Crispy Quinoa Patties with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

February 14, 2018

After visiting my grandkids last month, I’ve been thinking about healthy meals that are also toddler friendly. Quinoa is a perfect food for toddlers – a good source of good quality protein, delicious nutty flavor, and easily digested even if not chewed completely.  However, on its own, it can be a bit messy to manage by little hands.  These quinoa patties fit the bill perfectly. Delicious, nutritious and a finger food.  Perfect for adults too.

After serving Barbecued Beans with quinoa yesterday, I wondered what to do with the leftover quinoa. Then I remember this recipe from the Oh She Glows website. I used it for a cooking class back in September 2014, before this blog began.

You want your patties to be nice and firm, so they stick together well, so be sure to chop your veggies very fine – onions and kale – and grate the sweet potato with a small holed box grater. Chop your kale first thing, so it can stand about 40 minutes before cooking. (check out this video by Dr. Greger on sulfuraphane for an explanation) You can roast your red peppers for the dip while you let the kale sit.

The original recipe was already oil-free except for the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes. I substituted them with dried sun-dried tomatoes and pulverized them in the blender along with the rolled oats.  If using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drain and chop them fine.

The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of flour, for binding. Since I cooked my quinoa yesterday, it was flaky and dry today and I did not need any of the flour to bind the patties. However, if your quinoa is on the moister side, you may need a tablespoon or two.

The recipe calls for fresh basil, which of course I don’t have in February. I used 1 tablespoon of dried (from my garden) and it provided a wonderful basil flavor. However, if you are not a fan of basil, you might want to reduce the basil by half.

For little dinner guests, I would suggest omitting the red pepper flakes. The recipe makes 12 –  1/4 cup patties.  For toddlers, make them half or even smaller for bite size portions. (watch the cooking time for smaller patties) If you want to use them for burgers, make them 1/2 cup size.

If you cook up 1 cup of quinoa, you should get enough cooked quinoa to make a double batch. These patties freeze wonderfully and the left overs are great for quick easy meals or snacks. As a bonus, the patties firm up even more after being frozen. If you are new to cooking quinoa, directions are below the recipe.

The patties are great with this simple roasted red pepper dip, but they are also good with ketchup. Served with a simple salad or raw veggie sticks for the little ones, this is a satisfying meal.

Crispy Quinoa Patties

• 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
• 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
• 1 cup destemmed and finely chopped kale
• 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
• 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoon runny tahini paste
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup rolled oats(use certified gluten-free if necessary)
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not oil packed)
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
• 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular flour (only if necessary)
• red pepper flakes, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the kale into very small pieces and set aside for about 40 minutes.

Mix the ground flax and water in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.

Add the quinoa, kale, sweet potato, onion, garlic, basil, tahini, oregano and vinegar to the flax mixture and stir well. Add red pepper flakes if using (I used 1 tablespoon) Put the rolled oats in a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes and salt. Blend until oats are ground to a flour. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse a few times to chop them but not pulverize them. Add to the quinoa mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too moist, add the flour, one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is firmed up and holds together. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop out ¼ cup of mixture and shape mixture into patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet. Enjoy immediately or for firm patties, freeze and reheat in a skillet.

To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a medium pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 14-17 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. Note that this makes almost 3 cups of cooked quinoa and you only need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

I have never had much luck roasting peppers over an open flame as most sites demonstrate. Instead, I use an easier method I learned from an Italian friend, Sara. Place your whole red peppers in a covered baking pan and roast for about 45 minutes at 350F or until tender. Leave the lid on and let them cool until they are cool enough to remove stems and seeds. You can peel the skin off as well. Be sure to save the liquid from the pan and use it for soups or stock.

For this recipe, you could use jarred roasted red peppers but I roasted two large red peppers instead. After roasting, I removed the stem and seeds but did not peel. I threw the flesh and liquid into the blender along with the almonds, garlic, vinegar and salt.

I am not sure where I got this recipe from, but its delicious and super easy.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
• 1 ½ cups roasted red peppers, drained
• ½ cup whole almonds
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tsp. red wine vinegar (more to taste)

Purée all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Taste and add a pinch of salt and a bit more vinegar to taste.

