Monday, February 21, 2011

Moroccan Medley

serves 4-6

This dish is so incredibly filling and comforting!  Nothing like a warm bowl of goodness to melt away your winter blues!

2 1/2 cups Grain of your choice: quinoa, millet, cous cous, etc ( I used Trader Joes Harvest Grain Blend... LOVE IT)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
4 cups veggie stock
1/2-1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 tsp paprika (or more to taste)
1 tsp tumeric (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (bump up to 1 tsp if not using fresh ginger)
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large stove/oven proof pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic, fresh ginger, and carrots.  Saute until veggies are tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Add in grains and spices and stir to coat.  Finally, add in apricots, garbanzo beans, stock, o.j., and orange zest.  You want to make sure that the liquid covers the grains and veggies, but doesn't drown them.  You may need to adjust the amount of liquid for your needs.  Place large pot, uncovered, in the oven.  Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender.  This could take anywhere between 25-50 minutes, depending on the type of grain you use.

To serve, garnish with chopped cilantro and almonds!

Friday, February 18, 2011

BBQ "chicken" Pita Pizzas

Ok, first off, I can not take full credit for this recipe.  Not too long ago, I stumbled upon this blog, Peas and Thank You and have really enjoyed it.  The author is a mother of two youngins, like me and is a vegan, like me... so naturally I'm hooked.  She has lots of great, easy, everyday vegan meal ideas and this recent one for pita pizzas was no exception.  So, below is my adaptation of it.  Keep in mind, this is "pizza," which means there are no limits or boundaries... knock yourself out with the variations, go crazy, break all the "rules!"

Makes 6 individual sized pizzas

1 package of whole wheat Pita Bread (6 pitas)
BBQ sauce (my fav is from Trader Joes)
1 can of black beans (these beauties take the place of chicken:))
2 stems of kale (washed, stemmed and roughly chopped)
1 bell pepper (thinly sliced)
1/2 c. pineapple (small cubes)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
dashes of dried oregano
olive oil

Super Easy Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the pitas on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 3 minutes.  Remove them and smother with BBQ sauce.  Sprinkle on kale, black beans, bell pepper, pineapple, garlic, and oregano.  Drizzle tops of pizza with just a bit of olive oil.

Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until heated through and pita is crispy.  You may want to turn your oven to broil for the last minute, if needed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Burrito Bowls

This is my take on our favorite Chipotle burrito bowls.  We may or may not go there once a week...

serves 4

3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of one lime
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 small can of diced green chilies (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced
3 kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
quacamole (if you are feeling lazy, like I was, you can use the store bought yumminess)

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  When done add in chopped cilantro and lime juice.

Heat beans in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Add in spices and bay leaf.  Simmer until ready to use.

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add in sliced onions, bell peppers and kale.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add in garlic and saute until veggies are tender.

Layer in a bowl and top with quacamole!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beware, for as healthy as these cookies are they are soo good and addicting!

makes 4 dozen

3 Tbsp oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, coconut)
2 c. raw nuts (I used a combo of almonds, sunflower seeds and walnuts)
1 c. sucanat (brown sugar)
1/2c. hot water
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. oat flour (blend oats in a food processor) or spelt flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 c. oats (to make it GF, choose a certified GF brand of Oat, like Bob's Red Mill)
1 c. vegan chocolate chips (carob chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray, or line with parchment paper, cookie sheets.

Blend nuts in a Vita Mix blender or a food processor with oil until it reaches a chunky peanut butter consistency.

Heat 1/2 cup water and pour over sucanat, stir to dissolve.  Pour sucanat mixture over nut butter and blend a little more to combine.  Add in vanilla and stir until smooth. (Mixture will be thick)

Whisk together oat flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Add in nut mixture and stir until incorporated.  At this point let the dough cool for 5-10 minutes, so the chocolate chips don't melt.

Fold in oats and chocolate chips.

Scoop up a Tbsp of dough and roll between hands to form into a ball.  Place balls 2 inches apart.  Before baking, dip the bottom of a glass into a little water and flatten each ball.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until tops are firm*.  Cool on the baking sheets for 3-5 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

*Do not be alarmed if some of the carob chips melted onto the pan.  Once cookies are cooled, just simply break the melted pieces off.

