Archive for March, 2013
Eggplant is one of my favorite items to work with. It’s royal purple beauty is a sight to behold but this glorious fruit’s beauty isn’t just skin deep. It’s good through and through and plays nicely with others lending it’s mellow flavor to whatever it’s paired with like this toasty sandwich topped with Lemon Garlic Aioli. Check out the Eggplant Stacks in the notes section at the bottom of the page for a lighter option.
For the sandwich
- 1 medium/large eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds (approximately 8 pieces)
- 4 portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed (about the same size around as the eggplant)
- 24 or so grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup baby spinach
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1 tsp lemon peel granules *see notes
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- 1/4 tsp onion granules
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp marjoram
- 8 slices whole grain bread (gluten free if needed)
For the aioli
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp unsweetened soy milk or other non dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Sprinkle 1 tsp salt evenly over the eggplant slices. Place in a colander in the sink or over a bowl and let sit for 1 hour. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. You can skip this step if necessary but the eggplant is firmer and soaks up less oil when prepared this way.
- In a small bowl mix together the lemon granules, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, garlic, onion, oregano and marjoram. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of the eggplant and mushrooms with oil. Arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet (cover the bottom with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up). Sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture.
- Roast 5 minutes and then add the tomatoes to the baking sheet. Roast an additional 20 minutes or until the eggplant and mushrooms are tender and lightly browned.
- While the vegetables are roasting prepare the aioli.
- In a small food processor ( I use a Magic Bullet style blender) add the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, milk and salt. Process until smooth. Add the oil and process until thickened.
- Toast the bread then spread 4 pieces with a layer of aioli. Arrange 2 eggplant slices and 1 mushroom on each. Add 6 tomatoes and spinach to each and top with remaining bread.
Makes 4 sandwiches.
If you can’t find lemon peel granules you can make your own by peeling off the rind of a lemon (no white pith). Cut into thin strips then lay it on a baking sheet and dry at the lowest setting in your oven or dry in a food dehydrator. Once dry, grind in a spice or coffee mill until finely ground. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
In warmer weather you can prepare this sandwich on the grill for a quick and easy summer time meal. Cooking time will vary.
For a lighter version skip the bread and make Eggplants Stacks. Start with one piece of roasted eggplant then layer on the mushroom (cup side up). Fill the mushroom with roasted tomatoes. Spread on the Lemon Garlic Aioli, add a little spinach and then top with another piece of eggplant. Maybe slide in a piece of roasted red pepper too if you are in the mood!
White chocolate!!! Need I say more?! The possibilities are endless and oh so sweet! Enjoy this spring inspired recipe from our favorite chefs at Living On The Veg.
During the holidays it is a little more difficult when you have children that eat different. It is hard for family to understand that your child dsoes not eat store bought items. It seems to my family that my children are always lacking at these times because they can not eat the wrapped junk food their cousins and friends are eating. So as my girls got older, and before they could notice the looks of sympathy from adults, I devised a plan. I encourage them to search for hidden treats around the foliage. It is fun for these extremely social little beings. After they collect the themed, shiny sugar laden tidbits we give them to their friends and family. Well now aren’t they the popular ones?! They do it with zeal because they are giving, and they are met with smiles. Then I have cute, delicious, and special treats waiting when they are done. Interestingly I notice they do not gorge on these foods, I believe since they are made with real ingredients. You can pour these into any theme mold to have White Chocolate anything!
~Chef Fuji from Living On The Veg
- 1 cup cacao butter
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup coconut crystals (more or less depending on your desired sweetness level)
- 1/4 cup lucuma powder
- 2 Tbsp vanilla powder
- 1Tbsp mesquite powder
- 1 tsp pink salt or sea salt
- Melt the cacao butter in a small dish either in the dehydrator (for a raw version) or by placing the dish over a large pot with hot water.
- Add all ingredients including cacao butter to a high powered blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.
- Pour the chocolate into molds of your choice. (I used silicone bunny molds – silicone makes it very easy to remove the chocolate)
- Place in fridge until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Pop each chocolate from the mold and enjoy. They can then be wrapped in cute and shiny cellophane or foil to be enjoyed for the holiday.
