On night three, I made an easy slow cooker meal that I had taste tested with one of my most picky carnivore friends! I love this dish and it was a hit with the fellows as well. I combined the chili with grilled sandwiches made with hummus, sliced sweet peppers, grilled zucchini slices and broccoli microgreens (I get microgreens at farmer’s market but you could use arugula or other greens). I used a small amount of this “butter” for grilling). Pumpkin chocolate chip blondies with date caramel sauce made a delicious gluten free plant based dessert!
Slow Cooker Quinoa, Black Bean, Sweet Potato Chili Recipe is by Kitchen Treaty and can be accessed here.
I made it a little easier on myself on night two and made a simple pasta primavera, with a green salad with fresh blueberries, orange segments and walnuts and balsamic dressing, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
My family recently went to see the movie Game Changers, a fascinating documentary about the power of whole food planted based eating to improve athletic ability. My twenty-three year old son, John, was with us. Afterwards, John asked if I would make several plant based dinners for him and his roommates, three other twenty-three year old men. I was thrilled that he wanted to eat healthier and agreed to the challenge!
The first night I prepared Mexican lentil, black bean and rice tostadas with roasted broccoli and plant based cheese sauce and diced potatoes sautéed in vegetable broth. I felt like this was a good meal to start with because it looked kind of like a “meat and potatoes” meal on the plate but with lots of flavor and color. The verdict? The fellows really enjoyed it and couldn’t believe it was healthy!
Mexican Lentil, Black Bean and Rice Tostadas
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
1/2 uncooked green lentils, rinsed
3-4 cups vegetable stock or broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
15 ounce can black beans, drained
1 cup fire roasted tomatoes, drained (or use entire can if you like tomatoes)
4 ounce can diced green chiles
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup enchilada sauce
Heat large pot over medium low heat.
Add extra virgin olive oil.
Add diced onions and cook 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add minced garlic, stir and cook for a minute or two.
Add spices and stir to coat onions and garlic.
Add brown rice, lentils and vegetable stock/broth.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook approximately 30 minutes until lentils and rice are tender. Check every few minutes to stir and make sure there is no scorching. Add more vegetable broth if it has absorbed and mixture appears dry and sticking to pan.
Add in remaining ingredients, stir and cook a bit longer to defrost corn.
Place mixture a top tostadas (or just serve solo on plate) and garnish with sliced avocado or guacamole, cherry tomatoes and cilantro.
Roasted Broccoli with Mexican Cheese Sauce (plant based)
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month so it’s a good time to talk about mushrooms. Mushrooms fight cancer using several mechanisms. They are antiangiogenic (decrease blood supply to cancer cells), apoptotic (promote cancer cell death), and protect cellular DNA. They are real superstars when it comes to boosting our immune system, which is an integral part of defending our bodies against cancer. Mushrooms enhance the effectiveness of immune cells such as natural killer T cells and dendritic cells. The lectins in mushrooms also bind to abnormal cells such as cancer cells and activate our immune system to target the abnormal cells.
A meta-analysis found that adding lentinan, a substance from mushrooms, to conventional chemotherapy in patients with advanced cancer significantly increased their survival rates compared to patients with advanced cancer who received chemotherapy alone and also improved their response to chemotherapy and decreased the number of adverse events.
Mushrooms are also aromatase inhibitors. Aromatase is the enzyme that produces estrogen and estrogen fuels breast cancer in 80% of breast cancer patients. Thus, inhibiting aromatase is thought to be protective against breast cancer. In fact, drugs have been developed to inhibit aromatase but we know that there are a few foods that do this naturally…. like MUSHROOMS!
I am trying to eat more mushrooms myself and tonight I prepared this delicious Mushroom and Leek Risotto from Minimalist Baker. The recipe may be found here. This dish is rich, creamy and savory… nice enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight dinner. When I prepare this dish again, the only change I will make will be to add a couple of cloves of garlic (minced) because I LOVE garlic and it also has anti-cancer potential!
When I find a recipe that has more than one anti-cancer ingredient and I really LOVE it, I get pretty excited. This dish does just that. It combines cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, with turmeric. Cruciferous vegetables contain powerful phytochemicals that have been shown to have anti-cancer effects. Curcumin, the polyphenol in turmeric, has been studied extensively and shown to help reverse precancerous changes in colorectal cancer patients, and slow progression to full blown disease in those with smoldering multiple myeloma… among many other studies.
