Friday, June 9, 2017

Buckwheat Noodle Salad

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I love buckwheat noodles because they have great flavor and texture, and they are naturally higher in protein than most pasta. They work well in soups, stir-fried, and in cold salads like this one. This is a salad I come back to time and time again, especially in the spring when red radishes are the first thing to come up in my garden. It is refreshing and easy to make. If you are not eating the salad right away, store the dressing separately because the vinegar can start to break down the noodles a bit. I like to keep the dressing in a little glass jar and then give it a shake before I add it to individual servings. If you store the dressing separately, you may want to add a few drops of sesame oil to the noodles so they don't clump together.

The dressing calls for coconut aminos, which is a great alternative to soy sauce. It is a bit sweeter and has less sodium than soy sauce, and many prefer it due to it's simple and straight forward ingredients. You can find it at most grocers now, especially places like Sprouts, Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. It is online (of course) and you can order it through places like Amazon or Thrive Market. I have not yet tried Thrive Market, but have been reading about it and it seems like it can be a good option for hard to find ingredients.

Buckwheat Noodle Salad


Ingredients:

12 oz package buckwheat noodles (3 bundles)

1/2 cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
8 radishes, thinly sliced

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup coconut aminos (option to sub soy sauce or Bragg's here)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the noodles according to the package directions, taking care to keep them al dente. Then drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to stop them from cooking and put them in a large mixing bowl.

While your noodles are cooking, prepare the veggies. I like to try and slice them as uniformly as possible into thin strips. Gently toss the veggies with the noodles.

Put the dressing ingredients (rice wine vinegar, coconut aminos, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and ginger) in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine.

Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, I often add a bit of salt and pepper.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Quinoa Tabbouleh

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Quinoa is so quick and easy to prepare. Lately, I have been throwing it in my rice cooker and using the white rice setting and it comes out perfectly steamed and fluffy. This is a great salad to make ahead, because it holds up really well and the flavors continue to deepen with a little time. This salad is great with some baked or grilled tofu slices, with falafel and hummus, or grilled veggies.

Quinoa Tabbouleh


Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
pinch of salt

1 cup diced tomato
1 cup peeled and diced cucumber
1 10 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, minced

Juice of 1 small lemon
1/8 - 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions. While the quinoa is cooking, chop the veggies and mince the herbs for the salad. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.

Once the quinoa is ready, fluff it with a fork and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. When it has cooled a little, add the veggies, herbs, and garbanzo beans. Drizzle on the lemon juice and olive oil, and add a little salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine, taste, and adjust the seasonings.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Johnny Marzetti

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This is another recipe inspired by a childhood food memory. My mom used to make a similar dish, probably because it was a cheap and easy way to feed seven people. I love carbs and love-love anything with pasta so I had to update this recipe with some vegan swaps, and it turned out great. I have made it a few times and my family really loves this version.

Johnny Marzetti

Ingredients:

12 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced *

1 tsp dried fennel
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 cup water
1 tsp vegetable bouillon
1 bag Boca Crumbles, or Gardein Beefless Ground (whatever TVP you like)

16 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup artichoke hearts (packed in water)
1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk (optional, but brings a nice creaminess to the dish)
1/2 cup vegan parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

* I have also used 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms cooked in a 1/2 cup of water. Which was amazing, too.

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and then drain and reserve the pasta. Use a smaller pasta like shells, elbows, etc.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or saucepan (you need a good size with taller sides). Add the diced onion and stir until the onion begins to soften, then add the garlic and the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms start to release liquid and soften up. Next, add the seasonings which are: fennel, chili powder, nutritional yeast and paprika. Stir to coat everything and then add the water, bouillon and meatless crumbles. Stir and continue to cook until the crumbles thaw out and heat through (you may need to add a little more water if it starts to stick. Once the crumbles are heated through add the spaghetti sauce, artichoke hearts, soy milk (if using) vegan parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Finally, stir in the prepared pasta and enjoy!




