Category Archives: Simple Meal Ideas

Overnight Chia Oats

overnight chia oats

Since I started working out, I made it a habit to start eating breakfast (after my workouts since I do them fasted to improve my fat loss). I also workout first thing in the morning and I’m not a huge fan of getting up earlier than I have to, so I started making overnight chia oats. I can just mix my oats, chia seeds, water, spices, and frozen fruit together, then stick it in the fridge, and by morning, it’s ready to eat with no heating and no fussing. I don’t have to worry about cooking anything in the morning, waiting for the container to cool before I can pack it, etc. I just grab my bowl of oats from the fridge with the rest of my food for the day and I’m on my way out the door. 

Another benefit of this method is that it is very versatile. You can change the fruit, spices, and liquid to make multiple flavor combinations and never get bored! You could use nut milks instead of water. I have even used fruit infused kombucha! I am a big fan of blueberry and cinnamon, but I have made it with mango with a little bit of local raw honey drizzled over the top, and it was also very good. Banana with some dried coconut shreds was a big winner too.

Overnight Chia Oats With Fruit
Serves 1
A quick nutritious and delicious breakfast meal that you can prepare the night before, which requires no cooking!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup oatmeal
  2. 3/4 cups water
  3. 1/2 cup berries or fruit of your choice
  4. 1.5 TB chia seeds
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon or other spices
  6. pinch sea salt
  7. optional: drizzle of local honey or a couple drops of stevia if you'd like to add a little more sweetness besides the fruit
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or jar with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
Notes
  1. Optional fruit/flavor combinations: blueberry/cinnamon, banana/coconut, mango/honey, strawberry/lime, raspberry/cacao, apple/cinnamon, pineapple/vanilla
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Summer Succotash Salad & Peas Vs. Lima Beans

Summer Succotash Salad

As my caloric needs have gone up with more intense workouts, I’ve been experimenting with different food sources that can offer greater nutritional density per serving size. I’ve also been experimenting with eliminating protein powder from my daily regimen, in favor of a purely whole food approach.

PeasI noticed that pea protein seemed to be pretty popular as a supplement, so I set out to investigate the humble pea. I wanted to see what all the commotion was about, and also compare it to some other similar vegetables, to see if there was room for improvement.

My focus was on a few key areas:

  • Can I get a greater caloric value in the same volume of food? On a whole food plant based diet with a daily intake of 3,000+ calories, this becomes very important because plant food is very bulky, and sometimes the sheer volume of food that I have to eat can become uncomfortable if I am not making the right choices. 
  • Can I increase my fiber intake? I am a big fan of fiber. The more, the better. Various types of fibers and starches feed our microbiome. The more we eat, the healthier our gut flora is. Jeff Leach, Founder of the Human Food Project talks in depth about the eating habits of the Hadza, one of the few hunter-gather tribes left on the planet; their daily fiber intake is 75-100g, which is 7 times what the average American eats. I aim for 100g a day. 
  • Can I improve the omega fatty acid ratio? A healthy dietary omega fatty acid ratio is very important not only for overall good health, but for dropping fat and building muscle because a healthy ratio increases insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation, and supports a healthy metabolism by protecting the liver.
  • Can I improve my intake of nutrients that are harder to come by on a plant-based diet, such as iron and selenium?

After a little searching, I found a viable candidate: the mighty lima bean! I put them side-by-side in this cute little infographic to illustrate the factors in my decision to eat more lima beans!

Peas Vs Lima Beans

Naturally, after I came upon this, I had to put some lima bean recipes together. Since it is summer time, I decided on a light succotash recipe with fresh herbs from my garden and bell peppers, which are in peak season right now. 