Makes about 8 candies but this will vary depending on which mold is used.
Leftover chocolates can be stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
I used to be a BIG fan of Chinese take out food. When my husband and I were first married we probably got Chinese take out at least 4 times per week. Now it’s been many many many years since we’ve had take out but that doesn’t mean we can’t still indulge in one of my favorite meals – chow mein! This dish has easily become a familiar family favorite. While I’m not a fan of making separate meals for everyone in my family this is one dish that is easy to make to suit each person’s likes and dislikes. My kids love it with broccoli and carrots, my husband prefers mushrooms, onions, peppers and pineapple and I’ve shared my favorite version with you below. As a bonus – this dish can be on the table in less than 15 minutes – what’s not to love?!
- 6-8 ounces cooked chow mein noodles *see notes
- 1/2 cup sliced snow peas
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup shredded napa cabbage (or other Chinese cabbage)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1/2 cup diced green onion
- 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (shittake or any variety will work – don’t mind the picture above, I totally forgot to add the mushrooms!)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu, soy sauce or tamari (gluten free variety if needed)
- 3 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 tbsp coconut nectar
- In a small bowl mix together the garlic, ginger, Nama Shoyu, vinegar, 1 tbsp oil and coconut nectar. Stir well and set the sauce aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large sauté pan on high heat and add the chow mein noodles. Pan fry the noodles until one side starts to get crispy.
- Push the noodles to the side of the pan and add the vegetables. Stir fry the vegetables for about 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce, stir well and continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving.
For this recipe I used Annie Chuns Organic Chow Mein FreshPak Noodles. You can use any type of noodles that you’d like, just make sure they are cooked first. Soba noodles would also be good in this dish.
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I love making my own almond butter. Not only is it cheaper than buying it premade but you can make so many yummy varieties. Here’s my current favorite. So simple yet so delicious!
- 2 cups roasted almonds (you can use raw almonds but roasted adds a great flavor)
- 1/4 cup coconut crystals
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt (if using salted almonds you can omit this)
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth creamy mixture.
Makes 1 cup.
Store almond butter in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Whoever thought up the idea of Sunday brunch is a genius in my opinion. You sleep in, run, hike, bike, go to church or whatever your favorite thing is and then you have the best of both breakfast and lunch all combined into one fabulous meal. Easter brunch is the best of all brunches and my absolute favorite. We have here for your brunching pleasure sweet muffins bursting with sunny tropical flavors. Happy Spring!
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut crystals
- 1/4 cup lucuma powder (see notes)
- 4 tbsp powdered soy milk
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, reserve juice
- 1 banana, mashed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper or foil cups. Set aside.
- In a large bowl add all of the ingredients except the pineapple and banana. Stir well.
- Add the pineapple, banana and 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice. Stir to combine. Add more juice if the mixture seems too thick.
- Spoon into prepared muffin pans. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Makes 18 muffins. Serving size 1 muffin.
If you don’t have lucuma powder or haven’t heard of it before it is well worth purchasing. Lucuma is an exotic fruit native to the Peruvian Andes and is considered to be a superfood as it contains potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Lucuma has a sweet flavor like caramel or maple. It’s great in baking, smoothies, ice cream and so much more.
Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days or freeze for up to a month.
Can you believe that I spent the first 24 years of my life thinking that I hated avocado?! Crazy, right?! Luckily, one fateful night at dinner I ordered an entree that didn’t mention it contained avocado and I was too hungry to send it back so I buckled down and ate it – and thus began my love of avocado. Living in California there is always an abundance of avocados and I’m always looking for fun new ways to add them to my favorite dishes. I’ve been craving pasta salad lately and the thought of a creamy pesto sauce sounded perfect. This pesto is hands down the tastiest I’ve ever had. I love how the lemon and miso add a salty and slightly tart flavor to the creamy avocado and walnuts. I only wish I had made a double batch because there were no leftovers after my family and I had this for lunch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
For the Creamy Lemon Avo Pesto:
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1 small avocado
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- large handful of spinach (about a cup)
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chickpea miso (a sweet white miso would also work well)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Pasta Salad:
- 10-12 ounces pasta of your choice
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 2 carrots, chopped or diced
- 2 ounces sliced black olives (optional)
- Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking add all the ingredients for the pesto sauce, except the olive oil, to a food process or blender. Process for a few seconds until a chunky sauce forms.
