Monday, March 5, 2012

Food For Life

One of the most important components of the vegetarian/Vegan diet (or anyone's diet for that matter)  is the whole grain. With health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity, there really is no reason to not incorporate whole grains into every meal. It is surprisingly easier than you might think. Today we are focusing on quinoa, black rice and lentils, but you can experiment with many other whole grain options as well. For a complete list of options, great information and ways to seamlessly make the addition to your daily meal routine visit the Whole Grains Council  website. 

Carrot and Quinoa Muffins

What you will need:
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 cup of demerara sugar, plus 1 tbs for sprinkling
3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of butter (you can substitute coconut oil here)
1/2 cupo f greek yogurt
1 tsp of vanilla
2 eggs beaten
1 cup of loosely packed grated carrots
1/4 cup of toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a muffin tin and set aside

In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, sugar, flours, baking soda and salt. In a mixing bowl, mix together butter (allow to cool), yogurt, vanilla and eggs. Stir into flour bowl, mixing well. Gently fold in carrots and walnuts, until just mixed. 

Divide batter evenly among muffin tin, and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, sprinkling 1 tbs of sugar over top during the last five minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Spring Black Rice

What you will need:
14 oz of Tofu, drained, and pressed, then cut into 1/2 cubes
1 1/2 cups of fresh orange juice
1 tbs of honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of chinese black rice
2 cups of water
1 tbs of olive oil
20 stems of asparagus, tough stems discarded, cut into 1'' pieces
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 cup of packed basil leaves, cut into think strips
1/4 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 tbs of vinegar
pepper to taste

Combine pressed tofu, orange juice, honey, garlic, and salt into a large bowl. Gently toss to coat tofu. Let sit at least 15 minutes. 

In a medium sauce pan, combine black rice and water, over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Set aside.

In a large Sauté pan, heat 2 tbs of olive oil, over high heat. Add marinated tofu cubes, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown, shaking pan often to avoid sticking. Add asparagus, and cook 5 minutes, until tender.

In a large serving bowl, gently combine tofu and asparagus with rice. Add chives, basil and pine nuts. Drizzle with 3 tbs of olive oil and vinegar, Gently toss and season to taste with salt, pepper and more olive oil, vinegar, citrus or honey, if desired. 

Lentil Salad

What you will need:

1 cup of lentils
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small bunch of radishes, sliced very thin
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/3 cup of pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 tbs of capers
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 tbs of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook lentils until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and place in a large serving bowl. Mix in tomatoes, onion, radishes, pepper, cilantro, olives and capers. Ina small bowl, pour olive oil, and whisk in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to lentil salad, tossing to coat. Before serving, mix in feta, tossing lightly. 

*Recipe's Courtesy of Fesh365