Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Another frigid week and another big pot of soup was made! This has all simple, easy to find ingredients that blend well together for a hearty meal.

Very much like my Three Bean Vegan Soup, despite the name there is so much more in this soup.  Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup ingredientsAlongside the Butternut Squash and Lentils and kale (I know everyone is saying that kale is so ‘2015’ but I still love it!), there are black beans and cannellini beans.

This is another soup that packs in the protein, vitamin c, iron and lots of vitamin a from the butternut squash.  Make some warm cornbread to go along with it and you have a satisfied mind, (warm) body and soul.

Feed the wellness in you!

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 1/2 lb Chopped Kale
  • 1 lb of diced Butternut Squash
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Cannellini Beans
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Black Beans Beans
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Bring your stock to a boil and add the kale. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the butternut squash and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool to desired temperature and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/butternut-squash-and-lentil-soup/

Three Bean Vegan Soup

3 Bean Vegan Soup

Don’t you just love a warm bowl of soup on a cold day? We experienced some morning weather in the teens early this week and I head straight to the store  with soup on my mind. I love a hearty soup that give you a variety of flavors and textures. This soup is easy to make, quickly if you are in a hurry, without sacrificing flavor.

In addition to a few other ingredients, this picture captures all the items in the soup!  3 Bean Soup Ingredients

Although I call it ‘Three Bean’ soup because of the cannellini, kidney and garbanzo beans there are so many other great things in this soup to add to your nutrition – barley, spinach, baby kale, chard – how about that for a bowl full of goodness!  This is the season for the extra Vitamin C you will get from your greens along with iron and folate; the beans  along with barley give you protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Try it whether the temps dip or not.  Warm your soul.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

3 Bean Vegan Soup

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c pearled barley
  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 1 - 5 oz bag of Fresh Express Baby Kale Mix
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Chick Peas
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Cannellini Beans
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Green Peppers, Celery and Onions
  • 3 links of Light Life Chorizo chopped
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients except for baby kale mix in large pot.
  2. If you're in a hurry bring ingredients to boil then simmer for 30 minutes, adding baby kale mix last 5 minutes until wilted.
  3. If you're not in a hurry, let this cook on low heat for 1.5 hours adding baby kale mix in the last 5 minutes until wilted. This is even better if you prepare in a crock pot.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/three-bean-vegan-soup/

Quick Caribbean Chow Mein

 

Caribbean Chow Mein

I almost feel like I cheat when I prepare this meal…but not quite. I say ‘almost’ because despite the ease to prepare you get so much out of it – protein, vitamins, minerals – it’s a slam dunk for a delicious, nutritious meal.  You may wonder what makes this dish ‘Caribbean’ Chow Mein vs.  Chinese Chow Mein. In my opinion, it’s the heavy influence from Trinidad and Guyana that adds ginger, dark soy, a little hot pepper to the dish.  The noodle used is  an egg noodle and very similar to lo mein so there’s a fine line on how to define this as a Caribbean dish.  What helps with preparing this quickly is that I use all freshly washed, packaged vegetables – a package of stir fry vegetables that has broccoli, carrots, and snow peas, along with packages of Spinach and Brussels sprouts, and lastly extra firm tofu.  However, you can do the same thing with fresh vegetables and perhaps add Bok Choy. The more vegetables you stretch the servings.  You can always use the protein of your choice and still have a wonderful result.

Chow Mein Noodle Package

The noodles used are packaged as ‘West Indian Style’ Chow Mein noodles.  I’m not sure if this make a difference in taste because I’ve never used the Chow Mein noodles by La Choy or equivalent.   I add freshly chopped peppers and onions and within minutes I have this dish full of veggies and protein.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Quick Caribbean Chow Mein

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz bag of broccoli stir fry vegetables (broccoli, snow peas, carrots)
  • 1 6 oz bag of brussesl sprouts (take off stems and chop into quarters)
  • 1 5 oz bag of Baby Spinach
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 boxes Extra Firm cubed tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbl minced ginger
  • 2 Tbl fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbl chopped green peppers
  • 2 Tbl chopped yellow peppers
  • 2 Tbl chopped red peppers
  • 2 Tbl chopped onions
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 c Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 c chopped scallion (optional)
  • 1/4 c bean sprouts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sautee your onions, peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add the Brussels sprouts and sautee for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the Broccoli stir fry vegetables; add ginger salt, red pepper and paprika and turn to low for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tofu and half cup of light soy and the dark soy; turn to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and with the heat by stirring it should start to wilt. Remove from heat and cover.
  6. Cook the noodles according to the directions in vegetable stock and drain leaving about 1/4 cup of the vegetable stock.
  7. Fold in the vegetables and stir well. The heat should completely soften the spinach leaves.
  8. Add 1/4 cup of light soy or add to taste.
  9. Toss well and serve.
  10. Top with scallions and bean sprouts (optional)
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quick-caribbean-chow-mein/

