Tag Archives: vegan

Inflammation-Fighting Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie-Bowl-for-Runners

With superfood ingredients like turmeric, ginger, apple, and kale, you’ll give your body what it needs to fight inflammation.

You’ll feel like a goddess ready to tackle the world after enjoying a smoothie bowl powered by superfoods.

You’ve probably heard that some foods cause inflammation in the body (think: sugar, white flour, dairy), and some foods help your body fight inflammation. The latter is what we’re concentrating on for this smoothie bowl, which is great for post-run recovery, or simply to help you start the day off on a better, healthier foot. It uses turmeric and ginger, which are total rock stars of the anti-inflammatory nutrition world. It also provides a hefty dose of other foods that combat inflammation, such as kale, almonds, blueberries, and strawberries.

The main difference between a smoothie and a smoothie bowl—a current darling in the world of wellness, especially the acai bowl—is the obvious one that you eat a smoothie bowl with a spoon, rather than drink it. But smoothie bowls also tend to be a bit heartier—less water, and often thicker ingredients like nut butters, avocados, or oats. Unfortunately, those kinds of ingredients can dial up the calorie count big-time and quickly. Personally, I think focusing on keeping my high-calorie items chewable, rather than drinkable or slurpable, is generally a good practice. If you do blend them, it’s wise, as with the nuts, to keep it to a small amount.

I do find that a smoothie bowl offers more satiety than a smoothie. After all there are toppings that you chew and you use a spoon, but because it’s blended, it’s still easy to have that “doesn’t count” feeling. On that note, you may want to consider blending your ingredients only until chunky rather than completely smooth, so you’re still required to chew a bit.

A few additional notes:

    • Definitely try for organic ingredients, if possible.
    • If you’re not used to working with fresh turmeric (which is sooo much tastier than the powdered stuff), know that it stains. Don’t set it down on a white counter, for example, and if you want to peel a lot at once, definitely wear plastic gloves. (If I’m just peeling one, I’ll just peel it quickly and wash my hands right away.)
    • I didn’t indicate the amount of water below, but just add enough to cover the ingredients, and add more conservatively as needed so you keep the thickness to that of oatmeal.

INGREDIENTS

Base

      • Thumb-sized amount of fresh turmeric (about the size of a thumb) or a few teaspoons of powdered turmeric (start off with less than that if you’re not used to the taste)
      • Thumb-sized amount of fresh ginger

Blend on high until smooth. Then add and blend:

      • Half of a green apple (more if you like sweeter tastes)
      • Four almonds
      • Four cashews
      • Half a scoop of protein powder (I like either Sunwarrior Natural or Vega Smoothie Vanilla)
      • Handful of kale
      • Handful of romaine
      • Optional: A touch of pure maple syrup or stevia

Blend until desired smoothness.

      • Stir in chia seeds. (Besides being chock-full of Omega-3s, they will also help the smoothie set after about five minutes.)

Toppings

      • Sliced strawberries
      • Blueberries
      • Nuts
      • Cacoa nibs
      • Any other healthy ingredient that sounds good to you!

Servings: About 2 cups

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Fall Pumpkin Soup with Maple Coconut Cashew Cream (Vegan)

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Yesterday, fall arrived officially, and with it, nice long walks or runs in cooler weather, cozying up with great books, and, of course, all things pumpkin. To usher in the new season, I spent many hours in the kitchen using almost every dish in my quest for a yummy pumpkin soup, rich in protein. Since I tend to be quite experimental in the kitchen, the results are never guaranteed, but I was thrilled at how this pumpkin soup with red lentils turned out. This might even replace my longtime favorite, chickpea lentil soup (which I’ll post another time). Next time I will double the amounts so I can freeze more of it.

