Category Archives: gluten free

{Paleo} Vegan Eggplant Pizzas

In my continued quest to befriend the eggplant, we went down a road that never fails a single taste-bud test: the pizza. We don’t cook according to any labels, but this recipe happens to be gluten-free, vegan- and Paleo-friendly.

Yes, even a  bacon-loving, 1/4-a-cow-in-the-freezer* dude eats “vegan” meals every once in a while. Veggies hold a high power in this house!

The trick with using an eggplant “crust” is this vegetable’s affinity for moisture. To avoid total mush, start by slicing your eggplant, placing the rounds (~1 inch thick) on a paper towel and salting. Let this sit for about 20-30 minutes. If you’re impatient and cook on a time budget like me, even 10-15 minutes will help.

Then, turn your oven on and hop to it!

Vegan Eggplant Pizzas

1 medium eggplant, sliced (1-inch thick rounds)
~3 Tbsp olive oil

Toppings:
Vegetables of choice!
We went with sautéed yellow squash and red onions.

Sauce:
1 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I usually go with Muir Glen)
Salt/Pepper, Thyme, Oregano – to taste
2 leaves fresh basil
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375*. Drizzle olive oil over the eggplant slices; roast for 15 minutes. During this time, prep and/or sauté your vegetables (if you like them cooked first – skip this step if you want them crispy). Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor, or high-power blender, and blend/pulse until smooth.

Remove the eggplant slices and top with sauce + veggies. Cook for another 8-10 minutes. 

2014-09-04 18.36.20

As you can see, we got a bit distracted by the guac-master’s other creation of the night. So, that also happened.

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As with any pizza, the options are endless and totally up to the season’s harvest, your taste and/or dietary preferences. But as mentioned above, this was a meat-free dinner for the meat-lover in our house, and I heard no complaints! You could even cut these into fourths and make them a party-pleasing appetizer. Either way, the eggplant wins, yet again.

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Filed under dinners, gluten free, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Lunch’n Vegan: Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Salad

This recipe post is brought to you courtesy of Instagram and the attention that a lunch bowl can garner while people are hungrily browsing social media! All I did was calculate the leftovers in the fridge into amount of time I wanted to dedicate to lunch-packing after the Superbowl. I’m no chef, and “easy but healthy” could describe most, if not all, combinations posted in this space!

This came together easily, in approximately 5 minutes (thanks to Friday night’s dinner menu), and pleasantly surprised the taste-buds. And as it turns out, it’s ringing “healthy” bells:

pom   pumpkin seed lunch

Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Salad

2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
2 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup Sautéed kale
1 cup Roasted Brussels sprouts

Salt/pepper to taste. On the side: guac.

The measurements are estimates, since I rarely measure things but rather toss them in and give it a good look and think “Yep, that fills the Pyrex bowl”.

On the side you see some leftover guacamole from our game-watching party contribution (if you could call that a game?), which added a nice spice to the mix! It’s not intentionally vegan and gluten-free, but it is.

The Perks:

Pomegranate seeds are high in antioxidants and have been shown to lower cholesterol levels! Feisty little things. They can also be a good source of vitamins C and B5.

Pumpkin seeds make frequent appearances in my lunch, as they’re a complete protein and great source of manganese and magnesium, and an excellent source of zinc and iron. All good things in general, but especially for the veg-heads!

The seed-powered salad takes the win, here.

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Eggplant & Tofu Tacos

The grocery cart got a little overzealous last week, resulting in some new menu items and enough goods to actually take us through a weekend. If last year’s CSA taught me anything it’s that eggplant is partial to Maryland’s summer weather, but Trader Joe’s would have you thinking otherwise. It was in abundance on their shelves, and my taste-buds have had a long enough break to be okay with it.

We needed a fresh approach, and when there’s an avocado on the verge of browning you only have one choice: guacamole, it is.

Eggplant and tofu tacos

Eggplant & Tofu Tacos
Serves 2

Corn tortillas
1/2 block tofu, cubed
1 Tbsp. oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 eggplant (cut length-wise), sliced
1/4 tsp. each – cayenne pepper, cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Guacamole*

Heat oil over medium in a deep skillet; add tofu and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add eggplant, red pepper & seasonings. Cook until eggplant and pepper softens, and tofu begins to brown.

