Tag Archives: low fat

Potatoes Au Gratin, VEGAN STYLE!!!

The holidays are upon us and there’s nothing better than something that’s easy, kid friendly (for your picky nephews), low fat (for your vain body-builder cousin), cholesterol free (for your crotchety aunt), easy (for your peace of mind) and cheap (because you already spent all your money on gifts). This recipe as written will serve 6-8 people as a side dish and doubles easily. It would be great for a departmental potluck.

You’ll need the following:

2 large white potatoes (sliced thin)

2 gigantic yams or sweet potatoes (sliced thin)

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Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are easy to find for around $1 per pound this time of year so I use them fairly often during the holidays. I cut mine with a big old knife. This is one of those times I wish I wasn’t averse to mandolines. The finger that I partially amputated using one always tingles whenever I think about working with one. If you’ve got a good food processor with a slicing blade, I’d recommend using that for safety’s sake, if you’re a fan of the mandoline, use that and be really really really really careful, otherwise use a knife and be really really really careful. I leave the skin on; you don’t have to.

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1 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

a pinch of flake red pepper

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

12-16 ounces of silken tofu

1 cup of soy or almond milk

4 tbsp almond flour

vegan mozzarella and/or parmesan (optional)

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Take the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, flake red pepper, nutritional yeast, tofu and half a cup of milk and blend it all up.

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Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of almond flour on the bottom of a large baking dish and make a layer of white potatoes on it.

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Then slather that layer with some of your tofu mixture. Now repeat the process with the yams or sweet potatoes: layer them on top and then add the tofu cream. You should be able to get 5 or 6 layers of potatoes. I then put the remaining milk into the rest of the tofu sauce and mixed it well before pouring it over the top of the potatoes. I added a few slices of Teese mozzarella (any vegan cheese will do) and sprinkled it with the rest of the almond meal and sprinkled it liberally with walnut parmesan.

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Bake it for an hour and a half at 400F/200C

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You should get a beautiful layered look and a delicious addition to any holiday meal. Hopefully your guests will be too busy enjoying it to notice the orange and white stripes.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Double Cherry, Almond and Long Bean Salad!

Melissa brought us some GORGEOUS long beans from her Dad’s garden. Green beans are easier to find in your supermarket but long beans have a subtly sweeter flavor. Here she is below, breaking off the ends and snapping them into bite sized pieces.

We used the following:

3-4 cups of long beans, ends trimmed and cut

1 carton of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup of dried cherries (dried cranberries work too!)

15-20 toasted salted almonds, crushed

Melissa blanched the beans by steaming them.

I tossed together the fruits and veggies and dressed it with 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar that I whisked together with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

This salad disappeared fast: sweet fruits and veggies, savory nutty almonds and tart dressing. The textures were contrasting and very welcome and this is a light filling salad that’s beautiful to boot! We hope you get to try it.

This is Melissa, Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Saag with Sweet Potato

Brent and I really love Indian food. We make several versions of Americanized favorites including saag. Typically saag is a spinach based sauce flavored with cilantro, chili and turmeric and usually includes chunks of potato, mushroom, and/or paneer. Paneer is a bland home-made cheese so we use tofu that we’ve marinated in lime juice instead. Today, however, we’re using cubes of sweet potato because we had a random sweet potato floating around the apartment (I just had a funny mental image). We put the following into the blender for a creamy base:

1 box of MoriNu soft silken tofu (If you’ve got a soy allergy, soak 1/2 cup of cashews overnight, drain them and add to your blender. This actually tastes marginally better but adds a lot of fat)

1 thumb sized piece of turmeric or 1 tsp powdered turmeric

5-7 cloves of garlic

a generous pinch of cinnamon

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeño pepper or generous spoon of chili paste

1 tablespoon of coconut sugar

This mixture was blended until creamy. Then I added the following greens in the following order, blending thoroughly between:

1 bunch cilantro (stems and leaves)

1 bunch of Swiss chard or mustard greens

1 bunch of spinach

The cilantro goes in first because the stems need to get cut finely. The stems have a lot of flavor. Swiss chard will make a milder saag, mustard greens will make it spicier. Spinach is just a wondrous vegetable. EAT IT!!! Frozen greens work fine for this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I transferred the contents of the blender to my big pan and rinsed out the blender with almond milk (use soy if you’ve got a nut allergy) and put the milk into the pan. I started to heat it and added 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized pieces. A carton of water packed tofu or a few handfuls of mushrooms are great veggies to add to your saag.

Heat the saag through and stir frequently until the potato is cooked. It should be thick and make giant messy bubbles if unattended (hence the stirring).

