Fried Rice with Vegetables

FriedRice

This is SO easy to make, and yet savory and delicious. I cooked the jasmine rice (one cup rice, two cups water) ahead of time and let it cool. Meanwhile, I had leftover julienned zucchini, sweet onions, carrots, and chopped deseeded fresh tomatoes. I coated a large, heavy frying pan with olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and brought it up to medium-high heat before adding these vegetables. I sautéed for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. I then added the rice, soy sauce, and three cloves of minced garlic. I stirred it all up before letting it steam (covered) for just a few minutes before removing from the stove. I topped it with some chopped chives and basil from my garden when I was ready to serve.

Main-Dish Vegetable Soup

VegetableSoupTwo

This is a meal in itself. It’s more like a vegetable stew than a soup because it’s so thick. I added lots of vegetables to this vegetable broth- and V8 Original juice-based soup. I used mild chunky salsa and V8 juice in last week’s vegetable soup only because I didn’t have enough pureed tomatoes. I liked it so much, though, that I decided to use it again. It gives the soup a really pleasant tangy flavor. I didn’t measure anything; I’ll list the ingredients below, and approximate amounts.

INGREDIENTS:

Extra-virgin olive oil to coat the soup pot
4 zucchinis julienned (used mandolin wide-julienne setting)
4 carrots julienned (same as above)
2 medium onions julienned (same as above)
6 cloves minced garlic
4 cups V8 Original juice
4 cups (one carton) organic vegetable broth
1 26-oz carton of strained tomatoes (Pomi)
1 cup mild chunky salsa
Handful of a mix of fresh basil and Italian parsley
1 cup each frozen baby corn and peas
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
3 big handfuls of roughly chopped fresh organic kale (washed, stems removed)
1 cup tiny alphabet pasta

METHOD:

Saute the zucchinis, carrots, and onions over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and herbs, lower the heat to medium. Stir and continue sautéing for another 10 minutes. Add the V8 juice, vegetable broth, strained tomatoes, salsa, corn and peas. Bring to a boil, and add the pasta. Stir and lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the black beans and the kale. Stir well. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or so.

Organic Black Bean and Corn Salad with Vegetables

LentilsBeanCornSalad

This is a filling and nutritious salad that could be used as a main dish. It’s complete with protein from the black beans, complex carbs from the veggies, and healthy fats from the olive oil in the dressing, and the avocado. I served it on a platter with some lentils on the side, and I dished the salad over some lentils on my plate. It’s refreshing, with lots of tang and texture.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup organic petite sweet corn drained and rinsed (from frozen), or use fresh when it’s in season
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 Haas Avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup of mixed fresh cilantro, basil, and Italian parsley, chopped finely
Few extra basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp Galloway’s Lemon pepper

METHOD:

Mix the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, sea salt and pepper in a small mason jar. Cover tightly with the lid and shake well. Set aside.

Mix the black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, and the finely chopped herbs. Drizzle with a little of the dressing and mix all together. Last, gently mix in the avocado. Add a few basil leaves to the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.

Oven-baked Wild-Caught Salmon over Raw Zoodles

SalmonOverZoodles

I seasoned the salmon with granulated garlic and sea salt after brushing it with a light coating of olive oil. I cut it into four filets and baked in a 450 F oven for 15 minutes, then removed and covered with tin foil to let it steam for a few minutes. I spiralized a green zucchini (zoodles), added some sliced yellow bell pepper, cucumber and avocado, and served the salmon on top with some lime. Cheat meals have to be tasty, or they’re just not worthy of their name.

Grilled Tofu with Lentil and Rice Salad

TofuLentilRiceSalad

Lots of vegan protein packed into this meal, and that’s just what I wanted. I made a big batch of lentils and rice, storing it in separate containers in the refrigerator so I can use it to make other salads over the next few days. There’s myriad variations using these two high-protein staples—salads, wraps, patties, and lots more.

INGREDIENTS:

2 c organic green lentils (cook ahead and cool)
2 c organic brown basmati rice (cook ahead and cool)
1 c chopped sweet onion (red or white)
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 c thawed and rinsed frozen baby peas
1/4 c chopped fresh mint
lettuce (I used red leafy lettuce from my garden)
1 pkg extra-firm organic tofu, drained well and patted dry with paper towel
Extra-virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
S & P

Cook the green lentils and the rice according to their package directions, and let them each cool separately in the fridge.

