A Protein-Packed Vegan Side Salad

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Eating heavy meals during the summer can make you feel lethargic, so a lot of people seem to eat more fresh salads and lighter fare. It’s still important to consume adequate amounts of protein, which is why choosing meat-free sources of protein may be especially appropriate for summer weather (meats can leave a heavy feeling in the stomach). The salad I’m sharing today makes an excellent side dish and the best part is that most of the ingredients (excluding the beans) can be found at your local farmers’ market or farm stand.

Corn, Tomato, and Bean Salad

Ingredients

• One 12 oz. can of black beans (or a different type of bean that you like)
• 16 oz. baby tomatoes, or whole tomatoes, cut into smaller pieces
• ¼ cup diced onion
• 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1.5 cups cooked corn (it can be fresh, canned, or frozen)
• a few leaves of fresh or dried oregano
• a few leaves of fresh or dried cilantro
• 4 tbsp. fresh or canned salsa
• salt and pepper to taste

Directions
• Boil water and boil or steam corn for a few minutes. Drain the corn (if it’s still on the cob, remove using a knife)
• Cut baby tomatoes or whole tomatoes into smaller pieces
• Heat the beans (I used a microwave) and drain so that some of the salt and other liquid is rinsed away
• Combine the corn, tomatoes, onion, herbs (oregano and cilantro), salt and pepper together.
• Drizzle olive oil and salsa on top and then mix gently
• Refrigerate or serve immediately
• Enjoy!

-Jess

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Simple Gluten-Free, Vegan Blueberry Muffins

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Greetings! It’s been over a week since I’ve last posted mainly because I’ve been busy and I couldn’t really think of anything blog-worthy to write about…until this morning when I was craving a muffin. Lately my breakfast has either been fresh fruit or a smoothie/juice, but I had a hankering and when a craving for a healthy baked-good beckons, I happily oblige. The recipe I’m sharing today is really simple and is sans gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, and most importantly, it’s tasty! If you don’t have all the flours used, be creative and use a different flour. I have a few friends who are on a restricted diet (hence the lack of gluten, soy, dairy, etc.) but feel free to use whatever whole grain flours you like.
Ingredients (makes up to 12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin tin):

  • 1 cup almond meal (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • coconut water to make the mixture more liquid, if needed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups blueberries
  • brown sugar for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, measure and combine flours, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar.
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients, and add apple sauce, vanilla, and sprinkle cinnamon
  • Determine if more liquid is needed. I like my muffin batter to be a little thinner than cookie dough batter, but not liquid like a pancake batter. If needed, add some coconut water by the spoon-full
  • Add the blueberries and mix gently
  • Using an ice-cream scoop or a large spoon, spoon the batter into greased muffin tins, or paper-foils.
  • Top each muffin with a little brown sugar
  • Place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and enjoy!

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Remember, sharing is caring, so share your baked goods with friends or family! 🙂

-Jess

Raw Vegan Blueberry Almond Balls

The combination of almonds plus dried fruit is one that I always gravitate towards. As I wrote in a previous post, I love larabars, which are my go-to energy bar for when I don’t have time to sit down for a meal or snack. I decided to make my own version of a larabar, in “ball” form (instead of a bar). After experimenting with a few different combinations of dried fruit to nut ratios, and looking at a few recipes online (specifically, I mainly adapted Angela Liddon’s dark chocolate cherry bite recipe found here), I made the final product which I really enjoyed! Here it is:

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Ingredients:

  • 8 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2-3 large prunes, pits removed
  • a dash of salt

 

Directions:

  • Process almonds and dates in a food processor, until fine chunks appear
  • add the dried blueberries, salt, and prunes
  • remove from the food processor and with your hands, mold into ball-shapes. Enjoy, or save for later by covering and storing in the refrigerator.

 

-Jess

Peanut Butter Crunch Noodles

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I love peanut butter and I’m pretty sure I could eat it with anything. One of my favorite dishes is peanut butter noodles, usually served cold. I decided to create my own version of peanut butter noodles with an additional crunchy vegetable component. I like playing around with different textures of food in the same dish, but feel free to sub cruciferous veggies for whatever tickles your fancy. This recipe is gluten-free because I used quinoa spaghetti which is made from quinoa, making this dish high in fiber and protein. Using natural peanut butter (without hydrogenated oils) along with just a tsp. or two of coconut oil also provides additional healthy fats. It’s always a good idea to eat your veggies with a fat source so that more of the vitamins and minerals are absorbed. Most importantly, this makes a delicious, easy dinner. I prepared this earlier in the day and came home late from work and ate this and it really hit the spot.

Peanut Butter Crunch Noodles (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. whole grain pasta. There are many varieties, I went with Ancient Harvest brand quinoa spaghetti. (You could also use wheat-containing pasta, if you want).
  • 2 cups Trader Joe’s cruciferous crunch medley (or any combination of your favorite vegetables)
  • 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. tamari or regular soy sauce
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil

Directions

  • Boil water in a pot, add 4 oz. of pasta when the water comes to a rolling boil. Be sure to stir frequently.
  • In a microwave safe dish, heat cruciferous veggies with a little water, cover with a paper towel allowing it to steam for 5 minutes, or steam using a steamer on the stove.
  • For the sauce, make sure the peanut butter is soft, not solid. You may have to heat it a little in the microwave.
  • Combine peanut butter, tamari, lemon juice, and coconut oil to create the sauce. Stir.
  • Drain the pasta after 12-15 minutes (taste to make sure it’s done)
  • Drain the remaining water from the veggies and add to the drained pasta.
  • In a bowl, mix in the sauce
  • Serve and enjoy!

-Jess