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!
Garlicky White Bean Hummus
So, hows it been going? You know, that New Years Resolution where you're gonna turn it around this year and get HEALTHY? I know its hard, but I think this is the year you'll do it. Because if you're here, you're already looking at recipes that lean toward healthfullness. And we want to help you get there!
My resolution this year? To really cut out the gluten. It gives me a lot of tummy trouble, but I always eventually cave and eat some, then feel awful physically and beat myself up for it emotionally. So this year, I'm really gonna try and get rid of it. That being said, our recipes from now on will be (almost ALWAYS) gluten-free and full of goodness, like this recipe, so you and I both can stay on track and feel good about the commitments we made.
This dip is easy to throw together, full of flavor, and just a 1/2 cup serving will give you 23 grams of long-lasting protein, the key to fighting off snacking and making it through the day guilt-free.
3.5 cups white beans, drained (about 2 fifteen ounce cans)
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
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. The resulting texture should be thick, whipped, and full of garlic flavor. Serve with a dash of cumin and cilantro, or all on its own with chips and crackers. Saves well up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!
Squash & Celeriac Quinoa Stuffing
Thanksgiving is just under a month away, and we want to make this a memorable year. Its our first year being in Maine for the holiday in four years, and we're hosting dinner. With a handful of friends and family headed our way, its gonna be a day full of cooking, eating, and celebrating. This month I'll be making lots of Thanksgiving-themed recipes to get our table (and yours!) full and ready to impress.
And while this stuffing won't be getting stuffed into any Turkeys (or Tur-duck-en, or whatever is trendy this year), it will be stuffed into our hungry mouths, so we're gonna keep the name.
We started with a simple side dish, Quinoa Stuffing. Its made without bread and is gluten-free, making it a much lighter dish and more friendly to our wheat-free friends. The red quinoa adds a festive pop of color and the flavors of butternut squash and celeriac round out the rich, fall flavors.
You may be saying "But GIRL what the hell is celeriac?" about now-ish, and thats okay. Celeriac is really just a fancy sounding word for celery root. Pictured below, it looks sort of like a rutabaga and sort of like a root ball...which it is. It's the bottom half of the celery plant, the part doing all the behind-the-scenes work slurping water out of the ground. And it is my favorite.
Celeriac has the texture of a potato; starchy and rich in flavor, it makes a great thickener in soups, can be made into a mash, and can really replace potatoes in any dish. It adds a ton of celery flavor without the stringiness of using celery stalks or the added sodium of celery salt. It also makes a mean cream of celery soup...but thats another post, for another day. Lets get back to the real star here: all that yummy quinoa stuffing.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3/4 cup diced celeriac (celery root)
3/4 cup diced butternut squash
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Rinse quinoa, pour in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Avoid stirring and let boil until the quinoa absorbs all the remaining water, about 10-15 minutes. [Tip: For guaranteed perfect quinoa, after all the water is absorbed, turn the heat off and let it sit in the pan with the cover on for at least 10 more minutes. The quinoa will absorb any remaining water left in the pan and stay moist and fluffy!] Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Melt about a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Chop the garlic, onions, butternut squash, and celeriac, and add it to the oil. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, until veggies are fork tender- about 20 minutes. Once the veggies are softened, add the thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir coat evenly.
Add the veggies to the quinoa in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the chopped parsley, hazelnuts, and olive oil and toss until everything is evenly distributed.
Now, let's eat!
Tip: Make the quinoa a day or so ahead of time and refrigerate until you're ready to use it on Thanksgiving day. Its way easier and one less thing to worry about!
Saves well in the fridge for about a week. & makes great lunch leftovers.
Its been hard finding restaurants in Maine that cater to a vegan lifestyle. There are some, especially in the big city of Portland, but thats almost an hour from us and frankly, I'd rather eat close to home when I can. We've been doing a lot of cooking for ourselves, which I love, but it would be nice to occasionally order out and not have any dishes to wash.
Last week we finally found a restaurant that we love...and its close to home! Located in Damariscotta, Savory Maine offers a little bit of everything. They are familiar with the vegan lifestyle and willing to accomodate to it. Gluten-free? Vegetarian? They've got your backs, too.
My first trip in I ordered their Tempeh-based Reuben with homemade vegan potato salad and I've been craving it ever since. Though I wish I could eat there every night, I just can't afford it. I needed to quell the craving...so I came up with my very own recipe!
It starts with a good, flavorful bread like rye or pumpernickel. I found lots of options at the market but settled on an organic loaf made on a farm right here in Maine. Rich in caraway and with a touch of espresso grounds in the batter, this bread adds so, so much flavor to the sandwich.
