Category Archives: Vegetarian

Farmers Markets Study Break

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So if you saw my last post it will help make sense of the fact that I haven’t posted in a week. Starting school has definitely been an adjustment but it’s good to be back in a routine and actively working towards a goal. Plus it’s kind of fun making my own lunches for once. And surprisingly enough the BF is enjoying making some of his own too. Probably because it involves more meat and cheese but I do my best to keep it in moderation.

There have also been some other big changes going on- which I have been slightly over the moon about. After going through a bunch of tests it has been clarified that I don’t have a genetic gluten problem but may still have an intolerance. But so far I have been back on all things bouncy, fluffy and yeah just all around junky and it has been amazing. I won’t talk to much about it out of respect for all the celiacs out there but it has really made life easier in certain ways. Especially going back to school.

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Anyway back to these beautiful finds at the Amish farmers market nearby. This place is great and they have everything! Lots of produce, meats, furniture, cheese, baked goods, gluten free pantry goodies, chocolate, chocolate covered everything, homemade pies, donuts, homemade warm pretzels… It’s really a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning and the BF loves the HUGE selection of every and any kind of meat, some you didn’t even know existed. I grabbed some lovely red leaf lettuce, bell peppers, lemons, avocados while the BF got some ham and amazing Swiss that is different than we have had before.

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Oh and then I had to hit trader joes because they have the best price for goat cheese which I was craving and then also found these delicious organic pink lady apples which have gotten me so excited for fall. Something I also scored and has now become my new obsession is sunflower seeds turned butter. I could probably live off of apples and nut/seed butter all season long. I’m totally addicted and it just gets worse every year. And who knew how healthy sun-butter was? Lots of protein, vitamin E, magnesium… And it’s so easy to make, just blend them up! I didn’t even need to add oil but I added a few drops of avocado oil only because I keep my spreads in the fridge (just in case) and I wanted to make sure it would stay really spreadable and it has. Phew!

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Oh and I forgot to mention these grape tomatoes which I practically devoured as soon as we got home from the market. They were probably the best I’ve had all summer. I really feel like I could never get sick of them and will be sad to see them go.

So I leave you with some yummy finds and no recipe since I haven’t made anything that I feel is worth posting. Don’t worry though I’m thinking of busting out the crockpot soon with the anticipation of fall- too soon maybe? 😉

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Caramelized Shallots, Cheddar, Sweet Potatoes & Kale Bread Pudding

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Last weekend the Bf and I went to a nearby farmers market and picked up some goodies. Oddly enough I was the one who wanted to go and he came along at the thought that there was a cigar store there (I know, I hate it). Funny thing is, he ended up getting more than me! He left with some local ham, gorgeous loaf of rye bread, cubanelle peppers and shallots. I got a few apples (been craving them for so long!) eggplant and tomatoes. So after 2 days he decided that the bread (that cost almost 5$ which I won’t even spend on a GF loaf for me) is no good anymore. WOAH- not according to me it’s not. So I began to think of how to redeem this loaf of bread he so thoughtlessly took for grantite.

My first thought was meatloaf but I made one not too long ago so I wanted to mix it up, plus it’s not exactly “summer fare”. Then I remembered I have been wanting to experiment with a bread pudding recipe and even more reason to make it because then his lunches for the week are covered! Win win!

So the sad part here is I cannot eat this but you could just as easily make this gluten free, especially if you have a crappy loaf (unfortunately there are many out there) that you don’t want to waste or like me you have failed 5, 6, 7 times, (ok I lost count) at making your own gluten free loaf that you are satisfied with. But thats for a whole nother post.

Now that I knew what I wanted to make I decided I wanted to use up the sweet potatoes that were in my fridge and after some googling I came across this recipe which I slightly modified. I thought I would sneak in the BF’s least favorite veg, kale. It is just so nutritious but I know I can’t force him to eat it. That is unless I smother it in shallots, cheddar and sweet potatoes. Yes I sort of treat this the same as a mom with her picky eaters. Plus it’s another way to nix the meat products without him realizing he’s eating a vegetarian meal 😉

20120816-214140.jpg I’m very very sneaky

Oh and what else is awesome about this recipe? It’s super easy. Maybe 15 minutes of prep AND cooking (not including oven time).

