Steamed Artichokes with Two Vegan Dipping Sauces

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There is nothing more nostalgic for me than steaming artichokes and eating them one leaf at a time, just like when I was a kid, teethmarks and all.  It’s definitely the easiest way to cook them and it makes a fun appetizer or side dish, especially when you have delicious sauces to dip them in.   I grew up dipping artichokes in mayo or melted butter but why limit yourself? Picture whole steamed artichokes dipped in either Lemon Herb Butter or Garlic Parmesan Aioli (both vegan and delicious).  

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The artichokes in my garden are ripe, in fact one has flowered which is an incredible work of nature. They are actually just giant thistles.  I love them so much, that I always let one go to seed on purpose and sometimes they go to seed by accident when I’m out of town, although for obvious reasons, that didn’t happen last year… I have recently oven roasted, pan roasted and stuffed artichokes with great results. For the more adventurous artichoke lover, check out these recipes:

Meatless Monday-Roasted Artichokes & Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

or 

Meatless Monday – Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Garlic, Parmesan & Quinoa

or 

Meatless Monday – Pan Seared Artichokes with Blackened Garlic

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Artichokes are great for scooping up yummy sauces but are they actually good for you?  The answer is Yes! Did you know that artichokes have more  antioxidants than cranberries or blueberries and more fiber than lima beans or prunes? They are also loaded with important vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Click through to read more about the amazing artichoke:   12 Unexpected Health Benefits of Artichokes .

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Those trying to limit or eliminate dairy from their diets should try a few fabulous new vegan products.  Miyoko’s Creamery has a vegan butter made from cultured cashew milk.  It is delicious and tastes just like real butter. It’s actually the only butter I buy now and comes in unsalted too. Miyoko also makes really delicious cheeses and is coming out with new types all the time. I really like the Double Cream Chive soft cheese and her Vegan Mozz works…

My favorite vegan mayonaise is Just Mayo from Hampton Creek which is so good that the mayo industry tried to shut them down. It’s egg free and made from pea protein but best of all it tastes just like the real thing.  I love promoting new products that are really good. I also like Vegenaise Mayo from Follow Your Heart which is easier to find.  

Another non-dairy staple is VioLife Just Like Parmesan. It comes in a wedge that you can freshly grate into dishes. It’s pretty darn good and I’m picky about cheese. Look for these products in your store.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

TIPS:  I like to cut the sharp tips off the ends of the leaves but you can skip this step if you are in a hurry or don’t want to go to the trouble.  You can also just throw them in a pan with plain water and they will turn out just fine.  A wide pan where the artichokes can fit in a single layer works better than a tall one.

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STEAMED ARTICHOKES

4 artichokes
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 lemon slices or 1 Tbsn lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil and add bay leaf, garli, lemons, salt and pepper.
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  • Cut the stems off each artichoke so they can sit upright. Trim the prickly thorn tips from each petal and cut the top half inch off of each one. Rinse them under cool water.
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  • Place them upside-down in the water, cover the pot and simmer on low for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily pierce the bottom.  While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
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  • Using tongs, remove the artichokes from water and allow to drain.  Place on a serving platter.
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  • Serve with dips and lots of napkins.
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LEMON HERB BUTTER

1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1 Tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, oregano or basil
1 Tbsn lemon juice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Taste and season with salt if desired. Serve warm.
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GARLIC PARMESAN AIOLI

1/2 cup vegan mayonaise or plain yogurt for a zip
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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4 artichokes
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 lemon slices or 1 Tbsn lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil and add bay leaf, garli, lemons, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the stems off each artichoke so they can sit upright. Trim the prickly thorn tips from each petal and cut the top half inch off of each one. Rinse them under cool water.
  • Place them upside-down in the water, cover the pot and simmer on low for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily pierce the bottom.
  • While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
  • Using tongs, remove the artichokes from water and allow to drain.  Place on a serving platter.
  • Serve with dips and lots of napkins.

LEMON HERB BUTTER

1/2 cup butter (or vegan butter), melted
1 Tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, oregano or basil
1 Tbsn lemon juice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Taste and season with salt if desired. Serve warm.

GARLIC PARMESAN AIOLI

1/2 cup mayonaise or plain yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Black Bean Quinoa with Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

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Tired of green salad?  This flavor filled quinoa salad with mango and avocado topped with an orange cumin vinaigrette is one of my favorites!  I promise you won’t be bored. It’s a little bit spicy from the jalapenos, a little bit sweet from the mango, the black beans add a rich salty flavor and fresh avocado, purple onion, bell pepper and cilantro make it salad worthy.  Yum!

Quinoa is the perfect backdrop for these beautiful flavors.  It also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse, high in protein, low in fat, gluten free and loaded with lovely vitamins and minerals (but you don’t have to tell your family that).  What I didn’t know is that Mango is also a superfood, providing over 20 vitamins and minerals in every delicious bite.  Black beans add another protein and nutrient boost and their high fiber content helps keep your tummy full. Then there is the Avocado, which we now know is a good fat that is highly nutritious.  Look at the glorious colors! This is what they call ‘Eating the Rainbow”. The best part of this salad though, is how great it tastes! 

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This is the perfect dish to throw together for an easy dinner or bring to a potluck, especially if you have leftover quinoa on hand (or you make it ahead), then it’s only about ten minutes of chopping, mixing and you’re done!  This salad can be made a day ahead, without the avocado.  Bring to room temperature then gently toss in the avocado, if using, before serving.

TIP:  You can buy mango pre-cut but it’s very easy to do it yourself (and less expensive) if you know the right technique.  How to cut a Mango

https://www.mango.org/how-to-cut-a-mango/

VARIATIONS:  If you don’t have, or like, mango, you can substitute orange or nectarine segments (or even canned or frozen corn).  Use a combination of yellow, orange, red and green bell peppers for lots of color.  This recipe is only mildly spicy using one red jalapeno pepper so double the amount of jalapeno peppers and add a bit more cumin if you like it hot.

Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad

BLACK BEAN QUINOA WITH CUMIN ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup mango, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red or green jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
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  • Rinse quinoa to remove bitterness and cook according to package instructions; set aside and let cool.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside. This recipe makes just enough dressing. If you want more to drizzle, double the recipe or just measure generously.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • If you aren’t serving immediately, place the avocado pit on top of the salad to keep the avocado from turning brown, or add the avocado right before serving .  Serve at room temperature.
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 If you have any leftover mango, how about mango margaritas? They are cool and refreshing with just the right amount of sweet and tart – and now we know they are loaded with yummy nutrients!

