There has never been a better time to try out a plant based diet than during this COVID-19 pandemic. The two biggest reasons to eat meatless meals while “sheltering in place” are: A) Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to boost your immune system and B) fruits and veggies are cheaper and more plentiful in stores than meat and dairy (which can be harder to keep fresh). Some of you who are home with your families may have more time to prepare meals and can ask your children or partner to help prep/chop up veggies for recipes. Turn meal prep time into your own “home economics class” and prepare your kids for life on their own (which comes sooner than you expect).
This recipe from Taste of Home.com is one of our family’s favorites, esp. on cooler nights. It uses easy to find ingredients and tastes like a hearty stew – but without the beef. It is easy to make and serves 4 to 5 (or 10 servings if doubled).
2 Tsp olive oil, divided
2.5 medium onions, halved and sliced
2 medium carrots, 1 inch chopped chunks
1 garlic cloves, minced
4 Large portobello mushrooms cut into 1 inch chunks OR 1 pint package of baby portobello mushrooms cut in half (or quartered if they are big) .
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 2/3 cup dry red wine or cooking wine
1 cup vegetable or mushroom broth (divided)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (optional – for more flavor)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp minced free thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (15.5 oz) can navy or northern beans, drained
1/2 pkg (14.4 oz) frozen pearl onions (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
In a Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onions; cook and stir 8 – 10 minutes or until onions are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from pan to a separate bowl.
In same pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, cook and stir until lightly browned. Note: If you are doubling the recipe – sauté the mushrooms in two batches and return both batches to the pan when finished.
Add tomato paste; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in wine, 1/2 cup of the broth, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and carrot mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25 minutes.
Add the drained beans and pearl onions (if using) and cook for 30 minutes longer.
In a small bowl, whisk flour and the remaining 1/2 cup of broth until smooth; stir into pan. Bring to a boil and cook and stir 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add more broth if the mixture is too thick.
Serve with crusty bread.
Per Serving (without tomatoes): 234 calories, 6 grams of fat (1g sat. fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 613 mg sodium. 33g of carb., 7g fiber, and 9g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.
We are all adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic and for most of us that means staying home and cooking at home. For those of you who are interested in fixing healthy meals for you and your family without meat – you’ve come to the right place! It’s been a while since I’ve posted – but I’ve been trying a bunch of new recipes that I’m anxious to share with others. We’ve been eating vegan for going on 3 years now – and have enjoyed many health benefits including a stronger immune system.
This delicious recipe from The How Not to Die Cookbook with recipes by Robin Robertson, uses 5 fresh vegetables, but you could use canned or frozen if you don’t have fresh. I served it over warm quinoa in bowls – but you could use brown, red or black rice. Just make sure to start cooking your grains before starting on the main entree. You could also substitute any veggies that you don’t have with some of your favorites.
1 red onion (I used a white onion)
1 carrot, chopped (you could use canned)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (I use ginger paste in a tube – found at Aldi)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/4 inch pie fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/4 tsp ground turmeric)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups diced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 15.5 oz chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro or parsley (I used 2 tsp dried parsley)
2 tsp blended peeled lemon (I used lemon juice)
1 Tbsp raisins or minced dried apricot (optional – I did not use)
Begin preparing quinoa, rice, or pasta (make enough for 4 servings)
Heat 1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes – string often.
Stir in the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne.
Add the broth, green beans, mushrooms and chickpeas and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes (stir often).
Stir in the cilantro, lemon and raisins (if using) and cook 5 minutes longer. Taste to adjust the seasonings and serve hot.
I will try my best to post more “Healthy at Home” recipes while we are in quarantine.
This is my new summer favorite vegan dish! It is simple and quick to make – and it uses some of my favorite ingredients: avocado, quinoa and black beans. It is perfect for hot summer nights when you don’t want to cook over a hot stove. It is great for left-overs too (in fact, I like it cold). Again, all these ingredients can be found at Aldi which makes this a reasonably priced and quick vegan meal that your whole family will enjoy!
This dish can be found on page 44 of “One Dish Vegan” and it serves about 4. It usually takes me about 20 minutes or less. For mine I like to substitute black beans for the pinto beans. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto or black beans or 1 (15.5 oz) can of pinto or black beans – rinsed and drained
1 cup tomato salsa (our favorite is Newman’s Own Peach Salsa)
2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (opt)
2 scallions, minced (opt)
Juice and zest of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp. lime juice)
Freshly ground black pepper
Torn mixed salad greens for serving (opt)
Place water in a saucepan, add 1/2 tsp salt, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl to cool. (I like to pop the bowl into the refrigerator until the other ingredients are ready to add).
Add the beans and salsa to the the bowl, and toss to combine. Add the avocados, cilantro, scallions, lime juice and zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
If serving as a salad: arrange the salad greens on plates, top with the quinoa-bean mixture and serve.
I was looking for side dish to bring to our church’s annual birthday party potluck and I found this delicious vegetarian salad. Originally called “Summer Salad by the Lake” this salad was created by Ramya Ramamurthy – and was chosen as one of the winning winning entries for the Taste of Home Summer Sides Contest – included in their 2018 issue. I made it on two separate occasions: on a week night I cut the recipe in half for just my husband and I (didn’t include the pineapple) – and then the full recipe for the potluck. Several people asked me for the recipe afterword.
