Tag Archives: beans

GUEST BLOG – Ultimate Energy Bar Formula – The No Meat Athlete

I have been following Matt Frazier’s blog, the No Meat Athlete for some time now.  Matt is a running fanatic who is fueled exclusively by plants, thus the title, No Meat Athlete.  Matt ran his first marathon on 2002, but it wasn’t until he became a vegetarian that he qualified for the Boston Marathon.  He has since moved on to ultrarunning…we are talking 50K, 50 miles, and beyond (all fueled by a plant-based diet)!!!  If that is not inspirational, then I don’t know what is. Matt has great tips on his site for running and athletics in general as well as product reviews and recipes (He also sells really cute shirts).  Today Matt has graciously agreed to share his go to formula for energy bars.  We have all bought them, but did any of you realize how easy (and how much less expensive) they are to make at home?  Matt’s sister-in-law came-up with the winning formula.  What’s great about using a formula versus a recipe is how easy it is to customize it to each person’s taste…some people would go gaga for a chocolate peanut butter energy bar and other people would prefer a cranberry walnut bar…to each their own. Today’s Guest Blog will not disappoint.

The Ultimate Energy Bar Formula

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound can of beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • ½ cup binder
  • ¼ cup sweetener
  • ¼ cup soft sweet fruit
  • 1 teaspoon of extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dry spice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats (you can toast them if you want but I can’t tell the difference)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient
  • 1 cup stir-ins

In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice, and salt until smooth.  Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine.  Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine.  If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good.  If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient. Grease 13×9 pan with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Note: You’ll have the most success if you use unsalted, unsweetened versions of the ingredients, and control the sweetness and saltiness through the sweetener and added salt.

Recommended beans

  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Adzuki beans

Recommended binders

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of ground flax seed mixed with ¼ cup water
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • Mashed avocado

Recommended sweeteners

  • Maple syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey (if you’re not vegan)

Recommended soft, sweet fruit

  • Applesauce
  • Mashed banana (about half of one)
  • Chopped dates (remove the pits!)
  • Crushed pineapple

Recommended optional extracts

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Coffee

Recommended dry spices

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  •  Instant coffee

*For stronger spices like nutmeg and cardamom, use just a ¼-½ teaspoon and combine with less intense spices like cinnamon. Recommended dry base ingredient (a combination is usually best)

  • Protein powder (we’re fans of hemp, rice, and pea protein)
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Cocoa (max ½ cup)
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Buckwheat flour

Recommended stir-ins

  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Dry cereal
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Chocolate chips

So that’s the basic formula! To help get you started, here are three variations Christine came up with.  For each of them, follow the same procedure from above for mixing and baking.

Example #1: chocolate black bean happy bars

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa + ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup shredded coconut + ½ cup raisins

Example #2: cranberry-pistachio protein bars

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup binder: ¼ cup of ground flax seed with ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup pistachios + ½ cup dried cranberries

Example #3: maple pumpkin health bars

  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (Christine used more maple syrup in place of the sweet fruit here, for more maple flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup raisin bran cereal

So there you go, three examples to get you started.  But really, the point is for you to create your own, using the basic formula as the framework.  So I hope you’ll do that, and let us know what you come up with! Photo courtesy of the No Meat Athlete. Click here to read the original post.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Breakfast, Dessert, Energy Bars, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

HEARTY VEGGIE LASAGNA

Hearty Veggie Lasagna

Hearty Veggie Lasagna

Whenever I cook lasagna I make a HUGE one and I tend to do it on a weekend or an afternoon when I know I will be home for the rest of the night.  If you are going to go to the trouble to make lasagna, why not have it be big enough to last for a few meals?  When I make this lasagna it lasts my family of 4 (2 of which are children) 3 whole dinners!  We eat it fresh out of the oven one night and then I usually freeze the other 2 sections for 2 other nights.  You pop it in the oven for an hour from the freezer, make a salad, and you have a fantastic dinner!

***NOTE***

I just cooked one of my frozen lasagna sections and IT DOES NOT REHEAT WELL when using gluten free lasagna noodles (they turned to mush).  The lasagna tastes AWESOME the first night and when reheated as left-overs, but unfortunately I can NOT recommend reheating it from the freezer.  Bummer. 

The next time I make this lasagna I am going to cut the recipe in 1/2.

