Quinoa and Mung Bean Salad

Quinoa and Mung Bean Salad

I used to minimize the benefits of going to Costco. I talked myself out of going regularly because I couldn’t understand the utility of buying things in bulk, couldn’t justify the crowds, and then there were the long lines. I have gotten past that, particularly after having children, and have found some great ‘go to’ prepared food items. One such item is their Quinoa Salad. It is made in-house and is delicious right out of the package.  This Costco version should be eaten within 2-3 days because it has chopped tomatoes in it and will get soggy if left unused. What I find interesting about the salad is that it incorporates the very underutilized Mung Bean, which I featured here last April in the pasta recipe Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans.  I decided to make my own version of the Quinoa Salad featuring the Mung Bean.  It’s simple and you can add on your favorites to this base to make a more robust meal out of your salad – tomatoes, avocado, black beans, kidney beans, lettuce, cabbage, kale, protein – of course the options are endless.  Enjoy this superfood salad!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Quinoa and Mung Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa (cooked yields 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of mung beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 3 mini cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 limes, juiced

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa and mung beans according to package directions. Should be 10-15 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool.
  3. Peel the cucumbers and slice.
  4. Whisk the balsamic vinegar and lime juice.
  5. Combine all ingredients together.
  6. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quinoa-and-mung-bean-salad/

Butternut Squash and Cannellini Beans

Butternut squash with cannellini beans

Inspired by a dish I had at a local restaurant, I made this awesome side dish with less than five ingredients! Butternut squash is such a versatile squash, lending itself to be sweet or savory with an ample dose of fiber and Vitamin B6.  Paired with Cannellini beans for even more dietary fiber and protein, you have a great low calorie combination. Topped with roasted almonds this is a very easy and nutritious side dish.

Feed the wellness in you!

Butternut Squash and Cannellini Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers (red, yellow, orange)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbl dried parsley
  • ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Crush the almonds and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven at 200 degrees.
  2. Sautee the bell peppers in the olive oil until softened.
  3. Add the butternut squash and sautee for 15 minutes or until cooked yet firm.
  4. Add the cannellini beans and mix well for 5 minutes
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar.
  6. Add pepper to taste.
  7. Sprinkle the parsley on top.
  8. Remove the almonds from the oven (at this point they would have been in the oven for 25-30 minutes) and sprinkle on top of the butternut squash and balsamic vinegar.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/butternut-squash-and-cannellini-beans/

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad

Quick and Easy Chickpea salad

As Spring weather starts to grace us before it officially starts, it makes you think about lighter fare recipes and naturally salads come to mind. You can’t go wrong with an easy salad that can be paired with the protein of your choice. This is nothing fancy but it packs in nutrients and flavor.  Protein, folate, fiber, and iron in a tasty simple salad – what’s not to love?

Feed the wellness in you!

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 chopped English cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. In a bowl, combine chickpeas with all the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Best made in advance!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quick-and-easy-chickpea-salad/

 

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Another week and we’re still waking up to below freezing weather in the North East. It IS winter so we can’t say we didn’t know it was coming, along with the potential snow. Now we are preparing for a blizzard that may dump 18″-20″ of snow – are you ready? (Question is not directed to you folks in Florida, California, the Caribbean, Australia, etc., that are rubbing the warmth in our faces right now!)  I made another pot of soup to have on hand for lunch or dinner while we wait for the possibility of being ‘snowed in’ and the clean up that can take days!

Like my other soups this is chock full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Lest not forget, my soups are always easy to prepare to minimize the impact on time and eliminate the excuses for preparing something healthy.  I always keep my soup base of vegetable stock and fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry, in addition to having lots of beans since this is my main source of protein.  These basics are also inexpensive so stock up.

I paired this with a grilled cheese sandwich made with Ezekiel Bread, 2% cheese and Campari tomatoes.  You still have time to get to the grocery store before the storm hits.  Ready, set, go!

Feed the wellness in you!

