Energy Boosting Green Smoothie

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If you’re anything like me, getting out of bed in the morning is no easy task. While I normally depend upon coffee to wake me up, this energy boosting smoothie is a great way to start the day on a healthy note. My recipe yields about two smoothies but you can refrigerate the extra green goodness in a jar or other airtight container for up to three days! The chia seeds are packed with fiber and the turmeric is great for getting rid of all those nasty toxins in the body. I also like to add spirulina, which is an algae rich in protein and amino acids, among many many other things (it’s crazy good for you!) If you’re not familiar with spirulina, you can read about the health benefits here. It is found at most health food stores though I will warn you that spirulina smells utterly terrible (think fish food). But the flavors in this smoothie will totally mask the yucky algae smell, I promise you. This smoothie is also a great pre-yoga/workout drink!

Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Yields: 2 smoothies
Time: 5-10 minutes

•3 cups of spinach
• 2 cups of coconut water (or just water if coco isn’t your thing)
•3/4 cup ice
•1 banana, chopped
•1 apple, chopped
•1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
•1 tablespoon chia seeds
•1/2 teaspoon turmeric
•1/2 teaspoon spirulina

Throw spinach and coconut water into blender, processing until spinach has been completely blended. Then add fruit, turmeric, spirulina and ice and process until everything is blended. Probably about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lastly, add the chia seeds and give your smoothie a quick pulse or two. Enjoy!

How To: Build Your Own Veggie Burger

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I absolutely love experimenting with different types veggie burgers. The flavor combinations are endless and homemade burgers are so much better than the frozen store-bought kind. So, I thought I would share MY guidelines to building a veggie burger. These burgers can be made ahead of time and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Who needs meat when you can have veggie burgers like these?! Check out my recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean burgers!

Get creative and make it your own! Here is how:

2 cups of cooked legumes:
•Beans (black, garbanzo, white, kidney)
•Peas
•Lentils

2 cups of starch and/or grains (you can use 2-3 different ones):
•Sweet potato
•Quinoa
•Brown rice
•Breadcrumbs
•Ground oats

2-3 cups of vegetables:
•Onion
•Peppers
•Corn
•Carrots
•Mushrooms

1/3 cup of liquid/thickener (choose 1-2):
•Tomato paste
•Tahini
•Ketchup
•Sriracha
•Oils (olive, coconut, grape seed, canola)
•Vegetable broth
•1 egg

1/3 cup of herbs:
•Cilantro
•Parsley
•Basil
•Rosemary
•Thyme

Spices (based on preference):
•Cumin
•Chili powder
•Paprika
•Cayenne pepper
•Oregano
•Curry powder
•Garam masala

1-2 tablespoons of seeds (optional):
•Flax
•Sesame
•Chia

1/2 cup of cheese (optional):
•Sharp cheddar
•Cheddar
•Mozzarella
•Jack
•Feta

Now, for the assembling:

1. In a mixing bowl, mash legume of choice with a fork or potato masher. Add starch or grain and combine to create a paste (it’s alright if it’s chunky!) I use my hands for this step and it’s really fun.

2. Add vegetables, then liquid and combine with (clean!) hands. Add herbs, spices, seeds and cheese if you so desire. Combine.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. While oven is preheating, form patties with your mixture. This recipe should make about 8-10 medium-sized veggie burgers. Place on a well oiled or parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Bake burgers for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through (10 minutes on each side).

6. Take out of oven and serve on a bun of your choice, topping with: hummus, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, onion, avocado, tomato, mixed greens, mushrooms – whatever you desire!

7. You can store your veggie burgers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. These burgers can be grilled or cooked in a stovetop skillet. About 4-5 minutes on each side should do the trick! Enjoy!

Note: You can also freeze these veggie burgers in an airtight container (I recommend a BPA-free bag) for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to cook them up, allow burgers to thaw for an hour before cooking or grilling.

Mini Hummus Pizzas

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Well, the past few weeks have been so hectic and I haven’t had the time to make anything super yummy or creative. It’s pretty much been pasta or take out every night. But I finally got the chance to experiment with these delicious (and quick!) pita pizzas yesterday. Now, I went out on a limb here as this is not your traditional pizza. I made these personal pita pizzas (how’s that for alliteration?) with hummus, sautéed veggies and feta cheese. This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly food blogging event that encourages food bloggers to try new things! Hope you enjoy this experiment!

