Creamy Avocado “Alfredo” (Vegan)

avacado "alredo"

 

This dish was created because I had pasta and an avocado that was going to go bad if I didn’t make it.  After much thought, I figured I would make a nice creamy sauce, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure it was going to taste very good.  I was pleasantly surprised, it came out rich and delicious, and though I don’t usually like cooking in butter (even vegan butter)  I figured one time was worth it.  The garlic is very strong here, so if you have an aversion to very garlic-y dishes, by all means use less.

 

Avocado Alfredo:

  • 6 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 cup unsweetened regular almond milk
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, warm up the butter, and then cook the garlic quickly, keeping it from burning, about 5 minutes.

While the garlic is cooking, place the avocado and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the avocado puree to the pan where the garlic should be nice and fragrant, add the basil, the lemon juice, and nutritional yeast.   Cook it about 3 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a slice of lemon.

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Pinto Bean and Quinoa Burger

bean and quinoa burger

This burger is another take on my bean and quinoa burger.  This time I flavored it with Thyme and Oregano, smothered it with homemade BBQ sauce, vegan cheddar cheese, and pickles.  Feel free to use tomatoes, lettuce, whatever you like on your burger, but the BBQ sauce is the main condiment, it just won’t be the same without it.  I was going to wait to post this up, but its so juicy and yummy that I had to post this up right away.

This makes about 4 large patties

Pinto Bean and Quinoa Burger

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2  tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp daiya vegan cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients until it becomes smooth, then mold the mixture with your hands into patties and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

I DID NOT MAKE THE BBQ SAUCE RECIPE UP, THIS IS FROM http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/homemade-barbecue-sauce-just-like-sweet-baby-rays/  – I LOVE sweet baby rays but the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, this recipe tastes just as good, but its healthier =)   I’ve put my notes in italics.

Homemade BBQ sauce:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup, preferably organic
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar    (You can substitute agave or honey or any other sweetener, but it won’t be as authentic tasting)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (or you can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon worchestire sauce (vegan version from Annies is really great)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don’t like the heat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the water and corn starch mixture in a medium size sauce pot. Bring to a boil and reduce and simmer for five minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved. If you like a thicker BBQ Sauce add the water and corn starch mixture. Simmer until desired thickness is reached, but watch closely. It thickens really fast! Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge.

 

Homemade Ramen Soup

Happy 2014 everyone!  I hope you all had a safe and wonderful new years eve.  I spent the night in with my son, it was a nice and quiet night with thoughts of the upcoming year.  I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant, so this year is going to be an eventful one for me and my family!

Today I thought I’d cook up something easy, fast, and cheap.    I’ve mentioned before how much I love soup, but sometimes I don’t feel like slaving over a stove or waiting to soak my noodles before I can eat.  This dish cooks up in 10 minutes and you have a lot of options to customize it depending on what you have on hand.

The best thing about this dish, is its just as fast to make as if you were to use the normal flavor packets that come with the noodles, but of course this isn’t loaded with salt and MSG.

 

Homemade Ramen Soup  \

Ramen Soup:

  • 5 Dried Shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes to soften them
  • 2 packages of ramen noodles (remove the seasoning packages and throw them out)
  • 5 Green onions

For the base:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste (or 1/2 tbsp grated garlic and 1/2 tbsp grated ginger)
  • 1 tbsp vegan bullion or 1 tbsp White miso  (depending on what you have on hand, both will lend a nice flavor to the dish, of course the miso is the healthier option)
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Other things you can add:

  • Cubed Tofu
  • Toasted Sesame seeds
  • thinly sliced Radishes
  • (For my non Vegan friends – hard boiled eggs)

Place the ramen noodles in a pot of water and bring to a boil.   You want to take them out of the water as soon as it starts to boil so they don’t get too soft.  (they’re going to soften up more as they sit in our soup)   After the water boils, drain them in a colander and set aside.

In another sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients for the base except the sesame oil.  (Sesame oil should never be boiled, it should always be added to the end of cooking for flavor.)    Bring it all to a light simmer, and then, and I did this with a scissor, cut off the stems of the mushrooms,  then cut the mushrooms into slivers right into the soup base.  If you’re using other ingredients like tofu, or radishes, add them now.  I then  took my scissors and cut the green onions right into the soup base as well.  Turn off the flame, and add the sesame oil, giving it all one good stir.

Put the noodles in a bowl, then ladle the soup on top of it.  Enjoy!

And remember, when eating noodles, its totally okay to slurp!

Thai Avocado Curry

Thai Avacado Curry

 

I want you to think the most creamy, comforting dish you could possibly eat and then multiply that by like 100.   This is like an explosion in your mouth.  I might be a bit biased because I love avocado.   Its one of those staples I keep on hand all the time.

I had never actually had avocado curry before, but I kept hearing about this restaurant in Seattle called Araya’s that serves it, and I had to try making it myself since I never get to Seattle to eat.  If you’ve never made a curry before, don’t worry.  Making one is really easy these days with all the pre-made curry pastes out there.  My favorite  brand is Thai Kitchen.

And for anyone thinking, “OMG that is a lot of fat in a dish!” remember that FAT does NOT make you fat.  The fat in coconut milk and avocado is all good fat, and it will actually help you to lose weight.  This dish is very healthy, full of slightly cooked veggies and served with brown rice.  I omitted the tofu that would usually be served in this dish because I forgot to buy it, but if you want to include it, you want to use firm tofu, cube it and steam it before adding it to the curry.

Thai Avocado Curry

For the Curry:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 small avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp liquid amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste

Vegetables:

  • 1 celery stalk, very thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 cup green beans (I used frozen)
  • 1 small avocado, cubed
  • Basil, julienned

In a blender, add all the curry ingredients and blend until smooth.  Transfer it to a wok and bring it to a boil.  Lower the heat and add the vegetables, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  You don’t want the vegetables to be limp and over cooked, Thai dishes are fresh and crisp so always keep the timing in mind when its time to cook the veggies.

Garnish with basil, and serve with a bowl of brown jasmine rice.

Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding

This dish is a wonderful dessert for the holidays, (or anytime!) and its healthier then the traditional rice pudding.  Quinoa is complete protein, and its full of other nutrients as well: Iron, magnesium, and antioxidants just to name a few.    Its a powerhouse of a grain.

I made this pudding the way my Nana used to make her rice pudding, cooked on the stove top and then baked in the oven.  Of course, my version is vegan and I used coconut milk instead of cream.  But believe me, this will have your guests screaming for more.  There is so much you can do to this as well.  Add crushed walnuts, or some other dried fruit.    This can even be eaten as a breakfast, just omit the sprinkling of sugar on the top to make it a tad more healthier and avoid a sugar crash later in the day.

This makes 6 servings.

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ener-g eggs (make according to package directions)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp stevia (or other sweetener like Agave)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Raisins and currents (I used 1/2 cup of each, but feel free to add as much or as little as you want, if you don’t want the fruit to over power the dish, you can add less)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  •  Raw Sugar, for sprinkling (optional, omit this part if you’re trying to keep it low on the GI)

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the quinoa in the water, 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Make the ener-g eggs in a separate bowl and let sit.

During the last 5 minutes of cooking the quinoa, mix the coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, raisins and currents and vanilla extract in a separate sauce pan over medium heat.   After it heats up and all the spices are nicely mixed with the liquid, add it to the cooked quinoa.  Now add the Ener-g Egg replacer and the chia seeds, and stir really well to get it evenly distributed.

Place it all in a baking dish, sprinkling the top with the raw sugar, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

 

 

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Burgers

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Burgers

These burgers are so easy to make, they’re affordable, and they taste better then any bean burger you can buy at the store.   The best part is, they hold up their shape fantastically, even when frying.   I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed creating them!    This recipe makes about 6 patties.

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Burgers

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can organic kidney beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • pinch of chipotle pepper (I didn’t want it spicy so I only used a bit, but if you like it HOT add more.  Be warned, this stuff is very spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil for cooking

After rinsing the quinoa in a colander under cold water, place the 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups of water, bringing it to a boil and then lowering the heat to simmer.  Cover  and ccok for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

In a food processor add the cooked quinoa with the remaining ingredients (excluding the coconut oil) and pulse until smooth.

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and then with your hand, form patties out of the mixture in the food processor, about the size of your palm and 1 inch thick.       In batches fry up the patties, about 5 minutes on each side.  It will be nice and crispy brown on the outside,  with a smooth consistency on the inside.  Just how a veggie burger should be!

I garnished mine with vegan mayo and organic agave sweetened ketchup, vegan cheddar cheese (daiya brand) and mashed avocados.    (Mash the avocado right in the shell, it makes it clean up a snap!)

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Skillet (Vegan)

 

photo

Its been some time since my last blog post, we were spending some time with family in Wyoming.  Between the steak houses and the family cooking, it was hard to stay healthy.  Of course, vacation is over and its time to get back on track, and this time my husband is totally on board with me.  This is my take on a Cheesy Mexican skillet dish.    To keep this as healthy as possible, remember not to cook your vegetables too long, you don’t want them soggy and over cooked.

 

Vegan Cheesy Mexican Skillet

  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp chili pepper (or less if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1/3 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic broccoli florets
  • 1 package vegan shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp organic stone  ground mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, diced (let to sit 10 minutes)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup Monterrey jack vegan cheese (daiya brand)
  • salt to taste (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable broth up till it starts to steam.  Add the onions and mushrooms, cover and let simmer for 3 minutes over medium heat.  After 3 minutes, uncover it, and add the broccoli, vegan chicken, chili pepper, and oregano.  (At this point, If  it all starts to stick to the pan, add a bit more vegetable broth, but no more then 1 tbsp)  After a minute, add the mustard, tomatoes, green onions, and vegan cheese.    Let the cheese melt into the dish, stirring for another minute.  Add salt to taste (or omit)

 

I served this with fresh organic corn on the cob, and brown rice.

