Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the category “Leafy greens”

Watermelon and Kale Salad Topped with Oil-free Cilantro and Lime Dressing

Watermelon salad 2

It seems I have lost the ability to bake. In the past five hours I’ve attempted to make vegan cornbread and blueberry scones, as well as chocolate chip scones. Yet, all I’m left with is a terrible mess (three times over) and a trash can full of baked goodies that were actually supposed to taste good.

I made watermelon gazpacho for dinner tonight. I thought that cornbread would be a great starch to pair it with (little did I know how it would turn out). I subbed white unbleached flour for white spelt flour and while the corn muffins rose, they did not taste delicious (or even edible really). I’m blaming that cooking catastrophe on the spelt flour, which I’d used once before for baking biscuits and I was left with that same horrible flavor (maybe it had spoiled?).

The second and third baking mishaps were a mystery to me. I made the same scone recipe I’d made a thousand times before (or maybe at least a handful of times), but the “scones” (if you’re nice enough to call them that) came out perfectly flat. They looked like puffed up cookies. They’d spread so far the edges started to cook together to form one massive mama scone that looked reminiscent of Swiss cheese. As there were lots of holes in areas that didn’t manage to touch. I thought maybe the first batch was ruined by the frozen blueberries, but the second batch came out the same way. They were practically brown on the outside and yet they were flat and overly soft on the inside. The taste was not overly appealing either.

I even told myself to stop after that first batch of scones. I knew they’d turned out terrible and that wasting double the ingredients was bad enough, but I guess the third time is a charm (really it was for me and my garbage baked goods). I’m sensing you can feel my frustration here. I was really hoping for some scones tonight.

At this point, I’ve officially given up on trying to make yummy treats for tonight. I’ve surrendered to my possessed oven. I’m assuming it’s the only reason for all of the unsightly baked goods that have come out of it tonight. It’s also hot, 10 pm, and I’m beginning to get tired eyes. For tonight, the oven wins, but I will surely make another batch of my famous scones at some point.

I do apologize that none of this post actually had to do with the watermelon and kale salad recipe which you will find below. It was delicious and did not end up in the garbage, as everything else has tonight.

Watermelon & Kale Salad:

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

7-8 leaves of kale, rinsed, dried, and roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sungold tomatoes, quartered

1 cup of watermelon, diced (and seeds removed)

1/2 cup of cucumber, diced

1/2 a jalapeno, diced finely

1/2 of an avocado, diced (or the remainder not used in the dressing recipe)

cilantro lime dressing (recipe below)

Method:

After washing the kale, dry it and then give it a rough chop. Add it to the serving bowl. Sprinkle the quartered sungold tomatoes on top of the kale. Then mix the cucumber and watermelon together and add that to the salad as well. To finish the salad, sprinkle the jalapeno pieces on top, drizzle on the cilantro lime dressing, and finally top with diced avocado pieces.

Oil-free Cilantro Lime Dressing:

*Makes enough dressing for two salads

Ingredients:

1 lime, juiced

1/3 of an avocado, diced

1 tsp of dried cilantro or 1 tbsp of fresh diced cilantro (fresh would be best)

1/2 a jalapeno, diced

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2-3 tbsp of cold water

Method: 

Add all of the ingredients (starting with 2 tbsp of water) to a small food processor and blend on high until the dressing is smooth and creamy. If the dressing is still too thick, add another tablespoon of water to the food processor and blend again. Add it to the top of the kale salad and enjoy immediately.

Kale & Avocado Hummus Served with Paprika-Spiced Pita Chips and a Social Eating Weakness

Kale, & Avocado Hummus

When I think about going to college, I think about how much fun I had with my roommates. One of my roommates, Tanya, and I always had tons of laughs when we were together. At one point we also made Spongebob and Patrick shaped pancakes for breakfast.

One of the things Tanya used to make fun of me for was my social eating habit or at least that’s what we called it. I was never one to enjoy the cafeteria food and I always had a decent-sized stash of food in the apartment (though at that time I was famous for making English muffin pizzas and breakfast for dinner more than I was for making healthy meals).

A social eating weakness, for those of you who are wondering, is when you drop what you’re doing (at all costs – you could be writing an important paper or talking on the phone) to eat and chat with people. For me, this problem really made itself known while I was at college during my sophomore year living while with three roommates in a tiny apartment with white-painted cinder block walls (if you’re visualizing it now and thinking it looked like a prison, you would be half right – the other half was filled with mismatch college decor). While discovered this urge to eat with others while in college, I think it stemmed from my Italian roots (those people are always forcing food on you, whilst yelling usually).

