Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Veggie Wraps

I don’t know about you, but I have such a hard time coming up with lunch ideas. And it doesn’t help that my husband is really limited to what he can bring with him. He’s on the road non-stop and his “office” is his car, which means I can’t pack anything that needs to be warmed in a microwave.

This week, I decided to make wraps. Boring, I know, but it’s an improvement from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches he’s been taking.

For this particular wrap, I made a roasted red pepper hummus, and I added baby spinach, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber and red onion, and shredded iceberg lettuce from Ancho Lentil Tacos I made earlier in the week. The wrap bread itself was an extra-large, whole wheat tortilla. Simple, fast and cheap. My kind of meal.

Do you have suggestions for cheap and easy lunch ideas that don’t require a microwave?

 

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!

Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wrap

I always have a difficult time coming up with new lunch ideas. My husband attends school during the day, so he doesn’t have access to a microwave. That means I’m limited to making something that doesn’t need to be heated.

Because we are on a budget, we tend to eat the same thing for lunch a few days in a row. But I don’t mind since breakfast and dinner are there to break up the lunch monotony. This week, I decided to do wraps. Like stir-fry, anything goes, so they are a great way to use up extra vegetables. I stuck with hummus for my protein, but an olive-nut spread would also be delicious. For my fillings, I used baby spinach, seedless cucumber, red onion, and roasted red peppers. I used a little help from the grocery with the hummus and roasted red peppers; making both is an easy process (and cheaper than store-bought), but I’ll admit, I’ve been lazy lately.

For the wrap bread, I like to use whole wheat lavash bread, which is a little thicker than a tortilla, but thinner than pita bread. But if you can’t find it (I picked it up from Whole Foods), a tortilla will certainly work.

Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wrap

Provides four lunches for 2 people

Ingredients:

2 packages whole wheat lavash bread (freeze one until ready to use)
1 16 oz. container hummus (I’ll be using some of this for another recipes this week)
1 jar roasted red peppers
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 seedless cucumber, sliced thinly
1 package baby spinach

Directions:

Lay the lavash bread or tortilla out flat. Spread a generous amount of hummus all over the surface, and follow up with the spinach, onion, and cucumber. Tightly roll the wrap and cut in half at a diagonal.

Serve with multi-grain chips and fruit.

Enjoy!

Green Stir-fry

I love to cook, but every now and then, I have weeks where I just don’t have the motivation to step into the kitchen. This past week was one of them. I kept putting off going to the grocery, and as a result, we ate very poorly. In fact, we were a good example of how a vegan diet can be unhealthy. We lived off of veggie burgers, tofu hot dogs, tater tots, and lots of sugary sweets, which are all okay in moderation, but not every day. After a week of eating junk, my body was craving vegetables.

I love stir-fry because anything goes. It’s a great way to clean out your fridge, which is what I did for this stir-fry. For some reason, I had tons of green vegetables on hand (hence the name “Green Stir-fry”); I had some cucumbers that needed to be used, as well as a green pepper, frozen edamame, and a small head of broccoli. I also tossed in some baby carrots for extra color, tofu, peanuts, and a drizzle of a soy peanut sauce on top. The dish definitely satisfied my vegetable craving.

Green Stir-fry

Serves 2 + leftovers for the next day

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
4 cups water
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine

1 lb extra firm tofu
1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp mirin

1 large green pepper, chopped into large pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into large pieces
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup broccoli pieces, chopped
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I like Earth Balance brand)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili paste

1 tbsp canola oil for frying

Directions:

Place the rice into a wide pan, and add water and margarine. Heat on medium-high until it comes up to a boil. Cover and turn down to low. Cook for 40 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, press the tofu for about 20 minutes. Once it’s been pressed, cut into 1-inch cubes. Chop all the vegetables into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly. Make the sauce by combining the peanut butter, water, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste. Set aside.

In a wok or a heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Toss in the cubed tofu and stir constantly to brown on all sides. Mix together the tablespoons of soy sauce and mirin, and add them to the tofu. Stir to coat. Take the tofu out of the wok and set aside.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and stir constantly to avoid burning. Cook the vegetables for about 4 to 5 minutes, and then add the peanuts and the tofu. Pour about half of the peanut sauce over the top and mix to coat everything. I serve the other half of the sauce at the table to drizzle over the dish.

Serve over the brown rice.

Enjoy!