1. Meatless Mondays – Rice & Beans with Calabacitas

    Posted on May 7, 2012 by Allie

    We are not strangers to the wonders of rice and beans here at The Greenists.  When it comes to meatless meals, it doesn’t get much more simple or inexpensive.  Combined, rice and beans provide a complete protein as well as essential nutrients and soluble fiber.  Plus, they’re easy to make and super yummy.

    To take the stress off meal time, we’ve been making a big batch of rice and beans a few times a week and planning our meals around how we can dress them up.  Calabacitas are my favorite addition and so easy to make.

    I soak dried beans overnight.  I do two packages at once and like to combine small red beans and pinto beans.  I brown one chopped onion in olive oil in the bottom of a big pot and add the beans and water to cover them, bringing the whole thing to a hard boil for a few minutes.  After boiling, I transfer them over to my crockpot and cook on high for four hours before taking it down to low for another three or four hours, until the beans are soft.

    While the beans simmer in the crockpot, I add salt and spices like turmeric, cayenne pepper, chili powder and ground coriander, and a pinch of baking soda to “de-gas” them.  I also add vinegar and 1/2 a bottle of (gluten-free) beer.

    I know this sounds involved, but two bags of beans will last us most of the week, so a little bit of effort on a Sunday afternoon has a great payoff.

    When the beans are close to done, I boil up a pot of rice, pre-heat the oven to 450 and get started on the calabacitas.

    Read more…

  2. Meatless Mondays: Carrot Apple Muffins

    Posted on April 30, 2012 by Courtney

    Today’s Meatless Mondays recipe comes courtesy of Omega Juicers. Juicers are green products because they eliminate the packaging involved in buying pre-squeezed or processed juice. You can also get the most out of your fruit by juicing — it’s another use for fruit before it goes bad, leading to less waste.   Read more…

  3. Meatless Mondays: Tempeh

    Posted on April 23, 2012 by Mickey

    Whether you’re a hardcore vegan or you’re just the type who likes to mix it up and skip the meat every now and then, tempeh is where it’s at. Tempeh is made from soy, but unlike its trickier-to-get-right and often maligned cousin, tofu, it uses the whole soybean. It’s basically just fermented beans formed into a cake. To use, it can be crumbled, sliced or grilled like a patty. Like tofu, it takes well to marinades. The reasons to go with tempeh, however, are its superior texture (in my opinion; it’s not squishy like tofu) and its vastly superior nutritional profile: Tempeh, because it employs the whole bean, is loaded with both protein and fiber. Oh, and it tastes good. Read more…

  4. Meatless Mondays: Portobello Eggs Benedict, from The Naked Foods Cookbook

    Posted on April 16, 2012 by Courtney

    Today’s Meatless Mondays recipe is from The Naked Foods Cookbook: The Whole-Foods, Healthy Fats, Gluten-Free Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great, by Margaret Floyd and James Berry. The authors, a married couple, believe that preparing home-cooked meals can be easier and quicker than take-out, and much healthier to boot. The recipes in this book include no harmful additives, preservatives, or empty calorie-fillers. And they understand that no one has a ton of time to commit to cooking every day, so they’ve organized the book into three sections:  “in a rush” recipes take ten minutes or less, “every day” recipes take twenty minutes or less, and an “impress the neighbors” section offers more time-intensive recipe selections.

    From The Naked Foods Cookbook:   Read more…

  5. Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

    Posted on April 2, 2012 by Dianne

    Vegetarian Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

    I’m a big fan of my slow cooker. It’s so versatile and it’s the perfect tool to use to whip up a hearty, yet meatless batch of Red Beans & Rice for Meatless Monday! This is a zesty, healthy twist on the classic Red Beans & Rice dish, leaving out the sausage all together. The beauty of this is you dump in the ingredients and walk away. What could be better than that? It’s easy, and easy is good, especially on a week night! So let’s dig in for Meatless Monday

    What You’ll Need:
    1 cup of long grain brown rice (Note: You could use white rice if you wanted to, but brown is much healthier.)
    2 cups of dried red kidney beans that have been soaked overnight
    1 medium red onion, chopped
    1 medium bell pepper, chopped
    2 stalks of celery, chopped
    6-8 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup of chives, chopped (Note: I used dried chives this go around, but you can use fresh as well.)
    1-2 tablespoons Cajun or Creole Seasoning
    1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
    1 teaspoon of sea salt (Note: Omit this if your seasoning contains salt.)
    4 cups of water

    In the bottom of your slow cooker spread the rice out in an even layer.

    Next add the kidney beans on top of the rice.

    After the kidney beans add the red onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and chives.

    Sprinkle the seasoning, smoked paprika and salt evenly over the vegetables and rice and then cover with the water. (Remember to omit the salt if your seasoning already has salt in it.)

    Cook on high for 4-5 hours until rice is done and beans are tender, or 5-6 hours on low.

    Serve with hot sauce if desired. A nice side dish for this is Spicy Baked Chard. A slice of sour dough bread might be nice as well.

    Notes: This recipe is Vegan as written. The possibilities with this recipe are endless. You can substitute black or pinto beans in place of the red. Haven’t got time to soak the beans or simply forgot? If that’s the case you can add in two cans of red beans about 30 minutes before servings so that they heat through. Sometimes I like to add in other vegetables to up the nutritional punch. Zucchini, squash and/or carrots are really great in this mix. If you really want to spice things up add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper on top of the Cajun or Creole seasoning, which I do often. Also you could add a vegetarian sausage if you prefer, but I like to use the smoked paprika for that sausage taste as I’ve never been a fan of the sausages used in Red Beans and Rice.

