Archive for ‘Vegan’

02.25.2013

Chickenless Tortilla Soup

On a recent trip to California to visit my sister and her family, she and I had the chance to cook together, which is always fun. But, with an energetic two-year-old and a newborn in the house, we did not have the time to linger over a pot for hours. As is true in many households, it is as difficult as it is important to get a healthy, fresh dinner on the table every night.

So, when my sister ran across this recipe for tortilla soup in the December issue of Sunset magazine, its simple ingredients and straightforward, quick preparation and cook time, along with its ease in accommodating different eating styles:

– chicken + more veggies = vegetarian version – cheese = vegan version

These easy alterations made the dish perfect for a family dinner.

The soup turned out delicious and filling and the short prep/cooking time left plenty of time for baths and bedtime stories.

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02.20.2013

Kale & Mushroom Polenta Pie

VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

I got this pie plate as a birthday gift from a cousin with exceptional taste. And, although I love it, I am pretty sure my two-and-a-half year old nephew could count high enough to reach the total number of sweet pies I have made in my life. But, I have refused to let that one little detail reduce this beautiful dish to a life of collecting dust in my cabinet.

I often find myself drawn to healthy, savory pies and tarts purely with the thought of serving it in this dish.  Crustless quiche, lasagna pie, baked vegetable gratin,summertime tomato pie, and numerous versions of this polenta pie have all been baked to (near) perfection in this little ceramic pie plate.

The polenta pie started with a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant Low-fat Favorites. I have changed it a little and used the easy “crust” as a base for many other savory dishes because it’s tasty and much healthier than a traditional pie crust.  Now I’m thinking that maybe I shouldn’t stop with savory pies… sweet cinnamon apple polenta pie sounds pretty tasty too…

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02.14.2013

Easy Peasy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Whether you have jumped on the brussels-sprout bandwagon, or you still consider yourself “brussel-phobic”, I urge you to try this recipe.

Nearly everyone I have made these for has been won over by the crunchy, salty-sweet flavor these mini cabbages take on during the roasting process. The flavor is only enhanced by the nuttiness a sprinkle of pine nuts in the last few minutes of cooking adds to the dish. These tender morsels make a great side for a weekday dinner or for entertaining. I have even been known to make them for myself as a main course on a night when I don’t feel like cooking.

The best part of this recipe is that it is easy!  A few minutes of prep and 20 or so minutes in the oven and the dish is ready to go with minimal fuss!

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02.05.2013

Roasted Chickpeas

I first found roasted chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) last year and, although I really enjoyed them, after a couple of batches, I forgot about them….until a few months ago.  I was reading the newest issue of “Whole Living” magazine, and ran across a recipe for honey-sesame candied chickpeas.  Needless to say, my mouth was immediately watering.  A combination of the little honey- sesame stick candies with the crunchy wholesomeness of chickpeas– I’ll take it.

It took me a couple of batches and adjustments to make this recipe work, but when it did, the results were great.  These are a great alternative to chips or nuts at a party (especially if you have guests with nut allergies on the invite list) and they are healthy to boot.  The chickpeas are high in protein and fiber and at 270 calories per cup, you can have quite a few before worrying about the caloric impact. Note: these make a cute hostess gift when wrapped in a decorative tin and tied in a pretty kitchen towel or with cute twine.

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01.30.2013

Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies

It can be hard to be on a diet, whether it’s by choice or because of allergies.  Feeling like you are missing out or that the choice of what you eat is not under your control, can be very difficult.  I also believe that this restriction can make you crave things strongly…even things you don’t normally enjoy that much… or maybe have never even tried!  So as the last few days of January, and therefore the paleo challenge, linger cruelly, I thought I would try to curb one of those cravings with a batch of snickerdoodles. Mind you, this is a grain-free, vegan, no sugar added version of the cookie, but it’s also guilt free and can be adjusted to make them a little more indulgent and to fit a variety of diets.

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11.07.2012

Mexican-Spiced Polenta Patties

These little patties are a great alternative to soft polenta.  They are great served with eggs (think mexican “Benedict” with polenta patties in place of the english muffin and Pica de Gallo instead of hollandaise sauce), chili, or barbecued tofu.  I make a large batch and freeze the extras for a quick side for the days I’m too busy to cook.  These patties are also extremely kid-friendly.

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11.07.2012

Un-Fussy Polenta

Polenta (the Italian version of corn grits), is a versatile grain which can be eaten plain, but it’s also the base for many recipes.  If you have tried it soft, you might have been won over by its creamy consistency, but you can also grill, saute or bake with it creating a satisfyingly delicious crunchy crust on the outside.

You may have noticed prepared polenta in the grocery store next to the pastas in a sausage style tube. But the dry polenta can usually be found in the bulk grain section or the flour section of your grocery store (it might be labeled as coarsely ground corn meal).

Many people don’t make their own polenta and opt instead for the prepared version because they are under the assumption that it is time-consuming, but with these easy cooking instructions, you can prepare it at home with only a few minutes of hands-on prep time….I promise.

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09.25.2012

Banana “Gelato”

I was recently reminded of this healthy and delicious dessert by my brother–thanks, Jordan!  It is amazing in its simplicity and how closely it resembles gelato in texture.  Yet, it is as healthy as eating whole bananas and therefore doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions. It does taste like bananas (not a bad thing in my book), but if you prefer to disguise the flavor a bit, add your favorite extract or fruit to the bananas.

Bananas are a go-to food for me.  Not only do they taste great and go well with peanut butter, but they also offer a serious punch of energy and potassium which helps me recover from workouts faster and get back out there!

This “gelato” is delicious plain, but playing around with different add-ins keeps the dessert fresh and offers a little more room for those times when you truly want to indulge.  Banana gelato is on my list as a top pick when I get a dessert craving!

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09.18.2012

Cannellini Bean “Pesto”

Healthy, flavorful sandwich spreads can double as a quick and easy appetizer or snack are a mainstay for me so I’m always on the lookout for different flavor combos to spice things up.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this recipe for a pesto-flavored bean spread on the Om. Nom. Run. blog earlier this month and I’ve made it numerous times in just the past few weeks. It’s amazing how much it tastes like pesto without all the fat from the cheese and this recipe calls for a just a fraction of the oil normal pesto requires.

If there’s no kale in the fridge, I use whatever greens I have on hand or in my mini-garden. I’ve eaten it on toast, pita, with red pepper strips and even in a veggie wrap during a hike.  It takes just minutes to whip up and stores well in the fridge for a few days– if it lasts that long.  To spice up the presentation, top the dip with a few toasted pine nuts or a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of fresh basil.

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09.10.2012

Roasted Cumin-lime Carrots

This recipe, from the Family Style Food blog, is a great way to celebrate the fall harvest.

Roasting brings out the sweetness of the carrots while the cumin and paprika add depth to the flavors.  The acidity from the lime freshens the dish and helps blend all the other flavors together. I’ve served this as a substantial side dish with Mexican entrees, but it could also be paired with Middle Eastern or Moroccan food.  

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