Plant-based Lasagna?!?

You all know my recipe posts normally come on Friday, but I thought I would change it up a bit. Last night I jumped feet-first into the world of plant-based recipes.

Since I started my nutrition and wellness consulting company, I have been watching every documentary about food and nutrition that I can get my hands on. After watching Forks Over Knives I was intrigued by the health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. I started hearing more and more about this lifestyle change people were making, so I purchase Rip Esselstyn’s book, The Engine 2 Diet. No matter how good it sounded, I was certain that a life without meat and cheese was not the life for me. I LOVE bacon!

Let’s fast forward to last week when I saw Rip speak at Whole Foods. He was promoting his new book, My Beef with Meat. His case for a “plant strong” diet as he calls it was very compelling.
I decided I was going to take part in the Engine 2 Diet – 28 Day Challenge and begrudgingly my husband will too. I invited all of my Facebook followers to join us and I am inviting you as well! So far we have 11 people participating and I am hoping more come along!

Check out the event page here

You can get all the information you need to get started on the Engine 2 website. They provide a welcome video, shopping lists and recipes. One of the recipes is called Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna which I made last night for my southern father-in-law and carnivorous husband.  If you have unadventurous eaters in your house, I would recommend telling them the ingredients after they eat. This is a healthy and fun dish filled with vitamins! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The amount of vegetables in the recipe is enough to make two lasagnas. I would suggest cutting the chopped vegetable mixture quantity in half. Otherwise, you end up with too much. I froze the unused portion for a later date. I also only used one package of noodles.

Image

Image**Please ignore the quality of my photos. The lighting in my kitchen is terrible! 

Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package Silken Lite tofu
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 jars Engine 2 approved pasta sauce
  • 2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw cashews, ground

PREPARATION:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan.
Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid.
Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl.
Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl.
Drain the silken tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl.
Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
To assemble the vegetable lasagna :
Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce.
Add a layer of noodles.
Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy.
Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles.
Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.
Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles.
Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes.
Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.

FIT hits the PAN Friday – Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt

I have been on a chickpea baking kick. I love that I can create gooey chocolaty desserts with no flour! This recipe is gluten-free and vegan. I originally saw the recipe on Pinterest, but was able to track it down to Ambitious Kitchen. She has a ton of great recipes. Click the link to visit her page!

I made these pretty late at night after I had my husband run to the store for the non-dairy chocolate chips (he is a good man :)). There are several brands out there but I used Enjoy Life Mini Chips and they really do taste like regular chocolate chips! Who knew?

The bars taste best just out of the oven but I stored mine in the fridge in an airtight container and they kept just fine. Enjoy!

Enjoy-Life-Semi-sweet-Chocolate-Mini-Chips-853522000306

 

 

 

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt {vegan, gluten-free & healthy}

*photo from Ambitious Kitchens

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins

Secretly healthy blondies made with chickpeas, peanut butter, and chocolate. Taste amazingly like peanut butter cookies. Flourless and no butter! Natural ingredients.

Author: Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com
Recipe type: Bar, Healthy, Vegan, Gluten-free, Snack, Dessert
Serves: 16

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar (you can also use honey if you’re not vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegan (or regular) chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons
  • sea salt, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, I like to use dark chocolate because it has less sugar but it’s up to you. Note: Batter will be thick and super delicious, so you could actually just eat it on it’s own!
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. (The batter may stick to your spatula, so I like to spray my spatula with nonstick cooking spray first.) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. The batter may look underdone, but you don’t want them to dry out!
  4. Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares. Makes 16 blondies.
 Notes
Adding an egg to the batter will make it more cake-like, but not vegan.
You can use your favorite nut butter, just make sure it’s all natural.
Feel free to add in other things according to your dietary needs like nuts, dried fruit, or other types of chocolate.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar (1/16th of recipe) Calories: 120 Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 13.5g Sugar: 6.9g Fiber: 1.8gProtein: 3.5g

 

 

 

 

 

FIT hits the PAN Fridays – Quinoa and Spinach Patties

 

This was another recipe where I was l determined to use only the ingredients I had on hand. Quinoa (I use Nature’s Earthly Choice) is a staple in our pantry and I have been keeping frozen spinach in stock as well. I purchased a huge bag at BJ’s and was pleased to find out that it is non-GMO! This recipe is a great addition to any meal!

ImageQuinoa and Spinach Patties
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 7 • Serving Size: 2 patties • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 236.2 • Fat: 7.4 g • Protein: 11.4 g • Carb: 30.5 g • Fiber: 3.2 g • Sugar: 1.9 g
Sodium: 429.5 • Cholesterol: 110.0 mg

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup steamed spinach, chopped (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs (for Gluten Free, be sure to use GF breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Quinoa

Directions:

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly and place the grains in a medium sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes. Let it cool.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, Parmesan, scallions, garlic, salt, steamed spinach, and breadcrumbs. Let everything sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid. The batter should be moist, but not runny. Form patties 1/4 cup each.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. In 2 or 3 batches, cook the patties covered for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until browned and golden.

