Category Archives: Vegan

Spicy Red Lentil Dip (Hummus)

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Spring weather has FINALLY arrived in Massachusetts and it is glorious. This winter was the longest, coldest, snowiest winter I can remember and it was starting to feel like spring would never come. Yesterday was a nice 65 degrees and I spent the day with Mirva, Naomi, Emily and Brian enjoying the weather and playing cornhole.

This Spicy Red Lentil Dip was inspired by a delicious hummus I picked up recently – Eat Well Embrace Life Spicy Yellow Lentil Hummus. It was so tasty but a little bit pricey so I decided to whip up my own. I love lentils and of course hummus, and find that sometimes dips made with beans other than chickpeas are just as good (if not better) than the traditional stuff.


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I couldn’t find yellow lentils (I’ve actually never seen them before, though I did consider buying yellow split peas instead), so I picked up some red lentils. Red lentils have a mild, nutty flavor and are not quite as earthy-tasting as brown or green lentils. I threw in all the ingredients you would put in hummus – tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt – but I read recently that hummus literally translates to “chickpeas” in Arabic, which is why I’m calling this a dip instead of hummus (even though it’s the same concept).

In addition to the base of the recipe, I added a red fresno pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and smoked paprika to spice up this dip and bring it to life. I love how the lentils blend up super smooth and make a perfect texture for the dip. I love lentils not only because they’re tasty, but they’re also loaded with protein – 1/4 cup of dry split red lentils has 13g! Perfect for vegetarians/vegans, or for those looking for a filling snack.

Spicy Red Lentil Dip
makes ~2 cups


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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry split red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp Tahini (sesame seed paste – I love Trader Joe’s Tahini Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • juice from half of one large lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeรฑo or red fresno pepper (use half for less heat)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp mild hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper powder
  • salt, to taste
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Your ingredients, plus the spicy pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and cook red lentils according to package directions. They typically take about 15 minutes to cook. They may start to break down and become mushy or all of the water may not evaporate/be absorbed – this is okay and will make blending easier.
  2. While you’re letting your lentils cool, combine your tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and hot pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  3. Add in your lentils, hot sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt and continue blending, stopping to scrape down the sides when necessary, until well-combined and smooth. Taste and adjust any spices/salt to your liking. Serve with pita chips, carrot sticks, or on a sandwich and enjoy!
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Cook your lentils according to package directions. When they’re finished, they’ll look something like this.

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In your food processor, combine the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and hot pepper. Pulse until smooth.

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Add the cooked lentils to your food processor and pulse until smooth.

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And there you have delicious & nutritious, creamy, Spicy Red Lentil Dip! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sweet Potato Hash

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This morning I was looking around my kitchen, trying to figure out what I could make to put on my blog. The sun was out, and I hadn’t posted a recipe in a few weeks. Back when I was posting recipes on here every few days, I would always have something planned. Lately when I post a recipe, I don’t really have a plan and I kind of just throw something together. I miss having lots of time to plan recipes, go grocery shopping and then cook and photograph the food. But I certainly do not miss not having a job, so I will squeeze in food blogging whenever I can.

Anyway, I stumbled upon some sweet potatoes that needed to be eaten, and also happened to have some fresh bell peppers. I’ve made regular potato hash, but not sweet potato hash before and my stomach was rumbling for some breakfast. Growing up, on the weekends my parents would sometimes frizzle up corned beef hash that comes from a can and I won’t lie – I still love the stuff. It’s chewy, crispy, and full of flavor. In light of attempting to eat better, I healthified (new word) my hash by omitting meat, subbing regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, and adding some fresh veggies.

This Sweet Potato Hash makes a delicious addition to a weekend breakfast, and I think it would also heat up well for leftovers. It’s sweet, spicy, and filling. I found it to go great with a fried egg and a light sprinkle of cheddar cheese. I do think this hash would be really good with bits of bacon, but it’s also delicious without! I cooked my sweet potatoes in a separate pan from my veggies because I wanted to make sure everything cooked evenly, but they could also be par-boiled. I just recommend being careful of overcooking your sweet potatoes, because then they will fall apart.

