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/

Herbed Winter Vegetables

Herbed Winter Vegetables

The snow has melted, the sun is shining, we have temperatures above 50 degrees, and Spring arrives tomorrow!  Restaurant menus will change and provider lighter, vibrant, seasonal fare.  This is my last featured winter dish that provides warmth, comfort, and is savory on the taste buds.

A few weeks ago I went to a restaurant that featured Kohlrabi in an appetizer as I mentioned in my post about Kohlrabi being in season.  I wasn’t enthralled with the kohlrabi in the dish that I had – it didn’t have a distinct flavor of it’s own.  Nonetheless, I was intrigued by this purple creature so I rolled my sleeves up and got to work.

Let me be clear, the Kohlrabi is not the star of this dish.  I paired Kohlrabi with its sibling from the Brassica family, Brussels Sprouts, and it is the standout.  Both very dense vegetables, I started out sautéing the kohlrabi first because I was unfamiliar with its cooking preparation and wanted to make sure they were tender by the time I completed the dish.

 Kohlrabi sauteeing

I kept the seasoning flavors very light with using mild onions and mild herbs to contrast with my wet ingredient, balsamic vinegar.

Kohlrabi soaked up the flavors very well and it turned out as  a lovely side dish with wonderful flavors but in my opinion, the kohlrabi could never stand alone.  The Brassica family of vegetables is just great all around and I reminded myself that this combination was giving me lots of Vitamin C, phytochemicals that help protect you from cancer, and many other vitamins and minerals.

I bid farewell to the winter vegetables and look forward to spring fare!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Winter Vegetables With Shallots

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1-12 oz bag Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Kohlrabi
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/8 c red pepper
  • 1/8 c parsley
  • 1/8 c scallion
  • 1/8 c celery
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbl dill weed
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Peel, wash and cut up your kohlrabi into small chunks.
  2. In a pan saute your shallots, celery and red peppers for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add the kohlrabi and saute for 5 minutes on medium heat then turn to low and cover for 10 minutes.
  4. Wash and chop your Brussels sprouts in halves.
  5. Add to the pan with Kohlrabi.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat. Do not cover.
  7. Stir periodically so it does not stick to the pan and all the ingredients are blended well.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/herbed-winter-vegetables/

Spicy Sesame Stir Fry

Sesame Stir Fry

I really enjoy making a stir-fry.  It’s quick, has great spices and always engages a lot of vegetables.  In addition, it doesn’t require a lot of oil despite the ‘fry’ in ‘stir-fry’!  My featured recipe has one of my favorite vegetables, Napa Cabbage also called Chinese Cabbage.   Its ‘sibling’ is Bok Choy which is also high on my list of favorites.  The size of the Napa Cabbage can be a bit daunting, but the mild flavor and crunch is a stand out when cooked well or eaten raw.  Because of it’s size, you can get several servings out of it which is great for the price.  High in Vitamins C and A consider it stir fried alone or as the base for your salad.  The leaves are very large and are good for veggie wraps.  If you’re familiar with Kimchi, this is the cabbage that is used in that staple Korean side dish.

For this stir fry I wanted a lot of crunch that will remain even the next day.  In addition to the cabbage it has broccoli, but instead of snow peas that are often in stir fry’s I used the sweet snap pea.  The snap pea has more density and retains its crunch.  It is also sweeter than the snow pea and offers such a wonderful contrast to the ginger and spice in the dish.  With a drizzle of toasted sesame seed oil at the end, it enhances the flavor with a nice nutty finish.  I served it over Buckwheat Soba Noodles.  Lovely.

The cooking time for the dish is quick and requires you to pay attention throughout the process.  So there’s no leaving the stove to multitask!  Instead, you will cook the ingredients in a certain order to retain the desired crunch and add the herbs and spices at the right time for a great finale – a sizzling sensation.

Feed the wellness in you!

Spicy Sesame Stir Fry

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of Napa Cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of snow peas
  • 1 cup of sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbl peanut oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 2 tbl Garlic Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 c yellow onions
  • 2 Tbl sesame seed oil
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbl thai basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c light soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbl sesame seed oil

Instructions

  1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the peanut oil on medium heat and sautee the garlic and onions for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli, snow peas, thai basil, ginger and sautee for 10 minutes.
  3. Add your red peppers and shitake mushrooms; stir well.
  4. Add the sea salt and garlic soy sauce.
  5. Cover for 4-5 minutes. Watch it to make sure it doesn't stick.
  6. Remove the cover and add the napa cabbage.
  7. Pour the light soy sauce and red pepper flakes, stir well and cover.
  8. Leave on a low heat for 10 minutes.
  9. Drizzle the sesame seed oil on top and stir.
  10. Make sure the vegetables are crisp and tender.
  11. Remove from heat and serve!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/spicy-sesame-stir-fry/

