October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Happy Meatless Monday everyone!

I'm assuming you've all heard about the Meatless Monday movement?

Of course when you're a plant-based rock star, every day is meatless Monday!  But if you're still moving towards a healthier diet, and aren't quite there yet (progress, not perfection), then consider going completely meatless at least on Mondays.  Check out their website to read some of the many, many reasons we should go meatless.

Anyway, Mondays, in general, kind of suck.  So I have a fun recipe today as part of the pumpkin recipes I'll be sharing this month (like Pumpkin Mac & Cheese and Loaded Baked Potato).

A recipe to get you through the Monday blues.

It's meatless.

It's pumpkin-y.

It's awesome.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
In my pre-vegan days, I used to LOVE pumpkin ice cream (well pumpkin anything for that matter).  But seriously, pumpkin ice cream is insanely good.  And I will admit, I kind of miss it this time of year. Although I know since my taste buds have changed over time, I wouldn't even be able to enjoy it anymore - all I would taste is the fat and the sugar.  Not to mention I would know how bad it was for me.  So yeah, it's pretty much freaking ruined for me.

Until now.

I actually made vegan pumpkin ice cream last year in my ice cream machine.  Although it was vegan, it still had a ton of sugar and fat in it.  And it required me to plan ahead by freezing the ice cream thing-y and making the mixture, and then waiting an hour for it to be done.  UGH.

I needed something that I could consume almost immediately.  And this recipe is perfect for that.

Very little planning, very little ingredients, and very little time.  I literally got the craving for pumpkin ice cream and threw this together in 2 minutes.  Not only was my craving satisfied almost instantaneously, I didn't have to feel guilty about it.  Very little calories, very little fat, a ton of flavor, and just a couple of ingredients.  Literally a banana, pumpkin, plant-based milk and spices.

Oh and a handful of chocolate chips.  Natch.

Super, super healthy and super, super yummy.  Now if you eat lots of sugar (you shouldn't, read here why), you might not find this sweet enough.  I found it plenty sweet because my bananas were very ripe when I froze them.  You could always add a bit of honey, agave nectar, or stevia to sweeten it up a little.

Either way, it's a creamy, pumpkin-y (and healthy!) fall treat.

Love & Kale,
Ali

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Serves: 1

Print here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small frozen bananas
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or other plant-based milk - may need more or less, depending on the size of your bananas)
  • 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Handful of chocolate chips
Instructions:
  1. Um....put everything but the chocolate chips into a high speed blender and blend until combined. Remove, top with chocolate chips and ENJOY :)
Ingredients

Yummy, healthy pumpkin chocolate chip ice cream!


October 11, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato w Pumpkin Cheese Sauce




So the other day I made that FAB Pumpkin Mac & Cheese.

Remember?


YUM.

One of the best parts of the recipe, is that I had leftovers of the amazing pumpkin cheese sauce!  Which, of course, meant that the next night's meal would involve less thinking and brain activity.

Love that.

I've posted a few "cook once, eat twice" recipes in the past.  Remember the Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Walnut Pesto?  Used the leftover pesto for Walnut Pesto Pasta the next night?

Or the Mexican Stuffed Peppers?  Used the leftover filling for Mexican Pizza (one of my faves!)?

I just love planning and multi-tasking.  Not only because it's efficient, but also because I can be lazy.

This meal is a lazy plant-based rockstar's dream.  The most difficult part was pricking the freaking potato and turning on the oven.  Not to mention, it was delicious, extremely nutritious, low fat, and quite filling.  It's also versatile - add any veggie you want, or you could even add beans, vegan sour cream, or tempeh bacon.

Oh, and it's yummy.  Very, very yummy.

Love & Kale,
Ali

                 _____________________________________________________
Loaded Baked Potato w Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
Serves: 1

Print here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1-2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup or so of leftover Pumpkin Cheese Sauce (recipe here)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish: scallions, vegan sour cream

Instructions:
  1. Bake your potato.  Steam your broccoli.  Heat your sauce. 
  2. Top your potato with salt & pepper, then the broccoli, then drizzle with sauce and garnish with scallions (or whatever you want!).  Easy peasy.  ENJOY!


October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Although I took a momentary flashback to summer the other day with the Macaroni Salad, I am whole-heartedly into fall.


