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Vegan

Recipe

Moghrabiyyeh is a Middle Eastern whole grain similar to couscous, only bigger and more round. We like to cook it in a verdurous spinach broth, which gives it a lovely color and texture perfect for Spring.

Olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon coriander
Dash of cumin
2 cups spinach broth (see blog)
1 cup moghrabiyyeh, rinsed
1 handful organic asparagus
Salt and pepper

Bring the spinach broth to boil in a saucepan.
Heat up the olive oil in a medium sized pot. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until translucent. Add the spices and a good dash of salt and stir for another minute or two. Add the moghrabiyyeh and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Pour in the spinach broth and bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, gently tug on the hard bottoms of the asparagus stalks to find their natural breaking point. Discard the thick bottoms and chop the stalks in medium sized pieces. Keep the spears whole. Cook the stalks and spears for a minute or so in a pot of boiling salted water and drain.
Once the moghrabiyyeh has cooked through, stir in the asparagus stalks, reserving the spears for a garnish.

This is a side dish that serves 4 people. It goes well with simply grilled fish and meat.

Recipe

This is a fun version of hummus that uses black beans, instead of garbanzos. It makes a wonderful party dip or light lunch salad plate when combined with lots of fresh vegetables.

1 cup dried black beans
2 garlic cloves
2 juicy limes (about 1/8 cup)
2 tablespoons tahini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Cover the black beans with water and leave to soak for 8 hours to overnight. Drain the beans of their soaking liquid and place in a medium-sized pot amply covered with fresh water.
Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours or until cooked through. The beans should mush easily when you squeeze them between your fingers. Drain the beans of their cooking liquid.
In a food processor blend the garlic cloves with some salt until they are finely chopped. Add the beans and continue to chop while slowly pouring in the olive oil. Add the tahini and lime juice and season with the cumin. Continue chopping until it becomes a smooth puree. If you need to add more liquid you can add a few tablespoons more of oil or just plain water.

Feel free to add minced jalapeno, chipotle powder, smoky paprika, or even roasted red pepper. Whatever tickles your fancy. I like to serve it on a plate with pita chips or flat bread and some cilantro. Jazz up the plate with freshly grated carrots or chopped tomato- anything goes as long as its vibrant.

Blog entry

I am in Miami for the next month or so, and am going to be exploring as many raw and local foods during my stay as possible. Months back I had written about the Banana Nut and Seed Bowl at the Pain Quotidien. They no longer serve the dish, which I was addicted to last Spring. Apparently I was the only one who ever ordered it.

Anyway, since arriving in Miami I have been making my own rendition of the dish. I have simplified the ingredients, which helps the budget a little bit. I use pumpkin seeds as my main ingredient, either raw or soaked. Soaking them makes their protein more readily available, as well as awakens their dormant enzymes. I then add some sesame and flax seeds to the mix. Since now is the growing season in South Florida I have papaya and blueberries available to add to my dish. I also love it with bananas. It is super satisfying and delicious, and I am really energized when I eat it. I also do not get hungry until lunch time.

I posted the recipe for my Breakfast Nut and Seed Bowl and hope that everyone gives it a try.

Recipe

This recipe is inspired by the Pain Quotidien's Banana Nut and Seed Bowl, which they unfortunately do not serve anymore. This is a raw, vegan/vegetarian, healthy breakfast that makes you feel amazing. It is high in fiber and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. See the *Suggestions following the recipe. This enough for 1 person, but can be easily doubled. You can also make a large amount of the dry ingredients and store for quick mornings.

All of the following must be raw:
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds **
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
Blueberries
Papaya*
Banana*
Almond Milk

Mix together the seeds and nuts. Thinly slice the banana and chop up the papaya and add to the bowl. Pour over some almond milk. Yum!

*Suggestions: Blueberries are a great addition to this dish. You can add other berries, sliced banana, chopped up papaya, mango- whatever seasonal fruit you can find. You can also add a variety of raw nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, etc.

** You can soak the pumpkin seeds over night to awaken their enzymes and make their protein more available. Simply place in a bowl and cover with ample water. The next day, drain them and add to the dish.

This healthy nut and seed bowl is full of fiber and protein to help you start your day with a ton of energy!
Recipe

Olive oil
2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 cardamom pods, smashed
1 small stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
½ cup brown or green lentils, rinsed
3 cups water
Salt

Heat the olive oil on a medium-high flame. Sweat the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the spices and stir. Add the rice and stir to combine with the onion and spices. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the lentils, stir and cover again. After about 20 more minutes the liquid should be absorbed and the rice and lentils cooked through.

