Tag Archives: garlic

Red Beans and Rice Stuffed Peppers – Vegan and Oil Free

Red beans and rice stuffed peppers

I had been wanting to do a variation on red beans and rice for a while. I found some bell peppers on sale at the grocery store, so I thought it might be fun to incorporate the bell pepper as an external component and make stuffed peppers instead of chopping the peppers up and mixing them into the rice and beans. 

red beans and rice stuffed peppers - vegan and oil free

This stuffed peppers recipe came together quite nicely and worked out really well for my meal planning because I was able to pre-stuff all of the peppers and then just line them up on a baking pan in my refrigerator. The ones that wouldn’t stand up on their own were situated in some small ramekin bowls. They stayed fresh for the whole work week, and all I had to do was put them into a bread pan to bake them two at a time (or you could use a 9×9 pan to bake four at a time) when I came home from work. Alternatively, these would also work well if you wanted to create some freezer meals from them while peppers are in season and the prices are a bit lower. 

red beans and rice stuffed peppers - vegan and oil free

 

Red Beans and Rice Stuffed Peppers - Vegan and Oil Free
Serves 4
Smokey and spicy, this flavorful recipe is simple to prepare and works well to make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator or freezer until it is time to cook them.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Stuffed Pepper Base Ingredients
  1. 5-6 bell peppers in any color
  2. 2 cups cooked whole grain brown rice (you can do this ahead of time in a rice cooker)
  3. 2 cups cooked kidney beans (you can do this ahead of time in a crock pot or use canned beans)
Sauté Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  2. 1/2 sweet onion
  3. 2 stalks celery
  4. 2 clove garlic
  5. 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  6. 2 tsp smoked paprika
  7. couple pinches black pepper
  8. pinch white pepper (very small pinch - it is potent)
  9. pinch cayenne pepper (optional - omit if you don't like spicy)
  10. pinch sea salt as needed (this really depends on your broth)
Instructions
  1. Cut tops off of bell peppers and remove seeds and innards. Set aside.
  2. Put cooked rice and beans into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the vegetable broth to a large sauce pan and simmer at medium heat.
  4. Sauté all ingredients listed under "Sauté Ingredients" section in the sauce pan.
  5. When vegetables are cooked and soft, pour entire contents of sauce pan into the large mixing bowl and stir until evenly mixed into rice and beans.
  6. Add mixture to bell peppers until even with cut top.
  7. Put tops on peppers and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  8. When ready to bake, put in a glass pan with raised sides (to keep them from tipping over) and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until peppers are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Notes
  1. If you decide to freeze them, the bake time might be a little longer than 45 minutes, perhaps closer to 60 minutes.
  2. The number of peppers required will depend on the size and variety of peppers you are using.
  3. Rather than cutting the tops off, you could slice the peppers in half vertically and make half stuffed peppers. When you bake them, the stuffing will be open to the hot air in the oven and get crispy on the top.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 4

green curry kelp noodles

Day 4 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary has been completed!

Today’s creations were very exciting! We revisited the coconut wrapper technique that we learned in Level 1 and used to create the kimchi dumplings. For this variation, we added a little carrot juice to give them a brilliant orange color. They went into the dehydrator and will be used in a recipe tomorrow to create ravioli!

This is a really simple method to create flexible grain free wrappers that can be used in a variety of ways, from wraps to dumplings, to ravioli. Just blend some fresh young coconut, toss in a pinch of salt and whatever vegetable juice you’d like to color/flavor it with, and dehydrate until it holds together, but remains flexible. 

carrot coconut wrappers carrot coconut wrappers

The next project, green curry kelp noodles, was the main focal point of the day, and was used to illustrate today’s sauce lesson: plant based sauces. This is a class of raw vegan sauces that use pureed produce as a base. The green curry sauce we made today incorporated coconut milk and herbs with sweet and spicy notes.

It was plated with kelp noodles that we tenderized with warm water and baking soda. This was nothing short of amazing to me. I’ve tried kelp noodles before, and I could never completely get past the crisp texture and semi-bitter flavor until now. Simply soaking them with a little baking soda softened them up just like rice noodles and made the flavor more neutral, and they are completely raw! In this state, they are easily seasoned by any sauces and flavors that are mixed with them. We marinaded these in some chili oil and lime juice. 