Please enjoy. πŸ™‚

Summer Succotash Salad
Serves 4
This summer succotash salad is simple and quick to make, and full of plant-based protein. It is rich with texture and flavor, yet light without overpowering. It is a delightful dish to serve as a side at a summer picnic or gathering.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups lima beans, thawed from frozen
  2. 2 cups organic corn, thawed from frozen (best option to find organic non-gmo)
  3. 1 red or orange bell pepper, small dice
  4. 4 scallions, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped (I used purple since that's what I'm growing)
  6. 2 TB spearmint, finely chopped
  7. 3 TB fresh lemon juice
  8. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  9. couple pinches sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and allow to marinade in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Vegan Chipotle Chili Stew

vegan chipotle chili

Mmmmmmm, chili! We had a little “cold front” here in central Florida recently. It dropped down into the mid-high 40s for about 3 days in a row. It’s practically shorts and flip flops weather again, but we needed something with a little heat to warm us up. My husband hinted that it was great weather for chili, so we took out the crock put and put this fabulously spicy and smoky chipotle chili stew together! 

vegan chipotle chili

I get really excited about cold weather because it gives me excuses to experiment with various vegan chilis and stews. They’re also hearty enough that my husband will happily eat them without missing the meat, so that makes me happy. 

This chili ended up a little runnier than I was hoping because I haven’t used my crockpot in so long. I was a little rusty on which dishes need extra liquid for different cook times, etc. It turned out more like a cross between a chili and a Mexican stew, which was just fine with me! We served it over whole grain brown rice, and it turned out just wonderful! 

vegan chipotle chili

This chili has a variety of beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, and corn. I normally like to add black olives too, but I was so excited about the cold weather and the opportunity to make a batch of chili that I completely forgot. There are a lot of spices in this too for extra flavor: a few spicy peppers along with smoked paprika and chipotle, garlic etc. It has a really rich, smoky, and spicy flavor profile. If you don’t like spicy, feel free to omit the ingredients which are obviously added for extra heat, like the cayenne pepper. My mother would not go near this chili. πŸ˜‰

I also wanted to make a cream sauce to go on top of it, but my husband wasn’t in the mood for sour cream, so I whipped up an onion hemp cream sauce to drizzle over the top. Most of the flavor comes from onion powder. This worked out really well since I did not have enough fresh onion to use in the actual chili. It was a nice flavor compliment to the other vegetables and the smoky flavors in the dish. 

vegan chipotle chili

 

Chipotle Chili Stew w/Onion Hemp Cream
Serves 8
Looking for something warm and smoky to warm you up this winter? This spicy chipotle chili is an easy vegan meal. Served over whole grain rice with an onion hemp cream sauce.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Chili Ingredients
  1. 56 oz crushed tomatoes (2-28 oz cans)
  2. 15 oz each (appx 1 can or make from dried): black, pinto, kidney, and chickpeas
  3. 10 oz fresh or frozen corn
  4. 8-10 oz chopped fresh white button mushrooms
  5. 8-10 oz fresh or frozen chopped bell peppers
  6. 2 TB dried cilantro
  7. 1 TB chili powder
  8. 1 TB cumin
  9. 1 TB chipotle chili (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  10. 1 TB smoked paprika
  11. 1-2 tsp smoked sea salt (to taste - there is no other salt in the recipe)
  12. 1 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  13. 1 tsp red pepper flake (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  14. 1 tsp garlic powder
  15. 1-2 cups water (2 for a thinner "stew" and 1/2-1 for a thicker "chili")
Onion Hemp Cream Ingredients
  1. 1/4-1/2 cup water (depending upon desired thickness)
  2. 1/2 cup hemp seed
  3. 1 tsp onion powder
  4. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  5. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  6. juice of 1/2 a lemon (add to taste)
Base Grain Ingredients
  1. whole grain brown rice - 3 cups uncooked
Instructions
  1. Put all chili ingredients in a 6 qt. crockpot and mix until well combined. Set it on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.
  2. Prepare rice as indicated on package before serving. We use a rice cooker, and it takes appx. 45-50 minutes.
  3. Blend all onion cream ingredient in a high speed blender until well combined.
  4. To assemble, place some rice in the bottom of a shallow bowl, spoon chili on top, and drizzle a little onion cream sauce on top. You can also top with some micro greens if you'd like. I really enjoyed the slight textural crunch and fresh flavor that they added.
Notes
  1. All of the ingredients for this recipe were organic. Please look for organic ingredients when possible.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Quinoa Collard Wraps (Vegan)

