December 31, 2013

German Chocolate Cake Oatmeal

I think my husband's most favorite dessert if probably German Chocolate Cake. His mom makes an über-rich version for every holiday meal and he eats it like a fiend! My M-I-L's original recipe calls for about 7 egg yolks, a cup of evaporated milk, and about a cup of butter. It tastes pretty amazing but I can only eat about 1/10th of what Tony consumes because it is so rich. So, I've often wondered if anyone had come up with a vegan or whole-food-plant-based version of it and sure enough .. someone had :) !! I found the recipe today!! What better day to use it than New Year's Eve, and my 2-Year Plantiversary? I'd say that faint anticipatory smile on his face as he takes his first bite says it all! He's a happy camper :) 

Adapted from: The Oatmeal Artist - German Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

Prep Time: 25 min (with premade topping)

Ingredients (Serves 1, double for 2):
  1. 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned (Rolled) Oats
  2. 1/2 cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond)
  3. 1 tbsp Agave (or sweetener of choice)
  4. 1 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa
  5. 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  6. 1 pinch of Sea Salt
  7. 1 tsp Brown Sugar 
  8. 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  9. 2 tsp Coconut Pecan Butter (for topping, premade, and brought to room temperature)
  10. 1 tsp Shredded Coconut (for garnish, optional)
  11. 1 tbsp Crushed Pecans (for garnish, optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (oats, cocoa, baking powder, brown sugar, salt) and in a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients (non-dairy milk, sweetener of choice, vanilla extract). Mix both well. Transfer the dry ingredients to a greased ramekin, or an oven-safe bowl. I used a quick spray of Pam on the bowl and then wiped any excess off with a kitchen towel. Slowly pour the wet ingredients over the top of the dry mixture. Use a fork to make sure that any flakes of oatmeal that are still floating get soaked well. I didn't mix at this stage because I wanted to make sure that I didn't disturb the grease around the sides of the bowl. Bake uncovered for 20-22 min. Remove from oven and let sit for a couple of minutes, then carefully invert the bowl onto a serving plate and let sit for another 4-5 min. This will allow the oatmeal to cleanly transfer to the serving plate, in the shape of the baking bowl itself. Gently top off the oats with about 2 tsp of Coconut Pecan butter (I used the original recipe, see link in ingredients above, to a tee) allowing the steam from the oatmeal to soften it. This stuff is rich .. like really really rich, so don't be greedy like me! Once it softens and starts glistening, sprinkle some coconut flakes and crushed pecans on top. Serve warm! Enjoy!


My Assessment: This oatmeal is a great way to enjoy an otherwise über-rich guilt-laden dessert. By no means is this dish low-fat (thanks to the coconut pecan butter used for the topping) but it is definitely based on whole plant-based ingredients and is far better for you than the original recipe. LOVED another recipe from The Oatmeal Artist. Tony confirmed that the topping tasted just like the omni version his mom makes and I think it would work great as a filling and topping for a vegan chocolate cake as well (i.e. to make an actual German Chocolate Cake). Score!!!!! 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving, with topping): Calories 498 (Fat Calories 252)
Total Fat 28.1 g; Carbohydrates 56.7 g; Fiber 11.3 g; Sugars 19.4 g; Protein 9.6 g

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving, w/o topping): Calories 276 (Fat Calories 56)
Total Fat 6.3 g; Carbohydrates 50.7 g; Fiber 7.8 g; Sugars 18.3 g; Protein 7.1 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

December 29, 2013

Mexican 7-Layer Dip

We were at the store a couple days ago for a mid-week grocery supplement trip when Tony picked up a container of 'ready to eat' Mexican dip from the deli-fresh section. I looked at it and it had more cheese and sour cream than any of the other whole ingredients and offered to make a whole foods-plant-based version at home. I mean, really, how hard could it be? So away we went .. picked up all of our ingredients and a bag of baked tortilla chips and we had the best lunch ever ... yep! we're those people! We at chips and dip for lunch! :)


Prep Time: <10 min

Ingredients (Serves 6):

  1. 1 x 16 oz can of La Preferida Fat Free Refried Black Beans 
  2. 1 x 8 oz bag of Shredded Lettuce (about 2 cups)
  3. 1 Medium White onion, finely diced
  4. 2 Medium Tomatoes, finely diced
  5. 1 x 4 oz can of Ortega Fire-Roasted Diced Green Chilies
  6. 1/2 x 3.8 oz can of Early California Sliced California Ripe Olives
  7. 0.5 cup Pace Restaurant Style Salsa
  8. 1 tbsp Ortega Taco Seasoning (to taste). 

