SUSHI RICE SALAD- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free

As much as I’m enjoying creating Project Light & Lean posts, I felt it was time for a good old recipe. I made this salad before the holidays for a potluck at work. I wasn’t planning on making a sushi salad, but I forgot to go to the grocery store after work and once I was in the house the last thing I wanted to do was go out again. I had to make something for the potluck with whatever I had in my fridge. I was pleasantly surprised when this is what I came up with. You can make the flavour in this dish as bold as you’d like. Since I was making it for others I kept the ginger down to 1/4 cup and the wasabi down to 1/2 tsp. When I make it for myself and my partner I use closer to 1/2 cup ginger and 1- 1 1/2 tsp wasabi.

Sushi Rice Salad

Sushi Rice Salad

All of the bright flavours of sushi without all of the complication of making a sushi roll!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup sushi rice
  • 2 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups julienned cucumber
  • 2 cups julienned carrot
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1/4 cup pickled ginger
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2- 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Bring 2 1/3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sushi rice and bring the water back to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer, covering and cooking until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft. This should take approximately 20 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking dissolve the coconut sugar into the rice vinegar.
  3. Once the rice is finished cooking, remove it from heat and stir in the rice vinegar mixture. Stir and let it cool uncovered while you prep the veggies.
  4. Julienne the carrots and cucumber and drain the thawed spinach very well. Set aside.
  5. Mix together gluten-free soy sauce, 2 tbsp water, sesame oil and wasabi paste until well combined. Set aside.
  6. Once the rice has cooled to room temperature and the rice vinegar mixture has been absorbed by the rice, stir in the carrots, cucumber, thawed and drained spinach, pickled ginger and diced avocado.
  7. Add the dressing and mix until combined. Top with sesame seeds. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge before serving.

Sushi Rice Salad

xoxo Erin

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UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Wellness WeekendAllergy-Free Wednesdays and Gluten-Free Fridays.

Top 10 Recipes & Goodbye 2013

Apparently it’s almost 2014. I don’t know how that happened. I swear it was JUST October! I guess time does fly when you’re having fun 🙂 When I sat down to write this post I started by making a list of things that have happened in 2013. It was after making the list that I realized why time has been flying; basically all of the things I wrote down have happened during the last half of the year. Now, this may very well speak to my memory or it may speak to my early year hibernation…but let’s be honest, it’s probably a combination of both.

So what was on the list I wrote? Here we go, things that happened in 2013:

  • I started to learn how to cook and bake without oil
  • I went on a road trip to North Carolina with my best friend
  • I visited Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland AND Estonia with my partner (first time to Europe!!!)
  • My partner and I got a puppy
  • I started a new and more challenging position at work (and I’m loving it)

And last but not least…

  • On December 13, 2013 my partner of 4.5 years asked me to marry him…AND I said yes…AHHH!!!

Basically 2013 has been a wonderful year and although I do not expect 2014 to be as exciting, I feel confident that it will be filled with what is important: the 3 F’s…family, friends and food 🙂 Speaking of food, here are your favourite Sift, Stir and Savour recipes from 2013:

Instant Triple Chocolate Brownie

Bite of Instant Triple Chocolate Brownie

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownie

brownie cut copy

Banoffee (Banana Toffee) Pie

Banoffee Pie

Instant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Instant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Peanut-Free Tagalong Cookie

Tagalong Cookies

Homemade Potato Chips

Homemade Potato Chips

Grain-Free Cinnamon Raisin “Oatmeal”

Grain-Free Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Not bad choices, if you ask me! Many of those recipes are also my favourites, but a few of my favourites were missing:

Erin's 2013 Favourites

Black Forest Grain-Free Porridge

Hazelnut Pear Custard Bars

Veggie Pad Sew Noodles

Apple Pecan Smoothie

Happy New Year everyone!

xoxo Erin

PORTOBELLO KALAMATA GRILLED “CHEESE” SANDWICH- Vegan & Gluten-Free

Sometimes I am overcome with a craving for a melty, cheesy sandwich. I don’t think I’m alone with this craving either. On a chilly weekend afternoon, who doesn’t want a gooey, melty, soul-hugging sandwich?

