A Week in Vegetables

As we pass the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox, I am thinking about the fertile seeds that we will plant in dark soil this spring. These seeds will bring delicious food to our table and fill our root cellar with bounty for the winter to come.

I realize that time is not linear, but cyclical. The cycle of seasons finds plants on another ring of the spiral each year as they sprout new branches, stalks, and shoots. We can also grow into each new cycle by appreciating how far we have come since this time last year and renewing our body, mind, and spirit with simple food. 

As the outside world slowly wakes up to welcome another growing season, so can we rejuvenate our bodies by including more plant foods into our diet.

Here is the shopping list for a week of healthy, plant-based lunches.

You can gain the complete guide, including recipes, by clicking here.

Simple Vegetable Recipes 

to keep you nourished all week long

Shopping List

  • 8 small sweet potatoes (or 5 to 6 medium/large)

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 1 head of broccoli

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard

  • Baby spinach

  • 2 bunches kale

  • Mushrooms

  • 1 can white beans

  • 1 can chickpeas

  • 2 red onions

  • 1 large leek

  • Parsley or cilantro (optional)

  • Grocery

  • Olive Oil

  • Eggs

  • Ghee or grass-fed butter

  • Tamari or soy sauce

  • Cumin

  • Coriander

  • Paprika

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Salt and pepper

While making breakfast, follow these instructions for assembling a lunch quickly. It will take about 30 minutes per morning.

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Fall Meal Plans

In honor of tomorrow's full moon, which will be very close to the earth and undergoing an eclipse, I invite you to simplify your diet.

Choose foods that gently cleanse the blood, like cilantro.

Focus on foods that support immunity, like cinnamon and garlic.

This shift, which you can make for 3 days, will set you on a good path to be well all winter long.

Here is a recipe to inspire you.

Click this link for a complete 3 day meal plan with recipes.

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Avocado Sauce

For the quinoa bowl:

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin and cinnamon

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup cooked black beans* (or 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained – I like Eden organics)

  • 1 packed cup arugula

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

For the sauce:

  • One ripe avocado

  • 4 tablespoons tahini

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems

  • 1 small clove of garlic

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Lime juice

*To cook the black beans:

I like to do this after dinner to prepare for the next day's meal.

In a stockpot, place 1 cup of beans in 5 cups of boiling water; boil for 2–3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight.

The next day, most of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water.

Drain, and then rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.

Cook dry beans for 50 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top.

To prepare the bowl:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with spices and toss with olive oil.

Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take 1 cup quinoa, rinse it well, and cook it in 2 cups of water in a small stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until all water is consumed. 

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt as it cooks.

Then, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor / blender until smooth.

Toss the beans, quinoa, arugula, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Enjoy!

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Mexico-Inspired Feast

As the weather starts warming slowly, I try to move my body more, breathe the fresh air even though it's cold, and eat more spicy food. Spice from the capsicum family (peppers and paprika) awakens the digestive system, accelerates the metabolism, and improves circulation.

I am inspired to share a Mexican-style meal, which reminds me of my visits to the Yucatan Peninsula. Every part of Mexico has its own regional cuisine. These dishes are familiar to me from my time in Chiapas.

Many of these ingredients, including garlic, cinnamon, and rice, have incredible healing properties.

With chills and weakness brought on by a cold, cinnamon's (cinnamomum sativum) anti-microbial activity stops the development of pathogenic bacteria. The active components in its essential oils warm the body. Try sprinkling it on buttered toast or adding it to applesauce.

Garlic, alium sativum, is one of nature's most powerful antibiotics. Its sulfur compounds reduce inflammation in the body. Effective in treating both viral and bacterial infections, fresh crushed garlic is a potent remedy. If your belly can tolerate it, mince or press 2 cloves of garlic, mix with 1/4 cup honey, and eat with toast or rice. You may also place a spoonful of fresh minced garlic in chicken soup.

Rice, oryza sativa, is the most common cereal grain world-wide. It is nourishing and soothing to a system that's depleted by cold and flu. It stops diarrhea, nourishes dehydrated tissues, and is one of the easiest grains to digest. When you are sick, make rice porridge with 1 cup rice and 3 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to ensure that you are getting sufficient electrolytes. You can season it with thyme and cinnamon if you like.

