Archive for the ‘low-fat’ Category

Banana Pancakes with Veggie bacon

Banana Pancakes with Veggie bacon

It seems like there is always a banana in the fruit bowl that is just a little too ripe to eat. A banana like this is perfect for banana pancakes! Slice it into the batter. It adds a little sweetness and also potassium, fiber and vitamins.

Banana Pancakes

1 cup organic buckwheat flour
3/4 cup almond milk (more if too thick)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder

1) Mix all ingredients together.
2) Pour about 2/3 cup of batter on heated griddle (grease griddle with canola oil or non-stick spray
3) Cook a few minutes, then flip and cook the other side. Should be browned on both sides.
4) Serve with maple syrup or honey.

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Risotto with Brussel Sprouts

Risotto with Brussel Sprouts

The other day, I experimented with ingredients while making a risotto, and it turned out really delicious. I love brussel sprouts and wanted to incorporate them into the risotto. They seemed to pair nicely with the apple and the pistachios.

Risotto makes a delicious vegan main dish. It’s perfect when you want to impress someone (including yourself).

Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Pistachios

3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 ½ cups roasted brussels sprouts, cut into thirds
½ tart apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. roasted shelled pistachio nuts, halved
2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup white wine
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp. parsley
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, chopped
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
Olive oil

1) Place 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in deep sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add chopped shallot and sauté another 5 minutes.
2) Add all spices and apples. Saute another 5 minutes.
3) Add rice and ¾ cup vegetable broth. Stir and keep an eye on it until broth absorbed – a few minutes.
4) Add another ¾ cup broth and sauté until broth absorbed.
5) Add ¾ cup white wine and sauté until absorbed.
6) Stir in Brussels sprouts.
7) Add ½ cup vegetable broth and stir until broth absorbed.
8) Stir in pistachio nuts.
Makes 3 main dish servings or 6-7 side servings.

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Easter comes at a different time each year, and this year it’s early in the calendar. But it’s not too late to plan a lovely brunch. All the recipes below are healthful and vegan.

Easter Brunch Menu

Oatmeal Pancakes
Berry Sauce
Veggie sausage or veggie bacon
Fresh juice and coffee

Oatmeal Pancakces

2 cups oatmeal (quick cooking is fine, but don’t use instant oatmeal)
3 cups vanilla, unsweetened or regular almond milk
3 tbsp. ground flax seed whisked with 8 tbsp. water (substitute for 2 eggs)
½ cup oat flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 tbsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Ginger
¼ tsp. Allspice

Oatmeal Pancakes

1) Mix oats and almond milk together in bowl until blended. Place in refrigerator overnight.

2) The morning of your breakfast, add all ingredients together with oat mixture and blend. You may need to add a splash or two of almond milk if it is a little thick.

3) Grease a flat skillet and make the pancakes just like you make regular pancakes. If you like silver dollar, make those. If you like one great big pancake, have at it. Generally I used about ½ cup of batter per pancake.

4) Flip pancake and cook other side. Both sides should be golden brown.

Serve with maple syrup or berry sauce.

Berry Sauce

This sauce is packed full of antioxidants and contains very little sugar. It’s good for you and tastes great!

1 pint of blackberries
½ pint of blueberries
1 tbsp. sugar (optional)(maple syrup is a good sugar substitute here)
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger
1/2 cup waterGoldendoodle dog in bunny ears.

1) Wash berries and mix together with sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Let set about 10-15 minutes so berries macerate.
2) Place berry mix in a medium-sized kettle. Add honey and spices and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a low boil.
3) Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
5) Berries will burst and you will have a delicious sauce.

Happy Easter!

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It’s easy to make a delicious and hearty meat-free bolognese sauce. In celebration of national nutrition month, try this healthy sauce with your favorite pasta.

Meat free spaghetti bolognese

Meat free spaghetti bolognese

Easy Meat-free Spaghetti Bolognese    

6 oz. Lightlife Smart Ground original (1/2 of a 12 oz. package)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
½ cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil (or 1/2 cup chopped fresh)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. ground pepper
1 24 oz. jar your favorite marinara sauce
Olive oil

1)      Add 1 or 2 tbsp. olive oil to  deep saucepan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté about 7 minutes. Then add green pepper and sauté about another 5 minutes. Veggies should be tender. Stir in all spices.

