Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sage-Baked Seitan with Brown Sugar Buttered Acorn Squash and Balsamic Rainbow Chard

It's FALL. So that means winter squash, sage, and brown sugar. Despite the looks of this recipe, this is a relatively simple dish (once you've made your seitan). If you're looking for a seitan recipe, there is one here, just please forgive me for the terrible pictures!! I guess it is evidence that I have learned a lot about food photography in the last year of blogging.

It will take about an hour with the baking times and will serve 4.

Brown Sugar Buttered Squash
1 acorn squash, halved
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Sage-Baked Seitan
4 seitan cutlets
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 ground black pepper

Balsamic Rainbow Chard
1 bunch rainbow chard (of course you can substitute other greens)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place acorn squash halves in a baking dish, cut side up. Place 1 tablespoon margarine and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in each half. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, sage, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge each seitan cutlet in panko. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. If you're really streamlining your dinner-making, you should put the seitan in the oven after the squash has cooked 35 minutes (and has 25 left).

Once you have put the seitan in the oven, you can prepare the chard. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cut the leaves lengthwise, and then chop widthwise. Add the chard to the pan and simmer. Once leaves have wilted slightly, add the balsamic vinegar and salt. If you finish and are still waiting on  the squash and seitan, just cover the pan and remove from heat.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Curried Kobucha Peanut Soup

Here is an exotic take on a creamy butternut squash soup. I posted this recipe originally in 2012, and now (in 2015) am going back through and retesting my recipes, since I (think) I have become a better cook over the past couple years. I've made some improvements to this recipe. 

For one, I wanted to have a protein and a green in the soup. I wanted the protein because I like to have a protein at the heart of all my main dishes, and I wanted the green because I wanted the additional nutrition. 

After some thinking, I've decided to entirely omit the greens. It took a lot away from the soup, and really, between the tomatoes and squash this soup is extraordinarily nutritious already. The beans really took a lot away from the soup too. But I still wanted to have protein in this soup, so instead of mixing them in after blending the soup, I've blended them along with the rest of the soup, achieving a creamier and heartier texture and taste (but not one that screams "beans!" in any way at all).

I've used adzuki beans, which look like small black beans, although a bit browner. I have occasionally found these beans in cans, but for this recipe I cooked them fresh, which is easy to do--just combine 1 cup beans and 3 cups water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary. For this recipe you can then strain the beans and add to the pot when called for. If you cannot find adzuki beans at all, you can substitute red kidney beans. Likewise, if you cannot find any kobucha squash, you can substitute with a pie pumpkin or a large butternut squash.

Curried Kobucha Peanut Soup

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6-8


2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Kobucha Squash, about 3 1/2 pounds, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes 
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked adzuki beans
3 cups veggie broth
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and squash, and saute until softened and the onion is translucent. Add the jalapeno, ginger, and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the curry and garam masala and saute for 30 seconds longer. Add the tomatoes and veggie broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. 

Stir in the beans. At this point, if you have an immersion blender, you can use this to blenderize your soup and make it creamy. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can pour the soup in batches into a regular blender, blending until smooth. Return the stew to the pot and stir in peanut butter and cilantro. Serve with crusty bread.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Hot "Wings" with Roasted Garlic Ranch

I love spicy food, what can I say? Pick your hot sauce according to your tastes. Also note that a lot of hot wing sauces are not actually vegan, as they contain eggs and/or butter flavor. I do not understand this.

Also, some people prefer to steam their tempeh before cooking it. I have not personally found this to be necessary for this particular recipe (although there are other times when I do think it helps with the flavor and texture. My concern is that if the tempeh is steamed it won't be strong enough to be tossed in the bag to coat or to be fried.

For the Hot "Wings"

Serves 4-6
Time: 20 minutes


3 packages tempeh, cut into 1x2 inch rectangles
1/4 cup canola oil, more or less, to coat the bottom of your frying pan
1 cup hot wing sauce, divided
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

To serve:

carrots, julienned
celery, julienned
cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces 


Heat oil in a large skillet.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the tempeh with the 1/2 cup hot sauce. Pour out any excess liquid. In a large ziplock bag, combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and black pepper. Add the tempeh (in batches if necessary), and toss to evenly coat.

Add tempeh to pan and fry on each side until golden brown all around. Once finished, toss in bowl with remaining 1/2 cup hot wing sauce, until well coated. Discard any leftovers. It is now ready to serve with ranch dressing (recipe below) and fresh celery and carrot sticks! Alternatively, you can make this into a salad by serving tempeh hot wings, chopped celery and carrots on top of a bed of spinach tossed with ranch dressing. I tried this with the leftovers and it was delicious!

