Tag Archives: vegan

Papaya and lime smoothie

Here’s another of my running-driven smoothie recipes. A bit lighter than the mango smoothie from a couple of weeks back, this smoothie is great to sip and rehydrate with–I like to make it for the afternoon following a long morning run, when it’s important to replenish all the lost sweat, but drinking JUST water starts getting a little old. The cucumber breaks the sweetness of the papaya, keeping the flavor fairly mild, and a twist of lime juice add a nice touch of acidity to the mix.

I would NOT recommend this smoothie as a candidate for beefing up with protein powder–the thick texture of the protein powder will quickly overwhelm the mild flavors of the smoothie.

Papaya and lime smoothie
serves 2

Ingredients
one small (~1 lb fruit) papaya
one cucumber
Juice of one lime
2 c. cold water

Method
Remove the skin and seeds from both the papaya and cucumber, and cut into rough chunks. Place into a food processor or blender with the lime juice and 1 c. water. Blend until smooth. Add additional water as needed, until desired consistency is achieved.

Pantry project: Basic black bean soup

When I did the Kitchn Cure last month, I did a thorough clean-out and reorganization of our fridge, freezer, and pantry. In getting through these tasks, I realized that we have a LOT of food in our apartment. While there are perfectly good reasons for keeping a good supply of food around (what if there’s an earthquake? or 20 people show up unexpectedly for dinner?), our stocks were starting to stress the storage limits of our small space. So, I began a small and unofficial project to start using up some of the little bits and pieces that were accumulating in the freezer. When M. returned from his summer backpacking adventure, we crunched some numbers on our 2014 grocery spending to date and decided to kick our efforts up a notch and make a more concerted effort to “shop the pantry”. We have one hard and fast rule (no purchasing of a new food if there is a functionally equivalent food still available), and a general agreement to structure our meal planning each week to take advantage of foods we already have available.
We’ll be measuring progress based on the fullness of our pantry/freezer, and the size of our grocery bill.

So, for the next few months, I’ll probably be posting a few more “pantry-friendly” recipes. To kick things off, here’s one of my most reliable pantry meals: black bean soup. We purchase dried black beans in bulk, 15 lbs at a time, so there are usually plenty on hand. I ate it pretty regularly through grad school, as evidenced by this vintage photo:

Fortunately, M. loves black bean soup as much as I do, so it’s remained a staple of our fall and winter meals. It’s a very easy soup to use for absorbing odds and ends in the fridge also, which means it’s a bit different almost every time I make a batch. True to the “pantry” theme of this post, the recipe I’m sharing today is the ultra basic version, but I often like to mix it up by adding one or more of the following:

-A cup or two of kale or spinach
-a cup of corn kernels
-a small chopped sweet potato or a cup of cubed butternut squash
-a zucchini or two
-red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
-a handful of chopped cilantro

If you want to get fancy with your soup, you can also try topping it with cilantro, cheese, or avocado. Add a pan of cornbread on the side and a loaded version of this soup makes an easy and delicious cold weather meal to share with friends.

Basic black bean soup
serves 6-8

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4-5 cloves crushed garlic
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
5 cups cooked black beans
28 oz can diced tomatoes
4 c. water
salt and pepper to taste

Method
1.In a large stock or soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Saute the onions for 6-8 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes more. Add the carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, and thyme, stir until onions/carrots are coated with spices.

2. Add the black beans, tomatoes, and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for another 30-40 minutes. Serve hot.

Dried legumes are currently taking up a lot of our pantry real estate, so expect to see more soup recipes this fall and winter! If your pantry is also overflowing with beans, here are a few older recipes you might enjoy trying:

Curried red lentil soup
Garlicky white bean soup
Hummus
Chickpea and scallion fritters

Post-run mango smoothie

Since I’ve been getting more serious about running lately (that first half marathon? DONE!), I’ve started to pay more attention to pre- and post-run fueling. One thing I keep reading is that following a hard run, it’s important to eat quickly (within 30 minutes) and ideally to eat a roughly 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. So after my long Saturday run, I’ve been whipping up a smoothie with lots of fruit (carbs)!, spinach (potassium keeps muscle cramps at bay!) and some protein powder (protein!). One of my favorites is this green mango smoothie:

With just one fruit, this smoothie comes together quickly–most weekends I even have time to prep it before I leave for my run, so I come home to a nice cold smoothie on the top shelf of the fridge. Absolute bliss after a few hot and sweaty miles. I actually used not to be a big mango fan, but I’ve come around to them big time this year as our local market kept popping up with these great deals on mangoes by the box. I’ll try anything once if it’s a bargain, you know?

