Tag Archives: Vegan

Mushroom & Asparagus Barley Risotto

 

As summer is winding to a close, I am still in denial.  I don’t want to let go of the beautiful unfolding of spring, the delicate greens and fragrant blossoms, the heavy fruits ripening on the vine, the cornucopia of riotous color at the farmer’s market.  Spring and summer make this farm-loving, healthy-cooking, veggie-eating foodaholic girl’s heart sing.

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So when I saw some end of season asparagus and some shiitake mushrooms on sale, I had to nab them.  For a fleeting taste of spring, summer & autumn all rolled into one, this risotto is earthy and vegetal, and completely delicious.

And the best part is, if you use canned mushroom & frozen asparagus you can make this all year round!  A well-stocked fridge/freezer/pantry can bring any season to your plate.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • Optional add-ins: diced tomato, garlic, onions, spices to taste

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Step 1: Rinse your asparagus and wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms. Dice them into bite-sized pieces.

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Step 2: Put the barley in a pan with 1 cup of stock or water. (This can be vegan if you use vegetable stock or water in place of the chicken stock). Bring to a boil, and then simmer.

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Step 3: Let the barley cook, watching the liquid level. When it gets low, add a few more tbsp of stock and stir. Continue for 20-25 minutes, until barley is chewy and nearly cooked through. Add the diced veggies for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking.

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At this point, you can season to taste, I only used a little garlic salt. This tastes amazing on its own, or you can add any of the option mix ins suggested, or anything else you happen to have laying about.

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This recipe makes about 2 cups worth of risotto, enough for 4 small side dish servings or two full meals.

Mushroom & Asparagus Barley Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • Optional add-ins: diced tomato, garlic, onions, spices to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse your asparagus and wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms. Dice them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Put the barley in a pan with 1 cup of stock or water. (This can be vegan if you use vegetable stock or water in place of the chicken stock). Bring to a boil, and then simmer.
  3. Let the barley cook, watching the liquid level. When it gets low, add a few more tbsp of stock and stir. Continue for 20-25 minutes, until barley is chewy and nearly cooked through. Add the diced veggies for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking.
  4. At this point, you can season to taste, I only used a little garlic salt.
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Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 246.8
  • Total Fat 2.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol 3.6 mg
  • Sodium 178.2 mg
  • Potassium 399.9 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 49.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber 9.3 g
  • Sugars 3.8 g
  • Protein 9.3 g
  • Vitamin A 4.2 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 15.2 %
  • Vitamin C 8.0 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 3.9 %
  • Calcium 2.6 %
  • Copper 32.9 %
  • Folate 17.0 %
  • Iron 10.8 %
  • Magnesium 13.9 %
  • Manganese 41.1 %
  • Niacin 25.7 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 15.0 %
  • Phosphorus 17.2 %
  • Riboflavin 15.5 %
  • Selenium 44.6 %
  • Thiamin 13.2 %
  • Zinc 12.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

 

For those who do not know, late summer is when the garden bounty is rolling in, including tomatoes and herbs like basil. Home gardeners are likely giving away baskets of fresh veggies and herbs to friends, family, and neighbors. Those who know how and have the time & inclination are putting up the excess for the long, cold winter ahead by canning, drying, and freezing.

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I planted a few basil seeds in late April, and had no idea they would take off so well! They were tiny seedlings when I had them in a pot in the window, but when I put them outside they just flourished! Now I have a basil bush just outside my front door. It is wonderfully convenient to just run out and grab a few leaves.

This tomato soup recipe is stunningly simple. Don’t let its simplicity fool you though, it is also amazingly delicious. There is nothing quite so amazing as fresh, local produce simply prepared. Orange goo in a can doesn’t even come close.