Portobello Kalamata Grilled Cheese

Now, don’t let the above photo fool you- that is the sandwich before it’s second grill. And yes, it’s the second grill that makes this sandwich outstanding. I first grilled the sandwich with just the non-dairy cheese. Once it was melted I pulled the sandwich apart, added the olives and sautéed mushrooms, added a little more non-dairy cheese and then put it back in the pan for more melty goodness. Well, now that I’ve told you how to make it, I guess I should give you the ingredients 🙂

Portobello Kalamata Grilled “Cheese” Sandwich

Hearty portobello mushroom slices, salty kalamata olives and melty non-dairy cheese make the ultimate comfort food sandwich. 

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces gluten-free bread
  • Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1/2 portobello mushroom, sliced
  • 4 pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp non-dairy cheese (I used Daiya)

Instructions:

  1. Add sliced portobello mushroom to a frying pan with a splash of water (to prevent sticking) and cook over medium heat until the mushroom slices release water and that water evaporates. This should take 5-7 minutes. Set mushrooms aside.
  2. Gently spread Earth Balance over one side of each piece of toast. Lay one piece of toast, Earth Balance side down, in a frying pan. Top with 1/2 the non-dairy cheese and place the other piece of toast, Earth Balance side up.
  3. Cook the sandwich over medium-low heat until the cheese begins to melt, flipping the sandwich after about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Once the non-dairy cheese begins to melt, pull the sandwich open and add the sautéed mushroom slices and sliced olives to one half of the sandwich. Add the rest of the non-dairy cheese on top of the veggies and close the sandwich with the other piece of bread.
  5. Place the sandwich back in the frying pan, cover with a pot lid and cook for 3-5 more minutes until all the non-dairy cheese melts.

Sandwich

xoxo Erin

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PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM STROGANOFF- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Oil-Free

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I like to cook. I find it relaxing and a great way to clear my mind. So making dinner for myself and my partner is a task I’ve purposely taken on myself. My partner is supportive and will try whatever I’ve made. He doesn’t always like it though, and even when he does like it he’s known to say things like “this would be perfect if it had a little meat in it” or “this would make a great side dish”. I just ignore these comments because I know it has more to do with his relationship with meat and dairy than it does with my cooking. But when I made this recipe for dinner one night he was silent…until he asked if there was any left for seconds. WHAT?!?! No comment?!?! Wanting seconds?!?! My mind exploded. And then I realized that the world wasn’t coming to an end, my recipe was just that darn tasty! So tasty that my meat-loving man didn’t even notice that there was no meat in it 🙂

Mushroom Stroganoff

Super Creamy Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

Whole grain rice pasta smothered in a rich and creamy mushroom sauce. 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegan & gluten-free worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 1/2 cups dry pasta (I used brown rice pasta)

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Do NOT rinse pasta after it’s cooked. This will rinse away the starch that the sauce will cling to.
  2. Meanwhile, add onion and portobello mushroom to a frying pan along with a splash of water or vegetable broth (to prevent sticking). Cook over medium-low heat until the mushrooms release their liquid and that liquid is evaporated. This should take about 7-10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together vegetable broth, coconut milk, worcestershire sauce and starch and add to the cooked down mushrooms.
  4. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, approximately 7-10 minutes.
  5. Pour sauce over cooked pasta, stir until pasta is covered and serve.
  6. Bake a treat out of THIS book for a healthy and delicious dessert.

xoxo Erin

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UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

QUINOA GARDEN SALAD- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Oil-Free

vegan month

I love salads. And I can eat a whole heck of a lot of salad too! Normally I would say this isn’t a big deal, but when I’m trying to pack a salad to bring to work for lunch it can become a problem…I never have a container big enough for all the salad I want to eat! In order to make my salad smaller but still satisfying I started adding quinoa to the mix. Quinoa is technically a seed but it’s used as a grain. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and yes, protein. Quinoa has all of the essential amino acids and is therefore considered a “complete protein”. The more I learn about protein, the more I realize it doesn’t matter if a food has all the amino acids or not. As long as you eat a wide enough variety of plant-based foods you’ll get all of the amino acids you need. With that said, quinoa is delicious and satisfying so I enjoy it and consider it a bonus that it’s got all the essential amino acids.

Quinoa Garden Salad

Oil-Free Quinoa Garden Salad

Raw crunchy veggies are paired with tahini smothered quinoa for a quick and satisfying salad. 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1  cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 english cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or other gluten-free soy sauce substitute)
  • sriracha, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.
  2. Stir the tahini, Braggs and sriracha into the cooked quinoa.
  3. Add the chopped veggies and mix the salad well.
  4. Enjoy right away or let chill in the fridge.

