Power Packed Pineapple Smoothie

power packed pineapple smoothie - #vegan #soyfreeIf you’re into fitness, you’re familiar with the age old requirement of consuming protein within 30 minutes after your workout. Before I switched over to a vegan diet, I followed this rule religiously. I’d make a shake from whey protein and skim milk, or I’d eat a Detour bar. Now that whey and Detour bars are out of the question, I’ve had to get more creative with my post-workout meal.

This pineapple smoothie is one of my go-to shakes after a morning workout. I usually whip it up before my workout and drink half of it before I leave the house. I leave the other half in the fridge so I can drink it right away when I get home. After drinking this, I don’t have to worry too much about protein, iron, or calcium for the rest of the day. I can usually fulfill those requirements without much effort. Also, the natural sugars and carbohydrates give me enough energy to power through the morning and the afternoon. That being said, if you’re concerned about your carb intake, I recommend drinking it as I do: half before your morning workout and the other half after.

power packed pineapple smoothie - #vegan #soyfree

Most of the nutrients in this smoothie come from hemp protein and chia seeds. Both of these ingredients are pretty amazing. I recommend researching them to learn about their benefits. Someday I will do a post about different plant based protein powders, but today’s post is all about the smoothie recipe. Here it is:

Protein Packed Pineapple Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

3 C chopped kale, tightly packed

2 C fresh pineapple cubes

4 tbsp hemp protein powder

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 C nondairy milk (I used flax milk)

squeeze of fresh lime juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor with a few ice cubes. Process for about 1 minute. The kale will give the smoothie a gritty texture, but it’s still delicious! If you don’t like the texture, you can always juice the kale, before combining it with the other ingredients but it will bring down the fiber content and won’t be as filling.

power packed pineapple smoothie - #vegan #soyfree

Hope you enjoy! What’s your favorite post-workout meal?

 

Summer Squash and Lentil Soup

summer squash and lentil soup #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Coming up with new recipes during the summer can be a challenge. I don’t have much of an appetite during the summer, so it’s hard for me to figure out what, if anything, would be appetizing. Other than coconut milk ice cream, of course ūüôā

So when I’m stumped for recipe ideas, I ask myself these questions:

1) What’s in season, fresh, and available?¬†To answer this question, I stop at the first thing that comes to mind. For this recipe, that thing was summer squash.

2)¬†Which foods can I pair this with to maximize nutritional value?¬†For me, the simplest way to figure out if a meal will be nutritious and filling is to ensure that it has enough protein and fiber. So I added baby kale and lentils to the mix. Obviously there are many more components to complete nutrition than protein and fiber, but I focus on those two for simplicity’s sake.¬†

3)¬†How do I make this weather and/or occasion appropriate?¬†Obviously a stew would be too heavy for a summer dish, so I decided against adding heartier elements like potatoes or other root vegetables. I decided a soup would be ideal, because it’s not as heavy. Plus, this week will be very busy for me, so I wanted something that I could make a lot of and keep in the fridge for leftover lunches and dinners.

4)¬†What ingredients do I add to make this delicious?¬†This is the fun part! If I’m using ingredients I’ve never cooked with before (or if I’m in a creative rut), I consult one of my new favorite books,¬†The Flavor Bible. It has a huge database of almost every food you can think of, with lists of recommended pairings. For this dish, I relied not on The Flavor Bible, but¬† rather on my previous experience with lentil soups, summer squash, and kale. I rounded out the recipe with diced tomatoes, vegan chicken broth (yes, such a thing exists…click here for more info), garlic, onion, fresh lemon juice, fresh thyme, nutmeg, and bay leaves.

If you follow that formula, it’s relatively easy to come up with new and original recipe ideas.

Anyway, I’m sure you didn’t visit my blog to hear me ramble on about how to come up with a recipe. So let’s get to the soup.

summer squash and lentil soup #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

summer squash and lentil soup #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Summer Squash and Lentil Soup

Serves 4-6 (as a main)

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 C dry green or French lentils

2 small summer squash of your choice (I used yellow straight neck squash and zucchini squash), sliced thin

6 C vegan chicken broth

3 C packed baby kale (or regular kale, with stems removed and leaves chopped)

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Juice from 1/2 large lemon

1 tsp nutmeg

2 bay leaves

Directions:

1) Add 1/2 C broth to a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heated to medium-high. Add onions and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes.

