I became a vegetarian over 7 years ago and for the past 2 years I've dabbled in a Vegan diet. I enjoy whole, raw foods that come straight from our beautiful earth! I'd like to share some Vegan recipes here as well as some foods that were once new to me and are now my good friends! I don't expect everyone to go Vegan, but what I can say about this lifestyle is that it has taught me to listen to my body. I am more in tune with my body's needs and what makes it feel its best. And who doesn't want that?
I love whole grains. They are the component of my diet that helps me feel full (the good kind of full) and sustains me for a long time. Here are my favorites:
- Brown Rice
1/2 cup leftover brown rice
3/4 cup water
6-8 dried plums, apricots, peaches, or any other dried fruit you like OR if you're a little daring and are willing to eat some veggies for breakfast use raw cubes of carrot, sweet potato or beets combined with a few pieces of dried fruit.
Cut dried fruit into small pieces. Combine rice, water, and fruit in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low heat. Cook for roughly 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
- The recipe requires no sweetener! The dried fruit infuses the rice with a wonderfully natural flavor. Sometimes I top mine with raw sunflower seeds or raw pumpkin seeds. This is my favorite breakfast and a great afternoon snack in the winter time.
1 cup black, red or white quinoa (black or red make for a beautiful dish!)
2 cups water
2 cups of chopped in-season vegetables (pepper, zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, etc)
1 small white onion, chopped finely
2 cloves fresh garlic minced
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
juice from 1/2 a lime
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
sea salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
Combine quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low and cover. Quinoa will absorb water and begin to separate from it's shell. When water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy, remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium frying pan heat 1 tbsp of your olive oil. Add garlic and onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes until onions are soft. Add vegetables and saute for an additional 5-6 minutes just until vegetables are softened some
*Some vegetables will take longer to soften than others. Vegetables should be slightly softened yet still have a bit of a crunch to them in the center
In a large bowl combine 1 tbsp oil, lime juice, maple syrup, vegetable mixture, and cumin. Mix thoroughly until all seasonings are combined. Add quinoa, and mix until vegetables are distributed throughout the grain. Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold!
I really love getting my plate to be wonderfully colorful! Here are some of my favorite vegetables and simple ways to prepare them.
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potato
1 bunch of beets (equal size if possible)
Get out your apron or an old shirt for this one. I almost never get my beets prepared without splattering a little fuchsia juice on myself! Preheat oven to 375. Cut stems and greens off of beets (save for later because you can eat the greens raw or slightly sauted.) Scrub down beets with a vegetable scrubber and clean them good. Without peeling, wrap each beet in some foil so it looks like a Hershey's Kiss! Place on a cookie sheet (they may leak) in the oven and bake for an hour. Smaller beets may only take 45 minutes. When you can pierce them with a knife, they are finished. Let cool and then the skin will slip right off. Serve cold in a salad or warm as a side dish for dinner.
Cuban-Style Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
From my very favorite book, The Kind Diet are these really yummy simple sweet potatoes! Follow the link and give Alicia Silverstone all the credit!
Basic Butternut Squash:
1 butternut squash
Preheat oven to 400. Halve squash and scoop out seeds (set aside so you can bake them later!) Drizzle olive oil over halved squash and place face down on a greased pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until soft enough to pierce with a knife.
Butternut Polenta Mash:
1 medium size butternut squash
1/2 cup polenta
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp Earth Balance Butter (Vegan)
1 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Follow Basic Butternut Squash recipe. Combine water and polenta in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until Polenta has absorbed all liquid but is not too thick to stir. Scoop out the squash from the skin and combine with Polenta. Stir in Earth Balance and Maple syrup. Let simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with Salt and pepper to taste.
- Note: salt your food sooner rather than later. If salt can be cooked into food for at least 10 minutes, it will reduce your sodium intake and be more nutritious. And always use sea salt!
A NOTE ABOUT KITCHENS:
I am a firm believer that what you put into your food is what you get out of it. Having a clean and peaceful atmosphere helps me really prepare food with love. Allow yourself to have what you need in your kitchen. Whether it's a beautiful apron, colorful kitchenware, or some funky magnets on the fridge, let your kitchen be your haven.