This will take about half an hour. Add water, salt, spices, and pepper as needed. I also use a garam masala spice mix  that an Indian colleague brought me from his home Hyderabad instead of pepper. Cracked black pepper is better for most tastes. It looks like sewage but tastes like awesome!

We served this with quinoa that we prepared in the microwave with several green cardamom pods. I love saag and know it’s not for everyone. It’s very herbal and spicy and is too vegetal for some. That being said, We ate the whole pan and all the quinoa too… I’ve got a blood donation coming up and I need the iron and vitamin K!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Nuts about Flowers: Rose Pistachio Chia Pudding

Rose is one of my favorite flavors. I’m not big on the flowers themselves but as a food ingredient I think rose is the bees knees. I’m known to add a little rose syrup to a glass of sparkling white wine every now and again (I especially love Spanish cava!) so I’ve got rose syrup just lying around. I have long wanted to make rose pistachio rice pudding but have been too lazy to cook rice… that’s kind of sad. Anyways, I was recently introduced to the joys of chia seed pudding and it’s quickly become a house favorite.

I wanted to use rose with pistachio to flavor chia seed pudding; I just had an inkling that the two would work well together. I also wanted to see the pink and green together.  I combined the following:

1 tsp rose syrup (more if you like it sweet)

1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

about 10 pistachios, shelled and crushed

2 generous pinches of food grade rose petals

I combined the seeds, syrup and almond milk and set it aside for about half an hour.

I shelled and crushed the pistachios and mixed them into the pudding and garnished with a little pinch of petals and nuts. I LOVED how the nutty, salty vanilla roasted flavors in the pistachios picked up the delicate rose and made it warm and earthy in addition to being deeply floral.

I love how the pink rose petals offset the green of the pistachios against the calico pudding. The petals aren’t necessary for good pudding, I’m just secretly artsy. If you use your own petals, be careful that they weren’t treated with any chemical herbicide, pesticide or fungicide that might make you or your family sick. This is common with roses you might buy at your local florist.

This is Christie, signing off!

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“Chicken” Caesar Wraps

This is a post that I’ll alternatively title “things I miss from ‘before'”. Chicken Caesar wraps and chicken Caesar salads contain the big “no-nos” as far as my digestive tract is concerned: gluten, dairy and eggs. This is an incredibly simple recipe and delicious as well as being higher protein and lower fat than the traditional stuff.

I was inspired because I got some rad chili tortillas from the YummyMunch Bakery and decided we needed to have some Caesar wraps. Now, you might already know I’m not a fan of greasy oily things or fish smells so no cups of olive oil or anchovy paste in this recipe. In your blender or food processor combine the following:
juice from 1 lemon (at least 3 tbsp)
1 tsp to 1 tbsp Dijon mustard depending on the variety
1 block of silken tofu
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp onion salt
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast
syrup or sweetener as needed
salt and pepper to taste

Blend until smooth, adjust the seasonings as necessary. Be careful you pick Dijon mustard for your Ceasar dressing: some mustards will make your dressing taste weird. This is a low fat, no cholesterol and high protein version of your favorite with all the creamy texture and great flavor.

We combined it with soy curls prepared according to the package directions and baked until crispy, spinach, tomato and Eat in the Raw vegan parmesan and wrapped it up in Hayle’s red chili tortillas for a healthy vegan dinner. It was quite a treat!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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Sea Scallops, BEGONE!

I love sea scallops. Brent does not. Fortunately we both like daikon radish and we had a giant one hanging out in our fridge like a pale behemoth obscenity. I decided to cook it the same way I used to prepare sea scallops.You’ll need the following:

1 daikon radish, sliced thick

1 pinch turmeric

1 pinch sweet red paprika

juice from 1 lemon

olive oil

1/2 cup of veggie broth

additional water as needed

If you want to deglaze the pan after for a delightful sauce, I recommend using a cup of veggie broth and white wine with a pinch of herbes de provence, but that’s optional.

I sliced my daikon into 1-1.5 inch thick slices, they really look like sea scallops to me. That’s what inspired me. You don’t need to remove the skin.

I put the rest of the ingredients (only half the lemon juice) into my sauce pan and heated to a simmer. Then I put my daikon slices into the pan.

I turned them periodically with some awesome bamboo tongs that my sister got me for my birthday. They have been indispensable in my kitchen since I got them. The daikon slices will start to take on the color of the turmeric and soften.

