Category Archives: Lunch

Jalapeño Black Bean & Coconut Spread

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I don’t know about you, but my holiday break has already flown by. Back to the grind on Monday which means now I am trying to plan for the ciaos with easy go to meals that are healthy and delcious.  And although I’m a huge fan of trader joes and all those wonderful dips and spreads they sell, I know that I can make them myself with just a little effort.  Typically I love traditional hummus but I know that tahini is a bit expensive and due to my moderate allergy 😦 I used light coconut milk to help smooth it out instead which worked great.  If you are looking for more coconut flavor I would suggest using full fat because it is rather undetectable in the finished result. Fortunately, I am really pleased with how this turned out and I plan to double or triple the recipe so it lasts at least a week 😉

And for us gluten freers (seems to be growing by the minute) I suggest buying brown rice tortilla’s and baking them- it turned out perfect!  This came together so fast it would be great for last minute guests, lunch or just a snack.  So grab your food processor and give this a whirl 😉

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Ingredients:

1 can black beans rinsed

1/3 cup light coconut milk (from the can)

2 jalapenos

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1-2 tbsp olive oil, or flavorless

2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro

Salt & pepper to taste

*optional, 1 tsp cayenne

Directions

-If baking tortilla chips, preheat oven to 375, coat in light oil and sprinkle with chili powder.  Bake 10-15 minutes.

-Wrap garlic and 1 jalapeno in tin foil and add to baking sheet with tortilla chips. If your not baking chips I would suggest doing a quick saute with the garlic and 1 jalapeno so it is not too strong.

-Once they’re both cooked, add to food processor and do a rough chop.

-Deseed your raw jalapeno & add the rest of the ingredients.  Puree & season to taste.

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Sweet & Spicy Greek Turkey Meatballs

Before I talk about food I have to acknowledge the significance of the storm Sandy and send my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.  Living in NJ it is especially shocking to just see the incomprehensible amount of damage, losses and lives changed forever- in places that are only miles away.  I feel almost ignorant speaking about this in the comfort of my heated apartment with all modern day conveniences available but I hope during a school break to make time to volunteer for those whom have lost everything.  If you are looking to lend a hand here’s a link How to Help

Now switching gears a bit, a meatball recipe not originally mine but Giada’s that I have been eyeing for a while now.  Her show is one of my selected TiVO series and although they are all re-reruns right now I enjoy watching her because she makes everything look so easy.  Luckily these meatballs were really easy to make and so freaking delicious.  I made some changes by using lean turkey (although I do like lamb 🙂 ) reducing the cinnamon and using gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of couscous. Therefore my result was much denser than hers but we didn’t mind it.

I was weary about all the cinnamon and didn’t want this to turn out badly so I only used 1 cinnamon stick and used 1 tbsp cinnamon in meatball mixture and probably 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon mixed in with the sauce.  I also used fresh mint instead of dried and next time I might add some more fresh herbs to the sauce since I love fresh herbs.  And yes, they were boyfriend approved.

20121103-121857.jpgI had mine over raw zucchini noodles and boyfriend had his over whole wheat penne. As you can see I like my meatball:sauce ratio about 1:1/4 cup.  I thank the acid reflux angels that were with me when I scarfed this down because I was not going to leave anything in my bowl no matter what. (I sometimes suffer from it when using too much lemon, coffee, eating late at night…etc.)  Even the thought of not sleeping because there is a fire-breathing dragon in my esophagus did not stop me.  Thank you angels.

I can’t wait to throw these puppies on a gluten-free roll with some Daiya mozzarella and piles of sauce.  I plan to also make a vegan mushroom based version of these in the future which I know will be amazing and will keep you posted. 🙂

20121103-121929.jpgGo here for Giada’s recipe

Purple Cauliflower, Carrot & Two Lentil Curry

Some cosmetic changes here- what do you think?  I think I’m pretty content with it considering my severely limited technical skills.  I’m not even going to tell you how much time I spent on it.  I guess I have “Sandy” to thank for this. Or “Frankenstorm” or whatever they’re calling this wicked rain for the next 5 days?!? I hope everyone is in a safe and dry place.  Do I really need to fill my bathtub with water??

I am loving all things lentils right now.  I feel like I need to make up for lost times we should have had together.  So I will do my best not to put up 100 lentil recipes in the next month but I can’t promise anything.  I am the type of person that when I find a new ingredient or a forgotten favorite, I eat it relentlessly until I get sick of it.

