Archive for the ‘Gluten-Free’ Category

Garden Quiche

The first recipe for a vegetarian quiche that got my mouth watering was authored by Susan, over at the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  Anyone who has ever taken the voyage to her site knows where I’m coming from.  It’s a voyage because you can’t make a quick trip to the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  Even if you’re a daily subscriber, like me, you’ll end up staying there longer and longer each time. 

So I decided that D and I need more veggie-based main courses that are not featuring one particular veggie as the main course itself.  I am too rebellious and stubborn to believe that just because I do not incorporate eggs, cheese, or any dairy into my cooking that I cannot make something like quiche- a traditionally egg-based meal.  Nay! So here’s what I did and here’s…

What You’ll Need

1 package firm tofu (or silken firm)

1/2 white onion, diced

1 cup yellow, red, green bell pepper combination, diced (I used frozen and pre-chopped) 

3 crimini mushrooms, diced

1 small sweet potato, sliced thinly 

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

1 heaping T light brown miso

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

fresh chives to garnish


How You’ll Do It:

 Preheat oven to 350º.  In a large pan, saute peppers, onions, and mushrooms in a small amount of water until the onions become translucent. In a small or medium pan lightly saute your sweet potato slices in 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil or water. Once they’re all done, set aside until ready to use.  In your Magic Bullet, or other food processor or blender, blend the rest of the ingredients except for the chives.  Scrape down the sides of your blending appliance with a spatula or spoon as needed until your blending creates a super smooth and clump-free texture.

Pour your tofu mixture into a large bowl and fold in veggie saute.  (Do not fold in sweet potatoes)  Line the bottom of a round baking dish with the sweet potato slices.  Then evenly pour the quiche mixture over the sweet potatoes.  Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.  Check for doneness with a toothpick or fork.  If any remains come out on your fork after you poke the dish, cook for 5 more minutes and check again.



Why You’ll Love It:

  Nutritional Yeast may be an ingredient that you are unfamiliar with if you haven’t been experimenting with a plant-based diet.  It is a complete protein and is also a great source of vitamin b12.  Nutritional yeast has 18 amino acids(including all essential amino acids) and many minerals.  Nutritional yeast has a nutty and cheesy type of flavor and is great to add into salads, casseroles, and a variety of other tasty meals.  If you’re still getting used to learning how to get all of the proteins and b12 from a completely plant-based diet, add some nutritional yeast to your life!  Start with the Garden Quiche!


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Hearty breakfasts are wonderful. There is a part of me that wishes I could eat a big ‘ole breakfast every day of the week.  Since my nutrition studies began I haven’t given up hearty breakfast at all, but I am much more picky about what kind of hearty breakfast I eat.  No more biscuits and sausage gravy for me, though I was born and bred loving the stuff.  And no more fried eggs and ham for my cholesterol-loathing self.  Instead, I feast on a little something like this… and I’m a happier and healthier woman for it.

What You’ll Need:

2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 red bell pepper, diced or chopped

1/2 white onion, diced 

2 cups fresh spinach

1 T extra virgin olive oil

3 or 4 potatoes, chopped evenly 

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper            

1 small bunch fresh chives         



How You’ll Do It:

  Heat a large pan to medium high and drizzle in the oil plus a few tables spoons of water.  Once heated, add in peppers, onion, and garlic and saute until onions begin to get translucent.  Then add potatoes and continue to saute or lightly fry for about 10 minutes (depending on how big your chunked potatoes are).  *In order to speed my process and not have to fry them as much, I covered my pan with a lid and let the steam play a larger role in the cooking.  I recommend this for you low-fattys who don’t like to fry*  

Continue cooking until potatoes get tender enough to easily poke a fork through.  At that point, toss in your spinach and a few tablespoons of water.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until spinach has reduced and is partially wiled.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Right before serving, snip fresh chives all over the top of your delicious hashed browns.


Why You’ll Love It:

  “I’m Popeye, the sailor man. I live in a garbage can.  I’m strong to the finish cause I eats my spinach, I’m Popeye the sailor man”   

 Alright, does that sound familiar to anyone?  Was Popeye the first cartoon ever admired for his healthy eating habits?  I think he may have been!  Good ole Popeye was so strong and it was because he ate spinach!  Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse.  There is actually so many nutritional benefits of eating spinach that I am going to refer you HERE if you truly would like to get a glimpse of what spinach can do for you.

   In a nutshell, it has over 1000% of your Vitamin K for the day.  It is also freakishly high in vitamin A, E, C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.   Eating spinach can help protect your body from many different diseases.  

Red Pepper & Spinach Hashed Browns is a great breakfast option, but also makes a great side item for any meal of the day.  If you aren’t one who likes to get up early and get in the kitchen, simply have this for dinner!