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/05/02/mango-margaritas-homemade-tortilla-chips-with-grilled-pineapple-salsa/

Black Bean Quinoa with Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup quinoa
1 cup mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red or green jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
 
 vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

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  • Rinse quinoa to remove bitterness and cook according to package instructions; set aside and let cool.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • If you aren’t serving immediately, place the avocado pit on top of the salad to keep the avocado from turning brown, or add the avocado right before serving .  Serve at room temperature.

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Black & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash & Pomegranate

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Black and Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate

People often ask for food recommendations.  Here it is people –    one of my top five favorite dishes so far!  This is a Wow! dish. I have updated a few photos from this 2014 blog when Goodmotherdiet was only 2 months old and I was a newbie at food photography.  I can remember feeling it was a major accomplishment just to get a photo onto the blog regardless of quality. But I digress… Black and wild rice, roasted butternut squash, scallions, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate and microgreens, all topped with a yummy honey vinaigrette!  I have made this dish out of season with dried cranberries or cherries with good results but nothing compares to the zing and pop that you only get from pomegranate seeds.

I love this grain salad because it can serve as a main course or a hearty side dish. It’s fabulous as a party or buffet dish since it’s served at room temperature. It can be made ahead and you just toss it when ready to serve.

To see the original blog post click on the link: https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/01/27/meatless-monday-black-wild-rice-with-roasted-squash/amp/ But check out the new photos and recipe below first to see all of the goodness that goes into this dish. -Joyce

BLACK AND WILD RICE SALAD WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND POMEGRANATE

  • 1 1/2  cup black rice
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 medium or 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup microgreens (or parsley or cilantro)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (or pepitas – shelled pumpkin seeds)
  1. Cook black rice and wild rice in a large pot of boiling water with about 4 cups vegetable broth or salted water about 35 minutes or until tender.  Remove from pot into a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Half, seed and peel the squash and cut into cubes.  I found a small squash so used the whole thing.  Place squash cubes in a baking dish and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast squash 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Whisk vinegar, honey and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl.  Add rice, squash, pomegranate, microgreens and pistachios; toss to combine.
  5. To make ahead, combine all ingredients except for dressing and microgreens and refrigerate. For serving, bring to room temperature, add dressing and microgreens and toss.

Matzo Crack (Vegan and Gluten Free)

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You asked what to do with your leftover matzo besides Matzo Brie… How about Matzo Crack? It’s delicious with homemade toffee and drizzled with chocolate, then sprinkled with pecans and sea salt. Warning! It’s pretty addictive. I followed the recipe except that I veganized and gluten freed it with the following tips. I made it half nuts with Maldon Salt and the other half low salt/no nuts because people have different needs and likes.

I used Miyoko’s butter which is made from oat milk and is divine. It is the only butter I use now. Its great for eating, sauteeing and baking. You can find Miyoko’s butter in Whole Foods and other smaller stores. The website has a store finder so check it out. https://miyokos.com/

It is harder to find a vegan chocolate but I just happen to have a hoard of No Whey Milkless Chocolate Bars which we were giving away as party favors for a wedding that didn’t get to happen because of Covid. You can order online at https://nowheychocolate.com/

The recipe I adapted is from Jenn Segal at Once Upon a Chef. She has easy to follow instructions with photos, much like I do. Try her recipe and check out her site. You won’t be disappointed.

https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/chocolate-toffee-matzo-crack.html

Meatless Monday -Vegan Mini Meatloaf

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Vegan meatloaf might not spring to mind as a delicious main course but I’m here to tell you it is….It’s reminiscent of my mother’s traditional meatloaf using Quaker Rolled Oats, onions, ketchup and Beyond Meat ground ‘beef’, cooked to a nice perfection and then topped with barbecue sauce for the last bit of cooking.  It’s pretty delicious.

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I was asked to come up with a vegan main course for a St. Patrick’s Day event where the main course was going to be corned beef.  This was a nice (and perhaps selfish)  challenge for me since even though I have gotten used to eating around the main course or making side dishes into dinner, its always nice to have a dinner option available.  Vegetarians and vegans are often in a pickle at parties where a vegetarian/vegan option isn’t being served.  We don’t want to be perceived as difficult or judgey, but then again we won’t eat the meat option and we are hungry too.  So when someone goes to the trouble to make sure there is something meat free , I am beyond grateful.

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I used to love my Mom’s meatloaf which was based on a Quaker Rolled Oats recipe from the 1960’s.  It was a huge hit in my house and now that there are so many good meat substitutes available, I decided to give meatloaf another whirl but using Beyond Meat ground beef substitute instead of actual ground beef. If you are interested in the health aspects or nutritional information, check out  Beyond Meat. I chose to make mini meatloaves because they are easier to serve than slicing, and they are darned cute.  You can use a mini meatloaf pan or hand form the meatloaves onto a glass baking dish or cooking sheet with a rim.

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You can also make a traditional large meatloaf using a loaf pan or free formed onto a baking dish.  This recipe is makes eight mini meatloaves. You can cut the recipe in half for four servings if you prefer.  Or you can make one large meatloaf.  Form meatloaf mixture with your hands into 10×6-inch loaf on glass baking dish or cooking sheet with a rim. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until meatloaf is firm and has a nice crust. Add barbecue sauce for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes to ensure easy slicing.

I used real eggs as a binder, compliments of my backyard rescue chickens whom I consider ambassadors for all factory animals. Here’s my sister, Margaret, with Margaret the chicken. Aren’t they cute?  Check out their facebook page Mrs V’s Rescue Chickens.   If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to pasture raised chicken eggs or you don’t use eggs at all, there are really good options beyond making a flax egg (1 Tablespoon flax seeds to 3 Tablespoons water equals 1 egg).  I have had success using Just Egg but there is also Follow Your Heart and Red Hill Egg Replacer neither of which I have tried.

Tips:

Mini meatloaves can be made ahead of time, which is a nice time saver if you are hosting an event.  Uncooked loaves can be covered in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to cook.  Just bring to room temperature before cooking to ensure even cooking.  Cooked meatloaves can be frozen for about three months and microwave well once defrosted.

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VEGAN MEATLOAF

  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pkgs of @beyondmeat Beyond Burgers  (2 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs or vegan egg substitute (*see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce or gf soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce

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  • Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until tender, remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Combine all ingredients except for barbecue sauce in a large bowl.

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  • Mix well using a large wooden spoon (or I prefer to use my hands)

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  • Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into small loaves and place on an oiled baking sheet, or spoon into oiled mini loaf pans, forming a rounded top on each one.

