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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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.

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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Veggie Party Tray Season

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I love this!  I picked up this tray from Pier 1 and have been using it as a decorative piece on my coffee table and recently, I looked at it with a new vision.  I started by covering the inside with cute pumpkin cloth napkins to protect the wood detail.  Moving on, I filled two bowls with The Better Chip brand chips from Gordon Food Services(GFS), I have spinach and kale in the red bowl and Jalapeño (Yes, real Jalapeño and they DO kick) in the green bowl, both are whole grain and vegan.  Two types of hummus in the white bowls in the center, roasted red pepper family style from GFS and garlic family style from Costco.  A bowl of guacamole, store-bought from Costco..all three of the containers fit into my one bowl,  and a plate of veggie sushi from my local Kroger.  On the other side a bowl of mixed nuts, a bowl of honey nut clusters (not vegan by all standards), a bowl of olives, and a bowl of dark chocolate covered pretzels.  I filled in with lots of fresh veggies, mushrooms, cauliflower, green cauliflower, orange, yellow and red peppers, and carrots.  The left over holes on one side got filled in with grape tomatoes and the other side was filled in with grapes.  I almost forgot all the Mary’s Gone crackers!  We go through box after box of these over the holidays.  Costco has them in a 20 ounce box with 2 bags of the original flavor, certified vegan. Such a party hit and so much food.  A perfect tray to put out for the holidays!  I served this at home, the tray might be a little hard to take somewhere once you have it filled.  Let this serve as an example of what you can bring when you’re invited to a get together with friends this holiday season.

Plant Based Potato Salad

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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.

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Steff’s Mac and Cheese

 

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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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