Sweet Potato Hash
makes 3 – 4 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided in half
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup diced bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • seasoning to taste: paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and a garlic/salt/pepper blend
  • green onions to garnish

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Your ingredients

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Your spices

Directions:

  1. In a medium frying pan, heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil or butter over medium heat and add diced potatoes. Cover with about 1/4 cup water and let cook for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water has absorbed and potatoes are softened but not yet mushy.
  2. In a separate frying pan, heat another 1/2 olive oil and add diced onion. Cook for about 10 minutes, and then add bell peppers. Continue to saute for another 10 – 15 minutes, until veggies are softened and beginning to brown. At this point I added a bit of butter to really ramp up the flavor, but that’s optional.
  3. Add cooked sweet potatoes to veggies, along with your spices. Cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and make sure the spices are to your liking. Garnish with green onions and serve with eggs or a meat of your choice, and enjoy!

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Cook up your sweet potatoes until softened

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Saute your onions and peppers until soft and beginning to brown. Add garlic at the end.

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Mix your sweet potatoes in, along with spices. Cook for an additional few minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Vanilla Bean Pecan Granola

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Hello folks!
Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season filled with lots of good food. While I wanted to post a seasonal, wintery recipe today, I also was on a mission to make delicious granola. I realized I haven’t posted a granola recipe in a long time so that became today’s post.

Recently at work, I discovered my cafeteria’s granola is actually pretty tasty. Some days I’ll either bring yogurt from home or get some in the cafeteria for a mid-morning snack, along with a heaping scoop of granola. But then I remembered, my own granola is pretty damn good and free, since I have all the ingredients on hand. I wanted to make something a little different this time around, so I incorporated some new ingredients.

Growing up, I was always a chocolate person. I loved chocolate everything and would eat chocolate in some form or another just about every day. Then I slowed started moving away from my chocolate addiction and some time over the past few years, I’ve become crazy over vanilla. I still enjoy a bowl of rich chocolate ice cream (or especially these peppermint chocolate truffles), but when it comes to my everyday vices such as coffee or granola bars, I prefer vanilla.

I always put plenty of vanilla extract in any of my baked goods, and recently picked up some vanilla bean paste from Homegoods. It’s really more like of a goo, though I suppose “vanilla bean goo” doesn’t sound quite as appealing. It has a nice rich vanilla flavor, with vanilla bean seeds in it. The other addition to this granola was pecans. Pecans are probably my favorite type of nut, and I love that they serve them at the breakfast and salad bar at work. I also added raisins this time, which I haven’t done before, but I love the chewiness of them in contrast to the crunchy granola.

Vanilla Bean Pecan Granola
makes about 2 1/2 cups

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola, or butter)
  • 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract (or from a fresh vanilla bean if you’re feeling adventurous!)
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
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Your ingredients

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The “secret” ingredient – Vanilla Bean Paste! This can be found at Homegoods, Marshall’s, and probably specialty baking stores such as Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300ยบF and lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt coconut oil in the microwave (mine took about 1 minutes and 30 seconds total to melt). Stir in honey and vanilla bean paste/extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and stir. Add to bowl with wet ingredients and stir again, making sure all the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated in oil. Fold in pecans, raisins, and coconut and stir once more, just until combined.
  4. Spread uncooked granola on your baking sheet and bake for a total of 30 minutes, stirring at 10 minute increments. Stirring is important, or else your granola will cook unevenly and possibly burn in some spots.
  5. Once it’s done cooking, I like to push it all to one side of the baking sheet in a big pile to encourage clumping. Let it cool for about 20 – 30 minutes before serving. Store in an air-tight container (mason jars work perfectly!)
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Prep your ingredients

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Mix it all up!

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Spread on a lightly greased baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

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The finished product!

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๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. I got a new camera lens for Christmas! These photos were taken with the new toy. I’m not sure if I like it as much as my old lens that broke last year, but I’m still getting used to it so we’ll see!

Lentil Chickpea Coconut Curry

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Since trying lentils for the first time last summer, I’ve become mildly obsessed with them and usually cook them anywhere from one to three times a month. I love lentils with brown rice, or with sausage, but my favorite way to eat lentils is in a delicious curry. I was originally going to post a recipe for Chana Masala (chickpea curry), but decided I needed to include my beloved lentils and also some greens.

