Saturday, November 14, 2015

Healthy Vegan Thanksgiving Sides

 Can you imagine Thanksgiving without all of the FABULOUS seasonal sides made from sweet potatoes, string bean , mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, soup etc. This is a collection of healthy, gluten free, vegan recipes with no added sugars- just real food!

A collage of Thanksgiving Recipe Sides

I love Thanksgiving and the beauty and richness of the season! I try to make my recipes as easy as possible. I hope you find some recipes in this collection that you can try for this year's celebration

Healthy Thanksgiving Sides ( Gluten Free and Vegan) 

stuffed acorn squash

Stuffed Berry Acorn Squash-   A WOW presentation- acorn squash halves stuffed with an apple and berry filling. Looks as good as it tastes!

Cider Glazed Butternut Squash - This is one of my favorites for many reasons. It's an easy recipe that is naturally sweet and flavorful.  In addition it is low in calories, making it only 1 point plus on WW. Easy and tastes great!

Caramelized Onion and Butternut Squash If you love caramelized onions the way I do, this simple combination of winter squash and rich caramelized onions will become a savory yearly favorite.

Fruity Sweet Potato Tzimis- Dried fruit, sweet potato,  nuts , apples and sweet onions make this traditional Jewish recipe favorite a perfect side on Thanksgiving. A better choice than sweet potato casserole with sugar.  

Wendy's Crunchy Vegetable Balls This is a pseudo name for my crunchy and delicious roasted fresh Brussels sprouts. There was a time ( before I tasted this recipe that was shared by my daughter in law Wendy) that I turned my nose up to Brussels Sprouts! - But Not since I tasted them made this way. 

Wild Rice Stuffing  -  A delicious stuffing made from a blend of wild and regular rice.

Quinoa Stuffing    Uses a mix of the red and white quinoa, a little butternut squash and some fresh cranberries.  Nice presentation; delicious stuffing.

Corn Bread Stuffing  This recipe calls for making gluten free cornbread. Jaime Oliver has a good homemade cornbread.

Quinoa Chinese Style Stuffing-  The only thing that makes it Chinese style is the ( GF) soy sauce that is added , which could also be left out. Check this one out!

A vegan Entree:  Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms with quinoa

Rice stuffed tomatoes

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes- Beautiful presentation and tastes divine! Perfect for every holiday celebration

Lemon Mushrooms with garlic and herbs  - A quick few minute prep and less than 15 minutes to cook. A lighter favorite that could be called Mushroom Scampi

Beets and Orange Slices  is a must at any holiday meal. The rich red color offset by the contrasting orange is just vibrant! A healthy dish for any occasion.

Sweet Potato Smash - Easy,  crispy,  and delicious. One individual sweet potato per serving. 

Sweet Potato Fries - Sweet potato are cut into strips and then baked, not fried. Your choice of how to season ( Cajun? Cinnamon? Salt and Pepper? ) Loved by kids of all ages.

White Potato Rosemary Smash  - Baked with olive oil and rosemary, the potatoes become crunchy and crispy. 

Riced Cauliflower Pilaf
 a low calorie/low carb alternative to using rice. Tastes delicious and adds an interesting mystery dish to the table. 

Moroccan Carrot Recipe- If you like lemony Middle Eastern food, you'll love this authentic carrot dish. Simply steam carrots and then dress with a fabulous marinade. 

Arugula and Cashew Salad- Make this for Christmas. The rich green arugala and sprinkling of fresh cranberries makes this a colorful favorite. 

Red and Orange Holiday Coleslaw is a must for cole slaw lovers. The colors and sweet flavors win everyone over.

Pickled Red Onions- nice pickled condiment that is fast, easy, looks pretty.  

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie ( vegan) - Made in the blender, this fast and easy recipe is delicious. 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie with Grain Free Crust- one of my favorites

pumpkin pie gluten free

Easy Soup Choices:  

Leeks and Brussels Sprout Soup : Fast, Easy, Delicious ( cooks in 12 minutes) 

Pumpkin : This  Paleo Pumpkin Pie Soup  is a winner in my book. Use cooked pumpkin or any cooked winter squash for a delicious fragrant soup. Bursting with flavor, this rich golden soup is a favorite on the holiday.

