Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Avocado Bowl with Chimichurri

Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl

I was looking for a new dinner recipe when I came across this dish in last month’s issue of Vegetarian Times. Visually, the dish is stunning, and I loved the idea of the simple flavors, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate to my palate. I mean, the dish is basically cooked quinoa, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, avocado and chimichurri sauce. Other than a little salt and pepper, there isn’t any other seasoning to the quinoa and potatoes.

But my first bite put me at ease. The flavor and texture combinations of the sweet potato, avocado and quinoa are out of this world. And the chimichurri added a wonderful brightness and crunch to the dish with the parlsey, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika. (Ironic, since it’s known for being served with meat dishes in South American cuisine.)

All in all, a wonderful dish that I highly recommend, especially for a weeknight meal since it comes together very quickly.

Enjoy!

Vegan Food Happenings: Barley Bliss Casserole and Avocado Toast

Barley Bliss Casserole

Barley Bliss Casserole

We’re having to rein in our food budget and have been searching for healthy and budget-friendly recipes. We definitely found it in this Barley Bliss Casserole from Chloe’s Kitchen. (You can find the recipe here.) I had never cooked with barley before, but have had it in soups and stews. The casserole does take a while to cook, but it comes together very quickly. Simply cook the onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Add the seasonings, and then combine everything into your baking dish and cook. That’s it. I served mine with a simple salad of mixed greens on the side.

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

I love, love avocado and will eat it on anything (or by itself). I’ve seen various avocado toast recipes around the Web, including some that use a dash of hot sauce. But I love the idea of sprinkling turmeric on it since it has lots of healing benefits. I just toast two slices of sprouted wheat bread, spread half an avocado on both slices, and then sprinkle with a little sea salt, cracked pepper and turmeric. That’s it. It makes for a light lunch (add some fruit or fresh veggies) or a great afternoon snack before heading to yoga or the gym.

I hope you all are well!

Kidney Bean and Avocado Wraps

This delicious and healthy recipe is from “Big Vegan,” another one of my cookbooks that I really need to explore more. I like that the recipes use very basic and healthy ingredients that really shine in the finished dish.

For this particular recipe, kidney beans are mashed and combined with cumin, garlic and a pinch of cinnamon. They are then cooked with a bit of soy sauce (I used Bragg’s) and green salsa, and then spread on a tortilla with fresh avocado and hot sauce. The recipe calls for Romaine lettuce as an accompaniment, but I added kale to give it more nutritional value. (Tip: Give your kale a massage to break down some of the fibers to make it more tender.)

Since I was planning on this being our lunch option for a few days, I made the bean mixture ahead of time. You can just give the wrap a quick warm-up in the microwave or it’s just fine cold.

Menu for the Week: Kidney Bean Wraps and Panang Curry

This has been one of those weeks where we ran out of everything at once, so we had to keep our food budget cheap.

For breakfast, we both tend to like lighter meals, but if you’re looking for more protein, you might want to switch out the banana bread with a tofu scramble burrito or breakfast casserole.

Also, we actually had a couple of meals left over to make from last week, so I’ll be adding those in with the rest.

So, here’s what we decided to go with this week:

Breakfast:

Banana bread from “Veganomicon
Oatmeal and toast w/ pecans and maple syrup
Yogurt w/ Maple Almond Granola — from “Vegan Soul Kitchen

Lunch:

Kidney Bean and Avocado Wraps from “Big Vegan
Macaroni salad, adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Dinner:

Sweet Potato Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a salad
Panang Curry, adapted from this recipe

I hope you all are well and are enjoying  Vegan MoFo!

Vegan Weekly Roundup

How are you all coping with the heat? It’s been triple-digit hot here in Louisville, so I see lots of salads and cold soups in our future. (As well as frozen daiquiris and margaritas.) Here are a few items I came across this past week that might interest you. Have a great weekend!

I want to make these Kale Avocado Wraps with Spicy Miso- Dipped Tempeh for lunch this week.

