Tag Archives: Vegetables
Last week, I made an impromptu quinoa pilaf that came out amazing– of course, I failed to snap any pics because I didn’t think it would come out as wonderful as it did. So, this week, I decided to recreate the dish, but this time with millet instead. There is one secret ingredient I used to make it taste extra amazing, so follow me down the recipe road if you want to find out what it is!
Here’s what I did:
First, I sautéed in a bit of olive oil one small onion, half of a shallot and four cloves of garlic, all of which were chopped finely. I also added in one diced red pepper. I let them saute for about four minutes.
As the veggies cooked down, I measured out a cup of millet.
It was then time to whip out my secret ingredient. . . these vegan Rapunzel brand bouillon cubes!
Check out the ingredients. . . what you have is a bunch of herbs, sea salt and a little coconut oil.
It’s basically the ideal way to flavor up any pilaf!
Into my pot went the millet, 3 cups of water, and the bouillon cube. I let it come to a boil, and once it did, I brought it down to low heat and let it simmer away, covered for about twenty minutes.
The next time I opened the lid, I was greeted by a fluffy, flavorful millet pilaf!
Guys– it came out so flavorful! I am not one to eat grains without some sort of saucy curry or chili on top, but this pilaf can stand alone! In fact, I ended up eating it as is with a slab of baked tofu– no need for any additional flavor!
Not only was it amazingly tasty, this recipe made plenty! I was able to eat all week, pairing it up with different veggies and proteins, including chickpeas and tempeh.
Those bouillon cubes are heaven-sent. I can imagine throwing them in so many dishes for instant flavor!
So if you all are looking for a simple and tasty pilaf recipe, give this a try. I can attest to the fact it works just as well if you sub the millet for quinoa, and I bet it would also be incredible with rice too.
Do you have a “secret ingredient” that makes various dishes you cook flavorful?
I usually spend a few hours on Sunday to cook up a bunch of things to eat for dinner throughout the week. I am not the type who cooks a fresh dinner every night. I much prefer to cook large batches of my favorites on Sunday and then eat fast, easy and convenient leftovers for the rest of the week. I have no problem eating the same thing every day for a week at a time. . . I always look forward to what I have prepared and I especially love the ease of having homemade, healthy food on hand during the work week when I’m spent by the time dinnertime rolls around!
I thought it would be fun to take you through the meal prep process I went through this past Sunday. I first took stock of what I already had in the fridge (I had a few meals worth of tofu scramble left) and made a few other things to round out my selection of meals for the week. I decided to make some roasted veggies, a grain, and a fresh batch of my favorite ever Asian-style greens.
I love eating my tofu scramble with roasted veggies, so when at the grocery store, I made sure to pick up some of my favorite veggies to roast– butternut squash and turnips. Thank goodness for pre-cut root veggies– they make the whole roasting process infinitely speedier! Chopping turnips by hand is no fun.
I roasted them on separate sheets because I knew the turnips would take way longer than the squash. Both the turnips and squash got the olive oil-salt-pepper treatment before being popped into a 350 degree oven for about an hour.
While the veggies were doing their thing, I got the rice going next. I grabbed this bag of TJ’s brown jasmine rice. . .
as well as TJ’s wild rice.
I tossed a combo of both rices into my rice cooker and added water. I don’t ever measure my rice or water– I just add what looks right and let the rice cooker take care of the rest.
By this point, the veggies were roasting and the rice was cooking, so I turned my attention to my Asian greens recipe. My greens of choice were frozen kale and collards (I usually use fresh but my grocery store was out of the pre-washed, pre-packaged kale I so love).
I also added a bag of red cabbage and white cabbage into the mix as well (that’s not an actual coleslaw kit complete with dressing– it’s just the combo of white cabbage and shredded carrots used to make coleslaw).
Soon enough, the rice was perfectly done!
My Asian greens came out amazing as usual. . . for the full recipe click here!
The veggies were still working away in the oven. . .
In the meantime, my rice and greens were packaged up and ready to go into the fridge!
And soon enough, the veggies were good to go as well! I love my roasted veggies on the “well-done” side and these came out perfectly. Crispy and caramelized on the outside and so soft on the inside!
And that my friends, was enough food for me to enjoy all week for dinner. Of course, I supplement with other veggies I steam throughout the week as well. All that cooking took about an hour and a half, which is time well spent when you end up with enough delicious food to last a week!
Do you do the majority of your cooking on one day, or do you cook fresh meals each and every day?
My poor husband– sometimes he is just so deprived.
