Did You Know?

Did you know??
Although using avocados and bananas are all the buzz now to get soft and shiny hair, all it will get you is a messy kitchen and bathroom. These products are great to help your hair for one day, but the proteins in them are way too big for your hair to absorb. And unless you are going to use them each day (yikes!), then you should head to a beauty supply store and check out some Vegan products that use "hydrolyzed" proteins - proteins from avocados and bananas that actually are small enough to help your hair.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Italian House Pasta

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As the holidays pass by, it's easy to let go and gorge yourself on delicious things like vegan cakes, vegan cupcakes, and other delicious vegan goodies while letting the fresh veggies bought earlier in the week go to waste in the refrigerator.  This recipe works perfectly to offset this bad habit we all have-- it's filled with healthy foods, and the name derives from the fact that all the ingredients tend to be in the typical Italian household (as ours is) and is a great way to clear out the fridge when all your fresh produce is about to go bad.  It also works well as I continue to try and keep oils from my cooking!   This is a tasty pasta dish filled with healthy stuff, so try it out!

1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup french cut green beans
2-3 cups your favorite pasta
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained or 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked
3 tbsp minced garlic & 2 tbsp of the water it is in (jarred-- if not, regular water will be fine)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 twists of ground black pepper
zest of one orange
10 California pitted black olives, halved

Get a pot of water boiling, and warm up a frying pan over medium-low heat.

After 3-5 minutes, put the 2 tbsp of garlic water in the frying pan, and after 30 seconds, add the onions and mushrooms, and after two minutes, add the spices, green beans and orange zest.

When the water begins to boil, add the pasta and cook until 'al dente'-- when it's still stiff but almost finished.  Add the chickpeas.  In the frying pan, this is a good time to add the garlic.

3 minutes later, pour 1/2 cup of the water in the pasta pot into the frying pan, and drain the pasta in the sink.  Add the olives to the frying pan.

After the pasta/chickeas are drained, add them to the frying pan and toss the tomatoes on top, quickly covering them with the water/sauce from the pan for 3 minutes.

Serve hot or cooled.

Caloric Info
Servings 4
Calories 290.9
Total Fat: 3.6 grams
Sat Fat: 0.5 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 1.1 grams
Monosat. Fat: 1.4 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 515.1 mg
Potassium: 479.0 mg
Carbs: 57.0 grams
Dietary Fiber: 11.7 grams
Sugar: .2 grams
Protein: 11.7 grams

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Christmas: Glazed Mint Chocolate Donut Cookies


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A note to all: If you'd rather not be Santa-sized this season, tis better to make these bite-size!

2/3 c sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 tbsp arrowroot
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine sugar and oil, allow to settle. Add almond milk and extracts. Sift in all dry ingredients in order given.

 Dough will be oilly and loose-feeling. Roll dough into small balls, about 1-2 tbsps. Lightly push down cookies with two fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Glaze:
1 c confectionary sugar
4 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp arrowroot

Dip cookies down into glaze. Wait until just dry to add sprinkles or sugars. Pictured is Wilton's Mint Crunch Christmas Blend.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chipotle Chickpea Spread



As I continued to strive to make vegan recipes that did not incorporate oil yesterday, I found myself hankering for some hummus. While nearly caving multiple times as I walked down the isle of the local Trader Joe's, I began to concoct in my head a recipe based on some spreads that I had eaten before, and this was the final result. I ultimately ended up putting it on a wrap with fresh cut tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, Italian peppers, and green peppers. This is delicious and I cannot wait to make it in the summer with garden picked tomatoes and a glass of lemonade.



2 tablespoons garlic, minced w/o oil.
15 ounces chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. chopped red onion
3 tbsp. diced jarred peperoncini
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
sea salt to taste


With the food processor running, drop in the garlic and peperoncini.

Add the chickpeas and lime juice and begin processing. If this appears to be a bit dry, add some water, a tablespoon at a time, until it thickens to your preference.
Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Adjust salt to taste.


At this point, the recipe is done, it's merely a matter if you'd like to enjoy this spread on a sandwich, a wrap, or just simply as a dip for some celery and carrots! Again, pictures will be up shortly, but I was unfortunately unable to hold myself back on this one after cooking it, but I do have more in the fridge for a sandwhich in the near future...





Caloric Info
Servings 4
Calories 138
Total Fat:1.3 grams
Sat Fat:0.1 grams
Polyunsat. Fat:0.6 grams
Monosat. Fat:0.3 grams
Cholesterol:0 grams
Sodium:409.1 mg
Potassium:214.9 mg
Carbs:26.7 grams
Dietary Fiber:5.1 grams
Sugar:4.0 grams
Protein:5.6 grams

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Sauce

La Vita Vegan is back with more recipes that are healthy, animal product free, and delicious! I apologize for the complete disappearance act put on by us, after moving twice across the country and bouncing from job to job, we fell a bit behind over here. The funny thing is, we continued to try new recipes and take pictures of them; we just never managed to take the time to post them up here. Hopefully, we should be around more for some delicious vegan food. This recipe was tested out tonight; I have been manipulating this for a while and I believe I've gotten it perfect now-- asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables I have been experimenting with cooking without the use of oils to try to rely on the vegetable's natural flavors, and I feel this is a great example of a food that stands out on its own for it's fantastic unique characteristics. Unfortunately, after tasting it, I couldn't hold back long enough for a picture of it to post and ate it immediately. I'll be working soon to make this again and to at least try to get a picture of it prior to being devoured. I highly recommend this one, and I managed to even convert someone to the deliciousness of asparagus through this recipe!