Quinoa Garden Salad

xoxo Erin

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 Eggplant Chickpea Salad

Eggplant and Chickpea Salad

5-MINUTE VEGGIE SPAGHETTI- Vegan, Grain-Free & Oil-Free

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I love quick and simple meals. After a long day of work it’s not unusual for me to arrive home with a growling belly and limited interest in spending more than 5 minutes in the kitchen. One of my go-to meals is oatmeal but I’ve noticed I have more energy at night if my dinner is loaded with veggies. And even though I do add veggies to my oatmeal sometimes, I’m definitely more likely to add fruit. Obviously I was in need of another go-to 5-minute dinner and boy does this recipe ever do the trick!

Zucchini Spaghetti

Raw zucchini noodles are what make this spaghetti so quick to throw together. Some people think that pasta is a quick dinner but boiling water takes far too long for my liking. This entire meal could actually be raw, but I prefer my broccoli gently steamed. In this recipe I also used jarred tomato sauce, but feel free to use homemade tomato sauce (raw or cooked, whatever you prefer).

So, what are zucchini noodles?

Making Zucchini Noodles

It’s raw zucchini that has been spiralled into noodle shape.  To do this I use this vegetable spiral slicer. I’ve only had it for a few months but so far I love it. It does a great job with little effort and is easy to clean. It also has suction cup legs, which adds to the ease of its use. You can spiral cut basically any veggie you want. I haven’t ventured out yet, but I’ve seen many recipes that call for spiral cutting carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and parsnips.

Healthy 5-Minute Veggie Spaghetti (with raw option)

Veggies, veggies and more veggies! This dish will fill you up and give you a boost of energy AND fibre!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium zucchini (a wider zucchini works best)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed or raw
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • tomato sauce (as much, or as little, as you’d like)

Instructions:

  1. Spiral cut zucchini and place in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add broccoli to bowl and then tomato sauce. Stir until the veggies are coated with sauce.
  3. Sprinkle with hemp seeds and nutritional yeast and dig in!

Yes, it’s that easy 🙂

Spaghetti

xoxo Erin

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BLUSHING BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE- Vegan, Grain-Free & Refined Sugar-Free

vegan month

Apparently puppies are exhausting and time consuming. Luckily I expected no less and made sure I had lots of frozen fruits on hand to make smoothies with. I love smoothies as a meal because they are super quick to make, can be a multitude of flavours and keep me full for hours. I find if I add too much fruit to my smoothies though I get hungry rather quickly, so I like to keep a nice balance between fruits and veggies in my smoothies. With that said, if you’re newer to fruit and veggie smoothies or just like them on the sweeter side, feel free to substitute a ripe banana for the avocado. That will definitely make this smoothie sweeter. You could also always throw in a date or two to sweeten it up, or add extra blueberries.

Blushing Blueberry Smoothie

Now let’s talk about two ingredients in this smoothie that might make you say “what is that?!?”…dried hisbiscus flowers and amla powder (a.k.a. Indian Goose Berry powder). I like to add both of these amazing foods to my smoothies because of their health benefits. Check out Dr. Greger’s video here about the power of amla powder and his video about dried hibiscus flower here. I buy both alma powder and dried hibiscus flowers from a health food store. A bag of amla powder may seem expensive, but it lasts a very long time so it’s definitely worth the money- especially when you consider all the health benefits!

Blushing Blueberry Smoothie

A meal-worthy smoothie that’s packed with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidant packed superfoods.  

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 small beet, peeled
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/4 avocado (or 1 ripe banana)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 tsp amla powder
  • 1- 2 cups water (depending how thick you like your smoothie)

Ingredients:

  1. Add all ingredients to a high power blender (I use my Vitamix).
  2. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

xoxo Erin

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EGGPLANT CHICKPEA SALAD- Vegan, Grain-Free & Oil-Free

It’s September and time for Vegan MoFO:

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Basically meaning my kitchen will be a delicious mess all month long as I try to post as much as I can. I’m aiming for 20, we’ll see how I do 🙂 Check out Vegan MoFo website for more information. Lots of bloggers have picked themes, so it should be a very mouth-watering month. I decided not to pick a theme. Since it’s my first time I think trying to post daily will be enough of a challenge for me! So let’s get this show on the road and let the recipes begin!

