Roasted Tempeh with Summer Vegetables over Cauliflower Rice

IMG_3131

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Last night I made a ridiculously easy and delicious meal consisting of 100% plants, all of which are in season here in New England. I picked up locally grown zucchini at the grocery store, and I threw in a few ripe grape tomatoes grown by a friend. It was a little on the cool side in Boston, and I was already planning on baking up a double batch of L’s Best Baked Tofu to add to my lunch salads for the week, so I figured why not do two things at once and roast some tempeh and summer veggies for dinner at the same time? #multitasking πŸ˜‰

I whipped up a simple yet flavorful marinade, doused my tempeh and veggies in it and let it bake in the oven along side my tofu. I served the tempeh and veggies over cauliflower rice to keep it light, and sprinkled a little vegan Parmesan cheeze on top that I still had leftover in my freezer. My sister, being the half-Italian mom that she is, sent me home on Sunday with a huge Tupperware of vegan pasta salad, which I devoured promptly at 3 pm yesterday when I had the hungry horrors at work. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, serve the roasted tempeh and veggies over basmati rice, brown rice, farro, quinoa, pasta – whatever you are feeling. I bet it would even be pretty delicious as a warm sandwich on a baguette. It would also be delicious with some of my Fresh Tomato and Cucumber salad on the side. Additionally, you could wrap the tempeh and veggies in foil and put it on the grill instead of roasting in the oven – be creative! πŸ™‚

Let’s get right down to it:

IMG_3113

Everything you need: fresh parsley, fresh basil, veggie broth, zucchini, grape tomatoes, lemon, tempeh (plus eggplant, which I originally wanted to include but ran out of room in my pan).

Roasted Tempeh with Summer Vegetables over Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 8 oz package of tempeh, diced
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced in 1/4-in rounds
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved

For marinade:

  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of veggie broth
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

For cauliflower rice:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, quartered, de-stemmed with green leaves removed
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Step One: Preheat your oven to 350Β°F. Prep your veggies and tempeh. Dice the tempeh into bite-sized cubes. Slice your zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Slice your grape tomatoes in half. Roughly chop your herbs.
IMG_3115

I originally wanted to include eggplant in this dish but ran out of room in my pan! If you have a larger pan, double the amount of tempeh and go for it. I bet it would be SO delicious. Or, throw that eggplant on the grill and put it on top of the roasted veggies. I’m sadly grill-less in the city, but I would have been all over that if I had one! πŸ˜‰

IMG_3116

I roughly chopped all of my fresh herbs so they would still lend texture and color to the dish. For basil, use a tip I learned from Giada: stack basil leaves one on top of the other, and roll up leaves into a cylinder and slice the “cylinder” of basil leaves (not the long way, but horizontally across the cylinder) so you end up with thin threads of basil – so much easier than trying to chop a pile of basil leaves!

Step Two: Make your marinade. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk together to create an emulsion. Or, be lazy like me, pour all ingredients into a 16-oz mason jar and shake to combine. πŸ˜‰

IMG_3117

Step Three: Put it all together. In a 9 x 9 inch square glass pan, place the diced tempeh in first, layer the zucchini slices over the tempeh and put the diced tomatoes on top. Pour the marinade over the veggies and tempeh, spreading the herbs evenly over the top.
IMG_3148

The progression of layering the tempeh and veggies: tempeh first, then zucchini, then tomatoes, and finally drizzle the marinade over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and stick it into the oven.

Step Four: Place aluminum foil over the top of the baking dish, and place into the oven for 35 – 40 minutes.
IMG_3123

It’s okay if there is a pool of marinade sitting at the bottom. It will steam the veggies and infuse the dish with the herb/lemon/garlic flavor. YUM. You may have less than me, because I originally made this recipe with more olive oil.

Step Five: Meanwhile, while the tempeh and veggies are roasting, prepare your cauliflower rice. Grate your cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. Chop your onion and mince your garlic. Heat oil in a large saucepan or saute pan over medium high heat. Cook your onion and garlic for 4 – 5 minutes, or until translucent and fragrant. Add the cauliflower and saute, stirring frequently, for an additional 4 -5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until your veggie are done. Don’t cover the cauliflower rice though – the excess moisture would make it soggy (womp womp).
IMG_3124

I used the largest grate size on my grater to make the cauliflower rice. I also used a sweet onion because they make me cry the least. πŸ˜›

IMG_3126

After just adding the cauliflower to the pan…

IMG_3129

…and the finished product! πŸ™‚

Step Six: After the tempeh and veggies have baked for 35 – 40 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and allow to roast uncovered for 5-10 minutes, or until zucchini and tomatoes are tender. I’m not sure if my oven was on the struggle bus yesterday or not, but I roasted mine covered for 40ish minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes. Just be sure to check so you achieve your preferred level of “done-ness”. πŸ™‚

IMG_3127

Step Seven: Enjoy! πŸ˜€ Serve over cauliflower rice, and sprinkle with vegan Parmesan cheeze (or dairy Parmesan cheese if that’s more your scene).
IMG_3130

The cauliflower rice – noms!