Pumpkin Pilaf

Pumpkin Pilaf

Are you tired of plain brown rice and eating it just because it’s supposed to be better for you? With just a few additional ingredients you can be more creative and get more nutrients with that once plain brown rice. calabazaThis dish doesn’t have the pureed pumpkin we see prominently displayed in the grocery aisles right now.  What is used is the Caribbean Calabaza pumpkin or ‘West Indian Pumpkin’.  It is very popular in the Caribbean and Central and South America.  The seeds of the pumpkin, known as pepitas, are eaten as a snack when roasted and you will often find them added to Mexican cuisine.

I use this pumpkin quite often, especially in soups.  However, this is a great addition to meals on its own and I love it mixed in my rice as I had it growing up.  For added protein I include chickpeas and with minimal seasonings I have a great side dish.  I’ve had this with other side vegetables and even with my vegetarian chili.  The Calabaza pumpkin may not be easy to find but a great substitute is butternut squash.  You could never go wrong with that!

 Feed the wellness in you!

 

Pumpkin Pilaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

The Calabaza is usually cut in to large pieces but you will have to dice it into much smaller pieces. It has a tough skin so be careful and have a sharpened knife ready.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced Calabaza pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 tbl tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place diced pumpkin in a medium pot with one cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil for ten minutes.
  2. Add the brown rice and chickpeas to the pumpkin along with 1.5 cups of vegetable broth.
  3. Mix in 1 tbl of tomato paste.
  4. Cook according to the brown rice directions (approx. 20 minutes)
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/pumpkin-pilaf/

Frozen and Prepared Favorites Part 2

Last month I shared a few favorite frozen and prepared foods that help me when I’m pressed for time to prepare a meal.  Here are more favorites that I recommend you keep in mind when you are rushing to the grocery store and want something quick to prepare. Stick to a single serving (although it’s tough!), add a vegetable or salad as a side dish and you’ll have a great meal.

Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Pie

Spinach and Kale Pie

This has all the robust flavor and flaky texture of traditional Spanikopita.  If you’re a fan of that Greek dish you would love this.  Neither one of the greens overpowers the other and they did a great job at blending them so you don’t get the toughness of the kale.  Very well done.

Trader Giotto’s Kale, Sweet Potato and Butternut Pizza

Kale, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash PizzaTrader ‘Giotto’s’ is the Italian product line at Trader Joe’s.  Looks can be deceiving but not in the case of this frozen gem.  Not only is it a very unique combination of ingredients but it tastes like it is freshly made out of a brick oven.  The crust is perfect; great flavor and slightly crisp. The use of pureed sweet potato in place of a traditional sauce is amazing.

Trader Giotto’s Organic Pesto Pizza with Tomatoes and Broccoli

Organic Pesto Pizza with tomatoes and broccoliAnother slam dunk for a great frozen pizza!  Again, the crust is perfect and it is bursting with just the right amount of pesto flavor.  Simply done with tomatoes and broccoli, this is another one to have ‘on call’ at home!

LaPasta Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli

This is a Costco product and is made in my local area according to the package so I’m not certain whether you can get this at all Costco’s.Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli  However, I’m hopeful that Costco wouldn’t deny others of this wonderful pasta.  This cooks in 3 minutes and is such a wonderful blend of simple flavors.  The description states that the pumpkin is sweet and it really is.  It tastes more like butternut squash than it does pumpkin.  I top with a tomato sauce but I’m sure it’s great with light olive oil and garlic also.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin and Cranberry Overnight Oats

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‘Tis the season of pumpkin! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins – there are multiple ways our grocers are trying to entice us to use pumpkins.  I bought a can of pureed pumpkin so I could make a quick pumpkin pie with my daughter.  I then bought another can as a challenge to do something out of the ordinary for me.  I’m not a huge pumpkin fan.  Lately, I’ve seen a few recipes for overnight oats and vowed to try it so I considered incorporating pumpkin.  The ingredients for overnight oats are so simple – oats, liquid of your choice, and spices.  All you have to do is leave covered overnight in the refrigerator and breakfast is ready the next morning.  I already love both hot oatmeal and muesli so why not go for it with the seasonal favorite pumpkin.

How much did I love these overnight oats?  I can’t count the ways because I’m just getting started with the possibilities and can’t stop. Overnight Oats ingredients I am encouraged to do this so much more often.

