Dill, Chive, and Garlic White Bean Sandwich Spread

I made these awesome veggie sandwiches for dinner tonight. It’s Dave’s Killer Bread topped with lettuce, tomato and pickle. And, an awesome herby, garlic-y, white bean spread.  This recipe requires no cooking – only a food processor!
Dill Chive Garlic White Bean Spread

Dill, Chive, and Garlic White Bean Sandwich Spread

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (save 2 tbs of the liquid)
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 2 tbs chickpea liquid (from the can)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Spread on bread, then top with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/dill-chive-and-garlic-white-bean-sandwich-spread/

Quick Cauliflower Tofu Curry

When my friends need a quick meal on a weeknight, they turn to sandwiches, pasta, or pizza.  When I need a quick meal, I make curry.  I know what you’re thinking – quick curry!?  That doesn’t even make sense!  Trust me, it does.  This curry takes 20 minutes to cook, and about 5 minutes of prep time.  The ingredient list isn’t too long, and it only uses one pot.  It also feeds four, at about 300 calories per serving.  You can serve it with rice or another grain easily to up the caloric content.  It’s filling because of the amounts of protein and fat.  Most of all, it doesn’t taste like it only took 20 minutes!
Quick Creamy Cauliflower Tofu Curry
I used Nasoya’s Chipotle Marinated Baked Tofu in this recipe.  This stuff is seriously amazing, and I’m so glad my local Publix grocery started carrying it.  It has a much meatier texture than regular tofu, because it’s already pre-baked, and it’s SO flavorful.  I love this stuff.  It’s roughly twice as expensive as the plain tofu I buy, because it’s $3.99 for 8 ounces of this instead of $3.99 for 16 ounces of plain extra firm tofu.  You might think that’s too expensive, but it is so worth it to me.  I don’t have to press it, season it, or bake it!  It’s already cooked!  The amount of time it saves me is ridiculous.  I really can’t say enough goods things about this tofu.  You should seriously try it.  I promise I’m not getting any compensation for raving about this product – I just love it that much!
Quick Creamy Cauliflower Tofu CurryQuick Creamy Cauliflower Tofu Curry
I took the leftovers of this recipe to work for lunch one day, and all my coworkers commented on how good it made the break room smell.  Nobody believed it only took 20 minutes to make!

Quick Cauliflower Tofu Curry

Yield: Serves 4

Calories per serving: 300 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk (from the can)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound frozen cauliflower florets
  • 8 ounces Chipotle Marinated Baked Tofu, chopped into bite sized pieces

Instructions

  1. Line a large skillet with water, and saute the carrots, onion, and garlic for ten minutes on high heat.
  2. Add coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, and spices. Stir until completely incorporated.
  3. Add cauliflower and tofu, and stir to combine. Lower heat to medium high and cook for an additional ten minutes (or until the cauliflower is fork tender), stirring at least once every minute. The curry will be slightly soupy. If you prefer a drier curry, continue simmering until it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Serve by itself, or over sticky rice. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/quick-cauliflower-tofu-curry/

Quick Creamy Cauliflower Tofu Curry

Quinoa, Peas N’ Greens Bowl

Yellow split peas are a food that doesn’t get enough love.  In just one cup, cooked yellow split peas have 16 grams of protein and 64% of your recommended daily fiber intake.  They also have 20% of your recommended daily potassium.  All of this, and more, with less than one gram of fat.  Peas are a powerhouse, and when paired with quinoa they’re out of this world.  If you eat one cup each of cooked split peas and quinoa for dinner, you will have eaten 24 grams of protein.