3 tablespoons garlic, minced in water
1/5 cup cashews, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons Basil Sea Salt
1 cup water
Sea salt to taste


Set the oven for 400 degrees.

Sprinkle the garlic with ground black pepper and salt according to taste.

Place garlic in a foil wrap and put in to oven for a half hour.

While garlic is in the oven, crush the cashews and place on a sheet of aluminum foil

Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the tough ends (just hold a spear at the bottom and in the
middle, and it should snap off in the right spot) and cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces.

After a half hour, place the cashews in the oven, keeping the garlic still in as well.

At this point, put the water in a medium sized wok and bring it to boil. Add one tablespoon of the lemon juice to the water, and add the asparagus.

Take the cashews out as they begin to brown, and mix the garlic with the cashews-- and one tablespoon of lemon juice to this mix and put back in the oven.

Add some sea salt to the asparagus in the wok, continually stirring it as the water evaporates.

When the water appears to have roughly half an inch left in the wok, take the garlic/cashew mixture out of the oven and mix it in with the asparagus in the wok. This will absorb a lot of the water relatively quickly, so turn off the burner after about 30 seconds.

Immediately after turning off the burner, toss in the Basil Sea Salt and try to coat everything
evenly. You should have still a bit of juice in the wok (which is delicious in its own right)-- drizzle this over the asparagus afterwords.


This is best eaten immediately, as others around you may steal this if you turn away-- enjoy!

Caloric Info
Servings 2
Calories 152.2
Total Fat: 6.9 grams
Sat Fat: 1.4 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 1.3 grams
Monosat. Fat: 3.8 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 172.1 mg
Potassium: 768.9 mg
Carbs: 19.7 grams
Dietary Fiber: 5.6 grams
Sugar: 1.0 grams
Protein: 8.2 grams


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ethiopian Green Beans and Potatoes

As we inch towards the holiday season we always try to discover new dishes that incorporate different cultures and include that with our autumn repertoire of dishes-- particularly for Thanksgiving-- and if possible, we try to find dishes that are naturally vegan (which, in turn, tend to be also very healthy and low-calorie). This meal is a fantastic Ethiopian side dish that works well as a side to rice or tofurkey, or simply as a way to cut out some of the unhealthy butters and fats that tend to find their way in most potato dishes eaten with the holidays. If you can't find an interest in making something like mashed potatoes or Cheezy potato monsters, this will spice things up a bit, while being low-calorie and high flavor!

2 large Iowa potatoes, diced (peeled if desired, I prefer to keep the skins)
2/3 pound green beans, french cut
1/2 cup diced white onions
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 15-oz. can stewed tomatoes


Wash, peel if desired, and dice potatoes into square inch cubes.

In a large wok, put enough water to cover the diced potatoes and bring to boil. After water begins to boil, add potatoes.

Cook for 10 minutes, and add green beans to cook for 5 minutes more (if frozen, give them 7-10 minutes instead).

Drain green beans and potatoes and also rinse the wok quickly and return to burner.

Sauté the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper for 5 minutes, adding a little water to keep from sticking and burning. When the garlic begins to show signs of browning, it's almost ready.

Stir in the seasonings and continue sautéing for two more minutes on low, adding a little more water as it continues cooking to keep seasonings from sticking to the wok

Add the potatoes and green beans as well as stewed tomatoes and lime juice and cook on low for 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to absorb into the potatoes, stirring frequently.

Unfortunately, as I discovered with this dish, it is best eaten immediately, and doesn't fare too well after sitting in the fridge. Try to make an amount that can be eaten after it is cooked, so you won't have to save any left-overs-- enjoy!


Caloric Info
Servings 4
Calories 326.3
Total Fat: 2.8 grams
Sat Fat: 0.4 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 0.9 grams
Monosat. Fat: 1.0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 539.2 mg
Potassium: 1083.6 mg
Carbs: 68.3 grams
Dietary Fiber: 12.4 grams
Sugar: 4.4 grams
Protein: 11.8 grams

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ghoulish Halloween Chocolate Sugar Cookies with Icing


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A confession: the picture of these guys isn't great. As you can tell, I was feeling a bit hurried by everyone at the Halloween party eating them before I got a good picture - and all of them were gone only moments later. I barely had time to frost these guys! My advice: make and decorate these delicious chocolate cookies before your Halloween party guests arrive.

2/3 c sugar
1/4 canola oil
1/4 c vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp imitation butter extract
1 c AP flour
1/2 cocoa
1 tbsp arrowroot
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/t tsp salt

Mix the sugar, oil, milk, and extracts in a large bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate dough for an hour or so, just so it is easier to handle when you are using cookie cutters. (If you are just making these as drop cookies, there's no need to refrigerate.)

Bake for 5-7 minutes.

When cooled, frost and add sprinkles and coloured sugar as desired.

Quick Frosting:

4 c confectionery sugar
4-8 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
food colouring as desired

Separate into batches and add desired colours. Spread with a frosting knife over cooled cookies and add accoutrements.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Carib bean Soup

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 This soup is a great way to get one last taste of summer before it's too cold.  This soup is unique in the sense that it has a slight taste of the Caribbean and is also half blended to create a thick broth to enjoy the beans within. Whenever I tell people that I often puree half of my soup, they look at me like I'm kind of odd, even if they taste it and think it's delicious.  With this particular soup it is a specific point to make it a bit thicker (if you're making a homemade vegan bread bowl as we have) so that it doesn't just leak out.

