Quinoa & Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing

QuinoaKalePitasThese are packed with some of my favorite ingredients! Quinoa is loaded with protein and the kale is well . . . it’s kale! We all know kale is high in iron, calcium and several vitamins. Check out these 10 Health Benefits of this super green. I also threw in some pepitas, which are rich in vitamins, beta carotene, and protein. I made a pretty big batch so that I can nosh all week (especially post workouts), but feel free to halve the recipe if you’re fearful of getting quinoa’d out. (Inconceivable! ;-) )

INGREDIENTS

Filling

2 C tri-color quinoa
4 C vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C red onion, diced
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 C mushrooms, diced
1 bunch kale, leaves removed and chopped (stems discarded)
3/4 C pepitas

Dressing

2 large cloves of garlic
1 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs yellow/light miso
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C cold water
2 Tbs chia seesds
1/4 tsp black pepper

The rest

Pita pockets
Avocado slices

DIRECTIONS

I recommend making the dressing first. It’ll be a little runny, but letting it sit for 20 minutes or so, will allow the chia seeds to do their thing and thicken up the dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.

DSC08213In a large soup pot, combine the broth (or water) with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

DSC08214Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add the red and green onions. Saute until softened and a tiny bit browned. Add the kale and mushrooms and saute until the the kale is bright green, about 5 minutes.
onionskaleFold the veggies and pepitas into the cooked quinoa.
DSC08215I placed a little dressing inside the pita,  along with a slice or two of avocado, then added the filling, and topped with some more dressing. Enjoy!
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Vegan Oven Tacos

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Every week, when I’m writing up a grocery list, I always ask for dinner suggestions. It never fails. “Tacos.” It’s become a joke around here. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Oven Tacos, I knew my hegans would be very happy with a vegan version. These were definitely a hit. I had to laugh when the original recipe said that after the ground beef is cooked (yack!) “drain the liquid.” Oh, just say what it is! Grease! Melted animal fat! Ahhh . . . I love it; being vegan means never having to say, “drain the liquid/grease/fat.” Speaking of which, the Boca crumbles have zero fat, I use “no fat” refried beans, and there is no fat in the tomato sauce. Obviously, these aren’t totally fat free, but can you imagine the fat content alone in the original ones? Yikes! So, not only are these amazing, they’re actually healthy for you. I’ve discovered these great whole grain taco shells that really are delicious. Psst . . . by the way, this makes A LOT. I made 13 tacos and had some filling left over, so I recommend either serving these to a crowd, or freezing half the filling for the next taco night.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca Crumbles

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1  15-oz can no fat refried beans

1 small can diced green chilies

1 packet taco seasoning

1  8-oz can tomato sauce

Daiya cheese shreds

13-14 taco shells

Toppings:

green onion, sliced

sliced black olives

fresh cilantro, chopped

diced tomatoes

guacamole or diced avocado

salsa

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add the Boca Crumbles and cook 4-5 minutes, or until they are heated through. (No need to drain any “liquid”)! In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the seasoning mix with 1/2 to 3/4 C of water;  stir into the Boca mixture. Next, add the tomato sauce, green chilies, and beans. Combine well over medium-low heat.

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Fill the taco shells with the mixture. I wanted to leave plenty of room for toppings, so I filled them about a third of the way up, but feel free to use as little or as much as you want. Like I said, I made 13 tacos—enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, so if you’re making more, you’ll want a larger dish. And be careful, they break easily with the thick filling inside (especially after they’re baked). Sprinkle with some Daiya cheese.

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Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom portion of the shell (that has the Boca filling) will have the awesomeness of a soft taco, but the flavor of corn. THEN, the top half is crunchy—best of both worlds!

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Load them up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

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Lettuce wraps are a favorite around here, especially since we can be picky and add what toppings we want. Oh, and they’re fresh and easy to make. I suggest having all of your ingredients out, ready to go, and even chopped before anything else; it just makes life easier. I was inspired by a Vegetarian Times recipe, but I made lots of changes by adding ingredients and omitting some. That’s the beauty of these . . . they’re so versatile.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

2 8oz pkg. tempeh, broken into chunks
5 large mushrooms, diced
1 can water chestnuts, chopped (I didn’t have any, but I would have used them if I did, so these are certainly optional)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
1/8 C lime juice
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs toasted brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sriracha
1/4 tsp brown sugar

Sauce:

1/8 C lime juice
1/8 C water
1/8 C sugar
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs yellow  miso
salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings:

2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into strips
Fresh basil, sliced into strips
1 C green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
1/2 C chopped peanuts and slivered almonds (also chopped)
12-16 large lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. To make the filling, pulse the tempeh in a food processor. Depending on your preference, you can pulse it until you’re left with course pieces, or process it a bit more like I did. It can be difficult to get a consistent texture if you want larger pieces.