In this Quinoa, Peas N’ Greens Bowl, yellow split peas are given a sultry rich flavor from turmeric and garam masala.  This recipe incorporates Indian and Ethiopian notes.  The color contrast between the red quinoa, the yellow peas, and the bright green spinach make for a dish you can eat with your eyes and your taste buds.
Quinoa Peas Greens Bowl
I topped this dish with Kimchi for a spicy note, but feel free to eat it just how it is, or top it with any number of other things!  If you leave the split peas slightly soupy, they can act as a sauce by themselves.  This meal doesn’t require a lot of active cooking time and can be made in large batches to enjoy throughout the week.  I’ve eaten the quinoa and split peas every day this week for lunch, with a varying rotation of greens on the side after I used all the spinach.  If you don’t have red quinoa, regular will work just fine.
Quinoa Peas Greens Bowl
Quinoa Peas Greens Bowl

Quinoa, Peas N' Greens Bowl

Ingredients

    For the Yellow Split Peas
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces yellow split peas
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • For the Quinoa
  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • For the Greens
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • Salt to taste
  • Kimchi for a topping (optional)

Instructions

    For the Yellow Split Peas
  1. Saute onion and garlic in 1/4 cup of the water until onions are translucent and most of the water is gone, about 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining 3 1/2 cups water and the yellow split peas. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in all spices, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until split peas reach desired tenderness.
  4. For the Quinoa
  5. In a separate pot, bring veggie broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa, and bring back to a boil.
  6. Reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer until tender and little white rings appear around the individual quinoa grains, approximately 15-20 minutes.
  7. For the Greens
  8. Line a skillet with a thin layer of water. Saute one pound frozen spinach until tender, approximately 3-6 minutes. Salt to taste.
  9. Assembly
  10. Fill a bowl with one part each quinoa, yellow split peas, and spinach. Top with Kimchi (optional) or any other dressing of your choosing. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/quinoa-peas-n-greens-bowl/

Quinoa Peas Greens Bowl

Southern Comfort Bowl: Mashed Potatoes, Collards, Golden Gravy

There’s something magical about meals that come in bowls.  Warm, comforting foods get arranged together in perfect harmony.  This Southern Comfort Bowl incorporates mashed potatoes, collard greens, beans, tofu, and an awesome golden gravy.  I’ve tested this recipe on several people, and it was gobbled up in minutes.  I even had to make the recipe again to photograph because all the food disappeared before I could take pictures!  Not that I’m complaining.  I’m always down for some mashed ‘taters and greens.
Southern Comfort Bowl
The recipe may seem long, but it’s easy to put together.  Most of the ingredients are spices.  The beans take the longest to cook, but they just simmer all day in a slow cooker, requiring no work on your part.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to make the Rockin’ Tomato Slowcooker Beans, then just use canned vegetarian baked beans!  These beans, while Rockin’, are not typical baked beans.  They are very tomato-y.  I think they’re a perfect compliment to the mashed potatoes and spicy collards.
Southern Comfort Bowl
Let’s talk gravy.  Okay?  Okay.  I was never a fan of traditional brown, white, or gray gravies.  I would pour as little as possible on my food.  Something about it never settled quite right with me.  Until I had THIS plant-based, no-fat, vegan awesomeness, Golden Gravy.  This gravy recipe has become my go-to sauce for potatoes, rice, and steamed veggies.  It is so simple to make, and has none of the fat or animal parts/secretions found in regular gravy.  I fed this gravy to a bunch of omnivores this week and they loved it.  Even my husband, my equal in gravy-hating, liked it.  Make the gravy.  It’s soul food.
Southern Comfort Bowl
The Cajun Collard Greens are spicy, but not too spicy.  If you like to turn up the heat, just increase the red pepper flakes called for to 1 teaspoon instead of 1/2 teaspoon.  The Honey Gold Mashed Potatoes are literally the simplest mashed potatoes I’ve ever made.  Honey Gold potatoes are tiny and sweet, with a buttery quality.  I could eat these babies plain, but once you’ve had them mashed with a little cashew milk and salt, you’ll never go back.  If you have other kinds of potatoes, they will work as well.  However, I highly recommend trying the Honey Golds first.  They’re divine.  The tofu on top in the photographs is a store-bought Chipotle Marinated Baked Tofu.  It’s oil-free, which is hard to find these days.  I used one piece per bowl.  It has a very “meaty” texture, much firmer than other tofus I’ve tried.  If you can find it, try it!  If not, any baked tofu will do.

