Vegan BBQ "Pulled Pork" (Jackfruit)

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Inspired by Minimalist Baker's BBQ Jackfruit sandwich recipe. 

Jackfruit is a great vegan alternative to a shredded meat. When I saw that Trader Joes was selling canned jackfruit, I knew I had to give it a try! I'm always trying to learn new vegetarian and vegan dishes. I eat meat, but try to less and less. These kinds of recipes are fun experiments for me. Why not get creative AND healthy? This recipe can be used to make sandwiches, or simply put the BBQ jackfruit over a bed of greens, quinoa, and top with some sliced avocado. Enjoy! 

BBQ JACKFRUIT

Ingredients: 

  • 1 20-ounce can young green jackfruit. You can find them in asian grocery stores and Trader Joes.

  • BBQ seasoning (1 Tbsp brown sugar + 1/2 tsp paprika + 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp pepper + 1/4 tsp chili powder)

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce + more for topping

Instructions: 

  1. Rinse, drain, and thoroughly dry jackfruit. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.

  2. Mix together BBQ seasoning and add to jackfruit. Toss to coat.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil of choice (I use coconut oil) and seasoned jackfruit. Toss and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.

  4. Add BBQ sauce and thin with water to make a sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low- medium and cook for about 20-30 minutes.

  5. Remove lid and stir occasionally. Use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down.

  6. Once the jackfruit has been simmered, turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes to get a little extra color/texture and to cook off any excess water. Then remove from heat.

  7. Leftover jackfruit keeps for up to a couple days in the fridge.

  8. Enjoy the jackfruit on bread/buns for a sandwich, or over greens and rice. Top with avocado and enjoy!

Go-to Brussels Sprout Recipe

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My go-to brussels sprout recipe! Including a vegetarian/vegan and non-vegetarian option. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables to eat in the colder months. Its so easy to make, and comes out great every single time.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts

  • 1 cup chicken broth OR vegetable broth

  • 1 medium shallot roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic diced

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 Tb cooking oil of choice. Coconut oil OR Olive Oil

Instructions: 

1. Rinse Brussels sprouts under cool water. Trim the hard edge from the bottom of each sprout, pull off any loose leaves, and then cut brussels in half. 

2. In a medium to large pan, (I like to use a cast iron pan), heat oil on medium heat. Saute garlic and shallots for 2 min, then add Brussels. Cook Brussels until they appear a little bit brown on the edges, just 3-5 minutes. 

3. Add chicken or vegetable broth to pan and then cover. Reducing heat to medium/low, simmer the sprouts for 7-10 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, and all of the liquid has evaporated.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Enjoy Brussels sprouts as a side to a protein and carb for a balanced and nutritious meal! 

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils

As you may know already, I love using a slow cooker, especially in the winter time. I love how simple these recipes can be, and the fact that you can set it all up in the morning, and then come home later in the day to a delicious smelling apartment and a warm yummy meal. I've been trying to cook more vegan recipes (just as an experiment, and because its humane and healthy).  Here is one that I love! Tastes great when poured over some Jasmine rice, or brown rice. Definitely give this recipe a try, it will warm you up on those cold winter days! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 cups green lentils

  • 1 sweet potato

  • 2 carrots

  • 3 Tbsp curry powder (hot or mild)

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes

  • 15 oz can tomato sauce

  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • 14 oz can coconut milk (full fat)

  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Peel the sweet potato and carrots. Dice the sweet potato into 1/2 in. cubes and slice the carrots.

  2. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, carrots, lentils, curry powder, cumin, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and vegetable broth to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Once cooked, the lentils should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.

  3. Stir the can of coconut milk into the lentils. Taste and add salt and pepper or other spices as needed (the amount of salt needed will depend on the the amount of sodium in the broth and the canned tomatoes).

  4. To serve, add cooked rice to a bowl followed by 1 cup of the lentil mixture. Top with finely diced onion and fresh cilantro or parsley. 

  5. This meal is completely vegan and gluten free, enjoy! 

No-Bake Protein Energy Balls

These little delicious nuggets are perfect for on-the-go! A quick bite to give you some protein and energy for wherever you are off to next. I tried a couple of recipes I found online, and created my own version below. Try them out and let me know what you think! 

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (or Vegan protein)

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

  • 1/2 cup smooth natural almond butter (or any nut butter)*

  • 1 tbsp raw honey

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, raisins or preferred add-in

  • 4-6 T liquid (unsweetened almond milk, coconut, soy, etc.)

