Wednesday, 23 November 2016 00:00

This recipe is from Jill Nussinow's cookbook Vegan Under Pressure. This cookbook consists of all vegan recipes to be made with an Instant Pot. If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is, check it out here. It’s an amazing tool for your kitchen—a must-have!

Oh, and I guess you are also asking, what the heck is freekeh? It’s another ancient grain that is pretty delish, with a nice texture. You can read more about freekeh here.

 
Freekeh with Eggplant and Tomato
Serves 4 to 6

 
Ingredients

1 cup diced red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1 cup cracked freekeh
½ cup diced eggplant
1 ¾ cups vegetable stock
½ cup diced fresh or canned tomatoes
Salt and black pepper (to taste)
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 
Directions

1. Heat the Instant Pot to sauté. Add the onion, and dry sauté for two minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper, and cook one minute longer. Add the freekeh, eggplant, and stock.

2. Lock the lid on the Instant Pot. Bring to high pressure; cook for seven minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you.

3. Stir the tomatoes into the freekeh. Lock the lid back on, and let sit for two minutes.

4. Remove the lid, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the parsley. Transfer to a platter, and serve.

 
This is a dish that can be served all year round. Serve it warm in the colder months and cold in the warmer months.

Check out Jill’s website, The Veggie Queen, for more information and loads of recipes. You can buy the cookbook Vegan Under Pressure here.

Friday, 30 October 2015 00:00

My favorite tomato sauce is thick, tangy, prickly with red pepper flakes, and heavy on the garlic. It's long-simmered and definitely not watery. A handful of torn basil leaves is stirred in at the end, and then it's finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a heavy flurry of grated Parmesan. Combined with al dente spaghetti, it is my very favorite quick but truly perfect dish (I’ve been cooking it since I was 11) to make at home. But I often have sauce left over, and I’m not always into eating pasta two days in a row. A cold and rainy autumn day had me pining for a warm, rich bowl of comfort: polenta. I combined my leftover tomato sauce with roasted eggplant, simmered it all until it became one, added fresh basil, and heaped it over cheesy polenta. The resulting dish was so savory, silky, and comforting but not too heavy—everything I’d hoped it to be.

You can make a fresh tomato sauce or use a jar of store-bought marinara sauce if you wish.

Tomato Sauce with Roasted Eggplant and Basil

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

¼ tsp red chili flakes

2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

1 medium eggplant, diced in ¾-inch cubes

¾ cup unpacked basil leaves, torn

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle a large baking sheet with olive oil, and add cubed eggplant. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and then toss to coat. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes or until browned, stirring eggplant halfway through. Keep a close eye on it to be sure it doesn’t burn.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot over medium-low heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and chili flakes, and stir until it is lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce to pot, and simmer over low heat.

When it is ready, stir roasted eggplant into the pot of tomato sauce. Add a few tablespoons of water if it is too thick. Simmer the mixture for 25 minutes. Add basil leaves at the end, and season with salt and pepper. Serve over warm polenta, topped with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cheesy Polenta

3 cups vegetable broth or water

3/4 cup polenta/cornmeal

3/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1/3 cup grated cheddar, and 2-3 tablespoons creamy blue cheese

Salt

In a medium pot, bring the vegetable broth or water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add the polenta while whisking. Turn the heat down to minimum, and cook at a slow simmer for about 30 minutes or until the cornmeal is tender and thick, stirring frequently throughout the process. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese.

 

Saturday, 26 September 2015 00:00

RICE + MUSHROOMS IN WHIPPED CREAM SAUCE

(Serves 6 people)


Ingredients:
- White or brown rice (2 cups)
- Whipped cream (4.5 cups/1 liter)
- Mushrooms (either fresh or dried mushrooms.)
- Garlic (2 cloves)
- Powdered white pepper (2 teaspoons)
- Onions (2-3 medium onions)


Preparation:
- Slice the mushrooms into small pieces (if they were whole)
- Peel and grind the garlic into a paste
- Slice the onions finely


