Cauliflower Rice Stir-fry

The first time I tried cauliflower rice was this summer during the week I ate a raw food diet. There, I said it. I am usually late to the party with trying things. I am also literally usually late to parties because I’m kind of a loser that way (but I digress, and anyway, the cool kids never show up early to parties). I am now a fan of this amazing rice substitute, and I am actually quite surprised that I haven’t had it more often. It’s filling because its a veg, and since most of eating is psychological, you can definitely feel as though you’re eating actual rice when you’re not. I’m not a big fan of substitute foods unless absolutely necessary or called for. I like real foods, with whole stuff and full everything — full -fat, whole grains and whole foods, and actual rice– no substituting anything. But, sometimes you feel like having cauliflower instead, or sometimes you wanna cut a few calories. Whatever the reason may be, this delicious stir-fry should satisfy your taste buds. And although this meal is absolutely #dumpskillet worthy, everything I used was fresh so I didn’t want to put it that category. However, this would of course still taste great with some older produce.

cauliflower rice stir fry

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (you can purchase it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, or make your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • 1-2 cups edamame
  • 2 medium-sized carrot sticks, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, removed from stems
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the carrots and mushroom to the skillet and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broccoli florets to skillet and continue to saute an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring the veggie mixture frequently.
  4. Add cauliflower rice to skillet and stir rice into veggies until well mixed.
  5. Let sit over heat for approximately 1-2 minutes, then add soy sauce, salt and garlic powder.
  6. Stir all seasoning thoroughly into the stir-fry, mixing rice and veggies together and stirring frequently so the veggies do not burn.
  7. Add edamame to stir-fry and reduce heat to low.
  8. Mix edamame and about half of the 1/4 cup of cilantro into stir-fry and continue to stir the mixture occasionally. Leave on low heat for approximately another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  9. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lime into the stir-fry and mix well. Slice the remaining half into lime wedges.
  10. Transfer stir-fry to serving plate and garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 11/4/18

Lemon Ginger Dressing

As you may all know by now, I love salads. Because of that, you may have also figured out that I love salad dressings. Well, I guess one doesn’t automatically equal the other, but in this case, it’s true. I love salad dressings and all dressings and sauces in general. I feel like they can really make a meal if used correctly (or break a meal if used incorrectly!). During my week on a raw diet, I created a sauce for the first time and it was really fun and exciting knowing I made it entirely from scratch — dressings are actually one of my favorite things to experiment with in the kitchen now. It’s kinda fun putting a bunch of stuff in a blender and seeing how it all turns out, especially when you have certain flavors in mind that you want to achieve. The flavors in this dressing are are inspired by Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing. I’ve never tasted the TJ’s version, so the only thing that is spot-on about this recipe is the color, but whether or not it tastes as good as the TJ’s version, it definitely holds its own flavor-wise. Making dressings has also taught me a certain level of discipline– I know it sounds weird, but let me explain. I can be impatient and don’t usually like to wait for things, even when I’m making it– so I had to learn patience when blending ingredients together because creating the flavors forced me to add ingredients in small increments to see if the flavor was there yet and not overdo it; I also had to learn to wait for dressings to settle for a few minutes so the ingredients could “mesh” together–sometimes even waiting overnight for the full flavor profile to develop. So yes, making dressing has taught me patience and understanding. Who needs therapy when you can just cook?

IMG_7907

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (almond butter can be used instead)

What to Do:

  1. Place about half the lemon juice, turmeric, peanut butter, ginger and black pepper in a blender.
  2. Blend until ingredients are smooth, adding the remainder of the liquid in small increments until all the lemon juice has been added.
  3. If the dressing does not blend fully, stop blending and remove the dressing from the sides of the blender, placing it back in the center using a spatula or similar thin kitchen utensil. Continue to blend until dressing has reached a smooth, creamy consistency.

* The dressing will have a tart lemon flavor with this recipe. I loved it but if you want less of a tart flavor, you can substitute the 1/2 cup lemon juice for 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/4 cup room temperature water. Or play around with the measurements to reach the desired flavor, but be careful of adding too much liquid or the dressing will be very runny.