2) Add summer squash, and cook for about 3 more minutes. Wilt in baby kale, then add thyme, tomatoes, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Cook for about 2 more minutes.

3) Add lentils and remaining broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 hour. Serve with freshly squeezed lemon and thyme garnish.

summer squash and lentil soup #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

summer squash and lentil soup #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Cavatappi with Eggplant, Roasted Tomatoes and Broccolini

I’ve been under the weather this past week with an upset stomach. For some reason, I only want to eat junk food when I’m not feeling well. And because I’ve been feeling sick, I haven’t been working out. Yesterday, I was finally starting to feel better, but the effects of being sedentary and eating poorly were catching up to me. I needed something light and healthy, but with enough starch to keep my stomach settled.

This recipe, like many others, was conceived of in the aisles of the grocery store. The eggplant caught my attention first, then the broccolini (mini broccoli). Since both ingredients can be bland on their own, I decided to roast some mini heirloom tomatoes and garlic to boost the flavor. I rounded it off with a large shallot, some fresh basil from my herb garden, and some balsamic vinegar. The result was pretty amazing!

cavatappi with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and broccolini

Cavatappi with Eggplant, Roasted Tomatoes and Broccolini

Serves: 4

Prep time: 1 hour

Ingredients

12 oz cavatappi pasta (or other pasta of your choice)

1 small eggplant, cut into 1″ chunks

1 1/2 C broccolini florets

12 oz mini heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 C fresh basil (about 8 large basil leaves), sliced into chiffonade

1 head garlic

1 large shallot, sliced very thin

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375F. Spread tomatoes in a single layer on baking pan. Spray or toss with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

2) Peel the garlic and remove all of the cloves. Lay out the cloves on a square of tinfoil and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Secure the garlic in the tinfoil and place in a ramekin dish.

3) Roast tomatoes and garlic on the top rack of the oven for 40 minutes.

4) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute for about 5-6 minutes, or until shallot turns golden brown. Add eggplant, and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add broccolini florets and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 more minutes, then reduce heat to low.

5) Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.

6) Add cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, and roasted garlic to the eggplant mixture. Turn up heat to medium and cook until pasta is heated through, for about 5-6 minutes. Add basil and cook for another minute or so. Serve!

cavatappi with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and broccolini

cavatappi with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and broccolini

Roasted Beets and Asparagus with Farro

roasted beets and asparagus with farro - conveganence

I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday, and I found that the offerings were much more plentiful than they were a few weeks ago. I went overboard, as usual. I bought fresh garlic, swiss chard, 2 bunches of asparagus, a bunch of beets, sugar snap peas, purple potatoes, and a lavender plant. ¬†Now all I have to do is eat it. All of it. Well, except for the lavender. That’s for decoration.

roasted beets and asparagus with farro - conveganence

It’s already Tuesday and so far I’ve only used a bit of asparagus for the crepes I made on Sunday. Therefore, I decided to try to kill three birds with one stone by combining the remaining asparagus with the beets and fresh garlic. Short story long, that’s how this dish came to be. I must admit, I have never been a huge fan of beets, but this recipe has converted me. The sweet, tender flavor of the beets paired nicely with the savory roasted asparagus and shallots. The lemon and chive dressing pulls everything together with a light astringent finish.¬†The addition of the farro makes this dish fit for a main course, but you could also serve the veggies over a bed of greens or on their own.

roasted beets and asparagus with farro

Roasted Beets and Asparagus with Farro (and Lemon Chive Dressing)

Serves 2-3

Prep time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

1 bunch beets, peeled with tops and bottoms removed

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1″ pieces with woody stems broken off

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 large shallot, sliced very thin

1.5 C farro (I like Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro)

For the Dressing:

1/2 C fresh lemon juice

3-4 tbsp finely chopped chives

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Prepare a baking sheet by sprinkling it with a layer of salt. Place the beets on the salt and bake for 45 minutes. Then, add the asparagus, garlic, and shallots and bake for another 15 minutes.

2. While the beets are baking, prepare the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Set aside.

3. Cook the farro according to package directions. Set aside.

4. When the vegetables are roasted, remove the beets from the baking pan and cut into 1″ cubes. ¬†Remove the asparagus and shallots from the pan using a slotted spoon or spatula so you can sift out any excess salt.

