Lentil Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This dish came out of my favorite cookbook, Forks Over Knives, which I HIGHLY recommend if you are looking for some easy, delicious plant-based recipes.

The lentils have a light lemon-cilantro-mint flavor and the arugula adds a nice complimentary peppery taste. This is a very nice, light summer dish.

The recipe does not call for tomatoes, but my garden is overflowing with them at the moment, so I decided to add a few 🙂

 

Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Shiitake and Spinach Marinara

A friend gave me the idea to use shredded zucchini as a replacement for spaghetti noodles, and a few days later my mother bestowed upon me the biggest zucchini I have EVER seen (grown in her friend’s garden)!  I guess it was meant to be!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

(This photo does not even do justice to the actual size and weight of this beauty!)

So, anyway, I shredded the beautiful zucchini using a run-of-the-mill cheese grater and sauteed the shreds in a large frying pan with about 1 Tbs of unfiltered olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Before that, I placed a box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes in a pot. To that I added about 1/2 cup of diced red onion, 4 cloves of garlic – diced, about 1 cup diced grape tomatoes, about 1/2 cup diced shiitake mushrooms (fresh and local from my favorite market!), 1 Tbs of chopped fresh basil, 1/2 Tbs of dried oregano, and a couple of handfuls of spinach – torn. I let that simmer for about 20 minutes while I shredded and cooked the zucchini.

Voila! An easy, nutritious, delicious meal…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Frozen Fruit Pops

Kids love a nice frozen treat on a hot summer day. Let’s give them something yummy and healthy. Instead of reaching for those store-bought frozen pops, let’s do something better!

This is the ingredient list of a popular frozen pop treat. Do you really want to feed these ingredients to your kids? I don’t, so we made our own!

  • Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup*
  • 2% or less of the following:
  • Apple Juice
  • Pear Juice
  • Flavors Natural and Artificial*
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Benzoate*
  • Potassium Sorbate*
  • Red Dye #40*
  • Yellow Dye # 6*
  • Blue Dye #1*

* YIKES! Here is our list of ingredients:

  • Orange Juice (ingredients: filtered water, orange juice concentrate)
  • Organic Pineapple Chunks
  • Organic Strawberry Slices

That sounds a bit healthier, don’t you think?  Oh, and by the way, they taste SOOOOOOOO much better than the store-bough pops! Try your own with your families favorite juice (just try to use one that has no added sugar or colors) and favorite summer fruits!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Lentils are little powerhouses loaded with fiber, iron, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They pack a powerful nutritional punch and they fill you up nicely!  This recipe adds some Vitamin C by way of lemon juice which further increases the amount of available iron that lentils deliver. They also deliver more B vitamins than any other plant or legume. This is especially important for those of us who have cut back on or cut out animal protein completely. Enjoy!

Turkish Red Lentil Soup:
(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 cup Red Lentils
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Carrots, grated
  • 1 Large White or Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs Unfiltered Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • Lemon Wedges

Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until soft. Add the grated carrots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the lentils, vegetable stock, cumin, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until lentils are cooked. Red lentils cook much more quickly than green or black lentils, so this should only take about 15-20 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to mix the soup until blended.  If you like a more liquified texture, you can mix a little more or add more water or stock. Garnish with lemon wedge and serve. I like to add a little lemon zest for some extra tang as an additional garnish to the lemon juice.

005

 

 

 

 

Summer Bean Burritos

This is a favorite in our house and making it is as much fun as eating it!

This is a meatless recipe and instead calls for beans.  I like to use black beans, but you could use pinto, red kidney, great northern, or any other bean of your choice. So, the first step is to prepare your beans.  I recommend using dried beans and cooking them yourself  to avoid the BPA that may be lurking in canned beans. It takes a little more effort to do this, but it is well worth it.