Date posted on Instagram: 10/24/18

Zucchini Squash and Veggie Dump Skillet

Dump Skillet meals are ideas for meals to create with fresh produce– specifically fresh produce that is on its way out.  Sometimes we don’t know what to make or what we can do with a bunch of veggies because we aren’t used to using produce as the star of our meals or as the only components of our meals. Hopefully these ideas will inspire you!

zucchini and yellow squash dump skillet

Produce Used:

  • 1/2 organic zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow zucchini, sliced
  • 4 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • About 2 full leaves of kale, thinly sliced

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 can Trader Joe’s fire-roasted tomatoes, mostly drained
  • 3 tablespoons jarred banana peppers, with some of the vinegar juice in each tablespoon
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

What to do:

  1. Heat a medium skillet on medium heat with olive oil in it.
  2. Once hot, add zucchini and yellow squash and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes.
  3. You want the squash to get a bit of a golden brown texture on each side. Turn the pieces and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes to brown each side.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the garlic powder and saute for an additional 30 seconds.
  5. Place squash on a cloth or paper towel to drain excess oil.
  6. Return skillet to heat and add mushrooms. Saute mushrooms for approximately 3-4 minutes, until slightly tender.
  7. Add the entire can of fire-roasted tomatoes as well as the banana peppers and remaining salt; reduce heat to a low simmer.
  8. Continue to simmer the mixture until it comes to a very light boil.
  9. Add chopped kale stir into mixture until it is fully coated in the tomatoes.
  10. Continue the simmer until kale is wilted down.
  11. Transfer zucchini and yellow squash to a serving dish.
  12. Spoon some of the fire-roasted tomato sauce next to the squash.
  13. Too squash with nutritional yeast.
  14. Can be served as is or over rice for an even heartier meal.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 10/23/18

Spanish Tofu Salad

I’ve almost come full circle in the year that I’ve been vegan. I started making big and delicious salads again, but the difference is I slightly refined the flavors and ingredients just a bit, or at least it feels that way. In all of my cooking and experimenting over this past year, I like to tell myself that the recipe for this salad uses seasoned tofu in a much cooler way than I would have used it when I first became vegan and when I first started making big salads as main meals. But the goal isn’t to be cooler, it’s to be a more informed amateur chef that makes delicious and nutritious food that people will want to eat. With maybe just a little bit of cool factor thrown in 😉

Spanish tofu salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block firm organic tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 can pinto beans, water drained with about 1/4-1/2 a can of liquid*
  • Approximately 3 cups of mustard greens, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large salad tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 medium avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (removed from stems)
  • 2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1 pack Goya sazon seasoning
  • 2-3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized non-stick skillet over low heat.
  2. Add water-drained beans to skillet and heat for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add entire pack of sazon seasoning and stir into beans thoroughly. Continue to heat beans, stirring frequently, until the beans are heated through.
  4. Once beans are warm, remove skillet from heat and transfer beans to a bowl, spooning them into the dish and draining as much liquid as possible with each spoonful to keep inside the skillet. Set beans aside and keep the skillet with the liquid in it.
  5. Return the skillet to heat and raise heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and let heat for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add cubed tofu to skillet and stir into olive oil and left over liquid, mixing the sazon seasoned liquid thoroughly into the tofu so it absorbs the color and flavor (carefully so you don’t tear the tofu pieces!).
  7. Add red chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and adobo seasonings to tofu. Mix well and continue to pan-fry tofu, pressing the pieces down with a spatula every so often to create a little bit of a golden brown layer on the pieces. Remove from heat.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, add mustard greens, red bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, 2 tbsp olive oil and vinegar. Mix together well and transfer to your serving bowl.
  9. Spoon about half the beans around the salad mix.
  10. Top with seasoned tofu and garnish with avocado slices and serve.

Here is my water-draining technique, which is basically a way to mix water with the thicker water in the can so that you have a slightly thick liquid to work with that is somewhere in the middle of water and the juice in the can. In my opinion it’s better to use when you want to add water to beans when heating them on the stove top.

Date Posted on Instagram: 10/22/18

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pesto (Raw)

I didn’t think it would happen but I actually created several recipes during my week of eating raw vegan. I was pleasantly surprised at my creativity level during that time. This is one of the recipes I created — a raw, chunky pesto. For this dish, I used it as a sauce but it can certainly be  mixed into zoodles or cooked noodles as a pesto. It has a tangy, flavorful taste with a powerful impact on the taste buds because of the strong flavor coming from the sun-dried tomatoes. I love sun-dried tomatoes — I’ll eat them as a snack if I have them on hand. Because I love pasta so much, this recipe was great because it allowed me to feel as though I was eating spaghetti with a chunky marinara sauce. Anything that makes me feel like I’m eating spaghetti when I’m not actually eating spaghetti is a win as far as I’m concerned.

