Green Machine Rice Noodle Bowl

Scott wanted pasta. I did not. The result was this dish. 

Every Sunday, while I make our weekly grocery list, I ask Scott what he wants for dinners throughout the week. He throws out a few ideas and I usually agree and start thinking about what ingredients we need. This past Sunday he suggested pasta. We had gone out to an Italian restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary (we celebrated 3 years on August 17th!) the night before and I think I was still stuffed to the brim from all the eggplant parm I ate. I was craving something light and fresh for dinner on Sunday...not heavy pasta. 

Sometimes when I am really stuck in a rut, I start thumbing through the cookbooks that are stacked in our kitchen. There is something so nice about flipping through actual pages and not scrolling down a screen with your finger. Side note: I think I am starting to go blind from straining my eyes because I may or may not be guilty of looking up too much stuff on my phone. Man...that statement makes me sound like such a millennial. But for real, after almost 30 years glasses-free, I think I need to schedule an appointment with the eye doc.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway - I was flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, Plenty More, and I came across a gorgeous veggie rice noodle dish. If you are familiar with Plenty and Plenty More cookbooks, you know how stunning the photos are. Every recipe sucks me in! But the rice noodle dish really stuck out to me. It looked like the perfect balance of comforting noodles and bright, fresh green veggies. I had to make a variation. 

And guess what? It was an absolute winner! I love this dish because it is so light and refreshing. The light sauce and bright citrus really make the ingredients pop. You know when you eat something that just tastes so fresh? That is exactly how this dish felt. 

Fresh. Vibrant. Delicious. 

Oh and hey, it's got some plant-based protein! This is the way I like to eat pasta. Light on the noodles, heavy on the veggies, extra plant protein.  

So thanks for suggesting pasta for dinner, Scott. I guess you do come up with good ideas every once in a while ;)

Green Machine Rice Noodle Bowl (V + GF)

Adapted from the recipe "Rice Noodles with Green Onions and Edamame" From Plenty More by Yotam Ottalenghi

| Serves 4 |

Ingredients: 

  • 8 oz dried wide rice noodles
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced 
  • 2 bundles of green onions (about 15-20 small ones), white and green parts, trimmed and cut into 1 inch diagonal slices
  • 2 cut broccoli florets 
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 Tbsp olive (or sesame oil)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large lime 
  • 2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime (for garnish)
  • Red pepper flakes (for garnish)
  • Crushed peanuts (optional for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles for about 5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well, rinse under hot water, and set aside with 1 tsp olive oil stirred through. Cover the noodles to keep warm and set aside. 
  2. In a large wok or saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and edamame and cook for about 5-7 minutes more, until the broccoli has softened slightly. 
  3. Turn the heat off, add the cooked noodles to the wok, then add the 1 Tbsp olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, sea salt, sesame seeds, and cilantro.
  4. Stir well and sprinkle with lime zest, red pepper flakes, and crushed peanuts (optional). 
  5. Enjoy! 

xoxo,

Lauren

Veggie Quinoa Stir-Fry with Savory Peanut Sauce

Well hi there! I'm coming out of my blogging hiatus to share a deeeeelicious recipe with you. Seriously...it's really good. I made it three weeks in a row (at the request of my husband), then had it as leftovers for lunch...multiple days during the week. It never got old. I guess that's when you know you have a good thing going. I'm actually craving it now as I type this and look at these pics. I should mention, I'm writing this post at 9:30am on a Sunday, so instead of craving pancakes or a cold berry smoothie, I'm craving this. Man, this dish really has a hold on me. I'm OK with that. And you will be too - I promise. 

This dish really encompasses everything I love about a recipe: a simple ingredient list, easy to make, incredibly nourishing, and even better as leftovers. I have used a different veggie combo every time I have made this dish, but the one I am sharing with you today is my favorite. The cool thing about this recipe is that you can use it as a basic guideline. Cooked quinoa + veggie mixture of your choice + savory peanut sauce. You really can't go wrong. 

I'll admit, sometimes quinoa can seem boring. Actually, let me back up. I LOVE quinoa. L-O-V-E. Even though I have a strong affinity for this ancient grain, I am not blinded by the fact that it can seem a bit boring on it's own. Dry quinoa made with boring old water and used as a side on your dinner plate....BORING. Quinoa cooked with seasoned veggie broth, incredibly flavorful veggies, and a delicious sauce. NOT boring. In fact, more like a party in your mouth. 