I’ve also experimented with making this smoothie a full-on meal replacement by adding a little more fat, my two favorites are coconut milk (makes for a really creamy texture), or a raw nut butter (almond and cashew are particularly nice). This smoothie also keeps in the fridge for a day or two, so I sometimes like to make one on a weeknight and split it in two for part of an easy weekday breakfast. Or, after an especially grueling run, it’s the perfect side to something more substantial:


My hacked version of Kumera + Kale latkes with poached egg, using frozen spinach (instead of kale) and mashed sweet potatoes (instead of grated).

Yum.

Green mango smoothie
Serves one tired runner

1 large mango, peeled and cut into rough chunks
1 tbsp each pea and rice protein powder (or 2 tbsp protein powder of choice)
2-3 large handfuls baby spinach
2 tbsp flax meal
1-2 c. water
Optional add-ins for a meal-sized smoothie: 1/3 c. full fat coconut milk, 1-2 tbsp raw almond or cashew butter.

Combine mango, protein powder, spinach, coconut milk or nut butter (if using), and 1 c. water in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add additional water as needed to achieve desired consistency. Drink immediately or allow to chill in the fridge. If you leave the smoothie to chill, the flax will soak up some of the water and you may get more of a mango pudding. Enjoy the thicker version, or thin out a little by stirring a bit more water into the mix.

Rainbow shredded salad with thai pesto dressing

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a pretty devoted user of the food processor. Mine is absolutely my most used electrical appliance, and I suspect the third most used tool in my kitchen overall (tools # 1 and 2 being a vegetable knife and a cast iron skillet, respectively). And my latest food processor obsession is definitely the shredded salad.

One of my finicky salad turn-offs are pieces that are too large. They’re awkward to eat and they never really feel like a “dish” so much as a jumbled crudite plate with lettuce. A grated salad is perfect for my aversion to large pieces, and by using the food processor to do the work, it’s also faster to prepare. You can keep things simple and use just a few ingredients (as with my shredded zucchini salad), or add a little of everything and create a dish with a bold, vibrant blend of colors and flavors. Today’s salad tends more towards the “little of everything” end of the spectrum and features a wide array of vegetables. A tangy, salty dressing based around my thai pesto holds it all together, and a bit of papaya provides a slightly sweet counterpoint to all the savory.

To make more of a one-bowl meal, this salad would also be wonderful bulked up with a hearty grain like farro or wheatberries. You could also add a legume like chickpeas, or some cubes of fried tofu if you prefer.

Rainbow shredded salad with thai pesto dressing
serves 4-6 as a side or starter

Ingredients
10 oz zucchini
4 oz red cabbage
1 large carrot
2-3 radishes
5 oz papaya (1/6 to 1/4 of a full fruit)
2-3 leaves curly green kale, stems removed, sliced into thin strips
1/4 c. thai pesto, thinned out with 1-2 tsp tamari and 2-4 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 c. roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
2-3 scallions, sliced

Using a food processor fitted with the grating attachement, grate the zucchini, cabbage, carrot, radishes, and papaya. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the kale and pesto dressing. You’ll want to apply some force when mixing in the dressing so that it has a chance to work into the firmer vegetables. Garnish with scallions and peanuts and serve. For a make-ahead lunch, prep the salad, minus the dressing, the night before, then mix in dressing immediately before eating.

Olive oil shortbread with lemon and rosemary

Last weekend I came home to find a bag full of lemons and limes by the back door. Can I just brag about how awesome it is to have friends who leave you gifts like this? Very awesome. I always love to have these little citrus fruits on hand. A quick squeeze of lemon or lime is perfect in so many things. But when I have a bounty of lemons like I did last week, it’s time to do more than just squeeze a little lemon over my salad or into a water glass (plus, the best way of ensuring future citrus gifts is to follow up with baked good gift, no?)

And so, my lemon bounty led me to this bright little shortbread. I had been tinkering with a recipe for olive oil shortbread with rosemary, and the addition of lemon juice and zest was just what it needed for a light and summer-appropriate flavor. A mix of cornmeal, and white whole wheat flour makes for a wholesome and rustic crumb. Mostly I have been enjoying these shortbread wedges alongside an afternoon cup of Darjeeling, but on hot evenings when I crave a cool glass of almond milk after dinner, it turns out that a little shortbread is quite nice in that setting also.

