November 23, 2015

Nut loaf with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans

I love meatloaf, not as much as stuffed peppers, but it's definitely up there.  When I was a kid my mom always made our favorite meals for our birthdays.  I alternated between meatloaf and pot roast, oh both soooo good.  So I'll probably never become a full-fledged vegetarian because if my mom is making either of those I will not say no. Now I haven't figured out how to make a plant based pot roast (that might be a little tough) but I kept thinking about how I could make a plant based version of meatloaf.  I searched and searched the Internet, browsing through tons of recipes and I finally settled on testing one out from Two Lazy Gourmets. I made some tweaks based on my own preferences, but I used their recipe as the basis for my attempt at a plant based meatloaf.

For the side dishes, I was inspired to create something that hints of candied yams but without all that sugar since potatoes (of any kind) already have sugar.  The green beans are probably the easiest side dish you could ever make, and if you're coming to my house I will gladly welcome you since I tend to eat these like they're French fries.

Nut Loaf 

Adapted from Two Lazy Gourmets
2 cups cashews, chopped (soaked for 8 hours/overnight)
½ cup pine nuts, chopped (soaked for 8 hours/overnight)
1 red onion, diced
1 head of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2 Portabella mushroom caps, finely chopped
4 white mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
4 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup flour (I prefer rice flour, almond, or coconut flour)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1-2 Tablespoons Oil (I prefer coconut oil)

Nut Loaf:
1. Soak cashews and pine nuts at least 8 hours or overnight if possible. Hint: Soaking nuts allows for easier digestion.
2. Cook brown rice following package directions.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Oil a 9” x 5” loaf pan.
5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.
6. Add onions, garlic, and peppers to the pan and cook until soften.
7. Add mushrooms and cook until the juice from the mushrooms has been released (stirring occasionally).
8. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
9. Rinse the nuts with fresh water.
10. Add cooked brown rice, nuts, flax seeds, oregano, salt, black pepper, flour, and Parmesan cheese. 11. Stir and combine thoroughly.
12. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
13. Add the beaten eggs and stir/combine thoroughly.
14. Transfer mixture into loaf pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated over for an hour.

Side Dish: Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey
Coconut oil spray (you can use another type if you prefer

Sweet Potatoes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
2. Spray small baking pan with coconut oil (a little goes a long way).
3. In a large bowl toss chopped sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and honey, mix well.
4. Place all ingredients in baking pan. Roast 30-45 minutes (depending on your oven). You can pop these in with the nut loaf, just monitor the time for both accordingly.

Side Dish: Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans (washed and trimmed)
Coconut oil spray (you can use another type if you prefer)
Pinch of salt

Green Beans:
1. Heat up pan. Add a very tiny amount (like 2-3 second spray of oil).
2. Once warm, toss in green beans. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt.
Note: I like a lot of crunch and a vibrant green color to my green beans, if you prefer less crunch let them cook for a few minutes longer.

I hope you enjoy this meal! I really enjoyed experimenting with this one, particularly the nut loaf ingredients.  I'm sure the next time I make it I'll change somethings, maybe add more mushrooms or even some lentils to change the soften the texture. It's always fun to explore and see what happens in the kitchen.  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

November 15, 2015

Stuffed Peppers

I LOVE stuffed peppers. Ever since I had stuffed peppers, tomatoes, and onions during my trip to Greece I became addicted to stuff peppers and really just about any stuffed veggie.  I posted a picture of stuffed tomatoes I had in Mykonos when I did my post on Greek food; I still dream about these delicious stuffed tomatoes. For the most part the stuffed vegetables that I enjoyed in Greece were vegetarian, but in the U.S. most of the ones I've eaten (and prepared) are filled with meat (usually ground beef). When I decided to eat a diet that was mostly plant based, stuffed peppers was one of the easiest foods for me to tweak and create a plant based version. What I love abut this dish is that it is so versatile, you can change the vegetables used for the stuffing based on your preference, what you're in the mood for.  I don't believe I've done the same stuffing twice.  I've shared these with friends and a few have asked me for the recipe, so I figure I would share what I did for this week's stuffed peppers.

4 Peppers (I prefer Yellow, Orange, Red)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
6 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
6 olives, chopped (I prefer Kalamata olives)
3 spinach leaves, chopped
10 mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Olive oil

Stuffed Peppers (Makes 4):
1. Cook the quinoa: combine quinoa and water in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
3. Saute  diced garlic and onion, until soften.
4. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, garlic, onion, olives, spinach, mint, feta, salt, and oregano; mix well.  Add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil (to your taste).
5. Slice the tops of the peppers, remove the seeds and veins. Fill in the peppers and place the tops back on.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
7. After 45, broil for 10 minutes.

As I mentioned you can adjust this to your liking, change the vegetables, replace the quinoa with another grain like rice, add beans for additional protein, etc.  Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy!

Until next time, Buen Provecho!