Hearty Veggie Sandwiches

1 eggplant - cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 zucchini - cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices

1 red pepper - cut into thick slices

2 portobello mushroom caps - cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of the tough ends

optional:

1 container of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch slices/squares

Spread out all the veggies (and tofu if you’re using) onto cookie sheets in a single layer.

Lightly brush them with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you feel inspired, sprinkle one or more with a spice or spice blend. Think curry or an indian mix like garam masala, or rosemary, basil and oregano, or maybe turmeric and smoked paprika - use your taste as inspiration, but they’re also great just salt and peppered.

Roast in the oven on high - 450 - until they’re lightly browned and cooked, but not totally soft, probably about 15 to 20 minutes - more or less depending on the veg. Flip once during the baking. Let cool to room temp. You could just as easily grill them, too, if you’d rather.

Slice a good whole grain loaf of bread, and spread both pieces generously with one or both:

  • mix some hot sauce (sriracha) with mayo - equal parts of each
  • a quick herb pesto (puree a clove of garlic and about 1/4 cup of olive oil with one bunch of an herb (about 2 cups of leaves) and 3/4 cup of a nut or seed (basil and walnuts are great together, or try cilantro and either sunflower or pumpkin seeds)

Layer on your sliced veggies and enjoy your healthy, hearty summer sandwich.

PB&J Bites

Quick and easy! Feel free to sub different nut butters and jams. Almond cherry? Cashew peach?

1 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs ground flax seeds mixed in 3 Tbs water, or 1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

~ mix together, roll into little balls, and flatten slightly onto greased or lined cookie sheets. 

~ bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until golden

~ as soon as they come out, use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the hot cookies, being careful not to break then in half. 

~ when cool, fill each with a little raspberry jam

Nori Roll Bowls

1 1/2 cups brown rice, rinsed well

~ cook in 3 cups water, then set aside

1 Tbs tamari (lower sodium version of soy sauce)

1 Tbs rice vinegar (a different light vinegar would work just fine, too)

1 Tbs honey

~ simmer together

3 sheets of nori (8 by 8 inch flat sheets, look for a package in the asian section)

1 package of extra firm tofu, drained

- or - 1 package tempeh - any type

~ crumble and/or chop into small pieces

1 cucumber, peeled unless it’s organic

2 or 3 carrots, peeled unless they’re organic

1 avocado

~ slice/chop into small pieces

In a large bowl, add the rice and toss with the dressing, nori and tofu/tempeh crumbles. 

Stir to coat evenly. If it seems dry, add another little splash of tamari and vinegar. 

Top with the chopped cuke, carrot and avocado.

Serve with a few slices of picked ginger (also in the asian section in a little jar).

Sheet Pan Dinner

I hesitated to share this because it can hardly be called a recipe. It’s more of a back-up plan. But it’s a good one (if I do say so…), and feels better than a bowl of cereal for dinner. :)

Buy two or three veggies that look good - broccoli, onions, asparagus, peppers, cauliflower, green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets…. you get the idea - whatever you can bake.

If you like, you can also get a protein - a piece of fish or chicken or block of tofu. But you don’t have to - there’s plenty of protein in veggies, too, and dinner should be a lighter meal anyway.

Wash and cut everything up into bite sized-ish chunks.

Toss it all with a glug or two of olive oil, plus some salt and pepper.

Spread it all out on a sheet pan lined with parchment so you don’t even have to wash it after. 

Bake at 375 until it’s all tender and roast-y but still bright - probably around 25 minutes, depending on what size your pieces are. Check by poking pieces with a fork, which should slide right through the harder veggies.

Ta da: you can now be done. Dinner. Glamorous? Nope. But really tasty: roasted veggies as themselves.

Or you can take one more step and toss it all in a sauce you like - read labels to avoid junky ingredients and sugar, but there are some good ones on the grocery shelves now - curry, peanut, barbecue, teriyaki… 

A final flourish if you have this stuff in the fridge: top with avocado, a squeeze of lime, cilantro or parsley leaves… or don’t. Either way you have a nutrient dense meal (or two or three) - no fuss, no drama, and no sacrificing your health.

Chimichurri Sauce

3 to 6 cloves garlic, depending on your courage

1 1/2 cups parsley leaves (some stems are totally fine)

1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves (again, stems are fine)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or another kind that you have on hand - white wine, apple cider)

1/3 cup olive oil

up to 1/3 cup veggie broth or water, as needed

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper, to taste (red pepper flakes for a little extra zing)

Chop up the garlic first, then add everything into a blender or cuisinart - using as much of the water or broth as you need to get it going. Puree until smooth. Extra will store in the fridge for a few days.

Artichoke-Walnut Pesto Crostini

1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup flat italian parsley, chopped

3/4 cup walnuts

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

*1 whole grain baguette, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until combined, but still chunky.

