Category Archives: vegetarian

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad

I can eat quinoa in so many ways, I throw it in stir frys, chili’s, in place of brown rice, but my husband doesn’t love quinoa, and will always go for the brown rice instead of quinoa. But this recipe is an exception. I think all the mexican foods, kale and the lime juice, masked the flavor and texture.He told me twice during dinner that he really liked this salad, and the next morning he had it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on the side! If you’re looking for a good way to use this superfood, that contains all 9 essential amino acids, give this one a try!

THE RECIPE

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8

1 c dry quinoa
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds if you like spice)
1/2  red onion, chopped (if you don’t love onion, try soaking in cold water for 10 min, drain then add to salad)
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 c lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled (chopped olives work too)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c toasted pepitas (toast on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the kale, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, back beans, lime juice, oil, Feta cheese and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices and pepitas.

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch, Salads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Quick Veggie Stir Fry

I love stir fry! I often eat them for lunch and I love that I can take whatever random leftover veggies I need to use from my fridge, throw them into a pan with some already cooked brown rice, a little sauce and some cashews and I have a healthy, yummy meal in very little time! I make brown rice in my rice cooker about once a week and make enough that I’ll have some leftover for this very reason. Another way to make this meal even faster is to chop up your veggies before hand and just have them ready in your fridge. Usually when I make dinner, if a recipe calls for part of a pepper/onion/broccoli etc, I will just cut up the whole thing which saves time later because I don’t have to get my cutting board and knife out again and wash them etc.

This is the sauce I use when I make this quick stir fry recipe (I also have a recipe for a sauce I make from scratch that I’ll share another time). I either use the coconut aminos or the teriyaki flavored coconut aminos, both taste great, and you could also use soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos.

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Here’s a picture of another stir fry I made with some fresh pineapple I had on hand. I love that you can play around and add in whatever you like. Sometimes I’ll throw in a 1/2 cup of quinoa too.

 

Veggie Stir Fry

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small package sliced mushrooms (white or cremini)
1/2 c raw cashews
optional: tofu, tempeh, broccoli, carrots, pineapple
1/4 c coconut aminos  (could use braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 c cooked brown rice

Melt coconut oil in a wok over medium/high heat. Add vegetables and allow to cook until softened and onions are translucent, adding 1 Tbsp water at a time, if necessary, to prevent sticking and burning about 3-5 minutes. Add cashews, coconut aminos, pepper flakes and brown rice and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.

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Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

If you like egg salads and avocados, you’re going to love this! This is a great way to use hard boiled eggs, which is something we often have on hand. This recipe serves one because I usually make this just for myself for lunch, but feel free to double or triple the recipe if you’re having lunch with a friend (or if you just want more :))

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Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich
*makes 1 open-face sandwich

1 hard boiled egg
1/4 medium avocado
1 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
1 Tbsp chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 slice whole grain bread
6-10 baby spinach leaves

Mash avocado in a small mixing bowl. Peel and chop the egg and add to the avocado. Add the yogurt, green onions, salt and pepper and stir together. Toast bread, add a layer of baby spinach and then top with the avocado egg salad. Eat immediately. Makes 1 sandwich.

241 calories: 10 g fat, 30 g carbs, 7 g protein

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Filed under Lunch, vegetarian

Tomato, Avocado and Bean Wrap

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Life is busy these days, whether you work, go to school or are a stay at home mom (like me with my five kids!) and I’m always looking for ways to save time, and that includes with food. But at the same time, I am not willing to sacrifice my health or the health of my family for convenience. Since we’ve been eating healthy, whole foods for the past 6 or so years, I’ve learned a few things about making quick and healthy meals. Planning ahead and being prepared is important because when I’m hungry and needing to eat, I’m not going to wait for something to cook for very long, and I’m not going to take the time to chop up a million different things. For example, I make my crock pot of black beans once a week, freeze half, and now I’ve got fresh and yummy home made black beans all week long that I can use for dinner or throw in my salads at lunch. And my crock pot black beans literally take 5 minutes to prep. Black beans are not expensive either, so now you’ve got healthy, quick food on a budget. I do the same thing with my quinoa and brown rice. I usually make one batch a week and just store it in the fridge and then it’s ready to grab and go for a quick meal.

I also find it helpful to cut up an entire head of lettuce, chop up a whole onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato or whatever produce I’ll be using at one time, that way I only have to take out, wash, and then clean up after this whole chopping process once and then they’re  all ready to go. I am SO much more likely to have a big salad for lunch when things are all ready pre-cut (and cooked like my black beans) because I’m so busy that I’m usually feeling very hungry by the time I can even think about food and if I have to take out all my separate produce items and wash them and cut them etc, I just end up doing something faster and easier. So, planning and prepping is important. And do it on a day/time that’s not super busy for you.

