Tortilla Soup… Kinda.

Serves 8!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup/185g dry pinto beans
  • 1 cup/185g dry black beans

(soak the beans overnight in water; should be 3-4 inches above beans while soaking)

  • 1 cup/180g quinoa
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 medium-large zucchini
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 cup/180g corn kernels
  • 1 14oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 14oz can no salt added tomato sauce (+1 full can of water)
  • 1 4oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon: cumin, coriander, smoked paprika
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, diced or grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Make sure you soak the beans overnight!
  2. Put the beans into a slow cooker covered by an inch or two of water.  Set on high, and beans should be cooked in about 3 hours.  Once they’re done, set the slow cooker to low.
  3. Roast the onion, zucchini, carrots, and jalapeño until slightly browned.
  4. Once beans are cooked, add quinoa, tomatoes + water, and chilies.  Add spices and garlic.
  5. Allow quinoa to cook (30-40 minutes, if you turn down to low), and add the roasted vegetables.  Add the corn last.
  6. Soup should be done, but you can allow it to hang out on low for a while in the slow cooker.

Optional toppings (kind of, I mean, you should put them on top):

  • avocado
  • lime juice
  • vegan cheese shreds
  • cilantro
  • dairy free quesadilla!

You’ve Lost Your Noodle! Lasagna

When I was on my weight loss journey a few years ago, I was looking for ways to enjoy delicious foods, but maybe cut back on the carbohydrates a little bit (mostly in the pasta and bread-y forms).  That was when I found a recipe for eggplant and zucchini lasagna, using those two plants instead of noodles.  Now, back then, I wasn’t vegan, so the original recipe was full of cheese and egg and the like.  I have since learned how to adapt it to make a simple, healthy, and delicious vegan recipe.

One thing that I should let you know is that this is a recipe that pretty much requires a special kitchen tool – a mandoline slicer.  The ability to make slices all the same thickness is pretty important to the success of this recipe.

Most of the time, I make it very, very simple, but under the ingredients list, I’ve added a few possible (and delicious) add ins!

Topped with a little red pepper flake and additional nooch, for extra love.

Topped with a little red pepper flake and additional nooch, for extra love.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1/2 of a small eggplant, sliced thinly length wise (use the thin blade on a mandoline)
  • 1 medium/large zucchini (you may not use all of it), sliced thinly length wise
  • 1 package of firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup dairy free cheese alternative (this time, I used Daiya, but I usually use the Follow Your Heart shreds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 can unsalted tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped basil
  • 2 diced up cloves of garlic
  • Options (including, but not limited to):
    • mushrooms!
    • kale!
    • spinach!
    • add crushed red pepper to the sauce to make it spicy!
    • ground meat substitute! (Beyond Meat’s Beefy grounds would be my recommendation!)
    • you could also sub the tomato sauce with my vegan alfredo sauce, if you’re into that kind of thing!

Directions (this is a recipe big enough to share!  It’s technically 4 servings, but you or a guest may end up eating half of it, it’s so good!):

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and spritz a little oil on the base of a 9×9 glass baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, combine the tomato products, fresh herbs, and chopped garlic.  Place a small amount on the bottom of the dish, just enough to give a little coating.
  3. In another bowl, combine the pressed tofu, nooch, salt, pepper, dried basil, granulated garlic, and 1/4 a cup of the cheese alternative.  This should look and taste kind of similar to ricotta cheese.  The addition of the cheese alternative is to help it be a little sticky, so the lasagna holds more shape.
  4. Place a layer of zucchini/eggplant on top of the bottom layer of sauce.  You can do this several ways – you can alternate layers of zucchini and eggplant, or you can mix them.  Although the image I have included shows the eggplant cut into rounds, I recommend lengthwise for either application (I was just using left over eggplant from the other day – you can also use all zucchini or all eggplant, if you’d like!)
  5. Layer the tofu ricotta mixture, followed by about another 1/4 cup of cheese, and top with sauce.
  6. Repeat this process until you run out of tofu mixture and sauce.  Then, top with one more layer of zucchini/eggplant, and the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.  Let sit for 15 minutes, and enjoy!
The whole shabang, right out of the oven.

The whole shabang, right out of the oven.

Penne Alfredo with Kale and Mushrooms

While I was at the grocery store yesterday, someone mentioned they wanted pasta, and I came to the conclusion that I, too, wanted pasta.  I felt like a mushroomy, creamy, sauce was just what I was in the mood for, so I stocked up on crimini mushrooms and headed home.