So for the next couple of weeks, during my favorite month of the year, I will share with you some awesome, whole-foods, plant-based pumpkin recipes.   Hooray!  First, let's chat about this wonderful fall classic - the pumpkin.


Low in fat and calories, but high in antioxidants, vitamins (including a ton of vitamin A), minerals, beta-carotene, fiber, carotenoids....this vegetable (well, technically a fruit) is not only delicious, it's incredibly nutritious!!  

Also, fun to carve.

So to kick off the next couple of weeks of recipes dedicated to the pumpkin, I wanted to do something different.  

Fun.  

Unexpected.  

I wanted to take a classic recipe and vegan-ize-it, whole-foods-it, and pumpkin-ize-it.  I love the idea of pasta dishes in the fall....super cozy and warm.  So say hello to Pumpkin Mac & Cheese!





Creamy and delicious, you would never know this "cheese" sauce was healthy.  Not only healthy, incredibly low-fat and packed full of nutrition!  

I've always been a big fan of add-ins to my mac & cheese for added texture.  I used kale here (obvi), but you could throw in broccoli, peas, spinach....or you could keep it super traditional (well, as traditional as you can get with vegan mac & cheese), and not add any veggies in, top with breadcrumbs and bake.  

Whatever you decide, know this:  this recipe is freaking awesome and hard to screw up.  It's omni-approved, picky kid approved, and delicious.  Although you get wonderful little hints of pumpkin in every cheesy bite, this sauce is certainly not sweet - it's savory.

And perfect.

And guess what?  I had leftovers of the sauce.  Any guesses as to what I made with the leftover sauce!?!?!?  

I'll post the Day 2 recipe this week, so stay tuned!

Love & Kale,
Ali

                  ________________________________________________
Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb whole grain pasta
  • 1/2 bunch kale, chopped (or add-in of your choice)
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

Instructions:
  1. Make your pasta according to package ingredients.  Add kale last few minutes of cook time.  
  2. Meanwhile, make your pumpkin cheese sauce.  Combine almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, arrowroot, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk everything together until combined and gently cook about 5-7 minutes, until thickened. 
  3. Whisk in pumpkin until combined and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. When pasta and kale are cooked and drained, combine with sauce.  Serve and ENJOY!
Ingredients

Cook pasta and kale
Add all sauce ingredients except pumpkin.  Cook until thickened a little.
Add your pumpkin and whisk.
Whisk away until combined
Mmmm thick and cheesy!!
Combine pasta, kale and sauce
Eat it, love it, thank me.

October 5, 2012

Macaroni Salad - Flashback to Summer!

So in the midst of all the gushing I've been doing about fall (like this post and this post), I decided to make a summer BBQ classic, Macaroni Salad.

Huh?

Well you see yesterday, here in Ohio, the temperature actually got up to around 80 degrees.  Bananas!  It was one of those weird fall days that gives you a momentary flashback to summer.  And as much as I adore fall weather, it was nice to bust out the flip flops and bask in the warmth of the sun.

Pair this with my adoration for Cathy Fisher's recipes (StraightUpFood.com), and I decided to make her Macaroni Salad.



And let me tell you - this was, hands down, the best freaking macaroni salad I have ever had - non-vegan or otherwise.

NO JOKE.

The sauce was out of this world delicious.  I've got big plans to use it for potato salad soon.  Amazing - perfect combination of creaminess and heaviness with the blended cashews, savoriness with the dijon mustard and garlic, bit of a bite from the fresh lemon juice, and just a hint of sweetness with the blended dates.

So freaking good.

It made so much that I didn't know what in the world I was going to do with it all!  I figured I would share with friends, but no.  It was so good that I ended up eating it all within a few days.

Every last bite.

You can use all or some of the veggies that the recipe calls for - I happen to love a variety of crunchy veggies in my macaroni salad.  I think it gives great texture.  And the herbs gave the salad that summer fresh flavor.

So take a pause from the fall recipes for a moment and make this macaroni salad - possibly alongside a veggie burger like this one or this one.

And don't worry - I'll be back with a plethora of fall soups and pumpkin recipes for the remainder of the month.  I'll have some fall standards, but I'll also have lots of interesting pumpkin recipes that I think might surprise y'all.

So stay tuned and enjoy this brief summer flashback!