Cooking:
- Boil the rice as you normally would (for rice cooking instructions, you can check go here)
- While the rice is cooking, use another pot and start the cooking the whipped cream sauce
- In another pot, heat some oil in a pot and fry the onions
- Add the mushrooms, stir, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes
- Pour the whipped cream into the pot with the mushrooms and onions and reduce the heat
- Season the mixture with a little bit of salt
- Add a small amount of water to thin the sauce
- Add the white pepper and ground garlic, and stir 
- As soon as everything starts boiling, turn off the heat 
- Serve and eat

 

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 00:00

I’ve always struggled to maintain a protein-rich diet. Not that I am on a protein diet as such, but I find myself lacking enough protein options to include in my day to day meals. I guess the reason being that my husband is a vegetarian and I eat very limited amounts of meat. A fillet of fish or a chicken burger for Sunday brunch is my weekly source of meat protein. We both detest milk, and while we eat eggs it's hardly enough to solely compensate for the protein requirement. This is when I started hunting for vegetarian sources of protein. Like many people, the thought of vegetarian protein sounds unpromising. We are so used to hearing about all the nutrition meat protein provides that we often don’t think of veggies also providing sufficient protein. Wrong! Vegetables are a great source of protein and are more than enough to help you create a balanced diet.

Proteins are known as the building blocks of life: In the body, they break down into amino acids that promote cell growth and repair. They also take longer to digest than carbohydrates, helping you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories—a plus for anyone trying to lose weight. The idea that protein only comes from meat is a myth. Nearly all foods contain small amounts of protein, and it's very easy to get your daily protein requirements from beans, grains, nuts, and certain green vegetables, which have less cholesterol and fat than meat and are usually cheaper.

Quinoa

Quinoa, technically a seed, is unique in that it contains more than 8 grams per cup, including all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own. Full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese, quinoa is a terrific substitute for rice and it’s versatile in its use in various dishes.

Nuts and nut butter

Love your peanut butter? Keep eating it. All nuts contain both healthy fats and protein, making them a valuable part of a plant-based diet. But because they are high in calories—almonds, cashews, and pistachios for example, all contain 160 calories and 5 or 6 grams of protein per ounce—choose varieties that are raw or dry roasted. Try and avoid the salted ones and sprinkle these nuts on your salads for more flavor!

Legumes

Black, white, pinto, garbanzo etc. - they all have high amounts of protein. Two cups of kidney beans, for example, contain about 26 grams (almost the same as a Big Mac, which has 25 grams!). Beans and lentils are the cheapest source of protein out there. Use them in everything, these legumes can be tossed into salads, fried and salted as a crispy snack, or pureed into a hummus. They contain 7.3 grams of protein in just half a cup, and are also high in fiber and low in calories.

Leafy greens

Vegetables don't have nearly as much protein as legumes and nuts, but some do contain significant amounts—along with lots of antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber. The darker the greens, the richer in nutrients. That’s why Kale is known as a “superfood” because of it's rich in vitamins A,K and C, and packs in Calcium among other nutrients. 

Soy

Foods made from soybeans are some of the highest vegetarian sources of protein: Tempeh and tofu, for example, contain about 15 and 20 grams per half cup, respectively.The firmer the tofu, the higher the protein content.

Chia seeds

These seeds—yes, from the same plant that's used to make Chia Pet products—are an easy way to add protein (about two tablespoons) and fiber to almost any recipe: Chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, stirred into yogurt or oatmeal, blended into smoothies. Chia seeds are the highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they contain more fiber than flax seeds or nuts. Chia is also a powerhouse of iron, calcium, zinc, and antioxidants, but the best thing about these little seeds is that they form a goopy gel when combined with milk or water. This makes them fantastic for making healthy puddings, thickening smoothies, or replacing eggs in vegan baking.

Sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds

Don't discount the other seeds in your pantry either; the more familiar varieties are also high in protein and healthy fats. Sunflower seed kernels contain the most protein—7.3 grams per quarter cup—followed by sesame seeds and poppy seeds at 5.4 grams each. Stir them into your salads for a crunch!

Non-dairy milk

Milk alternatives aren't just for the lactose intolerant: They can be great additions to any diet; just watch out for lots of added sugar and flavors. Soy milk has the most protein, at 4 to 8 grams per 8 ounces, but almond, hemp, and rice milk also contain about 1 gram per cup.

