Archive of ‘Vegetables’ category

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dill Dressing

Cucumber Salad w Yogurt and Dill

What with being unemployed and all and not exactly having a place to live until August 1, hubs and I are spending a few weeks with my parents. The older we all get, I’m starting to have more and more respect for how my folks have handled life after the last kid left home 8 years ago. Dad has been 100% retired for most of it and has steadily accumulated projects and community stuff to stay busy whenever he isn’t out on the motorcycle. Motorcycle rallies–the kind with checkpoints and landmarks to find within a 24-72 hour time limit over some region of the country–are pretty much his purpose in life. Mom still works as a nurse but has managed to keep the 3, 12-hour shifts a week for over a decade. I can only hope I’ll be so lucky. She’s been a gardener her whole life but when kids came along and life got busy we didn’t have much besides the flower beds and a few vegetable patches, but the garden beds have multiplied in the last few years to include everything from cucumbers and squashes, corn, beans, herbs, winter veggies, and, to my surprise when I came home last week, collards and kale (“everyone at work was talking about how much they love this stuff called ‘kale’ so I went and got a pack of seeds…). With my dad as a handy helper (he does the garden building and vegetable eating part) and a really commendable renewed devotion to personal health on their part, we can always count on fresh produce at home. So, obviously that brings me to today’s recipe. With the exception of the yogurt, everything here has been freshly grown and that’s pretty darn cool if you ask me.

Since summer is, you know, hot and all, I’ve been doing a *lot* of salads and cold veggies with dinner instead of the typical warm side dishes. Saves time, that’s for sure–one of my husband’s favorite things to toss on a plate next to the main event is a sliced heirloom tomato with salt and a drizzle of melted butter (speaking of which, grilled tomato and butter sandwiches are the bomb and I could probably eat them every day forever).

I got a little…fancy…with last night’s salad, as you can see. The dill was calling my name, I couldn’t resist. I’ve got fantasies of doing this again with some smoked salmon later this week. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s dying just thinking about it….?

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dill Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (packed) fresh dill, minced
  • 3-4 large cucumbers, sliced and diced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • about 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Toss all the veggies and the dill in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk together the yogurt and vinegar, then pour over the veggies.
  3. Mix until well combined.
  4. Cover and let everything marinate for at least an hour before serving.

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Cumin Spiced Fried Plantains w/ Collard Greens and Roasted Peppers and Onions

I have been doing a lot of Vegan meals lately, haven’t I?

Fried Plantains with Collard Greens and Roeasted Peppers and Onions

The way I see it, making at least one meal a day is 100% plant-based is a phenomenal way to get an array of veggies and nutrients in my diet.  I’ve ranted about it before, but the one thing anyone or any “diet” can agree on is that we could all use more veggies.  Over the years, what I would consider to be “My Paleo” has certainly changed–I’m kind’ve over the whole eat-nothing-but-giant-hunks-of-meat-all-day-every-day.  Nowadays it’s more like a 25/75 split between animals and plants.  I eat my eggs with greens and grilled veggies…my steaks with tons of salad and sweet potatoes…and even have the occasional meal that’s purely plant-based (my mornings lately have begun with fruit, kale, and coconut milk “ice cream” topped with Paleo Krunch).  “My Paleo” now is a lot more balanced and I’ve noticed such a huge difference in how I look and feel.  This past year I lost 15 pounds and just feel…better.

I really do agree with a lot of the thoughts behind Veganism–namely that processed “foods” are, well, crap, and that we’re missing out on so many of the valuable nutrients in plants.  I’m also sympathetic to the moral arguments…I’m not against eating animals, since humans need a lot of nutrients from the muscles and organs of others and have evolved to consume them, but I am against eating factory farmed animals subjected to inhumane conditions both because it’s unhealthy for them and unhealthy animals make unhealthy meat and because, frankly, it’s just cruel.

I’ve slowly become the people from Portlandia who insist that their chickens need to be happy and have little chicken friends to lend a shoulder when they feel sad.

