Lentil Tacos w/Carrot-Jicama Slaw

These lentil tacos are so simple.  What takes the most time is prepping all the vegetables, and after that, it’s a cinch. It took about 45 minutes to make, start to finish, which is a bit long for a weeknight meal, but it was definitely worth the wait. I got the recipe from vegan cookbook, Thug Kitchen – which I’m putting out there, is not for the faint of heart.  If it were a CD, it would definitely have the label for “Parent Advisory Lyrics.”  That said, if you can look past the word choices in the recipe descriptions and look at the recipes, they are pretty great. I actually can’t believe how little of what I made is left – that’s how much everyone liked it!  I suggest prepping the vegetables ahead of time, to make cooking this recipe even easier.  We enjoyed without the salsa the author suggested, and I’m sure that makes these tacos even better.  Even your meat-loving friends will love these!

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Lentil Tacos with Carrot-Jicama Slaw

adapted from Thug Kitchen

makes 6-8 tacos, or more if using mini tortillas

INGREDIENTS

3 cups water

1 cup black beluga lentils

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

8 oz. mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces

1 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

3 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp apple juice (the unfiltered kind)

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 lb jicama, cut into small matchstick pieces

1 carrot, cut into small matchstick pieces

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into small matchstick pieces

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

pinch of sea salt

Your favorite corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the lentils with the water until boiling.  Once boiling, simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender, but not mushy.  Drain extra water.
  2. In a large pan, heat olive oil and add onions.  Cook until translucent.  Add mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add coconut aminos and lentils and stir.  Add garlic and apple juice, stir and cook for a few more minutes.  Turn off heat and add sesame oil. Stir in to combine.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the jicama, carrots, and cucumber.  Mix in apple cider vinegar and lime juice. Salt to taste.
  4. Assemble tacos and enjoy!

 

 

 

Shrimp Burgers turned Salmon Burgers

My new favorite cookbook is Katie Lee’s Endless Summer.  The pictures alone make me want to go on vacation, and the recipes are even better.  I created a Salmon Burger recipe based on her Shrimp Burger recipe, and they are SO good.  We’ve been making them almost every week!  I make them slider size and I haven’t met one person yet who doesn’t like them.  To make things easier, I also have the fishmonger take the skin off and cube the salmon for me, to make putting it in the food processor that much easier.  At first, I was hesitant to try the sauce from the recipe, but this one actually compliments the burger really well. These are sure to be a hit at your house too (and for the little ones, are also great cut up in lunch boxes, with a little ketchup for dipping).

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Salmon Burgers 

makes about 19 slider-sized burgers

recipe adapted from Endless Summer

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. salmon, skin removed + cubed

1 egg, lightly beaten

2/3 cup gluten-free panko (or regular)

2 scallions, chopped, white and green parts

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. lemon juice

salt + pepper to taste

2-3 tbsp. canola oil (use 1 tbsp. per batch of burgers in the pan)

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise or vegannaise

1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Hamburger buns or dinner rolls (for sliders) – We like Udi’s Gluten-free Classic Dinner Rolls

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large food processor, combine salmon, egg, gluten-free panko, scallions, garlic powder, lemon juice, about 1/2 tsp. sea salt and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper.  Pulse until well combined.  Some chunks of salmon are OK, but most should be chopped up fine.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp of oil.  For each batch of burgers in the pan, add 1 tbsp of oil or less if you don’t think it needs it.  You don’t want them to stick.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, make slider size patties.  For bigger burgers, 2 scoops work well.  Carefully place each burger in the pan as you are forming them.  After a few minutes, turn them over.  They should be a light brown color.  They’re done when they feel slightly firm with a spatula. If you like more well-done, cook a little longer.  Don’t worry if the outside looks brown when you remove from the pan, those still taste great, and are not burned.  (I find the first batch usually has a lighter brown color when cooked on the outside than later batches)
  4. As burgers are done cooking, place them to cool on a plate lined with a few paper towels to drain the oil.  Repeat process until all burgers are cooked.
  5. While burgers are cooling, mix mayo and Old Bay seasoning.
  6. To assemble burgers, use your favorite buns (or dinner rolls – we like those for sliders), and put about 1/2-1 tsp. of sauce for each burger.  Eat open-faced or as a burger.  Enjoy! (They keep about 2 days in the fridge)

 

Chopped Salad Tacos

I’ve been working my way through a few new cookbooks and after hopping on The Taco Cleanse bandwagon, I found the most ingenius idea – a chopped salad in a taco!  Seriously, why didn’t I think of that?!  Chloe’s Kitchen has a great chopped salad recipe, with an aweome salad dressing we tried last week.  Put the salad in a taco, and voila! Virtually a no cook dinner. From start to finish, the meal took about 30 minutes to put together.  Everything in the salad, you can also use on your child’s plate – avocado, red peppers, mango, tomatoes.  This is super easy, super fast, and delicious!