I didn’t start college as a social eater. No, this problem developed when I moved into the apartment with a small kitchen-living area. As we were in college, we all had different class, work, and eating schedules, but if anyone went into the kitchen and was making a meal I was there too. I just couldn’t resist eating and socializing with others. I did this even if I wasn’t hungry. The act of eating and talking just came so naturally to me (the two seem to go hand in hand).

My social eating habits brought me to share this recipe because it is perfect to eat with others. The dip’s creamy texture and mild flavor balance out the spicy, crisp pita chips. I brought this kale and avocado hummus to a July 4th party and it was devoured by the many guests at the party, as well as by me. Appetizers are my weakness, as are desserts (as is social eating). Does anyone else have this problem or am I alone in this?

Kale & Avocado Hummus 2

Kale & Avocado Hummus:

Ingredients:

1 can of cannellini beans or garbanzo beans (I used cannellini)

1 avocado, halved and diced

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper to taste (roughly 1/4 tsp of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, or more to taste)

3-4 leaves of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped (you could try another green like spinach or arugula)

Method:

Add all of the ingredients except for the kale into a food processor. Blend on high until the mixture is well combined and fairly smooth. Then add in the kale. Blend again on high until the kale becomes chopped into tiny pieces or is not visible at all. Serve alongside the spiced pita chips or for a gluten-free option serve with corn chips.

Paprika-Spiced Pita Chips:

Ingredients: 

1 package of pita bread, about 4-5 thick pitas

2(+) tbsp of olive oil (or more depending)

1 tsp of smoked paprika

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/8 of a tsp of cayenne pepper

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then slice your pita bread into triangles by cutting each pita in half and than slicing triangular shapes by cutting from the middle out to the edge of the pita with a knife.

2- Once the pitas are cut, add them to a mixing bowl. Then drizzle the olive oil over the pitas (making sure not to only pour it in one spot). Sprinkle the spices over the pita. Then mix the pita with the olive oil and spices, making sure each pita piece is evenly coated.

3- Bake for about 15 minutes and then flip each pita piece. Bake for another 15-20 minutes (or until both sides are golden brown). Taste a pita chip and add a little extra salt and pepper if necessary. Serve alongside the avocado hummus. Enjoy!

Lentil, Kale, & Carrot Dal

Lentil, Kale, & Carrot Dal

I’ve come to love making and eating dal. It is such a simple dish with so many delicious variations. This recipe was no different. The carrots gave the dal a crunchy texture, while the baked potato and roasted tomatoes gave a much softer feel. The slightly spicy flavor of the curry was balanced out by the sweet flavor of the carrots and tomatoes. This dish was simple to make, healthy, and provided a good amount of leftovers, which I always look forward to having at lunch. If you have any favorite dal recipes, please post them below! What is your favorite ingredient combination when making dal?

Lentil, Kale, & Carrot Dal: 

Serves 2-4 (depending on the amount of potatoes you bake)

Ingredients: 

2 – 4 potatoes (depending on the number of people you intend to serve), washed

1/2 cup of red lentils, rinsed

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil (plus a tad bit more for drizzling over each potato)

1 large garlic clove, diced

1-2 large handfuls of kale, washed and diced into about 1 inch pieces

1-2 carrots, diced

1 can of roasted & diced tomatoes

1 tsp of curry powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then wash and dry the potatoes. Poke a slit into each potato and bake them for about forty five minutes to an hour (poke a fork or knife in them to see if they are tender).

2- Meanwhile, slice and dice all of the vegetables and put a medium sized pot filled 3/4 of the way with water on the stove over medium high heat. When the water begins to boil, add the lentils. Let them cook for about 7-10 minutes or until they are tender (you don’t want to overcook red lentils, as they tend to break apart easily if overcooked).

3- When the potatoes have been in the oven for about 40 minutes, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the garlic. When the garlic begins to brown on the edges, add the kale and carrot pieces. Stir every few minutes.

4- After about 8 minutes (when the kale is tender – the carrots will still be crunchy), add the roasted tomatoes, lentils, and all of the spices. Stir well. Heat for about another five minutes or until all of the flavors are combined.