Southern Comfort Bowl

Serving Size: Serves 4

Ingredients

    For the Rockin' Tomato Slowcooker Beans
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (one small can)
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • For the Honey Gold Mashed Potatoes
  • 28 ounces Honey Gold Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Cajun Collard Greens
  • 1 pound fresh shredded collard greens
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the Golden Gravy
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • For the Tofu
  • Store-bought chipotle marinated baked tofu (or any baked tofu - you could even bake your own if you like).

Instructions

    For the Rockin' Tomato Slowcooker Beans
  1. Whisk together the first nine ingredients. Fold in the onion and navy beans. Cook on low in your slow cooker for 6-8 hours.
  2. For the Honey Gold Mashed Potatoes
  3. Cut potatoes into quarters. Bring to a boil in a large pot of salted water. Boil until fork tender, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  4. Drain potatoes, mash with cashew milk and salt to taste.
  5. For the Cajun Collard Greens
  6. Line a large skillet with water. Add collards and onion. Cover and steam 10 minutes.
  7. Add liquid smoke, cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cover and steam until tender, another 10-15 minutes. Add splashes of water if it looks dry.
  8. For the Golden Gravy
  9. Line a soup pot with a thin layer of water. Saute the onion, garlic, and mustard seeds for five minutes on high heat, until the water is absorbed.
  10. Add veggie broth, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast. Using and immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  11. Reduce heat to medium, and very slowly whisk in the flour. Whisk constantly until all lumps are dissolved. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, whisking every other minute to ensure it doesn't burn, until gravy reaches desired thickness.
  12. For the Tofu
  13. Warm tofu in a skillet (you can use the same one you cooked the collards in, if you like!)
  14. Assembly
  15. Place a generous serving of mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add collard greens, beans, and tofu, and top with gravy. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/southern-comfort-bowl/

Southern Comfort Bowl

Comforting Tomato Barley Soup

It’s the last day of September, and fall has finally arrived.  In Florida, this means that the unrelenting humidity and melting heat starts to come around 9 am, instead of lingering 24 hours a day.  It means that everyone is sipping pumpkin spiced lattes and pulling out their boots, even though it’s still 80 degrees.  It means we’re excited about the possibility of cooler weather, but mostly because the holidays are coming.  I hear that in other, more northern places, the leaves are starting to color and the air is getting crisp.  Apparently it’s already snowing in Alaska!

No matter where you find yourself celebrating fall – whether it’s near a fireplace or on the beach – this Comforting Tomato Barley Soup will fit right in.  It’s gentle warmth is comforting when you’re cold, had a long day at work, or are just plain hungry.  It’s full of immune boosting garlic and tomatoes – perfect for the ever-lurking cold and flu season.
Comforting Tomato Barley Soup
Barley is one of my favorite grains.  It’s a cereal grain, a member of the grass family, and was one of the first grains to ever be cultivated.  If you grew up like I did, you’ve probably only had barley in canned soups and at restaurants.  It was never something that got cooked in my house.  A few years ago I stumbled across a bag of pearled barley at my local grocery store and decided to take a chance.  After all, if I hated it or failed at cooking it, I’d only be out $1.50.  I was delighted when I took my first bite, and I’ve worked barley into my meals as often as possible ever since.  Barley has a fair amount of protein, lots of fiber, and even a nice bit of potassium.  It’s got a wonderful texture, and will stick to your stomach for a while so you don’t end up hungry too fast.
Comforting Tomato Barley Soup
Comforting Tomato Barley Soup
This recipe is so easy.  It takes 10 minutes of prep time, then you just let that soup simmer until it’s ready while you do more important things.  Like snuggle your pet, kiss your partner, or play hide and seek with your kids.  Life is too short not to pause and enjoy every moment, even if it’s just a random Wednesday – the last day of September at the beginning of fall.