The marinaded kelp noodles are topped up with a variety of vegetable noodles that include zucchini, carrot, and radish. Also in the mix are some marinaded mushrooms, fresh cilantro leaves, and some of those curried nuts we made yesterday

It was an amazingly fresh and vibrant dish, full of flavor and texture. I ate every last drop! 🙂

thai green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles green curry kelp noodles

The final task of the day was to flavor our nut cheeses that we started fermenting on day 2. Below, I have created:

  • caraway and smoked paprika (macadamia nut/ fermented coconut water)
  • honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and fig (brazil and pine nut/ water kefir)
  • parsley, onion, garlic, and turmeric (cashew/ probiotic powder)
  • dill (macadamia nut/ rejuvelac)

I can’t wait to eat these! They have a couple weeks to set up in the fridge though, as this is a lesson in aging nut cheeses. 

raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese raw vegan fermented nut cheese

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. 🙂

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

Ranch Kale Chips

kale chips

Kale chips are one of my favorite healthy snacks, and they fit right in with my rule to eat some leafy greens with every meal. Snacks are an added bonus. 🙂

This recipe was also part of a class project to come up with my own kale chip recipe. They only asked for one, but I had a lot of kale, so I experimented with two separate recipes! The turned out great. The dehydration process really works to bring out the savory flavors in the fresh herbs. Two thumbs up!

kale chipskale chips

Ranch Kale Chips
Trying to eat healthier, but missing your old Ranch Doritos? These kale chips use a blend of ranch seasoning herbs to make delightfully savory kale chips!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 hr
Total Time
10 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 hr
Total Time
10 hr 30 min
KALE
  1. 1 large bunch kale, de-stemmed and ripped into chip sized pieces
KALE CHIP SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  1. 1 cup cashews, soaked
  2. 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (any color)
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. 1 shallot (or 2 TB chopped onion)
  5. 2 TB lemon juice
  6. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  7. 3 TB fresh parsley, chopped
  8. 2 TB fresh dill, chopped
  9. 2 TB chives, chopped
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
  11. 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until well combined. The sauce will be thick, so you might need a tamper to help it blend. If it is too thick to blend, add a little water - 1TB at a time until you can get everything mixed.
  2. Pat your kale leaves with a towel to ensure there is no excess moisture on them. This will help the sauce stick better.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale pieces with the sauce. Mix it up thoroughly with your hands (I wear rubber gloves) until everything is well-coated.
  4. Spread the kale out on some dehydrator sheets and dehydrate overnight.
Notes
  1. Nuts are best soaked to reduce enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, and make them more digestible. However, if you are in a hurry and you can't wait the 2 hours for your cashews to soak, just use 1 cup raw cashews and about 3 TB of water.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Carrot and Herb Flax Crackers (Raw Vegan)

carrot and herb flax crackers

This is my first go at flax crackers, and they already have the husband seal of approval! I ask him to try everything I make as a sanity check. Admittedly, I have been eating this way for a long time, and my palate is a bit “greener” than his is, but he said these had a good flavor!

carrot herb flax crackers

I am working on a special project. My parents and my grandmother are coming over next weekend for a raw food extravaganza, otherwise known as “brunch”. 😉 I have a fresh seasonal multi-course menu all planned out. I’ve been experimenting with some of the recipes now to ensure they will turn out ok before I actually serve them to my family. These flax crackers are intended to be served as an appetizer along with some sprouted lentil hummus that I’m also working on. 

Anyway, as they have the husband seal of approval, I’m adding the recipe now! They are very easy to make if you have a dehydrator at home. I would also like to note that unlike many flax cracker recipes on the web, this one contains no tamari, nama shoyo, or liquid aminos – it is 100% soy free and does not contain any highly processed or mold harboring ingredients. As there are no nuts added, it is also higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acids.

Carrot and Herb Flax Crackers
An easy to make flavorful flax cracker recipe - they are full of flavor, crunch, and living enzymes! Prepare them in the evening and they will be crunchy by morning!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
16 hr
Total Time
16 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
16 hr
Total Time
16 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flax seed
  2. 1 & 1/4 cups water
  3. 5 carrots
  4. 1 TB cumin
  5. 1 tsp dill
  6. 1 tsp smoked sea salt (regular sea salt is fine, but smoked adds another depth of flavor)
  7. 1 tsp garlic powder
  8. 1/2 tsp onion powder
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients EXCEPT flax seeds in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir the mixture into the flax seeds until well combined.
  3. Split the mixture into two equal parts.
  4. Spread each half of the mixture evenly onto two dehydrator trays lined with non-stick sheets.
  5. Dehydrate overnight at 115 degrees F.
  6. I let mine go for 16 hours because I slept in and they were dry and crunchy, like a good cracker should be.
Notes
  1. I have an Excalibur dehydrator and my trays are 15"x15" - adjust the amounts per tray if yours are smaller.
  2. You could probably get away with less dehydration time. I didn't bother flipping them and removing the non-stick sheets either. It is ok to be lazy with this recipe. 😉
  3. You can score them after they start to dehydrate for a few hours if you want. I just break them up into organic shapes. I like the artistic look of them.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

