Sauteed chickpeas with spinach and tomatoes

I just had a huge satisfying dinner made just from chickpeas, spinach, and tomatoes – all for about 650 calories. I feel full but not gross, nourished, and content. You could easily have this recipe serve 2, unless you’re as famished as I was feeling after a bike ride and no food all day.

Chickpeas are very quickly becoming one of my favorite foods – you can puree them, sautee them, make them into a sandwich spread or a dip, roast them, put them in soups, salads… expect to see a lot more chickpea recipes on the way!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, no salt added (15 oz)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried garlic
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added (15 oz)
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg’s amino acids

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium flame.
  2. Combine flour and spices in a bowl.
  3. Drain chickpeas; add to flour mixture and stir to coat evenly.
  4. Sautee chickpeas until crispy.
  5. Combine tomatoes, spinach, and Bragg’s amino acids in sauce pan. Cook until spinach is tender.
  6. Strain excess juice from tomato mixture.
  7. Serve chickpeas on top of tomato mixture.

 

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I had a nice jar of kale, carrot, apple, lemon, and ginger juice with this. I’ve been having at least one jar of this a day!

Other garbanzo bean posts you might like:

The Great Garbanzo (bitemywords.com)

Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates (foodologie.com)

Capsicum, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup (runmomma.com)

 

 


Homemade vegetable broth from juicing pulp

One of my biggest “issues” with juicing is that fresh produce can be pricy, so the cost of including juice into a daily diet can really add up. I made a goal to start saving all the pulp (I run the veggies through the juicer first and empty the pulp, then add any fruits and save that separately.) I hope to repurpose the pulp to help cut down on other food costs. Last week, I made a chili and dumped some of the veggie pulp in the chili to thicken it up, and that worked great. This time, I decided I’d see how it would do for vegetable broth. Saving the pulp from 5 juices allowed me to make about 8 cups of broth, saving me about $5-$6. Not bad! When saving pulp, it’s best not to keep in the fridge for more than 2-3 days max. I stored in a Mason jar in the freezer and added to the jar every day. By the end of the week, I had a packed jar, mostly carrot, kale, and celery.

Ingredients:

  • Veggie pulp (I used 1 quart mason jar, packed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Other whole vegetables or spices as you see fit (I just added black pepper)

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients into large stock pot. Cover with water about 2-3″ above pulp/veggie mixture.
  2. Simmer, stirring frequently, approx 45 minutes for flavors to release and soak into liquid.
  3. Strain out pulp.
  4. Store broth in refrigerator, or freeze if not being used within 2-3 days.

 

 

 


Homemade ‘steak’ sauce, and how I like my seitan (juicy and full of flavor).

Seitan is a nice addition to a veggie diet since it’s packed with protein (approx 25 g in a 4 oz serving). It’s made entirely from wheat gluten, which is the protein in wheat that makes it stretchy/sticky. I’m not crazy about the texture, I find it to be a little dry and rubbery, and it doesn’t absorb flavor that well. When I decide I want to have it, I always make sure to cook it in a way that makes it juicier and more tender. My favorite way to prepare it simmering on the stovetop, allowing the sauce to cook down and absorb into the seitan. The sauce I used tonight was a steak sauce recipe with simple common ingredients from allrecipes.com.

Tender seitan with homemade “steak” sauce

Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 8 oz seitan cubes or strips
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (Amy’s Organics makes a great one)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • a few drops hot sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method:

  1. Whisk together all ingredients for sauce (everything except vegetable broth and seitan).
  2. In a medium sauce pan, add vegetable broth, sauce, and seitan.
  3. Cook over medium-medium low heat, stirring occassionally to prevent burning (sauce is high in sugar content.)
  4. Seitan is done when all sauce is cooked down, approx 30-35 minutes.

 

Before I started cooking the seitan, I threw some wild rice in the rice cooker. I steamed butternut squash and spinach on top to make a complete meal!

 

 


Steamed veggies with vegan creamy walnut sauce

My dinner tonight was a huge bowl of steamed veggies with a creamy walnut sauce. This meal could have pasta or rice added to it, but tonight I just decided to do the veggies because I wasn’t hungry enough for the extra carbs. Honestly, the sauce is pretty filling anyway even just on vegetables due to the walnuts and whole wheat flour. I’m stuffed!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely chopped raw walnuts
  • 2 cups unsweetened milk substitute (I used almond)
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour

Method:

  1. Combine walnuts, milk substitute, Earth Balance, and spices in a sauce pan.
  2. Heat to a low boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. Remove from heat before a rolling boil is reached.
  3. Whisk in nutritional yeast and flour to desired consistency (add more milk or more flour to adjust to your liking.)
  4. Use sauce to top meal – would work great on pasta, veggies, baked potatoes, and more!