You can soak your beans overnight or use the quick-cook method. I will share the quick-cook method with you because I NEVER remember to soak my beans overnight 🙂

Place your beans in a pot and cover them with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring them to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit for at least an hour. (When beans cook, they lose a lot of their nutrients into the water. Letting them soak for a while allows some of the nutrients to be reabsorbed.) Drain and cover with new water. Cook over medium-high heat until the beans are cooked to your liking. Personally, I like them a little “al dente.”

Next, prepare the tortilla dough (see the recipe page). While the dough rests, prepare your toppings.

Guacamole: Place the following in a food processor or mash with a fork until smooth.

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup Diced Onion or Shallot
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 Clove of Garlic

Salsa: Mix all together in a bowl.

  •  1 Small Cucumber, Diced
  • 1 Medium Shallot or Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, Diced
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Now, cook the tortillas per the recipe.

Top with guacamole, salsa, beans, greens of your choice (we use cilantro and spinach), shredded cheese, and whatever else you fancy. Enjoy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Avocado Pesto

I was inspired to make this from a recipe I found online. I changed some stuff, including the name, because it seems more like a pesto than an Alfredo to me 😉 Anyway, it makes a delicious summer pasta dish!

Serves 6-8

  • 3 Avocados
  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • Juice of 3 Lemons
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 Package of Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 2 Tbs Unfiltered Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, sliced
  • 2 Cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, chopped
  • Lemon Zest

Cook the pasta (I used fettuccine this time, but you could use any that you like) per package directions. While the pasta is cooking, mix theavocados, basil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. When the pasta is cooked, mix in the olive oil, avocado pesto, olives, and tomatoes. Garnish with torn basil leaves and lemon zest. Enjoy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

French Lentil Soup

Soups provide a great way to add lots of vegetables to your diet. They are also great as left-overs!  As my family and I are trying to eat a more plant-based diet, we have to find alternate sources for protein. This one packs a protein punch, with about 18g per cooked cup.

  • 2 shallots, chopped (if you can’t find shallots in your store, substitute with 1 yellow onion)
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 organic red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbs unfiltered olive oil
  • 2-3 cups greens, torn (you can use collards, spinach, chard, kale, or a mixture of any)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced and rested for five minutes
  • 6-8 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups French Lentils (you can substitute regular green lentils if you can’t find French.  I get mine in bulk at Whole Foods)
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 box crushed tomatoes (I say box because we are trying to avoid canned foods due to the possibility of BPA. POMI makes delicious boxed tomato products that you can find in most stores)

Saute the shallots, carrots, celery, and red pepper in olive oil until the shallots are tender.  Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir in the lentils, water, and tomatoes and simmer for at least 1 hour. If you are using collards, kale, or chard, add them with the lentils.  If you are using spinach, add it at the end because it wilts very easily. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Tropical Fruit Smoothie

This is a summer favorite in my house! It is packed full of vitamins, fiber, and omega 3’s.

  • A Handful of torn kale leaves
  • A Handful of pineapple chunks*
  • A handful of mango chunks*
  • one orange
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • several raw walnuts

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I have a nutribullet, but there are other high-powered blenders, such as the Vitamix and Ninja), mix, and enjoy!

*You can use fresh or frozen, depending on the consistency you desire.

 

Homemade Dijon Vinaigrette

Making your own salad dressing is a great way to eliminate additives and other chemicals found in conventional, store-bought brands. Along with Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Creamy Blueberry Dressing and Ginger Almond Dressing , homemade Dijon Vinaigrette is one of my favorites. Here’s my version: (For one large, family-sized salad)

1/4 cup of unfiltered, organic olive oil (I had a hard time finding unfiltered olive oil in conventional supermarkets, but Whole Foods’ 365 brand makes a delicious and well priced one)

1 clove of minced garlic

2 large, fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1Tbs Dijon mustard

Place all ingredients in a jar, shake vigorously, and serve!

*I find that this dressing tastes really good on a salad made of arugula, mixed greens, or any other peppery greens.