On the health front, red lentils are a great source of protein, and pumpkin, lentils, and cashews are considered superfoods. As for packaged coconut milk, there’s far more back and forth, but I think it’s a fine in treaty moderation. The entire carton of coconut milk has 20 grams of fat, which isn’t bad spread over the entire amount of the soup. The cashews are, of course, high in fat, but you only need to drizzle a bit of the cashew cream onto your soup.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

INGREDIENTS

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

  • Small to medium pie pumpkin
  • 11-ounce carton So Delicious Lite Culinary Coconut Milk (or equivalent amount/style)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 4 cups water for lentils
  • 2 cups water for soup (or broth if you prefer)
  • 4 T fresh ginger
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 T nutmeg
  • Dash of chili powder
  • Cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. or so of olive oil

Maple Coconut Cashew Cream

  • ½ cup cashews soaked for 2 hours to overnight
  • A splash of water
  • Splash of coconut milk from the coconut carton above
  • 1 T maple syrup

Servings: About 8 cups

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need about 2 cups of pumpkin for the soup. My pumpkin was 3.5 pounds, which yielded the two cups, plus about a cup more to make pumpkin butter or to simply have on hand.
  2. Wash pumpkin thoroughly under running water; be sure to scrub well to get all dirt off from skin. Dry, cut off top, then cut pumpkin lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and pulp. You will have to work at this—those strings like to hang on—and set aside.
  3. Place cut sides down on shallow baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes, until soft but not too mushy. (Begin testing at 40 minutes, then use judgment as to how often from there.)
  4. For red lentils, pour four cups of water into pan, and put flame on high. Take lentils and spread out on flat wide plate or baking sheet to examine and sort, looking for any stones, dirt or damaged lentils. Rinse throughly in fine mesh strainer moving them around to make sure you’ve rinsed from all angles. Once rinsed, place lentils into the pan of water that’s been heating. Bring to boil, then lower flame and simmer gently will lid tilted, until lentils are soft but not mushy. Scoop off the foamy stuff that rises to the top (you’ll need to do that a few times). Start checking the lentils for doneness at 10 to 15 minutes, though the recommended time on the package is 20 to 35. If they get a bit too mushy, it’s no big deal, because you’ll be blending them into the soup.
  5. While pumpkin is baking and lentils are cooking, finely chop onion, then sauté on very low in enough olive oil to just smear the bottom of the pan. You can do this in a large soup pan that you will transfer the blended soup to in order to save using another dish. Stir onions at regular intervals to prevent from sticking. Onions will be done when they reach an almost caramelized consistency.
  6. While onions are cooking, wash and peel the ginger. Finely chop, then add to onions. If you would like a stronger, fresher ginger flavor, simply set aside. You can add the ginger during the blending process.
  7. Now separate pumpkin pulp from the seeds as best as you can easily, just using your hands. What you can’t separate easily, soak in water. After you’ve separated all the seeds from the pulp, dry them a bit, then lay flat on baking sheet. Salt them lightly.
  8. When pumpkin is ready, take it out of the oven, and allow it to cool for a bit. Leave oven on and place baking sheet with the seeds in there. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes, until crisp. Take them out every 5 minutes or so and stir them around so they don’t stick or burn.
  9. Add cashews to blender, splash with just a bit of water, then enough of the coconut milk to almost cover the cashews. Add the tablespoon of maple syrup. Blend thoroughly until the mixture has a cream-like smooth consistency. Pour into small dish or measuring cup (which makes the mixture easier to drizzle on soup). Pour out as much as you can, but don’t worry about cleaning it afterward. You’ll blend the soup in here and any residue will add to the taste of the soup.
  10. Back to the pumpkin: Scoop out two cups.
  11. To blender, add ginger, onions, and coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Then add pumpkin, lentils, some of the water, and your spices. Blend until a smooth puree, and taste at each stage so you don’t add too much water. If you’ve decided to bump up the spices (per the notes below), don’t add more than the baseline amount until you’ve got everything blended. It’s always easier to add more spice than take it away!
  12. Once blended, pour the amount of soup you want to eat now into the pan you cooked the onions in or a new one, and heat on low until desired temperature. Freeze or refrigerator the rest.
  13. Pour heated soup into bowls, drizzle with cashew cream, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve with small salad, and toasted sourdough bread topped with Earth Balance.

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Notes and Modifications

  • Halve the cinnamon and nutmeg measurements for a more subtle pumpkin-pie-spice flavor. Same for the ginger.
  • Alternatively, for a more warming and stronger pumpkin-associated spice flavor, bump up the amount of the ginger and cinnamon, especially, but as mentioned do so only a bit at a time, continuing to taste.
  • This is a savory soup. If you want a sweeter soup, add a bit of maple syrup to the soup. The cashew cream will sweeten the soup slightly when mixed in, but not much.
  • The chili powder is a different flavor entirely and is only meant to add a subtle complexity. If that’s the flavor you wish to make stronger, hold back on the other spices.
  • So Delicious promises their packaging has no BPA. The entire carton of Lite has 20 grams of fat, which spread over the whole soup, doesn’t seem to bad, but if that worries you, go easier on the coconut milk and replace some liquid with broth. As for the cashew cream, if fat is of concern, leave that out of the equation.