Topped with fried tempeh, spicy vegan cheese, and local sauerkraut and you've got yourself a meal even Savory Maine would be proud of.
Pair it with our balsamic potato salad for a truly 'Maine' meal.
(for one sandwich):
2 slices Rye or Pumpernickel bread
Tempeh- about 4 1/4 in. slices
2 tablespoons vegan thousand island dressing
1-1/4 inch slice of Daiya havarti jalapeno & garlic block (or your favorite cheese alternative)
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan butter for frying
1/2 teaspoon Braggs aminos or soy sauce
Set aside your two delicious slices of rye or pumpernickel. Its good to use a darker bread here to get the caraway and espresso flavor of the bread-trust me, it adds a ton of flavor to the sandwich!
If your tempeh is in block form, slice four 1/4 inch slices. If pre-sliced, use about 3-4 slices. In a frying pan, melt a little oil or butter and add the soy sauce. Fry the tempeh strips until crispy and golden brown, about 2-4 minutes on each side.
Grab your bread slices and spread about a tablespoon of vegan thousand island on each side. Top with fried tempeh, and the slice of cheese. Put the sandwich together and using the same frying pan, grill sandwich until cheese melts, a few minutes on each side. Remove from pan, separate bread slices, top with sauerkraut, and reassemble into sandwich form. Now take a giant, gooey, cheesy bite...enjoy!
Tangy Curried Chickpea Salad
I'm a sandwich kind of girl. I love them. You can put just about anything in between two pieces of something bread-like and call it a sandwich. Usually portable, they've been around as long as history can remember.
In 2006, a court in Massachusettes determined that a sandwich does indeed need to include at least two slices of bread, differentiating it from items eaten in a tortilla and ending a dispute between Panera Bread and Qdoba. Yep. That really happened.
But either way, I love things stuck between two slices of bread or on a single piece, open-faced style. This tangy salad travels well, so wrap it up in a jar or bring that bread and munch on it anywhere you go.
1-15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
3/4 cup vegenaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup radishes, diced
1 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of smoked paprika
Drain and rinse your chickpeas and pour them into a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash the chickpeas until about half are completely smooshed, the other half can be mashed or chunky to your liking.
I prefer to leave about half of the chickpeas unmashed- it adds more texture and holds together better on a sandwich.
A quick note on the ‘chunks’ in the salad: its nice when all of your veggies are diced to about the same size. It makes the texture more pleasant!
Add vegenaise, lemon juice, onions, almonds, celery, radishes, and all spices. Stir until combined. Serve immediately or save in the refrigerator for up to a week.
But like we talked about, its really best in a sandwich.
My favorite is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and a bit of avocado and served with a side of crunchy potato chips.
Soft, Chewy, Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies
Tomorrow, March 1st, is National Peanut Butter Lovers Day.
And I love peanut butter.
Growing up, my family called me Peanut in reference to my love of all things peanut butter. When Reeses Puffs cereal debuted back in the '90s, it was like they had made a breakfast cereal just for me. I was crazy about the stuff.
Now I eat far more nut butter, but far less peanut butter than I used to. Cashew butter, macadamia nut butter, even almond butter- delicious alternatives. But simply nothing can replace good ol' peanut butter in a cookie.
I kept the cookies gluten-free by using brown rice flour as a base instead of wheat flour. I added potato starch for moistness, since often times my gluten-free experiments turn out far too dry.
The result? A perfectly soft, chewy cookie with just a little crunch. Try dunking 'em in some dairy-free milk. Or just gobble 'em up. But be careful, they make your mouth ooey-gooey if you eat too many...like any good peanut butter cookie should!
A note: We used organic chunky peanut butter with no added sugar or oils. Just ground up peanuts. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand, but note that the cookies may be considerably sweeter if you use PB w/ added sugars. But they're cookies, so its all good.
1 chia or flax egg
(1 tablespoon ground chia or flax powder + 3 tablespoons water)
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 cup chunky (or creamy, your choice!) peanut butter
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon potato starch (optional, for moistness)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First, make your 'egg' by combining 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (or flax) and 3 tablespoons water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to gelatinize; in the meantime, prepare the rest of the dough.
In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mix well using a fork or whisk.
When chia egg is ready, add that and the milk to the bowl. Mix to combine.
Finally, throw in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and potato starch.
Mix very well using a fork, a strong wooden spoon, or your hands. Just make sure there are no clumps of dry ingredients anywhere in there and that everything is well mixed.
Spoon balls of cookie dough onto a non-stick baking sheet. Slightly flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until edges firm up and slightly brown. Makes 16-20 cookies.
**To make traditional fork lines in the cookies, take them out halfway through baking, and press a fork twice, in opposite directions, into the cookie. Place the baking sheet immediately back into the oven to finish cooking.**
Stored in an airtight container, these chewy, soft delicious cookies will last about a week.
But tomorrow is National Peanut Butter Lovers Day so really, don't hold back.
Cinnamon Coconut Protein Cookies
I love coconut. (As if you hadn't noticed.)
First there was the strawberry coconut kombucha smoothie; then coconut macaroons, coconut whipped cream, and coconut bacon.
I just can't get enough of the stuff. And you know why? Because coconut is a delicious, healthy way to get some good fats in your body. It has also been shown to aid in nutrient absorption in the body, improve digestive function, and protect against free radicals. Plus, its delicious.
Last week I finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Read it, its truly excellent.
Without spoiling it, it centers around a tribe in Mexico called the Tarhumara who can run incredible distances, and do. I'm talking like 100 miles a day. And the cool part? Its not just some people in the tribe who can, they all can. And they do it almost barefoot.
Anyway, the Tarahumara eat a pretty limited diet made up of a lot of grains, but to prep for long runs, they drink an elixir of chia seeds fermented with sugar and lime juice. Chia is the superfood of their success.
After reading the book, I immediately bought vibrams and started adding chia to my oatmeal every morning. Coincidence or self-created placebo, my daily running mileage has almost doubled. I think I might even start training for a half marathon next month.
Now back to the cookies.
Since I've been doing so much more running, I've learned that I am not the kind of person who can eat a massive meal and perform. I have to eat very small, light meals continuously, or I get sluggish.
When I started whipping up these cookies (I hesitate to call them cookies. Health biscuits maybe?) I tried to create the perfect little snack I could eat before a run, or during a run, or after a run. The combination of protein powder, chia, hemp and coconut gave me the power I needed to start crushing my workouts and finally feel that runners high.
The cookies definitely tasted reminiscent of the vanilla protein powder I used, but I love the taste of my protein powder, so I didn't mind. The cinnamon and nutmeg also help to nicely disguise any chalkiness. Plus, they still taste light years better than any of those nasty gel packs ever could, I promise. And I know some of you are big fans of the gels, but I think there's something to be said for eating real, whole food.
What's your secret sweat-'till-you-drop power food?
1 cup gluten-free rice flour
1 cup vanilla protein powder (gluten-free)
3 tablespoons chia powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup homemade hemp milk
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the rice flour, protein powder, chia powder, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
In a seperate bowl, mash your 2 ripe bananas. Add the hemp milk & sunflower oil and give it a good whisk. Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk again.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, using a wooden spoon to combine the two. Once the cookie dough has formed, add in the coconut flakes. Stir 'em in so the dough is uniform.
Wish your freshly washed hands, roll the dough into balls and place onto a greased or nonstick baking sheet. Use a fork to press down the dough (like peanut butter cookies).
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies just begin to crack.
Remove from the oven, place on a cookie sheet to cool, and enjoy!
As a vegan, I don't usually 'miss' meat. I don't crave it, or wish I still ate it- mostly. Bacon is my exception. I still don't cave actual pig-flesh bacon, but I definitely crave the salty, smoky flavor that comes along with it. Being away from it quelled those cravings for quite some time...until we tried Phoney Baloney's Elvis Sandwich. Stuffed with creamy peanut butter, sweet bananas, and salty coconut bacon, this sandwich taught me one thing: coconut bacon is a keeper. I learned how to make it the next day and have been making a batch almost bi-weekly since.
Its a great addition to salads, sandwiches, soups...even desserts! But don't let me fool you-its addictive. You'll get to the point where you'll barely be able to walk by a bag without grabbing a handful of the stuff...or is that just me?
The recipe is super easy to make, and a great way to teach non-vegans that we make damn good food too!
3 1/2 cups flaked coconut, unsweetened
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine liquid smoke, braggs, maple syrup, and water in a large mixing bowl. Pour in flaked coconut, using a wooden spoon to gently toss the coconut in the liquid mixture. If adding smoked paprika, add and toss to coat evenly. Once the coconut is evenly coated, pour it onto a non-stick baking sheet and slide it the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a spatula to flip the 'bacon' about every 5 minutes so it cooks evenly. This stuff WILL burn if you're not keeping an eye on it and regularly flipping it, so please do. Coconut bacon can be stored in a sealed bag or container for up to a month, refrigerator optional.
And, it makes a great BLT sandwich!