Chipotle and Black Bean Hummus

Chipotle and Black Bean Hummus with Carrot Sticks

We were out to dinner a few weeks ago and ordered one of the restaurants vegan appetizers, chipotle and black bean hummus with pita and veggies. It was so yummy with just the right amount of spice, I immediately knew I wanted to work on figuring out the recipe. After several tries, (none were throw aways, just not the exact flavor) I figured it out, or as near to it as my taste buds remember.

Very easy to make! Probably why it was easy to have so many different practice dips. Everything goes into the Vita Mix and it all gets pureed. The liquid from a can of chickpeas is called aquafaba and there are tons of recipes out there using this fun liquid. I use aquafaba in place of oil in my hummus recipes.

Chipotle and Black Bean Hummus

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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A spicy black bean hummus that gives a zip to fresh veggies or pita


Ingredients


• 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and liquid reserved
• 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
• 3 teaspoons of minced garlic
• 1/2 cup of tahini
• 3 tablespoons aquafaba
• 1 lemon, juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, reserving the liquid (aquafaba).
  2. Drain and rinse the black beans.
  3. Add chickpeas, black beans, garlic, tahini, aquafaba, lemon juice, chipotle powder, cumin and sea salt to Vita Mix and blend well.
  4. Add additional aquafaba until hummus reaches desired consistency.
  5. Enjoy with veggies, pretzels, chips, etc.!


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BBQ Lentil and Sweet Potato Burger

BBQ Lentil and Sweet Potato Burger with spinach, red onion, avocado, and “cheesy” sauce

It’s been awhile since I tried a new burger recipe. My guys already have their favorites and don’t like the idea of a possible flop aka the beet and black bean burgers. The beet and black beans never made it to blog worthy status, more like a horror show, complete with blood (beet juice) everywhere.

So for this burger it’s important to know what has to occur before the assembly starts. I have made this mistake more than once. The flax egg needs to be mixed and set aside, the lentils need to be cooked, the sweet potatoes need to be mashed. I cook my lentils in my rice cooker and my sweet potatoes in my microwave. After cooking the sweet potato, cool, peel and smash with a fork. I found that one sweet potato is plenty for the 1/3 cup called for here.

I processed the onion, carrots, walnuts and sunflower seeds each separately in my Vita Mix, and added them to a large bowl. Then I did the same with the lentils. I really only pulsed them quickly because I just wanted them to be finely chopped and not liquid or mush.

BBQ Lentil and Sweet Potato Burgers

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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A meaty textured, BBQ flavored burger, packed with nutrients.


Ingredients


• 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (1 cup uncooked)
• 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato)
• 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal plus 3 tablespoons water)
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
• 2 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/3 cup walnuts
• 1 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
• 1/4 cup flax meal
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
• 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour if needed

Directions

  1. Start by cooking the sweet potato and the lentils. Set aside and let them both cool. Mix together the flax egg and set aside.
  2. Using a food processor, finely chop the onion, carrots, garlic, sunflower seeds and walnuts, process each individually and place in a large bowl.
  3. Process the lentils, just a light pulse, don’t turn them into mush. Add them to the large bowl.
  4. Add sweet potato, bread crumbs, flax meal, smoked paprika, chili powder, dried oregano, dried parsley, salt and pepper then stir until combined.
  5. Pour in BBQ sauce and flax egg and stir well. If the mix is too wet to form into patties add flour a little at a time as you continue to stir as needed.
  6. Using 1/2 cup measure form mix into patties and place on a prepared baking sheet (covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat)
  7. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Serve on buns with greens, avocado, red onion, “cheese” sauce etc.


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Plant Based Lentil Stuffed Peppers

Lentil Stuffed Peppers

These beautiful lentil stuffed peppers were so easy to make, and the stuffing is so tasty that you can almost forget how healthy they are.

Cooked peppers drying on a paper-towel

First cut the tops from the peppers. I used yellow and red but any color will do. Discard the seeds and the membranes. Throw out the stems and cut up the tops to be added to the filling later. Cook the whole peppers, uncovered, in boiling water for 5 minutes, then invert to drain them well. I place them on a paper towel and just let them sit while I work on the stuffing.

Lentil filling for the peppers

The filling is cooked in a large skillet. The recipe called for 4 cups of cooked lentils, which is approximately 2 cups of dry lentils. I use green lentils and cook them in my rice cooker. In the rice cooker I combine 2 cups of dry lentils with 5 cups of water. Make sure your rice cooker is large enough to accommodate that quantity. I have used a small rice cooker in the past and needed to do the lentils in batches. They can always be prepared on the stove according to the package instructions. If you cook up more lentils than you need, they can be refrigerated for up to a week. I typically have cooked lentils in my fridge for use in buddha bowls.

Vegan cheese is optional, I typically use nutritional yeast. Mushrooms are also optional, if I have some on hand I toss them in, if not I just leave them out. Stuffed peppers pair nicely with a green salad, for a filling family dinner. Enjoy!

Plant-Based Lentil Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A delicious stuffed pepper recipe that is packed with nutrients and filling for the whole family


Ingredients


• 6 large peppers
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 cans chili ready diced tomatoes
• 4 cups cooked lentils
• 8 ounces chopped mushrooms (optional)
• 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 can tomato sauce 15 ounces
• 1/3 cup nutritional yeast + extra to sprinkle on top
• no salt seasoning
• vegan shredded cheese (optional to sprinkle on top)

Directions

  1. Cut tops from peppers; discard seeds and membranes. Chop up the tops. Set aside.
  2. Cook the whole peppers; uncovered in boiling water for 5 minutes. Invert to drain well. Sprinkle insides lightly with no salt seasoning.
  3. In a skillet cook onion, chopped up pepper tops, garlic and mushrooms (if desired) until tender. Use water as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Add cooked lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and nutritional yeast . Bring to boiling and simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Stuff peppers with lentil mixture.
  6. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast, or vegan cheese if desired. Bake, covered in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.


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Jackfruit Fajitas

Jackfruit Fajitas with Plant Based Avocado Crema

If you haven’t tried jackfruit yet, it is definitely worth a look. I have tried both the canned jackfruit and I bought fresh jackfruit at my local Whole Foods. The canned is what I prefer because its “young green”, its tender and its texture resembles shredded chicken or pork when you tear it up. I had difficulty with the fresh and it was expensive, so in the future I am sticking with canned. I have found jackfruit at Whole-foods, Fresh Market, Earth Fare and Trader Joes, I’m sure its found in many other stores as well. I use two cans of Jackfruit for this recipe and they need to be drained and lightly rinsed. Once rinsed I toss the pieces into my big skillet.

Young jackfruit fresh from the can

Once in the skillet, I use my fingers to gently tear the chunks and the soft seeds apart until it resembles shredded pork. Turn the skillet to medium heat and add water as needed to prevent sticking. I then add half of the packet of fajita seasoning, (typically I use Old El Paso brand), and 2 Tbsp. of Pickapeppa Sauce. Stir continuously and add water as needed for the next 10 min. Then add the rest of the fajita seasoning packet and the remaining 2 Tbsp. of Pickapeppa Sauce. Continuing stirring and adding water as needed for the next 10 minutes until the jackfruit is tender.

Tender sautéed jackfruit with fajitas seasoning and Pickapeppa Sauce

Once the jackfruit is tender, add in the pepper and onion slices, continue to stir until the onions are translucent.

Onions and peppers added to the jackfruit

At this point remove from the heat and set aside. I serve jackfruit fajitas with a plant based avocado crema on heated tortillas. Enjoy and ❤️ur❤️

Jackfruit Fajitas

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A delicious, meaty textured vegan fajita.

Ingredients

  • 2 (16 oz) cans young green jackfruit (in water), drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red onion, cut into this strips
  • 4 Tbsp. Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 Packet fajita seasoning
  • water as needed

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse the canned jackfruit and place in your skillet.
  2. Shred the jackfruit until it resembles pulled pork
  3. Heat the skillet to medium, add water as needed to prevent sticking. Add half of the fajita seasoning and 2 Tbsp. of the sauce.
  4. Continue to brown the jackfruit stirring continuously, after 10 min. add the remaining fajita seasoning and the remaining 2 Tbsp. of the sauce. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  5. Once tender, add in the pepper and onion slices. Continue to stir and add water as needed until the onions are translucent.
  6. Remove from heat and set aside
  7. Heat tortillas and serve with your favorite fajitas sauce.

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Savory Plant Based Quiche

Savory Plant Based Quiche – No cheese, no egg, only the good stuff

This is a plant based quiche that is easily adaptable to your favorite veggies or those left over veggies you have in your fridge. It tastes surprisingly like the totally unhealthy quiches I used to make for my family. I divided the ingredients between two 8″ pie plates. This made it seem more like a quiche but, you could easily put the ingredients in a 9 x 13 casserole dish and call it a breakfast casserole.

For the vegetables I used 3 cups of broccoli florets from a large bag of pre-cut ready to use florets. I used a red sweet bell pepper, these are the ones that have a long shape versus the bell shaped ones. Pre-minced garlic, and tofu both from Costco. This recipe made 2 pies of quiche making it a hearty filling dinner or a warm and tasty breakfast.

This quiche heats up nicely in the microwave for left overs and holds its shape so its also makes a nice option for a packed lunch. I added an option for vegan cheese, however the excess oils typically found in vegan cheeses make them unsuitable for a plant based diet.

You may need to add more plant based milk to achieve a creamy consistency with the tofu mixture. The better you are able to drain the tofu, the more milk you may need to add.

Enjoy!

Savory Plant-Based Quiche

Savory Plant Based Quiche

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A light and fluffy quiche, perfect for a main entree or a family breakfast.

Ingredients

sautéed veggies

  • 3 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 6 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

tofu mixture

  • 2-1 lb. packages tofu, pressed and drained
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • Kala Namak – a few pinches
  • 2/3 cup plant based milk
  • 1 cup vegan cheese (if desired)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Heat a large skillet, and sauté onions, garlic, sweet pepper and carrots in a bit of water to prevent sticking. Sauté until the onions are translucent and then add the broccoli, cover and cook for approximately 5 min. until the broccoli is tender. Add water as needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Combine tofu, plant milk, turmeric, paprika, garlic powder, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, corn starch and kala namak in a food processor. If desired also add in the vegan cheese at this point. Process until smooth and creamy. (If necessary add additional plant milk 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve a creamy consistancy.)
  4. Combine the tofu mixture and the sautéed mixture in a big bowl.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between two 8-inch pie plates.
  6. Bake in 350°oven for 1 hour.

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Plant Based Dye Free Easter

Easter has become a chocolate, sugar packed, food dye bomb on our children. Easter baskets filled with goodies are literally everywhere you look. Aisle upon aisle of chocolates and candies created especially for this holiday, are found in every grocery store. How did Easter become synonymous with plastic eggs and baskets filled with candy?

What’s a plant based family to do? First, remember you can offer items that aren’t edible. Second, you aren’t the only parent looking for healthier options..and there are some out there.

Smash Mallow

I found these Smash Mallows at my local Earth Fare and after a quick google search I found they are also offered at Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme, and many more stores, as well as online. They are free from HFCS, dairy and dye free. Their website is http://www.smashmallow.com

Love this healthy comparison!❤️
Enjoy Life candies

Enjoy Life has three different varieties of holiday packaged candies. I found this bag at Earth Fare. They do have options to order on line from their website (www.enjoylifefoods.com), although I noticed that the variety pack is already sold out. The back side of the bags states that their products are free from wheat, dairy, soy, sulfates, lupin, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, tree nuts, casein, egg, sesame and mustard. Wow!

Yum Earth

Yum Earth organic sour beans, also from Earth Fare. Their packages states they are vegan, No HFCS, and dye free. This big bag contains 10 snack packs. Their website is http://www.yumearth.com.

Unreal

I found three flavors of unreal chocolate cups, dark chocolate almond butter, dark chocolate peanut butter, and crisp dark chocolate peanut butter. They are certified vegan, nothing unreal included. Their website is http://www.getunreal.com

Keep your eyes open, new products are showing up on stores shelves all the time.

Buddha Bowl

Savory Buddha Bowl

Another fun mix up!

I started off this buddha bowl by putting pearled barley in my rice cooker. I hadn’t tried barley in the cooker before but seeing that it’s similar to other grains I toss in there that aren’t rice….lentils…quinoa….I was willing to give it a shot. I put 2 cups of uncooked barley and 2 1/2 cups of water in the rice cooker, closed the lid and set it for white rice. Whenever I try something that isn’t rice in the rice cooker I keep an eye on it just to be safe. I tried red lentils in there once, left the kitchen for a bit and came back to a mess of water, lentils and mush all over the cabinet, countertop and floor. Don’t do red lentils in the rice cooker.

I washed and slit the sides of two sweet potatoes and put them in my microwave to bake. My microwave has a setting for baked potatoes so when I bake sweet potatoes I aways set it for 1 more than I actually have in there. So I set it for 3 potatoes and it baked 2 sweet potatoes perfectly. Taking them from the microwave, I peeled their skins off (I know its the healthiest part) and diced them, then tossed them in a skillet with a bit of water and cumin just to keep them warm while everything else finished up.

While the sweet potatoes and barley were cooking, I chopped up an onion and sautéed it in a little water in my large copper skillet (yes, the as seen on tv one). I chopped up some greens, it was the bag that says super greens, a mix of things…and put them in to sauté with the onions. I also tossed in a few chickpeas and some black beans that were hanging out in my fridge from something else. Cook on low heat and add water as necessary, feel free to add some spices here if you want.

The tofu was a little package of prepared tofu called tofu steak. It was the first time I have seen it so I wanted to try it out. It came from Fresh Thyme and thats the only place I have seen it, I can’t remember the brand and unfortunately the packaging is long gone. I chopped up the tofu and put it in a small skillet with a little orange soy sauce just to heat it through.

Once everything is heated and finished, just assemble your buddha bowl. I sprinkled the top with Braggs Nutritional Yeast and then drizzled Hak’s BBQ sauce over the top.

