Tag Archives: healthy vegetarian recipes

“Appetite for Reduction” Delivers Taste and Nutrition

appetite-for-reductionIf you’re trying to introduce some variety into your meals while dialing up your health a notch, Isa Moskowitz’s “Appetite for Reduction” offers up the perfect combination. This vegan cookbook is full of everything we’ve come to appreciate from the prolific author such as her sense of humor and her taste for the exotic. Plus–in a first for Isa–a concern for health.

Why health? As Isa explains in the intro: “I wrote this book for me!”

I wrote a bunch of cookbooks–one dealing completely in cupcakes–and I was constantly surrounded by food. I also quit smoking and found it difficult to keep cookies from hopping into my mouth instead. On top of that were 2 medical issues, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism…I needed to change what I was eating–less fat, less sugar–and I needed to get more active.

All of the recipes in “Appetite for Reduction” were reviewed by registered dietician Matt Ruscigno, who furnishes nutritional info including calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, carbs, fiber, sugars, vitamins and minerals–for every recipe.

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Two Delicious Recipes for Whole Buckwheat

The popularity of my post “Are Soba Noodles Healthier Than Spaghetti?” showed that many of you are looking for ways to introduce healthy whole grains and cereals into your diets. Great news!

Buckwheat (or soba) in Japanese is one of THE most nutritious foods. I’m referring to buckwheat groats, not the namesake soba noodles, which are often made of mostly plain old refined white flour. Continue reading

Crazy Sexy Kitchen Makes Plant-Based Excitement

Several years ago, there were only a handful of vegan cookbooks. Today, there are dozens, and I recently learned there are 200 new vegan cookbooks on the way!

Great news, unless you are deciding which cookbook to add to your library. Fortunately for me, I did not have to choose, as I received a hardcopy version of Crazy Sexy Kitchen as a gift.

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Vegan Pesto Brings Everyone Together

Aren’t the best recipes spur of the moment? And better still when they’re fast, easy and crowd-pleasing…

It’s a challenge cooking meals for vegan and omnivores, those with dietary restrictions, and tastebuds that are less than adventurous–especially when it comes to trying “healthy” plant-based foods. And you can forgeddabout raw foods.

With dinnertime fast approaching, I took inventory of what we had in the house:

  • Fragrance of fresh basil, a gift from a friend’s garden, was calling to be used every time the refrigerator was opened
  • A large head of cauliflower crowded the drawer
  • A container of baby spinach leaves would be a shame not to use it while fresh, too

I decided to make a basil spinach pesto with cauliflower–withholding the miso or nutritional yeast I usually include–to allow my mother and aunt to add grated cheese at the table. I would opt for parmesan sprinkles–a blend of sesame seeds and nutritional yeast–inspired by Jo Stepaniak’s “Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook”.

Rather than sauteing cauliflower separately, I added it with the pasta water (though boiling is not optimal for nutrition), and the consistency was just right after 7-8 minutes. At least, it saves time, and pots to clean.

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What Am I Going to Eat for Lunch?

Almost everybody understands that whole, plant-based foods like vegetables and fruits are beneficial for health. And you know intuitively that living foods–such as sprouts–are even healthier. Yet you still draw a blank when it comes to preparing a healthy meal in a hurry.

Hummous–originally made with chickpeas or garbanzo beans–was one of my favorite foods long before I became vegan, and before Veganomicon author Isa Chandra Moskowitz poetically proclaimed the Middle-Eastern bean dip as being “like air for vegans”.

Recently, I’ve been making hummous with sprouted lentils and chickpeas instead of cooked, and while it tastes different–with a crispy-fresh bite, as you might expect–it’s still exotically delicious. Raw or cooked, hummous is easy to make, inexpensive, and keeps several days in the refrigerator, so you can make a big batch on the weekend and eat it all week long, as a dip or in sandwiches.

Unfortunately, most store-bought hummous is full of oil, salt, and other preservatives. With little to no oil, this recipe is low-calorie and nutrient dense. Lentils are one the best sources of protein, and one cup of raw lentils provides 26g of protein vs 18g for cooked lentils.

If you’ve made hummous with canned (pre-cooked) beans, this recipe may take slightly longer, but there’s no comparison in freshness and nutrition. Continue reading

Can Green Smoothies Restore Your Vision?

Being on a whole foods plant-based diet for several years, I never appreciated the transformative power of drinking green smoothies–until I met the Green Smoothie Girl in person.

Robyn Openshaw’s lecture “Ten Minutes a Day to Spectacular Health” for Vegetarian Society of Hawaii in March so inspired me, I haven’t needed my eyeglasses for the first time in 30 years.

Robyn’s philosophy is for people to spend as little time as possible to achieve the most dramatic health impact. “I’ve learned from traveling around and getting thousands of emails,” she explains “people want to eat right, but they don’t know how anymore. Because ours is the first generation who did not learn home cooking from our mothers and grandmothers.”