For the Roasted Garlic Ranch Dressing

Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Time: 10 minutes


1 cup Vegennaise
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
Black pepper and salt to taste


In a measuring cup, combine mayo, vinegar, oregano, cayenne, pepper, and salt. To streamline you can prepare the garlic using left over oil from the tempeh. Once you have removed the tempeh from the pan, saute garlic until golden (if making separate from the tempeh, use the 3 tablespoons of olive oil to saute), then add the garlic and remaining oil to the dressing and combine.

Serve the tempeh with the cut vegetables and a side of ranch.


Sunday, September 2, 2012


I know there are already several pancake recipes on here, but they just keep getting better! Even the bird wants to give it a try!! (No, she does not eat off of our plates, she snuck in there before I had a chance to stop her! She gets her own miniature plate of pancakes.)

Serves 2 plus one small bird (about 6 pancakes)

2 tablespoons hot water

1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 bananas, chopped or blueberries

Preheat a griddle or pan to 350ºF.

Mix the hot water and egg replacer in a measuring cup. Add to medium bowl and mix in vanilla extract, soy milk, and canola oil.

In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. 

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined, but there should still be lumps. 

Use a 1/3 cup measure to pour batter into pancakes on griddle. Sprinkle chopped banana or blueberries onto pancakes. Once one side is golden, flip and cook the other side. Once both sides are golden, they're ready to eat! 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blackened Tofu with Cheezy Polenta and Greens

Before I was vegan, I used to make a dish much like this, but with blackened shrimp. However, considering shrimp are one of the worst seafood choices we can make (they are responsible for the destruction of mangroves and fetch between 12 and 68 pounds of bycatch [dolphins, porpoises, albatross, gulls, sea turtles, and at least 250 other sea creatures] for just ONE pound of shrimp), shrimp is an unfathomable delicacy that we can certainly do without. For you tofu-haters- give it up already. It's delicious, especially when fried. 

To make this dish gluten-free, you can use chickpea flour rather than white flour for gravy. 

6 cups water
2 cups polenta
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
½ cup cheddar Daiya
salt and pepper to taste

Heat water over high heat until boiling. Pour in polenta and stir, reducing heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, checking and stirring periodically, until polenta is cooked through and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in margarine, Daiya, pepper, and salt. Return lid and keep warm. 

Cajun Blackened Tofu
4 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to coat the entire bottom of the pan
½ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cubed into ¾ inch cubes

While heating oil over medium high heat, combine celery salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, garlic and cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss in tofu until well coated. When oil is hot, add tofu to pan. When browned on one side, stir and flip, until all sides are blackened. Remove from pan and keep warm. Keep pan on medium high for making the gravy.

Basic Gravy

1 tablespoon Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
3 tablespoons flour
1½ cup veggie broth

Melt margarine in the pan you fried the tofu in. Add flour and whisk. Keep whisking and heating until the color of a copper penny. Pour in broth, whisk, and cook until thickened. 

Basic Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Lacinto Kale (or "dinasour kale"... it's my favorite green!!) or any green you want
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute garlic. When beginning to brown, add kale and cover until wilted. Remove from heat, and toss with vinegar. Keep warm.

To serve, plate the polenta, and greens, ladle-on the gravy, and top with blackened tofu. 


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Teriyaki Tempeh

This was really an exciting creation we had last night. I had been wanting to try making teriyaki seitan for a few weeks now, but all of a sudden in a moment if clarity I realized that tempeh would be a very premium teriyaki vessel. 

And it was. I decided to use the technique commonly used for making hot wings (where the chicken is dredged in flour, fried, and THEN tossed in the hot sauce. Frying the tempeh gives it a crispy outside and of course tender inside, and the teriyaki sauce is a perfect complement. 

This is a super basic recipe with only a few ingredients, but because Saturday night cooking around here looks more like "My Drunk Kitchen" I didn't record any amounts. This will be a lesson in free-form cooking, and most quantities are estimated, so you may need to add more or less depending. 

The one thing that is for sure is that one pound of tempeh will feed four people- that would be two standard 8oz packages (16 ounces total). Also, many recipes call for tempeh to be boiled or steamed prior to using. Do NOT do this for this recipe. If you do, the tempeh will crumble and fall apart, rather than stay as a coherent, bite-sized morsel. The tempeh will be plenty cooked because of the small morsel size and the process of frying. 

Finally, coating the tempeh in cornstarch may sound bizarre, and I don't remember where I picked it up, but I once used a recipe for fried tofu that had been coated in cornstarch rather than flour, and it was amazing.  It's my go-to dredger now. Plus for those of you to whom it matters, it makes the recipe gluten-free. :) Just be sure to find some gluten-free soy and teriyaki sauce! 

