Category Archives: Vegetarian

American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Vegan - Vegetarian

Veestro: Plant-based meals delivered to your door

September 3, 2015

[Just FYI: Veestro is providing a special discount code for BATF readers at the end!]

I’m so used to cooking practically all my meals now but I was totally game to hang up my cooking utensils for a week to try Veestro, a gourmet, plant-based, organic meal service. I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve cut my meat consumption a LOT, so the thing that attracted me most to Veestro was that they use all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or animal products. You can buy them by meal or by meal-plan depending on your focus (high protein, gluten-free, weight-loss, etc.)

Veestro's Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro’s Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro asked if I’d try a 5-day meal plan (15 meals) to see what I thought. They sent me some info about the perks of a plant-based diet. Besides promoting long term sustainable weight loss, they’re low in saturated fats, high in fiber, and reduce excess cholesterol intake. Not to mention, they’re rich in antioxidants, plant sterols, phytochemicals, and potassium, which are all thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course, there’s a lot that rides on the quality of the plant-based and non-meat products you’re eating — if you’re not eating meat but eating an excess of processed foods, for example, you’re still taking in a lot of calories.

But crash-nutrition lesson aside, I was mostly curious about the taste of their meals. After eating their meals for a week I found a few things consistently true: they didn’t skimp on flavors, they use fresh ingredients that you can actually read without a dictionary, and (true to their word) no preservatives. You also have a few options on how to prepare them — some you could heat on the stove top or microwave, some you had to bake but this gave some flexibility to bring it to work. Plus, there was a lot of variety in cuisine so it didn’t get boring. I was really starting to look forward to my meals every day.

Some of my favorites
:
Red Curry with Organic Tofu and Veggies (the curry paste made with red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, thai ginger; it also had organic carrots, califlower, broccoli, organic brown rice, coconut milk, ginger, coriander, paprika)

Red curry tofu

Red curry tofu

Veggie Empanadas (made with organic pastry flour, filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, and green peas, and a chichi sauce made with organic parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and lemon juice — so delicious):

Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas


Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas

Veggie Burger Patty (made with braised tempeh, organic black beans, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and corn). I added some cheese, kale, and sriracha ketchup to this and it was so filling and delicious.

Veggie patty

Veggie patty


Here’s some more pics of the meals — even their juices are not to be missed.
Meals from Veestro!

Meals from Veestro!

From top (left to right): Oatmeal breakfast, Risotto with butternut squash and kale, Soba noodles with peanut sauce, Three layer scramble with tofu, Thai Chick’N stew, Tuscan calzone, Eggplant Casserole, and Savory Croquettes with veggie hash.

My only small gripe was that not all the directions are that detailed on how to prepare the food (I ended up cooking some over heated olive oil, but some that come with sauces could have been more descriptive) — then again, this can help you get creative with the dishes, like I did in some cases. Other than that, the only real problem you’ll run into is making room in your freezer. Also, if you’re grabbing the meals to go (especially to work where you won’t have a stove available a lot of times), make sure it’s one that can be heated up in the microwave.

Want to try it yourself? Visit veestro.com, and use coupon code VEESTROFEAST to get 20% off your entire order through Sept 30th!!


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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Recipes - Vegan - Vegetarian

Cauliflower with roasted red pepper sauce

June 23, 2015

Ok so the last time I made cauliflower, it sounded a lot more promising than it actually turned out (see the maple-sriracha roasted cauliflower). The flavor was a little weak. But this is legitimately delicious. I made some tweaks to the original recipe that I’ll note below. I guess what I’m learning is whereas before I used to be so by-the-book when it comes to trying something new, now I don’t freak out if I’m missing an ingredient. I’m sure all real chefs know this already, but there’s usually a way around it…like, for example, if you don’t have bread crumbs but DO have crushed pumpkin seeds from the recipe you did the day before. Just think about making it your own :).

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Cauliflower with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons soft tofu (I used feta instead since I didn’t have tofu at home)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used crushed pumpkin seeds instead because I didn’t have breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

To roast the red pepper, I put it in a tray drizzled with olive oil in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning it over once each side browns. Remove and let cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu (or feta cheese in my case) and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs (or pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds and cook another minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.

It ends up as a really creamy, decadent dish that can be a meal or a side. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Inspired by Daphne Brogdon’s recipe on the Food Network.


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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Recipes - Vegetarian

Side dish: Seared lima beans with roasted pumpkin seeds

June 21, 2015

Anyone else watch the cooking channel while they’re on the treadmill? No? Well you should, because A) it makes an hour fly, and B) you will likely come across a new dish you’d want to try, like I did when I saw one from Damaris Phillips. She had an episode based on a recent visit to Mexico and she came back to make a three-course meal inspired by her trip. The appetizer she made looked just too good not to try: seared lima beans with roasted pumpkin seeds. I feel like I’ve been OD’ing on my favorite ingredients (mushrooms, avocados, quinoa, and that variety), so thought it would be nice to try something new. Never thought I’d crave lima beans so hard. It has a nice, nutty flavor and makes a good, light veggie side dish for a meal.

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Seared Lima Beans with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
[Makes 4 servings]
Ingredients

1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
3 to 4 tablespoons coconut oil
16 ounces frozen large lima beans, thawed
5 small green onions, greens parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread out the pepitas on a baking sheet; transfer to the oven and roast until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Let cool to room temperature, then grind the pepitas in a food processor to a coarse-milled consistency.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and heat until very hot, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lima beans and sear on one side until light golden brown, 3 minutes. Add the green onions, parsley, roasted pepitas and the lemon zest. Stir, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and season with salt to taste.

