The Chocolate Quinoa Protein Bars that Cured My Pop-Tart Addiction

My name is Christine, and I have a Pop-Tart problem.

Ever since I discovered these accidentally-vegan goodies in the vending machine at law school, I can’t seem to get my dollar in the slot fast enough.  That wouldn’t be a big deal every once in awhile, but the vending machine seems to call out my name every time I’m heading to the gym.  My banana just looks so blah next to the shimmering strawberry-frosty goodness!  And yes—by “goodness,” I’m mean 10% strawberries, 90% flavored corn syrup.

chocolate bars photo 1 300x225Besides packing extra coins for the vending machine, I’ve also started carrying around ibuprofen.  It worked for Matt during his 50-miler, and I count on it for my killer 3:00 headache.  But you know when these headaches started?  Right about the time I started a daily 40-grams of sugar ritual with these damn Pop-Tarts.

I knew I had to break this sugar-rush-crash-medicate cycle, and vowed to make a batch of my Homemade Energy Bars to satisfy that starchy-sweet craving.

Lo and behold, for maybe the first time in NMA-kitchen history, the pantry was out of beans.  Not a legume in sight.  But, times of crisis have a knack of spurring creativity—with a deep pantry rummage I pulled together ingredients for some awesome quinoa energy-protein bars.

With over 7 grams of protein per bar (more if you use nuts!) and about a third of the sugar in Pop-Tarts (from energizing dates and agave nectar instead of corn syrup), the case of the addictive pop-tarts is officially closed.   Enjoy!

Chocolate Quinoa Protein Energy Bars

  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa, or about 2 cups cooked
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used an unsweetened hemp-based version)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup stir-ins like dry fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, or vegan chocolate chips. (I went for half chocolate chips and half coconut)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 8×8 baking dish lightly with baking spray.

Rinse the dry quinoa in cold water, then let sit in a bowl of water for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, bring 1 cup of water to boil.  Drain the quinoa and add to the boiling water.  Cover, and reduce heat to simmer for about 12 minutes.  Let cool enough to handle.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cooked quinoa, dates, agave nectar, vegetable oil, flaxseed, almond extract, and salt.  Process until relatively smooth (the quinoa is so small it stays slightly lumpy).

In a small bowl, stir together the protein powder, flour, and stir-ins.  Fold this dry mixture into wet mixture with a spatula.  The dough is very thick, like cookie dough, so use the spatula to press into prepared pan evenly.

Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until firm.  Let cool, then slice into a dozen bars.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition facts (with chocolate chip and coconut option): Calories: 184, Total Fat: 5.4 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 0 g, Sodium: 37 mg,  Potassium: 113 mg, Total Carbs: 29 g, Fiber: 3 g, : Sugars: 16 g, Protein: 7.3 g.

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Easy Vegan Chipotle Mole Sauce

I love a good challenge in the kitchen, but nothing has intimidated me like homemade mole sauce—the epitome of Mexican cuisine with layers of flavor from sweet peppers to spicy chocolate.  Mole is so popular that Wikipedia mentions three times in one article that ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tasted it, so how hard could a homemade version be?

mole photo 300x225Well, every recipe starts off explaining how it takes three generations of women to grind the spices, weeks to order the zillions of specialty dried peppers from Mexico, and to be truly delicioso, hours and hours simmering on the stove.

Finally, I had enough.  Must I be the only gringa who doesn’t get to eat chocolate for dinner? I was already taking the chicken out of the dish, so I decided to take out the fuss too.

Easy Mole Sauce Fit for the Atleta sin Carne (That’s You, No Meat Athletes!)

With sweetness from raisins and thickness from nuts, mole sauce has “athlete” written all over it.  Plus, whether you prepare it with some browned seitan or a can of beans, this meal also packs a nice protein punch, especially when served over its amigo rice.

Instead of taking the time to rehydrate dried peppers, I used a can of chipotles in adobo.  You should be able to find this at your regular grocery store now.  A whole can is pretty spicy, but I keep it in a tupperware in the fridge for up to a month, adding a teaspoon here and there to all sorts of dishes.

To seal the no-fuss deal, I whittled the spice list down to the four essentials, and cut the simmer time down to only about twenty minutes—just enough to give the sauce some depth.  If you don’t feel like pureeing the sauce, make sure to chop or grind the almonds and raisins very fine and you should be good to go.

