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Nutritious quinoa recipes

Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient grain, native to the Andes mountains.  It was the food that fueled the Inca civilization.  Today it is known as the grain with the best amino acid profile for humans to eat.  In other words, it is high in protein, as well as iron and B vitamins.  The grains hold their shape well in cooking, have a sweet taste and are easy to digest.  They look just like couscous.

To prepare quinoa, it should first be rinsed well by holding it in a sieve under a running faucet, as it has a somewhat soapy residue which is best removed.  It is cooked just like rice, with about 1.5 times the amount of water to grain. After about 8 minutes, check to see if the grains are translucent and little white curls have appeared.  This indicates when it is cooked.  Drain if necessary.

Quinoa can be used in place of rice as a base for many different meals. It can be added to soups and stews, or be the foundation of a salad or grain based dish.

Recipes:

Quinoa Paella

Quinoa Millet Salad

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

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Warming Soup Recipes

This is the time of year when it’s often cold and dreary outside, and there’s nothing better than a delicious bowl of soup to warm you up.  Did you know that making a pot of soup from scratch is actually very simple to do, and it’s oh, so healthy?  Try some of our recipes below and get cooking!

Pumpkin-SoupPumpkin Soup

Makes about 8 1-cup servings.

This sweet and creamy soup has just a hint of spiciness. It can also be made with puréed winter squash, yams, or sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin. Read more

Mouthwatering Melon Recipes

melonsMelons are large, edible fruits with a thick yellow or green skin, and juicy, fragrant flesh. Since the flesh has such high water content, melons are low in calories even though they are so sweet to taste. They provide potassium, sulphur, Vitamins A and C and Folic Acid.

Watermelon is particularly high in lycopene, an antioxidant, and has iron as well, which makes it the star of the melon family nutritionally speaking.

All melons are particularly delicious in the summer months, at the peak of their ripeness. They can be eaten by the slice, cut into cubes or scooped into balls. They are delicious eaten alone or as part of a fruit or vegetable salad. Pureed melon can be served chilled to make an attractive summer soup.

Recipes:

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Mexican recipes gone vegan

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, and because Mexican food is delicious but often loaded with cheese, we thought we’d share some creative vegan recipes for Mexican classic dishes.

Vegan Nachos

Serves 2-4

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 14 oz. package vegan ground “beef”
  • 15 oz. can of refried beans
  • 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Taco spice blend
  • 1 3/4 cup grated vegan cheese
  • 1 large bag of plain tortilla chips
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Nutritious Bok Choy Recipes

Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family, although it doesn’t look much like the cabbages we’re used to.  Its texture is more like celery at the bottom and a leafy green such as spinach at the top.

Bok Choy is common in Chinese food, but rarely used in other cuisines.  It is extremely nutritious. It has a particularly high level of calcium, with 870mg per 100 calorie serving, and an absorption rate of 53%.  When you compare that to cow’s milk, which has only 188mg per 100 calorie serving, and an absorption rate of 32%, you can see that it makes a good addition to any diet.

To prepare bok choy, you can wash the leaves and stem, then simply steam or stir fry it.  Sprinkly a little soy sauce on if you like.  Alternatively you can chop it up and use it as you would any other vegetable, in soups, stews, curries or pies. Add this to as many of your recipes as possible, for a real nutritional boost!

For lots of great vegetarian recipes, see The Veg-Feasting Cookbook.

Recipes

  • Broccoli and Bok Choy with Baked Tofu
  • Spicy Thai Soup
  • Zippy Yams and Bok Choy
  • Macaroni with Creamy Tofu Sauce
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Veggie Burger Recipes

While many people enjoy a veggie patty bought frozen from the grocery store, it is not hard to make your own, and well worth the effort. Making your own veggie burgers can give you a lot of scope for experimenting with different flavors.

If you are planning on cooking it on the grill, you will want to ensure that your veggie burger holds together well. Potato starch (powder or flour) is a great ingredient to help bind the patty together, without using eggs. Cooking your burgers in a skillet or on a baking tray in the oven can allow you more leeway in its texture, which may be safer the first time you make them!

There are many veggie burger recipes available online, but here are two of my favorites:

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Vegan eggs – you have options

Eggs have often been considered one of the hardest animal products to replace, but increasingly there are some great alternatives available, both as commercial products and using basic ingredients.  There are plenty of recipes available online to help you use them.  Choosing what to use as an alternative depends on how you intend to use the egg – for a scramble, for an omelet, for pancakes, cookies, cakes or even meringue – it’s important to consider what you need the egg to do.

Commercial products currently available in the grocery store:

Just Egg – a liquid product that you can pour directly into the skillet to make yourself an omelet or scramble in just the same way as you would use fresh eggs.

Just Egg also make a Folded Plant Egg, which are pre-made patties that can be browned in the pan and served in sandwiches or on toast.

