Tag Archives: bell pepper

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.
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 8

raw vegan vietnamese pho

Day 8 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary is completed! 

The day started by soaking some chondrus crispus, commonly known as the seaweed, Irish moss. This is a seaweed that is a natural source of carrageenan – about 55% by weight. It is also a rich source of minerals. We use it in raw cuisine because of its gelling abilities. It is also about 10% protein! To use it, we soak it in water for 3-4 hours and then blend it with some water to make a gel that can be added to our recipes. 

irish moss soaking

 As this is the week we learned about advanced equipment, today we were introduced to the smoking gun. This is a really neat gadget that allows you to “cold smoke” food and beverages. There is a chamber where you put a small amount of a combustible, usually wood chips, and then you light them until they smolder. The fan in the gun blows the smoke that is produced through the tube and by inserting it into a sealed container, the smoke becomes infused into the foods that are in that container.

For this project, we smoked the raw coconut and cashew tofu that was made yesterday. The smoked was produced so fast that I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo of it in action, but you can see it hovering above the tofu cubes The sealed container is left alone until it’s not longer cloudy from the smoke, and then you know it’s been absorbed. It adds such a rich dimension of flavor to recipes, and it’s fun to play with!

raw vegan smoked tofu raw vegan smoked tofu raw vegan smoked tofu

After smoking the tofu, it was time to assemble the pho dish. We made an intricate broth, with 16 different ingredients, but it was well worth it. It had a very complex and delicious flavor, and it went down so easy. It was both light in texture and very flavorful. We added squash and coconut noodles, some scallions, red pepper, cilantro, the smoked tofu, and a few curried cashews. The whole thing was topped off with some black sesame seeds. 

If you’d like to make this recipe at home, it is on page 92 of Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.

raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho

 

After eating this amazing dish, we reviewed and started a panna cotta recipe. There were a few different flavor options available, and I chose the one that used raw cacao butter so that I would have white chocolate panna cotta! Here they are hanging out in a couple different mold shapes about to go into the freezer so I can eat them tomorrow. πŸ™‚

raw vegan white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan white chocolate panna cotta

That concludes day 8! Looking forward to day 9!

 

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 7

raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato

Day 7 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary completed!

I’ve had such a fun time working on everything today with many opportunities to exercise my creativity. I’ve learned so much while taking these courses, not only about flavors and techniques, but also about art. My plating skills have improved dramatically, and as an artist, these playful arrangements translate into more lessons for me than just those with culinary applications. They have made me a better photographer, causing me to reconsider placement of the people and objects in my portraits. 

The day was started by adding some sliced apples and pears into a water bath for a little more practice with the sous vide technique. Following that, we learned about and executed two “amuse bouche” dishes. According to Wikipedia, “amuse bouche” literally means, “mouth amuser”. It is a 1-2 bite sized course that is both intense and playful.

We were given the freedom to create two of our own amuse bouche plates. My selections were inspired by the produce and herbs that I’ve been growing in my garden this summer, and by Florida grown produce in general. I tried to include local components in each dish (some as local as my patio).

The first plate includes some of my favorite flavors. It is small sampling of red and yellow grape tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and scallions atop a parsley and dill hemp seed pesto, which acts as both a surprise element in the dish, and a punch of flavor. 

Recipe link: Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto

raw vegan amuse bouche raw vegan amuse bouche

I wanted my second amuse bouche to be plated differently from the first, and I wanted a way to transform a classic non-vegan hors d’oeuvre into a healthful raw vegan version. In this dish, I created my version of “prosciutto and melon” using hami melon (sometimes called “Honey Kiss melon”), marinaded red pepper, and Florida avocados with a basil and ginger cucumber sauce. I was very pleased with the result. 

Recipe link: Bell Pepper ‘Prosciutto’ and Melon

raw vegan melon and prosciutto raw vegan melon and prosciutto

While I was busy snacking on my amuse bouche creations, we learned how to use the dehydrator as a “hot box”, which is very handy for creating a “wilted greens” texture, but leaving them completely raw with all of their precious nutrients and enzymes in tact, as the temperature remains at or below 115. 

