Plant Perfect Sushi

 

Vegan Sushi

Before we get too far into this post I want to offer this bit of advice about preparing this delicious plant-based food.  You need a sense of humor, a willingness to laugh at yourself and in my case your partner, and the understanding that perfection is a “state of mind”.  Armed with these defenses and delicious whole food ingredients you will have a lot of fun making these tasty sushi rolls.

Sushi, or more accurately sushi-meshi, is the vinegar-flavored cold cooked rice that is the basis for what we generically refer to as sushi.  Once the rice is prepared, it is topped or wrapped with other ingredients such as the raw vegetables we prepared for this meal. Our Plant Perfect Sushi was rolled in Emerald Cove Organic Pacific Nori, verified by the NON-GMO Project and purchased at Whole Foods Market (I do not receive any compensation for these links. They are simply provided as a resource to help you find ingredients.)

Our recipe for this Plant Perfect Sushi is below but, before you proceed, let me say once again a sense of humor, a desire to have some fun, and the mantra “if at first I don’t succeed, try, try again” is necessary and well worth the effort.

Plant Perfect Sushi

Plant Perfect Sushi

These Plant Perfect Sushi rolls are delicious. They do take some practice to roll but keep trying. It will definitely be worth the effort. Asparagus would be incredible in these rolls. You can also use fruit like mango. Whatever filling you choose, the key to success is ensuring your rice is cold and sticky and you do not try to build too big a roll. This is a case of "size really matters" if you want your sushi to look and taste as ours eventually turned out. Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • Nori Sheets
  • Slivers of your favorite veggies: carrots, cucumber, Roma tomato, avocado, celery, bell pepper, etc.
  • 1 cup (uncooked) short-grain brown rice rinsed
  • 2 cups water (depending on your cooking device)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Soaked raw cashews
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

    For The Rice
  1. Rince 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  2. Add to cooking device (I use an Instant-Pot)
  3. Add water (I use 1.5 cups of water in my Instant-Pot)
  4. Cook rice until water is absorbed - test for doneness
  5. Transfer cooked rice to glass bowl.
  6. Mix together rice vinegar, cane sugar and salt and add to rice
  7. Stir rice gently to mix and cool quickly. Rice will become sticky as it cools.
    For the Filling
  1. Prepare slivers of your favorite vegetables
    Putting the Roll Together
  1. We used a Sushezi Tube, but you can use a bamboo sushi mat or clear plastic wrap to create your large roll.
  2. Form two half logs of the rice approximately 6" long and about 1" wide and using approximately 1 cup of the cooked rice (dampen your fingers to keep rice from sticking to them)
  3. Make a small channel in each half of the rice log to fill with your veggie slivers. Don't overfill.
  4. Put the two halves together (this was relatively easy with the Sushezi Tube)
  5. Make sure the two halves are well "put together".
  6. Transfer onto one end of a sheet of Nori
  7. Begin to roll.
  8. Once rolled to the end of the Nori sheet use a bit of water on your fingertips to seal the edge of the Nori.
  9. Using a serrated knife, cut your sushi rolls in 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces.
    For the Dressing
  1. We blended a quick dressing with avocado, some soaked cashews, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a wee bit of stone ground mustard; but you can simply use some Tamari with a bit of wasabi.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2017/03/plant-perfect-sushi/


NOTES ON NUTRITION

Brown Rice:  All rice is not created equal. White rice has had most of its nutrition removed through the milling and polishing process it goes through. Why fill your tummy with something that does not provide nutrition when you can enjoy delicious and nutritious brown rice in your sushi? Short grain brown rice is best for sushi as it has the highest starch content making it suited for “sticky rice”. Brown rice promotes digestive health because it is high in fiber. It is also excellent for promoting heart health as it is a good source of selenium, magnesium, and ferulic acid.

Sea Vegetables – NORI (seaweed):  Sea vegetables are extraordinarily rich in iodine, Vitamin K, folate and magnesium. Iodine is essential to the function of our thyroid. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism in every cell of our body so ensuring we have enough iodine in our diet is of real importance. Sea vegetables can help reduce inflammation in the body, inhibit blood clots and protect against viruses. They are loaded with iron and calcium and contain sleep-promoting tryptophan.  BONUS: sea vegetables provide great nutrition and are very low in calories.