With only 3 ingredients, this soup is so easy a five-year-old could probably make it. And, honestly, you don’t even need the basil, you can just make a simple creamy tomato soup by leaving it out. I added it because you can only eat so much pesto in one week. 🙂

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And the final bonus, it is both vegetarian and vegan, as well as gluten free! If you just blended it all, I bet it could be made raw too! It is very healthy, as well as Paleo and Mediterranean. There isn’t a diet I know of on which you cannot eat this soup. If you don’t have or don’t like coconut milk, you can omit it for a regular tomato soup, or use cows milk, almond milk, etc instead.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can coconut milk (6-7 oz)
  • 4-5 large ripe tomatoes
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • Optional: olive oil, salt & pepper

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Step 1: Open the coconut milk and mix it up with a spoon. Pour half into a pot and begin heating. Dice up your tomatoes into quarters and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes.

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Step 2: You can stop here if you don’t mind your soup a little chunky and don’t want to add basil, it has a nice rustic texture at this point. Would be great served with some whole-grain bread. But if you want it creamy and smooth, pop it into the blender and give it a whirl.

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Step 3: Add the handful of basil, and blend again.

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(Note: be sure to have the lid on the blender firmly. Otherwise, you end up with a hot, orange mess all over your stove. Not that I would know from experience…)

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Pour your hot, finished creamy tomato soup into 2 bowls, top with sea salt & black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil if you like. This makes a little less than 1 quart of soup, and can easily be doubled to use the whole can of coconut milk. Simply add more tomatoes.

Enjoy!

Creamy Basil Tomato Soup

Creamy Basil Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 can coconut milk (6-7 oz)
  • 4-5 large ripe tomatoes
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • Optional: olive oil, salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Open the coconut milk and mix it up with a spoon. Pour half into a pot and begin heating. Dice up your tomatoes into quarters and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  2. You can stop here if you don't mind your soup a little chunky and don't want to add basil, it has a nice rustic texture at this point. Would be great served with some whole-grain bread. But if you want it creamy and smooth, pop it into the blender and give it a whirl.
  3. Add the handful of basil, and blend again. Pour the hot soup into two bowls, and top with sea salt & black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil if you like. Enjoy with some fresh whole grain bread or a nice green salad.
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Vegan Banh Mi Bonanza

 

If you love veggies or are looking for a way to get more into your diet, this is a perfect solution. Unlike a typical sandwich containing nitrate-laced and high-sodium sliced deli “meats”, this is a fabulously healthy way to satisfy the most hard-core sandwich craving while doing your body a favor!

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese word for ‘bread’, which was imported by the French during its colonial period. The banh mi is different from the traditional French baguette in that is it made with rice flour as well as wheat flour, typically has a thinner crust, and is ‘airier’ or ‘lighter’. Typically the fillings included meats of all kinds, like pork belly, sausage, pate, pork floss (what even is that?), grilled chicken, canned sardines, meatballs, head cheese, fried eggs, or tofu.

Accompanying vegetables typically include fresh cucumber slices, cilantro (leaves of the coriander plant) and pickled carrots and daikon in shredded form. Common condiments include spicy chili sauce, sliced chilis, mayonnaise, and cheese.

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This particular creation was made using the veggies I most enjoy, and had available. I encourage you to do the same, but also try some new things. If you’ve never had sprouts, give it a shot. Try making your own hummus, it’s super easy! Hummus is also a great way to add extra bulk and protein to vegan meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large soft hoagie bun
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large beet
  • 1/4 cup sprouts
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp hummus (try black bean hummus!)
  • 1-2 romaine leaves and/or spinach
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Step 1: In a frying pan, cook thin slices of zucchini until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. (Grilling would also work. Other veggies you could use include: onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, carrot).

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Step 2: On one piece of bread, spread your hummus. (Guacamole would also be delish here). On the other slice, drizzle the olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

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Step 3: Layer all the veggies onto the bread. I roasted my beet in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes then peeled it. You can do this ahead of time, or use canned & drained beets to save time.

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Here it is with the sprouts & sliced avocado. Then just try to mush the two halves together without losing most of the fillings.

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And there you have it! This gigantic, delicious beast tasted AMAZING and kept me full for hours. You would be surprised how easy to put together these are once you have whatever ingredients you want to use, and just how dang tasty they are. For more info and recipe ideas, check out VietWorldKitchen.

 

Avocado Beet Wrap

 

As spring kicks into gear and temperatures climb, we start looking for lighter, cooling dishes. It’s tough to enjoy a beef stew or thick chili when it’s 95 and humid. Luckily spring and summer bring a rotating buffet of delicious seasonal vegetables and fruits.