This recipe is also another one of my low-sugar experiments; just 1/4 c. for the whole recipe. I’ve been thinking of doing an occasional series of posts on my strategies for baking less sugary treats, some of the things I’ve tried that have worked well (or not), recipe makeovers, that kind of thing. Thoughts? Interest? Just post the shortbread recipe already?

Olive oil shortbread with lemon and rosemary
makes one 9″ pan of shortbread (8-12 wedges)

Ingredients
1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour (or a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flours)
1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp. flax meal
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fresh rosemary

Method
Preheat oven to 300F and grease a 9″ pan. In a food processor fitted with the metal s-blade, combine and thoroughly blend all ingredients except the rosemary. Add rosemary and process for 10 seconds. Press dough into greased pan and slice into 8-12 wedges, depending on your preference. Use a fork to make decorative pricks in the surface.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Turn off heat in oven and leave shortbread to sit for 15 minutes before removing.

Shredded zucchini salad

Zucchini noodles. Soooo two thousand…well, something. Back whenever zucchini noodles first burst onto the scene, I was pretty excited about the concept. However, there was a drawback: I didn’t own a spiralizer. Still don’t. Fortunately, I do own a food processor. Enter my take on the zoodle, shredded zucchini, which can be easily made using the grater blade, and is a perfect base for showing off a delicious homemade pesto sauce. Just toss the shredded zucchini in sauce, then add cherry tomatoes and a bit of fresh basil for garnish. Every bit is pure summer. Enjoy as a starter or side, or bulk it up into a meal for one with the addition of one of my favorite (perhaps to the point of near overuse?) add-ins, chickpeas.

Shredded zucchini salad
serves 1-2

Ingredients
2 small zucchini, ends trimmed and shredded using a box grater or the grater blade on a food processor
2 tbsp classic pesto sauce
3 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. chickpeas (optional)
3-4 fresh basil leaves, finely sliced, plus additional leaves for garnish
salt, to taste

Method

Mix together the shredded zucchini and pesto until thoroughly combined. Add cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and chickpeas (if using). Garnish with additional basil leaves.

Sugar-free chocolate banana pie

Anyone who’s seen me cook from a recipe can attest that I am always making substitutions. Especially when I get it into my head that I want to make something now. So it was with this chocolate banana pie. I had just gotten a copy of the Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook and was flipping through it. A picture of chocolate hazelnut mini-tarts caught my eye and I just had to make them. Except that I was out of hazelnuts, I wasn’t quite sure where to find coconut butter locally, and (perhaps most crucially), there was no chocolate in the studio. Cocoa powder only. And a bowl of bananas. Not to be denied my desire for a chocolate dessert, I started experimenting.

In the end, the crust in this pie is a fairly close copy of the one used in the inspiration recipe, a mix of walnuts and coconut flour. I used a fresh apple instead of applesauce, and added a little orange zest to brighten things up. This crust is a little finer and lighter than the coarse ground almond crust I have used for tarts in the past (such as last summer’s recurring peach and blackberry), it tastes less obviously “alternative”, which may or may not matter to you. I was initially a little concerned about using walnuts in the crust–I thought there might be a bit of an aftertaste. However, multiple rounds of baking have laid my fears to rest.

The filling for this pie is incredibly easy: just dump everything in the food processor and go. The result is creamy, dark, and chocolatey. It sets up very quickly also, making this a great semi-last minute dessert (assuming, of course, that you have all the ingredients to hand!).

Chocolate Banana Pie
Makes 1 10″ tart, enough for 6-8

Crust
1 c. walnuts
1/2 c. coconut flour
1 apple, cored and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
grated zest of 1 orange

Filling
4 bananas, peeled and cut into 1-2″ pieces
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/4 c. almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a food processor, combine the walnuts and coconut flour. Process to a fine meal. Add the apple, coconut oil, and orange zest, and process until the mixture has reached a uniform consistency. The result should be a slightly moist dough.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Press crust into a 10″ tart pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the banana filling.

3. Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Depending on the size of your bananas, you may wish to add up to 1/4 c. additional almond milk.

4. Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly. Place in refrigerator and leave for at least 15 minutes to allow filling to firm up.