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Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tempeh (and water chestnuts, if suing) and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook ten minutes. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and heat thoroughly.

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Since you were so efficient in your prep work . . .  ;-) you’re ready to fill the lettuce wraps! Place a scoop in the center of the lettuce leaf and add your favorite toppings, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of the sauce. Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice

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This is my new favorite versatile meal. I saw this recipe for the avocado rice, where they also suggested making burrito bowls using it. Obviously, I wasn’t keen on their meat and dairy version, so I made my own, healthier ones. I also made some changes to the rice recipe by using this awesome rice from Lundberg. The guys tend to be white rice kind of men, but there were no complaints! It’s a blend of sweet brown rice, short grain brown rice, long grain brown rice, whole grain Wehani (brand) rice, whole grain black Japonica (brand) rice.

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And I have to mention the quite ingenious Velcro re-closeable bag!

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This is such a fresh, simple, and healthy meal where everyone in the family can create their own with their favorite fresh ingredients. Now, my new favorite ingredient . . . is this tri-bean blend. Organic and on sale for $1 a can! Love these. Packed with protein and fiber.

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So, on to the recipe!

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 bowls)

Rice:

3-1/2 C water

2 C Lundberg Jubilee rice

2 avocados, mashed

1/2 C cilantro, chopped

zest and juice from one lime

The beans:

3 cans tri-bean blend (black bean, pinto, and kidney)

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp Ancho Chili pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C water

The rest (toppings):

Green onion, sliced

Tomato, diced

Daiya cheese

Sour cream

Lettuce, chopped

Salsa

Corn tortilla crunchies/chips

DIRECTIONS:

The rice will take 35-40 minutes, so you’ll want to get that started first. Bring the 3-1/2 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Check after 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in a small to medium saucepan, add the beans, seasonings, and water. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

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When the rice is done, stir in the mashed avocados, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

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Fill a bowl with about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the avocado rice . . .

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 . . . layer on some beans and toppings and enjoy!

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Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

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This is a very quick and healthy lunch. It’s also a good idea to munch on if you’re feeling under the weather since it has immune-boosting ingredients like kale, mushrooms, garlic, and pepita seeds. Regardless, it’ll hit the spot!

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz quinoa pasta, veggie curls (I used Ancient Harvest brand)

2-3 C chopped kale (I used red kale)

2 C diced or quartered mushrooms

1/2 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C pepitas seeds

1 Tbs olive oil or 2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You don’t want to overcook quinoa pasta, as it tends to get mushy if you do. Drain and set aside.

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Using the same pot, heat the olive oil or Earth Balance and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.

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Once the veggies are cooked down a little, stir in the pasta and pepita seeds. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Fruity Snack Balls

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These are such a great snack and take minutes to make! I LOVE these (and so will kids). They come from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and the only thing I added was about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I try to throw chia seeds in all kinds of dishes, especially breakfast/fruity/smoothie things. Check out these 10 reasons you should eat them. You can use just about any dried fruit or nuts for these, such as apricots, apples, raisins, even dried blueberries. I also think mixing in a tablespoon of almond butter or peanut butter would be dee-licious! The original recipe says it makes a great crumbled cereal topper as well. The recipe also says it makes 2-1/2 dozen, but I got exactly 2 dozen–just depends on how small you make them.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 C dried cherries

1 C dried mango

1/2 C dried cranberries

1 C sliced raw almonds

2 Tbs chia seeds

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DIRECTIONS:

Toss the first four ingredients into the food processor and blend for a full minute.

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Add the almonds and blend again for another full minute.

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I then transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the chia seeds.

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Take small handfuls and squeeze, then shape into a ball. Repeat. Enjoy!

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Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh

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Whether or not you’re fighting a cold or illness, this is the perfect salad to eat to boost your immune. No one wants to be sick during the holidays. It also doesn’t help that we tend to not eat or drink as healthy during these yuletide times. Instead of throwing back some harmful meds with a measly glass of OJ while you’re sick, head for the fridge (or ask someone politely) to fix this cold-fighting bowl of awesomeness. If anything, steam some kale, eat a raw orange bell pepper, and a bowl full of white mushrooms. Then repeat.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of kale, torn from stem and chopped small (high in iron, vitamins C, A & K, antioxidants, omega-3s (anti-inflammatory), fiber, and calcium)

