Zesty Jicama Salad with Avocado, Cilantro & Lime
Sometimes, it's Valentines Day and you eat your weight in chocolate + pizza. And sometimes, you wake up the net day feeling like a groggy slob monster with a tummy ache and a face full of oil. The cure? A healthy, raw salad to wake up your insides and get you back on the right track. Being in love is magical and sweet...until it starts messing' with your gut! This easy-to-make salad will do just the trick! Jicama is packed with inulin- a fiber that promotes good bacteria in the intestines and helps create a healthy colon and strong immune system. Plus, just a one cup serving provides half of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and is low-glycemic & a great option for diabetics or those on an anti-candida diet. Let's get your tummy back on track so you can get back to snugglin' with your main squeeze, shall we?
1 lb. Jicama (about 3 cups), peeled & cut into matchsticks
1 small red onion, diced
2 avocados, halved & cubed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
salt & pepper to taste
Peel the jicama, chop into matchsticks, and place into a large mixing bowl. Add diced onions, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Use tongs to toss ingredients together, being careful not to mash the avocado too much. Serve on its own or with tortilla chips. Saves in the fridge in an air-tight container about 3 days before the avocado will brown. Makes about 4 cups. Enjoy!
Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower
As sexy as Jamie Oliver is (that accent- and he cooks!), I don't follow his Instagram for the selfies. His feed is regularly updated (by I'm sure not him) with delicious food photos and recipe inspiration, and often times he posts vegetarian & vegan recipes. I had seen his Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe as an meat-free alternative to a roast around the holidays and was totally intrigued. I already love cauliflower, and after I tried it- I fell in love. A whole head of cauliflower is rarely more than $2, and the rest of the ingredients I had on hand. Plus, its a pretty guilt-free, set-it-and-forget-it meal...which is what I'm all about. And while Jamie's recipe was delicious, mine is better.
I mean it! Okay, maybe I'm biased, but I think that using romanesco here steps the whole dish up a notch. Not only is it the most gorgeous and mathematically-pleasing vegetable, but it has such a great buttery flavor all on its own that it really adds depth and flavor to a pretty simple dish. We love smoked paprika, and I think the lemon and sherry round out the spicy, smoky flavors nicely. Its an easy dish to make on a busy night as a main dish or side, and is super customizable. Don't have smoked paprika? Try cumin & cayenne or curry & turmeric! Either way, run down to the farmers market and get a head of this gorgeous cauliflower while its still in season- you won't regret it.
1 large head romanesco cauliflower
1/4 cup liquid coconut or olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 whole lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the washed cauliflower leaves and cut the stem, if necessary, so that cauliflower stands upright in a dutch oven or heavy cast-iron pan (with a lid). Place the cauliflower in the pan, and use a sharp knife to carve a 1 in. deep X into the top of the cauliflower.
In a small bowl, combine oil with diced onions, minced garlic, lemon juice, spices, salt & pepper. Pour over the cauliflower, slightly pulling the X apart so the oil can seep into the middle. Try to evenly coat the cauliflower (no need to flip it over). Pour sherry lightly over the whole thing, then cover the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender, then remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley. Serves 4, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for up to a week. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Pesto Wrap
We're still trying to keep the New Year reasonable healthy, and have been munchin' on this wrap for about a week now. We had to share. Simple in construction, the flavors mingle and POP! We used falafel as the main protein in these wraps, but you could easily substitute veggie burgers, 'meat'balls, beans, tofu, or go all veggie to keep it simple! It's really all about the pesto, olives + creamy avocado. I've been making two wraps at lunch time each day- one to eat then & there, and one to eat for dinner at work. Its a great way to pack a bunch of veggies into one meal without really realizing it, and adding a protein- like the garbanzo based falafel, is a great way to stack off snack-y hunger all afternoon! And while we like lavash bread for its shape, softer texture, and ease-in-wrapping, you can use whatever wraps (gluten-free, perhaps?) you prefer. Pro-tip: warm up your lavash/ wrap/ pita on low heat in the oven for a minute before filling it. Makes it a little easier to wrap-up and gives the whole sandwich a very cozy, drippy pesto thing that is just too good to miss. Let's eat!
1 piece lavash bread (or your favorite wrap or pita)
2-4 tablespoons garlic hummus
4 falafel (or one of the protein replacements from above!)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 small cucumber, cut into thin spears
1/4 of a small onion onion, thinly sliced
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
5-8 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro
handful of mixed greens
sprinkle of hot sauce (optional, but recommended)
Heat your oven on low to prepare to heat your lavash bread.
Bake/ heat your falafel or prepare your protein of choice. While your protein cooks, cut up your cucumbers, onions, avocado, olives, and cilantro.