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. 😉

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! 🙂
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Italian Pasta Salad (Vegan, cooked w/raw option)

Pasta Primavera Salad - Vegan and Gluten Free

This Italian pasta salad recipe is heart-healthy and easy to make. It is low in fat and full of raw vegetables with a flavorful flax seed oil pesto sauce.

My Dietary Transition

I have been working to transition my diet to that which follows the protocols outlined by Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for optimal human health. (Check out the health resources link on this blog to find some of their work if you have not already.) Essentially, it is a low fat whole foods plant based diet. I was already eating a whole food plant based diet with a lot of raw food, but still eating far too many nuts and oils with the wrong proportions of omega fatty acids. I am giving their recommended 80-10-10 (carbs-protein-fat) approach a try, which hypothetically should be achieved simply by eating a varied diet of whole plant foods. If I use oil, I am trying to use flax oil exclusively for my cold dishes, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid, and using coconut oil occasionally, but sparingly for my occasional cooked dishes (and in large amounts on my skin as a moisturizer!).

The Recipe Origins

As my grandfather recently passed away from heart disease, I’ve been encouraging my family to adopt some more heart-healthy dietary habits by preparing meals for them this week while I am visiting. I was originally going to take this recipe to a vegan potluck dinner with some friends, as I thought it would be a nice light meal that would appeal to most people. When I ended up back home over the news about my grandfather, I made it for my relatives instead. 

A Note About Grains

I chose to include some grains in this recipe to make it more appealing to the audience I was preparing it for. One important thing to note is that when following the heart-healthy protocol, any grains which are consumed should be whole grains. This means that the germ, endosperm, and bran are not removed in processing. Otherwise, the grains lack fiber and nutrients. I found an organic rice pasta at my local grocery store (I LOVE PUBLIX!) that uses whole grain rice flour, which worked out really nice for the recipe. If your local hippy market doesn’t carry any such thing, you can order it from Amazon: Jovial Organic Brown Rice Fusilli.

HOWEVER, I generally prefer to limit my consumption of grains, due to their phytic acid content (which can be reduced by sprouting and fermenting, and offset by a healthy population of lactobacilli in the gut), but I digress. We can discuss that in another post at another time. Until then, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! 😉

How to Make it Raw

The rice pasta is the only cooked ingredient in the dish, so if you’d like it to be a completely raw vegan meal, you can just make noodles out of the zucchini instead of slicing it as I did for this version of the recipe, and omit the rice pasta all together. This was my original plan for the recipe. However, if sharing with hungry omnivores, the whole grain rice pasta makes the recipe a bit more familiar.

Pasta Primavera Salad
Serves 4
This light heart-healthy pasta primavera salad contains an array of colored raw vegetables, marinaded in a flax oil pesto dressing, and a whole grain organic rice pasta. The pasta is a great option for non-raw family members, but can be omitted if you would like the dish to be completely raw vegan. In that case, just spiral cut your zucchini into noodles instead. 🙂
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Pasta Ingredients
  1. 3 spiral cut zucchinis OR 1/2 lb whole grain rice pasta
Salad Ingredients
  1. If using pasta, then chop 2 zucchinis for the salad (don't chop any extra if they are your noodles)
  2. 1/2 heart celery, thinly sliced (appx. 1.25 cups)
  3. 1 cup grated carrot (appx. 3 medium carrots or 4 small organic carrots)
  4. 2 cups chopped grape tomatoes (1 pint package)
  5. 1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper (appx 3 sweet peppers or 1 yellow bell pepper)
  6. 1/2 cup chopped artichoke heart (appx 5 hearts - marinaded in brine, not oil)
  7. 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (up to 1/2 cup if you love parsley)
  8. 1 cup chopped kalamata olives (reduce to 1/2 cup to reduce the fat - stored in brine, not oil)
  9. 1/2 cup chopped scallions (5-6 stalks)
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 1 large handful fresh basil
  4. 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 1 tsp thyme
  8. 1 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pasta Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions OR spiral cut zucchini and massage in 1/2 tsp of sea salt and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until soft and pliable, then rinse with cool water.
Salad Directions
  1. Chop all vegetables as indicated and add them to a very large bowl.
  2. If you are using pasta noodles, then chop some zucchini for the salad. If you are using zucchini noodles, then omit zucchini from the salad.
Dressing Directions
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
Assembly Directions
  1. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until it is evenly distributed. Let the dressing sit on the vegetables for about 10 minutes to allow them to soften and soak in the flavor.
  2. Mix the pasta (either zucchini or rice noodles) into the large bowl with the salad and dressing.
Notes
  1. This pasta salad recipe will feed 4 people as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish. We had 6 at dinner and finished the bowl, but one of us had 3 portions and made a meal of it. 😉
  2. Feel free to double the recipe for an extra large or extra hungry crowd. I made a double batch so that there would be leftovers for lunch the second day.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Stir Fry Lettuce Wraps (Vegan, Cooked)