Feel free to trade out the ingredients for your favorite combinations. I’m already thinking of an Indian version of this, like Matar Paneer Bread Pudding- that would be epic. But then should I use naan instead? Hmmm….Like my ultimate comfort foods piled into one dish. Maybe I should wait till summer if officially over before I indulge in the carbs and cream sauces 😉

So go here for the original recipe since my modifications were basically cutting most of the ingredients in half and using a square pan and not a rectangle.

20120816-214933.jpg Maybe because this one kind of a 1 pot wonder, that’s why I found it so difficult to make this look good in photos. But I think you get the picture (no pun intended) that this is gooood or at least thats what he told me. 🙂

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My First Product Review! Sprouts, and lots of them!

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I am so excited to be posting about my first product review! And it’s all about sprouts! Not too long ago I had no clue what these odd little things were all about but now I have come to love them! They are one of the best superfoods you can eat since they are packed with vitamins, protein, fiber and super low in calories. Plus there are so many ways you can use them.

After my post on my super detox green smoothie using broccoli sprouts, I was contacted by Life Force Foods Brocco Sprouts to do a product review on their sprouts which I gladly accepted. I still wasn’t really aware of all the health benefits of sprouts until I did some research. Basically, when something is sprouted it activates the enzymes which helps make more of the nutrients more available for you to digest. These are some seriously powerful compounds that have been proven to protect cells are cancer formation and irregular cell growth. Sprouts have great texture for wraps, sandwiches, stir fries, on top of pizza or blended in soups or smoothies. I plan on trying the recipes on their blog too. They have a bunch of different kinds which some I had not even heard of before. I got to try Alfalfa sprouts, Clover Sprouts, Spicy Sprouts, Bean Sprouts, Radish Sprouts, Sandwich Blend, & Chinese Sprouts. I think I might even be forgetting some- there were so many!

I experimented with them in a really rich, chocolately smoothie

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I used the Alfalfa sprouts and Clover Sprouts and this was soooo good. There was also lots of cocoa powder, avocado, strawberries, blueberries and some maca powder. You can’t help but feel clean after eating this. Ironically the garnish on top looks like sprouts but it is actually shredded coconut and hemp seeds. Just a few health benefits of these sprouts is that they have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley plus they are mostly protein.

One sandwich which I feel I will never tire of in the classic tomato, avocado and sprout sandy. It is so refreshing with lots of textures, I just love it.20120814-154032.jpg
I also have been dying to make spring rolls for myself after buying some wrappers. Mostly because I am all about those dipping sauces and the varying textures that are characteristics of the wraps. I got to try out these bean sprouts which went perfectly. 20120814-152353.jpgI was practically moaning when I was eating them. These rolls have easily become one of my new favorite things to eat and a big reason is because they are so easy to make.

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I enjoyed the bean sprouts in my Kelp Coconut Pad Thai.  Check out my first ever hacked young coconut.  I know it seems intimidating but its a lot of fun and a wonderful superfood, not to mention they are very versatile.

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I also wanted to try the spicy sprouts in a type of veggie burger but then I decided to make Spicy Sprout Scallion Pancakes over Brown Rice Pilaf- these were so awesome. I just used the sprouts, psyllium husk powder, some egg and lots of scallions and seasoning.

20120814-150409.jpg It’s a bit hard to tell but there are 3 pancakes stacked on top of each other. You could even use this mixture and pour into mini muffin tin and make a crustless quiche, perfect for work-week lunches.

Lastly I put together a Parsley Pea Shoot Pesto to use with some eggplant and tomatoes I got recently from a local farmers market.

20120814-151530.jpgI think this pesto has superpowers with all of the cleansing abilities in the parsley and sprouts. Did you know pea shoots have 4x more vitamin A than tomatoes, 7x times vitamin C than blueberries and 3 grams of protein per serving? These are just a few of the health benefits, the list goes on and on.

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Overall I have a new found love for sprouts and I will continue to experiment with them. Look for them in refrigerated section of your grocery store and see for yourself how good they are!

Let me know if you want any of these recipes, I will be glad to share! 🙂

My First Foodie Pen-pal!