Cut the tofu in large cubes and toss it with enough olive oil to coat it well, and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice (I used organic dried garlic with sea salt). Bake in a 425 F oven on a parchment-paper lined sheet for about 10 minutes, then remove and gently turn over and bake another 10 minutes, or so. Keep an eye on them; they should be firm and browned around the edges, but not overdone. When they are ready, gently place them onto a paper towel while you assemble the salad.

Mix 2 cups of the cooked lentils, and 1 cup of the cooked brown basmati rice together. Add 1 cup of chopped sweet onion, the peas, basil leaves, and mint. Mix together. In a small bowl, add 1/4 c balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together. If the balsamic vinegar is of a high quality (which it should be), you don’t need to add any sugar. If not, you will likely need to sweeten it. Drizzle olive oil into the mixture as you whisk. It is usually one part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil, but I tend to do less than that much olive oil. That’s optional. When it is to your taste, drizzle over the salad and mix well. Serve it with some leafy lettuce and the tofu. I topped mine with some chives from my garden, but you can add any kind of garnish.

Pasta with Avocado Pesto Sauce

AvocadoBasilPestoSpaghetti

For a lighter vegan version of pesto with tons of flavor, this recipe will not disappoint.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg organic vegetable spaghetti
1 ripe Haas avocado, mashed with a fork
5 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 handful of washed fresh basil, including stems
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp almond milk
Salt and pepper

METHOD:

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and basil with stems. Stir and lower the heat to low. Let the mixture infuse for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. When the spaghetti is done, remove the garlic and basil and place in a blender. Drain the spaghetti, and then mix it around inside the frying pan so the extra oil coats it. Add the mashed avocado to the blender, as well as the remaining two tbsp olive oil. Drizzle the juice of half a lemon over it, and blend. Add the almond milk, and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is too tart, add a little more almond milk (a tsp at a time).

Mix the pesto mixture into the spaghetti, adding a dollop on top of each individual serving.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

VegetableSoupWithBabyKale

This may seem an unlikely choice for a hot summer night’s dinner, but I wanted to use up a lot of veggies and other leftovers in the fridge to clear the way for today’s farmer’s market trip. I also had some frozen corn and peas in the freezer that I used in this soup. It was definitely a “kitchen sink” kind of soup that turned out to taste fantastic; not only did I use up the rest of my veggies, but I also used V8 Juice, chunky salsa, and organic strained tomatoes. If I’d had crushed or enough fresh tomatoes, I would’ve used those instead of the V8 Juice and the salsa. I always use the organic strained tomatoes; they’re a must for this soup, but absent vegetable broth and the tomatoes, I had to improvise. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But this combo worked.

So, here you have it.

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz. organic strained tomatoes
2 c V8 Original vegetable juice (plus extra water)
2/3 small jar mild chunky salsa (I used Pace)
1 large cooking onion, chopped finely
1 c washed and drained white kidney beans
1 c frozen baby peas
1 c frozen baby corn
a handful of fresh green beans, cut in 1 in. pieces
4 grated carrots, julienned (I used a mandolin)
3 zucchinis, julienned (mandolin)
2 c baby kale
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c alphabet pasta
Olive oil for coating soup pot

METHOD:

Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil in your soup pot over medium high heat (about 2 tbsp.). Add the onion, carrots, zucchinis, fresh green beans, and garlic. Stir well and cook for a few minutes until the mixture becomes aromatic and the carrots and onion begin to soften. Add the peas and corn and continue cooking, lowering the heat to medium. Stir frequently for about 15 minutes. Then add the strained tomatoes, vegetable juice, salsa and extra water so that the mixture is not too thick. It should be the consistency of a thin broth at this point. Partially cover with the lid, and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Stir, and if it is too thick, add some more water, bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and cook on a gentle simmer until the pasta is cooked (about 10 minutes). Mix in the baby kale and the white kidney beans, and stir well. Taste, and if necessary, add your favorite seasoning (salt, pepper, Flavor God seasoning, Italian seasoning, Mrs. Dash, Spike, etc.). I did not add any seasoning until the very end because the V8 and the salsa contain salt and other seasonings. I just added pepper, and a little sprinkle of Spike. For you non-vegans, this soup would be really delicious with some freshly grated Pecorino, Romano, or Parmesan cheese on top of each individual serving bowl.