Monday, February 22, 2021

Book Review: Spicy Plant-Based Cookbook

The Spicy Plant-Based Cookbook

Recently, I was given a copy of The Spicy Plant-Based Cookbook by the publisher to consider for a review. After a quick look through the cookbook, I decided to review it because the recipes really appealed to me. 

What I Like About the Cookbook: 
The Spicy Plant-Based Cookbook, by Adams Media, offers a diverse collection of over 200 recipes including snacks, dips, salsas, sauces, salads, soups, sides, desserts, drinks, and main dishes- all spicy!  The ingredients are fresh, healthy, vegan, easy to make, and use whole real foods from plant sources.

International Flair
The recipes have an international flair drawing from Mexican, Indian, Korean Middle Eastern, and other interesting cuisines whose recipes tend to be spicy.

As a plant-based vegan eater, I find that I am always looking or sauces and salsas to perk up simple vegetables and salads. This book offers an interesting and varied selection to choose from. 

Jalapeno, Pepper, Spicy, Green

Easily adaptable for hot, medium, or mild. 
Although "hot" and "spicy" are the theme of the recipes in the book, I found I could easily tone down to recipes to accommodate my less hot and spicy taste - but still enjoy the delicious recipes. Whether you are a "hot and spicy" lover or prefer a mildly spiced recipe, the recipes in this cookbook are adaptable.

There were many recipes that I wanted to try, but I decided to make  mango citrus salsa which was delicious. I know I will be going back to make other recipes such as Moroccan root vegetables, General Tso's Tofu, Sweet and Spicy Peanut Noodles, Easy Peanut Sauce, Cumin Potatoes, Korean Style Hot Pot, Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili, etc. 

Tomatoes, Vegetables, Red, Ripe, Raw

Of course for those of us who are gluten-free, it would be important to adapt recipes to meet gluten-free standards. Use gluten-free soy sauce in recipes that call for soy sauce and be careful about grains such as substituting quinoa for recipes that use couscous However, many of the recipes do meet gluten-free standards.

It's definitely a cookbook that could teach you how to incorporate more real "spice" into your cooking and help you go from bland to exciting.

Exotic, Food, Fresh, Fruit, Healthy

The Mango Citrus Salsa which was easy and delicious. I'm really happy to have this cookbook, and I highly recommend it. 
It's available on Amazon and it's worth having a copy. 

1 medium mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 medium tangerines, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1/2 red onion, peeled and minced
1/2 medium jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine ingredients. Gently toss to mix well. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Store any leftover salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Excerpted from The Spicy Plant-Based Cookbook by Adams Media. Copyright © 2021 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Broccoli Leek Soup -Vegan

If you are yearning for a satisfying soup, you won't be disappointed with this creamy broccoli leek soup with hints of fresh ginger. 
Regular readers of my blog know I love healthy soups that are easy to prepare and quick to cook. 

Leek, Vegetables, Raw, Food, Healthy

With mainly leeks, broccoli, and potato, this vegan soup is creamy, light, and delicious. 

Broccoli, Vegetables, Cabbage, Eat

I seasoned it with fresh ginger, ground turmeric, and Trader Joe's Vegan Chicken-less seasoning salt

                                                      Trader Joe's Vegan Chicken-less Seasoning Salt

It was my first time trying this Trader Joe's seasoning, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I ordinarily would have used vegetable broth, but I ran out. I knew that substituting plain water instead of broth would yield a weak tasting soup. 

Vegetables, Pot, Cooking, Ingredients

It was too late to make my own vegetable broth or run to the store to buy some vegetable broth, so I started searching for what else I had in the cabinet. When I saw the vegan chicken-less seasoning salt, I thought it might do the job and it did! It saved the day and my soup! 
If you prefer not to use salt, use miso. 

broccoli and leek soup, vegan, gluten free

I used a tablespoon of seasoning and 5.5 cups of water instead of 6 cups of vegetable broth. 