  • 1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add oats, protein powder, cinnamon, chia and flax seeds to a large bowl.

  2. Add in almond butter, honey and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.

  3. Add in chocolate chips (or preferred add-in). Mixture should be slightly sticky but still crumbly.

  4. Slowly add in milk, using hands (get dirty!) combine until it comes together in a sticky ball that holds together. If mixture feels too dry, add in more liquid but not so much that it won't hold shape.

  5. Roll into balls using hands.

  6. Roll balls into coconut flakes to coat.

  7. Place on parchment paper in a container to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  8. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

Quick & Easy Raw Zucchini Salad

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This is the easiest salad/side you will ever make. And you don't even need one of those fancy spiralizers that everyone keeps impulse buying. (Although you can use one of those if you'd like.)  It is SO simple, but also SO delicious. I usually eat this as a side, to go along with a protein and a carb. Shout out to my sister-in-law and dietician, Jenn for sharing this quick and easy recipe with me. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Zucchini

  • vegetable peeler

  • olive oil

  • salt and pepper

  • lemon

Take your fresh zucchini and start peeling it from top to bottom. Letting the peels or "ribbons" fall into a bowl. They can be all different sizes, it doesn't matter! Dress zucchini with Olive Oil, salt, pepper, and lemon to taste. THATS IT. One medium size zucchini usually serves 2. Enjoy! 

Go-to Smoothie Recipe

Summer is the perfect season for smoothies! Smoothies can make a great breakfast, or snack, depending on the ingredients. I like to put rolled oats into my morning smoothie because it makes it more substantial, and filling. It's like having a cup of oatmeal in the morning! Here is my favorite morning smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana

  • 5 frozen strawberries

  • handful of blueberries

  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup of raw rolled oats

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 cup of almond milk

Mix all ingredients into a blender. You can adjust the amount of almond milk depending on how thick you like your smoothie. 

If you're feeling creative and want help coming up with your own smoothie recipe, check out my previous blog post on my smoothie creation techniques. :) Enjoy! 

Homemade Kombucha

My new obsession is making kombucha at home. It requires the perfect amount of work and passiveness, and it doesn't go bad if you forget about it for a few days. I like to compare it to owning a goldfish as a pet -- very minimal maintenance. You check in on it every once in while and its in a big glass jar of liquid. It also kind of fascinates me -- theres a live culture growing and living inside of this liquid, and every day it looks a little different. Call me weird, but I like it. Also, there are tons of health benefits to drinking kombucha. Its amazing for your gut health, which is hugely connected to your immune system and your overall health. I am not a nutritionist or a doctor so I won't get too preachy here, but there are lots and lots of articles you can read about why kombucha is so darn good for you. 

Here's what you need: 

  • 1 gallon glass jar.

  • piece of cut up t-shirt for the top, with a rubber band

  • 6 tea bags (black, oolong, green)

  • 1 cup of white sugar

  • A scoby (there are kits where you can make your own, or you can get one from a friend who already makes kombucha which is what I did.) When your friend gives you their scoby make sure they include 2 cups of kombucha tea from their last batch with the scoby.

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat 5 cups of water. Just hot enough that sugar will melt in the water.

  2. Turn off heat and place 1 cup of white sugar and mix, place tea bags in liquid as well and let steep for a few hours, while simultaneously letting your liquid cool to room temperature.

  3. Remove tea bags and put liquid mixture into your glass gallon container. Fill the rest up with room temperature water. Leaving a few inches at the top for the scoby and cups of past kombucha tea.

  4. Place your scoby into the mixture with kombucha tea. The scoby may sink to the bottom at first and then in a few days float to the top. Its all OK.

  5. Put t-shirt or fabric over the top with rubber band to hold it in place.

Now, depending on how warm the weather is, or how much light is in the room will depend on how quickly your kombucha will be ready. The ideal temperature is 75 degrees, and you should store it in a moderately dark place. You will need to let it sit for 7-30 days, I prefer around 10-14 days personally. The longer you let it sit the more vinegary it will taste. As you let it sit a new scoby will start to form at the top of the liquid, (this is the part that is most fascinating to me.) It looks like a white jelly fish floating at the top, covering the entire surface area of the liquid. It will get thicker and whiter every day. And will probably start forming on day 3 or 5. Here comes another fun part:

S E C O N D   F E R M E N T A T I O N 

If you want to flavor your kombucha, as I like to, I recommend doing a second fermentation. It will also make your kombucha more carbonated, which is fun. So once your kombucha tea is done and cultured, you can poor the liquid into smaller sealable glass containers. Leave a couple inches at the top, so do not fill all the way. From here you can pick which flavor you want. Here are a few that I recommend: beet and ginger; strawberry and ginger; pineapple and ginger. Can you tell I like ginger? Basically any kind of fruit juice is good, because the kombucha will continue to eat off of the sugar from the fruit juice, and create carbonation. Again, i'm not a scientist, just go with it. 

