Friday, April 30, 2021

Spaghetti and Meatless "meatballs"- Gluten Free

Spaghetti, Meatballs, Pasta, Lunch

I love these meatless meatballs. 
If you are looking for a meatless meal, these crispy vegan baked "meat(less)balls" are easy to make, tasty, and perfectly delicious. 

Balloons, Confetti, Stars, Birthday
It was my husband's birthday yesterday, and I wanted to prepare a meatless meal that he would enjoy. Since he loves spaghetti, it was an easy choice. However, I wanted to make it a little more special, so I experimented with making a meatless "meatballs" to add to the spaghetti (I use gluten-free spaghetti). 

I was really pleased with how the "meatballs" turned out. 
Of course they did not taste anything like a meatball.  They were more like a cross between a falafel and a vegan burger, but my husband said that they tasted 100%! 

We started his birthday meal with a beautiful colorful tomato salad. 

Salad, Healthy Eating, Vegetables

Next my husband had spaghetti (gluten-free) and meat-less meatballs.
I ate my meat-less balls as a side dish with homemade sugar free ketchup (recipe to be published in a few days) and a plate full of vegetables including sautéed mushrooms which I also ended up adding to his pasta as well.

meatless meatballs
My meatless meatballs before cooking 

These meatless meatballs taste even better the next day. They remain moist and delicious. I ate them for a quick snack. They freeze well and are handy to have on hand! 

2 cups of cooked quinoa, cooled and set aside
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained (or 3 and 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas, drained ) 
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of chunky salsa (oil free) 
2 tablespoons of homemade ketchup ( sugar free, oil free)
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds 
Cracked pepper 
1/2 cup of garbanzo (chickpea) flour 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place chickpeas and onion in the food processor. Pulse and process until well mixed. Add the salsa, ketchup, Italian seasoning, cumin, cracked pepper, and cumin seeds. Pour mixture into a medium size bowl and mix in the garbanzo bean flour, and cooked quinoa. 
Drop rounded tablespoons full on two cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake each tray for 25 minutes until balls are crispy and firm. Remove from cookie sheet.
Eat as a side dish or over spaghetti and meatballs. 

My Notes: 
1.  This meatless meatball recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and oil-free.
2.  I used marinara sauce for the pasta.
3. I buy oil-free marinara sauce at Whole Foods Market
4. I recommend reading How Not to Die by Dr. Greger
5. I recommend reading The Starch Solution by Dr. McDougall 

If you have not purchased my Easy Plant-Based Soups cookbook, you can still do so. 80 plant-based soup recipes plus inspirational and motivational quotes for healthy eating.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cilantro Lime Dressing for Vegetables and Potatoes-Oil Free

I made this tasty cilantro dressing to smother over my vegetables and steamed potatoes.

Yesterday I bought 3 packages of cilantro. Not because I wanted to, but I was in Costco or BJ's and that is how it was packaged. 

This morning I opened the package and said, "Yikes" what am I going to do with all this cilantro! 

Originally I wanted it just to add it to salads but I knew I had to be more creative since cilantro probably will only last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. 

I decided to make a cilantro lime dressing which used up 2 cups (about 3/4 of one bunch of cilantro). 

asparagus with cilantro dressing
These are asparagus and artichoke bottoms that I bought frozen

I wanted something low-fat so I used cooked navy beans as my base which made it creamy. I put all the ingredients in the food processor and whizzed away. 

The citrus dressing came out very green, tangy, and delcious. I not sure I would like it on salad, but I enjoyed over asparagus, artichoke bottoms, and steamed cubed potatoes. If I had to choose, I probably liked it best over the potatoes!

As many of my readers know, I'm following a whole food, gluten free, oil free diet. 

If you are wondering about the omission of oil (not fats such as nuts, olives, avocados, etc.), it is because oil is a man-made product that is probably one of the most calorie dense foods on the planet. In addition, it contains zero fiber and very few, if any, vitamins. Many best selling authors, who are medical doctors, are advocating for vegan diets that are very low or eliminate oils. (see a reading list in my notes)

Again, I want to clarify that these doctors do not eliminate fat from the diet. Instead, they suggest eating foods that contain fat such as avocado, olives, seeds, nuts, etc so you consume more fiber, a less concentration of calories, and a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. 