What I mean by that is he is restaurant-deprived. Specifically, he is deprived of dining at restaurants that I deem as totally vegan-unfriendly. My husband is a meat-eater, big-time, but he is so good as to not ask me to go to places where it is unlikely I will get a good vegan, low-gluten meal. Therefore, there’s a long list of Rhode Island restaurants my carnivorous hubby is dying to go to but hasn’t had the chance to because his vegan wife won’t let him.:)
But every once in a blue moon, the stars align in just such a way that my husband is able to go to a restaurant that I wouldn’t necessarily approve of due to the lack of vegan options. This rare occasion actually occurred on a recent Saturday night, when my husband and I joined a group of friends at well-reputed Chez Pascal, a French-American bistro in Providence.
Whenever my husband and I toss around restaurant options, my husband doesn’t even dare bring up Chez Pascal because of the simple fact that most French restaurants are not vegan or even vegetarian-friendly. However, since friends of ours invited us to join them there, my husband was all over it because he has been dying to go there and try some of the things they are most known for– escargot and duck. I wasn’t sure how I would fare but was up for the challenge of working with the existing menu to craft myself a decent meal.
As expected, there were no explicitly vegan options on the menu, but my eyes spotted a butternut squash salad with cabbage, feta and croutons. I figured I could easily veganize and de-glutenize it with a few small changes. I asked the waitress if they could prep the salad without feta and the croutons, and add beets and walnuts (which I spotted on a different salad on the menu). At first, she hesitated, saying she had to check with the chef if the flavors would work together. In other words, she was unsure if the chef would allow his salad to be altered. Then, she sort of changed her tune and said it shouldn’t be a problem. Personally, I understand that oftentimes, chefs have a vision for their food and don’t want that vision to be corrupted, but at the same time, I thought it was a bit strange such a request could not be accommodated without hesitation since the additional components were things on other salads off the menu.
Chez Pascal’s menu did not have a section of sides, so I asked if they had fries, or frites. They weren’t listed on the menu, and it turns out they have no fry-o-later– therefore, they had no fries. I then requested a side of roasted veggies (which I noticed were part of another entree) and the waitress said it wouldn’t be a problem. I have to give props to the waitress– I could tell she wanted to do the best to accommodate me but that she was unsure as to how the kitchen would react to my requests.
When the salad came, I was visually blown away. It was a gorgeous mound of red and white cabbage, butternut squash, beets, candied walnuts and greens.
Fortunately, the salad lived up to its image in the taste department. All the veggies were in their ideal state: the beets were tender, the squash perfectly roasted and the cabbage nice and crisp. The dressing was sweet and tangy, and the nuts added the right amount of crunch.
Just like the salad, the side of veggies presented was gorgeous. And like the salad, the veggies tasted as good as they looked! Not only were there onions and a bunch of root veggies, but there were what I believe to be pumpkin seeds in the mix too! Delicious isn’t even enough of a word to describe how good they were!
I had a great meal at Chez Pascal. . . I would certainly return there with friends, but I don’t think I would ever choose to go there myself only because vegan and gluten-free options are limited. I don’t blame the restaurant though– obviously it never intended itself to be vegan-friendly. . . I mean, it’s a French bistro after all!
Because I wasn’t exactly full (and I did run fourteen miles that day), I went home and composed a major dessert bowl! It started with a piece of vegan and gluten-free banana chocolate chip bread.
To this, I pretty much added everything under the sun! I started with some vanilla soy ice cream and chocolate chip cookie dough coconut milk ice cream, but I couldn’t stop there. I topped the ice cream with the following: mixed nuts, dark chocolate almond bark, chocolate chip granola chunks, sea-salted ale brittle, and peanut brittle. All vegan, all gluten-free, and all an amazing way to make up for the calories I didn’t get at dinner!
Do you think all restaurants should be able to accommodate a one with dietary restrictions, or do you think a restaurant shouldn’t have to consider offering vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options if it doesn’t want to?
I am so fortunate to live where I live. All within a ten minute walk from my home, I have access to delicious Indian, Thai, Italian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tex-Mex (and the list goes on) restaurants. Living near a college campus is pretty sweet, especially due to the diversity that exists in terms of good eats.
The only problem with having so much good food around us is that often, it takes us forever to go back to our favorite local restaurants because we are so busy trying everything else. Last January, my husband and I had a memorable meal at Noodles 102 on Ives Street and we vowed to return their asap. Of course, it kind of fell off our radar because we were so intent on taking advantage of all the other restaurants we live near. Fortunately, at the suggestion of two of our great friends, my husband and I were finally able to return to Noodles 102 this past weekend. While I gave it a rave review last time, I have to say, it was even better this time around!