IMG_3133

Roasted Tempeh and Summer Veggies

IMG_3134

Roasted Tempeh and Veggies over Cauliflower Rice with vegan Parmesan cheeze

IMG_3135

Yum!

I truly hope that you enjoy this as much as I did – I packed some for lunch today and I’m so excited to eat it!! This dish was simple, delicious and will be great all year long (but especially tasty in the summer when you use in-season veggies, noms!).

Hope you all have a stellar hump day.

With warmth,

L

Party In Your Mouth Cauliflower Rice Bowl

IMG_1780

True story: I’ve never made cauliflower rice before last night. I thought it was kind of lame – I mean, I like regular rice. Regular rice is delicious. However, since I’ve gotten back into my workout routine this week, I have turned into a garbage disposal for food. Or maybe a black hole, because anything edible in my path gets sucked into the void (like those brownies that Accounting brought in yesterday). So, I figured it was high time to try something new and different to add to the roster. And since all I’ve wanted to do is dive into a Chipotle burrito bowl all week, I thought I could trick my taste buds into thinking they were finally getting what they were craving by creating a healthier version. Status? Success. This cauliflower rice bowl is way better than Chipotle (I think we’re going to break up) and is a LITERAL PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH. I gave the cauliflower rice a big, hefty dose of booyah by the addition of a jalapeno, chili powder and plenty of garlic. I adapted a portion of my Black Bean, Baby Kale & Sweet Potato Rice Bowl recipe for some additional protein (okay fine, I totally just threw together a can of black beans, a jar of Green Mountain Gringo hot salsa and some cumin and simmered while I prepared the cauliflower rice). Not only is this dish vegan, gluten free AND paleo, but the end result was delicious, and made my taste buds very happy. Without further ado…

IMG_1758

Everything you need for Cauliflower Rice Bowl: cauliflower, yellow onion, baby kale, grape tomatoes, black beans, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, chili powder, garlic, jalapeno (plus salsa and spice for the beans).

Party in Your Mouth Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Ingredients:

For Beans:

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar of your fave salsa
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • Any other spices you want to throw in there

For Cauliflower Rice:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 cups of baby kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 15-oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes for serving

Directions:

Step One: Literally drain and rinse your beans, transfer them to a medium saucepan, dump the entire jar of salsa on top and toss a few friendly shakes of whatever spices you love on top (I just used cumin). Stir, set on the lowest simmer option and then get ready to prep the cauliflower rice. Stir these occasionally so they don’t stick.
IMG_1764

Dump beans, salsa and spices into a saucepan, stir and simmer. Voila – deliciousness.

Step Two: Quarter your cauliflower head and remove the green stems. You can either use a box grater (couldn’t find mine and my arms were sore from my workout) or food processor to grate the whole head of cauliflower. Word of warning: don’t be the Captain of the Fail Boat like me and try to stuff 1/2 a head of cauliflower in your food processor because then this will happen:
IMG_1761

Yeah so…if you put 1/2 head of cauliflower in your food processor, it prob won’t grate evenly. If using the food processor, do 1/4 of a head at a time, and break the cauliflower into smaller florets for easy processing.

IMG_1762

Here is what your cauliflower rice SHOULD look like.

Step Three: In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion until softened and fragrant. Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute for another 2 -3 minutes.
IMG_1767

Word to the wise: Do not (I repeat: DO NOT) touch your face because you feel like you’re going to sneeze since there is a ridic amount of pollen in the air after you’ve just chopped the jalapeno. YOU WILL REGRET THIS. Wash your hands! Like, A LOT, after you’ve chopped that guy up.

Step Four: Add the grated cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently until it turns brown and cooks down, about 5 – 8 minutes.
IMG_1768

Make sure you keep stirring that rice so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.