5- Hollow out a hole (with a diameter of about 2 inches) in each baked potato. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over each, as well as a dash of salt and pepper. Serve the dal inside each potato. Enjoy!

Some Seriously Mean Green Quinoa

Mean Green Quinoa

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a heart-shaped serving of quinoa. You may be wondering why? I was thinking, well why not? My grandma had also recently passed down a few cookie cutters to me. A wave of nostalgia washed over me as she handed them to me. I kept seeing flashbacks to when I was a kid. I was remembering the old copper colored jello molds she used to have and then remembering all the fun shaped jello treats I ate. I also began to think back about her old house and all the memories that were created there. Many of them centered around food.

These molds brought up wonderful thoughts of a time when molded jello really could make my day, which eventually led me to serve my mean green quinoa in the shape of a heart. As I have some new molds, you can expect more fun-shaped food in the future. What food memories come to mind when you think of your childhood?

Seriously Green Quinoa:

*Serves 2

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup of quinoa, rinsed

1 tsp of olive oil (for sauteing the veggies) + about 2 tsp for the quinoa

1/2 a red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, diced

1 zucchini diced

1 – 2 large handfuls of spinach

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

1/2 cup of cucumber, diced

1/2 tsp of dried basil or 1 tbsp of freshly diced basil

1 lemon, juiced

2 tbsp of pine nuts

Method: 

1- After rinsing the quinoa, add it to a pot with  one and a half cups of water. Heat it over medium high heat. When it begins to boil, turn down the heat to medium low and let it simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and fluffy.

2- While the quinoa is cooking, add the red onion to a frying pan with the olive oil. Sautee it for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic. When the garlic begins to brown around the edges add the zucchini. Also add the spices (pepper, salt, and garlic powder) at this time. When the zucchini begins to soften, add the spinach. Take it off the heat after about 2 minutes or when the spinach has wilted down.

3- Add the extra olive oil to the quinoa (after it’s finished), as well as the basil and lemon juice. I also added a little more salt and pepper at this point. Stir well and then add in all of the veggies including the cucumber. Also throw in the pine nuts at this point, then stir and serve!

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Spaghetti squash pasta

Tasty? Yes. Easy? Yes. Healthy? Yes. This recipe fulfilled all of my weeknight meal wants. It tasted good, it was simple to make, and it filled me up. The garlic and basil added flavor to the entire dish, while the mushrooms, tomato, and spinach added a variety of textures.

Spaghetti squash pasta 2

Spaghetti squash pasta:

*Serves 4-6

Ingredients: 

1 medium to large spaghetti squash, halved with the seeds removed

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil for the veggies + 2 tsp  for the squash

2 large garlic cloves, diced

1 1/2 cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved

2-3 handfuls of spinach, washed and dried

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder + more for the spaghetti squash (use about the same amount to season the squash)

2 tbsp fresh basil, sliced

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the spaghetti squash halves face down on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until they are tender.

2- After about thirty minutes of baking the squash, heat olive oil in a frying pan. Then add the garlic. After about 1-2 minutes or when the garlic is beginning to brown around the sides, add the mushrooms. After about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes. Let them soften for about 2 minutes. Then add the spinach and seasonings. Let the spinach cook down and take it off the heat once it’s cooked and add the basil. Stir well.

3- When the squash is done, use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like pieces into a serving bowl. Add the extra olive oil and season with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then toss in the vegetables and serve. Bon appetit!

Cool as a Cucumber “Green” Smoothie

cucumber smoothie

It’s the simple pleasures that matter most in life. The things that bring you joy each day. What are some of the simple pleasures you enjoy most? For me, some of those things include walking my dogs on a beautiful morning, enjoying the fresh spring air, chatting with friends, gardening, and smoothies.

I’ve been on a smoothie-kick for a couple of months and now I’m hooked. I feel so good after drinking them that I just can’t stop, not to mention that making smoothies gives me another opportunity to sneak more leafy greens into my diet.

The sun beamed down on the exposed skin on my arms, as I walked the dogs on this bright spring morning. I created a cooling “green” smoothie with a purple hue to combat the warm air outside. The cucumber flavor was very subtle. Stronger flavors of blueberry and banana masked any flavor of kale (which isn’t something I’d like to taste first thing in the morning). This felt like a definite pick-me-up on a morning where I felt more tired than usual. Read on for a refreshing drink recipe.

