March 4, 2015

Warm lentil salad with roasted brussels sprouts and citrus dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Posted in dairy-free, gluten free, healthy cooking, salad, sugar-free, vegetables, vegetarian tagged , , , , , , at 8:50 am by thecatwho

This one-bowl meal brings an exciting mix of flavors in every bite. The citrus dressing adds sweetness, saltiness, and sparkle (thanks for the idea, Josie). Use lentils that keep their shape when cooked, such as brown or French lentils—not red lentils, which turn creamy. You can roast broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or any other vegetable in place of the brussels sprouts.

  • lentils, rinsed and drained
  • homemade broth or water
  • kosher salt
  • brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • chopped raw vegetables, such as radishes, kohlrabi, jicama, fennel bulb
  • orange juice
  • lime or lemon juice
  • toasted sesame oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • green onions, thinly sliced 
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • pepper
  1. Preheat toaster oven or standard oven to 400º. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Put 1 part lentils, 2 parts broth or water, and a sprinkle of salt in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until lentils are soft. Turn off heat but keep lentils warm.
  3. Meanwhile, toss brussels sprouts with oil and roast cut side down in the lined baking pan until browned and soft. Sprinkle with salt. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Make salad dressing: Whisk together orange juice, lime juice, sesame oil, and mustard in a small bowl, tasting as you go.
  5. Assemble individual salads in bowls: Layer lentils, brussels sprouts, raw vegetables, egg slices, green onions, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper.

March 1, 2015

Coconut chile quinoa (gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

Posted in dairy-free, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, healthy cooking, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian tagged , , , , at 7:44 pm by thecatwho

There’s something about this combination of ingredients that creates a naturally sweet yet savory dish. For a richer flavor, use both oil and ghee. Any kind of dried chile works—mild, hot, or smoked.

  • extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee
  • dried chiles, stemmed, seeded, and broken or cut into small pieces
  • quinoa, well rinsed and drained
  • kosher salt
  • homemade broth, store-bought broth, or water
  • sugar-free dried coconut
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add chile pieces and cook, stirring, until fragrant and softened.
  2. Add quinoa to pan and toast, stirring, until just golden. Season with salt.
  3. Add broth (use 2 parts broth or water to 1 part quinoa), bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and blend with an immersion blender if you like. Stir in coconut, and let stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes.

February 26, 2015

Pasta with artichoke hearts, olives, and potatoes (gluten-free, vegan)

Posted in cooking, dairy-free, food, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, healthy cooking, pasta, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian, world cuisines tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:19 am by thecatwho

Sounds like an odd combination for a pasta dish, but the flavors bring to mind a salad Niςoise because of the potatoes, herbes de Provence, and the briny olives and artichoke hearts. My household enjoys spicy tang, so we used pickled jalapeño chiles in place of the vinegar.

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • potatoes, cut into ½-in. dice
  • salt
  • brown rice or other gluten-free pasta
  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • greens, such as kale or collards, center ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • pitted green olives, chopped
  • vinegar, such as white wine or white balsamic
  • herbes de Provence
  • pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until softened. Add potatoes and a sprinkle of salt and cover and cook until potatoes are just soft.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving a cup or two of the cooking water.
  3. Add artichoke hearts, greens, and olives and cook until greens are wilted. Mix in pasta. Season to taste with vinegar, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.

February 22, 2015

Radish, fennel, and baby arugula salad with tahini dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Posted in cooking, dairy-free, gardening, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, healthy cooking, salad, vegetables, vegetarian tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:01 am by thecatwho

How about a winter main-course salad without the usual suspects? No lettuce here.

  • red radishes, sliced
  • fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • baby arugula leaves, washed and dried in a salad spinner
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • super-firm tofu or seasoned baked tofu, cut in ½-in. dice
  • hard-cooked eggs
  • orange juice
  • lime or lemon juice
  • salt
  • tahini (sesame paste)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • pepper
  • toasted sliced almonds
  1. Put radishes, fennel, arugula, green onions, and tofu into a large serving bowl. Peel and slice eggs; add to bowl.
  2. Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together juices, salt, tahini, sesame oil, Sriracha, and pepper. Adjust seasonings.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly. Top with almonds and serve.

February 17, 2015

California-style pad Thai (gluten-free, vegan)

Posted in dairy-free, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, healthy cooking, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian, world cuisines tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 1:14 pm by thecatwho

A typical vegetarian pad Thai noodle dish has a large portion of noodles with few vegetables. What makes this a “California” version is the bounty of vegetables (you could probably use whatever you have on hand); the addition of toasted seeds; and an inventive, easy sauce. If you don’t have ponzu (citrus-infused soy sauce), use soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free mixed with orange, lemon, and/or lime juice.

  • large dried rice stick or pad Thai flat rice noodles (might be called banh pho)*
  • extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • super-firm tofu or seasoned baked tofu, cut in ½-in. dice
  • sweet pepper, chopped
  • jalapeño chile (optional), chopped
  • broccoli
  • kale, center ribs removed and leaves cut into thin strips
  • garlic, minced
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • ponzu sauce
  • toasted sesame oil
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro leaves and tender stems, minced
  • toasted sunflower seeds and/or sesame seeds

* Find dried rice stick or rice noodles in the Asian foods aisle at well-stocked grocery stores, at gourmet stores, or at Asian markets.

