All posts by marcelliegrows

Red Lentil Dal

This can-be-vegan recipe was given to me by my wonderful Aunt Cheryl, who has lived many years in Bangladesh. From her and her family, I learned to love the flavors of Southeast Asia, and this is one of my favorite staples! Use grass fed butter for vegetarian or olive/coconut oil for vegan!!! Serving pairings can be with any kind of rice, green veggie (just top it over some steamed kale!), or grain of your choice. Today I made a medley of flax seeds, buckwheat meal, quinoa, and gluten free whole oats! Or do it Grandma/Granddad style and serve it over a cooked sweet potato. I love the variations you get from this recipe, as the flavors are so rich and savory, that you can pair it with any “bland” healthies that have a texture that pleases your palate! This recipe is so easy, and can be made ahead of serving, as the flavors intensify with time, and it can be easily reheated to serve.

Dal for about 4 – 6 people

Put in a pot:
1 cup red lentils ( found in Indian grocery stores and Whole Foods; they are orange in color.) Pick thru lentils, rinse and drain.
2 ½ cups water
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover to simmer. Cook until lentils are tender and beginning to disintegrate. Red lentils cook fast. They should be done in about 15-20 minutes. Add water as necessary to maintain a thick gravy consistency.

Sauté in a frying pan:
3 TBS butter/Oil of choice
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp whole cumin seed (or ground if that is what you have)
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
Optional: 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 TBS chopped coriander leaves (or 1tsp ground coriander).
Fry onions until well browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Then add the garlic and fry about 2 minutes. Last add the spices and fry until you get a nice aroma, about one minute (or less). Add onion and spice mixture to cooked lentils and set aside until near meal time. Reheat before serving. Serve as a sauce over rice/veggies/grain of choice!

YUM. Also recommended serving with a sweet white wine like a Riesling. Or steaming your veggies in a little of this said wine to go with your dal. Just an idea 🙂

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Hearty Spaghetti Squash “Lasagna”

OK, I did not know what to call this one, because for one, it looks nothing like lasagna. For two, I wanted to call it “cheesy” but it is vegan and there is no actual cheese in it! It also is not spaghetti, as there are no grains or flour used in this recipe of any kind! “Yet vegan veggie squash casserole” doesn’t quite do justice to the rich and savory and lasagna-esque quality this meal has! The combination of squashes makes it creamy and the spicy savory combination of seasonings are SO good!! Best of all, you can eat like half of this entire recipe without any guilt, because it is incredibly low in both carbs and fat! Mostly veggies and some tofu here for protein!

You could also make something similar with a heartier tomato base, or even use some ground meat/”meat” to give it a more traditional lasagna taste. However, I love the colors and textures of a lighter more squash colored dish 🙂

So without further ado, check it out and try it for yourself!

You need:

1 small spaghetti squash
1/2 pack firm organic sprouted tofu
2 cups pre-roasted butternut squash cut into cubes (spray with olive oil, some cinnamon/nutmeg, and roast for about an hour at 375 tossing midway)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Garlic 4 cloves
1/2 onion
Bag fresh spinach
4tbs cilantro
1 heirloom tomato
1tsp oregano
2tbs crushed red pepper flakes
1tbs dried parsley (or 3tbs fresh, basil would be good too)
1 slice tofutti American
(Shredded vegan cheese would be great)

Instructions:

I used a smallish spaghetti squash. Poke some holes in it with a sharp knife (carefully), put on a microwave safe plate and heat for 7 minutes. You could also roast it in the oven for like an hour at 375, but this saves so much time!

Cut in half carefully using oven mitts and set aside to cool enough to handle.

Then take your tofu and mash it. You could also blend/puree it, but it makes a nice “ricotta”-esque texture simply using a hand held potato masher. Then cut the skin off of around 3/4 cup of the butternut squash and add the pieces to the tofu mash. Mash them together. Add your pepper and nutmeg.

Then begin sautéing your onion in the coconut oil for about 5 minutes, add in the garlic for another minute. Then throw in your bag of spinach, and tomato (or tomatoes to your preference!), and any other veggies that spark your fancy. You could do mushrooms, kale, eggplant… Just put the harder veggies in the pan prior to softer ones to get them cooked evenly.

Then remove heat when just slightly tender, add the remainder of your roasted butternut squash, and stir in your oregano, red pepper, and parsley.

Next, scrape out the seeds and “gooey” middle of your spaghetti squash. It is kinda like the inside of a pumpkin, and be careful not to scrape too hard and remove the actual squash flesh. Just get the slimy stuff and seeds out. (seeds can be roasted or eaten as is, yum, they taste like pumpkin seeds!)

