Food and Lifestyle

Easy to Make Veggie Burgers

Easy to Make Veggie Burgers

These veggie bean burgers, adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie, are the bomb. The ingredients are inexpensive. They are very easy to make, healthy (low or no fat), and very filling! You can use any type of bean (recommended beans are soybeans, pinto beans, black beans), any type of flour ((recommended flours are oat, whole wheat) and herbs, spice, and seasonings to suit your palate. If you’re an improv cook, this is a simple recipe to adapt. And if you’re not, just follow the directions in the link from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Adapted from original recipe: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/veggie-burger-recipe-best/ 

INGREDIENTS:

15 oz dried Soybeans (cooked and softened)

3 Tbs Tomato Paste

¼ Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Onion Powder

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

2 Tbs Oat Flour

½ Cup Cooked Diced Vegetables- (I used carrots, peas, and green beans)

I added ½ Tsp Paprika, ½ Tsp Cumin, and a ½ Tsp Curry Powder

STEPS:

  1. To make the veggie burgers, drain the beans, and mash either by hand, with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, depending on desired burger texture.
  2. Stir in all other ingredients, and form patties. (Add more flour if too soft to form patties.)
  3. Either pan fry–flipping halfway through cooking–or place on a parchment-lined pan.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Flip, then bake an additional 10 minutes or until desired texture is reached.
  5. Leftovers can be refrigerated. – (I baked them.)

Mixed Sweet Potatoes and/or Yams

This is the perfect Passover or Easter dinner dish. It’s easy to make, affordable, filling and healthy. I used a mix of orange sweet potatoes (3#) and Murasaki sweet potatoes (3#).

Murasaki sweet potatoes are fairly new to the market. They are grown primarily in California, and originally developed by the Louisiana State University’s Sweet Potato Research Station. They were released to growers in 2008. Their name comes from the Japanese word for purple, which is the color of their skin. The inner flesh is yellowy white. They have a flavor redolent of sweet and nutty, and are broad-spectrum resistant to disease. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. They also contain calcium, protein, iron, and amino acids.

I purchase Murasaki sweet potatoes at Trader Joes’s in a 3# bag for $3.99. Murasaki are my absolute favorite potatoes, because they are so versatile.

INGREDIENTS

6# total – regular sweet potatoes and Murasaki sweet potatoes or a mix. Yams work too.

STEPS

  1. Wash potatoes. Scrub any dirt off, if necessary.
  2. Peel the bad parts off of the potatoes and discard.
  3. Line a large baking/cookie sheet with either a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  4. Place potatoes on cooking sheet with mat or parchment paper. Pierce each sweet potato a few times with a fork (to prevent bursting).
  5. Bake at 425 for 40 minutes on the center rack in the oven.

Test with a fork to verify they are fully cooked. They will be soft in the middle.

Mix of Sweet and Murasaki Potatoes BakedMix of Sweet and Murasaki Potatoes

March is National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the primary trade association for dietitians (licensed by states as RDN’s or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists). During the month of March, “everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.” https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month

The Academy encourages you to “personalize your plate.” Three of the four elements of this initiative are things anyone on a whole-food plant-based diet could benefit from: Cook & Prep, Meal Planning, and Vary your Diet. (The 4th, “Visit an RDN,” is only needed in certain circumstances, and in this context is sort of like having your barber recommend a haircut.)

The website includes a handout on “Vegging Out: Tips on Switching to a Meatless Diet”: https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/vegetarian-and-special-diets/vegging-out-tips-on-switching-to-a-meatless-diet. It contains good tips on switching to plant-based, including the following:

“A good first step is to review your current diet. Make a list of foods that you regularly eat, paying special attention to vegetarian foods that you like. Next, aim to incorporate these foods — along with a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans — into your eating plan. A good way to include vegetables, for example, is to add them to the foods you already enjoy, such as pasta or rice dishes.”  AND

“Plan meals around whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. This ensures a variety and balance of nutrients, including fiber, protein and health-promoting phytochemicals. … Use fresh and dried herbs and spices for extra flavor. Mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, hummus and fresh salsa are flavorful condiments.” AND

“It is a myth that vegetarians can’t get enough protein in their diets. Vegetarians easily can meet their protein needs when they eat a variety of plant proteins and get enough calories. Plant proteins can provide all the essential amino acids that your body needs. Whole grains, beans, lentils and nuts are good sources of protein. Eating a variety of different plant proteins each day helps your body store and use protein.” [Remember, these are licensed dietitians talking.]