I often have salads or leftovers for lunch, and sometimes I’ll change up my salad by putting everything in a wrap. You can use whatever kind you like. If I have homemade whole wheat tortillas left over then I’ll use those, but I don’t like the store bought wheat tortillas so I’ll sometimes get these Teff wraps from Sprouts when they’re on sale. I like to warm up my wrap for about 30 seconds before I put all my toppings inside so that it’s nice a pliable. 2016-10-27-12-19-26There is no particular way of doing this, and you really can use whatever veggies you like or have on hand, but I will almost always use either avocados or hummus for creaminess, I love to use black beans and sometimes I’ll put some quinoa in there(both of those things make it so much more filling and add a ton in nutrition), and I love tomatoes and red onions and greens or sprouts etc.  I pull out my containers from the fridge with all my chopped veggies and I can throw this wrap together in one minute. Bam, done! And it’s healthy! I make this faster than I do my daughters PB&J (natural pb of course, and I get the fruit juice sweetened jelly).

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Tomato, Avocado and Bean Wrap

Toppings:
Tomato, chopped
Red onion, chopped
Avocado, cut in cubes
Black Beans
Hummus
lettuce, chopped
Sprouts
cucumber, diced or julienned
quinoa
Wrap/Tortilla of choice (I like the Teff wraps better than most store-bought whole grain tortillas; warm it up for 30 seconds then add your toppings)

Warm up wrap for 30 seconds in microwave. Spread on a spoonful of hummus, then add whatever toppings you like. Roll up like a burrito, cut in half and it’s ready to eat!

 

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Filed under gluten-free, Lunch, vegan, vegetarian

Vegan Mac and Cheese

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This recipe came from my baby sister Becca who is gluten free and vegan and who also has this recipe posted on her food blog, so be sure to check her out at: https://glutenfreeplantbasedgoodeats.wordpress.com/ 

Although I’m not vegan or gluten-free, I do a lot less dairy than most because my stomach can’t handle too much, and if you’ve ever read The China Study, which is the most comprehensive study ever done on nutrition, you’ll know that cutting down on all animal products is a good thing (and I didn’t say cutting out, but cutting down. Should be less than 10% of your diet). So I love that I can get the creaminess from this recipe from cashews and sweet potato and almond milk, all blended together, but then I use a little bit of cheddar cheese (only 1 cup), but you can always use the dairy-free cheese as well for the vegan version.

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You’ll want to start off by cooking your pasta elbows, gluten-free or not(I used whole wheat), and peeling and cooking your sweet potato in the microwave for 6 minutes. Or you can cook it in the oven at 400 degrees for almost an hour, but if you do it that way, don’t peel it before hand, just wait for it to cool and slip the skin off.  Once the pasta is done, drain the water, place them in a large mixing bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over top and give it a stir so they don’t stick together. Set that aside and you’ll combine the rest of your ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick and your blender is having difficulty blending, just add a little more milk about 1/4 c at a time, giving it a stir and then blending again.

Once it’s all creamy, dump it over your macaroni noodles and stir to combine.

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Grease a 9×13 pan (I smear coconut oil over the whole inside of the pan) and then dump your mac and cheese inside and spread it even. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

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Serve warm!

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THE RECIPE:

Mac n’ Cheese (lightly adapted from Becca)

Ingredients:

1 lb of whole wheat or brown rice pasta elbow noodles (good price at Trader Joes)

1 sweet potato

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (can use dairy-free cheese like the Daiya brand- mozarella or cheddar)

3 cups of raw cashews

16 oz. almond milk (more if needed to thin so it will blend)

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast(Fred Meyer, Whole Foods or Winco)

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sea salt

pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
optional: 1/4 tsp paprika

Instructions:

 Cook noodles according to directions on package. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and cook in the microwave for 6 minutes (or in the oven, unpeeled, at 400 degrees for 1 hour; can do this before hand). Drain noodles, dump back into your pot, drizzle with a little olive oil and mix so they don’t stick together. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 In a blendtec or food processor, add almond milk first and then all the other ingredients and mix until a creamy consistency. If you need to add more milk so your blender won’t burn out from the thickness, add 1/4 cup at a time. Pour over your noodles in the pot and stir to combine.

 Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan with coconut oil, or something like it. Add stirred mac n’ cheese into the 9×13 pan and place in the oven. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

Pasta Salad and Dressing Recipe

We eat a lot of different salads for dinner during the summer; it’s nice to have something cool to eat on a hot day. I’ll typically add whatever veggies I have on hand in my fridge at the moment, so it changes from week to week, and in the pasta salad pictured below we have tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, cubed cheese, white beans and onion. Sometimes we’ll add nuts or serve some chicken or pepperoni on the side for the meat lovers in our house.

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I will sometimes use an Italian salad dressing or something similar for convenience, but I actually love homemade dressing so much more; it really makes the salad. So if I have 5 minutes, I’ll whip this up.

Here are your ingredients for the dressing:

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Whisk it all together in a glass measuring dish and stick it in the fridge while you cook your pasta.

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We use various shapes but one of our favorites is the bowtie, and it’s fun when we get a pasta with a little color. We cooked up a bag of costco pasta which is just over a pound, drained it, rinsed it with cold water as I swish the pasta around with my hand (to help quickly cool it down…we don’t want our cheese cubes melting onto our pasta), then transfer it to a large mixing bowl, add the dressing, stir it to combine and then you can serve it from there or transfer it to a pretty bowl. If you’re not going to eat it right away, you can store it in the fridge for at least a day.

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Pasta Salad:
*serves 6-8

1 lb uncooked pasta (we love to use bowtie)
Topping Ideas:
bell pepper, chopped
grape tomatoes, halved
celery, chopped
red onion, chopped
1 c cooked and drained white beans
1 c cubed cheddar cheese
1 c cubed chicken, or pepperoni quartered

Pasta Salad Dressing:
*makes enough to cover 1 lb pasta

1/2 c mayo
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c  olive oil
1/4 c plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 cloves minced garlic (1 tsp)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sea salt

Combine all your pasta salad dressing ingredients into a glass measuring dish and whisk to combine. Set aside, in fridge. Follow package directions for uncooked pasta, bringing water to a boil and cooking until done. While it’s cooking, chop up any combination of veggies/cheese/beans/meat you like and place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Dump pasta into a strainer over your kitchen sink, then rinse with cold water as you move pasta around with your hand (be careful, it’s hot). Once pasta is cool, add it to your veggies in the large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over top. Stir it all together to combine. Serve right away or cover and store in fridge.

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Roasted Beets

I eat a lot of salads in the summer but they can get boring after awhile if you don’t mix things up. Roasted, sliced beets make for a nice addition. Roasting the beets is super simple: just cover in tinfoil and bake in a hot oven for about an hour. Once that’s done, slip the skins off and slice the beets into quarters and then slice those quarters thin and throw them on any green salad. I like to pair my beet salad with a vinaigrette, poppy seed  or sweet/fruit dressing along with some sunflower seeds and sliced onion. By the way, beets will make your hands dark pink, along with everything you’re using to prepare them with (cutting board, knife etc), so handle them with care and try not to get it on your clothes.

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Roasted Beets

2 medium beets
tin foil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for 40-60 minutes or until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Allow the beets to cool a little and then slip off the skins and slice the beets into quarters and then into thinner slices if you like.

I love to add these to all different salads. One of my favorites is romaine lettuce and spinach, sunflower seeds, sliced red onion with these beet slices and a fruity or vinagrette dressing to top it off.

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Filed under Salads, vegan, vegetarian

Vegetarian Sushi

When I was a child, I was always turned off by the word “sushi” probably because I associated it with fish and foreign foods. I still don’t like fish, but I’ve had some very yummy, vegetarian sushi’s since then, and this is a recipe, that I love. It has a homemade sauce in it that is delicious! This is a beautiful appetizer, filled with healthy fats and other amazing veggies and grains, that would be great served at a social gathering, or just at home with your family.

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Start off by making a sauce. Whisk together the syrup, mustard, onions and liquid aminos. Set the sauce aside.

Place the shiner side of a nori sheet(seaweed sheet found at health food stores on Asian aisle) on counter top or cutting board(shinier side just makes it look prettier, but doesn’t change flavor). With a spoon, spread 1/3 c quinoa over about half of the nori sheet. Leave 1 inch free of quinoa at top and bottom of Nori sheet. Push down  with the back of a spoon to compact quinoa. Spoon  a quarter of reserved sauce evenly over the quinoa. Arrange 1/4 of carrots, peppers, cucumbers and avocado near (and parallel to) the bottom edge of the nori sheet, which is the end closest to you.

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Roll the nori up tightly and seal the top edge with a little bit of water. Set the finished roll on a large plate and repeat process with the remaining nori sheet.