Enjoy, my no-carne amigos!

Vegan Chicken Mole

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo (1 teaspoon sauce, 1 teaspoons chopped, deseeded pepper)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 oz unsweetened vegan baking chocolate

Heat the oil in a pot over medium high heat.  Fry the onion for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, almonds, and raisins, and fry for another 5 minutes.  Add the salt, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and oregano; fry for 2 more minutes or until fragrant.

Add the chipotle in adobo, tomatoes with their juices, and vegetable broth.  Heat to boil, then add chocolate and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from heat and puree mixture with immersion blender.  Heat the pureed sauce for 5 minutes more.

To serve, add 1 package of browned seitan or can of beans and heat through.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over rice.

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No-Fear Vegan Stevia Banana Bread

Running fuel is defined by how much energy it packs—usually in the form of sugars.  Quick acting sugars for an immediate boost, and slower-burning sugars to keep you going.

banana bread 2 300x225So while dates and agave nectar fit the energy food bill, what about the rest of your day?  When you’re looking for a snack to nibble on over coffee or a sweet bite after dinner, you probably aren’t looking to “fuel up.”

For times like these when you’re just sitting around, pro triathlete Brendan Brazier recommends swapping the agave for stevia. And he’s right—stevia is a great idea.  There’s no sucrose to cause an unnecessary spike in blood sugar, and no extra fructose hanging around to process into triglycerides.

So why, then, is there a very full jar of stevia staring me down from my pantry?

Three Hurdles of Baking with Stevia

Three things always intimidate me about using stevia. Let’s address each one head on, in hopes of making the stevia universe a heck of a lot less mysterious!

1.  How much stevia to use

I am only going to say this once: Do not follow the conversion chart on the back of the jar.  Repeat: Do. Not. Follow. Chart.  (Ok, that’s twice I said it, but it’s that important!)  Since there’s no standard potency from brand to brand or from liquids to powders, it’s up to you to use just as much stevia as you need.

Most of the time, the amount I am happy with is a 3 times less than what the chart recommends.  The best idea is to start with just a little—like 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon—and take it from there.  There are no eggs to worry about in the recipe below, so in this case you can taste as you go.

2.  Keep it from tasting bitter

In The Kind Diet (Amazon affiliate link), the biggest complaint Alicia Silverstone has about stevia is the taste.  Somehow, it’s so sweet that it ends up tasting bitter and harsh.  I prefer the less concentrated stevia that is mixed with the natural fiber inulin, like Sweetleaf SteviaPlus.  My solution to take the bitter edge off (besides not using too much, see #1) is choosing complementary flavors.

In the recipe below, the stevia enhances the natural sweetness of the coconut milk and coconut flakes for a much warmer flavor.  It’s also good paired with orange juice, like in my Orange Currant Brunch cake.  If nothing in the recipe has a sweet profile, I suggest adding just a tablespoon or two of maple syrup.

3. Fill the gap

When you take the sugar, agave, or dates out of your recipe, it’s important account for the volume of what’s missing.  In this recipe, the bananas work double-duty: first for flavor, and second for bulk.  Another great filler is cooked and pureed cauliflower, which has a creamy neutral flavor.  About a half cup of “filler” works in a standard size recipe.

So now there’s nothing left to be afraid of with stevia!  I hope you try my recipe for Coconut Banana Bread for sweet snacking anytime, and let me know what you think.

Vegan Coconut Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp stevia (I used SweetLeaf SteviaPlus)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (reserve 2 tbsp for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 8×4 loaf pan with parchment paper and grease lightly with baking spray.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the oil, stevia, coconut milk, flaxseed, bananas, vanilla, and lime juice.  Beat until bananas are mashed and mixture is smooth.

In a seperate bowl, mix together the baking soda, salt, flour, and 1/2 cup of coconut.  Add dry ingredients to banana mixture, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl to incorporate.

Spread batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake 20 minutes.  Carefully remove pan from oven and sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons of coconut.  Return to oven and bake 40-50 minutes more, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  If the coconut topping browns to quickly, tent the banana bread loosely with aluminum foil.  Let cool before removing from pan.


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How to Make Superfood Juice (Like Odwalla and Naked) at Home

Convenience food, by its very nature, is usually junk food.

