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Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

There is a reason that street foods are eternal and craved relentlessly; they’re just damned good.  When you load your diet with legumes, you’re always after new ways to be creative with them.  In my opinion, the queen bean is without a doubt the garbanzo.  Call it ceci, chickpea or Bengal gram, it’s still the reigning sovereign of many vegan’s diets and a favorite of omnivores the world over. 

Here I celebrate and pay homage to panelle, a Sicilian street eat that is traditionally served as a simple sandwich filling on a bun.  One of the reasons that I love panelle so much is because, when pan-fried and warm,  it has that contrasting textural thing going on with the crispy edges and a velvety soft interior.  It is, hands down, a great sandwich.

Panelle [Chickpea Polenta]

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Directions:

Slowly add broth to the flour while whisking to avoid lumps.  Add in the oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring the entire time.   (It does not need to boil and shall spit molten chickpea lava at you if you do let it boil, so be careful.)  It is going to be very thick once finished but you want it to have that consistency because you want a substantial texture for a sandwich filling.

Transfer panelle to a non-stick pan and tamp down with a spatula. (I used a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil.)  Place into the refrigerator until chilled solid.  Invert onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.  You can either pan fry in oil (as is traditional) to crisp it up or do as I did and simply give a quick spray of olive oil to each slice and place in a pan until the sides are golden.

As always, my predilection for the savory-sweet combination shines through here.  I like to add a nice slather of apricot jam to my panelle sandwich, though it’s entirely up to you how you wish to assemble your own masterpiece.

 

[This slightly-modified post/recipe was originally published at VelvetPark last year.  I wanted it here, on my personal blog, because it is one of my favorites and I felt it was important to include it here in my collection/index.]

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The New Black

…is an ancient black.  Forbidden rice not only has all the nutritional goodness you find in brown rice such as a high fiber content and B vitamins, it’s also packed full of anthocyanins.  Bite per bite the rice contains more of these antioxidant flavonoid pigments than blueberries.  It’s satisfyingly chewy in texture like my beloved short-grained brown rice and tastes wonderful.  We have rice or grain bowls for meals on a regular basis and usually steam some kale and another vegetable [carrots in this example] and then add a wonderfully flavorful sauce to the mix.  Bowls also make fantastically easy and filling lunchbox meals.  Here is a quick and tasty gingered carrot sauce that’ll flavor up any bowl or steamed vegetable.

 

 

Gingered Carrot Sauce

Ingredients:

16 oz carrot juice

2 T sake

1 T light miso

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

2 tsp freshly minced ginger

1 T cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

Directions:

Reduce the carrot juice by half over medium heat.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add the cornstarch slurry a tablespoon at a time, allowing the sauce to come to a simmer in between additions until you achieve the consistency you desire [1 T of the slurry was perfect for me].

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Making faux tuna using garbanzo beans isn’t an idea original to me;  I simply modified the idea to mimic how I used to make the real deal.   It’s quick, easy and can be made nearly on the fly.  It also happens to be delicious and full of healthy and filling fiber.  Plus,  the vitamin C-rich red bell pepper helps your body absorb the iron found within the garbanzo beans more readily.  It’s an all ’round rock star of a sandwich filler.

 

Faux Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups garbanzo beans

¼ cup celery, small dice

¼ cup red bell pepper, small dice

¼ cup apple, small dice

¼ cup dill pickle, small dice

¼ cup fresh dill, minced

¼ – ⅓ cup  plain non-dairy yogurt [So Delicious Plain is my choice] or Vegenaise  [The amount depends upon how wet you like your salad]

freshly-cracked black pepper

sea salt

Directions:

Using a potato masher, mash the garbanzo beans in a large bowl.  You could use a food processor for this, just be careful not to over-process the beans.  You do not want a purée, but rather a coarse mash with texture.

Add the remaining ingredients to the mashed beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Rainbow Soup

 

At the end of this rainbow lies a pot of soup!  This gorgeous vegetable soup will flood your senses with vibrant natural colors and deliciously fresh flavors.  It’ll also nourish your body through diversity of root, stem, leaf,  flower and fruit, and help protect your cells with a broad-spectrum influx of antioxidants and other phytonutrients.  I even snuck in a cruciferous vegetable to help the liver detoxify the body from daily adventures through urban landscapes and just plain old living.

