A few weeks ago Engine 2 (Rip Esselstyn’s baby) announced they would be conducting a recipe contest. The entries had to include at least one ingredient from the Engine 2 line of foods (available at Whole Foods – try them if you haven’t!), be plant-based (duh), oil-free, low-fat and low-sodium. I was familiar with the line of foods they offered and immediately got the idea for a recipe to enter into the contest. It was announced today that my recipe was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner!! http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/ So fun and exciting!
The folks at E2 will be sharing this recipe with their readers, and I am sharing it now with you. It’s very easy, and delicious! Enjoy!
Summer Fruit Cobbler. Vegan. Oil-free. Gluten-free*
A fruit cobbler is one of my favorite desserts. I take it or apple pie over something chocolatey any day! We were having company and I wanted a dessert that would be nice for a chilly evening, and that incorporated seasonal fruit. Most fruit crisps are loaded with fat and lots of sugar, but not this one! The only fat is naturally occurring in the oat flour. No added oils or butter. I used peaches, mango and blueberries and they tasted wonderful together, all warm and saucy. For an extra special treat, serve warm with non-dairy ice cream. 🙂
*gluten-free if using certified gluten-free oat flour.
What the heck is that plant? Is it beets? Is it spinach? No! It’s chard, or Swiss chard to which its often referred. This leafy green is one of the healthiest plants you can eat. It comes in green and white, green with yellow stalks, or the type I grow, green with beautiful red stalks. Foods belonging to the chenopod family—including beets, chard, spinach, and quinoa—continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families. Containing powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients beneficial for all aspects of health, this amazing vegetable is an important component to the diet. And, it tastes great!
Swiss chard and kale growing beautifully in my Tower Garden!
I never knew what the heck to do with chard before I started growing my own. I grow it in my amazing aeroponic Tower Garden, which I absolutely love. I never had success with growing my own food before. The feeling of going out back to grab some homegrown chard, a few cucumbers, some kale and lettuce, or some strawberries, is like none other! I had read that chard was easy to grow so I bought the seedlings and in no time, I had these gorgeous, huge, green and red leaves ready to be eaten. The young, smaller leaves are good raw, but the mature leaves are too “green” tasting and bitter for me. I much prefer them cooked. The way I prepared them yesterday is my favorite so far. Up until then I had just steamed them, and eaten with a little sea salt and lemon juice, or added to pasta with marinara sauce. I’ve enjoyed all preparations, but this one is the winner so far.
*gluten-free if you use gluten-free (i.e. brown rice) tortillas.
When I bake sweet potatoes, I usually do 1 or 2 extra for leftovers. They are a quick, easy snack and great for dishes like this.
You can use whatever type of tortillas you like, but I really enjoy the brown rice tortillas. I don’t need to eat a gluten-free diet but for the sake of variety and not wanting to overdo it on wheat, whenever I can I opt for the alternative, as long as it’s a healthy one. Many gluten-free alternatives are filled with fat and have little to no fiber. These brown rice tortillas I get from Trader Joe’s are really nice.
I made this for lunch one day and it took all of 10 minutes. I couldn’t believe how good it was. My girlfriend Lori, who likes to be difficult :), says I shouldn’t call these quesadillas because there is no cheese. I wholeheartedly disagree. We can eat pizza without cheese and it’s still called pizza, omelets without cheese and it’s still an omelet (though I don’t eat those anymore), cheese-less burritos….you get my point. So, sorry Lori but these are being called Quesadillas and that’s that!
*gluten-free if you use gluten-free tortillas (i.e. brown rice).
It was lunch time. I opened the fridge and saw fresh green beans I’d gotten from the farmer’s market, and a Japanese sweet potato. Those are the kind with purple/burgundy skin but are white inside. Delicious. Anyway, I thought to myself “what can I do with both those items to make an entree?” This salad, which I ate warm, is what I came up with. Very tasty.
I used my amazing pressure cooker for the sweet potato (cooked 2 mins), and the green beans (cooked 1 minute), but however you want to cook them is fine. This dish is really quick and easy.
I needed something to eat for lunch and the red lentils in the pantry got my attention. I literally threw these ingredients together without a plan, and was SO happy with the result. It’s hard to believe something this easy could be so flavorful. It was so good in fact that I included the dish in an Indian themed feast I cooked this past weekend. It was a big hit along with the Indian Spiced Cabbage, Roasted Aloo (potatoes), brown basmati rice and whole wheat flat bread.
Red lentils are great because in addition to being extremely healthy and low-fat, they are quick-cooking. They can be used in sauces to add fiber and protein, or as the main ingredient along with a few others such as the recipe here. Unlike brown/green lentils they break down easily, blending in with whatever else is in the dish. They also end up being more yellow in color, even though they are called red and start out more of an orange color. At 140 calories per cup (dry), 0 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein, red lentils are a great addition to the diet.
In this dish I used two different types of curry powder, but you don’t have to. Regular curry is the yellow/orange version you see in most stores. Different brands can taste different from each other, with some more mild than others. Madras curry is another type that is similar to regular but with more spice. Berbere curry is an Ethiopian version, that has a smokier scent/flavor and is much spicier than the others. Feel free to use whatever variety you have on hand, or a combination like I’ve done here. The measurements I used result in a mild dish. As I’ve said before, I’m a spice wimp.
This is a recipe I’ve had on my website for a long time but I revamped it last night and it’s so much better now. I recommend topping with a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of Sour Un-Cream and Cornbread Muffins ((find in Recipes). Make sure to read the NOTES at the bottom of the recipe for important tips.
These muffins are a great way to enjoy the taste and texture of cornbread without all the fat and calories. Very easy to make and delicious with my Veggie Crock Pot Chili or White Bean Chili. See Notes for the gluten-free option.
A friend recently posted a link to a scone recipe. The recipe called for whole wheat flour, and the addition of fruit, making it seem like a healthier version. I opened the link only to find the recipe was anything but healthy. It called for 1 cup whole cream, 1 stick of butter, an egg and and egg white. Yes, whole wheat is better than white, but with all the other unhealthy ingredients still there, it hardly makes a difference changing the flour and adding some fruit. Herein lies the problem with the way so many people eat. Adding a single food or nutrient, or taking it out, won’t really make much difference in health outcomes. We must pay attention to the overall pattern and big picture. As my friend and mentor Dr. Pam Popper says, “the totality of the diet and lifestyle”.
I was determined to “healthify” (not really a word, but I’m going with it) the recipe. I thought I would just be able to sub out good stuff for bad, but ended up basically creating a whole new recipe. I don’t use oil or vegan butter in my baked goods, but I did use a small amount here. Scones are all about fat, and I felt I needed some for them to turn out like anything resembling a scone. Keep in mind these are lighter than traditional scones because they aren’t loaded with fat. The average scone has 20-30 grams of fat (a day’s worth), so you’d have to expect this healthy version, which has about 3, to be a little different. They are still delicious, especially when you know arteries aren’t being clogged, and thighs or bellies aren’t growing during consumption!
NOTE: Use organic strawberries, as conventionally grown strawberries are very heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides. Or, feel free to use a different type of berry.