If it’s conveniently sitting on a shelf, chances are it’s brimming with preservatives, sodium, and even artificial colors, all to give the appearance and taste of freshness.

green superjuice photo 300x225There is the rare exception—convenience food that really is fresh. But get ready to pay through the nose for it:  If you’ve ever plunked down a dollar for a banana at Starbucks, knowing full well they’re 70 cents a pound at the grocery store, then you’re familiar with the feeling.

Odwalla and Naked Juice: Healthy and delicious, but pricey

Yet in that moment between errands, a dash in for essentials when you’re already late, or that 20-minute lunch break, suddenly the lure of convenience food becomes irresistible.  The glow of the Odwalla or Naked juice cold case fills your vision, that fancy juice with real ingredients and not even enough preservatives to be stored at room temperature starts singing its siren song, and soon that five dollar bill is inching its way out of your pocket and into Coke and Pepsi’s (you know that’s who owns them, right?).

Before you know it, you’re happily chugging that delicious green superjuice—twelve ounces of liquid afternoon pick-me-up.

When the moment’s over and all that fruit sugar has burned away, I always feel like a sucker as I read over the ingredient list (not to mention my bank statement, littered with juice charges).  You see, the ingredients are so real, I wonder why I just didn’t make this at home.

Right.  Because in the mad rush of my weekday morning routine, I have plenty of time to leisurely peel a quarter of a kiwi, a third of a mango, and an eighth of a peach to throw in my juice.  (As if I even have all that on hand.)  Don’t you?

Recreating Naked Green Machine at home

Today’s recipe is a convenient and cheaper solution.  Gather the exotic fruits only once, do all the prep work once, and enjoy green superjuice for a month.

The secret to convenience here is the frozen supercubes—like ice cubes, but made from pureed fruit and greens.  So all you need to keep stocked are apple juice and bananas; just pop them in the blender with the green supercubes when you want to make the juice.

Sure, 7-11 may start to miss you during the week, but your wallet will thank you.

SmGSFE250x311 241x300This is also a nice way to incorporate greens or greens powder into your daily routine.  I used Amazing Grass Green Superfood Energy Powder here, which provides a boost of caffeine with yerba mate and green tea, though I could do without its artificial tasting lemon-lime flavor.  I recommend greens powder that includes lots of nutritious things like wheatgrass and chlorella, but if you don’t have it,  you can use a half cup of frozen spinach along with a tablespoon or two of spirulina.

One warning: Just like in the real thing, all these fruits add up to a decent amount of sugar.  If you want to cut down, use unsweetened almond milk or water in place of the apple juice.

Homemade Green Superfood Juice

Super Cube Ingredients:

  • 3 kiwi, peeled
  • 1 mango, about 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup sliced peaches
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 8 scoops of greens powder, or about 1/2 cup

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Divide greens puree into ice cube trays and freeze.  Once frozen, empty cubes into a freezer bag and use within 3 months.

Makes about 2 cups of greens puree, or about 27 ice cubes to use in 9 smoothies.

Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 3 green supercubes
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 ripe banana

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.  Makes a 1 1/2 cups of thick juice.

49 Comments

 

Say ‘Aloha’ to Complete Protein Tonight—Hawaiian Beans and Rice

When I published Tasty Twists on the Classic Complete-Protein Meal: Rice and Beans 5 Ways earlier this summer, I let you in on my biggest weekday-dinner secret.

With just one core 5-ingredient recipe and a couple of spices, you get to parade around your kitchen like an international epicurean, all the while eating like an athlete.

hawaiian beans and rice photo 300x225The response to those five quick, easy, and cheap meals was wonderful—you loved that they were quick, easy and cheap.  And I was totally touched when months later, lots of you wrote in after the Vegan Starbucks Petite Lentil Scones post to tell me that the beans and rice variations are still part of your regular meal rotation.

So today I’m back (dare I say by popular demand?) with another flavorful complete protein recipe, this one perhaps the most exciting of all: Hawaiian beans and rice.

Everyday Flavors To Make You Say Mahalo

Luckily for me, beans and rice is not a static concept—the meal is constantly changing, based on where in the world you are, what season is here, and even what’s leftover in the fridge.