I used rolled oats, evaporated fat-free milk, vanilla essence, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried cranberries and pumpkin.  I didn’t have a mason jar so I mixed all my ingredients in a glass then covered tightly with plastic wrap.  I will be heading out for some jars soon!  There are not enough emoticons to express my emotion about how simple and tasty this was.  And where is the love button when you want to show the love for the fiber, vitamins and nutrients.  What a happy morning!

Feed the wellness in you!

Pumpkin and Cranberry Overnight Oats

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rolled oats
  • 3 tsp of pumpkin
  • 8 oz of fat free evaporated milk
  • 1 tbl brown sugar
  • .5 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1-2 tbl of cranberries
  • toppings of your choice - berries, granola, etc

Instructions

  1. Place your dried rolled oats and all ingredients except for toppings. Mix and cover tightly. Leave in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning the oatmeal is ready to be served with your favorite toppings.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/pumpkin-and-cranberry-overnight-oats/

 

Meatless Skillet Lasagne

Meatless Skillet Lasagne

I haven’t shared recipes using meat substitutes because I don’t want to convey that meat eaters won’t miss meat by using a  substitute. My goal is to always provide a healthy alternative to meat dishes and show you ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your diet.  I’ve found that when you introduce meat substitutes to the carnivore community, there is a lot of noise about how hypocritical it is to even mention the word ‘meat’ as a vegetarian.  I don’t argue that meat doesn’t taste good. I ate meat off and on over the years and at one point increased it to help with my anemia.   I became a vegetarian four years ago to assist with an overall holistic wellness plan to combat an issue I had  and it worked.  Since then, there is a noticeable change in my wellness and I attribute it (in addition to regular exercise), to removing meat and hormones from my diet.

I’m not going to tell you that a meat substitute is a 1:1 comparison for meat but it does taste good when well prepared and you desire the texture of meat.  WP_20151027_06_32_12_Pro 1Perhaps it is the brand that I use and that’s why it’s enjoyable.  If you try this recipe or are looking for a ground beef substitute try Lightlife ‘Smart Ground’ crumbles.  It is really easy to incorporate in a dish, even easier than regular ground beef because it is already prepared.

I like the idea of a one pan dish for simplicity.  Skillet lasagna seems like a lazy excuse for lasagna but have you ever had a ‘free form’ lasagna at a restaurant?  This is very similar. Just get a few additional ingredients along with the protein crumbles and you will have this in very little time. WP_20151027_06_53_38_Pro 1 What’s great is that you can use no boil lasagna noodles and prepared marinara to speed up the timing without losing the overall look and taste.  I found a great organic whole wheat no boil lasagna noodle named Delallo.

My favorite prepared marinara sauce is Rao’s – highly recommended for its robust taste in this dish.  I never miss an opportunity to add vegetables in a recipe so this has baby spinach in the sauce.  I also added capers to my sauce which is not a typical lasagna ingredient.  My paternal grandmother was an amazing cook and one of my favorite dishes she would make was lasagna.  She traveled all around the world so I’m not sure where she learned the use of capers in her sauce but WOW, what a nice addition.

Feed the wellness in you!

Meatless Skillet Lasagne

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of Protein Crumbles
  • 1-25 oz jar of Marinara Sauce
  • 8-10 sheets of no cook lasagna noodles
  • 1-5 oz bag of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 oz fat free Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tbl oregano
  • 1 tbl basil
  • 1 tbl thyme
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl fresh chopped garlic
  • 3 tbl capers

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or dutch pan, sautee the fresh garlic in 1 tbl of EVOO on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add another tbl of EVOO and add the protein crumbles and turn the heat to low. Break up the protein crumbles and lightly brown for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the marinara sauce and mix well.
  4. Add the dried seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, onion powder), then place spinach on top of mixture.
  5. Cover and let it cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix the spinach in with the sauce then add the capers and Ricotta Cheese. Stir well.
  7. Add the 8-10 sheets of no cook lasagna noodles. You will be placing them individually and pouring the sauce over each noodle so all are coated.
  8. The noodles should cook in 20-25 minutes(per the directions on the box) so cover the pan and cook on low heat for that period of time.
  9. Uncover after 25 minutes to stir lightly confirming the noodles are cooked and well integrated in the sauce.
  10. Top with the shredded parmesan cheese and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/meatless-skillet-lasagne/

Polenta with Spinach and Butternut Squash

 

Polenta with spinach and butternut squash

With just a handful of ingredients this dish can be served! I was inspired by a polenta frozen meal I saw in Trader Joe’s. I didn’t buy it, but it triggered my thoughts about cooking polenta.  I hadn’t cooked it in a while and it quickly became my side dish this week at dinner.

