily with a fork). Stir in beans and chipotle puree. Add more broth if needed, to get to desired consistency. Simmer for 10 minutes more or until beans are heated through. Stir in salt to taste. Serve topped with chopped avocado, cheese, green onions or sour cream.

Notes:

* This time I used pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s and I pre-cooked it for a few minutes in the microwave.

* Use any variety of beans. I used black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans.

* Be sure to check the label of your chipotle peppers in adobo, not all brands are gluten free. When I open a new can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I throw the contents of the whole can in the blender and blend it into a puree. I store the remainder in the  freezer to use later.

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My husband is frequently amused by the different pizza combinations I come up with, which are often inspired by other bloggers. Last weekend I finally got around to making Maria’s Sweet Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary and Red Onion, and it was so full of gorgeous, seasonal flavors. The same evening, my husband made his standard (gluten-full) cheese pizza but he was intrigued by the kale on my pizza and so added some to his own. Maybe there is a possibility of his pizza tastes becoming more sophisticated? (Yeah, right.)

And so, that pizza sent my mind wandering around, thinking of the other possibilities for the flavors I had just enjoyed together. Somehow my mind landed on quinoa. And so did Maria. I laughed when I saw her Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Kale pop up one morning last week. I was like, dang, she beat me to it! But at the same time, it wasn’t quite what I had running through my mind. And so, I introduce you to…

Quinoa with Balsamic Butternut and Kale Saute

An original by Renee, inspired by those listed above

1 butternut squash (2-3#), seeded, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tbsp oil

3 cups kale, de-ribbed, torn into small pieces

1/2 tsp salt

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed (or sage)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with foil.  Toss chopped squash in olive oil to lightly coat. Roast squash until tender, 30 minutes or so, depending on the sizes of squash pieces. Be sure to stir the squash at least once, halfway through. And give the squash plenty of room to “breathe” on the roasting pan so that they are crisp rather than soggy.

Cook quinoa in water according to your favored method (I prefer to use my rice cooker these days).

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Once the quinoa is cooked, in a large skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil until it begins to soften. Stir in the kale and allow to soften slightly. Next, stir in the roasted squash and allow to heat through slightly, especially if it had cooled down significantly (I had roasted mine the day before). Pour in half of the vinaigrette and stir to coat the vegetables. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the cooked quinoa and salt. Heat through if quinoa had cooled down significantly. Taste. Add more vinaigrette or salt as desired. Serve warm.

Additions:

We had some goat cheese that needed to be eaten, so I crumbled some up and sprinkled on top as well, after the photo – a very nice addition.

I also thought that adding a can of drained and rinsed white beans might be nice and add a big protein boost (although quinoa is already high in protein).

I saved the extra vinaigrette in a small glass jar to pour over the leftovers. Quinoa has a tendency to suck up some of the flavor and make it disappear after some time in the frig.

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Mmmmm…sweet potato fries.

Love them. But hubby does not. Oh well, more for me, right?

These would be perfect for serving with after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. Or any old time, say, with some lentil soup, like we did this week.

Sweet Potato Fries with Lentil Soup

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Original by Renee, but inspired by many

2 large sweet potatoes, sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (Or the highest your oven will go, if it doesn’t reach 500. The hotter, the better chance of crispy fries.) Line a cookie sheet with foil for easy clean-up.

Wash and cut the sweet potatoes to desired thickness and length. (You don’t have to peel them, I don’t.) In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix the remaining spices together. Then sprinkle the potatoes with the spice mixture, stirring well until all potatoes are covered.

Spread potatoes out evenly on cookie sheet. Use two sheets if they are crowded. The more space they have to “breathe”, the crisper they will be. Depending on how thick you cut your fries, the longer they will need to bake. Start with 10-15 minutes, stir them and check to see if they are tender. Bake until tender.

Also, check out Elise’s recipe over at Simply Recipes and the hints from her readers on other ways to help crisp up your fries and dipping sauce ideas. These seasoned fries I prefer to eat plain.

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On Friday evening I hosted a Gluten Free Gals get-together. I had suggested a theme of holiday dishes to help inspire everyone for the upcoming holidays and so I chose to make two of my standard Thanksgiving dishes. Wild Rice Stuffing and this Apple Crisp.

Our GF Gals group.

My grandma made this for me for my very first gluten free Thanksgiving sixteen years ago. And we’ve been making it ever since. It is easy, with few ingredients, and tasty. My kind of recipe.

Apple Crisp

Unknown source

2 Tbsp lemon juice

4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced *

1/4 cup brown rice flour *

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firm *

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp melted butter * see notes for vegan option

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ square baking dish (with butter, oil, whatever you choose to use). Pour the lemon juice directly into the pan and add the apples as you slice them. Toss the apples periodically in the juice to prevent browning.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and spices. Stir in the melted butter and mix well. Then stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve warm. It goes well with vanilla ice cream. (It’s also great for breakfast the next day!)

Notes:

* Use any baking apple. This time I used Gala. Slice your apples according to preference. I like my apples a bit thicker so that they still look like apple slices when they are done baking. If you slice them thinner, the apples will cook down and the individual slices will not be apparent, which is okay, just personal preference.

* I used brown rice flour this time. I’ve used white rice flour in the past. Other flours may work as well, perhaps even almond, for a grain-free version? Your standard flour mix will also most likely work. No xanthan gum needed.

* I reduced the sugar by two tablespoons this time around and I think it could be reduced even more. Play with it.

* I used grapeseed oil this time in place of the butter and it worked well. I would imagine that a dairy-free margarine will also work.

Enjoy!

This recipe is cross-posted over at Thanksgiving Favorites from Kim at Cook It Allergy Free. Be sure to check out all the links!

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