One of my favorite ways to use fresh produce is in a wrap. You can only have a bowl of salad so many times before it gets old. This way you can still have all the greens and good toppings but in a portable, desk-friendly format. Wraps are easily adaptable to just about any veggie or dip (such as hummus, guacamole, or sriracha ranch).

This wrap packs the healthy fats of avocado, the anti-cancer and inflammation-fighting power of beets, the hydration of cucumber and greens in one fabulous lunch. But feel free to sub in another type of green (spinach, kale, beet greens) or other veggies you have on hand. On average, you should eat about 2 1/2 cups of veggies per day, and a wrap should contain approximately 1 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 whole roasted beet (4-5 slices)
  • 1/2 cucumber, skin on if organic
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 head of romaine (or 1/2 c greens)

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Step 1: Cut up your avocado, cucumber, & beets. Spread the greens on the tortilla, top with veggies. Roll up and enjoy!

 

*Some time saver tips:

  • Use canned beets for the slices
  • Pick up pre-cut cucumber from a salad bar
  • Use packaged guac instead of an avocado

Vegan Tofu-Sauerkraut Lettuce Wraps

 

As I’ve been diving into the world of vegan food options, it has made me more creative with my meals, how they are cooked, what is in them, and what I can mix together.

One meal option I have fallen in love with is lettuce wraps. It is just like a taco, only completely gluten-free (depending on what you put inside), no added carbs, and very healthy. You get a dose of greens de facto because of the lettuce leaves, and skip the extra calories and added who-knows-what in the typical tortilla (refined & bleached white flour, leaveners, softeners, added sugar, GMOs, etc etc).

And, like a regular taco, you can put just about anything inside! Wraps are a great catch-all for veggies you need to use up, leftover half-batches of grains, and anything else you can think of. Here I use some of my homemade sauerkraut (which is so mind-blowingly easy to make, and delicious!), fried tofu, and mushrooms as my umami base, then load on top of it cooked rice & black beans, diced avocado & fresh salsa. Ah-maz-ing.

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And the best part is, you can’t really over-eat these! There is so much veggie goodness and nutrition packed into every wrap, you can have three or four, no problem. This recipe makes enough for 4 large wraps.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large outer leaves of romaine (plus more shredded)
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut or raw cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 tbsp salsa of choice

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Step 1: I made my black beans from dried (much cheaper than canned!) by taking 1 cup of beans per 2 cups water and putting them in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This makes the beans nice and tender and ready to eat. Cook the rice according to package directions.

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Step 2: Drain and press the tofu by placing it on a folded paper towel with another on top. Press firmly, or place a heavy object on top, for a few minutes. Then add the tofu, mushrooms, and sauerkraut to a medium-hot frying pan, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are moist and browned. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable stock if it dries out at any time.

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Step 3: Assemble the lettuce wraps. Take a large leaf of Romaine or other head lettuce and hold it in the palm of one hand. Add a tbsp or two of rice and cooked beans, then a heap of the cooked tofu-mushroom-sauerkraut mixture.

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Step 4: Add optional toppings like the diced avocado and salsa, or try sliced olives, juilenned carrot, zucchini, or radish, or shredded cheese. You could add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sriracha, refried beans, or any other taco topping your heart desires.

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Above all, make it your own and enjoy!

 

Vegan Tofu-Sauerkraut Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 4 large outer leaves of romaine (plus more shredded)
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut or raw cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 tbsp salsa of choice

Instructions

  1. I made my black beans from dried (much cheaper than canned!) by taking 1 cup of beans per 2 cups water and putting them in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This makes the beans nice and tender and ready to eat. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. Drain and press the tofu by placing it on a folded paper towel with another on top. Press firmly, or place a heavy object on top, for a few minutes. Then add the tofu, mushrooms, and sauerkraut to a medium-hot frying pan, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are moist and browned. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable stock if it dries out at any time.
  3. Assemble the lettuce wraps. Take a large leaf of Romaine or other head lettuce and hold it in the palm of one hand. Add a tbsp or two of rice and cooked beans, then a heap of the cooked tofu-mushroom-sauerkraut mixture.
  4. Add optional toppings like the diced avocado and salsa, or try sliced olives, juilenned carrot, zucchini, or radish, shredded lettuce, or shredded cheese. You could add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sriracha, refried beans, or any other taco topping your heart desires.
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Three Bean Vegan Chili

