I think we often neglect lunch. With a little planning, it can be really easy to cook a fresh healthy lunch. This weekend I cooked-up a big batch of brown rice and thinly sliced some veggies. As a result I was able to whip-up this cabbage stir fry in a matter of minutes.
I literally put a tiny bit of oil in my pan, threw in a handful of thinly sliced onion, handful of purple cabbage, some thinly sliced portobello mushrooms, and seasoned it up while it cooked with some wheat-free tamari and chili sauce. I finished it off with a dash of sesame oil, poured it over some warm brown rice, and lunch was served.
Remember that it doesn’t need to be complicated. This lunch came together in the same amount of time it would have taken me to go to the drive-thru.
I am so happy that Spring is here! Although it isn’t quite April yet, we definitely are experiencing the “showers” part. Now that Spring has arrived, the amazing produce Spring brings has started making its way into farmer’s markets and the grocery stores…yay!
While I do cook this salad slightly, it would be very good completely raw as well.
6 cups freshly cut corn (I used 8 small ears)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
½ head cilantro, chopped
1 ½ cups jicama, diced
1 tsp olive oil
½-1 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Pour the tsp of olive oil into a pan. Over medium heat lightly sauté the onions and peppers for 2 minutes (you want to maintain their crunch). Add the corn and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Squeeze in the juice of the lime and turn off the heat. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste. Sprinkle in the cumin and mix well. Add the cilantro and jicama and mix thoroughly.
Let the freshness of the ingredients speak for itself. Do not overpower the salad by adding too many spices.
This salad tastes phenomenal accompanied by flavorful black beans…I ate this for lunch three days in a row!
In yesterday’s post I introduced you to Shirataki Miracle Noodles. The recipe in this post is one that I came up with and has been a regular in my kitchen since. It is so quick and tasty.
I need to address the fact that the Sriracha sauce in the recipe is not completely vegan. There is some fish extract in the sauce (way down on the ingredient list). While I eat a plant based diet and do not eat any animal flesh, I do on occasion consume sauces that have fish extracts in them. I married into a Chinese family and have picked-up so many wonderful cooking tips from them. They have also intriduced me to some really great marinades and sauces. I feel that these sauces make up such a small percentage of my daily diet that I am personally OK with using the sauces in small amounts (i.e.this recipe only calls for 1/4 tsp. of Sriracha…of that 1/4 tsp, the fish extract is the 5th ingredient).
*A reader wrote in to let me know that the Sriracha with the rooster IS vegan…that is so great to know. The bottle of Sriracha in my fridge is a different brand and contains fish extract.
Image Courtesy of foodproof.com
1 package angel hair Miracle Noodles
¼ of an onion, sliced into matchsticks (I used a red onion)
½ cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted (I bought mine at Costco)
½ – 1 tsp. Sriracha sauce (I like it HOT)
5 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
scarce amount of olive oil
soy sauce to taste
dash of sesame oil (optional)
Pour hot water over the dried mushrooms. Once reconstituted, slice to desired size.
Rinse the noodles in a colander and drain.
Pour a very slight amount of olive oil into a pan and sauté the onions.
Once the onions are translucent and slightly browned, add in the Miracle Noodles. Toss to incorporate and then add the Sriracha sauce and soy sauce. Mix well.
Finally, add the mushrooms and basil and toss to incorporate.
That’s it! Pour the noodles into a bowl and enjoy…
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!
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:
All of the components need to taste good enough to eat on their own
The sauce needs to be very fresh and flavorful
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!
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
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
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
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).
Liquid Squeezed Out
Gently Fold In Spinach
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
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
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
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
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
Layer of Noodles
1/3 of the Herbed Riccota
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
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
Cover the lasagna with a piece of foil that you have oiled on the inside so it won’t stick to it.
I am a big soup fan. A few nights ago when we were getting ready to go on our ski trip to Mammoth, I needed to make dinner with the food we had on hand…I wanted to try and minimize what we had to leave in the fridge. Noodle soup is always a good option. I keep mung bean noodles (also known as Saifun Noodles) in the pantry for nights like those. Usually each package of dry noodles comes with three bundles of noodles inside, so they pack a big punch for a small cost.
I didn’t have any broth in the pantry, but I did have some outstanding miso in the fridge from South River Miso Company, so that became the basis of my soup broth. South River Miso is a great small company that really focuses on quality and their products are really special. To find out more about their company and order their products click here.
South River Miso
Mung Bean Noodles (1 bundle per adult / half for each kid)
Broth of your choice
Vegetables of your choosing (i.e. onion, green onion, leek, spinach, kale, mushrooms, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, jalapeno, sea veggies)
Accompaniments (Guilin Chili Sauce, sesame oil, tamari, Sriracha, white pepper)
I begin by soaking the mung bean bundles in hot water.
Dry Mung Bean Noodles
Pour Hot Water Over Noodles
I tend to make a very mild broth with the intent that people will personalize their soup at the table. Our family’s taste tends to cover the whole spectrum from very mild to crazy spicy! To make the broth this time I boiled water and added leeks to it for flavor.
Cut the Leeks Lengthwise and Clean
Water With Leeks
Once the leeks have flavored the broth, ladle some hot water into a bowl and mix the miso paste into the water in the bowl.