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

In response to all of the intricate raw food posts I’ve made over the last several months, I’ve been hearing a common question: “When do you have time to do all of that?!” Well, the truth is that I don’t, and I often had to sacrifice my sleep to complete everything on time. The learning experience was fantastic, but I need a little break, so I’m taking the month of November off to rest and do some traveling.

Like most other full time working professionals, my free time is limited to evenings and weekends, and many times after a long day, I’m just tired and don’t want to put a lot of effort info food preparation. Of course, I always want to make sure that I’m not sacrificing the quality or nutritional value of my food when I do so. I still shop almost exclusively in the produce department and make everything from scratch.

So, what was on my dinner plate this evening? Quinoa collard wraps! There is a local restaurant here where we live that makes wraps, which my husband is very fond of (I’ve never tried them). Today, he mentioned swinging by there for lunch, and I suggested that since he liked wraps so much, we should just pick up some ingredients at the grocery store to make our own much more affordably. Big thumbs up from Mr. Frugal. =D

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

We obviously have much different tastes in food (hence the name of this blog). While he is using whole wheat tortillas and turkey in his, I love to use gigantic collard greens as wraps and fill them with vegetables. Quinoa also makes a really hearty filling for wraps. While many traditional wraps put the grains on the outside and greens on the inside, I like to reverse it! I get a lot more green in my diet this way. 

These were really easy to make. I cooked some quinoa and seasoned it like a tuna salad with celery and onion. Something that I also really love to add to quinoa is a good quality mustard. In this case, I used a 100% homemade curry honey mustard! A little of this stuff goes a long way. Use it sparingly!

curry honey mustard

Of course, you can use any kind that you like, but but seasoning the quinoa with any sauce or spread you might put in a sandwich, you don’t have to worry about it dripping out of your wrap while you’re trying to eat it.

I also added tomato, some yellow bell pepper, some spicy radish sprouts, and a few slices of homemade pickles from cucumbers that I grew on my porch. 

dill pickles

Cucumbers in brine, at the start of the pickling process.

All you have to do is layer in your ingredients and then wrap it up just like a burrito. After that, slice it in half (on the diagonal to be a little fancier), and voila!

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

I ate two of these for dinner, and I feel very satisfied. I also met my requirement of adding something leafy and green to every meal. πŸ˜‰

This is an incredibly healthy meal for several reasons:

  • Quinoa is a great plant-based source of protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is one of the only grains which can be considered a “complete protein”, and it also contains more minerals than other grains.
  • Quinoa contains a bioflavanoid called “quercetin”, which is also found in the skins of apples and onions. It helps to stabilize mast cells and prevent the release of histamine. If you have allergies, this is a great food to incorporate into your diet. 
  • Leafy greens are a great source of calcium in general, but collards are the best source of calcium among all leafy greens, or any other vegetable for that matter!
  • Collards are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin C. 2 cups of chopped collards give you 92% of all the RDA for vitamin C. The leaves in this recipe are so large, they easily blow that out of the water. 
  • Collard greens are also a source of ALA (omega-3). Combined with vitamin K, they are a highly anti-inflammatory food.
  • Collard greens are effective at lowering cholesterol! Their high fiber content and the nutrients they contain bind to the bile acids that are released by our gallbladders after eating a fatty meal. Instead of getting reabsorbed into the body along with the fat, they pass through the intestines and existing cholesterol must be broken down to make more bile acids. This is actually the same mechanism by which some cholesterol drugs work. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138)

Please enjoy this recipe!