 

Chili is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. It couldn’t be easier to put together, just throw all the ingredients in a crock pot and let it do the heavy lifting while you go to work, school, travel, write, hike, shop, whatever you do all day. Then come home to a hot, delicious, healthy meal that makes the whole house smell divine.

This is seriously the most perfect cold-weather dinner of all time.

White Bean Chicken Chili is definitely on my top ten for Crock Pot meals, but since I’ve been on a bit of a vegan kick lately, I wanted to make a chili with no meat or animal products that was equally delicious and satisfying. And that’s exactly what I did, and you can too!

Don’t tell those you serve that it’s vegan, and they likely won’t even know.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want kick)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

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Step 1: Open all the cans, and pour directly into the crock pot. Leave the tomato juice, but if you want to drain and rinse the beans to cut down on extra sodium, you totally can.

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Step 2: Cook in crock pot on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours. That’s it! Other addition you could make: chickpeas, really any other type of bean, crushed garlic, diced onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomato juice, tomato sauce, hot sauce…   IMG_7587

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I made a batch of corn bread using Jiffy mix and a can of corn to serve with the chili. Yes, the carnivore had to add a handful of cheese, but progress is progress. Baby steps.

Since this makes a crap-ton of chili, some ideas to use up the remainder include chili cheese dogs, chili mac n cheese, and topping baked potatoes with a scoop for a filling meal or snack.

 

Three Bean Vegan Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want kick)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

Instructions

  1. Open all the cans, and pour directly into the crock pot. Leave the tomato juice, but if you want to drain and rinse the beans to cut down on extra sodium, you totally can.
  2. Cook in crock pot on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours. That's it! Other addition you could make: chickpeas, really any other type of bean, crushed garlic, diced onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomato juice, tomato sauce, hot sauce...
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Power Greens & Beans Salad

 

If you’re looking to fill up, super-charge your cells, up your fiber intake, and feel AWESOME for around 300 calories a plate, look no further!

This phenomenal salad uses a strong base of mixed greens (romaine & spinach) combined with the vegan four-bean salad from a previous post, and topped with fresh green onion to create a super heart-healthy, cholesterol-reducing, vitality-restoring super salad!

(Claims not investigated by the FDA. I made all this up so far.)

But seriously folks, this is delicious, and there is so much gorgeous color and fiber here, it might be a challenge to finish the whole plate! And with the vinaigrette from the four bean salad, you don’t even need dressing, which is where a lot of salad calories tend to come from.

So you can feel really super awesome about eating this.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 romaine leaves, chopped or torn
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup vegan four bean salad
  • 2 green onions, chopped

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Step 1: Create a giant bed of greens on your plate. The more the merrier!

“Oh no, not more green leafy vegetables!” — Said no one’s internal organs ever.

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Step 2: Smother the greens in the bean salad. Chop the green onions on top and that’s all there is to it. Enjoy your phenomenally healthy and tasty lunch/dinner/whatever.

Optional substitutions: Use any kind of leafy green here, kale would also work, even iceberg if you must. If you don’t like green onion, use any other fresh herbs. You can also add other toppings like raw nuts or seeds, croutons, olives, sliced peppers, etc.

 

Power Greens & Beans Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes one huge plate of salad

2-3 cups greens and beans

Ingredients

  • 4-5 romaine leaves, chopped or torn
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup vegan four bean salad
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Create a giant bed of greens on your plate. The more the merrier! "Oh no, not more green leafy vegetables!" -- Said no one's internal organs ever.
  2. Smother the greens in the bean salad. Chop the green onions on top and that's all there is to it. Enjoy your phenomenally healthy and super tasty lunch/dinner/whatever.
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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – Less Than 5

 

Brussels sprouts tend to be a polarizing vegetable. Love it or hate it.

