Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Can a daily green smoothie transform your life?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes! While going through radiation treatments a year ago for my second bout of cancer, I decided to completely overhaul my diet. Part of that meant getting more greens than I ever had before. The easiest way to do that? Blend ’em up into a tasty green smoothie.

I’m feeling more energetic than ever and enjoying my new eating habits. But I’m not the only one realizing the raw power of a simple green smoothie. A 2014 documentary by author, entrepreneur and natural health aficionado Sergei Boutenko, called “Powered by Green Smoothies,” examined the effects of one quart of green smoothies per day on marathon runners and CrossFitters. The results? Nothing short of amazing: fewer aches and pains and speedier recovery times.

Some have taken this idea even further: Can changing your diet change the world—and extend your life? The results of a study published last month in Nature support this idea, showing that unhealthy eating habits negatively impact not only a person’s health, but also the environment, stripping habitats and emitting greenhouse gases. Conversely, switching to a vegetarian, Mediterranean or Pescetarian diet is less damaging to the environment and (bonus!) can substantially increase your lifespan.

If you’re looking for a green smoothie to try, here’s my favorite. All you need is: your favorite nondairy milk, strawberries, an orange, some lemon zest and some fresh spinach. (Just make sure to rotate your greens if you’ll be greening it up every single day.)

Friends, what are your favorite recipes? Please share them here. I’m always looking for new ways to freshen up my rotation!

{P.S.: A smoothie to cure jet lag, and a wintery green smoothie I can’t wait to try (think pomegranate and chocolate). Yum!}

A delicious (and easy!) quiche for veggie lovers

When my sister Kathleen and her daughter, Indigo, came out for a recent visit, I couldn’t wait to surprise her with my ultimate quiche. This special recipe is authentically French: My friend Christelle, who is French, was kind enough to share her mother’s recipe with me. Though I’ve tweaked it over the years, experimenting with different cheeses and fillings, I give all the credit for this delicious quiche to Christelle and her mother.

Christelle lives in a lovely seaside village in Brittany, France, and she cooked her mother’s quiche for me when I came for a visit a few years ago. We shared it on the most gorgeous, sunny beach imaginable. And even though the wind kept blowing sand into each bite, it still tasted divine.

The windy beach in Brittany, France, where we enjoyed our yummy quiche picnic.

The windy beach in Brittany, France, where we enjoyed our yummy quiche picnic.

Here is my vegetarian version of her quiche. It’s a perfect comfort food on a cold winter’s night, paired with a glass of red wine to warm the soul. Of course, feel free to change it up as needed; in fact, the next time Kathleen visits, I plan on trying this in a “crustless” version. Bon appétit!

What you’ll need:

1 ½ cups assorted veggies, roasted and coarsely chopped (just use your favorites)

1 pie crust (If homemade is too hard, Whole Foods sells a frozen crust, or you can use Pillsbury in a pinch)

5 slices of Colby-Jack cheese (or more if needed; swiss cheese works, too)

3 eggs

¾ cup sour cream

1 ½ cups milk

Salt and pepper to taste (I prefer Kosher salt)

Directions:

Unroll the crust into your quiche or pie dish. Layer the cheese slices onto the crust. Next, add your assorted chopped roasted veggies. (I like to use broccoli, thinly sliced potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini. Sometimes I even sprinkle a few spinach leaves on top.) In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, and salt and pepper; next, pour this into the crust, over the cheese and veggies.

Bake at 450 °F for 45 minutes or until fully cooked.

P.S. Suggested wine pairings: A to Z Pinot Noir or Beaujolais Jadot.

What favorite comfort foods will help you get through this winter? Let us know!

{Photos © Charlotte Jensen}

Holiday traditions (the vegetarian kind)

I became a vegetarian in 1987. That was … 28 years ago, woah! It was my freshman year at Berkeley, and I attended the Berkeley Animal Liberation Front’s “film night” and watched a movie about factory farming. Needless to say, I lost my taste for hamburgers on the spot!

Of course, going vegetarian presents some immediate problems–especially during the holidays. If you’re a vegetarian like me, you know what I mean. For instance, every year on Christmas Eve my family serves salami slices and cooks up traditional German sausage from a special meat market in Fresno, California. Then, the next morning, they fry up eggs in the sausage grease. And consider Thanksgiving: When I first became a vegetarian, while everyone else was gorging on turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and “in-the-bird” stuffing, I was left with plain potatoes and steamed veggies and maybe a soft bread roll. Not exactly my idea of a feast.

Luckily, my mom—who is an amazing cook—began to rethink some of her dishes to make them vegetarian-friendly. Not just for the holidays, but at all of our get-togethers. And while I still pass on the turkey and gravy at Thanksgiving, she now makes a delicious stuffing “outside the bird” that’s even better than the original recipe (according to me and my sisters, anyway). And we are better about making sure there are lots of other options, too, so that everyone has a full plate. It has taken some time, to be sure, and has required the embracing of new traditions. But, here we are. And now none of us “goes hungry” during holiday feasts.

This year, I have to be more creative than years past. Due to health reasons these post-cancer days, I am now mostly dairy-free and gluten-free. Yesterday I cooked up some special dishes to add to the feast this year. I brought my new favorite comfort meal: Lemony Lentil & Kale Rice Bowl.

Luckily, dessert is never a problem when you’re a vegetarian! And though I have cut down on gluten and sugar a lot, I’m happy I can still enjoy my ancestors’ simple but delicious Küchen recipe once a year; it’s a special coffee cake my mom serves on Christmas Eve and morning.

For more meatless holiday meal ideas and inspiration; check out these beautiful recipes from Martha Stewart.

These are our traditions; what are yours?

The culinary trick I can’t live without

This is probably obvious to everyone else out there but me, but recently I discovered the art of roasting vegetables. I can’t believe I’ve gone all these years without doing this!

I’m a vegetarian, so eating veggies is already a huge part of my daily diet. But it seems I’ve always blended, baked or sautéed them. Now that I’ve discovered roasting, it’s my new favorite kitchen trick.

Here’s my super easy process (beware—it’s addicting):

  1. Line one or two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Chop all your favorite veggies. If you do potatoes, make sure they are super thinly sliced.
  4. Coat everything with 1-2 tablespoons of oil, pepper, a pinch of salt (optional), and 3 garlic cloves, minced. You can use a bowl or a gallon Ziploc bag for easy cleanup.
  5. Place the veggies in a single layer on the cookie sheets and bake 20 minutes or so until done.
Roasted cherry tomatoes

Roasted cherry tomatoes

That’s it! Once roasted, they’re so versatile. You can sprinkle them inside tortillas, top pizzas and pasta, stir into scrambled eggs or just enjoy alone—whatever works for you.

Here’s a delish recipe for Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from The Novice Chef blog (see my sis Char’s take in the photo above).

Want to know the best kind of oil for healthy roasting? Check out this great article.

Do you roast veggies? Any tips, tricks or recipes to share?

{Lead photo credit: Dylan Parker via photopin cc}