 

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There comes a time in every healthy girl’s life that she has to fry something for her man: Vegan buffalo seitan

In passing, I mentioned to my boyfriend that I used to make fried buffalo seitan. Immediately, he said he wanted it. I haven’t made it in probably almost 2 years because, with the very high unhealthy fat and sodium content, it was something I decided I needed to remove from my cooking repertoire. But, as a special treat, I broke out the recipe last night with a few changes. I nixed the flour and subbed in whole wheat flour with a sprinkle of ground flax seed. And when I may have put these buffalo seitan bits on a pizza or sandwich with added fats and sodium, this time, I served with just plain steamed veggies.

So what is seitan anyway? Seitan is made from wheat gluten, which is the main protein of wheat. The wheat flour dough is stripped of its starch, and the elastic, gummy, sticky stuff that’s left is the gluten. Of course, seitan isn’t a good meat substitute for those of us who may have celiacs or a gluten intolerance… but for someone who has a bit of trouble digesting soy and no trouble with wheat, like myself, seitan is a great alternative. Generally, I don’t use meat substitutes, just because I feel the best when I concentrate on vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans. Seitan is fairly processed down, but it does offer a good hit of protein: 21 g of protein in one serving, with just 120 calories and 2 g of fat.

Some notes on the ingredients…

Oil: Olive oil is technically said to be the “healthiest” but the bottom line is that you’re using 100% fat no matter what. I chose canola for my budget’s sake. Try to find organic, and look for brands that avoid sourcing GMO! I used Whole Food’s 365.

Seitan: I used West Soy brand strips. The bigger the chunks you can get the better, but the little fried buffalo bits are also quite delicious.

Hot Sauce: Frank’s Red Hot is commonly used in buffalo sauce, but I used all-natural cayenne pepper hot sauce from The Scoville Food Institute. The sauce I used did not contain any garlic, but that is an ingredient in the Frank’s Red Hot. I felt it really benefited the sauce to add some fresh garlic in.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Oil for frying
  • 8 oz seitan
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 cups almond milk (or milk substitute of your choice)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (optional)

Method:

  1. Open seitan, drain extra water. Wrap tightly in paper towels and press out extra moisture.
  2. Fill pan 1/4″ – 1/2″ with oil and heat over medium flame.
  3. Pour milk substitute into a bowl.
  4. Combine whole wheat flour and flax seed in second bowl.
  5. Dredge seitan in milk, then flour mixture, then back in milk.
  6. Place seitan carefully into hot oil, making sure to be careful for splash back.
  7. Fry seitan until breading is golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway through for even cooking.
  8. Drain seitan thoroughly on paper bags or paper towels. Press excess oil out with paper towels.
  9. Melt Earth Balance in a small sauce pan over medium low heat.
  10. Whisk in hot sauce and garlic.
  11. Toss seitan chunks in buffalo sauce. Enjoy!

 

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Other seitan recipe posts you might like:

38. slowcooker chick’n seitan. (makegreat.wordpress.com)

Top Chef Wednesday: Enchiladas with Onion & Seitan (suburbanvegan.com)

Pesto Infused Rice with Seitan (foodfitnessfreshair.com)


Meatless Monday: Quinoa stirfry with broccoli, mango, cashews and spicy ginger sauce

Meatless Monday!

Let’s talk quinoa, a great addition to any meatless diet. Pronounced KEEN-wah, in case you were wondering. But what is it? It’s actually a seed, but is considered a whole grain. Most importantly, quinoa is the only plant-based source of complete protein. Whoa, what’s that? Yes – there is a plant that contains all 9 essential amino acids: quinoa! And it packs 7g of protein per serving compared to brown rice’s 4g. So it’s got more of a better quality protein. I love it. I will admit it took me a little while to come around to it. I’m much more of a fan of a hot quinoa dish than a cold quinoa salad, though. (Quinoa can replace other grains in soups, stirfries, or Mexican dishes, OR try it in place of oatmeal for breakfast.)

One particular amino acid that quinoa is high in is lysine, which is missing from wheat and rice. Lysine aids in tissue growth and repair, aiding the immune system. (Lysine is often used as a supplement to quickly banish cold sores.) Quinoa also is packed with fiber and minerals. It’s gluten-free, and considered an easily digested grain. Win-win-win.

This dish is vegan, gluten-free*,with no added salt, no added refined sugars, no extracted oils. It’s packed with fiber and healthy fats.

*contains no added gluten ingredients, but make sure you double check all brands of products like vegetable broth or soy sauce that you are using, as many will contain gluten or wheat ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks (this would work well with pineapple too)
  • 6 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 cups frozen diced pepper/onion mix
  • 1 cup raw cashews

Sauce:

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup raw agave nectar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 ½ Tbsp Bragg’s (or reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch

Method:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package. (Typically, add 2 cups water or reduced-sodium vegetable broth and 1 cup quinoa. Bring to boil. Cover, and lower for a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Quinoa will be done when grain is translucent and has little spirals coming out of it.)
  2. While quinoa is simmering, steam broccoli in covered pot for approx 10 minutes.
  3. Add mango and pepper/onion mix to broccoli and steam for approx 5-7 minutes until heated thoroughly.
  4. Stir in cashews and remove from heat.
  5. To prepare sauce, add all ingredients except corn starch to a small sauce pan and bring to low boil.
  6. Whisk in corn starch until thickened and thoroughly dissolved.
  7. Once quinoa is finished, add quinoa to broccoli/mango/cashew mixture and stir in sauce.
  8. Simmer all ingredients together above medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes to reduce sauce slightly and meld flavors.

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Other quinoa recipe posts you might like:

Sopa de Quinua or Quinoa Soup (vegetarianirvana.wordpress.com)

Quinoa: breakfast of champions (mostlyfood.org)

Thai Fried Quinoa (feastyoureyesonmyveg.wordpress.com)


Not-my-Dad’s Patty Melt (vegan!)

Patty melts.

This is a food that causes the weirdest, contradictory feelings and memories for me. It’s almost a sensation, where memories from now intertwine closely with memories from before I began my passionate love affair with vegan foods.

As a kid, I hated (HATED!) the smell, taste, aroma, and idea of eating or even cooking a patty melt. I hated onions, I hated rye bread, and I was definitely more of a hot dog kid. Thinking about patty melts, I get this strong memory of my Dad, because it was really one of his favorite foods. And to me, since I wouldn’t touch the things, it was a “Dad food.” Thinking about my 10-year-old self smelling the onions cooking makes my eyes sting a little bit. I don’t think twice about the meat or the cheese or the butter or the oil. I don’t think twice about my dad’s diabetes or the fact that everyone in my household is overweight or obese.

I now drool at the idea of making a patty melt, but what its made up of is totally different. Organic caramelized onions, flavor integrity preserved by cooking without oil. Plant-based Daiya cheddar “cheese.” Hearty veggie and grain burger. Artisan seedless rye bread. The smell of the onions cooking makes my mouth water now! (No, really. Onions like this are one of my favorite foods even though my mom couldn’t get me to touch the things as a kid. This has to be my 4th or 5th post mentioning them already!) My mind compares the 2 foods: how many less calories, zero cholesterol, fewer processed sugars and refined oils, nothing artificial… I wonder how my dad would like my adaptation of one of his heart-clogging favorites. After just one bite, I’m actually pretty sure he would have liked it!

It’s intriguing how deeply some foods – actually, any aroma, flavor, even texture – how deeply they can root themselves into not only a memory but actual feelings about people, places, things, and especially, time. Do you have any foods that you have a strong connection or dislike as a kid but now love? Do these foods cause a strange sensation regarding your relationship to food?

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices rye bread of your choice (whole grain preferred, but today I cheated with a Jewish seedless rye)
  • 1 veggie burger (I used Amy’s All-American)
  • 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance (I choose soy-free)

Method:

  1. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat until hot enough for water drops to hop around on the surface.
  2. Add onions to skillet. Stir constantly to ensure even browning. Remove from pan once caramelized.
  3. Grill veggie burger until cooked through.
  4. Evenly spread Earth Balance over 2 slices bread.
  5. Place first bread butter side down onto skillet. Top with burger, onions, cheese, and remaining slice of bread, butter side up.
  6. Flip sandwich carefully when bread is grilled to grill other side.
  7. Serve with tomato soup and a hearty green salad.

 

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