Comforting Tomato Barley Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

This barley soup is perfect for fall, when the air starts hold a slight chill and here and there a dried leaf skates by on the pavement. Share with people you love. This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced very thin (a mandolin is helpful here)
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked pearled barley
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. Slice your onions very thin (a mandolin is helpful here). Line a large soup pot with water, and sauté the onions on high heat for 5 minutes, adding splashes of water if it gets dry. Add the minced head of garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  2. While the onions and garlic are sautéing, chop the tomatoes. Add veggie broth, tomatoes, barley, and all the spices to the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat, then immediately turn down to medium-low and cover.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the chickpeas, turn the heat up to medium, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with crusty toasted bread. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/comforting-tomato-barley-soup/

Comforting Tomato Barley Soup

Well I’ll be your shade tree in summer, if you’ll be my fire when it’s cold.
Whatever the season, we’ll keep on breathin’, cause we’ll have each other to hold”
–“Forever Like That” – Ben Rector–

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne” from Isa Does It

Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve never cooked with wine before today?  It’s the truth.  This Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne has been on my list to make for two years now, but every time I read the ingredient list I would sigh and flip to another page.  Cooking with wine?  That’s just crazy talk.  That’s for fancy people with fancy kitchens, holding dinner parties and sipping Malbec with their (vegan) desert.  It couldn’t possibly be for a Monday night when you get home late, had a bad day at work, hurt yourself working out, and are basically starving to death.  Right?  Wrong!  This recipe is exactly for those days.  It’s on the table in less than 30 minutes, has a good dose of green veggies, and the wine imparts such a depth of flavor.

There’s a reason Isa Does It is my favorite vegan cookbook.  It’s packed full of recipes like this, that are ridiculously easy and still wildly sophisticated.  I’m not lying when I say that I have never made a recipe from this book that I didn’t like.  This meal was no different.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 50.  Even my omnivorous husband who usually cooks his own food loved it and stole a huge portion off my plate while I was doing dishes.  Make the Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne.  Buy Isa Does It.  It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent on a cookbook.
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It
If you don’t own Isa Does It, you can find this fabulous recipe HERE at Matt Frazier’s No Meat Athlete Blog.  (By the way, his blog is an excellent resource for vegans who work out.)  Each serving is approximately 400 calories.  For a lower fat option, use half the cashews called for and replace the rest with a creamy plant milk.  Using whole wheat pasta is another great option to boost the nutritional value.  You can also use a cheap red wine.  I know this, because I did!
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It
Just look at this creamy, saucy goodness.  I ate until I could barely move, and still wanted to keep eating.  And it’s completely guilt free!  The veggie powerhouse of basil, broccoli, and sun dried tomatoes make this a complete one-plate meal.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  I’m just excited I have leftovers to eat for lunch tomorrow!
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

Shiitake Chickpea Burgers with Smoky Siracha Mayo

Shiitake Chickpea Burgers with Smoky Siracha Mayo
Tuesdays call for veggie burgers.  Crispy, creamy, smoky happiness inbetween two buns.  I always want veggie burgers in the middle of the week.  They’re so simple to make, and the familiarity of this great comfort food always elevates a Tuesday night.  I ate two of these tonight!  Now I’m out of hamburger buns, but these patties will be wonderful over some rice and veggies tomorrow for lunch.
Shiitake Chickpea Burgers with Smoky Siracha Mayo
This recipe incorporates turmeric and curry powder for a subtle spice, and the mayo is smoky, with a kick from the siracha!  I am fully on the siracha train – a few drops makes almost every meal better.  The Smoky Siracha Mayo calls for 1 teaspoon of siracha.  If you like heat, add more to taste!  You can also squirt a bit into the burger mixture before baking…or just spread some on top if you really like to go crazy!Shiitake Chickpea Burgers with Smoky Siracha Mayo

Shiitake Chickpea Burgers with Smoky Siracha Mayo

Yield: 4 burgers

Ingredients

    For the Burgers:
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 1/2 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water, set aside to gel for a minute)
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • For the Mayo:
  • 1/4 cup plant based mayo
  • 1 teaspoon siracha
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Instructions

