Tag Archives: vegan

Summer Time White Gazpacho

 

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Well its definitely summertime in NYC. Hot and humid, that sounds about right. Even though it does feel a tad bit early this year- I’m not complaining!

When it’s hot and muggy out, my body craves cool, raw, clean and refreshing foods.

A dish that will help to remove toxins and clean the blood, giving an overall feeling of lightness and a cooling effect.

Smoothies, juices and salads are no brainers, but I feel like people often forget about soup. As lets face it, it’s usually served hot. But in hot climates such as Spain and many Mediterranean countries, cold soups are very common on the summer menu.

I like the idea of this “white” gazpacho, as it is full of protein and Vitamin E thanks to the almonds and gives an impression of richness due to the color and creamy looking texture.

So simple and easy to make, all of the ingredients are raw,  so you can just pop everything into a blender and lunch or dinner is ready in about 5 minutes.

 

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup raw almonds (if you feel you have trouble digesting almonds, you can soak them in bowl of water for 24 hrs, drain and then use)

Handful of fresh cilantro

Pinch of dried oregano

½ lemon juiced

1 cucumber, peeled

1 yellow pepper

1 garlic clove

1 handful of green grapes

1-2 cups of water (you decide how thick or thin you would like it)

Sea salt to taste

For Garnish:

Few slices of avocado

Sprinkle of sliced or crushed almonds

Sprig of cilantro

And drizzle of very good quality extra virgin olive oil

2+ servings

 

Instructions:

 This is the super easy part: cut up everything very roughly and pop into blender with water. Whizz away and you’re done!

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Good to Know:

Almonds are a very good source of vitamin E, manganese, biotin, and copper. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, molydenum, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and phosphorus. Fortunately, although one-quarter cup of almonds contains about 11 grams of fat, a sizable portion of it (7 grams) is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

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The BEST Veggie Burgers In Town!

IMG_2770My FAVORITE restaurant in Toronto is Fresh. It’s a Vegan restaurant and before you can say “ew cardboard and grass”- I can promise you this is the most amazing “healthy eating” you will find. Even my carnivorous partner and friends happily eat at this place.

I just spent 2 weeks in Toronto during the Toronto Film Festival and I think I ate there everyday (along with all the hollywood celebs in town! Some celeb spotting definitely goes on at this healthy joint!). Green juice for breakfast and everything else on the menu for lunch and dinner. Having a restaurant like this around the corner, with every item on the menu being super healthy,  makes it easy to eat well. You can basically order anything from the menu because you know it will be good for you. Unfortunately they only exist in Toronto (for now) so a great way to have easy access to healthy food quick, is to make it yourself and make extra so you can freeze it. My favorite veggie burger is made fresh there daily. I have recreated it at home, somewhat following the recipe, yet tweaking it a long the way. These burgers are BBQ ready and are actually vegan, however a sneaky slice of cheddar never hurt anyone 🙂 I’ve made about 6-8 out of this batch, so the rest I have wrapped individually and stored in the freezer. Just take one out a few hours before you are ready to eat and you’ll have fresh, homemade, HEALTHY, burgers ready to grill.

picisto-20130925141553-616492INGREDIENTS:

* You’ll need a food processor for this

  • 1 cup of mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • a handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

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  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, curry powder, smoked chipotle powder and smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp corn flour

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  • 1/2 cup each of split peas, quinoa and barley
  • 1 1/2 cups of water or veggie stock for the grains

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the grains. Give all of the grains a good rinse, then add to a pot and cover with the water/stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce and cook on low for about 20 mins or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Three step food processor process: chop the mushrooms, then the seeds and then the vegetables all separately.
  3. In a pan over medium heat add a splash of oil. Once hot add in the mushrooms + the spices and tamari. Cook for about 5-7 mins.
  4. Remove mixture to a large bowl, add in the corn flour and corn starch + the chopped vegetable mixture. S&P.
  5. Add the cooked grains to the mixture and stir together.

