Roasted Vegetables = Maximum Versatility!

Roasting is probably my favorite way to prepare vegetables. It brings out a whole new level of flavor that you can’t achieve from any other cooking method. There are some vegetables, in fact, that I will ONLY eat roasted (brussels sprouts, for example). Yeah, it makes that much of a difference. In addition to the deliciousness factor, roasting carries two additional benefits: 1) You can roast just about any veggie, so it’s a great way to “clean out the fridge,” and 2) there is so much you can do with the veggies afterward! Plus, it’s pretty easy once you get everything sliced and diced; all you have to do is stir them ever so often.

Last week, I harvested piles of squash, ichiban eggplant (you know, the beautifully deep purple slender ones), and onions. They were sitting there looking so lonely, so I decided to slice them all up and pop them into the oven. I preheated the oven to 350. Meanwhile, I placed all the veggies in a gallon-size Ziploc baggie. At this point I added several whole cloves of garlic, because roasted garlic is AMAZING and takes on this exquisite sweetness. I then added 2 Tbsp of olive oil (this time I used my tuscan herb-infused one) and some sea salt and pepper. I then sealed the baggie and moved it around with my fingers to get the olive oil all over the veggies. After spreading them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, into the oven they went! It’s best to stir them about every 15-20 minutes. Depending on the vegetables, they may take up to an hour to roast, so plan accordingly! Everything was sliced very thin, so cooking time was only about 40 minutes here. 

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The finished product

I let them cool since I wasn’t using them right away, and put them in a large container for storage. 

 

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The possibilities here are pretty much endless. You can use them to make wraps, like this one I made for lunch the next day:

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Flatout flax wrap with spinach and cashew cheese added. An easy and delicious Saturday lunch!

 

Or, you can make a really easy quinoa bowl:

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Veggies were reheated in a pan with some chickpeas and nutritional yeast while the quinoa cooked.

Other ideas:

  • Serve with your favorite pasta
  • Make PIZZA! 
  • Add cubed tofu and cashews and serve over brown rice
  • Tasty curry
  • Omelets, if you eat eggs
  • Fajitas

There is probably lots more that I’m not thinking of. Now go get in the kitchen, roast up those suckers, and get creative! 

Original Recipe: Carrot-Squash Curry Soup

I know it’s not fall yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start making butternut squash EVERYTHING. This past week I’ve pulled up a ton of carrots and while I love eating them raw, I wanted to get a little more creative. Soooo I made this soup! Since I have a terrible tendency to throw things together without measuring, I’ve done my very best to estimate the quantities for you. You may want to adjust the spices and heat to your liking, as well. Enjoy!

The final product!

The final product!

Carrot-Squash Curry Soup
Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small apple, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can organic butternut squash puree (or 1 whole squash, cubed)
1 cup plain almond milk
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Saute onion 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, steam carrots and apples until soft. Add carrots/apples to onions along with the curry powder, coriander, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Stir well to coat. Add in butternut squash and almond milk. (Note: if you like your soup thinner, you can also add a cup of veggie broth or water at this point. Personally, I’m a thicker soup kind of gal.) Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Using an immersion blender, break up carrot/apple chunks. (If you don’t have one, just pour the soup into a blender and puree until smooth, then return to the pot.) Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the peanut butter and add salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro. 

Vegan Lunch Box – new feature!!

Hey-yo! I’m starting a new blog feature — Vegan Lunch Box! I’m going to show you what I’m packing in my lunches, to show examples of what a well-balanced, energy-sustaining, vegan lunch looks like!

We are so busy in life. Between work, kids, workouts, grocery shopping, cleaning (need I go on?), the last thing we want to worry about is what to eat for lunch. Problem is, when we stop worrying about it, we start eating convenience foods and other “quick fix” items that might be wallet-friendly, but definitely not waistline-friendly. The solution is to pack your own lunch. That way, no matter where you are, you always have a healthy meal on hand. You’re welcome, busy people of the world!

To kick it off, here’s what I packed today:

Counterclockwise, from top right:

Morning snack – organic gala apple and a Raw Rev bar

Lunch – homemade vegan chickpea salad (Oh She Glows recipe, of course!), rice crackers, half an avocado. The salad came from the salad bar at work….take advantage of this! If you don’t have one, pack a salad or some other veggies too.

Pre-Zumba snack – Chocolate banana shake made with almond milk.

*The chickpea salad took 10 minutes to prepare. Everything else was ready to eat.*

Key to success: A well-stocked kitchen!

Keep in the pantry: beans, brown rice, quinoa, pasta, low-sodium diced tomatoes, pita bread, nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers, dried fruits.