The idea for the 5-ingredient Hawaiian variation starts with island-drenched color: magenta cabbage, golden pineapple, lush-green spinach, and shiny black beans.  Okay, so maybe I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I’ve definitely had Hawaiian pizza before.  And just like it does in my Homemade Vegan Bacon, the smoked paprika in this recipe does a nice job of evoking the flavors of smoked ham.

A quick pan-fry with the pineapple rings gets all that luau flavor without the fuss of firing up the grill.  And if you want the whole tropical experience, be sure to try the variation with toasted coconut folded into the rice.  It’s divine!

I hope that just as many of you who tried the other beans and rice recipes give this one a whirl too.  When you do, be sure to let me know what you think!

Basic Beans and Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry brown rice
  • 1 can drained and rinsed beans, or 2 cups cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Cook the brown rice in a rice steamer or follow the directions here.  Heat up the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and fry for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in the beans and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.   Serve with rice.

Hawaiian Beans and Rice

You’ll need one batch of the basic recipe above, as well as:

  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage (about quarter of a head)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 can sliced pineapple, juice reserved

Stir the red cabbage, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and smoked paprika into the bean and onion mixture.  Cook for 5 minutes, until cabbage is cooked but still crunchy.  Stir in spinach and cook for 2 more minutes, until slightly wilted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium high.  Lay pineapple rings in pan, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.  Fry for 2 minutes per side, until nice and charred.  Serve on top of beans and rice.

Feeling fancy?  Add a chopped red bell pepper in with the cabbage, sprinkle beans with a minced jalapeño pepper, and fold 1/2 cup of toasted coconut into cooked rice.

40 Comments

 

Finally—Perfect Vegan Bacon You Can Make At Home

Bacon.

We live in a world that covers its wounds with bacon-strip bandages, provides children with plush bacon dolls, and challenges its artists to create the ultimate bacon sculpture.

vegan bacon photo 300x225

Pig-free and homemade.

This obsession has earned the honor of a dedicated Wikipedia entry to bacon mania.  The country is so in love with its smoky, salty goodness that even the most gung-ho meat-eaters are willing to sprinkle bacon-flavored TVP bits all over their salads and baked potatoes.

But if you think bacon mania is only for meat-eaters, think again.  During college I waitressed at a vegetarian cafe, where the “fakon” routinely sold out during Sunday brunch.

Most fake bacon barely counts as food

At that same cafe, I remember serving one unsuspecting elderly diner who had not yet noticed that all the “meat” on the menu was written in quotes.

He took one bite of his tempeh “bacon,” threw down the strip, forced the plate back into my hands, and declared:

“This is the worst food I’ve had since the war!”

And really, who could blame him?  Besides being heavily processed and expensive, most veggie bacon, well, just plain sucks.

The surprising secret to great vegan bacon? Beans and buckwheat

Today, after a lot of tasty research, I finally have an inexpensive, gluten-free, whole-food and freaking delicious solution.  If you’ve ever woken in the middle of the night and found yourself drooling to the scent of unexplained bacon, this recipe is for you.

Yes, this bacon is not only ready to stand in for pancetta in your pasta carbonara and gourmet mac’n’cheese, but is even good enough on its own during breakfast or as the star of an avocado BLT!

vegan blt photo 300x225

This batch makes about 24 slices, or 1 cup total.  You’ll be surprised about how quickly that amount disappears, so do yourself a favor and triple the batch, store in the freezer, and enjoy the luxury of pigless-but-obsession-worthy bacon at a moment’s notice.

Homemade Vegan Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans or other small red beans
  • 1/3 cup hulled wholegrain buckwheat (not buckwheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
  • 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (May be substituted with soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

Rinse the beans and buckwheat,  place in large bowl covered with several inches of cold filtered water; let soak overnight.

[UPDATE: Several people have asked if it's okay to bake the beans and buckwheat, as the recipe suggests, even without having boiled them, as boiling is the usual cooking method for beans and is known to remove most of the toxins in uncooked beans. While we've never had any problems with the soaking-and-baking (not boiling) method, and have seen the same method used for black-eyed peas in Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, you can pre-cook the beans and buckwheat by boiling if you'd prefer to do so.]