  1. Put noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water to cover and let stand until noodles are soft, at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, tofu, sweet pepper, and jalapeño, if using, and cook until starting to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, steam or microwave broccoli until soft but still bright green. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.
  4. Add kale and garlic to tofu mixture. Cook, stirring, until kale has softened. Stir in broccoli, noodles, Sriracha, ponzu, and sesame oil. Adjust seasonings. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with green onions, cilantro, and toasted seeds; serve immediately.

February 13, 2015

Valentine’s Day sentiment

Posted in connection, gratitude, happiness, meaningful life, music tagged , , , at 9:18 am by thecatwho

Many people believe that Valentine’s Day was dreamt up by businesses—like candy shops, jewelry and greeting card stores, florists, and restaurants—in order to make money.

But I believe that any day that makes us stop and think about the people who are important to us is a day worth honoring.

It was February a year or two ago, right around Valentine’s Day. I was listening to national public radio when a song came on. It was “Gandhi/Buddha,” composed by Cheryl Wheeler, and I had to stop and listen to every word.

Here are the chorus lyrics, which so perfectly communicate the gratitude I feel for the people in my life:

I must’ve been Gandhi or Buddha or someone like that,
I must’ve saved lives by the hundreds everywhere I went.
I must’ve brought rest to the restless,
fed the hungry too.
I must’ve done something great to get to have you.

May you have a happy Valentine’s Day and may your life be full of people you care about.

February 10, 2015

Red lentil stew with coconut and cabbage (gluten-free, vegan)

Posted in cooking, dairy-free, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, soup, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 5:14 pm by thecatwho

A can of coconut milk and red lentils made the perfect thick stew for our recent blustery and rainy weather in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serve over your favorite grain, pasta, or cooked vegetables.

  • coconut oil
  • onion, diced
  • root vegetables, such as turnips, potatoes, and carrots
  • mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • salt
  • dried chiles, such as poblano, chile negro, chipotle, habanero, or cayenne, stemmed and seeded
  • red lentils
  • homemade vegetable broth, store-bought broth, or water
  • chopped green garlic or minced garlic cloves
  • canned coconut milk
  • green cabbage, cut into 1-in. dice
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • sugar-free dried, shredded coconut
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, root vegetables, and mushrooms; sprinkle with salt. Cook, covered, until vegetables soften.
  2. Meanwhile, put chiles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. When soft, cut with scissors while submerged and stir chiles with soaking water into pot. Add red lentils and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add broth just to cover and cook, covered, until lentils are soft.
  3. Add garlic, coconut milk, and cabbage. Cook, covered, until cabbage softens. Stir in Sriracha, shredded coconut, and green onions just before serving.

February 4, 2015

Chunky potato broccoli soup (gluten-free, vegan)

Posted in cooking, dairy-free, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, soup, sugar-free, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian tagged , , , , , , , at 9:20 pm by thecatwho

I love a hearty soup in the winter. This one satisfies, with one or two beets for sweetness—pink Chioggia or golden beets don’t bleed like red beets, but if you don’t mind a scarlet-colored soup, use red beets. If you don’t have beets, no worries.

  • extra-virgin olive oil or ghee
  • onions, diced
  • shallot, diced
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • potatoes, chopped
  • beets, trimmed, scrubbed, and diced
  • salt
  • homemade broth, store-bought broth, or water
  • garlic, minced
  • broccoli, chopped
  • pepper
  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and shallot and cook, covered, for a minute. Add mushrooms, potatoes, beet, and salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften. Add broth to cover and simmer, covered, until broth is flavored by the vegetables, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic and broccoli and cook, covered, until broccoli is softened. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup a little, keeping the soup chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

January 30, 2015

Nut butter microwave breakfast (gluten-free, vegan)

Posted in breakfast, cooking, dairy-free, food, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, microwave cooking, sugar-free, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:52 am by thecatwho

Want an easy, quick, and satisfying hot breakfast? Here’s the answer.

  • sweet potato, yam, or butternut or other winter squash, washed
  • almond butter or other nut butter
  1. Pierce the vegetable in several places. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave, uncovered, for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn over and microwave until shiny and completely soft.
  2. Let cool for a minute or two. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard (compost). Spread nut butter on each half and enjoy!

January 27, 2015

Indian-spiced vegetables (gluten-free, vegan)

Posted in cooking, dairy-free, food, gluten free, gluten-free vegan, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian tagged , , , , , , , at 1:10 pm by thecatwho

A friend (thank you, Seema) inspired this recipe. You can use any vegetables you have on hand, but potatoes definitely add a nice heft. I add ginger and garlic late in the cooking process for a stronger flavor; for a milder ginger and garlic flavor, add them earlier. Serve the vegetables with basmati rice or your favorite grain.

  • extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • cumin seeds
  • asafetida (optional)
  • sweet peppers, chopped
  • jalapeño chiles, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • potatoes, diced
  • small cabbage, cored and chopped
  • salt
  • fresh ginger minced
  • garlic, minced
  • kale, center ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • turmeric
  • chile powder, such as New Mexico
  • coriander powder
  • garam masala
  1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin and asafoetida if using. Cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
  2. Add peppers, chiles, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Add cabbage and salt, cover, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.
  3. When cabbage is just wilted and vegetables are soft, stir in ginger, garlic, and kale and cook until kale is wilted. Add seasonings, stir, cover, and cook 1 more minute.

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