ANYWAY, let’s talk about last night’s dinner.  As far as I’m concerned, plantains are always a good idea…I’d think of this as almost a deconstructed mofongo.  I added the collards as almost an afterthought and am SO glad I did.  They really do add a nice bitterness to balance the sweet of the plantains and coconut oil and make everything just a little more vibrant.  As a main dish, it’s perfect over cauli rice but I’d bet that it would be great with a root vegetable mash, big baked potato, or even as a side.

Cumin Spiced Fried Plantains w/ Collard Greens and Roasted Peppers and Onions
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ c coconut oil
  • 3 large plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 4 cups collard greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t black pepper
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Heat the oils over medium high heat in a high sided skillet
  2. Add the plantain slices, frying about 2 mins per side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil behind.
  3. Add the peppers and onions. Fry in the remaining oil until soft.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add back the plantains and add the collards and seasoning, stirring to coat everything with the coconut oil and spices.
  5. Cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the collards are nice and soft. You can definitely leave it longer if needed--the flavors will only get richer!

 

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Spanakopita (Paleo, Vegan)

Having gone to college in southern New York, I became absolutely infatuated with the bazillions of Greek diners we frequented any chance we got.  Pancakes the size of my face…the ginormous pastry display…gobs of butter on EVERYTHING…

And, of course, the Greek food.  I was on a moussaka kick at one point–even made MDA’s primal version–but my favorite has always been the delightfully crispy and cheesy spanakopita.  Spabakopita…which also happens to be the most Paleo-unfriendly dishes around thanks to the phyllo (which is the best part, duh!) and cheesy goodness.

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Having nothing but time on my hands this summer, I finally cracked it.  I’ve been obsessed with Cappello’s pasta for a long time, and even more so now that the ingredient list changed to make them 100% Paleo (no more potato starch).  While not exactly the flaky crispity crusty phyllo, the lasagna noodles make a perfectly delicious substitute for the shell.  Making this baby dairy-free was no problem at all, especially since I’ve been experimenting so much lately with cheese alternatives.

The result was beyond even my expectations.  Even my husband–who rolls his eyes every time I tell him we’re having a meatless meal–went back for seconds!

The cauliflower mixture–before mixed with the spinach and all the rest of the ingredients–stands very well on its own as a topping or base for other recipes.  I’d like to say it tastes a little like feta cheese…but faux feta or not, it’s great.  I’ll probably post the recipe for just that piece in the next couple days.

Spanakopita
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • ½ head cauliflower
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t marjoram
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 t oregano
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ½ c chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 t onion powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ c coconut milk
  • 1 lb frozen spinach
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package Cappello's lasagna noodles
Instructions
  1. Steam the cauliflower until soft. Place in a food processor with the olive oil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon juice, coconut milk, green onions, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Pulse until you have a rough puree...not as smooth as you'd want for mashed potatoes but more smooth than cauliflower "rice."
  3. Heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high in a skillet. Add the garlic and onion, then saute until soft.
  4. Add the spinach, sautéing until excess water has evaporated off.
  5. Mix the spinach mixture with the cauliflower mixture, along with the olives.
  6. In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of the spinach-cauliflower mixture.
  7. Lay a layer of lasagna noodles on top.
  8. Pour the rest of the spinach mixture on top of the noodles.
  9. Top with one more layer of noodles.
  10. Cover tightly with foil, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  11. Uncover, brush some olive oil all over the top, and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.

xxx

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Home-Made “Chipotle” Burrito Bowls (Vegan and Paleo)

As much as I love to hate on fast g=food, I’m not going to pretend it’s not convenient.  And damn if I don’t love me some Chipotle burrito bowls teeming with gobs of guac.