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I’m so excited for my first foodie pen pal! Look at all the goodies I got!! Of course there isn’t anything left except for a few cashews (the chocolate was the first to disappear- what a surprise 😉 )

I got these from Dawn, check out her awesome site for your sweet tooth fixings! After telling her I love dark chocolate, anything spicy and ethnic flavored, crunchy and gluten free, she sent me all different things to total satisfy above and beyond. I got to try fantastic spicy jalapeño and cajun chocolate from a little shop nearby her in Alaska (how cool?!?!) which was my favorite. She also sent me some great peppermint like patties with little polar bears on them which I could have eaten 100 of. Cashews that had a peanut thai lime kick with sesame seeds tossed on them, so tasty and I have never had nuts flavored like that before.

Other goodies were some Pink Hawaiian sea salt, a dark chocolate bar with cranberries and almonds and a yummy coconut almond chocolate bar. I got the cutest card with little owls on the front which I just realized I think unconsciously sparked a new owl obsession I have. Check out this adorable decoration I got from homegoods to put on my custom bookshelf

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Are you totally jealous and want to join in on the fun? Check out this site for all the info and to sign up, its so easy and so fun getting to meet other foodies. I can’t wait for next months and I have already been checking out new fun places to buy nifty snacks!

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Other than that it has been a really busy day and I think I might be ordering sushi for dinner tonight 🙂

By the way, I am going to tease you and let you know that I am working on a vegan spicy tuna roll and I don’t think I’m too far off from the real thing but I’m still perfecting so you will just have to wait!

Raw Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Buckwheat Bread

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I’m so excited about this recipe because it is the first raw bread I’ve made in my new food dehydrator. I went back and forth on whether I really needed to invest in one but I just decided it was the best in order to save money in the long run. I originally wanted to buy it for making gluten free breads, wraps and crackers but now I have learned about the importance of soaking nuts and then dehydrating them. It is also awesome for making yogurt which I have also done with Lexie’s Almond & Hemp Yogurt (yum!, see picture below) There are so many awesome things you can do with it I’m still learning and trying lots of new recipes.

I have been craving cinnamon raisin bread for forever and I came across this recipe I adjusted slightly and used roughly 1-2 tbsp honey, slightly less raisins and I subbed some apple sauce because I didn’t have apples. I also added some crushed walnuts because I am obsessed with them right now but I suppose it’s no different from any other time. I laid the batter onto 1 dehydrator sheet and sliced into 4 large pieces.

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Sorry for the poor quality picture, I didn’t realize it at the time. I used sprouted buckwheat groats with my really high-tech sprouting system 😉

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For those who don’t know they are lots of benefits to “sprouting” beans, seeds, buckwheat, quinoa…etc. All that you are doing is activating the enzymes within the food and making the nutrients more available. This also increases the protein content and the end result will contain less carbs than if you were to just cook your buckwheat. I sprouted mine for about three days. All you need is to keep it moist but still exposed to air. Typically people use a mason jar with a screen lid but I don’t have one, (obviously)

Check out my little buckwheat sprouts

20120727-075705.jpg Buckwheat sprouts are really versatile and commonly used in raw foods because it is so nutrient dense and despite its name it is gluten free. It’s kinda my new best friend. Check out this site for more details on buckwheat sprouts.

I have enjoyed this bread alone, with tahini, maple syrup and crumbled up in yogurt-amazing.

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Do you see those crazy carmalized bananas?? This was kind of on accident because I sliced the bananas thicker than you should when dehydrating them and they turned out the same as when you pan fry them in butter and sugar- and it is just pure banana with its natural sugars. Better than candy

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This has been a really satisfying snack and breakfast. It is filling and doesn’t spike your blood sugar like typical cinnamon raisin treats. If you don’t have a dehydrator I would check out other sites recommendations for baking on low temperatures in your oven.

Click here for original recipe.

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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Kitchen Therapy

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but it’s only because I’m finally starting my summer. My neuroscience class ended and I finally feel like a person again. And although I haven’t posted I have been cooking- a lot.

