BUTTERNUT, APPLE, RED LENTIL SOUP

The weather is turning a bit cooler lately and I really wanted soup. Held off on posting to the blog today until it was finished and I could actually give a recipe, not just some general idea. This soup is vegan and oil free!

Butternut, Apple, Red Lentil Soup

Butternut, Apple, Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

½ of a small onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

Apple Juice (I used Cawston Press, Cloudy Apple, in a tetra pack on the grocery juice aisle)

Veggie Broth or water

16 ounces cubed butternut squash

2 Honey Crisp Apples (medium size), cored, quartered, and sliced thinly crosswise

1 cup red lentils

1 heaping tablespoon Patak’s Indian Curry Paste (For oil-free, sub additional curry powder)

Salt/Pepper to taste

Cawston Press Cloudy Apple Juice

Cawston Press Cloudy  Apple Juice

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Patak’s Mild Curry Paste

Directions:

In the Instant Pot, using the sauté function, dry sauté the onion, celery and ginger until onion is translucent. Add a little apple juice and then the curry powder, sautéing until dry. Add about 4 cups veggie broth (or water) and about ½ cup apple juice (this is not exact; you’ll just need about 4 cups of some liquid.) Stir well and make sure all the little bits are up from the bottom.  Add squash, apples, and lentils. Lock lid in to place, select Manual or Soup (I used Soup) function, and adjust time to 6 minutes. Once cooking is finished, allow for at least 10 minutes of natural release (I did 15 minutes) and then release remaining pressure. Remove liner from pot and set on something heatproof. Add curry paste. Using a stick blender, blend until mostly smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowl and garnish with a swirl of almond milk or a dollop of non-dairy yogurt. Makes about 6 servings.

Enjoy!

Options:

  • Try subbing the butternut squash with pumpkin or sweet potato.
  • Omit curry powder and curry paste and sub with apple pie or pumpkin pie spices, or just some cinnamon and ginger.

Recipe and photos are the property of “LivingaRadiantLife” and may be used only with permission of the author. You may link to this page if you would like to share this recipe. Thank you!

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BARLEY CASSEROLE IN THE INSTANT POT

I’ve had a recipe that I clipped from Prevention Magazine ages ago. It was a baked vegetarian barley casserole which I really enjoyed…when I was vegetarian. I like to cook faster now (enter my trusty Instant Pot) and I also like to use no animal products at all. I’ve modified the original recipe substantially so I feel comfortable in calling it my own, but I do say thanks to the folks at Prevention for the original inspiration.

BARLEY CASSEROLE

(4 Servings)

Combine the following in the liner of the Instant Pot:

1/2 cup pearl barley

1-1/4 cup water or vegetable broth (if not using bouillon)

1/2 teaspoon dried, minced onion

1/2 teaspoon dried, minced garlic

1 vegetable bouillon cube (I use a recipe by Kathy Hester)

Stir the above together and then pop the lid on the Instant Pot. Push manual and cook for 20 minutes, natural pressure release (this took about 16 minutes in my unit).

Once the float valve has gone down, open and add the following, one on top of the other (do not stir):

1 can of green beans (drained), or use 1-1/4 cups frozen green beans

1 small can mushroom slices, drained, or use 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup green pimento-stuffed olives, sliced (black olives are good, too)

1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 – 1 bag of fresh baby spinach leaves

1 jar marinated artichoke pieces

Put the lid back on, select manual, and cook an additional 3 minutes. When cooking is finished, do a quick release.

To serve: I put some of the casserole into a bowl and topped with cut up Roma tomatoes and some blanched slivered almonds. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Use any vegetables you’d like in this; just layer them as above. The marinated artichokes are what really make the dish so, unless you do absolutely no oil ever, use them. I haven’t tried using un-marinated artichoke hearts, but if you use those, I would add a considerable amount of Italian Seasoning to this.

As for barley…substitute brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries or another grain of your choosing. The initial cook time will need to be adjusted based on the grain.

Questions? Post them in the reply section and I’ll try to answer. If you cook this, please let me know what you think.

WHAT SHALL I COOK?