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup of Pearled Barley
  • 2 lbs of Black Eyed Peas (or you can use 2 - 15 oz cans of Black Eyed Peas)
  • 6-8 medium carrots, chopped
  • 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. Put all ingredients except for the spinach in a large pot.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil then turn to low for 45 minutes.
  3. Stir only a few times as the black eyed peas easily break up when they are cooked.
  4. Add the spinach and continue on low for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir when wilted to incorporate throughout the soup.
  6. Remove from heat and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/black-eyed-peas-and-barley-soup/

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/

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans2

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2-3 portabello mushrooms, cut lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard, cut lengthwise
  • 1 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 c san marzano tomatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbl sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4c red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 box Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the mung beans in 2 cups of vegetable broth for 45 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Using a peeler, shred your zucchini, carrots and yellow squash in long pieces, much like spaghetti. Wash and cook in vegetable broth (enough to cover the vegetables) for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  3. In a large sauce pan, sautee the portabello mushrooms, Swiss chard with red onions and garlic for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Add the san marzano tomatoes, the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine all ingredients (the veggies along with vegetable broth) and stir well. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, before removing from heat.
  5. In another sauce pan, add the amount of pasta you desire with some of the sauce.
  6. Top with parmesan reggiano cheese if you wish and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/vegetable-pasta-with-mung-beans/
I’ll get straight to the point – Mung Beans.  I have been eyeing this caper-looking bean in the dried bulk section for quite some time. I consider myself to have a diverse palate but I had never seen or heard of it in any dish I have ever had.  I’m in the bulk section regularly so I finally I decided to satisfy my curiosity and purchased some.Mung Beans

Since I’m always looking for sources of protein I figured the mung bean  would serve its purpose, but needed to research it before creating a home for it in a meal.  I had to give it a warm welcome.

I was surprised to learn that mung beans have been around for thousands of years and originated in India, and later cultivated throughout Asia.  When the mung bean is germinated, it creates the bean sprout.  Who knew?  Like most beans it is low in calories, high in fiber, a good source of iron, and delivers vitamins B, C, and K.

I looked for how mung beans are used in recipes and naturally due to it’s Indian origin, I found recipes for curries and stews.  I will keep that in mind for the very near future, but in the interim I decided to go a bit lighter in flavor and add it to a vegetable pasta. Beans are a great addition to vegetables in pasta, and in my quest to deliver alternatives for a  balanced meal to your plate, I’m pleased that this provides vegetables, protein, and whole grains all in one dish.

The beans need to be washed and soaked overnight.  Cooking time for the beans was approximately 45 minutes.  I shredded all of my vegetables to simulate pasta and also included whole grain spaghetti but the ratio of vegetables to pasta was 2:1.  Once all of the vegetables and beans are prepped, it is very simple to combine the few herbs and spices to complete the dish. As with most pastas, if you desire a protein just toss it in.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2-3 portabello mushrooms, cut lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard, cut lengthwise
  • 1 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 c san marzano tomatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbl sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4c red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 box Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the mung beans in 2 cups of vegetable broth for 45 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Using a peeler, shred your zucchini, carrots and yellow squash in long pieces, much like spaghetti. Wash and cook in vegetable broth (enough to cover the vegetables) for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  3. In a large sauce pan, sautee the portabello mushrooms, Swiss chard with red onions and garlic for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Add the san marzano tomatoes, the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine all ingredients (the veggies along with vegetable broth) and stir well. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, before removing from heat.
  5. In another sauce pan, add the amount of pasta you desire with some of the sauce.
  6. Top with parmesan reggiano cheese if you wish and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/vegetable-pasta-with-mung-beans/

Smokey Beans with Sweet Plantain

Smokey Beans with Plantain 1

My love for cooking is derived from the variety and flavors of food that I grew up with in my household and from my extended family.  My paternal grandmother was an amazing cook as she traveled the world as an Ambassador’s wife and would explore those cultures in her cooking.  My maternal grandmother, my mother, aunts and cousins (and there are MANY across those last two categories) can all cook very well – no pressure.  They enjoy the planning, preparation, serving and delight in seeing their guests enjoy what they’ve created.  As I mentioned in other posts, I am a first generation American born to parents from the Caribbean.  My first love will always be ‘island’ spices and traditions from their preparation of cooking.

Plantain was a staple in meals during my childhood and treated as a side dish as you would have potatoes, yams or sweet potatoes.   Also known as plátanos, they are closely related to the fruit, banana.  Plantain can be prepared and cooked when green, and also when it is ripe which is signaled by it softening and turning yellow and black.

I  cook plantain once or twice a month – not too often as it is relatively high in calories.  The starch converts to sugar even more than a banana – but I do enjoy having it. Tremendously.  Plantain is nutritious and is a  great source of Vitamins A, C, B-6 and Potassium.   I fry plantain, boil it, boil and mash it, add to soups and stews; I use it numerous ways.  The addition of plantain to this dish I prepared is magic.

So let’s talk about my ‘oh so smokey beans’!  I use both kidney beans and black beans.  I find it interesting how various cultures use different beans in their dishes.  My father’s Haitian culture uses the kidney bean in rice as they do in Jamaica.  A Costa Rican family that lived on my block in Brooklyn used black beans in their dishes and that was my introduction to those beans as my mother never used them in her Vincentian upbringing.  I love both of these beans and they are used frequently in my vegetarian lifestyle.  Kidney beans are great for absorbing the flavors they are in.  As with all beans these are both very good sources of cholesterol-lowering fiber, iron and lots of protein.

