Two Quick, Easy, Vegan, + Gluten Free Bean Pasta Recipes: Prescription Pesto + Sesame Ginger Sauce

Who doesn’t Love pasta? Yes, love with a capital “L”.  For these recipes I used banza pasta made from chickpeas.  Bean pasta is awesome! It is super high in nutrients like iron and beneficial fiber. Plus it is loaded with protein. It’s gluten free and only takes 7-8 minutes to cook. Obsessed. I particularly like the Banza brand because it looks just like regular pasta and has a really nice consistency.  Some bean pastas that I have tried are a little mealy and chalky, this brand is nice and noodle-y.  I don’t know how else to describe it 😛 Hope you enjoy these recipes! xo

Purchase Your Box Of BANZA Here:

Banza Chickpea Pasta, Variety Case, Shells/Elbows/Penne/Rotini (Pack of 6)

Sesame Ginger Pasta + Veggies

Mmmm when I had this recipe the first time I could have sworn it had peanut butter and sugar in it with its gingery garlic creamy deliciousness.  Its just sesame seeds and dates!? What!? So simple and I can assure you this recipe will not disappoint!

Adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Quick and Easy Chilled Sesame Noodles

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bean pasta, cooked according to package directions, rinsed under cold water, and drained
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 pound mushrooms, chopped + steamed (or use another pound of broccoli or any other vegetable you love!)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 6 scallions thinly sliced

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds, lightly pan toasted
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw almonds or cashews (preferably soaked / sprouted)
  • 7 medjool dates or 13-14 regular dates (like deglet noor), pitted
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (or rice vinegar / apple cider vinegar)

Steps

  1. In a high speed blender, puree all the sauce ingredients until smooth
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta, bell pepper, scallion, steamed broccoli, and veggies with the sauce until thoroughly coated.
  3. Divide among 6 plates and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Prescription Pesto

Yaaas pesto :-P. This recipe has got all the medicine in it, and TBH: there is nothing I crave more. This pesto is BOMB. Don’t be fooled by the word, “medicine.” Back in the day when you used to plug your nose to get the stuff down.  This powerful pesto has got the most potent DNA protecting and disease reversing foods like greens, turmeric, beans, walnuts, and garlic.  And this medicine, baby.  Just can’t get enoughhh yuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adapted from Dr. Michael Greger‘s Eight Check-Mark Pesto

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch (or about 2 cups) fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup raw or sprouted walnuts
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 of a peeled lemon
  • zest of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans (I recommend no salt added like Eden’s Organic)
  • 1/4 cup liquid from canned beans or water
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white miso (equal to or less than 270mg sodium / serving)
  • Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth. Scoop onto a cup and a half of cooked bean pasta.

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My Favorite Oil-Free Salad Dressing / Kale Stone Fruit Salad Video

Look no further for your bomb-@$$ salad! This baby is so good. And medicinal. Here are just 5 reasons why this salad needs to GET IN YOUR BELLY:

1. Vitamin C + Iron Combo

Vitamin C is needed for peak absorption of plant based iron.  So the vitamin C from the orange and lime in the dressing combined with all of these iron packed greens?! Watch out world, you’re blood is builllttt!

2. Bones of STEEL

Plant based sources of calcium: kale, collards, sesame seeds, oranges… they are all great sources! Throw them all together and you are left with nothing but a mineral dense delicious meal fit for a superhero.

3. Anti-inflammatory + Protein

Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory aid, shown to help not only with stomach issues, but migraines, arthritis, and any kind of ache or pain.  It is truly a great go-to cure all.

4. Protein + Fiber Packed

Did you know that 50% of calories from green leafys is from protein?  Plus, sesame seeds have more protein per weight than any other nut or seed.  Protein and fiber are important to turn off hunger hormones.  Plus healthy sources of fat (sesame, walnuts) help curb cravings a lot too.  So this salad will get you shredded baby. Yes, shredded.