Directions: 
I used black beans for this recipe because that's what we like to eat more than regular refried beans. Feel free to use a can of regular beans instead. The brand I used (La Preferida) has only cooked black beans, water, salt, and onion and garlic powder. I made sure also that the green chilies and olives are preserved in water, and not oil. Once all the ingredients are ready, start layering a bowl with the ingredients starting with half the lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, onions, black olives, green chilies, salsa, with sprinkles of taco seasoning between each layer. Finally top off with the remainder of the lettuce and add a few extra olives, and a sprinkle of taco seasoning, as a garnish. Refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes before serving. The longer the ingredients sit together, the better the flavors blend together. Serve with baked tortilla chips for an awesome experience. 


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 108 (Fat Calories 14)
Total Fat 1.6 g; Carbohydrates 20.4 g; Fiber 5.4 g; Sugars 3.9 g; Protein 6.7 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Pomegranate & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

During one of many trips to India, before my dad passed on, he introduced Tony to Pomegranates. It was love at first bite for him. Ever since then, every time he sees it at the store, and he has some spare cash, he picks one up. They're expensive here in the US and I always thought they're more work than they're worth ;) but Tony is willing to do the work to get all the seeds out, so I'm willing to eat them!! Fun fact: did you know that pomegranate seeds are called 'arils'? 



Prep Time: <5 min 

Ingredients: See recipe link above. 


Directions:
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix oats, chia seeds, almond milk and salt together and cook on high for 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl once in the middle of this time to mix well. Once oats are done, remove carefully from microwave, mix vanilla extract, pomegranate arils and chocolate chips and transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!! 


My Assessment: I really really liked this recipe by The Oatmeal Artist. In fact, I don't think I've tried a single one of her recipes and not loved it. She's got a knack for oatmeal :) !!! The combination of pomegranate and chocolate was like eating cherries with chocolate, but the crunchiness of the arils made it similar to eating a nutty chocolate bar!! Loved it!! 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 331 (Fat Calories 95)
Total Fat 10.6 g; Carbohydrates 54.9 g; Fiber 8.8 g; Sugars 20.7 g; Protein 8.3 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

December 14, 2013

Kale Pad Thai

This recipe is to die for!!! Absolutely!!! This uses a spicier version of Happy Herbivore's Cheater Pad Thai Sauce. It was inspired this evening by a craving for Pad Thai and the need to use 2 bunches of kale in my refrigerator. I seriously ate 2 huge plates full!!  


Prep Time: ~20 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 4 cups of raw kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  2. 1 x 14oz block of extra firm tofu
  3. 1/4 cup Raw Peanuts
  4. 1 Serving of Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce
    • 2 tbsp warm water
    • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
    • 2 tbsp "Naturally More" Smooth Peanut Butter with flax seed
    • 1 tbsp "Huy Fong" Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp "Huy Fong" Sriracha Chili Sauce 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Pat-dry tofu using a paper towel and cut into small bite-sized pieces (less than 1" squares). Place tofu pieces on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat mat, making sure each piece has room around it. I left the tofu in the oven for 20 min, without turning or disturbing it at all. The beauty of the Silpat silicone mat is that it prevents sticking 100%. Line a large stock pot with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat with medium low, add kale and peanuts, a slight sprinkle of salt, and cover. Let kale and peanuts steam in this pot for the next 5-10 minutes checking occasionally to ensure that there is still some water in the pot to prevent burning. Separately, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. The warm water helps melt the peanut butter which allows it to blend with the rest of the ingredients. Once the kale and tofu are done, toss everything together, and serve warm. 