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  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, spread with barbecue sauce or ketchup and cook another 15 minutes,

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Vegan Mini Meatloaves

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pkgs of @beyondmeat Beyond Burgers  (2 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute (*see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup

 

  1. Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until tender, remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for barbecue sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Mix well using a large wooden spoon (or I prefer to use my hands)
  4. Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into small loaves and place on an oiled baking sheet, or spoon into oiled mini loaf pans, forming a rounded top on each one.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, spread with barbecue sauce or ketchup and cook another 15 minutes,

 

Meatless Monday – Tofu ‘Steaks’ with Chimichurri Sauce

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When I made this the first time, I declared it a place where meat lovers and vegans can co-exist in happiness.  I just made it again and I still agree. Here is a  ‘steak’ a meat lover will find tasty and satisfying while a vegetarian will be in raptures…  It takes less than 30 minutes and will not disapoint.    Last time, I served the tofu steaks with brown rice and broccoli with a healthy dose of chimichurri over everything which was hearty and satisfying.  This time, I served with a simple salad of lettuces and edible flowers that I had just picked from my garden.  It’s a hot day so it was perfect.

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Each tofu steak is a hefty seven ounces although my husband has a hearty appetite and usually eats his and goes back for seconds, so I need to use two blocks of tofu if I’m serving a large eater.  I also like to make sure there are leftovers for lunch.  Its really good cold too. The tofu is first brushed with a spicy and savory marinade and then pan seared and topped with a fresh and zesty chimichurri sauce, a South and Latin American condiment that is loaded with chili peppers, fresh herbs and garlic.  Chimichurri is good on almost anything and it can be made spicy or mild depending on your taste, which is why its so popular.  Originating in Argentina, it is commonly used to top grilled steak, which is one reason it’s so good on this dish.

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Even though the tofu should be allowed to drain for about 10 minutes, this recipe still takes less than 30 minutes.  Just slice the tofu and let it drain.  While it’s draining, prepare the chimichurri sauce and the marinade.  Using a food processor for the shimichurri sauce saves time and results in a smoother sauce.  Brush the tofu with the marinade and let sit while you prepare the rice or other veggies you’re serving.  The tofu only takes about 6 minutes to cook.  Easy, fast, delicious!

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Tofu steaks can be cut in two sizes, depending on preferences.  One block serves two people, unless you have someone with a large appetite, in which you can double the recipe.  I loved the thickness (about one inch) of the steaks and my husband loved the size (7 oz each).  Tofu is normally cut into thinner slices or cubes so this is a nice difference. The outside was so flavorful and the inside had a wonderful creamy consistency that you don’t get with thinner pieces.  For 7 oz steaks, stand the tofu on end and slice vertically to get two one inch thick pieces. For 3.5 oz steaks, cut each half in half. Pictured below.

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TOFU ‘STEAKS’ WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

15 – 16 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
1 bunch broccolini(optional)
1 cup brown rice (optional)

Tofu Marinade:
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes-or both)

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  •  Drain tofu and stand it on it’s end and cut in half vertically on the narrow side so you end up with two wide one inch slices.  Place tofu on double thick paper towels and top with another paper towel and place something heavy (like a cast iron pan) on top to help press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes. Tofu can be cut into 7 oz or 3/5 oz ‘steaks’.  See TIPS.

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  • Mix all Chimichurri ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. For a finer sauce, pulse in food processor.

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  • Combine tofu marinade ingredients and brush them onto tofu covering top, bottom and all sides.  Marinade should be fairly thick and pasty. Set aside.

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  • If you are serving with rice, get it started.  If you are preparing a vegetable, like baby broccolini, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute broccolini with some chopped garlic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and tent with foil or cover and use a new pan for the tofu.

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  • Add more oil to the pan if necessary, or use a grill pan or grill, and heat on medium high until almost smoking.  Add tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes.

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  • Serve with a big spoonful of chimichurri sauce.

Tofu Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TOFU STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150427_194425

15 – 16 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
1 bunch broccolini(optional)
1 cup brown rice (optional)

Tofu Marinade:
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes-or both)

  •  Drain tofu and stand it on it’s end and cut in half vertically on the narrow side so you end up with two wide one inch slices.  Place tofu on double thick paper towels and top with another paper towel and place something heavy (like a cast iron pan) on top to help press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes.  Tofu can be cut into 7 oz or 3/5 oz ‘steaks’.  See TIPS.
  • Mix all Chimichurri ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, pulse in the food processor.
  • Combine tofu marinade ingredients and brush them onto tofu covering top, bottom and all sides.  Set aside.
  • If you are serving with rice, get it started.  If you are preparing a vegetable, like baby broccolini, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute broccolini with some chopped garlic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and tent with foil or cover and use a new pan for the tofu.
  • Add more oil to the pan if necessary, or use a grill pan or grill, and heat on medium high until almost smoking.  Add tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
  • Turn and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve with a big spoonful of chimichurri sauce.

 

 

Vegetarian “Beef” Enchiladas

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Okay, these are seriously good!  I was experimenting with a couple of vegetarian enchilada recipes last week as potential Superbowl options and we liked both.  I posted the Vegetable Enchiladas recipe for Meatless Monday and here is the second recipe, as promised. These enchiladas are based on a typical enchilada recipe using ground beef but using vegan ‘beef’ crumbles instead with surprisingly good results.  My meat lovers claimed they couldn’t taste the difference.  I also added whole corn kernels and fire roasted canned tomatoes to round out the flavors. It’s very easy to make this vegan by using a vegan cheese.

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Historically, I have not been a fan of substitute or vegan ‘meat’ products, just because I don’t usually like them.  However, the vegan food industry is exploding with really great products and Beyond Meat, in particular, has opened up a whole new world of vegan meat substitutes.  Their Beef-Free Crumbles are soy and gluten free.  They are made from a pea protein and provide the same amount of protein as ground beef but only half of the fat (which is canola oil). I have liked every product that I have tried so far, so you may see a few more recipes in the future using their products.  And for the record, they don’t pay me to promote their products or even know about my little blog (unfortunately). A couple of my other favorite vegan products are Miyoko’s vegan butter (and her soft cheeses), Kite Hill Ricotta and Just Mayo (which is also made from pea protein).  All three products are as good as or better than their dairy counterparts.

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TIPS:  I found that 6 enchiladas fit easily in a 13 x 9 glass baking dish. If you don’t have a larger one, you may want a little extra sauce.  Do not forget to heat the tortillas before filling them or they will split.

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“BEEF” ENCHILADAS

  • 1 15 oz can Red Enchilada Sauce (or more if using multiple pans)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 16 oz package frozen Beyond Beef crumbles
  • 1 15 oz can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained
  • 4 oz Diced green chile peppers, drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (or half pepper jack cheese)
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 4 oz can sliced black olives (optional)

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  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 2 13×9-inch glass baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of baking dishes.