2)      Add mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes.

3)      Add minced garlic and stir in. Add smart ground and sauté an additional 5 minutes or so.

4)      Pour in marinara sauce. Bring to a quick boil , then reduce heat to simmer and simmer about 10 minutes.

5)      Serve over your favorite pasta. I used half-whole wheat/half regular spaghetti.

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Winter is almost over, but it will be at least a month before we start seeing the first spring veggies. In the meantime, fortunately, there are delicious ways to prepare winter veggies. Below you will find two simple, fabulous recipes.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Brown Sugar

½ of a butternut squash, seeds removed
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Brown Sugar

Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Brown Sugar

1)      Pour canola oil and 1 tbsp. maple syrup on top of butternut squash and spread evenly. Place squash on greased baking sheet and place in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

2)      Mix together brown sugar and chopped walnuts.

3)      Place brown sugar, walnut mixture in the cavity of the butternut squash.  Sprinkle remaining brown sugar and maple syrup on the rest of the top of the squash.

4)      Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes or until fork tender.

5)      Serve part of the walnut mixture with each serving of squash.

Makes four-five servings.


Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic

½ head of cauliflower, broken into florets
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste

Roasted cauliflower with garlic

Roasted cauliflower with garlic

1)      Blend all ingredients together with a rubber spatula.

2)      Bake in 450 degree oven for 25 minutes.

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banananutmuffinsThere is probably a banana or two on your counter right now that is too ripe to eat, but not rotten enough to throw away. These bananas are perfect for making banana nut muffins! Make a batch for quick and healthy on-the-go snacks and breakfasts.

Banana Nut Muffins (Vegan)

1 ripe banana
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or your favorite nut)
1 tbsp. apple butter (or applesauce)
2 tbsp. Canola oil
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp. ground flax seed plus 4 tbsp. water, whisked together (this is an egg substitute)
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white flour (Note: If you follow a gluten free diet, use oat flour in place of the white and wheat flours)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger

1) Mix all wet ingredients together (except banana). Whisk in sugars.
2) Mix all remaining dry ingredients together, except nuts.
3) Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
4) Break ripe banana in small pieces into batter. Add in  nuts. Mix everything together.
5) Spoon batter into muffin cups.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.


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Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

If you believe a few of my friends, green smoothies:

  • Keep you from getting sick (even when everyone in your house has the flu);
  • Reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease;
  • Extend your life;
  • Prevent cancer; and
  • Cleanse your body.

Friday night I was out with friends and one of them starting talking about green smoothies. She didn’t want to invest in the high-powered blender and the weekly bags of produce needed to make them, so instead she goes to a local health-foods market (Ellwood Thompson in Richmond, VA) every day and purchases one custom-made at their green smoothie bar. She said they put a whole head of Kale, carrots with greens attached, celey, apples and more, all into their gigantic blender.

Veggies for Green Smoothie

Veggies for Green Smoothie

I was sold. So Saturday I went straight from the gym to Ellwood Thompson and perused the menu, settling on just the basic green smoothie. I was amazed at all of the raw veggies going into my smoothie! It had kale, spinach, carrots, celery, an apple and more. The taste was pleasant – a little peppery, slightly sweet, and maybe it’s my imagination, but I would say it tasted “green.” The large one was $6.50, but I figure the veggies alone cost close to that (they fit a LOT of green leafy veggies into that smoothie).  Plus, if it really provides all of the fabulous benefits my friends claim, it’s worth it.

I will definitely go back to Ellwood Thompson for another green smoothie.

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Tofu Scramble with Spinach, Mushrooms and Red Peppers

Tofu Scramble with Spinach, Mushrooms and Red Peppers

Even if you eat eggs and do not have to watch your cholesterol, you will LOVE this recipe. Better than real scrambled eggs. Seriously. I only tried tofu scramble once before – at a vegetarian restaurant in Washington, D.C.–and this version is way better (even though that one was good). That said, feel free to change this up however you like. For instance, if you can’t stand mushrooms, leave them out, or substitute a vegetable you do like.