1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 stalks celery
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup sherry, dry
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup green bell peppers, diced
1 3/4 cup dried black beans (or 3.5 cups prepared)
1/2 tsp fresh crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp basil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt to taste


Throw the minced garlic, peppers, onions, and soy sauce in a medium-sized pot allowing them to simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sherry, celery, and spices, stirring them in slowly, allowing everything to thoroughly mix (about 3-5 minutes again).

Add the beans and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, pour half of the soup (broth & vegetables) into a blender.  Pulse repeatedly for 3-5 minutes (unless you have a really good blender... which we do not), it should look pretty much like a watery dark hummus.  Pour this back into the pot with the rest of the soup, and allow to simmer for a half hour or until you reach desired consistency. 


Caloric Info
Servings 8
Calories135.8
Total Fat: 0.5 grams
Sat Fat: 0.1 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 0.2 grams
Monosat. Fat: 0.0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 476.8 mg
Potassium: 397.5 mg
Carbs: 24.0 grams
Dietary Fiber: 7.4 grams
Sugar: 1.8 grams
Protein: 7.3 grams

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fried Eggplant with garlic mushroom sauce

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This fried eggplant is to die for (literally.... ok, not literally, but it's pretty freakin' good) and is a fantastic dish to trick non-vegan friends into eating a vegan meal without looking at it and realizing it right off the bat.  Fried eggplant is always delicious-- I mean, come on, it's fried-- but that usually means that the meal is overloaded with calories.  Fortunately for us, this recipe is altered to be a little bit more heart-conscious and less fattening, without losing that delicious fried eggplant taste.

1 large eggplant
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil in spray bottle (or spray alternative)
1 tbsp Agave-mustard (half agave, half mustard mixed together)
2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups rice milk, unsweetened


For the mushroom sauce:

1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic
6 button mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine (Trader Joe's wines work great, they're cheap and get the job done).
1/4  medium sized white onion, diced.
1/2 cup homemade tomato sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste
 
 Note:  I recommend when baking this, you have a pizza stone-- if you do not, bake for an additional 10-ish minutes (but check on it a lot, I'm not completely sure how much of a time difference it makes-- in other words, you're on your own, if this is the case).  It won't ruin the eggplant, but I believe that the stone has a large part to do with the crispiness of these eggplant.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the pizza stone already inside it.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the size of the stone and try to keep it from being larger than the stone in the oven (getting everything done will become a bit tricky later if you don't do this).  Place the parchment paper on a cutting board that can fit into the oven in order to place on the pizza stone.


Skin if you choose to and cut the eggplant into 1/4" slices.

Mix the agave-mustard and the rice milk in a bowl, and place the flour and crumbs in their own separate bowls.  The order of the bowls from left to right should be flour-milk mixture-crumbs.

Dip the eggplant int he flour, covering each side thoroughly, then dip (don't soak!) it in the milk mixture, and then quickly place it in the bread crumbs.  When it's thoroughly breaded, place on the parchment paper.  Repeat until they're all covered.  Don't stress out if you run out of an ingredient, just make some more.  Since eggplant vary in size, this is pretty inevitable.

After they are all breaded, spray lightly with olive oil.

Place in the oven by using the cutting board to slide the parchment paper onto the pizza stone.  Leave them in for 15-20 minutes.  While it's baking, there's plenty of time to make the sauce.


Dice up the mushrooms, onions, garlic.  Pour the olive oil into the frying pan, and when it's heated in.  When the garlic shows signs of browning, add the wine and turn the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the eggplant is done, place the tomato sauce on first as a buffer between the mushroom sauce and the eggplant.  This works well because it keeps the eggplant from softening up from absorbing the juiciness of the mushroom sauce.  Marvel at your new dish, and enjoy!

Caloric Info
Servings 4
Calories 507.6
Total Fat:10.4 grams
Sat Fat:1.3 grams
Polyunsat. Fat:1.4 grams
Monosat. Fat:5.5 grams
Cholesterol:0 grams
Sodium:519.1 mg
Potassium:625.9 mg
Carbs:91.1 grams
Dietary Fiber:11.9 grams
Sugar:4.2 grams
Protein:14.2 grams

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Game Time Hot BBQ Wings

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These wings are a perfect appetizer for those Sunday afternoon games. If you make them too big, they can get pretty chewy, so keep them on the smaller side. The panko breadcrumbs give an awesome crunch in these mushroom seitain wings. Thanks to Vegan Dad for the mushroom seitan idea.

The Wings:
1 c small mushrooms, chopped
1/3 c red onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chicken seasoning
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c water
1 c wheat gluten

In a food processor, combine mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Add oil, lime, and seasonings and blend again. Add in water and wheat gluten and puree until it forms a sticky smooth dough.

The Topping:
1 c panko bread crumbs
1/2 c flour
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix together and set aside.

Then combine:
1 c soymilk
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

And set aside another small container of oil.

Form small flat balls of dough, about 1/8 c of dough. Dredge in oil, then through the topping, then into the soymilk mixture and back into the topping. Place finished wings on an oiled cookie sheet.

