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Tuscan Beans and Spinach Soup with Homemade Croutons

I made this soup because it was actually below freezing here in Florida. I know that is just W.R.O.N.G. – WRONG. If I wanted to be in the cold, I would go up to New Hampshire. Actually I do go up there once a month, but not because I like the cold. Anyway, this soup just sounded perfect for the day.

The homemade croutons are a must. They take this soup to the next level of comfy, cozy goodness. The creaminess is easily done by pureeing part of the beans with broth. The lemon adds just a hint of zip to keep the soup from being boring. This recipe makes 4-6 servings. Oh, and it only takes 30 minutes to make. Here is another quick and tasty meal in 30 minutes flat to your table.

  • 2 15 oz cans cannnelini white beans, rinsed, drained, divided
  • 3 c vegetable broth, divided, 1c/2c
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, zested, juiced
  • Homemade Croutons

In a food processor or blender, blend together 1 can of cannelini beans and 1 c of vegetable broth until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

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In a large dutch oven, heat oil and saute onions with all-purpose seasoning until soft.

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Add garlic, red pepper flakes. Stir. Add spinach and stir. Cook until spinach is wilted.

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Add remaining beans and broth along with the tomato and lemon.

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Stir thoroughly. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until heated through.

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Serve with homemade croutons. Eat. Enjoy.

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Spinach-Artichoke Zucchini Lasagna

I consider it a challenge to transform one dish into multiple different types of meals. I initially started with Warm Spinach-Artichoke dip served with bread and/or chips. Great for a large crowd or something very casual. Then I elevated the appetizer to Roasted Baby Potatoes with Spinach-Artichoke Dip Bites. This is perfect for a more intimate gathering, or if you want to serve something that is definitely going to get recipe questions. Mmm, so good.

Since I do not like to waste food I turned the dip into a filling for a Veggie Lasagna. One batch of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip made three different things. That makes me do a happy dance.

This dish is mostly assembly work because the filling is already made. One tool that would be tremendously helpful is a mandolin. I had bought one a few months back and this is the first time that I have got to use it. The mandolin is such a time saver when it comes to slicing the zucchini thin and evenly.

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  • Spinach-Artichoke Dip
  • GF No Cook Lasagna Noodles
  • Marinara Sauce (or you favorite Pasta Sauce)
  • 1 Zucchini, medium, thinly sliced
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes ( I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Fresh Parsley, garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a 8×8 baking dish begin layering ingredients. ( You could use a large baking dish if needed for more servings, just adjust quantity of ingredients.

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Layer two lasagna sheets on top of marinara.DSC_0050

Spread an even layer of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip on top of the lasagna sheets.DSC_0051

Layer Zucchini on top of Spinach-Artichoke Dip.DSC_0052

Repeat layers : Sauce, Lasagna Sheets, Spinach-Artichoke Dip, and Zucchini.

If you have more room add an additional layer. Then top zucchini with marinara sauce and Nutritional Yeast.DSC_0054

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes. The rest time is important to keep the lasagna together when you dish it out.

Sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley.

Note: You can bake this ahead of time. To serve: slice and plate and then warm it up in the microwave.

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Quinoa and Veggie Bowl

This bowl is so full of color and flavor. You can feel the pop of the quinoa when you take a bite. There is a hint of lemon to brighten the dish and cilantro to give it some freshness.

What I like is that you can add just about any kind of veggies that you desire. This is what I had in my refrigerator at the time. Sometimes I add zucchini, yellow squash and kale. I try to change it up whenever I make it so it is not the same every time.

  • Avocado oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 c carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c quinoa
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • Lemon, zested, use juice of half the lemon
  • 4 oz spinach, fresh, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Cilantro, fresh, garnish

Over medium-high heat add avocado oil to a large dutch oven. Warm avocado oil; add onion, carrots, yellow pepper, garlic and bay leaf. Stir. Season mixture generously with the  all-purpose seasoning, stirring occasionally. Cook until carrots are tender and onions are softened and translucent. Remove from dutch oven and set aside.

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Pour vegetable broth into dutch oven and scrape any bits that may have formed in the pan. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover with lid. Cook until all liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has popped (looks like little rings).

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Turn heat off. Add spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, spinach and tomatoes. Cover with lid and let the spinach wilt and the tomatoes warm . This only takes a couple of minutes. Top with cilantro.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Peanut Noodles with Vegetables

What is nice about this recipe is that you probably have all the ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry. This recipe is vegan, however you could add some chicken to it for your carnivores and it would be just as good.

I am actually eating this while I type this post, because it is that good and I could not wait. There are a few advantages to this dish. 1) I used the leftover vegetables that I had roasted for the Forbidden Rice and roasted Vegetables Bowl. 2) This dish only takes 20 minutes to make.  3) You can serve it hot or cold. Either way it is delicious.

  • 8 oz pasta of choice
  • 1 c pasta water, reserved before draining pasta
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves, garlic, grated
  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos (low sodium soy sauce can be substituted)
  • 3-4 c chopped vegetables
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • Cilantro, fresh, garnish

Pasta:

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Reserve 1c of pasta water, then drain well in a colander.

Sauce:

Combine Pasta water, ginger, garlic, peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut aminos in a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat.

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Stir sauce continuously until well combined.

Pulling it together:

Return pasta to pot that they were cooked in. Add vegetables and sauce.

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Stir. The sauce will thicken and stick to the pasta. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and cilantro. Stir.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

Note: This recipe serves 4. However, you could double it and have leftovers for lunches the next day. Also, use whatever veggies you have on hand. I did and it turned out great.