Teriyaki Tempeh
serves 4

2 8oz packages tempeh, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 -3/4 cup cornstarch
peanut oil
1 bottle teriyaki sauce (I used Whole Foods' 365 Organic Teriyaki Sauce, $2.99, and it was delicious, with more ginger flavor- if you're into that sort of thing)
3 cups cooked rice 
1-2 red peppers, sliced julienne
1 bunch scallions chopped
4 large carrots, sliced widthwise (if you're wondering why my carrots look weird it's because I used purple carrots from the farm I work at)
Sesame seeds 

Heat peanut oil in a large, flat pan over medium high heat. Be sure that you use enough oil to thoroughly cover the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile toss the tempeh in the soy sauce until coated, then dredge in cornstarch. Toss well to make sure that every cube is evenly coated. 

Once oil is ready, toss in the tempeh. The key is to resist the urge to stir frequently. Once the tempeh has browned, it releases from the pan surface more readily (because we have a little bird in the house who could be poisoned by Teflon emissions, we don't use nonstick cookware. If this is not a problem in your house, using non-stick cookware will make this much easier). Turn tempeh every 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan, and toss with teriyaki sauce. I would advise starting with 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce, then add little by little until the tempeh is coated, not drenched (no soggy tempeh after working so hard to get crispy tempeh!) Set aside for just a few minutes.

While the pan is still hot, add the peppers, scallions, and carrots. Saute until softened but still slightly crispy, just a few minutes at most. 

Serve tempeh and veggies over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and make liberal use of the remaining teriyaki sauce. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Caramalized Onion, Chard, and Sausage Shells

This dish relies heavily on faux meat and cheese products, which I know is a turn of for some people. However, to be fair, I could have made the seitan-based sausages in my own kitchen, but using these store-bought ones is a timesaver. Daiya is sometimes necessary in la vida vegan, especially when short on time. This is one of those recipes for being short on time- although if you're really in a pinch I would forgo caramelizing the onions and just cut straight to the chase.

Caramalized Onion, Chard, and Sausage Shells
serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into half moons
4 Field Roast Grain Sausages- Italian flavor
1 bunch rainbow chard, very thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup mozzarella Daiya

Cooked shell pasta to serve

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add the onions, stir to coat with oil, and then let them sit. The key to caramelizing onions is patience. If you stand there stirring them, you will never get caramelized onions, just overcooked ones. You want them to brown but not burn before stirring them. They may take up to 15 or 20 minutes to make (at the most) and I expect you should be stirring only every 3 to 4 minutes. 

Once the onions are caramelized, crumble the sausage with your fingers into the pan. Patiently let the sausage brown before stirring. Once reasonably brown, you can add the chard. Saute for about 2 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes have released their moisture, you can add the nutritional yeast and mozzarella, and then stir until everything is melted and stuck together. Serve on top of cooked pasta shells. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Roasted Calabacitas Soft Tacos with Creamy Red Chile Lime Sauce

Some of you might not be familiar with "Calabacitas." Calabacitas is the Spanish name for squash, but to us New Mexicans it refers to a traditional dish containing squash, roasted green chile, onions, and cheese. It is Southwestern ratatouille, if you will. 

It takes a while to roast the vegetables, but overall this is a really easy dish that you can make on weeknights.

Roasted Calabacitas Soft Tacos

Serves: 6

Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes active

For the Calabacitas Filling

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
6 cups chopped summer squash and zucchini
1 cup chopped roasted green chile (if you don't live in a place where roasted green chile is freely available, usually you can find it canned in the Mexican section of your grocery store)
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen sweet corn
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, making sure that everything is evenly coated with the oil. Spread the mix out evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are evenly browned. 

For the Creamy Red Chile Lime Sauce

3/4 cup vegan mayo
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons red chile powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the mayo, lime juice, chile powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. 

To serve

18 corn torillas
chopped tomato
chopped avocado

Wrap the tortillas in a moist paper towel and microwave on high for about 40 seconds.

To serve, spoon calabacitas into tortillas, and top with sauce, tomatoes, and avocado.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Pasta Salad with Carrot Tops and Fakin' Bacon

I know that the question you have been wondering all of your life (or, at least since your last trip to the farmer's market) is "are these carrot tops good for anything other than compost?" Well, I did a little research, seeing as the things were annexing my refrigerator's vegetable drawer. It turns out that they are edible. 