If you have been following along with my blog and recipes over the years, you know that I love a good peanut sauce. I have shared a few recipes, like this one, and this one in the past and tend to make some variation of a peanut sauce most weeks to serve as a dipping sauce or topping to roasted veggies. I typically need to refrain from just eating the peanut sauce straight up with a spoon (please tell me I'm not the only one who does this). 

This peanut sauce is little different than my usual sauce, only because I used what I had on hand when I originally made this dish. I typically make my sauce with garlic red Thai chili paste, but happened to be out. No problemo! I had already sauteed garlic in the veggie mixture and just added a little Sriracha to the sauce mixture instead. Bingo

Aside from the fact that I am literally obsessed with this sauce, I also love how veggified this dish is. This recipe makes a very large quantity. You can thank the veggies for that! The veggies add a ton of bulk which makes this dish super high in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidant phytochemicals. I mean...just look at all those colors! I talk to my clients a LOT about the fact that not all calories are created equal. Plant foods, especially vegetables add a lot of volume, without the added calories. Plant foods are full of fiber, are higher in water content, and higher in nutrient density. That means you get more bang for your buck. The photo below from Forks Over Knives illustrates my point really well.

Don't you just want to dive right into a big plate of veggies?! 

The bottom line is this: the more veggies in your diet, the better. And what better way to eat a lot of nutrient-packed veggies than with (not boring) quinoa and peanut sauce? 

What are you waiting for....dig in!

Veggie Quinoa Stir-Fry with Savory Peanut Sauce 

|Makes ~8 cups|

Ingredients

For the Stir-Fry

  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 1 low sodium vegetable bouillon cube 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tsp fresh ginger root, finely diced (remove skin)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups broccoli florets 
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup edamame (I used thawed frozen) *Optional, but recommended for extra protein
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • Green onion, chopped, to taste for garnish

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Bragg's Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari)
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar 
  • 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1.5 Tbsp honey OR pure maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 small-medium lime
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce 

Instructions

  1. Place quinoa, water, and bouillon cube in a medium pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until quinoa is cooked (15-20 minutes). Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok (or large pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion. Sautee until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. Saute for another minute or until fragrant. Add pepper, celery, broccoli, and edamame. Sautee for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add chopped kale and saute for another 3 minutes. Turn off heat. 
  4. Whisk together sauce ingredients until smooth and well combined. 
  5. Add cooked quinoa and sauce to veggie mix, stirring to combine. Top with green onions and enjoy! 

Notes

*If you have a wok, use it! A large wok is the perfect size for this recipe but if you don't have one, use a large pot or pan instead. 

*Feel free to half this recipe for less, although we love to eat the leftovers for work lunches!

xoxo,

Lauren

Semi Homemade Plant-Based Pizza

Well hi there! It's me, Lauren...your long lost zucchini loving friend. It's been a few months since I have popped in to share a recipe (and say hi). If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably a little more in the loop with what I have been up to. Which let's be honest...still includes lots of smoothies, avocados, and house plants. I have been traveling a lot more lately so my weekends haven't been as free to create recipes and work on the blog. This little blog hiatus has been both good and bad. 

Good because it has taken the pressure off of feeling like I need to have a post up at least once a week. Good because I have been focusing on work and hanging out with my hubs, friends, and family. Good because I haven't been glued to my kitchen and on my computer during the weekends since that is my only time to work on blog stuff. 

Bad because I feel pressure that I need to have a post up at least once a week. Bad because I haven't been glued to my kitchen on the weekends. Bad because my creative juices just haven't been flowing as freely lately. There have been many days where I have a slight panicky feeling like CRAP....I need to make something for the blog. Silly, I know. But it is what it is. 

I have actually had this recipe ready to go since January. But hey, at least I'm posting it now, amirite?! I hope you can understand my little hiatus and open your (vegan) pizza loving hearts to welcome me back :) 

But you came here to talk about pizza....SO LET'S TALK PIZZA! 

I've had a hard core crush on pizza lately. We live within walking distance to a really delicious pizza place and I just don't seem to get sick of it (Harvest Pizzeria...I love you so hard). I think I could seriously eat it every day. But let's be honest, that might not be the smartest thing for my wallet or my waistline. Let me also just point out that I am the most annoying person ever when I order pizza. "I'd like the chopped salad, no meat, no cheese...oh and can half the greens be kale (I saw you had it on the menu)....and I'll take the veggie pizza, no cheese, extra veggies, definitely extra mushrooms, add arugula". Ugh...like how annoying am I?! Don't answer that. 

