Tag Archives: lemon

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. 🙂

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/

Raw Food Fundamentals: Day 11

raw vegan chocolate truffles

Day 11 of learning raw food fundamentals has been completed!

I started the day with some lessons about how to make raw vegan versions of cheese. This was very insightful. I have seen other recipes in the raw food community about fermented nut cheeses, and this course has allowed me to do some fun experiments with that, as well as learn some great techniques. I can now re-create comfort foods and as an added bonus, get some extra probiotics in my diet. I will never complain about that. 😉

Here is some “swiss cheese” spread out on the dehydrator sheet ready to go in. We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

raw vegan swiss cheese

After this, I started the process of soaking and sprouting some buckwheat for use in a later recipe. After the soaking is done, it still has to be dehydrated back to a crispy state. I am excited to see what it will be used for. 

Next came the assignment I was most eager to work on. CHOCOLATE! That’s right, we learned how to make chocolate truffles, and we got to select our own toppings. The texture and flavor of these is amazing. They aren’t overly sweet either, like the truffles you might purchase in a chocolate shop. I think they had just the right amount of sweetness. 

The recipe for the batter to make the truffles is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Chocolate

In the photo with the truffles on the big round plate, the center truffle has pecans on it, and the flavors on the rest, starting clockwise from 12 o’clock position, are:

  1. cacao nib/chili powder/applewood smoked sea salt
  2. bee pollen
  3. pistachio
  4. maple candied pineapple
  5. lime zest, dried coconut, coconut sugar
  6. cinnamon, ginger, orange and lemon zests
  7. cinnamon
  8. cacao nib / Pirate’s Bite spice blend from Spice & Tea Exchange in Winter Park, FL

I sampled a few to make sure they were safe to eat. I have some other taste testers coming to visit tomorrow. 😉

raw vegan chocolate truffle toppingsraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate truffles

 After my fun afternoon of truffle rolling (which may or may not have been accompanied by a lemon honey margarita), we made pancake batter. They’re all ready to go into the dehydrator! I was really excited to see this. I haven’t had pancakes in a long time. I can’t wait to see what they taste like!

raw vegan pancake batter

I’m all set for big day #12! I can’t wait to have more fun with the fermented cheeses and see how these pancakes turn out!

Bloody Mary Gazpacho (Raw Vegan)

raw vegan bloody mary gazpacho

To finish off the 10th day of my raw food classes, we were tasked with a challenge to come up with an original recipe based on a set of given criteria (I won’t spoil the fun for anyone who wants to take the class – no cheating!). Ultimately, my strange thought process led me to create a Bloody Mary Gazpacho. 

I was really pleased with myself when I tasted the final result. The soup base does indeed taste like a fresh Bloody Mary base, and all without the need for any animal products (goodbye Worcestershire sauce!) or heat treated juices that are devoid of nutrition. This particular dish is loaded with vitamin C and vitality! 

Part of the assignment was to get fancy with the presentation, so I had a lot of fun with the plating, but if that’s not your thing, feel free to just dump your vegetables right on top. 

raw vegan bloody mary gazpacho

Bloody Mary Gazpacho
Serves 2
A savory twist on the traditional gazpacho, this dish is infused with rich Bloody Mary flavors that combine smokey, sweet, and slightly spicy. Your friends will swear they're eating cooked food!
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Prep Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Chopped Vegetable Ingredients
  1. cucumber, small dice - 1/2 cup (appx 1/2 large cucumber)
  2. yellow bell pepper, small dice - 1/2 cup
  3. tomato, chopped roughly to small dice - 1/2 cup
  4. green olives, rough chopped - 1/4 cup (I used Castelvetrano olives - my new favorite!)
  5. shallot, minced - 2 TB
  6. fresh parsley, finely chopped - 1 TB
  7. carrots - 1/2 carrot - cut paper thin on mandolin
Bloody Mary Gazpacho Soup Base Ingredients
  1. red sweet pepper, chopped (appx 2-3 small peppers) - 1/4 cup
  2. pearl and/or plum tomatoes, chopped - 1 cup
  3. sun dried tomato, chopped - 1/4 cup + 2 TB
  4. celery juice - 1/2 cup (juice of 4-5 stalks)
  5. lime juice - 2 TB (juice of 1-2 limes)
  6. wasabi powder (all natural - make sure there are no additives!) - 1/2 tsp
Instructions
  1. Put sun dried tomatoes (for soup base) in warm water to soak for 10-15 min while you prepare the chopped vegetables and marinade.
  2. Juice the celery and the limes.
  3. Chop the vegetables and add all of them except the carrots to a medium sized mixing bowl.
  4. Add the marinade ingredients to the chopped vegetables and mix until well coated. Let it sit while you make the sauce.
  5. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender on high speed until smooth and well combined. If you want to thin it out a bit, you can add a little bit of filtered water, 1 TB at a time.
  6. Divide the chopped vegetables into two portions - one for each plate.
  7. For each plate: If you want to get fancy, line a ring mold with the sliced carrots. It helps to have them in a bowl of water so they stick together better. Then, fill the ring mold with half of the chopped vegetables and pack it down. Juices will leak out and this is ok. Pour appx half of the soup mix into the bowl BEFORE removing the ring mold. Let the juices mingle and swirl them with a spoon for an even consistency. Then, carefully, remove the ring mold, and garnish with some fresh herbs.
  8. If you want a more rustic dish that looks like a traditional gazpacho, then add the soup base to the bowl first, forget the ring mold, and add the vegetables right on top. Use the shaved carrots as a garnish around the edges of the soup.
Notes
  1. If you REALLY want to, you can thin out the soup base to make it a more drinkable texture and it does make an excellent vegan Bloody Mary base.
  2. If you add some flax seed to the water that the carrots are in, they will adhere together even better.
  3. You can find ume plum vinegar at any Asian grocery story or you can order it online. I like this one: Eden Foods Selected Ume Plum Vinegar -- 10 fl oz
  4. The ume vinegar really does provide a depth of flavor, even though there is a small amount. If you can't find it, you can try substituting with ACV and then adding an extra 1/2 tsp of dulse flakes to increase the "fishy" factor.
  5. You can probably use coconut aminos in place of the tamari if you prefer.
  6. The smoked spices REALLY make the flavor pop on this. Please don't omit them. I used an applewood smoked sea salt from a local spice company, but you can use any that you like which has a strong wood-smoked infusion of taste and fragrance.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Pancit (Raw Vegan)