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6. Time to get those hands dirty! Set out 2 rectangles of parchment paper. Begin to form balls a bit bigger then a golf ball in between your (clean!) hands and once perfectly round, smush down carefully to form a burger patty. NOTE: if the mixture is too wet and sticking to your hands like crazy, add in a bit more flour, if the mixture is too dry and crumbling apart add in a bit of water.

7. Make about 6-8 patties. Place side by side on the parchment paper and place the other piece over top. Use scissors to cut in between (3 pieces) and fold over so you have 2 patties wrapped up together, but with paper in between so they don’t touch. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.

8. To cook, you can grill for 5 mins on each side or fry or even broil. The toppings are up to you! I like mine messy 🙂

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Check out my favorite restaurant in Toronto, Canada. www.freshrestaurants.ca If you visit make sure to stop there for brunch on the weekend- they make delicious Vegan Banana Pancakes with Real Canadian Maple Syrup (what else?!) Mmmmm…

Warming & Hearty Vegan Split Pea Soup

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Its fall. Yep, there is no denying it. Well, in London anyway. The leaves are on the ground, the air has a crispness to it and everyone has a cold. Yep, summer is over.

The good thing is: new season, new vegetables! Time for some hearty, warming, stick to your bones meals. One of my favorite dishes for fall is Split Pea soup. Growing up, like most people, it was made with a big ol’ham hock. I always thought that was what gave the soup its delicious flavor. Nope. It’s actually the split peas. Those little dried peas are absolutely bursting with flavor all by themselves. It’s quite shocking actually. They have this great smokey, deep, hearty flavor. So there is no need to add any meat to this dish. The split peas are certainly the star of this show.

IMG_3395INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of split peas, rinsed
  • 1 handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small leek (or 1 small onion)
  • 2 fresh sage leaves (or 1 bay leaf/remove before serving, or 1 tsp of dried sage)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of thyme
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • s&p
  • dash of balsamic vinegar

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Chop the leek, carrots and celery into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Chop the garlic and herbs.
  3. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, add a dash of olive oil and once hot add in the veggies. Cook for 5 mins.
  4. Add in the garlic and herbs. Cook for 1 min.
  5. Add in the split peas and 2.5 cups of vegetable stock. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 mins.
  6. Check the soup after 20 mins, if it is too thick add some water, if it is too thin you can add in a diced potato. At this point add in the chopped spinach.
  7. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and s&p.
  8. Options: If you want the soup hearty, then you can serve as is otherwise you can blend it to a creamy consistency.
  9. Ready to serve!

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Health Benefits of Split Peas

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Can we say “Fiber”!?  Just 1 cup of split peas equals more than half of your daily required intake of fiber. Wow. 

“Dried peas, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only can dried peas help lower cholesterol, they are also of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.

Fiber is far from all that dried peas have to offer. Dried peas also provide good to excellent amounts of four important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein–all with virtually no fat. As if this weren’t enough, dried peas also feature isoflavones (notably daidzein). Isoflavones are phytonutrients that can act like weak estrogens in the body and whose dietary consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of certain health conditions, including breast and prostate cancer.

Dried Peas are Packed with Fiber

Check a chart of the fiber content in foods and you’ll see legumes leading the pack. Dried peas, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that binds bile (which contains cholesterol) and carries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A single cup of cooked dried peas provides 65.1% of the daily value for fiber.

Dried Peas Provide Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar

In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like dried peas can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. One group ate the standard American Diabetic diet, which contains 24 grams of fiber/day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day. Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both plasma glucose (blood sugar) and insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar get into cells). The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein–the most dangerous form of cholesterol) by 12.5%.

Take Dried Peas to Heart

In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years. Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that legumes were associated with an 82% reduction in risk!

In addition to their stellar fiber content, dried peas also feature other heart healthy nutrients. They are a good source of potassium, which may decrease the growth and development of blood vessel plaques and is also good for lowering high blood pressure. A cup of cooked peas will supply you with 20.3% of your daily need for potassium.

Sensitive to Sulfites? Dried Peas May Help

Dried peas are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them. A cup of cooked dried peas provides 196.0% of the daily value for molybdenum.”

Source: Whfoods.com