BUT, if we give change a chance, if we can get out of our comfort zone just a little bit and give ourselves time to readjust, what was once unfamiliar will eventually become familiar. This applies to all aspects of life, not just food, so keep it in mind next time you find yourself making comparisons between the known and the unknown or feeling hesitant about trying something new.
Anyway, since it has been quite a while since I’ve had my mom’s taco salad and I knew I wouldn’t have the attachment to its familiarity that I would have had years ago, I decided to give a vegan version of this recipe a go. Instead of ground chicken, I used ground tempeh, and I added corn in lieu of the shredded cheddar cheese she would sometimes add. Everything else was the exact same.
Well, I was totally impressed with how it turned out! I’ll just be blunt: it was spectacular. The ground tempeh was absolutely delicious. Which makes sense because, after all, I applied the exact same seasonings as she would with ground chicken. And as I always say, humans don’t crave the taste of plain flesh; we crave the seasonings, and those seasonings are plant-based! I really liked the corn, too. I had added it mostly for color but it provided pops of delicious sweetness that went really well with all the lime juice and the salsa. I probably make this once a week because now it is so tasty. And just like before, my stomach seems to hold serving after serving after serving. Thank goodness!
There are few things that I love more than beans and greens. At the moment, I can only think of two and they are my husband and my dog. I literally have beans and greens every single day. At least once. This blog probably should have be called “beans and greens.” Honestly, my whole life should just be called “beans and greens.”
I’m not the only one who thinks beans and greens are two of the most delicious foods on the planet. In fact, most of the world shares my fondness, which is why they appear together in cuisines all across the globe, from Southern BBQ black-eyed peas and collard greens, to Italian cannellini bean stew with kale, to Ethiopian spiced mung beans and cabbage. In addition, beans and greens combine high protein and fiber with disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals making them one mighty nutrition power couple.
So obviously, I just had to include a recipe with beans and greens for this series. My struggle, though, was deciding which one to pick because there are so many that I absolutely love. If I had to pick my favorite bean it would have to be the garbanzo bean (a.k.a. the chickpea) and some of most favorite beans and greens dishes are Indian, so I thought this recipe would fit the bill perfectly. If you love Indian food, as Mr. Goldhouse and I do, this is bound to be a new favorite. But if you are somewhat new to Indian food or sharing it with people who are, this dish is mild enough to be a nice introduction into one of the world’s most wonderful cuisines.
Feel free to eat on its own or with a side of brown basmati rice. Enjoy!
“Things just don’t happen by accident.”
This is a common saying in our house. It refers to my love of planning. Everyone in my life makes fun of me for this, but you know what? They all benefit from my planning. Planning is how things get done. Planning is how you make sure you have the best experience possible. Planning is how you make sure you get what you want. Like I said, things just don’t happen by accident. You need to plan them out!
Now, I know you’re thinking, “jeez, Kate. Just relax. Just go with the flow. Just let life happen, man.” Well, all I can say to that is “no, thank you.” Because you know what? A lot of life IS going to happen. There is going to be a whole lot that will fall out of my control. And to that I completely surrender. I’m not out there trying to schedule the weather. But just because there are things that we can’t control doesn’t mean we are powerless. I plan because I want to ENJOY life. I don’t want to waste my time doing things like getting lost or overpaying, which are exactly the kinds of things that usually happen when we don’t plan.
The same goes for food. Everyone complains that eating healthfully is so time-consuming. Nuh-uh! Eating healthfully when you *don’t plan* is time-consuming. But when you do plan, it’s really not. Sure, cooking at home may not always be as quick getting fast food (though you’ll see that this recipe can be), but it’s very doable and it’s way less time-consuming than getting a chronic disease and spending all your time at the doctor’s. If there’s one thing that’s time-consuming, it’s sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.
So, if you don’t want your time to be consumed either by going to the grocery every night and then making a healthful dinner or by sitting in the doctor’s waiting room reading a bunch of People magazines, then there is one solution and one solution only, and that is to plan. Learn to love it, folks. Learn to love it. (Actually, it can be a lot of fun if you get into it. Seriously!)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1-15 oz can of pinto beans (1 1/2 cups)
1-15 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1-15 oz can of corn
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
dash of cayenne
6 burrito-size tortillas (whole wheat, brown rice, or sprouted grain)
1 can pureed sweet potatoes
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add the onions, garlic, and pepper into a medium skillet with a little bit of water and saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Stir in the pinto beans. Then add the fire-roasted tomatoes and corn, and cook until heated through.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, tamari and cayenne.
5. Place the tortillas into the oven for 2-3 minutes to soften (or stick them in the microwave).
6. Lay the tortillas out on a flat surface. Divide the sweet potato puree evenly among the tortillas, placing them in the half closest to you. Then place the bean mixture on top of the sweet potatoes, and roll.
7. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve as is or with salsa.
Cream of tomato soup typically calls for a lot of butter and heavy cream. Many people assume that is what is needed to achieve a thick, smooth and creamy consistency. But unless one is looking to add saturated fat, cholesterol, and casein, then the dairy products simply aren’t necessary.
To achieve the soup’s creamy consistency in my recipe, I use… you guessed it, beans! Navy beans, or any other white or light-colored beans, are great to use in lieu of dairy in creamy soups. And depending on how much creaminess you like, you can always add more or less beans.
Navy beans are rich in protein (1 cup has 15 grams), and a great source of iron, folate, manganese, and calcium. And like all beans, navy beans add fiber to any meal (dairy has no fiber whatsoever), making this soup more filling and satisfying, as well as healthier for your heart. So next time you come across a soup recipe that calls for heavy cream, just remember there are so many reasons to use beans instead.