    For the Burgers:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place chickpeas, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and water in a food processor. Blend until no large chunks remain, but not to a complete puree texture.
  2. Move mixture from the food processor to a large bowl. Add flax egg, oats, and spices. Mix vigorously with your hands until combined.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form burger patties and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, flipping the burgers over every 10 minutes.
  4. For the Mayo:
  5. Whisk mayo, siracha, and liquid smoke together. Taste, and add more siracha if you like heat!
  6. Assembly:
  7. Top a bun with Smoky Siracha Mayo and a cooked burger patty. Add your favorite toppings, such as spinach, tomatoes, pickles, and onion. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/shiitake-chickpea-burgers-with-smoky-siracha-mayo/

Shiitake Chickpea Burgers with Smoky Siracha Mayo

Happy Herbivore 7 Day Meal Plan: Day 2, Buffalo Chickpea Pasta Salad

It’s day two of following Happy Herbivore’s weekly meal plan.  I got home about an hour later than I normally do, and by that time I was HANGRY.  Hanger is hunger + anger.  I generally end up having to apologize for the things I’ve said while hangry.  Thankfully, no one else was home when I stomped in, and I was able to whip up the Buffalo Chickpea Pasta Salad from the meal plan in fifteen minutes.  Phew!  Once I was happily stuffing my face, I watched this video three times.  I think I am all of these people when hanger strikes.

Happy Herbivore Meal Plan Buffalo Chickpea SaladHappy Herbivore Meal Plan Buffalo Chickpea Salad
I was very pleased with this Buffalo Chickpea Pasta Salad recipe.  It was SO EASY.  Literally, boil water, chop some celery, open a can of chickpeas, and whisk together the dressing.  I used two cans of chickpeas instead of one – because I’m a hungry hungry hippo.  I also used about double the spices called for in the dressing.  Except for the hot sauce, I used about half of the called for half a cup.  That’s way too spicy for me!  Also I only had 1/4 cup of hot sauce, sooo…….
Happy Herbivore Meal Plan Buffalo Chickpea Salad
Happy Herbivore Meal Plan Buffalo Chickpea Salad
The recipe called for 10 ounces of pasta.  I legitimately have no idea how much pasta that is, so I made a whole pound.  There was enough dressing to go around.  This recipe also made four containers of leftovers!  Winning.
Happy Herbivore Meal Plan Buffalo Chickpea Salad
Tomorrow I’m thinking of making either the Barbque Tofu Nuggets and Veggies or the Thai Rice Salad.  I suppose we’ll have to see how hangry I am by the time I get home, and which one cooks up faster!

Happy Herbivore 7 Day Meal Plan: Day 1, Summer Rolls

I’ve been following Happy Herbivore since before I decided to be vegan.  Lindsay Nixon’s recipes are super easy, and her website and cookbooks were one of the main catalysts for me to start a plant-based lifestyle.  She’s so reassuring and kind, and it gave me the confidence to begin cooking food that could heal my body instead of hurting it.  So, I’m not sure why it’s taken me 2 years to buy one of her weekly meal plans.  I suppose I just assumed that since I had all of her cookbooks, the meal plans wouldn’t hold any value for me.  I was wrong, because the meal plans have one thing that my haphazard method of cooking what looks good to me that day doesn’t have – cohesiveness.  I bought the family plan for this week to try it out, and I’m going to be reporting on the recipes and whether I think the $7.00 charge was worth it.

I have a favorite thing about the meal plan already – the grocery shopping list.  It’s printable, or you can download it on your phone, and it lists exactly how much of each ingredient you need.  I bought 1 poblano pepper, because that’s all I’m going to use this week.  No waste.  I also like that the ingredients are listed by amount on the grocery list, such as 4 limes, instead of by volume, such as 1/2 cup lime juice.  It makes shopping painless.
Happy Herbivore Meal Plan Day 1There are 7 dinner recipes in the family meal plan.  They are not ordered by day of the week, so you can pick and choose based on what you’re hungry for that day.  The recipes make 4 servings, so there’s enough leftovers for lunch the next day!  Tonight I made the Summer Rolls.  Preparation was a little bit irritating, because the actual “rolling” part of making summer rolls is pretty difficult.  Rice paper can be hard to work with, and my “rolls” mostly ended up looking like misshapen, loose, see-through burritos.  I was also really doubtful about the dipping sauce, because it’s pretty powerful when you first make it.  *However* I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe.  Even though my summer rolls were hideous, they were delicious.  The veggies inside worked perfectly together, and when dunked in that powerful sauce, the rolls were perfect!  The sauce was sweet and limey, and it needed to have a kick to stand up to all those vegetables.  So far, I’m a “happy herbivore” 🙂
Happy Herbivore Meal Plan Day 1