Makes 14 patties.

Food Should Taste Good (and these chips do!)

It is not often that I will promote snack foods but I first came across these chips when visiting my mother. She is always finding fun and (mostly) healthy new snacks. Then when my dad came to visit, he picked up a bag of the Sweet Potato and was hooked. Thankfully, they ship so he can get them up in the mountains where healthy snacks are hard to come by.

You may be thinking, “Big deal! Chips are chips.” Taste these chips and you will be changed! My husband, whose chips of choice are salt & vinegar potato chips, loves the blue corn and was more than happy to trade in his stand-by (which also made me happy).

My favorite thing about this brand (besides the taste) is that they use non-genetically modified (non-GMO) ingredients. With so many brands sacrificing cost for nutritional safety, this is a refreshing change. My second favorite thing is the minimal ingredients used. They post all the ingredients right on the bag in plain site. That tells me they are proud of their products!

I checked out the company website and they had some great recipes! I decided to try a few although I am content eating them right out of the bag!

bc_digimock

mg_digimock

sp_digimock (1)

The first one I tried was Avocado Hummus. I love avocados and I love hummus so combining the two only seemed natural.

I am new to the dry bean revolution and I completely forgot to cook the beans before I threw them in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. I was not about to give  up on an entire bowl of hummus! I was able to get a smooth hummus mixture and I ended up baking it at 375 for about 30 minutes. I added fat-free, low sodium chicken broth before baking so it did not dry out. I do not recommend this plan, however it still tasted good. I tried it with the Multigrain and Cantina flavors. I am really looking forward to making this with cooked beans 🙂

My next adventure was the Skinny Spinach DipThis went a little smoother 🙂 I used frozen non-GMO spinach because that is what I had on hand. I cut the recipe in half because my husband wouldn’t eat it and nothing good would come out of me eating a whole batch of spinach dip! The texture was not as creamy as I had hoped, but I think it was because I miscalculated the reduced measurements. Thankfully, the Cantina chips are strong and good for dipping! The dip had a great flavor and I will definitely make it again!

There are a lot of great recipes on the company site including drink recipes. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Disclosure: In exchange for my review of the Food Should Taste Good products, I received complimentary product from the distributor. I chose the recipes that I made from their website based on my preferences. I only endorse products that I believe in and will feed to my family. 

FIT hits the PAN Friday – Skinny Fried Pickles

My husband and I made a stop in Savannah, GA on our way home from a Thanksgiving trip to NE Georgia. We stopped at a seafood restaurant on the river and they had fried pickles! I had always wanted to try fried pickles!

P1100408

The recipe was fantastic! They used a lot of paprika and had a couple of different dipping sauces. When we got home, my husband kept asking me to make fried pickles. I do not fry much of anything in our house, so I had to find a lower fat recipe. Thankfully, my friends at Skinny Taste took care of that for me! If you are watching your sodium intake, you will want to substitute reduced sodium pickles. I looked at our local stores for low-sodium pickles and came up empty-handed. However, I did a little research online and found out Vlasic offers a couple of reduced sodium products. For you brave folks, there is the option of making your own. Click HERE for the recipe!P1100379

I did make a few changes in my recipe simply because I like to use what I already have on hand. My adjusted recipe was still delicious! Also, I did not make the ranch dip because I forgot to bring the recipe with me to the store. We used Bolthouse Farms Salsa Ranch for the dipping sauce. It was good, but next time I am making the ranch dip below! Enjoy!

Oven “Fried” Pickles with Skinny Herb Buttermilk Ranch Dip

Adapted from Mary’s Bites 
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 6 slices with dip • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 58.6 • Fat: 1.4 g • Protein: 2.4 g • Carb: 9.1 g • Fiber: 0.6 g • Sugar: 0.3 g
Sodium: 1248.8 mg  

Ingredients:

  • 2 -16 oz jars (48 slices) sliced oval dill hamburger pickles, I used Vlasic
  • 1/2 cup of Panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1/8th tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • olive oil spray (about 1 tsp)

For the Ranch Dip:

  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp light mayo
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh chives 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup 1% low fat buttermilk

Directions:

Make ranch dip by combining all the dip ingredients and refrigerate until pickles are done.

Place pickles to drain on paper towels.

Mix crumbs and flour together along with paprika, parsley, and half the chipotle powder and salt.

Whisk eggs and egg whites in a bowl and season with remaining chipotle powder.  

Dip pickles in egg mixture and then into the crumb mix, pressing down on the crumbs.

Heat oven to 450°F along with 2 baking sheets. When the oven reaches 450°,remove baking sheets and spray with olive oil spray; place pickles on the baking sheets and spray the tops of the pickles with the more oil.  Bake 8-10 minutes, turn and spray if needed and cook an additional five minutes. Remove pickles from cooking sheet and serve hot with dip.