Quinoa Collard Wraps
Serves 1
These quinoa collard wraps are not only easy and quick to make, they are also delicious and nutritious!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 2 giant collard leaves - washed, dried, and stems shaved down flat
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  2. 1/2-1tsp honey mustard
  3. 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  4. 2-3 tsp red onion, finely chopped
  5. pinch or two of salt, to taste
  6. twist or two of black pepper, to taste
Other Wrap Fillings
  1. 1/4 bell pepper, cut into strips
  2. 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  3. 6-8 small dill pickle slices (don't skip these!)
  4. sprouts of your choice (optional for extra "green")
Instructions
  1. If you have leftover quinoa, this is a great use for it! Just mix in the "Quinoa Ingredients".
  2. If you need to cook the quinoa, follow the instructions on the package or just throw it in a rice cooker if you can't be bothered to read such things (guilty). Just make sure you rinse it first to remove residue which can result in bitterness.
  3. Chop the vegetables. If you had to cook your quinoa, mix the celery and onion in while it's still warm to soften them a bit. They are also good crunchy!
  4. Lay your prepared collard leaves down on a flat surface. Don't forget to shave the stems down with a sharp knife so the leaves can be rolled easily.
  5. Depending on the size of your collard greens, add appx 1/4 cup of quinoa (or maybe a little more or less) to the center of the leaf.
  6. Add any other wrap fillings that you'd like.
  7. Roll it up like a burrito.
  8. Slice it up and eat it!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Mushroom Taco Lettuce Wraps (Raw Vegan)

mushroom taco lettuce cups

I’m still working on the recap of the second half of my advanced raw cuisine class, but until I have all of the blog posts up, I still have to feed myself and my husband, so that leaves a lot of room for experimentation. These mushroom taco lettuce wraps are what I put together for dinner tonight, and there was enough leftover to have for lunch tomorrow too. For tomorrow’s lunch, I’ll be chopping up some romaine and taking the leftovers as a taco salad. =D

mushroom taco lettuce cups

I took a vacation immediately following the completion of my culinary classes, and returned with a strong desire to go back to my low fat lifestyle after 4 months of culinary classes and a vacation that was vegan, but contained far too much fat. I went on a cruise and although the wait staff was very good at honoring my requests that everything be vegan and gluten free, much of it was cooked and laden with oils. I was too polite to send the food back since they had worked so hard to accommodate my food allergies. I tried to eat fresh fruits for breakfast and salads for lunch, but it wasn’t enough. On a plant-based diet, just putting oil and vinegar on a salad can result in at least 30% of the day’s calories coming from fat! That doesn’t even include fats from whole food sources. 

I am a firm believer in Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s research and approach on diet, whole foods, and macronutrients. In his latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, he discusses that the ideal macronutrient ratio is 80/10/10 (carbs/protein/fats). He is not the first expert to express this opinion either. Douglas Graham’s book, The 80/10/10 Diet, goes into a lot of detail about this topic as well (I recently finished this book and hope to get a review written in the coming weeks). 

I have experimented with this very low fat way of eating before, and not only did I have more energy, I also slept much better. I had been tracking my sleep for over a year on my FitBit, looking for ways to improve my sleep, and I noticed a drastic reduction in the number of sleep disturbances after eating this way for only a couple of days. The number of disturbances remained low until I started adding more fats back into my diet again. My skin complexion also seems to be much better with less fat in my diet. Ultimately, I just feel better and have more energy.

Anyway, for this reason, I’ve been striving to keep my diet very fresh and clean since I’ve been home. My fats have been very low, and since I aim for a weekly average of 10% fat, I added a small amount of avocado oil to the mushrooms in this dish to give them a bit more texture. Despite that, my omega fatty acids for the day were still balanced and I am still within range for my macronutrient ratios for the week! There is a total of 1 TB, but it is meant to be served as an appetizer for 4 people, and if you feel very strongly about omitting oils completely from your diet, you could leave it out (or you could add more for a richer mouthfeel). 