Eggplant Chickpea Salad

I never liked eggplant. It was the one vegetable I had a hard time getting down. Initially I just avoided it, but it’s beautiful colour kept drawing me in and making me wish I liked it. How pretty it would look in so many dishes with it’s deep purple hue! And then one day I ate it, liked it and had an epiphany. It wasn’t the flavour that turned me off, it was the difference in texture between the skin and the fleshy part. Fruits and vegetables generally hold lots of nutrients in their brightly coloured skin and eggplant is no different. But just because their skins have lots of nutrients, doesn’t mean the rest of the fruit or vegetable doesn’t have any. Therefore, eating eggplant without the skin will give you more nutrients than not eating eggplant at all. And that, my friends, is how I started to enjoy eggplant- by peeling it.

If you like eggplant or if the difference in texture between the skin and the flesh doesn’t bother you than feel free not to peel the eggplant in this recipe. Either way you’re eating eggplant and your body will thank you 🙂

Healthy Eggplant Chickpea Salad

This fresh and healthy salad is filled with fresh greens, vibrant eggplant, protein packed chickpeas and a creamy citrus dressing. 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium eggplant, sliced in half
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 8 cups greens (I used spinach)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp orange or lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp water

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place eggplant cut side up.
  2. Roast eggplant for 30-40 minutes, or until it is fork tender and set it aside.
  3. Steam broccoli and add them to a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas.
  4. Steam greens and add them to the bowl as well.
  5. Blend tahini, juice and water in a small blender (I used my Magic Bullet) and pour over the broccoli, chickpea and greens.
  6. The eggplant should be cool enough to handle by now so you can peel off the skin, if you so desire.
  7. Cut the eggplant into cubes and add it to the mixing bowl.
  8. Mix the salad so all veggies are covered. Feel free to double the salad dressing ingredients if you like your salads more dressed.
  9. Top with hemp seeds and serve.

Eggplant and Chickpea Salad

xoxo Erin

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UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Wellness Weekend.

LEMON BROCCOLI OATMEAL- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Oil-Free

I had the strangest co-occurring cravings the other day. Half of me wanted oatmeal and the other half wanted broccoli. Weird, I know. I never thought I would crave broccoli and oatmeal at the same time. But I did, so I created this:

Lemon Broccoli Oatmeal

A hearty bowl of oatmeal is made even more nutritious with the addition of a green veggie! Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C. It’s also got vitamin A, calcium, iron and don’t forget about the protein. Just 1 cup of broccoli has 3 grams of protein! Broccoli is basically your bodies best friend. No wonder I was craving it 🙂

Lemon Broccoli Oatmeal

Creamy tahini oatmeal that’s spotted with nutrient dense broccoli, drizzled with fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. 

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Add rolled oats and water to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, or until desired oatmeal consistancy is reached.
  2. Meanwhile, add broccoli florets to a frying pan with a splash of water. Saute over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the broccoli turns bright green. Drizzle lemon juice over broccoli.
  3. Stir tahini into the cooked oatmeal and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the cooked broccoli florets and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Crab a spoon and dig in 🙂

Lemon Broccoli Oatmeal

xoxo Erin

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UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Wellness Weekend.

TANGY NAPA CABBAGE SALAD- Vegan, Grain-Free & Oil-Free

Is there anything better than a big bowl of a cold and crispy salad on a hot summers day?

Napa Cabbage Salad

Okay, maybe a big bowl of this is better, but I can’t eat ice cream for every meal of the day! Actually, I probably could but I wouldn’t feel so great. I could eat this salad for every meal of the day and feel fantastic though! This salad is packed with veggies, drizzled with a protein packed dressing and sprinkled with calcium rich sesame seeds and zinc packed pumpkin seeds.

This salad is my new summer “go-to” salad. It’s easy to throw together, packed with nutrition, crispy, savoury and down-right delicious. My partner actually asks if I can make it for dinner now, I didn’t know he had the word “salad” in his vocabulary!

So what’s in this bowl of goodness?

Tangy Napa Cabbage Salad

Mild and crispy napa cabbage is paired with sweet veggies, crunchy seeds and a tangy protein packed dressing. 

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 md head of napa cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 1 lg carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or other gluten-free soy sauce subsitute)
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 2-4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl toss together sliced napa cabbage, shredded carrot and sliced red pepper.
  2. Add the tahini, rice vinegar, Braggs and sriracha into a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour dressing over the veggies and toss until well combined.
  4. Top with pumpkin and sesame seeds and serve.

Note: This salad is best if enjoyed the same day it’s made, however, you can still enjoy it the next day it just won’t be as crispy.

Napa Cabbage Salad

xoxo Erin

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Kale Protein Salad

UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Healthy Vegan Fridays and Allergy Free Wednesdays.