5. Simple, Fresh, Versatile

Make this dressing with whatever ingredients you have on hand. No sesame? Use cashews or hemp instead. Or whatever seed or nut you have on hand honestly.  This is delicious with mint, basil, or dill instead of cilantro, and can be used as a dip, filling, or topping for any plant based burger, falafel ball, or, even throw a banana in and drink as a smoothie?! The sky is the limit.  Enjoy 🙂

PS: I have a few spots open for one-on-one counseling with me! Click here to schedule a free consult with me to see if I am right for you 🙂

The Hero Pot | Lentil Vegetable Healing Soup

Split red lentils cook in just 10 minutes and are an awesome source of iron, protein, fiber, and disease fighting properties. And to me, they almost take like cheese! Ugh so GOOD!  I make a different version of this soup at least every week lately.  Broccoli and onions one day.  Zucchini and mushrooms another.  The ginger, turmeric though.  So divine.  Give this a try!

The Hero Pot

  • A large pot
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small chunk of ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground or fresh turmeric
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ~6 cups filtered water
  • ~1/2 cup broccoli
  • ~1/2 cup celery
  • ~1/2 cup mushrooms
  • ~1/2 cup peas
  • Lime and avocado to garnish
  1. Prep ingredients: chop vegetables, mince garlic + ginger
  2. Sautee onions and garlic in pot in 1/3 cup of water (keep a jug of water nearby to add as needed)
  3. Add turmeric, lentils, sweet potato, and 5 cups of water and bring to boil for about 10 minutes
  4. Turn down heat to simmer and add in rest of ingredients to simmer for about 15 minutes
  5. Take your superhero medicine 😛 enjoy

 

5 Favorite Vegan Thanksgiving / Holiday Recipes | Katie Reines, MS, RD.

Ahhh Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. Take the stress away and leave nothing but joy to saturate your friends and family. Which is really what Thanks. Giving. is all about, isn’t it?  Sometimes, these family occasions can be looked at as a burden.  I invite you to challenge that.  Let’s put in an effort out of love. It is worth it.  And maybe even take it to the next level- provide your family a truly compassionate dish option 😛

  1. Apple Pie

This is the gourmet recipe from the incredible healing cafe, Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly, MA where I’ve been working at seasonally since high school. Jacob Massey is an amazing raw vegan pastry chef. This pie: UNREAL. You have to believe me, seriously you must try it <3. I’m obsessed. Maybe its the already delicious food it’s made out of. Or maybe it’s all the joy he puts into his work. I’d say both. Anyone who has it tastes and feels the incredible-ness.

Makes 6 Pies:

Crust:

  • 10 cups walnuts
  • 7 1/2 cups pitted moist dates or coconut date rolls
  • 2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 2 1/4 Tbsp coconut oil
  1. Line spring form pans with parchment paper
  2. Pulse and blend in food processor until well combined and a little chunky, not too smooth
  3. Distribute crust evenly into pans and press to smooth

Filling:

  • 10 quarts chopped into 1/2 inch cubes apples
  • 4 cups soaked dried apricots
  • 2 cups soaked raisins
  • 3/4 cup psyllium
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger (not peeled but washed)
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Blend soaked fruit, psyllium, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until smooth
  2. Combine with chopped apple and mix well. The juices from the apple will release and the dried fruit mixture will distribute nicely
  3. Distribute filling evenly on crusts and press to smooth

Crumble:

  • 8 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
  1. Pulse in food processor until well combined and forms a nice crumble texture, not too smooth like butter
  2. Distribute crumble over pie fillings evenly and smooth gently
  3. Freeze pies overnight and thaw in the refrigerator. Freezing and thawing gives the apples a delicious cooked texture and releases all the wonderful juices.
  4. Try your best to share with someone 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!

2. Holiday Kale Salad

Inspired by the Quinoa Medley (#4 below). Use whatever herbs you like and have so much fun! This dish has wowed so many people and honestly, you can’t go wrong. A sweet tangy dressing, epic freshness and beautiful colors with the pompom. Mmm mmm!

