Category Archives: Main Dishes and Entrees

Detox Salad

Last night I was pondering which way to go re: the obligatory post New Year “detox”. When I was reorganizing all the stuff I moved out of my apartment a few weeks ago, I was feeling ambitious and went ahead and unpacked my juicer, so 3 day Juice Cleanse was option 1. Back in May, I embarked on a week of raw eating that was actually really successful, and an easy transition since my diet is primarily plant-based anyway, so last night that became option 2. Last January, I went an ayurvedic, macrobiotic route… option 3.

But I’m opting for option 4: to make small, positive choices in all areas of my life that will contribute to overall mental and physical health. I believe that a slow and steady approach will do so much more to foster lasting good habits. Plus, I haven’t really gone overboard with unhealthiness in a while, so small adjustments are really all I need.

What I do want to do this week, just for myself, is keep a little journal of what I’m doing well, plus tasks I need to get done each day. I get scattered in this crazy brain of mine- you should see all the “stickies” on my computer desktop- so it’s better for me to keep things visually organized.

A few highlights of my goals, big and small:

– keep track of my sleep, and aim for 7 hours at least with no interruptions

– take time for meditation each day

– start doing yoga again on a regular basis

– keep coffee down to 2 cups max

– cut sodium consumption

– drink more tea and water

The next couple of weeks have the potential to be a bit overwhelming as I get everything in order to, ahem, move out of the country. It is all the more important, therefore, to remain as calm as possible. I opted not to really share my resolutions for 2013, but I will say that one of the big ones is to remain positive and zen, even in the face of stress. Good healthy habits will help to keep me centered.

Eating well is always a part of that. This salad is a staple, both when I hit the Whole Foods prepared foods bar and at home. It’s easy to make, sweet, zesty, and adaptable… I made some changes to the original posted at Oh She Glows.

Detox Salad

adapted from Oh She Glows and Whole Foods

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower, stems removed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • kosher salt, pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp salt and lots of pepper)
  • 1 tbsp garlic dulse flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp kelp granules
  • salt free seasoning to taste (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)

Instructions

  1. Process cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots in the food processor separately until each is shredded and mix together in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Feel free to adjust seasonings and lemon juice to personal taste.

Notes

Angela also suggests adding a bit of maple syrup if you would prefer some more sweetness, but I think the currants do the trick.
Also, the recipe normally calls for 1/2 cup raisins as well- I omitted because I only had currants on hand.

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes and Entrees

Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

The other day, I was running an errand for work and picked up a spinach and feta wrap for one of my bosses. It smelled so unbelievably delicious that I vowed to myself right then and there to somehow create a version of those flavors for myself. So I got to researching, looking to use nuts as a base for the cheese rather than tofu. A few tweaks here and there and one roasted spaghetti squash later, success!

The feta is a little labor intensive, more so than nut-based cheese sauces I’ve made in the past (macaroni and alfredo) because feta is supposed to be crumbly, not smooth and creamy. Because of this, it had to be pressed and drained in order to work. It’s definitely worth the effort, because the texture is almost spot on and the flavor is packed.

Tossed with spaghetti squash (or pasta!), fresh spinach and mushrooms, and the result is a healthy and hearty take on an old favorite.

Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • +For the Feta+:
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • juice of one half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • +For the Pasta:+
  • Spaghetti Squash or Pasta of choice, cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. +For the Feta:+
  2. After soaking the walnut pieces, add them (with the water they soaked in) and the rest of the feta ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Lay out two layers of cheesecloth on top of each other, and scoop out the cheese from the blender, placing it all onto the middle of the layered patches of cloth. Bring all the edges together and tie tightly with a piece of twine.
  4. Gently squeeze so any excess liquid drains immediately. Then place in a small strainer over a jar or bowl (I used a tea strainer over a mason jar and it worked wonderfully) and let sit in the fridge overnight, so that any additional liquid will drain as well.
  5. When ready to use, simply remove the cheesecloth and put into a small container to use as needed.
  6. +For the Pasta:+
  7. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto a pan. Add the garlic and cook on low until the garlic begins to cook, stirring. Add the mushrooms, and cook until soft.
  8. Add the spinach leaves and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, just until the spinach is wilted. You may need to add a little bit of water or vegetable broth to ensure that nothing burns and the spinach steams well- just use sparingly. Remove from heat.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta or squash with salt, pepper, and cooked vegetables. Crumble some of your new feta over it at your discretion- I recommend being liberal!
  10. Toss all together once more and garnish with some black pepper and more crumbled feta before serving.