Add the Miso Paste
Pour the miso mixture back into the hot water and leeks.
Add the Miso Mixture Back In
Flavor with tamari if needed.
Add Tamari If Needed
Now prepare the bowls for the soup.
Put Raw Sliced Onions and Spinach Into Bowls
Add the soaked noodles.
Bowls With Noodles
Add a TINY Splash of Sesame OIl For Taste
Pour the boiling hot prepared broth over the noodles and cover for a few minutes. The hot broth will cook the onion and spinach.
Covered Soup Bowls...Cooking the Veggies
Now serve with the accompaniments.
Sauce and Spice Close-up
Flavor your soup and enjoy. I was in a kale mood, so I completely covered my soup with kale before I put the broth in and covered it with a lid.
There are days when I just don’t have time to prepare an elaborate meal, so often on those days when my kids ask, “What’s for dinner?” I answer with, “gourmet sandwiches.” My family has come to love this answer. Who knew something so simple could taste so good?
I have also found that a gourmet sandwich bar can be a good solution when entertaining…it looks fancy, but is quick and easy to put together. In addition, this is a great meal to serve when there will be vegans and meat eaters at the same event.
My in-laws had some friends in town and I had them over for dinner last night. I knew that they were meat eaters, so I added grilled chicken to the sandwich bar menu. Last night my sandwich bar consisted of:
Fresh baked bread
Sundried tomato spread
I serve this menu buffet-style which allows people to make their sandwiches to their liking. I have made this meal many times for guests and it always turns out well. I also find that by slicing the chicken people tend to eat less meat (Sneaky me…always trying to reduce the meat consumption of those I care about!). If you were to leave the chicken breasts whole, people would eat the whole breast in their sandwich. When you slice it up I find that people eat about half as much meat!!!
Last night my sandwich consisted of bread, sundried tomato spread, lots of grilled mushrooms, carmelized onions, avocado, tomato, and lettuce (I could barely get my mouth around it!). I wanted to take a picture of it for you, but got too busy jabby gabbing with my guests.
Maybe you can have a sandwich bar this weekend when you host your Super Bowl parties!
The weather turned cold in Southern California today which made it the perfect opportunity to make some stew. In my continuing quest to clean out the pantry I saw that I had a bunch of red lentils, so those became the base of the stew. As I often do, I went to epicurious to look through their recipes containing red lentils. I came across one by Ruth Cousineau (from Gourmet Magazine 2/2009) that I based this stew on, but as usual I tweaked it to make it healthier and to include ingredients that I had in my fridge. This was a very hearty and filling dinner…not to mention tasty!
INGREDIENTS (Makes 4-6 main course servings)
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. butternut or kambocha squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs.s minced peeled ginger
1 Tbs. curry powder (preferably Madras)
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups water
1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Accompaniment: cooked brown basmati rice & chopped cilantro
Heat oil in a large pot and add in the squash,onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and salt. Cook until soft and beginning to brown (15-20 minutes) stirring occasionally.
Into the Pot to Soften
Softened & Ready for Spices
Add in the curry powder and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
Add in the lentils and water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Simmer for 25 to 40 minutes until the lentils are cooked. At the end stir in the lemon juice and taste to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed.
Add the Lentils & Water
Serve over brown basmati rice and top with chopped cilantro.
About a month and a half ago I bought a Groupon for an organic produce delivery service called Farm Fresh To You. Groupon was offering a deal that I couldn’t resist, $15 for a mixed organic produce box that usually costs $31. I am such a fan of the service that I signed on as a regular customer.
I love getting the deliveries….I feel like I have a present waiting for me in my courtyard! I chose to receive deliveries every two weeks, because I really like going to the Farmer Market too. The service allows you to customize how often you receive deliveries and it is very easy to log in and cancel a delivery if need be (i.e. if you will be out of town). I have also found their customer service to be phenomenal (they call every so often to check in and ask if you have any questions).
Top Layer of Produce
Bottom Layer of Produce
The oranges from our delivery yesterday were honestly the best oranges I have ever had. The flesh was the color of grapefruit, but they were so sweet! My kids each ate one and they both asked for more.
Part of the fun for me is figuring out what I am going to make with the fruits and veggies they deliver. I have a feeling the kale is going to become kale chips!
Here is a description of their services in their own words:
We Harvest a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables from our farm and create several home delivery and office delivery service options for you to choose from. Our Regular Service is our most popular home delivery for those who have some time to cook and Mostly Fruit Service is great for those of you who are always on the run. The produce in each service changes weekly and varies seasonally, but we work with neighboring organic farms to ensure a good variety of produce year round.
You Choose the service you would like to receive and the frequency you would like to receive your service. The day that you receive delivery depends on your zip code, and the frequency of your delivery can be weekly, every other week, every third week or every 4th week delivery.
Customize your service after you sign up for your delivery by logging onto your account or contacting the office via phone or email. You let us know the item(s) you would not like to receive and we automatically change the item(s) if they come up in your standard seasonal selection. Feel free to add extra items for an event or dinner and we will deliver them with your next delivery.
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
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.
For a printable version of this recipe click here.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Add the salt, lots of black pepper, the parsley, and oregano. Stir to mix.
Add the Herbs
Put the casserole dish into the oven and bake, uncovered for 2 hours.
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.
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have.