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  • 1-2 bunches of kale
  • 2 pomegranates
  • 1 bunch green onion (half chopped half blended)
  • 1 large bunch dill (half chopped half blended)
  • 1 bunch mint (half chopped half blended)
  • 2 Tbs tahini (I used 2 Tbs hemp seeds)
  • 2 cups currents or raisins (I didn’t use raisins at the demo)
  • ½ cup pure lime juice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 4 dates
  • 2 cups walnuts
  1. Wash, de-stem, and schiffinade kale
  2. Chop using either a food processor S blade, or a knife and cutting board, half of the bunches of scallion, dill, and mint
  3. Deseed pomegranates (with a large spoon, banging on the outside of 1/2 of the fruit so the seeds just fall into your palm)
  4. chop walnuts
  5. Blend juice, dates, and the other half of the bunches of green onion, dill, and mint
  6. Massage dressing into kale thoroughly with gloved or very very clean hands
  7. Using tongs, mix in nuts and pomegranate seeds
  8. Serve chilled❤

3. FullyRaw Pumpkin Pie

I made this pie many times in Indiana where little local persimmons are all over the place.  There were two local persimmon trees at Purdue where I would frequently sit under, wait for the wind to blow, and eat all of the fruit that fell to the ground! The samples I made in the video below could not have gotten better reviews.  It is amazing how people think healthy food won’t taste redonk. And when it does, the light in their eyes! Priceless.

FullyRaw Kristina’s Pumpkin Pie:

Crust

  • ~1 lb dates
  • 1.5-2 cups pecans
  • 1-2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pie Filling

  • 2-3 cups pie pumpkin
  • ~2 lbs dates
  • Ginger, thimble sized piece
  • ~168grams persimmon pulp
  • 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Crust

  1. Using food processor S blade, put pecans in first, then dates and cinnamon, and pulse and blend until desired crust texture
  2. Take out the blade
  3. Press all around pie crust

Pie Filling

  1. Put pumpkin chunks and then dates, persimmon, cinnamon, ginger, and spice in vitamix, or food processor S blade
  2. Blend until completely smooth
  3. Rubber spatula into pie crust
  4. Freeze to set (about 2 hours)

4. Quinoa Medley

I’m actually obsessed with Chef AJ and The Plant Based Dietitian, Julieanna Hever.  I got to meet Chef AJ at Chicage Vegan Mania when I went with the club that I helped to create, “Be Veg at Purdue”. She made this quinoa medley at her demo and everyone was like. HOMINA. No oil? No salt?? So much flavor?!! Howw does she do it. A must make dish for every occasion.  Both Chef AJ and Julieanna Hever have the best recipes.  Definitely check them out!

Time: 25 minutes. You will need: large pot, knife, cutting board, large bowl, large spoon, measuring cups. Serves: ~20. (½ cup servings)

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dry quinoa (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 bunch scallion
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ – ¾ cup lime juice (about 8 limes)

Steps:

  1. Rinse quinoa and then bring to a boil in 5 cups of water. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. (cook to manufacture’s instructions on box)
  2. Allow quinoa to cool. Chop herbs using a food processor S blade, or by hand. Juice limes.
  3. Combine ingredients in large bowl. Serve chilled. Keeps well for about a week in the fridge.

5. Butternut Squash Brussel Sprout Stuffing

My roommate in Texas made this twice for a project and guess who ate it all.  GUILTY (well, you know, ate most of it). It is so amazing! Food52 is a great resource for reliably bomb vegan recipes.

I hope this helps you to bring something healthy and delicious to your table. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Healthy Pasta TASTE TEST + 4 Reasons Why I STILL Avoid Gluten

 

Pasta. What a delectable vehicle for vegetables!  Add your favorite beans, steamed veggies, and tomato sauce and BOOM! An impressive gourmet dinner.  While intact grains are the gold standard (grains in their whole form), whole grains, yes including their bran, germ, and endosperm, are milled into a fine flour to make whole grain pastas, breakfast cereals, and other “whole grain” products.  A few examples of legit whole intact grains would be steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and millet.

wholegrains

How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?

  1. Whole grain stamp is on the package
  2. “100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
  3. The first ingredient listed is a whole grain

refinedgrains

Refined grains are not only grains milled into a flour, but their grain was stripped of the nutrient and fiber containing bran and germ! Murder! Refined grains are white / light in color and examples include white bread, cookies, cakes, pretzels, white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white flour. Darn!

Don’t fret too much! The recommendation is:

Make at least 1/2 of your grains whole grains.

Grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet for fiber, iron,powerplategraphichirez magnesium, selenium, b vitamins, and lasting energy! Be sure to include them on your plate.

The Taste Test

Well before #1, my personal favorite is ZUCCHINILINI OF COURSE! Which is simply zucchini or summer squash, spirilized to look and feel like spaghetti. I like to mix it with pasta dishes to add bulk, flavor, color, and more veg of course!