Vegan Chicken-Less Seasoning salt is labeled vegan and kosher. It contains sea salt, onion powder, turmeric and garlic powder. I guess I could have made my own seasoning mix, but I had no idea that this combination would work so well and taste like broth in soup. It's a good addition to add to the spice cabinet. 

Let's look at the healthy benefits in this delicious green soup! 

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable which contains antioxidants and compounds that may protect against cancer. Low in fat, carbs, and calories, but high in nutrients. It's also alkalizing.

Leeks are high in Vitamin A and contains an antioxidant that protects from free radicals that do damage in the body. Also contains zeaaxanthin and lutein which are excellent for the eyes. Leeks contain significant amounts of iron and B-vitamins and are anti-inflammatory. 

Potatoes get a bad rap but they are anti-inflammatory and contain L-tryptophan which helps relax the body. There is a book called Potatoes Not Prozac that explains how eating a potatoes could relax you. 

Ginger has been appreciated for its culinary and medicinal properties  for hundreds of years. It contains gingerol which is anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants. It is often used to help digestion, nausea, and upset stomaches. Some studies indicate that it may help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

Turmeric is a bright orange spice that is extremely anti-inflammatory and contains powerful compounds that might help fight disease. It also may help the liver detoxify to work more efficiently. Some studies indicate it may help protect memory. 

Author of the blog: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time Instant Pot: 18 minutes + 5 minutes warm up time
Cook Time Stove Top: 22-25 minutes
Serves: 6 cups or 3 bowls

Olive oil to very lightly coat the soup pt to sauté or use water for an oil-free version.
3 leeks, cleaned and sliced (use the white and softer green part)
1 head of broccoli florets
1 large russet potato, cleaned and chopped
1 teaspoon of turmeric 
3 slices of fresh ginger 
1 heaping tablespoon of Trader Joe's Vegan Chicken-less Seasoning Salt or 1 tablespoon of miso 
Cracked pepper to taste
6 cups of water (divided)

Instant Pot Directions: 
Add a small amount of oil or oil spray and leeks to the bottom of the Instant Pot insert liner. Press sauté and sautee the leek slices, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add broccoli florets and potato and continue to sauté for anther 5 minutes adding 1/2 cup of water if needed. Add turmeric, ginger, cracked black pepper, Trader Joe's seasoning and remaining water. Cancel the sauté function, secure lid, close steam valve, and set to pressure cook for 8 minutes. When done, release steam according to manufacturers directions. When all steam is released, use an immersion blender to blend soup until creamy. 

Stove Top Directions:
Add a small amount of oil or oil spray and leeks to the bottom of a soup pot. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add broccoli florets and potato and continue to sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add 1/2 cup of water if needed. Add turmeric, ginger, cracked pepper, Trader Joe's seasoning and remaining water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low heat. Cook covered until all vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes). Turn off heat and with an immersion blender, blend until creamy.

Shared on Souper Sunday at Deb's Kahakai Kitchen 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Anti-Inflammatory Salad With Tahini Dressing

anti-inflammatory salad

This colorful anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense salad is not only delicious, it also contains ingredients known to help reduce inflammation in the body.

Are you concerned about inflammation? 
If you are not, maybe you should be. 

Did you know thainflammation is the number one predictor of heart disease (which can be a silent killer) and plays a key role in aggravating and contributing to many other diseases. 

anti- inflammation salad

There is also a direct link between weight gain and inflammation. In addition, inflammation may cause aches and pains in the body. 

What Causes inflammation? 
Everyone gets inflammation, but it depends how acute and chronic it becomes to whether how dangerous it is. Inflammation is our body's defense for infection, injury, or disease. 

Continuous exposure to inflammation may cause symptoms such as body pain, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, acid reflux, or diarrhea,  prone to infections, and weight gain.