Just a short post today. My internet service has been down (supposedly being upgraded; we shall see…) Besides, I’m feeling a bit lazy…

Having a birthday recently meant being gifted with an Amazon gift card. What to buy? What to buy? (Yes, I meant both of those…I was thinking…) The answer was relatively easy this time. And look what arrived in my mail yesterday!

Vegan Pantry Cookbook

Yes, that really is Miyoko Schinner’s new book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry, and it is one beautiful book. I love the pictures and how she describes the foods and reiterates that anyone can do this. Obviously, I haven’t had time to make anything from the book yet, but there are recipes for condiments (classic eggless mayonnaise will be one of my first choices!), dairy- and egg-free milks and cheeses, soups, faux meats, pastas and sauces, grains (think breads, granola, crackers), and little somethings for the sweet tooth. Each recipe can be stored in some way so one builds a vegan pantry that is also free from preservatives.

I think this will be one of my favorite cookbooks! If you already have the book, please share what you’ve made!

If you don’t have the book, check it out here: The Homemade Vegan Pantry via Amazon  (Please note, I am not an Amazon affiliate.)

RECIPE FRIDAY: ZUCCHINI LUNCH

Zucchini…. Not my favorite vegetable. It’s bland and unappealing, in general. I have found, though, that when I spiralize zucchini, it has a different taste and it looks pretty, so that has become my favorite way to utilize it. This recipe is mostly raw, and can be made totally raw if you so desire (see note at the end). It’s also a quick meal using foods that are not unusual or difficult to find.

Zucchini Salad

Zucchini Lunch

 

ZUCCHINI LUNCH

(Nutritarian, Vegan, Oil free, Salt free, Sugar free, Gluten free….and can be made totally Raw)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 medium zucchini, spiralized (or grated)

1 large tomato, very coarsely chopped (mine are pretty good sized pieces)

1/2 cup frozen corn, roasted for about 10 minutes in 350 degree oven (little brown marks on the corn)

1/2 of a medium avocado, cut into chunks

2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

Lime wedges

Directions:

Layer the ingredients on a plate. Squeeze lime juice on the salad and savor the flavors! I also added a side of a few organic blue corn chips.

Spiralized Zucchini

Spiralized Zucchini

Addition of chopped tomatoes.

Addition of chopped tomatoes.

Addition of roasted corn.

Addition of roasted corn.

 

Notes:

  • I fully intended to add some chopped green onion….forgot about it until I was eating the salad. By then it was too late.
  • A couple more additions I will make in the future: black or pinto beans and some cilantro. I need to go grocery shopping and those items are on my shopping list.
  • Totally raw option: Use fresh corn cut from the cob or some thawed frozen corn. And sprouted lentils would work nicely for the bean option shown above.
Zucchini Lunch...YUMMY!

Zucchini Lunch…YUMMY!

 

 

RECIPE FRIDAY: FAST MINESTRONE

What? Recipe Friday? What’s going on here? Well….I’ve had a rough and busy week…away from the computer. And after thinking it through, I thought Friday might really be the better day for a recipe anyway. Sorry for the confusion; I know you were all so looking forward to what recipe I was posting this week (at least in MY dreams).

With life being so hectic for me recently, as I’m sure it is for many of you on a regular basis, I thought I would put something together that didn’t require chopping, dicing, or much prep work at all. This recipe comes together with canned, frozen, and grocery prepared items. It’s quick and easy, warm on a cold night, healthy, and very comforting. Please note: it’s not salt-free, because I can only find a low-sodium variety of veggie broth. If you have unsalted veggie broth (homemade!), please feel free to substitute that.

FAST MINESTRONE

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Low-Sodium, Sugar Free, Can be Gluten-Free)

Serves 2 – 4 (Depending on serving size)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped green onion or onion of your choice(already chopped from the grocery!)

2 Tablespoons dry Sherry (use real Sherry; cooking sherry contains salt) or other wine or water

2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)

16 oz low sodium veggie broth

1 can salt-free pinto beans,  rinsed and drained (other beans will work well, too)

1 can diced salt-free tomatoes

1/2 12 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables

1/4 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni or other pasta (for gluten free, use a gluten free pasta, cooked quinoa or brown rice, or just leave out)

Directions:

Saute onion and herbs in sherry. Add broth, beans and tomatoes. When this mixture comes to a boil, add the frozen veggies. Return to boil and add pasta. Cook 6 mins (or recommended cooking time of pasta). Remove from heat and serve. I like to add a little more sherry to my bowl.

