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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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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Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Summer

Hooray, it’s picnic season! Who doesn’t enjoy packing a picnic basket full of delicious summer foods and heading to your favorite park, or beach, or a secluded hilltop to enjoy the great outdoors and break bread with friends and family or maybe even spend some alone time to destress from a busy week? It is easy to work up quite an appetite when enjoying the outdoors: swimming, building sandcastles, hiking, playing games etc; so the temptation to fill up on empty calories from salty chips, sugary sodas, and fat-filled sweets is very strong; however, taking good care of your health by eating nutritious foods is just as important on a picnic as it is every day at home. Yes, your choices need to be fairly portable, easy to prepare and serve, and packed safely to prevent food-bourne illness; but this is pretty easy to accomplish with a little preparation.

There are many great recipes available for simple yet nutritious picnic fare. One I particularly love is my Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad.  Should you want to “cook” while enjoying the outdoors, my Black Bean Burgers are a great choice. They will sizzle in no time on a grill or outdoor cooktop and I know will be a big hit with everyone. A delicious staple of picnics everywhere is a potato salad but it can come with some hefty calories and often unhealthy ingredients.  Here is my recipe for a delicious but healthier, plant-based version of this picnic favorite that is truly easy to prepare.

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash, halve and steam potatoes until just fork tender (about 25 minutes) Drain and rinse gently with cold water to stop cooking process. Cut potato pieces in half again. Let cool.
  2. Use the Healthy Saute method to slightly soften and bring out the flavor of the chopped peppers (Healthy Saute: bring 3 Tbsp of vegetable broth or water to bubbling, add peppers, cover and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Drain.) Let peppers cool.
    For Dressing:
  1. Combine Just Mayo, Yellow Mustard, smoked paprika, dill weed and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to blend into potato mixture.
    To Pack or Serve
  1. In a large bowl add potatoes, celery and sweet peppers. Add dressing. Mix gently.
  2. When serving, sprinkle potato salad with small amount of dill weed and paprika.

Notes

Keep all picnic foods cold with ice packs/bags of ice in your picnic basket/cooler until ready to serve. Serve only when ready to eat. Do not let foods sit out in the sun/heat.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/picnic-perfect-potato-sweet-pepper-salad/

Plant-Based Nutrition Information

potatoesPotatoes are the stars of this recipe.  Often considered inexpensive comfort food and frequently consumed as unhealthy fast food; potatoes can actually provide awesome nutrition if they are prepared in a healthy way! This recipe calls for steaming the potatoes rather than boiling them.  This prevents the nutrients from being boiled away into the water and ensures the potatoes do not become too soft. Leaving the skins on the potato also increases the already high fiber content of this important food.

Potatoes are a very good source of Vitamin B6 – the cell-builder vitamin. B6 is very important for keeping our brain cells functioning and for supporting our nervous system. Our body’s production of serotonin (happiness), melatonin (sleep), epinephrine and norepinephrine (for stress management) needs vitamin B6. B6 also supports our cardiovascular system by helping to keep homocysteine levels low (homocysteine damages our blood vessels). Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, copper, Vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Sweet Bell Pepper

Sweet Bell Peppers are AWESOME! One cup of these incredible veggies has only 29 calories – pretty incredible for a food that tastes so good, right? Sweet Bell Peppers are an outstanding source of Vitamin C – just one cup will give you 157% of your recommend daily intake of this important vitamin.Sweet Bell Peppers are also a very good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and folate. BONUS: these peppers have 30 different carotenoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support to our bodies. Good things do come in small packages!

The nutrients we derive from these delicious veggies are at their peak when the peppers are fully ripe.  How do you know if they are ripe?  Your best evidence is in their color: when the color is deep and vivid they are likely ready to eat.  Another bit of evidence is if the pepper feels heavy for its size and if the pepper feels firm but yields very slightly to pressure.

celeryCelery is an awesome veggie that adds great texture (crunch) to my potato salad and a lovely color against the white flesh of the potatoes. Celery has been a go-to veggie for anyone trying to keep their caloric intake in check; but I wonder how many people really understand how valuable this veggie is to our daily nutritional requirements!