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Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

We’ve got a squash on squash situation.

I have here one of those serendipitous recipes that just seemed like a simple idea to put together but exceeded all expectations. I was quickly reminded that cinnamon as a savory spice is unexpectedly fantastic. And guess what? Pumpkin puree makes a great marinade. Cinnamon and fresh herbs make a great air freshener. And as the chill in the air becomes more pronounced, this recipe is a great excuse to crank up the oven and celebrate the harvest.

P.S. This is already on my Thanksgiving menu.

Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • handful each of fresh sage leaves and fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, broth, miso, garlic, soy sauce, cinnamon, and fresh herbs until combined.
  2. Chop the mushrooms, carrots, and acorn squash and put them in a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the vegetables and toss, so everything is evenly coated. Transfer the entire mixture to a baking pan, laying out as evenly as possible, sprinkle with pepper, and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, checking periodically and stirring the mixture. Remove and serve.

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Fettuccine Alfredo

Goodness. It’s been so long since I put together a recipe that I feel like I forget how to do this!

Luckily, what’s coming your way doesn’t need much of an introduction.

I first discovered the power of pureed nuts with my walnut whipped cream. Obviously that’s a sweet recipe, but if we’re going on texture, the creaminess is something that I knew could definitely translate over to a savory recipe. Plus, I’ve heard praises sung about cashew “cheese” everywhere from other vegan blogs to veggie restaurants.

I’ve tried cashew cheese, and it’s amazing… especially in mac & cheese. (P.S. that recipe is still one of my all-time faves!)

But alfredo sauce is obviously a different breed- a different cheese. I knew I needed a more mild flavor that was still creamy. So I turned back to walnuts. Mixed with some herbs and almond milk?

Perfection.

And, the flavor is dead on. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to try it!

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

1 cup almond milk

1 cup walnuts, soaked

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tsp lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp vinegar

2 tsp dried basil or oregano

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of guar or xantham gum (optional)

your choice of pasta (or spaghetti squash!)

After soaking the nuts for 1-2 hours, drain them and put in a blender or food processor with the almond milk. Puree until smooth, and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Puree until smooth. Heat over stove in a pot over low heat until desired temperature (add more milk if the sauce reduces at all)

Cook pasta according to instructions, pour sauce over, and serve.

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Dreamy Mac & Cheese

When I think of macaroni and cheese, I think of blue boxes, fluorescent orange noodles, and blissful childhood weekends. My mom is a great cook and we definitely ate well growing up, but weekends were her days off from chef duty and Kraft was often the go-to on Friday and Saturday nights. Come on people, you know you love loved it too. Veganism and all-natural eating don’t make Kraft mac & cheese much of a possibility for me anymore, I shouldn’t have to rule out macaroni and cheese entirely.

This recipe comes to the rescue!

It’s ingredient-heavy, for sure, and pretty pricey at that (who knew cashews were so expensive?!) But it’s sooooo tasty- the most perfect zesty cheesy, creaminess. An indulgence that deserves indulging. It’s the kind of dish to gleefully serve your friends who say “Ohhh, you’re vegan? Don’t you get tired of eating rabbit food?”

Vegan Comfort Food for the win.

