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.

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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Homemade Veggie Chili

Homemade Veggie Chili is one of my favorites. It is my go to soup probably once every two weeks, because most of the ingredients I have readily on hand. It also makes a bunch so we have left overs to last us a couple of days and it is perfect to send along for lunch. Don’t let the long ingredient list overwhelm you, just go ahead and pull everything out before you start.

Typically I use minced garlic, just to make life easier than mincing my own. I purchased an electric can opener after about a year of our new way of eating. My wrist was so sore after preparing Christmas the first year that an electric one was the only way to go. I go through and open all the canned items while my fresh veggies are cooking. Get started draining and rinsing the beans. This is important, not only will it have an effect on the color of your soup but I have heard it can elevate some of the gas that sometimes comes with beans. Once rinsed and drained, put all the beans in a large bowl while they wait their turn to go into the soup. I use a small bowl and get all my seasonings ready ahead of time as well. I’m all about making things easy. Enjoy!

Homemade Veggie Chili

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Heartie soup, packed with fresh colorful veggies

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Directions

  1. In a large pot add garlic, onion, all three of the peppers, carrots, and celery, cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften and give up their juices.
  2. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Cook and stir for a few more minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth, tomato sauce, and the tomatoes with chiles. Stir and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and the zucchini to the pot. Cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together the cornmeal and the warm water, add to the pot and cook for 15 more minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

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Crispy Tzatziki Chickpea Wraps

I haven’t used my panini press in years. I guess I always thought it would need oil, or at least in the past I always sprayed it with oil. Little did I realize I could get that same crisp outer crust without oil. I have also made this recipe on vacation (because its so easy) and used a skillet to brown the outside and amazingly did not need oil.

This recipe reminds me a bit of my “chicken salad” recipe. Once again the chickpeas all need to be smashed. I am continually trying to find an easy way to smash them. They must be smashed to get the consistency that works best. I was recently asked if the chickpeas need to be peeled….the answer is no just leave those little peels in there. The recipe calls for two cucumbers, one of them is shredded and one of them is diced. The amounts of tomato, red onion, and green pepper are based on my family and can be changed to fit your family preferences.

Along with the tomato, red onion, and green pepper, my family is fond of adding pickles (your choice dill or sweet) , hot peppers, mustard, homemade mayo. Play with the recipe and make it your own.

Crispy Tzatziki Chickpea Wraps

  • Servings: 8
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A fresh, light, plant based, Greek-inspired wrap recipe perfect for dinner or lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 medium cucumbers, one shredded and one diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cups chopped greens
  • 15 ounces plain dairy free yogurt, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 3/4 Tbsp. dried dill
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 8 large 100% whole wheat tortillas
  • pickles, hot pepper, olives, optional

Directions

  1. Drain, rinse and smash chickpeas in a large bowl, set aside
  2. Grate one of the cucumbers, place it in a stainer and squeeze as much water out as you can, let it drain.
  3. Combine the diced cucumber, tomato, red onion and green pepper in a small bowl.
  4. In another bowl combine the dairy free yogurt, grated cucumber, dill, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Add 1/3 cup of the yogurt sauce to the smashed chickpeas and mix well. Add more or less to get a consistency you like.
  6. Assemble the wraps with a handful of lettuce, smashed chickpeas, mixed diced veggies, and a few dollops of tzatziki. You can toast them in a panini press or in a dry pan. Enjoy!

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Plant Based Potato Salad

IMG_6902

My mother in law used to make the most fabulous potato salad, the kind that is so rich and creamy it just melts in your mouth.  But alas, it was far from plant-based with its mayo and eggs.  So this is the substitute, not as creamy but certainly as tasty.  We test made this over the Labor Day holiday weekend, when all my kid’s were home.  They are always good taste testers.  They agreed it passed and could be added in to those family gatherings where we used to enjoy grandmas potato salad.  It’s fairly quick and easy to pull together and best yet, it can sit outside at the family picnic without any worries about whats going on with the mayo sitting in the sunshine.  We chose to leave the skin on the potatoes but you can certainly peel them if you want.  Potato skins are actually quite healthy.  One whole baked potato amazingly has more potassium than a banana. Spuds are also rich in iron, magnesium, and fiber, and fiber my friends is only found in plant food, and is a must have for our bodies to run efficiently.  Enjoy!

Plant Based Potato Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful salad, rich with herbs and packed with nutrients

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill

Directions

  1. Put potatoes in a saucepan full of water.  Bring to a boil and cook 5-8  minutes, until just tender.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Whisk apple sauce, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the hot potatoes and toss to coat.
  3. Add celery, parsley, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped dill.  Stir.
  4. Serve immediately while still warm or refrigerate to serve chilled.

theheartie.kitchen ❤️ur❤️

Steff’s Mac and Cheese

 

IMG_6907

This past 4th of July my family traveled as we have for many years to my sister’s house on the east side of Cleveland.  Her home is nestled in Ohio wine country and we celebrate yearly at Chalet Debonne Vineyards.  It’s a joy to visit because she prepares scrumptious plant-based dishes too.  This year she prepared a Mac and Cheese, (along with lots of other dishes) that was extra yummy.  My hubby even went back for seconds and he was never a Mac and cheese kind of guy before this plant-based adventure.  I was initially a little concerned because following Dr. Esselstyn’s prevent and reverse heart disease lifestyle one is supposed to stay away from nuts.  I have been avoiding them like the plague.  However, at a recent conference, Dr. Esselstyn was asked about nuts and he stated he doesn’t like nuts because no one can stop with just one handful and people end up with nuts in their car, nuts in their desk, nuts in their purse, essentially you can’t stop with just one.  So I made the executive decision that I can use them occasionally within a recipe and just keep them out of sight and hidden in my house so they don’t become a go to snack.  Over Labor Day weekend I prepared Steff’s Mac and Cheese for the first time.   My sister assured me it was super easy.  Just toss everything in the Vita-mix.  I’m told if you have a Vita-mix you don’t need to soak your raw cashews, however the ones I had were lightly salted so I soaked and rinsed them just to get rid of the added salt.  I had to text her photos of my progress several times during the process because I was expecting the sauce in my Vita-mix to be much thicker than it was.  She assured me it was perfect.  Sticking with Esselstyn I used 100% whole grain elbow macaroni.

Steff's Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
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A yummy substitute for the traditional blue box, approved by one their most avid fans.

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 -1lb box elbow macaroni

Directions

  1. Place the nuts in a small bowl and cover with water, let sit for approximately  6 hours, then drain and pat dry, this step is not necessary if you are using a Vita-mix.
  2. Prepare pasta and while the pasta is cooking, chunk up red peppers.
  3. Toss red pepper chunks, nutritional yeast, onion powder, water, cashews, salt, nutmeg and turmeric in food processor. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drain pasta and pour back into pan.
  5. Pour sauce over the cooked pasta, stir and place over low heat just until heated through.

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