  6. Meatless Mondays: Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon

    Posted on March 26, 2012 by Courtney

    Image credit: Colin Erricson/www.robertrose.ca

    Today’s recipe comes courtesy of Camilla Saulsbury’s 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking, a new cookbook containing 500 recipes that are healthy, natural, and don’t take too much time and fuss to create. The five steps are:

    • Choose fresh, whole foods
    • Eat mostly vegetable- and fruit-based foods
    • Opt for healthy fats and proteins
    • Select superfoods (nutrient-dense foods)
    • Eat more whole grains

    Here, the bright flavors of lemon, basil and asparagus play against the earthiness of barley and onions.  Read more…

  7. Meatless Mondays: Spaghetti Bread

    Posted on March 19, 2012 by Courtney

    Look, no one is saying this dish is healthy. It’s deliciously cheesy, bready, and carb-laden. It’s pretty much the ultimate in comfort food!  Read more…

  8. Potato Soup with Caramelized Fig Relish

    Posted on March 12, 2012 by Courtney

    Winter is coming to an end soon, which means the time to enjoy a steaming hot bowl of soup for dinner is winding down. Soon it’ll be too hot to eat soup for dinner! What are you waiting for?

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 lbs. white potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
    3 tbsp olive oil
    Ground black pepper
    8 cups vegetable broth
    1 tsp ground sage
    2 shallots, finely chopped
    1 cup dried figs, chopped
    1/2 cup sweet wine

    Directions:

    1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the potatoes in a roasting pan and toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

    2. Puree the potato mixture and 1 1/2 cups broth in batches until almost smooth. Pour the pureed mixture into a 3-quart saucepan. Stir in the remaining broth and sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook for 4 minutes or until golden. Add figs and wine and cook for 4 more minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and the figs are soft.

    4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each bowl with a bit of the fig mixture.

    Makes 8 servings. Bon appetit!

    Recipe courtesy of The Soup Bible.

  9. Meatless Monday: Four Cheese Lasagna

    Posted on March 5, 2012 by Dianne

    Four Cheese Lasagna

    I’m not sure about where you are, but we’re still having wet, cold weather and sometimes you just want a hearty meal on those cold winter days. This lasagna is easy to make, meatless, and is hearty enough to make a fabulous dinner that really hits the spot when you’re freezing and cold on those long winter nights!

    What You’ll Need:
    Extra virgin, olive oil
    1 large red onion, chopped
    1 package of mushrooms, sliced (Note: You can use button mushrooms, baby portabellas, etc. or you can mix and match.)
    Sea salt
    Black pepper
    1 box of lasagna noodles (Note: You find this with your spaghetti noodles, also in some store they have fresh made pasta sheets in the dairy section.)
    1 jar of marinara sauce (Note: You want a good marinara for this or you can make your own.)
    Ricotta cheese
    Parmesan cheese, shredded
    Romano cheese, shredded
    Mozzarella cheese, shredded

    Preheat oven to 375 F.

    In a large skillet saute onion and mushrooms in a little extra virgin olive oil, with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper until tender. Set aside.

    Brush a 13 X 9 inch baking dish with olive oil. Place a layer of uncooked noodles on the bottom of the dish until the surface is covered. Spread ricotta cheese out over the noodles. Next cover this mixture with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle a layer of the onion/mushroom mixture over the sauce and then cover with a layer of the remaining three cheeses.

    Repeat these steps until you reach the top of your baking dish. On the last layer you will omit the ricotta and onion/mushroom mixture and just top the layer of noodles with a layer of sauce and then Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella cheese.

    Cover your dish with aluminum foil brushed with olive oil and place your baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any bubbling cheese that might decide to drip out of the pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until noodles are tender when stuck with a fork.

    Serve with a side salad/and or garlic bread and you’ve got a fabulous meal!

    Notes: If you use fresh pasta sheets you will only cook the lasagna 30-35 minutes since those sheets are soft to begin with. If you wanted to cook you noodles before assembling the lasagna you could also cut the cooking time down to that same time frame. Sauteed bell pepper is another good addition to this dish.

  10. Meatless Mondays: Autumn Vegetable Curry, by Food Network’s Ellie Krieger

    Posted on February 27, 2012 by Courtney

    Ellie Krieger — host of the Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” now on the Cooking Channel — believes that no food is ever off-limits. With a philosophy of “usually-sometimes-rarely”, Krieger is all about incorporating your favorite foods into a healthy lifestyle. A registered dietician, she has created Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy, a collection of healthy versions of comfort food classics. Krieger provides 150 recipes — some of which are vegetarian, others that contain meat — but all without the calories and saturated fat.

    There are recipes for breakfast, brunch and baked goods; snacks and starters; soups and sandwiches; meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian main dishes; sides and salads; and desserts. Each recipe contains complete nutrition information and calorie counts along with a side-by-side comparison of the healthy version of the recipe versus a typical version of the recipe. You’ll be amazed at how simple substitutions can dramatically reduce both the caloric content of these recipes as well their saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol counts, while increasing healthy nutrients and antioxidants – all without sacrificing flavor and the comfort food experience that we’ve all come to expect from these classic dishes.

    We’re happy to have Krieger providing one of her meatless dishes for this week’s Meatless Mondays post! This golden stew is a vegetable treasure, brimming with carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach, and chickpeas, all simmered with intoxicatingly fragrant curry spices in a coconut milk-enriched broth. Pureeing the onion, garlic, and spices relieves you of a lot of chopping, so you can get right to the heady aroma of them cooking in the pot. It’s kept optimally healthy by using light coconut milk and skipping the heavy clarified butter found in many curries.   Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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