Once that is done, use a fork and scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash in a vertical downward motion into a pan. I used an 8in pie tin, but any shape works. Scrape all those strands into the pan, then incorporate your tofu mash into the spaghetti squash. Once that is combined evenly, pour on your sautéed veggies and stir in well.

Top with fresh cilantro, and 1 slice tofutti cheese broken up into little pieces spread out evenly.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 for 20 min, then broil for 10 min to get your vegan cheese a bubblin!

Let cool and savor the flavors!

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Sweet Potato Cookies

Ooh where do I begin with these tasty morsels! This recipe is verrrry loosely based on a sweet potato protein waffle recipe I got in a shipment of protein powder from bodybuilding.com. I took some basic concepts of cookie baking, substituted eggs for flax meal, and came up with something deeeelish. Inspired because I had some left over sweet potatoes in the fridge, that were already sweetened with cinnamon and sugar. Sugar is really to taste, so since there are no eggs in this vegan/gluten-free recipe, add the minimum, and then add some more if the batter isn’t sweet enough for you! It will also depend on how sweet your protein powder is. My favorite kind is Vega but any vanilla kind will do. I prefer less sweet deserts, thus the lower sugar options, but your call. Here we go!

Mix together in one bowl:
3/4 cup protein powder of choice
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (ok to be a bit chunky)
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tbs vanilla
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbs ground flax meal
0.5 to 1.5 cups of coconut sugar, to taste (you could also try stevia, honey, maple syrup, etc. to your preference. just start low in quantity, taste, and add)

Optional But Recommended Mix-Ins:
Unsweetened dried coconut
Unsweetened dried cranberries
3-4 tbs cocoa powder
Organic 85% dark chocolate bar crushed into chunks, or equivalent in vegan chocolate chips. (Enjoy Life is a good brand).

Quantities and proportions of mix-ins are up to you!

Bake at 375 12-15 min (larger cookies with more mix-ins need more cook time)

Yields 28 small cookies

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Quick and Easy Avocado Chickpea Salad

Since I’ve started to decrease my intake of animal based foods, there aren’t a whole lot of foods I miss and crave. I don’t miss chicken of any kind, and I don’t miss pork or beef. I guess come to think of it, I’ve never been a huge carnivore. Some of the foods I miss the most come in the form of SANDWICHES! Turkey sandwiches, tuna salad sandwiches, and egg salad sandwiches, of all things! So while I do indulge in each of these from time to time, I thought I would whip up something reminiscent of the tuna/egg salad sandwiches I used to enjoy more frequently! Behold, Avocado and Chickpea Salad, that you can put on bread, crackers, whatever you so desire. It is vegan, and it is sooo yummy!

This is a recipe for a single serving (my serving size!), you could easily double it if you want a little leftover.

1/2 avocado
1/2 can chick peas (rinsed and drained)
dash of black pepper
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon vegan mayo

Mash the chick peas to the amount you desire. I like mine partially mashed, but you could mash them entirely. If they are not somewhat mashed, they tend to roll off of your cracker or open faced sandwich 🙂 Chop the avocado and cilantro. Mix the mayo and lemon juice into your chick pea mash, then add avocado, cilantro, and pepper. Mix together and enjoy! I have to admit I enjoyed some on a cracker with turkey today (kinda defeats the vegan thing!), but it is so tasty, the turkey is very optional! You could even eat it with a fork, or put it on top of a bed of spinach or lettuce for a healthy salad. There are many yummy uses, I’m sure you will find! Enjoy!

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Decadently Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

I made this recipe originally thanks to Chocolate Covered Katie, a wonderful, vegan, healthy blog! I also adapted her crust recipe found here.

I have made a few modifications that I personally like, and have made time and time again 🙂 I am sure I will continue to tweak and modify it, because that is what makes cooking fun! In fact, that is one of the best things about this recipe, with no baking involved, it is really hard to mess up! So don’t be afraid to get creative. I’d love to hear what new twists you will put on this recipe!

You will need:

Some kind of pan. I actually have never made this in a pie tin, but I have used 6 deep muffin tins, and I have used a rectangular bread pan! For a wider radius such as a pie tin, it will be thinner, and I like the layers nice and thick! I find it easier to assemble this way. You will need a food processor as well, or a vitamix or something sturdier than a regular blender.