Raw Vegan Pancit Recipe

I was introduced to pancit only a few months ago. One of my friends posted a photo of a lovely meal her mother in law had prepared, and I immediately had to know more about this fascinating dish I had never heard of. I learned it was a Filipino noodle dish and I was inspired to create a raw vegan version that I could enjoy at home. 

Raw Vegan Pancit Recipe

There are many different pancit recipes, and this particular one was modeled after pancit bihon. In place of the rice noodles, I used zucchini noodles. In place of chicken, I used chopped mushrooms marinaded in vegetable juice to produce a meaty texture with a rich flavor that a vegetable stock would have provided in a cooked recipe. Other than that, for my vegetable mix, I used sliced Napa cabbage (you could also use bok choy, pending availability), carrots, onions, and peppers, which often show up in different versions of the traditional version. Instead of soy sauce (which often contains GMO soy and gluten) or tamari (which is fermented with mold), I used coconut aminos, which are raw, taste less salty, and have a rich fermented flavor. They’re a little different if you’re used to the taste of soy sauce, but still delicious. 

Raw Vegan Pancit Reipce

Raw Vegan Pancit Recipe
Serves 4
A light and healthy raw vegan pancit recipe, inspired by the traditional Filipino pancit bihon dish.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Vegetable Ingredients
  1. 1 zucchini, sliced into noodles
  2. 1/3 head napa cabbaga, thinly sliced
  3. 2 cups shredded carrots
  4. 1 & 1/2 cups chopped scallions
Vegetable Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup coconut aminos (I like these: Coconut Secret Raw Organic Vegan Coconut Aminos. You can also find them at Whole Foods.)
  2. 1/4 cup unrefined expeller or cold pressed sesame seed oil (I like this one: Spectrum Naturals Organic Sesame Oil)
  3. 2 TB lemon juice (ACV works in a pinch, but changes the flavor)
  4. 2 TB powdered garlic (PROBIOTIC UPGRADE: use 6 crushed cloves of ACV fermented garlic instead - they have a very mild flavor)
Marinaded Mushrooms Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chopped mushrooms (your choice on the variety - I used button and baby bella mushrooms)
  2. Vegetable Broth Juice (Juice: 1 tomato, 1.5 cups chopped carrot, 1.5 cups chopped celery, 1.5 cups chopped sweet pepper, pinch of sea salt, pinch of black pepper)
Instructions
  1. Cut the zucchini into noodles (I use this tool: Spiralizer Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer. You can also use a julienne peeler.)
  2. Chop the vegetables. Make sure there are enough chopped carrots and sweet peppers to put through the juicer for the broth juice.
  3. Put the "Vegetable Ingredients" into a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Juice the Vegetable Broth Juice vegetables and add the pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Put the chopped mushrooms and the vegetable broth juice into a bowl together and let them marinade for at least an hour (overnight is better).
  6. Add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and whisk.
  7. Pour the sauce over the Vegetable Ingredients and mix until everything is well coated. Let it marinade until your mushrooms are done (about 45 minutes, but again, I prefer the overnight marinade).
  8. After the marinading is complete, strain the mushrooms out and mix into the vegetables. You are ready to eat it!
Notes
  1. Regarding sesame oil, I have also made this with EVOO and avocado oils and both work well, though the olive oil has a much strong flavor and the avocado oil is neutral tasting for the most part.
  2. You can substitute red, orange, or yellow bell peppers for the sweet peppers if you like.
  3. You can substitute bok choy for the Napa cabbage.
  4. I prefer to marinade the mushrooms and the vegetables overnight for the best flavor. If you are in a hurry, an hour will do. If you want a rich flavor and soft texture, go with the overnight soak.
  5. For this recipe, I have tested both diluted and non-diluted vegetable juices to soak the mushrooms. I prefer the juice to be un-diluted in this case, but you can use any strength that you like the flavor of.
  6. You can drink the vegetable juice after you extract the mushrooms or reuse it for another marinade, depending on what kind of juicer you have. If you have a masticating juicer, it should be "fresh" for about 72 hours.
  7. If you are mold sensitive, soak your mushrooms for 15-20 minutes in a dilute mixture of water and vinegar before chopping them to kill off the mold spores.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Herbal Wheatgrass Juice for Beginners