Robyn’s goal is that everyone who hears her lecture will begin drinking a quart of green smoothies each day, “to get a massive amount of the lowest calorie, highest micronutrient foods as painlessly as possible, and inexpensively.”

The concept is based on the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, whose Nutritarian Food Pyramid defines the healthiest diet as one consisting of foods with qualities of maximum nutrients and minimum calories (H=N/C) and says “your future health can be predicted by the micronutrient per calorie density of your diet”

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Easiest Vegan Breakfast Recipe – Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli was a long-time breakfast treat, discovered in hotel breakfast buffets around Asia. While typically made with dairy products, such as milk, cream or yogurt, this vegan version uses soy milk and lemon juice. I can think of few breakfasts that are as easy, healthy or delicious!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

1/2 cup rolled oats or other whole-grain cereal

cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tablespoon shredded coconut (or other dried fruit)

1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds (or other nuts/seeds)

1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 medium apple, unpeeled

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

Combine oats with soymilk in the evening (or several hours before you plan to eat) and place in refrigerator.

Prior to eating, add lemon juice and mix well (soymilk will thicken).

Cut apple into quarters, remove core, and grate with cheese grater.

Stir grated apple, fruits, nuts and seeds into oats.

Chew well to enjoy nutrition far exceeding processed breakfast cereals. Just try it, and see how good you feel! Continue reading

Warming Up to Vegan Masala Chai

The first time an Indian friend prepared masala chai (tea) for me, it was one of the most heavenly things. I had his recipe affixed to my refrigerator for years, but somehow stopped making it after giving up dairy products. Making a vegan tea masala is so simple, it’s silly, but that was before I realized anything is possible without animal ingredients.

Hot chai tea masala is great  in the winter, due to the warming effect of fresh ginger. Iced chai tea masala makes a super satisfying drink in the summer, too.

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 TB black tea (I use Brooke Bond Red Label orange pekoe, but Assam is also good)

1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy) milk – unsweetened/unflavored

1 cup water

2 TB fresh ginger (grated)

1-2 cardamon pods (slightly crushed)

Tea masala spice mixture (powdered ginger, black pepper, bay leaf, green cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg), to taste

Method:

Place tea into a small sauce pan and add soy milk, water, ginger, and cardamon pods

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Don’t let your eyes off the pot, because it boils over in an instant!

Reduce heat immediately, and simmer for another 5 minutes

Shake some tea masala spice into the bottom of a cup.

Pour the tea into cup through a strainer, stir, and enjoy!

If you’re used to drinking traditional tea masala (most Indian restaurants don’t offer a choice with soy milk), it may take some getting used to the taste of non-dairy tea masala, but enjoy knowing it has no cholesterol and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Use sugar sparingly (if necessary), in order to appreciate the taste of the masala spices.

Vegan Okara Oatmeal Carob Chip Cookies

Cooking with okara (soybean pulp) is fairly common among vegans attempting to make the most of the fiber rich bi-product of homemade soy milk. These versatile cookies served as breakfast, snack and energy bar on a recent visit to Hawaii. I found the recipe online, reduced the sweetener, and jazzed it up with spices from Veganomicon’s chewy oatmeal-raisin cookies.

Makes 20 large cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup okara

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1-1/2 cups rolled oats (or quinoa flakes)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegan carob

1/2 cup pecan (or other) nuts, sunflower seeds, etc

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

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Craving a Wholesome Sweet? Try Halvah, the Ancient Candy

My mother used to buy halvah bars when I was young, believing it safe to keep the adult-tasting treats in the refrigerator–that was until I discovered just how delicious they were. After growing up and turning vegan, I rediscovered the wholesome snack.

Halvah of all varieties has been cherished all over the world for at least 3000 years, and is considered “food of the gods” by some accounts. The 2 main types are flour-based and nut-butter based. This sesame-based recipe is my favorite because it contains no animal products or sugar, instead using dates for sweetener. Note that many store bought halvah bars contain dairy products and eggs, so always check labels carefully.

I ground the sesame seeds into tahini without using any added oil, as per the original recipe. The food processor got very warm, and you may need to let it rest a while as you go. Unless you have a high-speed blender, you may prefer to purchase tahini instead of making it from scratch.

The recipe is quite flexible. You can adjust the number of dates you use depending on how sweet you like it (I used about 10 dates per 250g of sesame seeds), as well as stir in any kind of nuts and dried fruits you like. I added some tart dried cherries and vanilla syrup to a recent batch, and it came out tasting like a cherry pie!

While halvah is more nutritious than the typical candy bar, be aware it is far from low-calorie. According to the recipe’s author, it has 528 calories per 100g, and 70 percent of calories from fat. Portion control (and sharing) is advised, or you may devour the whole batch (1600 calories) before you know it.

Yet another reason to avoid added oils

Recently, in the course of looking for recipes using the natural sweetener and wonder food lucuma, I discovered one for butterscotch tahini bars containing tahini and coconut oil, a popular ingredient in raw vegan diets. Continue reading