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Easy Chopped Salad Tacos

Adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen + The Taco Cleanse

serves – 2 hungry adults, with leftovers

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup lime juice, about 3 limes

2 tbsp. Agave

2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

3 tbsp. Olive Oil

1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Mango, diced

1 Red Pepper, diced

1/2 Avocado, diced

1/4 cup Red Onion, finely diced

12 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Corn tortillas

 

DRESSING

1. Whisk together the lime juice, agave, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil until combined and smooth.  Set aside.  You may need to mix again before using.  (I like to use a measuring cup so it’s easy to pour out.)

 

SALAD

1. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and add black beans, garlic and chili powder.  Heat for about 5 minutes and let cool.

2.  In a large bowl, combine lettuce, mango, red pepper, red onion, tomatoes, and cooked black beans.

3.  Add about 1/2 the salad dressing into the bowl and gently mix.

 

TACOS

1.  Heat tortillas

2.  Put a handful of the salad in each tortilla.

3.  Top with avocado.

 

Easy Vegan Meatballs (soy-free)

My Grandma’s meatball recipe is one of my favorites, but sometimes I’m in the mood for a meatless meal that’s just as comforting.  Enter these super easy vegan meatballs. Like the veggie burgers I posted earlier this week, these too are almost all put together in the food processor, and as a result, the texture is great and the process to make them is a breeze. I made these about 6 months ago and they were fair, so when I attempted at the recipe this week, I tweaked a few things to make them more flavorful and I succeeded!  I do wish these had more protein in them, but other than that, these are really easy and great for a quick meal mid-week.

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Vegan Meatballs

adapted from Chloe’s Italian Vegan Kitchen

makes about 20 meatballs

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1/2 cup gluten-free italian style breadcrumbs (I crush up Ian’s Italian Style GF Croutons)

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur)

1 tsp. dried basil

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil for cooking (I use about 1 tbsp. per 8-10 meatballs)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil and saute mushrooms and onions until soft and tender.  Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a large food processor.  Reserve skillet for later use.
  2. Add the brown rice, breadcrumbs, flour, basil, salt and pepper to the food processor.  Combine until smooth and the mixture comes together. At this point, you can either refrigerate the mix to cook later (it can store for up to 5 days) or cook what you need.
  3. To make the meatballs, heat the large nonstick skillet with about 1 tbsp of canola oil.  From the mix, form 1-2 inch spheres.  I like to use an ice cream scoop.  Carefully place in the skillet.  Turn every few minutes until a nice crust forms on the outside.  Remove and drain on paper towels.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite pasta, or on a dinner roll with your favorite (vegan) pesto + tomato sauce as a meatball slider.

 

Vegan Drive-Thru Burgers

It’s a shame this picture doesn’t show the “burger” patty but it does show my  2nd favorite part of this recipe, the Special Sauce.  While I’ve never liked hamburgers, I’ve always liked veggie burgers.  Now that I’m not eating soy, it’s definitely limited what I can purchase in the store.  I’ve tried more veggie burger recipes than I can count, and this one is definitely my favorite.  The technique of mixing the ingredients together in the food processor makes for a really great texture – and the special sauce totally makes this an indulgence.  I’ve even found these veggie burgers taste great on top of a salad too, if you’re in the mood for something lighter.  I almost forgot, what also makes this recipe incredible, is that you can make the burger mix ahead of time, refrigerate it, and cook what you need throughout the week.  It keeps for up to 4 days.  Bon apetit!

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Vegan Drive-Thru Burgers with Special Sauce

recipe adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen

serves 4-16 (depending on size of patty you make)

BURGER INGREDIENTS

1 cup cooked brown rice

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained

1 cup walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, or gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur Gluten Free)

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

3 tbsp canola oil (or less depending on preference)

SPECIAL SAUCE INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup vegan mayo (or soft tofu)

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp yellow mustard

3 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp agave

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp pickle relish

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and saute onions until soft and lightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes.  Transfer to a food processor.  Reserve skillet to cook the burgers.
  2. In a food processor, add rice, lentils, walnut, flour, basil, salt, pepper, and onions and pulse until the walnut pieces are very fine and the mixture is smooth.  At this point you can refrigerate the mix and keep for cooking later in the week, or cook immediately.
  3. From the mixture, with your hands or an ice cream scoop, form patties that are very thin for drive-thru style, or thicker for restaurant style. I usually get about 16-20 because I make them slider size.
  4. Heat canola oil in the reserved skillet and pan-fry in batches, adding more oil as needed.  Flip the patties and let cook until they are nicely browned on both sides.  Remove patties from pan and drain on paper towels.
  5. For the sauce – Combine all ingredients, except relish and dill, in a medium mixing bowl or small food processor and combine until smooth.  Stir in relish and dill.
  6. TO SERVE – With you favorite buns, layer lettuce, tomato, burger and 1-2 tbsp of the sauce.  Enjoy!