Celery is an excellent source of Vitamin K – a vitamin necessary for blood clotting. Vitamin K is also very important for our bone health.

Celery also has very special anti-inflammatory benefits – particularly for our digestive tract.  Celery is an important source of molybdenum – a mineral that helps our bodies detoxify by keeping the sulfer in our system in balance. Celery is a good source of folate, potassium and manganese as well.

I’ve talked a lot about the need to stay hydrated – especially in the summer – and celery can play a role in this essential task. Celery is 95% water – and while just eating celery won’t keep you hydrated, every little bit helps.


NOTE:  If you are unable to find Just Mayo from Hampton Creek for this recipe at your grocery store, Veganaise from Follow Your Heart is a very good alternative. In fact, I use both these products regularly.

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The Queen of Spices – Cardamom Transforms Muffins from Everyday to Exotic

cardamom cardamom pods

Cardamom, known as “The Queen of Spices” is a wonderful aromatic spice that you’ve probably tasted but didn’t know it. If you have ever enjoyed the exotic flavor of Chai tea, (and if you haven’t you really need to because it is just that lovely) then you have enjoyed the unique and deliciously Eastern flavor of cardamom. This fragrant spice is also a key element of garam masala one of my favorite Indian cooking spices. Cardamom plays nicely with other aromatic spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, so it is no surprise it is a good spice choice for baking. BONUS – baking with any of these spices will make your home smell so marvelous too. Cardamom not only adds a wonderful, exotic, citrusy flavor to your food; it also offers some great health benefits.

Awesome Health Benefits of Cardamom

Cardamom is full of important nutrients that have been shown to be helpful in improving cardiovascular health including improving blood circulation and controlling cholesterol levels,  relieving sore throats and upset tummies, supporting urinary tract health and respiratory health, and inhibiting the growth and spread of microbes that cause food poisoning.  Minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc are abundant in cardamom as are vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and B6 and C. Cardamom is also a good source of dietary fiber and protein while being low on the caloric scale.  Cardamom pods and seeds can also be chewed to keep your breath fresh. Cardamom has excellent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties and Cardamom essential oil is also credited with having anti-depressant properties. Cool, right?

Cardamom Apple Muffins – Plant-Based Deliciousness

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Muffins are a great breakfast food, are a healthy snack especially with a hot cup of chai tea, and are easily transported for a picnic or sports outing – so what’s not to love! With muffins, size does matter even though they have nutritious ingredients. Monster-sized muffins can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake – especially the ones you find at your local coffee shop or bakery; so keep them on the smaller side to manage your caloric intake.

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 23 minutes

Total Time: 43 minutes

Yield: 12 medium sized muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Cardamom Apple Muffins

These muffins are delicious. The fresh apple pieces add some light crunch, great flavor and additional moisture - not to mention more fiber (and who doesn't need more fiber, right?) Apples are definitely a food you should only buy if they are organic due to the use of pesticides in non-organic orchards. Fill your muffin tin to just below the top to make the perfect sized muffin.

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
    Wet Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil - melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 apple cut into small pieces (leave peel on)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your over to 350 F
  2. Lightly grease muffin pan with small amount of coconut oil
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. Make sure they are combined well.
  4. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except the apple and mix well.
  5. Add apple to wet ingredients and mix again.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently stir until mixed. Be careful not to over mix as that will make your muffins dense and tough.

Notes

Let your muffins cool on a rack. They are delicious warm or cold. Freeze any muffins you won't be able to eat in a couple of days. To add additional protein, substitute 1/4 cup of quinoa flour for 1/4 cup of the spelt flour.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/03/the-queen-of-spices-cardamom-transforms-muffins-from-everyday-to-exotic/


EARTH DAY 2016-2

Earth Day 2016 is April 22; but don’t wait till then.  Plant a Tree for Earth’s Sake now!
Go to www.earthday.org to learn more about the things you can do to help our planet get healthy.  There will be events all over the world – so hopefully there will be one in your community. If not, plan one – www.earthday.org has all the tools you’ll need to make your event a great success.

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