Which foods are inflammatory? 
 Some foods that may cause inflammation are 
  • trans fats- hydrogenated oils, margarine, and processed foods that use trans fat . 
  • fast food - food from fast food restaurant where vegetable oils, margarine, high sugar, and refined carbs are used.
  • sugar-all cookies, cakes, candy, etc, 
  • refined carbohydrates- white bread, white rice, anything from sugar and white flours. 
  • processed meat - bologna, salami, pastrami, lunch meats, etc.
  • alcohol
  • vegetable oils-corn oil, safflower, sunflower, soy oil or any oil that is high in Omega 6- which is in most processed food.

Which foods help relieve inflammation ? 

Did you know that some foods may actually help reduce inflammation.We are looking antioxidant rich foods that are protective and restorative to cellular health.
  • Vegetables- such as celery, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato etc.
  • Fruit- such as apples, pears, citrus, 
  • Berries- especially blueberries
  • Turmeric- A wonderful spice to reduce inlfammation  
  • Coconut oil- excellent antioxidants to reduce inflammation
  • Ginger-helps soothe digestion and inflammation
  • Foods high in calcium- I choose plant-based foods such as spinach, kale, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, figs, and tofu.
  • Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts

Sweet Potato, Potatoes, Nutrition, Food

What do you think? Does it make you hungry? 

3 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup of kale, chopped
2 cups of chopped red cabbage
2 cups of sliced celery
2 cups of chopped cucumber
1 cup of sliced scallions
1 cup of parsley, chopped
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1 and half cups of chickpeas
2 cups of cooked and cubed sweet potato (or butternut squash), seasoned with za'atar

Mix all the ingredients in a large salad bowl.  Serve and top with Tahini dressing or homemade dressing of your choice.

Tahini dressing:
1/3 cup of tahini paste
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon of cumin 

Mix together and use as a dressing

Shared on Souper Sunday at Deb's Kahakai Kitchen 


Monday, February 8, 2021

Apple Berry Cream Parfait- Vegan


I love when I surprise myself with a spectacular dessert made from whatever ingredients I have in my kitchen. No, I had no recipe and yes I used whatever I had. I took the individually made dessert parfaits out on the pool deck (I live in Florida) to share with friends and everyone love it.

I had Apples, blueberries, walnuts, and oatmeal which I used to make a vegan and parve parfait that is tasty enough to serve for dessert but can be made healthy enough to also eat for breakfast.  

WHAAAT?? you say. 

Sunset, Beach, Silhouettes, Jump

I had too many apples and realized that I needed to try to use them up. I was originally thinking about making an apple crisp but my idea sort of morphed into this delicious dessert that would also eat as an overnight oatmeal.

Apple, Apples, Slices, Sliced, Chopped

I did not want to add sugar, so I pondered about how to make the filling somewhat sweet. I decided that pure maple syrup would work. 

My husband buys little fruit flavored crystals to add to water to make a fruit flavored drink. The packets are very flavorful and contain, lemon, lemon oil, cane sugar, stevia, natural flavor and vegetable juice for color.  Are they healthy or unhealthy? I'm kind of neutral on the decision. 

The packets do contain a tad of sugar but have only 10 calories per packet, so there is not even a teaspoon of sugar in a full packet. I used 1 packet to make 8 individual parfaits.  

 You could substitute maple syrup especially for breakfast.
After all how many people eat pancakes with sweet syrup. 

Maple, Syrup, Food, Delicious, Tasty

I'll let you choose. I've adapted the recipe so you can choose your sweetener of choice. If maple syrup seems healthier to you, then substitute maple syrup for the little packet of naturally flavored sweetener. DONE!

I used the packet. It was bursting with fruit flavor, very low in sugar, and worked perfectly. I served it as dessert. If I want it as breakfast, I will use maple syrup or no sweetener at all. 

gluten free parfait

4 cups of chopped or sliced organic apples with skin
1.5 cups of water 
2 tablespoons of non-GMO cornstarch dissolved in 1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 packet of True Lemon or 1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger 
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of nut creamer divided between 8 parfaits

2 cups of gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce 
Mix together applesauce into the oats to moisten and set aside.

