Vibrant Veggie Vortex + Dazzling Dijon Dressing

They say the more colors on your plate, the more likely you’ll be able to curb overeating. Or maybe they don’t; but it’s sure pretty to look at a spectrum of vibrant fruits and veggies and definitely slows me down when it comes to digging in.

So bye bye simple crudités and dip. This simple salad is way easier to assemble than it looks. Just slice, dice and arrange everything on a plate to your heart’s desire…and to emulate that way-too-perfect food blogger on instagram who always annoys you with food arrangements so pretty you don’t understand how anyone’s life can be so perfect (pro-tip: It probably took them 45 minutes to assemble everything, and by the time they get to eating that warm stack of vegan chocolate chip banana nut pancakes, they are cold.)

To quote Taylor Swift, This. Dressing. Is. Sick. Mix two parts olive oil, to one part balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of nutritional yeast flakes and red chile pepper flakes and sea salt together. Transforms any blah “using up leftover veggies” salad into BOOM! Seriously.

Ingredients:
Whatever leftover veggies and fruits you have on hand

Directions:

Arrange prettily on plate and as symmetrically as possible. Try and remember to buy enough lettuce next time. Drizzle dressing on top. Pair with copious amount of crusty  French baguette.

3-Ingredient Potato-less Mashed Potatoes

Crusty French bread. Pasta. Mashed potatoes. When it comes to vices, mine aren’t shoes or nightly Sex and the City marathons (okay, maybe the latter…) but carbs. Oh man. Sign me up! For me, there’s no such thing as plate loaded too high with flaky, bready, potato-y, pasta-y goodness. Unfortunately, my snug jeans beg to differ. Luckily, these silky, creamy, rich “mashed no-potatoes”(or “potato-less mashed potatoes” as my body building boyfriend cleverly quipped) replicate that comfort food fix you crave, sans calories and the unhealthy fat you load in from butter, milk and cream.

So what’s the secret swap for those formidable balls-o-carbs? Zucchini! Just boil the heck out of it, take your fork and mash, mash, mash away. It’s texturally-perfect, nutrionally-abundant and shockingly addictive.

3-Ingredient Potato-less Mashed Potatoes
Serves 1 (adjust proportions as needed based on how much you’re making)
1 zucchini
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt, to taste
Optional: freshly ground black pepper, red chile pepper flakes

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel a few spirals from the zucchini. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water to boil.
2. Place the rest of the zucchini in the boiling in water. Boil until impossibly soft (You can check by piercing it with a fork or knife).
3.  Using a fork (or potato masher if you are feeling fancy), mash the zucchini and add the olive oil. Season to taste and top with the raw zucchini shreds. Rejoice in a guilt-free spoonful of comfort.

(flowers also courtesy of aforementioned body building boyfriend)

Honey-Mustard Glazed Brussel Sprouts Even Vegetable Haters Will Like

 

Growing up, honey-mustard hens served over a bed of pillowy wild rice was always one of my favorite dinners to look forward to. Now, when I need that spicy-sweet fix, I turn to this super simple 3-ingredient recipe to satiate that craving. Honey…I know, I know. Some vegans don’t eat it. And I’ve watched the More Than Honey documentary (well, until I fell asleep two thirds of the way through) on Netflix, read up on the topic, gone cold honey-turkey for a while, but alas…I hope that the fairtrade raw organic honey that I used minimizes my vegan sin committal (Though, you should probably gather from my blog title that I am not the holiest vegan whose path you’ve ever crossed).

Ingredients
15 or so Brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons spicy whole grain mustard
1 (very generous) teaspoon of honey*
1 tablespoon almond slivers, optional
Serves 1 as main, or 2 people for a side

*I’d imagine you can use maple syrup or agave nectar or some other vegan sweetener substitute for similar effects.

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour Brussels sprouts into corningware and spoon honey-mustard mixture over it. Toss to coat evenly.

2. Bake for thirty minutes or until desired crispness is reached. Warning: Crispy-crunchy caramelized bits may look like bacon. Serve warm, or let cool and slice in half to mix into salad.

Easy Vegan Superbowl Chili Everyone Will Enjoy

Ah, gameday. Who wants to labor in the kitchen for hours on end when you can prepare something easy and simple in a snap?

1. Start with a can of preferred beans (I went with  Bush’s pinto beans in a chili sauce, but quickly rinsed them under water to slash some excess sodium).

2. Gather your veggies, for a meaty texture, I turned to eggplant and mushrooms. I also had carrots and onions on hand so I added those to the mix. Feel free to experiment!

3. Chop, chop, chop. 

4. Keep chopping away. Hand hurt yet? Rub a little ground chipotle or smoked paprika to your veggies to infuse a bit of a kick. Or, if you want to keep it milder, try sprinkling some cinnamon on your veggie pile.

5. Sautee veggies on stovetop. Meanwhile, boil carrots in water until tender.When you’re done with the carrots, use the boiling water to get one cup of your favorite rice going (I went with RiceSelect Royal Blend Texmati light brown rice with flaxseed, whole wheat pearl cous cous and black lentils because I had it in my pantry, but any simple rice will do). I have no idea if this adds any health benefits, but since using leftover boiling water from greens apparently does, can’t hurt and it lends a nice flavor to the rice.

6. Combine all ingredients together in pot, mash beans around and mix thoroughly. Go Seahawks!

…and yes, I’m basing my rooting decisions on the fact that I’ve been to the Gorge (Thanks, Jake!) but never Red Rocks (Broncos).  I know…

2-Ingredient Cleansing New Year’s Soup

2014 marks the influx of a lot of food trends. Many, from the elevation of the humble lemon to dairy products getting a nutty twist (hello, macadamia nut cheese!), are actually pretty vegan friendly (Get the full list here). One of my favorite of the ten trends, however, isn’t really a “food” in the traditional sense: It’s tea. And my tea has escaped the mug and jumped into my bowl and plate. And maybe it’s time yours hops into some other vestibules as well. Using Numi Organic Savory Tea and vegetable broth lying around in my pantry, it’s five-year-old easy to make an impressive, warm and steamy bowl of soup.

So…drum roll please…the oh-so-formidable recipe.

1) Mix one part Numi savory tea with one part veggie broth.
2) Heat until boiling. Serve.

OPTIONAL ADD-INS

If you want to think beyond one-two-soup. here are a few of my favorite combos.

2-ingredient Soup Remix
Spinach Chive + veggie broth + handful of cashews (Sounds weird, but a good crunch)
Tomato Mint + veggies broth+ chopped tomatoes + splash of  unsweetened almond milk (Again, sounds weird, but remember the healing powers of that bowl of creamy tomato soup on a snowy day?)
Fennel Spice + veggie broth + roasted carrots + fresh cracked pepper
Carrot curry + veggie broth + cubes of cooked potatoes + freshly grated ginger + cinnamon

(The garden sampler contains all six blends)
The best part of this no-brainer recipe? You can still serve it in your tea mug and it still tastes just as good. Perhaps even better.