Mushrooms are one of my favorite things to base dishes around, since I have found them to be very versatile, as well as totally delicious.  Before I stopped paying for cable, I used to watch a lot of Food Network TV shows.  A lot.  I actually attribute this to my ability to cook, since I really never did it beforehand.  Alton Brown’s show, Good Eats, was always a favorite, and one year I remember him making my favorite holiday dish from scratch – green bean casserole.  Since then, I have always made it with fresh ingredients, and it’s been super simple to adapt to my veganism.  I’ve made the mushroom cream sauce and mixed it with pasta before, but I recently decided to play around with it and try to get the flavor of an alfredo sauce with the mushrooms in it.  I feel like I nailed it, and was in the mood for this delicious sauce again last night.

Something about pasta with a cream sauce was just begging for greenery, however, so I added about half a bunch of lacitano kale. Really the only reason I used this kind of kale was because it’s so much easier to cut up into strips than curly varieties of kale, and I was going for that abundance of kale that only thinly shredded bits would be able to give me. Served with a side salad, this was a delicious, hearty, and vitamin filled vegan meal worthy of writing about.

kale mushroom alfredo

Without further ado, here is the recipe for my Penne Alfredo with Kale and Mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of the vegan alfredo sauce (recipe here)
  • 1 serving penne (or other pasta of your choice, but the sauce will stick really well to penne)
  • about 150g, or 1-1.5 cups, sliced mushrooms (I used crimini, but you could cut up portobello mushrooms or use white button.  Nothing with too strong of a flavor, though)
  • 1/2 of one large bunch of kale (I used lacitano, but any kind will work, and you can also adjust the amounts for your taste)
  • oil to saute the mushrooms and kale in
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • optional: some kind of vegan protein source (I used smokey tempeh strips, because I thought the smokey flavor would lend well to the sauce)

Directions (makes one serving):

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package.
  2. Follow the directions included for the vegan alfredo to make the sauce, but add the dried rosemary as well.  It works beautifully with the mushrooms and kale, and although optional, it shouldn’t be!
  3. In a large saute pan, cook your mushrooms until they’re browned and have expelled liquid.  Add the kale on top and cover, allowing it to steam for a while.  ***If using a protein, cook during this time.
  4. When the pasta, sauce, and vegetables are done, test for seasoning and combine ingredients.
  5. Enjoy!!

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

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I’m back.  I really wanted to start posting here more for the new year, but between preparing to move and losing my cat, I didn’t really have time.  So much has happened in the last few months, it’s been insane!  I moved from Los Angeles to Denver a month ago, and I’ve started working from home – which gets my cooking and baking juices flowing, I guess, because I can’t stop creating.  I’ve got a handful of recipes I’ve been working on, and I do plan on posting a little more often.

So, blueberry cookies.  Berries were on sale at my local Sprouts when I went this week, and I couldn’t resist buying up a few packages.  I’d also been staring a mostly full container of oatmeal and several very ripe bananas in the eyes, and I got the itch to bake.  I’ve been working on perfecting my banana bread muffin recipe, but wanted something a little more… cookie.  That’s how we got to this little creation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted to liquid form
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 “egg” (whichever vegan egg substitute is your favorite)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional; replace with additional vanilla extract if necessary)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (non-pastry flour is fine, too, but I wanted them super light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup of blueberries

Directions (makes approximately 2 dozen medium sized cookies):

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Mash the banana together with the oil, “egg,” sugar, and extracts.  Make sure mixture is as smooth as possible.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl.  Then mix in the oats.
  4. Add the dry into the wet in two doses.  When the second dose is almost  mixed in, carefully fold in the blueberries.
  5. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheets in approximately 1 inch balls.  Make sure dough doesn’t touch, but they won’t really spread.  I pushed mine down to make them flat before baking.
  6. Bake for about 12-14  minutes, depending on your oven.  I would check them after 9, because I am baking at a high altitude, this worked best for me.
  7. Let them cool on a baking rack, and enjoy!!!

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Portobello Steak with Mixed Green Spaghetti Squash

I’ve had a George Foreman grill for years.  When I ate meat, I probably used it… twice ever.  Just in the last 4 months, I’ve used it close to 10 times.  Why?  I discovered the joy of cooking portobello mushroom caps on it.  After they’ve been marinated and grilled, they’re easily one of the tastiest things I can make at home.

A word about spaghetti squash – it doesn’t taste like spaghetti, so don’t get your hopes up, if you haven’t had it.  That’s usually the first question people ask me when I tell them I had some of it for dinner.  It’s a squash, and it tastes like one.

