Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Bean Vegan Aioli and Steamed Artichokes

Did you know that the average artichoke has 4 grams of protein? It is now being recommended that people eat more plant based proteins to prevent the intake of cholesterol and saturated fats. But for some reason when ever I order an artichoke at a restaurant it is loaded with cheese, butter and even mayonnaise! This seems pretty pointless to me. So I set out to make a creamy aioli dip replacement that doesn’t lack in flavor and adds nutrients. This is it! White beans are always in my arsenal for cream or dairy replacements. They do a great job tasting cheese-y and add tons of fiber and protein.


4 artichokes
1 can of white beans drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how much kick you like)
1 freshly squeezed lemon about 1 tbs of juice
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs water

Cut the stem and the tip off your artichoke. Spread the leaves a little and rinse it well. Place the artichokes in a large pot and fill with water so the artichokes are cover about halfway. Bring water to boil and let artichokes steam/boil for about about 1 hour. You will need to turn the artichokes a couple times to ensure full even cooking.

You will need a blender or food processor for the dip.
Place white beans in the food processor. Add garlic, salt, pepper and lemon. Begin to blend. Drizzle in olive oil and water while you are blending. Once you have a blended to a cream you are done. You can serve it as is with the artichokes or heat it up in a pan on low for about 3-5 minutes.

Yields 4 servings

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sesame Ginger Noodles

Several years ago I took a cooking class in Thailand and learned a lot about the fresh local flavors. Thai people love to add cilantro and or basil to their dishes to brighten them up and give them a fresh taste. I choose to use cilantro in this dish and it worked perfectly with the freshly grated ginger, another Thai favorite. The sesame oil is a must with these asian noodles. It is what pulls all the flavors together and makes it taste authentic. This dish is vegan; you can add tofu if you'd like or chicken for the meat eaters.


4 cups cooked noodles about half a box (you can use soba noodles or regular angel hair pasta)
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs canola oil
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs ginger freshly grated
1 cup green onion chopped
1 cup carrot shredded or cut into strips
1 cups celery chopped thin
1 yellow bell pepper chopped thin
1 cup bok choy sliced thin (like the celery)
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro chopped

In a large pot bring salted water to boil and cook your noodles.

In a large pan heat canola oil and sesame oil on medium low. Add garlic, ginger, brown sugar and crushed red pepper and mix together. Add green onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper. Saute vegetables on low to medium. Drizzle over soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. And continue to saute on low for about 8-10 minutes. Then add most of the cilantro reserving a little for the garnish. Mix together and add cooked pasta to your pan of veggies. Mix everything together and serve with left over cilantro on top.

yields 2-4 servings

Monday, February 20, 2012

Basil, Avocado and Pistachio Pesto with Quinoa

My sister Melissa told me about a dish she made where she mixed avocado into her warm pasta. This got me thinking of all the delicious ways to add protein and vitamin packed avocados into my dinner. I love a creamy pesto and thought this would be the perfect marriage and it was. Not only is avocado full of protein but so are quinoa and pistachios, making this a filling, flavorful, vegan and gluten free meal.

2 cups of dry quinoa cooked into 4 cups of water
4 cups basil cleaned and stems removed
1 cup flat leaf parsley clean and stems removed
1 clove of garlic
1-2 tsp salt to taste
1/2-1 tsp of pepper to taster
2 tbs olive oil
1 lemon (juice squeezed)
1 avocado peeled and pitted
3 tbs of pistachios (2 tbs for the pesto and 1 tbs for garnish)

In a pot bring 4 cups of water to boil and add 2 cups quinoa. Reduce to simmer and cover for about 12-15 minutes until quinoa is fully cooked.

While the quinoa cooks combine basil and parsley into a food processor. Add garlic, salt and pepper and begin to blend. While blending ingredients drizzle in olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then add avocado and 2 tbs of pistachios. Blend all ingredients together until it becomes a smooth creamy texture. Then mix the creamy pesto into the cooked quinoa. Chop the remaining pistachios and sprinkle over your bowl of pesto quinoa. Then it is ready to serve.

yields: 4 servings

*This pesto would also be yummy with pasta

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baked Black Bean Vegan Taquitos

As I said in my previous post, I love mexican food. Lately I have been trying new ways of making mexican food for dinner. I like buying the all-ready prepared taquitos but the vegetarian ones are usually full of preservatives and genetically modified soy. So I decided to make them myself with fresher ingredients. I bought the corn tortillas from a local mexican market. They were made with corn, water, lime and oil. Thankfully no lard. You can fill these however you’d like but here is my yummy recipe.


16 fresh corn tortillas
2 tbs canola oil
1/4 cup white onion finely chopped
2 green onions finely chopped
1/2 of a yellow or orange pepper finely chopped
1/2-1 jalapeno finely chopped (depending on how spicy you like it)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1-2 tbs beer or vegetable broth
1 15 oz can of organic black beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
8 toothpicks

Pre heat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a skillet heat 1 tbs of canola oil and add white onion, green onion, yellow pepper and jalapeno. Saute on medium low. Add salt, cumin and paprika and saute for about 8-10 minutes until vegetables have softened. Add garlic and saute together. Add beer and scrape up the pan and continue to saute till the liquid is absorbed. Finally add black beans and heat through. Taste the mixture to see if you need more salt or other seasonings. Turn off heat and leave the mixture.