Shopping List

  • cornmeal (non-GMO if possible)

  • long grain brown rice

  • black beans - please soak overnight

  • eggs

  • sour cream

  • milk (almond or cow)

  • olive oil

  • apple cider vinegar

  • canned / jarred tomatoes

  • salt

  • cinnamon

  • cumin

  • coriander

  • oregano

  • red chile flakes

  • onions

  • garlic

  • carrots

  • lime

  • orange

  • spinach

  • mushrooms

  • fresh cilantro (optional)

Black Bean Stew

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, oregano and salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes (optional)

  • 1 cup cooked black beans

  • 2 cups water

  • juice of 1 orange

  • freshly chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Soak beans overnight or for 8 hours. Rinse, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer.

Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top of the pot.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until beans are tender but still well-formed.

Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Chop onions, garlic, and carrots.

Place in a stock pot with olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add spices and black beans. Stir well and sauté for 3 more minutes, or until you can smell the spices.

Add water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the juice of 1 orange. Stir well.

Turn off heat and enjoy with cooked rice and a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro if you like.

Cornmeal Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a glass baking dish (9x9 or so) with olive oil. Set aside.

Mince:

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 onion

Place these in a deep skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Turn heat on high and then reduce to medium low once vegetables start to sizzle.

Add 1 teaspoon each: oregano, cumin, and coriander - mix well.

Splash with 1 tablespoon lime juice, stir once more, and cover.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 

Turn off heat, add 2 packed cups spinach, stir well, and spread into baking dish.

For the topping, whisk together these ingredients in the order listed:

  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (almond or cow)

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add a bit of water if the dough is too dry. You need to be able to handle it with your hands without it cracking or crumbling.

Shape dough into a flat disc and place over vegetables.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Remove from oven and serve with sour cream chile sauce.

GET CREATIVE! Avoiding cream and cheese? Put a fried egg or braised cod on top.

Sour Cream Chile Sauce

In a serving bowl, mix:

  • 2 cups sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander and chile flakes

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

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Get Creative with Summer Sauces

This summer, try to preserve the abundance from your gardens or local farms to enjoy on cold winter days. These three sauces are wonderful fresh and keep well, too. 

To preserve them, just sterilize half pint mason jars and lids by pouring boiling water oven them while they are in the sink. 

Prepare a water bath by filling a soup pot with water and bringing it to a boil.

Fill jars three quarters of the way with sauce, screw on the lid, and place in boiling water for 5 minutes. 

Extract, set aside, and test the lids 24 hours later. 

Lids need to resist the touch in order to be completely canned.

If a lid bows when pressed, eat that jar right away of freeze it.

Click this link for an easy oven canning

method for cooked sauces (like tomato, apple, and jams).

PARSLEY CASHEW SPREAD

Coarsely chop:

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley (about 2 packed cups)

  • 1 clove garlic

  • Place in a food processor with:3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup cashews

  • a generous pinch of sea salt

Blend well.

Enjoy with toast, over pasta or cooked rice, or as a side salad.

GET CREATIVE: Add dill and serve over boiled potatoes. Grate carrots into the sauce, blend in a blender, and serve as a dip for steamed broccoli.

CILANTRO TAHINI SAUCE

Chop 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 1 ½ packed cups).

Place in a blender with:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • ½ teaspoon coriander

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

Blend well.

Try it with pinto beans and corn tortillas or black bean soup and corn bread.

Click here for recipes.

GET CREATIVE: try mixing cilantro with ¼ cup shredded coconut, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 tablespoon tamari (fermented soy sauce).

BASIL SUNFLOWER SAUCE

Coarsely chop:

1 bunch fresh basil (about 2 packed cups)

1 clove garlic

Place in a blender or food processor with:

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • a generous pinch of sea salt

Blend until smooth.

Try it with sliced tomatoes and goat cheese.

GET CREATIVE: Use walnuts instead of sunflower seeds. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Try using sacred basil (tulsi) and coconut oil instead of basil and olive oil. Add a tablespoon of raw honey, blend, and serve over ice cream.

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