Carrots are in the same family as celery, dill, parsley, and coriander. Although many other members of the Apiaceae family are poisonous, carrots are entirely edible, and in fact, the tops taste much like a combination of parsley and carrot. I find this exciting because it means I no longer have to buy parsley. I will just save my money by buying carrots with the tops on. If you try them, tell me what you think of them! 

5 scallions, sliced, including white parts
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 cup radishes, quartered and sliced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup carrot tops, finely chopped
1 package smoked tempeh "Fakin' Bacon"
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (obviously shelled)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
1 cup Vegannaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. 

In the meantime, prepare the tempeh. If you have a toaster oven, the easiest way to do this is to lay the strips out across the rack so that you can toast both sides at one time. Toast until very crispy, let cool and then chop. If you don't have a toaster oven, you can saute them in a pan with a little oil, just be sure to dry the oil off with a paper towel since you don't want excess liquid in your pasta salad!

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Like most pasta salads, letting the flavors mix for a few hours should make it even better. If you want to have it for dinner rather than a side, serve on a bed of spinach (as pictured).


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jerk-Marinated Coconut Seitan

For the Marinated Seitan

1 cup coconut milk
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon minced dried onion
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayanne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons shoyu (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lime
Pepper flakes to taste
4 seitan cutlets, sliced (or sub two packages of prepared seitan)
1 tablespoon canola oil

Whisk together all ingredients in a shallow, medium-sized baking pan. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from seitan and add to pan. Allow to marinate for about 1 hour.

Heat oil in a medium sized skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, prepare seitan for cooking by straining off the marinate (keep it around though!) and pressing the seitan to squeeze out excess marinate. Add seitan to the pan and saute until browned, remove from pan and keep warm.

For the Sauce

1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons flour
Reserved marinade

After finishing the seitan, keep the pan on medium-high heat and add the flour. Whisk the flour in the pan for about 30 seconds, and then add the coconut milk, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk to combine the flour and coconut milk as well as possible, and then add in all the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat.

To Serve

Cooked rice
Steamed or sauteed dinosaur kale

To serve, place rice on plate, top with seitan and kale, and smother with sauce.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cajun-style Seitan with Black-eyed Peas and Okra

Finally! A recipe!!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 seitan cutlets, chopped (if homemade, if not, one package seitan)
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried, minced onions
1 teaspoon celery salt (if you're a purist, substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 minced ribs of celery)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil 
1 bay leaf
1 cup veggie or seitan broth
1 15oz can black-eyed peas
1 1/2 cup frozen okra
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 bunch rainbow chard (for those not a fan of greens, the stems of rainbow chard has many of the same compounds as beets, which makes them colorful and are fabulous for you! BUT they have a distinctive beet flavor, so if that is not something you are into pick a different green or substitute more okra)
Hot wing sauce, Tabasco, or Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste (careful, many hot wing sauces contain eggs)

Cooked brown rice or polenta, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add seitan and garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add flour and spices and saute until everything starts sticking to the bottom of the pan and browning, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently. Continue for about 5 minutes. 

Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the broth. Bring to a simmer and add black-eyed peas, okra, and tomatoes. Bring everything to a simmer and let do so for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rainbow chard (overcooking greens destroys many of their beneficial compounds). Stir until chard is wilted, add hot sauce to taste, and serve over your chosen grain!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Vietnamese Rice Noodles

This dish is easy, spicy, healthy, and gluten-free!

Spicy Vietnamese Noodles

Serves: 4

Time: 40 minutes

1 box of thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 lb extra firm tofu, cubed
1 cup baby portobella or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, sliced thinly
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced widthwise
2 carrots, grated
1 red pepper, diced
1 scallion, sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/3 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (not pictured, because I didn't have them, but definitely would be a bonus!)

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions.

Combine the garlic, ginger, agave, shoyu, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a measuring cup. Set aside

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the tofu and fry until golden. Once fried, add the mushrooms, cabbage, and jalapeno. Toss to coat in oil, and cook until mushrooms have released their moisture. Remove from heat. 

Add the noodles, uncooked veggies, and noodles to the pan and toss to combine. Serve topped with chopped peanuts. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I find it unbelievable that I have not yet posted anything this month.

I apologize that this post won't fulfill any requirements for substance. Life has been hectic. Between the four jobs/internships/volunteering I have run short on time. My recent birthday was celebrated all weekend long as if it were the fourth annual celebration of my 21st birthday, but at the same time it marks the inauguration of my quarter-life-crisis. Luckily the crisis has been stifled by the news that I have been accepted to the Animals and Public Policy master's program at Tufts!