When they’re suitably soft, let the water evaporate and allow the daikon slices to brown around the edges. The awesome thing about daikon is that they get more tender the longer you cook them. Sea scallops become tough and rubbery, bordering on inedible and approaching unpalatable if you cook them too long and that’s just sad. Also, all seafood contains cholesterol. Daikon has none and will keep in your refrigerator for longer than 2 days. WIN!

Serve them up with a sprinkle of sea salt and the rest of the lemon juice. The sweetness of the tender daikon balances beautifully with the tart lemon and herbal flavors the sea salt brings out, all without any of the fishy smells that make me think twice about putting something in my mouth. If I had this dish to do over, I would use the fond made from deglazing the pan over some steamed fennel and mashed potato.

This is Brent, jealously guarding the plate of daikon. Don’t worry; he shared.

This is Christie, signing off.

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Who needs beef stroganoff? Not this girl.

This sauce is really my interpretation of beef stroganoff. Stroganoff is a Russian dish of sauteed beef served with sour cream. I’m not a fan of beef and dairy and nor is my digestive tract so I’m using mushrooms and tofu for a light version that’s loaded with protein and flavor. I particularly like this recipe with sweet potato or squash gnocchi, but it’s great with regular pasta or over a burger for a new twist on sandwich time. You’ll need the following:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 scallions, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms (any kind will do)
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup white wine (recommended)
1 tofu sausage, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 box of Mori-nu soft silken tofu
soy milk

Put the tofu into a blender and blend it until it’s smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Put the olive oil into a large fry-pan. Add the scallion, wine and herbs; saute for 7-8 minutes until the onion is soft.

Add the mushrooms. We actually used dried mushrooms because they were around: reconstituting them with distilled water in the microwave.

Add the sausage [if you’re using it.I actually find it boring against the other flavors… and that’s saying something] and the blended tofu. Add soy milk to adjust the texture.

While I was doing that, Brent was making the rice pasta. I imagine serving this over braised seitan would be fabulous!

Apologies for those of you who know I say this just about every time I cook with wine: I often see people using ‘spoiled’ wine for cooking. Those flavors will end up in your food so I can’t recommend cooking with wine you wouldn’t drink: buy a fresh bottle and try it to see if you like it. If you’re not much for wine, this recipe is definitely delicious with just a mushroom herb sauce but I do love the flavors it brings out in the herbs and mushrooms. If you do leave out the wine, I’d add a medium diced onion and 3-4 minced cloves of garlic.

This recipe is a decadent creamy high protein sauce that’s great over vegetables, pasta, on bread or whatever. We like it because it takes so little time to prepare for how delicious it is. Brent even licked the spoon. We hope you get to try it and love it as much as we do.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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SunDried Tomato Mac & Cheese

This is a similar dish to the nacho mac and cheese that Brent and I concocted not long ago. This is sundried tomato mac. You’ll need the following:
1 14.5 ounce can of chickpeas, drained or 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked
1 lemon
1 pinch chili powder
1/4 cup sundried tomato, minced
olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup chopped basil (optional)
8 ounces of vegan cheese (we used Ste. Martaen colby)

I started by sauteing the chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice and chili powder. When the chickpeas started to steam and soften I added the onion, and dry herbs and stirred until the onions became translucent.

Add the cheese and tomato, then stir until it’s melty. When the pasta is ready, stir in the sauce and basil. It’s an incredibly simple meal and delicious.

The tomato gives this dish a richer color than it would have otherwise and it’s flavor is made to match. We love easy, quick decadent dishes like this one after an intense exercise session.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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Vegan Buffalo Tacos: not an oxymoron

Brent and I wanted a quick easy meal so we did what any reasonable vegans would do: we made Buffalo tacos. Now, you might be thinking, “buffalo isn’t vegan.” Of course buffalo isn’t vegan, but Buffalo sauce is. This particular marinade hails from Buffalo, New York and typically includes some sort of chili, vinegar and butter or margarine mixed to creamy spicy perfection. In my college days we referred to the sauce’s namesake as “B-lo”, TMI? We’re using Moore’s because it’s made with margarine.

We decided to bake up some soy curls the same way we did for our quesadillas but chickpeas, beans or tofu prepared with a light dusting of chili pepper and soy sauce would be a perfect substitute. While they were cooking, Brent sliced up some bell pepper and onion. When they were done I heated up some corn tortillas in a fry pan; you don’t have to but they taste better. We used corn tortillas but wheat is fine if that’s what you’re into.

Then we dressed up the tortillas with greens, onion, bell pepper, soy curls and a generous dose of Buffalo sauce. This was definitely worth the 20 minutes of prep time; look how happy the guy is!

Next time we might add some sliced tomato and cilantro but it’s totally not a big deal if you don’t have them.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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