- While the machine is still running, slowly add in the olive oil until you have a smooth, creamy sauce.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to a large bowl. Add the broccoli, pepper, onion, carrots and olives if using. Stir well.
- Pour the pesto sauce over the pasta salad and stir well until throughly mixed. Place the salad in the fridge until chilled and serve immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This salad makes for amazing leftovers and is a great dish to have on hand for a quick and healthy lunch.
The pesto sauce is very versatile and can be used as a spread on a piece of toasted bread, a topping for a baked potato or as a veggie dip. It also makes a terrific pizza sauce!
I love lettuce wraps and I love veggie burgers so you can only imagine how thrilled I was to see this latest recipe from Living On The Veg. One of the things I love most about raw food is the intense flavor that everything has. The combination of veggies, nuts, seeds and sauce make flavors pop and create amazing textures. If you’ve never ventured into the world of raw foods this is a great place to start!
Making a raw burger recipe is a total must for our house. It is foods like these that remind us of hanging out with our families, because to be honest that is what most quality time with the working parents consisted of, a trip to get burgers. So it is not a surprise why these flavors bring out the warm feelings in the heart. With all the condiments added to this burger, it makes a winning combination of flavor invited to any event that celebrates the wonderfulness of life and health. I love making a comfort food into a delicious health inducing meal that brings about fun memories. So without further adieu, it’s burgertime!
~Chef Fuji from Living On The Veg
- 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked and rinsed
- 1 cup mushrooms (variety including crimini, portabello, maitake, and/or trumpet)
- 1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 cup celery, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup tomatoes
- 1/2 cup radishes
- 1/2 cup beets, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup apple, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup onion (red or yellow will work)
- 1/2 cup greens (choose chard, mustard, spinach, kale, and or beet greens)
- 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu (for a gluten free option use a gluten free tamari or soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke, optional
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients start to form together.
- Form the mixture into burger size patties and place on a nonstick dehydrator sheet. Turn dehydrator to 115 degrees and ‘cook’ until the tops are completely dry, about 5 hours.
- Flip the burgers over onto a mesh dehydrator sheet and continue to dry for another 10 hours or until achieving the dryness you prefer (remember that once you add condiments the burgers will soften up a bit).
- Serve on crisp butter lettuce and top with your favorite condiments.
Makes 8 raw veggie burgers.
Leftover burgers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Reheat in the dehydrator if desired.
Have you heard the birds singing lately? They always seem to me to sing most joyfully in spring. Well, all that joyful warbling got me thinking about the seeds the birds eat and seeds got me thinking about how I like seeds as much as the birds do. So, here is a little pate I whipped up to celebrate spring. Three healthful seeds combined with bright lemon and ginger and a little herbaceous parsley to add a touch of fresh green the color of new leaves budding out on the trees. It’s no wonder the birds are singing so beautifully with so much goodness and beauty to be thankful for. Enjoy!
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp Nama Shoyu or other soy sauce
- 2 tbsp chickpea miso or other yellow miso
- Soak the sunflower and pumpkin seeds overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well. Place in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the hemp seeds, garlic and ginger. Process until ground, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
- Spread on your favorite crackers, roll in collard greens, use as a dip for veggies, spread on bread with tomato and lettuce for a delicious sandwich or any way you choose.