Say hello to my little celebratory pineapple-mango guava rum delite to kickoff my summer- and maybe it was 12pm in the afternoon after my neuro final 😉20120713-095128.jpg

On fourth of July I had to have my meaty mushroom millet burger which I decided to have some spicy sweet potato fries and my favorite summertime snack- tomatoes I know weird right? I probably go through a container of grape tomatoes every three days and having lots of fresh basil growing outside doesn’t hurt.

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Oh and that cheese there, is Daiya, and it’s AMAZING! Seriously you have to try it if you are curious it is SO worth it and yes it is a bit pricy at 3-4$ a bag, but just once I encourage you to splurge. And don’t worry it is very melty, it just doesn’t look like it because I was doing 1,000 things in the kitchen and didn’t time it right.

I also made some Apple Cinnamon Goji Berry Granola with Toasted Coconut- needless to say this has been a huge hit and is almost gone.

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Some super satisfying vegan and gluten free comfort food, aka Three Pepper Loaded Pizza on Polenta Pizza Crust (half has Daiya and the other half has shredded Mexican cheese with dairy)

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I finally made Tahini with raw sesame seeds that I roasted myself- if you decide to do this don’t leave the kitchen! Those babies can burn quick and you don’t want to have to throw it out. Oh and did I mention- it is SO good! I will never buy store bought again, and why should I when a bag of sesame seeds cost 2.50$ a pound where a 10oz jar can be at least around 6$?

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And a whole bunch of other things

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Front Right: Pumpkin Seed Butter with Cinnamon and Honey
Middle: Sweet & Spicy Curried Lentil Hummus
Back Left: Green Cabbage Kimchi
Back Right: Dye free, preservative free Pickled Ginger

And of course one would think that I should be satisfied by this abundance of food.  Whereas I am refraining daily from buying an ice cream maker because I know the damage that could be done ;).  But on those hot summer nights where nothing feels better and all I want to do is drive literally 2 miles to the soft-serve, gluten free, 8 calories an 1oz! speciality store where I can have cookies and cream which is practically taboo in the gluten free world.  Yes it really is only 8 calories an ounce, and it is really freaking good and I don’t know how they do it.

So I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am enjoying mine, now its off to reading in the sunshine!

(If anyone wants recipes for anything let me know and I will share 🙂 )

Skinny Shepard’s Pie, 2 Ways

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Shepard’s pie is not something I think I have ever eaten before let alone made. But for fathers day (yes I know a little late) I was having my parents and I wanted to make something that would satisfy the dad and still be easy to prepare. Whenever I have guests I try to think of recipes that will not require me to be in the kitchen so I can spend time with everyone relatively uniterrupted. This recipe is perfect which is also why I love putting dishes in ramekins because it not only adds to presentation but makes the cooking process a breeze!

Now although I am not a “vegan” most of the time I choose to eat vegan because I do prefer it- but I am just not one to commit to an extreme. But for awhile now I have lost any craving for meat and I knew that I would want my Shepard’s pie to be meatless. So I made this 2 ways, 1 Vegan (except for butter) and 1 with beef. Personally, I thought mine was wayyy better and more flavorful 🙂

It may sound like a lot of work but it only adds another 7-10 minutes because I made mine first. I used my favorite meat sub in, some finely crumbled mushrooms sauteed. They add such a savory, meaty flavor I can never get enough. Oh and I haven’t even mentioned the skinny mashed potato part. Here is sneaky secret–it’s cauliflower!. Yeah and it taste just as amazing. I added a bit of dijon mustard (something I used to despise) for a tangy kick. Overall this recipe was a huge hit and is definitely going to become a new staple. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the ingredients are super cheap!

