Guacamole – Quick and Easy

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

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 lemon or lime or both, juiced
  • 1 green onion stalk
  • 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 (I usually add a bit of parsley too)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of sea salt, optional
Before
After

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 🙂

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!

Coconut Milk Rice and Veggie Soup

I needed a quick meal and this is what I came up with. It’s a one-dish meal that’s easy to prepare. See notes below for optional add-ins and suggestions.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped and broken into small bits
  • 1/2 cup frozen collard greens
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1/2 small green bellpepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice (I used Basmati rice)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • Suggested seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, dash of cumin, salt and pepper (to taste)
  • cashew cilantro cream sauce (optional)
Directions:
  1. Add cauliflower, onion, bell pepper and garlic to a pot.
  2. Saute using a bit of coconut oil or steam saute (using a bit of the coconut milk) until onions become translucent
  3. Add all of the coconut milk and continue to cook vegetables until they are well-cooked. (I cooked in my Instant Pot for 5 minutes, 4 would have been enough.)
  4. Add cooked rice, frozen peas, cashew cilantro cream sauce (if using) and other seasonings to your desired taste.
Notes:
  • I think next time I will add some mushrooms and perhaps a bit of wild rice too. Some celery might be a good addition too…and lentils/chickpeas (my favorites).
  • It’s a whole, plant-based dish that is easily adaptable to accommodate everyone in the family.  In my family, vegetable dishes are the main meal and meats are side items.

Cashew Cilantro Cream Sauce

I had just bought a new bunch of cilantro and I removed all the stalks and leaves that were loose because I didn’t want them to go “bad” at the bottom of the jar. (This is how I keep my herbs fresh in the fridge.) So I was left with a bunch that I wanted to use up in a hurry. I decided to make an alternative to the cheese topping for the variety of plant-based tacos that I eat very often – so I searched the internet looking for a cilantro sauce. This was the first to appear. I found it at The Baking Fairy’s website (see below), but here is my recipe. I think next time I will definitely try fresh garlic (1/2 to 1 clove) and fresh onions (1/8 inch slice), yet this recipe is still a good one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/4 cup cashew milk (or any unsweetened nut milk, I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup or more of cilantro (packed tightly)
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1/2 jalapeno (I only had jalapeno juice from my homemade pickled jalapeno peppers)
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a little pepper is also a nice addition
Directions:
  1. Add all ingredients except for the nut milk to a blender and blend.
  2. Add nut milk as needed until you get to your desired consistency.
The original recipe for this sauce was found at https://www.thebakingfairy.net/2017/05/sofritas-tacos-cashew-cream/.

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)

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 jalapeño, 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 found in the local grocery store. They 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, or chickpea flour or cassava flour) Update: Here is a chickpea flour tortilla recipe. I truly enjoy making my own tortillas these days.
  • black beans (red beans or pinto beans would also be good, canned is fine – just rinse them)
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • green onions
  • brown rice (or quinoa)
  • avocado (or guacamole – see recipe below)
  • Not-So Cheese Sauce (this recipe uses potato starch to create a thicker version) or Forks Over Knives No Cheese Sauce   (a bit simpler)
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 stovetop – using a bit of water to prevent from burning
  3. Add your toppings

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.

Homemade Catalina Dressing – Oil-Free

I had a mango and a red bell pepper and recall making a dressing out of the two a while back. But this time, I added a few more ingredients. Then end result is a dressing that reminded me of Catalina Dressing, but this one is Oil-Free.

Catalina was my salad dressing of choice when I was a child and likely when I was also a teen. Of course it was from a bottle and one that is a very popular salad dressing brand. (OKAY, I feel a bit uncomfortable sharing that, but there are really more healthy options…such as the one I’m about to give you below.)

Granted, my salad as a child only consisted of cucumbers, tomato and iceberg lettuce. Yeah I guess, it’s a good start for anyone, but I finally learned that I love all vegetables and now I rarely eat a salad made of only 3 vegetables. Okay…enough of reminiscing about my childhood, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 small mango (Ataulfo mangos are the perfect size)
1/4 of a small to medium red bell pepper
1 TBS apple cider vinegar (use lemon juice instead for Sadkhin Diet)
1 clove garlic, small
1 – 2 inch piece of zucchini or cucumber (if more liquid is desired)
salt to taste (approx 1/8 tsp, optional)

Other possible add-ins:These are optional add-ins that are similar to most recipes that you will find online for Catalina Dressing.

  1. Honey (if you need it sweeter, but Ataulfo mangos are usually very sweet)
  2. If you want/need the extra “good” fat, add some extra virgin olive oil
  3. Tomato slice or 1 tsp tomato paste
  4. Onion slice or onion powder
  5. Dash of paprika
Directions: Blend all the ingredients together in a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix.  Use as desired.
I just poured it all on top of my salad and dug in. YUMMY!

Sadkhin Cabbage Salad – Three Ways

Recently I prepared three cabbage salads for the Grand Opening Event of Sadkhin Houston.  Sadkhin is a weight loss program that doesn’t require any special foods, just mainly fresh fruits and vegetables.
 
One highly recommended vegetable for the Sadkhin Diet is raw cabbage. Also, since the diet suggests having no more than three vegetables/fruit combinations in each dish, we created the following cabbage salads for client sampling. (Note: Herbs, most spices, onions and garlic may be used freely. Also allowed are lemon juice and honey.)
 
Mexican Slaw
1 large head of green cabbage
1/2 – 1 pound of carrots
1 – 2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 – 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 1/2 cup, packed)
For dressing, whisk together juice of 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup) and 1 lime, 1/2 of small jalapeno (seeds removed), 1/2 tsp cumin, salt (about 1/2 – 1 tsp) and a dash of granulated garlic, cayenne and honey to taste Optional: Add a fruit – mango would be good in this one also.
 

 

Mexican Slaw
 
Apple Slaw
1 large head of green cabbage
3 -4 kale leaves, thinly sliced
2 medium Granny Smith apples
For the dressing, whisk together juice of 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup), 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1/2 tsp dried dill,  salt (about 1/2 – 1 tsp) and honey to taste
Apple Slaw

 

 
Asian Slaw
1 small head of green cabbage
1 small head of purple cabbage
1 – 2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 – 2 Ataulfo mangos, diced small
1/2 tsp fresh ginger juice (or 1/2 tsp dried ginger spice)
10 leaves of fresh mint
For the dressing, whisk together juice of 1 1/2 limes (about 1/4 cup – also can add lime zest if you like) about 1/2 – 1 tsp salt and honey to taste
Asian Slaw
 

I also put together an Italian oil-free salad dressing. (Simply omit the apple-cider vinegar and possibly use more lemon juice to make this oil-free dressing Sadkhin Diet compliant.)