Waldorf Salad Lettuce Cups

When a long holiday weekend approaches, I’m always looking for easy lunch and dinner recipes since we end up spending most of our time out of the house, leaving little time for full-on meal making. I’ve been reading through Eating in the Middle and flagged these Waldorf Salad Lettuce Cups. The recipe calls for chicken, though, after making them last night, I think a great Vegan option would be using chopped walnuts and halved grapes instead. If you’re Vegetarian, just add Gorgonzola cheese too (what the original recipe calls for). This recipe requires some prep time to chop the veggies and mix the dressing, but it’s total about 30 minutes. Also, since the recipe calls for chilling the salad mix before serving, this is a great make-ahead meal, especially during the week – just assemble and enjoy.


Waldorf Salad Lettuce Cups

Adapted from Eating in the Middle

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 cups boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into small pieces (can also swap chopped walnuts and halved grapes instead)

2 celery stalks, sliced on the bias

1/4 chopped flat leaf parsley

1 pear, cored, chopped into small pieces

1 cup red cabbage, finely shredded

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp honey

Salt

Pepper

8 butter lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.

Add chicken, celery, parsley, pears and red cabbage to the bowl with dressing. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Portion out mixture evenly into lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Healthy-ish Banana Bread

This banana bread recipe is the reason I purchased The Ranch at Live Oak Cookbook. This recipe was a little daunting at first, with its 55-minute bake time, but baking it on a Sunday night, made that a non-issue.  Sure, I may have stayed up a little too late between the bake time and cool time, but it was worth it.  Everyone in our house loves it – and with 12 servings for the loaf, looks like we’ll be enjoying it all week.  The best part is that there’s no sugar in the recipe, so it’s definitely a healthier alternative to a typical breakfast pastry, and just as good (according to my husband, since I don’t eat the typical ones!)

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GLUTEN-AND SUGAR-FREE BANANA BREAD

Makes 1 loaf (serves 12)

Adapted recipe from The Ranch at Live Oak Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup refined (or unrefined) coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing

3 very ripe large bananas

7 large moist dates, pitted  (recipe calls for 6 Mejdools, but I couldn’t find them so I added one more since they were smaller)

1 large egg

1 1/3 cup gluten-free flour (I like King Arthur)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. unfiltered apple cider vinegar

DIRECTIONS

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350.  Lightly brush an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 loaf pan with coconut oil.

In the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade attachment, puree the bananas and dates until smooth.  Add the egg and coconut oil and pulse until combined. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and then mix in 3 tbsp of water and the vinegar; the batter will be thick yet pourable.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto the rack and cool completely.  (The bread can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep in a cool place.)

SERVING SUGGESTION: Make an open-faced almond butter and banana sandwich, with about 1/2 tbsp of almond butter and a few slices of bananas.

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Mini Pan-seared Salmon Burgers

I’ve been trying to cook more fish lately and since I’m pretty particular how I like to eat it, I figured no better time to experiment with new recipes. I made these salmon burgers from Giada’s latest cookbook. While many of the recipes in the book don’t appeal to me, this one seemed so easy, I figured might as well try. Overall, it was easy to make and tasted delicious. I accidentally dropped some egg yolk in (recipe only calls for egg whites) but it still turned out great. I made small burgers, so the recipe yielded 8 instead of 4. As an added bonus, it tasted great the next day too. We used dinner rolls for buns, which was the perfect size. We also drizzled a little pareve (non-dairy) ranch dressing on top. We will definitely make these again!


Mini Pan-seared Salmon Burgers

Adapted from Happy Cooking

Yields 8 small or 4 regular size burgers

INGREDIENTS

3/4 lb. salmon cut into 1-inch pieces

1 Egg white

1/2 tsp. Orange zest

1 tsp. Lemon zest

2 tbsp gluten free panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

4 tbsp capers

1 large shallot, chopped

1/3 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp olive oil 

DIRECTIONS

1. In a food processor combine all the ingredients except olive oil. Pulse a few times until everything is incorporated. (I pulsed it a little more to make the texture finer)

2.  Once combined, form mix into 8 small parties. 

3. Heat a medium saute pan on medium-high heat and add olive oil. 

4. Carefully place burgers in pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, until firm to the touch. 

5. Enjoy with a bun or dinner roll. Add about 1-2 tsp of pareve ranch dressing to garnish. 

Cooking with Garbanzo Bean Flour

In several of the new cookbooks I’ve read recently, a recipe for “Socca” has appeared three times, prepared in three different ways. It’s made from a batter of garbanzo bean flour, water and oil, and sometimes other seasonings.  It seemed so simple, and the pictures looked really good, I’ve been so curious to try and see what it tastes like – I can’t recall ever eating something made with garbanzo flour before.  I’ve now made 2 of the 3 recipes, and I honestly can’t believe how incredibly easy it is to make AND how good it tastes.  I will say cooking it in the oven yields a more savory final product, but the stove-top recipe couldn’t be easier to make.  Both recipes are below and you can decide for yourself which you prefer.

