Salad Made Easy

This technique makes creating a mid-day lunch or dinner snack easy.  It also helps with creating a variety in your meals.

What I like to do is put various toppings together into containers and add the salad dressing too. Ideally, choose any ingredients that you would like to marinate in the salad dressing. For me, this is everything other than nuts and soft lettuces, but I will add kale and cabbages because they are tougher lettuces.

Toppings in this photo:  beans – edamame and chickpeas, fresh sweet corn, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers and olives.

There are so many vegetable toppings for you to choose from. For more ideas visit the FREE DOWNLOADS page to get access to the “Delicious – ‘No Fail’ Salads” Guide. Also, check out these delicious oil-free salad dressings.

Chickpea Tortillas

Tex-Mex is my favorite without a doubt. I really enjoy corn tortillas, and my preference is organic corn tortillas. Yet, it’s so difficult to find organic corn tortillas or the right organic corn meal (masa) to make my own tortillas (still looking though). But this tortilla recipe is just as satisfying. It’s very mild tasting so it would make a good wrap for anything you wish to put inside.

The original recipe is from Elavegan, but when I didn’t have any chickpea flour I decided to try fresh, cooked chickpeas instead – and it worked!

Chickpea Tortillas

Category: Dinner, Gluten-Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Plant-Based

Chickpea Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpeas (they should be cooked until very tender)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup of water, to start
  • 1/4 - 1/3 tsp salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat stove-top griddle/pan
  2. Add chickpeas to a food processor, and process until very grainy.
  3. Add tapioca starch and pulse to mix in.
  4. Add water while processing to form a batter which should be pourable.
  5. Pour the batter onto a hot griddle/pan to the desired size. You may need to spread a bit with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  6. Cook until bubbly on top (just like pancakes) and flip over to cook the other side.

Notes

These always turn out well, even when I have difficulty with the mix. If you think it's too sticky add more chickpeas.

I have even used much less water to form a dough that I rolled out using a pin to form the tortilla before cooking on the griddle.

As per Elavegan's recipe (see link above) you can use chickpea flour in place of the chickpeas in this recipe.

http://realfoodanddrinks.com/chickpea-tortillas

Notice how flexible they are!

Be on the lookout for the video. (I will post it here when it’s done.)

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Note: This grilled recipe was inspired by the grilled eggplant as described by https://minimalistbaker.com/smoky-grilled-eggplant/.

Serves 4.

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Category: Beans, Dinner, Lunch, power greens, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Plant-Based

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Ingredients

  • 1 Eggplant
  • Power Greens: spinach, chard, kale, arugula (a mixture or just one)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 TBS coconut aminos (optional)
  • 1/3 small onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 6 ounces of mushrooms (4 - 6 small sized)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • salt to taste
  • Hummus

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick slices and season with spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, salt) and allow to sit if you need to make hummus.
  2. See below for hummus recipe.
  3. After about 15 minutes or allowing the eggplant to marinate, cook the eggplant on a hot griddle. (I used my George Foreman Grill.)
  4. Simultaneously, you can grill vegetables (onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms) in a shallow pan.
  5. Lastly, pan saute the power greens using the coconut aminos and/or balsamic vinegar and water.
http://realfoodanddrinks.com/grilled-eggplant-and-hummus-stacks

Hummus Recipe:

Mix all of the following ingredients using a food processor.

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or 2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic (2 if you like it spicy!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 TBS roasted red bell peppers (optional, but adds a nice flavor)
  • salt to taste

Here is the way I served it:

1. First lay a base of sauteed power greens

2. Then layer: (stacked at least twice)

    • Grilled Eggplant
    • Hummus 
    • Grilled Veggies: Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Mushrooms 

3. Serve with a side of quinoa ( or other grain).

Polenta with vegetables

Polenta is a corn-meal porridge. You can top polenta with anything you like which makes it a delicious options for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

Polenta is identified as a yellow corn-meal. The way it’s process produces a more whole form of what many know as grits and contains 6 g of fiber. ( The most popular form of grits only have .7 g – yet I believe there is a white corn that can be used to create white polenta “grits” which reserves the whole kernels.

If cooking on the stove-top it takes about 30 minutes. Use 1 cup of polenta to 6 cups of water.

But I prefer the much easier option of using an Instant Pot. This recipe makes 4 – 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 6 cups water or broth

Vegetable Toppings:  (in photo)

  • `1 bell pepper
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions: (for Instant Pot)

  1. Add polenta, water and sprinkle with a little salt (optional) into Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes (manually set or use ‘Rice’ button).
  3. After time is up, Press ‘Cancel’ to switch to ‘Off’ and allow natural pressure release (usually 10/15 minutes).
  4. Stir to combine water and corn-meal. Using a whisk makes this easier.