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  • Saute chopped onion until soft and translucent.  Add ‘beef’ crumbles and cook several minutes. Remove from heat.

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  • Stir in drained tomatoes, drained chilis, corn and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

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  • Warm tortillas in damp papertowels in the microwave for 30-45 seconds to make them pliable and prevent splitting. Spread the middle of each tortilla with 1/4 cup ‘beef’ mixture. Roll up and place seam-side down in baking dish.

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  • Spoon remaining sauce over top of enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Garnish with black olives or sliced jalapenos, if desired.

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  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 20-25 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and cheese melts.

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  • Servings: 12 enchiladas
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 15 oz can Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 16 oz package frozen Beyond Beef crumbles
  • 1 15 oz can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained
  • 4 oz Diced green chile peppers, drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (or half pepper jack cheese)
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 4 oz can sliced black olives (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of baking dish. If you are using more than one dish, you may want extra sauce.
  2. Saute chopped onion until soft and transluscent.  Add ‘beef’ crumbles and cook several minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in drained tomatoes, drained chilis, corn and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
  4. Warm tortillas in damp papertowels in the microwave for 30-45 seconds to make them pliable and prevent splitting.  Spread the middle of each tortilla with 1/4 cup ‘beef’ mixture. Roll up and place seam-side down in baking dish.
  5. Spoon remaining sauce over top of enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Garnish with black olives or sliced jalapenos, if desired.
  6. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 20-25 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and cheese melts.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

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These cheesy grainfree breadsticks are a guaranteed winner!  They are yummy enough to satisfy that carb craving that we all know so well, without adding empty calories and they are wheat and gluten free. This is one of the blog posts that went missing during my technically challenged summer, however, I certainly didn’t mind ‘having’ to make it again.  The first time I spread the cauliflower ‘dough’ into rectangles  (like a sheet pizza) and cut it into strips to serve.

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This time I decided to try making into individual strips or bars which can be picked up by hand to eat.  I am a crispy crust lover so I figured this would maximize the crispy edges and I was not disappointed.  I sprinkled the cooked breadsticks with fresh basil but you could also provide warm tomato sauce or pesto for dipping.

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Cauliflower is a great carb substitute and provides vitamins, and minerals plus fiber and very few calories (only 27 per cup), very low fat and no cholesterol.  It is a surprisingly excellent source of Vitamin C which we need more of, especially this time of year as flu season approaches.

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This recipe can also be used as a pizza, either rectangular or round.  Just add tomato or pesto sauce.  I would go light on toppings as it may not hold up. Here is a photo of my first Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks based on the recipe from Jo Cooks.com

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I have blogged about Cauliflower Pizza before.  My older recipe calls for the addition of almond flour which makes it more of a traditional crust and great for lots of toppings.  Check out my original recipe for Cauliflower Crust Pizza which also featured caramelized onions and mushrooms.

 

I have the luxury of fresh eggs from my own backyard hens.  I have 9 hens, most of whom have been rescued from Factory Farms where they lived in warehouses and never got a chance to go outside or eat fresh food.  (Yes, even my organic cage free hens.)  You can follow my ‘girls’ on their Facebook Page  Mrs Vs Rescue Chickens.  However, if you don’t have access to backyard chickens, please buy Pasture Raised eggs from the store.  That is the ONLY label that means that the hens got a chance to go outside.

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TIPS:  I used a food processor to ‘rice’ my cauliflower which is very easy, however, I am starting to see Cauliflower Rice in stores (even Costco) if you are looking for a shortcut. Then I steamed the cauliflower rice in the microwave which is the easiest way to ensure you don’t have excess moisture. If you prefer not to use a microwave, you can steam the cauliflower on the stovetop with a bit of water before ricing.  Just make sure any excess water is removed by squeezing with papertowels.

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CHEESY CAULIFLOWER BREADSTICKS

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a blend of cheeses)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh basil, chopped (optional topping)
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  • Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare 2 pizza dishes or a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

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  • Remove outer leaves and roughly chop cauliflower into florets.

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  • Add the florets to a food processor or blender and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.

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  • Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover. Microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool.

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  • Stir in the oregano, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste (before adding the eggs) and adjust spices if necessary.

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  • Mix in eggs and 2 cups mozzarella.

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  • Divide the mixture in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into individual strips (about 5 or 6 to a pan) or into a rectangular shape that you will cut into breadsticks later.

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  • Bake the crust (without toppings) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. You may have to push the sides back in with a spatula if you see spreading.

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  • Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

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  • Serve with fresh basil.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a blend of cheeses)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh basil, chopped (optional topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare 2 pizza dishes or a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove outer leaves and roughly chop cauliflower into florets.
  3. Add the florets to a food processor or blender and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.
  4. Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover. Microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Stir in the oregano, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste (before adding the eggs) and adjust spices if necessary.
  6. Mix in eggs and 2 cups mozzarella.
  7. Divide the mixture in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into individual strips (about 6 to a pan) or into a rectangular shape that you will cut into breadsticks later.
  8. Bake the crust (without toppings) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. You may have to push the sides back in with a spatula if you see spreading.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  10. Serve with fresh basil.

 

Meatless Monday – Grilled Tofu with Jalapeno Pesto

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If summertime means throwing something on the grill for dinner, but you are trying to eat less meat for whatever reason, well this one is for you and ready in less than 30 minutes!  This tofu is grilled to crispy perfection on the outside but creamy on the inside and topped with a spicy, savory jalapeno pesto that will become your new favorite. Trust me, you will want to put it on everything! The first time I made this for an omnivorous crowd, I had to defend the platter from my meat eating friends to make sure there was something left for the vegetarians.  The next time I made a double portion and  it still disappeared…20160702_164054

I happen to be a big fan of tofu, and it’s an obvious and easy meat substitute, however many people think it’s boring-or even unhealthy.  90% of soy is GMO (genetically modified and pesticide laden) and most of that is processed to make soy bean oil.  What remains after the oil has been extracted is called soybean meal, much of which is fed to livestock (read meat) or turned into processed foods as soy protein. (both soybean oil and most soy protein should be avoided) Unlike soy protein, tofu is minimally processed and usually made from organic soybeans . Tofu is a great source of protein that is free from unhealthy animal fats. Best of all, it’s bland flavor allows flavors to be absorbed making it quite an adaptable food. It can be stewed, fried, grilled, baked, blended into sauces or even as a pizza topping. (Stay tuned for next week’s Barbecued Tofu Pizza which was also a fan favorite).-Joyce

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GRILLED TOFU WITH JALAPENO PESTO

1 block extra firm tofu
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

JALAPENO PESTO
1 cup cilantro or parsley
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 jalapeno or red chili peppers
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts or pistachios

  •  Drain tofu and slice in half horizontally, then slice in half again, leaving 4 thick rectangular pieces.  You can cut those in half or leave as is. Place tofu slices in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels. Cover with another double layer and place a heavy object on top to help press the water out of the tofu. Let sit for at least 10 minutes or more.

