Day 74 – Recipe: Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

Image

I’m getting a little confused about which day I’m on but I think it’s day 74. I wish it was day 364. When I’m home or when I’m at a vegan restaurant I don’t mind being on this diet, but whenever I’m out at a restaurant that has amazing smelling meat or pizza or waffles or bacon – you get the picture – I just can’t stand it, I get depressed. I love food so much, and being restrictive in my diet feels so unnatural to me. Sometimes I just want to say screw it and eat some boneless wings. The last couple weeks have been really hard. I’ve definitely eaten some things I shouldn’t have eaten (they were vegan, but processed) and I feel guilty about it. I hate feeling guilty. I wish this diet was easy. It’s not. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing it because I don’t want someone to take a scalpel to my throat and cut me open. God that really sounds horrible.

Anyways, for about 2 months we had fresh basil and mint growing in our kitchen and I rarely used it. About a month and a half into it we started having a severe gnat issue and I couldn’t take it anymore – my boyfriend took the herbs to his parent’s house in Sedona to plant in their garden. Less than a week later I came across this recipe with copious amounts of both fresh mint and basil and was like Damn The Irony! Fortunately we were going to see his parents over the weekend and they brought us a bunch of herbs so I could make the dish. Yay!

So I found this recipe in Shape magazine, I changed it a lot but the original recipe is from Clotilde Dusoulier’s new vegetarian cookbook, The French Market Cookbook. She used whole wheat couscous in her recipe, to make it gluten-free I opted for quinoa. I think it turned out really good. The herbs kind of overpowered the eggplant, mostly because I used spearmint which is too strong for this recipe, I would suggest using Mojito mint which is much milder. Also her recipe called for harissa, which I couldn’t find anywhere, so I used an Asian chili paste instead, I think it worked just as well. So here is my version:

Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Lbs small Italian eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups white quinoa
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 T harissa or Asian chili paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh mojito mint leaves, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, sliced

Directions:

  1. Cut eggplant into small 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a colander, sprinkle generously with salt, then toss to coat; let rest 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly. Turn onto a clean kitchen towel, roll up, and squeeze gently to absorb liquid.
  2. While eggplant is resting, mince the onion. Place minced onion, quinoa, 1 tsp sea salt, and 3 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. (To cool faster, spread onto a baking sheet and chill in the fridge.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Place eggplant cubes in skillet and toss well, until coated in oil. When eggplant is hot, cover and let steam in skillet for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Eggplant should be very tender. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk tahini and harissa or chili paste. Whisk in lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure it is incorporated before adding more to prevent curdling. Whisk til smooth.
  5. Pour the dressing over cooled quinoa and toss to combine. Fold in eggplant, mint, basil and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

Image

I served this dish with another Greek-inspired salad that I will post tomorrow. You can serve it with falafels, dolmas, hummus, pretty much any Mediterranean food, or just eat it by itself.

Image

It has a hint of spice to it but overall is pretty mild. If you want more spice, add more chili paste.

 

Advertisements

Day 72 – Recipe: Tanzanian Green Banana and Yam Stew (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

Image

While flipping through a vegetarian cookbook at a restaurant, I came across this recipe for Banana and Yam Stew and instantly was intrigued. At first I thought it sounded really gross but the more I read I became extremely curious. I must’ve read the recipe over at least 4 times, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Bananas in a stew? I decided I had to make it, even though it is not stew weather at all right now, it sounded so interesting – and I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

Thankfully it turned out really good. And it took less time than I expected, which is always a bonus. My boyfriend wasn’t as crazy about it as I was – he doesn’t really like cloves (which I didn’t know beforehand), and truthfully the cloves were a bit overpowering. When I make this again I will adjust the spices (this is reflected in the recipe below). I can definitely see eating it when it’s cooler outside, it’s a great winter stew, very hearty, warming, and slightly sweet. The recipe makes enough for about 12 people, I ended up freezing half of it because there was so much. I won’t make my boyfriend eat it again though, Mom and Dad I hope you like cloves!

Green Banana and Yam Stew
Adapted From Linda McCartney on Tour

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

  • 2 pounds yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 1 large tomato, chopped roughly

  • 1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 green bananas, sliced

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the yams or sweet potatoes and cook until slightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate or bowl. In the same pot, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, tomato, carrot, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the arrowroot mixture. Add the bananas and yams/sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve alone or with quinoa or couscous. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Image

 

Not the most appetizing color, I promise it tastes better than it looks here.

 

 

 

Day 31 – Recipe: M Cafe’s Curried Cauliflower Salad

Image

If there is only one recipe you that bookmark on this blog, it should be this one. It’s a keeper. This is probably the most delicious salad I’ve ever had. Well, actually it’s a tie between this one and M Café’s Kale Salad.

This was the first M Café recipe I found online. I’ve made it a few times now and the only big thing I’ve changed from the actual recipe is the amount of salt I put in it. The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly and it was way too salty, so much that it was inedible. It doesn’t even need half the amount of salt recipe calls for. I also only make half of the cashews because it’s kind of unnecessary to make 2 cups when the recipe only calls for a 1/2 cup.

The chopping is somewhat laborious but believe me this salad is a labor of love – you will be so happy when you’re eating it that you won’t care that it took you almost 2 hours to prepare.

So here it is, slightly adapted from the Los Angeles Times version: (here is the easier-to-read version from epicurious.com)

M Cafe’s Curried Cauliflower Salad

For the cashews:

  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, preferably grade B
  • scant 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • pinch sea salt

For the curried cauliflower:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2.5 – 3 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 8 cups)

For the Salad

  • 3 tablespoons raw honey or agave
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • curried cauliflower
  • 1 cup fresh or previously frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricot
  • 1/2 cup curried cashews
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 bunch) roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, curry powder and salt. Toss the cashews with the spiced maple syrup, then spread again on the baking sheet. Roast for 8 – 10 minutes until fragrant and golden brown (be careful not to burn!). Remove from heat and cool well. This makes more cashews than are needed for the remainder of the recipe; the cashews can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
  2. Increase oven temp to 400°F. In a (very) large bowl or pot, whisk together the olive oil, curry powder, salt, cumin, coriander, mustard and ginger. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to combine and evenly coat.
  3. Spread the florets in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until golden-brown and aromatic, 20 – 30 minutes, tossing once or twice for even cooking. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. For the salad: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the agave syrup, lemon juice and olive oil to form finishing syrup. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, peas, bell pepper and apricots. Pour over half of the finishing syrup and toss to combine. Stir in the cashews, cilantro and salt. Taste, adding additional finishing syrup if desired and adjusting the seasoning as needed. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours to give the flavors time to marry before serving. This makes about 8 cups salad.

Image

Disclaimer: this is not my recipe!

I usually pour all of the dressing over the salad. The original recipe calls for less apricots but I really like them in the salad so I add more.

Make this salad ASAP!