Step Five: Add the diced tomatoes (you may want to drain these if you want to retain a firmer texture on your rice, I didn’t but I didn’t mind the softer texture), chili powder and salt, and stir well to combine. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
IMG_1770

As I said above, I didn’t drain the tomatoes – but if you like a firmer texture of your rice, you may want to. I thought it was pretty spectacular with the liquid added, but that’s me.

Step Six: Add the roughly chopped kale leaves to the mix and stir them into the “rice”. Cook until they have turned bright green and wilted, about 2 -3 minutes.
IMG_1773

You can use spinach or swiss chard here too – I like the baby kale since it holds up well once its wilted. YUM.

Step Seven: Remove beans and rice from heat, and assemble your rice bowl. Feel free to top it off with halved grape tomatoes, avocado, a squeeze of lime, mango salsa, a dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of Diaya cheese, or whatever you are loving that day. Enjoy! πŸ˜€
IMG_1777

Here’s the Cauliflower Rice just chillin’.

IMG_1779

Rice and beans sans toppings.

IMG_1783

A few bites in – SO delicious!

Um…yeah. This was REALLY good. Cauliflower rice rules, and you can eat so much of it (an entire head of cauliflower has about 220 calories, so you can’t do too much damage to your waistline even if you eat the whole freakin’ thing). AND, it’s the furthest thing from boring – this dish has zip, is full of flavor and good things for you. Yummmmmmmm. So get your party pants on people, because this little guy is going to throw a rager in your mouth. YASSSS.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! It’s almost Friday – time to party.

With warmth,

L

Creamy Avocado Sauce & Zoodles

IMG_0027

Good morning all! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter/Passover/weekend. In the spirit of spring FINALLY arriving, I whipped up this delicious vegan dish before my week-long hiatus (I traveled to DC for my race, then Maryland for work but I’m baaaack!). Operation Fridge Clean Out was in full effect and I had three zucchinis, an avocado and a lemon that still needed to be consumed (in addition to a mango, a couple kiwis, bananas – let’s just say that I had a very large fruit salad for dessert that night). This dish was inspired by the OG/Goddess of all Vegan Blogs Oh She Glows 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. I added my own B & B spin by incorporating a few additional ingredients and tossing it with hot zoodles – it was AMAZING. Let me just say, if you do not have a Veggetti – YOU NEED ONE PRONTO. I was a little intimidated at first, and made my veggie noodles by hand up until this point, but the Veggetti is the easiest thing EVER – you literally shove a zucchini in there and twist – voila! Zoodles. BAM. You need one. They aren’t even expensive ($10.99 on Amazon right now). If you aren’t convinced, you will be after reading this super easy/mega delicious recipe (literally takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish). You definitely need this in your recipe arsenal – it’s gluten free, vegan AND paleo to boot! YUM. The avocado sauce was out of this WORLD delicious, it tasted creamy and decadent, with the additions of lemon and garlic to balance the richness of the sauce. And since you toss the sauce with zoodles (clocking in at about 60 calories per serving), this dish is refreshing and skinny jean approved, but still filling and SUPER flavorful. So. Damn. Good. Without further ado:

IMG_0012

Everything you need for Creamy Avocado Zoodles: zucchini, garlic, olive oil, lemon, avocado and parsley.

Creamy Avocado Sauce & Zoodles

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (plus more to taste or thin the sauce consistency if desired)
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 handful of parsley, stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (~1 Tbsp, if I had to guess)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Prep! Start a pot of water to boil. Pit your avocado. Wash your parsley and pat dry. Tear off a handful of leaves and remove the stems (doesn’t need to be perfect – do the best you can).
IMG_0013

I thought it was important to note that I was wearing my Zubaz pants while making this delicious creation. Even in the off-season, I still support my team. Go Bills!

Step Two: Make the sauce. In a food processor, blend together the avocado, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, oil and salt and pepper until a creamy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Set aside.
IMG_0014

Avocado sauce before blending…

IMG_0018

…and after blending.

Step Three: Prepare your zoodles! I utilized my super handy Veggetti for this (woo woo!). I left mine whole so they were easier to remove from the boiling water, but you can chop your bunch in half, so they are a little easier to manage.
IMG_0016

Watch out…she’s got a Veggetti and she’s not afraid to use it. πŸ˜‰

IMG_0019

So. freakin. EASY!