Once all wings have been given the panko-flour topping, dip into sauce.

Sauce:
Your choice of BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
1 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes per side. After the first 10 minutes, remove wings from oven, turn them over and coat with more sauce.

A Variation:
Instead of making them hot with BBQ sauce, we had success with a "Chinese" style chicken wing. Instead of drudging through oil during the topping process, dredge through soy sauce first. Then, for the sauce, mix 1/4 c prepared yellow mustard with 3 tbsp lite soy sauce. Mix thoroughly and coat wings.


 
 
Caloric Info
Servings 30 (one wing)
Calories111
Total Fat: 1.5 grams
Sat Fat: 0.1 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 0.5 grams
Monosat. Fat: 0.7 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 82.3 mg
Potassium: 39.0 mg
Carbs: 12.6 grams
Dietary Fiber: .4 grams
Sugar: 3.6 grams
Protein: 11.7 grams

Friday, August 20, 2010

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

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These are a great summer cupcake adapted from the genius ladies of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I normally try to create my own adaptations from published recipes, but these were so cute and so perfect already I didn't play with them too much. These are perfect for a summer Vegan BBQ or get-together.

1/3 c coconut oil, liquid
3/4 c sugar
1 c coconut milk (from the can)
1/4 c vanilla coconut milk (as a non-dairy milk)
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tbsp lime zest
1/4 tsp lime extract OR almond extract
1 c AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c unsweetened coconut

When it's hot out, most likely your coconut oil is already in liquid form. If it's not, just melt it over low heat in a saucepan.

Mix melted oil with sugar, then add in the milks, the extracts and the zest. Add in flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Add in coconut and mix.

Spoon into liners and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Lime Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 c vegan butter
1/2 c veggie shortening
3 1/2 c confectionery sugar
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lime zest

Combine all ingredients and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Top with a slice of lime.

---

The second time I made these, I topped them with just a bit of coconut glaze, and a maraschino cherry, after I found that the lime buttercream was a little too sweet and tangy for my taste.

1 c confectionery sugar
2 tbsps maraschino cherry juice
1 tbsp vanilla coconut milk (as in non-dairy milk)
1/2 tsp lime zest

Spoon or drizzle onto cooled cupcakes, and top with a cherry.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Carrot Coleslaw

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This little recipe is a deviation from a vegan Mexican side-dish for hot carrots, but is delicious nonetheless.  We were planning on making some burritos, and I decided that I wanted to make something a little different for a side dish.  Looking at what we had in the fridge, I decided I would make the Mexican Hot Carrots, but decided I wanted to try making them a bit different from tradition.  I stepped away from the traditional jalapeno peppers and went with a favorite of mine, jarred peperoncini peppers, and continued to manipulate the recipe as I went along.  Fortunately, these came out absolutely delicious and make a great side dish to any Mexican meal.

3 carrots, peeled, cut in half (roughly 4" pieces), and sliced
1 red onion, sliced as thin as possible and then quartered.
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 jar (roughly 4 oz.) peperoncini peppers with the liquid.
2 tsp oregano
Sea salt to taste

Bring to boil one small pot of water, just deep enough to fit all of the carrots.  Boil carrots for 10 minutes, drain, and set aside.

Bring to boil white wine vinegar and the liquid from the peperoncini peppers, allow to sit for a 2 minutes boiling and add salt and oregano.

In one 1-qt. empty jar, place peperoncini, carrots, and onion inside, alternating with the layers.  Pour the liquid into the jars until nearly full (or at least covering the vegetables), and cap them.

Place them in the fridge for at least 12 hours, and they are ready to be served!


When you are ready to eat these, I recommend trying to mix the juices and vegetables in the jars to get them to mix the flavors together-- you'll be able to tell that they have mixed well by the fact the red onions are a light pink-- almost white.  Enjoy as a side or top your taco with the concoction!

 
 
Caloric Info
Servings 6
Calories130.6
Total Fat: 1.1 grams
Sat Fat: 0.2 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 0.3 grams
Monosat. Fat: 0.4 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 250.0 mg
Potassium: 421.1 mg
Carbs: 27.4 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4.9 grams
Sugar: 1.7 grams
Protein: 4.5 grams

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creamy Black Bean Potato Soup

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We often make vegetable soups towards the middle of the week (we go to the local market where you can buy fresh fruits and veggies every Friday) as a way to use up whatever stock we have of things about to go bad; and although it tends to be pretty economical, since we have a standard repertoire of vegetables we always use, our soups never really deviate from the typical vegetables we always buy.  This week, I decided I wanted to try and move away from that a little bit, and came up with a fantastic bean soup in a bread bowl that was a delicious evening treat.  Uncharacteristically not spicy (in comparison to our usual soups) and extremely thick, this reminds me a bit of the black bean soup they serve at Panera.  I find that the picture does not do the soup justice, in that the picture doesn't show the darkness of the broth from the beans themselves.  The only way to see it I guess would be to try it yourself!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
2 carrots, chopped
4 tbsp garlic, minced (in water)
2 tbsp chili powder
A few grates of fresh ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
4 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 can crushed tomatoes
3 medium potatoes, skinned and diced
1/4 cup olives, rinsed and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Saute garlic for three minutes, and add onion and celery.

Add seasonings, and cook for one minute, and turn off burner.. 