Eating plant based doesn’t have to be difficult. Buddha bowls make a tasty meal. You can change up the ingredients and never have the exact same one twice. I have lots of barley left over in my fridge for something else..maybe some soup.

Enjoy! ❤️ur❤️. Remember the same diet that is good for your heart, is good for your arteries, is good for your whole body.

Protein…Protein…Protein

Our country is obsessed with protein!

This is a photo I snapped yesterday at Costco when I noticed these boxes screaming about how much protein they contain.

But, do you actually know how much protein your body needs, or if you are consuming too much?

We only need .8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. (The Recommended Daily Allowance) Thats all! I actually sat down and tallied mine up yesterday. You will be shocked to know with my plant based diet, I was slightly over the RDA.

So what happens to all that excess protein the average American consumes? No worries, it’s usually stored as fat. Is there a difference between plant protein and animal protein? Yes, of course and heart disease is just one of the risks associated with animal protein.

Don’t follow the latest marketing hype, don’t worry about your protein! Where are you getting your fiber? Here’s a hint….no animal products contain fiber.

Mushroom & Lentil Cabbage Rolls

I spotted some big beautiful heads of cabbage while grocery shopping this week and decided I would try my hand at some cabbage rolls. Some of my childhood years were spent in Toledo Ohio, home of Tony Packos, made famous by Jamie Farr from his days on MASH. I had my first taste of cabbage rolls in the original Tony Packos. Those cabbage rolls from years ago were definitely not plant based, but this recipe fulfilled the taste test in our kitchen as a heart healthy substitute.

Mushrooms and lentils give a meaty texture and flavor. As I have said before I always make my lentils and quinoa in my rice cooker. This time I used 2 cups of dry lentils to 4 1/2 cups of water and once those were finished I did a quick turn around for the rice cooker and got the quinoa started with the same quantities. I did have more lentils and quinoa than I needed for this recipe. You will only need 1 cup of each cooked. Put the left overs in the refrigerator and you can toss them in a buddha bowl later in the week. While the lentils were in the rice cooker, I chopped up the mushrooms and onions, and got them sautéing in a skillet with the minced garlic. Add a little bit of water or vegetable broth if needed to the skillet to prevent sticking. I also trimmed the outer leaves off the cabbage, cut out the stem and put it in a big pot to steam with about 3 inches of water.

Lettuce head steaming

Once the lentils and quinoa were done I added 1 cup of each of them to the skillet with the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Add all the seasonings at this point, including the fire roasted tomatoes, mix well and heat through. Taste the mix and see if it needs any more seasonings, adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.

Lentil, mushroom, quinoa mixture

After the head of cabbage steamed I slowly pulled the leaves off and got them ready for the filling. Some of the leaves had thick stems so I cut them out leaving a triangle shape at the base of the leaf. I used a 1/3 cup measure to fill each leaf, roll up from the bottom over the filling , then roll the sides over and then roll from the bottom away from yourself. The cabbage leaves want to roll up this direction all by themselves.

Cabbage roll folding

I poured pasta sauce into the bottom of my 9 x 13 pan, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking. Roll the cabbage rolls up and place them seam side down in the pan, placing them close enough together that they stay rolled up.

Cabbage rolls securely in the pan.

Drizzle pasta sauce over the top and cover with foil. Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour and then its best to let them sit for just a couple of minutes to cool down before serving.

Let cool and enjoy!

Mushroom & Lentil Cabbage Rolls

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

A warm filling comfort food.


Ingredients


•1 large head cabbage
•1 cup cooked lentils
•1 cup cooked quinoa
•3 cups diced mushrooms
•1 medium yellow onion
•3 tsp. minced garlic
•2 Tbsp. tamari
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
•2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
•2 Tbsp. parsley, dried
•1 can fire roasted tomatoes
•1 jar pasta sauce
•1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

Directions

  1. Prepare the lentils and quinoa
  2. Remove the core from the head of cabbage and place it in approximately 3 inches of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Allow to steam for approximately 20 min. until the leaves come off easily.
  3. In a large skillet cook onion, garlic and mushrooms, 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the lentils and quinoa to the mushroom mixture, stir to combine.
  5. Add the tamari, smoked paprika, dijon mustard, dried parsley, and fire roasted tomatoes. Mix well and heat through.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  7. Peel a leaf off of the cabbage head and place it onto a work surface with the stem side facing you. Trim any very thick portions of the leaf near the base. Spoon 1/3 cup of filling onto the center of the leaf. Fold the base side over the filling, then wrap the sides inward over the filling. Roll the center away from you to wrap everything up. Place the roll, seam side down, into the baking dish. Repeat until all of the filling is used.
  8. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the rolls, cover and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.


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