I love it. Bet you didn’t see that coming. =)

That hasn’t always been the case. Tastes change over time, as most children don’t enjoy the taste of many vegetables, but as we grow and our palates expand, things we once found revolting become favorites.

Brussels sprouts are in the Brassicacea family, along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and collard greens. They may have originated in Brussels, Belgium, where they may have earned their name. They contain high levels of vitamin C and K, B vitamins, trace minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. They, along with other brassicas, contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, under study for its effects on DNA repair and apparent ability to block growth of cancer cells.

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Boiling used to be the only way brussels sprouts were prepared, and gave these beauties a bad name by boiling all the taste and life out of them . Better options for cooking to maximize texture and taste include steaming, frying, and my personal favorite, oven roasting.

Brussels sprouts are healthy and plentiful in the fall, making them an affordable option for side and main dishes. They tend to feature in Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Umami and salty flavors tend to go well with the slightly bitter taste of these sprouts.

This side dish is simple and quick, as well as healthy for you. It is hearty enough to be a main dish as well if you please.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

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Step 1: Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and slice large ones in half. Thinly slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan.

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Step 2: Add the sprouts to the pan, and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and red onion, and cover. Let cook 5-7 minutes, until the onion and sprouts are tender.

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That’s all there is to it! Serve warm, on its own or as a side dish.

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The sprouts are tender yet still with a bit of crunch. The onions add a perfect sweet complement, and the balsamic coats everything in a sweet, slightly salty, and tart flavor.

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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – Less Than 5

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the ends off the sprouts and cut large ones in half. Slice the red onion thinly.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the sprouts. Cook 4-5 minutes, then add the onion and balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook another 5-7 minutes, until onion and sprouts are softened.
  3. Serve hot on its own or as a side dish.
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Vegan Four Bean Salad

 

This dish was cooked up (pun intended) for a work potluck I had. I wanted a dish that didn’t take too much time and effort, since I would put it together the day of, maybe even the night before. And it needed to be something that made a lot, to feed a lot of people, but on a penny budget.

In comes my old best friends, beans, to the rescue! Beans are delightful, cheap, and filling. They come in endless variety too, so when you put several kinds together you get a healthy, hearty, and also pretty dish.

This is a very easily customizable adaptation of your typical “three-bean” salad, in that I simply added an extra type of beans. Here I used canned, but you can slash the cost even further by starting with dried beans, and cooking them in a crock pot on low overnight to rehydrate. Then drain and refrigerate until needed.

Ingredients:

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Step 1: Open all the cans, put the beans in a colander and rinse them several times with cold water. This helps remove some of the excess sodium and any preservatives that might have been in the canned juices. Mix in a large bowl with the peppers and onion.

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Step 2: Combine the vinegar and oil, and pour over the mixture. Add the spices, and mix everything up.

 

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Less than 5: Quick Miso Soup

 

I am a huge fan of most all Japanese foods, especially sushi. As evidenced from my ill-fated attempts at Salmon Nigiri and Lazy Won-Ton Soup, I am by no means a Japanese chef. But I do try, so I feel like I get some credit for that.

This is my super fast and easy imitation miso soup. Keep in mind I had no miso paste, which kinda makes the soup… so if you do, add that! If not, this is sort of close. You will need some specialized ingredients, but honestly most common grocery stores like King Soopers are now carrying similar items in their “ethnic” section.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 tbsp duck paste (you can use chicken bouillon too)
  • 2-3 sheets seaweed
  • 1/2 block tofu
  • Optional: 1 pack ramen noodles

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Step 1: Slice the tofu into small squares. Cut the seaweed into strips. Slice all the green part of the scallions diagonally.

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Step 2: Bring the water to a boil and stir in the duck paste or chicken bouillon. Add the scallions, seaweed, and tofu. And that’s it!

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This soup is delightfully salty and packs a heavy umami punch.

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Add some glass or ramen noodles for extra filling power. You can have this soup as an appetizer, part of a light lunch, or as a whole meal. Quite healthy, if you’re ok with a high-ish sodium content… you can omit the bouillon but the taste will suffer.