You will find her turmeric cauliflower recipe here. I only have one change to her recipe – add ground black pepper. This will greatly enhance the absorption of the curcumin. Oh and one preparation tip… cut the cauliflower into florets at least 45 minutes before cooking or use packaged cauliflower florets from the produce department. Cutting cruciferous vegetables before cooking helps to maximize the production of their anti-cancer phytochemicals.
The inspiration for this sandwich came from a recipe blog I subscribe to, HurryTheFoodUP. Their recipes are quick and flavorful, perfect for busy parents, students and professionals.
Tempeh is a fermented soy product, a good source of protein and nutrients. Although the HurryTheFoodUp recipe called for fried tempeh, I used a marinade and baked the tempeh for a healthier version. I tried it both ways – fried and baked and thought the marinated and baked version was more flavorful – but it is more time consuming. The recipe for the marinade comes from responsibleeatingandliving.com (I halved their marinade recipe for a small batch of tempeh). I made the tempeh ahead and refrigerated until I needed it the next day for sandwiches.
Mash the avocado. Add lime juice and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. I also added diced purple onion and one clove of minced garlic but I really like onion and garlic (both have been shown to have anti-cancer effects)!
Butter one side of each of the four slices of bread very lightly.
Spread the avocado mash on two of the four slices of bread.
Add sun dried tomatoes over avocado mash. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Slice tempeh to make it half as thick. Place slices of tempeh on the non-avocado bread and then add a handful of broccoli sprouts (or other greens).
Put the slices of bread together to make the sandwich and grill lightly.
Toss the vegetables and mushroom with grapeseed oil. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with a Sil-Pat and roast 25 minutes.
Grease an 8×8 pan/dish with grapeseed oil.
Spread marinara sauce over the bottom of pan/dish. Layer lasagna noodles, then vegetables and mushrooms, then ricotta, then more sauce, more noodles, more veggies/mushrooms, more ricotta and more sauce. Sprinkle on plant based parmesan cheese. (If you like a thicker lasagna, you could add an additional layer of each)
Cover and bake 35-40 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes to allow lasagna to set. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
First of all these are so delicious it will be hard to believe they are GLUTEN FREE, SUGAR FREE, DAIRY FREE AND EGG FREE. When I tell my sweet mama something like this she usually says, “There’s no way that can be good!” But these really are! And just in time for holiday baking!
The secret is in the dates. I have been making date paste to sweeten my baked goods for some time now. Dates are a wonderful whole food sweetener. The antioxidant capacity of dates is more than ten times that of maple syrup and honey, other commonly used whole food sweeteners. Dates are also much higher in calcium, magnesium and contain B vitamins and 7 amino acids.
It does take a little time and effort to make the date paste. They must be pitted, then heated in water on the stovetop to soften then pureed. I was thrilled to discover The Date Lady at a Slow Food Festival this summer in Denver. She has perfected date syrup and has an entire line of wonderful date products, making my baking a bit less time consuming. The recipe below is my plant based version of her Bonanza Cookie recipe. These are even better when still warm from the oven or heated up. Drop me a line and let me know if you make these and how you liked them!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
2/3 c. coconut oil melted
2 flax eggs (to make one flax egg mix 1 T. ground flaxseed with 2.5 T. water and let sit for 5 min.)
Mix first six ingredients well. Mix the remaining ingredients (except nuts and chocolate chips) in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well. Add in chocolate chips and nuts. Form into balls in your hands and then mash with your palms to make small cookies. Bake at 350 on a Sil-Pat mat for 9-10 minutes.
This is an easy and tasty fall recipe. I made just a few changes.
Instead of parchment paper, I used a silicone mat (sil-pat) which is safe in temperatures up to 500 and is better for environment
This recipe has a lot of sodium. I did not salt the squash before roasting and I cut way back on the salt added to shallot – using maybe ¼ teaspoon.
I used grapeseed oil as it is better for high cooking temperatures and used a very small amount to coat the flat sides of squash before roasting.
I substituted red onion for shallot which I would NOT recommend. The shallot has a more delicate flavor and should be used. Take care also NOT TO BROWN the shallot or the garlic as this can give a bitter flavor and dominate the flavor of the soup.
I added a bit more maple syrup and nutmeg.
I did NOT add the butter/olive oil at the end and it still came out very creamy and smooth.