I’m loving lots of cauliflower lately too.  It’s such a modest vegetable with its white, lackluster appearance you would never know it is a “superfood”.  Packed with nutrients, fiber and oh this lovely purple variety has anthocyanins which are scientifically proven to eat up cancer cells.  Who doesn’t love that?

So if you’re a regular visitor of my blog you know I’m a huge Indian food fan.  I have spiced up my eggs, sandwiches, and desserts with Indian spices like ginger, cumin, coriander and the latest favorite is fenugreek seeds.  I have mentioned them once before since they are filled with lots of health benefits you would never suspect.  Some health benefits in just 1 tbsp is they have 20% RDA of iron, 3 grams protein, 3 grams of fiber, and trace amounts of copper, calcium, zincmanganese and magnesium.  They have also been used medicinally for hundreds of years to improve those lovely female symptoms, as well as digestive troubles.  It has been clinically proven to help with insulin sensitivity and to have cardiovascular benefits.  So with the endless list of health benefits I have begun to add 1 tsp of seeds to my smoothies in addition to the regulars like turmeric, occasionally red maca powder and matcha green tea powder {typically not all together} With all the other ingredients you can’t even taste in a smoothie but be sure you have a good blender because you wouldn’t wanna chomp down on these tough little seeds.  Alternatively, you could grind to a powder first and then add.

But I digress from this lovely, very easy curry which I made to have ready for lunches or dinners.  It’s what you might call a “one pot wonder”.  Curries may seem quite intimidating with the sometimes lengthy list of ingredients and foreign spices, but it really is such an easy dish to make.  Plus then if you are not a huge spice or heat fan, you can lessen the amounts to suit your taste.  I definitely encourage you to dabble in Indian cuisine if you have not yet tried, it can be extremely healthy and comforting without much skill required.  Did I mention crazy delicious?!? Plus curries are so versatile you can make it with practically any seasonal vegetables.  I used carrots and cauliflower but feel free to use some of your favorites!

To prepare lentils:

1/2 cup red lentils, soaked at least 8 hours

1/2 cup green lentils, soaked min 8 hours

1.5 cups vegetable broth

small handful curry leaves

Directions:   {red lentils cook faster than green lentils, so if you need the “perfect” texture keep them separated from soaking to cooking.  I don’t mind and didn’t notice that one was more/less cooked than the other.}

Rinse them in a colander and check for stones or debris.

Soak them for at least 8 hours in filtered water- {this is not required but I soak all nuts, beans, seeds and grains to reduce phytic acid and make easier to digest}

Rinse again in a colander till water runs clear.

Put 1.5 cups vegetable stock in large pot and bring to boil.  Add lentils and reduce to medium simmer with lid on.  Check and stir.  You may need to add more broth depending on how you like your lentils.

When all the liquid is gone, add curry leaves and pour into a small bowl, set aside.

Ingredients for Curry:

1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

1 tbsp butter or ghee

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 sweet onion chopped

1-2 cups baby carrots chopped roughly

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp red chili powder

3 garlic cloves

1- 1 inch piece ginger minced or grated

1/2 can tomato paste

1 head cauliflower, purple or regular chopped

1/2- 1 cup vegetable stock

Directions:

 Use large pot and add coconut oil, butter or ghee.  Add fenugreek seeds and once fragrant add chopped onion and carrot, saute for 3 minutes.

Add dry spices and stir well to coat.

Add cauliflower, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and vegetable stock.  Stir everything well and put lid on with medium simmer.  Check in 10 minutes for the cauliflower to be fork tender.  Taste and season as you like.

You could add fresh cilantro but I didn’t want it to overpower the curry leaves so I left it out.  You could also make it richer with canned coconut milk which is always delicious.

 

Now all I need is some fresh naan…yummm.

Sprouted Lentil Loaf with Sweet Potato & Mushrooms, Vegan,GF

Say what? Lentils? Sprouted? Do I plant it?

I am guessing those who are new to lentils and sprouting are thinking some of those thoughts. Well, if lentils and sprouts are new to you, allow me to introduce you. Lentils are a seriously underestimated “superfood”. They are packed with protein, iron, b vitamins, fiber and lovely properties to help balance your blood sugar and lower cholestrol. Yeah I know, you have been missing out on a seriously healthy food. Plus it gets better. When you “sprout” things you can triple the amount of nutrients in them- without lifting a finger. No it’s not exactly magic, but just nature doing its thing.