Place your lavash bread in the oven for a a minute to warm it up. Heat it TOO long and the wrap will become too hard to fold and wrap easily, so just let it get warm, then pull it. On you've pulled it, lay it on a work surface, like a large cutting board. Spread hummus evenly around the middle of the lavash. Top with falafel (or veg burger, tofu, whatever!), then pesto. Arrange cucumber, onion, & avocado around falafel width-wise (like shown below). Sprinkle with sliced olives, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce. Finally, toss on a hearty handful of greens. Starting at one end of the lavash bread, begin to roll the wrap up away from you, tucking the innards in to the bread under as you roll to form a tight wrap, which'll help keep your ingredients in. If you prefer to tuck the ends in around the roll, more 'burrito-style'- go for it. I'm just not great at it, and don't mind open-ended wraps. Once its rolled up tight, use a serrated knife to slice the wrap in half at a slight angle. Serve, enjoy! (Makes one wrap- but there are two halves, if you're a good sharer. If not, double the recipe!)
The Best Spicy Vegan Chili
I make the BEST chili. Alex and I voted, and thats what we decided. I mean it! There were a few years when we started dating that we were pretty poor and could really only afford to buy bulk rice and beans and occasionally some veggies. Spices are cheap enough, so chili became our meal of choice. Sometimes it seemed like there were weeks when all we ate was chili scooped form a huge dutch oven for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But that was okay! We bonded, we lost some weight, and we learned to really appreciate good food. There have lots of variations of this recipe depending on what we have in the fridge and in our wallets, but this is my favorite, most adaptable version.
It's full of veggies and three different kinds of beans, kicked up with cumin, chili powder, and spicy serrano peppers. It's yummiest with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro, and tastes great scooped up with salty tortilla chips. Let's eat!
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
3 bell peppers, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 serrano peppers, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2-15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1-6 ounce can tomato paste
1-15 ounce can kidney beans (about 2 cups)
1-15 ounce can pinto beans (about 2 cups)
1-15 ounce can black beans (about 2 cups)
1 can vegan refried beans (optional-for a thicker chili)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
In a large pot or dutch oven melt oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion, and peppers (bell & serrano) until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the sweet potatoes and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the diced tomatoes and paste, plus all the beans- including refried if you're using them. Stir to combine. Add spices and simmer over medium heat 20-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork-tender and chili has thickened. (If you want to add water or vegetable broth to make the soup less thick, feel free to add up to 1 cup at this point.) Remove from heat and serve with a squeeze of lime and cilantro or fresh avocado slices. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated as needed for up to a week. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!
Southwestern Black Bean Salad
It's summertime and livin' is WARM! Seriously, it's hovered around 100 degrees most of the week and that makes it hard to eat anything warm or heavy. Let this simple, light Southwestern Black Bean Salad help you fight off hot-day hunger without overfilling you. Its perfect on its own but great with tortilla chips, too. Packed with protein, a 1-cup serving will give you half the amount of your daily protein needed. Pack it for lunch or a picnic, or enjoy while staring straight into the air conditioner. Best sprinkled with freshly chopped cilantro and a dash of hot sauce. Let's eat!
2 cups cooked black beans OR one 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color)
1 medium sized avocado, pitted and diced
2-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, freshly squeezed (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-3 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Cut up all veggies and toss together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in cilantro & garlic and drizzle with lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, smoked paprika and hot sauce (if you like it spicy)! Toss to coat everything evenly. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a side of corn chips. Last well up to 3 days in the fridge. Keeps longer if you add the avocado only as needed instead of in the entire batch. Makes about 4 cups. Enjoy!
Picante Black Bean Hummus
You know what is the most frustrating thing about being a vegan? When people ask "Well, where do you get your protein?" Like we vegans can only get it from meat. Ick. Protein can be found in all kinds of foods (not just meat- but since you're here you already knew that), and recent studies have shown that we really don't need nearly as much protein as most of us get, anyway. But that's a lame answer.
Next time, just shove this recipe in their face and watch 'em drool. The black beans in this hummus provide you with 2.6 grams of protein for every tablespoon of them you consume. And I don't know about you, but for me that's like maybe two dips. Nom nom.
Plus, this hummus is damn good. As you may (or may not) know, 'PICANTE' is Spanish for 'SPICY', and this dip has a little kick. The cilantro is fresh with hints of citrus, balanced out by the smoky flavor of the paprika and highlighted by the fresh lime juice. It comes together quickly and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Need a bigger batch? This recipe is easily doubled or quadrupled. So, lets eat!
1- 15 ounce can OR about 2 cups cooked black beans, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
After draining beans, combine then in a high-speed blender or food processor with all other ingredients. Blend on high about 30 seconds, until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve with a dash of smoked paprika and a sprinkle of green onions, or all on its own with chips, veggies, or on pita bread. Saves well, covered, up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!