The beauty of this meal is that it’s so simple and really only requires as much prep work as you’re willing to give.  If nothing else, just throw a bunch of leftover meat and veggies in a bowl and smother in salsa and guac (salsa and guac go well on EVERYTHING) and you’re good.  This week, though, I was obviously feeling a little fancy.  Sometimes you miss the diversity of textures and flavors you get from not-so-Paleo-friendly ingredients like beans and corn…

The squash cubes add the perfect addition of texture you’d get from the beans or corn, and the roast veggies are a must to add a little variety.  Just like the real deal, a variety of meats work well and this is a phenomenal way to use up leftovers.  Ross used chicken on last night’s, for example.  Since I’m on another “Paleo-Vegan” kick, I made some palm heart “barbacoa” in a nice little simmer sauce.  (Recipes below)

This is a great dinner that can be prepped well ahead of time.  Sort of reminded me of my mom’s “Fajita Nights”–she’d set up big containers of cooked meat and veggies in the fridge that just needed to be nuked and assembled.  Just make a giant batch of cauliflower (or regular) rice, butternut “beans,” roast veggies, meat, etc and have them staged and ready to go.  Also makes an awesome pack-able lunch or breakfast…add a runny egg and thank me later!

butternut squash tgipaleo

For the “beans”:

Take a butternut squash and cut it up into little cubes (about 1/2 inch).  Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until browned.

roast veggies tgipaleo

For the roast veggies:

Cut up a bunch of different veggies (I used cherry tomatoes and onion here but feel free to use whatever).  Drizzle and toss with olive oil and slat and pepper.  Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until browned.  You can (and should!) save time and have these in with the squash.

For the simmer sauce:

To a bkender, add 1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 T chipotle powder, 4 garlic cloves, 1 t oregano, and 1 t black pepper.  Pulse until you have a smooth sauce.  Transfer the sauce to a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Lower to medium low and simmer for 1 hour.

No time to make a fancy sauce? Just use a clean store-bought enchilada sauce.

palm hearts tgipaleo

For the palm heart “barbacoa”:

Heat a skillet over medium heat.

Shred about 7-8 palm hearts with a fork.

Add a drizzle of oil to the skillet and then the palm hearts.  Saute for a few minutes, then add about 1 cup of simmer sauce (recipe above) and stir until combined.

vegan and paleo chipotle burrito bowl

Assemble your bowls!!

In a nice, big bowl, start with a layer of rice (cauliflower rice or regular, I won’t judge).  Add some “barbacoa,” butternut “beans,” roast veggies, salsa, and guacamole.  If there’s anything else you want to add, go for it!

Devour.

 

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Zesty Sauteed Collard Greens w/ Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes

Collards are the new kale.  What can I say?

collard greens notsodesperatehousewife.com

For those of you who may be skeptical, I admit collards don’t have the best reputation.  I mean, generally they come out straight up *boiled*…goopy, bland, and just plain nasty.  These are not like that.  Sauteeing them with all this simple goodness not only lets the flavor permeate and keep the texture right where it should be, but actually keeps too many of the oh-so-lovely nutrients in these deep green leaves from leaching out and getting thrown away.  Whoever thought it was ok to boil leafy greens…ew.  Just ew.

Zesty Sauteed Collard Greens w/ Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups collard greens, chopped
  • ⅓ c sun dried tomatoes, dried or in oil
  • ⅓ c olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. If you are using dried sundried tomatoes, soak in hot water for 10 mins or so to plump them up.
  2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat in a large pot or heavy pan with a lid.
  3. Sautee the garlic until nicely browned and fragrant.
  4. Add the collards, stirring to coat in the oil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow the greens to simmer for 5 minutes or so, until wilted.
  5. Add the remaining oil, sundried tomatoes, vinegar, and seasoning. Toss to coat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve.

 

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BBQ Pulled Chicken Platter

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Did you notice a trend in the last few days?  My January barbecue obsession comes to a close with a plate full of July picnic fare…

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Sugar-free BBQ Sauce

Butternut Baked “Beans” <—-Seriously, cannot stop eating this stuff.