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HERBED SOCCA with BROCCOLI + HUMMUS

serves 6

adapted from Pure & Beautiful Vegan Cooking

BATTER 

1 cup chickpea flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried thyme

dash of freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups water

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

TOPPINGS

1 small head broccoli, sliced florets only

1/3 cup of your favorite hummus

1/4 cup microgreens or broccoli sprouts

 

DIRECTIONS

Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet inside the oven and preheat to 450.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the batter ingredients excluding the water and the oil. Now, slowly whisk in the water and 2 tbsp of the oil.  Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes to 2 hours.

While the batter rests, slice the broccoli florets. Arrange the florets in a single layer on a lined baking sheet or coated with nonstick spray and drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil.  Set aside.

Once the batter is done resting, coat the hot skillet with 1 tbsp of oil and pour in the batter. Place the skillet on the top middle rack in the oven and place the broccoli pan on the lower middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the broccoli from the oven after the time is up. Now, move the top rack to its highest level and broil the socca for about 5 minutes, until slightly crispy on top.  Be sure to keep an eye on it, ensuring that it doesn’t burn.

Remove the socca from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Top with a layer of hummus, followed by the broccoli and finally the sprouts or microgreens. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

 

SOCCA “PIZZA”

recipe says makes 6 pizzas, but this made about 18 for me

from It’s All Easy

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INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups garbanzo flour

2 cups water

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for frying

salt

toppings of your choice

 

DIRECTIONS

To make the batter, whisk together the chickpea flour, olive oil, and 2 cups of water and season with 2 big pinches of salt.  When ready to cook the pizzas, heat an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, pour in about 1/4 cup of the batter, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the bottom is crispy and the top is almost set.  Carefully clip the socca and cook for 1 minute more.  Transfer to a plate a dress with your desired toppings.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

 

NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE

  • This recipe yielded way more than the recipe listed.  I’m still not sure why that happened.
  • I also noticed that after the first batch, the socca only got crispy if I added more oil in before the new batch of batter.
  • I topped the “pizzas” with some tomato sauce, a few sprinkles of dried oregano, and some halved cherry tomatoes.
  • This recipe was way more kid-friendly than the first for us.

“Tuna” Waldorf Salad

I made an awesome tuna salad this weekend, except it had no tuna fish in it.  It’s a recipe from Katie Henry’s new cookbook Pure & Beautiful Vegan Cooking that’s so delicious, you’ll actually wonder why you weren’t just eating this all along.  If you like the combination of tuna sandwiches with hummus, you will definitely like this recipe.  In it, garbanzo beans replace the tuna, and in adding chopped walnuts and apples, the overall flavor and texture is totally on point.  I’m eventually going to try this recipe without the walnuts (and onions) so I can put it in my son’s lunch box to make it nut-free school (and kid) friendly.  I imagine it will taste just as delicious.  The hardest part of the recipe was taking the skins off of the garbanzo beans (you can just pinch them off pretty easily after you rinse and drain them) – the recipe doesn’t call for it, but I think the texture is better.  Other than that, this was a super simple recipe with the biggest clean-up being the mini food processor that I used for the garbanzo beans and the bowl I mixed everything up in.  I’ve been enjoying it solo, but I imagine it will taste great also in a pita or on a sandwich.  Let me know if you try it – I’m so curious to hear what others think of it!

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“Tuna” Waldorf Salad

adapted from Pure & Beautiful Vegan Cooking

serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

2 -15.5oz cans of garbanzo beans, rinse, drained and skins removed

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like soy-free Vegannaise)

2 stalks of celery (leaves removed), chopped

1 small apple, cored and diced small (I like Fuji)

1/2 small red onion, minced (optional – the flavor is less spicy after refrigerating overnight)

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped + plus a few for garnish

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 tbsp dijon mustard (optional)

1 tbsp sweet pickle relish (optional)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

 

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, add the chickpeas and pulse several times until they become a somewhat “flaky” consistency.  Don’t worry if it gets more ground up at the bottom – you can mix around with a small spatula to ground it up more evenly.  They should not be whole, but not completely mashed up either.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Then, stir in the flaked chickpeas to combine.

Serve chilled on a sandwich, solo, in a lettuce cup or pita.

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