Add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired tanginess is reached.


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Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Vegetarian

Recipe: Smoky avocado quinoa breakfast bowl

June 19, 2015

I was recently invited to the International Culinary Center to learn more about the health benefits of Hass avocados and recipes using them from Julia Nordgren, who’s a physician, trained chef, wife and mother of two (this is the part where I momentarily feel like I’ve done nothing in my life).

At the International Culinary Center


Dr. Nordgren


Tea and an avocado/dark chocolate smoothie for breakfast


It was easy to see her passion for food and nutrition as she demonstrated some easy meals. She taught us about the big misconception of fats (and aversion of it) when we diet. Healthy fats, like the ones you find in avocado, are important to have in your diet because it helps you absorb vitamins, help you stay satiated, keep your skin healthy, etc (the fats that you want to avoid, she added, are saturated fats like what you find in sugary, processed foods).

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Nutrition lesson aside, she prepared a delicious Smoky Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. She emphasized trying to squeeze in as much fruits and veggies in your meals, and this plant-packed meal has 15 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber.

Smoky avocado quinoa



Smoky Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

(serves 4; prep time 10 minutes; total time: 30 minutes)

Ingredients

3 tsp olive oil
½ small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp of smoked paprika
1 ½ cups quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and cubes
2 tsp lime juice
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup small white beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach


Directions

1) Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft (about 3-4 minutes)

2) Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add smoked paprika. Stir and cook for 1 more minute. Add rinsed quinoa and stir to combine.

3) Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

4) Sprinkle the cubed avocado with lime juice and pinch of kosher salt. Mix gently and set aside.

5) In a separate sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add white beans and spinach. Cook over medium heat until the beans are heated through and spinach is wilted.

6) Add the quinoa pilaf, stir to combine, and then spoon into serving bowls.

7) Top each bowl with a generous spoonful of cubed avocado.

You can even put this in a wheat tortilla to make a breakfast burrito. I’ll put that addendum in the next post. For more avocado recipes, visit http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-recipes. Enjoy!


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Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Recipes - Vegetarian

Recipe: Avocado banana breakfast smoothie

May 4, 2015

Sorry, sorry. Technology and I — we’re just not friends. I tried to post this recipe for you guys yesterday but [insert chain of excuses here]. As I mentioned on Instagram, I’ve been drinking this smoothie after I workout in the mornings and it gives me so much energy and is filled with nutrients. And it doesn’t hurt that it takes two minutes to make. Just mix the following together in a blender:


Ingredients
:
1/2 an avocado
1 banana
1 tsp ginger, raw/grated
1 tsp honey
1 cup brewed green tea
1/2 cup of spinach
1 tsp of Carrington Farms organic chia and flaxseed mix (optional)
ice

Avocado breakfast smoothie

Avocado is a good source of fiber and vitamins like B and E. The green tea helps jump start your metabolism, and regulates your glucose, while the ginger helps strengthen your immune system and aids in digestion (and gives a nice kick to the smoothie…if you know anything about me, I love ginger in EVERYTHING. It’s a good problem). Spinach adds zinc, protein, and vitamins, and finally, I like to add chia and flax seeds as another source of Omega 3s and fiber. Carrington Farms somehow telepathically knew I’m always stocked up on these, and coconut oil and sent me easy to use on-the-go packets which I’m now obsessed with (especially since I can take them on my travels). I put them on everything, but more to come on that soon.

Any of you going to try the smoothie? Let me know what you think!


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Veggie side dishes trial run: the kale and cauliflower chapter

March 25, 2015

I had a couple friends over for dinner last night and grilled up some rosemary burgers with caramelized onions and mushrooms and a parmesan crisp, which I’ve posted here before (side note: this time I used soy sauce to caramelize the veggies and it worked wonderfully). I always try to serve burgers using whole wheat sandwich thins to skimp on carbs, but I also wanted to incorporate a healthier side dishes than just fries. So, I decided to take a stab at kale chips (which I realized are ridiculously easy to make), and a new maple-sriracha roasted cauliflower recipe I found. The kale chips came out great, the cauliflower though…I felt like something was missing in the flavor. Have any of you guys tried roasting cauliflower? I’m curious what you seasoned it with, or if you had any suggestions on amping up the flavor. At one point, we started mixing the extra caramelized veggies with the cauliflower that made it taste a lot better. Anyway, would love your thoughts in the comments below!


KALE CHIPS RECIPE

Kale Chips



INGREDIENTS

2 bunches of kale
2 tsp olive oil (more if needed)
3 garlic cloves minced (or more if you like)
Sea salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre heat oven at 350 degrees. Rinse kale in a salad spinner. Remove dark ribs and chop kale roughly. Put leaves in a big bowl, toss with olive oil, garlic and salt. Spread leaves on a one large rimmed baking sheet. Kale does not need to be in a single layer,as it will shrink in volume as it cooks. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice while it’s cooking, and until leaves are tender, crisp on edges and slightly browned. Optional if dairy-free: Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving

MAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RECIPE

Maple Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower



INGREDIENTS
:
1 (approx. 2-pound) head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce + more for serving if desired
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
:
Preheat oven to 450 degreed F. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, Sriracha sauce, salt, and black pepper. Add the cauliflower and toss until well-coated. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve with additional Sriracha sauce, if desired.

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