You can sprout any seeds like sunflower or even quinoa as well as beans (not outta the can silly- gotta be uncooked) and lots of other things. All you have to do is soak the grain or seed overnight in filtered water, drain and rinse it well the next morning, and let it chill on the counter in a jar or mesh strainer. You can get a fancy sprouting jar but it’s not necessary if you have a strainer. Those lentils sprouted for I think 3 or 4 days, which just means every few hours I rinsed the lentils (which is especially why I like using mesh strainer) and just let it hang out on my counter in the strainer.

So when you are sprouting you are actually re-activating enzymes that had these “enzyme inhibitors” on them otherwise they would be sprouting all the time and go bad very quickly. That is another thing- when you sprout the amount will double in size and they only last about a week so make sure you are going to eat them!

So with all of these sprouts I thought I was going to do a sprouted lentil hummus but then I changed my mind and decided to try a lentil loaf. Which is kinda funny since last week I made a Spinach Turkey Meatloaf even though I didn’t show you guys 😉 Plus I just got lots of great produce like sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms so the decision was made! Oh and you know I’m going to tell you this was super easy right? And I don’t think I need to tell you how healthy carrots, sweet potatoes and mushrooms are…

This is the perfect lunch or dinner for the week and if you have a food processor you just made your life a whole lot easier. Oh and did I mention it’s boyfriend approved? Yes I was not even going to ask him to try it but he did- and then took another taste. And then asked if he could have some for lunch. And we know he is a mans man when it comes to all things “loaf” so I encourage you to try this on your picky men. And if you don’t want to put the tiniest bit of effort in and sprout your lentils then just cook them according to the package. There are lots of different kinds so make sure you follow the directions! 🙂

Ingredients:

(If you sprout, take 1 cup raw lentils and follow the sprouting directions– will make 2-3 cups)

**Ignore the broccoli in the photo above, it didn’t survive

2 cups sprouted or 2 cups cooked

1/2 sweet potato, grated

1 cup baby carrots or regular

1 white onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves

1 package preferred mushrooms, I use baby bella

1 tbsp butter or butter sub

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup cashews

soy sauce

Chili powder, cumin and coriander to taste

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350, grab loaf pan and lightly spray with non-stick

-Chop mushrooms, carrots, garlic and cashews by placing in food processor and pulsing till roughly same size as the lentil. If its powerful enough do your sweet potato as well, but I grated mine by hand.

-To a large, deep skillet add butter, oil and veg broth to medium-high heat. Add white onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add all processed vegetables.

-Season well with salt and pepper. I also added chili powder, dash soy sauce, cumin and coriander but feel free to season as you wish. (I had wanted to use sage and thyme but I have neither right now.)

-Pulse your lentils to desired consistency, I did it till them were fairly broken up but not completely. Add them to the skillet and continue to taste and season. No perfect measurements with these things just do what taste good 🙂

-Press into loaf pan and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes. {I bet this would be great in muffin tin to make perfect portion size! I would double the batch and freeze the rest!}

– It will crisp the top but the inside will remain soft. If you want a crispier loaf, I suggest using day old bread as you would with bread pudding or how I make regular meatloafs using Stoufers Stuffing Mix. I would use half of the package and just mix it in at the end, you may need more liquid so add small amounts of vegetable broth. ( I can’t vouge for results though I haven’t tried this, just a suggestion)

* I wanted to keep mine gluten free so I didn’t use any bread or bread crumbs.

This would be a great vegan option for Thanksgiving!

I sliced about 7 large slices and have my lunch packed for the week now. Yummy and comforting vegan superfood! I am going to try a BBQ version of this soon so stay tuned! 🙂

I am thinking of making some mashed cauliflower to go with this.  Talk about a nutrient dense meal!

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20121021-144832.jpgI am loving fall right now, how about you?

Asian Broccoli and Almond Chicken Salad over Brown Rice

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Back to school next week and it will indeed be a stress induced apartment here. I will be diving head first into my masters program while the BF starts law school. So I have been trying to plan meals ahead or what is easiest to make because I know I’m not going to want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. (Well I want to but it’s just not going to happen) And considering I probably won’t have access to a microwave to warm up school lunches, they need to be able to travel and be eaten cold. So does that look like chinese take out? Cuz it’s not!

But the good news is this is just as easy to make and of course a lot healthier! I love being able to satisfy my cravings for salty, greasy junk food without all the consequences that usually come after eating them. This seriously requires no skill or chopping or slicing or dicing. Literally a matter of throwing ingredients in a dish, bake, stir, eat. So you have no excuses! Go make your lunch for the week!