#1 Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Spaghetti: #1 in taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Contains gluten.

#2. Bionaturae Gluten Free Corn and Soy Spaghetti: Fabulous texture and taste and with 5g protein and 6% iron, this product is ok. Low in fiber :-/

#3. Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti: Quite sticky texture, but great flavor and elasticity.  Would go great with a sauce. However, low in fiber although whole grain. Brown rice is naturally low in fiber.

 

#4. Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Corn and Quinoa Spaghetti: Texture dry and kinda crunchy, but a good source of fiber at 16% daily value and 10% iron!

#5. Andean Dream Quinoa Gluten Free Spaghetti: Texture was definitely a little sandy.  But I must say with 6% calcium, 12% iron, and just barely a good source of fiber at 10% daily value, not bad.

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The Consensus:

The quinoa based gluten free products have a better nutritional profile, but are not as delicious as the lower fiber rice based ones.

Why I personally still avoid Gluten?

Do I go out of my way to avoid gluten?

No.  I still enjoy it in moderation. My mom makes homemade bread and pizza with gluten which I eat occasionally.  My diet is whole foods based, so I rarely purchase packaged products that might contain gluten.

Do I eat gluten every day?

No.  Maybe I eat a gluten containing meal or snack 3-4 times a week.  I am generally healthy and do not currently feel any reason to put more effort into seriously avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and foods containing gluten 100% of the time.

Why I make this personal choice:

  1. My sister has ulcerative colitis, which is similar to celiacs in that they are both autoimmune inflammatory intestinal disorders. With a genetic risk factor in my family, I try to not over load the gluten as a personal preventative measure.
  2. Studies linking gluten and autism spectrum disorders autism-and-nutrition-1. The GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism, what else could it be linked to? I am ever curious and after reading such articles have trouble stomaching gluten (and of course would never recommend drinking milk).
  3. Naturopaths recommend avoiding gluten initially when trying to avoid inflammation with an “elimination diet,” along with dairy and other common inflammatory trigger foods. With this in mind, many people have success reversing adverse symptoms like rashes, IBS, fatigue, etc (SO MANY), once they remove gluten from their diet.  I grew up with canker sores, weird rashes, and eczema so, avoiding inflammation (and gluten) is in my best interest.
  4. Close friends with celiac disease so it is easier for everybody to find a gluten free delicious option!

While as you could see from the video, a gluten free diet is not recommended for the general public because it tends to have less nutrients. Be a savvy shopper and let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy those intact whole grains and plant yums! xx

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The Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life | Vegan, Cheap, Meat Eater Approved

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a plant based dietitian job interview at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.  They had me stay at their guest house, The Baker House, with interns who are occupants there for the summer.  If you haven’t already heard of the PCRM, it is an organization whose mission is ultimately to provide evidence based expertise to save the world. You can imagine how nervous/excited this wanna-be superhero was for this interview!!!

Back to the ziti- The ladies residing at The Baker House, Sofie and Catherine, are two brilliant, friendly, open minded vegans that became my close friends insanely quickly.  Catherine has made this dish a bunch of times and raved how it is always a win. Girl- you got that right!  Pool money to make dinner and eat it together!? Of course!!! Which lead me to enjoy the dish that I am sure will get anyone to give more vegan meals a try. Thank you ladies!

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Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life

Adapted from One Green Planet’s Recipe

Ingredients (total cost at Whole Foods: $21)

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 24oz jar marinara sauce (we used an organic fat-free option plus some that was already open in the fridge)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds (we used 1 bag of daiya shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (we used 1/2 of a container of tofutti)

Steps

  1. Boil water and cook ziti to manufacturer’s instructions and preheat oven to 425*F
  2. For ‘ricotta’: crumble tofu in a large bowl and add in nutritional yeast (or parmesan), salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Mix fully with a fork or large spoon.
  3. Mix the cooked pasta, most of the marinara sauce, and ricotta in a large bowl
  4. In a large baking pan, add some marinara to line the bottom, transfer the mixture in, and spread it out evenly.
  5. Top with the rest of the marinara and finally the layer of mozzarella shreds
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake ~20 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Eat with a side of greens and those people who actually get you and still like you! 😉 xo
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Catherine, Sofie, and I eating takeout from ‘Hip City Veg’ on the Smithsonian Steps

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The Soup Everyone is Craving- Even in the Summer

Hope you had a lovely fourth!  Unfortunately, after the stress of the RD (registered dietitian) exam (yes! I passed! 😀), I have not given myself a break and managed to get a pretty nasty cold.  My 4th consisted of a couch, good books, and the most hydrating foods I could get my hands on.  I drank lots of boxed coconut water, ate an entire watermelon, and had a few oranges, cherries, and fresh picked raspberries here and there; that is all that sounded good to me.