5. Divide farro among plates. Top with vegetables and drizzle with dressing. Serve warm. (Although I ended up eating it cold, and it was delicious!)

Blossoming Berry Sorbets

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Just recently, I discovered the bulk looseleaf tea aisle at Whole Foods. In that aisle, you can find any type of tea that strikes your fancy, and you can buy as much or as little as you want. I like brewing my own white tea with chamomile, lavender, and rose hips. You can use the dried flowers and herbs in the tea aisle for other purposes too, like creating your own salt scrubs, essential oils, and other bath products. Today, I decided to try something new with my tea fixins by blending them into sweet, summery sorbets.

I combined the rose hips with fresh raspberries, and the lavender with fresh blueberries. The lavender and rose hip flavor came through subtly, neutralizing the tang of the berries. I was very happy with the way the sorbets came out. They were very easy to make too, so they’d be perfect for deceiving your friends into thinking you’re fancier than you really are.

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Blueberry Lavender Sorbet

Serves 2

Ingredients

12 oz fresh blueberries, rinsed

1 tbsp + 1 tsp dried lavender

1/2 C vegan cane sugar

1/4 tsp salt

juice and zest from 1 small lemon

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, and lavender with 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sugar and salt dissolve. Set syrup aside and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

2. In a blender, combine the syrup, blueberries, lemon zest and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

3. Strain blueberry mixture into a bowl to get rid of the skins and any large chunks of lavender. Chill mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Add mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put mixture in freezer, checking every hour or so until it reaches the desired consistency.

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Raspberry Rose Hip Sorbet

Serves 2

Follow recipe for Blueberry Lavender sorbet, only use 12 oz of raspberries (instead of blueberries) and 2 tbsp dried rose hips (instead of lavender).

I recommend that you serve the sorbets immediately so they don’t get too frozen. If you want to store them in the freezer, mix in a couple tablespoons of berry liqueur or corn syrup before storing.

3-2-1 Salad

3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog

When I worked as an attorney, I ate lunch at my desk almost every single day. Most of the time, the food I ate wasn’t very healthy. It was heavily processed, high in sodium (think frozen lunches, canned soups, ¬†or even chips and crackers). By the time 2pm rolled around, I would feel exhausted, bloated, and crabby. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about!

If only I had known that I could avoid the mid-afternoon doldrums with just a little bit of planning. (Actually I probably did know that, I was just too miserable to do anything about it.) Anyway, this recipe is something I think I will make every week for both myself and my husband, whose office eating habits are even worse than mine used to be.

I call this the 3-2-1 salad because the recipe makes 3 salads for 2 people in under 1 hour, AND for less than $15 (assuming you’ve got olive oil and vinegar or your favorite dressing on hand). This simple, budget friendly recipe is vegan (of course), gluten free, soy free and sugar free. Plus, each salad is full of my two favorite nutrients: protein and fiber.

3-2-1 Salad

Prep time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 salads

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small head of broccoli, chopped into very small florets

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into very small florets

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 C red quinoa

1 can artichoke hearts

1/2 C kalamata olives

3/4 C julienne sliced sundried tomatoes

1/2 C shelled pistachios or other nuts of your choice (optional)

Dressing ingredients: (or use your favorite dressing)

1 C cilantro, chopped

1/2 C olive oil (probably less)

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

juice from 1 lemon

3-4 cloves garlic

1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

Instructions:

1) Combine ingredients for dressing in a food processor (except for olive oil). Drizzle in olive oil, a few tablespoons at a time, while pulsing food processor. Taste test every so often and stop adding olive oil when the spice becomes milder. Chill dressing for at least 30 minutes.

2) Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas, and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, put quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

4) In a food processor, combine artichoke hearts and olives until minced. You could also chop by hand.

5) Create Salad #1 (left photo) by layering the quinoa, artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes, and half the kale. (This salad would probably be fine without dressing. I just put a bit of extra oil from the sundried tomatoes in mine.)

6) Create Salad #2 (middle photo) by layering the remaining kale, chickpeas, chopped red pepper, and pistachios.

7) Create Salad #3 (right photo) by layering the white beans, kidney beans, broccoli and cauliflower.

8) Refrigerate salads and dressing until ready to serve. Each salad should last a few days. When you’re ready to eat, just add a bit of dressing to the jar, close the lid, and shake it up!

3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog