Quinoa Chickpea Caesar Salad

My level of protein intake has been a bit low lately. So today for lunch I am going to enjoy a chickpea & quinoa caesar salad.  Here’s a really easy recipe to do at home, roasting your own chickpeas to making a homemade caesar salad dressing. Enjoy courtesy of TheFullHelping.com

Get the recipe here

What are the Healthiest Nuts & Seeds?

If you are like me you probably have your favorite nuts and seeds to snack on.  My favorites have been almonds and pistachios for as long as I can member.  I’ve never been a great fan of walnuts, although I have come to learn that they are one of the healthier nuts to eat.  So, I might have to acquire a taste for them.

The other great thing about nuts is if you ever find yourself hungry and need a quick and healthy snack, nuts or seeds are a great choice. They’re easy to travel with because you can easily throw them in your purse, briefcase, backpack or hand carry luggage. They keep well in your fridge and you will want to keep them there vs. on a shelf or snack table because they do go bad easily. And just a side note, peanuts are not nuts they are actually a legume – something else I recently learned after doing some reading.

So, which nuts and seeds should you focus on eating?  Well here are a few links to some information and I am sure you will come up with your perfect list of healthy favorites.

Healthiest Nuts & Seeds?

Vegan Health Guide

Top 10 Healthiest Seeds

Recipe: Mongolian BBQ Seitan

I was so excited to cook up this recipe.  It comes from a cookbook that I purchased called Chloe’s Kitchen.  I posted a photo of the cookbook a few weeks ago, so if you are interested in purchasing the book for yourself I think it’s a great idea.  So many easy and fundamental recipes.

As a new vegetarian myself, it has helped me to learn how to make some basic staples that a vegetarian or vegan would eat.  I had no idea what seitan was until I had it in Canada at a Chinese vegan restaurant.  The dish I had there was a peking duck seitan dish.  It was amazing, I had never had seitan until that moment and I was determined to learn how to cook it.  Being of Chinese ancestry it was a must to learn how to make peking duck that did not involve killing a duck.

So, let me share this Mongolian BBQ recipe with you and feel free to spice it up to your personal taste.  I am a bit of a wimp and can’t handle a lot of spice in my food and if you have had Mongolian cuisine it can be a bit on the spicy side.

Ingredient:
Sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 – 2 teaspoons garlic-chili sauce (add more to turn up the heat)

You will want to mix all of these ingredients together and set it aside while you prepare the seitan and vegetable portion of this recipe.

2 tablespoon canola oil
8 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
8 ounces of seitan, cut into think strips
(you can make your own with the basic seitan recipes in this blog)
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 ounces snow peas, strings removed
2 scallions, trimmed & thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

mbbqIn your large skillet, heat up the oil and add the seitan and mushrooms. Brown them together until the mushrooms release their juices. Add the ginger, cinnamon & cloves, cook for a few minutes. Add in the sauce and snow peas, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens.  Turn off the heat and add in the scallions and cilantro and serve on rice or the starch of your choice.  YUM!

 

Recipe: Tofu & Seaweed Poke (Vegan)

Growing up in Hawaii I have eaten a lot of poke using various types of seafood.  My all time favorite being ahi poke.  Now that I am a vegetarian, I have had to find ways to enjoy the flavors of my childhood without certain ingredients (food with faces).

So, here is my poke recipe with a couple of substitutions. Based on your dietary needs, use the appropriate gluten-free, soy-free, vegan friendly ingredients that you have in your home.

 

tofuIngredients:
1 block extra firm tofu
1/4 cup of wakame seaweed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon soy sauce (shoyu) or tamarin
Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
Sprinkler of ginger powder
Sprinkle of garlic powderSprinkle of roasted sesame seeds for garnish
1/8 cup cut green onions for garnish (more if your prefer)

seaweedDirections:
Drain your tofu until it is almost completely dry using paper towels.  I usually drain it using 4-5 paper towel changes.  If there is too much water left in your tofu it will water down your marinated and not be as flavorful as it can be.   Cut into cubes and set aside while your prepare the other ingredients.

Soak your wakame seaweed for about 10 minutes in water to soften it enough that it is easy to chew and swallow.  Set aside.