Green juice blend with wheat grass

Wheatgrass juice is a very potent medicinal food. It reduces blood pressure, cleanses the blood, alkalizes the body, stimulates the thyroid, detoxes the liver, helps to protect us from carcinogens and environmental pollutants, fights cancerous tumors, and slows the aging process. (Source: http://hippocratesinst.org/wheatgrass/benefits-of-wheatgrass).

As it is highly detoxifying, if you have never tried it before, you will have to start with a very small amount in a single sitting – no more than 1/2 a shot. If you are not used to it and you take too much, it will probably nauseate you, especially if you aren’t already following a healthful lifestyle. If you are a an old pro at wheatgrass juice guzzling, then you know how much you can add to this juice blend. 😉

True story: the few shot glasses I actually own are used most frequently for measuring my wheatgrass juice and sprouting avocado pits.

I am highly sensitive to gluten. I had read about the wondrous benefits of wheatgrass juice, but was afraid to try it until I was actually able to find some credible sources of information that could confirm or deny the existence of gluten in wheatgrass. The summary of what I learned is that the grass itself contains no gluten, as the gluten is in the seed. Wheatgrass is safe, provided that (1) it has been harvested in a manner that leaves no part of the seed attached to the grass; (2) it has not sprouted any new seeds; (3) there has been no cross-contamination in a facility which also processes the gluten-containing seeds. 

My local Whole Foods Market carries wheatgrass that is locally grown here in Florida, and I have not had any issues with it thus far. If you purchase it, look for one cut end at the base, and one pointed end, indicating that is the top of the grass blade. If there are two cut ends, it is impossible to know how tall the grass was and if it started to sprout new seeds.

It is actually very cheap and easy to sprout yourself at home (and easier to remove the cross-contamination problem)… unless you have a cat. Cats love wheatgrass and when I purchase it, my cat, Georgia, frequently gets some as a treat too. If I try to sprout anything inside, she will find it and eat it. 🙂

Anyway, if you would like to read more about wheatgrass and gluten, here are some links you can look at. Ultimately, if you are unsure, you should either not try it or try it in a very small amount to see how you react. 

  • http://hippocratesinst.org/nutrition/wheatgrass-is (#48)
  • http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/everydaymedicalissues/f/Are-Wheat-Grass-And-Barley-Grass-Gluten-Free.htm
  • http://livewell.jillianmichaels.com/can-wheat-grass-gluten-sensitive-4931.html
Cucumber and Herb Wheatgrass Juice
An herbal green juice blend that helps wheatgrass juice go down a lot easier.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cucumbers
  2. 1/4 lemon (no peel) - lime also works well
  3. large handful fresh mint
  4. large handful fresh basil
  5. 1/2 - 1&1/2 shots wheatgrass juice
Instructions
  1. Run cucumbers, lemon, mint, and basil through a juicer.
  2. If you have a juicer that is capable of extracting juice from wheatgrass, juice enough to acquire the desired amount. If this is your first time trying it, take only 1/2 a shot. If you are an old pro, try 1 whole shot or even 1.5 shots.
  3. Mix wheatgrass juice into green juice blend.
Notes
  1. Wheatgrass juice is highly detoxifying. If you drink too much at one time or more than your body is used to, it will nauseate you. It is very important to only take 1/2 a shot if you have never tried it before.
  2. Wheatgrass has a very earthy and slightly sweet flavor, but it is very strong. The cucumber juice helps to mellow it out a lot. I frequently enjoy wheatgrass, but I still can't drink it straight. I need the cucumber juice.
  3. If you buy wheatgrass, juice it fresh. If you let it sit in your refrigerator for too long, it will start to yellow and dry up, and you will not be able to extract as much juice from it.
  4. In order to extract juice from wheatgrass, you will need a single auger or slow juicer that is capable of performing the task (I have an Omega). There are also special wheatgrass juicers. A centrifugal juicer will not work for this.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Collard Rolls with Lemon Dill Sauce (Raw Vegan)

Raw vegan collard rolls with a creamy avocado lemon dill sauce

Oh, how I love collard rolls. Heck, I love collard greens in general. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of calcium, they are available for most of the year, they are usually pretty cheap, they have a subtle flavor that works well in green smoothies, and of course, the texture is perfect for wraps and rolls!