*Guacamole: 1 avocado, garlic powder, salt/pepper, cayenne, freshly squeezed lime juice. (Optional add-ins: chopped tomatoes, onion and/or jalapenos.)

Warm the corn tortillas in the microwave or in the oven, until softened. Line with the good green stuff (guac) and fill up with the eggplant & tofu mix.

Fold & enjoy!

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Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes

The Picky Athlete’s Pocket

When an endurance athlete reduces/eliminates gluten and dairy from the diet, there are a lot of things out the window! There are the obvious good-byes – bowls of whole-wheat pasta, peanut-butter & banana sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, most cereals, etc – and then there are the “THAT has gluten/dairy, too?!” moments. The breakups that follow include most* energy bars, gels, sometimes-worth-the-splurge candy, etc. It’s a tough wake-up call, but well worth turning over those bars to glance at an ingredient list or two.

CLIF Dietary options

Exhibit A: the CLIF site makes it very easy to see which products fit into your dietary-needs pocket. But click “Gluten Free” & “No Dairy” and your options are instantly diminished. (Kudos for the user-friendly way to find this out, though. Scrolling through an FAQ section isn’t as fun.)

When did fueling on-the-go get so complicated? Wasn’t there a day when these didn’t exist, and people still crossed finish lines riding/running strong?

YES. Yes, those days did exist.

*Being selectively picky might have been quite the chore as few as 5-10 years ago – aside from homemade options and loaves of frozen gluten-free bread, you might have been grazing the sport store aisles & internet pages without much luck. Last Spring, taking on the “Sherpa” role with D’s cycling, I quickly realized that my marathon-fueling tactics didn’t extrapolate to a 100-mile ride, followed by an 80-mile jaunt the next day! (Let’s not get into how they physically do this, in the first place. My lower half aches at the suggestion of that weekend agenda.)

Enter: the Feedzone Cookbook, Picky Bars & Vega protein.

Feedzone cookbookPicky bars
picky bar science
Vega logo Vega slogan
Vega package instagramPicky Bar ski day

Photo source: Feedzone cookbook.

Sure, we could make our own bars all the time and get really creative with flavors & textures and combinations. When I feel the urge to do so, I’m all for it. We also can, and do, make trail mixes, simply grab hand-fruits, etc. when the kitchen is stocked.  But for the quick-fix, somebody-else-has-figured-this-out option?

ALL of these are gold to the picky athlete’s pocket!

The Feedzone cookbook (written by Allen Lim, who has worked with endurance cyclists for years) has recipes for rice-based bars; Picky bars are made by professional endurance athletes (Stephanie Rothstein, Jesse Thomas & Lauren Fleshman) as is Vega (Brendan Brazier). They get it. 

If you’re among the “picky” athletes looking for alterative options, these are all waiting for you. If you make your own bars, there are plenty of recipes out there to test out & enjoy! If you’re just looking to clean things up a little bit on-the-run or ride, these products are worth your investment.

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What’s lining your pockets when you’re on-the-go?
Do you have any easy go-to recipes for bars, snacks, drinks, etc?

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Filed under bike rides, cycling, food, gluten free, learning, Nutrition, running, what to eat

Spiced White Bean Pumpkin Soup (Vegan, GF)

It’s been a big week here, with dairy talk and elections, and it’s about time we eat. Yes? Sit down, and grab a spoon. This one is cozy and comforting…

pumpkin white bean soup

It started with a Pin, and an excuse to really bust out the slow-cooker. Then it was Monday night, and suddenly waiting five hours for soup to cook didn’t sound quite as a fun. Our version is still dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, but just happened to find its way into our bowls much faster.

Spiced White Bean & Pumpkin Soup
Makes ~4 servings. Adapted from Healthy Eat’s Curried Pumpkin Soup.

1 tsp Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 can (15 oz) organic white (cannellini) beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin puree
3 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)

Seasonings: garam masala, turmeric, salt/pepper, cayenne pepper.

In a deep pan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium; sauté onion and garlic until softened.  Add remaining ingredients, stir to mix well – this may take a few minutes as the pumpkin “melts” into the mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir frequently.

Optional: serve with a green onion garnish.

pumpkin soup 2

This the first deliciously seasonal pumpkin meal we’ve had, and it was a big win. I have my eyes on this soup’s comeback happening sooner than later.

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Happy Friday!

What’s on your dinner menu(s) this weekend?

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Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, recipes, vegetarian