The salad we made with this technique was a simple spinach salad tossed with some olive oil and lemon, and included a little bit of our macadamia nut goat cheese, some chopped golden raisins, and some pine nuts. Two thumbs up from the husband on this one! We ate it for dinner. πŸ™‚

raw vegan wilted spinach salad raw vegan wilted spinach salad raw vegan wilted spinach salad

After the salad, it was time for dessert. With all of the components for the apple pear crumble ready to go, all that was needed was to plate it. I had enough to make a few of them, so I plated it 2 different ways to see how it would look. Which one do you like best? πŸ™‚

This dish is comprised of the apples and pears that were in the sous vide earlier today. We were told to cut them with final plating in mind. I made very thin round slices on the mandolin, sans cores. In one plating, I rolled them up; in the other, I left them them flat. They are topped off with the oat crumble that we put in the dehydrator yesterday, along with the almond gelato that we also made yesterday. I got a little more practice making perfectly shaped quenelles. I think I’m getting the hang of it! The whole thing is topped off with a little bit of star anise syrup that we made today and a pinch of star anise for garnish. I love that stuff!

If you’d like to make this yourself at home, Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Desserts, from pages 118-129, contains a variety of recipes for crumbles, cobblers, and ice creams that you can mix and match to make any number of similar desserts.

raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato

We ended the day by starting on an advanced pickling assignment. We are making quick pickles here, so the process includes some vinegar, as well as salt, which helps them to be ready quicker than a traditional salt brine only ferment. The class is only 4 weeks, so this method is understandable. We were allowed to experiment with flavors and ingredients that we thought might go well with our aged cheeses. I love pickling experiments, so I made two different jars – one with fruit and another with vegetables. 

My fruit pickles are: elderberry, lavender, apple, ginger, peeled muscadine grapes, and cinnamon. 

My vegetable pickles are: squash, carrot, shallot, turnip, radish, portobello, chili pepper, peppercorn, dill, and smoked sea salt. 

If after 4-5 days, they turn out well, I’ll share the exact recipes. πŸ™‚

pickled fruit pickled root vegetables

Raw Vegan ‘Prosciutto’ and Melon

raw vegan melon and prosciutto

I’ve been taking raw vegan culinary classes online through Matthew Kenney Culinary, and learning some amazing things. My favorite assignments are the ones where we are given a full creative license to take the skills we’ve learned and translate them into our own creations. You may remember the Bloody Mary Gazpacho that I created in my previous class, Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, which was the result of one of these creative exercises. 

I’m currently taking the second class, Advanced Raw Cuisine, where we were given another of these exercises to create 2 “amuse bouche” plates. This raw vegan ‘prosciutto’ and melon dish was one of those creations. I wanted a way to re-create a popular non-vegan hors d’oeuvre in a more healthful and kind way that would still please the palate. This was the result.