Note: Spices really enhance the flavor of this dish, but you can substitute or add the spices you fancy.

This is a healthy, inexpensive meal that serves 4 people. Rice and beans combine to make a complete protein. Jazz it up with spices and herbs, or add some vegetables for extra flavor!
November 23, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Entrees, Healthy, high-fiber, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole grain
Cooking Show Video

It doesn't take a lot of time, money or complicated ingredients to eat something that is nutritious and earth friendly. Lentils and brown rice make a complete protein, making this dish an excellent vegetarian meal. This recipe is the perfect comfort food for cold weather, it's enough to feed a family of 4 and costs under $5 to prepare!

November 20, 2008   |   11 comments
Tags: Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole grain
Cooking Show Video

Fall vegetables like beets, cauliflower and parsnips are delicious when they are slowly roasted at low temperatures.

Try some of our favorite Kitchen Caravan recipes using slowly roasted fall vegetables: Slow Roasted Veggies with Garlic Yogurt Dip, Mamaliga with Roasted Beets

November 20, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Fall, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Cooking Show Video

Sweet potatoes are a delicious fall vegetable. We like them best baked and eaten simply. They can also be dressed up with pepper, nutmeg or other fall spices.

November 20, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Fall, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Recipe

You can substitute green or brown lentils for the split peas.

½ cup split peas
1/4 cup onion, small dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Soak the split peas in water for at least 2 hours. Drain.
Heat up the oil and butter in a medium saucepan.
Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the sugar and keep cooking until the onions are very soft and starting to pick up color.
Add the apples and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes with the onion.
Add the split peas and cover with 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes-1 hour, or until the water has been absorbed.
Check the pot one in a while to make sure there is enough liquid. Add more if necessary.
One the liquid has been absorbed, add the vinegar and simmer down until it is like a thick stew.
Serves 2.

October 26, 2008   |   7 comments
Tags: Appetizers, Fall, Healthy, high-fiber, Vegan, Vegetarian
Blog entry

There are so many sweets and desserts associated with Autumn. Candy apples, apple pie, apple crisp, candy corn, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, sweet potatoes with marshmallows (yuck) - the list of Fall favorites goes on and on. What I find funny about this is that most of the fruits and vegetables used in these dishes are naturally sweet, and yet they are usually prepared with lots of sugar, masking their true identity as nutritional powerhouses. We could get so much nourishment from eating these fruits and vegetables if we just prepared them simply.
Sweet potatoes are the perfect example of this. Even though I have always liked sweet potatoes, they were never a part of my habitual diet. I always associated them with heavy preparations with lots of butter, sugar, and spices. They almost seemed foreign to me. But something changed this Fall, and I have been eating them often. One of the reasons I have been eating them so regularly is because I am trying to cut back on my intake of sugars and sweeteners. Sweet potatoes provide me with natural energy and a sweetness that hits the spot, which makes me not want dessert after my meals. When the weather changes and the leaves turn to their gorgeous hues of orange and red, I always crave warmer things that provide comfort and fill me up heavily. This fall I have not had any cravings for desserts or simple carbs, because the nutritional content of sweet potatoes is providing me with sustainable energy, and their natural sweetness is preventing any needs for finding refined sugar in other places.
Another reason that I have been eating them so regularly is their preparation and texture. I have to admit that I have been a bit boring in how I cook them, because all I ever do is wrap them in foil and bake them (usually at 375° F for 1 hour). Once they are baked, I can mash them up with seasonings and other ingredients, or just cut them into cubes and toss onto my salads. Tonight I added baked cubes to a pot with mustard greens and beans. Their texture is soft and mashable, yet they can hold their shape and get tossed in with other things.
Sweet potatoes are very nutritious. They are filled with vitamin A and C, both water-soluble vitamins that have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin A is definitely the vitamin for Fall, as it is found in so many of the vegetables in season-squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes are the most obvious examples of this. They are also rich in manganese, copper, fiber, potassium, and iron. Even though these beautiful tubers are native to Central America, they have made their way into the diets of many cultures. Christopher Columbus brought them back to Spain, from where they then went to the Philippines. The Portuguese brought them to Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. I was even surprised to find Japanese sweet potatoes at the farmers market today. They were white and starchy, their texture almost reminding me of yucca.
The bottom line is that we have all of these naturally sweet, yet incredibly nutritious vegetables in season now. My favorite of the moment is the sweet potato, but I encourage you to find your own. And try them without sugar!!!

October 21, 2008   |   2 comments
Tags: Antioxidant, Fall, Healthy, high-fiber, Vegan, Vegetarian