There are a few keys to making great tasting vegan lasagna:

  1. All of the components need to taste good enough to eat on their own
  2. The sauce needs to be very fresh and flavorful
  3. The cheese filling needs to have the taste and texture everyone has come to expect

As for the cheese, it has taken a lot of experimenting, but I have finally come-up with what I call my Vegan Herbed Ricotta.  I am not a big fan of using very much soy in general (A LOT of the recipes you will see for vegan lasagna rely on tofu tremendously), so through trial and error I have come up with a recipe that only uses ½ a brick of extra firm sprouted tofu and the rest of the cheese is comprised of beans, vegan goat cheese, and herbs and spices.  When you think about it, ½ a brick of tofu spread out over three dinners for four people is very nominal.

While it is a time investment to make lasagna, the end result is so very worth it and will pay off when you realize you have made 3 meals!

~

INGREDIENTS

2 packages brown rice lasagna noodles

2 25.5 oz. jars of tomato basil pasta sauce

4 10 oz. bags baby bella mushrooms

2 medium onions

4 small or 2 large zucchini

1 tsp. olive oil

Simply Organic garlic salt to taste

1 package Daiya mozzarella cheese

VEGAN HERBED RICOTTA

1 cup vegan goat cheese*

½ package extra firm sprouted tofu by Wildwood, drained and crumbled

15 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

2 10 oz. packages Cascadian Farms frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 packed cup fresh basil

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

* click here for recipe 

~

Preheat the oven to 400°

Place a strainer over a bowl and pour one of the jars of pasta sauce into the strainer.  You want most of the liquid to strain into the bowl.  You may need to stir the sauce a few times to help release most of the liquid.

Strain 1 Jar of Sauce

Strain 1 Jar of Sauce

While the pasta sauce is straining, cook the lasagna noodles according to the instructions on the box.  I am always leery about noodles that claim they do not need to be precooked, so I always precook them.  It really doesn’t add much time to the process since they will cook while you are preparing the other ingredients.

While the noodles are cooking, make the Vegan Herbed Ricotta.  Place the vegan goat cheese and sprouted tofu in a bowl.  In a food processor fitted with the S blade, pulse together the basil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.  You will need to stop and scrape down the bowl of the processor a few times during the process. 

Basil and Garlic

Basil and Garlic

Oregano, Salt, and Pepper is Added

Oregano, Salt, and Pepper is Added

Once the mixture resembles pesto, add the great northern beans and pulse only a few times since you want the beans to maintain some texture.  Gently fold the mixture from the food processor into the vegan goat cheese and crumbled tofu. 

Add Beans and Pulse

Add Beans and Pulse

Combine with Tofu and Vegan Goat Cheese

Combine with Tofu and Vegan Goat Cheese

Once well combined, gently fold in the spinach (which you have squeezed ALL of the liquid out of so it forms a nice dry ball).

Defrosted Spinach

Defrosted Spinach

Liquid Squeezed Out

Liquid Squeezed Out

Gently Fold In Spinach

Gently Fold In Spinach

Completed Vegan Herbed Ricotta

Completed Vegan Herbed Ricotta

Now that the noodles are done cooking, rinse them under cool water.  Once rinsed, lay them out in a single layer to prevent sticking (I use sheet pans).

Without washing the food processor bowl (save yourself some time, there is no real need) place the mushrooms one bag at a time into the food processor and pulse until they are fairly well chopped, but maintain some texture.  Pour the mushrooms into a large pot.  Repeat with the other three bags until all of the mushrooms are chopped. 

Pre-Sliced Mushrooms into the Processor

Pre-Sliced Mushrooms into the Processor

Roughly chop the onions and place them into the unwashed food processor bowl.  Pulse until finely chopped and add the onions to the pot with the chopped mushrooms.

Onions and Mushrooms

Onions and Mushrooms

Turn the burner onto medium and cook the mushrooms and onions down.  Place the lid on the pot to speed-up the process.  Once the mushrooms and onions are cooked (approx. 10 minutes), pour them into a strainer to strain out all of the liquid.  Once strained, salt and pepper to taste.

Cooked Down Onions and Mushrooms

Cooked Down Onions and Mushrooms

Strain the Liquid Out and Season to Taste

Strain the Liquid Out and Season to Taste

Chop the zucchini into 1/8” wheels and sauté on medium heat with 1 tsp oil.  You want the zucchini to brown very slightly.  This should only take 3-4 minutes.  Flavor the zucchini with garlic salt to taste.

Saute the Zucchini

Saute the Zucchini

It is now time to assemble the lasagna.  Pour one third of the unopened pasta sauce (NOT the pasta sauce you are straining) into the bottom of a 10” x 12” deep casserole dish.  Follow with a layer of lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the Vegan Herbed Ricotta, 1/3 of the Daiya, and 1/3 of the mushrooms, and another 1/3 of the sauce.