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Strain the soaked beans and buckwheat and rinse.  Place in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the onion powder, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, aminos or soy sauce, salt, tomato paste, coconut oil, and maple syrup.  Pulse several times to combine, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and continue pulsing until uniform but not as pureed as hummus.

Line a 9×13 casserole dish with parchment paper and coat pan with baking spray.  Place bacon mixture in pan and spread as much as possible with a spatula.  To get the mixture very thin and evenly spread, spray another piece of parchment paper lightly with baking spray and press the paper on top of the mixture and flatten with your hands.  Remove and discard the top piece of parchment paper, then use a spatula to spread over and fill in any bare spots.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then slice into 24 strips, about 1 inch by 4 inches (Do this by making one lengthwise cut down the center, and then twelve cuts across the shorter side).  Remove the strips with a small spatula.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.  Fry the bacon slices for 2-3 minutes, flipping once.  Alternatively, before frying, you can freeze the bacon, then fry when ready to serve (no need to thaw first).

158 Comments

 

Amazing Couscous Salad with an Even Better Story

Post by Christine Frazier.

So, you’ve made the choice to eat less meat.  You’ve done the research, examined the facts, and decided you’re ready to take your health into your own hands.

Hooray, right?

couscous image 300x225Today’s recipe is inspired by the surprises I’ve had since making that decision myself.  Anytime you start shifting the pieces of your life around with a goal of positive change, there’s bound to be some negative resistance.

Of course, I already knew this from quitting smoking.  As much as my friends wanted to be supportive, most were hoping I wouldn’t make it.  If I failed, it meant that addiction was too hard to get over, that willpower wasn’t enough, and in short, that they didn’t have to try.

My refusal to light-up even at parties or social settings was taken as an insult by my pals, as if my quitting was a direct critique on their lifestyle.

Sound familiar? If you’ve ever ordered a meatless dish when you’re out to eat with your friends, you probably know the feeling.

But really, at the health club?

While I expect this reaction occasionally from my family and friends, I never expected it at the gym.  I mean, a health club; a club of health.  As I was checking in at the front desk, I had a one-minute conversation that bugged me for an entire week.

The girl swiped my membership card, looked up at my No Meat Athlete top, and said “Hey, that’s a really cool shirt.”  Another lady behind the desk looked up, smiled, and said “Yeah, that’s cute!”

A third woman, also a staff member, walked over, smiled and casually chimed in:

That is a cute a shirt. But you do need meat, you know.

There were a lot of things I wanted to do right then. I wanted to ask her why the chick in the Cheerleading is life: the rest is just details shirt got to check-in without any life advice.  I wanted to whip out my resistance training journal and show her my improvements over the weeks since I joined her gym.  I wanted to tell her how I finally ran a 5k within a year of smoking a pack a day.  I wanted to tell her all about my brother, from starting this site to qualifying for Boston to running a 50 miler.

And mainly I wanted to tell her to mind her own ****ing business.

Instead, I chuckled, thanked the ladies, and just walked away.  I figured they’d see me all sweaty in an hour when I leave, and hopefully would note that I didn’t keel over from my workout, and no ambulance had to be called to pump ground beef into my veins to revive me.

Maybe enough workouts, and enough people proudly wearing the shirts…but really who knows, I think that lady already made her mind up awhile ago.

A pleasant surprise in the land of cheesesteaks

It’s so easy to get hung up on little negative exchanges like this one, which makes it even more valuable to recognize the positive surprises that come around.  Like one extra hot afternoon in Philadelphia, when I was tired and starving from exploring the city.  After passing cheesesteak joint after cheesesteak joint, I finally swung into a corner deli, hoping at best to get a side of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.

To my amazement, the entire food case was stocked top to bottom with dream-vegetarian food.  Not half-hearted attempts with soy dogs and Boca burgers—no, I’m talking about avocado and sprout sandwiches, orange-beet salads, Italian bread salad, tabouleh, Morroccan couscous salad, quinoa pilafs, and Asian veggie wraps.

I stood, frozen with joy and overloaded with options.  The best part was, this deli wasn’t some weird crunchy health market; it was for everybody, and boy was it busy!  I finally left with a curried Isreali couscous salad, and it truly made my day.

The salad was so yummy, I had to make my own version to enjoy whenever I wanted (and without the $8.99/lb  price tag).  The recipe is below.