Combine in a bowl the grated ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and chili flakes.  I usually do a little taste test of the sauce at this point. Feel free to enhance the flavor further to meet you personal preference.  Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together, then add in your tofu & wakame. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions, serve chilled.

Enjoy …
– Tracy –

Recipe: Basic Seitan

By now I am sure you have seen and possibly tried some seitan in your meal.  As you get better and better with your vegetarian cooking skills you will want to give it a try and make your own seitan at home.

Let’s face it, if you can make it yourself it will be economically beneficial for you.  I have found various seitan products in the local organic grocery stores.  Some are plain and some are infused with various flavors. In my opinion, not all of them have met my expectations on flavor.  I have tried the Korean BBQ version, and I have to say, not good.  I grew up eating some really awesome non-vegetarian Korean food and the Korean BBQ meat does not taste like that, not even close.  I feel that if you are going to label a flavor on a package, it had better be spot on or just don’t do it.

My boyfriend seems to like the Italian seasoning version of one of the seitan brands, but again, my expectation is high.  I will say it will work out just fine if you are covering it in a bunch of spaghetti sauce or vegetarian chili.

So here is a basic recipe, the flavoring is minimal so it allows you to use it in a stir fry, a soup, or in any recipe that you would like to substitute the ‘meat’ portion for seitan.

gluten Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup wheat gluten
1 cup water
3 – 4 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce

Directions:
In a large bowl or food processor, combine the wheat gluten flour and water.  Mix.  If you are mixing by hand, then knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it becomes stiff.  It will get VERY RUBBERY in texture. Set it aside for 5 minutes and prep your broth & soy sauce in a saucepan.

seitanCut the seitan in half and place it in the saucepan with the broth mixture.  Bring it to a boil and then let the pieces simmer for 30 minutes, then flip them over and simmer for another 30 minutes. When done, let it cool in the broth.

If you are adding it to a meal right away, cut it into your portion sizes and cook according to your recipe.  If you don’t need to use it all, you can store it in your fridge for up to 3 days, in the broth.  If you are pre-cooking for future meals, then you can freeze the portions without the broth for up to 3 weeks.  Make sure you wrap the pieces tightly in plastic wrap before you freeze them.

So, I hope this gets you going on a basic seitan recipe.  As I said, it is very basic flavoring.  Feel free to season it up further once you start creating your meal. Don’t worry if it seems rubbery, that is normal, cutting seitan is like cutting taffy. It’s not going to look pretty either, which is also normal.

Recipe: Easy Lentil Soup

Let me apologize in advance, there is no way to make lentil soup look fabulous.  It’s green and it’s thick, chunky soup.  But I will reassure you, if you try this recipe you will love it.  It’s super easy to make and in 45 minutes you will have a pot of soup that you can serve to family & friends or you can freeze it for a future bowl of comfort food.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon oil
1/4 onion – chopped
1/4 cup fresh carrots – chopped
1 1/2 cup dried lentils or 2 cups soaked
4 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2- 3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In you soup pot, heat the oil and cook onions & carrots until tender.  Add in your 4 cups of broth, bring to a oil and then add in lentils, thyme, bay leaves, salt & pepper.  Bring all the ingredients to a boil and let simmer for 45 minutes. Do a little taste test after about 30 minutes and if necessary add more salt or pepper to your liking.

Optional:
I like to put TVP in my lentil soup for added protein and texture.  If you want to do the same, I usually soak 1 cup of TVP in 1 cup of vegetable broth. Make sure you heat up the broth before you add it to the TVP, this helps with speeding up the rehydration of the TVP.  Add it as you final step just before you turn the heat down to simmer.

Enjoy! And post a picture of your bowl of lentil soup.

Homemade Simmered Seitan [Vegan] | One Green Planet

There can never be enough good seitan recipes. In this one, seitan is simmered in a zesty broth composed of spices such as, ginger, thyme, oregano, chili flakes, and turmeric.

Source: Homemade Simmered Seitan [Vegan] | One Green Planet

Recipe: Not-Chicken Pot Pie

I don’t know about you, but a pot pie was the best comfort food for me.  That warm baked crust filled with love & goodness inside.  Now I realized that a chicken died for me to eat my favorite chicken pot pie. So, what is a girl to do?  Well, change up the recipe because as vegetarians & vegans that what we do.  I have found the perfect ingredient change that allows me to still eat one of my favorite comfort foods and no animals died in the process! Thank you Whole Foods for carrying this item.