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Vegan in front, beef only next and pancetta and beef in the back

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef, your preference
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 of 1 shallot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup peas-thawed
1 cup carrots, diced the same size
1/2 cup mushrooms minced in food processor to “meal like” consistency
1 head cauliflower
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter, divided
white wine
up to 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
optional add-in, 1 container pancetta (from trader joes)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Chop cauliflower and lay on tin foil lined baking sheet. Spray with canola spray, salt and pepper. Roast till tender, around 20 minutes. Turn once halfway through

To make Vegan Shepards Pie:
-Finely minced mushrooms in food processor.
-Add 1/2 tbsp butter to at least 1 inch deep sauté pan and sauté shallots for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup carrots if they are raw, saute for 2 minutes.
-Add mushrooms, reserved butter and 1 garlic clove and sauté for 1 minute. Add a splash of white wine for acidity and continue to sauté till it cooks off. Add peas, turn off heat and stir everything together really well.
-Pour into ramekin, set aside

To make beef Shepard’s Pie:
-If using pancetta, pan fry till cooked, roughly 5 minutes, and set aside.
-Using same pan (make sure it is big enough) add 3/4 of package of beef and cook until it is almost cooked completely through or cook completely, pour onto separate plate, set aside.
-Add onion and carrots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes until carrots are tender. Add peas and pancetta if using. Season well with salt and pepper. Divide between 3 ramekins

To make mashed cauliflower:
Add 2 garlic cloves to blender (I used vita-mix) and mince. Add cauliflower and season with salt, pepper and dijon mustard. Thin out with unsweetened non-dairy milk. If your sneaky like me add some nutritional yeast 😉 Divide among all ramekins.

Put in fridge until ready to cook. Take out 20 minutes before you bake them to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 and put ramekins on baking sheet, bake for 15-20 minutes until they are nice and hot.

Devour!

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Zucchini Fettucine, Collard Greens & Sweet Potato in Curry Cream Sauce

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After a super long day of commuting and 6 hours of neuroscience I am not wanting to spend a lot of time cooking dinner. I also don’t want to call this “curry in a hurry” but that is what it is. It was the perfect way to unwind and to enjoy my new patio space in peace. Plus the weather today was a bit cooler so this was the perfect bowl of comfort.

For a long time I have been wanting to grind my own curry powder and the other night I finally did. I got the recipe from another blogger and unfortunately I can’t find the original. There are so many to choose from that if you are an Indian food lover like me I encourage you to choose one and make it from scratch. It is so easy and I’m sure more economical not to mention it really does taste better. I used my coffee grinder but I imagine you could do it in any high powered blender. I used a heaping tablespoon for just myself but that is because I love love love curry.

This dish would be perfect with a piece of naan and if you are not gluten free you can easily find it in the grocery store near the bread aisle. If you are I have seen gluten free recipes although I haven’t tried one. For us gf-ers I think roti would be easier to prepare because it is pretty quick. Or a chickpea crepe would make a delicious addition.

I had neither so I actually added a little potato starch to thicken up the sauce because I really didn’t want any to be left behind 🙂

The homemade version I used is slightly bitter because it has a good amount of turmeric so I added a little honey at the end- perfection. Sweet, spicy, savory and comforting equals one happy chica!

Ingredients: Serves 1
1/2 small sweet potato spiraled, or chopped
1/2 zucchini spiraled with ribbon/fettucine setting, or just use a peeler
1/2 cup chopped, stems removed collard greens
1/4 cup white onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1-2 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp homemade curry powder for non-curry lovers, 1 tbsp for curry lovers 😉
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
honey/agave to taste
optional add-ins- cashews, toasted almonds, coconut milk…etc.

Directions:
Heat 2 inch high non-stick pan with 1 tbsp oil/ghee and cook onions for 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and cook another 1-2 minutes till starting to soften. Sprinkle curry powder and coat evenly. Add collard greens, season with salt and pepper and cook another minute till just starting to wilt. Use microplane and grate ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add non-dairy milk and stir everything together.

Depending on how saucy you want it either cook it down and add zucchini 2 minutes before you take it off the heat. I wanted it to be a thick sauce so I added the zucchini soon after, tossed everything very well and then took it off the heat. About 2 minutes later I added some potato starch, stirred well and poured into a bowl. Then I finished it with about 1 tbsp honey.

Although this is one of the easiest curries I’ve made, it’s one of my favorites because of the homemade curry powder, it makes it 🙂

Vegetarian Moussaka & Parmesan Polenta Fries

Tonight’s date night was accompanied by two food items that I have never prepared before.  Moussaka and polenta.   Although I must say they were super easy to prepare which is the only way I roll.  I have actually never had any kind of moussaka but awhile ago I say a yummy looking post on another vegetarian version but I have made it even easier.  Its origins are in Greece where it is traditionally served with a layer of eggplant then meat and vegetables and either tomato sauce or bechemal.