Filling:
3/4 cup nut/seed butter of choice (I have always used peanut butter!)
12 oz yogurt of choice (I use plain SoDelicious Coconut “yogurt”)
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup cooked sweet potato, Kabocha squash, butternut squash, or pumpkin; you will use about 1/4 cup of this in your crust below (I use a roasted Kabocha squash, cut into cubes)
1/8 tsp salt to taste, (if I use salted PB I omit!)
1/8tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

For the crust:
about 3 one inch cubes of squash from above
1/3 cup pitted dates
1/8 tsp salt
2tbs cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/3 cup nut or seed of choice (I have used walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds)

Topping: 1/2 to 1 whole dark chocolate bar or equivalent in chocolate chips 🙂 (For my last batch I used 1/3 of a 100% dark chocolate baking bar)

Start by making the crust. Blend the above ingredients in a food processor. If it’s too sticky, add a little more nuts/coconut, if too dry, add another chunk of squash. You basically want to be able to press it into your pan using some wax paper and have it smush down into something compact. I usually spray the pan with some olive oil spray so it comes out easily.

Then, throw the filling ingredients in the food processor, and scoop onto your crust, spreading out evenly to make a flat surface.

Finally, melt your chocolate topping (I usually do 30 second increments in the microwave in a glass bowl, stir, and add a few seconds if not yet melted), and drizzle or spread on top! The darker the chocolate, the thicker and harder to spread it will be, but there’s no wrong way. Look at my photos of the various patterns you can do!

Then all that is left is pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours to let it firm up! If you use the muffin shape, use muffin liners, otherwise you will need to freeze them a little in order to pop it out in one piece. The rectangle bread pan works well for just cutting out a serving in my experience. Try it out! Just try not to eat it all in one sitting, it is that delicious 🙂

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Vegan Phyllo Dough Pockets

These are so versatile, and almost as fun to make as they are to eat in all their flaky goodness! I used SEVERAL variations of this recipe, and really the sky is the limit with these little babies! Fill em with whatever your hearts so desires!

I made one basic recipe using tofu, spinach, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers sauteed on the stove before stuffing.

I did one with peppers onions and cabbage with a lemon tahini sauce.

I stuffed some with my dal recipe (recipe to come…) and veggies.

And then finally the sweet ones! I did one with apples cinnamon and chocolate, and one with banana, coconut, cinnamon, and chocolate! The chocolate “sauce” I made by combining cocoa powder with coconut milk, boom, no sugar added!

Actually in all of these fillings, there was zero sugar added, and only a little coconut oil in the pan for sauteing onions and garlic. That’s it. And while most recipes I have read using phyllo involve oil/butter/spray between ever layer, i found a tiny sprits of olive oil spray between every other layer did the trick! So there’s some healthy tips for your own creative endeavor!

Another tip is to cover the dough not in use at the moment with a very light weight damp towel. They are so thin that they dry out very easily, and weight will make them stick together. You’ll see and learn how to handle them delicately 🙂

I used Trader Joe’s phyllo from the frozen section. I used 4 sheets of dough, cut into 4 quadrants to make mine, (so nutrition-wise, each “pocket” is one sheet of phyllo and one tiny sprits of olive oil spray). Stuff em, press the corners together, and bake! I did 375 for about 20 min until tops golden brown, but this will depend both on your oven, and how full you fill the little guys. Enjoy!!!

PS: my personal favorites were the cabbage/onion/pepper ones, and the banana, chocolate, coconut. Try these and invent your own to share with me 🙂

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Slightly Sweet Broccoli Salad With Spicy Savory Granola Topping

We are starting backwards: Making the spicy savory granola topping for your salad first!

You will need:
3-4 cup raw peanuts
Chia seeds 4 tbs
Sesame seeds 2 tbs
Flax seeds 3tbs
4 large sliced chili dried mango slices, chopped finely

Throw these into a bowl, mix the items below in a cup then pour and mix into dry ingredients:

1tsp worcestershire sauce
1tsp liquid aminos
1tsp honey
1tsp sugar fee syrup
1tbs sriracha sauce
1tsp Dijon mustard
1tbs olive oil
1tbs parsely
1tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

Stir well, pour into pan
Bake 400 degrees in preheated oven, 20 min, flip. 20 min more, until crispy and golden brown!

While these are baking and cooling, begin the salad itself!

You’ll need:
1/3 cauliflower
3/4 large stalk broccoli
8-10 baby carrots

Process each of the veggies above in food processor on pulse to create a fine rice-like texture. I left my carrot pieces a little larger than the broc/cauli.

Mix in:
1 cu cranberries
4tbs chopped cilantro

Then blend your sauce until creamy, and mix into the salad:
1 large lemon juiced
1tbs olive oil
1tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs vegan mayo
1/2 avocado
1 ‘cutie’ juiced

Viola! Sprinkle with some of the savory granola topping and enjoy!!

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