The most obvious of the Low GI downfalls is the lack of dessert. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth (potatoes are my glycemic poison of choice) but I do occasionally like a good dessert. I thought making vegan desserts with no sugar would be impossible, but I was really really really bored this weekend, so I gave it a shot. It turns out, this super easy to make a healthy, quick dessert full of fruits and grains and only using a little bit of Stevia. I used the recipe from this Sweetleaf site and adapted it with influence by this Luminous Vegans recipe (I’m always looking for a chance to use my cast-iron skillet!). This is so easy though, you can pretty much dump anything you want into it. And easy on the Stevia, it’s really good but can be a little powdery (they haven’t solved the baking problem with Stevia yet). And, if you have an insulin issue, don’t overdo it. I had two servings (piggy, I know, but I thought it was healthy!) and I had a migraine all night. Soooo… Stevia is still a sweetener. Take it easy.
Stevia Blueberry Apple Crisp
- 6 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, gently dried (or a bag of frozen blueberries, works really well)
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1/4 cup SugarLeaf (I used 6 Stevia in the Raw packets, will only use 4 next time)
- Juice of a lemon, divided
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)
- 1/4 cup SugarLeaf (I used 6 Stevia in the Raw packets, will only use 4 next time)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cubed
- 2 tablespoons water
- Dash of Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss blueberries with arrowroot powder, SugarLeaf, juice of half a lemon and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, almonds, SugarLeaf, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add cubed butter and mix together until crumbly and oats look absorbed. Add water and the juice of other half of the lemon. Stir into mixture.
Pour blueberries into a 9×13 baking dish (or 12″ cast iron skillet) and spread evenly. Top with crisp mixture and spread evenly over the blueberries. Bake 30-40 minutes until blueberries are bubbling and crumb topping is golden brown.
Autumn! I love it. And once it finally started getting cold in November, I started making soups. I found this awesome soup on Allyson Kramer’s awesome blog. It’s super easy and full of things that are good for you: sweet potatoes, cauliflower, garlic and onion. Yum.
Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup
yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 large head cauliflower (the one I used was at least 7″ in diameter
- olive oil for drizzling
- Few dashes garam masala (optional)
- 3 medium to large sized peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 7 cups filtered water
First, preheat your oven to 400 °F and cut up your cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle cauliflower lightly with garam masala. Place cauliflower onto ungreased cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven and let roast until golden brown on the tops and tender, but not mushy, about 20-30 minutes. There’s no need to flip ‘em. Just remove from oven and let cool while you cook the rest of the soup.
In large stockpot, bring sweet potato, onion, garlic and water to a boil. Salt (abt 3/4 tsp) and stir. Reduce heat and allow to remain at a constant simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in cooked cauliflower and divide soup into 2 parts.
Let soup cool and then blend one part soup in blender until very smooth. Combine with second part soup and stir. Salt to taste and warm up over stovetop if needed.
For more: http://www.allysonkramer.com/2011/10/sweet-potato-cauliflower-soup/
I was dying for comfort food and I really wanted a creamy pasta. But, alas, vegans can’t have creamy, right? WRONG. As usual, Oh She Glows had the answer. It turns out cashews are AMAZING! They make a great creamy sauce, they’re delicious to snack on while you’re cooking said creamy sauce, and they’re full of protein. Like all nuts, they’re super high calorie though and you can definitely have too much of a good thing (thanks to my nutritionist I’m now down to eating avocados in halves. #sadpanda). I worked it out and a bowl of this dish with about a cup of whole wheat pasta is approximately 350 calories, and it’s super filling so one bowl with a side of say, kale chips or roasted brussel sprouts is a complete meal for around 400 calories (this is all super approximate obvs, pretty much just based on home measurement and the Lose It! app).
Easy Tomato Basil Cream Pasta (from Oh She Glows)
- 1 large ripe tomato or two smaller tomatoes
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp tomato paste (I also added 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes to make it a little less thick without adding water or wine)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3)
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 3-4 tbsp water or wine, (optional)
- 1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Chop tomato and add it to the blender (including skin and seeds). Now add the cashews, water, and tomato paste. Blend until smooth.
2. Add your pasta to boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and heat to low. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes being careful not to burn it.
4. Pour the sauce from the blender into the skillet, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and let it cook for 4-5 minutes, watching closely. You may add water or wine to thin out the sauce to you desired consistency, but this is not necessary.
5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the chopped basil and pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking, rinse and drain it. Add the drained pasta back in the pot and now gradually add pasta sauce until your desired amount is achieved. Stir and serve immediately. Makes 2 servings, likely with sauce leftover.
Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/05/10/easy-tomato-basil-cream-pasta/#ixzz2mH6mPaVv
Due to my new high-protein, low-GI needs, I now get to try awesome new recipes. Lots of room for experimentation! Luckily, between Pinterest and the many many food blogs out there, I am never at a loss for new things to try.