Step Four: Once your water is boiling, blanch your zoodles for 1 – 2 minutes (seriously – don’t leave that pot, or you will end up with mush and it ain’t pretty). Oh sidenote: you can also cook your zoodles in the microwave but I was really weirded out by that so I just blanched mine. Do what you want. πŸ˜€
IMG_0022

Warning: Do not leave zoodles unattended.

Step Five: Toss! Drain your zoodles well and toss them with the creamy avocado sauce. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!! πŸ˜€

IMG_0025IMG_0029

This was seriously so delicious. You will not regret trying the recipe. A few things to note: you can add/substitute basil for parsley a la Angela from OSG, but I didn’t have any so I just used what I had. Also, it’s pretty garlic-y, so if that’s not your scene, start off with one clove of garlic first and taste, then add the second one if necessary. You could add some sprinkles of red pepper flakes if you want to spice this up a few notches. Also, just like Angela’s original recipe did, you can use actual pasta instead of zoodles if you prefer, I just really liked the creaminess of the sauce with the freshness of the zoodles. This is going to be the perfect quick summer dish, I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

Happy Monday, all. I hope you have a great week. πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

photo 4 (3)

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Here’s what happens when you don’t really feel like using more than one pot, you’ve got some kale in your fridge that you don’t have any epic plans for (/it has been giving you the side eye), and an abundance of useful pantry items: you make this kale salad, worthy of even Beyonce’s adoration. It’s simple, filling, full of nutrients and also just a nice change up from the usual suspects in your dinnertime rotation (soups, chili, stewps – easy one pot liquid-based meals that we all depend on to nourish us through the winter). For whatever reason, yesterday as I was looking outside, it hit me how far away summer is. It’s February. That means it’s *almost* March, which is basically spring, and that means warmer temperatures and not wearing a protective cocoon of sweaters and huge puffy coats everyday. My feeling/internal woe of, “I want summer!” is a little too early in the season and must be dampened appropriately, or it’s going to feel like an eternity before the 5 feet of snow on the ground in Boston transform into the puddles you jump in, wearing your cute Hunter boots, on the way to play Frisbee in the Common. To satisfy my inner lament, I took a summer-y dish and winterized it through this easy food equation: raw kale salad + farro = YES. We’ve already dug into my love for all things farro in a previous post (which you can find here) so I won’t rehash my little farro love fest again. This kale salad however, is another story. It’s full of plant protein – combining edamame AND chickpeas to give you the one-two punch of veggie protein power, along with carrots for color and craisins for a little sweetness. Add this amazing lemon vinaigrette dressing I threw together on the fly last night, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome meal right there. The best part is that because kale is so hearty and cruciferous and stuff, it won’t wilt if you store this salad already dressed in the fridge (unlike those other lame lettuce-based salads that turn into a limp pile of sadness overnight). Um, can anyone say Make Ahead Meal Planning for the Week?? You may have just found the perfect mason jar salad to bring to work/school for lunch – simply divide the leftovers into large wide mouth mason jars, and store in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go lunch (yessss, life just got so much easier). To round this meal out and add some more deliciousness/nutrients, farro is the perfect grain complement to heap on top. Without further ado:

photo 1

All the ingredients for L’s Kale and Farro salad: 1 bunch of kale, basil, farro, chickpeas, grated carrot, edamame, craisins, almond slices and mint.

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup of farro
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 bunch of kale, rinsed, destemmed, and chopped in salad-sized pieces
  • 1 handful (~a cup) of grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup of craisins
  • 1 cup of shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
  • 1 15.5-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • half of a handful each of fresh mint and fresh basil, chopped
  • Sliced Almonds for topping
  • Whatever else you’re feeling

Dressing

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Italian herb blend (mine had oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: First, start the farro by adding the farro and water to a medium-sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for 30 minutes, and drain off any excess liquid when it’s done. Now for the raw salad part: after de-stemming your kale, rinse well. To dry the leaves, salad spin or pat dry with paper towels. Finely chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.
photo 2

Make sure you give the kale a good rinse because it will be eaten raw in this recipe. πŸ™‚

Step Two: Combine the other salad ingredients: carrots, craisins, edamame, chickpeas. Chop the fresh herbs and add to the salad.
photo 4

All the salad ingredients ready to go! πŸ˜€

Step Three: Whip up your dressing! Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to emulsify. Side note: The best dressing technique is to add all your “water-based” ingredients and solids first (so, lemon juice, herbs, Dijon and garlic), and whisk those well. Then, add your olive oil slowly while whisking really fast in order to emulsify all the ingredients. Just throwing that out there, but feel free to use whatever technique you want. πŸ˜‰
photo 1 (3)

Use those muscles to give the dressing a good whisk.