-adapted from Vegetarian Times Magizine

* Spelt flour is not considered gluten free and if you have severe allergies to gluten, is probably not an option for you.  However, for some who have a slight intolerance to gluten, spelt may be tolerable.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quinoa, Avocado and Citrus Tofu Wrap

These wraps are so versatile, nutritious and filling.  They make a hearty lunch or a light dinner.

makes 6 large wraps, or 12 smaller ones.

Tofu Marinade:

1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
1/2 c. fresh cilantro
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt

14 oz extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch slices


3 ripe avocados
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp lemon juice
2 c. cooked quinoa
cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced in strips
handful of spinach
6 pieces of wheat lavash bread

To make the marinade, place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Pour over tofu and marinate for 1 hour.  Heat a tad of oil in a pan over medium heat and shake off excess liquid and cook tofu until brown on both sides.  Remove from the heat and cut slices into thin strips.

Mash avocados in a bowl and add in lemon juice and cumin, s/p and stir to combine.

To assemble wraps:

Spread 1/6 of avocado mixture over the lavash bread.  On the right hand side of the bread, press in 1/3 cup of quinoa.  Top with spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and tofu.  Start rolling from the side with the quinoa and firmly roll as you go.  Slice the wrap in the middle on a diagonal.

Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake!!!

I made this cake for my husbands birthday last month, and it was a hit with both vegans and omnivores alike! I adapted the recipe from the cookbook, You Won't Believe It's Vegan,  it's written by the chef/owner of one of our most favorite vegetarian restaurants in Oakland, Encuentro.  This cake would be perfect for any birthday party , as a special Valentine's Day treat, or for no other reason that you want to eat a scrumptious chocolate cake!

Cake Ingredients:

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. sucanat (brown sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. vanilla soy milk (I used regular soy milk with 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 c. water
1 c. maple syrup
1 Tbsp chocolate extract (I omitted this and it was great without)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Frosting Ingredients:

2 c. chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips are called carob chips)
1 c. vanilla soy milk (again, I used plain soy milk and added vanilla extract)


You may want to make the frosting first because it has to chill for at least 1 1/2 hours before using.

Put chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl.  Slowly and carefully heat the soy milk to right before its starts boiling.  Make sure not to scald it.  Pour milk over chocolate chips and let it sit for 1-2 minutes.  WHen the chips are softened, whisk it all together for 2 minutes until smooth and glossy.

Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours, or until solid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and stir.

In a separate bowl, mix together oil, soy milk, water, syrup, extracts and vinegar.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until incorporated.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans, and bake for 18-22 minutes.  You will know they are done when you press on the middle and it bounces back.  You can also insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, the cakes are ready.  Cool the layers in their pans on racks for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely.

Frosting the Cake:

When its ready, remove from fridge and stir to soften it up.  Place one layer of cake on a cake plate and frost with 1/2 inch layer of frosting, then top with the second layer.  Frost the sides and tops of the entire cake.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Soba Noodle Salad

serves 4 really hungry people

I hope you enjoy this meal, we sure did!  When I made it, I was hoping for leftovers for lunch but no such thing happened...we all literally licked our plates clean!

sesame oil (about 2 tsp. for oiling the pan.  Can use evoo as well)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 red onion, chopped and (1/2 for sauteing, 1/2 for garnish)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, chopped
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. baked tofu, (TJ's has a great organic, baked, teriyaki delish) cut into small pieces
1 c. shredded or julienned carrots
1 c. sliced or julienned apples
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1/4 c. sliced almonds
loads of fresh spinach, for the bed of the salad
6 oz. cooked soba noodles

1/3 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped ginger

Heat small amount of oil in pan over medium low heat. Add in onion, garlic and ginger.  Saute until tender.  Add in sliced mushrooms and tofu and a splash of soy sauce.  Cook until mushrooms are tender and tofu gets a crispy edge, about 7-10 minutes.  Set aside.

To make the sauce:

Whisk together all the ingredients.  Make sure to taste and add more of something if needed.

Cook soba noodles according to their package.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

To Assemble Salad:

In the bottom of the bowl, put down a hefty bed of spinach.  Next, layer on soba noodles, followed by cooked veggies and tofu.  Add on carrots, apples, almonds, set aside red onions and green onions.  Drizzle with dressing.