 

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How Not To Die

February 8, 2018

I find “How Not to Die” an odd name for a book. After all, we are all going to die, someday.  However, this book by Dr. Michael Greger, outlines how not to die from preventable causes. I must confess, that although I have known about the book for a while (Dr. Greger was a guest lecturer for the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate course I took), I refused to read it just because I did not like the title – until recently. Apparently, I was meant to read the book, as the universe sent Dr. Greger to me.

Katherine, Dr. Michael Greger and myself

I was thrilled when I learned that Dr. Greger would be speaking in Manitoba, and even more thrilled that the event was sponsored by The Wellness Institute.  The Wellness Institute is affiliated with, and attached to,  the Seven Oaks General Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. For a hospital associated organization to sponsor a talk on using whole food plant based nutrition to heal is big news in my books.  Perhaps the science on plant based nutrition is beginning to be recognized by the medical community.

Apparently, tickets to How Not To Die where the hottest tickets in town last week. Only 140 tickets were available to the event, and they sold out quickly. Luckily, my friend Fran is a member at the Wellness Institute and gave me the heads up as soon as they were released. I attended the talk with friends Fran, Theresa and Katherine.  Dr. Greger is a great speaker. Very humorous, personable and extremely knowledgeable. The talk, follow up question session, book signing and taste testing were fantastic. During book signing, Dr. Greger took the time to speak to each person in line, and even pose for pictures. He was very happy to hear of the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Classes we are holding here in Winnipeg and happily agreed to let me post his picture on this blog.

The first thing I did after purchasing tickets to the talk, was to order the book How Not To Die. I am a bit of a geek, so of course I had to read up on the subject before attending the talk. Dr. Greger has an interesting story and a unique historical connection to the plant based movement through his grandmother.

The book is divided into two parts. The first section focuses on individual diseases and the research showing the effect of nutrition on the disease. How Not to Die from Heart Disease, How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure, How Not to Die from Lung Disease, How Not to Die from Diabetes and How Not to Die from Parkinsons are just some of the chapters.  A very lengthy foot note section at the back of the book provides the links to the scientific research behind the information provided (for a science geek like me that is important). These chapters are in depth and full of information, so much so that I would recommend reading only one chapter a day as it is heavy reading. By the last chapters I found myself skimming the research. However, it is a great resource book for your library when you are looking for info on a specific disease. I found it interesting to look at diseases that tend to run in my family – heart disease, Parkinsons, high blood pressure – and see what can be done to reduce the chance of these genes expressing.

The second section, is all about the food, with a chapter on each of Dr. Greger’s ‘Daily Dozen’ food groups. The Daily Dozen is the foods that Dr. Greger himself tries to consume each day. This was the my favorite part of the book – real down to earth practical advise on how to eat well. The Daily Dozen focuses on what you should strive to eat daily.  I love the checklist and have been incorporating it into my everyday routine. Beans, Berries, Other Fruit, Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc), Green Leafy Veggies, Other Vegetables, Flax, Nuts, Spices, Whole Grains, Beverages and Exercise. On a daily basis you can check your list and see how you faired.

Dr. Greger is the founder of the website NutritionFacts.org which reviews new scientific research on nutrition and provided the ‘Coles Notes’ version for you. It free and provides over 2,000 videos on health and nutrition topics. Its a great site to bookmark for where to go for scientific based information rather than relying on the sometimes questionable opinion based information available on the internet.

I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years, solely plant based for seven years, and whole food plant based for three years. My diet was already heavy in beans, whole grains, greens, veggies, fruit and nuts. What more can I do to improve my diet? I found out there is still room for improvement. Since reading the book I am:

  • Reducing the salt in my diet.
  • Eating more legumes – beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc , making sure I get two or three servings of them every day not just every week.
  • Making sure I get at least one serving of cruciferous veggies each day – usually cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or kale. (read the book to get fascinating info on how to prepare crucifers to preserve the cancer fighting properties)
  • Getting at least two serving of leafy greens every day, in a smoothie, salad or steamed greens
  • Making sure I get at least one serving of berries each day. Since they are out of season now in wintery Manitoba, I am using frozen berries in my smoothies, chia puddings and cobblers. Before I would have berries in my smoothie once or twice a week.
  • Having 1 tablespoon of ground flax daily. I like to dissolve mine in lemon water and let it hydrate before drinking. Or add it to a smoothie.
  • Ramping up the spices, especially turmeric. Adding 1/4 tsp of turmeric to my daily smoothie is a fast and easy way to get more turmeric without eating Indian food every day. Herbs and spices in general are great sources of antioxidants and nutrients.