Thus I am trying to find ways to make dressings and sauces for my vegetables, grains, and potatoes that are made without oil.  

This tangy cilantro lime dressing was really delicious over my steamed potatoes. If you would like to see how I stuff artichoke bottoms follow the link for artichoke bottoms.

2 cups of lightly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup of cooked navy beans
1 tablespoon of miso
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon of garlic powder 

Place cilantro into the food processor and pulse on and off for 20 seconds. Add lime juice, miso, beans, water, and garlic. Whiz until smooth and creamy.  Spoon over cooked vegetables or potatoes.

Reading List
1. How Not to Die- Dr. Greger
2. How Not to Diet- Dr. Greger
3. The China Study- T. Campbell
4. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease - Dr. Esselstyn
5. The Starch Solution - Dr. McDougall
6. Reversing Diabetes- Dr. Neal Barnard
7. The Pleasure Trap- Doug Lisle

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars -Oil-free

oatmeal breakfast bars

If you are looking for something tasty and healthy, these oatmeal breakfast bars are a quick and easy, grab and go breakfast or snack that you can make for your kids or yourself. 

They are hearty and filling. Made using all whole food ingredients, these sugar-free and oil-free bars are gluten free, high in fiber, provide antioxidants, and are sweet and delicious. To me, they taste like a muffin!

Seed, Seeds, Kernel, Nut, Nuts
I sometimes add nuts or seeds to the recipe

They are also very versatile and adapt well to additions such as seeds and nuts (pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds etc.) or even more dried fruit such a raisins. You decide and you choose. I sometimes like to keep mine simple and plain without any additions but sometimes I like it all!

Muesli, Granola Bars, Cereals, Nuts, Chocolate

I've shared my basic recipe and you can add whatever nuts, dried fruits, or seed that you like. 

My favorite addition to the finished batter before baking is 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup of additional raisins to the  Then I pour the batterf into the pan to bake. 

My friend Nancy Andres from Colors 4 Health reminded me to mention oats or oatmeal need to be certified gluten-free to be considered_gluten-free- Read about it here:gluten free oats
Read the remainder of this post only if you want to know more about my diet and oil-free eating or just skip and go directly to the recipe at the bottom of the page . 
Why oil-free? I'm following Dr. McDougall's lifestyle plan which excludes oil  because it is a highly caloric, contains zero fiber ( which is essential to good health) and very few, if any, nutrients. In other words- empty BIG calories. (Yes, I know olive oil is supposed to be good for you-)  

There are healthier ways to include good fats in the diet such as eating the whole food such as avocados, nuts, olives, and seeds which do contain lots of heart healthy fiber, vitamins, and lots of other nutrients. 

I am very happy eating whole food plant-based diet ( based on the book The Starch Solution or Dr. Mc Dougalls diet for weight loss
Incidentally, many best selling authors (who are also medical doctors) suggest an oil-free diet such as Dr. Fuhrman and some of the  18 doctors ( link to a great article) 

18 Vegan Doctors Who Drive the Plant-Based Movement

recommend a Whole Foods Plant-Based diet to reverse or prevent heart disease and other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other degenerative diseases.  You want to listen to cardiologists, internists, diabetic specialists or do you want to keep getting your information about food from television commercials and magazine ads?

One more piece of information- the more sugar and salt you eat in your food, the less likely you are to enjoy whole food because salt and sugar are addicting. You will continue to crave highly processed foods that are making Americans fat and sick... 


Ingredients for the bars.
2 cups of rolled oats blended in the blender into flour (in a blender)
1 cup of rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of cardamom (optional but I LOVE it)
1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds 
1/2 cup of raisins, soaked for at least 1 hour or more, and drained
1/2 cup (about 6 dates) of pitted dates, soaked overnight or minimum of 1 hour or more, and drained
1 ripe banana
1 cup of almond milk
Optional: seeds, walnuts, 
I like to add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup of raisins!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch non-stick baking pan with parchment paper. 
Mix oat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and ground flax seeds to a mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside. Blend drained raisins, dates, and almond milk to the blender and mix until well blended. Mix the wet blender mixture into the dry mixture. Pour into an 8 inch lined pan and bake for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven.                                            

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lentil Loaf- oil-free

lentil loaf

As we speak, my vegan lentil loaf is in the oven.