Step Four: Toss to combine. All the beans will sink to the bottom of your bowl/serving platter so make sure you give this a quick toss each time before serving. You can add the cooled and cooked farro directly in the mix, but I didn’t have a bowl big enough (#smallkitchenprobz) so I kept them separate and just heaped my steaming-hot farro right on top, and it was pretty spectacular. Throw a few slivered almonds on top for some crunch if you’d like, too (I keep them separate because, unlike the kale, these will get soggy if stored dressed in the fridge).
photo 3 (3)

To toss, I used these kind of too-small tongs. I recommend you use actual salad servers (you know – the giant fork and spoon your grandma uses) to toss because then you can really get in there and mix it well, coating all of the ingredients evenly with the dressing (especially bc this dressing is amazing and you don’t want to miss distributing it all over this sal).

Step Five: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
photo 5 (3)

Kale Salad, completely naked. Looks good, eh? Well let me tell you – it is.

photo 2 (2)

Salad topped off with a few slivered almonds. Yum.

photo 3 (2)

Steaming-hot farro thrown right on top. I didn’t really think this through because the slivered almonds are hiding directly below the farro. But they are there – take my word for it.

photo 5 (2)

Here is my half-eaten plate from last night. It’s nice to heap as much or as little farro as you’d like on top of your salad, because you can kind of continue to toss and mix the two as you eat your dish. Amazinggggg! πŸ˜€

I highly recommend that you listen to the song Flower Sermon by Lotus as you make this salad, and dance around your kitchen like a total hippie at a music festival (I mean, that’s what I did). It’s important to listen to some great jams while you cook because: Life. Enjoy it. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

This salad packs a lot of great things in there, and is really low maintenance and easy to make. The bright pop of the lemon vinaigrette is a refreshing shift from most of the heavier, winter flavors I’ve been eating lately, and I’m really loving the change of pace. Plus, it reminds me that summer isn’t TOO far away. In the meantime, I’ll continue to hold music festivals in my kitchen while I whip up some great, delicious meals. Everyone get out your flower headbands and flow-y tops (or if you’re a dude – uh…Rainbow sandals and old concert t’s??).

I hope you guys enjoy this baby as much as I did (and will continue to enjoy at lunch today – woohoo!). It’s a good one. πŸ˜€

Happy Thursday – we are almost there!! Let’s boogie down til we get to Friday. πŸ™‚

With warmth,

L ❀

PS: This.

beyonce kale

This is basically how I felt making this salad last night.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale with Vegan Parmesan Cheeze

photo 4 (2)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale with Vegan Parmesan Cheeze

Last week I made a trip to my local farm stand and picked up locally-grown butternut squash and kale (I’m all about the local fruits/veggies, even if it is a little more expensive – you’ve gotta support your local farmers!). Besides apples, they were the only locally grown items I could find, and so I decided to combine them together into the perfect late fall/winter dish. I’m still on the whole “Thanksgiving detox” train where I want whole, fresh foods with lots of flavor without being rich or heavy. I decided to venture into relatively unknown territory, and make some vegan cheeze to sprinkle on top. I love trying new things, stepping outside of familiar territory and the further along I go on this blogging adventure, the deeper and deeper I go down the Vegan Rabbit Hole. Because some of my favorite people in the universe have allergies to some nuts, I made my vegan cheeze with almonds, hazelnuts and nutritional yeast as the main components (however, only after my dad mercilessly made fun of the fact that I was about to ingest something called “nutritional yeast”- lots of inapprop jokes followed which, I will do you a favor, and not re-post here). This dish was surprisingly easy, and I was (not gonna lie, I was prepared for the worst) pleasantly surprised as to how “cheesy” my vegan parm tasted! It was SO delicious, and it really elevated the flavor of the roasted veggies to something exceptional and very tasty.

This recipe has all of your fave qualities that you typically find on B&B: fast, easy, nutrient dense and SUPER flavorful. There really isn’t much to it (cooking skill-wise – I’m giving a hard look at you B, and all my readers who are a little cooking-challenged – you can DEF handle this one). πŸ˜‰ I will definitely be making this dish again for my family for the holidays, and will wait until after my dad has eaten an entire serving before I kindly inform him that he just ate nutritional yeast. πŸ˜‰ It would be a great additional to your holiday table – healthy, hearty and sure to be a crowd-pleaser because of the AMAZINGGG flavor. If you’re not down with the yeast, I would still make the topping sans yeast because the nuttiness is an excellent addition to the roasted veggies.

photo 1

Ingredients: Kale, butternut squash, shallot, hazelnuts, almonds and nutritional yeast.