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Recipe serves 2

Ingredients:
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
2 chicken breasts with marinade (see below)
2 scallions sliced, green parts only
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup frozen broccoli
-1 tbsp sesame seeds

Directions:

-Cook 1/4 cup brown rice with 1/2 cup water and splash of sesame oil and tamarind paste. Prepare according to directions and check when a little water is done, you may need to add more.
-Meanwhile put your almonds and scallions in a large enough bowl to mix everything.
-Thaw broccoli in microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute and toss in bowl with almonds and scallions.
-When the chicken is finished cooking, allow to cool slightly so you can pull apart pieces with a fork and then throw it in the bowl. Pour the marinade over everything and should help warm the broccoli to completely thaw. (Snag the big pieces of garlic unless you’re a weirdo like me and love eating big pieces of garlic)
-When the brown rice is cooked toss in the bowl and stir everything together. Taste to see if you need any more soy sauce, vinegar…etc. I like lots of black pepper and then finish it with sesame seeds. Bam! Lunch for the week. Or if you have an appetite like me, maybe two days 😉

Ingredients for Chicken Marinade
-2 Chicken Breasts
-2 tbsp tamarind paste
-4 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
-2 tbsp sesame oil
– 1 garlic clove cut in half
-1 tbsp sugar (I use coconut)
-juice of 1 lime
-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
-1 tbsp fish sauce

Directions:
-preheat oven 350 degrees
I use a glass bread baking dish and stir everything together, coat chicken and throw it in the oven. Check after 5 minutes, flip and check again after five minutes. Should be about done, double check because everyones oven is different.

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This would be really delicious hot or cold 🙂

Vegetarian Grape Tomato, Green Pea & Parmesan Spaghetti Pie

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Don’t you hate when you realize you didn’t need to boil off an entire box of pasta for one person? Now there is a ton of cold, plain spaghetti in your fridge and you have lost any desire to make it magical. Enter the spaghetti pie which is so easy its ridiculous and so delicious its comforting. Plus this is easily made gluten free with your favorite gluten free spaghetti or in the past I have used spaghetti squash which is more “bikini friendly” being the time of year it is.

With dishes like this they are so easy for packing work lunches (plus you get to look like martha stewart 😉 ), I literally cut it into four slices and put each in their own to go for BF to take to work. Bam no more thinking about what to make for the rest of the week! Or if you don’t want to commit to just one flavor of this you could either put different ingredients on one half of the pan or pour just the “base” (see below) into large muffin rounds and then put different ingredients in them like sliced carrots and mushrooms or eggplant and roasted peppers, get creative!

This recipe uses eggs but you could just as easily use an egg replacer for a vegan version and daiya for cheese topping. This is so easy and so affordable to make, I plan on using it often for a quick fix lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

-Around 2 cups cooked spaghetti or spaghetti squash

-1 cup green peas, thawed slightly

-1 cup sliced grape tomatoes

-2 garlic cloves minced

-1 half vidalia onion chopped

-3 eggs

-around 1/4 milk or preferred non-dairy, unsweetened

-small handful chopped fresh parsley

-1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 375

-On medium heat saute onions until transuclent.

-Add peas, garlic, and grape tomatoes. Let the garlic saute for two minutes and then add the spaghetti. Depending on how sticky it is you may need to add some oil or you could toss it very quickly in some boiling water to loosen just becareful not to overcook.

-Meanwhile beat eggs with milk and season with salt and pepper.

-Once the peas are tender but not mushy and tomatoes are slightly wilted take off heat, add parsley and pour into round baking dish or muffin molds if using different ingredients. I used 9 inch glass dish. Spread evenly and top with milk mixture.

-Bake for about 15-20 minutes, (start checking after 15) and once it looks like it is almost done top with parmesan cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs (I was out of them) and continue to bake another 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.

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Brown rice and Bell Pepper Collard Wraps with Basil Lime Dressing

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Collard wraps have become one of my favorite ways to eat lately. Thats of course only after you figure out that you can’t over stuff them so they can be wrapped properly. And surprisingly 1 leaf produces 2 very substantial sized wraps. Initially for this dish I was not planning to wrap it up (thats what she said ;)) and I was just going to eat it is a pilaf but then I was craving a basil-y lime sauce and then I had a lightbulb moment. I am so glad I did because this was SO GOOD! I know it’s so simple but it was SO satisfying and trust me I never thought I would say that about something wrapped in “lettuce”.