This is what I made myself for breakfast today:

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Thai coconut curry veg amazingness.

Was going to make a green smoothie bowl of some sort, but was craving something hot and savory.  Holy **** it hit the spot. It would be a disservice not to blog about it.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

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Serves ~6 people. 2 ladles per serving.

Ingredients:

Keep in mind I did not measure anything. I am amazed at myself- this is truly a special moment. Perseverance and practice make progress. ! Feel it out, use what you’ve got in the fridge, and at first tread lightly with the spices and continue to add until you’ve got the mastermind punch of spice that you desire. 🙂 Throw some fun in too. Makes it taste better.

  • 2/3 box of low sodium vegetable broth
  • half of a 1lb bag of baby carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic (used the tiny holes on the cheese grater to finely mince)
  • 1 large marble sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (used the tiny holes on the cheese grater to finely mince)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • ~1/2 tsp cayenne (you can always add more if needed)
  • ~2/3 tsp turmeric
  • ~2/3 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 boiled potato, peeled and cubed (I always have boiled potatoes in the fridge, yum!)
  • 1/4 head cauliflower, rough chop
  • 1/4 can of Eden’s black soy beans (mom meant to get black beans, w.e)
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale, roughly chopped (I am so lazy I just ripped it up with my hands)
  • fresh mint and lime to top / garnish
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The products I used

Steps: this is how I made it, I am sure there are better ways…

  1. Pour the veg broth in a med/large pot and bring to a boil with the carrots. (If you decide to substitute winter squash or sweet potato for carrot, I still recommend putting these in first to boil, as well as maybe your cubed potato if it is not pre-boiled already). This allows the carrots to cook and get soft and sweet, as well as add some flavor to the broth.
  2. While waiting for the boil, with the smallest setting on a cheese grater (or just mince), grate the garlic and ginger into the pot. Add in onions, coconut milk, and spices. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes, and turn down heat to simmer.
  3. Add in the celery, boiled potato, cauliflower, and black beans. Let simmer about 2-5 minutes.
  4. I actually put the chopped kale in my serving dish and ladled the soup on top of the kale. I don’t want my kale to lose its beautiful green color or nutrients. Definitely add that in last, after you turn off the heat.
  5. Enjoy with fresh mint and a generous squeeze of lime! Yum!

Make it your own!

I did not plan on making soup today, I simply used the random veggies I had in the fridge and things I happen to find in the cupboard.  Play with different vegetables that you might have like bell peppers, zucchini, basil, idk, mm brown rice? Go crazy with it! Nom nom! xoxo much love and good health to you and to me!!

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5 Vegan Barbecue Family Favorites | Burgers, Mac N’ Cheese, Cornbread, Fries, Grilled Veggies

VEGAN

The thought of grilling gatherings used to give me the heebie jeebies! As a vegetarian / vegan / high raw / w.e., I try to stay away from the classic American foods.  These recipes are absolutely perfect for meat heads and vegan, gluten-free, even nut-free health nuts alike 😉 .  Last year I made my favorite Watermelon Mint Salad. Check out the recipe video honoring my Grampa here.

