Plant Based Party Food

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How to win friends: make them delicious food that’s actually good for them! This Plant Based Party Food spread is super healthy, easy to prepare, and sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

Start by cooking your orzo pasta (I made 3 pounds and had two extra bowls of pasta salad (not shown) to refill the large bowl). I used Whole Foods organic orzo noodles. The way I feel about wheat is that it HAS to be organic. It’s the only way to be sure you’re avoiding GMOs and I am definitely avoiding GMOs. If you are gluten-free, you can certainly opt for gluten-free orzo pasta.

Once you cook the orzo, strain it and rinse it in cool water so it’s ready to be made into pasta salad.

Next, I assembled my fresh & raw ingredients:

  • 2 cans of Organic Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • Chopped Organic Grape Tomatoes
  • Chopped Organic Orange & Yellow Peppers
  • Chopped Red Onion
  • Chopped Cucumbers

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The more veggies the merrier. You can add or substitute your favorites into this recipe. I was trying to stick with the Greek theme. I wanted to add olives but worried that they would scare away the picky eaters. Also, color variation is very important. First, because it guarantees a wide range of nutrients and second, because it looks fabulous!

Finally, toss your orzo and veggies together and coat in the dressing of your choice. I made a quick healthy home made dressing for this pasta salad using:

  • equal parts olive oil and red wine vinegar (1 cup of each)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 clove minced garlic (optional)

Depending on how much pasta salad you make, start with one batch of this dressing recipe and then make another if you need it.

Finally, coat the pasta salad in the dressing and sprinkle the entire salad with feta cheese. Cover and refrigerate until party time.

The next dish is a classic Italian tomato, basil, mozzarella platter. If you have garden fresh tomatoes available when you make this, then you are in for a real treat. I chose red and yellow tomatoes because I love color (for the reasons I mentioned above). I also purchased pre-sliced mozzarella because I am all about convenience when I don’t have to sacrifice quality to get it.

 

Assemble your platter then drizzle it with some EVOO and balsamic glaze. You can also use a bit of salt & pepper if you’d like. So delicious and too easy.

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Last but not least, I put together a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit. This spread was definitely a crowd pleaser. It was easy on the budget and served over 20 people. Eat up friends!

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Iron Man Salad: lentils & avocado

When people find out that I am a vegetarian, the first thing they ask is “what about protein and iron?” I like to keep my answer short and sweet, “I eat lentils.” Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse. Whether you are a meat eater or not, you should be eating lentils regularly. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. They are low in calories but high in lean protein.
  2. They are full of fiber and other important nutrients like potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.
  3. They are a great source of fiber and can aid in digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.
  4. They are easy to prepare and taste amazing.

So, I felt it appropriate to call this super quick and easy salad recipe “The Iron Man” because the ingredients in this salad provide the nutrients we need to be healthy and strong. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make it:

  • Sprouted lentils
  • 1 Organic cucumber
  • 1 Organic onion
  • 2 Organic tomatoes
  • 1 Avocado
  • Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Organic light EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • Himalayan Sea Salt
  • Pepper

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Seriously, so much good stuff.

Here’s how it’s done:

Cook your sprouted lentils for just a few minutes (as directed on the package). Then drain and rinse them in cool water. Chop your veggies. I used my favorite veggie chopper from Williams Sonoma.

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Toss chopped veggies and lentils together. Drizzle with about 2 tbsp EVOO and 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar and then season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want a sweeter taste, you can add a packet of stevia. Toss together and top with chopped avocado and you’re done!

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This is perfect by itself, on top of greens, in a pita, in lettuce cups, or as a side dish. It’s great for lunch, dinner, or to bring to a party. And the best part is, it’s ready in about 15 minutes. Eat up friends!

 

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Twisted Tacos: sweet potato & black bean

If I ask my family what they want for dinner, I should be prepared to make tacos. I’m not sure why, but tacos tend to be the most commonly requested dinner in our house. So, to prevent extreme food boredom, I had to get creative. Usually, I make a traditional taco bar but I decided to change things up with this recipe and it was definitely a hit!

Twisted tacos

This is not your typical taco recipe. First, it’s meatless. Second, it’s full of good for you nutrients. And third, the leftovers are amazing for lunch the next day. Basically, it’s the bomb. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Here’s what you’ll need (serves 4+):

  • 3-4 Sweet potatoes washed and cubed (leave the peels on). I use this amazing chopper from William Sonoma to make my life about 100% easier.
  • Unrefined organic coconut oil
  • Organic scallions
  • 1 can organic black beans drained and rinsed
  • Feta Cheese
  • 16 small to medium soft tortilla shells (organic…gluten free… whatever you prefer)
  • 1-2 Avocados
  • Greek yogurt cilantro dressing. I used store bought but you can definitely make your own or swap this out for the dressing of your choice.

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Start by preheating your oven to 375. While the oven gets hot, chop your sweet potatoes and then toss them in about 1/4 cup melted coconut oil. Spread them onto a greased baking sheet. Then pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes (just long enough for you to get everything else ready!)

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Now, while the potatoes roast, you can lay out your taco bar! Set out self serve bowls with each of the following ingredients:

  • black beans
  • feta cheese
  • chopped avocado
  • sliced scallions

Then, as soon as the sweet potatoes come out, add them to the spread.

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I decided to toast the outside of our tortilla shells in a frying pan lightly sprayed with coconut oil.

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So now we are at about 30 minutes from the start of preparing this meal, and it’s time to eat!

This is where the fun part comes in. These are so easy to put together, the kids made their own tacos!

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If you’re thinking, “my kids would never eat that,” then think again! The girls loved these sweet, meatless, “Twisted Tacos.” I have found that the best way to get kids to try new foods is to get them involved in the kitchen and then give the food a fun name (like Twisted Tacos). Kids are used to being marketed to when it comes to junk food; it’s up to us to market the good food to them at home.

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So, there you have it. Sweet and satisfying Twisted Tacos served with a side of chips of course.

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A fresh, plant based, healthy dinner in about 30 minutes… Eat up friends!

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