Jun 112013
 

Please see above my new favorite word (and meal).  Enchilasagna.  Definition: a delicious hybrid between lasagna and enchiladas that will leave you feeling so freaking happy.  I can’t get over how good this meal was.  It was vegan, gluten free, super healthy, and will be providing me with lunch all week long.  


It takes some time to make (since you have to roast the veggies, assemble, then bake the whole thing), but a lot of this time is inactive.  So here is how you enchilasagna (see now it’s a verb):  1.  Roast veggies seasoned with taco or fajita seasoning and combine with beans, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro.  2.  Assemble in this order- Sauce, tortillas, veggie mix, cheese.  3.  Repeat two more times.  4. Put it in the oven and get ready to be amazed.  


Nutritional Highlights:  There are so many good things about this meal.  It is a complete meal with protein from the cheese, carbs from the tortillas, and plenty of veggies.  This was also my first time trying out soy cheese and I am shocked to say, I LOVED IT!  Because of this, the recipe is vegan (or vegetarian if you use regular cheese), and gluten free, and I think that meat eaters would still love it!


Roasted Enchilasagna, AKA  Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Yield: Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

1 large red pepper, chopped, seeds removed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon taco or fajita seasoning
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 cups red enchilada sauce (I used low sodium salsa instead since the enchilada sauce at my store had so much salt!)
8-10 small corn tortillas, halved
1.5 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used Trader Joe’s shredded Soy Cheese…so good I mean it!!)
Garnish:  Sliced avocado and tomato

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and onion on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Season with taco seasnoing. Roast vegetables for 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool to room temperature (PS, I didn’t let my veggies cool cuz I was hungry and nothing terrible happened). 
2. Grease an 8×8 square baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine roasted vegetables, black beans, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. Stir and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
3. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce or salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortillas, to completely cover the bottom of the pan. You might have to cut the tortillas to make them fit. Top with 1/3 of the vegetable/bean mixture and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the pan.
4. Bake enchiladas for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are bubbling. Remove enchiladas from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.
Enjoy! (Promise you will!)
Jun 012013
 

Guys, I know what you’re thinking.  That looks very vegan and healthy.  Well you’re right.  It does and it is.  BUT it’s also one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in a while.  The peanut sauce on this kale salad is seriously addictive and the marinade for the tofu is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.  And all foods are better with grill marks, it’s a fact.  This is the perfect summer meal and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.  


I’ve been trying this new thing where I’m almost completely vegan on weekdays (unless of course someone brings baked goods to work, then all deals are off), but eat whatever I want on the weekends.  That way I’m lowering my animal product consumption a lot but not being that girl at restaurants who can’t eat anything…win win.  I’ve been surprised how easy (and tasty) it has been to cut out meat and dairy during the week.  You start to really appreciate other things like great produce, creating flavor with spices and sauces, and for me, peanut butter.  I eat it every day.  I was excited about this recipe because it used it in a savory dish, and I gotta say I would put this sauce on everything if I could.  


Nutritional Highlights:  If you’re wondering what’s the big deal with being vegan, watch this “meatless monday” video  .  It just give a little insight into the impact meat farming has on the world.  Plus, chronic disease risk is lower for those who eat less animal products.  Interesting huh?  I’m not saying cut it out entirely, cuz I certainly would not want to live a life without cheese in it, but moderation and portion control with animal products is something we should all try.  This recipe has tons of fresh veggies like kale (total super food), carrots, cucumber, onions, healthy fats like peanuts and sesame oil, and plenty of protein from the grilled tofu.  This would be just as tasty without the tofu as well.  This recipe is gluten free as well as long as you use tamari rather than soy sauce!


Spicy Peanut-Ginger Kale Salad
adapted from Happy.Healthy.Life

Makes about 3-4 servings

For the salad:
2 large bunches of kale (or 3 small)
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup julienned cucumber
1/3 cup peanuts for garnish

Spicy Ginger Peanut Sauce:
2 Tbsp creamy salted peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled/chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar 
2 tsp agave syrup
5 dashes cayenne
fine black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place a large soup pot over med-high heat on your stove top. Add all the sauce ingredients and stir briskly until they melt and blend together. Reduce heat to medium and simmer/stir for about two minutes. Turn heat to low.