This recipe makes a very large pot of soup.  I kept the numbers even or whole so that you could easily divide the recipe in half if you wanted to make a smaller volume.  I like to make a big pot and freeze some for a rainy day.  You can also add some cooked lentils to your soup bowl to make it a heartier meal.   [Another thing to consider is that if you do not like a particular vegetable, such as yellow bell pepper, substitute in another yellow vegetable such as squash or corn in order to keep the benefit of that particular color vegetable’s antioxidant profile.]

 

Rainbow Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, diced

4 stalks celery, sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 cups Peruvian [purple] potatoes, diced

4 medium carrots, sliced

2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups chopped cabbage [Kale would work really well as a substitute]

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1-28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, broken into pieces by hand with juice reserved

12 cups vegetable stock [I prefer Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock]

1 T olive oil

Fresh herbs for garnish [Parsley, oregano and basil are my favorites]

Directions:

Place a stockpot on the stove and turn the heat to medium.  Once hot, add the olive oil.  Add the onion, celery and garlic.  Sauté until softened.  Add the carrots, bell pepper, potatoes.  Cook with periodic stirring for about 10 minutes.  Add in the cauliflower and zucchini.  Add the tomatoes with their juice and the stock.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender.  This should take about 30 minutes.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Garnish with fresh herbs, if you wish.

 

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This is a wonderfully quick and delicious autumnal whole grain-based salad.  It can be served at any temperature you wish, but is very nice when warmed.  I like to serve this over a pile of soft butter lettuce as a side dish to my gyros seitan for a hearty meal on a cold night.

 

Warm Bulgur Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup coarse bulgur

1 cup diced green beans

½ cup toasted pine nuts

12 dried apricots, cut into slivers

¼ cup mint, chopped

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 leek, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 leaves dinosaur kale, finely chopped

Lemon vinaigrette with oregano  

  • 1T lemon juice + 2T olive, flax or nut oil + 1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Bring 2½ cups of water or vegetable stock [If you want a more savory flavor] to a boil.  Add the bulgur, stir and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the grain is tender simply drain off excess liquid and set aside.

While the bulgur is perking away, over medium heat, sauté the green beans, leek, garlic and kale in a small drizzle of olive oil until tender.  Add the apricots and pine nuts.  Toss to combine.  Transfer the drained bulgur to a large bowl and add the sautéed vegetables, parsley and mint.   Pour as much of the lemon and oregano vinaigrette over the bulgur salad as you wish and mix well.   Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

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Raw food, how I am growing to adore you…You are beautiful to look upon and grace my meals with vitality and health. 

 

Raw Falafel

Ingredients:

2 cups sprouted legumes [I used a combination of garbanzo beans and lentils]

1 cup freshly chopped parsley

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

½ cup raw walnuts

¼ cup chopped shallot

¼ cup raw tahini [What a wonderful flavor this has!  It reminds me of an unsweetened halva, something regular tahini has never hinted at to me]

1½ tsp ground cumin

1½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

crushed red pepper flakes [I used about ¼ tsp for a little zip, add more if you like it spicier]

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I used raw organic collard green leaves as wrappers for the falafel and rolled them with a slice of tomato and cucumber.  I served this with some dilled raw tzatziki sauce.

 

Raw Dilled Tzatziki Sauce

I purposefully made this sauce on the thin side because I wanted it more as a dipping sauce rather than a dip.  If you want a thicker sauce, use ½ cup cashews.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours

¼ cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

1 -2 cloves garlic, depending upon how garlicky you like it

2 T fresh dill, divided

¼- ½ cup cucumber, deseeded and diced

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Place the cashews, lemon juice, 1 T dill and one clove of garlic in a blender and pulse until combined.  Slowly add the water until you reach a pourable consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and if you wish more garlic flavor, add the second clove.   Blitz again until the sauce is smooth.  Pour into a container and add the remaining dill and cucumber.

