Healthy Mediterranean Linguine 

I created this recipe as a healthy version of a comfort food. It’s filled with healthy, plant based ingredients with no heavy or complicated sauces. You can whip this up in less than thirty minutes for a meal that you can enjoy with you family and that will make you feel satisfied for the night. If you’re a vegetarian you can top it with parmesan cheese and if you’re a vegan you can use nutritional yeast like I do, to add a nice cheesy flavor.

 

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TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

one 16 ounce box of linguine

1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing, plus 1/3 cup olive oil for the finish

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

one 8.5 ounce can of artichoke hearts in brine, drained and roughly chopped

1/2 cup kalamata olives in brine, drained and roughly chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes

3 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup julienned basil

YIELDS: 8 cups

 

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Begin by preparing linguine according to the instructions on the package, it usually takes about 12 minutes to cook linguine.

While linguine is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic on medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until they cook down.

Once the mushroom have cooked down add the artichoke hearts, olives, and sun dried tomatoes and saute for another five minutes.

When pasta is ready, drain and place in a large mixing bowl or the pan that the other ingredients are cooked in if there is enough space. Add salt, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, olive oil and basil and mix well.

Garnish with additional basil and pine nuts.

Your pasta is ready to be served!

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Walnut Tacos

I used to work at a vegan restaurant that sold walnut meat tacos and just used some salt and curry powder for their seasoning. They were a huge hit and people came just to eat them. So I decided to make my own version of the recipe using more mexican style taco seasoning ingredients. When my Mexican husband came home he loved them so much he said they reminded him of his Mom’s tacos from childhood and ate five of them!

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TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups soaked walnuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil or other high heat oil

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup diced tomato

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cumin

YIELDS: 2 cups

Soak the walnuts anywhere from one hour to overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to prepare your meat place them in a food processor and process until they’re crumbles and look similar to ground beef.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onions and garlic for about five minutes until the onions become translucent and begin to brown a little.

Add tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to one minutes until they become well cooked and juicy.

Add processed walnuts and remaining spices and mix well. Heat only long enough for the meat to be warm but you don’t want to cook it.

Serve on a tortilla with avocado, salsa, green onions and cilantro or your favorite taco toppings!

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Strawberry Pineapple Paradise

Another great smoothie for those days you wish you were at the beach, but instead it’s snowing outside!

TIME: five minutes

Ingredients:

1 Cup frozen pineapple

1 banana

1 Cup coconut milk (non dairy milk substitute by the soy milk, not the canned kind)

2 medjool dates

1 Cup frozen strawberries

YIELDS: 2.5 cups

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Enjoy!

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Veggie Chow Mein

My husband loves chow mein and I often wake up in the morning and find empty Panda Express containers in the trash, so I decided to make my own cheaper, tastier and healthier version. Here it is!

TIME: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon high heat oil for sauteeing

12 ounce bag of chow mein noodles from the asian section of the market

1 cup half moon sliced yellow onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 cup sliced green or napa cabbage

1 cup julienned carrot

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup snow peas

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon Mirin (optional)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

YIELDS: 8 cups

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I included these pictures of the ingredients if they are unfamiliar to any of my readers. I chose to use dry chow mein noodles from the Asian section of the supermarket, not the pasta section where you find italian noodles. If you want to make this dish even faster or easier, you can usually go to the vegetarian refrigerated section of the market where they sell tofu, or sometimes the produce department and buy precooked chow mein noodles. If you buy the precooked noodles, I think all you have to do is heat them up.

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I also chose to use hot pepper sesame seed oil in my sauce just because we like spice in my house, but that is completely optional for you and is not by any means a requirement. You can use any sesame oil you want. Mirin is also completely optional but adds a nice flavor.

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Make sure you slice all your vegetables before you start cooking because the cooking goes pretty fast. Before starting the veggies you also want to go ahead and cook the noodles if you use the dry noodles. Follow the instructions carefully because they are nothing like other pasta noodles. You must first bring the water to a boil and add noodles. Allow the noodles to begin to boil over and add a cup of cold water. Allow the water to begin to boil over again and remove from heat, draining immediately and rinsing under cold water to prevent them from further cooking. The process takes about six to seven minutes and requires you to watch it carefully. This is how the noodles I used were prepared but make sure you follow the instructions carefully on what ever packet you use.

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Once your noodles are fully cooked and cooled, heat the oil in a pan at medium high and add onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and starting to brown but not overly cooked. Add the rest of the veggies and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes until the are cooked but still firm.

In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and sesame oil and whisk well. Add the noodles to the veggies and top with the sauce mix. Stir well so the sauce gets on all the noodles and the veggies are mixed in well.

Garnish with pepper flakes or green onions if you choose!

Easy Pasta Sauce

I made this pasta sauce tonight when I didn’t have much in the house other than canned tomatoes. I didn’t even have tomato paste, which is why you won’t see it in this recipe, but it turned out fabulously. I ended up having a great dinner without going to the store.

TIME: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon high heat oil

2 teaspoons of garlic, minced, approximately 2 or three cloves

1.25 cups of diced yellow onion

1 cup of diced cremini mushrooms

2 cans of diced tomatoes, 14.5 ounce cans

1 cup of water

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

YIELDS: about 3.5 cups

Place oil in a pan and turn stove to medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for approximately 5 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Stir frequently to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes. The mushrooms should also begin to get a golden color to them.

Add the two cans of diced tomatoes, water and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes.

After the 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf. Take two cup of the sauce and put it in the blender and puree. Add the puree back into the sauce and this will give it a creamy texture. Add additional salt to taste and pour over your favorite pasta.

Perfect pinto Beans

I love beans! I grew up in California where we eat beans every other day. I was raised on Mexican food, beans, rice, avocado and salsa. Beans can be as bland as they can be flavorful so I decided to put a recipe up that is foolproof and will make a perfect addition to your meal.

TIME:   55 minutes                                                                                                                                        

Ingredients:

2 Cups of pinto beans

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 medium cloves of garlic

Water

YIELDS: 4 cups

Soak your beans overnight to help make them soft and to cut cooking time in half. This will also help prevent you from getting the uncomfortable side effect of gas that beans are so well known for. When you soak your beans you get rid of the phytic acid that causes these effects and allows for better absorption of nutrients, which is what we want from our food, right!

Once your beans are fully soaked you will want to rinse them well and not cook them in the soak water. This will help get rid of any of the unwanted byproducts that the beans have released overnight. Put the beans in a deep sauce pan and cover generously with water, so there is at least an inch and a half to two inches covering them.

Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the beans are boiling, reduce temperature to medium low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow beans to cook for 50 minutes and test for softness before removing from heat. If beans are old they will take longer to cook.

Enjoy in a tortilla, with rice, on nachos or by themselves! Throw on some guacamole, some salsa or some Mexican Crema! These are perfect pinto beans!

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