Add the beans, and with a potato mincer, crush beans uniformly (but not completely) to desired consistency.  Remember that there will be vegetable broth being added to the recipe, so it will be more watery than it appears.  This might take a few times of making this soup to know the exact amount of crushing for the consistency you prefer.   

Turn burner back on to medium heat and stir in vegetable broth and corn.  Bring to a boil.

Bring remaining ingredients and put in the soup, allowing to cook until potatoes soften up enough and then continue to simmer for another ten minutes.

When you're ready to enjoy, cut open a bread-bowl and enjoy!


 
 
Caloric Info
Servings 8 (not inc. breadbowl) 
Calories428.8
Total Fat: 4.7 grams
Sat Fat: 0.8 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 1.0 grams
Monosat. Fat: 2.5 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 762.1 mg
Potassium: 1298.2 mg
Carbs: 77.9 grams
Dietary Fiber: 22.5 grams
Sugar: 3.3 grams
Protein: 22.2 grams


Monday, July 12, 2010

Mushroom Herb White Wine Sauce

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This vegan sauce is a delicious alternative to making white or red sauce.  It's also a great way to use up leftover mushrooms from other recipes, like seitan.  It's relatively low-fat (at least in comparison to its non-vegan counterpart), and definitely healthier than an alfredo sauce.  I find it works best on pasta, but you can use it for tons of different things (toss it on some cut up chick'n cutlets being the first to come to mind.  Mmm... mental note, make that).  Anyways, here you go-- give it a try!

1/4 white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 button mushrooms, sliced
1 vegetable stock cube, undiluted
1 cup white wine
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp vegan butter alternative (we usually use Earth Balance, but whatever suits your fancy)
2 tbsp unbleached flour
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper


Heat a frying pan with the olive oil and saute the garlic and onions for two minutes.  Add the mushrooms after the two minutes and continue to saute, stirring occasionally.  You do not want them to change color.

Add the wine and allow to simmer for five minutes (or until the wine boils down and has largely soaked in).

Crumble the veggie cube and allow it to dissolve into the mix-- this should only take a minute or so).

Add the soy milk.  After 3-5 minutes, add the butter alternative and sift the flour into the sauce.  Sift slowly and continuously stir, keeping it from clumping.

Continue to let it simmer and allow to thicken to your taste.  For the consistency seen in the picture, I waited another five or so minutes.

Add spices and enjoy!




Caloric Info
Servings 6
Calories144.6
Total Fat: 9.5 grams
Sat Fat: 1.9 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 2.4 grams
Monosat. Fat: 4.8 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 238.9 mg
Potassium: 144.9 mg
Carbs: 6.1 grams
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 grams
Sugar: 2.4 grams
Protein: 2.8 grams

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Roasted Asparagus

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Roasted asparagus has got to be one of the easiest recipes I've ever made-- and it's probably one of the tastiest, as well.  Everything that is delicious about asaragus is magnified when it's roasted, especially when drizzled in olive oil, so what more could you really ask for?  This is a great side dish to a soup (like a French butternut squash bisque) and will get the pickiest eater to enjoy asaparagus!

1 lb asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut and rinse asparagus.

Line foil on baking sheet, and drizzle olive oil on it.  With a brush, spread olive oil over baking sheetand dash salt over sheet evenly.

Roll asparagus around the oil one at a time until each is evenly coated with oil and salt.

Roast for 10-15 minuts (or more) depending on thickness of stalks and how tender you prefer them.  Note:  The tips of the asparagus will get brown, but don't let them burn!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Apple Banana Orange Green Smoothie

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This apple banana orange green smoothie is delicious and, as usual, great for you.  You can chalk this up to a post-workout quick creation, but it's great, quick to prepare, and the ingredients are pretty cheap.  As usual, place the lightest ingredients first to get it to mix thoroughly.

1 cup kale
1 cup celery
1 tbsp flax seed
1 1 banana
1 macintosh apple
1 navel orange
1/4 cup water

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lebanese Muhammara

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Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year- it's a great time to be outside, enjoy the garden, and see what produce is in season to make new and unique vegan dishes.  This dish here is something a bit foreign to me, I hadn't really experimented with Lebanese food so much in comparison with other styles.  However, after making this dish, I have a feeling that will probably change.  Muhammara is an Arabic word that essentially means 'dip', although it tends to have specific base ingredients... most of which are found in this creation.  I had been looking for a good use for pomegranates other than in martinis and Indian dishes when I found a muhammara recipe calling for pomegranates as a base flavor, and I ran with it.  Tastes delicious on salted crackers, pretzels, french bread, and even celery & carrots!  Do note, however,that this recipe hinges on whether or not you have a quality blender or food processor.  Otherwise, you'll end up with a very chunky paste and will not be able to get all of the different flavors at once, instead it will taste rather patchy (for lack of a better term).

1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
1/3 cup crushed walnuts
1/3 cup crushed pecans
4 cloves garlic, mashed into paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water

In a skillet over medium heat, toss the diced peppers in for 3-5 minutes, allowing them to get crispy and somewhat burnt.

Start up the food processors, and add each ingredient, one at a time.  Add the peppers while still hot, and immediately after processed, place in the refridgerator to cool.

Allow to sit for at least 6 hours prior to consumption.  Many cooks suggest allowing the dip to warm back up to room temperature before eating, I suggest trying both ways and decide which you like.  Enjoy!