Butternut : A bowl of this Savory Butternut Squash Soup   is only one point plus on Weight Watchers. What a great way to start off a meal. Satisfying and delicious.

Red Lentil Hearty Red Lentil Soup  is one of my favorites on a cold winter day. Red lentils cook quickly and melt into the vegetable soup making it hearty and creamy.

Chickpea:  Many Vegans eat this high protein  Spanish Chickpea soup on Christmas. Maybe it's the rich, red color.

Carrot :  Moroccan Spiced Carrot   adds a little kick to this otherwise mild carrot soup. Perfect to spice up any meal.

Mushroom: This Hot and Sour Chinese Mushroom  Soup  is my version of a hot and sour soup in restaurants. It's full of fresh mushrooms making it a mushroom lover's favorite.

Carrot Ginger Soup  . It's really fast.  Have some if you are under the weather - it acts like  some vegan chicken soup  - don't forget the gluten free matzo balls

Spinach Vegetable: This is my friend Paula's soup. I've had this Wilted Spinach Vegetable Soup  at her house on family gathering for various holidays. We love it.

Lentil; Tangy Tomato Lentil is a wonderful lentil soup with a tomato base. Cooks up quickly and it rich in protein too.

Spinach and Garlic: This beautiful green soup is easy to make and a must for spinach and garlic lovers. Fresh Spinach and Garlic Soup ( 1 PP on WW). Low in calories

Detox Soup -  Perfect after holiday detox - lose up to 5 pounds in 4 days

Vegetarian and Vegan Desserts

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie ( vegan) - Made in the blender, this fast and easy recipe is delicious. 

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies- These are healthy enough to eat as a breakfast. no sugar. My grandkids LOVE them. Makes a great dessert.. Use dried cranberries for Thanksgiving or Christmas

Pumpkin Cakes: Flourless   These little mini individual cakes are really delicious. Made with crunchy almond butter.. don't eat too many -- they are healthy but a little more caloric

Baked apples and cranberries ( vegan) - This was my mother's recipe that she made for dessert every Thanksgiving. Certainly a healthy and tasty dish... top with some Vanilla Greek Yogurt for an added treat..

Raw Cranberry Walnut Tart-  ( vegan) This tart was featured on Veg news magazine. It requires no cooking and looks absolutely delicious.

Black Bean Brownies: These brownies are made in the blender and are quick and easy to make. They taste amazing! Healthy, flour less and tasty! 
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Monday, November 9, 2015

Quick and Easy Chinese Cabbage Soup

Think that you are too busy or too tired to make healthy homemade soup for your family? This Chinese Cabbage Soup can be made in a Jiffy.

I love making and eating homemade soup. It isn't overly salty, full of chemicals, or high in fat like packaged or canned soup  or soup from restaurants. Not only is homemade soup delicious, nourishing, and healthy, it can made relatively quickly. This flavorful Chinese Cabbage soup took only 10 minutes preparation and around 20-25 minutes to cook.

Why not try it? Cooking a pot of homemade soup warms your house, your belly, the soothing aroma greets each person as he/she enters your home.

 I used Napa cabbage for this recipe, a soft flavorful cabbage that cooks up quickly and  cuts as easily as a head of lettuce. It's almost always available in regular supermarkets and Asian markets.  Combined with onions, carrots, fresh ginger and fresh garlic, this cabbage makes a wonderful Chinese style soothing light vegetable soup that is sure to please.

Garlic and ginger are powerful immune builders-

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4-6 cups

5  cups of Napa cabbage, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cups of sliced carrot
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 small finger of chopped fresh ginger
Cracked pepper to taste
3 cups of water
5 cups vegetable broth

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a soup pot for about 4 minutes ( stirring). Add the cabbage, carrot, and fresh ginger, toss and continue to saute and stir. After about 5 minutes add the water and vegetable broth, Cook for about 20 minutes about carrots are soft.

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cuban Black Bean Soup-Spicy and Smoky

This easy recipe is as authentic as it gets for Cuban Black Bean Soup without the meat! The flavors are Cuban, but the soup is vegan. I added smoked paprika to the recipe to give it what otherwise would be the" smoked ham hock" taste. But that's optional- you decide whether to add the smoked paprika or not. The soup will taste great either way- ( just a little different) .