Mix corn starch and 1 cup of warm water and set aside. Add chopped apple and 1.5 water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer. Add corn starch mixture and stir well. Add lemon juice and continue to stir. When mixture begins to thicken, the True Lemon flavored packet, cinnamon, ginger, and walnuts. 

Put a teaspoon of topping on the bottom of a glass. Add some filling, some topping and end with filling. 

Pour 1tablespoon or more of nut creamer over each dessert. 

Enjoy this delightful apple berry cream parfait that is easy to make and extremely tasty. It's made with fresh fruit, nuts. oatmeal, and almond cream

1. I get the box of packets on Amazon or at my local supermarket. Beware that they have an energy version as well which contains caffeine from green tea.

2.  This is a vegan dessert. I use the BetterHalf  creamer which is made from coconut cream and almond milk. It is certified vegan, gluten-free, kosher, nonGMO and has 15 calories for 2 Tablespoons and tastes creamy and delicious. I get it at Whole Foods or some local supermarkets in the refrigerator case. 

3. The True Lemon Packets are kosher, gluten-free, and non GMO.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Japanese Umami Soup With Kale- oil-free

Japanese Unami Soup

It's officially soup season in some parts of the world,  and this Japanese Umami soup with kale is officially a winner in my opinion.

Japanese soups are light and broth-like. 
This Japanese style soup is a simple comfort soup made from common root vegetables and tender winter greens. 

Root vegetables are defined as any vegetables that grow underground. In this case I used carrots, onions, and garlic.  Combined with some baby bok choy and some curly winter kale, this delicious soup offers excellent taste and excellent  nutrition. I happened to have a zucchini in the fridge so I sliced it up as well. 

Chopsticks, Bowl, Bamboo, Cuisine, Asian

                                                                 Trader Joe's Mushroom and Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend 2.1 Ounces
Japanese soups often contain a fish broth called Dashi. My vegan version contains Umami seasoning (a dried mushroom flavored blend) that I get at Trader Joe's in the spice aisle. Umami means "savory taste" in Japanese. The spice adds a really pleasant taste to the soup.

Vegetables, Food, Carrots, Onions

A Real Comfort Soup
This is one of those soups that makes you say "ah" the minute you swallow your first spoonful. It is soothing and calming and just hits the spot! It would be a perfect vegan substitute for Jewish Chicken Soup.

The greens are tender, the carrots are sweet, and the flavor of the broth is comforting. It can be prepped in 10 minutes and pressure cooked in the Instant Pot in just 2 minutes or 20 minutes on the stove top.

Flower Sprout, Vegetable, Brussel Sprout

Kale and most other greens are the ultimate alkalizer and are loaded with valuable antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are so important to a strong immune system. 

The Importance of Alkaline Foods
During the pandemic, I've being try to stay as green as possible and make sure that our meals contain lots of health giving green alkaline vegetables that contain lots of antioxidants.

Soup with Kale

Keeping our bodies alkaline is key to warding off disease
They say that disease can't live in an alkaline environment. So why not eat as many alkaline greens as you can for a natural immune boost! 

1/4 cup of vegetable broth for sautéing
2 cups of sliced onion (half-moons)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 cups of sliced carrot
1 cup of sliced zucchini 
2 small baby bok choys, chopped in bite-size pieces
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of Umami (Japanese mushroom spice blend)
3 cups of chopped kale
Optional: 1 cup of heated cubed tofu or Shirataki noodles

Lightly coat or spray the bottom of an Instant Pot insert liner with oil. Add onions and sautee stirring for 4 minutes. Add garlic, carrot, zucchini, and bok choy, stir and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add broth, water, spices and kale. Cancel sauté function, secure lid, close steam valve, and set to pressure cook for 2 minutes. When done, immediately release steam manually according to the manufacturer's instructions. When all steam is released, remove lid and serve. 

Shared on Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen

Shared on Weekend Cooking at The Intrepid Reader and Baker

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. The information in this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Always consult your medical doctor before making any changes in your diet or if you need medical advice.