Please enjoy. πŸ™‚

Raw Vegan 'Prosciutto' and Melon
A more healthful and kinder alternative to the traditional "prosciutto and melon" appetizer, this re-creation is packed full of vitamin C with a familiar smoky and salty texture.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 red bell pepper
  2. 1/4 of a cantaloupe, 1/4 of a honeydew melon, or 1/2 of a hami melon
  3. 1/4-1/2 of an avocado
  4. 1 TB grapeseed oil
  5. generous pinch (or 2) of smoked sea salt
  6. 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the bell pepper. It's ok if you can't get the very top and bottom. We'll only be shaving off the flatter and broader sides.
  2. Using a mandolin slicer, shave off slices of the bell pepper that are as thin as you can make them while still keeping the cut pieces completely in tact with a continuous surface (no holes).
  3. Depending on the thickness you'd like the 'prosciutto' to be for the final plating, you may cut these in half. I did for the toothpick plating, but for something served on a plate, you might prefer to leave them wider.
  4. Add the shaved peppers to a bowl with the grapeseed oil, smoked sea salt, and smoked paprika. Toss them all together and ensure each piece is thoroughly coated. This will add not only a slightly darker color, but a smoky and salty flavor, and result in a pliable texture. Let it marinade for 15-20 minutes or until the peppers have the texture of a thinly shaved prosciutto.
  5. While the peppers are marinading, make melon balls and slice some triangle shaped avocado wedges.
  6. To assemble, slide onto toothpicks: avocados, then the peppers bent into wavy ribbons, and then a melon ball.
  7. Serve either on small plates or in some spoons.
Notes
  1. You can easily scale this recipe up or use other colored peppers or melons to get a different visual effect.
  2. I recommend not substituting for a different oil. Grapeseed was selected for its neutral flavor and salty undertones.
  3. Smoked sea salt contributes toward the smoky flavor of this dish. The smoked paprika is essential, but if you don't have smoked salt, using regular salt will still produce a good result. The smoky flavor will not be as rich, though.
  4. You can use any kind of avocado you like. I originally used the Florida avocado to add a bit of sweetness to the dish, but I prefer the Haas avocados.
  5. It is very helpful if you look for bell peppers that have relatively flat and broad sides, as they will be run over a mandolin slicer.
  6. If you slice the wider shaved pepper pieces in half and you have a larger pepper to start with, you should get 15-20 pieces from it.
  7. Traditionally, these are served alone, but you can add a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or some fresh herbs if you like. I think serving them with a bit of basil or mint makes an excellent palate cleanser.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Days 19-20

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls

GRADUATION!!! I finished Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine! My last two days were spent working out the final details of my recipes and practicing my plating. Please enjoy the recipes

fundamentals of raw cuisine completion certificate

For our final, we were to design a 3-course meal and then implement 2 of those courses with complete recipes and plating. It was a wonderful experience and I loved the process of working out prototypes and receiving feedback from the instructors. I chose to execute my starter and my dessert.

Here is the menu that I created for my final project. It was based on my favorite cuisine, which is Indian food. πŸ™‚

First: Cucumber Raita Rolls
Coconut Yogurt, Sweet Pepper Relish, Root Vegetable Salad, Cashew, Mint

Second: Mutter Masala Dosa
Curried Vegetables, Turmeric Mashed Jicama, Walnut

Third: Mango Malai
Cashew Milk, Cardamom, Black Cherry, Pecan

Cucumber Raita Rolls (click for link to recipe)

root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rollsroot vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rollsroot vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls root vegetable salad with tzatziki cucumber rolls

Mango Malai (click for link to recipe)

mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce mango lassi panna cotta with cherry pepper sauce

On our last day, we made a wonderful cleansing and refreshing “apple aide” drink with a bit of cayenne pepper. Cheers!

apple aid

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine – Day 2

raw vegan lasagna

I just finished day 2 of “Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine“, a course offered online through the Matthew Kenney Academy. It’s been a great experience so far. It’s very labor intensive and I’m so thankful that I was able to do this as an 8-week course. There is going to be a lot of stuff happening in my kitchen this weekend as I attempt to finish Day 3 on Saturday and Day 4 on Sunday!

To start Day 2, we learned about flavor balancing, and we made some seasoned almonds in the dehydrator that will be used for a recipe later in the week (Day 6), so I’ll post a photo of them at that time. Following that, more knife skills! We do cutting exercises every day to learn better grip and control of both the knife and the food being cut. I’m sure it will save me from many future accidents! I think they are getting a little better, but I still need more practice.

chef knife skills exercise

 

We also learned about plating guidelines and put that into practice with two beautiful raw vegan dishes: red beet ravioli and lasagna. I have learned to much from this course in the mere two days of work that I have completed.

Both recipes can be found in the book, Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. Highly recommended!

The knife skills and the plating guidelines have helped me tremendously. Plating food really IS an art form. I really feel that these are probably the best food photos I have ever taken, thanks to the new things I have learned and incredibly helpful feedback from the instructors.