If you’re just making this for yourself, as I did for lunch the other day, you can just eat it like this (think of a rolled up sushi burrito) and skip the cutting stage:

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Using a very sharp knife(I used my butcher knife), cut each roll into 6 pieces. Can try wetting knife a bit if you’re having some issues cutting.

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THE RECIPE:

Quinoa and Veggie Sushi (lightly adapted from Kimberly Snyder)
*makes 4 rolls or about 24 individual pieces

Secret Sauce:
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp minced red onions
2 tsp braggs liquid aminos (soy sauce)
4 Nori sheets (seaweed sheet found at health food stores on Asian aisle)
1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
1/3 c julienned  bell peppers (any color)
1/3 c julienned carrots
1 medium ripe avocado, cut into thin slices
optional: 1/3 c julienned cucumbers

Make a sauce by whisking together the syrup, mustard, onions and liquid aminos. Set sauce aside. Place the shiner side of a nori sheet on counter top or cutting board(shinier side just makes it look prettier, but doesn’t change flavor). With a spoon, spread 1/3 c quinoa over about half of the nori sheet. Leave 1 inch free of quinoa at top and bottom of Nori sheet. Push down firmly with the back of a spoon to compact quinoa. Spoon  a quarter of reserved sauce evenly over the quinoa. Arrange 1/4 of carrots, peppers, cucumbers and avocado near (and parallel to) the bottom edge of the nori sheet, which is the end closest to you. Roll the nori up tightly and seal the top edge with a little bit of water. Set the finished roll on a large plate and repeat process with the remaining nori sheet. Using a very sharp knife(I had the most success with my butcher knife), cut each roll into 6 pieces. Can try wetting knife a bit if you’re having some issues cutting. Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge until ready to serve (within a day or two).

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Filed under gluten-free, Lunch, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Tikka Masala is something both my husband and I often order at Indian restaurants, though he gets the chicken and I get the paneer (soft cheese cubes). I’ve tried several copy-cat recipes at home and this is one that we’ve enjoyed multiple times. I love that you can cook it in the crock pot because I just don’t always have time to fix something right before dinner, especially on those days when I’m running kids to piano, soccer, scouts, etc.

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I also love that this sauce is made from scratch so you don’t need to go to the store and buy jars of sauces. I always have these ingredients on hand, though if you’ve never before cooked Indian or Thai foods, you will probably need to get a few spices like Garam Masala, Turmeric and ground Coriander, which will last awhile.

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You can substitute sweet potatoes for chicken, or you can also use both, which I did here because I was too lazy to make my own non-vegetarian dish, just for me, so instead I cook it all together and then I pick out chicken and hand it to my husband or Charles who always love to have extra :).

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Once your chicken and veggies are diced, put everything into a greased crock pot. You’ll cook this on low for about  4 hours or high for 2.

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We love this dish over Indian rice and with a side of Naan bread.

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THE RECIPE:

Crock pot Chicken Tikka Masala
*serves 6-8

2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (can substitute w/1 cup sweet potato chunks)
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or 2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
15 oz tomato sauce
1 can full fat coconut milk (I like the thai kitchen brand)
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
2 tsp ground Cumin
2 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 c raw cashews or peanuts
1/4 c raisins (optional)

Grease the inside of your crock pot with olive oil. Add all ingredients to crock pot and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.  Serve warm over Indian rice. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Almonds

During the cold winter months, I find myself wanting more warm, roasted veggies with dinner. These roasted green beans are fantastic and we unfortunately, never have leftovers because once everyone has been served, if there are any remaining on the plate, people continue to grab and snack until they’re gone :), which I guess is a good thing.

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Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While it’s warming up, rinse your green beans in a strainer and cut off the ends.

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Place them in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet (for easy cleanup), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss together with spoons or with your hands. Bake for about 15 minutes then pull it out,  sprinkle with minced garlic and sliced almonds, toss together with a spatula, spread beans out in a single layer and roast another 3-5 minutes until almonds are lightly toasted and golden.

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Place on a serving platter and eat immediately.

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You can eat this as a side to all sorts of dishes: Pizza and other Italian foods, with rice or potatoes etc.

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THE RECIPE:

 Garlic Roasted Green Beans and  Almonds
*serves about 4

12 oz raw green beans, ends trimmed
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 Tbsp sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large rimmed cookie sheet with tin foil and place trimmed green beans on foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Mix together with hands and spread out green beans in a single layer. Cook in preheated over about 10-15 minutes(you don’t want them to burn). Remove beans  from oven  and sprinkle with minced garlic and sliced almonds. Gently toss together with a spatula, spread beans out in a single layer and roast another 3-5 minutes until almonds are lightly toasted and golden.

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Filed under sides, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian