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.

Pistachios

Solo traveler yet again, and even after all these years of hopping planes I still can work up a healthy case of anxiety. Did you know pistachios have a high healthy fat content, lots of fiber and tons of antioxidants to keep blood vessels open and relaxed during stressful moments? 2 pistachios are equal to .03mg of melatonin which is the physiological dosage (within the range of concentrations that occur naturally in your body) using that equation 33 pistachios are equal to a 5mg dose of melatonin which is the pharmacological dose. We eat far fewer pistachios when we have to shell them ourselves…does it slow us down so our body has time to say hey I’m full or is it the heap of shells in front of us? Regardless a few pistachios now and then when traveling help me stay calm, cool and collected, and a few before bedtime help with falling asleep. ❤️ur❤️🌱

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
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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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Orange Zest Hummus

Our kitchen has been full of hummus lately. We have been experimenting with different flavors of hummus, always starting with a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas. Save the liquid when you drain the chickpeas, if the mixture needs a little liquid you can use this (aquafaba) in small amounts until you get the desired consistancy. I have read several recipes recently where the author discusses to peel or not to peel the chickpeas. Most of the time I hardly see any skins in the canned chickpeas so I don’t bother taking them out. Just pop them in the Vitamix with everything else and mix away. Most hummus recipes use tahini and I have used it in the past, it will give your hummus a more creamy texture. However, tahini is basically oil and adds about 90 calories per tablespoon so we skip it. The orange juice and orange zest mixed with chickpeas gives this hummus a slight hint of sweet and a follow up of tang. Serve up some hummus with your favorite chips or veggies and enjoy!


Orange Zest Hummus

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A light and tangy citrus hummus for dipping or as a tasty spread


Ingredients


• 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1/4 cup of water
• 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
• 4 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
• 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
• 1 tsp. orange zest
• 1/2 tsp. sea salt
• 1/2 tsp. paprika
• 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
• 1 tsp. horseradish

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor
  2. Mix well, until the mixture is creamy
  3. Scoop into a bowl, top with additional paprika.


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Vegan Minced Mushroom Burger

This is our latest burger. We are always trying new recipes, tweaking, and then trying again. My freezer is sometimes full of things I’ve tried and then I can’t wait to make it again and change one thing. So into the freezer all the tests go. Thankfully I have lots of people who enjoy eating all the attempts. I have one son who says he basically eats experiments every time he’s home.

The first thing you want to do when making these burgers is to cook your rice in the rice cooker. I usually prepare 3 cups of uncooked rice which gives me more than enough. The mushrooms need to be pulsed in small batches through a food processor, you don’t want them to be paste, just minced. The onions need to be finely diced. This was my third attempt with this particular burger and I couldn’t bring myself to make another batch just to dice the onions finer. So in my photo you can see the onion…the burger will hold together better if they are finer.

Summer Savory seems to be a difficult spice to find, so be aware. The light sweet miso is sometimes found on the shelf and I have also found it in the refrigerator section, so just poke around or ask. I use a 1/2 cup measure to form my burgers so they all have the same amount of “meat”. Using the 1/2 cup measure this recipe makes 18-20 burgers. Freeze those leftovers to make for an easy dinner another day.

We eat burgers with 100% whole grain buns, usually some lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, some homemade hummus is always nice as well.

Vegan Minced Mushroom Burger

  • Servings: makes 18 burgers
  • Difficulty: medium.
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mushrooms, pulsed
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 16 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. light sweet miso
  • 3 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. summer savory
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cups vital wheat gluten
  • no salt seasoning (for sprinkling on burgers before baking, if desired)

Directions

  1. Pulse mushrooms in batches and put in a large bowl.
  2. Finely chop onions and add to the mushrooms
  3. Add rice to the mushroom mixture
  4. Mix in tomato paste
  5. Blend in parsley, soy sauce, miso, basil, thyme, summer savory, allspice and garlic. Mix well so that the spices are evenly distributed.
  6. Add in the vital wheat gluten.
  7. Form burgers and place on prepared baking sheet. (line the sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper) Sprinkle with no salt seasoning.
  8. Bake at 350° for 30 min.
  9. Enjoy!

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