Keep in the fridge: cut-up fruits and veggies, fresh herbs, sprouted bread (like Ezekiel), hummus, almond/soy milk, soy yogurt, nutritional yeast.

Keep in the freezer: vegetables, edamame, fruit, dinner leftovers

Keep at work: Various healthy snacks such as nuts, fresh/dried fruit, roasted chickpeas, whole grain crackers,

There are infinite possibilities and combinations using the above foods. Get creative and get packing! Stay tuned for more Vegan Lunch Box, coming soon!

Semi-original recipe: Peach & Plum Cobbler

Why semi-original, you ask? Because I modified an existing recipe to make it vegan. I also used plums instead of the original blueberries, since I had some plums off of our tree out front! (This was exciting, as the tree hadn’t borne in years!) The peaches came from the local farmers’ market. Feel free to experiment with other fruits, depending on what’s in season and what you have available. I think this would be tasty with just about anything!  I made this for breakfast, but it would easily make a great dessert, too! 

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Peach & Plum Cobbler

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp coconut oil

3 Tbsp canola oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup almond or soy milk

1/2 cup organic sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced

1 cup plums, pitted and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Place both oils in your baking dish (an iron skillet works great here, otherwise you can use a 9×11) and heat in the oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add milk, sugar, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the melted oils to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot baking dish. Evenly spread the fruit over the top of the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until batter is completely set. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

I don’t think I need to tell you that this won’t last long in your house.  Nutritionally, it’s quite decent….beats the heck out of an artery-clogging fruit pastry or doughnut! 

Per serving: 180 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 26 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber. 

Original Recipe: Quinoa Enchilada Bowl

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Hooray, another Jean’s Kitchen original!! I made this up yesterday morning while scrambling to make something to take to work for lunch. I have a terrible tendency to just throw things together without measuring, so I’ve done my best to get the quantities right for you. This was delicious and super filling. Took it for lunch to share with the girls (aka the other dietitians) and it was a hit with them, too!

Makes 2 hearty servings.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa                                                 1/2 cup enchilada sauce

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth                                   2 tsp garlic powder

1 cup cannellini beans                                                        1 tsp chili powder                                              

1/2 onion, chopped                                                           1/2 tsp cumin

1 bell pepper, chopped                                                     1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 roma tomato, chopped                                                    1/2 cup cilantro, chopped                       

Cook quinoa (using broth instead of water) according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a pan. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add peppers and all seasonings except cilantro and mix well. Saute an additional 2 minutes, then add the beans, tomato, and enchilada sauce. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. 

Place quinoa into the bottom of a bowl. Pour bean mixture on top. Top with additional cilantro and chopped avocado, if desired. 

 

Original Recipe: Cherry Berry Overnight Oats

I usually steal recipes, but I’m proud to say this one is all mine! 

I’ve tried many different recipes for overnight oats; some I’ve loved, some not so much. I played around a little bit and came up with my ideal version — hope you like it as much as I did!

Ingredients: 

1 cup rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great gluten-free version)

 1 cup almond milk (alternative — you can use milk and/or Greek yogurt if you’re not vegan)

1/4 cup chia seeds

 1 cup organic unsweetened applesauce

(This makes about 3 servings)

Place all ingredients into a mason jar (this is what I used, because I’m country like that) or other airtight container. Stir well to combine. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. 

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Before mixing

In the morning, take it out and you shall see that it is “magicially” thickened and softened. Spoon out about 1/3 of the mixture into a bowl. This is where you can really take some creative liberties. Experiment with different types of fruits, nuts, seasonings, or nut butters. To make it according to what I did, add:

1/4 cup dried tart cherries

2 Tbsp walnuts

Dollop of homemade strawberry chia jam (from Oh She Glows, naturally!)

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Before devouring

Eat up, buttercup.

I didn’t think it needed any sweetener added to it because of the fruit, but this is up to you. 

Side note: This fills me up! This is important — I usually get hungry about 2-3 hours after breakfast. I can go at least 4 with this in my fuel tank.

Have a healthy, happy day! It’s guaranteed with a breakfast like this!

Almond Butter Chocolate-Chip cookies – from Oh She Glows

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Photo credit: Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows cookbook)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup coconut oil or vegan butter
1/4 cup almond butter (I like Justin’s Maple flavor)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats*
1 cup almonds (unsalted)*
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

*Put oats and almonds into a food processor and grind into a flour.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed with 3 Tbsp water and set aside to thicken.
In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil and almond butter. Add sugar and syrup and beat an additional minute. Then beat in the flaxseed mixture and vanilla. One by one, beat in the baking powder, soda, salt, and oat/almond flour. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Form into 1-inch balls (I use a small melon baller) and place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes. They will be very soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Makes about 2 dozen.