I have been wanting to find a good vegan meatloaf recipe for a few years. I could never find one that held together and that we liked. After all, a vegan meatloaf is a far stretch from the real thing. This recipe held together and sliced beautifully. 

lentil loaf
My lentil loaf after I removed it from a square pan

I found a recipe on a wonderful whole food plant-based blog called Nutmeg Notebook- authored by Tami. 

Her recipes are oil-free and mostly gluten-free-says Tami. I was really impressed with her site and am going to explore more of her delicious looking recipes. 

Although I'm cooking oil free, remember that oil-free does not necessarily mean fat-free. Oil-free recipes may still use good fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds. 

 I wanted to the lentil loaf recipe precisely, but I did not have all the ingredients- so I improvised with what I had on hand and also aligned with our personal taste preferences. 

Chana, Pulses, Daal, Food, Lentils

We liked it. Did I love it?  I'm not sure what I was expecting. I guess I thought it would taste like meatloaf (which I have not tasted in over 42 years because I have been eating a vegetarian diet) 
My lentil loaf was sort of creamy in the middle (but good). I sliced it and crisped it up in my air fryer- we loved that. 

Paper Bag, Bag, Lunch Bag, Brown
It will be a perfect item to pack if I need to bring my lunch anywhere. It holds together great. I will probably take it for a long road trip we are taking in a few weeks. 

I froze packets of slices to use in the future. 

Since I made so many substitutions, I'm not sure how Tami's recipe would have turned out. 

I might have liked it somewhat dryer but I can't fault her recipe since I made multiple substitutions. 

For example: 
I used salsa instead of tomato paste 
I used amino acids instead of balsamic vinegar (I'm allergic) 
I dislike nutritional yeast, so I omitted it. 
I didn't make the date glaze, I just used ketchup. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats- oil-free

Breakfast, Oatmeal, Raspberry, Bun, Food

There is nothing like a steaming bowl of hot creamy oatmeal for breakfast- and steel cut oats are both delicious and nourishing.

I love the Instant Pot for making oatmeal. 
steel cut oats
I buy these steel cut oats (link for Amazon purchase)

I used to cook instant or rolled oats because they cook faster than steel cut oats. However, now that I use an Instant Pot (pressure cooker), making the highly nutritious steel cut oats is a snap. 

Raspberries, Fruits, Berries, Fruit, Red

Oatmeal can be classified by the way it is cut and processed. 
Oats are naturally gluten-free -HOWEVER- I always buy certified gluten-free oats BECAUSE oats can cross-contaminate when growing near wheat fields AND they can become contaminated in the factory if processed near wheat products. 

  1.  Steel cut oats- the least processed, the highest protein and fiber count which is 5 grams of fiber and a full 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving. Amazing!
  2.  Rolled oats- close to steel cut oats in nourishment but digests more quickly and many cause blood sugar to rise more quickly than steel cut oats.
  3.  Instant oats - the most heavily processed and most likely to raise blood sugar levels, especially if it contains sugar which many of the instant oat packages do. 
Breakfast, Oatmeal, Walnuts, Blueberries
I love wild blueberries and walnut topping 

Oatmeal can be enjoyed topped with berries ( I use frozen), flax seeds, chia seeds, chopped nuts, nut milk etc. - anything that you enjoy. 

Flax Seed, Shotgun, Teaspoon, Cereals  
Recipe for basic steel cut oats   steel cut oats  (Amazon link)

Ingredients : 
2 cups of steel cut oats ( I use GF oats)
4 cups of water

Directions for the Instant Pot 
Place oats, water, and salt in the Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook for 4 minutes. When done, allow steam to release naturally for 12 minutes. Release any remaining steam if there is any, open lid, stir and enjoy with additions of your choice. 

Since my husband does not eat breakfast, I am the only one eating the oatmeal. Therefore, I place the oatmeal in a mason jar and I eat some each day. It usually lasts for about 4 days. I simply heat up the amount I like each day. 

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