Cool as a cucumber “green” smoothie recipe:

*Inspired by Kris Carr’s favorite green smoothie recipe, which she discussed during The Food Revolution Summit  – many of the ingredients in this smoothie are ones she listed as some of her favorite smoothie ingredients

*Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup of nondairy milk for a thinner smoothie or 1 cup for a thicker drink (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 tbsp of ground flax seed

1 tsp of chia seeds, ground

1/2 cup of diced cucumber

1 handful of leafy greens (I used kale)

1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

1 banana, peeled and broken into quarters (for a colder smoothie freeze banana pieces first)

Method: 

1- Add the ingredients to the blender in the order they appear and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.

Do you have any go to or favorite smoothie recipes? If so, feel free to post them in the comments section!

 

Quinoa with Kale and a Balsamic Dressing

kale quinoa
To feed my growing quinoa addiction, I made quinoa with kale and baby bella mushrooms. At first bite, I felt the texture of the slightly still crisp curly kale, the softness of the mushrooms, and the roundness of the cooked quinoa seeds. The flavors of garlic and the hearty baby bella mushrooms mingled on my tongue, but I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing flavor-wise. Don’t get me wrong, this vegan dish was good, but it just didn’t have that quality that makes a recipe great. I had a little bit of leftover balsamic vinegar dressing I’d made for that night’s salad, just sitting on the table. On a whim, I drizzled a little bit of dressing over the steaming quinoa and took a bite. There it was, that flavor combination I hungered for. And so, this kale and quinoa salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette was born. Read on for the recipe.
Ingredients for quinoa with kale and baby bella mushrooms: 
1 cup of quinoa
1/2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, diced
2 handfuls of kale, sliced into about 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of garlic powder, pepper, and red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the balsamic dressing: 
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp of sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder
1/2 tsp of oregano flakes
1/4 cup of olive oil
Method:
Add the quinoa to a sauce pan with two cups of water. Heat over medium-high heat. When it begins to boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer over medium-low until all of the water is absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, chop all of the vegetables.
 Heat olive oil in a frying pan. When the pan is hot, add the onion. Let the onion cook for 3-5 minutes, then add the diced garlic. When the garlic begins to brown around the edges, add the portobello mushroom slices and the kale. Stir in the spices at this time also.
As the veggies are cooking, make the dressing. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing except for the olive oil. Whisk the ingredients together, then very SLOWLY add the olive oil as you continue to whisk.
When the quinoa is done, add the other half tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the vegetables. Mix well. Finish by drizzling the balsamic vinaigrette over the quinoa.
What do you like to pair with quinoa? Feel free to post any of your favorite quinoa recipes below!

Ginger Couscous Topped With a Vegan Asian Stir Fry

cous cous cafe

The aromas of ginger and garlic took over my little yellow kitchen after making a ginger and garlic couscous topped with an Asian vegetable stir fry, which sat upon seasoned ground tofu. A mixture of bok choy, portobello mushrooms, and diced organic yellow bell pepper pieces were topped with a slightly spicy sauce made of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and minced ginger. All of the flavors and textures combined to create this perfectly balanced couscous dish.

While I was making tonight’s stir fry recipe, I couldn’t help but think of the CousCous Cafe. Like this Asian dish, that meal also promised a unique blend of flavors and textures. It was a night that I haven’t ever forgotten. A night that included too many glasses of red wine, tender chicken tagine served with apricots, girlish banter, and the night of my first Moroccan meal, as well as my first time trying couscous.

The atmosphere was just as memorable as the meal. The place was cozy. After coming down a set of concrete stairs adjacent to the sidewalk, we were surrounded by tiny patio-like tables for two, colorful lanterns that hung from the ceiling, and light conversation.

Thinking about that night, now, is bittersweet. I miss the charming cafe, London, traveling, and Paris with its deadly pain au chocolat. That overseas trip took place in the spring of 2009. It was then that I was inspired to find a way to leave my awful corporate job in search of a career I was more passionate about. This is a decision that has forever changed my life and while I have a new career, I can’t help but think about my end goal which is to have my own food establishment (possibly a vegan bakery?). I’m not sure yet, I just know that I never feel more alive than when I work with food. I love serving it to people, cooking and baking it, and the satisfaction from tasting something delicious.

