02 March 2017: Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Apples and Walnuts

2017-mar-02_fournightsaweek_0462Adapted from Wholefully.

We love eating Brussel sprouts and usually steam them as a vegetable side dish.  Recently I started seeing shaved Brussel sprout salads, and when, to my great delight, I spotted a bag of sprouts already shredded…. well, I couldn’t resist. Here’s a vegan nod to this dish created by Cassie Johnston at Wholefully, a great resource for healthy eating.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts (if you can score pre-shaved ones, you will save yourself the scariness in Step 1 below)
  • 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Vinaigrette  2017-mar-02_fournightsaweek_0476

  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Trim the ends off the Brussel sprouts. Using a sharp knife or the thinest blade on a mandoline slicer (and a no-cut glove), slice eat sprout thinly. (you can skip this if you find already shaved Brussel sprouts as I did in our local Whole Foods Market).
  2. Slice the apple and red onion in the same manner. Combine in a large bowl.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about two minutes. Add to the Brussel sprout mixture. Toss to combine.
  4. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cassie recommends doing this in a jar with a tight fitting lid, I used a measuring cup and small whisk. Pour over the Brussel sprout mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6


23 Feb. 2017: Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Dressing

2017-feb-23_fournightsaweek_0439I happened on Martha Stewart’s PBS cooking show recently, and was impressed that the recipe she prepared was not so ridiculously complicated that it required a team of sous chefs to get it to table.  So as I was searching for something to cook this week, I migrated over to her website and found this Quinoa Bowl.  Delicious and not difficult for home cooking!  Thanks to Wendy at Tutto Bene for the Barista Pinotage recommendation.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of broccoli, florets with tender stems (halved if large) 2017-feb-23_fournightsaweek_0451
  • 1 red onion (8 oz) cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 cups packed mint leaves, plus more for serving/garnish
  • sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, and lightly toasted sliced almonds for serving

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss broccoli and onion with oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping vegetables once, until golden brown and tender (about 25 minutes).
  2. In a small pot, bring quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 14 minutes. Turn of heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Combine tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and mint in a blender. Blend until smooth; add 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  4. Serve quinoa topped with roasted vegetables, avocado, and cucumber and sprinkle with almonds and mint with dressing on the side. (Serves 4)

 


19 February 2017: Red Curry Vegetable Soup

2017-feb-19_fournighsaweek_ingredientsLiving in a diverse community such as Lowell, MA, I sometimes find that I’ve taken for granted all of the ethnic flavors that are available to us here.  With one of the largest Southeast Asian populations in the United States, we’ve been so fortunate to experience some fantastic foods and flavors, and even the mainstream grocers carry many ethnic foods.

This curry-flavored soup comes from Vegetarian Times, one of my favorite sources for non-meat based meals.  The magazine encourages cooks to substitute whatever might be available for both the cauliflower and green beans; however, in the dead of winter, access to either of these veggies in not a problem. In almost all cooking, I use either olive oil or coconut oil; I substituted the coconut oil for canola in this recipe. 2017-Feb-19_FourNighsAWeek_soup.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP canola oil (I substituted coconut oil)
  • 12 oz cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (3 cups)
  • 4 large green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes in their juice
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 6 oz green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used thawed frozen beans)
  • 1 TBSP lime juice

Method

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and white parts of green onions. Saute 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown. Add curry paste, and saute 1 minute more.
  2. Add broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and green beans , and simmer 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.
  4. Stir in lime juice and remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Note: the nutritional information for each serving (6) can be found on Vegetarian Times’ webpage for this recipe.


27 January 2017: Slow Cooker Chicken and Apple Stew

2017-jan-27_fournightsaweek_0363Every couple of weeks I like to break out my slow cooker. This week, I found a recipe on WholeFoods Market that used chicken thighs; they stand up to long, slow cooking without loosing any of their moist flavor. I’ve owned a couple of slow cookers over the last 30-plus years, starting with a one-piece Presto that made cleaning up a nightmare.  My current version is a round All-Clad 4-quart model with a black ceramic insert and 3 temperature settings (All-Clad’s newest version has an additional one: high start/low finish). Be sure to read the instruction manual carefully in order to avoid ending up with a cracked insert. 

I did make one adjustment to the recipe: since I buy my poultry at organic markets where I can be assured of the quality (no antibiotics, thank you), even thighs can be pretty pricey. I used half as much poultry as the recipe called for and didn’t miss the extra one bit. The link to Whole Foods Market’s original recipe is here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 1 lb.)
  • 3 firm, sweet baking apples (like Braeburn or Gala); peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (10 oz each), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 TBSP fresh (yes, it’s worth it) sage leaves
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Method

  1. Toast fennel seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 mins).
  2. Cut chicken thighs in half.
  3. Add chicken, fennel seeds and ALL the rest of the remaining ingredients to a slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook until chicken and apples are very tender, (6-7 hours on LOW or 3-3.5 hours on High)
  5. Serves 6-8

23 January 2017: Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0351It’s Meatless Monday! We both love stuffed peppers, but I’m not a huge fan of the ground meat and tomato sauce stuffing. This recipe uses quinoa along with chopped veggies seasoned with cumin and cinnamon.  In place of stuffing full peppers, I split them in half – still delish! Visit Whole Foods website for the original recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded & chopped; tops removed and reserved if you are filling the peppers upright, just core and seed the remaining 6)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 pound baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinse & cook according the package directions ahead of time)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring 2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0345 occasionally until transparent, 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes more.
  2. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin, and cooked quinoa. Toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper, and cashews (if using) and cook 1-2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool to just warm.
  3. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  4. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers (or 12 halves), gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan.
  5. Cover snugly with foil and bake until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hours. Transfer to plates, and serve.

17 January 2017: Indian Red Lentil Soup

2017-jan-17_fournightsaweek_0242It’s cold and damp and definitely a good night for soup! This recipe comes from Whole Foods Market. No kale, no problem – I used spinach in place of the kale this time around.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TBSP)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded kale (I used baby spinach)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Method:

  1. Heat a sauce pot over medium heat until hot. Add cumin and toast 1 minute or until aromatic. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown and stick to the pot, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice and cook 2 minutes longer,  stirring frequently. Add lentils, broth, 2 cups water, coconut milk and lemon juice; bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in kale and salt.

30 December 2016: Green Goddess Glow Bowl

2016-dec-31_fournightsaweek_0175Adapted from Glowing Fridge Green Goddess Glow Bowl.

I recently discovered a great resource for vegan and plant-based eating, The Glowing Fridge. Shannon, the author of this site, has lots of great ideas – including recipes – for anyone making the change to a plant-based diet.  One of the series of recipes Shannon has developed, the Glow Bowls, are variations on bowls of grains and veggies that can lead to endless variations.  After trying the Green Goddess Glow Bowl, I know I’m inspired to include more plant-based cooking in the coming year.

Since I usually have the Kripalu House Dressing (or variation thereof) on hand in my fridge, next time around I’ll probably use that in place of the dressing recipe* cited. This is just my personal preference for a bit of cayenne and chile powder.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (or 1 TBSP coconut oil – which is what I used)
  • 1/3 of an onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup edamame, frozen (take out of the pod if you bought edamame pods)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped (true confession: I walked out of the food store without the zucchini so I used more kale here)
  • 2 cups kale, de-stemmed
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing*:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup or agave nectar
  • sea salt, to taste

Method

  1. In a medium sized pot, add quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  2. In a separate pan, heat the vegetable broth (here I used coconut oil instead) and saute the onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the frozen edamame and zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the kale last and cook about 1 minute or until softened (this took longer for me – and I needed to cover the pan). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
  3. Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by adding all of the ingredients and whisking until smooth. I found I needed to add a small amount of water to loosen the tahini.
  4. Scoop the quinoa into a bowl, top with the vegetable mixture and drizzle on the dressing.

 


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