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Posts Tagged ‘veganism

I’m baaack! (still catching up!)

This was a good one! Healthy, and vegan, too! (Well until you decide to top it with cheese and sour cream. But that would be your choice, right?)

Recently, I was poking around for healthy soups and stews to have around during our wintry February June weather in the Northwest, and I found this, which also uses part of the monster pile of quinoa I acquired. I traded out the kidney beans for garbanzos because I prefer the flavor, and… I totally spaced out on adding the corn. But I’m sure it would taste great! (Heh.)

Aside from a little time for veggie chopping, this went together really quickly. Hearty, tomatoey, and you can make it as spicy as you want! (Bruce didn’t miss the meat! That’s an amazing endorsement!)

Quinoa Chili
adapted from

2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 c frozen corn
1 (15.5 oz) can tomato sauce
1 c water

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and saute until tender.

2. Add salt, garlic, pepper, and spices; saute 5-10 minutes.

3. Add rinsed quinoa and stir. Add corn, tomato sauce, and water to onion/quinoa mixture. Simmer 20 minutes.

4. Add beans to the pot and simmer another 15 minutes.

5. Serve as-is (which tastes perfectly fine!) or with your favorite toppings: cheese, sour cream, avocados…

There! Finally got you your “Friday” recipe! And just in time for chili season. 😦 Hopefully we’ll break out of this weather rut soon… I think some of you on the East Coast need to give us a few degrees to balance us out, eh?

Once again, I sing the praises of the chickpea! It is, by far, my favorite of all of the beans. Something about its creamy, nutty flavor just blends wonderfully with so many cuisines, don’t you think? And without chickpeas, we wouldn’t have hummus! (what a crime!)

This stew has a simplistic name, but when I first tried it, I was sold. It’s simple to make, and combines iron-rich spinach with the vitamin C in tomatoes, which will release the iron in the greens. Furthermore, the beans are a great protein and fiber source. And, enough with the nutrition—the garlic, rosemary, and tomatoes together just plain taste good!

Chickpea and Spinach Stew
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh or dried minced rosemary
¼ c chopped parsley
1 c peeled, diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3 c cooked chickpeas or 2 15-oz cans, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bunches spinach, stems removed

1. In a wide sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, rosemary, and half the parsley. Saute for 2 minutes, then lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 12 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas, season with salt and pepper, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the water clinging to its leaves until tender. Add the spinach to the chickpeas, taste for salt, and season with pepper. Serve in pasta plates, top with extra virgin olive oil if desired, and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Mmmmmm! Great comfort food going into mid-October!

As we transition into cooler times of year, I’m looking more toward soups, stews, and risottos. This has been a go-to recipe of mine for a while. It’s a dairy-free risotto, and meat-free as well. The original recipe calls for tarragon, but I substituted fennel seed the first time I made it, since I had no tarragon on hand. Bruce understood that there was no meat in the dish, but the flavor of the fennel tricked his tastebuds into believing there may be some sausage… and he happily scarfed down consumed the meat-free dish!

This risotto uses Arborio rice, which is a standard in risotto preparation, and it also contains wild rice, which is high in fiber and potassium. I’ve modified the original in a few places. This dish is truly outstanding.

Wild Risotto
from Vegetarian Planet

1 cup water
1/4 c uncooked wild rice
4 c water or vegetable stock (I suggest stock)
2 tsp olive oil
6 scallions, both white and green parts, chopped fine (I use regular onions sometimes. Tastes just as good, though you don’t get so much color in the dish.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ c uncooked Arborio rice
½ c dry white wine
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon, or ½ tsp dried tarragon (I use fennel seed, crushed)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2/3 c coconut milk (light works great)
1 c fresh, or frozen and thawed, peas (I can’t stand peas, so I’ve always omitted these)

1. In a saucepan, bring the 1 c water to a boil. Add the wild rice, cover the pan, and reduce the heat. Simmer 25 minutes. Drain the rice.

2. In a saucepan, bring the 4 c water or stock to a simmer, and keep it hot.

3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the scallions and garlic over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the Arborio rice, and stir it for 2 minutes. Add the wine, the wild rice, and the tarragon. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, then add ½ c of the heated stock or water. Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed, then add ½ c more water or stock. Continue adding the water or stock in this manner, waiting between additions until the liquid is absorbed and stirring frequently. After about 18 to 20 minutes, most of the liquid should be used, and the rice should be tender but still slightly chewy.

4. When all of the stock or water is used, add the tomatoes, coconut milk, and peas. Stir the mixture, and simmer it, stirring often, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve at once. (I find it reheats well, too!)

Enjoy! This is a great dairy-free risotto. So many recipes need cheese or butter to avoid blandness, but this one is great! Try it, and tell me what you think!

It’s been a while since I’ve felt so strongly about a recipe I found on a food blog. But when Katie titles her page Make.These.Now., she’s totally right.

Check ’em out.

I won’t steal Katie’s thunder, as this young woman has used her culinary magic to create her own recipe for these healthy, chocolaty tidbits. But the basic idea: puree pitted dates with cashews (or other nuts, which changes the flavor) into a paste, along with dark cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Holy yum! Seriously, you guys! This does not taste like health food!

She rolls them into balls like little truffles, or forms them into bars. I’m thinking my next batch may be pressed into an 8×8 pan and cut up like brownies.

Lots of flavor options that I have yet to explore, that she lists on the site, too! To check ’em out, and to get exact proportions, again, check out Katie’s site. Throughout the rest of her site, you’ll find all sorts of vegan experiments. I bet they taste great, too!