Cooking Vegetables:

  1. Heat griddle or pan on stove-top.
  2. Add 1 tsp of oil and/or 2 TBS water to the pan.
  3. Add all vegetables except for spinach and stir-fry (stir-steam) until desired tenderness, sprinkle with seasonings of choice.
  4. Remove vegetables to a plate, turn off heat, add spinach and allow to wilt. (Adding a bit of water to create steam will help spinach wilt.)

Serve by adding polenta to a dish and topping with the vegetables.

Tex-Mex Casserole Without Cheese? (Vegan)

Do you think it would be impossible to make a casserole, a Tex-Mex Casserole without cheese? Well, let me show you how I did it for this recipe.

I chose corn tortillas to keep the recipe wheat-free (aka gluten-free).
And guess what? If you have someone that just loves cheese, they can top their serving with the cheese of their choice (…even vegan cheese ūüôā

Alternative to cheese, but creamy?  Add avocado, guacamole or this cashew cilantro cream sauce.  

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 2 cups freshly diced)
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans (or 2 cups home-cooked), rinsed
  • 1 15 oz of black beans (or 2 cups of home-cooked), rinsed *
  • 1/4 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 small onion
  • 8 ounces of your favorite salsa
  • 1 15 oz can (2 cups) of enchilada sauce (or see homemade recipe below)
  • 6 corn tortillas (or flour)
Directions:
  1. Cook onions and bell pepper.  If using ground meat add at this step too.
  2. Add other ingredients except for the enchilada sauce and tortillas, mix together.
  3. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 casserole dish. 
  4. Tear (or cut) the 2 tortillas into smaller sizes and place on the bottom of the dish.
  5. Layer 1/3 of the filling over the tortillas.
  6. Try to repeat steps 4 and 5 twice, but it doesn’t have to be that structured.
  7. Mix the enchilada sauce and thickener of choice together and pour over the casserole.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 20  – 30 minutes, until bubbly and sauce has thickened.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar (really almost any vinegar can be substituted here)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or 2 Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (or even Italian herb spices)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 – 2 TBS chili powder (or TACO Seasoning works well too)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 slices of jalapenos for added flavor
  • 1 TBS of thickener (tapioca, potato starch, gluten free flour or cornstarch -organic/Non-GMO please)
Directions: Place all ingredients into blender and blend well. You can  also add a tablespoon of thickener at this point for easy mix-in.

Served topped with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Buddha Bowl using Leftovers

I think I have been creating these all along prior to the term “Buddha Bowl” becoming popular. This is my second “go to” option when trying to determine what to eat next. My first is plant-based Tex-Mex meals. (I live in Texas y’all!)

The Buddha Bowl I prepared today uses quinoa as the base! I love quinoa for so many reasons and healthy ones too. It’s gluten-free and high in protein (a concern for some when embarking on a plant-based eating plan). I had roasted sweet potatoes using my favorite recipe. I had a bunch of colorful Swiss chard that I needed to prepare and hummus (which I practically keep on hand at all times). So I threw all of these “leftovers” together and created a very satisfying lunch.

Preparation Notes:

Quinoa
pre-soak 1 – 2 hours for better nutrient absorption

Sweet Potatoes
Diced and seasoned with cumin, turmeric, salt, paprika, chili powder, garlic (sprinkled on as you like). Toss with a little coconut oil (barely oil them) and bake 350 – 400 degrees Farenheit
Swiss Chard
Saute green onions and bell peppers in water until soft. Add tomatoes and Swiss chard until wilted. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top

Hummus
Seasonings: cumin, lemon juice, tahini, roasted red peppers, salt/pepper and sometimes olives
Hey, here are some ingredient ideas for a Tex-Mex Budha Bowl!
  • Mexican “brown” rice
  • Black or pinto beans
  • Fresh spinach, kale or romaine lettuces
  • Roasted corn
  • Salsa or Pico de gallo
  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Avocado (or guacamole)
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Not-so cheese (a Vitamix recipe)

Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Marinara Sauce

This was really yummy. The texture of the eggplant mixed with diced tomatoes was right on target in this marinara sauce. I made the sauce in my InstantPot (love that appliance).

I cut the eggplant into cubes and just added it to the pot along with tomatoes and other seasonings and voila! I was done…

…except for the cooking of the pasta. Sometimes I cook the pasta in the Instant Pot too, but lately I seem to have trouble with getting perfect pasta …and my guess is that it’s probably because I was cooking gluten-free pasta. I think the better outcome has been with wheat pasta. (If anyone has any helpful hints on cooking gluten-free pasta in the InstantPot, please let me know. Thanks in advance.)

Back to the sauce..I cooked the eggplant until it was mushy. I liked it best this way because it was easy to combine with the tomatoes. The mixture of these two vegetables are superb. Yet, I call this a marinara because it’s very light vs. being more dense and doesn’t have any tomato paste which would make the sauce thicker.

