Thai-inspired Paleo Bowl

This post is inspired by the many Thai restaurants I have dined at in the United States. Of all the options available in those circumstances, I always felt torn between eggplant and peanut-based dishes. Since I’ve had great difficulty finding eggplant lately, I decided to invent a Pad Thai-influenced low-carb dish without the tofu (since it’s not sold in the proximity of my current abode) and obviously without egg or noodles. Green beans aka string beans work swimmingly as a replacement for pasta/noodles in my experience, and kale increases not only nutrition but also adds to the flavor profile of most dishes. I’d write more, but the WiFi isn’t exactly ideal.

thai-paleovegan (2)

Thai-inspired Paleo Bowl

Ingredients

1 cup green beans, stemmed and cut into thirds
1 cup dino kale, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, shelled
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/4 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 Tbsp thai-style chili garlic sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
thai-paleovegan (1)

Method

Place shelled peanuts into a plastic ziplock bag and crush with the back of a can opener or similar device. Remove from bag and set aside.

Add chopped kale and green beans to a small or medium pot and boil in 3 cups water. Add a pinch of salt, cover, and cook on medium-low for 5 minutes.

Add crushed peanuts to a wok or skillet with the 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp minced ginger, diced onion, 1 tsp maple syrup, and 1 Tbsp thai chili garlic sauce. Heat for 1 minute on medium, to sauté.

Reduce heat to low. Add 1/4 teaspoon tamari and stir.

Add a portion of the kale/green bean mix to a serving dish. Top with the sauteed peanut/onion mixture. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and lime juice. Serve.

Nutritional Info

Per serving: 100 Calories, 10g Fat, 200mg Potassium, 3g Sugar, 3g Carbs, 3g Fiber, 5g Protein.

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Holiday Detox, Part 4

Neither of these holiday detox recipes require more than 5 ingredients (minus the pinch of salt or stevia you might want to add). The first is a paleo-veganized version of traditional split pea soup (it tastes very similar) or the cream of green bean soup I found at the public library in a very old copy of Martha Stewart magazine.

The second holiday detox recipe makeover hails from the food court at the mall: the iconic Orange Julius. I only tried it once (at age 9 or 10) but couldn’t resist creating a healthier, more nutritious, cheaper version. After looking at the OJ company website I read the nutrition facts of the original recipe and found it includes eggs. The thought of eggs in a smoothie conjures images of the film Rocky. Since most of us aren’t involved in a training regimen of that caliber and this isn’t 1976, and hello: salmonella…I think it makes sense to exclude the eggs.

3-Ingredient Orange Julius

paleovegan orange julius Continue reading

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Holiday Detox, Part 3

edamameThe key to a detox or cleanse lies in the ability to eliminate unnecessary foods and substances. To cleanse from that bottle of Pinot Noir or the sweet potato fries at the hipster establishment you dined at yesterday with an unsuccessful date you paired with via OK-Cupid, you might find yourself at a loss for what to eat or drink while watching reruns of The O.C. and cursing your problems. That’s where easy breezy omni-dieting comes in handy. Continue reading

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Holiday Detox Survival Kit, Part 2

The second addition to the Holiday Detox Survival Kit, this post features another soup-and-smoothie pairing: Savory Carrot Ginger Soup and a Mint-Infused Berry Smoothie.

Ginger cleanses the body by stimulating digestion and circulation. Its digestive actions help to flush the build-up of waste and toxins in the liver and colon. Its high concentrations of gingerol and shoga, both of which have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, contribute to the production of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes neutralize acids in the body, providing relief from gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

Mint helps to ease cramping and nausea. Sometimes during a detox or cleanse, the body responds with nausea or stomach cramping. While ginger stimulates, mint soothes. Both help in instances of food poisoning or the stomach flu; ginger stimulates the production of bile to move the undigested or offending substance through the system to provide eventual relief, while mint soothes the stomach (making the process less painful).

Savory Carrot Ginger Soup

carrot-ginger-soup Continue reading

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Holiday Detox Survival Kit, Part 1

The holidays make us prone to over-indulgence. I could go further, but I think that sentence more or less sums it up. Both recipes described below serve as prime examples of the “holiday detox” staples I swear by: oil free, starch-free vegetable stew and of course, green smoothies. More recipes ensue.