Follow Your Heart VeganEgg

This is a powdered egg replacement that comes in an egg carton-style package.  It is pre-seasoned, so there’s no need to add any salt.  Just add water and pour to make a great omelet.

Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk

Add water and oil then whisk together and let it stand for 3 minutes. This will give you a product very similar to the yolk of the egg.  It can be used in a scramble, on top of toast, or used in baking recipes.

Classic egg substitutions using basic ingredients

Mashed tofu

Recipes abound for the classic egg replacement of a tofu scramble. A tofu scramble can be made with cubed fried tofu, or by mashing a package of tofu, adding spices and vegetables.  Tofu Scramble Recipe

Silken tofu is also a great substitute for other dairy products, especially in desserts such as cheesecake. Baked Tofu Cheesecake recipe

Flaxseed or Chia seeds

For example, a standard substitute in recipes is a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, mixed into 3 tablespoons of water.  As the water absorbs into the ground flaxseed, the consistency becomes very similar to an egg, and this can be a great binding agent, in cookies for example.  Chia seeds also work in the same way, and give a gel like consistency when soaked. Added to your favorite baking recipes, this can work very well as a substitute for one egg, although it’s a good idea to find a recipe if you need more than one egg, since eggs also provide structure and lift when whipped and cooked.

Applesauce

Applesauce can help with replacing both eggs and oil, which is great if you’re trying to cut down on calories. For 1 egg, use ¼ cup of applesauce.  The pectin in the apples helps to bind ingredients together.  It does have a lot of moisture, so this works well for recipes that need a long baking time.

Mashed banana

Another ingredient which has a similar texture to egg is mashed banana.  This works great in pancakes or banana bread.   It is a great binder, but has a strong banana flavor. Pancake recipe

Pumpkin puree

Use ¼ cup of pumpkin puree for one egg in breads where the pumpkin will add moisture, sweetness and a rich color to your baking.

Baking soda and apple cider vinegar

When you need lift in your baked goods, the combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar produces bubbles that give a light and fluffy texture.  It may take some experimenting, but try ¼ tsp baking soda for every 1 Tbsp vinegar as a substitute for an egg.

Aquafaba (Chickpea liquid)

When you drain a can of garbanzo beans, or cook your own from dried chickpeas, save the liquid.  It is similar to using whipped egg whites, so can be used for making a vegan meringue.

The best bet when using any of these substitutes in baking is to let someone else do the experimenting for you, and follow a recipe!

Celebrating Ukrainian Vegan Food

We wanted to show our support for those suffering in Ukraine right now, by celebrating their traditional food, with a vegan slant to it. One dish which is common across central Europe and especially in Ukraine, and can easily be made vegan is Cabbage Rolls, known in Ukraine as Holubtsi. Cabbage is a common staple food, being readily available in that part of the world. It is also very nutritious, with high levels of fiber, folate and vitamin C, along with several minerals including calcium. While the traditional dish uses ground beef, this recipe replaces the beef with lentils, which are packed with protein and fiber, and avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol in beef.

Another common Ukrainian food is a traditional sausage. While there are many excellent brands of vegan sausages available in the store, we’ve found a recipe for you to make your own vegan sausages!

Brown Rice and Lentil Cabbage Rolls

Baked cabbage rolls

Recipe adapted from recipe by Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan

Ingredients:
  • 1 large green cabbage, whole
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils (1/2 cup dried lentils)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (3/4 cup dried rice)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low-sodium (tamari if gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (Split between filling and tomato sauce)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
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Perfect Peanut Recipes

PeanutsAlso called groundnut, goober, or monkey nut, the peanut is the seed of a small leguminous plant, so it is strictly a legume and not a nut. Peanuts are rich in protein and monounsaturated fats, and provide reasonable amounts of dietary fiber. They also contain potassium, calcium, magnesium, and many other valuable nutrients.

While most common as a snack food in this country, they are used as major cooking ingredient in many Asian and African dishes, either whole or as a tasty peanut sauce.

Always try to find dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, either whole or as peanut butter, as many popular sources of peanuts are very high in salt and added fats.

The recipe below is from our own cookbook – The Veg-Feasting Cookbook.

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Vegan seafood recipes

You don’t have to give up on the flavors and textures of fish when you go vegan.  In addition to vegan seafood products available in the stores, you can make your own.  Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Vegan tuna salad

tuna-salad-sandwichIngredients

  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, low-sodium, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked garbanzo beans)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup low fat vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard of choice (optional)

Coarsely chop garbanzo beans in a food processor or mash beans with a potato masher. Do not over process the beans to a smooth consistency, you want it to have some texture.  Place beans in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill.

Note: Mashed tofu or cauliflower could also be used instead of garbanzo beans. Read more

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