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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

College Cooking: Crockpot Coconut Cashew Soup with Lentils & Kale

College students need to use crockpots! You can make meals overnight or during the day while you're in class!

Time: 6 hours | Serves: 2-3

1 1/2 cups raw whole cashews
1 cup veggie broth + 1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1-2 cups green lentils
3/4 cups coconut milk
3 cups of kale
Spices (tweak to your tastes):
1 tbs turmeric
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp pink or sea salt
1 tsp fresh ginger
(1-3 cups) Water to desired consistency
Cilantro (optional)
Crockpot liner

Line your crockpot (trust me, it makes clean-up a breeze.
Soak your cashews with the broth and water for 3 hours minimum (6 hours if you have it). Here is a good guide to soaking nuts, especially if you want to activate them for a snack. I soaked my lentils for 3 hours in a separate bowl but they can also be soaked overnight for 6-10 hours.
Blend in a food processor with onion and garlic. Pour back into your crockpot and add lentils, spices, and coconut milk. Then add water to your desired consistency. You can always add more during the cooking process if you feel it is becoming too thick. 
Cook for 1 hour on high.
Add about 3 cups of shredded, massaged kale.
Cook for 1 hour on low.
Sprinkle in some cilantro or use as garnish.
You can stir some water in at the end to cool your soup down so you can eat it right away :)

Nutritional profile:
Kale, said to be the world's healthiest food, is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant rich. It is full of vitamins K, A, and C. lt boasts a high mineral content of manganese, which helps your body utilize nutrients and is key for strong bones. It's also a green source of calcium, and lowers bad cholesterol.
Cashews are high in essential nutrients like copper, manganese, tryptophan and magnesium. They also contain heart-protective monounsaturated fatty acids. If you are predisposed to diabetes or watching your triglycerides, snack on these nuts. They are good to the body and tastebuds.
Lentils contain folate, fiber, and protein - just to name a few. They're a nutritional powerhouse and also great if you're looking to pump some iron and bulk up your muscles. They stabilize blood sugar levels while providing steady energy to keep you going.
Tips for getting the most out of your garlic and onions: Don't overpeel your onion. Nutrients are highly concentrated in the outer layers. This recipe is perfect because you can toss it in the processor without worrying about it being tough. Let your garlic sit after your chop it. Heating garlic right after it is cut kills more of it's anti-cancer properties than letting it rest for a few minutes while prepping your other ingredients.
Cilantro is phyto-nutrient dense and fights free radicals, cloves have vitamins and surprisingly omega 3s too, coconut milk is rich in MCFAs which are processed more beneficially than other saturated fats, turmeric is anti-cancer and anti-neurodegenerative, ginger boosts the immune system, and cayenne contains pain-relieving capsaicin and vitamin A!

Create, share, love at first bite!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

College Cooking: Carrot Puree with Mushroom TVP Mince over Veggie Pasta

Servings: 1 large plate or 2 small bowls |  Time: 40 minutes

3/4 cup penne pasta
Earth Balance butter
Go Veggie Parmesan
2-3 organic big carrots
handful o' baby bellas
few sprigs of cilantro
a clove of garlic
1/4 cup TVP
1-2 tsp Nooch
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2 dairy-free milk
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch sea salt

Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to boil. Wash and quarter your carrots. Add to boiling water, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the carrots and place in a food processor. Set aside to cool. Reserve the water.
To a small bowl add your TVP and 1/2 cup of low-sodium veggie broth. Set aside to rehydrate for 10 minutes.
Add cayenne, turmeric, pepper, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of sea salt to the food processor. Add your favorite non-dairy milk (I used plain almond but coconut would also work well). Blend a few times.
Mince your onions and garlic. Sauté in a small pan with a little Earth Balance. Add half to your carrot puree. Blend. Add more milk or veggie broth to your desired consistency. I also left a few carrots chunks in my puree.
Bring your reserved water to a boil again. When ready, add your pasta. I used gluten-free multicolor veggie penne, but use your favorite. When ready (mine took 5 minutes) drain and add back to pot. Stir in a teaspoon of Earth Balance and a few generous sprinkles of cheese, or omit. This reminds me of picky toddlers who only like pasta this way. Or poor unhealthy college students...but we're adding veggies!
Slice one mushroom into four. Mince all the rest. Add to your sauté pan of garlic and onion with the TVP. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Plate your pasta. I made a hole in the middle. Pour your carrot puree. Add your mince. Sprinkle with cilantro and vegan parm...

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back to School + Make Ahead Meals

Hey everyone!

The blogosphere has been quiet for me because I am back on campus for my senior year. So far things are going well: new people, challenging courses, fitness classes on campus, service projects, and busy in general. As a college student, time can be limited. So can funds, ingredients, and cooking space. I have been adjusting to these new limitations and making some nice meals, but nothing recipe worthy. Pictures are, as always, on my Instagram.

Today I decided to do some make-ahead meals. I know meal-prep can be very useful for those with busy schedules, whether you have school, work or a combination. Some meals freeze particularly well. This soup I made will be good for a chilly October approaching :)

Hearty Lentil Carrot Cabbage Soup

Serves: 6 | Prep: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

Water, 4-5 cups 

Lentils, 1 cup 
Garlic, 1-2 cloves (minced)
Onion, 1 (finely diced)
Vegetable broth base, 4 tsp 
Purple cabbage, 2 cups (shredded) 
Carrots, 1.5 cups (shredded) 
Ginger paste, 1.5 tsp 
Lemongrass paste, 2 tsp 
Sesame oil, 1 tsp 
Chili powder, 3/4 tsp 
Turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp 
Black pepper, ground to taste 
Himalayan pink salt, ground to taste 
Dash of Ground Coriander 
Dash of Ground Paprika 
Dash of Ground Cumin

In a large pot, sauté your garlic and onion in a few teaspoons of water until aromatic and translucent. Add 4 cups of hot water. Add 1 cup of uncooked lentils.

Set heat to medium-high. Stir in the broth base, sesame oil, lemongrass, and ginger. Set timer to 15 minutes and put lid on at a tilt. As the broth is brought to a simmer, begin to shred carrots into a measuring cup. Then wash a few outer cabbage leaves and slice into long strips. Half these into smaller pieces and set aside. To the broth add your dry spices.
Stir and let simmer. When there is 5 minutes left on the timer add in your shredded carrots and cabbage. Stir in up to an extra cup of water to reach your desired soup consistency.
Let soup cool for 5 minutes before serving or pour into a large Tubberware for the freezer :)

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