A big hurdle for many people in changing the foods they eat is a very practical one. Sure, you might say, this all makes sense but…..what exactly am I going to eat? Today I am going to share with you three of our favourite meals. These recipes are all quite easy and quick to make. They are full of fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients and, of at least equal importance, great taste. If you’re concerned about macronutrients, all of these dishes could be called “complete” meals, meaning that they contain all the protein (including all the essential amino acids), fat and carbohydrates that you need for good health.
One preparation note. You might notice that there is no mention of adding oil to your pan for the sautéing of vegetables. Oil is completely unnecessary for the cooking of vegetables. Plain water works fine but you can use apple juice or wine if you want to add a little extra flavour. Try it….you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
SWEET BLACK BEANS AND RICE
1 cup of short-grain brown rice, uncooked
1 onion of your choice, sweet onions work well, chop into small pieces (about 1 ½ cups)
Apple juice or white wine (or water) for sautéing
½ tbsp brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups frozen green peas
½ to 1 can black beans, including liquid
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add brown rice and cook until tender, about 40 minutes. Drain excess water if needed.
Add a couple of tablespoons of apple juice or white wine to a heavy pan. Add chopped onion and cook over high heat until softened. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add juice, wine or water if necessary. Sprinkle in the brown sugar when onions are partly cooked. The onions will become translucent and coated with a light sauce.
When the onions are almost done, add the garlic and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add rice and stir.
Just before serving add the frozen peas and black beans and cook long enough to heat through.
TROPICAL QUINOA AND BEANS
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 ½ cups quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cans kidney beans, drained (about 3 cups)
1 – 800 ml can diced tomatoes including liquid
Apple juice or white wine
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
½ tsp chipotle pepper
¾ tsp allspice
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper
Rinse the quinoa several times in cold water to remove its bitter saponin coating. (This coating provides some protection from predators while the plant is growing.)
Place a couple of tablespoons of apple juice or white wine (or water) in a heavy pan and sauté onions, garlic and peppers until just softened and the liquid has evaporated.
Add the quinoa and toast it (stir fry dry) for about 4 minutes until it is dry.
Add remaining ingredients. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).
Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice just before serving.
1 ½ cups whole-wheat rotini pasta
1 cup carrots, cut in rounds
2 cups broccoli, cut in small florets
1 cup asparagus, cut in bite-sized pieces
½ cups red pepper, chopped finely
½ cup mushrooms, chopped finely
½ cup onions, chopped finely
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
½ can chick peas or black beans, drained and rinsed
About 10 mini tomatoes
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
1 cup low fat soy milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup reserved cooking water
½ of a vegetable bouillon cube
Flour or gravy thickener – enough to thicken the sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp basil (dried)
Pepper to taste
Begin to cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water. When pasta is half done, add all the vegetables and the chick peas or beans except the cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. Return to boil and cook until pasta is done. Vegetables should be blanched but not over-cooked. Remove 1 cup of the pasta’s cooking liquid to use in preparation of the sauce.
Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking – Combine soy milk, garlic and seasonings in a small saucepan. Add the reserved cooking water along with the bouillon cube and cook over high heat until boiling. Add thickener and adjust until the sauce is creamy.
Place cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes in the bottom of a very large serving dish. Drain the pasta and vegetables and pour over the tomatoes in the bowl. Pour sauce over top and toss well to coat.
Serve with “Parmenon”.
This is a plant-based substitute for Parmesan cheese. It doesn’t taste the same but is delicious and adds a pleasing crunchy topping to pastas, lasagna and pizza. You can find nutritional yeast at a bulk food store.
¾ cup raw cashews
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
Place all the ingredients into a small food processor. Pulse until a fine meal develops. Do not over process or the mixture will become creamy. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. This will keep several weeks.