 

 

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/

Chickpea Deviled Eggs

Chickpea Deviled Eggs

I had some friends over for drinks and nibbles last Friday (has it been a week already?) and in addition to dips and cheeses I wanted an easy appetizer to have along with a glass of wine.  I am a fan of deviled eggs although I had not made them in quite some time.  No one in my family likes them and there are also so many more creative appetizers that I enjoy preparing so I tabled the idea of making deviled eggs a long time ago.  However, deviled eggs have found its way on to restaurant menus in delicious combinations.  I’ve seen it with truffles, cheeses, tuna tartar, caviar, crab meat, even potato salad.  I love the freedom you have to refill the egg and with a variety of herbs and spices – tarragon, dill, curry – there could be so much going on in just one bite!

I shared this chickpea idea of deviled eggs with my friends and they really enjoyed them. I wanted a different way of presenting deviled eggs particularly for those watching calories and cholesterol levels. Chickpeas are a great way of getting protein so I eat them often and coupled with the egg white makes this doubly powerful.

I like that you can eat it with one hand and in two bites, with your glass of wine in the other.     It doesn’t take long  to boil the eggs and blend the chickpeas with other simple ingredients!  Quick, easy, classic and tasty.

Feed the wellness in you!

Chickpea Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24

Prep time includes time for the eggs to cool.

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 c red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil eggs in water and 2 tsp of vinegar until fully cooked. The vinegar helps the brightness of the eggs and the peeling process.
  2. Once cooked, immerse the eggs in cold water. Add ice to keep the water cold.
  3. Cut eggs in half and discard the yolk. Set aside.
  4. Blend the chickpeas, red onion, sea salt, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, onion powder, 1/2 tsp ground white pepper.
  5. Add juice from one large lemon.
  6. Mixture should be smooth and thick.
  7. Fill each halved egg with the hummus mixture.
  8. Sprinkle smoked paprika on the eggs and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/chickpea-deviled-eggs/

In Season Wellness – Kohlrabi

Purple kohlrabies

Have you ever had Kohlrabi? Have you ever even HEARD of Kohlrabi?  A few weeks ago I encountered this curious vegetable.  I was presented with a lunch menu that had an appetizer of winter root vegetables, and Kohlrabi was one of the vegetables. I ordered it and although I wasn’t blown away with the chosen preparation, it didn’t deter me from learning more about Kohlrabi.

After a quick search I realized that I had seen Kohlrabi many times before and thought it was a turnip. It is also known as knol-khol or German turnip with its origins in Germany.  In the German language Kohlrabi means ‘cabbage turnip’, aptly named since it is in the cabbage family of Brassica.  The brassica family also includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and brussels sprouts. Vegetables in this family are very high in Vitamin C, phytochemicals that help protect you from cancer, and many other vitamins and minerals.

Very much like cabbage, Kohlrabi has two varietals – white and purple. The bulb has a thick outer layer and looks like a cabbage, but once you cut into it, it is dense like a turnip.

Kohlrabi chopped

You can eat the leafy greens on the stem as you would the fleshy part.  It can be eaten raw, grilled, stir-fried, in soup; apparently very versatile.

I will return with a recipe soon now that I have Kohlrabi washed and chopped – I plan to give Kohlrabi validation in my kitchen.

Feed the wellness in you!

Ackee and Bok Choy

Ackee and Bok Choy

It’s not scrambled eggs, tofu, nor potatoes – it is Ackee.

Although native to West Africa, Ackee is prominently known in Jamaican cuisine and is in their national dish, Ackee and Saltfish (Cod).  Prior to becoming a vegetarian I absolutely loved Ackee and Saltfish.  Whenever in Jamaica I made a point to have it for breakfast as much as I could and learned how to make it at home.  Despite my Caribbean heritage, this was not a dish made in my home growing up, but Codfish was and prepared several ways.  I grew up having it made into fritters simply known as Codfish fritters, as a hot dish known as Codfish Stew, and as a cold dish named Buljol.  All equally delicious to me.  I loved Codfish so much that when I became pregnant with my twins my first craving was for Codfish fritters and I had my mother make them and overnight them to me….regularly!

Now as a vegetarian and in my quest to prepare interesting dishes I have combined Ackee with vegetables.  Eating Ackee with vegetables is not foreign in Jamaica because Rastafarians eat ‘Ital’ which is organic, non-processed food from the earth.  This results in vegetarian and vegan meals, which includes Ackee as an ingredient.  “Ital is vital” summarizes the Rastafarian belief that pure food from the earth is the most physically and spiritually beneficial.