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s easy to make, very healthy and fresh, and the final outcome is visually appealing as well if you might have guests coming to visit. πŸ™‚

mushroom taco lettuce cups

Raw Vegan Mushroom Taco Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4
These raw vegan mushroom taco lettuce wraps are a satisfying and lean appetizer, full of flavor, and easy to make!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of Boston, Butter, or Bibb lettuce
  2. 8 oz white button mushrooms, diced
  3. 1 TB avocado oil (see notes on different oils)
  4. 2 TB of your favorite taco/fajita seasoning mix (refer to notes for one I like to use)
  5. 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  6. 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  7. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or more if you love it as much as I do)
  8. 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  9. 1/4 sprouted mung beans, lentils, or a mix (optional, but makes it a bit more hearty and increases the protein)
  10. 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  11. pinch of salt (or two!)
  12. 1/2 tsp cumin
  13. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Toss chopped mushrooms, avocado oil, and taco seasoning together until mushrooms are well coated. Put in a covered glass bowl (either with a lid or with plastic wrap - no towels - you don't want the moisture to escape) and put in a dehydrator at 145 for 1 hour. (See note about temperature.)
  2. Separate the lettuce leaves from the head, clean, dry, and set aside.
  3. The remaining ingredients are for the salsa. Mix them together in a bowl and set aside to marinade while the mushrooms are sweating.
  4. When the mushrooms are ready, place some lettuce leaves onto a plate, and spoon on the salsa and seasoned mushrooms. Top with a cilantro leaf to make it extra fancy.
Notes
  1. The taco seasoning I use is from a local shop called "Penzeys Spices". They make it for chicken, but I love it on mushrooms! https://www.penzeys.com/online-catalog/chicken-taco-seasoning/c-24/p-516/pd-s
  2. You can use a different oil than avocado if you like, but I like this one for it's truly neutral flavor. From a health perspective, I normally prefer flax oil as it's the only plant based oil with more omega 3 than 6.
  3. If you are opposed to eating oil and very strict about eating 100% whole plant foods, you could omit it. If you want a richer mouthfeel for the mushrooms to be more "meaty", you could alternatively add more.
  4. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can marinade the mushrooms overnight instead. A little extra salt will help them to release their juices.
  5. Using your dehydrator at 145 for the short period of time called for in the recipe will not result in the internal temperature of the food being heated that high. It will still be well within range to still be considered raw. When I removed the mushrooms, they were "lukewarm" to the touch. The goal is to just help them "sweat" a bit.
  6. This recipe is meant to be eaten as an appetizer for 4 (or 2 for 2 meals each). That works out to only 3/4 tsp oil per serving.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Raw Food Level 1: Day 14

raw vegan portobello sliders

Day 14 of Raw Food Level 1 at Matthew Kenney Academy is completed! Today, we checked in on our wheatgrass, dehydrated our nut cheeses to put a rind on them (not pictured), put together some last minute toppings and sauces for our sliders before plating and eating them, made sprouted buckwheat granola, made Bahian soup, and started planning for our final projects! It was a super busy, and very delicious day. I think this might be my favorite day of eating so far!

Here is my still growing and freshly harvested wheatgrass! I can’t believe I grew it myself, and it was so easy to do! All I did was soak the wheat berries overnight and then start the sprouting process. As soon as they had little tails, I sandwiched them between a layer of potting mix (to let them breathe without getting overly saturated) with a little organic fertilizer and garden lime mixed in. You don’t even need any fancy equipment for this. I did it in cheap-o aluminum lasagna pans that I found at the grocery store for about $1 each. Poke some holes in the bottom for drainage and lightly water daily, and you’re good to go!

growing wheatgrass growing wheatgrasswheat grass

 