Just a heads up, I served mine with spaghetti squash “noodles” which tasted AMAZING (and make it gluten free!) but feel free to use the good ‘ole regular kind! Make it classic with elbows :)

Dreamy Mac & Cheese

1 cup almond milk

2/3 cups cashews

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp vinegar

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp miso paste or salt to taste

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Blend all together in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Heat over the stove until hot (add more milk if you want a thinner consistency). Stir with cooked spaghetti squash or noodles, and serve.

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“Fried” Cauliflower “Rice”

That’s a lot of quotation marks for a recipe title.

But it’s necessary, because this fried rice recipe is not actually fried, and *surprise!* doesn’t actually have a grain of rice in it. But trust me, you’ll be tossing your takeout menus in no time with this healthier but equally tasty option. It fit in my detox, it’s macrobiotic, vegan, gluten free, low-carb, blah blah blah. Most importantly, it tastes amazing.

“Fried” Cauliflower Rice

½ head cauliflower

½ medium onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp sliced leeks or scallions

5-10 baby carrots, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

4 oz. silken soft tofu (gluten free)

1 tsp ground ginger

vegetable broth

soy sauce (gluten free)

“Rice” the cauliflower with the onion in a food processor. Set aside. Saute the garlic over medium heat on a pan that has been lightly spritzed with cooking spray. Add the cauliflower “rice”.  Stir and add the veggies and tofu. Once the tofu has scrambled and is evenly distributed throughout, add some vegetable broth (1/4 cup or so) and continue to stir so that it all cooks evenly. Add the ginger. Once the liquid has evaporated, add a couple tbsp of soy sauce and stir. Once the liquid has evaporated, the vegetables are cooked, and the “rice” is slightly browned, remove from heat and serve. Makes 2 large servings.

In other news, today is Day 5, the final day of my detox!

I feel great, I ate well, and slept better than I have in a while.

Lessons learned?

  • I can definitely move my caffeine intake wayyyy down. I’m talking like a small cup of coffee a day rather than my usual 2-3 huge mugs.
  • I used to add way to much salt to things! Food tastes better when I don’t!
  • Realists might call me crazy, but this Ayurvedic stuff totally works. I feel so much more in tune with myself and balanced. And the macrobiotic aspect? I miss the nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, etc.) but I will be lessening my intake a lot… to maybe just 2-3 times a week. I also miss greek yogurt, but will be lessening my intake of that as well.

I call that success!

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Live, Main Dishes and Entrees

Vegan “Chicken” Nuggets and Apple Barbecue Sauce

Have you heard of Gardein? It’s a relatively new meat substitute that is really fantastic; the flavors are really spot on. It’s also a great source of protein (it’s made from different plant proteins). I love that the company makes a lot of it in frozen dinner form… it’s great for those junk food cravings like Chinese take out or BBQ wings because it’s actually healthy!

That being said, I love that their BBQ wings come with the sauce in a separate packet. It means that I have the choice to modify the little nuggets myself, and I decided to tackle it with the idea that if vegans can have a great chicken nugget substitute, so should those who eat gluten free!

I considered using oat flour, but then I thought about almond meal! Almond, soy, and orange? The perfect combo. Throw in an applesauce based barbecue dipping sauce that I threw together, and the flavors all mix together just wonderfully. And trust me, these are crispy and zesty, just as chicken nuggets should be… but still spreading the veggie love :)

Orange Almond “Chicken” Nuggets and Apple Barbecue Sauce

Gardein chicken cutlets or nuggets

1 cup (about) of almond meal

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, crushed/minced

Mix the almond meal, paprika, salt, and ginger in a bowl. Put aside. In another bowl, mix the guice, soy sauce, and garlic together. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spritz it with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dip each nugget into the wet mixture before rolling it in the dry mixture until completely coated, then transferring it to the cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned (you may want to flip them for the last couple minutes, but it’s not completely necessary).

For the sauce:

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, crushed

pinch of ground ginger

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and serve as dip.

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