Friday, July 12, 2019

Chilled Summer Borsht

Here's another way to use your Instant Pot (or use the stove top) - Make borsht!

Borsht is a tangy soup that is popular in Eastern European countries like Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine. It is usually made with beetroot as the base, but every region has its own variation of additional vegetables and ingredients that go into this rich looking "good for you" soup.

Winter Borsht;Summer Borsht 

My grandmother brought two borsht recipes with her from Russia. One was her winter recipe which included meat and was consumed hot, and the other was her summer recipe which had no meat and was always enjoyed chilled and blended with sour cream which yielded a pretty bright pink soup. 

My Parents Ate Borsht 

 I grew up watching both my parents devour this chilled beet root soup when summer temperatures and humidity where high and window air conditioners were few. I'm not sure if they ever convinced me to taste it until I was well into my upper teens, and then it wasn't a favorite. It is definitely an acquired taste.

Heat Wave 

We've been having a heat wave, and I just haven't felt like eating anything heavy. My grandmother's summer borsht idea popped into my head. I decided that since I do enjoy beets now, I might be able to appreciate a chilled glass of borsht. 

I was right; It was perfect in this hot weather and I actually enjoyed it. Not to mention that beets are really good for you: boasting lots of vitamins, minerals, valuable phytonutrients like carotenoids and healthy fiber.

If you are up for something different and refreshing in this hot weather, why not try a delicious bowl of borsht. I used my Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to cook the beets which does not give off heat. Then I blended, chilled, and enjoyed. It was simple. Of course everything in the borsht is gluten free|nut free|dairy free| (unless you add yogurt-you can sub vegan sour cream) which makes it a good allergy friendly soup!

Don't Worry About Peeling The Beets
* I buy organic red beets, so I soak and scrub them well but I don't bother to peel. It makes it easier. Since this soup is blended, the peels just disintegrates into the soup.
* My grandmother used "sour salt" in her borsht  which is citric acid- I substituted lemon juice and rice vinegar.

1/2 medium head of cabbage, quartered
1 large beet, washed, scrubbed and quartered
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
Cracked sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/4 chopped dill for the garnish
1/4 cup per bowl of Greek yogurt or vegan sour cream

Place cabbage, beet, garlic, and water in the Instant Pot. Secure lid, close steam valve and set to cook for 16 minutes. When done cooking, allow to sit for 5 minutes and then carefully release steam according to the manufacturers instructions. Add lemon juice, rice vinegar, salt and pepper.  Allow to sit until vegetables cool off. I placed half of the mixture into my Nutribullet and whizzed until smooth. Top with Greek yogurt or vegan sour cream. Repeat for second half of batch.

Fresh Dill 
Shared on Beth Fish Reads where anyone can share a food related post.

Shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, sammie, or salad.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Healthy Vegan Sandwich Spread

Looking for a delicious and healthy vegan/plant based sandwich spread ? 

This spread is one of my favorites. It's high in protein and fiber, good fat, tasty, and Weight Watcher friendly. In addition, it's naturally gluten free and dairy free. It all adds up to one word- HEALTHY!

Spreads can be enjoyed in so many ways.
Enjoy this easy to make spread on gluten free crackers, in gluten free wraps, on gluten free bread, with lettuce leaves or just enjoy it alone.

I love it with a bowl of my quick and easy Italian Spinach Garlic Soup

Amazing benefits of plant based foods
Are you aware that there is growing evidence that heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even some cancers respond well to a plant based diet and lifestyle? In addition, plant based eating may help lower inflammation, help maintain a healthy body weight, and boost immunity. Many feel that plant based eating, which includes lots of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes may be preventative as well as healing.

What's in this spread? 

In addition to chickpeas, this spread contains raw fresh carrots, red pepper, parsley, spinach, optional sugar snap peas, and scallions- all which provide an interesting taste and lots of nutrients. In addition, there is some avocado that provides healthy fat and adds creaminess and cohesiveness.

2 Points on Weight Watchers
On the Weight Watcher program, this spread is all zero points except for the avocado which is 2 points for a quarter avocado. 

Smooth and Chunky Spread
All in all, this vegan recipe is a delicious tasting, easy to make, healthy sandwich spread. Perfect for a quick and easy summer day since there is no cooking involved. 

Broccoli Sprouts Are Power Foods That Offer Protective Antioxidants
Broccoli sprouts are potent and contain some super protective antioxidants. I love to add thee powerful sprouts on sandwiches. 

1 large clove garlic
1/2 bunch of parsley, washed
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 carrot, chopped
1 small yellow or red pepper
1/2 cup of spinach leaves
1/4 avocado
optional: 1 rib celery, 5 snap peas,
1 12 ounce can of organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Place garlic, parsley, scallions, carrot, spinach leaves, red or yellow pepper and optional vegetables in the food processor using the metal blade. Whiz until everything is well cut and blended. Add avocado, chickpeas, cumin, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Whiz again until sandwich spread consistency. Use for a filling on gluten free bread or in a wrap.