Lay the bread slices out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, and toast in a hot oven until golden and crisp.

Spread pesto on the warm or cooled bread and serve.

* you can also make this as a dip and serve with veggie pieces if bread’s not your thing

Bowling for Dinner

Nope, this does not involve wearing multi-colored shoes. It means a cozy, easy and adaptable meal. If you have stuff to use in your fridge, then change it up with chicken, tempeh, avocado, sweet potato, cooked corn… And to add a little flourish: crumble a couple of tortilla or pita chips on the top. (In case you worry that an open bag is an empty bag - oh dear how’d that happen? - it’s still delish without that, too.)

Don’t fret about the number of parts. Each one is easy.

Here’s why your body will thank you: it’s a meal high in all the right places - nutrients, protein, fiber, alkalinity, antioxidants, and anti-inflammation. And zero in saturated fat and cholesterol. But no need to think about all that - just enjoy.

Bowl #1: toss together (really get in there with both hands to soften)

1 smallish bunch of kale, thick stems pulled off, washed, dried (in a spinner or towel), and torn into small pieces (or use a few branches from a big bunch to have 6 cups or so)

dressing: (puree together)

juice of 1 lime

1 large clove of garlic, cut into quarters or so

1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and shaken dry

2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil

Bowl #2: (okay, this one’s a pot)

2 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked in 5 cups of water

Bowl #3: toss together

1 can of black (or other) beans, drained and rinsed, and

1 teaspoon of taco spices from a mix or just use 1/2 and 1/2 chili powder and cumin

Bowl #4: 

2 tomatoes, chopped (can be canned and drained)

Bowl #5: (a pan or skillet), sauté together until golden, about 5 or 6 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, sliced thin or chopped as you like

1 package of small crimini mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced

1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed

salt and pepper and a drizzle of honey, to taste

Now invite everyone in to eat, and have them grab a - yup, you’re onto me now - bowl. Take a scoop of each and mix it to get the flavors all mixed together. Top with crunchy bits if you like.

Confession: I hover around discouraging seconds so I get at least one good lunch out of it for myself. :)

Warming and Quick Italian Bean Soup (Pasta Fagioli)

So good on cold days, very open to “winging it”, and reheats really well. Get famous for your own version!

1 large onion - red or yellow

1 tablespoon or so olive oil

~ chop and sauté in a soup pot for five minutes on medium, until soft and golden

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

a few sprigs of fresh, de-stemmed and chopped rosemary, or a teaspoon of dried

~ add to the onions and stir, just for a minute - don’t brown the garlic or it gets bitter

1 28 ounce can or box of tomatoes including the juice (whole, chopped or even two or three fresh ones, squeezed in your hands to break up)

salt and pepper, to taste

~ add and simmer, stirring regularly, until the tomatoes break down - 10 or 15 minutes

1 16 ounce can of white beans, drained (or kidney beans work too - not a big deal which)

1/2 box of small pasta

~ add, bring to a boil and cook until the pasta is done, about 15 minutes

If it gets too thick as the pasta cooks, go ahead and add some water. 

To make it rich and creamy, take some out and puree a bit in a blender or food processor and then return to the pot (or use an immersion blender and pulse a little, if you have one).

parsley and thyme - chopped fresh or dried

~ sprinkle a little on as you serve

 

 

Freshest Late Summer Salsa

2 or 3 gorgeous summer tomatoes, quartered

1/2 red onion, quartered

1 handful of cilantro leaves (stems are fine, too)

1 avocado, pitted and cut into a few chunks

~ pulse all together in a food processor (or with a knife) until it’s as chunky or smooth as you like it, and dump it into a bowl

2 ears of corn, steamed and kernels cut off the cob

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon or lime, to taste

salt to taste (1/2 teaspoon or so)

hot pepper sauce to taste

~ stir into the bowl with the other mixture

To enjoy, scoop with pieces of carrot, red pepper, or tortilla chips, or serve in a bowl on top of some salad greens and cooked brown rice. Crank up the summer volume even more and have a peach or some melon for dessert. Aaahhhhh, summer.

Chocolate Omega Squares

Ingredients for 24

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit, nuts and seeds
  • 1 10 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1½ tablespoons honey

Instructions

1. Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with wax paper or lightly greased parchment paper. 

2. Melt together chocolate and coconut and str until smooth.

3. Add honey and stir to blend.

4. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

5. Sprinkle nut and fruit mix over chocolate. Press in lightly if necessary.

6. Refrigerate for at least two hours to set.

7. Once set, cut into squares and enjoy.

Vegan Creamed Coconut Corn

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, (optional)

Instructions

Combine corn kernels, coconut milk and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the coconut milk has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro, lime juice and crushed red pepper, if using.