Β Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale with Vegan Parmesan Cheeze

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, patted dry and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-sized shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Step One: Prep your veggies. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1″ chunks (Hint: make sure your knife is sharp enough, without a sharp edge, it will make prepping this squash a doozy). Dice the shallot. Make sure you give that kale a good rinse and either pat dry or put it into a salad spinner after roughly chopping.
photo 2

I tend to cut my squash off at the neck and peel the two pieces separately – that way, you have a flat surface to stand your squash on as you peel. (And you are less likely to chop one of your phalanges off – we all need those). πŸ˜‰

photo 4

I roughly chop mine into “fork-able” pieces, so the texture of the kale is still there, even after baking.

Step Two: Transfer your butternut squash and shallot into a shallow baking dish. Toss with a little bit of extra olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the pieces. Stick in the oven and roast at 400Β°F for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
photo 3

Here’s the squash before baking. Make sure you toss the butternut squash and diced shallot well in the olive oil; that way, they won’t stick to the pan and make your life/clean-up a disaster. πŸ˜‰

photo 3 (4)

The squash after baking. These pieces were pretty done, so definitely check your squash after about 40 minutes of baking time. Give it a stir at least once during the baking time so that you are cooking all pieces evenly.

Step Three: Meanwhile, while your squash is roasting away and filling your kitchen will all sorts of delicious smells, make your cheeze. In a food processor (or even in a mini food processor, or personal size blender), combine the nuts, yeast, olive oil and salt. Blend until the cheeze becomes mixed and pretty well chopped but still retains some of the nutty texture.
photo 5

Cheeze ingredients in the blender. You can use other nuts if you’d like in place of the almonds/hazelnuts, like cashews or pecans, or if you’re totally nut-free you can substitute seeds like pumpkin seeds and sesame. Yum! All combos will be pretty bomb. πŸ˜€

photo 1 (4)

Cheeze after blending. As you can (hopefully) see here, there is still some of the nutty texture retained – it adds a nice crunch to the dish.

photo 2 (4)

Another close up of the cheeze – it makes a bunch, like two to three handfuls (sorry my measurements are not always cup and tablespoon related, but hey that’s just how I roll). πŸ˜‰

Step Four: Once your squash is done roasting, add the kale directly into the baking dish. Toss with the butternut squash to combine, and allow the kale to slightly wilt. Then, pour the cheeze mixture over the entire pan of veggies and toss to combine, until the cheeze is well distributed.
photo 4 (3)

The kale and butternut after baking, with the cheeze sprinkled on top. Make sure you give the veggies and cheeze a good toss to evenly distribute the cheeze. YUM!

Step Five: Turn the oven down to 350Β°F and place the butternut/kale mixture back into the oven for an additional 6 or so minutes. Be careful not to burn your “cheeze” (you wouldn’t want to bake it for more than 8 minutes).
photo 1 (2)

The kale and butternut after the second bake cycle, ready to be chomped!

Step Six: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€
photo 3 (3)

And voila! Butternut-y, kale-y cheeziness! YUMMMMM!!!

photo 3 (2)

I ate two plates worth, it was THAT good.

photo 2 (2)

Noms πŸ˜›

This dish is stellar. Even your omnivore friends will be down with this buttenut/kale/cheeze combo – it’s delicious. It’s a great side dish, or if you want this to be a major player, put over your fave grain like quinoa/farro/rice/pearl couscous/whatever and throw some L’s Best Baked Tofu Ever on the side. I ate mine with some leftover Spanish Style Lentils a la L that I made earlier this week – it was a fantastic, super healthy dinner (which I give at least partial responsibility to my supreme ass-kicking in 5:45 am bootcamp this morning – BOOYAH!). As for the “is the juice worth the squeeze?” rating, I would give it an 8 out of 10 for labor input to flavor output (if you use pre-chopped butternut squash, it would skyrocket to at least a 9, and if you’re wondering – only smoothies are ever a 10 out of 10 because there is no chopping involved). πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