WEIRD PUMPKIN FACTS

  1. You can eat the skin!
  2. Pumpkin is a great DIY beauty ingredient.
  3. Apparently, a lot of people make their pumpkin pies with butternut squash. (But then isn’t it just squash pie?)

Happy fall!

Do you like fall? What favorite fall things about it, if so?

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Four Recipes for Vegan Corned “Beef” and Cabbage

Veggies

Looking for a healthier way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than by throwing down large quantities of green beer? Here are four plant-based versions of the most well-known American-Irish dish—Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Flag at Boston Harbor Hotel for St. Patrick's Day

Flag at Boston Harbor Hotel for St. Patrick’s Day

I searched the web for veganized versions of the dish after my boyfriend and I spent Saturday taking a long walk on a beautiful spring-like day (finally, right!?). As you may know, Boston is home to a large Irish-American population. That fact, coupled with the thousands of college students from the myriad colleges in the area looking for any excuse to party, means St. Patrick’s Day is pretty hard to miss around here. So as our walked meandered from Fort Point Channel, the Boston Common, the Public Garden, the Esplanade along the Charles River, the Beacon Hill area, Faneuil Hall, the North End, then back along the water where we’d parked, we passed quite a few groups of green-clad partygoers on their way to getting their early-afternoon green beer on.

By the time we visited our favorite taco place by Fenway Park around 2:00 p.m., the nearby bars were thumping. None of that made me want to drink green beer, but it did make me think of how when I was a kid, I loved my mother’s corned beef and cabbage. I probably haven’t had it since then, but since I had the craving, I wondered if there were any yummy vegan versions around. I was happy to find out that such recipes exist. Here are three:

  • Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage, Roasted Potatoes, and Soda Bread from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen
  • New And Improved Corned Beef And Cabbage from It’s a Greyt Vegan Life (includes recipes for Homemade Seitan Corned Beef, mashed potatoes with savoy cabbage and malt vinegar, and other Irish-themed recipes)
  • Mock ‘Corned Beef’ and Cabbage from Peta

***

My Own Vegan Corned “Beef” and Cabbage

I used the three recipes to inspire my own version. I rarely follow recipes in a strict way, but instead take a more intuitive approach. That was certainly the case here. I made the dish last night, and it was delicious and soothing (yesterday was back to the usual frigid temps). Of course, use one of the recipes above if you like specific guidelines. Either way, enjoy and have a Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • Vegetable broth or water (if using broth, less of the spices; I used water)
  • About 1 T. thyme
  • About 1 T. sage
  • About 1 T. mustard seed
  • About 1 T. of horseradish
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • Dash of red wine vinegar
  • Box of Westsoy Seitan Strips
  • Couple handfuls of fresh parsley

Directions
Prepare potatoes separately (either in conjunction or beforehand) by simmering until soft. Set aside.

Finely chop onion and begin sautéing in oil of choice at low heat in large soup pan; be mindful at this stage to stir as necessary to avoid burning or sticking. While that’s started, finely chop carrots, add to pan; then do the same for celery. Chop cabbage into large chunks.

When onions, carrots, and celery are softened, add cabbage, then water or broth to cover all the vegetables; enough to make it soupy if that’s how you like it, or just enough to cover the veggies if you want it more as a dish. Add seasonings (including vinegar) and bring to a low simmer.

Chop parsley. When cabbage is as soft as you’d like (anywhere from 10 minutes to ½ hour, depending on how much liquid, etc.), add potatoes, seitan, and parsley, and wait about five minutes or so until they are heated. The hot liquid will heat them pretty quickly.

Serve right away and refrigerate soon so the liquid doesn’t continue to cook the vegetables. I also separated out the seitan for leftovers (to add back in right before eating) so it doesn’t get too mushy.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s (race, food, etc.)? What’s your favorite recipe makeover?

Also see: Five Green Smoothie Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

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