This recipe is a great way to use up any extra quinoa you may have on hand. If you are making fresh quinoa for this recipe please refer to my previous post and try your hand at making quinoa in your rice cooker. Remember quinoa is gluten-free and packed with protein! I usually have a big bag of regular quinoa from Costco in my pantry. I also have small bags of multi colored quinoa that have found at my local Kroger grocery store. Tabbouleh is traditionally a vegetarian salad made of mostly finely chopped, parsley with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This as you will see is an adaptation of the traditional, absolutely oil free. I am sure there are numerous ways you can play with this recipe and make it your own. For now this is what our family enjoys, however each time I think we tweak it just a little, so tweak away. I serve this cold as a side salad.
If you are using uncooked quinoa, combine the quinoa with the water in a pan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 min., fluff with a fork and refrigerate until chilled, approximately 2 hours.
Combine chilled quinoa, parsley, cilantro, cucumber, mint, red onion, salt and ACV, mix together and serve immediately or chill.
I have been using a rice cookers for several years and I am currently on my second one. The one I have has two setting, one for white rice and one for brown rice. I have consistently cooked either brown or white rice and nothing else, it does have a steaming basket but I have yet to try it. A few weeks ago my son purchased a rice cooker for his apartment and read the instruction book, something I had neglected to do since mine only had two buttons and I think I can tell if its brown or white rice. He informed me that his rice cooker could also cook quinoa and had a button specifically for that purpose. I curiously went to my stash of instruction manuals and fished out the one for my rice cooker, but there was no mention of quinoa or any other grains that could be cooked in there. Having burned quinoa on my stove top before I was anxious to give my rice cooker a try. Using a 2/1 ratio, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, I clicked the white rice button and waited.
Quinoa is a seed related to the beet and chard families that looks and tastes like a grain but packs as much protein as meat. It is versatile and can go almost anywhere a grain can go. It can replace rice in a stir-fry or couscous in a salad. You can even eat it in the morning instead of oatmeal. Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest. Quinoa is native to Andean cultures and the Incas referred to is as “mother of all grains”.
The light on my rice cooker clicked from red to green indicating that it was finished. Tentatively opening the lid I found to my delight that it was fluffy and steamy, and a success. No longer will I accidentally burn quinoa to the bottom of my pans, my rice cooker has a new purpose.
We recently discovered a gem in our little Fort called Taj Mahal Indian restaurant. One of our favorite restaurants when we lived in Shanghai was an Indian restaurant and Taj Mahal brought back memories of those times. While it doesn’t sit next to the ever exciting pearl market of Hangqiao there is a small grocery next door called Taj Food and Gifts. This small grocery has been a fabulous find. We have enjoyed the Indian whole food plant based items in the restaurant and decided to experiment and try some Indian recipes at home. This is where the Taj food and gifts came in very handy. Thankfully they have a wonderful staff, who were able to help me go down my ingredients list and find all the items I needed. Taj food and gifts is where I found asafetida, and dried fenugreek leaves, I found the garam masala at my local Kroger. The garam masala was there all the time I just never noticed it until I needed it, much like many of the plant based whole food items we use now. My photo includes cauliflower and peas masala, oil free falafel bites, 100% whole wheat naan, quinoa tabbouleh and Silk plain soy dairy-free yogurt alternative.
As a child the only way I had ever seen beets served was in pickled beet eggs. That tradition is from an old Pennsylvania dutch recipe where boiled eggs are refrigerated in pickled beet liquid along with the pickled beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep red color, they are then both served together. As a child these red eggs with the yolk sections stained pink and their accompanying beets were less than appetizing. As it turns out beets are rich in natural nitrates, which your body uses to make nitric oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide is important for your body because it helps dilate your arteries, delivering more oxygenated blood to your organs. My husband carries a small bottle of nitroglycerin to take if he begins to experience chest pains, nitroglycerin is converted by the body into NO and dilates the coronary arteries, allowing more blood to flow to the heart muscle Recently it was discovered that NO actually enables your body to extract MORE energy from that oxygen. A recent study quoted in Dr. Gregor’s “How Not to Die”, states that men and women eating one and a half cups of baked beets seventy-five minutes before running a 5K race improved their running performance while maintaining the same heart rate and they even reported less exertion. While I haven’t tried that out for myself, it is good to have a little extra blood flow to the most important organ of the body, the brain. Studies also show that researchers have been able to get a 10 point systolic blood pressure drop in volunteers within hours of their consuming beet juice – an effect that lasted throughout the day. Roasted beets are so easy to make and keep easily in the refrigerator to be chopped up and added to salads, budda bowls, stir-fries, or just plain throughout the week. As a grown up I have now aquired a taste for these roasted beets.
1 bunch of red beets ( usually 3 beets) scrubbed clean, green tops removed
1 bunch of golden beets ( usually 3 beets) scrubbed clean, green tops removed
white balsamic vinegar ( I use lemon grass white balsamic)
In my photo I used a lidded corning ware dish, previously I have made them using foil in my dish, either way works, however there was a lot of scrubbing to get that dish clean that I hadn’t lined with foil. This photo is when they were fresh from the oven and still have their skins on.
Pre-heat oven to 400° and line baking dish with foil.
Rub beets with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt, place in dish and cover with another sheet of foil.
Roast for 1-2 hours. After 1 hour test them with the tines of a fork. Typically average sized beets take an hour and a half. Once the fork tines slide in easily the beets are tender and ready to be removed from the oven to cool.
After the beets have cooled a bit but are still warm, peel off the outer skin.