This isn't a low-fat salad (it has almost 13 g/serving), but it is definitely a whole foods-based salad. All the fat is coming from natural peanut butter, peanuts and some from the tofu. All in all, it's much better to eat this somewhat rich salad rather than to drizzle your greens with olive oil, even if its EVOO.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 234 (Fat Calories 114)
Total Fat 12.7 g; Carbohydrates 13.7 g; Fiber 4.5 g; Sugars 1.3 g; Protein 17.6 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Mushroom, Chickpea Noodle Soup

This soup came about with a vague recollection of Happy Herbivore Chickpea Noodle Soup when I didn't have access to her recipe (or the internet at that moment). Turns out my recipe is nothing like Lindsay's with the exception that we both used Chickpeas, Noodles and Mushrooms. Here's my adaptation. Since the idea was inspired by the original recipe, I'm still crediting Lindsay Nixon here. I also accidentally managed to delete all my pictures :( so there are no pictures today. 

Adapted from: Happy Herbivore Chickpea Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 15 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 1 x 15oz Can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  2. 3 oz dry Spaghetti
  3. 1 cup Grape tomatoes, halved
  4. 8 oz Cremini mushroom crowns, sliced
  5. 1 small white onion, diced (or 2 tbsp dried Onion flakes)
  6. 1 tbsp Better than Boullion - Vegetable Base
  7. 6-8 cups Water or Home-made Vegetable Broth 
  8. 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  9. 2 tsp dried Parsley
  10. 1 tsp Rubbed Sage
  11. Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Directions:
Put everything in a pot and simmer until spaghetti is soft. Taste test for salt, enjoy!!! For as simple as this recipe is, even my omnivore step-kids loved it!! Sorry I don't have pictures today :(

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 175 (Fat Calories 17)
Total Fat 1.9 g; Carbohydrates 31.0 g; Fiber 4.7 g; Sugars 5.2 g; Protein 9.1 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

December 3, 2013

Chickpea Hash

As part of a whole-foods lifestyle, it is my attempt to reduce our overall consumption of processed grains and grain products, especially white rice and white pastas. My husband is not a big fan of brown rice. He loves barley and bulgur but the mention of brown rice usually elicits a long face ;-) !!! So I'm always looking for different ways of substituting white rice in my recipes. Today, as I was getting ready to prepare dinner, I decided to switch white rice with potatoes. My initial thought was to just serve my chickpea recipe over steamed potatoes, but then I decided to try something different. And the result was actually phenomenal. Tony has 2 bowls full :) despite his initial reservations.  


Prep Time: 20-25 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 2 x 15oz cans Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  2. 1 Small Red Onion
  3. 4 Medium Roma Tomatoes
  4. 4-5 Small Russet Potatoes
  5. 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  6. 2 tsp Onion Powder
  7. 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  8. 1 tsp fresh diced or freeze-dried Basil
  9. 1 tsp Paprika, to taste
  10. 2 cups Water or Home-made Vegetable Broth 
  11. Salt and Pepper, to taste
Directions:
Dice onion and 2 tomatoes and set aside. Puree the remaining 2 tomatoes in a blender until smooth and set aside. Peel potatoes and shred to match stick fries or hash brown thickness using a food processor or julienne using a mandolin slicer (about 2 cups). I used a mandolin today as I already had it out for the baked chips I made earlier. Set aside until ready to use. Line a heavy pot with water and add onions. Saute on medium-high heat until onions are translucent and add tomatoes and garlic and onion powders and saute until almost all the water has evaporated and the tomatoes take on a deep red color from the caramelizing sugars. Add a splash of water and add hash potatoes. Toss well making sure that the potatoes don't stick to the bottom or burn. Once well mixed, add 2 cups of water or broth, and add chickpeas. Add remaining seasonings, mix well, cover and simmer on low for 10 min, or until potatoes are fork tender. As the potatoes cook, they'll release some of their starches and make the broth rich and creamy and starchy. Garnish with fresh basil and freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy! 

