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
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.
This quick and easy dish taken from “SmartintheKitchen.com” can be served alone or over rice or noodles. I added baked tofu (using the Easiest Crispy Tofu Recipe) but you could serve it with your favorite protein substitute (like seitan, etc.). Use fresh vegetables if you have then (like peppers, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, etc) – but frozen stir fry mix is just as good and faster. This recipe takes about 20 minutes – but add another 25 – 30 minutes if making the crispy tofu too. Serves 4 – 6
1 Tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
1 package frozen stir fry mix, without sauce
1 package frozen broccoli, without sauce
5 green onions, cut on diagonally into then slices
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated (I use ginger paste from a tube – available at Aldi)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
1/3 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), soy sauce or coconut aminos (or more to taste)
Sesame seeds, cilantro leaves or green onion (optional garnish)
Crispy Tofu Ingredients:
1 14 oz block of Extra Firm Tofu (if using)
2 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp Reduced-sodium Soy Sauce or Tamari
If using crispy tofu – follow directions below (takes 45+ minutes – but can be baking while you make the vegetable stir fry).
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil.
Add green onions, ginger and garlic and sauce until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add both bags of frozen vegetables and cook until tender. Don’t worry about defrosting them, just add them frozen and let the pan do the work.
Once vegetables have softened and thawed, add the tamari or soy sauce and taste for seasoning.
Add crispy tofu if it is ready (see recipe below).
Garnish with sesame seeds, fresh green onion slices or cilantro if you’d like.
Instructions for “the Easiest Crispy Tofu Recipe” (taken from “FrommyBowl.com“)
I don’t often make tofu to be perfectly honest (it tends to be mushy). The good news is – I finally found a very easy and fool-proof way to make crispy tofu that actually tastes good!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Cut tofu into 16 cubes (about 1″)
Add tofu to a large bowl and add 1 Tbsp of Soy Sauce or Tamari toss with spatula.
Add Nutritional Yeast and gently mix until coated (add more Nutritional Yeast or extra seasoning to taste.
Transfer coated tofu cubes to a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, leaving space between the cubes. Bake on the top rack to the oven for 20 minutes, then carefully flip the cubes. Bake for another 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your tofu. Leftovers will last in the fridge for up to one week.
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.