Also (one last thought before I send this off to the interwebs) – why nutritional yeast? Well, nutritional yeast is a great vegan source of vitamin B12 (if it’s fortified). I use Bob’s Red Mill brand nutritional yeast which provides 133% of your daily value of B12 (it’s fortified with B vitamins). B12 is super important: it plays a key role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system and the formation of red blood cells (for all of us active, vegandos out there – we need it!). I actually just got a vegan multivitamin with a whoooole bunch of B12 in there for that reason (I went a little cray on Amazon Black Friday sale and bought like $50 worth of natural foods and vitamins. Don’t believe me? See my haul below). Another important guy for us veg folks is Vitamin D (I got some of that, too). Last year when I was tested in January during my annual physical, my vitamin D level was 7. Yup, that would be in the category of extremely deficient (which was alarming, and I had to take those super prescription-level of 50,000 IU of vitamin D for two weeks to bring my levels back to normal). Remember, I’m a fair redhead (which means I don’t leave the house without SPF 30) and I live in the Northeast. Everyone is different, but just wanted to put a little personal PSA from L out there for you all to ponder. Just sayin’. (Also, the Vitamin D Council offers a $50 in home testing kit – I found this from all my Googling to find the best vegan Vitamin D supplements, just in case your insurance really sucks or you don’t feel like seeing your doctor, or you’re fiercely independent and stubborn and science-y like me and just want to do it your DAMN self).

photo 1 (3)

L’s Amazon haul: Vegan vitamins, farro, nutritional yeast, a 4 pack of Museli, cocoa nibs (literally chased the UPS man up the hill on my street yesterday evening bc I was so excited about this package, oh and the butternut squash was already roasting – I needed that nutritional yeast!). PS: I ❀ Bob’s Red Mill with all my heart ❀ ❀ ❀

I hope you all have a fantastic day today!!! Enjoy this butternut/kale recipe – it f***ing RULES.

With warmth,

L ❀

What do I feed all of these people?!? Answer: Egg Muffins.

photo 4

Leek, Mushroom and Sage Egg Muffins

Holiday problem #27682: You have all of your family staying with you, and you don’t know what to make for breakfast for Thanksgiving day (/Christmas/Hanukkah/Fill in the Blank). Basically every surface of your kitchen is covered in various stages of food prep, every burner is in use, and the oven is cranking away cooking your Tofurkey (/bird if you’re not a veg like me!). Answer: Egg Muffins! If you are vegan, then your answer is Pumpkin Protein Power Muffins, which I posted about previously. If so – see the recipe here.

These little babies are nutritious, easy, make-ahead and “choose your own adventure” with fillings, so you can make whatever your family would like. I made leek, mushroom and sage but you can use: onion, pepper and veggie sausage; tomato, basil and mozzarella; broccoli and cheddar; breakfast burrito style (black beans, salsa and avocado) – just to name a few, the list goes on and on. You can basically put anything you have in the fridge in there (random veggies, leftover stuff – it’s a good fridge clean out meal). Without further ado…

Leek, Mushroom and Sage Egg Muffins

Ingredients:

  • A dozen eggs
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • A few fresh sage leaves (or a couple shakes of dried sage), finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Chop your veggie and combine them in a medium bowl. Toss together until well mixed.
photo 2

Chop the veggies into small bite-sized pieces and toss well to mix.

Step Two: Transfer the mixture to silicone muffin liners (or VERY well greased muffin tins, or you’ll never get them out). Fill each muffin liner about 1/2 full of the veggie mixture.
photo 3

The best thing that you can buy yourself is silicone muffin liners. These things are THE BEST. I got mine on Amazon for (24 of them) $11!

photo 4

FIll the cups about halfway with the veggie mixture.

Step Three: Crack your eggs into a large bowl and whisk until well beaten. Add sage, salt and pepper to taste.

photo 5

Step Four: Fill your muffin liners up, just below the brim – they should be almost full.
photo 1

Pour the egg mixture to just below the top of the muffin liner.

Step Five: Bake the muffins at 375Β°F for 30 minutes, or until the cups are risen, puffy and golden brown. Unless you really don’t like your relatives, make sure the eggs are cooked through (I inserted a toothpick in the center and it came out clean).
photo 2

While your egg muffins are baking away, now you have a whole half an hour to do something else to prepare for your relatives. You might even be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea in that amount of time. Score! πŸ˜›

Step Six: Remove from the oven and carefully tip the silicone muffin liner out onto a cooling rack.

photo 3

Step Seven: Eat immediately, or allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!
photo 5

If you don’t remove your egg muffins from the muffin liners right away, the bottoms may get deflated and squished like above. Ooops! They still tasted great though!