Scott traveled A LOT in January and February for work so I spent a lot of with my girlfriends. One night we decided to do a pizza night! All of us are "planty" eaters so we made the pizzas vegan. Vegan (aka cheese-less) pizza might sound like THE worst thing ever to you. Isn't cheese the best part of pizza?! No...it's not. Hear me out. 

There are 3 things that make a pizza really good. Crust, sauce, and fresh veggie toppings. My favorite pizza places do all of those exceptionally well and I wanted to do it just as well at home. 

This semi-homemade pizza = game changer. 

The crust, the basil pesto, the veggies...I DIE (insert heart eye emoji). I initially had intentions of making my own crust but I ran out of time and perused the frozen isle for dough. I tried this (new to me) dough which is wheat, gluten, and dairy free. I was a little nervous about how it would turn out. I mean...wheat, dairy, and gluten free? I was taking a chance with this one. But guess what - it turned out delicious! I have bought it many times since for pizza night. The other really awesome (new to me) find was this fresh basil pesto that happens to be vegan! HOLY YUM. I found both of these products at Whole Foods, but feel free to use whatever crust and pesto you want. Having said that, I strongly advise not skipping pesto. If you are doing a cheese-less pizza, the pesto is everything. It gives the pizza a huge flavor punch. Pesto in general is just a huge win. Side note: If you are looking to make your own pesto, check out my recipe for Vegan Basil Walnut Pesto!  

I hope you enjoy this pizza as much as I do! 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Pizza

|Makes one 9" pizza|

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen pizza dough (here is the brand I used)
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegan pesto + more for topping and to taste (about 5 Tbsp total)
  • 1/2- 1 cup cup vegetable marinara sauce
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 (8oz) package white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno (if desired)
  • 1 cup fresh arugula + more as desired
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

Instructions

  1. Thaw crust then roll out into a ~9" circle (or follow package instructions). 
  2. Spoon 2-3 Tbsp pesto into the crust. Then spread marinara sauce on top, blending together with the back of a spoon. 
  3. Chop veggies and arrange on top of pizza. 
  4. Top with additional pesto (optional but highly recommended!). I put multiple dollops all over. 
  5. Bake pizza according to package instructions (mine took about 15 minutes) or until golden brown. Top with fresh arugula and nutritional yeast. 
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

*Feel free to use whatever toppings you like. The more veggies, the better!

 

xoxo,

Lauren

 

 

 

Lemon Potato Leek Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts

Well folks, it is officially soup season (but honestly, when isn't it?!).  I don't know about you, but here in Columbus we have had some frigid temps this week (wind chills below zero...umm no thanks). These temps make me want to live in slippers and flannel with a blanket wrapped around me at all times. Preferably on my couch. With cookies baking in the oven. And hot chocolate. Lots of hot chocolate. 

The cold weather also makes me crave soup! My love affair with soup is so strong right now. I just want to cozy up to a big bowl of hot, nourishing, warming soup. And that's exactly what I have been doing.  

I made this soup last weekend and have been eating it every day since. It is incredibly comforting (hiiiiiii potatoes!) but also light and refreshing. This was my first time adding lemon zest to a soup and I'll be honest with you....it is life changing.

One of my brothers got me the cookbook Near & Far by Heidi Swanson for Christmas and it has quickly become one of my new favorite cookbooks. The recipe for this soup is very closely based off of her "Leek Soup" recipe. I only made a few small tweaks to mine. When I was browsing through her cookbook, the leek soup stood out largely because of the lemon zest. It really intrigued me. And for good reason. MAN, is it good! 

The broth is really the star of the show here. I love the combo of coconut milk and vegetable broth as the base and have used that combo often in other recipes. BUT THE LEMON ZEST. The zest takes it up like 3,487 notches. It provides just the right amount of brightness to this soup. 

The other show-stopper in this soup is the toasted hazelnuts. Do not skip the toasted hazelnuts. I repeat, DO NOT skip the toasted hazelnuts. Want to make your home smell like absolute heaven? Toast some hazelnuts. Adding the nuts to this soup is the icing on the cake. It is the perfect balance for such a light and bright soup. I'm thinking I should probably stop buying candles for our house and just make toasted nuts all the time. Just saying. 

OK - now go warm yourself up with a big bowl of this soup...what are you waiting for?!

