Picnic Perfect Israeli Couscous

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It’s almost time for Thanksgiving! Whether you are hosting it yourself or just bringing a side dish to the celebration, why not offer your guests something just a little bit unexpected? While I know my dream of throwing a Moroccan themed Thanksgiving will never come to fruition, (my family likes to keep it traditional) I can still sneak in the occasional side dish with some Mediterranean flavors!

This is a great potluck dish because it can be eaten hot or cold. It has big, bright sweet and savory flavors and makes a pretty accompaniment on any plate. I originally created this recipe for an outdoor picnic brunch, hence the name, so as you can see it is a quite the versatile side dish!

Picnic Perfect Israeli Couscous

makes about 10 servings

3.5 cups vegetable broth

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 cups Israeli Couscous

1/2 cup orzo

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped

zest + juice of one small lemon

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 chives, finely choppped

1/3 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup yellow raisins, roughly chopped

2 tsp red pepper flakes (or adjust to your spiciness preference)

1 tsp turmeric

salt to taste

1 additional splash of olive oil

 

Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the olive oil, couscous, orzo, and quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, get all your other ingredients chopped up. Once the couscous mixture is cooked, stir in all the remaining ingredients. Keep the pot over the heat and stir for a couple minutes to let all the flavors really blend. Serve hot or cold!

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Champignons Au Riesling

champignons au riesling

French cuisine is not typically vegan friendly, nor a favorite category of mine, but my family loves a French dish called coq au vin, a stew of chicken thighs and mushrooms cooked with red wine, bacon, and cream. (Basically the opposite of a vegan dish haha) Then, the other day I stumbled upon a recipe that makes it with white wine, which sounded even better. Since my favorite part about the dish is the rich, buttery wine sauce, my mission became clear: veganize the heck out of coq au vin! Instead of opting for some fake chicken and bacon fiasco, I chose to focus on the sauce, which is the best part anyway. I moved the mushrooms from a sidekick role to the main attraction, and oh man, it turned out well.  You can serve this ladled over some pasta or rice, or as a side dish.

Champignons Au Riesling

makes about 2 servings

2 tbs Vegan Butter (or olive oil would work, but you won’t get as much butter flavor)

2 shallots, sliced

about 20 crimini mushrooms, stemmed

10 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs fresh chopped thyme leaves

3/4 cup riesling, or other dry white wine

1/2 tsp organic cornstarch

1/2 cup coconut creamer (This is the kind they sell in a small carton to put in your coffee. I got mine at Trader Joe’s. I believe there are almond options as well. If you use canned coconut cream, the flavor might be too overwhelming, and on the other end of the spectrum, if you only use coconut/almond milk, it might be too bland)

salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook an additional 2 minutes or so, shaking the pan around and getting everything covered in butter.

Add the garlic and thyme, cooking for another 30 seconds, then slowly pour in the wine.

Bring it up to a boil, then cover the pan and set the heat to low. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the cream, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the cornstarch in. Turn the heat back up to medium high and get everything back up to a low boil, stirring well to disperse the cornstarch. Cook for about 3-5 more minutes, until it thickens a little. The cream separates slightly, but it’s all good. 🙂

Serve nice and hot, garnished with thyme. Oui, si bon.

champignons

Winter Bliss Bowl

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Winter is coming. Brace yourselves!

Just kidding, it’s still 80 degrees here. But still, the holidays are coming. One of the reasons people tend to get the flu and gain weight around this time of year is that they turn to hot comfort foods as the weather cools. Not to mention the marathon of holiday feasts we lovingly prepare for eachother. This increase in warm bowls of steamy goodness correlates to a direct decrease in fresh, raw, nutrient-dense fruits and veggie consumption. While it’s natural and beneficial to adjust your food choices with the seasons, things can get out of hand- we’ve all been there!

This winter bliss bowl is just the thing to get you the cold-fighting nutrients your immune system craves, while filling that void in your soul that demands potatoes and biscuits and gravy. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner or a Thanksgiving side dish.  One serving is about 500 hearty calories, 12 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fiber.

Winter Bliss Bowl

makes 2 servings

1 small yam, chopped into little 1/4″ chunks

1 tbs olive oil

a pinch of salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg, and cinnamon (tiny pinch)

4 big kale leaves, stemmed and julienned (about 3 cups)

2 dates, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup cooked tricolor quinoa

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 green onions, thinly sliced

4 tbs balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chopped yam, 1 tbs olive oil and spices on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside to cool while you chop everything else.

Combine the kale, dates, garlic, quinoa, pine nuts, and green onions, and baked yam in a big bowl and toss well. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss one more time.

For another cozy but healthy salad, try the Harvest Bliss Bowl!

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