I hope that this helps you guys out. These little guys are tasty and easy to eat on the go, and a great thing to make ahead of time, either for relatives coming, or even during the week if you want to mix up your usual breakfast. Yum. Tasty, and nutritious.

Now it’s time to go start preparing for Thanksgiving….<<deep breathing>>

Happy Crazy Prep Day! I hope you guys stay calm and relaxed as you get ready for your holiday. And if you’re in New England, be careful in the Nor’easter! πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L xoxo

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

photo 3 (2)

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Whew! That’s a mouthful right there.

If you ever peruse my Instagram photos, you would know that I got a pretty legit haul from the farm stand last week: local butternut squash and Cape Cod cranberries included. This weekend, I wanted to throw together a “one pot” meal that I could eat for lunches during this short week instead of my usual salad. I combined a few of my favorite things: roasted butternut squash and red onion, fresh cranberries, power greens (baby spinach, baby kale and swiss chard) and a really vibrant dressing to pull it all together with fresh orange juice and zest. The orange vinaigrette dressing in and of itself is really delicious, and it elevates the dish past a thrown together (fridge clean out-esque) veggie salad with quinoa. To add some crunch and extra protein, I added hemp seeds and chopped pecans. I bet almonds or hazelnuts would also be amazing here, as well. If you’re looking for an addition to your Thanksgiving meal, this would be a pretty solid contender. It’s delicious, packed with flavor, eye appeal (lots of colorful veggies!) and with just enough of a twist to keep it interesting, but still accessible enough to please a wide variety of palates. You’ve got a serious crowd pleaser right here. And furthermore, it’s loaded with antioxidants and vitamins (so you can feed the ones you love the things that will make their bodies happy).

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 5 oz container of power greens (baby spinach, baby kale and swiss chard)
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dressing:

  • 1 large navel orange
  • zest of 1/2 the orange
  • 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Roast the squash. Place the butternut squash and chopped onion into a shallow baking dish (large enough so the squash cubes are in one layer), toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400Β°F for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir at least once halfway through.
photo 1

The roasted squash should be tender enough to stick a fork in one of the pieces but not mushy.

Step Two: Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa. Boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa, cover and turn the pot down to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then add the cranberries to the saucepan, stirring to incorporate. Cover the pot and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat, keeping it covered.
Step Three: Make the dressing. Combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl (or in the blender). Whisk (or blend) until smooth. While whisking, add the olive oil slowly to create an emulsion. Transfer to a container for storage.
photo 2

Use a hand grater to zest half of the orange. You can zest the whole thing and place the other half of the orange zest into a plastic baggie and stick it in the to use at a later time for other recipes.

photo 3

I had white wine vinegar and used that, but (regular) balsamic vinegar would be great here too. I always have jars of chopped and minced garlic on hand in my fridge, so I just added 1 tsp of chopped garlic (the equivalent of one minced clove of garlic).

Step Four: Roughly chop the power greens and place into a large bowl. Add the warm quinoa mixture on top of the greens and toss together to allow the greens to wilt. Once the squash is done roasting, add the squash and onion to the salad and toss to mix. Add the hemp seeds and pecans, and dress the salad to taste with the orange vinaigrette dressing. I used about half of the dressing, and stored the other half in the refrigerator for use on other green salads.
photo 5

It’s important to keep the quinoa covered and warm so that it wilts the greens in the salad.

photo 1 (3)

Here is what mine looked like after all the ingredients were added. πŸ™‚ YUM!

Step Five: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€ Serve topped with extra chopped pecans and/or hemp seeds, or over a bed of greens, if desired.
photo 5 (2)

I served my salad over a bed of greens and topped with extra pecans. Delicious!

The blend of sweet, savory and tart proves to be a winning combination in this salad. The sweetness of the butternut squash is offset by the tart cranberries and the zesty orange dressing. The greens add a nice balance to the flavors, and the nuts/hemp seeds provide a great crunch to the texture of the salad. Overall, it is an amazing one pot meal that your family (and you!) will love. I am pretty stoked to have this for lunch today, not gonna lie. πŸ™‚ Soooo many delicious and nutritious things packed into this one dish – it’s a win all around.

Hope all of you are having a calm, stress-free day today as we near Thanksgiving.

With Warmth,

L

PS: Go Bills! We won! I Billeve!! Perfect gift for my dad’s birthday, thank you Bills! ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