Place a drying rack into your baking sheet to ensure full baking of the taquitos. Put water in shallow dish large enough to fit your tortilla. Assemble the taquitos by dipping two tortillas into the water and lay them on a dry place. Fill the top tortilla with about 2-3 tbs of the bean mixture. Roll the first tortilla then place it at the end of the second tortilla and roll again. (The water helps the tortilla to bend with less cracking and using two tortillas help the taquitos stay together). Put a toothpick through the uncooked taquito and place on the drying rack and baking sheet. Continue this until all 8 taquitos have been formed. Then drizzle 1 tbs of oil over the taquitos followed by a sprinkle of salt. Place in the oven at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes. Then they are ready to serve.

Yields 8 taquitos.

*If you feel like your black beans are falling out of the taquito feel free to mash them a little before you assemble. This will help keep everything together.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mexican Pizza with Homemade Chili Lime Tortilla Crust

At our house we eat mexican food at least 3 times a week and I could pretty much live on mexican food alone. I love tomatoes, green onions, jalapenos and cheese. Not to mention black beans and pinto beans. This pizza was a perfect new way to have a mexican meal and everyone loved it. The crust is super easy to make and it is vegan which was a huge plus for me.

Ingredients for dough:

2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbs vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
2 tsp chili powder
the juice of 2 limes

In a stand mixer combine all tortilla dough ingredients leaving the water for last. Slowly pour in the water as you may need more and you may need a little less water. Once dough as formed a sticky ball remove from the mixer and divide in half. Roll each pice of dough out on a heavily floured surface. You can roll the tortilla dough as thin or as thick as you like. I rolled mine to about 1/8 inch thick. Place each piece of dough on a greased baking sheet and place in the oven for ten minutes at 400 degrees.

Ingredients for toppings:

2 4 oz cans of diced green chili’s
2 cups of canned black beans drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes chopped
6 green onions finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
2 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese or cheese substitute
1 avocado chopped
1 4 oz can of black olives

Divide each topping measurement in half so each pizza has roughly the same amount of toppings. Place green chili’s on the dough first followed by black beans. Sprinkle cheese over that and top the pizza with the tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. Place in the oven for ten more minutes at 400 degrees. When the pizza is ready top with avocado and black olives and serve with your favorite salsa.

Yields: 2 pizzas or 12 slices

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sauteed Asparagus with White Beans

I love to saute my veggies and add beans for protein. To me it’s just like eating a fancier salad. This combo was amazing together. The asparagus and white beans are a perfect healthy pair. This dish was delicious alone but would be great to mix with pasta, polenta or use it as a side dish to any meal.


1/2 tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 bunch of asparagus cut into fours
1 15 oz can of white beans drained and rinsed

In a large pan heat olive oil over medium low heat and add onion. Top with salt and red pepper. Saute on low for about 7-8 minutes then add asparagus and continue to saute on low for another 5-7 minutes. Then add white beans and saute until asparagus is slightly tender and beans have warmed through. About 5 more minutes. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields 2-4 servings

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baked Polenta with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

If you want a fancy meal for Valentine’s day this is it. This Polenta is rich and creamy with an almost sweet garlic taste and a cheesy crust. It is delicious by itself but would be great with your favorite pasta sauce. You can also serve it as side dish for any meat eaters out there.


2 whole garlic heads
1-2 tsp olive oil
4 cups water
1 cup polenta or corn meal
2-3 tsp salt to taste
2 tbs butter or butter substitute
3/4 parmesan cheese grated

Start by roasting the garlic in the oven at 350 degrees. Cut the pointy tops off the garlic heads and place on a piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic heads and cover each with foil. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

When the garlic is done roasting set aside to cool a little while you work on the polenta. Don’t turn off the oven. You will need it at 350 degrees for the polenta.

In a medium pot bring 4 cups of water to boil and add the salt and butter. Once boiling add polenta and stir occasionally on medium for about 15 minutes. Then squeeze the roasted garlic into the polenta and add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Stir for another 5 minutes and try to break up the garlic with your spoon. Next, pour the polenta into your ramekins and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Put into the oven for 30 minutes. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields: 2-4 servings

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sea Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips With Sweet Potatoes and Yukon Gold Potatoes

To my surprise my son loves sea salt and vinegar chips. So as I always do with my family, I decided to create my own chips that are made from fresher ingredients. In this recipe I used a yukon gold potato and a sweet potato to sneak in a little extra beta carotene into my sons diet. My son and my husband loved the sea salt and vinegar sweet potato chip. This would also be a great game day snack for super bowl this sunday!


1 large yukon gold potato cleaned sliced to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick
1 large sweet potato cleaned and sliced to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick
2 cups white wine vinegar
2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp sea salt to taste

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes

Place both potato sliced into a zip lock bag and pour in 2 cups of vinegar. Seal the bag tightly and remove all the air. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours so all the potatoes soak up the vinegar. (You can leave it longer if you would like a more vinegar taste.) After at least 3 hours drain the vinegar off the potatoes leaving about 1/4 cup to the side. Place the potatoes into a mixing bowl and add the remaining vinegar, olive oil and sea salt. Mix together well and place on a non stick baking sheet or use cooking spray on a regular baking sheet. Put into the oven to bake at 400 degrees. After about 15-20 minutes flip each chip to ensure even cooking. Then place back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Once the chips are lightly browned and crispy take out of the oven and leave them to dry on a paper towel for about 5 minutes. Then they are ready to serve.

Yields about 4 cups of chips