 If you love your spinach as much as Popeye himself, try this recipe too. po_image1

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It is so refreshing to wake up in the morning and douse yourself with a tangy and sweet fruit smoothie.  I am a fan of a hearty breakfast, but I’m also a fan of getting in a healthful serving of fruit for the day.  When I’m at work all day long and handling the tasks of every day life I easily find myself snacking on nuts, seeds, and raw veggies.  What I don’t always find myself reaching for when in need of a pick-me-up is a piece of fresh fruit.  It’s for this reason that I am a big fan of fruit smoothies in the morning.  They’re refreshing, energizing, and a great way to get in my fruit for the day which is very important to me.




What You’ll Need

6 frozen strawberries

1 fresh banana 

1 cup frozen blueberries

2 T ground flax seeds

1.5-2 all natural pomegranate juice (adjust for desired consistency)

How You’ll Do It:

  If you’re not in a rush, put your frozen fruit in your Magic Bullet Blender or other blender 5 minutes before you’re ready to make your smoothie.  A few minutes of thawing facilitates the blending process. Once you’re ready, blend all fruit together with the pomegranate juice.  Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the sides and stir the mix as needed to help the blending process.  Add more or less pomegranate juice as desired, based on how thick you want your smoothie.  Once fruit and fruit juice is thoroughly mixed and smooth, add flax seed and stir to combine.  Pour in desired glass, preferably one that’s fun to drink out of, and enjoy.


Why You’ll Love It:

   Pomegranates and blueberries are both natural superfoods!  They are both leaders in antioxidants.  Ellagic acid is a powerful nutrient in blueberries and strawberries.  It has been shown to improve digestive issues and to help prevent cancers.  In a study with over 1,000 elderly people, those who ate berries high in ellagic acid were three times less likely to develop cancer.  Blueberries can assist with both diarrhea and constipation due to the soluble and insoluble fiber in them.  The tannins in blueberries act as a digestion astringent which helps to reduce inflammation.  (*for further reading on blueberries, and other healthful foods, click here for one of my resources, WHFoods).

  According to the Fruit Expert, “It is no secret that eating fruit is good for you and has plenty of health benefits – but what are they? Generally, people who eat more fruit as part of a healthy diet are less likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, and they provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to fight other infections and repair cells, too.”

If you are a smoothie lover, be sure to check out the Pineapple Passionfruit Boost too!

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Marinara Squash

One of my all time favorite winter vegetables is squash.  There are so many different types, shapes, and flavors.  Including butternut, sweet dumpling, acorn, and spaghetti.  Yes, spaghetti is a type of squash.  It is named for the stringy noodly-like bulk of the inside of the vegetable.  This delicious vegetable is commonly served actually ‘Spaghetti’ style with a tomato sauce and everything!  If you’re imagining your basic yellow summer squash served with spaghetti sauce then you’ve got your head in the wrong place.  Spaghetti squash has a totally different texture and flavor.  It is savory, buttery, and just melts in your mouth!

 D had never had spaghetti squash before.  We both really enjoyed eating it from inside the squash because the more you dig in, the more and more spaghetti-like ‘noodles’ come from the squash.  We’re going to have this meal again before the stores are completely out of spaghetti squash.  We both really enjoyed have a light, vegetable based main course with lots of flavor!


What You’ll Need:

1 Spaghetti Squash

1/2 of THIS Marinara recipe (or whatever you fav. it)

1/2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/4 t pepper 

1/4 t salt 

Fresh Chives

How You’ll Do It:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.  Place on a baking sheet with the outer part of the squash facing upward, so both halves are laying flat and balanced.  Lightly spray or rub olive oil on the outside of each squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pierce the outside of the squash with a fork and bake for 30 minutes.  While squash is in the over, prepare and side dish and heat your marinara sauce.  

When the squash is finished, flip it over and use a spoon to lightly scoop out the inner seeds (similar in size as pumpkin seeds).  Once seeds are removed, use a fork to softly ‘rake’ out the fine noodle-like squash and place it into a bowl.  After you’ve removed about 80% of the inner squash from both halves, toss the ‘noodles’ into the marinara sauce.  Once completely mixed (be sure to be somewhat delicate while mixing) put the spaghetti back into the squash shell.  Garnish with fresh snipped chives.

p1030756Why You’ll Love It:

  Consuming foods rich in beta-cryprtoxanthin, may significantly lower ones chance of getting lung cancer.   Regardless of if you’re a smoker yourself of if you’re around secondhand smoke, a study done in China, published in Cancer Epidemiology , showed cancer likelihood being lowered 27%-37% by diets high in cryprtoxanthin-rich foods.  Additionally, winter squash being high in folate means it’s great for pregnant ladies or those trying to conceive.

If you’re looking to add more winter squash in your diet, try Hello Veggie Stew with Butternut Squash!

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You may have picked up by now that I’m not the biggest fan of faux meats, tofu, or tempeh.  I cook and consume those items in strong moderation.  I don’t love tofu or tempeh and I prefer to eat whole foods, so the faux stuff is really sparse.  That being said, I love a hearty vegetable which is chewier than the average and has a durable shape and texture.  What else could I be referring to besides a Portobello mushroom?

D and I love the meals that do not consist of pasta, tortillas, or lots of gluten.  And it’s not because we don’t enjoy those types of meals on occasion.  It’s because nothing really makes you feel light, healthy, guilt-free, and satisfied the way a plate full of vegetables do.  You don’t feel weighed down or sleepy after your meal.  You actually feel happy and energetic.  And after all, feeling happy and energetic is one of the many reasons I advocate a low-calorie, plant based, whole foods diet.  


What you’ll need to make it happen:

2 portobello mushroom caps

2 T sesame oil

3-5 T soy sauce

1 baby ZUKE diced (or other veggie you have handy)

1/4 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 white onion, diced

2 cloveds garlic, pressed or mined

1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced

1 or 1/2 stalk of lemon grass, sliced finely (optional)

white pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 15-20 minutes before you’re ready to start because this is a quick meal.  Place portobello caps on a baking sheet and lightly spread the 2 T of sesame oil on the cap side of each mushroom.  Place mushrooms on the baking sheet, cap side up, and roast them for 10-15 minutes until mostly tender.  Meanwhile, heat a small pan on med-high and put a little water in it.  Once it starts to sizzle slightly, add veggies and cook for 60 seconds before adding soy sauce. Once all ingredients are added, saute for 10 minutes until all veggies are mostly or completely tender.  Finally, take portobellos out of oven, flip over to where they are stem side up, and fill them with the veggie saute.  Once filled, continue roasting for 5 minutes. That’s it!

And What You’ll Do for the Light Garlic Spinach:

Simply heat 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil and 1 T water in a large saute pan on med-high/high.  Toss in 1 or 2 sliced garlic cloves and 2-3 cups of fresh spinach.  While cooking, continuously toss and mix spinach until it reaches your desired doneness.  I went for about 4-6 minutes.




Why You’ll Eat It:

Mushrooms have powerful healing abilities.  They are technically not a veggie or a fruit, they are a fungus.  Not all mushrooms are amazing for you because some are poisonous! Stay clear of those and stick tight to the others because they are so good for you.  Portobello mushrooms are very high in potassium (higher than a banana) as well as many other minerals, such as copper, B vitamins and phosphorus.  They are very low in calories and especially low in fat, so they make an excellent main course.  They strengthen your immune system and promote weight loss. Double Hooray!

Try a Portobello Thick Burger, if you’re really wanting something hearty…

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Does anyone else out there shop at Whole Foods Market?  Well, the place is a sanctuary for me.  I would like to share a recipe for my favorite tasty marinara.  Typically, I make marinara from scratch, using my own spices and peppers et cetera.  But if I need something really simple and really tasty that only requires getting one dish dirty to make- this is it!

What You’ll Need:

1 large can 365 Organics brand Diced Tomatoes with oregano basil

1 small can 365 Organics tomato paste

1 small can filled with purified water

How You’ll Do It:

All you must do is mix these delicious items together with a fork or whisk and then they’re ready to go.  This makes a perfect vegan gourmet pizza sauce!  It’s scrumptious and effortless!  I have yet to try a Whole Foods Market 365 Organics Brand item that I was not fully satisfied with.  I go to Whole Foods Market 2-4 times a week and only have been disappointed when I walk by the meat section… 

Why You’ll Love It:

  This recipe is super quick, super versatile, and tomatoes are a super food!  When I say super food, I mean food with super powers! And that’s no exaggeration.  Due to the lycopene level in organic tomatoes, they are food that really fight hard to prevent disease.  Lycopene is very anti-cancer (over a wide variety of common cancers), plays a significant role in prostate health, and fighting cardiovascular disease.  On top of all of this, tomatoes are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, making them great strengtheners of your immune system.

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Side dishes don’t have to be fancy and they don’t have to include more than a few ingredients, including spices.  What’s important is getting your vegetables in every day. What’s not important is if the recipe or name sounds like it came from an up scale restaurant.  Fancy?   No.  Delicious, easy, healthful?  Yes. 

What You’ll Need:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, diced

2 cups brussels sprouts, halved

1 yellow squash, sliced and halved

salt and pepper to taste


How You’ll Do It:

Saute garlic and shallot in a few tablespoons in water.  Once shallots become mostly transparent, add brussels and squash.  Saute uncovered for two minutes, then cover for three to four minutes until done.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Why You’ll Love It:

  You’ll love Brussels Sprouts if you love being free of cancer.  Brussels Sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family which means they are very high in effective phytonutrients.   The phytonutrients in the cruciferous family work even harder than the average vegetable phytonutrient to fight cancer cells, prevent free radical damage, and to actually repair damaged DNA in the body (which can cause cancer development).  On top of the disease preventing super powers, brussels sprouts have over 100% of your daily vitamin C and K in one cup serving.

Brussels Sprouts are such an amazing, healthful, and disease fighting food that you should really take interest in learning more.  And if you’re looking for other great veggie side dishes why not try some Classic Carrots?

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