I know you’ll love this one.  For me this re-creation of that couscous salad is a good reminder that when you take control of your health, there really is a pleasant surprise around every corner.  It might be a faster race time, a couple pounds shed, a friend you’ve inspired, or perhaps just a really yummy deli.

Couscous Surprise Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (I like Marrakesh Express Couscous Grande)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2 lb)  frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 a large red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the couscous and stir to coat.  Toast for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes, until the couscous is soft and most of the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, steam the frozen edamame by microwaving in a bowl wrapped with plastic wrap for 2-4 minutes.  Be careful, the plastic wrap and steam will be hot.

In a large salad bowl, stir together the couscous, steamed edamame, red pepper, cilantro, onion, apricots, cranberries, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice.  Let chill for an hour to let the flavors combine.

22 Comments

 

How To Turn Starbucks Scones Into Fuel For Running

Post by Christine Frazier

lentil scone photo 300x225For just about a year now I have been the resident baker here at No Meat Athlete, filling your Fridays with healthy sweet treats.  And during that year, NMA has evolved into a resource for both people kick-starting a new vegetarian lifestyle and runners interested in more natural running fuel.

The response to the Sweet-Tooth Friday series has been wonderful and encouraging, but I started to wonder if I was putting unnecessary limits on what I could offer you.  I had the opportunity to really research baking-as-running-fuel while making the recipes for our book Fuel Your Run The Tarahumara Way. I also began dabbling in the savory side, bringing you recipes like five easy versions of rice and beans and grill-worthy smoky veggie burgers.

The success of these recipes has led me to the decision to develop a weekly vegetarian recipe for you No Meat Athletes, whether it be savory or sweet, with a focus on food fit for an athletic-training diet.  And by popular demand, the nutrition facts will be posted along with each recipe.

Now I just need to figure out what works for you so that you’ll have a chance to give these recipes a whirl.  What day of the week is best for a new vegetarian recipe? I was thinking of setting the day mid- to end-week so you’d have time before the weekend to plan, but I’d love to hear what you think.

The Elegant Side Of Energy Bars

This week’s Petite Lentil Scones are perfect for runners because they combine dates and agave nectar to get both the immediate boost of sugar to burn as well as a slower-releasing one to keep you going.  Plus, they’re portable so you can pack them along.

I made these with Starbucks Petite Vanilla Bean Scones in mind— so easy to pop in your mouth, but I wanted something less likely to leave you crashing later.  That’s why besides being animal-free, my version offers protein and fiber that the originals are lacking (as well as less sugar, fat, cholesterol and calories!)

If you’ve never baked with beans before, get ready to be blown away by how deliciously well they work in desserts— I promise, you’ll never guess these are made from lentils.  And I’m no stranger to sneaking beans into desserts; check out my popular black bean brownies, white bean blondies, and homemade energy bars for more I-can’t-believe-these-have-beans desserts.

Petite Lentil Scones

Scone Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry lentils (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried currants or other dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 7 dates)
  • 6 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water or nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

For the Scones:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse 1 cup of dry lentils, then combine with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, until tender.  Drain and let cool.
In a small bowl, mix the ground flaxseed with 1/4 cup of warm water.  Stir and set aside to thicken.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and currants.  Set aside.
In a food processor, process the lentils, dates, agave nectar, almond extract, and flaxseed paste until smooth.  Fold this lentil mixture into the dry ingredients.  Continue folding lightly with a spatula to combine.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten and pat with your hands into about a 10×10 inch square, around 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the dough into 16 equal squares.  Cut each square in half diagonally to make 32 triangles.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.  Place the cut triangles onto the sheet about an inch apart.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and firm.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Make the icing by mixing together the powdered sugar, water, vanilla extract, and vinegar.  Lightly drizzle the icing across the cooled scones just before serving.

Go ahead and add the glaze and then these energy scones are ready to outshine the Queen’s crumpets.   Just stick your pinkies in their air while eating these, and enjoy!

Don’t forget, let me know which day you’d prefer to have the weekly vegetarian recipe!

Nutrition Facts for 1 scone with glaze: Calories 89.8, Total Fat 0.6, Saturated Fat 0.1, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 119 mg, Potassium 107 mg, Total Carbohydrates 20 g (Fiber 2.6 g, Sugars 7.3 g), Protein 2.5 g.

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