New Recipe (GF, Raw & Vegan) & One Great Birthday Gift!

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If you know  me well, then you know that I was beside myself when I opened one of my birthday gifts and it was……….a Spiralizer!  I know, its’s hard to contain the excitement isn’t it?!? Seriously, though, I was so excited to get this because I have wanted to delve into the world of veggie pasta for a long time now.  Last night I finally made a dish using my Spiralizer, and it was super easy!  Cutting the zucchini took a few minutes, tops.  It was fun to make and eat.  There is just something about eating “pasta” that you cannot resist! There are some of you I will never convince to eat zucchini pasta, but for those of you who are interested, here is what I did!  I followed this recipe from Pinch of Yum with some changes; my version is below.

I paired this with a yummy salad and corn on the cob for a delicious, filling meal.  I also made cheesy pasta for my swimmers.  It was their favorite by far.  They ate the entire bowl, saying it was even better than the boxed pasta that I buy from Amy’s!  I have made homemade Mac and Cheese before, following recipes to the ingredient, and I have never had this much raving about it.  I literally cooked some pasta, pulled it off the stove, and mixed in a few Tbsp. of butter and a handful of Mexican cheese!  Seriously, that’s it! LOVED IT!  It will definitely be a staple in my house over the next few weeks.  Without further ado, here is the recipe for zucchini pasta:

Zucchini Spaghetti with Avocado Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • handful sliced cherry tomatoes
  • handful sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • handful sliced carrots

Avacado Sauce:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Cup fresh parsley
  • 3 green onions (only green part), sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Mash avocado, parsley and green onions together in a separate bowl, then whisk in all other sauce ingredients.  Pour sauce over zucchini noodle blend and mix to combine.  Best eaten the same day!  ENJOY!

March Madness: Zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini

Botanically zucchini is considered a fruit, but in the culinary world it is treated as a vegetable so we will go with that!  High in folate, potassium and vitamin A, zucchini is a great addition to your diet.  Zucchini can grow quite large, but they are usually harvested when smaller to yield a better flavor.  They are reasonably priced, and I would recommend buying organic when possible.

My favorite way to get zucchini into our diet is with black bean soup.  The black bean soup recipe I use blends the soup, so you cannot even see the chunks of zucchini.  I use a recipe called “Sneaky Momma’s Black Bean Soup” from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann (with a few tweaks of course!).  How can you not love a recipe with that title?  Here it is:

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • ghee (or olive oil to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 (15-oz) cans black beans, drained or about 3 1/2 Cups cooked black beans
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper

Melt ghee in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cumin and stir briefly, then add zucchini, tomato and 1 1/2 Cups water or vegetable stock (I use vegetable stock because it gives the soup a tastier flavor).  Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.  Stir in black beans and oregano.  Puree soup in blender until smooth and creamy.  This soup freezes well.  I always make a double batch and freeze some!

Recipe: Gluten Free Vegan Stir-Fry

Gluten Free Stir-Fry

Gluten Free Vegan Stir-Fry

Gluten Free Vegan Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • brown rice noodles (pictured below)
  • peanut, sesame, or Asian stir fry oil
  • soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups slaw mix (shredded cabbage/carrots)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 zucchini, quartered into thin pieces
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced thin
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 3 carrots, sliced thin
  • peanut sauce (see recipe below)
GF Rice Noodles

GF Rice Noodles

  1. Cook noodles according to package.
  2. Roast broccoli on 425 for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Saute onion, zucchini and celery on medium-high in stir-fry oil until tender.
  4. In separate pan, steam carrots until tender.  Remove lid to allow remaining water to evaporate.
  5. Remove carrots from pan, and in same pan saute tofu on medium-high in stir-fry oil until crisp.
  6. Remove tofu from pan, and in same pan add slaw mix with a splash of soy sauce.  Stir for a few minutes to combine.

Peanut Sauce

I did not measure for this sauce.  Add the following (approximates; I did not measure) to the Vitamix and adjust to taste:

  • few large spoonfuls of peanut butter
  • few Tbsp. soy sauce
  • few Tbsp. white balsamic or brown rice vinegar
  • small squeeze of honey
  • water (to desired consistency)
GF Stir-Fry

GF Vegan Stir-Fry

Normally with stir-fry I throw all the veggies in together to saute; however, this sometimes ends in my children eating noodles and tofu 🙂  This time I took the extra time to saute things separately and it worked great.  This way the kids could pick and choose what to top their noodles with.  This was a tasty and simple dish to throw together.  The thing I loved most was the crunchy cabbage/carrot mix that was barely cooked.  Most of the work was in the veggie cutting.  You could save time by buying chopped veggies or cutting them ahead of time.  Also, it is easy to substitute any veggies that you have on hand.

Whole Food Dinner: Chickpea Salad, Slaw and Roasted Veggies

Whole Food Dinner

Whole Food Dinner

This is a meal containing only whole foods that can be thrown together in under a half an hour.  Ideally, you would allow the slaw to sit in the fridge for an hour or more, but if this is not your reality never fear!

Here it is:

Carefree Chickpea SaladSwift Slaw, Roasted carrots/broccoli/zucchini

You will need something to pair the chickpea salad with.  I used homemade bread that I pulled out of the freezer. Always have homemade bread in the freezer!  You could also use a cracker, pita or wrap with any veggie toppings you choose.  I cooked the chickpeas earlier in the morning, but again, you could easily use a can of chickpeas.  The broccoli in the roasted veggie mix was from the freezer also.  I wanted another green veggie but didn’t have anything fresh.  I loved this broccoli because the florets were tiny, and small pieces are often more enticing to children if you are trying to get them to eat new or different foods.

Tip:  If you are trying to get a child to try a new vegetable, roast it with one they already love.  Roast broccoli with carrots for example.  The child may be more willing to try the broccoli if it is next to something that he loves.