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Dietary Info: Dairy-Free Option

Yields: One personal pizza

Time: 20 minutes

•1 flatbread pita
•1/2 cup Hummus
•3/4 cup chopped vegetables of your choice (I did red pepper, onion and asparagus)
•1/4 cup feta cheese*
•1 clove of garlic, minced
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•Chopped cilantro, for garnish
•Salt and pepper for sprinkling

*For a vegan option, omit cheese or use a dairy-free alternative.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush flatbread pita with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

2. While pita is baking, sauté garlic and vegetables in a small skillet.

3. Remove pita from oven and smother with hummus. Next, top with veggies and feta.

4. Place your hummus pizza back in the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes (or until pita is golden brown), allowing the feta to melt a bit. Let cool and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

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Tabbouleh salad is a staple at most every Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern restaurant. My Mom has been making this yummy blend of herbs, grain and veggies ever since I was a little kid. Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat but I used quinoa in this recipe, making it gluten-free (and better in my opinion, as I’m not really a fan of bulgur). Note: This is a healthy side-dish and it also goes great in a wrap with some hummus and greens!

Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

Serves: 3-4

Time: 20 minutes

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. In a small saucepan, add uncooked quinoa + 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir together. Allow quinoa to boil then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. This will yield about one cup of cooked quinoa.

    2. While quinoa is cooking, chop vegetables and herbs. Note: I find mincing the herbs to be so tedious, so I usually just throw the parsley and mint into a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Scrape the sides, and process for 10 more seconds. Repeat once more so that the herbs become finely minced.

    3. Once quinoa has cooked, allow to cool completely. Throw herbs, tomato, cucumber, scallions and garlic into a mixing bowl. When quinoa has cooled down, add it to the herb mixture and stir with a large spoon until completely combined. Optional: Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Personally, I don’t think this is totally necessary. Tabbouleh can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

    Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers

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    These mildly spiced veggie burgers are out of this world. They are full of flavor and great for freezing- especially delicious with avocado on top! I like to serve these with hummus for spreading. These bad boys are sure to make even the biggest carnivores go nuts!

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

    Yield: 8-10 veggie burgers

    Time: 1 hour

    • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
    • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats, ground
    • 1 small sweet onion
    • 3/4 cup corn (canned or cooked)
    • 2 large cloves of garlic
    • 1/4 cup tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon red chili sauce (I used sriracha)
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 avocado, sliced for topping (optional)
    • Lettuce, for topping (optional)
    • 1 tomato, sliced for topping (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, drizzle olive oil over cubed sweet potatoes and top with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir so all sweet potatoes are covered with oil. Spread a single layer of sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, until tender and golden brown.

    2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, bring quinoa and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

    3. Add oats to a food processor and process for 30 seconds.

    4. Once the sweet potatoes and quinoa have finished cooking, throw all the ingredients into the large mixing bowl. Stir with your clean hands to combine. Using a hand held electric mixer, begin mashing everything together. Then, using your hands, knead the mixture until fully combined. On a baking sheet, form veggie burger patties using about 1/2 cup of the mixture per burger. (Note: I like to roll the mixture into individual balls and then flatten each burger out onto the baking sheet. They come out perfectly round and condensed). Burgers should be about 3/4 inch thick. Refrigerate burgers for 20 minutes.

    5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook burgers for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Serve burgers on large buns, adding preferred toppings. If not immediately serving, refrigerate in an airtight container. When ready to serve, cook burgers in a skillet on medium heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also freeze these burgers by covering the baking sheet with plastic wrap and placing burgers in the freezer for an hour. Once burgers are frozen, transfer them to an airtight BPA-free bag and throw them back in the freezer for up to a month. Enjoy!

    Chickpea Salad Wraps with Avocado

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    This avocado chickpea salad is the more exciting vegan version of your classic chicken or tuna salad. The chickpeas, avocado and cashews make it a great source of protein! This recipe uses tahini instead of mayonnaise to hold everything together. I like to throw this mashed salad in a wrap and top it with grapes (which add a little sweetness) and snow peas (which add a little crunch). A delicious and healthy lunch option!

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free option

    Yield: About 3 cups of salad (3 wraps)

    Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), cooked
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large wraps of your choice (spinach, whole wheat, etc.)*
    1. *Make sure to use wheat-free wraps for the gluten-free option.

    Optional:

  • Halved red grapes, for topping
  • Snow peas, for topping

    1. First of all, drain and rinse chickpeas. In a small saucepan, bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil and add chickpeas. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain chickpeas again and let cool.

    2. In a mixing bowl, add softened chickpeas and begin mashing them with a fork. You don’t want to mash them entirely but just enough so that there are a few whole chickpeas still visible. Add avocado and continue to gently mash away. Add chopped veggies, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice and stir with a large spoon so that everything is evenly combined. Add curry powder, ground mustard, cilantro, salt and pepper and continue to combine the mixture.

    3. Prepare large wraps using about a cup of the mixture for each wrap (I like to use spinach wraps- they’re my favorite). Add some greens, grapes and snow peas or your preferred toppings. Wrap it on up and you’re good to go! Serve wraps sliced in half or refrigerate chickpea salad in an airtight container if not eating immediately. Chickpea salad should stay good for 2-3 days. Enjoy!