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This Holiday Week-end Let’s Play a Game of “Instead Of”

This game is designed to challenge you to think about healthy alternatives to your usual holiday week-end food choices.  I am always surprised at how quickly people abandon their commitment to nourishing their bodies when celebrations come along.  For example, birthdays are often celebrated with rich, sugar-filled cakes covered in sugar-filled icings and laden with fats and artificial ingredients. Yet, there are wonderfully delicious, much-healthier alternatives like my Chocolate Cake made with quinoa and cacao. And, don’t get me started on the consumption of soft drinks at parties. One small can of Coke contains 39 grams of added sugar, 45 grams of sodium and 34 milligrams of caffeine. YUCK!  So, one can of coke contains more than the World Health Organization’s recommended total daily sugar intake of 25 grams of sugar (natural and added) for adults. And we give this junk to children!!!! So, to make a point:  one 12-ounce can of Coke contains 156% of an adult’s total recommended daily sugar consumption. 

Instead Of Soft Drinks

Instead of choosing beverages that have absolutely no nutritional value, way too much added sugar, and in the case of Coke that also has caffeine known to contribute to dehydration, choose one of these thirst-quenching beverages. Yes, fruit and veggie drinks have some natural sugars, so drink lots of plain or infused water and unsweetened iced sun tea throughout the day as well.

Instead of Salty Snacks

I can’t remember ever being at a celebration where these salty snacks were not a big part of the party food fare.  Potato chips (or crisps as my husband calls them) and pretzels are easy and inexpensive snack foods to serve but they are nothing but fat, sodium and empty calories. A 1-oz serving of potato chips – and, let’s be honest, who only eats 1-oz – contains 3.1 grams of saturated fat and anywhere from 170 to 215 milligrams of sodium depending on the type of chip. While sodium is important to our bodies, we get plenty of it from other more nutritious foods, so the added sodium you get from these salty snacks simply can’t be justified.

Roasted Veggies – asparagus, cauliflower, carrots – are really delicious served cold and make an awesome, healthy snack. Raw, unsalted nuts and edamame are great finger foods packed with protein and fiber; and raw veggies such as celery, carrots, red peppers, broccoli and cherry tomatoes have a great crunch and flavor factor as well as lots of vitamins and minerals to keep your body in peak shape.

Instead of Meat

Grill a delicious homemade Black-Bean Burger that is a much healthier not to mention cruelty free alternative to ground beef or hot dogs. Another tasty option is to grill some Tofurky Artisan Sausage. I love these with some grilled onions! A lovely selection of salads such a my Carrot, Cumin and Coriander Salad and Simple Summer Chickpea Salad as well as my Bits and Bobs Salad will add nutritious variety, color and texture to your meal.  Add some traditional sides such as my Picnic Perfect Potato Salad or try something new instead of a coleslaw like Wildbrine Beets & Cabbage Sauerkraut.

Wasn’t this game of “Instead Of” fun?  There are so many wonderful foods you can bring to your holiday picnic or while enjoying time with family and friends at home.  Nourishing your body is easy. Make the choice now to live without regret.

THIS HOLIDAY WEEK-END, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

4th July

 

 

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Lettuce Does Not A Great Salad Make

That Was Then!

A few years ago, whenever we would go out to a restaurant, I would cringe at hearing our server say “I can make you a salad” when I told them I was vegan. I knew their idea of a salad was dropping several leaves of lettuce on a plate, popping a cherry tomato on top, and serving it with a pitying smile.  My response to these meager attempts was usually “Don’t you have any veggies? Why not slice up some red pepper, raw broccoli and cauliflower, add some red onion and pop in a few seeds or nuts.” Inevitably, I would end up with a plate of veggies whose presentation looked like a platter for the kids’ table at some holiday celebration.

This Is Now!

Today most restaurants have “discovered” fresh produce and are creating innovative, delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes to please the palate of even the most ardent carnivores. We are no longer hard pressed to find a restaurant meal worthy of our hard-earned dollars and I am not afraid to order a salad anymore, knowing that most chefs have learned lettuce does not a great salad make.

Looking for some ideas on a sumptuous salad to enjoy at home or take to work? I made this salad today from bits and bobs I had in the fridge.  That is the greatest thing about salads – they don’t need to be rigid; just use what you have on hand to make your salad interesting. There really are no rules.

Bits & Bobs Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Bits & Bobs Salad

A great salad incorporates lots of color, textures and flavors. Try using dandelion greens, arugula, red or yellow peppers. Spice things up a little with some hot peppers. Add some beans - garbanzo and red kidney beans work great! I used sunflower seeds in this recipe but pumpkin seeds would be great too. Got some beets in the fridge? Add those for some sweetness and awesome nutrition.