With plant based diets becoming more mainstream, it is good to focus on the quality of the diet rather than the label. After all, a diet of potato chips and coke is vegan but it is not healthy. And so many would like to improve their diets but don’t know where to start. Cutting out meat often leads to eating more carbs – bread, pasta and rice which are often refined, white and lacking fibre.  By reducing meat and dairy consumption and increasing beans, whole grains, veggies and fruit, you will be adding so much more fibre to your diet. And it turns out that fibre is not just good for regularity. It also serves as food for the good bacteria that inhabit your gut. These good bacteria are a vital part of your immune system. So eat more beans!

I would recommend reading the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger, despite the title. The first part on individual diseases is great reference information and the second part provides vital information on how to eat every day. I can’t speak for the companion cookbook, as I have yet to try any of the recipes. However, if the appetizers served at the talk are any indication, the recipes should be great. Check out the website NutritionFacts.org and also The Wellness Institute. In their introduction to Dr. Greger, the Wellness Institute stated that this talk was only the first of a series of talks on how to improve health and prevent disease. Hopefully Winnipeg will see more high profile nutrition experts in the near future.

 

 

 

Make Ahead Meals

February 1, 2018

In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to make time everyday to cook meals from scratch. However, there are ways to optimize your cooking time so you are not spending all your free time in the kitchen. Some strategies to use are:

  1. When you cook a dish, make a double batch. That way you can eat one now and freeze one for later. Generally, it doesn’t take that much longer to double the batch. This works great for soups, stews, chilies, and many main dishes.
  2. Make a double or triple batches of salad dressings to have on hand.
  3. Make a big batch of your favorite stir fry sauce. They will generally keep in the fridge for over a week, or you can freeze the in serving size amounts. Frozen mixed veggies are a great time saver. Add brown rice or whole grain noodles for a quick meal. Top with chick peas, toasted cashews, tofu or sesame seeds for an extra nutritional boost.
  4. For fast and easy breakfasts, prepare overnight oats the night before. In the morning, add plant milk and extra toppings and go. Or make a triple batch and have enough for three days.
  5. Keep hummus on hand for sandwiches, wraps and baked potatoes. Hummus is easy to make and freezes well.
Baking with Jacob

In January, I spent three weeks with the grandkids, so I did quite a bit of food prep for the hubby back home before leaving. That way he could spend more time on my “Honey Do List” instead of cooking, LOL. In the week before leaving, I made extra of each dish I cooked, freezing one or two meals for later. I made several salad dressings, so throwing together a big Caesar, Spinach or Kale salad is a simple process. I also made a litre of Chinese 5 Spice stir fry sauce, to go with frozen veggies, rice or noodles. And for a treat, I made a batch of Sweet Potato Brownies which freeze really well. See below for the links and recipes.

SOUPS

Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup

Soups are a regular go to lunch meal for us in the winter, and I often make up several different soups each week. Since a pot of soup is generally three meals for us, it is easy to eat one and freeze two. Served with whole grain bread, a hearty soup is a comforting winter lunch. In the week before I left, I made four soups – Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup, South American Black Bean Soup, 13 Bean Soup, and Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup. The recipes can be found here. 

Hummus

Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another staple in our house. We use it instead of margarine or butter as a spread on bread or for topping a baked potato. Our favorite hummus is made with chickpeas (or while navy beans) and roasted sweet potato. I generally make a large batch and freeze it is smaller containers so we always have it on hand. This rich and creamy hummus, paired with a baked potato and green salad makes a delicious, easy to prepare and satisfying meal. It is also good as a pasta sauce.

The recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus can be found here. The recipe calls for cayenne pepper and is quite spicy. However, you can eliminate the cayenne all together for a delicious hummus for kids or those not fond of spices. This recipe, without the cayenne, is taste tested and approved by my granddaughter Astrid.