Vegan Stir Fry Lettuce Wraps

I am on the road this week visiting family members without access to my light box and DSLR camera, so please pardon the smartphone photos of my recipes this week. My grandfather passed away and I have been busy trying to ensure that my family is eating healthy meals that follow the heart healthy protocol of a low fat whole foods plant based diet. 

This stir fry lettuce wraps recipe was quick and easy to prepare and worked out to only 1 TB of coconut oil per serving. I’ve been trying to ween myself and everyone else off of oils in general, the exception being flax oil, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acids. 

I still use coconut oil in moderation as a food. While the omega-6 fatty acids in coconut oil are much lower than in other oils, it is good to keep in mind that coconut oil contains ZERO omega-3 fatty acids, so that technically makes it an inflammatory food, rather than an anti-inflammatory one. I use plenty of it on my skin, though! One good thing about coconut oil is that it doesn’t break down into carcinogenic compounds when cooked because it is an oil with a high smoke point. 

This quick and easy stir fry recipe worked out to only 1TB of coconut oil per serving and it fed 4 adults. Stir fry recipes are an easy way to use up vegetables and they are quick to prepare. Traditionally, the heat exposure is only a few minutes to leave some texture intact for the vegetables. 

This recipe had great reviews from my parents and my husband. It is great for omnivores, as it offers a rich blend of flavors that will not leave them missing the meat.

Stir Fry Lettuce Wraps - Vegan
Serves 4
A quick and healthy vegan stir fry recipe with a rich blend of flavors including coconut, ginger, cinnamon, and anise.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 1 head iceberg lettuce
Noodle Ingredients
  1. 8 oz rice noodles
Stir Fry Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  2. 3-4 cloves minced garlic (I love garlic)
  3. 4 carrots, shredded (or a 10 oz bag as a short cut)
  4. 1 celery heart, chopped
  5. 4 sweet peppers, chopped (or 1 bell pepper)
  6. 1/4 cup liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or tamari
  7. Juice of 1 lemon
  8. 1 large bunch scallions, chopped (appx 8 stalks)
  9. 10 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
  10. 1 TB Chinese 5 spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, anise, star anise, cloves)
  11. 1/2 tsp black pepper
Stir Fry Directions
  1. Add the coconut oil to a large pan or wok at high heat. Add the garlic and crunchy ingredients (carrots, celery, peppers).
  2. Stir for 4-5 minutes until fragrant and slightly soft.
  3. Add the aminos, lemon juice, soft ingredients (scallions and mushrooms), and spices.
  4. Stir for another 4-5 minutes.
Noodle Directions
  1. Prepare the rice noodles according to instructions on the package. Most of them cook in about 5 minutes.
Wrap Directions
  1. Separate the leaves from the head of lettuce.
Assembly Directions
  1. Add noodles and stir fry to lettuce leaves, wrap into a burrito, and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Two thumbs up from meat eating parents and husband!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Radish and Caraway Gazpacho + Heart Disease

Raw Vegan Gazpacho Soup

This is a difficult recipe post for me to make. I am a little behind in my recipe postings for two very good reasons:

  1. My grandfather is in the hospital dying of heart disease. He was an active man who was never overweight.
  2. I am working to complete a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University.