  1. Blend fruit/ginger in a blender. For one gallon of tea I used one raw beet and a chunk of ginger around 2 in x 1 in.

  2. Pour fruit mixture into bottles of kombucha tea (use a funnel). You can strain the pulp out of the fruit, or leave it, up to you!

  3. Seal the bottles and leave on your counter top for 2-3 days.

  4. Use CAUTION when opening the bottles up, there will be carbonation and it can bubble and overflow making a mess. I recommend opening the bottles over the sink and with a kitchen towel on top.

  5. Refrigerate to enjoy cold!

I've read many articles about homemade kombucha, and have talked to a few friends about it as well. It seems there is always something to learn, which is also probably why I like it so much. Any tips or tricks please leave in the comment section below! Happy brewing. 

 

L <3

Butternut Squash Coconut Chili

I found this recipe online and made some adjustments, but it is DELICIOUS. I've been trying to eat more vegetarian, and was searching for some ideas when I came across this gem. I often think that eating vegetarian means just being hungry and never getting full, but this dish does the trick. We as humans consume too much meat, for our health, and for our planet. It is much more sustainable to eat a plant based diet, so I'm trying to lean towards that direction. Anyway, enjoy this chili, its so damn good!!

You'll need a slow cooker or crock pot for this recipe!

 

Butternut Squash Coconut Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced

  • 2 cups of peeled + diced butternut squash

  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced (or 1 tsp of garlic powder)

  • 1 medium can of black beans, drained + rinsed

  • 1 medium can of chickpeas, drained + rinsed

  • 1 can (400ml) of low-fat coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano

  • 2 cups of vegetable broth

  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder (optional; I added this to mine, and thought I made a wise choice.)

  • cooked rice or quinoa (optional)

  • chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or chives (for garnish)

  • shredded unsweetened coconut (for garnish)

  1. Place all ingredients except the garnishes/rice in a slow cooker. Cook on high heat for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours). Add more chili powder as desired. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like chili on the spicy side. In the last 45 minutes of cooking, open the lid to allow the chili to thicken. If the chili looks a bit dry, add a bit more vegetable broth.

  2. Serve over rice or quinoa. Garnish with fresh herbs and shredded coconut.

Overnight Cold Oats

This is definitely one of my favorite breakfast foods. Its delicious, and so convenient and easy to make! You can make a bunch of them and save them in the fridge for the whole week, making it super easy to just grab one and head out the door. Here's my recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of regular oats

  • 1/2 cup of almond/coconut/soy milk

  • 2 Tablespoons of yogurt (optional)

  • Handful of cut up fruit: blueberries, strawberries, bananas, peaches, anything you want!

  • Fun additives as well: honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds, etc.

Mix it all together in a glass mason jar with lid, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. It'll be ready in the morning. That's it. Enjoy!

Smoothie Season!

One of my favorite parts of spring, besides the weather being awesome, are smoothies! I recently bought a Nutri Ninja, which has made smoothie making so much easier, cleaner, and fun. Yes, I said fun. I feel like I could put anything in that thing, and it would taste delicious. But I've narrowed down my technique and this is what I've learned makes a good smoothie:

  • You need at least one thing that is sweet. I usually use a banana, or an apple.

  • Something creamy. For that I use either yogurt, or an avocado.

  • Something frozen. I will use frozen fruit, which is usually my second sweet ingredient (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.) Or just a few ice cubes.

  • Something hearty, fibrous, that thickens. For this I like to use some kind of vegetable: kale, spinach, carrots, but you can also use some oats or almonds.

  • You need a form of liquid: soy, almond or coconut milk, orange juice, or coconut water.

  • And then for some extra goodness here's a list of things that are great additives that make your smoothie extra special: almond/peanut butter, fresh ginger, fresh mint or basil, cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg, goji berries.

  • Lastly, a good thing to remember is less is more. Pick a good 5 ingredients with confidence and stick to that. I've gotten weird and tried putting 10 different things in the blender... it didn't taste very good. And now have fun!

 Kale, banana, blueberries, goji berries, plain yogurt, and coconut milk

Kale, banana, blueberries, goji berries, plain yogurt, and coconut milk