Holiday Detox Stew

holiday-detox-stew Continue reading

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

A Vegan Abroad or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Local Food

johnny cake 2In drafting this post I already feel a bit reluctant to publish it. If you’re reading this now—it’s confirmed. I posted it. My wariness stems from the idea that my readers (you) might judge me for eating a little gluten—chased with a Caribbean soft drink called Ting that contains sugar (real sugar, not stevia). When traveling or living in the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico, or other places I might very possibly move to in the future—I occasionally make compromises. Before trying something that looks vegan I make sure to learn the local language in order to verify the ingredients used in the dishes I consider sampling. Actually, the term “sample” does not apply here—because the times I’ve eaten at food carts or went for almuerzo from a food vendor, nine times out of ten I ran up to the vendedora out of desperation, with just enough breath and brainpower left to verbally articulate something like “frijoles y ensalada por favor, con un vaso de Tang o una bolsa de agua potable” aka “beans and salad please, with a glass of Tang or a bag of drinking water”.

Whenever necessary, I avoid gluten. My nut allergy also limits my ability to eat “whatever the locals eat”—not to mention my diehard adherence to a vegan lifestyle (which prevents me from eating abroad without asking questions). Gluten, however…since I don’t have a near-lethal allergy to it…I occasionally throw caution to the wind and order something like the sandwich in the above photo.

My advice to anyone in a similar boat…

Awareness of the local language will guarantee you an advantage over non-Spanish-speaking (or non-[other foreign Language] speaking) vegans or other individuals with dietary requirements. Gluten, even when translated to the local language, doesn’t often compute (and for good reason). When you live or travel among a poverty-stricken population, explanations of your gluten allergy or dislike of rice could be met with expressions of humor or sarcasm from the vendor—and if you don’t speak the language your predicament could easily manifest as something along the lines of standing at a loss for words in front of the food cart until the local (or the Dutch anthropologist) in line behind you attempts to explain that your speechless ignorance has begun to hinder his dinner order.

As a last word, I think experiences such as this (in the photos, displayed below) merit my occasional indulgence in a bit of bread and sugar. “When in Rome”, right?procession (1)procession (3)blue and green iguana

Honestly, the impromptu processions and random iguanas seem to justify occasional consumption of gluten. Or quetzalteca:

Guatemala 2009 (Photo: Erik Törner)

(responsibly, in moderation).

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Grilled Vegetable Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

vegetable-pizza-cauliflower-crust-small

Day 4 in the paleo vegan mono diet challenge, I ventured outside my original plan to focus on cauliflower as the key ingredient or the “star” in recipes I develop this week. Today I decided to mix it up a little…but later realized I hadn’t strayed as far from the rules as I’d originally thought.

In theory, this recipe still adheres to the guidelines; the cauliflower crust is literally the foundation of the dish. I still managed to limit the ingredients to 5, if you count “grilled vegetables” as one ingredient. For this recipe I grilled 5 different vegetables including tomatoes (technically not a vegetable, but it functions as one in this recipe), all of which I used merely because I had them on hand. I encourage experimentation with different combinations of vegetables.

Considering my current goal of minimalist cooking (with 5 ingredients or fewer) I wish I’d limited the toppings to grilled tomatoes and a little basil. Anyway, whichever vegetable topping or combination you try–I hope you enjoy working with this virtually hassle-free recipe. As long as you have the cauliflower and dry ingredients for the crust, with 1 or more vegetables to grill for toppings; olive oil, garlic, and some herbs–I think it could serve as a reliable go-to recipe. Let me know of combinations you try. Take photos! Send them to me, and I’ll feature them here. Tell me about your blog or other endeavors so I can credit you and perhaps talk about guest blogging on paleoveganista.com, if you’re interested.

I used frozen cauliflower because I predicted that raw cauliflower might yield too grainy a texture. When I’ve tried to make cauliflower “rice” with cooked cauliflower, the blender quickly turned it into a puree. The crust for this recipe requires a rice-like (but not too grainy) texture, so as I predicted the frozen variety worked best.

Grilled Vegetable Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

For the crust

1 pound frozen cauliflower florets, left to thaw in the fridge overnight
3 tablespoons ground chia seeds or flax seeds (flax meal)
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Grilled Vegetables

Toppings

3-4 crimini mushrooms, sliced. *Tip: Crimini is merely a fancy term for brown mushrooms–the type sold at chain grocery stores. These tend to cost less than half the price per pound of portabella mushrooms–yet they’re the same thing, only smaller.
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 small zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
1 tsp crushed basil leaves
1 tsp oregano

Method

Add 3 Tbsp ground chia or flax seeds to 1/3 cup warm water and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a small bowl or container. Add the garlic, rosemary, basil, and oregano. Set aside. Lightly salt the vegetables and let sit while you make the crust. This will help absorb excess moisture as they cook.

Remove cauliflower from the refrigerator and pulse in a food processor until a rice-like texture is achieved.