Stir Fry

Another great quick and easy meal is a stir fry. Make a big batch of your favorite sauce and keep it on hand in the fridge, or freeze it.  Frozen mixed vegetables are a real time saver.  All you need to do is make a pot of rice or noodles and sauté the frozen veggies in a bit of broth and add the sauce. Top with cashews or sesame seeds and your set.

Don’t forget that rice also freezes well. When you cook rice, make a big pot. You can keep enough for a week in the fridge and freeze the rest in one meal portions.

My favorite recipe for Chinese Brown Sauce can be found at this link, along the recipe for Chinese 5 Spice Sauce, a spicier version of the same sauce. These sauces will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week. However, you can make a big batch and freeze in 1 meal portions.

Chilli

A big pot of chilli makes a filling meal and is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. While most chillis are meat based, they are also easy to make without any animal products. If you have a favorite recipe, make a plant based version using the same sauce and spice mixture. Add beans, lentils, veggies or mashed tofu to replace the meat. One of my favorite chilli recipe can be found here. Make up a big pot and freeze the leftovers for a later meal.

One Pot Meals

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

One pot meals are real time savers – in prep, cooking and cleanup. Chop up your veggies and throw them into a pot with the sauce, simmer and serve. Great when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry.

Two of my favorite one pot meals are:

Rotini in a Coconut Sauce – I love this recipe because the pasta cooks in the sauce. No need to dirty another pot to cook pasta.

Mexican Quinoa – Quinoa is a quick cooking seed that packs a nutritional punch and has a pleasant nutty taste. This Mexican dish can be spiced up or down to suit everyone’s taste.

Salad Dressings 

Salads make great quick, easy and hearty meals. Keep a couple of your favorite oil free salad dressings on hand in the fridge at all times. A great meal is a simple as tossing some greens with additional veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains or beans. A salad with a baked potato or slice of hearty whole grain bread is a great meal. Oil free dressings are flavorful, easy to make and offer plenty of nutrition without the heavy calorie count. The recipes for some of my favorite salad dressings can be found here.

Sweet Potato Brownies 

Sweet Potato Brownies

Its always nice to have a little something sweet in the freezer for capping off a meal. These brownies are just sweet enough to satisfy and nutritious enough to be served at any everyday meal. They are packed with sweet potato, dates, oats and almond flour. I find them perfect just as they are: however, if you wish, you can increase the maple syrup to make them a bit sweeter.

The recipe makes a large cookie sheet or about 30 brownie squares, so they last a while. Slice them up and freeze them. They are great straight out of the freezer. Find the recipe here.

 

Sweet Potato Brownies

January 31, 2018

Sweet Potato Brownies

I came across this recipe from Bosh TV and it has quickly become one of our favorite everyday desserts. Its not too sweet and loaded with nutrition, I like to think of it as part of the meal, not dessert. It is sweetened with a mixture of dates and maple syrup. For those of you who like things a little sweeter, you can increase the amount of maple syrup used. The original recipe calls for coconut oil, but I substituted almond milk instead with great results.

• 4 medium sized sweet potatoes (cubed & roasted for 35 mins) (about 2 cups mashed)
• 1 1/2 cups oats
• 10 medjool dates (pitted & chopped) (about 1 cup dates)
• 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
• 1 cup cocoa (or cacao) powder
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 5 tbsp almond milk
Icing
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1/3 cup nut butter
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chocolate squares

• 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Sweet Potato Brownies baked and ready for icing

Make oat flour by blending 1 1/2 cup rolled oats in a blender or food processor until fine. Remove from blender or processor and add dates, sweet potatoes, maple syrup and almond milk to the machine. Blend until smooth. Add ground almonds, oat flour and cocoa and blend until smooth. (If your machine won’t handle this thick mixture, mix the dry ingredients in by hand). Spread the batter on a rimmed baking sheet (cookie pan) lined with parchment paper. Smooth top and bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Make the icing by placing the maple syrup, nut butter (I use almond or peanut), and chocolate chips in a small pan and heat over low heat until chips are melted. Stir in cocoa powder.

Icing ready to spread

Spread over brownies. Refrigerate until icing is set. Slice into squares and freeze.

