Lots of Good Food….

The thing about vegan food is that it’s actually really, really good, and strangely addictive. Part of the reason is likely that when you eat plants, you feel good. I’m going to try to include at least one recipe every time I post. My current favourite cookbook is Appetite for Reduction–a low-fat, vegan cookbook–by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I heard about this book through the forums when I did the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart last January. Now that I think about it, I have been attempting a completely vegan diet for quite a while with varying degrees of success. I do think my deviations from “the plan” tend to be much less frequent these days…in terms of my diet, anyway. More often, my deviations tend to be in the form of my beloved pinot (bete) noir.

I think I read somewhere that you have to try something nine times before you develop a taste for it, and that’s what has happened to me with blended salads. A couple of years ago, I read Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live, and when I got to the part about blended salads, I couldn’t imagine ever eating something so disgusting. Over the past year, however, I have become a convert. My usual Blended Salad recipe is

1 banana

1/2 c almond milk

1 c water

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup pineapple (frozen or canned in own juice)

2 ounces frozen spinach

3 ounces frozen kale

a two- or three-inch chunk of cucumber

1 bunch mixed greens

1 TBS ground chia/hemp/flaxseed mix

1 TBs liquid chlorophyll

I just blend it in all up in a food processor and drink it as my breakfast. I’m starving by lunch! You can mix it up a bit though:  today, I had none of my usual ingredients because we can only shop once a week (more on that later). I used cranberry juice instead of almond milk and an apple instead of frozen blueberries. The cool part was that my garden has started growing, so I was able to use freshly grown kale, spinach, and greens. I’ve also started sprouting alfalfa seeds, so I chucked in a huge handful of sprouts. It wasn’t as sweet as my usual green drink, so I added a bit of stevia. It was pretty good!

For lunch everyday, I tend to have Vegetarian Chili–it’s full of vegetables, and I include two types of beans. The Eat to Live plan recommends at least a cup of beans per day, so the chili is a good way to get some in. Here’s my recipe:

1 finely chopped onion

1 cup baby carrots

1 cup green beans cut into one-inch lengths

1 cup chopped red pepper

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup broccoli

1 cup celery

1 28-ounce can of tomatoes (chopped)

1 can of kidney beans

1 can of black beans

1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 cup salsa (any kind)

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

Toss it all in a slow cooker and cook it until the carrots and celery are tender, but not mushy.

My snack is Red Pepper and Olive Hummus with fresh vegetables, which should take care of the rest of the beans I need to fit in. This recipe, which is a modified version of one from Appetite for Reduction, is so delicious that even people who don’t like hummus like it:

1 drained can of chickpeas

the juice of one-half of a lemon

4 garlic cloves

1 heaping TBS tahini

1.5 tsp cumin

salt & pepper

1/2 cup roasted red peppers pealed and marinated in balsamic vinegar

Blend on high until everything is smooth and then add in five or six chopped kalamata olives and pulse two or three times. Don’t blend the olives in, or they will turn your hummus a nasty gray colour. The balsamic vinegar in which the peppers are marinated give the hummus a nice sweetness. By the way, you don’t have to use red peppers–I’ve used yellow and orange ones, and it tastes the same. Green peppers would give an entirely different flavour, however.

Red Pepper and Olive Hummus 

Dinner is going to be Lentil Soup–a recipe that’s a combination of a few different recipes I like:

Spray a dutch oven with a bit of olive oil, and saute for a few minutes:

1 chopped onion
4 cloves garlic
1 chopped yellow pepper
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 potato diced (leave the peel on)
1 cup green beans (cut in one-inch lengths)

6 cups of broth and a cup or two of water (depending on how soupy you like it)
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp pepper

1 and 1/2 cups red lentils

Simmer until the lentils are soft and mushy and the carrots are tender but not mushy (30 – 45 minutes).

Lentil Soup

I’m going to serve it with some tender new greens that I’m hoping to harvest from the garden. I say “hoping” because the plants really are quite tiny, and I have harvested once today already for my blended salad. I want to try this dressing on my salad, which is one that showed up in my e-mail box today–I subscribe to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s newsletter. I was delighted that I happened to have all the ingredients, and it took about three minutes to make. It’s delicious!

Ginger Almond Dressing

1/2 cup raw almond butter or ¼ cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini or unhulled sesame seeds
3 dates, pitted
2 small cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender until creamy. Add more water if a thinner dressing is desired.