I ran my wheatgrass through the juicer and decided to have a little fun, so I made a “wheatgrass bomb” with a juice base of apple, pear, cucumber, and lime. It was amazing. Maybe it tasted better because I grew the wheatgrass myself and had a deep appreciation for the work that went into it, or maybe the flavor of my homegrown wheatgrass actually was better than the stuff I’d been buying at Whole Foods. Hmmm…

wheatgrass juice wheatgrass bomb wheatgrass bomb wheatgrass bomb wheatgrass bomb

After marinading some portobello mushroom medallions (thanks, ring mold!), some blending to make a few sauces (smokey tomato based “BBQ” and a creamy basil ranch), and a few toppings (salsa and shallot/spinach/thyme), we had free reign to mix and match whatever we wanted on our sliders. It was time to take out that “swiss cheese” that was completed a few days ago too.

I put a bed of red lettuce on all of my sliders to act as a moisture barrier. After that, this is what went on each of them (besides the marinaded portobello):

  • swiss cheese, bbq sauce, kimchi (homemade!), caramelized onions
  • yogurt, tomato, pickle (homemade!), shallot mix (this one was my favorite)
  • swiss cheese, ranch, salsa

I can’t believe I made every single thing on this plate from scratch. I feel so accomplished. My poor husband did not get to eat any of it. I devoured it at lunch time. πŸ˜‰

raw vegan portobello sliders raw vegan portobello sliders raw vegan portobello sliders raw vegan portobello sliders

We also started a batch of sprouted buckwheat granola, which will be going into a yogurt parfait tomorrow. We were given a base recipe and technique and told that we could alter it however we liked. I love assignments where I can take a creative license. I made a tropical granola with pineapple, coconut, lime, and cinnamon. There are some apple bits in there too for a little extra sweetness.

raw vegan portobello sliders raw vegan portobello sliders raw vegan portobello sliders raw vegan portobello sliders

The last recipe of the day was a Brazilian-inspired “Bahian soup”. It’s a chunky soup that is traditionally made with seafood and the texture is a result of cooking the mixture down. In the raw food world, we mimic these textures and flavors with creative blending and ingredient mixing techniques. This soup was delicious. I love that it had a hit of spice up front, and then the flavors of tomato, coconut, and lime all came in to mingle playfully together afterward. the chunkiness of the tomato, the creamy texture of the soup itself, and the pieces of avocado all blended together to make a great texture as well.

My day ended with a delicious bowl of this soup and the beginning stages of planning my final project, which is to plan a full three course raw vegan meal! The meal I am working on takes its inspiration from Arabic, Greek, Indian, and Italian dishes. It should be a lot of fun!

raw vegan bahian soup raw vegan bahian soup raw vegan bahian soup raw vegan bahian soup

 

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Day 4

zucchini tartare

On Sunday-Monday of this week, I completed day 4 of β€œFundamentals of Raw Cuisineβ€œ. I probably should have spread it out over 3 days. There was a lot to do, and I only got to about half of it. More than half if it was setting components for other recipes up in the dehydrator. I can’t want to eat the finished products. πŸ™‚

As with every day before, the day’s work started with knife skills. All those pretty cubes of zucchini and the chiffonade cuts of basil went into a beautiful zucchini tartare, and the rest went into the blender for some rosemary croutons. The rest of the veggies were juiced. I’ve been enjoying a fresh juice every day after my chopping exercises!

knife skills knife skills knife skills

After checking on my kale chips (not quite done), I started the day off with a delicious pumpkin pie spice smoothie. This smoothie was a little like a raw “cheesecake” that I made for Thanksgiving last year – it didn’t actually contain any pumpkin. The flavors of carrot and pumpkin pie spices sort of trick your palate into thinking there might be some pumpkin in there though! The recipe presented to us in the course is an adaptation of the “Bunny Spice” smoothie recipe in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. The main difference is that the recipe in the class had less carrot juice and used pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon. After looking at the recipe in the book, I think I might have liked to try it with the extra carrot juice though!

pumpkin pie spice smoothie pumpkin pie spice smoothie pumpkin pie spice smoothie

While I drank my smoothie, I worked through the reading material about the usage of superfoods in raw recipe creation, and also a primer on raw vegan sweeteners. Raw honey is occasionally used, which is not vegan, and grade B maple syrup is occasionally used, which is not raw, but both in moderation. Many raw foods are sweet on their own if they contain rip fruits or sweeter vegetables like carrots or peppers, and don’t need much extra, except to function as a bit of a flavor enhancer.

