Cast Iron Vegan Chili

I made this for all my vegan and vegetarian friends and family. Not all meals have to have meat and some taste even better without it. If you are a carnivore, just give this a try and you’ll realize what I mean.  Look at the vibrant colors! You see onions and red, yellow and purple bell peppers. 

Add the carrots for some orange…

Put everything together…

I’m really enjoying a local farm stand this summer that’s right down the road from me. All ingredients came from there and I believe one of the reasons this dish tasted so delicious. The fresher the better! 

Serves 8

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup each dry black and pinto beans, rehydrated according to the instructions (or use canned beans and will equal about 3 cups total after draining)
  • 2 ears corn (or 1 can of corn)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 3 bell peppers, largely diced 
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 13 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 oz Tom paste
  • 28oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 jalapeños, roasted and diced small for garnish
  • red onion, diced small for garnish
  • cilantro or parsley, for garnish

What to do:

  1. If you’re using the dried beans like I did, you’ll need to start this the night before or follow the instructions for the quick cook. 
  2. In a large cast iron Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium. 
  3. Sautée the onions and bell peppers with some salt and pepper about 5 minutes until slightly soft. 
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the the carrots and garlic. Sautée another 5 minutes stirring frequently. 
  5. Add the fresh tomatoes, a little more salt and pepper, stir and simmer until you see the liquid expel from the tomatoes. 
  6. Boil the corn, let cool, slice off with a knife and add to the pot. 
  7. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and paste, stir until combined and add all the spices and nutritional yeast. Reduce the heat to low and stir again. 
  8. Simmer on the lowest heat for an hour to hour and a half stirring occasionally. 
  9. Serve in a bowl with the garnishes listed or whatever you choose. Feel free to add some hot sauce for some heat if you don’t do the jalapeños 😉

Side note: You can roast your own jalapeños directly on your stove top. Be sure to char all sides, let cool, peel the char and diced away. Very simple and can be done with any kind of peppers. 

Enjoy!

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    Trottole Pasta Salad

    I’m all about pasta this weekend! I used  Simply Balanced Organic Trottole Pasta for this recipe. It’s a fun shape and all the good stuff you add to a pasta salad incorporates well into it. You can pretty much use any type of pasta for this dish if you can’t find this type. Some good alternatives would be farfallepenne or even multi colored radiatore! Remember to always salt your water when boiling pasta!!

    If you want to make this a vegan dish, use a vegan friendly pasta. 


    What you’ll need:

    • 16 oz Trottole pasta
    • 1 medium Eggplant, roasted and diced
    • 2 Carrots, chopped small (I used my Kitchen Aid Spiralizer if you have one)
    • 5 Kale leaves, chopped fine
    • 2 Green Onions, chopped into thin rings
    • 4 oz Tomatoes, grape or cherry, halved (optional)
    • Juice of 1 Lemon
    • 1 Tbls dried Thyme
    • 2 Tbls Garlic Powder
    • 1 small can of sliced black olives 
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • S & P

    What to do: 

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
    2. Begin to boil the water for the pasta. 
    3. Remove some of the skin on the eggplant with a peeler, dice and place on a sheet tray with olive oil and S & P. 
    4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until completely soft, remove and let cool. 
    5. Boil the pasta according to the instructions, drain and let cool. 
    6. Meanwhile, prepare the carrots, kale, onions, tomatoes and lemon juice and add all into a large bowl. 
    7. Add the eggplant, thyme, garlic powder, S & P to the mixture. Combine thoroughly. 
    8. Once the pasta has cooled, add it into the mixture with more olive oil and toss. Put in more or less oil and S & P to your taste. 

    Enjoy!!

        Kale & Basil Pesto with Orecchiette & Chicken

        Some of the simplest dishes are simply the best! Pesto is one of my favorite things to eat when the weather is hot and humid. It’s light and requires no “cooking” itself. Although, the pasta and chicken does but not much!

        What you’ll need:

        • 4-5 Leaves of Kale (flat or curly – your preference)
        • 1 bunch of fresh Basil
        • 3/4 lb of Orecchiette
        • 2 Chicken Breasts (or Tofu for a vegetarian option!)
        • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
        • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
        • 1/3 oz of pine nuts
        • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half, optional
        • S & P

        What to do:

        1. Bring water to a boil for the pasta.
        2. Cook according to the directions.
        3. Separately, place the chicken in a pot, cover with water and boil until cooked through for about 10-15 minutes. (If you’re using tofu, prepare according to the directions and cut into small cubes. Sautée with a little olive oil and S & P. 
        4. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. Combine the kale, basil, 1/2 cup of cheese, pine nuts and oil in a food processor and put on high until it becomes a paste. (If you prefer a thinner sauce add more oil). 
        5. Drain the pasta and remove the chicken from heat. 
        6. Chop or shred the chicken. 
        7. In a large bowl, mix the pesto, chicken (or tofu) and pasta and until evenly combined. 
        8. Add S & P to taste. 
        9. Add in the tomatoes and top with the additional cheese on each plate. 

        Feta and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

        Well, it’s been a while since my last post. I guess I’ve been busy!!  I’m really glad summer is here. There are so many healthy and yummy things to eat this season. Here is one of them, although, I make them year round 🙂 This is great for vegetarians and could even be converted to […]

        Drink Enough Water

        Water doesn’t have to be boring. Add some flavor to it! 

          
        Did you know that “…you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day?”* That’s a lot of water so why not make interesting…as much as you can. I promise this is tasty. 

