Category Archives: Lunch

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

As we’ve been trying new recipes, this Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Taco recipe is one I’ve been meaning to try for awhile.  I’ve made something similar but this recipe is definitely a turned up version – here, the roasted squash gets mixed in with some lime juice and a little vegan mayo (or canned coconut milk) to make it creamy and extra flavorful.  The interesting thing about cooking the lentils with some vegetable broth, cumin, and coconut aminos (or tamari), is the aroma smelled almost identical to taco meat.  This was a great dinner, and also makes a great lunch from the leftovers.IMG_4491.JPG

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

makes about 10-12 tacos

adapted from One Part Plant

INGREDIENTS

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (about 4 cups)

2 1/2 tsp cumin (more or less to taste)

Sea salt and pepper

Olive or coconut oil

3/4 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed

Veggie broth

3 tsp tamari or coconut aminos

10-12 corn tortillas

2 tbsp vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo Light)* OR canned full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp lime juice

Toppings – avocado, sunflower seeds, hot sauce, lettuce (something crunchy since the squash and lentils are soft)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the squash with 1/2 tsp of the cumin and about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper.  Spread the cubes out on the baking sheet and roast them for 30-35 minutes, until they’re soft.  (Don’t worry if some get extra toasty, it’ll just make the color of the mixture a little darker).

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the lentils with enough broth to cover them and stir in the coconut aminos and remaining 2 tsp of cumin.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are soft, but still a little firm, 20-25 minutes.  Make sure to watch the pot and add more broth or water if needed to cover the lentils.  Taste them as you go to make sure they’re not overcooked and mushy.  When they’re done, drain any excess liquid that hasn’t been absorbed.

Transfer the cooked squash to a food processor and add the mayo or coconut milk with the lime juice, and process until smooth.  Taste and add more salt or lime juice if needed.

When you’re almost ready to serve, warm the tortillas, however you usually do.

Assemble the tacos: spread a layer of the creamy squash on a warm tortilla and top it with a scoop of lentils (about 2-3 tbsp).  Add your favorite toppings and serve.

*I usually find Just Mayo Light at Whole Foods.  I also wouldn’t sub an egg-based mayo here, because I think it’ll change the texture.  If not using vegan mayo, use full-fat canned coconut milk to get the right creamy texture needed.

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Grown-up Beans on Toast

Another great cookbook I’ve been using lately is The Dude Diet.  Along with the great frittata recipe I made awhile ago, we recently made ‘Grown-up Beans on Toast.’  The recipe calls for chicken sausage, but we made without, and it still tastes great – even kid approved!  It’s pretty quick to make – took about 30 minutes start to finish – and, it tastes great as leftovers too.  The author says the recipe makes 2 servings, but I think it can make about 6-10 toasts, depending how much you use to top the bread.  If you eat meat, go ahead and use your favorite chicken sausage.  I’ll list those steps as optional below.  We made ours wheat and dairy-free using gluten-free bread, and Vegan Parmesan shreds.IMG_4052.JPG

Grown-up Beans on Toast

adpated from The Dude Diet

makes about 6-10 toasts

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp. olive oil

2 chicken sausages (sweet or spicy), diced – OPTIONAL

1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. tomato paste

3/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 15 oz. can cannelini beans (or great white northern beans), rinsed & drained

1 15 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup water

Your favorite gluten-free (or traditional) bread, toasted

Chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top

Vegan Parmesan, to sprinkle on top (I like Follow Your Heart, found at Whole Foods)

DIRECTIONS

  1.  In a medium saute pan, heat pan and add olive oil.
  2. [OPTIONAL] Saute diced chicken sausage for about 4-5 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add onion and saute until translucent, just starting to brown.
  4. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.  About 30 seconds.
  5. Add dried oregano, tomato paste, salt, and paprika.  Cook for a few minutes more.
  6. Add drained beans, tomatoes and water.  Heat until boiling.  Then, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes so flavors can combine.  I waited until most of the liquid had evaporated.
  7. Serve warm on toast.  Top with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.

 

Dill’ish Slaw

When I think coleslaw, I think of either Kentucky Fried Chicken’s version or my Grandpa’s – both delicious. (Does anyone else ever wonder how KFC packs so much coleslaw in such a tiny container?!) And while coleslaw is associated with many childhood memories for me, it’s a side dish I rarely eat as an adult. I mention that as a disclaimer because this recipe from The Yiddish Kitchen is quite good, but I have no idea if it tastes like coleslaw because it’s just been so long since I’ve had the real thing. All of you coleslaw conneusiers will have to let me know how it stacks up!

