Category Archives: healthy food recipes

Hearty Bean and Vegetable Soup

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Well, I received my CSA shipment from Farm Fresh To You (farmfreshtoyou.com) a few days ago, and I’d customized my box to include some fresh dill.  I love fresh dill.  It reminds me of the cabbage borscht my grandfather used to make when I was growing up; there was always lots of dill in his soups, and they were always so savory and delicious.

I also added rainbow carrots, zucchini, spring onions, chard, and sweet potato to my  delivery.  As I customized my box, I had in mind to make a really hearty soup that reminded me of the old days (minus the beef).  If you flavor your dishes, whatever they may be, I doubt you’ll miss beef or chicken.  But, if you want to include those, you can still use this basic recipe, and add the meat of your choice.

So, I’ll just describe how I made this, because I rarely write a recipe down, and it’s often trial and error, tasting as I go to adjust the flavor to my liking.

I prepped 4 sweet potatoes by scrubbing and chopping in equal-sized small pieces (not peeling, because a lot of the nutritional value is in the skin); 2 rainbow carrots, unpeeled, scrubbed and chopped; 1 large chopped zucchini; 4 spring onions, chopped (including stem); small bunch of chard, washed well, stem removed, then finely chopped and reserving about half cup for serving bowl; about 6-7 stems of fresh dill, washed and just torn, including stems; about 2 cups of previously fresh-frozen Brussels sprouts leaves; 1 16-oz can each of black beans and cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained; 1 container of Pomi chopped tomatoes; about 2 cups of V8 juice; about 64 oz. filtered water; vegetized sea salt to taste; pepper to taste; about 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar; a few bay leaves; about 1 tbsp dried basil; about a tsp. each of freshly grated turmeric and ginger; bee pollen to sprinkle over each serving, some extra spring onion bulb chopped for garnish, as well as the extra chopped chard.

Once all the vegetables were prepped, I heated the stockpot with EVOO on medium.  I added the sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, spring onions, chard, dill, Brussels sprouts leaves, bay leaves, basil, turmeric, and ginger.  I stirred it all well and let it cook down for about 20 minutes. Then, I added the Pomi crushed tomatoes, V8, rinsed beans, water, salt and pepper, and apple cider vinegar.  I let it all cook on a simmer with a tilted lid until the vegetables were tender, and the flavor was robust, probably about 40 minutes.  I like to cook soups slowly, so all the flavors marry.  Add more water, salt and pepper to your taste before you serve.

I added the extra chard to the serving bowls, and I topped each bowl with some spring onion (from the bulb), and then sprinkled some bee pollen on each one.

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

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The absolutely most savory and tasty soup ever! It was so simple to make, that I am just going to describe how I made it because I didn’t use a recipe, and it was a taste-as-you-go kind of effort.

I had a whole cauliflower that I washed and broke into small florets. Meanwhile, I sautéed over medium heat in a heavy soup pot about 3 tbsp. EVOO, one large yellow chopped onion, three chopped celery stalks, three finely chopped carrots, a fresh and finely chopped large tomato, about 5 finely chopped garlic cloves. After a few minutes, I added a generous amount of high quality yellow curry (about 3 tbsp), about 1 tbsp each of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and ground cumin. Stirred, and then grated about 3 tbsp each of fresh turmeric and ginger, and added that to the mix, along with the cauliflower florets. I stirred all ingredients well, and let sauté for a few more minutes before adding about 6 cups of fresh filtered water. Brought it all to a boil, then simmered until the cauliflower was tender (about 25 minutes). Before serving, I added some baby bok choy, chopped, and some chopped cilantro. I garnished each dish with a little whole baby bok choy, and some fresh parsley and cilantro, as well as some freshly-squeezed lime and a little Tamari.

All of this can (and should) be modified to your own taste. The main thing is to use the different ingredients, all organic, and maybe modify the measurements according to what you really like. It’s all about experimentation. This one turned out very well, and I just loved it (and still have leftovers).

Curried Cauliflower with Garbanzo Beans

CurriedCauliflowerWithGarbanzos

I posted this recipe last week when I made it. It appears to be one of the favorite Instagram food photos on my new account, so it deserves some recognition here! I love cauliflower, and I’m always looking for new and creative ways of preparing it. This dish was hearty enough to stand on its own; I added garbanzo beans to it, and of course a host of other ingredients that made the flavor of the dish pop like a weasel. So, here it is!

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite-sized florets
1 16-oz can garbanzo beans, washed and drained well
1 medium-sized tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1 handful of fresh cilantro, washed and finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of finely chopped garlic (or less, if you’re worried about your breath)
2 tbsp yellow curry
1 tsp Garam Masala (an Indian spice for those of you unfamiliar with it)
1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of half a lime, plus a wedge for the plate

METHOD

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the curry powder and Garam Masala, and mix well. Continue cooking over low heat to let all the flavors blend for another 3-5 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and mix well so that they are coated with the curry mixture. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir-fry for about a minute or two before adding the water (or vegetable broth). Add the garbanzo beans, stir well, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid to test the cauliflower for doneness. Depending on how well you like your cauliflower cooked, you can cook a few minutes longer with the lid on. Remove the lid, and if there is still liquid, let it evaporate by cooking a few minutes longer. When all liquid has evaporated, add the tomato and the cilantro, stir well and cover. Turn the heat off and let it sit for a few minutes. Test for salt and pepper. Plate into bowls, squeeze a little lime juice over each bowl, and garnish with a wedge of lime on the side.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Veggie Patties