That was where I left off on Sunday. I decided to give myself a little rest after spending all day in the kitchen on Saturday. All work and no play makes Adrienne a dull girl, right? πŸ˜‰

I picked up with Day 4 on Monday when I came home from work. The next assignment was a beautiful and delicious zucchini and avocado tartare. This one was really quick and easy to make, which was a good thing because I was very hungry when I got home. πŸ™‚ The recipe blends delicate soft pieces of zucchini with avocado and a tangy herbal sauce in a ring mold to make a dish that is both light in summer flavors and artistic on the plate. Ring molds really step it up a notch!

The recipe is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.

zucchini tartare zucchini tartare zucchini tartare

 

After my belly was full, there was some more prep work to get those recipe components into the dehydrator. I currently have in my dehydrator: pine nut “parmesan”, shiitake “anchovies” (mushrooms – pre-dehydration photos below), and rosemary croutons (pre-dehydration photos below), which were made with the almond flour that I created after dehydrating the almond pulp from my nut milk in the previous day’s coursework! There is going to be an amazing raw vegan Caesar salad in my future!

mushroom anchoviesrosemary croutons

I’ve saved the best for last. My kale chips turned out great. The pile got smaller as I photographed them because I couldn’t stop eating them. Life is hard, I know. I made two batches of kale chips: ranch and spicy mango lime. I will add recipes for each of them in separate blog posts since this one has become quite long already. For now, you’ll just have to salivate on your keyboard. Sorry! πŸ˜‰

kale chips kale chips kale chips  

Quinoa & Lentils, Simple Salad, and Sauerkraut

A simple vegan meal for two of both cooked and raw foods: germinated quinoa and lentils, salad of romaine and cucumber, homemade sauerkraut

Dear Internet,

I have great news! In an effort to be more frugal, I am now preparing all of the meals for both my husband and I from scratch. We’ve been all about simplifying our lives (even more) and “getting rid of (even more) stuff” lately. As I am the cook, he’s been eating vegan food. It’s a lot cheaper and better for the planet to eat good quality plant based foods than to eat animal proteins. He’s dropped a few pounds and is looking even hotter than usual. Hooray for easy vegan meals. πŸ˜‰ 

sauerkraut

We also rearranged the furniture at about the same time that we started to implement this, so now we get to sit down every night and share a nice meal and some conversation together. It’s really been wonderful, though I will have to admit, it is more time consuming than I thought it would be. In an attempt to not keep him waiting too long for dinner, I haven’t been as diligent at recording my recipes, and I haven’t really been using recipes, so much as throwing together simple, healthy, and very affordable meals with items we already have on hand.

quinoa and lentils

While I prefer more raw food, he prefers more cooked food, and I want to be able to accommodate both of us, and also make sure he’s still getting some “roughage” since cooking destroys certain heat-sensitive vitamins, like vitamin C (which, as a friendly reminder, humans are unable to produce on their own like most other animals on the planet – we must consume it from our food). 

romaine and cucumber salad

After struggling over whether or not to post these ridiculously easy vegan meals, it struck me that this very thing was the original premise of my blog. My husband is actually eating and enjoying the vegan meals that I’m preparing. It truly is a “taste of two plates” now! =D