1/3 Jar of Pasta Sauce

1/3 Jar of Pasta Sauce

Layer of Noodles

Layer of Noodles

1/3 of the Herbed Riccota

1/3 of the Herbed Riccota

1/3 Daiya, 1/3 Mushrooms, and Another 1/3 Sauce

1/3 Daiya, 1/3 Mushrooms, and Another 1/3 Sauce

Follow with another layer of noodles, 1/3 of the Vegan Herbed Ricotta, all of the zucchini wheels, most of the remaining mushrooms (reserve some for the top of the lasagna), most of the remaining Daiya (reserve some for the top of the lasagna), and the last 1/3 of the jar of pasta sauce.

Noodle Layer, Herbed Riccota, Zucchini

Noodle Layer, Herbed Riccota, Zucchini

Mushrooms and Daiya

Mushrooms and Daiya

Top with the last layer of lasagna noodles, the ENTIRE jar of the strained pasta sauce (reserve the liquid for an alternate use…you will not need it for this recipe…if you put it into the lasagna it will become soggy), any remaining mushrooms, and the remaining Daiya.

Last Layer of Noodles, Strained Pasta Sauce, and Remaining Mushrooms and Daiya

Last Layer of Noodles, Strained Pasta Sauce, and Remaining Mushrooms and Daiya

Cover the lasagna with a piece of foil that you have oiled on the inside so it won’t stick to it.

Cook the lasagna for 1 hour at 400°.

 
 
 

Hearty Veggie Lasagna

Hearty Veggie Lasagna

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

5 Comments

Filed under Cheese, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

ROASTED SPICED CHICKPEA SNACK

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

I know all of us are always looking for healthy snack alternatives that will hit the spot and satisfy.  This recipe does the trick.  Packed with protein and fiber, chickpeas are an amazing addition to your daily fare.  I made some of these BAKED SPICED CHICKPEAS this afternoon so it would be ready for the kids to nosh on when they got home from school.  WARNING – These are addicting!!! …and may be too spicy for wee ones (just reduce the cayenne).

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 Tbs. oil

25 oz. can Westbrae Organic Chickpeas

SPICE MIX INGREDIENTS (from a Vegetarian Times recipe used for a  nut mix):

2 tsp. coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika (I used La Chinata smoked sweet paprika from Spain)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)

1/2 tsp. salt (optional.  omit if you want the mix to be just sweet & spicy)

~

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Westbrae Chickpeas

Westbrae Chickpeas

Wash and drain the chickpeas.  Place the clean chickpeas on 2 layers of paper towels and gently rub the tops of them with another layer of  paper towels.

Rinse Well

Rinse Well

Place on a Paper Towel Lined Platter

Place on a Paper Towel Lined PlatterGently Dry the Beans by Rubbing the Tops

Gently Dry the Beans by Rubbing the Tops

Gently Dry the Beans by Rubbing the Tops

You want to get the chickpeas as dry as possible.  Notice that some of the chickpea’s skins will come loose.  Remove the skins.

Remove Loose Skins

Remove Loose Skins

While the chickpeas are air drying further, make the spice mix.  Pour all of the spices into a bowl and mix well (I used a mortar and pestle that I bought at Cost Plus World Market so I could grind the spices together).  This recipe will not use all of the mix, so reserve the excess for later.

Grind the Spices Together

Grind the Spices Together

Place the clean and dry chickpeas in a bowl and coat them with the oil.  Once coated with oil,  sprinkle on the spice mix to taste (I used 3 tsp.).

Coat the Beans w/ Oil

Coat the Beans w/ Oil

Place the seasoned chickpeas on a lined cookie sheet (I used a Silpat) and put the sheet in the oven for 40-60 minutes.  Carefully watch the chickpeas at the end as they can quickly burn.  Once done, the chickpeas will be browned and crunchy.  As the chickpeas cool they will become even crunchier.

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

10 Comments

Filed under Beans/Legumes, Recipes, Sides, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

CROCK POT BLACK BEAN SOUP – Guest Blog by Catherine McCord of Weelicious

I am so excited to announce that we have a guest blog today from Catherine McCord of Weelicious!!!

Catherine McCord of Weelicious

Catherine McCord of Weelicious

I have been following Catherine’s blog for quite some time now and am always inspired by her recipe posts (many of which are plant based).  I too am a mom and am always looking for fast, healthy, and economical meals.  This following recipe is a definite winner!  Enjoy Catherine’s post…

CATHERINE MCCORD’S CROCKPOT BLACK BEAN SOUP

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

 

 
If you follow weelicious with any regularity, you know that I have a very intimate relationship with my crock pot — it’s like my best friend. Coming back after the holiday, with school starting back up, endlessly busy schedules to juggle and so on, my crock pot has been my salvation for getting hearty foods that everyone wants to eat made easily. A vendor at our local farmer’s market offers the most beautiful assortment of beans, and since black beans are one of our family favorites and cook beautifully in the crock pot, I buy them from him all of the time. Packed with protein and dietary fiber, black beans make for a filling, inexpensive and nutritious vegetarian meal that everyone can enjoy.

