Category Archives: Food Products & Recipes

Winter Squash recipes

Winter SquashWinter squashes are readily available at this time of year. They are nutritionally dense, supplying beta carotene, iron, and riboflavin, but best of all they provide endless options for creating tasty, satisfying meals. The best cooking method for almost any winter squash is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and then steam it or bake it in the oven. The flesh will then be soft and easy to scrape out or cut, to be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes.

Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. The green and yellow striped delicata squash has sweet yellow flesh and a soft skin which can be eaten, eliminating the need for peeling. Spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands, making it an interesting addition to stews. And most familiar of all is pumpkin (baked, steamed or from a can), used in soups, stews, pies and even cookies!

Baked Squash Recipes

Baked Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Put a little water in a rimmed baking tray.
  2. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Brush both halves with a little olive oil and season with sea salt.
  3. When ready to bake, place the squash flesh side down and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until fork tender. (The squash is ready when you can easily pierce through the flesh with a fork. Do not overbake or your noodles will be mushy.)
  4. When done, remove from oven and let it rest until cool enough to handle.
  5. Then, use a fork to gently rake the squash flesh from the peel. (Gently run a fork around the inside of the squash in a circular motion. This will result in less breaking of the strands so you have longer noodles.)
  6. Transfer spaghetti squash “noodles” to a serving dish and top with your favorite sauce or stew.

Acorn Squash with Orange Juice

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
  • Ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a little water in a rimmed baking dish to cover the bottom.
  2. Wash the squash and cut in half crosswise. Scrape out the seeds, cut the bottoms level, taking care not to cut a hole in the cavity.
  3. Arrange halves face up in the baking tray.
  4. Place 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup in each squash. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice to each and sprinkle with cinnamon and a little nutmeg.
  5. Cover the dish loosely with foil lined with parchment, and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until squash are tender enough to mash in their skins.

Easy Winter Squash au Gratin

Hubbard or Butternut squash works well for this easy yet elegant dish.

  • 3 cups peeled and cubed winter squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place squash in a medium bowl and toss with garlic and parsley. Add flour and mix well to thoroughly coat squash cubes.
  3. Oil a shallow baking dish. Pour squash mixture into dish and drizzle with oil. Bake 2.5 hours, or until crusty on top and soft underneath. Squash should still hold its cubed shape.

For other squash recipes, see:

Pumpkin soup recipe

Thanksgiving recipes

 

Can “milk” be used on plant-based foods?

MilksUnder pressure from the dairy industry, the government is trying make it so that plant-based alternatives to dairy can’t use the terms “milk”, “butter” or “cheese” on their product labels. The excuse is that the consumer can’t tell the difference between dairy milk and soy milk, and so may be confused. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that almonds, coconuts, rice and cashews don’t come from a cow! Read more

Glorious grapes

GrapesGrapes have always been associated with health, and with good reason.  They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  One of their renowned phytonutrients, resveratrol, is said to increase the expression of three genes related to longevity. Even though they’re sweet, grapes are also good for diabetics, since they promote a better blood sugar balance and increased insulin sensitivity. And of course the skin is packed with fiber, which helps to promote good bowel health.

 

At this time of year, the local grapes are particularly fresh and delicious, so it’s a great time to enjoy them. Their unique texture and sweetness makes them a perfect addition to salads and desserts, but also a handy snack throughout the day.  Just wash them and put them in a bowl in the fridge to keep them fresh and ready for whenever a hunger pang strikes.

Recipes (see below):

Minted Green Grape Sorbet

Green Goddess Breakfast Smoothie

Read more

Enticing Arugula recipes

ArugulaNative to the Mediterranean region, arugula is a green leafy plant from the mustard family, also known as rocket. Arugula has a rich peppery taste, and is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phytonutrients. It has been enjoyed the Italians and French for centuries and now is becoming popular in the US.

Arugula is most often used in salads, particularly in a mesclun or mixed green salad, along with other leaves such as dandelion, chervil, endive, frisee, and baby chard, lettuce, spinach and kale leaves.

In addition to its use in salads, it can be made into a pesto sauce, or sauted or steamed and added to pasta dishes.

The following recipe is from The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, by Vegetarians of Washington:

vegfeastckbk_small_border lighterFingerling Potato and Arugula Salad

This simple salad makes a light lunch or substantial side dish. Arugula becomes more peppery as it ages; baby arugula is mildly spicy while mature arugula packs a bigger bite.

Serves 4

1½ pounds French fingerling potatoes (or substitute other small, waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold)

4 ounces arugula, plus a little salt

 

Dressing

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium shallot, peeled and quartered

⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover by an inch, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes; be careful not to overcook. Drain, chill quickly with ice or cold water and refrigerate until ready to use. The potatoes can be cooked a day ahead.

In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, vinegar, shallot, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. If no appliance is available, mince the shallot very fine and whisk the ingredients together, or shake them well in a screw top jar.