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  • In a large ziplock bag, place olive oil, garlic and spices and shake to combine. Carefully arrange tofu in a single layer to the bag, seal and allow marinade to cover all sides. Set aside.

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  • Seed jalapenos and pulse them in a food processor until minced.  Add remaining ingredients, except for olive oil and pulse until if forms a paste. While running, pour in olive oil and pulse until combine. Spoon into a serving dish and set aside.

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  • Preheat oiled grill until smoking hot, about 550 degrees. Grill tofu in a single layer about 5 minutes per side.  Grill marks should be visible.

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  • Remove tofu to a serving platter and serve with jalapeno pesto.

Grilled Tofu with Jalapeno Pesto

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup cilantro or parsley
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 jalapeno or red chili peppers
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts or pistachios

  •  Drain tofu and slice in half horizontally, then slice in half again, leaving 4 thick rectangular pieces.  You can cut those in half or leave as is.
  • Place tofu slices in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels. Cover with another double layer and place a heavy object on top to help press the water out of the tofu. Let sit for at least 10 minutes or more.
  • In a large ziplock bag, place olive oil, garlic and spices and shake to combine.
  • Carefully arrange tofu in a single layer to the bag, seal and allow marinade to cover all sides. Set aside.
  • Seed jalapenos and pulse them in a food processor until minced.  Add remaining ingredients, except for olive oil and pulse until if forms a paste. While running, pour in olive oil and pulse until combine.
  • Spoon into a serving dish and set aside.
  • Preheat oiled grill until smoking hot, about 550 degrees. Grill tofu in a single layer about 5 minutes per side.  Grill marks should be visible.
  • Remove tofu to a serving platter and serve with jalapeno pesto.

Asian Lettuce Cups with Hearts of Palm (Vegan)

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Lettuce wraps are fan favorites of those trying to eliminate carbs, gluten or calories.  I just love them because they’re delicious with their warm, savory filling wrapped in cool and crispy lettuce leaves, topped with shredded veggies, salted peanuts and chili peppers. The best part is that they are easy to make and ready in about 15 minutes.  My son, Jackson, loves the Chicken Lettuce Wraps at our local Japanese restaurant.  I wanted to make a similar version at home but without the chicken and I may have taken some liberties but the concept is the same.  I used hearts of palm in place of meat in my Barbecue Pulled “Pork” Sliders with great success and thought I would see how it does as a substitute for chicken.  Well, the results were a resounding “Yum!”.  Click on the link below for the Slider recipe:

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2015/09/21/meatless-monday-barbecue-pulled-pork-sliders-with-spicy-slaw-vegan/

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I had warned that hearts of palm would be showing up in more recipes, especially once I realized that they are such a good meat substitute, both in taste and texture but also from a nutritional standpoint.  Hearts of Palm is harvested from the inner, less fibrous, part of various palm trees, most commonly the cabbage palm. It is definitely not empty calories as I originally thought. Hearts of Palm is naturally low in calories, at only 41 calories per cup(146 grams). It is also very low in Cholesterol and a good source of Protein (four grams in one cup), Riboflavin and Potassium, and a very good source of Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese. That is quite a list for the unassuming hearts of palm.

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TIPS: I love the crispy, juiciness of iceberg lettuce for wraps but butter lettuce, romaine or even kale or collard greens would work too if you like something a bit more substantial.  I recommend setting up a toppings bar and letting everyone decorate their own.  My favorites are roasted peanuts, scallions and red chili peppers but the sky is the limit.  Use your imagination. Sriracha is a good option too.

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ASIAN LETTUCE CUPS WITH HEARTS OF PALM

1 can hearts of palm
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 large red onion (or yellow onion)
4 cloves garlic
1 zucchini (optional)
6 brown mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce (or gf liquid aminos)
1 Tbsn rice vinegar
1 Tbsn sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

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TOPPINGS

8 lettuce leaves
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
2 scallions, sliced or julienned
2 red chili peppers, chopped or julienned
Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

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  • Drain hearts of palm and water chestnuts.  Roughly chop both and set aside

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  • Cut onion into small dice and chop garlic.  Prepare toppings, either slice, chop or julienne scallions and peppers. Coarsely chop peanuts. Cut stem end from lettuce and gently separate leaves.

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  • Heat olive oil on medium high in a heavy pan and brown onions, garlic and hearts of palm.  Cook about five minutes, or until veggies are seared and browned but not burnt.

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  • Reduce heat and add water chestnuts and zucchini/mushrooms and saute for a few minutes.

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  • Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey in a small bowl.  Pour over veggie mixture and cook several minutes.

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  • To serve, spoon veggie filling into  lettuce cups (I like a double cup). Top with scallions, peppers and peanuts.  Drizzle with srirachia, if desired.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

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1 can hearts of palm
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 large red onion (or yellow onion)
4 cloves garlic
1 zucchini (optional)
6 brown mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsn rice vinegar (or gf liquid aminos)
1 Tbsn sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

TOPPINGS

8 lettuce leaves
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
2 scallions, sliced or julienned
2 red chili peppers, chopped or julienned
Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

  • Drain hearts of palm and water chestnuts.  Roughly chop both and set aside
  • Cut onion into small dice and chop garlic.  Prepare toppings, either slice, chop or julienne scallions and peppers. Coarsely chop peanuts. Cut stem end from lettuce and gently separate leaves.
  • Heat olive oil on medium high in a heavy pan and brown onions, garlic and hearts of palm.  Cook about five minutes, or until veggies are seared and browned but not burnt.
  • Reduce heat and add water chestnuts and zucchini/mushrooms and saute for a few minutes.
  • Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey in a small bowl.  Pour over veggie mixture and cook several minutes.
  • To serve, spoon veggie filling into  lettuce cups (I like a double cup)
  • Top with scallions, peppers and peanuts.  Drizzle with srirachia, if desired.