No-Mayo Avocado Slaw

And finally, a super quick and easy formula for some meaty goodness to top it all off.  You could even do the whole BBQ Sundae in a jar.  You know, with the pickle spear on top?  Too cute.

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I just used leftover cooked chicken breasts to throw this together, but you can also toss some cutlets (or a whole bird) in the slow cooker for the day and it’ll be ready to go!

BBQ Pulled Chicken

2 lbs cooked chicken (leftovers work really well!)

1/2 recipe Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce

**Shred the cooked chicken.  Pour on the sauce and mix away.  Serve.

(Too easy.  I love it.)

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No-Mayo Avocado Slaw (Paleo, Raw, Vegan)

I made some health-related New Years Resolutions this year.  Hey, even on a Paleo diet it’s easy to fall into a rut when you get a little too cozy with all the junk food that seems like a good idea just because it’s “Paleo.”  Live and learn.

The theme of the dietary stuff is to get more veggies.  It’s pretty simple, and if ANY diet can agree on anything it’s that we could always get more veggies.  So my biggest resolution is to include something green at every meal…I’m also committing to at least one meatless meal a week.  Too easy.

Ross and I are also doing a 21DSD this month.  Which means I’m going to be really cranky for the next week, then totally high on life.  I love Diane’s program…more than anything it’s a great wakeup call.  Unlike a generic Paleo challenge or even a Whole30, it hits you hard by cutting out anything that contains sugar…to include fruit sugar…and get your system back on track.  I feel like other challenges–while great and highly effective for folks new and/or skeptical of the whole Paleo thing–offer a little too much room for error since you’re allowed fruit and starch.  And I also like that the sugar detox is only 21 days…that extra week makes a difference ;-)

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So here’s a quick side I threw together.  I made an ass-ton, since I’ve had this weird craving for summery food even though it’s 7 degrees outside.  It’s great for any meal of the day, too…try it with eggs in the morning, on a salad for lunch, and just as-is for dinner and I’ve met my green veggie goal for the day.  Another bonus?  I didn’t have to make home-made mayo.  I love it SO much but it’s more work than I have energy for at the moment.  And that’s probably because I’m balls deep in my sugar detox hangover.  Yeesh.

4.0 from 1 reviews
No-Mayo Avocado Slaw (Paleo, Raw, Vegan)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ c rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ c full fat coconut milk
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 4 c shredded cabbage
  • 2-3 c packaged broccoli slaw
Instructions
  1. Place the avocado flesh in a food processor with the garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.
  2. Pulse until mashed up.
  3. Add the vinegar and coconut milk a little at a time, pulsing until smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage and broccoli slaw with the avocado mixture. Stir to coat.
  5. Serve immediately or store in the fridge. Makes 6-7 cups.

 

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Easy Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is seriously intimidating to make.  I mean, c’mon…how many competitors on Chopped get destrominated because they try and fail…miserably…to make risotto.  But I love it enough that I took the plunge and gave it a shot.

So, listen, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that bad…this was such a nice winter meal that was definitely do-able…on a weeknight, no less.  Just takes a little extra TLC.  It’s one of those dished that requires your full attention whilst cooking–so I’d recommend you have everything ready to go before you start–veggies chopped, broth hot, wine glass filled…

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Oh, and for all the radicals out there, yes, I am fully aware that this recipe has dairy and–*gasp*!–rice.  Maybe those aren’t part of your Paleo, but they’re sure as hell part of mine.  I eat rice.  And cheese (sometimes).  Deal with it.

For everyone else…enjoy!  There is also a couple of substitutions to make if you want to keep this bad boy dairy free.