 
 
Caloric Info
Servings 12
Calories90.7
Total Fat: 6.7 grams
Sat Fat: 0.7 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 2.4 grams
Monosat. Fat: 3.2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 7.8 mg
Potassium: 87.8.0 mg
Carbs: 7.5 grams
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 grams
Sugar: 2.9 grams
Protein: 1.5 grams

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

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12 oz. Silken Tofu, like Mori Nu (not firm)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp non-dairy butter
1/4 c non-dairy milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 c shredded coconut, sweetened


1 prepared graham cracker crust
OR
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c non-dairy butter
4 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toast 3/4 c coconut in the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes until desired colour - a golden brown is pretty good.

To make the filling:
Empty contents of silken tofu into a blender or food processor. Add soymilk and blend to smooth.
In a microwavable container, melt the chocolate and the butter together. once melted, add the coconut oil and stir.
Add to tofu puree and blend again until the chocolate is completely combined and the mixture reaches a uniform colour.
Pour the mix into the graham cracker crust.

To make the crust:
Crush graham crackers into coarse crumbs.
In a microwavable container, melt the butter with the brown sugar.

Combine the liquid with the graham crumbs and push into a pie pan until there are no holes or spaces, and it is evenly layered.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.


After the pudding is set, top with the 3/4 c toasted coconut and the last 1/4 c of the untoasted. For serving, add chocolate shavings.


NB:  It is better to use silken tofu if you are serving the same day. Silken tofu tends to separate after a day or so. If you are planning a day or two ahead, use a softer tofu and up the soymilk to achieve the same creamy texture.



Caloric Info
Servings 8
Calories 317.1
Total Fat: 21.6 grams
Sat Fat: 9.5 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 3.2 grams
Monosat. Fat: 6.5 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 195.5 mg
Potassium: 113.2 mg
Carbs: 32.2 grams
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 grams
Sugar: 21.2 grams
Protein: 3.0 grams

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Low Fat Vanilla Cupcakes with Sweet Almond Glaze


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These cupcakes, a low(er) fat vanilla, are perfect for a warm and sunshine-y summer day by the pool. With the almond glaze, these little guys are fun and a bit messy, but manageble.

Cupcakes:
1/2 c vanilla soy yoghurt
2/3 c vanilla almond milk
1/4 c applesauce, or 1/2 mashed banana
3 tbsp canola oil
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract, or a fruit extract (like orange or raspberry), or more vanilla
1 1/4 AP flour
2 tsbp arrowroot powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and fill your muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk together yoghurt, milk, applesauce or mashed banana, oil, sugar, and extracts. Sift in flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix. Pour into cupcake liners until about 2/3 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the Almond Glaze:
1/2 c almonds
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c agave nectar (light or raw)
~2 c confectionary sugar
~1/2 c vanilla almond milk (or water)

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until you get a smooth and syrup-like. Add or adjust ratios to get your desired taste and consistency.
Spread 1 tsp of glaze to each (slightly warm) cupake and let it drizzle down the sides. For cleanliness sake, you can eat this guy with a fork and napkin.

Caloric Info
Servings12
Calories272.5
Total Fat:7.0 grams
Sat Fat:0.5 grams
Polyunsat. Fat1.8 grams
Monosat. Fat:4.0 grams
Cholesterol:0 grams
Sodium:115.1 mg
Potassium:120.9 mg
Carbs:50.7 grams 
Dietary Fiber:1.4 grams
Sugar:35.2 grams 
Protein:3.1 grams

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ginger Mango Smoothie

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This Ginger Mango smoothie was a great idea that we decided to test out a few days ago when we were looking at the leftovers in our fridge.  Per usual, our eyes eat much more than our mouths, so we always have more food than we know what to do with.  After a week of plowing through the food in our fridge, it seems we've only touched the surface.  And, of course, the kale is (unfortunately) always one of the first greens to start to wilt.  Whenever that happens, out comes the blender.  Green smoothies are a great way to use up your green veggies that are borderline questionable.  Anyways, today after getting back from the gym, what more could I ask for?  After the gym is a great time to have a smoothie, as it has all your nutrients; if you are a protein-shake person, you can mix your shake right in.  Plus, they are quick to make, and the quicker you eat after the gym, the better.  Enjoy!

1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 macintosh apple, diced
1 cup, kale
3 ribs of lettuce
1 navel orange
1 mango, diced
2 ice cubes
1/2 cup water

Beginning with vegetables, add all the incredients and blend until smooth.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Fluff Frosting & a Variation

Chocolate and peanut butter are one of the best flavour combinations ever. And what could be better than celebrating their love in cupcake form with a vegan fluff frosting? Answer: Pretty much nothing.

The cake:
3/4 c almond milk 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 1/2 c Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter 1/3 canola oil 2/3 c sugar 2 tbsp agave nectar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp chocolate extract (or the fairly elusive peanut butter extract) 2 tsp milled flaxseed 1 c AP flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt
Curdle the almond milk with the vinegar and set aside. Cream the peanut butter, oil, sugar, agave, extracts, and flax seed, then add in the almond milk. Sift in all dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Spoon into liners and bake for 22-25 minutes.
If you don't have a chocolate peanut butter, add in 2-5 tbsps of cocoa powder to the batter with dry ingredients. Look to keep a basic cupcake batter consistency after the addition. Or, use regular peanut butter, skip the cocoa powder, and make a peanut butter cupcake. You can use the fluff frosting below, or make a chocolate mousse topping (even further below).