2. Pull the leaves in bits from the thick stalks of your kale. Wash if needed. Add the kale leaves (toss thick stems) – add kale to the pot until filled to the brim. Fold the kale into the hot sauce. Fold well. The hot sauce will wilt the kale.

3. Turn off heat and add the remaining amount of kale. Also add in the carrots, red onion, peanuts, and cucumber and combine. Eat warm or, my preference, chill and eat cold.  Kale salads are great because they can last a few days without getting wilted like other greens.

4. Serve warm or place in fridge – covered – to chill and serve cold. Will keep well for up to a few days.


Spicy Grilled Tofu
adapted from Food.com

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and cut lengthwise into 8 slices
    • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1/3 cup agave nectar
    • 1/4 cup low-sodium tamari or 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced ( about 1 tablespoon)
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Place the tofu slices on several layers of paper towels and cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally with your hands to squeeze out the water.
  2. Place the tofu in a single layer in the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, tamari, chile paste, garlic, and pepper.
  4. Pour mixture over the tofu, stirring to coat all the slices.
  5. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. When the tofu is marinated and ready to cook: Spray grill rack or pan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
  7. Place tofu slices on the grill. Reserve the marinade.
  8. Grill tofu 3 or 4 minutes on each side, or until the outside is browned and crisp.
  9. Return tofu to the baking dish and toss the slices with the reserved marinade.
  10. Serve immediately on it’s own or with the Spicy Peanut-Ginger Kale Salad!
Apr 302013
 

My weekend was spent celebrating the bachelorette party and bridal shower of one of my best friends in the world (and also a blogger celeb…see ericasweettooth.com and be amazed).  Here is what I learned about bachelorette parties.  They are great for: bonding with friends, seeing how many party accessories come in inappropriate shapes, and discovering an amazing array of photos on your phone the next day.  They are NOT great for: my liver and my ability to fit into that bridesmaid dress in a month.  Oops.  After a weekend of sustaining pretty much on bagels, candy, and adult beverages, my body was pretty much crying for some produce.  So, I made this super health (and also delicious) Green Monster Smoothie.  


I promise it looks a lot greener than it tastes.  Does that make sense?  Well, it does to me.  It really just tastes like a regular fruit smoothie but has extra health benefits from the greens.  Smoothies are great because they are so versatile and easy to make.  This one has almond milk, banana, green apple, kale and spinach, and frozen fruit (I used mango and strawberries but anything will work). 


Nutritional highlights:  This smoothie is a great way to get an extra serving of veggies into your day and really not taste it at all.  It is a perfect breakfast or snack and is great for vegans and gluten-free-ers.  The greens add vitamins like A, K, folate, iron, calcium, and also a good dose of fiber.  


Green Monster Smoothie
adapted from Table for Two

makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

– 1.5 cups frozen fruit (I used strawberries and mango but you can use any you like)
– 1/2 green apple, cut into pieces
– 1 banana, broken into pieces
– 1 1/2 cup almond milk
– 1 to 2 large handfuls of spinach, kale, or other dark greens
 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Throw everything in the blender and blend until a smooth consistency. If it gets stuck, turn it off, and use a spatula to break it up and start it again.
Apr 202013
 

Spring has sprung, and so has my annual spring cold (womp womp).  Apparently “spring fever” isn’t just a phrase?  Instead of enjoying the blossoming flowers and frolicking in the sunshine, I’ve been laying in bed coughing my brains out.  But today it was so great out that I loaded up on cough syrup and took a walk to the farmers market and grabbed some amazing spring produce for a spring minestrone.  


My favorite of these ingredients is this–green garlic.  So gorgeous and so much garlicy flavor.  In addition to the garlic, this soup has asparagus, peas, artichoke hearts, purple potatoes, carrots, swiss chard, green onions, and chickpeas.  You can honestly use any combo of veggies you want, that’s what I like so much about minestrone.  The soup came together in less than an hour, and was so fresh and flavorful. 

Nutritional:  I may have potentially discovered the cure for the common cold with this one.  It’s so packed with nutrients that you body will be all like “bring it on cold, I got this”.  This recipe (before I added the pesto crostini) is also gluten free and vegan.        


Spring Minestrone 
adapted from Simply Recipes
(Serves 4-6)

Feel free to add or remove any vegetables per your preferences!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 green onions
  • 3 green garlic stalks, or 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 pound baby potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen), chopped roughly
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups greens (dandelion, chard, spinach, kale, arugula, etc), sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Optional garnishes:  grated parmesan cheese and pesto (or make whole wheat pesto crostini like I did, general instructions below)

METHOD

1 Chop the green onions and green garlic and separate the white and light green parts from the green tops. If you are using regular garlic cloves, put them with the white parts of the green onions. Slice the potatoes and artichoke hearts into chunks you would want to eat with a spoon.
2 In a large pot set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the white parts of the green onions as well as the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.  Add the carrots, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.  
3 Add the diced tomatoes with their liquid and the quart of vegetable or chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add salt to taste, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
4 Add the artichoke hearts and cook another 5 minutes, then add the chickpeas and green peas and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the cover from the soup and add the asparagus. Cook 2 minutes. Add the greens, basil, and the green parts from the green onions and green garlic, if using. Stir well to combine and cook 1 minute.
5 Turn off the heat and serve topped with grated cheese (and along side pesto crostini!).
 
For the pesto crostini, preheat oven to 400.  Bake whole grain baguette slices for about 10 minutes until crispy, turning once.  Spread each piece with pesto and sprinkle with parmesan (and red pepper flakes if you want).  Switch oven to broil and return to the oven for 2 minutes so parmesan melts.  Serve along with the soup.  
 
Happy Spring!



Apr 142013
 

I made an very important realization this week.  It is unlikely that I will make it through any day without eating chocolate.  It was hard for me to admit this, because in theory I think I should have all this will power  and be able to resist the cravings, but in fact I cannot.  So instead of letting the craving take on the form of a massive candy bar, I decided to make something that would satisfy without quite so much guilt afterward.  These are the perfect pre-workout/run snack and really do taste a lot like cookie dough!


These were super fast to make because they require zero cooking.  Plus, they only require 5 ingredients (7 if you add nuts and salt like I did- 2 crucial cookie ingredients in my mind) which is a nice change from all the foods we eat that have 20 un-pronounceable ingredients.  


Nutritional Highlights:  These have absolutely no added sugar, and get all their sweetness from the dark chocolate and the dates.  They also have tons of fiber from the oats and chia seeds (so they will keep you full) and walnuts for some healthy omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, they are gluten free and vegan, so they work for just about anyone! These are a great healthy snack or dessert.  


No-Bake Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (Vegan and Gluten-free)
the original recipe said is makes 15, but I ended up with 9 (oops, sorry I’m not sorry).

adapted from Tasty Yummies

Ingredients:
1/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 6 dates – soak if they are very dry)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (you can use regular rolled oats if you aren’t gluten intolerant)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 – 2 tablespoons water (you could need more, you could need less, just go by how your dough feels)
1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Directions:
Add the medjool dates and vanilla to a food processor or high powered blender (like a Vitamix). Process until a thick paste forms, you may want to add some water here if it is too dry. You will also want to take a spatula and scrape down the edges. Add in 1 cup of the rolled oats and the chia seeds, process until the oats are no longer whole and it all comes together into a thick dough. Again, add water if it is super dry (just don’t add too much water). Add in the remaining 1/4 cup of oats, chopped walnuts, and the chocolate chips and pulse just a few times to bring it all together. Take a small amount of the dough into your hands to make sure it will roll and stay together. If the dough is crumbling a bit, add more water, if it is too goopy and wet, add more oats.
Taking 1 tablespoon of the dough at a time, roll the dough, in the palm of your hands, into about 15 balls. Set on a plate and place it into the fridge for about 15 minutes to all them to chill.  Then enjoy!

 

Mar 012013
 

As you know from basically all of my previous posts, I have a moderate to severe cheese addiction and would prefer pretty much all foods with melted cheese on top.  If you don’t agree with me, you are wrong.  Sadly, we all know that cheese is one of the foods with the highest levels of saturated fat, so I’ve been trying to integrate a few more dairy free meals into my diet.  This one just so happens to be vegan as well.  The highlight was the wok-seared green beans, made with lots of sesame and garlic that brings your usual steamed green beans to a whole new level.  


The whole recipe only took about 15 minutes to prepare start to finish which is a big bonus considering I’m somehow busier than ever these days.  This is the perfect side dish to go with any asian meal, but I served mine with brown rice and some roasted tofu with a sweet and spicy asian glaze.  

Nutritional highlights:  I admit it, it’s sort of a weird time of the year for green beans, but I just had a craving.  Green beans don’t get a ton of press or labels as “super foods”, but they really are incredibly healthy and packed with antioxidants.  I also like green beans because I have found that a lot of non-veggie lovers (you know, the ones that cringe at brussels and kale) will eat green beans.  This recipe especially adds extra flavor but maintains the crunch of the green beans.  Plus, it’s a vegan recipe!


Wok-Seared Sesame Garlic Green Beans
adapted from Bon Apetit

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar – I left this out
2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds, toasted

Optional: red chili flakes or chili paste

Directions:

Start by blanching your beans: Bring a pot of water to boil and cook green beans briefly until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain. Transfer green beans to large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again. Pat green beans dry. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap green beans in paper towels and enclose in resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate.)  

Heat oil in heavy large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add garlic and green beans and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chili pepper if using. Stir-fry until sauce reduces slightly and loosely coats green beans, about 2 minutes longer. Add sesame seeds and toss to coat. Transfer green bean mixture to bowl and serve. Enjoy!


Jan 122013
 

I was trying to get a healthy start this week (along with the rest of the world) so I wanted to have plenty of healthy food in my fridge.  Roasted vegetables are one of my favorite things to have around because they are soooo easy to make, and so versatile–you can eat them as a side, or throw them in a salad or sandwich. I usually stick with the the standard veggies like peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, but when I was walking through the produce isle I decided that I might as well use the beautiful root vegetables that are in season.  I used parsnips, carrots, acorn squash, beets, and onions, but you can use any combo you like.  

An in case you didn’t know what some of those vegggie look like, here they are below (I gave my boyfriend a quiz and he got 2 of the 4 correct).  Then you just cut them up into bite size chunks, toss with oil, salt, pepper, herbs (I used thyme and rosemary), and whole peeled garlic cloves.  Then you just throw it in the oven until they are soft, brown, and delicious.  Can’t think of anything much easier than that! 


Nutritional highlights:  Root vegetables are some of the healthiest out there.  The common theme among these vegetables are the high levels of antioxidants (flavonoids in onions, beta carotene in carrots, betalains in beets) which help lower inflammation and thus protect against various ailments.  Aside from all that, I love root vegetables because they have a slightly sweet flavor when cooked and they are slightly starchy so they keep me full longer than other veggies.  


Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • olive oil spray
  • 1 acorn squash, halved, seeded, and sliced (any type of squash works)
  • 6 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
  • 3 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 to 2-inch  pieces
  • 4-5 beets, washed and cut into wedges (no need to peel)
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Other options: celery root, any type of potato, rutabaga, leeks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (I used half rosemary and half thyme)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled

  • Directions: Preheat to 400°F and spray 2 baking sheets with olive oil spray. Combine all remaining ingredients except garlic in large bowl; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Divide vegetable mixture between prepared sheets. Place 1 sheet on each oven rack. Roast 30 minutes. Stir vegetables and add 3 garlic cloves to each sheet. Continue to roast until all vegetables are tender and brown in spots, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer roasted vegetables to serving platter and then serve.


    Enjoy!