raw sun dried tomato bsil pesto closeup

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium-sized vine tomato, sliced into four pieces
  • 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thickly
  • 1/4 cup Italian green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

What to Do:

  1.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except for the water.
  2. Pulse ingredients for about 5-10 seconds and slowly add water about 2-3 tablespoons at a time.
  3. Continue to pulse the pesto, until ingredients blend together. Continue adding water as necessary.
  4. You want the sauce to be slightly chunky so do not over-process. Also, be careful not to add to much water, as this will thin the sauce out too much.
  5. Serve pesto over zoodles or noodles or mix into them for a true pesto. This pesto tastes great as a raw recipe but can be heated up as well.
  6. Add nooch for some extra flavor!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 7/14/18

Mushroom Pâté (Raw)

I’ve never had pâté before, so when I created this, I wasn’t sure exactly how it should taste texture-wise. But I knew that it was pretty close, especially for a raw version of the real deal. It was also spreadable and tasted great as a filling in the peppers, so I was happy with the result. I actually made a few mistakes with this recipe, watering it down too much initially. I can sometimes have “heavy hands” and no patience. But practice makes perfect and the end result was a flavorful, healthy, cruelty-free pâté!

raw mushroom pate

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of baby bella mushrooms (cremini)
  • 1/8 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped thickly
  • 1/8 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup orange carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green zucchini squash, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 teaspoon parsley (fresh can also be used)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (fresh can also be used)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor except for water.
  2. Pulse ingredients for about 5-10 seconds and slowly add water about 2-3 tablespoons at a time.
  3. Continue to pulse the pate, until ingredients blend together. Continue adding water as necessary.
  4. You want the sauce to be smooth but still have some thickness to it. Also, be careful not to add to much water, as this will thin the pate out too much.
  5. Serve as a spread on crackers or bread. Or, stuff some peppers with the pâté as seen in the featured photos! I added a dollop of the sun-dried tomato basil pesto on top of each pepper for more depth in the flavor profile.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 7/11/18

Charred Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are another food I’ve actually been a fan of since way before going vegan. They were a staple in any salad I ever made; in fact, they were my preferred salad tomato– way more so than actual salad tomatoes, which ironically are now my favorite salad tomatoes. But I never really sought out variety in the tiny little orbs of juicy tomato goodness, and it wasn’t until after I was vegan that I became aware of all the beautiful variations cherry tomatoes had to offer. I used to be embarrassed to talk about how limited my food knowledge was pre-vegan, until I realized two things: 1) I wasn’t alone. There are plenty of people who don’t have a vast knowledge of these things, plenty of people who grew up eating like crap and living in a bubble when it came to fresh food awareness and knowledge. 2) I didn’t want to feel like a poser, pretending to know about all the varieties of fruits and veggies that exist out there, as if I was some great food God gifted with all the knowledge of plant-foods, never needing to learn and grow like everyone else. So why not be honest about everything I learn about along the way, hopefully inspiring others to grow their fresh, whole-foods knowledge as well? Wow, who knew cherry tomatoes could be so powerful?

charred cherry tomatoes closeup

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of rainbow cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fire source such as a stove burner, torch, or other safe source that can provide a flame*

 

What to Do:

  1.  Turn stove-top burner on medium to high heat.
  2. Poke a very small hole at one end of the tomato with a fork. This hole is for ventilation.
  3. Remove fork and puncture the tomato again with another tiny hole, this time leaving the fork inside to hold the tomato.
  4. Place tomato directly over flame, holding it in position for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Rotate tomato around flame to char the other sides of the tomato. The skin will pop and peel due to the heat. It may also make some noise, but this is normal — make sure you have the vent hole in each tomato!
  6. Repeat this process with each tomato. This may feel a bit time consuming but it shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes, depending on how many tomatoes you are charring. If you have a metal skewer stick, you can place multiple tomatoes on it at once to make the process quicker. Make sure you are using metal and not a wooden skewer, as the wood will burn.
  7. Transfer charred tomatoes to a serving dish. Add olive oil and gently mix into tomatoes.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

 

 

 

* I used a stove-top burner for this recipe. I believe most chefs use a torch to char food, so it may be easier to use that method. If you have a torch on hand, by all means use it! If you have another fire source that can achieve the same affect, use that!. I think a stove-top is the most economical way to make this recipe. It also feels like making tomato s’mores, so that’s always fun.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 9/3/2018