1. BBQ Black Bean Burger

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This is my favorite black bean burger that I have made so far – adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers. My adapted version of the recipe is here.  I love it served with cucumber and avocado because the burger has so much flavor! The cooling veggies help to balance it out perfectly. These babies are:

  1. Easy
  2. Cheap
  3. Quick
  4. Healthy*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (I have learned in my nutrition classes that vitamins are lost when cooked in excess water or when water is drained off.  Thiamin, (aka vitamin B1) is lost as temperature or pH rises but it is more heat stable in acid, so it would be a good idea to cook rice with some lemon or lime juice, adding acidity to help retain nutrient content. Cook in amount of water that will be absorbed during cooking : 1 cup rice, use 2 cups of water.)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, and drained
  • 1/3 cup ground rolled oats (throw some oatmeal in the blender)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce*(Look for a BBQ sauce that is free of high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, >300mg sodium / serving. I used Annie’s Organic Original BBQ Sauce. I also really liked Sprout’s brand Pumpkin BBQ sauce that I got in the fall. Check out http://www.fooducate.com to compare BBQ sauce products to find a healthier option.)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
  2. Heat a skillet over medium with 1/2 Tbsp oil, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder,  cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
  4. Either mash black beans with fork/mashed potato masher in a large mixing bowl or pulse them in blender or food processor.  It is nice to leave some whole beans for good texture
  5. Add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sauteed onion mushroom garlic mix, maple syrup, ground oats, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until moldable dough forms.  If too dry, add a tad more BBQ sauce, if too moist, add more ground oats.  Taste and adjust seasoning as you’d like.
  6. For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (~1/2 cup in size) or form 10 smaller burgers (~1/4 cup in size). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuing cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mix. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and use hands to flatten slightly on the parchment paper, forming a 3/4 inch thick patty.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
  8. Serve over a toasted bun with all the fixin’s like thin cucumber, avocado, tomato, and red onion 😛

2. Creamy Macaroni and Peas

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This is adapted from the star item special at my home base Organic Garden Cafe ❤ It is unbelievable. My sister, (the cheese hound who without shame scrolls through #macncheese on IG on the reg), asked me to make this for her the very day I got back from my 10 day road trip from grad school in Texas.  Yup it’s that good. And it happens to be gluten free, nut free, low fat, high fiber, cheap, and effortless!

Serves about 6:

  • 1 cauliflower, roughly chop into large florets
  • 1 yellow onion, discard outer layer and chop into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 12 oz dry elbow macaroni pasta (I like using brown rice pasta!)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  1. Steam onion and cauliflower until super tender (about 30 minutes) and boil elbow macaroni to manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Combine steamed vegetables with salt, pepper, olive oil, and nutritional yeast, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor S blade or high speed blender and blend until creamy creamy baby
  3. Pour sauce over macaroni and peas and mix well. Transfer to casserole dish for serving.
  4. Garnish with paprika, parsley, and serve to the cheese lovers in your life!

In the photo above, I used 12oz bag bionaturae brand elbows for the gluten free pasta, I thought it was pretty good! I always try new brands, what is your favorite??

3. Blueberry Corn Bread

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My mother adapted this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen’s Sunny Corn Muffins and she usually serves it with chili as in the recipe here. My mom puts in less sugar and apple sauce instead of yogurt.

Yield: 24 mini muffins

  • 1 C gluten free all purpose flour (I used a brown rice GF mix)
  • 1 C corn flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 3/4 C non-dairy milk
  • 2 Tbls apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C blueberries
  • fine grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F and grease 2 mini muffin tins with coconut oil
  2. Combine dry ingredients (except blueberries) and wet ingredients in separate bowls and whisk separately.  Fold into dry and halfway through mixing, add in blueberries and distribute well.
  3. Pour in 8 inch pan and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
  4. Bake for ~18-20 minutes. Mmm sweet cornbread perfection

4. Sweet Potato Fries

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The image above is one sweet potato and one purple potato.

  • Cut into fries.
  • Thrown in a bowl
  • Tossed with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and a few dashes of cinnamon
  • Baked on parchment paper at 410* F for mm 30-40 mins?  Nope, didn’t even time it. Just make sure they’re soft to perfection.

It is that easy. I LOVE cinnamon on my sweet potatoes but you can certainly get creative and use paprika, or herbs.. spice it up to match your flavah. Ginger powder would have been bomb too.

5. Grilled Vegetables

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I have never and will never operate an actual giant grill. These were made in the panini press at 375*F. (Thank you college life #necessity=invention). Just greased the press lightly with coconut oil, and threw on some sliced mushroom, eggplant, and peeled asparagus, and BOOM!  Nope, didn’t  put any spices.  Feel free to show me up and let me know what you did!  If you are capable of operating an actual grill, my favorite veggies on a skewer are onions, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Yumm. !