My Assessment: This was a great way to sub out rice or even pasta in this dish. Loved the starchy feel of the potato and the shredded/julienned potato almost had a pasta like consistency in this dish. Tony loved it and so did I. :)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 271 (Fat Calories 17)
Total Fat 1.9 g; Carbohydrates 55.3 g; Fiber 16.2 g; Sugars 5.7 g; Protein 13.4 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Baked Taco Chips

I'm fast approaching my 2-Year Plantiversary!!! Yay for me!! Even after all this while, I still occasionally crave the crunch of a bag of potato chips. Since I've reduced processed foods to an absolute minimum, greasy potato chips out of a bag are pretty much a no-no. I decided to try making some home-made potato chip today to see if they would satisfy that itch!!


Prep Time: 20-25 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 3 small russet potatoes (about 1 cup)
  2. 1 tsp Onion powder
  3. 1 tsp Garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp Taco Seasoning
  5. Salt, to taste 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Thinly slice the potatoes using a food processor or a mandolin slicer. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe any excess oil off, leaving behind only a thin glossy layer all over the sheet. Toss potato slices with all spices (save the salt for later, if needed) and then spread in a single layer (some overlap is okay) on the greased cookie sheet. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and crispy with an occasional shake of the sheet every few minutes. Mine were nice and golden in about 17 min. Remove the sheet from oven and let stand for a few minutes before transferring to a serving plate! Enjoy!


My Assessment: Loved these. Even my 4y old loved these chips and was a tad disappointed when mommy and daddy finished their share ;)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 31 (Fat Calories 1)
Total Fat 0.1 g; Carbohydrates 7.0 g; Fiber 1.0 g; Sugars 0.9 g; Protein 0.8 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

November 18, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oven Roasting is the easiest most delicious way to eat Brussels Sprouts! This post and recipe was partially inspired by Thug Kitchen's recent recipe - Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa and Cranberries. The inspiration ended with the oven temperature and the inspiration to eat some roasted Brussels sprouts :)! But seriously, if you haven't visited this website yet, do go on over for some rip-roaring laughs!! He's quite hilarious!! 


Prep Time: 20-25 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 2 cups fresh Brussels Sprouts
  2. 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp Soy
  4. Sea Salt, to taste
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.  Add Brussels Sprouts, balsamic and soy sauce to a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Close bag and toss everything well together. Let sit in the bag until oven is preheated. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use cooking spray). Spread sprouts in a single well-spaced layer on the cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 min, or until the exterior leaves start to get nicely caramelized and crispy. I like the sprouts to maintain some crunch so I roasted them whole. If you want them to wilt a little more, feel free to cut into halves or quarters (when cutting make sure each half has a little bit of the stem - this is necessary to prevent the leaves from falling apart!). 


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 25 (Fat Calories 1)
Total Fat 0.1 g; Carbohydrates 4.8 g; Fiber 1.7 g; Sugars 1.1 g; Protein 2.0 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

November 10, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Its fall! Its time for pumpkin everything! I already did a post on Pumpkin Spice Latte Oatmeal. If you're not much of a coffee fan, but love pumpkin, this recipe is for you :)


Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients (Serves 1):
  1. 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned (Rolled) Oats
  2. 1 cup Almond Milk (Unsweetened Vanilla) 
  3. 1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin puree
  4. 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  5. 1 tbsp Slivered Almonds
  6. 1 tsp Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
  7. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  8. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 tbsp Maple syrup (optional, to taste)

Directions:
Mix almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk), oats, Pumpkin puree, almonds and Chia seeds in a microwave safe bowl. I usually use a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Remove carefully. Add pumpkin pie spice* and vanilla extract (and maple syrup, to taste). Mix well. Transfer to a bowl, add another splash of milk, top off with pepitas and enjoy!!

*Pumpkin pie spice is basically a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. If you don't have the mix, feel free to use the individual spices to taste :)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 331 (Fat Calories 122)
Total Fat 13.5 g; Carbohydrates 45.1 g; Fiber 14.4 g; Sugars 4.6 g; Protein 11.8 g.


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

November 3, 2013

French Onion Soup

Someone posted a picture of a regular omnivore French Onion soup this morning. While I enjoyed the occasional bowl of French Onion Soup in restaurants before I went plant-based, that is an impossible idea these days because French Onion soups served in restaurants is almost always made with either beef broth, or chicken broth, or both. And most often, its loaded with Gruyere cheese. Since I'm interested really in consuming only onions and water (haha!), most restaurants, or even online recipes, don't cater to my tastes :) So I found a omnivore recipe and adapted it :) turned out great!!! 