The course material is very timely for me. We have been extensively covering the role that diet plays in the development of heart disease and cancers, the two consistent top causes of death in the United States. These are diseases of affluent nations. The richer we are, the poorer our diets become, full of processed foods and animal proteins.

The Heart Disease Epidemic

According to the CDC, about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the US per year. That is 1 in every 4 deaths. This is an epidemic. Conservatively, the CDC says that about 200,000 (1/3) of heart disease deaths are preventable with diet. However, based on the lifetime work of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China StudyWhole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, and The Low-Carb Fraud, he estimates that a full 90% of heart disease is preventable with the proper diet. The more calories we take in from unrefined plant foods instead of animal proteins and processed foods, the less we die from heart disease and cancer as a species. 

Heart disease deaths vs intake of plant food

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, a respected surgeon who directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has had great success in halting and reversing heart disease among inoperable patients. His patients, “…agreed to follow a plant-based diet with <10% of calories derived from fat. They were asked to eliminate oil [except flax seed], dairy products … , fish, fowl, and meat. They were encouraged to eat grains, legumes, lentils, vegetables, and fruit. Cholesterol-lowering medication was individualized. The only goal was to achieve and maintain a total serum cholesterol of <150 mg/dl”.

He has also written a great article about abolishing heart disease on Dr. Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies website. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Autopsies from soldiers in the Korean and Vietnam wars revealed an 80% rate of coronary heart disease. The median age was 20. 
  • A study of autopsies from accident, homicide, and suicide victims aged 16-34 revealed heart disease in every single one.
  • When the Nazis invaded Norway and seized all of their livestock, the people subsisted on whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Their rates of death from heart disease and stroke plummeted, but went back up to pre-occupation rates when their livestock was returned. 
  • As Western culture has permeated into Asia, these countries have started to adopt our bad dietary habits. They are shifting away from strongly plant based diets and starting to consume more animal proteins and processed foods. Coronary artery disease is predicted to become the #1 global disease burden by 2020.

The Hearth Healthy Diet

Based on the work of these men, and many others on the forefront of this research, the ideal diet for human health is a whole foods plant based diet. We receive the right balance of macronutrients automatically when we eat whole unprocessed foods grown from the ground. Dr. Campbell’s latest book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, spells it out:

“The ideal human diet looks like this: Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (‘whole’ foods). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein.”

Note: Dr. Esselstyn noted that the exception to the rule for oils is flaxseed oil, as it is the only one that contains more omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid.

I am starting to incorporate more of these practices into my own diet, as I am constantly looking for ways to continue improving my own health. Going forward, more effort will be made for my recipes to follow the protocols outlined above that science is validating are correct for our species. 

Heart Healthy Gazpacho with Radish and Caraway
Serves 2
This is a heart healthy variation of gazpacho, which incorporates radish and caraway seed for a subtle punch of flavor. It follows the low fat whole foods plant based approach for heart health as outlined by the research of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell, PhD. The only acceptable oil to use in small quantities is flax seed oil, which contains more omega-3 than omega-6.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cucumbers
  2. 1 red bell pepper
  3. 1/2 small red onion
  4. 6 radishes
  5. 5 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes (I grew mine!)
  6. 1 clove raw garlic (probiotic upgrade: 5-6 ACV fermented garlic cloves)
  7. 2 TB flax seed oil
  8. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  9. 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  10. 1/4 tsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Finely chop 2-4TB of each vegetable and set aside to stir into the soup.
  2. Add everything else to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
  3. Pour into two large bowls and sprinkle the chopped vegetables in.
Notes
  1. Makes two large meal-sized servings or 4-6 appetizer/side servings.
  2. I also tried the soup with a quick pesto recipe (basil, flax oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, sun dried tomato, hemp seed, and some nutritional yeast), and mixed it in. Two thumbs up from my mom and sister.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Zucchini Pasta with Raw Vegan Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Zucchini Pasta with Raw Vegan Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

This is a light and easy zucchini pasta with raw vegan tomato basil marinara is a dish that I have enjoyed preparing in the past for its simplicity and the easy availability of seasonal ingredients. It is great when you would like something quick and healthy without having to think too hard about it. It is literally slicing the zucchini and blending the sauce.

