Rasta Pasta

Rasta Pasta

A few months ago I was in Jamaica and had a dish the chef named ‘Rasta Pasta’. One of the many things I love about Jamaica is the variety of food and the inclusion of vegetarian options. Due to the Rastafari movement, 8 to 10% of the population follow the ital diet which is a strict vegetarian – often vegan – way of eating.  Rasta Pasta is a simple dish of penne, callaloo (a dark, leafy green similar to spinach) and Jamaica’s national treasure, Ackee.  It had a garlicky taste and was a nice addition to the menu.  Like other greens, callaloo is rich in iron, Vitamin C and calcium.

Upon returning I made my own version and added a pesto sauce.  It offers a great way to jazz up the dish and another way of serving pasta.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Rasta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of penne (fusilli or any tube like pasta will work well)
  • 3 cups of callaloo, washed and chopped (found at Caribbean markets)
  • 1 can of Ackee, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced garlic
  • 2-3 tbl pesto sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the penne according to directions.
  2. Mix in the pesto sauce and red pepper flakes; set aside.
  3. In a large dutch pan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the callaloo and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes (until soft).
  5. Add the penne to the vegetables and mix well.
  6. Slowly fold in the ackee. Do not mix briskly because the ackee is soft and will get mashed.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese to taste and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/rasta-pasta/

 

Quick and Easy Superfood Salad

superfood kale salad

There are many ingredients to build a superfood salad and most use the base of Kale. I like to make salads that last over several days, so I use items that won’t cause it to get soggy after a day or two of storage. You can always add avocado, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, quinoa and your protein of choice to this base superfood salad when ready to serve. Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quick and Easy Superfood Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of chopped kale
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can white shoepeg corn
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 1.5 cups shredded carrots
  • 1.5 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, golden raisins, etc.)
  • 6 oz balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Discard the ribs from the kale and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with the kale.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quick-and-easy-superfood-salad/

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/

 

Quinoa and Tofu Mediterranean Bake

Quinoa and Tofu bake 4

 As I’ve stated in the past, I’m a fan of a dish that can go a long way but more importantly, never get tired of. I hadn’t made a quinoa dish in a while, so that immediately came to mind when considering a hearty meal that would give me a break from cooking every meal from scratch for a few days. This dish is a blend of simple nutritious ingredients and compliments all sources of protein. It is provides great levels of vitamins A and C, and Iron. What makes this ‘Mediterranean’, in my mind, is the addition of olives and feta. Also topped with Campari Tomatoes, it has the essence of the popular tomato used in many Italian dishes.

Most of the ingredients are cooked then blended in one pot before layering in a deep dish.

Quinoa and tofu bake 1

The quinoa mix (quinoa, spinach, roasted tomatoes, peppers, olives, feta) minus the tofu is the first layer, then top with roasted tofu.

Add another layer of the quinoa mix and repeat.  The final layer of quinoa is topped with sliced Campari tomatoes and feta.

Quinoa and Tofu bake 2

Quinoa and Tofu bake 3

Just delicious!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quinoa and Tofu Mediterranean Bake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1

Calories per serving: 240

Fat per serving: 11.9

Saturated fat per serving: 3

Carbs per serving: 21.6

Protein per serving: 13.8

Fiber per serving: 3.3

Sugar per serving: 2.8

Sodium per serving: 644.3

Ingredients

  • 1 c Quinoa (3 cups cooked)
  • 2 pkgs Extra Firm Tofu (32 oz)
  • 5 oz package of Baby Spinach
  • 1 - 15.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic
  • 3/4 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped mixed bell peppers
  • 1 cup Feta cheese crumbles
  • 3 cups Vegetable stock
  • 3 Campari tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Sautee the mixed bell peppers, set aside.
  2. Cook 1 c of Quinoa in 3 cups vegetable stock
  3. After the Quinoa is cooked, while hot add the baby spinach, diced tomatoes, olives, mixed bell peppers and 3/4 cups of feta cheese. Mix well.
  4. Transfer to a deep 9x13 dish.
  5. Top with sliced Campari Tomatoes and the remaining feta cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quinoa-and-tofu-mediterranean-bake/

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

Pumpkin and Cranberry overnight oats.jpg

‘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/