Plant Based Preparations, Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Accidental Tomato Cream Sauce

It’s always nice when a cooking blunder ends up being a happy accident.  This tomato cream sauce is just that.  After making white cream sauce with half the cauliflower I normally use and forgetting to halve the seasoning I was left with a salty mess.  I happened to have a 15 oz can of no salt added tomato sauce in the cupboard (and not much else since we had just moved and hadn’t done groceries yet…) I added it to the blender and and voila! Tomato cream sauce was born.  Tomatoes happen to be an excellent source of lycopene, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K which makes me extra excited to share this recipe with you.  

Tomato Cream Sauce: 

-Steam or boil 1 small head of cauliflower until tender

-Add the cauliflower plus the following to a high speed blender:

~1/2 cup raw cashews

~2/3 cup nutritional yeast

~1 cup plant based milk (I like organic unsweetened soy milk)

~3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

~2 teaspoons sea salt

~2 teaspoons onion powder

~2 cloves pressed garlic (optional)

Blend until creamy

~Add one 15 oz can no salt added tomato sauce and blend until thoroughly combined

~Season with salt and pepper as desired

This sauce is a great accompaniment to any pasta and is also great on pizza.  For an extra nutritional hit, you can blend in some spinach and turn it green as I did in the pasta pic below.

For more tips on incorporating more plants into your diet visit The Joyful Gym Rat on Facebook and Twitter!

It’s a sauce chameleon!  



Plant Based Preparations, Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday Plant Based Preparations: Black Beans for Dinner and Dessert

Now that our kitchen is up and running I’ve been playing catch up with my cooking course. The current lesson is on batch cooking and I was challenged to make two very different dishes with one batch of beans.  I chose black beans.  Their dark color means they are rich in phytonutrients.  They are also rich in fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6.  Plus, you can make brownies out of them!  

Black Beans Two Ways:

Start by cooking up 1 pound of black beans.  I used the Instant Pot but you can use any method you choose or opt for canned.  Mine came out to about 6 cups worth once cooked.

Refried Black Beans:

-Dry saute or oil saute 1/2 cup white onions until onions are golden

-Add 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1/2 a jalapeno, and 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin and saute until fragrant

-Add 2.5 cups black beans and 3 cups vegetable stock.  Simmer until liquid has mostly evaporated

-Mash with potato masher or large spoon.  Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for an easy weeknight dinner later in the week.

Recipe adapted from Rouxbe Forks Over Knives cooking course

Black Bean Brownies:

-Blend 3 cups black beans, 2 tablespoons nut or seed butter of choice, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in food processor until smooth.

-Pit 3 cups medjool dates and add little by little to food processor, blending until completely smooth.

-Add 3/4 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder to food processor until completely blended.  Leave batter as is or sweeten to taste.

-Line 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spread batter evenly.

-Bake at 225 for 90 minutes.  Cool on counter for 30 min.  Let set in fridge for 60 minutes for optimum results.

-Slice and enjoy!  These are perfect to slice into squares and make brownie bites for daycare or school snack time (just make sure to use seed butter instead of nut butter since most institutions have a no nut policy).

Recipe adapted from Zain’s Black Bean Brownies 

Looking for more plant based recipe ideas?  Visit the Joyful Gym Rat Facebook page or follow on Twitter.

Plant Based Preparations, Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday Plant Based Preparations: Smoothie Bowls

We’ve been minus a kitchen since Friday due to some renovation delays.  Hot plant based meals have been off the menu but smoothie bowls are still going strong!  Why have your smoothie in a bowl?  Studies have shown that it slows the eating process and helps with satiety.  Why have a smoothie at all?  More studies show that today’s high speed blenders are superb at breaking down plant cell walls, much better than our teeth in fact! Pureeing your fruits and veggies increases nutrient absorption.  Since the flavor of most leafy greens gets masked by fruit, smoothies are a great way to get superfoods like spinach into your little one’s diet.  Best of all, when a smoothie is in a bowl you can have fun with toppings, kind of like a sundae for breakfast.  I like adding raw cacao for an added boost but it is totally optional.