Root Vegetable Chips with Two Dips

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Root vegetables, I know – they’re homely and mostly relegated to salads and stews… but not any more!  These root vegetable chips will please almost anyone, especially people who love savory snacks!  They are like a potato chip on steroids, more flavorful and more healthful. Parsnips, red, yellow and pink striped chiogga beets sliced thinly, brushed with olive oil, dusted with salt and pepper, and baked into crispy chips.  They are absolutely delicious and crunchy and  a great way to get people to eat more non-traditional veggies.  I mean, who eats parsnips?  Well, a whole group of people ate them and came back for more at my house the other night.  I served them with a homemade Lemon, Parmesan Aioli (my go-to dip) and a traditional guacamole, but really they were good enough to stand up on their own. The dips are just extra for people (like me) whole love a good creamy dip or thinks chips can’t be served without guacamole.

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I owe the idea for these veggie chips to my sister, Carole. Last weekend I attended a family event and stayed with Carole, who had a recipe for making chips from root vegetables that she wanted to try.  I had never made them before but we had fun making them together and were happy with the results.  They are very easy to make if you have a mandolin.  Just peel and slice the veggies and bake them on low heat for an hour and a half or so until they are crispy.  The original recipe my sister used called for them to be cooked at 195 degrees which I eventually increased the heat because they weren’t crisping fast enough for us. There are many root chip recipes out there that call for various oven temperatures (even up to 400) and lengths of time (as little as 30 minutes) but most of the commentary was not positive.  I decided this time to bake at 250 degrees because so much flavor is retained with the low temperature and there is little chance of burning.  It’s almost like speed dehydrating but it works and everyone loved the results!

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Root vegetables are a treasure chest of nutrients in spite of their unattractive and intimidating outer appearance.  However, once you cut them open, their jewel toned flesh is revealed.   These intense colors are not just gorgeous, they are indicative of their rich nutritional value.  Root vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and potassium that they absorb from the ground and they are an excellent source of fiber. Even parsnips, which look like white carrots, are loaded with nutrients like their more colorful cousins. Use a combination for maximum nutrition and to ‘Eat the Rainbow”.

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TIPS:  I sliced the parsnips and the chiogga beets on my mandoline on the thinnest setting  but sliced the red and yellow beets on the second setting because  I wanted to see if there was a difference in quality.  The thicker beets took about 20 minutes longer to cook and were definitly thicker.  The thicker you slice, the longer they take to crisp and the yield is smaller.  I prefered the thinner chips but the crowd preference was pretty split between thick and thin.  For thin slices, you will need one baking sheet per vegetable.

When selecting root vegetables from the market, choose larger specimens as they shrink quite a bit during baking.  Also choose smoother skinned ones, if possible.  The ‘hairy’ parts are harder to peel, in fact, I had to use the tip of my peeler to remove them.

Using an olive oil spray makes prep easy and fast but you can also use the old fashioned oil and brush. Feel free to add other spices before baking. Chili, curry or garlic powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper are all good choices.

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ROOT VEGETABLE CHIPS

  • 4 root vegetables(any combination of beets, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, sweet potato, etc)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Peel and trim root vegetables

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  • Using a mandolin or sharp knife thinly slice vegetables lengthwise

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  • Spray or brush oil on the bottom of each baking sheet and arrange veggie slices in a single layer. Spray or brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

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  • Bake at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.  Thicker slices can take up to two hours. Remove from oven when crispy and let cool

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  • Serve with dips if desired. (I made a quick Lemon Parmesan Aioli  and guacamole)

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LEMON PARMESAN AIOLI

  • 1/2 cup mayo (I love Just Mayo)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest from one lemon
  1. Combine all ingredients and spoon into a small serving bowl

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QUICK GUACAMOLE

  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice and salt.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and spoon into a serving bowl.

 

Root Vegetable Chips

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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ROOT VEGETABLE CHIPS

  • 4 root vegetables(any combination of beets, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, sweet potato, etc)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Peel and trim root vegetables
  2. Using a mandolin or sharp knife thinly slice vegetables lengthwise
  3. Spray or brush oil on the bottom of each baking sheet and arrange veggie slices in a single layer
  4. Spray or brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Bake at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.  Thicker slices can take up to two hours.
  6. Remove from oven when crispy and let cool
  7. Serve with dips if desired.

LEMON PARMESAN AIOLI

  • 1/2 cup mayo (I love Just Mayo)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest from one lemon
  1. Combine all ingredients and spoon into a small serving bowl

QUICK GUACAMOLE

  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice and salt.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and spoon into a serving bowl.
 

Wheatless Wednesday – Easy Roasted Sole with Lemon & Capers

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Easy and delicious! Forget fussing over fancy sauces or breading and frying.  This is a winner in every way! Delicate fillets of sole roasted in a sauce of lemon, capers, parsley, green onions and butter (of course). Best of all, it is ready in less than half hour and  it’s  such a pretty dish, your family will be impressed.

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I pretty much love anything that is cooked with lemon, butter, garlic and fresh herbs, so it’s no surprise that I liked this dish so much.  I mean, how can you go wrong?  Just toss it all together, throw it in the oven and voila! Dinner is served.  I served the sole with sauteed spinach and a combination of long grain brown and wild rice, which was great in sopping up the yummy lemon butter and provided fiber along with bumping up the nutrients.

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We all know that fish is a good, lean source of protein that is low in calories and fat but high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B. When deciding to prepare fish, make sure it comes from a sustainable source.  Seafood Watch is a great source of information on purchasing seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that have less of an impact on the environment and the species.  They recommend that the Best Choice is to buy sole from the Western United States and The Gulf of Alaska.

TIPS:  If you can’t find sole, you can substitute another light fish, like flounder or seabass. Sole is very thin so most people will eat 2 or 3 fillets, so gauge your audience and their appetites.  You can also substitute shallots for the sliced green onions and chives for the slivered scallions, if need be.  Non dairy people can successfully use a non-dairy butter  that has been cultured, like Miyoko’s.  This is an easy company dish that can be prepared before guests arrive and roasted just before salads are served.  If you platter the sole, make sure you save the yummy juice to pour over side dishes or vegetables.

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EASY OVEN ROASTED SOLE

  • 1.5 lb Sole fillets (about a dozen thin fillets)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsn capers
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 Tbsn parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
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  • Zest lemon and then squeeze the juice.

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  • In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and melted butter, garlic, salt and pepper.

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  • Rinse and dry fish fillets and arrange them in a single layer in a large oiled baking pan.  Overlapping is fine if you need to fit them in the pan.

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  • Pour the lemon butter sauce over the fish.

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  • Slice half of the scallions into thin circles and slice the rest in half vertically and then into thin julienne slivers.
  • Sprinkle the fish with capers, parsley, lemon zest and green onion circles. Top with lemon slices and scallion slivers.

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  • Roast at 400 degrees F-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Broil the last 5 minutes. (Yes, it’s done.  Don’t overcook!)