I really loved making this soup with my kids, because, like me, they love using the crock pot. But the real fun for them started when it was time to puree everything. Kenya, being an incredibly curious, almost 4 year-old boy who loves anything with a motor, was totally game to help me out with the hand-blender. As he gripped it and pressed the power button, he was enthralled as he made the beans transform into a creamy, rich soup. But if it was fun for me to witness the blast Kenya had, watching Chloe drink three helpings straight out of her bowl ensured that this soup will be in our regular mealtime rotation!

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup (Serves 6)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Cups Dried Black Beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 32 oz Chicken Broth or Vegetable Stock, low sodium
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup Water

Accompaniments: Yogurt, Sour Cream, Crème Fraiche

1. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and sauté onions for 4 minutes.
2. Add chopped garlic and sauté an additional minute.
3. Place the onion garlic mixture into the crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
5. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the ingredients to your desired texture (I like to get it so a few pieces of beans are still visible so the soup is thick and still has a bit of texture).
6. Top with a dollop of yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche.
7. Serve.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

BAKED LIMA BEANS

Baked Lima Beans

Baked Lima Beans

When I was a kid I HATED lima beans.  My dad loved them, so we ate them a lot.  Just thinking of lima beans used to make my mouth dry…they always tasted so mealy and intensely dry to me and no amount of butter could fix that.  To this day I see one of the bricks of frozen Jolly Green Giant lima beans and shudder.

Fast forward to adulthood.  A few months ago my husband and I had the priviledge of enjoying an amazing night at the Segerstrom Family Farm in Costa Mesa.  Our friends invited us to join them at the farm for a charity event (The Festival of Children) and it was truly one of my favorite events ever.  We began by going out into the fields to pick the produce that would be used in our dinner.  There was a private chef who prepared all of the food with her team and we spent the night dining outdoors under the stars right next to the fields.  It was spectacular.  The food was phenomenal and the company was even better.

The Segerstrom Farm began as a lima bean farm, so when the night ended we were all sent home with bage of dried lima beans and fantastic pumpkins to take home to the kids.

Segerstrom Lima Beans

Segerstrom Lima Beans

For the holidays my mom and dad gifted me a HUGE (750+ pages) vegetarian cookbook  called World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey and one of the lima bean reciped jumped out at me.  The time had come for me to give lima beans another try…I already had some outstanding beans in the pantry from the Segerstrom Farm, so  I had no more excuses.

World Vegetarian

World Vegetarian

Shockingly I LOVED this recipe.  The beans were creamy and so flavorful.  I am sure it is attributable to high quality beans and a well written cookbook.

Madhur received this recipe from the nuns at the Ormylia Monastery in Macedonia.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup dried lima beans or any large white beans, picked over and washed

¼ cup oil

1 medium onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half moons

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices

2 good-sized (6-7 ounce each) tomatoes, finely chopped

1 ¼ tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano

~~

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 5 inches.  Drain, discarding the soaking liquid and rinse with cold water.

Dry Beans vs. Soaked Beans

Dry Beans vs. Soaked Beans

Put the beans in a pot with 3 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil.  Remove the scum that rises to the top.  Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the beans are just tender (If the dried beans are very fresh it may only take 20 minutes).  

 
 

Skim the Foam

Skim the Foam

 

 Meanwhile, put the oil in a flame and ovenproof casserole-type dish and set over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion.  Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onion has just wilted.  Put in the carrot and cook another minute, stirring now and then.  Now put in the tomatoes and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened.  Turn off the heat.
Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Sauteed Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Sauteed Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

When the beans have finished cooking, add them and their cooking liquid to the dish with the onion, carrot, and tomatoes. 

Gently Mix in the Lima Beans

Gently Mix in the Lima Beans

 Add the salt, lots of black pepper, the parsley, and oregano.  Stir to mix

Add the Herbs

Add the Herbs

Put the casserole dish into the oven and bake, uncovered for 2 hours. 

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

Serve hot.  I served this with a salad and some crusty whole wheat bread, but it would taste great over barley or pasta as well.

Baked & Ready to Serve

Baked & Ready to Serve

For a printable version of this recipe click here

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Books, Farming, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian