Groatmeal with Fresh Fruit

Groatmeal with Fresh Fruit -- Epicurean VeganWhen it comes to breakfast, it can be a little lack luster for me. The Tenth Grader and I try to hit the gym in the mornings before school, so I typically inhale a Larabar at 5:45 a.m. and when I come home, I’m just wanting something quick. Sadly, I usually end up with a Boca “chicken” patty on an English muffin. Even though I’m a morning person, making a quick, healthy and delicious breakfast can be a tall order. If I had my way, I’d go to the Rainbow every morning for their Groatmeal (granola + oatmeal and loaded with lots of fruit), but that’s not an option. The other night, while lamenting with my friend Jessie about my boring breakfasts, she told me to make the oatmeal the night before. For many of you, this may be nothing new, but to me, it was revolutionary. You see, I’m not a huge oatmeal fan . . . unless it’s the Rainbow’s . . . but I thought, what the hell, it’s time to be a big girl and make my own oatmeal. And I loved it. Talk about easy and an ideal option for a post workout meal.

INGREDIENTS:
1 C old fashioned oats
1 to 1-1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
Fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or bananas
Handful of granola, store-bought or homemade
Brown sugar
*next time, I’ll add some cinnamon to the oats and milk the night before. Yum!*

DIRECTIONS:
The night before, place the oats in a Pyrex dish (or any covered bowl) and pour in the almond milk. This is where your preference comes in. If you pour enough to just cover the oats, by morning, the oats will have absorbed most of the milk, or pour in a bit more to make it kind of soupy. I like the soupy kind. You can always add more almond milk in the morning if it’s not enough. You really can’t screw this up.
Groatmeal with Fresh Fruit -- Epicurean VeganI know, they pretty much look the same, right? There was only a little “loose” milk in the one on the right. When it comes time to eat, just scoop out some oatmeal, add a handful of granola, slice up some fruit, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Enjoy!

Groatmeal with Fresh Fruit
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 C old fashioned oats
  • 1 to 1-1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or bananas
  • Handful of granola, store-bought or homemade
  • Brown sugar
Directions
  1. The night before, place the oats in a Pyrex dish (or any covered bowl) and pour in the almond milk. This is where your preference comes in. If you pour enough to just cover the oats and by morning, the oats will have absorbed it all, or pour in a bit more to make it kind of soupy. I like the soupy kind. You can always add more almond milk in the morning if it's not enough. You really can't screw this up.
  2. When it comes time to eat, just scoop out some oatmeal, add a handful of granola, slice up some fruit, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Enjoy!

 

 

Review: Eat Clean Live Well by Terry Walters

Eat Clean Live Well Review -- Epicurean VeganI love books. I love to cook. So naturally, I love cookbooks. I probably own more than I need, too. But I will always welcome the opportunity to review a vegan cookbook. Eat Clean Live Well (Sterling Epicure, Nov. 4, 2014) by Terry Walters, author of Clean Food and Clean Start, is an all-encompassing guide to not only eating clean, but incorporating the same principals in day-to-day living.

EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL is about making the choices that give beauty and meaning to each day and allow us to live with intention, purpose and good health.” —Terry Walters

When I received the book, I was leaving to go out of town for a few days, so I lent the book to my  neighbor who loves to cook as much as I do. Even though she and her husband are not vegans, I knew she’d like this book because they consume very few animal products and shop the farmer’s markets every week. As I suspected, she loved the cookbook; so much so, she purchased her own copy. As a non-vegan, she appreciated the constructive approach Walters takes, by not preaching or judging meat eaters. She loved the practical advice Walters gives on how to incorporate easy, healthy lifestyle changes, without being over-the-top.

I couldn’t agree more. Walters, clearly knowledgeable on clean eating, makes it easy for readers to understand the importance of knowing where your food comes from, and in the process, support your local growers.

The book is broken up by season, beginning with spring. For each section, Walters provides clean living ideas and advice for that season, such as cleansing options (for both body and home) for spring. She then provides recipes using ingredients abundant during that season. The recipes are easy to follow with each section featuring appetizers, soups, vegetables, grains, legumes and desserts. All of the desserts use gluten-free flour and I also noticed that Walters uses maple syrup as a sweetener, rather than white or brown sugar. There are a lot of ingredients Walter uses that I rarely use, such as dried sea vegetables, certain vegetables like ramps and celery root, as well as the various gluten-free flours, however, that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I need to branch out, as long as I’m not stuck with a package of kombu for years because I only need one tiny piece. But this book makes it easy to slowly transition your kitchen into one packed with whole, in-season, non-processed foods. The true test, of course, are the recipes. Is the food any good?

Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric and OrangeCauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric and Orange, page 191
The roasted cauliflower with a ginger, turmeric and orange glaze, was absolutely delicious. Walters recommends serving the cauliflower over black lentils or wild rice; I just had green lentils.  The Husband felt that the lentils over powered the cauliflower. At first, I didn’t agree, but I could see his point halfway into the meal. However, he liked the cilantro on top, but this time, I felt the herb over powered the cauliflower. All in all, a winner, but I recommend serving with the wild rice and  as for the cilantro, you’ll have to decide. 

Sweet Potato Leek Soup with Sesame SprinkleSweet Potato Leek Soup with Sesame Sprinkle, page 174
An absolute winner. Not only is this soup incredibly simple to make, it is packed full of amazing flavor. The sesame sprinkle, made with toasted sesame seeds and a few seasonings is a must—it adds just the right amount flavor. I highly recommend this recipe.
Brown Rice Veggie PattiesBrown Rice Veggie Patties, page 196
These veggie patties, with brown rice, carrots, onion and white beans, are very easy to make and quite flavorful. They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Walters suggests serving them as is, but we decided to top them with guacamole and red onion and serve with buns. Unlike a lot of homemade veggie burgers, these kept their shape when it came time to flip them in the oven and stayed together while eating them. I’d definitely makes these again.

Eat Clean Live Well Feast

This review then turned into a group affair. My neighbor hosted a dinner featuring recipes from the cookbook, so there were seven of us—which meant seven different opinions. Our other neighbors who came, were also smitten with the book and ordered a copy as well!  I brought another batch of the Sweet Potato Leek Soup with Sesame Sprinkle and every single guest loved it. So first up . . .
Arugula Salad with Creamy Lemon Parsley DressingArugula Salad with Creamy Lemon Parsley Dressing, page 243
Oh, my goodness. Amazing. The dressing is outstanding and melds perfectly with the avocado, dried cranberries and pepitas. The garlicky, lemony dressing was a hit with everyone.

Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Shallot DressingBroccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Shallot Dressing, page 181
While it came in as a close second behind the first salad, everyone agreed this one had a delicious combination of flavors. I loved the slivered almonds and tangy, yet subtle dressing.

Portobellos Topped with Cannellini Bean Mash and Brussels Sprout RibbonsPortobellos Topped with Cannellini Bean Mash and Brussels Sprout Ribbons, page 202
These definitely garnered differing opinions. When reading the recipe, my neighbor suspected that these could turn out a little bland, and unfortunately, we did find that they lacked a little something, such as lemon or a balsamic drizzle. They were still tasty, but some more seasoning or a tangy sauce would have topped them perfectly. We also agreed that the bean mash was a little too much, but the Brussels Sprouts were ideal. One guest felt that the bean mash texture turned her off and a few others didn’t care for the bean flavor, suggesting instead, to use mashed potatoes. These are certainly worth trying again, but maybe some seasoning tweaking might help.
Coconut Cacao Energy BarsCoconut Cacao Energy Bars, page 143
Incidentally, none of us neighbors/friends tend to be big dessert people, so we went with these bars that have dates and cacao nibs. Though incredibly easy to make, these unfortunately, didn’t wow us, as a dessert or as a snack. My issue, which I finally realized, is that I don’t like dates. Others just didn’t like the taste either. It’s not to say they were inedible, they just didn’t do it for us.

Despite this, I still highly recommend this cookbook. Other recipes I’m anxious to try:
Roasted Baby Artichokes with Tarragon Oil, page 56
Sarah’s Dandelion Thai Curry, page 58, 
Sprouted Lentil Salad with Dried Plums and Toasted Walnuts, page 70
Raw Chili with Sweet Corn, page 103
Watermelon Ice with Coconut Milk, page 138
Roasted Squash, Caramelized Shiitake and Shallot Lasagna, page 197
Applesauce Cake, page 207
On a side note, my neighbor had made the Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Horseradish Dressing on page 246, earlier in the week and raved about it! She said she’d make it again and again, so I’m anxious to try it.

Overall, I am thrilled with this cookbook and it’s made me want to check out her previous cookbooks. EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for around $23.
Disclosure: Although the cookbook was provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my opinion.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganYou may be surprised how easy falafel is to make at home. Plus, you can play with the spices and ingredients to suit your fancy. One thing I noticed, is that they are typically sauteed in a skillet with lots of oil, which is something I try to avoid doing too often. They’re also not typically gluten-free, so I decided to go all out and create gluten-free, baked falafel. Oh, and make them tasty. I think I accomplished all of that. The yogurt-tahini sauce couldn’t be easier to make, using only a few ingredients and a food processor. Usually, falafel sandwiches will have tabbouleh, but I opted for a quick and easy meal with lettuce, tomato and red onion instead. The falafel are also delicious on their own as a protein-packed snack dipped in sauce. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy this Greek classic.

INGREDIENTS:
1 small carrot, cut into 3-4 pieces
3-4 garlic cloves
1 small white onion, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 C fresh cilantro
3/4 C fresh parsley
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 C rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
12-oz plain nondairy yogurt
1/3 C tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
The rest
Lettuce
Tomato
Red onion
Cucumber slices would be great, too.

DIRECTIONS:
Toss the carrot pieces into the food processor and pulse just a couple of times until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic cloves and onion and pulse 2-3 more times.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganNext, add the garbanzo beans, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend 10-20 seconds until smooth-ish . . . you just don’t want a major chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the baking powder and rice flour.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganCover and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 and then make the sauce. In your newly cleaned-out food processor bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside, along with your prepared veggies:
Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganTo make the falafel, line a large baking sheet with foil and spray it with a little cooking spray. Using your hands, scoop out about a 1/4 cup of the batter and create a mini patty; place onto the baking sheet. I ended up with 15:
Vegan and Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce -- Epicurean VeganBake for 15-20 minutes, then turn them over and cook another 15-20 minutes. Fill a pita with some lettuce, sauce, tomato slices, red onion slices, 2-3 falafel and top them off with a bit more sauce. Enjoy!

Vegan & Gluten-Free Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 small carrot, cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ C fresh cilantro
  • ¾ C fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ C rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • .
  • Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
  • .
  • 12-oz plain nondairy yogurt
  • ⅓ C tahini
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • .
  • The rest
  • .
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Cucumber slices would be great, too.
Directions
  1. Toss the carrot pieces into the food processor and pulse just a couple of times until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic cloves and onion and pulse 2-3 more times.
  2. Next, add the garbanzo beans, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend 10-20 seconds until smooth-ish . . . you just don't want a major chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the baking powder and rice flour. Cover and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 and then make the sauce. In your newly cleaned-out food processor bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside, along with your prepared veggies.
  4. To make the falafel, line a large baking sheet with foil and spray it with a little cooking spray. Using your hands, scoop out about a ¼ cup of the batter and create a mini patty; place onto the baking sheet. I ended up with 15.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn them over and cook another 15-20 minutes. Fill a pita with some lettuce, sauce, tomato slices, red onion slices, 2-3 falafel and top them off with a bit more sauce. Enjoy!

 

 

Tofu Caesar Wraps

Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganWraps are such a quick and easy meal, especially when summer activities have you running all over the place. Although, these are a great option during the school year when you need to grab-and-go. I love Caesar salad, but since going vegan, it’s hard to come by a non-dairy (and non anchovy) version. I made my own Caesar dressing a couple of years ago, which I think his pretty darn good, if I say so myself, so I used that same dressing for these wraps. I did, however, thin out the dressing a little for this recipe, but feel free to do what you’d like. The dressing recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups, so I suggest either halving the recipe, or just enjoy the leftover dressing on salads, sandwiches, or even as a veggie dip.

INGREDIENTS:
Dressing:
2 cloves garlic
12-oz box firm silken tofu
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/8 C olive oil
2 Tbs capers
4 tsp caper juice/brine
1/2 tsp mustard powder
Dash of sugar
Salt and pepper
(I added 2 Tbs of nutritional yeast to the original dressing recipe)
The rest:
1 large bunch of romaine, chopped
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/3 C cashews chopped
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 4 slabs
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper
Croutons
Flour tortillas or other wraps

DIRECTIONS:
To make the dressing, puree the whole garlic cloves in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through. I then transferred the dressing to a mason jar and stored in the fridge.
To prepare the tofu, lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray and over medium heat, brown the tofu, about 8-10 minutes per side.

Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganMove the tofu to a cutting board and let them cool about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the romaine, red onion and cashews in a medium bowl. I then scooped out about 1/2 a cup of the dressing into a small bowl and whisked in about 1-2 tablespoons of water—it’s a pretty thick dressing. Feel free to use almond milk, veggie broth or leave it as is. I then added the dressing to the salad mixture and thoroughly combined it all.
Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganCut the tofu into small squares.
Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganTo assemble, I warmed the tortilla in the microwave for just a few seconds; it’s easier to roll when warm. Place a large mound of salad in the tortilla, then some tofu and a few croutons. Wrap and enjoy!

Tofu Caesar Wraps
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 12-oz box firm silken tofu
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • ⅛ C olive oil
  • 2 Tbs capers
  • 4 tsp caper juice/brine
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • Dash of sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • (I added 2 Tbs of nutritional yeast to the original dressing recipe)
  • .
  • The rest:
  • .
  • 1 large bunch of romaine, chopped
  • ½ large red onion, sliced
  • ⅓ C cashews chopped
  • 1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 4 slabs
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
  • Croutons
  • Flour tortillas or other wraps
Directions
  1. To make the dressing, puree the whole garlic cloves in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through. I then transferred the dressing to a mason jar and stored in the fridge.
  2. To prepare the tofu, lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray and over medium heat, brown the tofu, about 8-10 minutes per side.
  3. Remove to a cutting board and let them cool about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the romaine, red onion and cashews in a medium bowl.
  5. I then scooped out about ½ a cup of the dressing into a small bowl and whisked in about 1-2 tablespoons of water---it's a pretty thick dressing. Feel free to use almond milk, veggie broth or leave it as is. I then added the dressing to the salad mixture and thoroughly combined it all.
  6. Cut the tofu into small squares.
  7. To assemble, I warmed the tortilla in the microwave for just a few seconds; it's easier to roll when warm. Place a large mound of salad in the tortilla, then some tofu and a few croutons. Wrap and enjoy!

 

 

Quinoa-Tempeh Veggie Wraps

Quinoa-Tempeh Veggie Wraps -- Epicurean VeganWho doesn’t love a good veggie wrap? These take very little time to prepare, so lunch or dinner will be ready in minutes. Not only is this a fast and tasty meal, but both quinoa and tempeh provide lots of protein, iron and fiber, not to mention some vitamin B2 and manganese, an antioxidant. These are downright delicious topped with veggies and vegan Thousand Island dressing from Follow Your Heart (which is gluten-free, non GMO and has no cholesterol). Great to wrap and go when you’re on the road, too.
20140720_182001INGREDIENTS:
2 8oz pkgs tempeh, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 small onion, chopped
1 C quinoa
1-1/2 C veggie broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
Tamari
1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/3 C pepitas
1-1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
2 C lettuce, chopped
Vegan dressing of your choice
6 Flour tortillas, warmed

DIRECTIONS:
Start the quinoa, as it will take about 20 minutes. In a medium sauce pan, combine the broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and let cook about 17-22 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. Saute over medium heat for a minute, then add the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the tempeh and cook 10 minutes, stirring often until most of the tempeh begins to brown. I then drizzled tamari all over the tempeh and onions, using just enough to coat them, perhaps around a 1/4 cup. Add the Worcestershire sauce too. Coat the mixture thoroughly and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the pepitas.
20140720_183013

To assemble the wrap, start with quinoa, pile on some of the tempeh-onion mixture, then top with lettuce, tomato, avocado and dressing. Wrap up and enjoy!

Quinoa-Tempeh Veggie Wraps
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 8oz pkgs tempeh, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 C quinoa
  • 1-1/2 C veggie broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Tamari
  • 1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅓ C pepitas
  • 1-1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 C lettuce, chopped
  • Vegan dressing of your choice
  • 6 Flour tortillas, warmed
Directions
  1. Start the quinoa, as it will take about 20 minutes. In a medium sauce pan, combine the broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and let cook about 17-22 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. Saute over medium heat for a minute, then add the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the tempeh and cook 10 minutes, stirring often until most of the tempeh begins to brown.
  4. I then drizzled tamari all over the tempeh and onions, using just enough to coat them, perhaps around a ¼ cup. Add the Worcestershire sauce too. Coat the mixture thoroughly and reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Stir in the pepitas.
  6. To assemble the wrap, start with quinoa, pile on some of the tempeh-onion mixture, then top with lettuce, tomato, avocado and dressing. Wrap up and enjoy!

 

A Spectacular Superfood Salad

A Spectacular Superfood Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

So what’s a superfood, you might ask? Well, according to the online dictionary, it’s “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” That sounds about right. Chances are, your fridge and pantry are stocked with these very ingredients and a salad is a great way to make the most of them—all in one bite. You won’t find meat and dairy labeled as superfoods. Ever. (Okay, some people consider salmon a superfood, but it’s really the omegas they’re after, which are readily found in plant foods). I made a very light dressing to coat the salad, also packed with immune-boosting deliciousness, so dig in and feel super energized, super healthy, and super happy with this spectacular superfood salad!

The super benefits:

Kale: high in fiber, iron, Vitamin K, C, and A; an anti-inflammatory food, supports cardiovascular health and is full of antioxidants.
Spinach: high in Vitamin A, K, D and E; good source of omega-3 fatty acids, loaded with antioxidants (fights cancer & inflammation), rich in calcium and magnesium, as well as carotenoids for eye health.
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds): high in magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also high in tryptophan—you know, the “sleep hormone” found in turkey? Sprinkle some pepitas on your next Thanksgiving dish and enjoy the same post-meal nap without the dead bird.
Walnuts: cancer-fighting properties, heart health benefits, extremely high in antioxidants, as well as Vitamin E, folate, melatonin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Red onion: high in quercetin, a bioflavonoid with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Blueberries: said to help with memory decline, reduce heart attack risk, and are full of antioxidants. Also high in Vitamin K, manganese and fiber.
Chia seeds: high in protein, fiber, phosphorus, manganese, calcium and potassium. They also contain healthy antioxidants and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas): high in fiber, protein, manganese, and iron. They can also stabilize blood sugar and help lower one’s cholesterol.

A Spectacular Superfood Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 2 heads of kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped small
  • 3 C spinach, chopped small
  • 2 C fresh or dried blueberries
  • 1 C red onion, diced small
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ C pepitas
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
  • .
  • Dressing
  • .
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs yellow miso
  • 1 Tbs tahini
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ C water
Directions
  1. Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Let the dressing sit about 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to thicken the dressing just a bit.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat thoroughly. Enjoy!

 

Quinoa & Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing

Quinoa and Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean VeganThese 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.

Quinoa and Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean VeganIn 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.

Quinoa and Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean VeganMeanwhile, 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.
Quinoa and Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean VeganFold the veggies and pepitas into the cooked quinoa.
Quinoa and Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean VeganI 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!
Quinoa and Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan Oven Tacos

Vegan Oven Tacos -- Epicurean VeganEvery 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.

Vegan Oven Tacos -- Epicurean Vegan

 

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.

Vegan Oven Tacos -- Epicurean VeganFill 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.

Vegan Oven Tacos -- Epicurean VeganBake 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!

Vegan Oven Tacos -- Epicurean VeganLoad them up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Vegan Oven Tacos

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean VeganLettuce 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.

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean VeganHeat 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.

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean VeganSince 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!

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean Vegan

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice -- Epicurean VeganThis 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.

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

DSC07545This 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.

Tri-Bean BlendSo, 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.

DSC07551Meanwhile, in a small to medium saucepan, add the beans, seasonings, and water. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

DSC07549When the rice is done, stir in the mashed avocados, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

DSC07552Fill a bowl with about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the avocado rice . . .

Avocado-Lime Rice -- Epicurean Vegan . . . layer on some beans and toppings and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Bowls