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.
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.
Some friends took me out to lunch for my birthday earlier this week and I had a fantastic Mediterranean Pasta dish. It had all my favorite ingredients: spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes and pine nuts! I was determined to try to make it for my husband.
Tonight I looked up the menu description online and decided to take my best stab at replicating the recipe. I also had help from another Mediterranean Pasta recipe I found on Wellplated.com. I made some modifications and swapped out a few ingredients. My husband loved it and rated it 5 stars – even without the feta cheese! It only took about 25 minutes to prepare and serves up to 4 people. This is so easy and the savory flavor would go well with a nice sweet wine.
6 oz (or half a box) of penne pasta (a little more if serving 4)
4 cloves of garlic – minced (about 2 tsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil (or 1/4 cup water if avoiding oil)
2 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1 can or (14 oz) jar quartered artichoke hearts (I use water-packed)
1 can whole pitted black olives (6 oz) – drained and sliced (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
A pinch (about 1/8 tsp) of red pepper flakes
8 oz of sliced of baby bella mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups of baby spinach (stems removed)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes – chopped (optional)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 cup feta or parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley – or fresh basil (chopped)
1/4 cup pine nuts
Bring large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. of salt (opt.). Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
While water boils and pasta cooks, prep vegetables and remaining ingredients: mince garlic, cut cherry tomatoes in half, drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil (or 1/4 cup water if not using oil) over medium high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, the 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté, stirring frequently unit the garlic is fragrant and the tomatoes begin to break down and release some juices into the oil, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Add the artichokes, olives if using, and spinach. Dried the lemon juice over the pasta. Continue tossing and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the mixture is warmed through. If pasta seems too dry, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta (or grated Parmesan), pine nuts and parsley or basil.