Dill-ish Slaw

Adapted from The Yiddish Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup low-fat vegan mayo (I like Hampton Creek)

2 tbsp honey

1-2 tsp dried dill (or 1/4 cup fresh)

1/4 tsp celery seed (I omitted)

1 medium head cabbage, shredded (I used 2 bags of pre-shredded red and green cabbage)

2 large carrots shredded (I used about 3/4 bag pre-shredded)

1/4 onion thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except cabbage, carrots, and onion.

Once dressing is well combine and smooth, toss in cabbage, carrots, and onion. With clean hands, you can also combined with your hands to really help the flavors and juices marry.

Enjoy right away or, for the best flavor, let sit overnight covered in the fridge.

NOTE – This is not a mayo heavy slaw, so don’t be afraid to use the mayo here. If you’re worried about that though, you can add more cabbage or carrots to have the slaw be less saucy

“Magical” Applesauce Vinaigrette + Other Good Salad Dressings

My grandma used to say for a good meal, she just needed a good salad and good bread.  When I think about dinner with my grandparents, it always included a salad, and it always included a Mrs. Bernstein’s salad dressing.  But aside from that salad dressing, my favorite dressings were always ones my mom made.  That’s probably why I also love making my own salad dressings. Though, I still have a few favorite store-bought dressings I love, because let’s honest, who has time to always make their own dressings?!

This salad dressing really is “magical.”  I would never think to add cumin to a salad dressing, let alone applesauce or maple syrup, but this is really good.  I omitted the miso because I don’t eat soy.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like with the miso, but the final product how I made it below is great! The only downside to the recipe is it makes just 4 servings, so you’ll need to double the recipe, if you want enough to enjoy throughout the week.  Bon apetit!

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“Magical” Applesauce Vinaigrette

adapted from Plant Powered Families

serves 4 (1 serving = 2 tbsp)

INGREDIENTS 

1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce

1/4 rounded tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp stoneground mustard (or dijon)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 -1.5 tbsp maple syrup

freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in a small food processor and blend together until smooth. Adjust for seasonings.  Add a little more maple syrup for a sweeter dressing OR add a couple teaspoons of water for a thinner dressing.

NOTE – you may need to double batch to make it easier to blend in the blender or food processor.

 

OTHER GOOD SALAD DRESSINGS

(store-bought + vegan/gluten-free/soy-free)

Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinaigrette (I’ve found it at Whole Foods + Ralphs)

Maplegrove Fat-free Balsamic Dressing (I’ve found it at Gelsons, Ralphs, + Walmart)

Follow Your Heart Low Fat Balsamic Dressing (I’ve found it a some Gelsons + some Whole Foods)

 

Sweet Potato Kugel

Cooking is the easiest way for me to zone out. I think that’s why I like making new recipes so much – I can focus on something and completely forget everything else going on around me. And, when there’s a day that I can go spinning and cook new recipes- well, that’s the ultimate. 

I read about this Sweet Potato Kugel recipe on a holiday round up from the cooks that authored The Yiddish Kitchen. I made bagels from their cookbook a few months ago, and I completely forgot about this kugel. I didn’t grow up on kugel like most. Actually, I was so particular, I would only eat it at my friend’s mom house, because then I knew it would be good! Anyway, this recipe is super easy and simple.  I even found precut sweet potatoes at Trader Joes to make the recipe even easier to make. You could certainly use regular sugar (the color will likely be different if you do) and you could use full-fat coconut milk, which probably makes it taste even more like the holidays. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Kugel

Adapted from The Yiddish Kitchen

Serves 8,12,16, or 25 – depending on how you cut it 

INGREDIENTS

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rubble or noodles with a spiral slider or vegetable peeler (or 1.5 pkgs of Sweet Potato Ribbons from Trader Joes)

3 tbsp olive oil 

Canola oil for greasing the pan

1 cup canned lite coconut milk (or full-fat, canned)

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish. Then, in a skillet, heat the sweet potatoes in the olive oil over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, or until sweet potato softens. 

While the sweet potato is cooking, mix all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring well to combine. Once the sweet potatoes are ready, remove them from the heat and incorporate into the egg mixture. 

Next, pour the mix into the prepared casserole dish and bake for about 30-50* minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Slice and serve warm. 

*the recipe says 30-40 minutes, but maybe because I used lite coconut milk instead of full fat, it took more like 50 minutes. After 35 minutes, I kept adding 5 more until it was set – the center took the longest time to do so. 

Two [Vegan] Ranch Dressing Recipes

I generally prefer vinegar-based salad dressing but there are definitely days when I crave something a little more savory.  I’ve found two great Ranch dressing recipes, that just happen to also be vegan. What I love about these recipes, is that even if you’re not vegan, you can just swap out the Vegan mayo with an egg-based one and it still tastes great.