 

Lemon Potato Leek Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts

Inspired and closely based off the "Leek Soup" recipe from the cookbook "Near & Far" by Heidi Swanson

|Serves 6-8|

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large leeks, chopped
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 (14 oz) can cannellini beans
  • 3 small - medium yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 small-medium cauliflower head)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • Chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, stir in the leeks and saute until the leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the lemon zest, wait another 2 minutes, then add the vegetable broth and water. Bring to a simmer. 
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, rice, beans, potatoes, and cauliflower. Bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked. 
  4. Meanwhile, place chopped hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 300 (F) for about 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown and toasty. 
  5. Serve soup topped with toasted hazelnuts, chives, and additional lemon zest (if desired) and enjoy!

Notes*

  • This soup makes a LOT. I have been packing it in my lunches everyday this week and have more than enough, but feel free to half the recipe for a smaller batch :)

xoxo,

Lauren

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo (Vegan)

RECIPE MAKEOVERS. They are my fav. I get a weird satisfaction out of making something that is traditionally "unhealthy" into something that's a fraction of the calories and (the not-so-good-for-you) fat while also loaded with plant-based nutrition. And still delicious. That's a MUST. 

I am not someone who counts my own calories at all - I care more about nutrient density...however, I am a Dietitian. And most of my clients come to me because they want to lose weight. And they want this weight loss to be a lifestyle change. And in order for it to be a lifestyle change, food needs to be enjoyable. So my job is to help them find realistic, healthy changes that (hopefully) become enjoyable habits. One of my favorite ways to do this is to take a client's favorite "unhealthy" foods and find a much healthier alternative. If you love fettuccine Alfredo, I want you to eat fettuccine Alfredo. But maybe we can make it better?? Maybe we can make a better version that doesn't leave you feeling like a bomb just went off in your belly. Maybe we can make a version that actually makes you feel good and gives you MORE energy?

Enter this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. You guys, this sauce is like liquid gold. When I first made it, I started eating it with a spoon...like a soup. Straight from my Vitamix. No Shame. I've talked about the magical wonders of cauliflower before, but folks, cauliflower reeeaallllyyy outdid itself this time. 

ALL the gold stars for you, cauliflower. 

I did a segment on our local morning show Good Day Columbus on Tuesday morning for their week long series "Recipe Rescue". The premise was to take a traditionally unhealthy entree from a chain restaurant and make a healthy but still delicious alternative. I chose to make a healthy version of Olive Garden's Fettuccine Alfredo. I have a client who loves Alfredo sauce so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try for a much healthier and more nutrient dense option. 

I must say, this recipe is a winner in my book. The sauce is literally packed with nutrition: cauliflower, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, almond milk, veggie broth, and simple spices. These are also ingredients that I tend to always have on hand. Aka...I will be making this sauce All. The. Time. #notmadaboutit.

You can use any pasta noodles you want for this dish. The first time I made it, I used whole grain spelt linguine and the second time I used whole wheat fussili noodles - both were delicious! Another important element to this dish is the sauteed veggies. I went with mushrooms, asparagus, and peas which were absolutely delicious, but feel free to use whatever veggies you want. The more the better! Adding vegetables to a pasta dish is a great way to eat more volume and consume less calories. One serving of this dish only has about 230 calories and 6 grams of fat (OH and 8 grams of fiber heyyoooooo!). A traditional creamy pasta dish from a restaurant can have upwards of 1,200 calories and 75 grams of fat. WHOA. If you want to take it up another "planty" notch, feel free to add some spiralized zucchini noodles.

In summary, this dish really checks off all the boxes: creamy, delicious, nourishing, and super veggified. Just the way I like it. 

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo (Vegan)

|Serves 4-6|

Ingredients

  • 5-6 heaping cups cauliflower florets (1 medium cauliflower)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 1 package of whole grain fettuccine pasta or pasta of choice
  • 1 (8 oz) package of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped (woody ends discarded)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

For Serving (optional)

  • Fresh minced parsley
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Add Cauliflower florets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil. Once boiling, cook for another 3-5 minutes until fork tender, then drain. 
  2. Meanwhile, add the oil into a skillet and saute the minced garlic over low hear for ~5 minutes until softened and fragrant, but not browned. 
  3. In a high speed blender, add the cauliflower, sauteed garlic, almond milk, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until very smooth. *May need to let it blend for a minute or so to get a very smooth consistency. 
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and cover to prevent drying. 
  5. In the same skillet you used for the garlic, add a touch of olive oil over medium high heat and add mushrooms. Saute mushrooms for 4-5 minutes until mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the asparagus and peas. Cover and cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. 
  6. Add cauliflower sauce and sauteed vegetables into the pot with the cooked noodles. 
  7. Serve with fresh minced parsley and red pepper flakes. 
  8. Enjoy!

xoxo,

Lauren