Use a cheesecloth or thin towel to squeeze out excess moisture from the cauliflower “rice”. Then transfer to a large bowl and add the chia/flax “egg”, the almond meal, the extra tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds, salt, and garlic. Stir well to mix until it forms a dough. If it is too crumbly, add an additional tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds, and 1-2 tablespoons water. Press the mixture into the parchment-lined 8″ round cake pan. If you don’t have a round cake pan, press the crust into a baking sheet or oven pan and use your hands to create a rounded or whatever shape you like. Make sure the crust is at least 1/4″ thick throughout. *Note: the parchment paper is important for removing the crust from the pan so it doesn’t fall apart.

Bake for 25 minutes at 400*F or until slightly golden around the edges. While the crust cooks, place the sliced, salted vegetables on a sheet pan, and brush with the garlic-herb infused olive oil. Next, turn them over and brush the other side.

Heat your grill to its highest setting and make sure it’s fully preheated before adding the vegetables. Turn the vegetables as they start to get grill marks or until the edges begin to darken.

grilled-vegetable-pizza-cauliflower

Approximate cooking times:
Tomatoes, quartered: 4 to 5 minutes
Zucchini strips: 5 to 7 minutes
Mushrooms: 5 to 7 minutes
Onion, sliced: 5 to 7 minutes
Bell pepper strips: 6 to 8 minutes
Carrot slices: 10 to 12 minutes

Once vegetables have cooked, brush the cauliflower crust with the remaining garlic-herb olive oil and layer with grilled veggies. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Seared Purple Cauliflower “Steaks” with pea purée and rainbow chard

seared-purple-cauliflower-steaks-pea-puree-rainbow-chard
Day 3 in the paleoveganista mono-diet challenge. At the grocery store I spotted purple cauliflower and organic rainbow chard. The ease of availability [of everything one could ever want from the vegetable kingdom] is a privilege I formerly took for granted when I worked at Whole Foods Market and saw things like purple cauliflower, orange cauliflower, and romenesco (my favorite vegetable, hence the Paleoveganista logo) multiple times during every shift. It wasn’t until I lived in places where the only available cruciferous vegetables took the form of anemic broccoli or canned collard greens that I began to understand how lucky I once was.

Despite my enthusiasm for the vibrant color of the purple cauliflower in itself, I began to research it after moving back to the states to determine how its nutritional value compares with standard *white* cauliflower.

As it turns out, purple cauliflower contains anthocyanins, a subtype of flavinoid compound that studies show may be very useful in regulating blood sugar levels, improving brain function, and promoting weight control. It makes sense that purple cauliflower would be a step up from white cauliflower in terms of nutritional benefits. I can’t be bothered by over-analyzing the vitamin content of the vegetables I eat, however. The one golden rule I keep in mind is: the more color it has, the higher the quality+quantity of absorbable nutrients it contains.

**Update: Shortly after writing this post I learned that multicolored (purple, orange) cauliflower resulted from breeding experiments conducted at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y. in which scientists effectively bred caronetene into the cauliflower plant, turning it orange and 100 times richer in Vitamin A than white cauliflower. Apparently Dr. Micahel Dickenson achieved this by accident. Interestingly, the orange shade of the mutant cauliflower was derived from a process similar to that by which humans convert vitamin A (manifesting in darker skin or a “tan”). According to the documentation I read, Dr. Dickenson’s mutant orange cauliflower led to experimentation resulting in subsequent strains with pigments manifesting in different colors i.e. purple. By the year 2003, orange and purple cauliflower became available commercially. 11+ years later: nearly everyone in the states has seen a colorful cauliflower, so the novelty might have dissipated but demand is as high as ever.**

Unlike yesterday’s recipe and the two others before it, this one is more entree-like and the vibrant seared cauliflower looks gorgeous atop the pea puree alongside the rainbow chard. Unfortunately the pictures I took of this dish went missing, so I’ll have to add them later when I find them or try this again at a later date. I want to stay consistent in posting my recipes/meals plan during this mono-diet experiment, so I’ll post this now despite the lack of photographic representation.seared-purple-cauliflower-steaks-paleo

Seared Purple Cauliflower “Steaks” with pea purée and rainbow chard

Ingredients

1 head purple cauliflower
1 x 16oz bag organic frozen peas (I wish I’d had the time to find them fresh and shell them myself, but unfortunately my day job wouldn’t permit it).
1 bunch rainbow chard
2-4 garlic cloves (2 if you tolerate garlic; 3 if you like it, 4 if you love it)
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Remove the leaves and the tough core from the cauliflower, and transfer to a bowl filled with warm water to loosen any dirt or debris. Yes, the leaves and core are part of this recipe. I’ll explain later.

Pre-heat oven to 450* F

Remove skins from the garlic cloves in 20 seconds or less using back of a knife to press each clove. This might be very common knowledge, but since I didn’t learn it until 19 I thought I’d mention it just in case.

