Category Archives: Meatless Monday

On the Menu: Spiced Peanut Pumpkin Soup & a Hat Trick

The Runner’s World Festival week is here! Registration is still open and the discount codes are still up for grabs.

For the first time this season the soup-pot was busted out and the Veg Life Pinterest board was assessed for options. Currently working without a blender or functioning food processer means a little creativity is in order. Recently accepting that it’s no longer iced-coffee season and pumpkin is taking its reign worked out well for this dinner.

Thanks to MindBodyGreen’s Spicy West African Peanut soup, we had some inspiration to work with. This soup is a mixture of seasonal, spicy and dietary-restriction-friendly! Vegan (dairy-free) and gluten-free, but not missing a thing.

spicy peanut pumpkin soup

Spiced Peanut Pumpkin Soup

1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced celery
1 Tbsp grated ginger (or dried to taste)
2 tsp minced garlic (or dried to taste)
1 Tbsp oil (EVOO or of choice)
Hot sauce to taste
Seasonings: cayenne, paprika, salt

1 can organic pureed pumpkin
2 cups Trader Joe’s Bloody Mary mix
3 cups water
1/4 cup peanut butter (natural, creamy)

Toppings: roasted kale, green onions & roasted pepitas

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium. Sauté the celery, onion, garlic and ginger until softened. Add seasonings & hot sauce, continue stirring until cooked through. Add remaining ingredients one at a time, stirring thoroughly until well-mixed. Bring to a boil; simmer for 10-20 minutes until ready to serve (stir frequently). If you prefer a smooth soup, use an immersion blender to puree the sautéed vegetables.

Top with whatever your taste-buds want! We had kale ‘chips’ (i.e. roasted kale), sliced green onions and roasted pumpkin seeds (i.e. pepitas). It ‘twas delicious.

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There’s one other big item on the menu this week: a hat-trick!

On Saturday, I’ll be running two of three races (5k, 10k), and Sunday will round it out (half-marathon). Thursday I hit the road with Erika to join a host of other bloggers, Runners World team members and elite runners!

RW Festival_home

Come join a party  {festival} only RW could host!

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Filed under dinners, Meatless Monday, Races, recipes, running, vegetarian

Spaghetti Squash & Hummus Lunches

Winner of the LOVE Grown Foods Hot Oats Giveaway: Sassy (Lauren)!
(Picked by Random.ORG number generator.)

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One thing I learned about the spaghetti squash recently is that its volume shouldn’t be underestimated! I offered to cook dinner for some friends, and picked up two of said vegetable to feed three people. The recipe du jour was P&TY’s spaghetti squash pad thai (three thumbs up!); we were left with no more pad thai (that goes quickly), but an entire spaghetti squash’s worth of “noodles” unused.

Hello, lunch:

Spaghetti squash salad lunch

That whole squash was enough for two of us to make lunches for most of the week – file that under quality Sunday-night meal prep!

My preferred combinations (staples) :

1-1.5 cup spaghetti squash
Kale
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 carrot, grated
2-3 tbsp Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil hummus
Seasoned with: salt, thyme

1-1.5 cups spaghetti squash
Kale
1/2 orange/red pepper, chopped
1-2 tbsp. yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp. raw pepitas
1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Cilantro Jalapeno hummus
1/4 – 1/2 cup black beans
Optional: squeeze of lime juice

1-1.5 cup spaghetti squash
Kale
1/4 cucumber, sliced/chopped
1/2 roasted red pepper, sliced
1 tbsp raw pepitas
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp salsa OR roasted red pepper hummus
Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup chickpeas or black beans.

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Do you dine on squash for lunch? What flavor combo would you add in there?

The versatile “noodles” can wear many hats – the week of lunch experiments proved tastefully successful.

8 Comments

Filed under lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian, what to eat

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

Vegan Almondmilk Broccoli & Sage Risotto

It’s been a while since we’ve sat down to have dinner together. Grab a fork, this is one of my favorites…

The first time I tasted risotto it was homemade; Denver lulu-friend/chef Whitney & I would have weekly cook-at-home dinner parties, and her kitchen skills weren’t to be messed with. A foodie at heart, this girl makes a mean risotto – dry white wine, authentic parmesan n’ all.