Zucchini Pasta with Raw Vegan Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Now that I have tomato plants which are producing a few newly ripened tomatoes for me every few days and a healthy basil plant that gives me a giant handful of leaves every few weeks, I have really enjoyed putting them to good use. It’s really rewarding to be able to make something with ingredients that I’ve grown myself, and perfectly ripened garden tomatoes are one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. Truth be told, most of them don’t even make it into a tomato basil marinara sauce. I eat them as soon as I pick them. 😉

Now that I have tomato plants which are producing a few newly ripened tomatoes for me every few days and a healthy basil plant that gives me a giant handful of leaves every few weeks, I have really enjoyed putting them to good use.

Below is a breakdown of the health benefits for each of the main ingredients.

Zucchini

  • High in fiber, which helps to maintain blood sugar and lower cholesterol. It also helps to keep the colon clean, which puts you at a lower risk for cancer.
  • Good source of vitamins A & C, which prevent cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood vessels. This stops hardening of the arteries and heart disease. 
  • Vitamins A & C, along with the folate in zucchini, act as antioxidants, which additionally help to prevent certain types of cancers and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Men! The phytonutrients in zucchini can improve prostate problems. 😉
  • Ladies! Zucchini is high in magnesium, which helps to stave off chocolate cravings (which are often a sign of magnesium deficiency).
  • Source: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/8-health-benefits-of-zucchini.html

Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes are good for your heart! They have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and to prevent your blood platelets from clumping together. Tomatoes are one of the best foods for accomplishing the latter of those. 
  • Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene (an antioxidant). When tomatoes are cooked, you absorb more lycopene, but the vitamin C is destroyed. As humans cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, eat your tomatoes raw, and with a little fat, you can still boost lycopene absorption! If you eat the yellow and orange tomatoes instead of the red ones, you can actually absorb the lycopene better too. 
  • 1 cup of tomatoes also contains 24% of the DRI (daily recommended intake) of biotin – they are good for your hair!
  • Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44

Basil

  • You might not always think of health benefits with regard to fresh herbs (admittedly, flavor is usually first on my mind), but basil has some great ones. 
  • Basil contains high amounts of compounts which may be useful in treating arthritis and IBS (inflammatory bowel disease). 
  • Likewise, it has also been shown to be beneficial with other types of inflammation and swelling. 
  • It has anti-aging properties, protecting against free radical damage in the liver, brain, and heart. 
  • It’s a great source of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium (as all leafy greens are).
  • Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425.php
Raw Vegan Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Basil Marinara
Serves 2
A light and healthy pasta alternative made with seasonal summer ingredients. Unlike its grain-laden counterpart, these ingredients work together to reduce inflammation, provide you with useful fiber to keep your intestines clean, and give you a boost of vitamin C, which would otherwise be destroyed by cooking.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Noodle Ingredients
  1. 2 zucchinis, sliced or spiral cut into noodles
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
Marinara Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh tomatoes
  2. 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  3. 3/4 cups water (for soaking - do not discard)
  4. 1 cup fresh basil leaves (pack loosely or tightly, depending how much you like basil)
  5. 1 TB first cold press extra virgin olive oil
  6. 2 dates
  7. 1 tsp garlic (probiotic upgrade: 1 pickled/fermented garlic clove)
  8. 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  9. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  10. 1/8 tsp sea salt
Optional Garnish Ingredients
  1. 2 TB hemp seed
  2. 2 TB nutritional yeast (not raw, but non raw family members will find this vegan ingredient pleasant, as it has a cheesy flavor)
  3. Sprig of fresh basil
Preparation Directions
  1. Add the 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, 2 dates, and 3/4 cups water to a bowl and let them sit for about an hour (longer is fine if that is more convenient for you) so that they become soft and plump. Do not discard the water. It goes into the blender with the tomatoes and dates.
Noodle Directions
  1. Cut the zucchini into noodles (I use this tool: Spiralizer Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer. You can also use a julienne peeler.)
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt over the zucchini noodles and massage it in for a minute or two. Let it sit about 5 minutes or until they become pliable and more noodle like.
  3. Rinse zucchini noodles.
Sauce Directions
  1. Add all the tomato sauce ingredients to the blender. The sun dried tomatoes and their soaking water both go in. Blend until everything is smooth.
Assembly Directions
  1. Split the zucchini noodles in half and add to two plates.
  2. Top with the marinara.
  3. Add optional garnishes if you desire.
Notes
  1. A high speed blender works best for this recipes. If you have a Vitamix, you can even warm the sauce in the blender, which is a nice treat.
  2. I like the sauce because it is raw, but if you have someone in your house that is not ready for a raw marinara yet, you could serve them a cooked marinara over the zucchini noodles and it would still be a healthier alternative.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/