1 small bunch of spinach, stems removed and chopped small (1 C=337% of the RDA of vitamin A!! vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium)

1 orange bell pepper, chopped small (vitamin C and B-6, fiber, and antioxidants)

10-12 white mushrooms, stems removed and chopped, (great sources of potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. They’ve also been proven to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers)

2 large carrots, shredded (beta carotene, vitamin A, cancer-preventing properties, and alpha-carotene and lutein, which fight heart disease)

6-7 green onions, sliced thin (Quercetin, an antioxidant and anti-histamine, chromium, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and copper)

1/2 C pepitas (high in vitamins C, D, E, and K. They are rich in beta carotene (that is converted into vitamin A in the liver),  rich in the eye protective carotenoid lutein. A handful of these will deliver 9 grams of protein, along with manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper and zinc. They are also rich in omega-3 fats and are also shown to reduce inflammation. Definitely a super food!)

Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, cut in half (boosts hydrogen sulfide production=protects against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer and protects the heart. Raw garlic’s antimicrobial fights viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Its also helps fight asthma, bronchitis, inflammation, rashes, bug bites, tooth aches, ear infections and other infections i.e. Staph and MRSA. Unlike antibiotics that weaken your immune system, garlic actually boosts your immune system)

1/3 C sunflower seed butter (calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Also a great source of B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and  B6, folate, and pantothenic acid. Folate is also essential during pregnancy for proper fetal development. Let’s not forget protein and the healthy, unsaturated fats)

1/4 C tahini (Packed with B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15, protein and calcium)

3 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs light miso (Protein, has probiotics, B vitamins, especially B12, fights cancers, high in antioxidants, and can even help lower cholesterol)

1/4 C nutritional yeast (TONS of B vitamins, protein, and fiber. It’s also low in sodium)

1/4 C chia seeds (Omega-3 and 6 oils, protein, and antioxidants. Considered a super food, chia seeds not only support the immune system, they balance blood sugar levels, support the cardiovascular system, give you energy, aid in weight loss, help detox the body, and provides fiber, iron, calcium, niacin (B-3), phosphorus, and magnesium. Did I mention brain-boosting, too?!)

1 C water

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Tempeh (optional)

8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes (high in fiber, easy to digest, low sodium, and contains antioxidants. It also helps balance blood sugars)

1/4 C soy sauce

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (see above)

1 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

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Whew! Did you get all that?! Talk about a loaded salad!

DIRECTIONS:

If you’re adding tempeh, you’ll want to start that now. Combine the tempeh with the soy sauce (preferably low-sodium),  Worcestershire sauce, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag; coat the tempeh thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tempeh on the sheet. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes, stir around, then bake another 5 minutes.

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 Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then chop up the tempeh into even smaller pieces; add to the salad.

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To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. It makes about 2-1/2 cups.

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You can pour the dressing over the entire salad and blend well, or keep it separate. If you store it separately, keep in mind that it will probably set up in the fridge; you’ll need to add some water and/or lemon juice to it to thin it out some more. I hope all of you are staying healthy and continue to do so during these oftentimes stressful days! Enjoy!

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

The (soon-to-be) Eighth Grader picked these out from Lightlife. The original recipe is for 12 rolls, but one large head of cabbage had about 8 good leaves to use, so we had some leftover filling. If you plan on making 12, you’ll probably want to pick up 2 heads of cabbage. These we actually pretty easy to make and were really flavorful and delicious, not to mention healthy. One roll is only 275 calories! You can also customize these rolls to suit your tastes—mix it up by adding your favorite ingredients. Next time, I’ll try mushrooms and zucchini. Keep in mind, the recipe calls for cooked rice, so you’ll want to get that going first. Also, you’ll need to steam the leaves ahead of time as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Gimme Lean “beef”

2 Tbs olive oil

8-12 cabbage leaves

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 C cooked rice

15 oz can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

3 Tbs brown sugar

3 Tbs cider vinegar

2-4 Tbs water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, and peppers and cook until tender.

Add the Gimme Lean. You could chop it up before adding it, or just dice it up with a spatula in the pan. You’ll want small clumps, or pieces. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper and continue cooking until the “beef” begins to brown.

Add the rice…

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Reserve a 1/4 cup; set aside. Add the remaining sauce to the pan and combine it well with the veggie mixture. After you’ve drained the cabbage leaves, pat them dry. Lay a leaf out flat and add about a 1/3 cup of the mixture in the center.

Fold in the sides, then roll up. You can also secure it with a toothpick if needed, but I found that these rolled up fine and stayed put.

Place the rolls in a 9×13 baking pan. Pour about 2-4 Tbs of water int he bottom of the pan to keep the leaves moist.

Mix 2 Tbs of water with the reserved 1/4 cup of sauce and pour it over the rolls.

Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing

Ok, this is probably my favorite dressing I’ve made so far. Love it! It has just a hint of lemon and with the ginger, goes fabulous with the almond butter. There’s some prep work involved here, but if can, make this the night before and you won’t be able to wait for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 large bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped

1/4 of a red/purple cabbage, diced

1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced

1 C carrot, shredded or finely chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 small red onion, diced small

1/3 C sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1/4 C tahini

1/3 C + 1 Tbs almond butter

1″ piece of ginger, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs miso (light, yellow or red)

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/8 C water

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in the blender—except the water—just start with a little and add more as you blend it to reach the consistency you want. You may need more than the 1/8 cup. It also depends on how lemony you want it—you can thin it out with more lemon juice if you’d like. Blend until smooth.

You can pour the dressing over the salad, just a little at time to coat the salad, or serve on the side and mix into individual servings. Yields about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta & Spinach

I love stuffed pasta shells, but I don’t always love filling up with carbs and wheat from the pasta. This is a fabulous and healthy alternative, which the family raved about. My hegans agreed that these were the best stuffed peppers I made. You can check out the other recipes here.  I used my go-to ricotta recipe, as well as The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook’s Parmezano Sprinkles–both very easy to whip up.

INGREDIENTS:

My go-to ricotta:

1 14-oz pkg extra-firm tofu, press and drained

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 C Daiya mozzarella

Parmezano Sprinkles:

1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1-2 tsp light miso

1/4 tsp salt

The peppers:

4 bell peppers, washed, tops removed and innards cleaned out

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 C onion, diced

2 Field Roast sausages, Italian flavor

2 C mushrooms, diced

4 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

To make the ricotta, crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the Daiya) and blend until somewhat smooth. You don’t want it too smooth. Stir in the cheese.

To make the parmezano sprinkles, grind the blanched almonds to a fine consistency. Add the nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Combine well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you get read to use it, give the container a shake to loosen it all.

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook until they just begin to get tender. Using your fingers, crumble up the Field Roast sausages and add to the skillet. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Stir in the spinach and cook 5 minutes, or until the spinach cooks down a fair bit.

Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain any excess tomato juices if you need to. Then, stir in 1 cup of the ricotta mixture.

Stuff each pepper with the mixture, pressing down with every scoop.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with some of the parmezano sprinkles and bake another 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

This truly is the ultimate veggie burger! The recipe comes from Oh She Glows and is nutritious, healthy, and all-natural! They’re simple to make and the flavors mesh really well together. I also liked the crunch that the nuts provide; not a mushy burger at all. The original recipe makes 8 burgers, but I halved it, so below are for 4 burgers.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 C onion, diced (I used red onion)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1-1/4 Tbs flax meal + 1/4 C warm water

1/2 C oats, ground into flour

3/4 C breadcrumbs (I used panko)

1/2 C grated carrot (This, I would grate pretty small-I shredded it and I think next time I’d chop them up more)

1/2 C black beans, mashed (but still a little chunky)

1/8 C fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 C almonds, chopped

1/4 C sunflower seeds

1/2 Tbs olive oil (I used 1/4 tsp)

1/2 Tbs tamari

3/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and warm water. I’m sure you could also use egg-replacer powder if you don’t have any flax meal. Set it aside for 10 minutes. This is a good recipe to have all the ingredients chopped and ready to go before proceeding. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and cook until tender. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, flax mixture, oat flour, bread crumbs, carrot, black beans, parsley, almonds, sunflower seeds, and tarmari. Stir in the seasonings.

With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into patties and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 16 minutes, flip them over, then bake another 16 minutes.

The guys had theirs on buns with ketchup, tomato and avocado slices. I had mine sans the hamburger bun.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Dog Treats

These are similar to the other dog treats I made, but this time I added pureed pumpkin. I meant to add some fresh parsley and mint, but completely forgot—next time, I guess. We’ll just have to continue to deal with Moe’s stinky breath until it’s time to make more treats. Since commercial treats are full of artificial ingredients, preservatives and animal products, we prefer to make his own treats. It’s especially convenient since Moe has been working on his Canine Good Citizen training so that he can be a therapy dog. Lots of training means lots of treats, so I feel better about loading him up with these and not the gross store-bought ones. I also froze the remaining pumpkin puree to use the next time I make treats.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 C peanut butter

1/4 C canned pumpkin (make sure it’s just the puree and not the pie-filling that contains spices and other stuff)

1 C water

2 Tbs oil (flax, omega, olive, or vegetable)

1-1/2 C flour

1-3/4 C whole wheat flour

1/4 C fresh mint, minced (optional)

1/4 C fresh parsley, minced (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Using an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter, pumpkin, water, and oil. If using, you can throw in the parsley and mint here, too. Combine until smooth. Slowly add the flours and mix until well combined.