As for the polenta I must thank my new best friend Joe, actually he goes by the name Trader Joe.  I just can’t seem to get enough of him since I first saw him last week.  This is because I got a “tube” of premade polenta (not that it’s difficult to make) but hey if someone wants to do my dirty work for me why not every once in awhile?  That made preparing those fries take about 3.5 minutes-maybe? I love taking credit for amazing date night dinners like it took all day 😉

This dish is actually almost vegan except I added in some real parmesan cheese (I’ll never leave you. ) This is because I used a homemade cashew herb cheese which is so easy to make and so tasty.  The nutty-ness of the cheese pairs incredibly well with the meaty-ness of the mushrooms.  And the bf even described this dish as “hearty”-which is saying a lot for a ribeye loving man.

This is a lovely family style meal that can definitely be prepared in less than thirty minutes (I hope I don’t sound like Rachael Ray because I can’t stand her, no offense) and will more than satisfy those around the table.  Plus your getting lots of veggies, healthy fats and won’t bust your calorie budget.

Ingredients:

1 Eggplant, sliced thick with mandolin

1 onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 container mushrooms, I prefer baby bella

2 large handfuls baby spinach

2 cups cashews, soaked in water at least 4 hours, up to 12

2 servings polenta, I used little less than 1/2 store bought tube

1/8 cup parmesan cheese

lots of fresh thyme

2 tbsp fresh chives

*optional fresh rosemary

splash of lemon juice

Directions:

Cashew Cheese

-Soak cashews at least 4 hours and up to 12.  Drain, rinse and throw in food processor/blender.  Only add a few drops of water to get it moving.  You want “ricotta cheese” like consistency.  Continue blending and adding small bits of water till you get the right “spreadable” consistency.  Add lots of fresh thyme, lemon juice and optionally chives and rosemary.  —Season to taste.

Polenta Fries

-Take 1/2 the tube of premade polenta and cut in half, you are aiming for a “fry” like shape.  I used 1/4 of the entire tube for 2 people.

-Once you have your slices, dredge in egg and place on baking sheet lined with tin foil and sprayed with non-stick.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Bake on 375 for 15 minutes or until crisp to your liking.  I did not feel like waiting that’s why mine are not “stiff” {“that’s what she said”-die hard office fan-before Michael left}.

Moussaka

-Once eggplant is sliced, put in coliander and salt generously.  Let it drain for at least 30 minutes.

-Meanwhile dice your onion and saute on med-high heat.  Throw your mushrooms in a blender to get minced consistency, similar to that of ground beef.  Throw in pan with diced onions.  Saute 2-3 minutes and add 2 garlic cloves.

-Add 2 tbsp fresh thyme and saute 1-2 minutes more.  Quickly saute 2 large handfuls (half 70z bag) of baby spinach until just wilting, should only take 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

-I used the same pan to do a quick saute with eggplant.  I used a non-stick and used non-stick spray otherwise eggplant will suck up oil better than any hoover vacuum cleaner.  Just saute for roughly 3 minutes each side till it tenderizes slightly without getting mushy.

-Grab a 8×8 baking dish, spray the bottom and start assembling.  I did eggplant, then “cheese”, then “meat” and then repeat once more.  I did not use an additional sauce, I didn’t think it was needed but you could use tomato sauce or bechamel.

-Bake for about 10 minutes on 350.  Serves 4, or for us it served 2, 1 piece for me and 2 for a very hungry person 😉

No one said it won any beauty contests-just taste buds 🙂

{The little side sauce is a cauliflower based garlic aioli I made.  It is my go to “cheat” and I love to use it for chicken salad/veg salad base but I just haven’t gotten around to posting it.}

– Use 1 cup cauliflower, 1 tbsp sour cream, 2 tbsp vegan mayo and 1-2tsp minced garlic and blend together adding water as needed to get “mayo” like consistency.  I love adding fresh herbs like chives and rosemary or whatever I have on hand.   Try this on your chicken salad next time-it has the mayo-y flavor without the calories and junk.

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