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Well, there you have it! Let me know how your memorial day weekend festivities go. Feel free to comment below, follow me @reinesandshine on instagram / twitter, and contact me anytime at reinesandshine@gmail.com. Cheers to life in good health! Enjoy!

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Spicy, Cheesy, Black Bean + Sweet Potato Quesadillas

It’s funny- I  really don’t like foods that are too spicy.  Currently giving myself a lil pat on the back for successfully making a dish with some definite kick, that I can eat without, you know, crying. This is one you’ve got to share with friends. Have fun, sizzle sizzleee

vegquesadillas

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Makes about 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 8 whole grain tortillas, 9 inch (I used these gluten free brown rice ones)
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, boiled and skin removed (save the skin to eat later)
  • 3/4 cup no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if using canned)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced tiny
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • oil for cooking (like unrefined coconut or olive oil)

Steps:

  1. Using a large frying pan, heat ~1 tsp. oil over medium and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and red bell pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl when finished cooking
  2. In the meantime, using a large bowl, mash boiled skinless sweet potato with a fork with diced tomatos and add in nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder and mix well to combine. Stir in black beans, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  3. Using the same frying pan as before, heat and spread ~1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla flat on the frying pan and spread ~1/2 cup of sweet potato mixture evenly over the tortilla, then spread ~1/4-1/3 cup of sauteed onion vegetable mix on top of that so it looks kinda like this:20160124_123241
  4. Place another tortilla on top, flip after ~3 minutes of cooking (to flip I placed my plate on top of the second tortilla and flipped it into my plate and slid it from the plate back onto the frying pan)
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 sections.  Serve with salsa and guacamole.  I made avocado cream with 1 mashed avocado and the juice from 2 limes, mixed well.  So good! Go pats!

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Barbecue Black Bean Burger. Easy. Cheap. Vegan. Irresistible.

I know, eating heart healthy is hard. You just. You love meat way too much, you can’t give it up.  I know the feeling.  Like a meatless meal is a deprived, sad, flavorless, unsatisfying sounding situation, right?  Well- these burgers and fries.. you’ll never look back.  Welcome to the earth shattering world of f*ing BOMB healthy food!!

bbqburger

BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Adapted from the incredible Minimalist Baker. Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, and drained
  • 1/3 cup ground rolled oats (throw some oatmeal in the blender)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce (reach for one without high fructose corn syrup that has <140 mg sodium per serving)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
  2. If your brown rice isn’t cooked yet, I have learned in my nutrition classes that vitamins are lost when cooked in excess water or when water is drained off.  Thiamin, (aka vitamin B1) is lost as temperature or pH rises but it is more heat stable in acid, so it would be a good idea to cook rice with some lemon or lime juice, adding acidity to help retain nutrient content. Cook in amount of water that will be absorbed during cooking : 1 cup rice, use 2 cups of water.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium with 1/2 Tbsp oil, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder,  cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
  5. To a large mixing bowl, add drained black beans and mash well with a fork (nice work out, takes about 3-5 minutes, if you don’t feel the burn, you ain’t doing it right! Gotta love it.) Leave some whole beans for good texture though.
  6. Add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sauteed onion mushroom garlic mix, maple syrup, ground oats, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughally with a wooden spoon until moldable dough forms.  If too dry, add a tad more BBQ sauce, if too moist, add more ground oats.  Taste and adjust seasoning as you’d like.
  7. For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (~1/2 cup in size) or form 10 smaller burgers (~1/4 cup in size). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuing cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mix. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and use hands to flatten slightly on the parchment paper, forming a 3/4 inch thick patty.
  8. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
  9. Serve over a toasted bun with kale, super thinly sliced cucumber and red onion,  avocado, and another drizzle of BBQ sauce. The cooling cucumber and avocado complement the heat from the BBQ sauce deliciously.
Based on one out of five burgers made:
Calories 337
Protein 10 grams (1 egg has ~6 grams)
Carbohydrate 37 grams (2.5 diabetic exchanges)
Total Fat 18 grams of healthy plant based fat!
Fiber 6 grams
Cholesterol 0 grams

^estimation based on USDA’s http://www.supertracker.com

For a side of fries, I have been loving my Deliciously Ella cookbook and recommend trying her Perfect Potato Wedges or Cinnamon and Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges

fries and chickpeas