If using a food processor or blender, add the peeled garlic cloves to the pitcher along with the non-dairy milk, lime juice, salt, and pepper. *Note: I personally can’t stand the taste of over-salted foods, so I add salt in increments of a “pinch” (about 1/16 teaspoon). Blend until a smooth liquid is achieved. Transfer to a container of some sort, and set aside.

In the absence of a food processor or blender: mince the garlic cloves as finely as possible. Then mix with the non-dairy milk and salt/pepper, using a whisk or a fork.

*Note: Both methods yield similar results; the main difference is that in the latter (manual) method the garlic will not pulverize completely.

Use a colander/strainer to drain the water from the soaking cauliflower leaves and stem/core. Check for any residual dirt, and rinse until clean. Slice thinly.

In a medium soup pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the cauliflower leaves and stem/core pieces. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the 2 cups frozen or fresh green peas.

Cover and let simmer on medium for 10 minutes.

As the cauliflower trimmings and green peas simmer, transfer the whole cauliflower head to a shallow oven pan and coat with garlic-lemon-nondairy-milk-blend using a basting brush if you have one. Otherwise. wing it by rotating the caulflower and gently pouring on the sauce to coat each side.

Oven temp should have reached 450* F by now. Place cauliflower in the oven. While it cooks, remove the green pea and cauliflower leaf blend from heat. Drain all liquid into a jar or other container. Set aside. After it cools for a few moments, transfer the pea-cauliflower leaf blend to the blender/food processor. Blend until smooth. It should resemble a very thick potato soup but not quite as thick as mashed potatoes.

Check the cauliflower. At this point it should need about 10 more minutes to fully “sear”. At this point the outer edges should look golden.

Pour the reserved [pea and cauliflower leaf] liquid into a saucepan. Meanwhile, chop the rainbow chard into bite-sized pieces. Sautee the chard in the vegetable water until tender. By this point, the cauliflower should be ready. It should look golden brown at the top but still distinctively purple throughout. Turn off oven and let cauliflower cool before creating the “steaks”.

Slice into the seared cauliflower to create pieces of approximately 1cm thickness. Plate atop a generous smear of pea puree and finish with a heaping spoonful of rainbow chard next to it. It looks really gorgeous. Let’s hope I find those pictures.

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Cauliflower Mash

cauliflower-mash
Day 3 of the paleoveganista mono-diet challenge. For those of you that haven’t read yesterday’s post or the one before it, my diet this week will focus on cauliflower and little else. Inspiration for this endeavor comes from a practice in the raw food community called mono-eating or mono-dieting. My version of a mono-diet in this case does not focus on raw dishes, since in winter months I tend to lean toward eating steamed or lightly cooked vegetables. The cooked dishes I’ve shared so far during this cleanse contain very little fat (no more than 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil per recipe) or seasoning apart from lemon, black pepper, sea salt or kelp, and nutritional yeast or garlic in some recipes. In addition to cauliflower-based main dishes, I have continued to eat raw or steamed greens i.e. kale, collards and chard, to stay balanced nutritionally. I have continued to eat raw cauliflower as a snack between meals to maintain the 20% raw diet I adhere to in winter.

Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
1 tablespoon softened coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the cooking liquid into a wide-mouth jar*. Be sure to drain well but reserve all the liquid. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Add coconut oil or olive oil and mash with a potato masher until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*I drink the reserved liquid to avoid wasting the nutrients that cook out of the cauliflower when boiled. I consider it important, especially during a mono-diet or a cleanse/detox to drink the vegetable water. Warm, flavorful, nutrient-dense liquids tends to ease the transition from a high-calorie to a lower-calorie diet). The flavor will resemble a mild vegetable broth. For a richer or “meatier” flavor, try adding coconut aminos, Bragg’s liquid aminos or miso paste, and/or nutritional yeast.

For the holidays or your next picnic, this recipe functions perfectly as a low-carb, paleo alternative to mashed potatoes. Some variations include:

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash
Before following the above recipe, slice off top of a garlic bulb so that the inner cloves are exposed. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes; set aside to cool. Mash roasted garlic cloves along with the cauliflower, using the potato masher.

Fresh Rosemary Cauliflower Mash
Finely chop 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary and mash with the cauliflower using the potato masher.

Cheezy Cauliflower Mash
Following the basic recipe (above), add to the cauliflower before mashing:
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp soy-free chickpea miso

Curried Cauliflower Mash
Following the basic recipe (above), add to the cauliflower before mashing:
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or more for extra heat

Chipotle Cauliflower Mash
To prep the chipotle puree: Add 1 can chipotles in abogado sauce into a medium bowl. Use the potato masher to pulverize until it resembles a paste. Add 1/4 cup chipotle paste to the drained cauliflower and mash as specified above. For chipotle-garlic cauliflower mash, combine this variation with the roasted garlic version, above.

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone