Baked Basmati Rice with Leeks and White Beans
I use to look at leeks and wonder what to do with them. Of course, I knew of leek soup but I always thought there must be a higher purpose for leeks. It took me a while (actually, a few years) but I found the perfect use for leeks in a side dish I call Baked Basmati Rice with Leeks and White Beans.
A while back, the New York Times printed a recipe for “Baked Rice With White Beans, Leeks, and Lemons” because commenters “have gone wild for this easy, hands-off, vegetarian main course…” That’s all I needed to read before deciding this was it. However, I had to figure out a way to make this recipe plant-based and a bit healthier: greatly reduce the olive oil (from 5 tablespoons to a few sprays), replace the white Basmati Rice with Brown Rice Basmati for more fiber, and ditch the parmesan (and use vegan parmesan made from cashews, sparingly). Read more
One of my favorite comfort foods is a dish I call “Pasta Roni” which is a play on the classic decades-old “beefaroni” dish made of macaroni, beef, and tomato sauce except that my version tastes better, is plant based, and more nutritious! Oil and dairy free, Pasta Roni is the dish everyone wants on a cold night when nothing but a tummy-warming bowl of pasta will do.
Inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for Lentil-A-Roni in Isa Does It, the Pasta Roni recipe showcases whole grain pasta, lentils, tomatoes, and greens for a delicious and nutritious meal. Isa uses raw cashews that have been soaked in water, drained and then blended with vegetable broth in a high-powered blender to make the sauce creamy but I am not a cream sauce person so I don’t use cashews. If your preference is for a creamy sauce, then by all means, soak 1/2 cup of raw (not roasted) cashews in water for a few hours and then blend away before adding to the sauce.
But first, a few words about other ingredients: Read more
Summer Greens and Berries
Eating light in the summertime is as easy as tossing a salad together with fresh seasonal produce. Fill a large bowl with assorted greens (the darker the better) and then add a handful of blackberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries along with a chopped avocado and sliced almonds for an added crunch. Drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette or your favorite dressing over the top, toss and serve. Lunch never tasted so good! Read more
Summer Chopped Salad
A few days ago I was making a party platter of fresh cut vegetables to dip in hummus when I realized I don’t know that many people who eat raw red, orange, or yellow pepper slices (and, I don’t know anyone who dips green pepper slices into hummus although there must be some green pepper fans out there).
So, I quickly decided to omit the peppers and instead use these “capsicums” (as they are called in Australia and India) to make a chopped salad. But, because peppers can be overpowering I added mangos, peaches, and the juice from a navel orange along with fresh flat leaf parsley, and a touch of salt and pepper to make a colorful, delicious, crunchy, and slightly sweet, savory side dish. Read more
Granola Bites by the Organic Pantry Co.
For plant-based eaters who prefer a farmer’s market over an outdoor vegan fest, please know I get it. It’s not that vegan foods are bad, although there are certainly a lot of unhealthy ones out there, its that far too often these products contain oil, refined sugar, syrups, or other undesirable sweeteners, too much sodium, or ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
If most of your diet is whole food plant-based then very few commercially prepared foods are on your pantry’s shelf or in the refrigerator or freezer because finding really stellar products – foods made with top notch ingredients without all the additives, and that taste great – is tough (there is just no getting around being vigilant and reading labels).
Every once in a while, a truly great product is introduced (and it feels like a reward when you find it), which is the case with Granola Bites by the Organic Pantry Co. Granola Bites are tasty pieces of granola (almost like thin crunchy cookies) with mulberries (Cashew, Date & Mulberry) or coconut and raisins (Coconut, Cacao, and Raisin) : Read more
Chickpea Pasta Salad
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and pasta are not two foods that people think about putting together but if you’re looking for a fresh delicious new take on a summer pasta salad, look no further. Chickpea pasta is delicious, has a slightly heavier texture and heartier flavor than white pasta, and is infinitely more nutritious with 12 grams of protein and 1 gram of natural sugar per serving.
Full of greens, vegetables, and beans, the Chickpea Pasta Salad doesn’t need any oil or sauce to bring it together. Instead, the addition of an avocado (chopped) and the juice from a fresh lemon add a creamy tangy texture to the salad. Read more
Millet, Beans, and Greens
Millet is a mild-tasting grass although the texture is that of a grain which means millet goes well with all sorts of vegetables, especially greens and beans. Often referred to as pearl millet, the small grains look like little yellow pearls and cook in about 15 minutes.
The following recipe is a variation of a recipe (Millet Vegetable Fattoush) from the Purple Carrot. The low-sodium vegetable broth adds some flavor to the millet while the vegetables give the salad a delicious crunch. Beans add some depth to the salad along with the avocado and walnuts. I prefer a lemon vinaigrette sprinkled very lightly over the salad. Read more
In my quest to eat at least a cup of beans a day, I created this recipe that combines beans with vegetables, fruit, and fresh dill to make a delicious bean salad, worthy of any lunch or dinner plate. Easy to make, Bean Salad takes about 15 minutes to put together and easily serves four, but you can keep it all to yourself and snack on it throughout the day.
Crunchy, creamy, and delicious, the beauty of this salad is in the different textures, flavors, and nutritional content. Full of fiber, this salad also fills you up leaving you very satisfied. Read more
Kale and Mushroom Pita
Kale and Mushroom Pita is a super easy way to get that all important dose of greens and fiber in your diet. Whenever I don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking, a Kale and Mushroom Pita is on the menu.
With just 4 ingredients: dark green lacinto kale, mushrooms, nutritional yeast, and whole grain pita bread, the Kale and Mushroom Pita takes about 10 minutes to make. The biggest time sap is cleaning and cutting the mushrooms and kale which can be done ahead of time (or buy pre-washed baby kale), covered and refrigerated until later in the day. Read more
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Beans and Veggies
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Beans, and Veggies is a catch-all name for an entree that has it all: potatoes, beans, greens, carrots, and mushrooms. Although the star of the show is the sweet potato (three different kinds), the other vegetables and beans add a lot of flavor (and nutrients) to the dish.
Two helpful hints: don’t skimp on the seasoning. Although the vegetables are delicious together, a few teaspoons of dried spices can really add a lot of zip to this dish. Read more