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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.

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.

“Zoodles” Raw Salad

ZoodlesAndGreens

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.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Peppers and Lime Basil Dressing

QuinoaSaladWithPeppers1 c quinoa cooked with 2 c water
1/4 each chopped finely, red onion and white sweet onion
1 jar of roasted red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
a handful of a mix of fresh basil and mint
6 oz can of sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
1 16-oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh-squeezed key lime juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh extra finely chopped mix of basil and/or mint
Himalayan pink salt, and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, and set aside to cool when it’s done.

Meanwhile, mix the lime, olive oil and fresh mix of finely chopped basil and/or mint (depending on what you like). Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the quinoa is cooled, mix the onions, roasted (and patted dry) bell peppers, basil, mint, olives, and kidney beans altogether. Drizzle the dressing over the mixture, and stir. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

(You can use any bean of your choice; I only had white kidney beans on hand, but black beans, or garbanzo beans would be fine, too. I was trying to incorporate as much protein into this vegan dish as possible. You could also experiment with adding pine nuts or sunflower seeds.)

Basil, Italian Parsley, Cilantro and Mint Pesto with Pasta

Basil, Italian Parsley, Cilantro and Mint Pesto with Pasta

I was going to make a big batch of marinara sauce yesterday with a bunch of my patio garden tomatoes, but the squirrels beat me to them. They’re crazy over tomatoes, and they’re crafty as hell about getting them, despite my efforts to strategically place decoys (i.e., a bowl, now empty, of sunflower seeds)! I’ll have to work out a Plan B for the rest of the tomato plants.

Anyway, thankfully squirrels aren’t keen on basil, parsley, mint and cilantro; and, I love pesto. So, pesto it was. Instead of using just basil, I mixed it up with all these herbs from my garden. Since it’s vegan and without parmesan, it needed something more to give it a big flavor burst. A lot of vegan pesto recipes include nutritional yeast, but I didn’t have that. Maybe next time I’ll add it, and use just one or two herbs. But this recipe was really delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.

INGREDIENTS:

2 c fresh basil
1 c fresh Italian parsley
1/2 c each fresh cilantro and mint
1/2 c pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
Himalayan pink salt, to taste

METHOD:

Combine the fresh herbs, nuts, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor or Vitamix and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal. (If using a Vitamix, as I did, you’ll have to add some of the olive oil at the beginning, too. Otherwise, it’s too dry.)

Slowly add the remaining olive oil in a steady drizzle, processing until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Season with Himalayan pink salt, to taste.

Mix desired amount into your whole-wheat cooked and drained spaghetti or linguini. Add a little more pesto on top.