Love & Kale,
Ali

                  _____________________________________________

Macaroni Salad
Original recipe here
Serves 6-8

Print here.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups dry whole-grain macaroni pasta (brown rice or quinoa are good)
  • 3 ribs celery, small diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red onion, small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
Dressing Ingredients:
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, place cashews and pitted dates in the ½ cup water; set aside. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions; drain, rinse in cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the celery, carrot, red onion, bell pepper, parsley and basil.
  3. In a high-speed blender, blend all of the dressing ingredients: soak water, cashews, dates, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Add the pasta and dressing to the bowl of vegetables and mix everything.  Garnish with avocado, chopped parsley and/or basil.

Ingredients

Grate your carrots - or be smarter than me and just buy pre-grated carrots

Dice all your veggies and herbs and throw in a bowl

Soak your dates and cashews
Throw them in the blender with the remaining dressing ingredients
Blend on high until it looks creamy like this
Toss everything together in the bowl and mix well
I dare you not to eat the entire bowl.

October 2, 2012

Quinoa & Black Bean Loaf with Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Fall has officially arrived and I couldn't be more excited!  Autumn is absolutely, positively my favorite time of year.  

Fresh air, bright colors, cool evenings....not to mention pumpkins, cinnamon, and the anticipation of winter hibernation.  It's enough to make me want to curl up with a cup of tea by the fireplace.

This meal reminds me so much of all that fall brings to mind for me - comfort, warmth, coziness.  


My mom used to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes when I was little.  She still does, but now I just can't help being repulsed by the smell of meat cooking - so needless to say, it's kind of ruined for me.  

However, I knew I could replicate it someday, without all the artery clogging fat that comes with the meat and eggs in her original recipe.

The Lentil Walnut Loaf we made a few times was definitely up there in terms of a vegan loaf.  Great texture and flavor, however, remember how freaking difficult it was to make???

Well I came across this gem of a recipe on the Happy Herbivore site - which contains tons of amazing low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based recipes - you must check it out.  When I saw her Hippie Loaf recipe, I was so excited to try it.  Not only because the ingredients looked amazing, but unlike the Lentil Walnut Loaf, it looked incredibly easy to make!

So how did it turn out?  Well let's just say I will be making this over and over again this fall and winter - possibly even next summer.  

It was so freaking good.  

Plus, just like my mom's meatloaf, this loaf is packed full of protein with the quinoa and black beans.  But unlike my mom's meatloaf, it's not full of saturated fat and cancer/heart disease promoting animal products.  It has a ton of fiber and only 240 calories for 1/4 of the loaf!  Amazing!

The obvious accompaniment to any loaf is mashed potatoes - am I right?  Well I had some cauliflower that needed to be used up, so I decided to make mock mashed potatoes instead. 

Cauliflower mashed potatoes are a great low-carb alternative to actual mashed potatoes - even though complex carbs are absolutely amazing for you and you should eat as many as you can.  The low-carb part had no appeal to me, but I just wanted to change things up a bit.  I've tried to make cauliflower mashed potatoes before, but I screwed them up.  

This time, however, they turned out amazing.  


I could seriously eat the entire bowl.  And I don't even really like cauliflower.  

That's probably because the cauliflower is so creamy, so smooth, so garlicky - there is no way to tell you aren't eating creamy mashed potatoes.  So delicious.

I really love this meal and I think you will too.  It's simple, easy, and perfect for these upcoming autumn evenings.

Flavorful, warm, and comforting.  Fall meal perfection.

Love & Kale,
Ali

                    ___________________________________________________

Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"
Creamy, smooth, garlicky - you'll never miss the potato. 
Serves: 4 (or 1 Ali)

Ingredients:
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Steam cauliflower and garlic cloves in a steamer, lid on, for about 15 minutes, or until fork tender (do NOT overcook!)
  2. Place cauliflower and garlic in a food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix) and pulse a few times.  Add remaining ingredients and process/blend until smooth.  
  3. Serve with additional fresh cracked black pepper and ENJOY!
Ingredients

Steam cauliflower and garlic cloves

Creamy, smooth, garlicky - YUMMY!!

Quinoa Black Bean Loaf
Click here for the Happy Herbivore Hippie Loaf recipe.

Quinoa Black Bean Loaf

Fall meal perfection.