Burrito Bowl

We all have those nights when getting dinner on the table quickly is priority #1. Maybe because it’s a late night, maybe you just don’t feel like cooking, maybe you are sick of the “I’m hungry!!!” battle cry coming from your kids. Or maybe you just prefer every meal be quick. I hear ya! Enter burrito bowls.

I’ll tell you my secret: cook a large batch of rice to keep in the fridge for those nights you plan to include rice with dinner. I do a lot of my batch cooking on the weekend and I will throw a few cups of rice with double the amount of vegetable broth and sea salt into a crock pot and cook my rice. That way I never have to wait for it to cook on the nights I need it. Did you know that if you cook, then cool your rice it reduces the glycemic index? Even if you warm it back up! That is another benefit of cooking your rice for the week ahead of time, because even if you warm it back up for dinner later in the week the glucose load will be lower.

Another tip: when you put your rice (or any grain) in the crock pot to cook, add a sheet of kombu, a sea vegetable, to mineralize your grain and tip it more onto the alkaline side of the scale. The other added benefits of adding kombu is that it will improve digestion, protect against anemia, aids in thyroid function because it is high in iodine, and has anti-inflammatory properties that aids in arthritis pain relief.

* * This recipe is a good start, and awesome as is, but you can add any vegetables you love. Beans are a great addition. I like to add chopped romaine to mine. OR maybe you like it spicy and want some hot peppers. Go for it! Tailor it to fit your tastes….just remember to keep it plant based and leave the animal proteins out.

 

2 cups cooked brown rice

2 green peppers, chopped

1 red onion, diced

5 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 1/5 cups fresh or frozen corn

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

juice of 1 lime

2 avocados

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Ground black pepper to taste

  1. Chop and lightly saute the vegetables in a splash of vegetable broth.
  2. Once veggies are cooked, remove from heat and stir in cilantro and juice of 1 lime and the seasonings. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado.
  3. Warm up the rice, dish into bowls, top with desired amount of veggies. Add a dollop of mashed avocado on top and enjoy!

** I generally prep my vegetables either the day before or in the morning and keep them in a covered dish on the counter so the seasonings and veggies have longer to infuse their flavors together. This makes dinner time a breeze because everything is already made (because remember you cooked your rice already, too?)

 

Veggie Wild Rice Soup

When I hit the jackpot of plant based deliciousness in my CSA box and a visit to a local farmers market, I couldn’t help but want to throw it all in one giant pot and make something that would leave us with plenty of leftovers. Cook once, eat twice, as they say!

I love wild rice soup, but most wild rice soups are filled which chicken and a creamy broth. Both are things I wanted to avoid. The dangers of dairy are well documented here, so we are a dairy-free household. If you value your health, and I think you do, then you ought to consider going dairy-free as well.

If I have said it once, I have said it a million time…..PLANTS HAVE PROTEIN. And this soup is chock full of plant based protein that is readily absorbed and used by the body without any negative and toxic side effects that animal based proteins have. And because of all the veggies, this soup is jam packed with vitamins, minerals and all kinds of essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.

You know, that is the beauty of health. I think it is made out to be so over complicated when it really isn’t. Just eat real food. Real, whole foods provide exactly everything the human body needs to be healthy. If it isn’t real, is overly-processed, is full of sugar, or made with more chemicals then actual food, whether it be a body care product or food, then it will cause dis-ease in the body. It’s really a no-brainer. Since this recipe has real, whole-food ingredients, you will fight against disease in the body rather than feed a disease. Better skin, lower blood pressure, protection against heart disease, lowered risk of diabetes, a boosted immune system…I could go on. But I won’t, because you want to know how to make the soup!

 

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 bell pepper, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped

2 cups green beans (fresh or frozen)

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp smoke paprika

8 roma tomatoes, diced

6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup wild rice

1 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

Himalayan sea salt/ground black pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot, heat a little water or a splash of veggie broth over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the carrots and bell pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
  2. Add mushrooms, green beans, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Stir until all the veggies are evenly coated with the seasonings.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, broth, and rice. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes.
  4. Add white beans and corn. Cook another 5-6 minutes to heat through.
  5. Serve hot.

Creamy Mac & Cheese with Cashew Cream Sauce

When I first served this for dinner, one of my kids squealed so loud I thought he hurt himself. But then he got up and started doing a happy dance. He said this is “THE BEST MAC & CHEESE EVER!!”  My other son agreed, wholeheartedly. They love mac & cheese and I have a few variations on this blog. There are so many different ways to make “cheese” sauce without actually using cheese at all. This one is by far the fastest to prepare. And apparently, according to my boys, the tastiest because of how creamy it is.

The nutritional boost with this one comes from the cashews. They are the lowest fiber nut but still packed with important vitamins and minerals. They are high in magnesium (strengthens bones), high in copper (eliminates free radicals), high in good fats (energy booster), and high in anti-oxidants (anti-aging).

 

1 cup whole un-salted raw cashews

2 cups water

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp tapioca starch

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb gluten free macaroni elbows

  1. In a strainer, rinse the cashews. Then place in a bowl and cover with the water. Let them soak for 4 hours or up to overnight. Even if you have a high power blender, it is best to soak them. It makes them much easier to blend and it gets much creamier.
  2. Put all of the ingredients (except the macaroni) in a blender and blend until smooth. Then pour into a saucepan and heat on low until it begins to simmer. Stir occasionally to be sure it doesn’t scorch or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Then pour into the saucepan with the sauce and stir to combine.

Breakfast Scramble Burrito

love this meal! It is hugely nutritious, full of plant foods, and high in vegan protein.

I serve this with my flatbread to make it a tortilla or burrito. It is great for breakfast, but I make it for dinner sometimes, too. It’s always a clear winner in my house.

Mushrooms has serious health benefits. So if you haven’t had them before, I urge you to try this meal. I used cremini mushrooms and they have a mild taste. Mushrooms support heart health, fight cancer, boost immunity, lower inflammation, improve energy, support brain function, and are even a good source of vitamin D.  So chop ’em up and toss ’em in!

1 package extra firm tofu, cubed (non-GMO, organic)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups onion, diced

1 cup potato, diced

1.5 cups cremini mushrooms, diced

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice (or 3 drops Young Living lemon essential oil)

Himalyan sea salt/pepper, to taste

  1. Drain cubed tofu.
  2. Heat a large skillet and saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes using a splash of vegetable broth or water. Add the diced potato and mushroom and saute for 12 minutes, covered. Reduce heat and stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add in the tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon, and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, covered, until potato is cooked through.
  4. Serve on flatbread and add any toppings or garnishments you like. Lettuce, salsa, pineapple, vegan cheese sauce….the possibilities are endless!

Flatbread

Gluten free, super soft & flexible, and really delicious. These are great for making quesadillas, sandwiches or for tacos.

These are quick to make and have minimal ingredients. No fillers or chemical additives. And I can assure you they taste better than packaged tortillas or flatbreads.

 

They are flexible without crumbling, which tends to be the issue with a lot of gluten free baked goods. The tapioca flour helps keep this stretchy and flexible.

 

2 cups gluten free flour (I used 1 cup white rice flour + 1 cup tapioca flour)

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1 cup oat milk

  1. In a bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Add in the milk and mix until dough forms.
  3. On a generously floured surface, using your hands, press a golf ball sized amount of dough out to form a flat circle. Using a roller won’t work well because it is a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Heat a griddle or large skillet to medium high and cook each side for about 2 minutes.

Cilantro Lime Corn

This is a delicious, fresh, and bright side dish to accompany a veggie burger or served in a taco or burrito bowl.

It is quick and easy to make. You could eat it right away, or let it sit for an hour (or longer) to really let those flavors meld together. You can also eat it hot or cold.