 

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  • Remove from the oven and serve warm. (That’s my plate.  You can tell I like my greens…)

Easy Oven Roasted Sole with Lemon and Capers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1.5 lb Sole fillets (about a dozen thin fillets)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsn capers
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Zest lemon and then squeeze the juice. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and melted butter.
  2. Rinse and dry fish fillets and arrange them in a single layer in a large oiled baking pan.  Overlapping is fine if you need to fit them in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the lemon butter sauce over the fish.
  4. Slice half of the scallions into thin circles and slice the rest in half vertically and then into thin julienne slivers.
  5. Sprinkle the fish with capers, lemon zest, green onion circles and parsley.
  6. Top with lemon slices and scallion slivers.
  7. Roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Broil the last 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Wheatless Wednesday – Eggplant Fans

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Here is a ‘twist’ that you will LOVE on the traditional eggplant parm. (pun intended) Whenever I suggest making Eggplant Parmesan for dinner, my husband’s eyes light up.  It’s one of his favorite vegetarian dishes.  This time, however, I decided to shake it up; same old ingredients but different preparation. This version is not breaded and fried but sliced and stuffed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, fresh mozzarella and herbs, then baked to a golden brown and melty goodness.  A sprinkling of parmesan on top adds to a nice golden crust.

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Eggplant and tomatoes make a good couple, which is why you see them paired together so often along with fresh basil and a variety of cheeses.    I used fresh mozzarella and parmesan but you could easily use crumbled feta or goat cheese depending on your preferences or what you have in your refrigerator. Eggplant is one of the few vegetables that are filling enough to star as a main course. I used medium/large eggplants and found that the two eggplants served four people but those with large appetites may not agree.  In addition to being a favorite and versatile veggie, eggplant provides quite an impressive array of nutrients. Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and copper. It is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and vitamin K as well as phytonutrients.

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TIPS: My new favorite kitchen hack is olive oil in a spray bottle. It makes brushing slices of anything SO much easier and with better coverage.  You can use your own olive oil in a plastic or metal spray bottle or you can purchase it from most stores.  They have come a long way since PAM.  Just make sure it’s a good quality of oil.  Avocado oil is a good choice too.

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EGGPLANT TOMATO FANS
2 medium to large eggplant
3-4 large tomatoes
10-12 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt
1/4- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
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  • Slice the egg plant lengthwise into thin slices taking care to keep the stem end attached.

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  • Salt each slice and let rest for 20 or 30 minutes to relase the excess water and any bitterness. Spray or brush olive or avocado oil onto all the slices.

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  • Layer tomato slices, mozzarella, garlic, half of basil and parsley in between each eggplant slice.

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  • Transfer to a baking dish and lightly press to flatten. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and bake for about an hour at 400 degrees. If too much water has been released into the pan, use a turkey baster to remove some of it.  The rest will evaporate.

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  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake another 20 minutes or so until golden brown and melty.

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  • Top with remaining fresh basil and serve hot or warm.

Eggplant Fans

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 medium to large eggplant
3-4 large tomatoes
10-12 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt
1/4- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Slice the egg plant lengthwise into thin slices taking care to keep the stem end attached.
  • Salt each slice and let rest for 20 or 30 minutes to relase the excess water and any bitterness.
  • Spray or brush olive or avocado oil onto all the slices.
  • Layer tomato slices, mozzarella, garlic, half of basil and parsley in between each eggplant slice.
  • Transfer to a baking dish and lightly press to flatten. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and bake for about an hour at 400 degrees. If too much water has been released into the pan, use a turkey baster to remove some of it.  The rest will evaporate.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake another 20 minutes or so until golden brown and melty.
  • Top with remaining fresh basil and serve hot or warm.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Avocado Citrus Dressing

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As promised, I tested the Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing from my Buzzfeed Life FB Post on Monday (25 Clean Eating Meals For Vegetarians). I mean, it has many of my food loves all in one bowl.  How could I resist – and why?  Of course I put my own spin on the original recipe, which will surprise no one. This salad is delicious and very satisfying with two great sources of protein in the red quinoa and black beans.  The avocado, in both the salad and in the dressing, adds a healthy fat and helps keep your belly feeling full and happy.  The Avocado Citrus Dressing is divine, just the right balance of creamy, savory and sweet and it’s easy to make spicy if that’s where your tastebuds are headed. Don’t be afraid to toss in a few tortilla chips to enhance the Mexican flavors of this dish.

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I like to use red quinoa in dishes that would normally be filled with ground beef or some other meat protein because it makes such a good substitute in both taste and texture. Quinoa is naturally high in protein and loaded with nutrition but low in fat and calories.  With the addition of black beans, this ‘salad’ becomes a real main course contender.  My meat eaters love it!  Red quinoa has a great consistency and when sauteed with onions, garlic and spices, just like you would with ground beef, it really picks up those savory flavors nicely. In fact, this black bean quinoa mixture is a great base for tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas or any other dish requiring a Mexican inspired filling.

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The vegetable toppings on this salad are so colorful, making this a dish worthy of company – or that pot luck that you never know what to bring.  It can be served slightly warm or at room temperature, making it a great busy day meal, especially when you have people going in many different directions.  If it were summer and corn was in season, I would use raw or grilled fresh corn kernels.  Since it’s winter, I used defrosted uncooked frozen corn. Each of these colorful veggies adds a whole new wealth of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants which is why we should try to Eat the Rainbow every day.

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Have you ever wondered how restaurants serve orange segments that are bright orange and have no pith?  Don’t peel them. Just cut off the top and then slice around the sides, then cut off the bottom.  Remove any remaining pith and then slice into gorgeous segments.  Yes, you lose a bit of the flesh but the result is so pretty and has no tough skins or bitter pith.  If you don’t care about that, peel and segment. Done!

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TIPS: This salad can be prepared as a layered, tossed or composed salad.  You can also make one large salad or prepare individual salad plates and cater to each of your diner’s tastes.  I combined the black beans with the quinoa mixture so that the beans would also absorb the garlic, onion and spice flavors.  If you want to make a composed or layered salad and want to keep the ingredients separate, you can serve the beans warmed up or room temperature.  I think they are fine plain with their natural salty flavor or you can sprinkle the beans with a bit of the spices and toss to coat.
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Original recipe from Minimalist Baker (link below).