Stevia – What 1 dash REALLY means

001

 

This is Stevia.  Stevia is an herb, like oregano or basil.  I often say, “1 dash Stevia” in my recipes, and I thought that I should clarify exactly what I mean by that.  A dash of stevia is about the size of your pinky nail, and it is sweeter then a tbsp of white sugar.   My stevia comes from Trader Joe’s, but you can find it in large groceries as well, usually in the supplement isle because the USDA does not approve it for sale other then as a dietary supplement.  Japan has been using for centuries, and its very safe, has no glycemic index, and will not make you gain weight, or get cancer like other sugar replacers.

003

This is 1 dash of stevia. It comes with this little scooper.

 

Stevia is not the same thing as Truvia.  Truvia has xylotol in it, which is a fruit sugar.  It has sugar in it.  Real Stevia is NOT sugar.  The only ingrediant it should have in it is STEVIA.

The Trader Joe’s Stevia has a little spoon that comes with it, and when my recipe calls for 1 or 2 dash’s of stevia, this is what I mean.  I love it, it is the only sweetener I use, besides honey and agave.  So, I hope I’ve cleared some things up for the people who were curious.

Crispy Thai Tofu and Eggplant with Basil Sauce

Its been a bit since I’ve posted!  To my readers, I’m very sorry its been so long.  My husband has returned from his last underway, and we have been readjusting to life together.   One of the things that is very hard for me, which I’ve written about in A Nutritionist and a Navy Chef, is the fact that he is not vegan and we don’t exactly see eye to eye on issues of nutrition.  When he comes home, I tend to slack a bit more on what is allowed into my house, and I have to cook dinner with him in mind.  This meal, while not the healthiest dish one could make, introduces him to tofu.  The tofu is nice and crispy, and it is cooked in coconut oil.  Coconut oil might be the healthiest of all the oils (especially when you’re frying tofu, since you can heat it up to high temps without it becoming a carcinogen) but it still raises bad cholesterol.  But everything in moderation, tofu is still healthier then eating fried chicken and it is full of probiotics.  This dish was inspired by a dish I had at a Thai restaurant the other night, and while Thai dishes are usually made with fish sauce, this instead uses Amino acids to  keep it nice and vegan.   My husband actually really liked it, so I was quite relieved!

005

  • 1 cube extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup ener-g egg replacer (thats 1/2 cup after mixing it with water)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 tbsp amino acids
  • 2 dash’s stevia
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp sriacha sauce (more if you like spicy)
  • 3 green onions, cut long
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 12 basil leaves, roughly cut

Heat the oil until it melts in a pan, and while its heating up, coat the tofu in the egg replacer, and then cover in corn starch.  Cook the coated pieces in the coconut oil in batches, we are using a small amount of oil here, so you will have to turn them every few minutes.  They don’t take long to cook, about 2 minutes on each side.  I used a small sauce pan to this.   Put the cooked pieces on a plate to drain.

In a wok, mix the amino acid, stevia and water, add the garlic and eggplant, cover and cook 7 minutes.  Check it after 5 minutes and give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking.  After 7 minutes, add the pepper and onion and cover back up and cook another 3 minutes.  Then add the green onions, ginger and basil leaves.

When the vegetables are done cooking, add the tofu pieces, and mix to coat with the sauce.  Serve with brown rice.

 

 

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas

 

I was at the grocery store, and I saw a pre-packaged dish called Bombay potatoes and chickpeas.  Its an Indian dish where the potatoes and chickpeas are cooked in a rich tomato sauce.   It looked so good, but of course the sodium was 28% of the recommended daily allowance, so I passed it up.  (Not to mention all the added preservatives and whatnot that are also lurking in it!)  But I had to try it, so this is my attempt to make bombay potatoes.  Amchur powder is a bitter mauve powder made from green mangoes, and it goes really well with potatoes.  The chili pepper that  I used is from Kashmir (hence the name), a place in Northern Indian.  It is VERY hot, so only use a pinch of it in recipes, or exclude it completely if you don’t like spice.   So I have no idea if this dish tastes anything like actual Bombay potatoes and chickpeas, but its really good regardless.    To my credit however, I did research a bit  before attempting to make this and found many different recipes.  The basics are all here, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, ginger and onions….if anyone has ever had this dish before I’d love to hear from you to see if I hit the mark!

Waxy potatoes are always better to use then regular russet potatoes because they are less starchy, plus their glycemic index is less.

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmir chili pepper
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp amchur powder
  • 3 waxy potatoes, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • salt

In a wok heath the broth till it steams, then add the garlic, ginger and onion, cover and cook for 4 minutes.  Uncover it, add the  cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili pepper, stirring constantly, cooking another 2 minutes or until its fragrant.  Add the crushed tomatoes, and the amchur powder, and stir it up so the sauce mixes with the spice mixture.  Add in the potatoes, cover it back up and cook 30 minutes over medium-low heat.   The smaller you dice the potatoes the less time it will take to cook.  They are done when they are easily pierced with a fork.  After 30 minutes add the chickpeas, stir it up, and cook, covered, another 10 minutes.   Season to taste with salt.

This dish would be really good with some chutney and naan bread.