Slice the potatoes crosswise ¼ inch thick, leaving on the peel, and place in a large bowl. Add the arugula and most, but not all, of the dressing. Toss the dressing with the potatoes and arugula until they are lightly coated and flavorful, adding the remaining dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on four salad plates, making sure a few slices of potato show on each plate, and serve.

 

The following recipe is reprinted from www.nutritionmd.org with permission:

Italian Stuffed Griddle Dumplings (Consum)

Makes 6 servings (2 pita halves each)

This traditional “griddle dumpling” from Romagna is actually a stuffed Italian flatbread, similar to a calzone but stuffed with greens. This easy version uses whole-wheat pitas.

6 pieces whole-wheat pita bread
1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
½ pound Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, or savoy cabbage, or a mixture
½ pound bitter greens, such as arugula, radicchio, rapini, Chinese broccoli, mustard or turnip greens, or curly endive
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut each pita bread in half and open to form a pocket. Wash, trim, and thinly slice the greens.

Place garlic, broth, greens, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large, deep non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender. If any liquid remains, uncover and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it evaporates. Season with the salt and black pepper and set aside to cool.

Drain the greens and stuff inside the pita halves. Heat filled pitas on a hot, dry griddle or cast-iron pan over high heat, turning frequently, until hot and flecked with brown spots. Serve hot.

FDA approves plant blood!

Impossible cheeseburgerHow can a plant have blood? That sounds impossible! Well, not exactly. The folks, at the appropriately named Impossible Foods, have invented a burger that actually bleeds just like a real burger with just one exception. While this blood didn’t come from an animal, many will think it could have. The company created a totally vegan burger that “bleeds” just like a real, juicy, half-pounder does, and now the Food and Drug Administration has decided that it’s totally, 100% safe.

The nutrient that causes the bleeding effect is heme — it’s an iron-rich compound that occurs naturally. And as it turns out, it’s the reason that the Impossible Burger turns impossibly blood-red when it’s cooked.

This is just part of the new trend of making meat substitutes, or as the industry calls them meat analogues, as much like the real thing as possible, but without the meat of course. Scientists at the Impossible Foods company say they’ve managed to mimic the particular mouth-feel of meat by using bioengineered plant “blood,” reports the Wall Street Journal.  While not yet available in grocery stores, look out for the Impossible Burger at a good number of restaurants throughout Washington state!

Delicious Black Bean recipes

Black BeansBlack beans are small, black, shiny beans, packed with protein, fiber, iron, and various minerals, plus they are loaded with antioxidants. They have a delicious smoky flavor.

They can be purchased dried, in packets or from bulk bins, or precooked in cans.  Canned beans are more convenient, and very little is lost nutritionally, so they are handy to keep in your pantry. Choose a brand which doesn’t add extra salt or other additives.

Black beans can be added to many different soups and stews.  They can be used in burritos, served with rice, or as a topping for a baked potato. They can also be made into a tasty dip.

Mexican Black Bean Salad

This salad makes a handy lunch and leftovers are equally delicious the next day. For an especially quick meal, you can use a 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Enjoy the cilantro in this dish or substitute parsley if you prefer.

Serves 6

½ pound potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen corn
1½ cups cooked black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 radishes, thinly sliced
5 scallions, chopped
¾ cup medium-hot salsa
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup low-sodium tomato juice
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 avocado, chopped into bite-sized pieces

In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in boiling water until nearly tender. Add the carrots and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the corn, stir, then pour the vegetables into a colander. Rinse under cold water to quickly cool the vegetables and stop the cooking process. Drain well.

Combine the black beans, red pepper, radishes and scallions in a medium serving bowl. Add the potatoes, carrots and corn.

Combine the salsa, cilantro, tomato juice, lime juice and olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix well and pour over the vegetables. Toss gently but thoroughly. Before serving, top with the avocado.

 

Easy Black bean dip

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)

1 cup salsa (any variety)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine beans and salsa in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Add cumin.  Serve with tortilla chips.

New vegan latte at Starbucks

Iced Vanilla bean coconut latteOh, yes! Starbucks just added a new vegan cold beverage to its permanent menu. The Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte is now a permanent offering. This vegan espresso beverage will keep you going all year long.

The new beverage is part of their commitment to serving more plant-based options. This demonstrates that Starbucks has confidence in the growing plant-based trend.  Starbucks has made significant strides in better catering to its vegan customers. In recent months, it has added vegan macadamia cookies, 3D popsicles, protein-packed cold brews, packaged savory wraps, and coffee smoothies in select locations. The company has also expanded its snack range, offering vegan Hippeas packs, and Justin’s peanut and almond butter cups.

Other coffee companies have also gotten into the act. For instance, Peet’s Coffee has vegan whipped cream. It also has a “Coffee Meets Coconut” summer menu which included 3 vegan-friendly beverages made with the new whip.

Let’s hope all the coffee shops continue to increase their plant-based options.

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