A few weeks ago I rediscovered an old Greek recipe book I had long stuck in the back of my shelf. A plethora of recipes handed down for generations, each needing only a small alteration to make them whole food plant-based. As a side note my first trip to Greece was with my grandparents many moons ago over spring break. The smells, the food, the rich history, the view of the Acropolis above the city, lit up against the night sky, and then to stand in its midst the following day. My first taste of the thick licorice liquor that I would come to learn is a Greek tradition, ouzo. In the midst of these memories I started off on my quest to find grape leaves in the midwest. After ventures to most of my local shopping marts turned up empty, I turned to Georges International Market. There I found what I was looking for, Krinos imported grape leaves in a jar. Each jar contains approximately 50-51 leaves according to the label, probably 10 more than I actually needed for this recipe. As you can see from my photo, I need to practice my wrapping skills as some of my filling decided to escape from my grape leaves. I’m sure it’s an acquired skill from lots of practice…I’ll keep trying. We enjoyed these with my previous post, zucchini humus.
Grape Leaves – layer grape leaves on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking or burning. (preferably the broken ones). To fill, lay leaf flat with vein side up, place filling by stem end (stem removed), fold bottom edge up, fold sides in, roll to tip, place in pan seam side down.
1 jar grape leaves, rinsed well
1 1/2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mushroom, finely diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped finely
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 Tbsp. dill
1 lemon juiced and zest and 1 lemon sliced
2 cups vegetable stock + for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste
Drain the grape leaves, soak them in hot water for a few minutes and then put them in cold water for 5 min, then rinse them well. Separate them and cut off the stems if needed. Allow them to drain in a colander while you make the filling.
Pulse the garbanzo beans in a food processor until you get a crumbly texture without any whole beans. Set aside.
In a large skillet, sauté onions and mushrooms in vegetable stock for 2-3 minutes until the onions become translucent. Then add the brown rice and toss with a bit more stock to coat.
Add the tomato paste, garbanzo beans, and the vegetable stock and mix in. Cover the pan and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Add the mint, parsley, dill, juice from 1 lemon, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Lay a grape leaf flat, vein side up and place 1 tablespoon of rice mixture on the stem end of the leaf. Fold the sides in and roll to the point. (See note)
Line the bottom of the pot with any torn leaves and a few slices of lemon.
Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in tight layers. Place lemon slices on the top.
Place a heavy plate upside down on top to weigh them down and cover with water to a level a little over the plate, then cover with the lid.
Bring to a boil over high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.
Once rice is cooked remove plate and allow grape leaves to cool.
While on a frequent business trip my husband picked up a vegan cookbook for us. It is packed full of vegan recipes from many different restaurants around the world. Although each recipe needs a slight tweaking to be whole food, plant-based, no oil. This past weekend we tried out our version of zucchini hummus and it was wonderful. We made some veggie stuffed grape leaves and used this hummus as a dip, it was fantastic. We also tried some with our favorite original flavor Mary’s gone crackers, as you can see in the photo.
Lentils are mentioned in the Bible in Genesis, in the story of Esau who gave up his birthright for a dish of lentils. (Genesis 25:30-34)
We were enjoying a lovely lunch the other day at Chick P in Brooklyn, when I happened to remember a Greek cookbook a friend gave me years ago. The falafel deluxe sandwich was incredible as was the lentil soup. I couldn’t wait to get home and see what kind of plant-based treasures from Greek grandmas I could discover in that long forgotten book. I was not disappointed, there are lots of recipes I plan on trying. The first to get a little WFPB makeover was this Barley and Lentil Soup. I made it for just my husband and I and it has taken us a week to eat it all, so it really does serve 8.
This is an amazing vegan substitute for chicken salad. I usually serve it on buns, as a “chicken” salad sandwich, with some lettuce, sliced tomato, mustard, vegan mayo, whatever else your heart desires in a sandwich. It can be served as a dip or spread with whole grain crackers or chips. I have also served it over a bed of spinach, one of my personal favorites .The hardest part of this whole process is the smashing of the chickpeas. Yes, they have to be smashed to give just the right texture. If you toss them in your food processor it will blend them up too much.
I try to keep the whole rinsed chickpeas separate in my bowl from the ones I’ve already smashed. In this photo I doubled the recipe. There is one can of chickpeas that have been smashed on the right side and my second can rinsed, drained and ready to be smashed is on the left side.
This is what your bowl looks like once you have gone through and smashed each and every chickpea. I leave the skins on my chickpeas, as of yet I have never peeled a chickpea.
This is the finished “chicken” salad once you add the rest of the ingredients.
Before going plant based I would make a lovely breakfast casserole for every holiday or basically anytime we had everyone home. I would assemble my ingredients the night before and then pop it in the oven the next morning while everyone was still sleeping. Waking up to the aroma of something wonderful baking is just a basic part of a family get together. So I knew I needed to come up with a suitable substitute. This is it! There is no evening before preparation and there are so many variations, the options are limited only by your palette. I use a 9×13 baking dish and just cover the whole bottom with tater tots, I have used both tots and crowns so either are fine. The best part is the veggies that get mixed with the tofu…they literally can be any veggies. This past Christmas we used leftover stuffing in place of the veggies and it was fabulous. We have also added in some leftover corn casserole and again it was tasty. I have to admit the dairy free cheese on the top isn’t my favorite but my kids love it. Kala Namak is a seasoning that gives the tofu its eggy flavor and a little goes a long way, you really only need a pinch. You can order it from Amazon. I have also found my local Indian grocery store carries it. Typically we make this or some variation every morning of the holidays. Enjoy! ❤️ur❤️