I also have been a bit low on culinary inspirations as of late, but am hoping the tides will turn. Until then, here is a picture of us celebrating the acceptance. Just a cheerful reminder that beer is (most of the time) a wonderfully vegan treat.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Vegan B.L.T.'s (Or, Rather, B.L.A.T.'s)


The A is for Avocado. It doesn't have the ring of BLT but your mouth likes it. I know this recipe doesn't exhibit much culinary genius, but I think it is important to post things like this for people who aren't seasoned vegans. For people who don't yet realize that you can be vegan and have your BLT too. 

All you need is some pre-seasoned tempeh "Fakin' Bacon," some Vegannaise, two pieces of whole grain bread, some sliced tomato and avocado, and some lettuce (if you want to be somewhat healthy, spinach). 

Toast the bread, saute the Fakin' Bacon in a skillet, and assemble your sandwich!!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smoothies - A Recent Discovery

So I recently discovered that I may not be getting as much omega-3 fatty acids as I should. That's not because they can't be found in a vegan diet, but because I simply have not been consuming any plant foods with significant amounts of omega-3. 

Flax seed has tons of omega-3 but I wasn't sure how to go about eating a tablespoon of the stuff on a daily basis. Then I discovered the power of smoothies. Smoothies are amazing because they are a treat, but at the same time you can hide a lot of nutrition in them! My personal quest is to see how much "junk" I can hide in my smoothies. Currently, I have been able to successfully hide 2 leaves of kale and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. Not to mention that there is also about 2.5 servings of fruit. I am also playing around with hemp protein powder (hemp is good for you and has lots of protein too!). Unfortunately it makes smoothies a bit too gritty when you add the two tablespoon serving size. But I plan on trying it out with a bit less. I will keep you updated on the results. 

So here are my general guidelines for successful smoothie making:

1/2 cup frozen fruit (mixed berries, mango, peaches, pineapple, raspberries)
1/2 cup red kale (I pick red kale because it doesn't make the smoothie as green as regular kale)
1 banana
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (this will vary depending on how thick you like your smoothie)

Put ingredients in blender. I find that putting the frozen fruit in first lets the machine blend them up a bit easier. Blend until you no longer see pieces of green leaves flying by and the smoothie is moving fluidly.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sunshine Couscous Salad

What. Another couscous recipe in the same week!!!?? 

Sorry, I know that's a bit much but the last one was pearled Israeli couscous, and this is the instant kind. They're totally different creatures. 

Boston hit 91ºF today, which is why I opted for something that didn't require any cooking. I call this dish "Sunshine Couscous" because it's perfect for making and eating in the sweltering hot sunshine. Also, there's so many different brightly colored vegetables in it that when I was making it, it reminded me of a sunset. 

I know there is a strange pink hue that pervades this dish, and that makes it a bit un-photogenic. Beets have that effect on many things, but I promise this is delicious and SUPER healthy, as well as easy!

Sunshine Couscous Salad
2 cups water
1 teaspoon veggie bouillon (the equivalent of using 1 cup water and 1 cup broth)
1 1/2 cups instant couscous
1/2 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large red beet, diced
1 large golden beet, diced (if you can't find these, obviously just use another red beet instead!)
2 scallions, sliced
1 pound EXTRA FIRM tofu, diced (you need to use extra firm because it has a consistency more like feta)
1/2 cup dried apricots, minced
juice of 2 1/2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried dill
pinch of cayenne

Bring the water and bouillon (or broth) to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous, and let sit until you are finished combining the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add couscous last, stir to combine, and refrigerate for at least one hour. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas with Apricot and Red Pepper Couscous

While this recipe takes some time for the roasting, it's actually a very quick and easy recipe. Good for weeknights when you're in a hurry. Once you have your veggies in the oven and the couscous on the way, you can sit back and read your favorite book or feed your internet addiction while everything cooks!

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas with Apricot and Red Pepper Couscous

Serves: 4

Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes active

For the Roasted Veggies

1 red onion diced 
1 entire bulb of garlic, each clove removed from their papery skin and coarsely chopped
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, spread the veggies out into a thin layer, and place in oven. Stir every 10 minutes for about 45 minutes, until the eggplant and chickpeas are evenly roasted.

For the Couscous

2 cups Israeli couscous
1/2 cup dried apricots
1 scallion, diced
3 tablespoons parsley
2 roasted red peppers (from a jar), sliced julienne 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the apricots in a glass measuring cup and cover with water. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Remove the apricots and reserve the water for cooking the couscous. 

Add the couscous to a pot and add four cups of water, including the reserved apricot water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
Toss in all the remaining ingredients and stir. 

To Serve 

1/2 cup slivered almonds

On each plate place the couscous and garbanzo-eggplant mixture. Top with almonds.