Although the Holidays are over, my son is still on winter break. I love having him home from school but trying to keep him busy and catch up from traveling, house guests, life and household duties, I am having a bit of a difficult time balancing it all and getting back into my daily routine. Anyone else with me on this? With all that being said, I have not been in the kitchen as much as I would like to and needed a quick and easy meal idea. As I was looking around in my bare fridge trying to figure out what the heck to make for dinner, all the pieces came together when I realized with what little I had, I always have Mexican flavors! So I busted out my Instant Pot and got to work with a one pot meal. This dish can be served as a main, side or vegan taco filling. It makes about 8 cups.
1 can or 1/2 cup of dried black beans (makes 1 1/2 cups cooked)
2 1/2 cups of quinoa
3 garlic cloves diced
1 yellow onion diced
1/2 cup green pepper diced (about half the pepper)
2 teaspoons avocado oil
4 cups of water
1 cup of diced tomatoes (I used canned but always check for BPA free cans)
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 teaspoon of pink salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Cilantro and extra lime for topping, maybe some hot sauce if you like it spicy
Skip this step if using canned beans: Cook dried black bean in Instant Pot for for 15 minutes, when cooked strain and rinse, set black beans aside. (15 minutes slightly undercooks the beans, they will be cooked thoroughly with quinoa)
In your empty Instant Pot, add the avocado oil and use the sauté function to sauté the garlic, onions and green pepper for about 3 minutes.
Toss in diced tomatoes, lime juice and spices, stir well.
Add the quinoa and the black beans to the pot, stir until all quinoa and beans are coated with spices.
lastly, add 4 cups of water to the pot, stir, close the lid and cook on high pressure for 1 minute, then letting your instant pot naturally release pressure.
When your Instant Pot is ready to be opened, stir quinoa and serve adding extra flavor like cilantro, green onions, hot sauce or extra lime.
The weather is getting cooler and cooler by the day here in Northern California and I absolutely love it! Cool weather calls for warm hearty dishes like soups, stews, casseroles and noodles. I am such a huge fan of soba noodles. Well, any type of noodles really, but who isn’t? The Soba noodles have such unique flavor compared to others noodles. Their distinct nutty flavor makes a great pairing with earthy flavored vegetables like mushrooms and kale, so that is exactly what I will be using in this recipe. Even though I will be enjoying this recipe warm as a stir fry, this dish can also be served as a cold salad the next day. Soba noodles are so versatile, which makes packing lunch easy for the next day if you double the recipe.
Soba Noodles are a great gluten free noodle alternative if you can get your hands on pure 100% buckwheat flour noodles. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat flour is actually a gluten free ancient grain and surprisingly not even related to wheat at all. So what gives with the confusing name? If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity I always suggest checking the ingredients on the label to make sure your noodles are made with 100% buckwheat flour. I have found that some soba noodles can be made with a blend of flours which would no longer make them gluten free.
This recipe serves 2-3 people:
8 oz of soba noodles
2 teaspoon of avocado or coconut oil
1/2 red onion sliced
1 bunch of tuscan kale cleaned, destemmed and chopped
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of aminos or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of sriracha (1 teaspoon if you like a little kick)
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
Juice for 1/4 of a lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Add water to a saucepan to prepare the soba noodles per instructions on package.
In a separate sauté pan add 2 teaspoons of avocado or coconut oil on medium heat.
Once the avocado oil heats up add sliced onions, stir around for about 2 minutes, next add the sliced mushrooms and continue to stir for another 2 minutes followed by the kale. Once kale is almost cooked thoroughly, turn burner to low heat to keep warm.
While soba noodles are cooking, whip the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
Add cooked and strained soba noodles to the sauté pan with your vegetables but turn the heat off completely so the noodles do not continue to cook
Lastly, add sesame soy sauce to the noodles, toss well and serve.