Before the new though, an old favorite. I have a favorite salad that I can never get enough of. I rarely eat it because it’s always huge and I can’t help but eat all of it in one sitting, but it’s delicious. On Friday I had probably the hardest class I’ve ever taken at the gym and I was so exhausted and miserable that I decided that I deserved a really big, high calorie (healthy calories!) salad. Obviously, the ingredients can vary with almost any fruit and veg, but this is what I generally put in mine. I often add raisins but didn’t this time.
Big Recovery Salad
Red leaf lettuce (anything works here)
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1 bag Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders (this is a lot but, like I said, it’s a special treat)
Chop. Mix. Enjoy!
I just made a new Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing dressing that would probably be great on a smaller, less complicated salad. It would be too much for the salad above I think. Big ups to The Garden Grazer for this recipe! I made a few small substitutions, used vanilla coconut milk yogurt and added jalapeno and habanero and a little bit more lime. This dressing is AMAZING. It will be great on salads but tonight I used it on tacos made with whole wheat tortillas, spiced black beans and tomatoes. Delish.
I’m trying to find creative ways to get more protein into my diet. I had an amazing green tea protein smoothie at Protein Bar today that was fabulous but I certainly can’t afford to do that every day. So I bought some Plant Fusion protein powder,it’s vegan and a really fantastic blend. I got vanilla bean (they don’t have a non-flavored option, which I prefer). The vanilla literally tastes like cake batter when it’s mixed with almond milk. This is probably good for 99% of the population but I do not have a sweet tooth and it was hard to choke down as a plain mixed drink. And, since I don’t have a Vitamix yet and my blender sucks, I’m not making many smoothies at this point. BUT, it turns out there are great ways to use protein powder in food.
These Vegan Protein Breakfast Cookies by Newfangled Housewife were super easy, inexpensive and delicious. Plus, just half the batter made 14 cookies and I refrigerated the other half, so one batch will last me more than a week. I won’t re-type the recipe since you can just go to the blog, but definitely check it out.
If there is ever an international avocado shortage, my life will be sad and awful.
Aiming for a low GI diet these days, apparently it’s #1 in a three step plan to heal myself of this syndrome (1. Diet, 2. Exercise, 3. Lost and lots of meds and supplements). This basically means little to no sugar (so beyond stuff like soda and actual sugar, also foods with a Glycemic Index over 55. So bye bye parsnips (does anyone actually eat these?), potatoes (waaahhhh!!!) and carrots (hummus’ best friend). It also means adding a lot more protein (40% of my daily diet), making sure I eat a lot of fiber and a long long list of other stuff. Protein isn’t as tough for a vegan as people think, there’s tons of it in quinoa (tons), barley, lentils, beans, most vegetables (including avocados!), chia seeds and oodles of other sources. I’ll also be adding protein powder to shakes, smoothies, soups, chili and anything else I make.
To get protein in my breakfasts I’ve started eating a bowl of quinoa and chia seeds if I’m going to work out in the morning. It makes me feel full and is super nutritious. It’s good on its own or with some Tony Chachere’s seasoning. Today after Zumba I made the best breakfast ever: whole wheat toast with avocado and just a little salt and pepper, an apple and black tea. It doesn’t sound like much but it made me sooo happy. And now that I’m entering this whole “food as medicine” period of my life I am trying to be a lot more conscious about everything I put in my body and why it’s there. It’s ridiculous that I didn’t do this before, we have so much to learn as a people. I might start an online encyclopedia about food and the benefits of each thing as I’m going through this. OOH! Good idea actually. Yaay.
Another awesome meal. Quinoa (which is sooooo easy to make btdubs), avocado, tomatoes, black beans, fresh jalapeno and cilantro and lime if you have it. Delicious, filling, full of protein and fiber. This couldn’t be better for you. Or more delicious.
This vegan chili is one of the best things I have ever made. I eat it constantly, even in summer. Even in a hot-as-hell-proof-global-warming-is-a-thing DC summer. That’s how yummy. And the best part is that you can make a ton of it and then eat it every day. I sometimes have it for lunch every day for a week. And you can stuff it with as many veggies or whatever that you want. And USE THE CHIA SEEDS. They’re so good for you, as is this chili. Make it on the next rainy day. Or when you don’t want to cook for a week. Or when you’re broke (I can make 4 days’ worth for $13-15 dollars). Or if you just really like chili. (Of course this is from Oh She Glows. Everything good is.)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1-3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1)
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- pinch sea salt
- pinch cayenne
- 1 can each: black beans, white kidney beans, red kidney beans (rinsed) (I used 1 large mixed can)
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 can organic mushrooms, drained
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- juice of 1 lime (optional, I didn’t include)
- Secret Ingredient –> 2 tbsp CHIA SEEDS (it thickens up the sauce soooo much!)
Directions: In a large pot, add the EVOO and heat over medium. Add garlic, peppers, onion, carrot and sauté until everything is soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes on low to medium heat.
I bought a big bag of apples for a hackathon and nobody ate them (hackers prefer red bull and burritos). By the time I brought them home they were a little bruised, plus I could never have eaten all of those apples. What to do? I channeled my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder and made some homemade applesauce! I can’t remember where I found the recipe but this one from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!, another awesome food blog, looks about right.