Homemade Tangy Macadamia Sour Cream (there’s a video too).

I want to veganize this No Bake Blueberry Cream Pie.

One person’s account of going vegan for 30 days.

Being vegan and a marathoner.

And a little music from the band Television to get your weekend started:

Beans, Greens, Cornbread and … Avocado?

Yep, this weird combination of food was our dinner last night. Well, I guess only the avocado is weird. After being sick for nearly two weeks (!), I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things. For that reason, I’ve been keeping our dinners pretty simple. This particular meal is really easy and cheap to throw together.

I mixed cans of pinto and kidney beans into a pan, added a bit of liquid smoke, a bit of vegetable bouillon for the flavor and saltiness, and freshly cracked black pepper. For the greens, I just cooked down kale in olive oil and added salt and pepper.

For serving, I drizzled a little olive oil and hot sauce onto the beans and added sliced white onion. I also drizzled a little apple cider vinegar on the greens. For this particular dinner, I had an avocado that needed to be used so I sliced it on the side because why not? I’m a sucker for avocado on anything or even by itself.

Cucumber and Avocado Sushi Roll

My husband was on spring break this past week, so I took off a few days to spend time with him for a “staycation.” It was a much-needed break that allowed me to work on a few projects. On the cooking front, I used the time to try a few dishes that I’ve been wanting tackle, sushi being one of them. I was really intimidated with the idea of making my own sushi, but it actually was quite easy; that is, once I got the hang of rolling it. It took a few rolls to finally come to the one you see in the picture above, which still isn’t perfect. But the great thing about making sushi is that you can eat your mistakes.

If you want to make your own sushi, I highly recommend buying your ingredients from an Asian market and not from a regular supermarket to save money. I was able to purchase a huge bottle of seasoned rice vinegar and 30 sheets of nori for under $10. I purchased the sushi rice in bulk from Whole Foods, which ran $1.99/lb. I was able to make about six rolls, with some rice left over using the recipe below.

For the roll you see above, I kept it simple and used cucumber and avocado. I wanted to include wasabi paste, but the only kind I could find had milk in it, which I thought was strange. Also, I substituted Bragg Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce for added nutrition.

Here’s the recipe that I used for the sushi rice. And don’t worry, you’ll think that you’re adding too much vinegar and sugar, but it soaks into the rice as it cools and turns out perfectly.

Vinegared Rice “Sumeshi”

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups Japanese-style short-grained rice
3 tbsp Japanese seasoned rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse several times until the water runs clear. Drain the rice and leave in a strainer for 1 hour.

Transfer the rice to a wide saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Over high heat, cover and bring to a boil for about five minutes.

Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and leave, still covered, for about 10-15 minutes.

Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt together and stir until dissolved.

Transfer the rice to a large dish and pour the vinegar mixture over the rice. Fold the vinegar into the rice (do not stir). While folding, use a fan (I used a magazine) to cool the rice. Let the rice cool to room temperature to make the sushi.

Tip: Pour a little of the rice vinegar into a bowl and dip your hands into it before grabbing the sushi rice; otherwise, it will stick to your hands. Also, less is more with sushi (I learned the hard way!). Don’t use too much rice or your roll will look more like a burrito. Spread it out in a thin layer over your nori. The same goes for your veggies. A single, thin line of cucumber and avocado is all that you need.

Enjoy!

Tempeh, Spinach, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich

This sandwich is my vegan take on a classic BLT sandwich. It’s super-easy to throw together, and is much healthier and tastier than the original, if you ask me.

For the “bacon,” I use Light Life Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips:

Tempeh, Spinach, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

1 package Light Life Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips
1 ripe avocado
1 tomato
baby spinach
Vegenaise
4 slices of whole wheat bread

Directions:

Using a non-stick griddle pan or skillet, cook the tempeh strips over medium-high heat until they brown or have grill marks. Lightly toast the bread and spread both sides with the Vegenaise. Layer the avocado, tomato, baby spinach, and tempeh on the bread and slice diagonally.

Enjoy!