Friday, May 19, 2017

Mojito Instant Kombucha

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I am still going strong with making instant kombucha variations. This is my latest favorite....because mint is coming up fresh in my garden. Yay spring! I have been having an instant kombucha almost everyday between lunch and dinner. I find it takes the edge off my afternoon munchies, and this flavor tastes of summer which is making me quite happy. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Mojito Instant Kombucha

Ingredients:

1 cup apple juice
1/8 cup fresh mint leaves (about 10 medium sized leaves)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar, with the "mother"
2 tbsp lime juice
1 12 oz can seltzer water (plain or lime flavored)
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Directions:

Crush the mint leaves in your hands to release the flavor. Add all ingredients to a 24 ounce jar, stir and enjoy. It is even better after letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors combine. Also, if you use the chia seeds they will need some time to absorb the liquid and become more gel-like. I like to let them soak for at least an hour. I realize that this makes it not-quite-so-instant, but it is still a lot faster and easier than fermenting your own kombucha.

With Chia Seeds:                                             Without Chia Seeds:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Coriander Quinoa with Oven Roasted Vegetables

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This dish is healthy and full of flavor. I love the fresh mint, citrus and coriander....they make for such a refreshing flavor profile. This meal is great as is, or folded into a pita or tortilla to take on the go.  It is also awesome with hummus, tzatziki sauce (made with vegan mayo), a drizzle of hot sauce, or you can go crazy and add all three!

Coriander Quinoa with Oven Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:

1 cup sweet potato cubes (about half of a large sweet potato)
2 carrots, peeled and diced (try to mimic the size of the sweet potato)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 14 oz block extra firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes

1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried dill
rounded 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced fresh mint

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Prep the veggies and the tofu and put them in a roasting pan or oven-safe casserole dish. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl (maple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice, tamari, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke) and pour over the tofu and veggies. Toss to coat everything with the seasonings. Put in the preheated oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Try to use a big enough dish to roast them in so that the veggies and tofu are not crowded. The cooking time will depend on the crowding in the pan and the size of the pieces of tofu and veggies.

While the veggies roast you can start the quinoa. Rinse the cup of quinoa and put it in a sauce pan with the two cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then cover and lower the heat to let it steam for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork and then add the seasonings (coriander, cumin, dill, salt, lemon juice, mint) and toss again to coat.

Combine the quinoa with the roasted veggies and fold it all together. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with a slice of fresh lemon and more minced fresh mint.





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

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It has been a fairly cool spring so far here in Colorado. I have barely worn shorts or sandals and am still wearing sweaters and boots, which is unusual for May. Warm nourishing meals like soups are still perfect for the evenings and this one is especially good. It is packed with healthy veggies and spices to warm you and fill you up.

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup


Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
7 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp Thai red curry paste
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried parsley

1 tbsp vegetable bouillon
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion begins to turn opaque and soften. Then add the garlic and stir while it heats through for a minute. Then add the celery, carrot and sweet potato and cook for about 5 minutes more. Next, add the tomatoes, water, lentils, red curry paste, apple cider vinegar, paprika and parsley.  Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes until the veggies have softened and the lentils have cooked through. Red lentils are softer than green or brown ones and some might even dissolve a bit into the broth, which is great because it thickens and flavors the broth. Once the vegetables are tender, add the bouillon and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with over rice, with bread or crackers, or alongside a salad.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Pressure Cooker Black Beans

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One you get in the routine of making beans from scratch it is not too bad, and they taste really good when made fresh. Once your beans are soaked, it is easy to throw them in the pressure cooker and they will be ready to eat in under an hour. Plus, buying dried beans in bulk is much cheaper than buying them canned so it's a win all around.

You can serve these in burritos, over rice, with sweet potatoes, as a soup, on nachos, or refried.

Pressure Cooker Black Beans


Ingredients:

1 cup black beans, soaked for 8 hours

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, diced small
1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground epazote (optional digestive)

3 cups water

1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced

Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Then add the jalapeño and garlic. Sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add the seasonings (cumin, coriander, and optional epazote) and stir for 20 seconds.

Next, add the soaked black beans and 3 cups of water. Seal the pressure cooker lid, and bring to a boil. When the indicator shows it's boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes more. Let the beans cool until you can open the pressure cooker. Add the salt, lime juice and fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.