MEXICAN QUINOA BLACK BEAN SALAD
  • 1/2 cup red or white quinoa (1 cup cooked )
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed or 1 1/2 cup cooked
  • 5-6 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2  ripe avocado, sliced or chopped
  • 1 4 oz can sliced or whole black olives (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno or red chili pepper, sliced or diced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup tortilla chips (optional)

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DRESSING
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 large lime, juiced  (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro or parsley
  • 3-4 Tbsn olive oil or avocado oil
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  • Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then bring to a boil with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes or until the little ‘tails’ come out. Set aside

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  • Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

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  • Add quinoa and spices to the onion mixture and saute several minutes. Taste and add another 1/4 teaspoon of each spice if desired.  If you like it spicy, add 1/4 teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper.

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  • Add black beans to the quinoa mixture (If you like a composed salad, skip this step and add the black beans separately to the salad. See TIPS.) Remove from heat and set aside. NOTE:  This quinoa black bean mixture is a great base for tacos or any other Mexican recipe.

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  • While quinoa is cooling, prepare vegetables.

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  • Place lettuces in a large bowl or on individual serving plates.

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  • Layer with warm or room temperature (not hot) quinoa mixture and top with corn, avocado, red onion, orange segments and olives.

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  • Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. For a less creamy dressing, leave out the avocado and simply whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

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Drizzle dressing over salad and top with cilantro and tortilla chips, if desired.  Serve with lime wedges and extra hot sauce.cre

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1/2 cup red or white quinoa (1 cup cooked )
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed or 1 1/2 cup cooked
  • 5-6 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2  ripe avocado, sliced or chopped
  • 1 4 oz can sliced or whole black olives (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno or red chili pepper, sliced or diced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup tortilla chips (optional)
DRESSING
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 large lime, juiced (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder (or sub extra hot sauce or chipotle powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro or parsley
  • 3-4 Tbsn olive oil or avocado oil
  1. Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then bring to a boil with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes or until the little ‘tails’ come out. Set aside
  2. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add quinoa and spices to the onion mixture and saute several minutes. Taste and add another 1/4 teaspoon of each spice if desired.  If you like it spicy, add 1/4 teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper.
  4. Add black beans to the quinoa mixture (If you like a composed salad, skip this step and add the black beans separately to the salad. See TIPS.) Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Place lettuces in a large bowl or on individual serving plates.
  6. Layer with warm or room temperature (not hot) quinoa mixture
  7. Top with corn, avocado, red onion, orange segments and olives.
  8. Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. For a less creamy dressing, leave out the avocado and simply whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
  9. Drizzle orange lime dressing over salad and adorn with cilantro and tortilla chips, if desired.  Serve with lime wedges and extra hot sauce.

Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker, a great cooking site worth checking out.  

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

Green Bean & Chick Pea Salad with Goat Cheese & Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

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Sometimes I want a salad that goes beyond lettuce and vegetables, one that is hearty enough to have for dinner.  This green bean salad has it all; garbanzo beans for protein and bulk, spicy radiches, sweet cherry tomatoes and creamy goat cheese drizzled with a fresh herb vinaigrette.  I loved the combination of flavors and colors in this salad, with it’s array of green, red, purple, yellow, beige and white.  (Yes, even the beige and white provide important nutrients). You know when your meal is colorful that you are doing a good job of eating the rainbow. In other words, you are getting a wide assortment of nutrients from your food.

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Each color provides something different, which is why it’s a good idea to eat a variety of foods. The star of this salad, though is the green beans which I think are often forgotten about except for at Thanksgiving when Aunt Ellie brings out her traditional Green Bean Casserole topped with fried onions(Although I have to admit it’s one of my favorites too).  Green beans are a great base for a salad and pair nicely with beans, mushrooms or potatoes to provide a substantial belly-filling meal.  

Health Benefits of Green Beans

Green beans are low in calories and fat and contain no cholesterol. The fiber content of green beans is very high, and it also provides some of your daily protein requirements. They also act as an easy source for acquiring vitamins like A, C, K, B6, and folic acid. In terms of minerals, green beans are a good source of calcium, silicon, iron, manganese, potassium, and copper.

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I got the idea for the vinaigrette from a bit of Lemon Parsley Pesto that was left from my https://goodmotherdiet.com/2016/02/08/meatless-monday-roasted-artichokes-fennel-with-lemon-parsley-pesto/ post on Monday.  I had loved the flavors and thought it would make a good dressing, and it did!  So I recreated the recipe as a vinaigrette which you can make with or without the nuts, which I love and include every time I get a chance.  I did not include parmesan because I was already adding goat cheese to the salad, and I thought it might get too heavy, but you could certainly include a tablespoon of that as well, especially if you aren’t adding cheese to your salad.

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TIPS:  You can make the whole salad ahead of time and either let it rest, undressed, on the counter or in the refrigerator covered with a paper towel. You can also prepare the beans and vinaigrette the day before and toss the salad when ready.  Or if you are in a real hurry, just use your favorite prepared salad dressing. I like to make a lot of different salad dressings and recently bought several small glass containers, like the one I used for this vinaigrette, from The Container Store.  I usually don’t use it all and that way I always have a good homemade dressing ready to go.

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GREEN BEAN AND CHICK PEAS WITH LEMON HERB VINAIGRETTE

1 lb fresh green beans
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 radishes
6-8 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup feta, goat cheese (or vegan cheese), crumbled (optional)
small handful arugula or whole sprigs parsley(optional)

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Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

1/4 cup lemon juice (plus zest from one lemon, optional)
1 Tbsn apple cider or red wine vinegar (or more to thin)
2 Tbsn fresh herbs (parsley, thyme or oregano), minced (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbsn pistachios, walnuts or pinenuts, finely minced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

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  • Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender-crisp, 3 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water, run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking, and then drain and dry with a paper towel (add ice cubes, if desired to speed the cooling process)

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  • Cut radishes into thin slices, cherry tomatoes in halves and red onion in thin slices.

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  • Place green beans in a large serving dish.

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  • Spread garbanzo beans evenly among green beans.

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  • Top with radishes, tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle arugula leaves on top, if using.

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  • Mix together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

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  • Sprinkle with crumbled cheese.

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  • Drizzle vinaigrette or serve on the side.

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Green Bean and Chick Pea Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 lb fresh green beans
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 radishes
6-8 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
small handful arugula or whole sprigs parsley(optional)

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

1/4 cup lemon juice (plus zest from one lemon, optional)
1 Tbsn apple cider or red wine vinegar (or more to thin)
2 Tbsn fresh herbs (parsley, thyme or oregano), minced (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbsn pistachios, walnuts or pinenuts, finely minced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  • Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender-crisp, 3 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water, run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking, and then drain and dry with a paper towel
  • Cut radishes into thin slices, cherry tomatoes in halves and red onion in thin slices.
  • Place green beans in a large serving dish.
  • Top with radishes, tomatoes and onions
  • Mix together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled cheese.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette or serve on the side.