I’m definitely looking forward to day 3, because I peeked ahead and I get to make smoothies and pickles! =D

raw vegan red beet ravioli raw vegan red beet ravioli raw vegan red beet ravioli raw vegan lasagna raw vegan lasagna raw vegan lasagna

Zucchini Noodles w/ Bell Pepper Pesto (Raw Vegan)

zucchini noodles with bell pepper pesto

I made this bell pepper pesto sauce out of necessity. With dutiful pruning of my basil plant, pinching off blossoms, and adding some fresh cuttings back into the pot that I propagated from clippings, I have an over-abundance of basil… again. What’s a girl to do, but to make more pesto? I also gave some away! =D

I invited one of my friends from work over for lunch on Memorial Day. I originally purchased the bell peppers fully intent on experimenting with a raw version of a romesco sauce, but then the basil explosion happened. The raw romesco sauce experiment is still on my to-do list though, I promise. I think I will wait until the peppers in my porch jungle are ready though. I would love to be able to make it with the main ingredient being something I grew myself. Growing my own food brings me such satisfaction!

Zucchini Noodles w/ Bell Pepper Pesto

So, having both peppers and basil, I decided to combine them into a tasty sauce. I used a little flax seed oil to give it nutty flavor without actually introducing nuts, which I am trying to limit in order to keep my fat and omega 6 intake lower. I used a little nutritional yeast to give it a slightly cheesy flavor, and I used half an avocado to give it a slightly creamy texture. Spread into 2 or 3 portions, it is really not much avocado per person. The rest of the ingredients were just seasoning and texture. Of course, by now, my regular readers know that I like to add fermented foods to my recipes whenever possible, so this one got some fermented garlic and raw ACV added as well. You are welcome to use powdered garlic instead if you don’t happen to have any fermented garlic laying around though. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, my lovely friend Divya gave the recipe two thumbs up. After the main course, I served some fresh chopped fruit with a sauce of lemon, local raw honey, cinnamon, and ginger for dessert. I also washed my meal down with a rather large glass of home brewed probiotic-filled jun!

Zucchini Noodles w/Bell Pepper Pesto
Serves 2
A seasonal dish that incorporates all of the summer favorites: zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, and basil! This recipe is easy to prepare and offers a twist to the traditional pesto sauce by incorporating luscious sweet yellow bell peppers.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Zucchini Noodle Ingredients
  1. 3 zucchinis
  2. 1 tsp salt
Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 yellow bell pepper
  2. 2 cups packed basil
  3. 2 TB flax seed oil
  4. 1/2 avocado
  5. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 TB ACV
  8. 2 tsp garlic (or a couple cloves of fermented garlic - rich mellow flavor)
  9. 1/4 cup water
Garnish/Topping Ingredients
  1. Fresh ripe tomatoes
  2. Sprouts of your choice
  3. Pumpkin seeds
  4. Sprig of basil
Instructions
  1. Spiral cut (or julienne cut) the zucchini into noodles. Sprinkle with salt and mix in with your hands. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes (when they are soft and "noodle-y" in texture) and then rinse the salt off the noodles using a large strainer or colander. This is enough time to blend the sauce and get everything else set up.
  2. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender until they are well-incorporated.
  3. Chop up the tomatoes for the dish.
  4. If your noodles are done, stack them up on a plate.
  5. Pour the sauce on top of the noodles.
  6. Add the tomatoes, sprouts, and pumpkin seeds. Top with a few basil leaves, if desired.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you are opposed to nutritional yeast in raw food recipes, you may omit it. It lends a subtlety cheesy flavor if you are sharing the dish with non-raw friends or non-vegans.
  2. It is best to eat the sauce fresh. I found that it did not keep well the second day. The addition of avocado caused the top layer to brown and the flavor was not as fresh.
  3. If this is your main dish, serve it as 2 portions with a large and visually impressive stack of noodles. If you have side dishes, break it up into 3 portions.
  4. The addition of juicy ripe tomatoes really adds an extra depth of flavor to the dish. I recommend that you add plenty of them. Mine were fresh from the garden! πŸ™‚
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/