According to the United Nations, the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than the world's plane, train, and automobile fleets combined. It's not just good for the planet, it's healthier for you, too. There are plenty of reasons to eat more meat-free meals: They’re nearly always cheaper, lower in calories, and better for the environment.

Downloadable PDF of Best Sources of Vegetarian Protein

Chart from No Meat Athlete

Thursday, 03 September 2015 00:00

For an easy, no bake, vegan breakfast, soak raw buckwheat oat groats overnight for perfect oatmeal. This meal is rich in nutrients and digests easily leaving us feeling satisfied, but not weighed down. Despite its name, buckwheat is a wheat-less, gluten-free grain. It comes from a plant related to thick-steamed, leafy rhubarb. When soaked overnight (or for at least 6 hours), it becomes fluffy and soft like cooked oatmeal, however it is 100% raw.

Whereas wheat gluten is difficult to digest and causes gastrointestinal complications for many people, the Whole Grains Council reports buckwheat to actually support gastrointestinal health.


[1] Furthermore, buckwheat is satisfying, a good source of energy, and lowers blood glucose levels. It is also easy to grow, thriving in soil that would be too poor for other foods.


[2] 
You can find raw buckwheat oat groats at your local health food store or co-op. You can also source it online at amazon.com or vitacost.com. I have found it too at Whole Foods.

 

Ingredients:

¼ - ½ cup soaked buckwheat oat groats
4 drops of liquid stevia
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ of an organic avocado
8 organic raspberries

 

 

Instructions:

Try this very sustainable breakfast in just 3 simple steps: Pour oat groats from packaging into a BPA-free Tupperware bowl that has a lid.  Add enough fresh, filtered water to cover the oats, close and store overnight in the refrigerator. Take out of the fridge the next day or after 6 hours and rinse with more fresh, filtered water over a mesh strainer. A fine mesh strainer will help keep the oats, which are somewhat small, from going through. Oats are now ready to be seasoned for breakfast. Any leftover oats can be re-stored in the Tupperware container in the refrigerator. It is always nice to have more ready to go! I never bother to measure anything out when soaking, however I don't consume more than 1/2 cup of the soaked oats per serving. To season, add in the stevia and cinnamon and stir by hand. Slice an organic avocado and chop ¼ of the avocado into little pieces. Add in avocado and whole raspberries and stir lightly once more. Enjoy!Sources:

1. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/buckwheat-health-benefits 

2. http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/how-to-grow-buckwheat-zmaz86mjzgoe.aspx

 

Monday, 27 July 2015 00:00

Here's a recipe for rice and mushrooms that's quick, easy and delicious.

Ingredients:
* Rice
* Fresh mushrooms (200g)
* 2 onions (medium size)
* 1 leek rod
* 4 large tomatoes
* 3 carrots (medium size)
* 1 small hot pepper (chili pepper)
* Garlic (4 wedges)

Preparation:
* Slice onions and leek rod; put together in bowl
* Slice tomatoes and put in separate bowl
* Peel and slice carrots in a D-shape
* Grate garlic and put on a small plate
* Reduce mushrooms to smaller pieces or leave whole, depending on your taste

Cooking:
* Bring rice to boil either in rice cooker or pot
* Place another pot on stove at medium heat; when hot, add some cooking oil
* Add onions and leek rod and fry for two minutes
* Add carrots and fry with the onions and leek for three more minutes
* Season with salt, add grated garlic and stir
* Add mushrooms and stir well.
* Toss hot chili pepper, whole, into pot and leave it at the surface (It’s important to leave chili pepper whole so that when the mixture boils, the essence of the pepper is released and diffused into the food, but won’t heat on your tongue when eaten. If, however, you like your food spicy with chili, then cut the pepper in half before adding to the pot)
* Let ingredients boil for 10 minutes, making sure that the water doesn’t dry completely
* Take pot off stove

Serving:
* Put rice on a plate
* Add rice and roasted mushrooms next to rice
* Eat hot or cold, depending on your taste
* Enjoy!