Collard rolls with shredded vegetables and a creamy lemon dill sauce.

I missed out on the goodness of collards for way too long. I don’t think I even tried collard greens until maybe 2 years ago. I grew up in Florida, which is technically south of “The South” according to a true Southerner, BUT I still heard rumors of collard greens and how they were served in traditional recipes. Those recipes all sounded very unappetizing to me, so I developed a negative association with collard greens and never bothered to give them a second thought… until I got my husband on the green smoothie bandwagon and he came home with a big bundle of collard greens one day. I thought he was nuts until I tried his smoothie and realized that I had sorely misjudged the mighty collard green.

Shave the collard green stem down to make it more flexible for collard rolls and collard wraps!

When I first started eating more raw foods, I saw a lot of people suggesting the use of collard greens for wraps and tortilla alternatives. I tried it out, and couldn’t seem to figure out how to get them to roll nicely without some kind of ripping and breaking due to the thick stem in the middle. After looking at the leaves for a while and realizing the stem was only thick on one side, I eventually got the bright idea to just shave the stem down so it was relatively flat against the underside of the leaf. Alright, you got me. I figured it out as I was working on THIS recipe. I’ve been doing it wrong for years.

Behold, the more flexible collard green – now even more perfect for collard rolls and wraps! 

IMG_8771

With a little sauce, the wraps hold together nicely too. Notice the edge of the leaf in the above photo is magically holding itself down without the aid of toothpicks or sticky rice! Speaking of the sauce, in the name of using ingredients I already had on hand, I opted for a creamy lemon dill sauce that uses avocado to provide the desired texture and thickness. It’s easy to spread over the greens, and it holds the outer layers of the collard rolls together nicely, even after they’ve already been cut into smaller pieces.

A creamy lemon dill sauce made from whisking avocado, olive oil, and herbs.

Collard Rolls with Lemon Dill Sauce (Raw Vegan)
Serves 2
These collard rolls are a healthier alternative to tortilla based vegetable wraps and rolls. Collard greens are high in calcium, and the vegetables inside provide beta-carotine and vitamin C. The sauce is avocado based, making it a source of good fats and potassium, as well as vitamin C from a tangy infusion of lemon.
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Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 5 large collard leaves
  2. 2 carrots, julienne sliced
  3. 1 jumbo pickling cucumber, julienne sliced (Pickling cucumbers have a nice firm texture)
  4. 1 Cubanelle sweet pepper
  5. 1 small wedge of sweet onion (How much do you like onions? 😉 )
Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 soft ripe avocado
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 1 tsp dried dill
  5. 1 tsp onion powder
  6. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  7. 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  8. 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  9. 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Sauce Directions
  1. Mash the avocado until it is creamy (I use a potato masher).
  2. Whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients until well blended.
Preparing Wrap Ingredients
  1. Use a julienne slicer (or mandolin slicer with julienne blade) to cut carrots and cucumbers into thin strips.
  2. Cut sweet pepper and onion into thin strips with a knife.
  3. Turn each collard leaf over so that the bottom faces up and the fat part of the stem is on top. Carefully shave the stems down so that they are almost flush with the leaves.
Wrap Assembly
  1. Spread a thin layer of sauce over each leaf with a flexible spatula.
  2. Equally distribute the sliced vegetables among the leaves, placing the strips at the bottom of the leaves, where the stems were shaved down.
  3. Roll the collards up! As you roll, keep them somewhat snug.
  4. Slice down the center vein, and then slice in half again so that you get 4 pieces from each rolled leaf.
  5. Eat and enjoy! 🙂
Notes
  1. You can use a sushi mat to roll if you want, but I found it was easier to just use my hands due to the size of the collard greens.
  2. Some of the sauce may push forward as you roll, and that is ok. Just wipe off the excess.
  3. You might have a little sauce left over. If you do, you can dip the rolls in it to intensify the lemon-dill flavor, or save it for dipping vegetables or adding to a salad.
  4. If after slicing, you feel that the end pieces are a little loose, you can unroll a couple turns, tighten them up, and then wrap the ends back up. Sushi is not that forgiving!
  5. Feel free to get creative and swap out the vegetables inside or use some sprouts. Mmm, sprouts!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/