Here’s an interesting tidbit: The first time I tested this soup, I served it as an appetizer and it totally overshadowed the entree. It was also pretty filling for an appetizer so I have since served it as an entree with a big green salad and that hits the spot just right. I have never been a huge tomato soup lover, but I adore this soup. During the filming of this series, we were experiencing record-breaking low temperatures in Boston and the kitchen is the coldest part of our house. I didn’t want to be in a huge puffy coat on camera but I was really freezing so as soon as we finished shooting this recipe, I just ate the entire batch by myself. I didn’t even put it in a bowl; I just held the bottom of the pot with my oven-mittened hand and ate it straight from the ladle. (It’s really a miracle I didn’t spill on my green shirt.) I’m sure the camera man thought I was crazy but I felt so much better. Like I said, this soup really hits the spot.
1-15 oz can navy beans (or 1 1/2 cups)
1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 dash cayenne
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, as garnish (optional)
1. In a soup pot, combine the navy beans, 3 cups of water, crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and cover and simmer.
2. Meanwhile, dice the carrot, celery and garlic. Add the garlic to a saute pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the celery and carrots, and saute for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, basil and cayenne to the saute pan and stir for 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomato puree to the saute pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Add the saute mixture to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
6. Remove the bayleaf. In a food processor or blender, add the tamari, date, tomato paste and soup (in batches if necessary). Blend to desired consistency. Serve with chopped fresh basil, if using.
2 medium eggplants, sliced length-wise
1 bunch kale leaves (or spinach)
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, slicedBéchemel Ingredients:
3 cups nondairy milk
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes
3 heaping tablespoons arrowroot flour or cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon saltParmesan Cheese Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. To make the béchemel sauce: Blend all the ingredients together. Add the mixture to a medium saucepan over high heat and whisk for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
2. To make the parmesan cheese: Add the ingredients to a blender and pulse until the walnuts are just ground. Be careful not to over blend into a paste.
3. Saute the onions and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
4. In a large glass baking dished lined with parchment paper, layer in the following order: marinara sauce, eggplant, béchemel sauce, kale, mushrooms. Repeat until you run out.
5. Sprinkle half of the parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 1 hour covered with foil and 1 hour without foil. (I like my eggplant really soft, so feel free to lessen the time if you prefer your eggplant more chewy.)
6. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese and serve.
Need a dish that is guaranteed to impress? This is definitely the one.
I love this recipe because it includes everything we love about lasagna–the warmth, the comfort, and the heartiness. But, unlike traditional lasagna, my version is incredibly healthful. Not only does it leave out all animal products, it’s also made entirely of whole foods! Rather than using pasta noodles made with processed white flour, I instead use very thin slices of butternut squash. This makes the lasagna more healthful, more flavorful, and more colorful!
1/3 cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1. To make the sausage: Saute the carrot and onion for 10-15 minutes. Once browned, place vegetables into a food processor along with all the spices and flax. Add cooked quinoa and lentils and pulse just till ingredients begin to stick together (about 10-15 times). Place mixture in a pan and brown.
2. To make the ricotta: Place cashews, nondairy milk, lemon juice, garlic, and maple syrup in a food processor and blend till just smooth (remember, ricotta is somewhat grainy rather than completely whipped). Add in the basil, Italian herb blend, salt and pepper and pulse until blended in.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
4. Spread a thin layer of marinara onto the bottom of a glass dish.
5. Layer the squash on top. Avoid overlapping pieces as much as possible.
6. Place a layer of ricotta on top.
7. Spread a layer of sausage crumbles on top.
8. Add another layer of squash and then another layer of marinara sauce.
9. Start again at step 6 and repeat until near the top of the dish. Top with any remaining ricotta.
10. Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife can be easily inserted all the way through.
One of the things people worry about when contemplating going vegan is what the holidays will be like, particularly Thanksgiving. I recently received an email from a non-vegan friend who said that she had just learned about what happens to turkeys in slaughterhouses “and now Thanksgiving is ruined!”
Au contraire! The best Thanksgiving I ever had was my first vegan Thanksgiving. I felt that I was actually honoring the true spirit of the holiday, which is about giving thanks and celebrating life. Plus, putting aside the ethics and the health, it was the most delicious Thanksgiving I had ever had. After all, aren’t the real stars of the Thanksgiving meal the sides and the desserts?
One option for a vegan Thanksgiving is to have the meal be made up entirely of delicious side dishes. Personally, I think that would be absolutely fantastic, but I also know many of us are used to and enjoy having a main dish as a central focal point. Hence, this gorgeous stuffed acorn squash recipe!
While this would, indeed, be a spectacular side salad for Thanksgiving, it almost seems unfair to make other dishes compete with this because it is such a star. Instead, I prefer to serve this hearty salad as an entree throughout the fall and winter months. For what it’s worth, Mr. Goldhouse says this is easily THE best salad he’s ever had, and one of the best dishes he’s ever had. That is high praise, indeed!
The roasted vegetables become as sweet as candy and because of their rich hues, it looks like you have gorgeous jewels on your plate. (For an even more bejeweled effect, add beets!) In addition to their beauty and deliciousness, root vegetables are also full of phytochemicals that help fight against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Peel all the vegetables and cut them into large chunks.
3. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the ginger, maple syrup, water, and salt if using.
4. Spread the vegetables in a roasting pan (I recommend lining it with parchment paper) and roast for 40-60 minutes, stirring half way through, until vegetables are very tender and caramelized. A good way to tell the vegetables are done is when the onions have lost all of their crunchiness and have become sweet.
5. Place the roasted vegetables on top of the baby spinach and top with pumpkin seeds. Season with balsamic vinegar and some fresh ground pepper to taste.