1 16oz bag frozen corn (or you can cut fresh corn off the cob)

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

juice of 1 lime

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

ground black pepper to taste

  1. Cook corn in a saucepan with water or vegetable broth,
  2. Once corn is done, mix corn with remaining ingredients in a large bowl and either serve immediately or let sit for at least an hour to intensify the flavors.

 

Quinoa Pizza Bites

The benefits of quinoa are many, including large amounts of protein (one of the few plant foods containing all 9 essential amino acids, it contains 8g of protein per 1 cup serving), fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

It is also high in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

It is gluten free and recommended for a gluten-free diet.

In addition to all those benefits, the bottom line is what is really important….these pizza bites taste GOOD.  Plus, wait till you see how easy they are to make!

1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (I make this ahead of time)

2 cups cooked and cooled cauliflower florets, pureed (I boil or steam until soft, then once cooled I puree it in a food processor)

1 chia egg

1/4 cup brown rice flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

2 tbsp pizza sauce (I used this sauce)

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Gently form into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.

 

Chickpea Nuggets

As a legume, chickpeas are considered a vegetable and protein food. They offer a lot of nutritional quality including many vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Just 1 cup of chickpeas has 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. And that same 1 cup of beans has 26% of the recommended daily value for iron, and 70%  for folate.

Folate is important because it plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. It encourages cell and tissue growth. Folic acid is not the same as folate. Folic acid is a synthetic chemical added to foods. Our body was not designed to metabolize folic acid. It gets dumped into the bloodstream and leads to heart disease and cancer. To avoid folic acid, avoid processed and packaged foods.Plants have folate, and our body knows what to do with folate.

So about the nuggets, with the herb breading they are full of flavor, and they are the perfect texture for a nugget. These are great for a dipping snack, lunch, or even dinner with some roasted veggies on the side.

Any mom (or dad!) to a toddler knows, nuggets tend to be a staple meal. Skip the frozen package of nuggets that are full of chemicals and whip these up. Have the kids help! They love getting their hands messy and playing with their food. My kids, though they are not toddlers anymore, love helping me shape these into nuggets. The more kids can help prepare the meal, they more likely they are to eat it, or at least try it! And since these nuggets have such a mild flavor they are not likely to scare away your budding plant-based eater.

Breading:

2 tbsp hemp seeds

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 cup gluten free (or homemade) breadcrumbs OR ground up oatmeal

Nuggets:

1/2 cup oatmeal, ground

15oz. can of garbanzo beans (do not drain)

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare your breading in a shallow dish, and set aside. (If using oatmeal as breadcrumbs, put 1/4 cup oats in a food processor and pulse until crumbly, being careful not to pulse long enough to make it too powdery.)
  3. In a food processor, grind your oats into a fine flour, then pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Drain the beans into a measuring cup, save 1/4 cup of the liquid.
  5. Pour the beans into the food processor along with the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Pulse until crumbly.
  6. Whisk the 1/4 cup chickpea liquid with a fork until it is foamy. Add the liquid and the oat flour to the food processor and pulse until mixed well.
  7. With your hands, shape your nuggets into the size and shape you want. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

** These also make great chickpea patties served on hamburger buns and your favorite toppings!**

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes Garlic Spinach and Basil

Skip the high glycemic spaghetti noodles and opt for spaghetti squash which is rich in vitamin A and potassium. Its is also full of fiber, so you’ll feel full eating much less than you would eating traditional pasta. As a matter of fact, you’ll also consume about half the carbohydrates and about 175 less calories per 1 cup serving!

1 large spaghetti squash

Himalayan Sea salt and pepper, to taste

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound grape tomatoes, halved

8 ounces baby spinach

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Slice the squash in half and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Using a fork, shred the flesh. It will come out in spaghetti like strands.
  3. Saute garlic for 2-3 minutes with a splash of water or a splash of veggie broth to keep from sticking.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and saute until they burst, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the Spaghetti squash to the skillet and mix well. Remove from heat. Add the chopped basil on top.