Favorite Vegetarian Chili

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This easy chili can be thrown together in a few minutes and makes for a hearty weeknight meal.  It is a forgiving recipe so feel free to adjust based on the ingredients you have on hand.  The tempeh–a fermented soy product similar to tofu, but less processed–adds extra protein and heartiness.  Inspired by The Simple Veganista.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, diced

1 can (4 oz.) diced mild green chilies and/or 1 bell pepper (any color), diced

8 oz tempeh, cubed

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2-1 teaspoon chipotle powder, (depending on how spicy you like things)

1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans (15 oz. or 1 28 oz.) diced fire roasted tomatoes

Salt to taste

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

Optional: sour cream, scallions, cilantro, avocado for serving

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add onion and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, carrots, and bell pepper (if using).  Add tempeh and spices, cook for 5 minutes, or until veggies start to soften.  Add green chilis (if using), canned tomatoes, beans, broth and water.  Cook on low for 20 minutes or until flavors are melded and carrots are soft.  Top with desired garnish and dig in!

Banh Mi Bowls

img_4318When I was doing my CNA training through the Red Cross I met a girl named Tam Tam who was Vietnamese.  She grew up there and moved to Philadelphia in her teens.  I asked her about my beloved banh mi and once she figured out what I was talking about because my inflection, or lack there of, made what I was trying to say incomprehensible, she laughed.  Apparently, in Vietnamese “banh mi” means nothing more than “bread.”  In the US, however, banh mi has come to mean much more than bread.  It is a delicious savory sandwich with pork, fresh cilantro, pickled radish, and cucumber and mayonnaise based spread.  My first taste of banh mi came when I was working at Whole Foods and our Prepared Foods Department had a special pop-up sale.  These flavorful sandwiches became a favorite! This recipe is inspired by on of my favorite bloggers.  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Lemongrass meatballs:

1lb ground pork

2 Tbsp. fresh or frozen lemongrass (or paste if you can find it)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Siracha chili paste, or similar

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. coconut sugar (any kind will do, really)

2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1 tsp. salt

Quick-pickled radish and carrots:

2-3 carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup coconut sugar (granulated will work too!)

1 tsp. salt

Cooked quinoa

Cilantro, be generous

Cucumber, sliced

Red cabbage, sliced

Green onion, sliced

Jalapeno, sliced

Sriracha mayo (mix a generous squirt of Sriracha with a spoonful of mayo + a spoonful of greek yogurt)

Directions:

Meatballs:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Roll into meatballs of desired size, I got 14 using 1lb of pork.  Heat a skillet with oil and add meatballs, browning on outside until cooked through.

Pickled veggies:

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 1 hr or longer.

Bowls: Assemble all ingredients on a plate and top with spicy mayo.  Enjoy!

Coconut Lime Banana Muffins

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I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot recently, not because I’m dying to publish to thousands of readers, but because I want to use it as a way to catalogue some of my favorite recipes and the tweaks I make to them.  I’m in full-on night shift mode and never really sure of the date or time so I’m escaping to the kitchen and trying not worry about which way is up.  I’m committing to updating this blog more regularly.  I’ll start with a favorite recipe I picked up from Cooking Light many years ago.  It’s a tropical twist on a traditional favorite–banana bread.  I like Cooking Light’s recipes for inspiration, but often they replace fat with excess sugar and the true health of the recipe seems unbalanced.  I’ve eliminated some of the sugar and added back a little fat, but you can easily keep it low fat if that’s your prerogative.  I will say, the lime glaze is the icing on the cake (pun intended) so don’t skip it!

Ingredients:

2 cups white whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3)

1/4 cup yogurt (whole fat, low fat, greek, plain, pick your poison)

3 Tbsp. dark rum

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

zest of 1 lime

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + a sprinkle for the top of the muffins

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

Directions:

Combine flour, baking soda, salt in a bowl and set aside.  With an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter.  Add eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, rum, vanilla extract and lime zest.  Add in dry ingredients blending until mixed and no clumps remain.  Stir in coconut flakes.  Pour into greased muffin tins.  I made 8 large muffins, but you can also make 16 small muffins or 1 loaf.  Bake at 350° until a wooden pick comes out clean.  About 22 minutes for large muffins, 18 minutes for small muffins, or 1 hour for a loaf.  Combine powdered sugar and lime juice and drizzle over warm bread.  Eat within a few days or store in freezer for more leisurely enjoyment.  The glaze makes this bread very moist so don’t let it spoil sitting out on the counter for too many days.