Easy Butternut Squash Risotto
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c arborio rice
  • 5 c chicken stock
  • ¼ c butter**, divided in half
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 c diced butternut squash
  • 1 t sage
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 c shredded Parmesan cheese**
Instructions
  1. To make the squash easier to work with, place the cubes into the food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to get them nice and fine.
  2. Heat the stock in a saucepan to a light simmer. Have a ladle handy.
  3. On a burner next to the saucepan of stock, heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add half the butter.
  4. Sautee the onion, squash, garlic, mushrooms, squash, sage, and thyme for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent.
  5. Add the other half of the butter and the rice.
  6. Stir the rice and the veggies to coat for a couple of minutes and add enough stock to just cover it.
  7. Continue to stir and as the rice absorbs the liquid, add another ladle-full of stock.
  8. Repeat this process for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  9. Stir in the Parmesan.
  10. Serve as a side or as the main event.

**To keep this recipe dairy free, simply omit the cheese and use coconut oil in place of butter.  Add a little coconut milk to create a creamy texture.

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Roasty Toasty Fall Veggies..with Bacon

Confession…I’m a wee bit obsessed with the British royal family.  Well, not so much the family themselves but really just the clothes that Kate and Pippa Middleton wear.  More Pippa these days.  Ever since Kashete became a mommy (which is awesome, don’t get me wrong!) I feel a disconnect between us…I’m still a fresh-faced newlywed and you…she’s a real live grown-up now.  Which means we automatically have nothing in common.  Except that I’m absolutely obsessed with those giant wedges she was wearing at the kids’ volleyball game.  I ordered a pair of these but they came in way too small (damn you, European size chart!!) and now I can’t find ANYTHING similar in my size (shocker…the whole world wants those shoes…and I have giant feet).  And worse, every time I put in a search for “wedges” or “wedge heels”…for some awful reason I keep getting stuff like this.  If you actually wear these…not hating or anything but…I hate them and think they’re friggin ridiculous.  Sneakers are cool.  Heels and wedges are cool.  Sneaker-Wedge-Heels are NOT OK.

Oooooh so let’s stop talking about my fashion icons and talk about food for a sec.  This dish…welp…this dish has made an appearance almost daily and has been sustaining me all semester.  Very little prep.  Makes great leftovers.  Bacon.  It’s a total lifesaver.

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I wasn’t going to share originally because, I mean, it’s sorta kinda maybe boring looking?  Except that I’m obsessed–try new veggies, duck fat instead of bacon…I dunno.  For more civilized folk it would even make a phenomenal side dish.  Especially with Thanksgiving coming up in less than a week!  Eek!

Fall Veggies Roasted in Bacon Fat
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 strips bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • ½ large butternut squash, diced
  • 1 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1 t salt
  • pinch black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Preheat the pven to 375 degrees.
  3. Add bacon and brown till crisp and has a good amount of drippings.
  4. While the bacon is cooking, toss all your veggies into a large roasting pan...make sure it's big enough for everything to spread out in an even layer.
  5. Pour the bacon and drippings all over the veggies.
  6. Add the seasonings and mix everything to distribute evenly.
  7. Roast the veggies for 1 hour.
  8. Serve on its own or as a main dish!

 

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Detox Salad

As soon as I saw this recipe pop up in my Facebook feed, I hopped on the bandwagon.  I mean, who DOESN’T need something wholesome to eat in between Halloween candy binges?  (Oh, Reese’s Pumpkins…you are my nemises…)  Buuuuuut when I went shopping my TJ’s didn’t have any beets or sunflower seeds (seriously, WTF?), so I kinda just grabbed anything and everything I thought would taste good together.

detox salad

Here’s my own riff on this salad, and it’s pretty damn good.  Filling, so healthy it hurts, and a great way to change up my daily Big Ass Salad.  I’ve had this every single day for lunch this week with some chicken and it’s so much more fun than spinach and tomato.  Plus, you know, it’s got superfoods in it.  Kale and cabbage and apple cider vinegar, OH MY!

Detox Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
**This recipe can be scaled. I made a HUGE batch to last the week.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 4-6 cups shredded kale
  • ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ c RAW almond butter
  • 2 T fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Toss the cabbage, carrots, kale, and cilantro in a big salad bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, almond butter, ginger, and vinegar.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.

 

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