Easy Minestrone

I had eaten most of the minestrone before I remembered to take a photo. Told you it was good!

NOTE: Using a little wine (and my favorite is the dry sherry) to saute the onions, etc., adds an extra flavor dimension. It’s really a good substitute for the flavor imparted by cooking with oil and the alcohol cooks away. Sauteing with vegetable broth or water works fine if you don’t want to use the wine.

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: PEACH SMOOTHIE

Yes, it’s cold….even in Houston. But I still start most days with a smoothie in the morning; in fact, I start the day with a HUGE smoothie. This one was put together yesterday and I really enjoyed it. It may look green (see the picture below), but peaches are definitely a huge part of the finished product.

PEACH SMOOTHIE

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Fat-Free, Salt-Free, Sugar-Free)

Makes one LARGE Smoothie

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla

2 Tablespoons hemp hearts

3 medjool dates; remove the seeds!

3 large kale leaves, stems removed (save the stems for juicing if you have a juicer that handles greens)

1 lemon, peeled and quartered

10 oz. frozen peaches

Cinnamon or Nutmeg, as desired

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until well-blended. (You can definitely use any blender; blending time will be longer and the end product may not be as smooth.) Add ice if desired to get a thicker texture.

Notes:

This would also work well using nut milk or coconut water. Other greens, like spinach or collards, would be an excellent substitute for the kale. Add some raspberries and make it a Peach Melba smoothie.

Peach Smoothie

Please try it and let me know what you think….

Happy Sipping!

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: BLACK BEAN CAKES

This was my lunch yesterday. Although the recipe isn’t perfect yet (see notes at the end), the flavor is so good I needed to go ahead and share. Besides, if I didn’t, there would be no recipe today…..none of us want that, do we?

Finished with salsa

Black Bean Cakes

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Salt-free, Oil-free, Sugar-free …… Makes 6)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon flax meal combined with 2 tablespoons water; let this form a gel while you’re making the rest (this acts like an egg)

2 cups cooked black beans (I used ones I cooked but you can use 1 can, drained), mashed. Some chunks are okay, but make sure they’re mashed well.

1/4 cup green onion, chopped (I happened to have green on hand, but regular onion would work fine, too)

1/2 medium green pepper, minced

1/2 cup corn kernels (use organic to avoid GMOs; I used frozen, right from the bag)

2 medium mushrooms, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced (if you don’t like cilantro, leave it out or substitute fresh parsley)

1 tablespoon (or to your liking) chili powder

1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (see note below)

1/4 cup medium ground cornmeal (see note below)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, adding the flax meal/water mix last. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (overnight is fine, too!).

The Mix

This is the mix before I put it into the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form bean mix into patties and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake an additional 10 minutes. I also ran mine under the broiler for 3 minutes on each side because I wanted a really crispy exterior. Serve and enjoy!

Tray of 6

The tray of six prior to baking.

Just One

Just one, prior to baking.

Notes:

Cumin: I prefer to grind my own. Simply toast cumin seeds lightly in a skillet over medium heat. Then, run them through a coffee grinder used specifically for herbs and spices. You’ll notice a difference!

Cornmeal: I used Bob’s Red Mill medium grind. This gives a bit of a gritty texture to the bean cakes. A finely ground cornmeal or a flour (wheat, brown rice, garbanzo, etc) would work well, too.

The Cornmeal

Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal

Spices: I like mild spices for this recipe because I was topping with a spicy salsa. Feel free to adjust the heat to your liking. You can also try Mrs. Dash’s Southwest Chipotle seasoning in lieu of the chili powder….it’s good stuff, and spicy!

These bean cakes can be a little crumbly. That’s where I need to perfect the recipe a bit, but…. try them crumbled with salsa and avocado in a lettuce wrap. Totally delicious!

Finished no salsa

Here’s a pic of a finished bean cake without the salsa.

HOPE YOU ENJOY THESE! If you try them, please let me know….and I’d love suggestions for improving them!