 

Oil Free Salad Dressings

January 16, 2018

The vast array of pre-packaged salad dressings in the grocery store is amazing. There are so many different kinds. However, the vast majority are full of oil and sugar. Although we often think of bought salad dressing as a huge convenience, it is remarkably simple to make your own dressings. My favorites are Mayo, Caesar, Italian, Maple Mustard, Tahini and Cole Slaw Dressing and I like to have at least a couple on hand in the fridge at all times. Homemade salad dressings, full of vinegars, will keep in the fridge for a week or two at least. In fact, I have never had one go bad on me.

Many of my oil free dressings are cashew or tahini based, so rather than just providing a whack of empty calories, they pack a nutritional punch.  Salads make great quick but hearty last minute meals. Mix your choice of greens with additional veggies, grains and/or beans and top with chopped nuts. A slice of whole grain bread and you are set.

Mayo

Oil free, vegan mayo is actually easier to make than the original version containing raw egg. Before giving up oil and eggs, I used to make my own mayo. It was finicky and many, many times it failed to thicken up. However, with this vegan mayo, you just throw all the ingredients in a blender and in a few seconds you have a thick and creamy mayo, every time. And no danger of salmonella poisoning from raw egg.

The version below is a variation of Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Recipes. However, she uses a mix of cashews and tofu to make hers. I prefer to just use cashews. If you would like a lower fat version, try the original recipe with tofu, in the link above, or use 1/4 cup cashews and 1/4 cup cooked small white beans (navy beans).

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey, agave or sweetener of your choice
  • 2 tbsp water

Soak cashews for at least 2 hours. Drain and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you like your mayo with a nice tang, like I do, add a touch more white vinegar.  This mayo is great used as a base for other salad dressings like the creamy Cole Slaw dressing below. Or add some diced dill pickle, onion and ketchup for a quick and easy Thousand Island Dressing.

Caesar Dressing

Caesar salads are our absolute favorite. Lots of bright green romaine lettuce, a handful of fresh kale, thinly sliced onion, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds. It makes a great meal or side dish. My go to recipe is a modification of Angela Liddon’s recipe in her Oh She Glows Cookbook.

• ½ cup unsalted cashews (or ¼ cup cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Soak cashews for 2 to 8 hours, drain. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Italian Dressing

This dressing is also based on one of Kim Campbell’s recipes in The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I use chia seeds to thicken the dressing instead of xanthum gum.

• 1 cup vegetable broth
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste (or substitute your vinegar of choice)
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 ½ tsp agave, honey, brown rice syrup or raw sugar
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp Italian seasonings (or to taste)
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp pepper
• ¼ tsp paprika
• 2 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. The dressing will thicken as the chia seeds absorb liquid.

Spinach Salad Dressing

My dressing of choice for a spinach salad is a thick creamy tomato based one. By adding 1/4 cup ketchup to the above Italian Dressing, you get the perfect dressing for a spinach, mushroom and red onion salad.

Maple Mustard Dressing  

This dressing is my all time favorite for kale salads. It has a bold taste and works best with robust greens like kale, chard and even spinach.

o 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
o 3/4 cup water
o 1/3 cup maple syrup
o 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
o 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
o 1/2 lemon, juice from
o 2 cloves garlic, minced
Soak cashews for 2 to 12 hours. Drain cashews and place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Sweet Tahini  Dressing

This dressing is great on any green, but also works well as a dip for falafels.  It is also from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Nation Cookbook.

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp white miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender, or whisk until smooth.

Cole Slaw Dressing

This is a smooth creamy cole slaw dressing with plenty of flavor from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Nation Cookbook. Top shredded cabbage, carrots, onion and apples with it.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (see recipe above)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave, honey or sugar

Combine all ingredients well.

 

Convert your favorite recipe to oil free

Many of my favorite oil free dressings are from the PlantPure cookbooks. And the intranet is also a great place to find oil free versions of your favorite dressings. However, you can also convert old family favorites by substituting for the oil in your recipes. I find replacing the oil with half as much tahini (and a bit of water to thin it out) works in most recipes. If the recipe is dairy based, substitute with a cashew cream (blend cashews and water). Or substitute water for the oil and add chia seeds (as in the Italian recipe above) to thicken.