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Forbidden Rice Bowl and Roasted Vegetable Bowl

I had some Forbidden Rice at a restaurant sometime ago. I cannot remember the restaurant or when it was, but I do remember how good it tasted. I had purchased a bag of this delicious rice with intentions to make this delectable rice myself. I bought the Forbidden Rice and then put it into the pantry to be forgotten. The rice was found when I decided to clean out and organize my pantry.

To my surprise and delight I found this treasure and decided to bring it to you. Forbidden Rice is also called Black Rice due to its color, yet when it is cooked it turns into a purplish hue.

I hope this will inspire you to try something new this week. It is still as good as I remember.

Forbidden Rice:

  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 c Forbidden Rice (black rice)

Roasted Vegetables:

  • 2 c carrots, sliced
  • 1 c parsnips, sliced
  • 1 bag broccoli (12.6 oz) frozen
  • avocado oil
  • All-purpose seasoning
  • Fresh Herbs, garnish

In a medium size saucepan add vegetable broth and rice. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cover with lid. Simmer about 30 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff rice with fork.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scatter carrots, parsnips and broccoli onto a sheet pan.

Drizzle avocado oil onto veggies. Sprinkle all-purpose seasoning onto veggies and stir.

Roast veggies for 25 minutes. Stir veggies midway through roasting time.

Assemble bowl:

Layer your base – Forbidden Rice

Top with veggies and fresh herbs.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

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Confetti Quinoa with Garbanzo Beans

Here is another Meatless Monday Recipe.Even though it is meatless it is protein packed by using quinoa and garbanzo bean (chick peas). This is one of my favorite meatless dishes because it is loaded with color and flavor. Oh yeah, nutritious too. It is a winner.

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  • 2 tbsp avocado oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 zucchini, medium, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • All-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 oz. baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c vegetable broth

In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle All-purpose seasoning over onion mixture and stir. Cook onion mixture until veggies have softened and onions are translucent. Add lemon zest and juice, scraping bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Add zucchini, squash, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and spinach. Sprinkle with more All-purpose seasoning. Stir well. Remove once all veggies have been heated through and set aside.

Add remaining avocado oil and quinoa. Toast quinoa in pan for a couple of minutes. Add broth and cook until quinoa is cooked through. The quinoa will look like it has burst with little rings. Return veggies to quinoa and stir well. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Gluten-Free Veggie & Herb Pasta

This is my first Meatless Monday Recipe, of hopefully many more to come. I enjoy coming up with all kinds of Clean Eating recipes: Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Paleo. This recipe I have made for a long time. Depending what I have in my refrigerator it may vary a little bit.

One of my favorite types of meatless dishes is pasta. I can’t help it. It is so good, and a perfect blank canvas. This particular recipe has garbanzo (chick peas) beans. They still have a bite to them and it gives you the chew factor that you are looking for. My favorite dried pasta is Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta. There are two ingredients: white rice flower and quinoa flour. It holds up well. I have found a lot of the gluten-free pastas break apart and the flavor is off-putting. You do not feel like you are eating gluten-free or flavor-free pasta.

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  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • all-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 2 oz. baby kale, chopped
  • 10 oz. grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 15 oz. garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Alouette Garlic & Herb Spreadable Cheese
  • 1 c pasta water
  • 8 oz. Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta
  • 1/4 c parsley, chopped, garnish
  • parmesan. garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven over medium heat warm avocado oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, add all-purpose seasoning to your taste. Cook mushroom mixture until there is some color on the onions and mushrooms.

Add kale, tomatoes, garbanzo beans. Stir well. Deglaze pan with lemon juice. Stir well.

Add pasta to boiling water, stir occasionally and cook for 15 minutes.

Add cheese, stir until well combined. Add pasta water and stir occasionally. Reduce heat if necessary.

Drain pasta, do not rinse. Transfer to veggie sauce . Stir until well combined. Plate and garnish with parsley and parmesan. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Confetti Quinoa

Quinoa (Keen-wah) is a gluten-free, whole grain, plant based complete protein. Some people have called it a superfood. It is a versatile grain that can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. Like I said, versatile. If you know how to make rice, then you can make quinoa.

This recipe has been one of my family’s favorite. This is a great recipe for meatless Monday; one full of color and flavor.

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  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • All-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 1 c assorted peppers: red, yellow, orange, diced
  • 1 c kale, chopped
  • 1 lemon, tested, juiced
  • 2 c vegetable stock
  • goat cheese (optional), garnish

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and peppers. Season with all-purpose seasoning; stirring occasionally until vegetables have softened. Add quinoa to vegetables. Toast in skillet for about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice of lemon; stirring and scraping any bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add more all-purpose seasoning and stir.

Add vegetable stock and kale; cover skillet and cook until the quinoa looks like it has burst open. It will triple in size. Garnish with goat cheese. The goat cheese adds a nice tang and creaminess to the quinoa. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Black Bean Stew

This recipe is for my vegan friends. It has been a while since I made this dish. It is veggie packed, gluten free and delicious. This can be made on the stove top or in a slow cooker. It smells so good either way you make it. This would be good with a slice of my focaccia bread.

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  • avocado oil
  • 1 c onions, diced
  • 1 c carrots, diced
  • 1/2 c celery, diced
  • 1/2 c red peppers, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  1 c dry black beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1-inch Kombu, thumb size
  • 26.46 oz. diced tomatoes (Pomi)
  • 1 c. spinach, cut into strips
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 c cilantro
  • cashew cream, garnish, optional

In a large dutch oven over medium heat warm the avocado oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, red peppers and garlic. Cook until veggies have softened. Add beans, vegetable broth, kombu, tomatoes and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until beans are tender. Just before serving add cilantro and top with a dollop of cashew cream. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.