PhotoGrid_1458252233854If you have been making your own recipe for chicken pot pie, I’m not going to tell you to reinvent your recipe, except of course to use seitan vs chicken.  If you don’t have a recipe and you want to give it a try here is my recipe and you can tweak it to your own personal taste and liking.

Ingredients:
Chicken flavored seitan
1 – large potato (for a flavor twist, try a sweet potato) cut into cubes
1 – Small bag of Mixed Frozen Vegetables
1 – Small tray of Fresh Mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 – yellow onion (minced)
2 1/2 teaspoon flour
1 1/4 cup non-fat milk (substitute with a non-dairy milk of your choice)
Phyllo Pasty, thawed (your favorite brand)
1 stick of butter
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Boil your cut potatoes & onions (about 5 minutes), add in your frozen vegetables to the potatoes, warm them up (3-5 minutes). Then add in your fresh mushrooms.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes, empty into a colander to drain and set aside to cool down while you cook up your Not-Chicken Seitan.

In a separate skillet, heat up 1/2 of the butter and add in your seitan to add some warmth and color for browning (5 minutes or so).  Sprinkle flour over the seitan, stirring constantly to evenly distribute the flour over the seitan. The flour will help to thicken up your milk. Gradually add in the milk, stir constantly and bring to a boil & simmer for about 10 minutes. You can add your salt & pepper at this point, as needed.

Now this part can get a little messy, return your boiled potatoes & veggies to the original pot they were cooked in, add in your seitan mixture and mix throughly to distribute the ingredients evenly, as well as the flavor of your “gravy”.  Be gentle so you don’t mash or break up your cooked vegetables too much. Let that sit for a few minutes while we prepare your crust.

PhotoGrid_1458256071796Melt the other 1/2 of the butter and coat the bottom of a casserole dish. Line the dish with 1/2 of the phyllo sheets.  Spoon in all of your mixture and cover with the remaining 1/2 of phyllo sheets.  Coat that layer with butter and cook for 45 minutes. The phyllo should be golden brown and crisp. Serve it hot with your favorite side dish or alone.  YUM YUM YUM!  Enjoy and post photos of your final product  here if you’d like.

HOW TO MAKE THIS VEGAN – remove and replace the dairy (milk & butter) items with vegan options and you are ALL SET!

Product Review: Mamma Chia Grateful Greens Drink

chia drinkI’ve said before that I love chia seeds, they are good for you and just FUN to eat.  So, when I saw these bottles of Mamma Chia seed drinks I had to give it a try.  I did buy a case of them from Costco. I could not pass up the great price.

 

If you do visit Costco there are two flavors available a mixed berry and grateful greens. Now looking at the contents of the bottle, I will admit it is not visually appealing.  It’s actually quite dreary and unappetizing in appearance.

It is a mixture of all organic ingredients to include apple juice, lime juice, spinach, kale, spirulina, broccoli, wheat grass, barley grass, spearmint and of course LOTS of chia seeds.  I can’t say much about the flavor other than it is very mild, with a hint of spearmint and an abundance of chia seeds. As a quick filler upper it does the job.  I won’t say it is “roll-your-eyes-to-the-back-of-your-head” delicious, but it’s a good drink option and the nutritional value is very good.

So, give it a try for yourself and share your thoughts in the comment section of this post.

Recipe: “Cheezy” Hummus

This is a vegan recipe, so it’s not so cheesey, but CHEEZY 😉

Ingredients:
•¾ cup raw cashews
•½ cup vegetable broth
•2-3 garlic cloves, to taste
•¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
•½ cup nutritional yeast
•1 cup cooked chickpeas
•2 tbsp Tahini
•1-1.5 tsp kosher salt , or to taste
•½ tsp- 1 tsp chili powder
• Freshly Ground black pepper & your desired dried or fresh herbs
• Water to thin out, if necessary

Directions:
1. Add cashews into food processor and process until fine crumb. Be careful not to over-process and release the oils.
2. Now add in the rest of the ingredients, to taste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder. Makes about 1.5 cups.

Shared via Vegan Recipes(http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omniluxtrade.veganrecipes)