Again– to have a noodle house in Providence just two minutes from my house is a blessing. Noodles 102 is a small, easy-to-miss restaurant whose specialty, of course, is noodles, both in pan-fried and soup versions. Best of all, Noodles 102 is extremely vegan and gluten-free friendly, offering a whole list of gluten-free noodles.
When we went to Noodles 102 for the first time, our focus was on the entrees and not so much on the apps. I did order my favorite vegetarian nime chow, but other than that, we failed to try the many other vegan appetizers on the menu. Fortunately, our friends were down with trying a bunch of apps, so we were able to try a few more items.
First up, we sampled their Asian cucumbers. I have to say, I have a feeling I will crave this for a long time now. Spicy, vinegary and sweet, these cucumbers were seasoned beyond perfection. And they were so refreshingly crunchy too! Those cucumbers were a total win.
It was imperative to order their nime chow, stuffed to the brim with rice noodles, veggies, mint and tofu and served with the classic peanut sauce. In fact, we asked for two orders so we could sufficiently get our fill. Seriously– I declared if before and will do so again– it is the best nime chow I have ever had.
The most pleasant surprise though were the pan-fried veggie dumplings. I heart dumplings, but only have ever had them steamed. What was I thinking? Pan-fried is definitely where it’s at! They were crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside and bursting with flavor. I am officially obsessed with their dumplings, period.
I just had to get a noodle bowl for my entree. I ordered their black rice noodles with tofu and veggies in a vegetarian broth. Don’t let this picture fool you– the bowl was huge! After I doused it in sriracha, I slurped away happily for quite a while, but still could only eat about half! It was the ideal meal for a cold, blustery night. Yum.
What’s super cool was that I was able to take home the rest of my soup and they gave me a whole extra container of just the broth itself, so I could bulk up my leftovers! I thought that was an awesome courtesy.
Noodles 102 is seriously a treasure. Especially in the winter months, it is the epitome of comfort food. You can’t help but leave feeling all warm and cozy, wanting to do nothing more than go home, put on some pajamas and get the fireplace going!
After dinner, we didn’t end up going home right away, but we certainly did the next best thing! My friends suggested a drink, and we found ourselves at the Duck and Bunny: A Snuggery. I would say going to a “snuggery” is certainly an acceptable substitute for going home to a roaring fire, wouldn’t you say?
I ended up getting a decaf Americano to sip (and yes, we were seated by a fire). The Duck and Bunny specializes in cupcakes, and they even have a vegan one, but unfortunately, they ran out of that variety. But I was fine with that– it was just fun to chat by the fire with my husband and friends!
All in all, it was such a great night. We plan on going back to Noodles 102 in January– in fact, we put it in the calendar already! I can’t risk letting another year pass before I go back!
What are your favorite Asian appetizers? Nime chow will always be number one for me, but those dumplings and cucumbers are certainly giving the old standby a run for its money!
I heart raw veggie “chips.” Kale chips are my usual go-to, but recently, I have branched out and tried a few other kinds of raw, dehydrated veggies, and let me tell you, both were fantastic.
First, I devoured this bag of Aimee’s Livin’ Magic raw onion crisps, hence the reason why the bag is actually empty!
Fortunately, I did manage to snap a pic of the strings themselves before they entered my belly. Here’s a close-up– I served them with some raw massaged kale and avocado slaw and some Dr. Cow nut cheese.
These raw, vegan and gluten-free onion strings, composed of onions, coconut aminos, and olive oil were honestly better than any onion-flavored chip I have ever tried. Because they were raw, the onion flavor was super intense in a great way. Also, the strings were so crispy that they truly were the ultimate salad topper. Two thumbs up for sure.
I also just cracked into this bag of Just Pure Foods spicy jalapeno tomato chips, which I purchased along with other raw veggie chip varieties in a Vegan Cuts deal (which is like Groupon for vegans!). Unfortunately, I only snapped a pic of the bag before I took those chips out, but at least the chips are pictured on the bag itself so you can get an idea of what they looked like!
Once again, these chips were a total winner. I can’t believe how flavorful they were– I definitely got the spice of the jalapeno and the sweet and tangy tomato flavor that actually tasted a lot like sun-dried tomatoes, but better. The chips were pretty sizeable too, and they maintained a very pronounced crunch!
I highly recommend both of these raw veggie chip brands. And, may I also suggest pairing them with a bit of raw Dr. Cow nut cheese. . . because that’s what I did! The nice mellow flavor of the cheese with the intense flavor of the veggies complimented each other perfectly!
Have you ever eaten raw veggie chips? If so, what’s your favorite kind or brand?