Ackee  is not easily available at standard grocery stores.  You may have to find a Caribbean store to purchase a can of it or if you live in a more diverse city you grocery store may have it or even Walmart .  Bok Choy is readily available and I love that this vegetable has some crunch to it when you add the stalk.  Both provide great nutritional benefits!  All the fat in Ackee is unsaturated fat which is a good  way to protect the health of your heart, according to MayoClinic.com  It also has fiber, Vitamin C, B, and Niacin.  Bok Choy is very low in calories and packed with Vitamins C, K, B, Fiber, Calcium and Iron.

Ackee and Bok Choy is delicious!  I had it with Rice and Beans, and plantain.

Ackee and Bok Choy1

You  can also have Ackee for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  How about that for versatility?

Feed the wellness in you!

Ackee and Bok Choy

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4

Please find the nearest Caribbean market near you to find all of these items! Please note that if you're not familiar with the scotch bonnet pepper you may want to try half of one initially. It adds a good amount of heat but if you enjoy heat with slight sweetness, this pepper is for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Ackee, drained
  • 2 bunches of Bok Choy
  • 1/2 cup green peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbl minced garlic
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbl All purpose seasoning with Adobo (No MSG)
  • 3-4 stems fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, chopped

Instructions

  1. Wash the Bok Choy thoroughly, drain and chop.
  2. In a large pan, saute the green peppers, red peppers, scallions, onion, minced garlic, scotch bonnet pepper for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bok choy and saute on low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the scotch bonnet and onion powder and mix well.
  5. Add the Ackee, tomato paste, all purpose seasoning and fresh thyme.
  6. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Add your chopped tomatoes and turn off heat.
  8. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes then serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/ackee-and-bok-choy/

Curry Tofu and Chickpeas

Curry Tofu and Chickpeas1 

Since starting this blog I stayed away from the inclusion of a tofu recipe thus far.  Despite preparing meals with tofu at least 2 days a week,  I figured a tofu dish would be expected on a vegetarian blog, very cliché and the obvious default.  I thought you would find it boring.   While chatting with some girlfriends recently they told me that although they eat tofu they never cook it because they didn’t know how.  They weren’t sure where to start and how to incorporate it into their lifestyles because they would if they could (they are not vegetarians). How many of you are struggling with cooking tofu?  If you don’t fall into this category and this post bores you, please return tomorrow!  But for those who are curious about how to prepare tofu, here’s the first of many tofu dishes, an easy Curry Tofu with Chickpeas.  I always have tofu and chickpeas in my pantry along with the required spices.  I am a first generation American, born to parents from the Caribbean so this style of cooking in this recipe is very natural for me to use.

Tofu dishes can be considered my ‘fast food’.  I regularly have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It can be scrambled for breakfast, added to sandwiches and salads for lunch, used in an array of main and side dishes for dinner, and even in desserts.  The key to adding it to the dish is knowing the type of tofu to purchase depending on what you are making.  There are several different types of tofu – silken, firm, and extra-firm.  Silken is used for soft things like sauces or desserts; firm is best used in salads or things that don’t require a lot of manipulation like a wrap sandwich and extra firm would be used in stir fry’s, baked dishes or deep fried.  When eating out, do not be fooled by the inclusion of tofu in the dish as a healthier option.  It is often deep fried when it arrives so ask how it is prepared before ordering it.  If it is fried, just ask them not to.  It’s a quicker process for the chef to flash fry it than to dry the water out of it.

Tofu is packaged in a big block usually with water.

Tofu in white backround

What helps with  gaining the right consistency for your dish before cooking is to drain the water from the tofu.  I open the package, drain the water, slice the tofu, then wrap it with paper towels, changing at least twice.

Curry tofu 2

I then often bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees so it just gets a little firmer and slightly brown around the edges, as I did with this dish.  When I do bake it, I cube it before placing it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Tofu

With this base of tofu preparation, you can try tofu in various dishes.  Here’s the Curry Tofu and Chickpeas recipe which requires this type of prepping.  I hope you give it a try.  I served it over a plantain mash but I also do it with rice and peas –  it works with any starch you choose.  Use as a side dish with your protein of choice or as a main dish if you’re exploring the green life on that day.

Feed the wellness in you!