Anyway, I hadn’t been on a serious grocery shopping trip in close to two months.  I went out of town for Thanksgiving, then for work, then Christmas showed up pretty quickly, and I went out of town again for New Years.  So, yesterday, I did the first half of my grocery shopping.  I decided to make something new with my spaghetti squash, and that lead to this!

ingredients

Ingredients: spaghetti squash, portobello mushroom, beet greens, kale, Beyond Meat chicken-free strips, lemon, garlic, an array of spices, and not pictured: balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash (I boil mine, but you can bake them or even microwave them!  Just make sure they’re cut in half first)
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap
  • 4-5 beet green leaves
  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • 1 serving Beyond Meat chicken-free strips
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • however many cloves of garlic your heart desires
  • assorted herbs and spices (I used basil, parsley, rosemary, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper)
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
1. Boil a large pot of water (large enough for your spaghetti squash. I always just cook the whole thing). If you don’t have a grill, preheat your oven to 450 (for your mushroom)
2. Zest your lemon (set half aside) and squeeze half of the juice into a container that will fit your portobello mushroom. Add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Mix together, and add your cap, gills down. I always do this in a sealed tupperware so I can flip it around and get the whole thing coated. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes in the marinade. If you’re putting the mushroom in the oven, go ahead and do that right after the 10 minutes is up.
3. Take your leaves, then pile and roll them up to chiffonade (this is a fancy word for “cut into strips”). Here’s a picture:

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4. Sauté your greens with olive oil and garlic. They’re going to need a little time to soften.
5. When the spaghetti squash is done, remove it from the water. I like to place it in a bowl and use my fork to scrape it out. Here’s another picture:

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6. Right about now, I would put my mushroom on the grill. It only needs about 5 minutes on the GF, closer to 15 if you’re baking.
7. Take the scraped squash and drop it in with your greens, and add the Beyond Meat chicken-free strips. Mix them together, and remove from heat. Add the rest of your zest and lemon juice, as well as any spices you want.
8. When your mushroom is done, remove it from the grill or oven, and slice as desired. Plate, and enjoy!

(note: unlike meat, you can use your marinade without heating it and pour it on top of your mushroom.  It’s delicious!  I showed a friend this, and she totally thought I was eating a steak.)

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Sweet Potato Chili Pie

I’ve been eating a lot of sweet potatoes for the last year, if you haven’t noticed.  I love them.  I’ve been experimenting more with different ways to eat them.  Today I decided to try a “shepard’s pie” kind of approach, utilizing the chili I made today (https://jackieisgreen.com/2015/01/05/bean-chili-basics/).  It was awesome.

Ingredients (serves 1 as is, but obviously easy to adapt):

  • 1 serving of bean chili (see link above)
    • Note: I used garbanzo beans, black beans, white beans, and pinto beans, a can of diced tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, cumin, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne, turmeric, ground ginger, cinnamon, garlic, parsley, basil, and my favorite hot sauce.
  • 1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled and mashed
  • salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, and garlic
  • Beyond Beef beefy crumbles

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Take the serving of chili and put it in a ramekin, and mix in the Beyond Beef.
  3. Top the chili with the mashed sweet potato.
  4. If all of your ingredients are already warm, it only needs to bake for 8-10 minutes to get nice and hot.  If they’re both cold, you’ll probably want closer to 20 or 30.

That’s it!  If you’ve already made the chili, it’s super quick and east to throw together and make this.

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Bean Chili Basics

Part of my “New Year’s Resolution” is  to update this blog more.  Hopefully, I can stick to it, but be advised, that may mean the only pictures are the finished product!

One of the things I’ve been making for a while now is bean “chili.”  It’s a great option for cold weather, as well as for when I’m broke and can’t afford to buy a wide array of my usual groceries for the week.  I usually have between 5-8 servings, depending on the combination of ingredients that I use.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a method.  Depending on the flavor profile and availability of ingredients, you can make many, many different variations on this basic idea.

The Ingredients:

(The first two are the very basics that I use in every recipe for this chili)

  • 4 cans of beans (I recommend a variety – my standards are black, pinto, garbanzo, and either red or white beans)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes

(everything else below is a list of optional ingredients that I may add in)

  • potato (regular or sweet) diced very small
  • onion
  • jalapeno
  • lentils
  • fake meat (“beef” or “chicken”)
  • canned diced chilies
  • corn
  • bell peppers

(this is a list of herbs and spices that I have used; utilize different combinations based off of what flavor profile you’re looking for)

  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon pepper
  • cumin
  • smoked paprika
  • parsley
  • basil
  • tumeric
  • ground ginger
  • cayenne pepper
  • cinnamon
  • hot sauce

The Method:

  • Drain the liquid from and rinse all of the cans of beans and dump the contents into a slow cooker
  • Add the diced tomatoes, and their liquid
  • Add in whatever addition ingredients you may want to use, then spices.
  • Mix everything together!
  • If you’re looking to eat within the next two hours, turn your slow cooker on high.  If you’re making this before work and want to come home to a hot bowl, turn it on low.
    • Note: I’ve left this on low all day and it’s been pretty dried out, so if this is the plan I may recommend adding about 1/2 a cup of water before you leave.  Or, I’ve actually used this opportunity to add a lot of water and make a really delicious soup!

The best part about this recipe is using it in different ones.  Some examples are: chili on sweet potato fries, chili mac and cheese, chili over zucchini fries, etc.  Tonight, I plan on trying something new!