It all comes back to food. You have the CousCous Cafe to thank for this rambling post about charming restaurants, favorite meals, and inspiration. Think back to a time when you had a deliciously indescribable meal at a restaurant. Where were you? What were you eating? What made the meal amazing? Read on for the recipe for ginger couscous topped with an Asian stir fry.

Ingredients for ginger couscous: 

*Serves 2-4 (with the stir fry) / cook and prep time: about 10 minutes

1 cup of whole grain couscous

1 tbsp of sesame oil

1 garlic clove, diced

1 tsp of ginger, diced or grated

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

1/4 to 1/2 of an organic bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup of scallions, sliced

Method: 

1- Boil 1 cup of water in a pot. As soon as the water begins boiling, add the couscous, ginger, garlic, and spices. Take it off the heat. Stir it and then let it sit with the cover on for about 5 minutes.

2- Meanwhile, dice the bell pepper and scallions. As soon as the couscous is done, fluff it with a fork and stir in the scallions and bell pepper. Top with stir fry mixture.

Ingredients for the Asian stir fry with the vegan crumble topping:

*cook and prep time: 20 minutes

2 tbsp of sesame oil (1 tablespoon for the tofu crumble and another for the veggie mixture)

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 package of original Lightlife’s Smart Ground Original Crumbles

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes

1 clove of garlic, diced

1 head of baby bok choy, sliced into 1 inch pieces (and about 1/4 inch pieces for the thick white stem)

1/2 of an organic bell pepper, diced small (about 1/4 inch pieces)

1 portobello mushroom, diced small

1/2 tsp of ginger, grated or minced

1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes, black pepper, and garlic powder

1/2 tsp of sesame seeds

1 tbsp of hoisin sauce

1 tbsp of soy sauce

Method:

1- Heat one tablespoon of sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Then dice the yellow onion. Add it to the frying pan. Let it soften and then add the crumbles. Break them up. Add the spices and take the mixture off of the heat after its started to brown.

2- After removing the crumbles from the pan, add the rest of the sesame oil to the pan. Dice the garlic clove and then add it to the pan. While the garlic is heating, chop the bok choy. Add it to the frying pan as soon as the garlic begins to brown around the edges.

3- Chop the mushroom and bell pepper. Add those to the pan with the spices and sesame seeds. Grate some ginger and throw that in too.

4- When the veggie mixture begins to soften, but the peppers are still slightly crisp, add the soy and hoisin sauce. Stir and then take it off the heat. Serve the stir fry vegetables on top of the crumbles and couscous. Enjoy!

Feel free to share any of your favorite stir fry or couscous recipes below.

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A Savory Pecan, Goat Cheese, & Roasted Beet Salad

pecan goat cheese salad

On Easter Sunday, I stood in line staring at the mountains of homemade food in front of me. For our holiday dinner, I decided to bring a goat cheese and roasted beet salad. My plate was full of colorful vegetables by the time I arrived at the table. Aside from roast, honey baked ham, and rosemary seasoned lamb, there was also honey-flavored carrots, mashed and sweet potatoes, and roasted asparagus. I loaded my plate with asparagus, my spinach salad dressed in balsamic vinaigrette,  carrots, and sweet potatoes. I didn’t miss having meat in the least bit. I admit it, I’m a plant eater and I love it! Read on for a salad recipe that my family members raved about.

Ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette: 

2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of salt and pepper (adjust to taste)

1/8 tsp of oregano and garlic powder

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 – 3/4 cups of olive oil

Ingredients for  pecan, goat cheese, & roasted beet salad:

1/2 cup of pecans, roughly chopped

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tbsp of honey

1/2 of a red onion, finely sliced (lengthwise)

4-5 handfuls of spinach, washed and dried

1/2 cup of goat cheese crumbles

3-4 beets, sliced thin

Method: 

1- Add the vinegar, spices, and minced garlic to a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together and then very slowly add the olive oil as you whisk the dressing.

2- After making the dressing, set it aside and heat a half of the olive oil in a frying pan. Then add the chopped pecans to the pan. Drizzle the honey on the nuts and then add the salt. Stir it up and toast the pecans for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

3- When the pecans are finished, set them aside and reheat the skillet with the other half of the olive oil. When it is heated, add the finely sliced red onion. Sautee until the onion caramelizes. Then let the onion cool with the pecans.

4- Slice the roasted beets and wash the spinach. Add both ingredients to a serving bowl with the vinaigrette dressing (use as much of the dressing as you like). Throw in the sauteed onions and goat cheese. Toss together and you have yourself a fantastic salad!