Healthy Soup Recipes for Busy People
Do you like to cook healthy recipes but be in and out of the kitchen quickly? 
This recipe can be assembled in 10 minutes, and you can do other things while the soup is cooking.  Black Beans and the other simple vegetables in the recipe make for a healthy high fiber meal.
There is definitely a reason that black beans are so widely used and so popular in Latin countries.
Satisfying and filling, this soup is perfect for a cold winter day ( or a chilly fall night).

Optional Step:  I Soaked and Cooked My Dry Black Beans
If you want to avoid using cans ( because of BPA and other chemicals in the lining) , then it is important to buy dry beans ( sold in bags in the supermarket) and cook your own. You will need to think about it in advance, but it is so easy.
  • Wash the beans according to directions on the bag
  • Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water
  • Soak the covered beans over night
  • Rinse off the water in the morning 
  • Place in a large pot and boil for about 1 and half hours until beans are soft

Fastest Method Use Canned Beans If You Are In A Rush
 If you are in a rush, and want to eliminate the soaking and cooking step for the beans,  you could use organic canned black beans! Some organic brands do not contain BPA in the lining.  If you do use canned , this recipe becomes a really quick and easy soup and surprisingly whether you cook your own or use the canned,  either way, the soup tastes just as good!

What are the Heath Benefits of Black Beans ?

  • Packed with antioxidants.The darker a bean, the greater its antioxidant value, making black beans antioxidant superstars even surpassing the antioxidants in oranges! Studies report that  antioxidants help boost our immune systems to help protect against cancer, degenerative disease, and general health.
  • Loaded with fiber. In addition, black beans are loaded with fiber which helps rid toxins from building up in your system by keeping your elimination regular. 
  • Does it Fight Heart disease ? Just one of many available studies was an impressive 19 year study that followed 10,000 persons ( Archives of Internal Medicine). The study found that high fiber foods like black beans, helps prevent heart disease. Eating at least 21 grams of fiber rich foods a day brought down the risk for heart disease by at least 15 %. A cup of black beans provides about 12 grams of heat healthy fiber.
  • Stabilizes Blood sugar  Fiber also helps you maintain healthier glucose metabolism, so the high fiber content of black beans can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Provides lots of Minerals. Black beans are a good source of minerals including iron, magnesium, and folates. If you have Celiac, check with your doctor, you may may be low in minerals due to years of poor absorption. ( especially iron)
  • Low in calories and fat- black beans are filling, satisfying and taste great, yet they are low in calories and low in fat. On Weight Watchers, they are  one of the suggested filling foods.

My Cuban Black Bean Soup Recipe
Author: Judee Algazi of Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time:  10 minutes if using canned beans or previously cooked beans
Cook Time:  45 minutes 
Adapted from :  A recipe on The Kitchen

7 cups of cooked black beans ( make your own like I did or use organic canned beans)
1 cup of chopped green pepper
1 cup of chopped onion
3 cloves of fresh garlic , chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
cracked black pepper to taste
4 cups of water
6 cups of vegetable broth ( or chicken broth is you are so inclined)
optional: 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ( I got mine at Trader Joe's ) or more to taste
optional: 1 teaspoon chili powder
optional: 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
** If soup cooks down: If you need to add additional water ( see directions) you may also need to add a 1/2 teaspoon of bouillon powder)

Saute the onions, fresh garlic, and green pepper in the olive oil in a soup pot ( on low) .
Add the cooked beans ( use the liquid from the cans or cooking too.
Add the water and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. As it cooks the beans will soften into the soup.
If the liquid begins to cook down and the soup thickens too much, add an additional 2-3 cups of water and a teaspoon of powdered bouillon if needed. Season with black pepper to taste. If you would like the smoky taste, add the smoked paprika add it now and any other optional seasonings.
 See my notes below for additional serving ideas.

These will cook down and almost disintegrate in the soup and the green pepper
flavor will be very mild 

My Notes:
  • For an interesting kick, add 1/3 of a cup of vinegar ( white or apple cider) to the soup during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  
  • I add 1/4 cup of cooked white or brown rice to each bowl before eating
  • I sometimes top each bowl with plain Greek Yogurt or sour cream 
  • Chopped red onion and raw chopped green or red peppers is also a good garnish 
  • Freeze leftover soup for another meal ( freezes well) 
  • If cooking your own black beans, make them the day before
  • Make your rice while the soup cooks or the day before

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