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.

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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: PINEAPPLE COLE SLAW

Last week I presented a Baked Falafel recipe; today I’m sharing a side that goes well with the falafel (and it works well as a picnic side, as well).

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PINEAPPLE COLE SLAW

(Vegan, Nutritarian and oil-free)

Makes 8-12 good-size servings

Cashew Dressing (make this ahead):

1/2 cup raw cashews soaked 2 hours (at least)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons date or maple syrup (I used date syrup)
Dash of salt, optional
1/4 – 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (depending on how thick you want it; I used a bit more than 1/2 cup)

Combine the above in a blender (preferably a high speed blender, but a regular one will work; processing just takes a little longer) until smooth. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight before using.

Cole Slaw:

2 bags angel hair cabbage
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup (or more) unsweetened dried coconut
3/4 cup chopped raw nuts (I used pecans)
Cashew Dressing, as desired

Combine everything with the dressing and refrigerate at least a couple hours. If you make the night before, don’t add the nuts until close to serving time.  Use as little or as much dressing as you desire. And if you’re not vegan….you can substitute mayonnaise, commercial coleslaw dressing, or lemon poppyseed dressing for the cashew dressing.  Make this more festive by adding dried cranberries and/or yellow raisins.

ENJOY!

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: ASIAN SALAD WITH PEANUT SAUCE

As promised last Saturday, here’s the recipe for the salad I put together for my church picnic. This makes a bunch, so be prepared to share it, pare it down, or eat it all yourself. (I personally opt for the latter!)

ASIAN SALAD WITH PEANUT SAUCE

(Vegan, Oil-Free, Added Salt-free, Nutritarian)

Ingredients:

2 good size broccoli crowns, pulled into florets (I cut off  most of the stems for use in a broccoli slaw later)

2 red peppers, coarsely chopped

1 lb carrots, sliced

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1 16 oz bag frozen green garbanzo beans (or 2 cups canned or home-cooked regular garbanzos)

1 full recipe of Chef AJ’s peanut sauce (see link below)

Directions:

Steam broccoli florets for 1.5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool a bit.  Steam green garbanzos for 4 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. (Steaming is not necessary for canned or home-cooked garbanzos.)

Make the peanut sauce. Recipe, from Chef AJ’s book, Unprocessed, here: https://sites.google.com/site/hgkprintablerecipes/spicy-peanut-noodles-with-broccoli (The rice noodles in Chef AJ’s  recipe work well with all of the other veggies above, too!)

Combine all of the veggies with the peanut sauce in a large bowl. (I usually have too much sauce so I save it and use later over steamed veggies.) Put into your desired container and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. I let mine sit overnight so the flavors mingle really well.

I don’t know how many servings this makes, but it’s at least 10 regular serving sizes. If you’re using as a main dish, it’s at least 4-6 servings.

ENJOY!

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: PURPLE LIME SMOOTHIE

I start my day with a smoothie. On the days I do have something different, I wind up “starving” all day….meaning I want to eat constantly. My smoothies manage to fill me up and keep me satisfied for hours. Each day’s smoothie is a little different, but today’s made me extremely happy…so I thought I’d share it. (Keep in mind that some of the measurements are approximations….I just throw things in to the Vitamix!)

Purple Lime Smoothie

(makes about 40 ounces)

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut water (or almond milk)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon hemp hearts

1/2 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla

2 Medjool dates, pitted

2 celery stalks, cut into chunks

3 medium size kale leaves, stems removed and torn in pieces

1 cup red seedless grapes

1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries

1-1/4 cup frozen blueberries (Costco has organic wild blueberries which I use)

1 lime; slice off the ends and peel with a knife

Directions:

Put everything in to a high speed blender and whirl until smooth. Add ice to the consistency (and coldness) you desire. Pour into a glass, add a straw, and sip away.

I can drink a whole smoothie by myself, but feel free to share with a friend or two!

About my straw…..this is a glass straw made by Glass Dharma and available on Amazon here (lots of choices): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=glass+straws