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Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  1. Begin preparing quinoa, rice, or pasta (make enough for 4 servings)
  2. 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.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne.
  4. Add the broth, green beans, mushrooms and chickpeas and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes (stir often).
  6. 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.

Quinoa-Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Salsa

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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!

Quinoa-Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • salt
  • 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)

Directions:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. If serving as a salad: arrange the salad greens on plates, top with the quinoa-bean mixture and serve.

Tunisian chickpeas with sweet potatoes and greens

Tunisian chickpeas with sweet potatoes and greens

I prepared this delicious and colorful dish for supper last night and served it over quinoa. This easy to prepare dish is from “One-Dish Vegan” by Robin Robertson and is packed full of antioxidants and protein from all veggies! It is soy and gluten-free depending on what you serve it over (couscous, rice, pasta, quinoa, or warm flatbread). It took me about 30 minutes to prepare and it serves approximately 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium (or half large) yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 6 t0 8 cups chopped stemmed kale, spinach or chard
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa, couscous, rice or pasta (enough for 4 servings)

Instructions:

  1. Cut up the onion, sweet potato and spinach (spinach needed last).
  2. Follow directions for cooking about 2 cups of couscous, rice, pasta or quinoa.
  3. In the meantime, heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally, Add the sweet potato, coriander, paprika, thyme, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the tomatoes with their juices, chickpeas, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the kale (or spinach/chard), stirring to wilt. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender – about another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot over couscous, quinoa, pasta or flatbread and top with a squeeze of lemon.

Today’s Bonus Tip:

Eating a plant-based diet is great for your health – but we need to be mindful of toxins from the environment (chemical pesticides and fertilizers) found on our fruits and vegetables.

I found this newly updated list of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15” for 2019 taken from: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a26873412/dirty-dozen-foods-2019-list/. I don’t have this list memorized – but I do keep a copy of it in my purse so I can refer to it while I shop.

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a list of the “Dirty Dozen,” or the fruits and vegetables the nonprofit claims have the highest amount of pesticides when grown conventionally versus organically. 

The EWG has compiled the list annually since 2004 based on internal data that’s not peer-reviewed. Using 40,900 samples for 47 different types of produce, the EWG found these twelve had the most pesticide residue:

The 2019 Dirty Dozen Foods List:

  1. Strawberries 
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries 
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Strawberries rank number one for the fourth year in a row, and the rest of the list looks similar to years past with one exception: Kale made the top 12 for the first time in a decade.

If you’re concerned about pesticides, the EWG also publishes a list of the “Clean 15,” a.k.a. the produce from conventional growers that generally had less residue in the group’s tests. This year they are:

The 2019 Clean 15 Foods List:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen sweet peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew melons

Tuscan-Style Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus is in season now and can often be found on sale at most food stores (I found mine at Aldi). When I was a girl I hated asparagus, but I think it was either over-cooked (mushy) or under-cooked (chewy). This super easy recipe, taken from Taste of Home (Feb/March 2013 edition), earned the coveted 5 stars from my husband! As a side dish I added a bag of quinoa and kale, found in the frozen section at Aldi. It only takes 15-20 minutes to prepare plus another 15 – 20 to bake (30 – 40 minutes total) and serves 3-4 people as a main dish or up to 8 as a side dish.

Tuscan-style Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minded (1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan)
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel (opt)

Instructions:

  1. Put asparagus, tomatoes and pine nuts on a foil-lined 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking pan. Mix 2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; toss with asparagus.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until asparagus is just tender. Drizzle with remaining oil and lemon juice; sprinkle with cheese (if using) and lemon peel. Toss to combine. Serve with quinoa and kale mix (available frozen from Aldi’s – see below).

Nutritional Information: 95 calories, 8 grams fat (2 sat. fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 294 mg sodium, 4 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 fat, 1 vegetable.

Tuscan-Style Roasted Asparagus with quinoa & kale
Steamed Quinoa & Kale – from Aldi
Steamed Quinoa & Kale – from Aldi

If you like my blog or have any recipes to share – please let me know!

Couscous Spinach Salad

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.

Prep time: 35 minutes, Cook: 15 minutes + standing, Makes 10 servings.

Couscous and Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium sweet bell peppers, sliced (I used red and yellow)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Salad:

  • 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

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 12 tsp. pepper

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Nutritional Information (per 3/4 cup serving): 269 calories, 15g fat (2g sat. fat), 3mg cholesterol, 700mg sodium, 29g carb (7g sugars, 3g fib er), 7g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 fat.

Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

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.

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

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.”

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 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)
  • lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Then add chopped red onions (if using), red bell pepper. celery, dill, vegan mayo, salt to taste and mix to combine.
  3. 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.

Jamaican-style Coconut Rice Bowl

We spent part of our honeymoon in Jamaica and really like the fresh Caribbean flavors of coconut milk, sweet potatoes and broccoli. We modified the original recipe – taken from One Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson – and added Caribbean Jerk Marinade to give it more ‘pop’. This recipe took 30 minutes (or less) and serves 4 people.

Jamaican-style Coconut Rice Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 russet or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice (we prefer sweet potato)
  • 1/2 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (we prefer red)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp. minced)
  • 1 or 2 small hot chiles, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 medium-size zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 (13 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans or 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Caribbean Jerk Marinade (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potato (or sweet potato), bell pepper, garlic, and chili, and sauce for 5 minutes to soften. Add the thyme, broccoli, zucchini, and coconut milk, stirring to combine, then stir in the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in Caribbean Jerk Marinade (if using) and heat through.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve over the cooked rice in shallow bowls with a squeeze of lime, if desired.

Lentil and Butternut Soup

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. 🙂

Lentil and Butternut Soup

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Linguine Vegetable Toss

Linguine Vegetable Toss

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!).

Linguine Vegetable Toss

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

Linguine and carrots after cooking together
  1. Start by cutting up all the veggies (ask someone to help – it will go quicker)
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, red pepper and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add oregano, basil, zucchini, and scallions. Cook until tender. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”
Veggie mixture simmering

I like to top this dish with some nutritional yeast in place of parmesan cheese.

Linguine Vegetable Toss

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes

As a vegan, it is sometime a challenge to know what dishes to bring to social gatherings. Recently our church had a special potluck lunch with the theme “Holy Smokes” – featuring BBQ meat dishes. I took up the challenge and decided to try a recipe I found in the Feb/March 2019 edition of Taste of Home Magazine. This would be a great meal for families with younger kids. It was simple to make, tastes great and it serves 14 (perfect for potlucks and family gatherings)!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (3 tsp.)
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can (8 0z) tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 4 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 14 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted.

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and carrot; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. Add broth and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve on buns.

Note: I found that this mixture was too sloppy so you may want to reduce the vegetable broth some. It did thickened some in the fridge overnight.

Nutrition info: 1 sandwich: 215 cal., 5 g fat (1 sat. fat), 0 cholesterol, 438mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (8g sugar, 7 g fiber), 8g protein.