Now, the challenge — try not to eat them all at once! Take them to work or put some in the freezer so you’re not tempted. Enjoy!

Vegan Kale Pesto

This pesto is so versatile. It’s great on pasta, but also in wraps or as a pizza sauce. I’ve even dipped raw veggies in it. It’s super simple to make, too!

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Ingredients: 

2 cups kale, stems removed

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

Place all but olive oil in a food processor and process until chopped. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Pulse until you have a smooth paste consistency. Enjoy with, well, whatever! 

 

 

So, what DO you eat?

“So what DO you eat?” This question is usually preceded by my explaining that I don’t eat meat, dairy (90% of the time), or GMO anything. I’ve been a vegetarian for fifteen years, and I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked that. I live in a Southern town that is very traditional in terms of dietary practices. A meal isn’t complete without meat, and a vegetarian is a rare creature. I think bacon may even be an unofficial food group.

I have two purposes for doing this. The first is that I feel compelled to clear up the following misconceptions: Eating healthy is boring, vegetarians are pale weaklings, and eating all day will make you fat. The second is, without being pretentious, to give some insight into a day in the gastronomic life of a dietitian and to show that I am, in fact, not a rabbit (as many a carnivore has accused me of at some point)!

So, to answer that burning question, here is what I ate today! It should be noted that I end up eating about every 3-4 hours in general. It gives me steady energy all day, and helps prevent low blood sugar, to which I am prone.
(Bonus: You’ll even get two recipes out of it. Score! Read on.)

Breakfast – Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli mixed in soy yogurt

Morning snack – Organic apple, salt & pepper pistachios

Lunch – vegetarian sushi roll, half an avocado (this is a daily thing — I’m obsessed), and a spinach salad with lime vinaigrette. I then had two almond butter chocolate chip cookies (one of your recipes — you’re welcome!).

Post Zumba – 1 cup almond milk blended with a banana and 1/2 scoop Raw Protein powder

Dinner – Quinoa spaghetti with mushrooms, peas, and kale pesto (recipe #2). Slice of Italian bread on the side with marinara.

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Dessert – Dark chocolate-covered Powerberries (from Trader Joe’s).

Drink – Water, water, WATER! I sip all day — you should never be thirsty.

Be assured I get all the protein I need along with loads of healthy fats, and I even get my sweet tooth satisfied (often more than once a day!). I don’t have to count calories because I know almost all the foods I eat are naturally nutrient dense — meaning more nutrients, fewer calories. There’s no question that following a plant-based diet while being conscious of our food’s origins is the way to go. This is not anecdotal evidence, people — it’s proven!

I promised you the recipes, and recipes you shall have! Click on the “Recipes” category and they are the first two on the post. Enjoy!

New product review: Raw Revolution

Today, I am reviewing a bar I just tried for the first time. It’s an exciting day! (At least for me!)
Generally, I’m not the type of person to choose a bar over, say, nuts or fresh fruit as a snack. I also don’t insist upon gluten-free, since I don’t have celiac disease and there’s little evidence to support a gluten-free diet otherwise. However, I also cannot resist a good bargain, so when I saw these on one of my discount shopping websites, I had to try it.

raw revolution

Initially, my inner skeptic thought, “it’s vegan, raw, gluten free, and on sale, so it probably tastes terrible.” I am pleased to report that I was proven wrong. It was both chewy and crunchy with nice chunks of almonds. The raspberry flavor was perfectly balanced with the chocolate. It was pretty amazing, really.

Here’s the breakdown:

What I liked:
1) The flavor, obviously. You can’t really go wrong with anything called chocolate truffle. This particular brand comes in other flavors, too.
2) There are exactly eight ingredients: cashews, sunflower seeds, agave, dates, cocoa, almonds, raspberry powder, and flax (all organic!). I’m big on simplicity and pronounceability, so they got major points for this.
3) It actually filled me up. I’m known for being kind of a “bottomless pit”, so this is impressive. It’s been an hour since I’ve eaten it and I still feel satisfied.

What I didn’t like:
Honestly, there wasn’t really anything I didn’t like. I’m not sure how much these cost in retail, but I’m willing to bet they’re quite a bit more than what I paid. (I got them at http://www.zulily.com for about $10 for a box of 12.)

Basic Nutrition Facts: 220 calories, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein, 11 g unsaturated fats (including omega-3s from the flax, bonus!)

The bottom line: Worth it! If you can find these at a reasonable price, go for it. (Or go for it anyway if you don’t care about price!)
I look forward to trying some of the other flavors if I can find them on sale.