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A couple of weeks ago, Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House, and her partner Mariann Sullivan, shared on Facebook that they were going to begin a 10-day juice cleanse because they felt the need to “reboot” their systems.  Jasmin welcomed any and all to join them in the venture.  Over the course of the following few days, the idea intrigued me more and more because I’d never experienced such a thing.  Having always been somewhat curious about fasting/cleansing, I decided that I’d jump in with both feet and commit to the experience.   

It wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it would be.  Yes, I missed hot food and the textural quality of meals, but when I reminded myself that I was treating my body to a rich source of exceptionally digestible phytonutrients, thereby giving my digestive system a breather, things just didn’t seem quite so austere.  It also helped my will-power tremendously to know that I wasn’t alone in the undertaking.  The interesting results were that aside from losing five pounds, there were no physical manifestations that I could detect.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that there weren’t any, I just didn’t experience any of the usual detoxification symptoms such as crankiness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or skin blemishes.   I suppose that it could be a testament to just how cleanly we have eaten this past year since we cut out all processed foods and animal products.  I know that I certainly feel better since we embarked upon our own food revolution, and I’m quite sure that Heather does as well.

In one of the last video logs of her juice cleanse, Jasmin remarked that she and Mariann would  like to start incorporating more healthy raw foods into their diets.  From my perspective, this was a fabulous thing to hear because it afforded me the opportunity to thank them, in my own particular way, for allowing me to tag along on the journey, and for all the support and community they provided along the way.  Simply because I didn’t manifest any outward symptoms of a cleansing doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything from the experience!  And so, Jasmin and Mariann…I raise my fork to you both in gratitude by dedicating the creation of my very first raw entrée to you.  I wish you and yours good health and vast happiness.

 

Raw Asian Mushroom Stroganoff with Blackberries

I purposefully chose the Asian pear, lemon zest and Brussels sprouts to add sweetness, bitterness and a touch of refreshing acidity, respectively, in order to cut through a very rich mushroom sauce which would otherwise become quite monotonous.   [I never could eat an entire plate of Fettuccine Alfredo for this very reason.]   Adding a variety of textures to a dish is also very important to me when considering ingredients.  The Asian pear “noodles” add a softness that is more familiar when thinking of a “noodle” dish than the interestingly crunchy texture of kelp noodles.  I also chose Brussels sprouts because Jasmin mentioned that Mariann was rather fond of them.  If you don’t share this love of the cruciferous, you could easily substitute with thinly sliced endive.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bag raw kelp noodles [I used Sea Tangle’s ]

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours [I put them into a container with water the night before and placed it in the refrigerator]

1 Asian pear, spirally sliced [Alternatively, you could certainly use a vegetable peeler or box shredder to create shreds]

4 Brussels sprouts, cut into a chiffonade

6 dried shiitake mushrooms

2 T ground mushroom powder [I simply took equal parts dried maitake and shiitake mushrooms and ground them into a fine powder using a spice grinder]

2 oz  enoki mushrooms

1 T freshly-squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp lemon zest, plus some for garnish

2 tsp fresh thyme, plus some for garnish

¼ tsp sea salt

⅛ tsp white pepper

1 cup water

1 cup fresh blackberries

crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Place the dried shiitake mushrooms into the water and allow to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.  [You shall be using this soaking water later, so do not discard]  Squeeze out any residual water and reserve.  Remove the stems and then slice into thin strips. 

Drain the cashews and toss into a blender.  Add ¾ cup of the reserved shiitake soaking liquid, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper.  Process until smooth.  Add the mushroom powder.  Continue blending until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy. 

Slice the Asian pear into spirals or shreds and place in a bowl containing acidulated water [A good squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick].  Rinse the kelp noodles under cold water to separate.  Place both “noodles “into a colander together and drain well.

Transfer to a large bowl and add the Brussels sprouts, sliced rehydrated shiitakes and enoki mushrooms.  Add as much of the creamy mushroom sauce as you wish and mix well.  [I ended up using a tablespoon per serving]

Garnish with the blackberries, lemon zest, thyme and crushed red pepper.

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