The bottom line is there are no rules. You are only limited by your imagination and the ingredients you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower Florets - Chopped
  • Carrots - Shredded
  • Cucumber - Seeded & Diced
  • Celery - Diced
  • Radish - Diced
  • Chard - Chopped
  • Spinach - Chopped
  • Green Leaf Lettuce - Torn
  • Microgreens
  • Pine Nuts
  • Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Vegan Salad Dressing

Instructions

  1. Wash ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Chop & Toss.
  3. Add salad dressing just before serving.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/lettuce-does-not-a-great-salad-make/

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Simple Summer Salad

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

The summer heat is on! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is here literally and figuratively. In the desert, where we live, the temperature has exceeded 110F several times already with more HOT.HOT, HOT days to come! Cooking meals in the summer not only adds to our external discomfort, but our bodies are already pretty busy trying to manage temperature making digesting a heavy meal a burden no “body” really wants. One way to keep your kitchen cooler (saving some money on expensive air conditioning) and aid your digestive system, is to make meals that don’t require cooking. This is just one of the many awesome reasons a plant-based diet makes perfect sense. There are so many options for plant-based meals that don’t require “heat”.  Here is one very flavorful summer meal that is quick to make, perfect for a picnic or to take to work, and, most importantly, has outstanding nutrition.

Simple Summer Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simple Summer Salad

This recipe was inspired and veganized from one of my favorite recipe books "Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood 365" by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. It is fresh and full of flavor - not to mention an excellent source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 2 19 oz cans chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 Tbsp drained capers
    For Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tsp Eden Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 3 cloves freshly chopped organic garlic
  • pinch of chili powder

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing, blending well, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, capers and quinoa.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and blend well.
  4. Let salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Notes

I like to batch cook quinoa and keep in the refrigerator or freezer so it is always handy for a quick meal like this Simple Summer Salad.

Italian Parsley is recommended for this recipe as it is very much more flavorful than curly parsley. Curly parsley also changes the texture - although that is not a bad thing!

I recommend Eden Organic Yellow Mustard because the ingredients are simple and healthier than most other options. Read labels to be sure of what you are consuming.

Capers are very flavorful but do add sodium to your meal. You will not need to, nor do I recommend, adding any additional salt to this recipe.

Chili powder adds a little "zip" to the dressing. If you like things a little spicier, try using a pinch of cayenne instead.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/simple-summer-salad/


Quinoa RecipesThis recipe book, “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming, is one of my favorites. While not all of the recipes are Vegan, most can easily be Veganized. The very cool part of this recipe book is that is demonstrates all the incredible ways you can enjoy the SuperFood – Quinoa. Check it out.

 

 

 


Nutrition Information 

Quinoa – 3/4 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, quinoa provides all the essential amino acids so it is considered a “complete protein” source. One serving of quinoa supplies 8.14 grams of protein or 16% of DRI.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 5.18 grams or 21%
  • Very good source of manganese and good source of phosphorus, since, magnesium, and copper.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – 1 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. 14.53 grams or 29% of your daily requirement for protein.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 12.4 grams (3.9 g soluble/8.6 g insoluble) fiber or 50% of your daily requirement.
  • Chickpeas are also a excellent source of molybdenum, folate and choline; and a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Italian Parsley – 1/2 cup

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K (554% DRI) and Vitamin C (54%DRI)
  • Good source of Vitamin A (14%), Folate (12%) and Iron (10%)

Capers

  • Good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Excellent source of flavonoid anti-oxidants rutin and quercetin. Rutin is known to strengthen capillaries and quecertin has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. In fact the quercetin levels found in capers is second only to the quercetin levels found in tea leaves.

 

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Thanksgiving Appetizers Simplified

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Keep It SimpleWhat a wonderful time of year! The next six weeks will be a whirlwind of activities in millions of households with the very best aspect being time spent with family and friends.  In almost every modern culture, food plays an important role in the traditions surrounding our various celebrations. However there is, unfortunately. a dark side to our special holiday meals that most of us are aware of, but we choose to hide in the back of the pantry because we don’t want to be known as “that person whose guests left the table hungry”. The average Thanksgiving dinner weighs in at a hefty 3000 calories: add to that the likelihood your guests may have a few cocktails, some early snacks, and your lovingly prepared appetizers; and the Thanksgiving meal calorie count could easily tip 4500 calories.  YIKES, That is more than double what the average adult should consume in an entire day! Perhaps, in an effort to simplify Thanksgiving, we could cut back on the quantity of food, pay extra attention to healthy food choices, and focus more on the conversation around the table than breaking caloric intake records.  Just a thought!