Wife, Mother, Maker made delicious looking vegan quinoa, beet, and spinach salad that looks delicous and uses similar ingredients. What have you made recently that you couldn’t help but rave about?

A Vegan Roasted, Plant Powered Sandwich

plant powered sandwich

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If the saying were adapted for my dinner tonight it would be; when your cold refrigerator gives you brown spotted eggplant, use other colorful vegetables to make a plant powered sandwich instead of an eggplant parmesan grinder. Initially, I was a little upset. I mean I could practically smell the eggplant parmesan as I walked over to to the refrigerator to take out the eggplant. At first touch, the purple vegetable was a bit soft. I thought it could be salvaged. I got out my scalpel and made the first incision, only to see unfortunate brown spots on the inside. There wasn’t enough white meat to salvage.

So, there I stood, with my freshly baked bread unsure of what to do next. I pouted for about thirty seconds, before realizing that I had more than enough vegetables to make a kick-ass sandwich. There was no way I was going to let my fresh whole wheat bread go to waste (thank you whole foods bakery because you really make delicious bread that is nearly perfect in every way, except in price).

I started by taking out zucchini and  half of a yellow bell pepper. I sliced them and put them into the oven at 375 degrees because roasting vegetables always ensures a tasty end product. Then, I went for a run, thinking about my delicious sandwich-to-be as I sweat it out. As soon as I got home, I took the zucchini out of the oven and put some red onions in a hot frying pan drizzled with olive oil. I sauteed those with some garlic and then added some baby bella mushroom slices. As they softened, I seasoned the mushrooms and added spinach. With a quick toss those veggies were done. I toasted some bread and started assembling my plant piled sandwich. No big mac needed here. My sandwich was overfilled with healthy, vitamin-packed vegetables. In all, I managed to add five vegetables to this satisfying sandwich, as well as garlic and warm tomato sauce to add even more flavor. Do you have any favorite veggie-based sandwiches?

My halfway assembled sandwich.

My halfway assembled sandwich.

Ingredients for a roasted plant-powered sandwich: 

*Serves 4

1 medium sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise

1 organic bell pepper, sliced lengthwise

2 tbsp of olive oil (1 tbsp for the roasted veggies and 1 tbsp for the stove top cooked veggies)

1/4 tsp of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes

1/2 of a red onion, sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced

2-3 handfuls of organic spinach, washed

1/4 tsp of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried basil

1 loaf of freshly baked wheat bread, sliced into sandwich sized pieces

1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of sauce, warmed (*I chose a dairy free sauce choice for a vegan sandwich, as some have grated cheese in them)

Directions: 

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then, slice the zucchini and pepper lengthwise. Make sure to remove any seeds and ribs from the pepper. Lay the veggie strips flat on a baking sheet pan. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil on them and then add garlic powder, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss gently, coating all of the veggies in the seasonings and oil. Then put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until softened.

2- While the roasting the zucchini and pepper strips, thinly slice a red onion and two cloves of garlic. You can also slice the mushrooms at this time. Then, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add the onions to the pan and let them brown. Stir them around to ensure even cooking. Then add the garlic slices. Let them begin to brown around the edges before you add the baby bella mushrooms and other seasonings. Meanwhile, wash and dry the spinach. When all of the vegetables are nearly cooked, then add the spinach. Let it wilt. Stir the mixture up.

3- While the mushrooms are cooking add your bread slices to the oven. Let them toast for 5-10 minutes, while the zucchini is finishing up in the oven.

4- When the spinach and mushrooms are done take them off the heat. Remove the zucchini from the oven when it is done and set it aside. Warm the tomato sauce

5- Drizzle a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on your toasted bread. Then top the bread with the mushroom mixture. Top that with zucchini and pepper slices. Then add the tomato sauce. Your beautiful plant powered sandwich is now complete.

The finished product is a stack of deliciously seasoned produce that sits between two slices of hearty wheat bread, which is slightly crusty on the outside, yet soft on the inside. What could be better? Not much right now, for me. A good sandwich should never be underestimated.

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an illustrated diabetic-friendly food blog

crazyrawlife

life, raw: unprepared or imperfectly prepared for use... not in a polished, finished, or processed form. global adventures.nourishing practices xx

No Whey No Cow

Celebrating life without the forkin' meat!