Once you get used to oil free dressings, the regular oil ones will begin to taste heavy and oily to you.

 

 

Mexican Quinoa

January 15, 2018

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

I stumbled across this recipe on Facebook a while back and modified it to be whole food plant based. Its fast and easy to make and a hit with vegans and meat eaters alike. I like to make it using salsa for the sauce, but it can also be made with canned tomatoes or tomato sauce for a milder version. When cooking for kids or those not fond of spice, omit the jalapeño and use mild chilli powder.  Serve it with additional hot sauce or salsa at the table for those who love the heat.

Quinoa seeds have a natural coating of saponins on them which gives them a bitter taste. This is the plant’s natural defence mechanism to discourage birds from eating the seeds. The quinoa you purchase is often pre rinsed to remove the saponins, but I like to rinse mine before using just in case. You can rinse in a strainer under running water, but to conserve water I like to put the quinoa in a quart jar and cover with water. Let it sit for a few minutes. When you are ready to use, give the jar a good shake and drain the quinoa into a strainer.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ jalapeño, chopped fine
• 1 pepper, diced (your choice, red, yellow orange or green)
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
• 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (your choice black, pinto, kidney or mixed beans)
• 1 cup tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa
• ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 tsp chilli powder (mild or hot)
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup vegetable broth

Rinse quinoa well and set aside. In a large saucepan, sauté onion, jalapeño, pepper, carrot and garlic with a small amount of water or broth until onion is softened. Add corn, beans, tomato and spices. Add quinoa and broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Serve with diced avocado and tomatoes.

Chilli

January 15, 2018

Chilli is your classic comfort meal. Although it generally is meat based, it is also easy to make meatless. If you have a favorite recipe, omit the meat and add more beans and veggies. To add a bit more ‘meaty’ texture, try adding lentils, mashed tofu, or finely chopped carrots or mushrooms.

I don’t have one favorite chilli recipe, and like trying new ones. The latest one I made is great and definitely one I will make again. It is a modification of one from Bosh. I love their recipes; however, they tend to use a lot of oil. Luckily the oil is easy to cut and still have a great flavorful dish.

This chilli has a lot of ingredients but comes together quickly and does not require a long cooking time. It also freezes well, so is perfect for make ahead meals. The recipe has a nice kick to it, but it can be toned up or down by varying the amount of red chillies and chilli powder you use. I love the addition of the chocolate and cinnamon. The flavor is very subtle.

The recipe calls for mashed tofu, but you can eliminate if you are soy free. Sorry, no pictures as I forgot to take one when I made it.

Chili

  • 1 and a half Red Onions (Minced)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Red Chilli (Finely Chopped) (omit for less spicy version)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 Celery Stalks (Finely Chopped)
  • 3 Cups Kale (Shredded)
  • 2 Cups Firm Tofu (Well Pressed)
  • 1 Tsp Salt (More to Taste)
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper (More to Taste)
  • 2 Tsp Paprika
  • 2 Tsp Chilli Powder (More to Taste, choose hot or mild chilli)
  • 1.5 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1.5 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce
  • 1.5 Cups Black Beans
  • 1.5 Cups Kidney Beans or red chilli beans
  • 2 Squares Dark Chocolate
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice

In a large pan sauté the onions, garlic, Cilantro stalks, chilli, red pepper and the celery stalks until onion is translucent. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water or veggie broth to prevent sticking.
Pour the Kale into the pan and stir it round until it’s well wilted.
Break the tofu into the pan, add the spices and seasoning and fold everything together so it’s well mixed.
Pour 2 cups of tomato sauce into the pan and fold it in so everything is well covered
Add the black beans, kidney beans and dark chocolate to the pan and fold everything together.
Add the rest of the tomato sauce and mix everything together.
Put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and let it bubble for 12 – 15 minutes to let the flavours blend together (only do this if you have a good non stick pan – if you don’t have a pan, gently stir the chilli for around 10 minutes)
Serve with brown rice or a baked potato and garnish with cilantro leaves and lime juice.

Check out the original recipe and video here    https://www.bosh.tv/recipes/total-chilli