Divide the dough in half. You may want to cover the portion you’re not using, as it will start to dry out. Working with half the dough at a time is easier. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. I then used a pizza cutter to make small squares.

Place the pieces onto a large baking sheet. Yes, this step is time-consuming (a great job for the kids to help with!), and you can cut them into any shape and size  you’d like, but this size works great for training and you don’t have to break them up. If you cut them like I did, you’ll get just over 2-1/2 of the baking sheets of them. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

They come out pretty crispy, so I pour them into a large metal bowl so I can reuse the pan. Once they’ve cooled, store them in an air-tight container and they will last up to 6 weeks.

They are Moe-Approved!

Garden Wraps

I’m no June Cleaver, but I will go that extra mile to make sure the kid eats a healthy and delicious lunch at school. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, it’s important to include kids when making meals, especially when it comes to eating vegan. We’ve been lucky that The Sixth Grader has embraced veganism so willingly and he loves participating in cooking and meal-planning. So he was getting a little bored with St. Ives ham sandwiches, so together, we came up with a new idea: Garden Wraps. Yes, there is work involved—I spent some time Sunday afternoon making them, but golly, Wally, they are so good and worth it!

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach wraps/tortillas

Hummus

Cucumber, diced

Carrots, julliened

Red onion, chopped

Celery, sliced

Tomato, diced

Avocado, sliced

Daiya cheese

Optional: cooked Boca “chicken” nuggets, diced

Layer 2-3 spoonfuls of hummus on a tortilla, then the rest of the ingredients.

Fold in the sides first, then roll from the bottom. Slice in half and wrap with plastic wrap. I made several for both The Sixth Grader and I for lunch this week—it’s a quick and healthy snack/lunch to grab, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. Enjoy!

Ready to grab and go!

Product Review: Tofurky Beer Brats

Vegan MoFo, Day 13

This doesn’t seem like the time of year to be eating brats, but that’s ok, because I think they actually taste better when prepared on the stove; they tend to get dried out on the grill–even though the package says grilling them is the recommended cooking method. I opted to brown them in some olive oil (briefly) then added a bit of water to the pan and covered them for about 5 minutes. They turned out great and it took less than 10 minutes.

We then layered on some sauerkraut that I heated in a sauce pan, Dijon and ketchup, onto a bun and enjoyed! So these are quite healthy compared to a real brat. When people give you a hard time about not getting protein from a vegan diet, show them labels: Johnsonville Beer Brat has 11 grams of protein, whereas Tofurky’s has 27 grams! The cancer-licious brat has 23 grams of fat and our (non GMO) brat has 13 grams. That alone is a huge difference. When it comes to saturated fat, the real thing loses again (no surprise) with 8 grams, while Tofurky has 1 gram. Wow. Should I go on? YES! Let’s talk cholesterol. The veggie brat has NO CHOLESTEROL and the Johnsonville one has 50 mg. There’s even more iron in the Tofurky brat. You also get 5 grams of fiber with Tofurky and no fiber with the animal-based one.

Why would anyone want to eat a real brat? The taste is virtually the same and even if it is a little different, the health risks are just too high–it makes no sense to me. Overall, we were quite impressed. I also picked up Tofurky’s Kielbasa sausages, so I’m looking forward to trying those.

Fresh and Healthy Soft Tacos/Burritos

When I don’t have a lot of time but I want my family and I to have a satisfying, healthy dinner, this is one of my go-to meals. I typically have the ingredients all the time and with so many different ingredient options, it’s easy to make the whole crew happy!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C cooked rice

1 can refried beans

1/4-1/2 C salsa

vegan cheese, shredded

diced avocado

sliced green onion

cilantro, chopped

Small flour tortillas

Tofutti sour cream

Other tasty options: diced or shredded cucumber, sprouts, lettuce

DIRECTIONS:

Combine cooked rice (I use Minute Rice), refries and salsa in a medium pan, heat on low-medium heat. Stir until heated through.

Separate other ingredients into small bowls and I like to start with the sour cream, then layer the beans/rice mixture, then top with cheese, avocado slices, etc. on a warmed tortilla.

Voila! You’re ready to eat! Served with a salad, this is a quick, delicious and healthy meal. Enjoy!