- several pounds of apples
- lemon juice
- ½ c water; more as needed
- sugar, cinnamon, and cloves as desired
- Roughly chop apples.
- Lightly sprinkle apples with lemon juice (for color and tartness).
- Place chopped apples and water in a large, thick-bottomed pot.
- Cover pot and bring to a boil. Quickly, liquid should start to cook out of the apple chunks, which will help cook them down further.
- Simmer apples over low heat until they’re very soft and can be easily mashed with a large spoon or potato masher. Stir apples occasionally, and if necessary, add a small amount of water and/or reduce heat to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Place food mill over a large bowl and add as much of the apple mixture as will reasonably fit.
- To avoid making your applesauce too thin, let the mixture sit in your food mill for half an hour so any excess apple juice can drain out. (You can discard the syrupy liquid or keep it in your refrigerator for flavoring drinks — try stirring some in with your seltzer!).
- Turn the handle of your food mill clockwise, pressing the apples through the sieve.
- Every several turns, rotate the handle counter-clockwise half a turn; it’ll scrape up any skins and seeds blocking the mesh.
- Continue rotating handle clockwise until only dry, tough skins and seeds remain in your food mill.
- Transfer applesauce to containers and refrigerate or freeze until using. If you want flavored applesauce, you can stir in sugar and spices at this point. If you’ll be freezing your applesauce, be sure to leave room at the top of your chosen containers for expansion.
Another Oh She Glows favorite. I have discovered a love for soups that I can add fresh ingredients to and this one is top of my list. The fact that it’s very Southwestern is an added bonus. I started eating a lot of quinoa when I became a vegan. It’s full of protein, iron and fiber and it’s super easy to cook. And of course sweet potatoes couldn’t be better for you, what with the Vitamin A and C, the potassium and fiber and many nutrients that consistently rank them one of the healthiest foods. Black beans are of course full of fiber, protein, iron and everything else that could be good for you. Together, along with the avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and anything else you thrown on top, this soup is a nutritional powerhouse.
- 1 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 large)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded if preferred and diced
- 1 large sweet potato (350 g), peeled and chopped to 1/2-1 inch dice (2.5-3 cups)*
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1.5 cups cooked black beans (one (15-oz) can rinsed and drained)
- fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes)
- 2 handfuls Spinach or kale leaves, optional
- toppings: avocado, corn chips, cilantro, cashew cream, lime juice, tomatoes or salsa, green onion
1. In a medium-sized pot, add quinoa along with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for about 17 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, and keep it covered until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large wok or pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Now add in the jalapeno and sweet potato and sauté for 5-7 minutes more.
3. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, coriander, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 18-20 minutes uncovered, or until the potatoes are tender.
4. Just before serving, stir in the cooked quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cayenne, and optional spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more spice if desired.
5. Garnish soup with cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, corn chips, avocado, and/or cashew cream.
A friend of mine made this buffalo cauliflower for a Super Bowl party so I would have something to eat. It was AMAZING and I scarfed it all down like my mother hadn’t taught me manners. Then I went home and learned to make it myself. This cauliflower is so good, you won’t even miss chicken. Also, vegan ranch is insanely expensive so use it sparingly or like, when you win the lottery or something.
This recipe is from the awesome blog Bullfrogs and Bulldogs and it’s delicious. Try it during football season. You won’t regret it.
- 1 head cauliflower
- For the batter:
- Dash of Frank’s Original Hot Sauce, or whatever kind you like
- ½ c. white rice flour
- ½ c. water
- Pinch salt
- For the Buffalo sauce:
- ¼ c. Frank’s Hot Sauce
- ¼ c. oil, canola oil works best
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together the batter ingredients in a small bowl. Dip the cauliflower in the batter until coated evenly then place on greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the batter hardens.
- Mix together sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Once the cauliflower are done baking, brush them with the hot sauce mixture and bake again for a few more minutes, until cauliflower is crispy.
- Remove from oven. You may want to add a bit more buffalo sauce to taste.
Chronicling some of my favorite vegan meals here, mostly for my own reference but if there’s anybody reading out there, try them. They’re good. They’re also mostly from Oh She Glows sooo… you could just go there too. =)
Ok, this tastes way better than it looks. It also looks way better on Oh She Glows. But this red lentil and kale soup is INSANELY delicious. If global warming ever goes away, I’ll be making this soup all of the time. Red lentils have tons of fiber and iron, which are incredibly important for vegans. They’re also full of folate and magnesium. I could Google what those do but I’ll just trust that they’re good for me.
- 1 tsp coconut oil (or other oil)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 & 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, to taste
- 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 14-oz can diced tomatoes
- 5-6 cups vegetable broth, more if desired
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- fine grain sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 handfuls torn kale leaves or spinach
1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in oil for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add in the celery and sauté for a few minutes more.
2. Stir in the bay leaf and the spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, cayenne). You can add half the spices and add more later if you prefer.
3. Stir in the can of tomatoes (including juice), broth, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender and fluffy.
4. Stir in kale or spinach and season to taste adding more spices if you wish.