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These veggie patties outdo any others I’ve made thus far.  I’ve been trying for a few years to come up with a hearty, healthy, protein-packed, flavorful veggie patty, and this one is as close as it gets.  The beautiful thing about this is that you can tweak and change up the ingredients to flavor it to your palate’s delight.  I don’t like heat, so I omit chilis and spicy pepper.  But I do love garlic, onion, and Indian spices A LOT.  I didn’t add any garlic to these patties this time, but next time I will add some.  I made one batch, and froze a batch of two patties per baggie.  They are very firm, and the texture is much like that of a regular meat patty, so they hold up very well in a bun like a regular meat hamburger.  These would be great done on a grill, too, atop a grill pan.  So, here we go.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup precooked and cooled red quinoa

2 cups mashed baked sweet potatoes (skins removed)

1 cup black beans (homemade or canned/drained/rinsed)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped very finely

1 cup finely diced green onion

3 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. coarse-grind pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350. Wash and bake the sweet potato on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 45 minutes (or until soft).  Remove and set aside to cool before pulling the skin off.  Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  Be sure to rinse the quinoa in water a few times before cooking to remove the residue.  The water should come out clean before you begin cooking them.  Chop up your green onions, and walnuts (if you care to add some garlic, chop that up, too), set all aside in a small bowl.  Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes once they’re cool enough, and mash them into a large mixing bowl.  Mash the rinsed and well-drained beans into to the sweet potato mix, leaving some whole.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix all very well.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with EVOO, and shape the patties into rounds (about 1/4 cup each), and place them on the sheet.  When done with all of them, turn them over and flatten them to your desired thickness (adjust baking time according to thickness).  By taking this extra step to turn them over, both the bottom and the top of the patties will have some light oil coating that will produce a nice brown crispness to the outside.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, then turn.  Bake another 20-25 minutes, depending on how thick you’ve made your patties.  They should be firm and nicely browned before you remove them from the oven.  Let cool, and serve in a bun or with vegetables, or just with fruit.

I made some of my homemade guacamole, and then used the patties as the “bun” for the guacamole.  Along with that, I had some vegetables and fruit.  Really worth making, and as I said earlier, you can freeze them in singles or doubles.  This recipe made about 20 patties.

Fried Rice with Vegetables

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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.

“Zoodles” Raw Salad

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I bought a new mandolin slicer a few weeks ago, and it’s been a fantastic tool for my kitchen. But the spiral slicer that I picked up from Bed Bath & Beyond? THAT is the best thing EVER for creating julienne squash, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and other vegetables. I used it to make the spiral-sliced zucchini (“zoodles”) in this salad, and I sliced the other veggies using the mandolin. It took only minutes to make, and it looks very presentable.

In this salad, I spiraled two zucchinis. I used the mandolin to finely slice half an English cucumber, half a yellow bell pepper, half sweet onion, and then I simply diced a few Roma tomatoes and half an avocado.  Last, I added a handful of baby kale.

For the dressing, I mixed equal parts fresh lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt & pepper. I drizzled a little over the veggies, and then mixed them gently together. And that was it! Easy.

Green Energy Smoothie

Green Energy Smoothie

A lot of us are making smoothies using our Vitamix (I’ve owned mine since 2004, and it was the best investment I could’ve made). I try to make a healthy smoothie almost every day; it’s a great way to get all your fruits and veggies into your daily food intake, and it’s easy to just drink on the go.

Instead of adding ice to my smoothies, I use frozen fruits that I buy fresh and organic then wash/core/slice immediately and place in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined tray in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, I divide them up in baggies and keep in the freezer. I don’t like over-ripe bananas (those that have brown on the peel), but that’s when they’re the most nutritious, so now I wait until they’re quite ripe before slicing and freezing. The other fruit that I always have on hand in the freezer (I usually buy about once a week) are strawberries. There’s an organic fruit stand nearby where I’ll buy a whole flat of them, and none go to waste by freezing this way and using for smoothies.

The other ingredient that I’ve begun to use regularly in my smoothies is organic unsweetened almond milk. One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories (as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim milk). There’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk and it’s low in sodium and high in healthy fats, such as omega fatty acids. It also contains from 25-50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamins E, B, D, iron, and calcium. So, lots of good reasons to use it in your smoothies instead of water, yogurt, cow’s milk, etc. Drink plenty of water during the day, and use the almond milk for your smoothies.

Here’s what I put in this all-organic smoothie:

2 large handfuls of baby spinach (pre-washed)
1 cup frozen fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup frozen slices of bananas
1 fresh sliced apple (I used Gala in this one)
2 oranges (I use tangelos)
1 1/2 cups almond milk

Blend in your Vitamix or other blender. It’s surprisingly sweet considering it looks like it might taste kind of bitter since it’s so green! It’s a definite energy booster, and a great breakfast or snack during the day. Reserve the leftover in a sealed Mason jar in the refrigerator.