Sundays are for pasta! If it were up to my boyfriend we would eat penne and marinara every single Sunday. Pasta is his all time favorite comfort food, as it is for many Italian’s. Kyle loves to tell me stories about when he was a child. He and his entire family would go to his grandmothers house every single Sunday and eat dinner together, which always consisted of meatballs, sausage, pasta and bread… the bread for dipping in the sauce, followed by pastries. I agree with him, penne and marinara is so comforting and delicious. I love all variations of pasta! In my opinion, pasta is just too versatile to only limit yourself to penne and its red sauce comfort blanket. So every once in a while I like to throw a curve ball on pasta night. This time making a creamy vegan butternut squash sauce tossed with peas and spirals. This recipe can be gluten free or not, I like to use Trader Joe’s organic brown rice and quinoa blend pasta. This butternut squash sauce recipe makes just a little over 2 cups of sauce and is enough for one pound of pasta.
1 pound of pasta of your choice
2 teaspoon of avocado oil
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 full medium yellow onion or 1/2 a large onion, diced
1/2 a medium sized butternut squash, skinned and cubed. Roughly 2 cups
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 cup of nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup of peas
Heat the avocado oil in a medium sized sauce pan with the yellow onion and garlic while stirring around for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Toss in the butternut squash, vegetable broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cover your saucepan with a lid. Let cook for about ten minutes.
Once the butternut squash is cooked through, start to boil your water for your pasta in another saucepan and add the butternut squash mixture to a blender and puree for about 45 second.
Add Nutritional yeast to the blender and maybe a some more salt and pepper to taste. Here you may need to blend for another 15-20 seconds
Sauté the cup of peas in the same sauce pan you cooked the butternut squash. By the time you are done with the peas your sauce for the pasta should be cooked.
I accidentally skipped dinner the night of Halloween due to the excitement and festivities, I hope everyone else had a blast too! I really made up for it though the night after when I had TWO bowls of this Thai green curry fried rice. It was so comforting and delicious. I love making different variations of things like fried rice (and frittatas for my boys) when I have a good amount of vegetables in the fridge that need to be used. It is such tasty and Hardy way to clean out the fridge. So here are some of the different veggies I had in my fridge that I needed to use and thank god because this dish turned out so flavorful.
2 cups of rice of your choice, I used brown
2 carrots chopped
2 cups of broccoli florets
1 zucchini chopped
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 bell pepper, color of your choice, I used half green and half red because that is what I had
1 cup of peas
1/4 inch knob of ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
2 teaspoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of green curry paste
1 tablespoon of coconut aminos
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of water
1 wedge of lime
Cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts for topping (optional)
While the brown rice is cooking, sauté your veggies until cooked through, set the vegetables aside in a separate bowl.
In the same pan you cooked the vegetables in add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil on low-med heat, followed by the green curry paste, coconut amigos, rice vinegar, water and lime. Stir well then grate the garlic clove and ginger and continue to stir for another minute.
Once rice is finished cooking fold into the green curry mixture and stir until rice is coated
Toss in your veggies and mix well while adding salt and pepper to taste.
Top with cilantro, green onions and sprouts and serve.
It is October 25th and the high today in the Bay Area is 85 degrees, I think mother nature has her seasons a little confused. Where is that Fall weather I was enjoying last week? This heat wave is no joke, it looks like it will be hot all week. With that being said I needed to add some cold items to my weekly meal plan to avoid heating up the entire house (even more) with my oven. But I still wanted something Fall-esque, this salad was the perfect solution. As a matter of fact if the heat continues I will probably be having salads all week, and maybe an ice pop or two.
Shaved brussels sprouts, kale, red onion, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate tossed in honey mustard dressing, I am loving these flavors together. This can be served as a great main dish, starter or side for those warm fall days when mother nature does not want to let go of Summer. This recipe can be friendly most diets, if you are vegan just substitute the honey in the dressing with agave or maple syrup. If you are paleo and want some protein add egg, salmon or chicken. It’s that easy!
1 bunch of kale, destemmed, chopped & massaged
5 cups (about a pound) of shaved brussels sprouts
1/4 of red onion, sliced
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons of yellow mustard
1 heaping teaspoon of honey, agave or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon diced shallots or minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash, destem, chop and massage your kale for 3-5 minutes, I know it sounds silly but you don’t want to skip this step. If you don’t massage the kale it will be very rough.
Shred the brussels sprouts, I used the slicing attachment to my food processor which made this step quick and easy.
Whip up the honey mustard dressing, and toss your kale and brussel sprouts in it.
Slice and top your salad with red onion along with the pepitas and pomegranate seeds.
I am part of a soup loving family. We will eat anything soupy or stew-like anywhere, anytime! This recipe in particular is one of my son’s favorites and I can’t say I blame him. Nor do I mind cooking it for him since it is so good and so nutritionally balanced. Providing everything from nutrients, vitamins, and fiber from the vegetables to healthy saturated fats from the coconut milk, and a great source of plant based protein from the lentils. Coconut curry is creamy, flavorful and comforting. Especially this time of year when the weather is starting to cool down.
2 teaspoons of coconut oil
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stocks, chopped
2 carrots sliced
1/2 a bell pepper, color of your choice, chopped
2 cups of leafy greens of your choice, destemmed & chopped (kale, swiss chard, or spinach)
1 can of diced tomatoes (BPA free) or 1 3/4 cup of fresh diced tomatoes
1 canned full fat coconut milk (BPA free)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger or 1/2 an inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
2 heaping teaspoons of red curry paste
1 wedge of lime
5 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of red split lentils
Cilantro (optional for topping)
Green onions (optional for topping)
Place coconut oil to your pot over medium heat. When melted, add chopped onion, sauté and stir around until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, and continue to stir and sauté for another minute.
Now place all of your vegetables except your greens to the pot. Stir around to coat with oil then add your ginger, salt, red curry paste and squeeze in that wedge of lime. Mix around until all vegetables are coated with seasonings.
Toss in tomatoes, coconut milk and five cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and add lentils, simmer for 25 minutes
Remove from heat, add greens and stir.
Optional: Top with more lime, cilantro and/or green onions and enjoy
This dish is just screaming FALL! And who doesn’t love Fall? Boots, scarfs, leaves and squash. Out of all the squash in season at the moment Delicata is one of my favorites (along side spaghetti squash) due to it’s amazing flavor and easy preparation. The skin on this squash is edible so no need for peeling or scraping. Just rinse, roast and enjoy. This recipe makes the perfect side dish or can be served over quinoa or raw spinach to make a bowl or salad.
3 delicata squash (I cook for 3 people so I prepared 1 per person)
I can’t think of another vegetable as versatile as cauliflower, can you? It’s one of my favorites. One of those veggies I never get sick of because it can be dressed so many different ways and compliments every flavor imaginable. My flavor of the week is sesame!
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s also a great source for vitamin C and K. Unfortunately, vitamin K deficiency is becoming more and more common these days, so eat up! No, really, you can eat up because cauliflower is known to be low in calories as well. But who is counting anyway?
This recipe is made to be flexible. It can be served over rice, quinoa, or served by itself. Since cauliflower is high in filling fibers I prepared my cauliflower by itself as a main dish using 1/2 of a cauliflower per person.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While your oven is heating up, cut the cauliflower into florets. Dice the garlic and onion and chop up your pepper. Mix the garlic, onion, pepper, and cauliflower together with just a touch of coconut or avocado oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven. My favorite way to roast anything is in a cast iron. If you don’t own a cast iron, a sheet pan will do. Bake for about 20 minutes. While your cauliflower is roasting, it’s time to whip up our sesame sauce. Whisk all your wet ingredients together and pour over your cauliflower. Toss lightly and bake for another 7-10 minutes. The timeframe can vary with the size of your florets. The bigger you cut them, the longer they will take to roast. Once your cauliflower is finished roasting, take out of the oven and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 bell peppers, red, yellow, or orange
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of liquid or coconut aminos
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Sriracha
Dash of salt and pepper
** If you want to make your sauce thick, more like a glaze add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or non gmo cornstarch **
Preheat your oven to 400
Toss your cauliflower, garlic, onion and pepper in a touch of coconut or avocado oil, just enough to coat your veggies
Roast in cast iron or baking sheet for 20 minutes
Drizzle the sauce over your veggies, mix around
Roast for another 7-10 minutes
Remove from the oven and top with green onions and sesame seeds
I had the most satisfying dinner last week and I just have to share it with all of you! Spinach & Chickpea tikki masala with cauliflower rice is all the rage. This dish is thick, creamy, flavorful, and aromatic. I might be a little biased though, I really love anything with coconut milk in it! This recipe is Vegan and gluten free but unfortunately not paleo due to the chickpeas but I am confident that if you wanted to leave the chickpeas out and add some extra veggies this recipe would still be amazing.
First, I would get the masala going that way you give it time to simmer while making your cauliflower rice. Start by sautéing your onions, garlic, and fresh ginger in coconut oil. Then, toss in your spices and mix around for about a minute. Mix in diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and chickpeas. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. You want to wait until the very last minute to throw in your spinach since greens wilt quickly. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. While that is working, grab your cauliflower and cut into florets. Pulse in your food processor until it looks like chunks of snow. Sauté and serve.
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 garlic cloves
1 inch knob of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon of garam masala
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of coriander
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (1/2 teaspoon if you like a little kick)
2 1/2 cups of chickpeas (1 cup of dried chickpeas expands to 2/12 cups when cooked)
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 big handfuls of spinach
Fresh cilantro and green onions for topping
Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to your pan
When coconut oil melts add diced onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until translucent
Toss in your chopped garlic sauté for an additional 2 minutes
Add your grated fresh ginger and all your spices while stirring well
Throw in your chickpeas and mix around until they are all coated with your spices
Mix in can of diced tomatoes, coconut milk and squeeze of lime. Stir, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This is when you start prepping your cauli rice.
Add spinach and salt & pepper to taste, stir and top on your rice
Hopefully when your Masala was simmering you were getting your cauliflower rice ready.
Cut Cauliflower into florets and place into your food processor and pulse until your cauliflower is broken up into smaller pieces (looks like cauliflower snow)
Add your cauli rice to a warm, oiled pan and sauté for about 7 minutes while continuing to stir. Add a dash of garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
When Cauliflower rice is at your desired texture, plate with Tikki Masala and top with fresh cilantro and green onions.
School is back in session, and my son is now a third grader. The time sure does fly! I absolutely love his school, they work towards being a zero waste school and encourage parents to pack zero waste lunches! This is great because it also encourages healthy lunches and snacks to be packed for students since most of the nutritious foods don’t come in wrappers and packages. Last year I did a decent job at packing a zero waste lunch but I did sneak in the occasional granola bar or Justin’s peanut butter packet every once in a while. Since there is always room for improvement, this year I am going to do a better job.
When my family and I visit Santa Cruz we always go to one of our favorite coffee shops in town, Verve Coffee Roasters. Along with their coffee they have the most delicious vegan & gluten free date bars there. So I am going to mimic those and add a couple of other ingredients that I know my son will enjoy. I am wrapping them in compostable parchment paper in hopes my son will fold the paper up nicely and bring back to me for reuse… but who are we kidding he is an eight year old boy. If the paper doesn’t come back for reuse at least he knows to put it in the compost at school.
This recipe is so easy and quick with just 5 ingredients and no baking involved. This recipe is vegan and gluten free, you can make them grain free/Paleo if you leave the oats out and add more cashews! Just toss those dates and apricots in your blender or food processor for about one minute just to get a little head start. Then simply add the rest of your ingredients in and blend for about another minute, maybe even less. Just make sure everything is chopped and mixed well together. Then flatten the mixture out and cut them into desired shape and sized. I cut mine into squares to make 6. Wrap them up in parchment and they are ready for healthy and eco friendly on the go snacks.
2 cups of pitted dates
1 cup diced apricots
3/4 cup oats
1 tablespoons chia seeds
Add dates and apricots to food processor blend for 30-60 seconds
Add the rest of your ingredients to the food processor blend until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed well
Flatten, form and cut into desired shapes and sizes
Wrap in parchment paper or portion out in reusable bags and enjoy on the go