Makes about 12 servings. Serving size 1/4 cup.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I rarely get cravings for sweets. Mostly it’s weird things like Caesar salads, potstickers or onions rings. But the other day I happened to drive by The Cheesecake Factory and I was reminded of their cheesecakes which I used to love. I really wanted something creamy and delicious and there is nothing better than a chocolate peanut butter combo. I played around with this recipe until I got it just perfect – a crumbly cookie crust, a smooth and creamy peanut butter mousse filling and a delicious chocolate topping. There is a reason why I made these in single serving jars – you’d have a hard time not eating the whole dang pie! Luckily, these cute little mason jars hold a perfect serving of deliciousness. Enjoy!
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup finely ground chocolate graham crackers (you can substitute with any of your favorite graham crackers or shortbread type cookies, for those on a gluten free diet make sure to use a gluten free cookie)
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp coconut nectar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the pie filling:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup non dairy milk
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp coconut nectar
- a pinch or two of sea salt
For the chocolate topping:
- 1/3 cup of your favorite chocolate chips, melted
- Place all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and pulse until you have a sand like consistency. Evenly distribute the crust mixture into 6 half pint mason/canning jars.
- Press the crust down with your finger or the back of a spoon until you have an even single layer.
- Wipe your food processor clean and add the ingredients for the filling. Process until you have smooth consistency (stop once or twice and scrape down the sides of the processor as needed).
- Add a layer of filling to each of the mason jars. Use a spoon to smooth out the top.
- Add a teaspoon or so of melted chocolate on top and use a spoon (or your finger) to evenly distribute in a thin layer.
- Place the jars in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate tops have hardened.
- Serve straight from the fridge or let sit for about 5 minutes at room temperature.
Makes 6 single servings.
Store any leftovers by placing the lid on each jar and storing in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You are going to love this week’s recipe from our favorite chefs at Living On The Veg! One of my most favorite things to use my dehydrator for is making raw breads. There is nothing quite like them and ‘regular’ bread never comes close to the intense flavors that raw breads deliver. If you’ve never made bread in a dehydrator before then this is a great recipe to start with. It’s a fairly simple recipe and the flavor and texture is wonderful. You can use your ‘bread’ for sandwiches, cut into crackers or just eat it plain (as I usually do cause it’s so good I can’t wait long enough to make anything with it!). Enjoy!
Bread, how I love thee, but how bad you are for me with your dwarf strain of wheat that was created in a test tube by genetic research in the 1970′s. Yes, this dwarf wheat has become the dominant strain of wheat in the food supply because it yields nearly 10 times the quantity of wheat per acre than the older strains of wheat not subject to artificial genetic manipulation. The problem is this new Frankenstein strain of wheat has something in it that older strains of wheat do not have: Giladin. Giladin is a protein found in this dwarf wheat that is an opiate and also an appetite stimulant. Giladin binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite. It gets you high AND it makes you hungry. Double bonus for the food industry! The more you eat, the more you want to eat. If you wanted to make a laboratory animal obese, one of the fastest ways would be to feed it wheat.
The way to get around this? Make your own wheat free bread of course! Here is a raw version that is versatile for sandwiches of most any variety. Save it in a sealed container in the fridge and it will last for a couple of weeks. Also, check out the work of preventive cardiologist Dr. William Davis and his incredible book “Wheat Belly”. You can find it here on Amazon.
~ Chef Fuji from Living On The Veg
- 5 cups yam, chopped, peeled or unpeeled (for this recipe I left the skins on)
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp physllium husk powder
- 1/4 cup ground flax or chia seeds
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried dill
- Place all the ingredients except the physllium husk and flax/chia seeds into a blender and process until smooth. Add small amounts of water to facilitate blending if necessary.
- Pour the dough into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and the dough starts to stick to itself.
- Spread the dough between 2 teflex dehydator sheets and dehydrate at 115 degrees until the top is dry, about 6 hours.
- Flip the dough onto a mesh dehydrator screen and score with a knife or pizza cutter into desired size.
- Place back in the dehydrator for another 10 hours or more or until the bread is dry but pliable.
- Enjoy as a sandwich with hummus and veggies or eat as is – you’ll find many uses for this amazing bread!
Makes approximately 18 pieces of 3 x 3 slices.
This bread will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge if stored in a sealed, airtight container.