Berry and Cacao Green Smoothie:

-First blend everything but the greens:

1 cup frozen berries

Chia gel (2 Tablespoons chia seeds soaked in about 8 oz water overnight)

2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder (optional)

Plant based sweetener to taste (I like a few drops of liquid stevia)

-Once smooth, add 2 cups packed greens (baby spinach is perfect for green smoothie newbies since it is almost undetectable).  Blend until greens are invisible (you may need to scrape down sides once or twice depending on the strength of your blender).

-Pour into bowl.  Top as desired.  (I like fresh berries and nut butter, but cacao nibs, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, and goji berries also make the occasional appearance).

Enjoy! (slowly for best results :))

To learn more smoothie bowls and other fun things head over to the Joyful Gym Rat Facebook page or follow on Twitter.

Stop sipping T!  Don’t you know bowls are where it’s at?


Plant Based Preparations, Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday Plant Based Preparations: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

It seems like a good week for a little (compassionate) comfort food.  Yes, it is August and mashed potatoes might sound a little heavy but trust me, these babies are just right. Thanks to the cooking course I’ve been taking,  garlic is on the menu in our house again.  It was an aversion with each pregnancy so I’ve been avoiding it until recently. It’s been fun experimenting and for all its benefits I am wholeheartedly welcoming it back. Why might you consider adding garlic to your diet?  Garlic contains the compound allicin which has been shown to have potent medicinal properties.  It benefits cardiovascular health, physical vitality, cognition, and immunity just to name a few.  I recommend making the garlic butter ahead of time.  It makes a ton and you can use it throughout the week to add flavor to roasted and steamed veggies, or even make some garlic bread!

Garlic Butter:

-Soak 1.5 cups raw cashew in 3-4 cups warm water until soft (do this a few hours ahead of time or even over night, the softer the better).

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Place 2 cups chopped raw onion or shallot, and 1/4 cup peeled whole garlic cloves in a large baking dish.

-Cover with 2-3 cups vegetable broth (if desired, add a few sprigs fresh rosemary or other herb to enhance flavor).

-Place dish in oven and cook for about 40 min, stirring frequently to make sure the garlic and onions do not burn.

-When most of the liquid has evaporated, remove dish from oven.  (Remove herb sprigs if used).

-Place onion and garlic in a food processor with (drained and rinsed) cashews and 1/4 cup plant based milk (I like unsweetened organic soy milk).  Blend until smooth.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

-Peel and cut about 2 lbs of russet or red potatoes

-Steam or boil until tender

-Place in bowl with 1 cup garlic butter and 1/4 cup plant based milk.

-Using hand mixer or potato masher, mash until smooth.

-Season with salt and pepper if desired.

For more plant based recipes and ideas visit The Joyful Gym Rat on Facebook and Twitter!

No animals were harmed in the making of these potatoes…




Plant Based Preparations, Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday Plant Based Preparations: Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower is quick, easy, and delicious hot or cold.  It can be seasoned to accompany a variety of dishes and tastes.  I served it alongside taco style black bean burgers with Mexican seasoning in the pictures below.  Aside from being anti-inflammatory, the sulforaphane in cauliflower has been shown to improve digestion and kill cancer stem cells.  Not too shabby for such an unassuming cruciferous veggie!

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

-Rinse and cut cauliflower into florets, then cut florets in half (this helps them brown).

-Toss cauliflower in large bowl with 2-3 tablespoons veggie broth and seasonings of choice.

-Lay the florets flat on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

-Bake 8-10 minutes in center of oven.  Rotate pan and bake 8-10 more minutes (this helps cauliflower cook more evenly).

-Remove and season as desired.

For more plant based cooking ideas, visit The Joyful Gym Rat on Facebook and Twitter!

Cauliflower, the new/old superfood!