Please leave aside the Academy’s advice on using oils (they say some are healthier than others). Rochester Lifestyle Medicine recommends that you eliminate oils from your diet on any whole-food plant-based diet. There is no need for oil; it adds empty calories (lots of them), can cause inflammation, and predisposes you to insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes.

Finally, this is great advice from the handout:

“Pick up a vegetarian cookbook or search the internet for vegetarian recipes and meal ideas, and explore vegetarian foods from various global cuisines. While American cuisine can be meat-focused, it’s easy to find ample vegetarian options on many Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern menus. The supermarket is a good place to find vegetarian ingredients and ready-to-eat meatless foods from around the world.” Just keep out the oil, and exclude high-fat plant foods if you are on Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute’s Jumpstart: https://rochesterlifestylemedicine.org/about-jumpstart/

Nutrition Month

St Pat’s Day Green Smoothie

Looking for a healthy, easy to make smoothie with just a few simple ingredients?

This is the perfect St. Pat’s Day smoothie. It’s the perfect way to boost nutrients, cell function and immunity, and slow down the aging process, which we know speeds up by consuming toxins and processed foods.

Now, you have options here. You can make this into a Relish Bowl, by limiting the water you add and the blending time.

Note: If you have a Vitamix or high speed blender, you can add all of the ingredients without chopping. If you have a low powered blender, you should chop the greens, soften frozen fruit and dates (by soaking in hot water for 10 minutes prior to blending).

Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups leafy Field greens (arugula, kale, spinach, etc)
  • 1 cup Mixed fruit – fresh or frozen
  • Banana (for thicker, richer texture)
  • A splash of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of water.
  • 1 Tbs Flax Seeds (optional)
  • 1-2 dates (optional for a sweeter taste, chunkier texture)

STEPS

  1. Grind the flax seeds in an electric spice/coffee grinder or blender until they turn into flour. You can also use store-bought ground flax seeds but make sure the flax meal is fresh. (if using)
  2. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on low until desired consistency (relish bowl or smoothie).
  3. Spoon into glasses or bowls for immediate consumption.

 

 

 

Healthy No Bake Raw Fudge Brownies

Looking for a healthy, easy to make no bake brownie recipe with just a few simple ingredients?

I have the recipe for you! This recipe is plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, and free from refined sugar. Forget the store-bought variety. These brownies are stored in the freezer and are a kid pleaser. I love this recipe for its  adaptability, simplicity and taste.

Blogger’s Notes: I omitted the chocolate glaze from the recipe. The brownies were super rich, chocolatey and delicious without the glaze. I also added a 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas to the recipe to improve the consistency.

Adapted from https://elavegan.com/healthy-no-bake-brownies-vegan-gluten-free/.

Prep Time10 mins

Servings: 16 small brownies

INGREDIENTS

WET:

  • 3/4 cup dates soft and moist ones (*see notes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean
  • ½ cup chickpeas (or white beans)
  • 1 Tbs Maple syrup (optional)

DRY:

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp flax seeds (65 g)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder (30 g)
  • 4 tbsp powdered peanut butter or almond flour (ground almonds) (32 g) (I used powdered peanut butter)
  • Pinch of salt

Low-fat chocolate glaze: (I omitted the glaze.)

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or raw agave syrup
  • 3 tbsp powdered peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

STEPS

  1. Grind the flax seeds in an electric spice/coffee grinder or blender until they turn into flour. You can also use store-bought ground flax seeds but make sure the flax meal is fresh.
  2. Process all dry ingredients in a food processor, then add the dates and vanilla extract and blend until the dough sticks together when you press it between your fingers. It might take a while until the dough comes together. If it’s still too dry after some minutes add a few additional dates or a little bit of maple syrup or raw agave syrup. The dates should be very soft and juicy. If they aren’t moist soak them in warm water until they are soft.
  3. Line a 5-inch square baking pan (double the recipe if you have an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan) with parchment paper and leave about a 2-inch overhang on both sides. Grease the paper with a little bit of oil. (I used a silicone pan.)
  4. Transfer the brownie dough to the pan and press it down firmly.

Notes

  • If the dates aren’t soft/moist enough, soak them in (warm) water until they are soft.
  • To make the glaze, just combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix everything together with a whisk. You can skip the powdered peanut butter and use 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp of regular peanut butter (or any other nut/seed butter). However, it’s recommended to add more cocoa powder so the glaze isn’t too runny. Pour the glaze over the brownie dough and put the pan into the freezer for about 1 hour to set. (I omitted the glaze.)

Raw No Bake Brownies WFPB

Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Kale (or Spinach) Soup

Adapted from https://thevegan8.com/chickpea-sweet-potato-soup-gluten-free-oil-free/#wprm-recipe-container-34236

As I watch the snow build up outside, I crave the idea of eating a warm hearty soup. There’s nothing better on a cold winter day.

This one, by the Vegan 8, is a winner. It’s very easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and is filling. And, it’s super healthy. No oil, gluten free and virtually fat free.

After two of my friends made this and lauded the results, I decided it was my turn. Three’s a charm. WOW! This soup is super savory and delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1/2 cups no sodium DARK vegetable broth/stock (I used organic vegan Better than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base)*
  • 1 packed cup (160g) finely diced white onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced (two tablespoons minced garlic)
  • 1 inch cube fresh ginger, minced (I used ginger powder)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Two 15oz cans organic chickpeas, drained & rinsed (I soaked and cooked dried chickpeas)
  • 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 4 heaping cups roughly chopped fresh kale, stems removed* (I used organic frozen Spinach)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder-optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the sweet potatoes, onion, ginger and garlic.
  2. In a large pot, add the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and turn to simmer for about 15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are almost fully tender.
  3. Add the chickpeas (drained & rinsed), nutritional yeast and kale. Return the lid and simmer an additional 10 minutes. (I stirred in a tsp chili powder at the end.)

*Better than Bouillon contains salt, so no need to add any other salt to this recipe. When you purchase Better than Bouillon read the label carefully. This brand makes Vegetable, No Beef and No Chicken, which are all plant-based; but it also makes regular Beef and Chicken, which can be easily confused with the others.

Note: This recipe can be made in a pressure cooker.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Vegan Soup

Sweet Potato Chickpea Vegan Soup Step 2

Sweet Potato Chickpea Vegan Soup Ready to Serve

Easy Black Beans and Rice with Salsa

We were in Costa Rica a few years back during Passover.* We were in heaven when we stayed inland; there was a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. We loved having access to inexpensive, tropical produce and were able to make many meals with these delicious items. Since we were avoiding leavened items, the produce was a boon. When we moved to a fishing village on the West Coast of Costa Rica, gone were the myriad fresh fruits and vegetables and low prices. Bread and fish were plentiful. Since we were trying to keep Passover and as plant-based eaters, our choices were limited and bread was not an option. Fruit and vegetables grow inland and were not accessible. SO – we lived on rice and beans for several days. We bought a 10# bag. and each and every night, we made a new dish with seasonings and spices we found at the local markets. Below is one such recipe. It’s easy to make, filling, delicious, and inexpensive to make, even in Costa Rica.

* For those unfamiliar with the Jewish tradition, during the 8 days of Passover, those who observe it need to avoid all leavened products, IE: wheat and yeast products that rise when baked, such as bread and pasta. Matzoh and matzoh meal are exceptions because they are unleavened (don’t rise). This can present a challenge when traveling.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of cooked Brown Rice

15 or 16 oz drained can of Black Beans OR dried beans that have been cooked

1 teaspoon of Turmeric Powder

A tablespoon of Garlic Powder

A teaspoon of Onion Powder

A quarter cup of Salsa (low salt)

STEPS:

Put all ingredients in a non-stick pot (at least 3 quart) and cook on medium until hot.

Serve immediately or simmer until ready to eat.

Note: This dish keeps well for 5-7 days in the fridge in a well-sealed container.

easy rice and beans with salsa

Heart Healthy Plant Based Valentine’s Day Pie

Looking for a delicious, sweet Valentine’s Day treat for your loved ones? Look no further. Try this fruit-filled pie recipe, made with LOVE. It’s sweet and filling, without the sugar, fat and calories.

Sweeten your Valentine’s Day with this beautiful, plant-based fruit pie recipe shared by Chef Valeria Gomez, Courtesy of Plant Powered Metro NY. With or without a heart-shaped cake mold, this dessert filled with oats, dates, and berries is a heart-healthy treat that will make your Valentine’s Day special!

Ingredients: 

Crust
7 dates (soaked in hot water for 20 min)
1 cup of oats
1 teaspoon of powder cinnamon 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Filling
4 ripe frozen bananas
1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Lime juice to taste
Lemon juice to taste
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup of almond milk (or any nut milk)
Optional: 1 teaspoon of maqui berry powder
Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for garnish

Instructions:

To make the crust:
1. Soak dates for 20 minutes in hot water or until softened.
2. In a food processor grind the oats, leaving some chunks. Add dates, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Process for about 20 seconds.
3. Place the mixture in your mold, or cake pan, by spreading and pressing firmly onto the bottom.

To make the filling:
1. Blend the bananas, blueberries, and strawberries with the lemon juice, lime juice, vanilla extract, and nut milk until it is a smoothie consistency.
2. Fill the crust with the mixture.
3. Place the cake in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Plant Based Valentine's Day Fruit Pie

 

Jumpstart Superbowl Guacamole

Looking for a delicious, low fat, healthy Superbowl treat that you can eat in abundance and feel satiated? Try this easy gem of a recipe by Carol Barnett.

2½ cups frozen green peas, thawed

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tbsp fresh lime juice (1/2 or 1 lime, squeezed)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro*

¼ tsp salt

½ stick celery (optional)

1 tomato, chopped (optional)

2 scallions, chopped, or some chopped Vidalia onion (optional)

⅛ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until well blended, but don’t purée completely, leave a little texture. Serve as a dip with crudités (carrots, celery, peppers). If you serve with crackers, find a brand with no added oil or sugar (like Finn Crisp), or make your own by gently warming oil-free pita or tortilla wedges in the oven.

*If you are someone who doesn’t like cilantro, substitute Italian or flat-leaf parsley, or simply leave the cilantro out.

Note: The accompanying picture shows Caraway Finn Crisp. One tbsp caraway seed (much more than you would get in a few crackers) contains 22 calories of which 8.8 are fat calories, so there is a negligible amount of fat in this product. You can choose any variety of Finn Crisp except the Sesame Rounds during Jumpstart.

Superbowl Sweet Pea Guacamole

VLFWFPB Easy All Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce

If you’re like me, in the middle of winter you love your comfort food, especially when you’re home all the time and feeling a bit down – such as during a global pandemic…

While looking for an all purpose very low fat whole-food plant-based cheese sauce recipe on different recipe sites, I tried many. One of my absolute favorites is the following recipe from Shane and Simple. You can adapt it with added herbs and spices for mac-n-cheese, nachos, loaded potatoes, over steamed veggies.

Shane and Simple Vegan Cheese Sauce (Nut-Free, Oil-Free, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Very Low Fat)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cup potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup peeled carrots, diced
  • 1/4 of small-sized onion roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of warm water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onion until soft – usually 15-20 minutes. Once they’re finished drain them and add to your blender. 
  2. Place all the remaining ingredients in your blender and blend until the cheese dip is smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick you can add a little more water while you’re blending. You shouldn’t have to heat up on the stove as the veggies will still be hot.
  3. Pour into a bowl and enjoy. 
  4. Store leftovers in airtight container up to a week.

OPTIONAL

Stir in one can of diced tomatoes and green chiles for a tex-mex kick. Add 1 Tbs smoked paprika for nacho sauce. Decrease the water for a thicker sauce. Add 1 Tsp cayenne for a spicy sauce.

Steamed Broccoli and Shane and Simple’s Vegan Cheese Sauce

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