By incorporating some of my own dietary tweaks (which I also feed to my husband), I’ve seen additional improvements to my health as well. Since I cut oils (except for a little flax) out of my diet and started to treat nuts and seeds as condiments rather than snacks or main ingredients, I’ve dropped about 2% body fat (no lean tissue loss), have very sound sleep with minimal disturbances, have been getting up earlier, and have been feeling rested on less sleep. This is nothing short of a miracle for me. For all the health issues I’ve managed to reverse, I’ve still always needed a lot of sleep.

simple vegan meals

This evening’s dinner consisted of a large romaine and cucumber salad, some homemade sauerkraut (love the bugs!), and some sprouted lentils and quinoa with parsley and a honey mustard sauce (the only cooked part of the meal). Yes, I use local raw honey (to build immunity against local pollen), but you may use any natural sweetener you like (such as a fruit puree). I’ve been buying dried lentils, beans, and seeds, so I can soak and germinate them before eating, whether they will end up being cooked or eaten raw. This reduces the phytic acid content and makes them more digestible. Less phytic acid means you can absorb more nutrients from the rest of your food too. 

Apricot Honey Mustard Quinoa & Lentils, Simple Salad, and Sauerkraut
Serves 2
An easy vegan meal with a lot of raw food, a little cooked food, and a healthy dose of probiotics. The quinoa and lentils are germinated to maximize nutrition and digestibility, and are also hearty and flavorful enough to please the omnivores in your house.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Sauerkraut Ingredients
  1. Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
Quinoa & Lentils Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  2. 1/2 cup dried lentils
  3. large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  4. 2 TB cup organic mustard
  5. 3 TB water
  6. 2 TB ACV
  7. 1 TB naturally sweetened apricot fruit spread (e.g. Polaner's) - optional, but delicious
  8. 2 TB local raw honey (or preferred vegan sweetener - or just add extra apricot spread)
  9. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Salad Ingredients
  1. 1/2 head of romaine
  2. 1 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
  3. 2 TB flax oil
  4. 2 TB raw ACV or lemon juice
  5. Dried herbs of your choice (optional - I used fennel and dill on mine)
  6. Tiny pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Germinating Quinoa and Lentils (Optional)
  1. The night before you want to make this, soak the quinoa and lentils overnight (in separate bowls), drain in the morning, and then leave on the counter, covered loosely with a towel, during the day. If you want instant gratification, you don't need to do this advanced prep work, but it makes them much more nutritious and digestible.
Cooking Quinoa and Lentils
  1. Using a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa, cook the quinoa either in a rice cooker or simmer for appx. 20 minutes on the stove after bringing the water to a boil.
  2. Using a 2:1 ratio of water to lentils, simmer the lentils for appx. 30 minutes on the stove after bringing the water to a boil (test for tenderness).
  3. Combine in a bowl and mix in the parsley (bonus points if you grew it yourself).
  4. Whisk in a bowl until well blended: mustard, water, ACV, apricot spread, honey (or other sweetener), and sea salt.
  5. Pour the sauce over the quinoa and lentil mixture and stir it in.
Salad Directions
  1. Layer greens and veggies on the plate.
  2. Top each salad with 1 TB each flax seed oil and ACV or lemon juice.
  3. Add some dried herbs if you like.
Notes
  1. For best preparation efficiency, start cooking the lentils first, then the quinoa. While those are on the pot, prepare the sauce, chop the salad vegetables, and retrieve your sauerkraut from the fridge.
  2. I use local raw honey because it helps to keep my allergies at bay. You are welcome to use any other natural sweetener that you would like in this recipe if you would like a truly vegan alternative.
  3. You are welcome to use any dressing you like on the salad in order to have a peaceful meal with the omnivores in your life. My husband and I do not use the same salad dressings. πŸ™‚
  4. I like my food a bit on the spicy side. If the mustard is too potent for you in the sauce, feel free to add a little extra water to dilute it. Keep in mind that once it is mixed into the quinoa and lentils, they will soak it up and it will not be as strong.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/