Other than cooking the rice (which involves little-no skill) this meal can easily be prepared in under 20 minutes. It is also very versatile so mix and match your favorite flavors. Mine was vegan but the BF did without the lettuce (go figure 😉 ) and sautéed some of the jalapeño chicken sausage to add in. These wraps can also travel fairly well and can make a great lunch, just keep the sauce on the side and make sure you wrap them well.

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Sorry I know my pictures aren’t the best- I’m always rushing as the BF sits there waiting to eat as I am attempting to take 30+ photos.

Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice, uncooked

1/2 onion of choice
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 ears of corn

Directions
-Cook brown rice according to directions. Try to have this ready for when the vegetables are ready you can just mix everything together.

-Heat skillet over medium-high heat, add oil/butter and sauté onions and corn for 2 minutes. Add chopped bell peppers and sauté for 3-5 minutes until they start to soften. Add garlic and saute for 3 minutes or until everything is evenly cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Other optional seasoning could be chipotle, paprika and cayenne. I kept it simple because I was all about the sweet lime basal dressing.

Sweet Lime Basil Dressing:
2-3 tbsp avocado
1 tsp nutritional yeast
2 drops stevia, or more to taste
1/2 lime juiced
1 tbsp vegan sour cream
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
water to thin to desired consistency

I threw everything in magic bullet

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To assemble:
Take 1 large collard leaf and cut of the rib so you have 2 wraps. Spread dressing in a line down the center and then lay the brown rice mixture on top. I have found the easiest way to wrap is fold the rib cut side over to make a base which holds the bottom in place. Then just start at 1 end and roll while continuing to hold the bottom piece in place. It takes a bit of practice and still can get a bit messy while you eat it but thats the fun part 😉

This recipe could serve 4 but since I’m feeding a hefty man appetite it was more like 2.5 hehe 🙂

Chickpea, Cucumber and Fennel Salad with Tahini Dressing

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It’s funny how taste change over time. I can remember just last year absolutely hating the taste of fennel. I wouldn’t even try something if it had a trace of fennel in it. Then recently I was eating a salad and suddenly I thought, “I think I just ate a piece of fennel- and I liked it. And then I went back for more salad just so I could believe what my tastebuds were telling me 😉

A few weeks later I found myself craving the flavor of it in some kind of fresh salad with seasonal ingredients. Behold my cucumber, tomato, chickpea and fennel salad. It practically makes itself and you just stand there and watch. Until you pour the dressing on it and then it is gone before you know it.
This has made for a really delicious lunch for me and the BF (surprisingly). Right after I made it he tried it, and then he ate a bowl of it (guess I’m making more for his lunch…) For him I actually split up what the original made and used half for mine with chickpeas and half for him with pasta. Worked out great and I will definitely make this again, especially with the craving for lighter meals with hotter weather.

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1 fennel bulb
1 long english cucumber
cumin and coriander
1-2 tomatoes
lemon
pasta for non-gluten free version

Directions:
If you are splitting to make half gluten free and half pasta salad for others then boil off half a box of pasta.
Rinse and drain 1 can chickpeas
Chop fennel and cucumber to roughly the same size. Chop tomato taking out the seeds. Mix together and add a bit of acidity, lemon juice, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Set aside. Make dressing.

Dressing:
1/4 cup + 1 or 2 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup water or unsweetened dairy milk (less for thicker dressing)
2 tsp (or more if you want spicier) dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
dash of agave (optional)
lots of pepper and sprinkle of salt

If splitting, separate the cucumber mixture. First do the non-gluten free version so you don’t accidentally use the same utensils..etc. Add the chickpeas to half the mixture, then add half the dressing. Sprinkle with cumin and coriander. Season to taste. Chill for minimum 2 hours

Do the same with pasta version.

On the mornings that I brought this to work I quickly added some sliced avocado which went perfectly 🙂

Indian Spiced Jasmine Rice with Edamame & Snap Peas

I must admit, this recipe totally surprised me.  I really wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did-especially considering I used frozen edamame and snap peas.  Let’s just say I made this for bf to bring to work and then I ended up eating some the night before for dinner-whoops 😉This sauce recipe came inspired from this GIANT recipe book I have- literally it is like a cooking bible.  It has everything from appetizers, to soups but then how to’s like make your own cheese, pastry, plus different cuisines from over the world… it is 700 pages of overwhelming deliciousness.  So awhile back I wrote down the recipe for a cilantro coconut sauce and only months later did I finally make it.  This partly has to do with the fact that I need to use up the frozen vegetables that have been in my freezer too long and partly that bf has been struck with a sinus infection so I wanted to make something that would help “clear them up”.