So, try these out, and lemme know what you think! Not a single artificial ingredient!

This recipe was a pleasant surprise. Since the ingredients are basic, I wasn’t expecting anything to write home about. But given that this is another Mark Bittman recipe, I thought I’d give it a shot, since I had all of the ingredients on hand.

Score another one for Mark. I was dead wrong. This is fantastic. Something about partially mashing the black beans into a slurry when they’ve been cooking with the tomatoes, onions, and garlic, and that all of this fantastic flavor then permeates the rice. This one’s a keeper… and extremely budget-friendly.

Black Beans and Rice, Spanish Style
from How To Cook Everything

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
¾ c dried black beans, washed, picked over, and soaked if you have time
1 ½ c long grain rice
1 c chopped tomato (canned is fine, include the juices)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ c chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1. Put the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low so that the mixture bubbles gently. Cover loosely and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until the beans are about half-done—softening but still tough in the middle—about 40 minutes (an hour or more if you didn’t soak the beans at all). Heat the oven to 350 F.
2. Use an immersion blender or a potato masher to semipuree the beans in the pot (leave at least half unpureed).
3. Stir in the rice, tomato, and a good amount of salt and pepper. (If you don’t want a crust to develop, cover the pot.) Bake in the oven until the rice and beans are tender, about an hour, adding a little water if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (reheat and stir in a little water and olive oil just before serving).

Happy Birthday, America! What are my fellow Americans doing this weekend to celebrate?

Happy Friday! I’m starting a tradition of posting recipes to start off the weekend, so be sure to check here each Friday if you’re looking for something interesting to cook up!

I made this soup for the first time last weekend, and I have to share it with you all, it’s that good. I licked the spoon, the bowl, nearly the pot! It’s thick and hearty… hey, it’s still soup weather up here in Seattle! Another plus? It’s also vegan!

This soup uses pureed sweet potatoes as a thickener, but the real star is the hint of peanut flavor. The savoriness of the peanuts, onions, and garlic plays off nicely against the sweet spices. I guarantee you that this will feature regularly in your repertoire!

African Tomato and Peanut Soup

1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 (or more!) garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp ground coriander
0.5 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large (about 1.5 lbs) sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
4.5 c water
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne (optional)
¼ c chopped dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp peanut butter (I added a little more to taste)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. In a large saucepan or small stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion browns around the edges. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.

2. Add the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

4. With a food processor or blender (warning! since the soup is hot, process in batches, not filling the container more than halfway at a time to avoid burns), blend the soup almost to a puree. Taste, and add the cayenne if you like. Add the peanuts and the peanut butter, and whisk until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.

5. To serve, reheat the soup, and ladle it into bowls. Top with the chopped cilantro. Serves 6.

*Recipe from Vegetarian Planet, Didi Emmons.

Have you ever wanted a different perspective on life without too much commitment? I did. So, I decided to eat 100% vegan, but only committed to one day.

What was the draw?

  • My initial motivation was to tighten up my diet. I typically don’t consume much in the meat/dairy category as it is, but having to think about everything I eat makes me more conscious of everything that goes in my mouth.
  • But then, I discovered that forays into alternative eating habits just get me thinking differently about food. By combining foods in ways that I ordinarily would not (for instance, to make sure I eat enough protein during the day), I discover new flavor and nutrient combinations that will definitely become part of my diet, no matter the restrictions. This is a good thing!
  • And, I learned a heck of a lot about myself. While I’ve cooked multi-course vegan meals many times, I’ve never spent a whole day vegan until today.

Now that the day is almost over, what did I learn?

  • I thought I had planned enough. A little bit of planning goes a short way, but a lot of planning goes a really long way.
  • Lack of planning 1: I should’ve stuck with more tried-and-true recipes. A day where I have limited food resources is not a day to try multiple new recipes. I tried two today that I thought were going to be good, and they were just so-so. For one meal, I ended up doing what I promised I wouldn’t do – fruit and peanut butter on whole grain bread (yes, technically vegan, but creatively cheating!).
  • Lack of planning 2: I need to remember that main dishes that are mostly bean, veggie, and grain-heavy do not supply as many calories as my normal intake. Thus, I will get hungry more quickly. And that is OK.
  • I learned that stirring in a spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter does wonders for a mediocre stew.
  • And I learned that this type of diet, for me, takes as much discipline as the “write down everything you eat” weight loss diet. Lacto-ovo vegetarianism has been easy for me to follow in the past, but I realize how quick I am to garnish my soup with a dollop of yogurt, or to put more than a dab of butter on my baked sweet potato. Yes, there are vegan alternatives, but there’s that planning thing again…

I think I’ll try this again, soon. But I’ll menu plan a bit better, first.

My point? Making a change for a small amount of time gives you a new perspective, and you aren’t stuck with it forever. So now, it’s your turn! Is there anything you all want to try out for a day? It doesn’t have to be as time-intensive as veganism, but for example…

  • Eat the recommended 5-9 fruit and vegetable servings for one day, or more!
  • If you have time, try two exercise sessions in one day. Ignore the “I’m tired” voice in your head, so long as it’s only in your head.
  • Eliminate soda from your diet for a day. (Unless it’s your only caffeine source. And life without caffeine is just scary, in my world!)

You get the idea. Anyway, pick an idea, pick a day (this is the important thing – set a date for yourself, because “someday” never happens), and let us know about it in the Comments section!

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