2 medium sweet bell peppers, sliced (I used red and yellow)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 12 tsp. salt
1 cup uncooked pearl (Israeli) couscous
1/2 cup red quinoa (I used regular), rinsed
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-in pieces
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or arugula)
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (or Mandarin oranges or mango chunks)
1/2 cup fresh shelled peas or frozen peas (thawed)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (omit for vegan recipe)
1/2 cup sunflower kernels (pepitas) toasted
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp grated lemon zest
12 tsp. salt
12 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl toss together garlic, sweet peppers, oil, salt and pepper; transfer to a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Roast until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring water, oil and salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous and quinoa. Reduce heat; simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Transfer the couscous and quinoa to the large bowl. Stir in the remaining salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Pour over salad and gently toss to coat.
Substitutions: You can use peaches, Mandarin oranges or mango chunks instead of pineapple, or cherry tomatoes instead of heirloom tomato pieces. In the winder, use root veggies such as roasted carrots, broccoli or squash.
I’ve struggled with finding a good vegan sandwich that is quick to make and easy to pack for outings. I remembered my niece sending me a recipe for chickpea salad – but I couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I did a search online and found this very easy and very delicious recipe. I was able to whip it up in 15 minutes – and take it with me for lunch with my choir group.
This recipe was published on July 26, 2018 by Michelle Blackwood (updated on May 6, 2019) on her blog, “Healthier Steps“. “Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans are high in protein and a great replacement for meat. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.”
15 ounces chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 stalk celery (finely chopped)
1/4 cup red bell pepper (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons red onion (finely chopped) – optional
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegan mayo (I used Just Mayo extra to spread on the bread)
4 slices bread (I used gluten-free bread)
2 lettuce leaves
Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas), and place them into a bowl. Next mash chickpeas with a fork or a potato masher.
Then add chopped red onions (if using), red bell pepper. celery, dill, vegan mayo, salt to taste and mix to combine.
Spread between slices of bread with lettuce.
This delicious, colorful and crunchy salad recipe would make a perfect sandwich for potlucks, school, work, or a family trip.
If you like Thai cuisine, I think you will enjoy this recipe with crunchy fresh asparagus and a delicious peanut butter sauce. I’m not a huge fan of tofu – but this is one of the best tofu dishes I have ever tasted! It is taken from One Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson. I really like this cook book for it’s simple and varied recipes that are easy to follow and use easy to find ingredients. This simple to follow recipe took us only about 30 minutes to make. It makes about 4 servings and the leftovers are delicious.
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp wheat-free Tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp natural sugar
2 tsp Asian chili paste, or to taste (I use Pad Thai sauce)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
14 oz extra-firm tofu, well drained, blotted dry, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
6 scallions (green onions) chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Cooked jasmine rice (or instant brown rice), for serving
Prepare jasmine or other rice according to directions on package (make enough for 4 servings). Note: Jasmine rice will take about 40 minutes to cook.
In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, 1 Tbsp of the tamari, the ketchup, sugar, and chili paste until well blended. Stir in the coconut milk, then taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté until browned (about 7 minutes). Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and the remaining 2 Tbsp tamari, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove the tofu mixture from the skillet and keep warm.
Pour the water into the same skillet over high heat, add the asparagus and stir-fry until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved tofu mixture, about half of the peanut sauce, and the cherry tomatoes, and toss gently to heat through. Serve at once over hot cooked rice. Drizzle the remaining peanut sauce over the top of each serving and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and basil.
Let me know how you like this recipe – and don’t forget to sign up for my blog! 🙂
I had purchased a butternut squash and was looking for a recipe to use it. This has been a cold winter – a good time for veggie-packed soups. I thought I would try this lentil and butternut soup recipe to add some color to our menu. It ended up making a lot (6+ servings) and is another way to get some protein (lentils) and nutrient-rich leafy greens (I like to use spinach). This recipe was taken from “One Dish Vegan” by Robin Robertson and is budget friendly. I made some minor adjustments – including adding the squash earlier. Preparation should take an hour total (about 15 minutes to peel and cut veggies and 45 minutes to cook). You could try putting all the ingredients into a crock pot and cooking on low for 3-4 hours. If you try it – let me know how it turns out. 🙂
1 Tbsp olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1 medium-size onion, minced
1 celery rib, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 tsp)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
7 cups vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small (or med.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 3 cups) – use 5+ cups for 6+ servings.
4 cups coarsely chopped stemmed chard, kale, or other leafy greens (I like to use spinach)
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
Heat the oil or water in a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the lentils, squash, tomatoes with their juices, marjoram, and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes (covered). Stir in the greens and thyme and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are tender (about 10 – 15 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve hot.
I was recently looking through my recipes and found this one written in my mother’s handwriting. My Mom is 84 is not a vegetarian or vegan, but she has always liked to try new recipes from time to time. This dish is easy (takes 30 – 35 minutes), is packed with vegetables and noodles, and serves 6 – 8 people (great for a family). Both my husband and I really liked it and I’ve been enjoying the left-overs this week (yummy!).
1 16 oz box of linguine or other pasta
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into strips
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups zucchini unsealed, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 cloves of garlic (2 tsp.) minced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
4 scallions (green onion) sliced
4 cups plumb tomatoes cut into chunks (I substituted this with 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (unsalted)
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by cutting up all the veggies (ask someone to help – it will go quicker)
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, red pepper and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender.
Add oregano, basil, zucchini, and scallions. Cook until tender. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, put pasta and carrots in a pot of boiling water. Cook for 8 minutes (or whatever is called for on package). Drain and put back into pot.
Slowly combine sautéed vegetable mixture with pasta and toss until coated. I like to put the pasta in a large serving bowl (pictured above) and then cover it with the veggie mixture and toss it together. My Mom’s recipe says, “Don’t let veggies fall to the bottom of the bowl.”
I like to top this dish with some nutritional yeast in place of parmesan cheese.