Tag Archives: onion

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/

Zucchini Noodle “Ramen” w/Mushroom Miso Broth – Raw Vegan

raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth

The weather was a bit chilly again this evening, but I’ve also been feeling that I wanted a greater amount of raw food today, so I made a flavorful warm raw vegan ramen dish with zucchini noodles and a mushroom miso broth. 

This dish was actually a happy accident. I had marinaded the mushrooms and other vegetables with the intent of using them in sandwiches, but when I tasted the liquid after everything had soaked overnight, it seemed like a very perfect soup base, so I just added the zucchini noodles and some seaweed after gently heating the broth, and everything turned out to be really delicious. The whole dish required very little work, which is my favorite kind of meal. 😉

raw zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles, stacked in the center of the bowl, softened with some sea salt, and ready for the soup.

raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth

Zucchini Noodle Ramen w/Mushroom Miso Broth
Serves 2
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Noodle Ingredients
  1. 2 zucchinis, cut into noodles with a spiral cutter or julienne peeler
  2. few pinches of sea salt
Soup Ingredients
  1. 1.25 cups very warm water (do not exceed 118 degrees)
  2. 1 TB gluten free white miso paste (or another variety of miso if you prefer)
  3. 2 TB tamari or coconut aminos
  4. 1 large portobello mushroom, chopped into 1/2" slices, and then 1/4" pieces
  5. 2-3 TB sun dried tomatoes, julienne sliced
  6. 2-3 TB sweet onion, shaved as thin as possible on a mandolin
  7. Optional: 1 TB seaweed
Instructions
  1. Prepare the broth 12-24 hours in advance. Slice the mushroom, sun dried tomatoes, and onions. Put them in a bowl and set aside. Heat the water (you can use the stove or a kettle and let it cool down to about 110 degrees) and then mix in the miso and tamari. Ensure the miso is completely dissolved into a broth. Pour the warm water over the vegetables and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes or until room temperature. This helps to soften the vegetables and blend the flavors. Cover this bowl and let it everything marinade in the fridge 12-24 hours.
  2. When you are ready to eat this, spiral cut your zucchinis and sprinkle them with a few pinches of salt. Massage it in and let them sit on the counter to soften and release some of their liquid for about 10 minutes. As the broth has enough salt in it, rinse and drain the noodles when you feel the texture is to your desired consistency.
  3. Strain the liquid broth from the marinaded vegetables and, if a warm soup is desired, while monitoring the temperature (I use an IR thermometer), gently heat the liquid either on the stove top, or in a Vitamix blender until it is warm to the touch, not exceeding 110 degrees (to ensure you don't accidentally go over 118).
  4. Add half of the zucchini noodles to each of two bowls in a "pasta nest" (a twisted noodle tower). Arrange some of the marinaded vegetables around the edges of each bowl. Divide the warm broth and pour over each bowl. Reserve a few pieces of the sun dried tomato for garnish.
  5. If desired, add a bit of your favorite seaweed as well.
Notes
  1. This dish would probably work beautifully with other types of seasonal vegetable noodles in place of the zucchini.
  2. You can also substitute the mushroom variety if you like. I used portobellos because I used some of the marinaded pieces in a sandwich.
  3. You do not have to use white miso. It has a rich flavor that I like and I found a gluten free variety. You can use a different kind of miso if you would like.
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. 😉

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. 😉

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. 🙂

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 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

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/

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/

Healthy Coleslaw w/Avocado Dressing (Raw Vegan)

Raw Vegan Avocado Coleslaw

Growing up in Florida, I remember having many varieties of coleslaw served at summer cookouts and birthday parties. I use the term, “summer” loosely, of course. It feels like summer here for 6 months out of the year, so we had coleslaw at Memorial Day and Labor Day cookouts as well. 

Now that “summer” is creeping up on us down here in the southeast US, I thought it would be nice to put together a lighter and healthier version of the traditional mayo and sugar-laden coleslaw dish.

My recipe uses Napa cabbage instead of regular green cabbage. Napa cabbage has a more delicate texture and flavor, and it has a higher concentration of folate than other varieties of cabbage. I have also added some scallions for a little extra texture and flavor. 

For the coleslaw dressing, I chose to use ripe avocados to create a creamy base instead of mayonnaise. This recipe is entirely free of eggs or dairy, so it won’t turn rotten if you have it outside for a picnic. I also used a garlic-infused raw ACV (apple cider vinegar) that resulted from from fermenting some raw garlic in the ACV for 8 weeks (and still counting), and a small amount of low glycemic raw unrefined coconut sugar.

Sources:

Raw Vegan Avocado Coleslaw
Serves 2
A healthy alternative to a traditional coleslaw, this recipe uses no egg, no dairy, and no refined sugars.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Slaw Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  2. 1 cup shredded carrot
  3. 2 stalks scallion, chopped
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe avocados
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup garlic infused raw apple cider vinegar (sub: plain ACV + 2 tsp garlic powder)
  4. 2TB extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2 tsp mustard powder
  6. 1 tsp celery seed
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  8. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
  9. 2 TB raw coconut sugar (I like this one, as it is unrefined and low glycemic: Coconut Secret Coconut Crystals - Raw Coconut Sugar)
Instructions
  1. Mix shopped vegetables for the slaw in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix
  3. Mix dressing into slaw
Notes
  1. Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish
  2. I am planning to experiment with a sunflower seed base as well, for those who may be turned off by the green color of the avocado, but I think it imparts a nice creamy texture.
  3. I used Napa cabbage here instead of regular cabbage because I like the softer texture than regular cabbage.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/