Fluff frosting: 1/2 c Suzanne's Ricemellow Vegan Fluff (or other Non-Dairy fluff) 1 c confectionary sugar
3-6 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peanut butter extract, or chocolate extract
1/4 c veggie shortening
1/4 c vegan butter

Combine the shortening and butter until homogeneous and smooth. Add in the fluff (a tip: to get the fluff to come easily off your spoon, spray it first with a bit of canola oil) and mix well. Add in the first 2 tbsps of almond milk, and the lot of the confectionary sugar, and mix well, stirring out any lumps. Add the extracts, and more almond milk if the frosting seems too thick. If you want the frosting to be whiter (as the vegan fluff is a bit yellow) add in white food colouring.


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These sports cupcakes are a regular peanut butter cupcake with a Chocolate Mousse topping. Make the cupcake as instructed, with a chunky peanut butter. Then top with either recipe:

Frosting 1:
Use this frosting if you are planning to pipe, as shown above.

1/4 c vegetable shortening
1/4 c vegan butter
2 cups confectionery sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract, or chocolate extract, or a combo
1/2 c cocoa, sifted
3-6 tbsps of almond milk

Add all ingredients and mix well, eliminating any clumps. Adjust almond milk to desired consistency.

Frosting 2:
This frosting is infinitely more creamy and delicious, and has less of that confectionery sugar too-sweet taste, but doesn't usually pipe well.

1 package refrigerated tofu, like Nasoya (try the Dark Chocolate)
2 -3 tbsp melted vegan butter, cooled
8 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate
almond milk (to consistency - it's difficult to guess based on the choice of tofu, the chocolate, and your desired consistency)

Melt the chocolate slowly over low in a saucepan (not-nonstick). Melt and cool butter in microwave or toaster over, allowing it to cool a bit. Add all ingredients to blender or processor, blend until very smooth and at your desired consistency (add only a bit of almond milk at first, and then add more if necessary). Cool for 1 hour in refrigerator, then heap on cooled cupcakes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes


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For the cake batter:
1 c almond milk (or your favourite non-dairy milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 c vegan sugar
1/3 c  canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp mint extract (spearmint or mint will work - save peppermint for the holidays)

1 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Curdle almond milk with apple cider vinegar. Add wet ingredients, with sugar, to the milk mixture. In a separate bowl, sift all dry ingredients together. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients.

Pour into liners or greased tins and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting:
1/2 c non-dairy butter
1/2 c non-dairy shortening, like Earth Balance
3 c confectionary's sugar
Green coloured sugar
Green food colouring
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp mint extract
1/4 tsp salt

To make the chocolate drizzle:
1/2 coconut oil
1/4 cocoa powder
agave nectar to taste

Use liquid coconut oil and add cocoa powder. Add agave to taste.
For more truffle-like chocolate toppings, roll mixture into balls and put on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for 1 hour. Roll in cocoa powder and place in center of frosting.

Cream together butter and shortening. Add confectionary's sugar in 3 batches. Stir in milk, extracts, and add colouring to desired tint. Stir in salt and coloured sugar. Mix well.

Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Top with more coloured sugar and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sloppy Joe's

Having not eaten meat in years, I occasionally find myself yearning for particular meals that I had enjoyed so much during my childhood that were not vegetarian, never-mind vegan. This delicious recipe works fantastically for a replacement, and I can't believe I hadn't considered doing something like this in the past. It worked well, but do beware, I tend to enjoy my food a bit on the spicy side. These sloppy joes work extremely well with hamburger rolls that are fluffy because they tend to absorb a bit of the juices-- sides great with the Ragin' Cajun Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions.

The Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 tbsp garlic, minced (not in oil)
1 12-oz can of tomato paste
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
sea salt to taste

The meat:
1 cup water, boiling
1 1/2 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp peperoncini, diced
1 large pickle, diced
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp chili powder
dash of allspice
sea salt to taste

In a blender or food processor, bend together all ingredients for the sauce until the consistency/flavors match your preferences-- add more of any of the spices as you see fit.

In a bowl, put the TVP and boiling water while giving room for the TVP to rise and set aside for 15 minutes, occasionally mixing.

Saute the onions in oil on medium heat for roughly 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add peppers, tomatoes, pickles, soy sauce, chili powder, allspice, and salt. Allow this to cook for two minutes.

After two minutes, add the sauce and stir together. Simmer for a half hour and enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kale Banana Super Smoothie

 Kale Banana Super Smoothie

This kale-banana super smoothie is a delicious way to pack in some nutrients quickly after a workout.  When I used to train heavily for sports, this was a definite go-to immediately after working out.  Even when I tried P90X, for example, I replaced the recovery drink that they recommended/sold to you with this and I definitely was still getting good results.  Anyways, these ingredients are almost always in the house, so it's a great drink that's always an option for us.

1 banana
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup light unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp flax seeds

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

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I can't wait for summer to enjoy a delicious smoothie while sitting in the yard, watching the cats howl at us from the windows (for some reason, they get nervous when they can see us outside but can't go to us).  The days are longer and the neighbors are friendlier.  What more could you ask for?

This smoothie is simple, packed with fruit, and a great way to follow up a morning jog.  If possible, pick your strawberries fresh for the most flavor (Hint: They're perennials!).