Curry Tofu and Chickpeas

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Curry lends itself to be customized for those who love it so pay attention to your spices, taste and adjust accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 2 pkgs extra firm tofu
  • 1.5 cans garbanzo beans
  • 2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp curry powder (mild, medium or hot - your choice!)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbl minced garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 - 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tbl curry powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 stems fresh thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (optional)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. Prep the tofu as described above.
  2. Saute the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onions, garlic, ginger, 1 tsp curry powder for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Turn to low.
  3. Add your tofu and mix well.
  4. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock along with your chick peas, tomato paste, curry powder, onion powder, ground white pepper, cumin, turmeric, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, scallions, 1 tsp of sea salt, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper.
  5. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
  6. Add the additional cup of vegetable stock as it thickens, then turn to low for 25 minutes.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Add the diced tomatoes, mix, then let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the scotch bonnet or habanero before serving.
  10. Serve over your grains with cilantro on top.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/curry-tofu-and-chickpeas/

In Season Wellness – Sweet Dumpling Squash

Pumpkins

Did you think these were just good for decoration?  Well they’re also delicious, like all winter squash.  Because of its small size, the Sweet Dumpling squash is very versatile.  It’s very easy to cut unlike some other squashes so you can effortlessly slice it in half, bake and serve it  as a single serving; it can be used to make a bisque or a soufflé, both prepared as you would butternut squash. I had one recently at a restaurant stuffed with wild rice, barley, cranberries and other squashes.  As I always say, be creative.  What I also find fascinating about this vegetable is that every part of the Sweet Dumpling squash plant can be eaten, including the leaves and tender shoots.  I haven’t tried that yet so I’m just passing that information along.

Winter squash offers fantastic plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene, which are important for a strong immune system to help protect against colds and flu.

So try this lovely vegetable in a soup, curry dish or simply bake it!

Feed the wellness in you!

Vegetable Rice Bowl with Olive Pistachio Chutney

Vegetable Rice Bowl with Olive Pistachio Chutney

A few weeks ago I was watching “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network and the theme was ‘Messy’. If you watch this series,  you can imagine that due to the theme of ‘MESSY’, there were many sloppy, delicious, gooey foods. VERY MESSY! There was one dish that Restaurant Critic Frank Bruni exalted as his favorite messy dish, the Asparagus Rice Bowl from restaurant Revel in Seattle, that I found intriguing.

The dish lends itself to be so versatile that I had to give it a whirl but MY way.  I was fascinated by the Olive Pistachio Chutney.   The ingredients spoke to my taste buds.  There are a few things that need to be prepared a day in advance but worth the effort.  You have to pickle red onions and lemon peel separately.  The asparagus was grilled and straight forward to prepare.  I have never incorporated radicchio in anything so thought this was my way of using it but also added baby bok choy mixed with the radicchio with a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Revel Restaurant tops off their rice bowl with an egg yolk that I did not incorporate.  I wanted protein in my dish so I used roasted tofu and for my husband, baked chicken. The rice base at Revel appears to be white rice and I used brown rice with quinoa.

So here’s my version of this ‘Messy’ bowl once it was all ‘messed’ up!

Vegetable Rice Bowl with Olive Pistachio Chutney1

We loved it in our household – the Olive Pistachio Chutney is the key. Even with my own improvisations it was delightful so I can only imagine the Chef’s version being over the top.  Watch the video of ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Messy’ episode for further guidance.  Be creative with your vegetable additions as you see fit.  The Revel version had no protein but I thought, why not?

What say you?

Feed the wellness in you!

Vegetable Rice Bowl with Olive Pistachio Chutney

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 2

The total time does not include prepping and cooking your protein of choice, and pickling the onions and lemons. The time documented here includes prepping and cooking the tofu. Pickle the onions and lemons a day ahead and depending on your protein you will add that process time to your preparation. Keep in mind you're doing several things in parallel. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 2.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 16 stems asparagus
  • 6 stems baby bok choy
  • 1 cup radicchio, shredded
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 2/3 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 2 tbl pickled onions
  • 1 tbl pickled lemons
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup of extra firm tofu or protein of your choice!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If you are using tofu as your protein drain the water out of the tofu. I wrap the tofu in paper towels and place in the refrigerator, changing the paper towels frequently.
  3. Once the tofu is drained slice it in even strips and roast in the oven with a little sea salt on a cookie sheet (I line it with parchment paper to brown evenly) for about 20 minutes.
  4. Cook your brown rice and quinoa in the vegetable stock.
  5. Slice your baby bok choy in long strips and add to the radicchio. Wash thoroughly and drain.
  6. Toss the vegetables in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar. Set aside
  7. In another bowl mix your olives, pistachios, pickled onions and lemons, rice wine vinegar, cumin and red pepper flakes.
  8. Roast your asparagus with sea salt and black pepper for about 20 minutes.
  9. In a serving bowl, layer the bottom with your rice and quinoa, then assemble your bok choy/radicchio, asparagus, protein and olive pistachio chutney.
  10. Cut up, mix up, blend all together to enjoy all the flavors!!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/vegetable-rice-bowl-with-olive-pistachio-chutney/