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If you enjoy curry, I definitely recommend giving this recipe a try. Hearty lentils and chickpeas are simmered in a flavorful tomato-curry sauce with kale and coconut milk, served over rice. This meal is so filling and satisfying, I bet most wouldn’t guess that it’s vegan. I admit I sometimes miss meat in a vegetarian or vegan meal, but this isn’t one of them. Lentils and chickpeas are both packed with protein, very low in fat and diet superfoods in my book. I’ve been making this meal in some variation or another for months now, and it really has become one of my favorites. This is the first time I made it with coconut milk and I love the way it mellows out the strong flavors a bit. The amount of spices are based off my personal preferences, so you may find you want more or less of something – just have fun playing around with it!

Lentil Chickpea Coconut Curry

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Ingredients:
serves 5-6

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of water, veggie stock or chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry brown or green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 stalks kale, torn into small pieces or 4-5 cups spinach (I used both)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp red curry powder or garam masala
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp coriander (or 2 tsp cumin if coriander is not available)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (feel free to use the whole can if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
  • fresh cilantro and scallions to garnish, warmed Naan to serve

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Directions:

  1. In medium saucepan, cook rice according to box directions. You can do this step in advance, or let the rice cook while you’re preparing the rest of the meal.
  2. In a 3-4 quart cooking pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over low heat. Add diced onion and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and continue cooking.
  3. Once veggies have softened and browned a bit (about 15-20 minutes), add water or stock to the pot, along with your lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then return to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato sauce or diced tomato to the pot and stir in kale. (If using spinach, don’t add it until later – see step number 5.) Season with all of the spices (yellow curry powder through red pepper flakes) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until kale is tender and the curry has thickened.
  5. Stir in chickpeas, coconut milk, and lime juice (and spinach, if using) and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve curry over rice, with a garnish of fresh cilantro, scallions, and warmed Naan. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Start by sauteing your veggies

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Once veggies are tender, add 3 cups of water or stock to the pot, along with lentils and 1 bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes.

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Stir in tomato sauce, kale and spices and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

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Once kale is tender, add chickpeas, coconut milk, and lime juice to the curry. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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The finished product!

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Maple Roasted Chickpeas

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I had a brownie recipe that I was excited to share with you guys today, but unfortunately the batter just did not come together and I had to add a bunch of extra ingredients to get it to the right consistency. The brownies ended up coming out okay, but I didn’t feel confident about posting the recipe on here when I wasn’t exactly sure what went wrong. They were Zucchini Brownies, which I was excited about because I had never used zucchini in a dessert recipe before and they looked surprisingly fudgy and delicious. Oh well, better luck next time.

Luckily I had a back-up recipe in mind. Lately I’ve been seeing recipes for roasted chickpeas floating around the internet. I was skeptical at first, thinking the idea of roasting canned chickpeas didn’t sound appealing at all but many blogs claimed they were crunchy and addictive. I decided to give them a try and I admit I ate them all by myself in one night.. oops. Luckily they are a healthy snack, low-fat and packed with protein, so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating so much.

These Maple Roasted Chickpeas are a simple 4-ingredient recipe that makes a quick and healthy snack. I chose to use maple syrup because I’ve become quite fond of it over the past few months, but you could alternatively use honey or brown sugar. For a more savory flavor, you could use garlic, cumin, or cayenne pepper for extra heat. There are endless possibilities to how you can prepare them and they are incredibly inexpensive to make. My house smelled like french toast as these were roasting in the oven – mmm.

Maple Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (I used the fake kind, but if you have the real stuff then go for it!)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • optional: 1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ยบF. After draining and rinsing chickpeas, lay out on a paper towel and pat dry as much as you can.
  2. Pour chickpeas into a small mixing bowl, along with the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
  3. Spread chickpeas out on a baking sheet lined with foil in a single layer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until they are crisp and browned. Let cool and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚
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After rinsing and drying your chickpeas, add them to a bowl with maple syrup, oil, and brown sugar and stir to combine.

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Arrange chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring every 10. I didn’t line my baking sheet with foil, but I recommend it because the maple syrup gets pretty sticky.

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Chickpeas will look something like this when they’re finished

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๐Ÿ™‚