Fast forward two years: (mostly) giving up dairy might mean I don’t enjoy the salty taste of parmesan (nearly as often) these days, but it doesn’t mean recipes can’t be altered to create veg-friendly versions of a few favorites. Once I realized that quite a few dairy-free eaters enjoy homemade risotto, the experiments had to commence.

Risotto pairs well with any combination of vegetables – peppers, edamame, broccoli and mushrooms tend to be my favorite add-ins. This specific version balances seasonal butternut squash and chopped broccoli with fresh herbs and Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Originalin place of heavy cream, saving a lot of calories and swapping in much healthier fat. (If you pick the almond milk over skim milk, you’re saving 30 calories! And lactose, too.)

And with this version? We’re clearing the bowls of every last bite.

Heather Calcote Vegan Sage & Broccoli Risotto

Vegan Sage Broccoli & Squash Risotto
Makes ~4 servings

1 cup Arborio rice
1 ¼ cup
Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Original
½ cup light coconut milk
1 ½ cup water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped
Salt/Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

In a deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium. Add squash, broccoli and green onion, sautéing for 4-5 minutes (until softened). Season with salt and pepper to taste (approx. ¼ tsp of each). Add rice and toss for one minute. In a separate bowl, whisk liquids with herbs. Add one cup of liquid mixture to rice and vegetables, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue mixing liquid in ½ cup at a time as it absorbs; stir frequently. Once all liquid is added (total cook time: 20-25 minutes), serve warm over a bowl of greens or as a side.

Silk2 010

Per Serving:
Calories: 245 | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: <1.0g
Carbs: 44g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 4g
Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 150mg

If you compared this to a classic risotto, you’re looking at a 500+ calories per serving vs. 245, and upwards of 13g of saturated fat vs. less than 1g. This vegan-friendly option has a similar texture and better flavor, in my opinion, while actually providing the nutrients of a “side” vs. an entrée. Bring this to your next potluck and nobody will be wondering where the butter is.

The true taste test: I cooked this for our meat-lovin’ friends and it got two-thumbs up. Success!


This recipe post is part of a sponsored campaign with Silk and FitFluential, LLC. All opinions are my own.

18 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Sautéed Sesame Brussels Sprouts

I wasn’t 100% sure where to put my feeling on Brussels sprouts, after a frozen bag-gone-bad really didn’t do them any favors. Fresh is always best, but even then the smell of those things cooking can knock anyone out of a small apartment kitchen quicker than rotten garbage disposal contents or too-many-days-old trash (in my opinion…).

(Did you know they were spelled Brussels sprouts? That extra “s” is tricky.)

raw brussels sprouts stalk

Don’t be too intimidated by this stalk – the little sprouts are easy to pop/chop off and taste much better off of this than straight from a plastic bag!

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Did you know…

-One serving = 6 sprouts, 45 calories & 90% of recommended daily Vitamin C intake.
-They’ve been shown to have cholesterol-lowering benefits.
-Due to their high concentration of “glucosinolates”, they’re a top-ranked cancer-fighting food.
-One cup of Brussels sprouts provides almost 200% of the recommended daily Vitamin K intake.

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Luckily they don’t taste like they smell – nature has a few tricks up  its sleeve!

brussels sprouts 1

In search of a new, creative way to get these on the dinner plate I found some inspiration from Emily (Daily Garnish). It’s hard to screw up vegetables with an Asian flare! But, we didn’t have rice vinegar or liquid aminos, so I improvised…

Sautéed Sesame Brussels Sprouts

Olive oil
15-20 Brussels sprouts*, halved
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Seasonings: garlic powder, salt/pepper

*Remove from stalk and rinse well, if applicable.

Heat 0.5-1 tbsp. of olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add sprouts, cooking and stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Whisk apple cider vinegar, sesame oil & seasonings in a small bowl. Combine with sprouts and stir until combined. The heat will cook off some of the sauce, but also let the flavors soak into the sprouts.

We enjoyed these with a side of baked sweet potato “fries” & mashed cauliflower. A comfy, satisfying & colorful dinner plate (and low-light iPhone capture)…

brussels sprouts dinner

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Are you a sprouts lover?
If not, would you try this version? If so, what’s your go-to cooking method?

11 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, in the kitchen, Meatless Monday, Nutrition, recipes