Vegan Nicoise Salad

Ingredients to serve 4

Salad

    •    6 small red or yellow potatoes

    •    1 cup green beans, trimmed

    •    1 head lettuce, chopped

    •    1/2 cup olives

    •    1/2 cup sliced tomato

Chickpeas

    •    1 15-ounce can chickpeas

    •    1 tsp dijon mustard

    •    1 tsp maple syrup

    •    1 tsp dried dill

    •    Pinch sea salt

    •    1 Tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted until golden

Dressing

    •    3 Tbsp minced shallot

    •    1 heaping tsp dijon mustard

    •    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

    •    1/3 cup white or red wine vinegar

    •    1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

    •    1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

1. Add potatoes to a small saucepan and add warm water until just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and cook uncovered for 10-12 minutes, or until completely tender when picked with a fork. Then drain thoroughly and let cool in the colander.

2. While potatoes are cooking, fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Then add green beans and boil for 2-4 minutes, or until bright green in color and only slightly tender. Once they’re done, drain and immediately refill the pot with ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry.

3. Add drained, rinsed chickpeas to a small mixing bowl, along with salt, mustard, maple syrup, dill, and sunflower seeds. Stir to combine and mash a few chickpeas to create texture.

4. Add dressing ingredients to a mason jar (or whisk in a small mixing bowl) and shake vigorously to combine.

5. To serve, layer the lettuce in a bowl, toss with potatoes, beans, tomato and dressing, then top with chickpeas and olives.

 

Cold Sesame Noodles

Ingredients for 3 or 4 servings

4 cups chopped crunchy vegetables: snow peas, bell peppers, cucumbers, scallions, broccoli, shredded beets

12 ounces noodles: soba or whole wheat linguine or spaghetti 

2 tablespoons sesame oil (you can sub olive, but the sesame oil does boost the taste)

½ cup tahini, peanut butter or a combination

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (finely chop or use a grater)

1 clove minced or crushed garlic

1 tablespoon rice or apple cider vinegar

hot sesame oil or sriracha sauce to taste

salt and pepper to taste

extras: sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, a wedge of fresh lime

  1. Prepare the vegetables: trim, seed, peel as necessary and cut into bite-size pieces. You can blanch peas or broccoli for a brighter color - drop in boiling water for a minute or two, then cool.
  2. Cook the noodles to al dente, then rinse under cold water, and toss with a little sesame oil.
  3. Whisk together the sauce ingredients, and thin with a little hot water until it’s still thick, but pourable.
  4. Toss the noodles, veggies and sauce together. Top with sesame seeds, cilantro leaves and/or a squeeze of lime for a little extra boost.

Turmeric Paste and Golden Tea

1/4 cup turmeric

1/2 cup water (more if needed)

1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (makes the good stuff in the turmeric much more available inside your body)

Mix all this together in a pan, and slowly heat until it’s a thick paste - 7 to 9 minutes, adding more water if you need to. Let the mixture cool and store in a glass container in the fridge - keeps for 2 to 3 weeks. That’s it.

Now to make Golden Milk, combine a teaspoon of coconut oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric paste you made, a cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk and a little honey, to taste. Options: add a little cinnamonor vanilla. Serve warm (being careful not to bring it to a boil).

Click here to read the whole post: Drink Liquid Gold, 6.14.16

 

Easy Veggie Curry

Although this recipe is pretty specific here, it's wide open to winging it - use what you like better or have on hand - cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, peas - it really all ends up working!

1 can (regular, not light, which is just diluted with water) coconut milk (don’t shake the can)
½ cup water
4 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey or brown sugar
6 tablespoons thai curry paste - green (most traditional), yellow (mildest) or red (delicious too) all work well - find them in the asian section of your grocery store
½ cup diced onion
⅔ cup diced red bell pepper
⅔ cup diced zucchini or other summer squash
⅔ cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
⅔ cup diced asian (smaller type) eggplant
1 cup sliced celery, bok choy or swiss chard stems (feel free to add the torn chard leaves, too)
1 lime
8 large basil leaves, chopped

Open the can of coconut milk without shaking it. Spoon 6 tablespoons of the coconut cream from the top into a medium saucepan. (If it’s not thick on the top, don’t worry - just use about a quarter of the can.) In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and sweetener.

Place the saucepan of coconut cream over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Add curry paste and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir until it’s very fragrant, about 3 minutes; adjust heat as needed to prevent burning. Then add the veggies. Stir until vegetables are hot, 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the rest of the coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 or 7 minutes.

To finish, add the soy sauce mixture and a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice to taste; you may use the juice of an entire lime. Stir and mix well. Add up to another 1/4 cup water if the curry seems too thick.