Here are some simple, delicious appetizer recipes that will do what appetizers are meant to do – stimulate our appetites for the main event – but they won’t break the calorie bank.

Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup

Thanksgiving Appetizers Simplified

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 - 10

Serving Size: 3/4 - 1 cup

Thanksgiving Appetizers Simplified

Appetizers are designed to whet the appetite. Recommended serving size for this delicious soup as an appetizer is no more than 1 cup.

Ginger and cumin are delicious and are known to help support good digestion.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb scrubbed carrots (trim ends but do not peel)
  • 4 - 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup homemade cashew cream
  • 5 cups vegan vegetable broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Organic Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Spread carrots out on large, lightly oiled baking sheet. Season lightly with salt & pepper. Drizzle olive oil over carrots. Roast for approximately 45 minutes. Turn carrots about half-way through cooking time. When carrots are just tender, remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Cut cooled carrots into chunks. Place in large food processor.
  4. Add garlic, ginger and 3 cups broth to food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Transfer carrot puree to large, heavy cooking pot.
  6. Add remaining broth, cumin and coriander. Let simmer stirring occasionally.
  7. Just before you are ready to serve, add cashew cream and heat through.
  8. Serve in small appetizer-sized bowls. Garnish with a mint or parsley leaf if desired.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2015/11/thanksgiving-appetizers-simplified/

 Jazzed Up Tabouleh

Jazzed Up Tabouleh

Jazzed Up Tabouleh

Using the freshest ingredients available will ensure this lovely dish is at its best. Don't limit yourself to the more common white cauliflower; have some fun and substitute beautiful purple or orange cauliflower. I especially love the texture and color of Romanesco cauliflower. Whichever cauliflower you choose, the crunch and flavor simply elevates Tabouleh to a new level. Coriander is the unexpected ingredient here and adds a lovely, unique flavor. I use the sea salt with sea veg because it adds additional nutrition; but regular sea salt will also do the trick.The BONUS feature of this salad is it is very low in calories and high in nutrition. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower florets (remove tough core)
  • 2 cups tomatoes - we used red, yellow & white cherry & grape tomatoes sliced in quarters and halves
  • 2 large bunches of fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 4 green onions - white part for salad green part for garnish
  • 1 large English cucumber - diced (no need to peel)
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint - chopped
  • 1/3 cup organic olive oil - extra virgin
  • 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (add more to taste if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp Maine Coast Sea Seasoning (sea salt & sea vegetables)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop parsley, mint, cucumber, and green onions.
  2. Slice tomatoes
  3. Pulse cauliflower florets in food processor (S blade) until desired consistency. Do not over process.
  4. Transfer above ingredients to large bowl.
  5. Add olive oil & lemon juice. Toss gently.
  6. Mix salt, coriander, and pepper together, Add to bowl. Toss gently.
  7. Refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors.
  8. Sprinkle with green onion garnish.
  9. Serve.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2015/11/thanksgiving-appetizers-simplified/

Garlic Lovers Edamame Hummus

Garlic Lovers Edamame Harissa Hummus

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: Serves 8 as an Appetizer, Serves 4 as a light entree.

Incredibly delicious and nutritious, this recipe is a tasty alternative to traditional hummus. It is really quick and easy to prepare with minimal clean up. It's fun to change things up a little. This is great for an appetizer or as a light lunch with plenty of protein & antioxidants, and is loaded with vitamins A, B6, & C.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb edamame - shelled (frozen is ok)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste (adds a great kick - adjust to suite your taste)
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut in strips (orange bell pepper also works)

Instructions

  1. Prepare edamame (thaw, shell, wash). Add beans to saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat, strain in colander and rinse with cold water.
  2. Place edamame, prepared garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, pepper, harissa paste, and peppers in food processor. Pulse, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Transfer mixture to serving bowl and cover. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight if possible.
  4. Serve with fresh raw veggies such as carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber or your favorite vegan breads or crackers.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2015/11/thanksgiving-appetizers-simplified/

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