Do you have any tips for using rice paper?  How do you make beautiful spring/summer rolls?

Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Spirulina and grits are two foods I would have never touched a few years ago.  Spirulina was a weird green powder that only those hippy health nuts talked about.  Grits scarred me for life as a child by being prepared awfully – and I was convinced I hated the watery white goop with the texture of sand.  BUT, I kept seeing my friends post photographs of steaming bowls of grits, creamy and decadent, without a hint of the gloppy grossness I thought I remembered.  I tried it again, and I was hooked after one bite.  I’ve been thinking of adding a grits recipe to This Vegan Whimsy for a while, and when Nuts.com inspired me to write a post about spirulina, I immediately knew it was meant to be!

I know what you’re thinking: “Grits and spirulina!? Never.”  Trust me, it’s not crazy.  One bite and you’ll be in love – and enjoying the health benefits of this green superpower!  Many spirulina recipes involve smoothies or baking.  I generally prefer to chew my food instead of drink it, and it’s been so hot in Florida that I haven’t wanted to turn on the oven at all!  Enter: Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic.
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about why spirulina is so great!  Spirulina (pronounced Spear-roooh-line-uh) is actually a microalgae, and it grows in fresh water.  Most commercially sold spirulina is grown in man-made ponds.  I like the Nuts.com spirulina because it’s non-GMO and non irradiated.  They also sell it at an extremely reasonable price.  I know this because I surveyed the spirulina options at Whole Foods and the powdered forms being sold ran anywhere from ten to twenty dollars for a tiny little bottle!  This is an ingredient to buy in bulk by the pound, and Nuts.com is a great place to do that.

Here are three fun spirulina facts (taken from Nuts.com):
-Just two tablespoons of spirulina has 16 grams of protein!
-Spirulina has four times the antioxidant concentration of blueberries.
-Two tablespoons provide 40% of the daily recommend value for iron.  Iron is especially important for ladies, who tend to have issues with anemia (I have personally in the past).
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Now that you’re convinced spirulina is awesome, let’s talk about this recipe.  The first secret to the creamiest plant-based grits is Cashew Milk.  If you’ve never tried cashew milk, please go buy some before making this recipe.  It will not taste the same with almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk.  The second secret is to make sure you get old fashioned grits, not the quick-cooking kind.  Old fashioned grits only take 15-20 minutes to make, and your taste buds will thank you for spending the few extra moments.  Finally, this recipe calls for 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of spirulina per serving.  Spirulina has an earthy, smoky flavor, and I find I can barely detect it in this grits recipe.  However, if you’ve never had spirulina before, start with 1/4 teaspoon and go up from there.
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Yield: Serves one

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned grits
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion (like Vidalia)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Bring cashew milk to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, very slowly stir in the grits and salt.
  2. Reduce heat immediately to low and cover. Allow the grits to cook and become very creamy, stirring occasionally. They will take between 15 and 20 minutes to cook.
  3. Once the grits are on low, line a small pan with a thin layer of veggie broth and add onions and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let the onions sauté and caramelize until the grits are cooked. Add a splash of veggie broth every few minutes if it looks dry.
  4. When the grits are fully cooked, stir in spirulina powder to taste (you can use more than 1/2 teaspoon if you like!). Top with caramelized onions and garlic. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/super-spirulina-grits-with-caramelized-onions-and-garlic/

Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Nuts.com provided the inspiration for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.