Polenta is a Northern Italy staple and is so versatile.  It can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can be prepared boiled, fried, baked, or grilled. In addition, it can be served alongside just about any protein!  Use a store bought version and you can have a quick side dish with fair amounts of Vitamins C and A that is low in calories and fat.

The only additional ingredients to the main ones I used to make this was light half and half, a dash of salt and pepper to taste, oregano, and onion powder.  Polenta is ground corn so it has a natural mild sweet flavor to it so you don’t want to overpower that.  I wanted color and not too much texture so I went with spinach which would wilt nicely in the polenta.  What you’ll end up with is a wonderful creamy polenta with additional nutrients from the spinach.  The butternut squash is a delightful, tasty bonus.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Polenta with Spinach and Butternut Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1-16 oz package of cooked polenta
  • 1- 5 oz package of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup of light half and half
  • 1 tbl oregano
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking Spray
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Sautee the baby spinach in a tbl of olive oil until slightly wilted. Set aside.
  2. Cook the butternut squash until cooked but slightly firm. Should not be boiled for longer than 10 minutes.
  3. In a large pan, spray with cooking spray and turn heat to low.
  4. Place your cooked polenta in the pan and mash until a softened consistency.
  5. Add the half and half and stir in the oregano and onion powder.
  6. Fold in your spinach and add the butternut squash last with a stir or two. Again the butternut squash should be firm and not soft to blend in with the polenta.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/polenta-with-spinach-and-butternut-squash/

My Frozen and Prepared Favorites Part 1

I believe in eating ‘whole foods’ all the time, but it is helpful to have some ‘go to’ items that are healthy and can be prepared within minutes. Here are just a few of my favorites:

This Organic Spinach and Cheese Ravioli can be found at Costco. I usually top with a little marinara (note:  my favorite brand is Rao’s).  The Ricotta and Spinach filled Ravioli is from Trader Joe’s.  Both low in calories per serving and delicious.  Add a salad on the side and you have a great meal.

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These already washed and chopped salads are fantastic!  The combination of veggies and toppings in each are wonderful compliments but I forego the toppings and dressing and use balsamic vinegar.  Both can be found at Costco.

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Trader Joe’s has a wonderful variety of cuisines in their frozen section.  As a person that cooks and is discerning when it comes to flavor, they nail it for me in these dishes.  They taste like home cooked meals and I love that they are bold with their combinations.

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I cook channa (chick peas) often so it’s a big deal for me to even give a frozen version a chance.  This does not disappoint and helps in a pinch at only 180 calories per cup with lots of protein and fiber.

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Let me spell this out for you – white and red quinoa, sweet potato, and zucchini wonderfully seasoned and a little spice.  At only 220 calories per cup it is also packed with protein and fiber.

 

 

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I’m not even a big risotto fan but I like this combination.  Plus one cup is only 160 calories without missing the flavor.  This is a winner.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

 

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

When I say simple I really mean SIMPLE! No ‘haute cuisine’ here.  In my quest to incorporate more protein daily in my vegetarian lifestyle I came up with a simple and easy lettuce wrap. It doesn’t have many ingredients nor take a long time to prepare. What’s great about this is you can substitute whatever veggies and protein you may like. This version has broccoli, quinoa, edamame, shitake mushrooms and roasted tofu — but the possibilities are endless.  Talk about a  protein packed dish – all of these ingredients provide a good portion of protein in addition to other vitamins and minerals like iron, fiber and vitamin C.  Another bonus is that you can find most of these items prepared and/or chopped which adds to easy preparation. Tips on preparing roasted tofu can be found in my recipe Curry Tofu and Chickpeas if you cannot find any at your local grocer or salad bar.

Try it as a snack, appetizer or lunch option.

Feed the wellness in you!

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Most grocery stores sell fresh broccoli crowns, shitake mushrooms, and edamame already chopped. At some salad bars you may find cooked quinoa and roasted tofu. This will eliminate most of your prep time.

Ingredients

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli crowns
  • 1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1 cup roasted tofu
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, sautee the broccoli crowns in 1 tbl of extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the shitake mushrooms, edamame, tofu and sautee another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the quinoa, soy sauce
  5. Cook on simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Drizzle the sweet chili sauce on top.
  7. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Add a few spoonfuls of the veggies on top of two large leaves of romaine lettuce and roll/wrap over the veggie mix to eat.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/simple-veggie-lettuce-wraps/