To serve, spoon the curry in a bowl and garnish with the basil leaves. It’s really good over brown (or white) jasmine rice.

Healthy Whole Grain Banana Bread

This is a bread I make over and over. It’s a standard in my house, spread with apple butter, almond butter or just as is. It’s simple and satisfying, high in fiber, low in added fat and sugar.

Makes 1 loaf. Bake in a lightly oiled loaf pan at 350 for about 50 minutes to an hour, or when a knife comes out clean.

In a bowl, combine:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a blender, puree together:
1/2 cup dark maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with
1/4 cup of water*
3 really ripe bananas

Pour the wet into the dry and stir to combine.

If you like, add 1 to 1.5 cups or so (total) of:
dark chocolate chips
shredded coconut
sunflower or pumpkin seeds
chopped walnuts
blueberries

*you can use two eggs instead of the chia seed/water mix, but the seeds do add a nice texture, with zero cholesterol or fat. plus you get the bragging rights of being hip to the vegan trend, you hipster, you.

Applesauce Bread

I hate wasting food. So sometimes I pick what to make by what I have to use up. This time it was applesauce - no one was eating the rest of a big jar of it. I searched around for a healthy bread. And an easy one. And a forgiving one, because I’m a pretty reckless ingredient subber. I made this and it lasted about three hours. So I made a double batch the next day, slightly differently, and it still tasted really good. (Found a second jar of applesauce in the pantry - yay!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or good quality butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk - made with milk (almond works, but use cow if you like) plus two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg, or for vegan, 1/4 cup water with a tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup sugar - date or unrefined cane or brown - whatever you have
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (total) other spices you like - I used a chai tea mix - cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, or sub some almond flour, which I happened to have to use up
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (blend some oats for a few seconds) - or use more wheat flour if you don’t feel like this step
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf or square baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the applesauce, vanilla, oil, and buttermilk until completely combined.
  3. Add in the egg (or egg sub) and sugar. Mix.
  4. Add in the salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add in the flours - whatever combo you’re using.
  6. Stir until JUST combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared bread pan.
  8. Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on the top (I did once, then forgot once).    
  9. Bake for 55-65 minutes (longer for a loaf, shorter for a baking dish) or until a knife comes out clean.

Tip: don’t leave it out in the counter with a knife next to it, or it’ll be gone way too fast. :)

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 coconut oil, softened (use refined unless you want the coconut-y taste of unrefined)

2 Tbs fresh chopped rosemary

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated unrefined sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbs ground flax seeds

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Combine oil, rosemary and both sugars until smooth, about a minute. Add milk and flaxseeds and combine. Then stir in the vanilla. Combine half of the dry ingredients and stir into the mixture, then add the second half, along with the chips, and combine until no dry flour remains. Scoop onto lined cookie sheets (makes about 2 dozen cookies), slightly flatten with your hand, and bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes, until light golden.

Kicharee

In a large soup pot, heat a Tbs or so of coconut oil.

Sautee 1 tsp each ground: coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric – for a minute until fragrant.

Rinse well and add: 1/2 cup long grain brown rice (white is fine, too, if you’re feeling sick or your digestion is weakened), 1/2 cup split mung dahl (also called yellow lentils or just dahl – not split peas – if your grocery store does’t have it with dried beans, get into your health food store’s bulk section for this, or sub with red lentils if you have to),  six cups of water and a little salt.

Boil, cover, and simmer for 1/2 hour.

Add up to four cups or so of chopped veggies of your choice (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, spinach, onion) in bite sized pieces – really, the amount depends on if you feel like a chunky stew, or a more porridge-like soup. You can add just one, or a combo, or none. For me, I’m all about getting green leaves in, so that’s what I usually pick.

Stir and simmer for another 1/2 hour, checking water level and adding more if needed.

Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and salt, to taste. A little cilantro on top is good, too.

click here to read the full post: Winter Comfort Food, 2.25.16

Almonds: Butter and Milk

Almond Butter

Put 2 or 3 cups of almonds in the Cuisinart and puree. Seriously - that’s it. It’ll take several minutes, and you’ll want to scrape the sides down a time or two. If you’d like, toast the nuts first, or add a pinch of salt, vanilla or cinnamon. Like crunchy? Stir in some chopped nuts or seeds. Dare I suggest cocoa powder and a little raw honey? Store in a glass jar, and stir before using.

Almond Milk

Soak a cup of raw almonds in water overnight. (Or just for an hour if you use boiling water.) Drain and rinse. Then pour the nuts and 4 cups of fresh water into your blender and whiz it on high for a minute or two. Done. Strain it through a cheesecloth if you’d like, but I don’t bother. Maybe add a little vanilla, or a couple of pitted dates. Again, that’s up to your mood. Store in a covered jar in the fridge, and shake before using.