Tofu Scramble with Spinach, Mushrooms and Red Peppers (Vegan)

1 14 oz. package of extra firm or firm tofu
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced red pepper
5-6 mushrooms, stems removed, cut in cubes
¾ cup fresh spinach, cut into ribbons (or chopped)
1 tsp. turmeric (adds flavor and the yellow “egg” color)
¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on if you like spicy food)
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ cup daiya cheddar or mozzarella or a blend of both
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper (to taste)

1)      Drain tofu of all water and pat dry with a paper towel. You may go through several paper towels while removing moisture from the tofu.

2)      Heat about 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan or wok. Add the diced onion and sauté a couple of minutes.

3)      Heat about 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a second frying pan or wok. Simply crumble the tofu into the pan. Stir every minute or two.

4)      Meanwhile, add the diced red pepper to the pan with the onions. Saute together a few minutes. Then add the mushrooms.

5)      In the tofu pan, add the turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt & pepper and stir together.

6)      Add the spinach to the pan with the onion mixture and stir together. Cook another minute or two or until spinach wilts.

7)      Add the vegetable mixture into the tofu scramble mixture and stir everything together.

8)      Add the daiya cheese and stir together.

9)      Plate with toast and your favorite hot sauce on the side (I used Louisiana brand.) Delicious!

Two large servings.

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If you love Asian take-out, but have trouble finding a vegetarian or healthier version, you’ll love this veg version of beef and broccoli. So good, you may find yourself craving it weekly – and that’s without any added MSG. So why phone for take-out when you can make such an awesome dish at home?

Mock Beef and Broccoli

Mock Beef and Broccoli

Mock Beef and Broccoli

16 Gardein brand mock beef tenders, cut in half
2 heads of broccoli, broken into florets
½ of a red pepper, cut into thin strips
½ cup of chopped bok choy (optional)
½ of a sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce


1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. sirachi sauce (or to taste)
½ tsp. sesame oil

1)    In large wok on medium-high heat, add canola oil and 2 tbsp. soy sauce. Add chopped onion and sauté about 5 minutes.

2)    Add the broccoli and sauté another 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3)    Add the bok choy and red pepper and sauté another 5 minutes or so.

4)    Add the minced garlic. Saute veggies until tender.

5)    Add the mock beef tenders and sauté a couple minutes more.

6)    Mix the sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour over the stir fry in the wok and stir together.

7)    Serve with brown rice. Yum!

Serves Two.

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Last weekend I went to a fabulous hole in the wall restaurant in Virginia Beach called the Mayflower Cafe. It features Turkish/Mediterranean food. My mom, who is a picky eater, and both of my nieces, who can be picky at times also, were really happy with their meals. I ordered eggplant stewed with tomatoes served with rice pilaf. I had some leftovers and decided to make a lentil dish to go with them. In keeping with the Turkish theme, I looked up some different recipes and put together my version of Turkish lentils.  Turned out great.

Turkish Lentils and Carrots

Turkish Lentils and Carrots

Turkish Lentils with Carrots

1 cup of lentils (I used green lentils)
3  cups water or low sodium veggie broth
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup chopped kale (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. black pepper
Low sodium salt, to taste
Olive oil

1)      Put lentils and water or broth in a medium-sized kettle. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat and simmer covered for about 25-30 minutes (until lentils are tender but not mushy).

2)      Meanwhile, add a couple of tbsp. of olive oil to a deep, large skillet. Add sliced onion and carrots (and kale, if you decide to add it) and sauté until onion is nicely caramelized  and carrot is tender– about 15 minutes.

3)      Add minced garlic and spices and sauté a few minutes.

4)      When lentils are done, drain any excess liquid and add them to the skillet. Stir everything together and cook another 5 minutes or so to marry the flavors.

Makes 4 or 5 good sized servings. Serve as a main dish with quinoa or brown rice. Spinach, kale or other greens served alongside the lentils and rice makes for a delicious and healthy meal. A little garlic naan rounds it all out.

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