HAPPY 2013!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Another new year….my, they seem to come so much faster now. When I was just a kid, it seemed a year was endless. Now if I blink, we’ve entered a new year.

Have you made any resolutions for this year? I’ve decided that having a monthly goal works better than a list of resolutions. Resolutions made at the beginning of a year seem to get discarded rapidly….just look at all of the people who begin an exercise program at the gym in January and have totally abandoned their routine by February 1.

To avoid that trap, I’m setting a new goal at the beginning of each month. Statistics have shown that it takes at least 21 days for a new habit to “stick.” It’s also easier to focus on “just one thing.” At the end of one month, I will have (I hope) developed a new habit and will be ready to work on adding a new (and healthy) habit to my “radiant” life.

So what’s this month’s goal? Mushrooms! You see, I follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live  (or nutritarian) lifestyle. He recommends that each day we include GBOMBS in our diets. So what are GBOMBS? It’s an acronym for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds….all of these work to build up our immune systems and create healthy bodies. BUT…I’m not crazy about mushrooms. I usually bypass them (the number I’ve thrown away because they’ve rotted in the refrigerator will attest to that). So January is the month of the mushroom; and I’ll probably have to find ways to sneak them in.

At the end of January, I’ll be picking something new to work on for February. What are your plans for this year? Did you make a resolution (or more than one) or did you set a goal for yourself? Let me know….and I wish you much success!

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Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: JUST PRESSURE COOK IT!

No recipe today. I’ve been sick and cooking, hence eating, has not been a top priority. But I would like to direct you to a wonderful product….the Instant Pot.  I finally broke down and got myself one last summer…it does everything! It pressure cooks, slow cooks, sautes, steams, cooks beans, cooks rice, cooks steel cut oats….you get the picture. PLUS there is NO non-stick coating; it has a stainless steel removable liner. Take a look at this amazing little product:

https://instantpot.com/

As soon as I get over this lousy cold, I’ll be posting a recipe or two using a pressure cooker. If you don’t have one, you are totally missing out on a healthy and quick way to get a meal on the table. Flavors meld together wonderfully without hours of cooking. And beans! I cook soaked garbanzos (aka chickpeas) from scratch in 15 minutes plus a little time to build and release pressure. Garbanzos are notoriously time consuming under normal circumstances.

Pressure cookers are vastly different from the product my mother owned  still owns. They are safer and easier to use. If fear has kept you from getting one, re-think your fear. You can purchase one for use on top of the stove (I have a T-fal, stainless steel one) or an electric one (that would be my Instant Pot!). I use the Instant Pot almost exclusively. I have kept the T-Fal one to use in case of a power outage (we have hurricanes in my part of the world) because I have a gas stove.

And once you get yourself a pressure cooker, go visit Jill Nussinow’s site: http://www.theveggiequeen.com/recipes.html  She has some great recipes posted, but even better is her book on pressure cooking.

See you next week with a new recipe!

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: SICK WOMAN’S BLENDER TOMATO SOUP

I almost didn’t post today….I’ve been sick with a really nasty cold (or flu; there were chills yesterday). But then I started craving tomato soup….an easy tomato soup. Most commercial soups have stuff in them which I choose to avoid so I needed to “cook up” something myself….and it needed to be fast.

SICK WOMAN’S BLENDER TOMATO SOUP

(Vegan, Nutritarian, Salt-free, Sugar-Free)

Ingredients:

1 can diced salt-free tomatoes

1 raw tomato (optional; I had one I needed to use up so I threw it in)

1/2 small red pepper

2 green onions

A handful of sliced baby portabello mushrooms

1 Tablespoon salt free Italian Seasoning (I wanted Italian, but feel free to use something else and adjust accordingly)

A couple splashes of home-made almond milk (about 2 tablespoons, or 1/8 cup)

Directions:

Put everything in to a high speed blender (like VitaMix or Blendtec). Run on high until heated thoroughly, about 4 minutes. Serve! Alternatively, you can puree this in a regular blender and then heat on the stove (I’m not fond of microwaves, but that would work, too) or heat everything first and then puree with an immersion blender right in the pot. Makes ONE BIG SERVING or two smaller ones.

This recipe is salt free, but I did add a little salt at the table.

Please don’t get sick just to try this recipe.

Blender Tomato Soup