1 banana
Handful of Strawberries
Large Handful of Spinach
Dab of Water

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pasta and chickpea soup


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During the winter time it's easy to want to snuggle up with a bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese.  Unfortunately, post-new year's the grilled cheese goes out the window until at least March when you give up that diet.  Fortunately, that doesn't mean you can't have the thick tomato soup.  This soup is a tomato soup in texture with more, well, body.  The vegetables make it nice and hearty without adding the fattiness of grilled cheese.

1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped white onion
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chopped tomato
3 cups water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (14-oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 cup dried zucchini
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup frozen french-cut green beans
1/3 cup uncooked stellini
2 tsp dried parsley
crushed black pepper

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic, and sauté 10 minutes.

Add tomato, water, vegetable broth, and chickpeas, and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Add zucchini, peas and green beans; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in pastina, parsley, and pepper, and cook 10 minutes.

Garnish with croutons, as picture.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Indian Lettuce Roulades


Indian food is fantastic, and the best part is it is usually made meat and dairy free! This recipe is an adjustment to a traditional cabbage recipe-- since I'm not a huge fan of cabbage, I have manipulated this one to meet my own standards. This is delicious, and is a fantastic dish to introduce a person to Indian food. This vegan delight is sure to be a delight for anyone looking for a little change of pace!

6-8 large lettuce leaves without any major tears or cracks
salt
2-4 tablespoons sunflower or grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped int 1/4" slices
1 large carrot,grated
1 cup diced mushrooms
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup jasmine rice
4 tablespoons dried red lentils
1 tablespoon diced red pepper
1 teaspoon oregano or marjoram
fresh ground black pepper

Boil two different pots of water. One will be fore the lettuce, one for the dried lentils. Allow the lentils to boil for 15 minutes before continuing on with other steps.

In the second pot of water add salt, then blanch the lettuce leaves in the boiling water until they begin to wilt. Up to five minutes should be sufficient. Softly dry the leaves with a paper towel and set aside. Save 3 cups of the boiled water.

Heat the oil and lightly fry the onion, carrot, and mushrooms for five minutes, and then pour in the vegetable stock.

Drain the lentils, and add the uncooked rice, herbs, lentils, and seasoning to the fried vegetables and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for roughly 15-20 minutes. Occasionally stir. At this point it would be good to preheat the oven to 375.

Lay out the leaves rib side down, and spoon the filling at the base. Fold the sides in and roll up-- much like a burrito!

Place the join side down in a small roasting pan and pour the reserved water from the lettuce. Bake for a half an hour until the leaves appear tender or a slight brown-ish color.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Sweet Potato French Fries

This little vegan side is a great supplement to a veggie dog or veggie burger for a kid, and also makes a healthier alternative to fried french fries and potato chips. These are very sweet, and can be a bit tricky in the oven-- but are well worth it. The largest issue is getting them crispy-- the sweet potatoes just seem to have little interest in doing so!

2 sweet potatoes, sliced into french fries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
fresh ground black pepper
table salt to taste
3 tablespoons light olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the sweet potato fries and spread over baking sheet.

Mix cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, coriander, and light brown sugar in a small bowl and sift over the fries-- top with black pepper and salt.

Drizzle olive oil over fries.

Put fries in the oven for 25 minutes-- checking often the last 10 minutes to watch for burning.

The key is to brown them as much as possible and to absorb as much of the water in the fries. Although a little tricky, it's well worth the effort!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Herbed Sea Salt

The concept of making your own concoction for a seasoning is nothing new, but I find that this little mixture seems to work for most grilled foods such as Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary Herbed Salt and fresh fruits like Watermelon Slices with Basil Sea Salt. This recipe is an adaptation from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen, which is an incredible cookbook with fantastic ideas and adaptations of traditional soul food. I find his seasoning calls for just a dash too much salt for my own personal taste, so I've adjusted it just slightly. Essentially, you can follow the below instructions with any of your favorite herbs (or mix together), and you have a delicious seasoning.

3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons of your favorite herb (fresh or dried-- I find fresh works better if you're planning on using all you're making at the moment, but tends to get sticky afterwards... if you're making this to save for later, go with dried)

In a coffee grinder or small blender (i.e. the Magic Bullet), combine the herbs and seas salt, making sure to mix well. Store in an airtight container. If it appears to become sticky later, blend it again.

Shake over your delicious vegan meal and enjoy!

Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary/Oregano Sea Salt

This little vegan side dish is a fantastic way to add some greens to the dinner table, while still being economical. What I love about this particular side is that it allows for you to use either fresh or frozen veggies without any issues making the meal. It also is a great meal for the middle of winter, especially up here in New England. I miss the grill during the long winter season, so breaking out a skillet to grill indoors is a great chance for me to get the taste of summer and to know it will hopefully come again. This recipe is a simple one, so I won't ramble any more.

1 pound asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
herbed sea salt (Much like that used in the Spinach & Lentil Burgers, although I prefer the basil/oregano mixture for this one)
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced

Put the grill/skillet on low.

Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the 1 tablespoon sea salt, allow to boil at a high level and add the asparagus. Now if it is frozen asparagus, allow it to sit in the water for about 30-45 seconds before turning off the heat. Otherwise, turn off the heat immediately and allow to sit for 1 minute.

Drain.

Transfer asparagus to plate, and coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place asparagus on the grill, turning occasionally-- at least enough to cook evenly, for roughly 3 minutes.

Take asparagus off the grill, and dust with the basil/oregano sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Simple, right? Now go test it out!