Creamy Ranch Dressing

serves about 12 (1 tsbp = 1 serving)

adapted from here

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Vegan Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Non-dairy Milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)

2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tsp Dried Parsley

1-1/4 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Dried Dill

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (might be OK longer, but haven’t tried yet)

Wall Street Restaurant’s Pareve Ranch Dressing

makes about 16 servings

adapted from here

INGREDIENTS

2 cups mayonnaise (can use vegan or traditional)

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp sugar (regular or coconut sugar tastes fine)

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp dried dill

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

Umami Sundried Tomato + Almond Burgers

My favorite thing about cooking is experimenting with new combinations of ingredients. When I saw this recipe, I was so intrigued by using unsoaked almonds and sun-dried tomatoes together, let alone in a veggie burger recipe. To date, these are some of my favorite veggie burgers. I’ve tried plenty of recipes that end up tasting OK, but these are so different. The sun-dried tomatoes totally make these and the almonds give it a great texture. The other thing that surprised me was how versatile they are – they tasted great with hummus in a wrap, and great with our favorite Hampton Creek Truffle Mayo. They’d probably also be great with caramelized onions. Let me know if you find another topping for them!


Umami Sundried Tomato + Almond Burgers

Adapted from Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes

Makes about 20 slider size burgers 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups raw almonds

1-1/2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 small garlic cloves, cut into quarters

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari)

3/4 cup sliced green onion

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced (not packed in oil, if hard – soak in warm water for a few minutes before using)

1-1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor, add the almonds, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, garlic, balsamic vinegar and coconut aminos. Purée until nuts are very fine ground. Do so enough so that the almonds release some oils so patty mixture can be somewhat sticky.
  2. Add the green onions and sundried tomatoes and pulse until mixture becomes dense and starts to hold together.
  3. Add the quinoa (or brown rice) and pulse until well incorporated.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (We made burgers as we needed them, over the course of 3 days, refrigerating the mixture we didn’t need).
  5. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Using an ice cream scooper, make slider size patties and carefully place in pan. Cook for a few minutes in each side. (NOTE- These have great texture but can become dry and crumbly is overcooked).
  6. Enjoy in a wrap, with a burger bun, or plain.

Broccoli Waldorf Salad

This is probably the easiest recipe I’ve made in awhile. Prep requires some chopping and assembling and that’s it! The recipe says this serves 2, but we felt it’s better with about 6 servings because the dressing makes it pretty indulgent. I think it might also taste great with a vinegar-based dressing but not quite sure which one yet. Let me know if you have any ideas! Enjoy!


Broccoli Waldorf Salad

Adapted from Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches

Serves about 6

INGREDIENTS

Salad

2 cups broccoli florets, raw* 

1 stalk celery, chopped

2/3 apple, cored and chopped

1/4 scant cup red onion, chopped fine

1/3 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dressing

1/2 cup veganaise (we use soy-free or Hampton Creek, could also use any mayo or plain yogurt (vegan or dairy))

1 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

1-1/2 tsp agave

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all salad ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and gently stir together. Set aside. 
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. 
  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir until coated. 
  4. Serve as a side salad, in a pita, or in a wrap (we like Bfree brand quinoa and chia wraps-they sell them at Ralphs)
  5. Salad can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. 

*I used florets that come in bags you can steam in the microwave. Frozen won’t work here. You could certainly also use fresh broccoli sold in bunches. Surprisingly, the broccoli becomes softer when mixed in with everything. I also tried to pick broccoli pieces that had short stalks, so it would be easier to eat. 

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!

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Moroccan Quinoa

I’ve been working my way through The Love & Lemons Cookbook and was inspired to try a Moroccan Couscous recipe with quinoa instead of couscous.  I had to make some tweaks, because quinoa cooks differently than couscous, but the result was really good.  I also think it tastes better the next day, making this a great make-ahead dish for weeknight dinners or even lunchboxes.

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Moroccan Quinoa (serves 8-10)

adapted from Eating in the Middle

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups no-chicken (or chicken) broth

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed & drained

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup golden raisins

3-4 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a medium sized pot, bring broth and water to a boil.

2.  Remove pot from heat and add quinoa, cumin, coriander, turmeric, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Stir in and cover pot. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3.  Move covered pot back to burner, over medium-high heat.  Set timer for 5 minutes.  Check after 5 minutes to see if liquid has been absorbed.  Repeat for 5 minutes at a time until liquid is absorbed.

4.  Once liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork and stir in raisins and parsley.  Can be served immediately, at room temperature, or can be refrigerated and served cold.