        Add a 1/2 of each fruit and some fresh mint to a pitcher of water, whal la. I used a blood orange, lemon, and lime. Put it in the refrigerator for at least two hours before drinking it. You can truly use any type of fruit you want but I was in a citrus mood today since it was so hot outside. Not only are you getting closer to your daily water intake goal, you’re getting your vitamins from all that fruit!

        To top it off, mint is beneficial to your health. To name a few, it helps with digestion, nausea, headaches, and weight loss. Check this out.

          
        If your having people over, it looks even better in a fancy pitcher!

          
        Enjoy!

        *Source

        Bean, Quinoa, and Kale Salad

        What a tasty dish for Summer! It’s light, nutritious, and filling at the same time. I decided to make this after reading about switching out one or two meals a week to vegetarian. You will save a few dollars on your grocery bill and you still can get all the vitamins and nutrients if you choose the right products for the meal.  I, of course, want to be sure my family and I are getting enough protein if we were leaving out the meat. So, I loaded it with beans, quinoa and kale. Believe it or not, raw kale has 3g of protein in one cup.* 

        Here is an article about all the great benefits of quinoa:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/juliewilcox/2012/06/26/7-benefits-of-quinoa-the-supergrain-of-the-future/

        This recipe makes A LOT! That’s usually how I roll lol. What’s good about making A LOT is that it saves time for me during the week. I can bring some to work for lunch, have it as a quick dinner at night, and it’s an easy meal for me to send to daycare for my toddler! He loves it by the way 🙂

         
        Ingredients:

        • 3 stalks of kale, chopped
        • Cilantro, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
        • 2 Corn on the Cob
        • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
        • Juice of 1 Lime
        • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
        • 1 cup Uncooked White Quinoa
        • 2 cans Black Beans
        • 1 can Cannellini Beans
        • 1 can Pinto Beans
        • Salt
        1. Prepare the corn. Clean off the husks and boil in a large pot until corn is soft. Remember to salt the water. 
        2. While the corn is cooking, chop the pepper, tomatoes, kale, juice the lime,  and rinse the beans in a strainer with cold water. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. 
        3. Remove the corn, set aside, and let cool. Using 2 cups of the same water, cook the quinoa until all the liquid is absorbed. Put a little more salt in the water. (Tip – Don’t boil the quinoa. Let it simmer on low for 10 minutes while covered. Remove from the heat and let stand another 5-10 minutes until you start to see the rings). Once done, add to the other ingredients. 
        4. Cut the corn off the cob and add it to the other ingredients. 

        Once it’s all mixed, I stored portion sizes in snack and sandwich size ziplock bags and then put them all into a freezer bag. Organization is key for me! I also save some for the next day or two. If you do the same, I suggest adding a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil. It will be a little dry if you don’t. 

        Enjoy!

        *Source

        Healthy, Simple Grilling

        Ah, the simple things in life. Summer is the best time to cook on the grill for so many reasons. The weather is perfect (usually), cooking becomes easier and it’s a great way to hang outside with friends and family! Let’s not forget it’s one of my favorite times to enjoy a beer or two while sitting in my lawn chair on the patio. 

        This was my latest dinner on the grill: 

         

        I have to give some credit to my husband because he did help out with this one. You’re looking at Spiced Grilled Chicken, Corn The Cob, Potatoes with Onions and Sweet Bell Peppers, Broccoli, and Asparagus. Keep in mind that you can use any veggies you like and prepare and cook them the same way as the broccoli and asparagus. 

        I like to use chicken thighs instead of breasts simply because they don’t dry out. However, breasts do have better nutritional stats and can be substituted if you really want an even healthier meal. When comparing equal portions, some that are noteworthy…

        1. Protein – 21g in thighs and 25g in breasts*
        2. Fat – 13g in thighs and 7g in breasts *
        3. Calories – 210 in thighs and 170 in breasts*
        4. Cholesterol – 80mg in thighs and 70mg in breasts*

        CHICKEN:

      • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
      • Paprika
      • Crushed red pepper, a few pinches or more if you want heat
      • Garlic powder
      • Cinnamon
      • Sea salt
      • Black pepper 
      • Mix all spices together (equal parts except the crushed red pepper), coat the chicken, and put it in a covered pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the sides. 
        CORN:

      • Corn on the Cob
      • Water 
      • Don’t clean the corn, just keep it as is and soak it in water for at least 10 minutes​
        POTATOES:

      • Russet potatoes
      • Olive oil spray
      • 1/2 Red bell pepper, slices
      • 1/2 Sweet onion, slices
      • Paprika
      • Garlic powder
      • Sea Salt
      • Black pepper 
      • Lay out a long piece of tin foil and then double it with the second piece perpendicular to the first. Spray lightly with oil. Place all ingredients on top of the foil, wrap it sealing all sides. Put these on the grill first since they usually take the longest to cook. 
        BROCCOLI:

      • Broccoli
      • Olive oil spray
      • Sea salt
      • Black pepper 
      • Same as the potatoes, lay out a long piece of tin foil and then double it with the second piece perpendicular to the first. Spray lightly with oil. Place all ingredients on top of the foil, wrap it sealing all sides.

        ASPARAGUS:

      • Asparagus
      • Olive oil spray
      • Sea Salt
      • Black pepper 
      • And…repeat preparation a third time.
        Cook everything on the grill over medium heat together until steamy and the chicken is cooked through. Don’t worry if one thing is done before the other, just keep it in its foil or cover it until you’re ready. Cooking is suppose to be stress free!

        ENJOY!!

        *Source