My ingredients for this dish are simple but combined they provide several layers of flavor.  The garlic, liquid smoke and the paprika provide the great smokey flavor, yet the red peppers provide a nice sweet finish to the beans.  Paired with the unexpected soft, sweet plantain really makes this a side dish that is unique and appealing.

Feed the wellness in you!

Smokey Beans with Sweet Plantain

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c onions
  • 5 sweet peppers, sliced and seeded
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbl tomato paste
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbl smoked paprika
  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 2 - 4 Tbl olive oil

Instructions

  1. Sautee the garlic, onions, sweet peppers in 1-2 tbl of olive oil.
  2. Add the beans and vegetable broth and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remainder of the ingredients except for the plantains. Add 1 tsp of sea salt.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes stirring periodically then turn to low heat and leave covered with a slight crack so the dish does not create condensation/water.
  5. In another pan, heat 2 Tbl of olive oil and slice your plantain into discs as shown in the picture of the finished product.
  6. Place the discs in the pan and allow to get golden brown on both sides.
  7. Once done, place on paper towels to drain the oil.
  8. Add to the smokey beans. The beans should be a nice, smooth, consistency. Not too thick and not at all runny and loose.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/smokey-beans-with-sweet-plantain/

Lentil Ragu

Lentil Ragu

Lentils along with other legumes are a vegetarians best friend.  They accompany practically anything and can be used in a side dish, main dish, salad – they are sure to satisfy.  I love the ability to use it in numerous ways across many cuisines.  I had to think long and hard about how to introduce my creative side into a lentil dish and I know I came up with a winning introduction.  Let’s start with a few facts about the beloved lentil.

Lentils have a long shelf life, low cost, and excellent nutritional content.  They are low in sodium and cholesterol and high in beneficial nutrients such as thiamin, phosphorous, copper, vitamin C, folate, iron, manganese, and dietary fiber.

There are also a wide variety of lentils – brown, yellow, red, black, green, and French green, with just slight differences in nutritional benefits.

I call this dish Lentil Ragu because a typical meat-based Ragu is comprised of at least two different meats, generally beef and pork or veal, and sometimes a little pancetta is added to the combo.  This lentil dish features three of the most common lentils – brown, green and black.   I’m using these three together because they are sprouted lentils.    The benefits of the sprouting process results in increased vitamins and minerals being retained.  It also reduces the cooking time tremendously.  If you cannot find sprouted or choose not to use sprouted then use brown and black lentils.  They can be easily found in the grocery store, they have the same cooking time of approximately 30 minutes, and they maintain their firmness and shape after cooking.  Red lentils are easy to find but they soften quite a bit and are better utilized in a curry or soup; Green lentils maintain their firmness and shape but take longer to cook, in upwards of 45 minutes.

I love the smokiness of the fire roasted tomatoes in this dish, the sweetness of the shallots, the freshness of the basil, and the mild heat of the red pepper flakes.  And the red wine could only result in a good thing!  The richness in flavor and color it adds is beautiful.  The aroma is enticing.  I included goat cheese as optional so this would be vegan friendly but I must say that if you can add a sprinkle of goat cheese it’s  mild enough to balance the other robust flavors and adds just a touch of creaminess.  Lastly, combining the lentils with shitake mushrooms really makes this a hearty main dish or as a side dish with other proteins and vegetables.  I paired it with whole wheat spaghetti but I would also consider it over polenta.

Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Lentil Ragu

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

The cooking process for the sauce (without the lentils) should be long and slow because it takes time for the red wine to absorb into the sauce. Use a slow cooker for an even better result and cook for 4 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sprouted lentil trio (Try Whole Foods for the 'Accent' brand)
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbl of olive oil
  • 2 tbl of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 2.5 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounce cans)
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 2 tbl of Goat cheese per serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sautee the garlic, shallots and shitake mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the 2.5 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 2 tbl of tomato paste, sea salt, red pepper flakes and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Fold in the cup of red wine and cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hrs.
  4. Cook 1 cup of lentils in vegetable stock.
  5. Add the lentils to the other ingredients after they have fully blended at the end of the 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Turn off and let sit until ready to serve.
  7. In another pan add one serving of cooked spaghetti and blend the lentil ragu generously.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped basil on top as shown in the picture, and individually plate.
  9. The goat cheese is optional but highly recommended!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/lentil-ragu/