Another HUGE book I am enjoying right now is all about Ayurveda and eastern medicine.  It goes into detail about hundreds of herbs, spices, foods, vitamins, plants… and how they help heal the body.  Ginger is hopefully now a well known food that has an endless list of health benefits but specifically does a great job at clearing the sinuses.  Who knew cilantro did as well?  Just some of the things cilantro is capable of:

  • Acts as a natural anti-septic and anti-fungal agent for skin disorders like fungal infections and eczema
  • Contains immune-boosting properties
  • Acts as an expectorant
  • Helps promote healthy liver function.
  • Reduces minor swelling
  • Strong general antioxidant properties
  • Disinfects and helps detoxify the body

Another healing spice I hadn’t known about before was coriander.  Although coriander is the seed of the plant cilantro (sometimes the name is used interchangeably) it has many of the same health benefits and is often used in teas for allergies, hay fever…etc

And as for the rest of the ingredients, my rule of thumb is if it is green or grows in the ground then it is definitely good for you :).  The verdict here is that this is super easy to prepare, has a depth of flavor and is a big bowl of good for you comfort.  YUM!  Also, a huge plus here is that using frozen veggies is a big money saver not to mention it saves cooking time too!

Ingredients: Serves 2

1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice

1/2 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 heaping tbsp fresh ginger

1 package steam fresh snap peas

1/2 cup edamame, thawed

1/2 cup coconut milk (I used silk the carton because I was too lazy to open can of full fat)

1/2 packed cup fresh cilantro

1 tbsp ground coriander

pinch cumin & chili powder

splash rice wine vinegar

few tbsp red chili sauce (I used homemade)

Directions:

-Cook your rice according to package directions (word of advice- keep an eye, jasmine rice cooks rather quickly and I have noticed it needs less water than directions call for)

-Over medium heat in a deep enough sauce pan, use 1 tbsp coconut oil and saute onion 2-3 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic saute 1 minute.  Add ground coriander, chili powder and cumin.  Add thawed veggies and toss everything well.  Add coconut milk and cilantro and stir everything very well.  Turn heat down to simmer and stir in rice.  Add rice vinegar and sweet chili sauce.  Season to taste.

This ended up having so much flavor and the aroma from the spices and jasmine rice was divine.  Plus it comes together really quickly which is great for quick dinners or make ahead lunches.  It’s a super delicious way to soothe your sinuses and help boost immunity! 🙂

Walnut Cream Sauce with Mushrooms & Sweet Red Peppers

Toasted walnuts for me = zilch will power.  Especially right out of the oven-I’m easily getting my share of omega’s for the day.  There’s just something about them that I cannot resist.  So I wanted to think of a way to extend that flavor I love without eating my daily calorie needs in 5 minutes.  After making my first cashew cream sauce I thought why not try it with walnuts?

Using the same soaking and blending technique I made a walnut cream base.  On low heat I sauteed some onion, garlic & mushrooms to add some “meatyness”.  To say that I am excited about my growing herb garden is a complete understatement.  I am using my organic fresh herbs {thanks mom :)} whenever I can-they enhance food incredibly in taste, presentation and flavor.  Fresh chives were the perfect choice.

Not only does this dish make an exceptionally tasty and healthy one, but it’s super fast to prepare.  Besides soaking the water for roughly 2 hours, your effort requires maybe 10 minutes?  Depending on your slicing skills 😉

You could also use other spring/summer vegetables like summer squash, baby spinach (all year round for me) eggplant, asparagus…etc.

Ingredients: 1 serving

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, soaked in warm water for 2 hours

1/4 vidalia onion

1-2 cloves garlic

optional-1 tbsp nutritional yeast

4 baby bella mushrooms sliced, or other favorite

1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper

few tbsp fresh chives

Directions:

Create walnut base by saving about half of the walnut soaked water.  Place walnuts in food processor and 1/4 cup fresh purified water, (or less for thicker sauce).

In deep enough saute pan, on low-medium heat, saute onion for 2 minutes and add mushrooms.  Add garlic after 3 minutes and saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add walnut cream base and reduce down to your desired consistency.  Add walnut water reserve for more nutty flavor and reduce down again as desired.

To preserve the health benefits of the red bell peppers I add them in right before serving and top with fresh chives.  I also had some left over quinoa for protein that added even more nutty flavor 🙂

You could of course have this dish over your favorite pasta and add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese but I kept my vegan and gluten free.  You could add real cream but in my opinion and experience I find it to dim the flavors and give dishes a bland taste.

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