This recipe makes about 2 – 3 servings. You can easily double it.

Ingredients:
1 small eggplant
1 small can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onions
1/8 cup of chopped bell peppers (your choice)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp or so of dried herbs (basil, oregano, Italian herb mix,

spinach to stir into pot after cooking or directly onto the plate (I prefer fresh)

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into the inner pot.
  2. Press manual, then adjust settings to 6 minutes.
  3. Allow natural release (if you have enough time to wait)
  4. Adjust seasonings
  5. Stir in spinach (optional)
Stove-Top Directions:
  1. Cook onion and garlic on low heat until soft. I prefer using water to steam the vegetables, so that I don’t have to add oils to cook with.
  2. Add eggplant and a little salt to help soften, then cook about 5 minutes while stirring frequently.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and remaining seasonings. Cook, covered over low heat until everything is very soft and (I prefer) mushy. Make sure your pan isn’t too high and use a small burner so the sauce doesn’t burn. This step may take about 10 more minutes. 
  4. Adjust seasonings
  5. Stir in spinach (optional).
Note: That is a corn-based pasta in the photo. Gluten free pastas that contain corn seem to cook the best.

Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Curry

I prepared this in my InstantPot. But I’m sure a pot on the stove top will work just as well. This was quick and easy. The perfect warm and satisfying meal for the cold night on which I prepared it. (Note: this recipe was based on a recipe I saw at Pinch of Yum, but I added a few things.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 green onions (about 1/3 cup),¬†chopped
  • 1¬†jalape√Īo,¬†minced¬†(add depending on the spice level you want)
  • 1-2 cloves¬†garlic,¬†minced
  • 3 medium¬†sweet potatoes,¬†peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup garbanzo/chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 14-ounce can¬†fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can¬†coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup¬†water for InstantPot or up to 1 1/2 if on stove top
  • 1 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1 teaspoon¬†curry
  • 1 teaspoon¬†turmeric
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup¬†chopped peanuts (or cashews)
  • 2 x 2 strip of Kombu for added minerals
After cooked:
  • 1/4 cup¬†peanut butter (or cashew butter)¬†You can also take some of the soup broth and blend with peanuts (or cashews) to thicken the soup.
  • 1-2 cups¬†kale,¬†stems removed, chopped¬†(or any other dark leafy greens: collards, chard)
  • 1 – 2 tsp miso paste¬†(for added flavor)
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in InstantPot and cook for 10 minutes or add to a pot on the stove top and cook until potatoes are tender.
  2. Add the “after cooked” ingredients. If using InstantPot, after quick or natural release.

Black Bean Corn Tortilla Tacos (Plant-Based, Vegan)

I usually cook a large batch of beans and freeze whatever I don’t use immediately. So, for this recipe the only ingredient that I had to make was the “Not-So” Cheese Sauce that I found in the Vitamix recipe book. If you have the opportunity to purchase a Vitamix you should definitely do so. You won’t regret it. I think I’ve owned mine for about 7 years and the only part I have replaced is the rubber top recently because it wasn’t fitting as snugly as it did when I first purchased it (6 years ago).
I pulled these tacos together rather quickly. The corn tortillas are Tortilla Land brand that I find in my local. The are uncooked and I prepare them on the griddle that I keep on the left side of my stove-top mostly for this purpose (and cooking pancakes just as often).
Ingredients:
  • Tortilla Land corn tortillas (or make your own using masa flour)
  • black beans (red beans or pinto beans would also be good, canned is fine – just rinse them)
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • green onions
  • avocado (or guacamole – see recipe below)
  • Not-So Cheese Sauce (the recipe I follow uses potato starch to create a thicker version) or Forks Over Knives No Cheese Sauce
Other possible toppings: salsa, cilantro, pico de gallo, your favorite vegetables, etc
Directions:
  1. Cook tortillas according to package directions
  2. Warm the beans on the stove top – using a bit of water to prevent from burning
  3. Add your toppings

My Guacamole Recipe

Add all of the following ingredients to a food processor and give it a whirl!

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
  • 1 green onion stalk (Low FODMAP and I like them because they are milder.)
  • 1/2 – 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 of jalapeno (I usually remove most of the seeds for a milder version.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of “tightly packed” cilantro

Mid-day Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 packed cup of Kale

1/2 slice of 1 inch thick pineapple

1/2 of peeled pickling cucumber

1/2 small nectarine or peach*

1 knob ginger (you can juice using garlic press)

2 coconut milk* ice cubes

1 1/2 cups water


*High FODMAP food – remove from ingredients to achieve a Low FODMAP recipe.


Directions:
Put all ingredients into a high-speed blender such as the Vitamix and process until you reach your desired consistency.

Makes about 12 ounces.