Ingredients (Serves 4): 
  1. 1 large Red Onion, julienned (about 2 cups)
  2. 6 cups Water
  3. 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  4. 5 tbsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (Annie's) 
  5. 1 tbsp Miso (I used Barley Miso)
  6. 1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  7. 1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
  8. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  9. 8 half-inch rounds of plain baggette
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 . Line a heavy pot, like a dutch oven which you can move to the oven, with 1 cup of water and add 1 tbsp Garlic and julienned onion. Saute on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add a splash of water (about 1/2 cup if the onions look dry) and move the entire pot, with lid, to the preheated oven. Crack the lid just a tad to allow some steam to escape. This was a trick used by the Pioneer Woman that made it super easy to caramelize the onions slowly, to bring out their sweetness and color, without standing over the stove babysitting the onions. Leave the pot in the oven for about an hour. Remove the pot using heavy oven mitts. At this point, the onions should be caramelized to a deep golden brown. Transfer the pot to the stove on medium heat. In a bowl, whisk Worcestershire sauce, miso, vegetable base, Italian seasoning and 4 cups of water together and slowly add to the pot. Make sure that all the caramelized sugars on the sides of the pot are mixed in with the liquid. While the soup is finishing on the stove, line a cookie sheet with the baggette slices and toast (using the broiler setting) on medium heat until crispy and golden on both sides. Set aside to top off each bowl of soup.  Bring the soup to a boil, taste test for salt (remember the miso and Worcestershire sauce are both salty so don't add salt without tasting). To serve, ladle into serving bowls, top off with toasted baggettes, and freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!! 


My Assessment: My omni sister-in-law and step-son both had bowls of this soup today. I think it was a hit! I don't use any processed foods so I did not add any cheese. Feel free to top off with Daiya cheese if you like using it. If adding cheese, I'd return each serving bowl to the oven, under the broiler at a low setting for just a few minutes each to help melt the cheese before serving. Enjoy!!

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving*): Calories 50 (Fat Calories 3)
Total Fat 0.4 g; Carbohydrates 9.8 g; Fiber 1.4 g; Sugars 2.6 g; Protein 2.0 g

*Nutrition facts are provided without the toasted baggette rounds as calorie content can vary depending upon the source bakery.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

October 26, 2013

Caramelized Banana Oatmeal

I'm in love with Oatmeal. When I'm craving bad foods, I crave Chocolate Oatmeal. Which incidentally, last night I really really wanted to substitute my dinner with a large bowl of my Dark Chocolate Mudslide Oats. I'm generally not the kind of person who eats chocolate-based cereals or foods for breakfast - but today, for some reason, it was calling my name (maybe because I deprived myself last night!). This recipe was inspired by a post I saw from The Oatmeal Artist just yesterday - Fifty Toppings to Spruce Up any Porridge! She had a picture of a cup of oatmeal topped with Caramelized banana. While her recipe called for molasses, honey and orange juice, mine relies on the sweetness of the banana itself. 

Caramelized Banana Oats
Prep Time: 10-15 min

Ingredients (Serves 1):
  1. 0.5 cup Rolled (Old-Fashioned Oats)
  2. 1 cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
  3. 1/2 medium Banana
  4. 1 tbsp Flax Seed Meal
  5. 0.5 tbsp Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  6. 2 tbsp Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  7. 0.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
  8. 1-2 tsp Brown Sugar (for topping, optional)

Directions:
Slice banana in 2 halves lengthwise and crosswise. Place in an ungreased oven safe dish/plate and broil on HI for 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on the oven as the banana can go from caramelized to burnt really quickly. It will first start to wilt under the heat, and then slowly bubble on top before turning a lovely golden brown. While the banana is in the oven, mix oats, flax seed meal, peanut butter and half the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 3-5 minutes. Remove the bowl once in the middle of this time to mix well. Once oats are done, remove carefully from microwave, mix vanilla extract in and transfer to a serving dish. Once bananas are nice and golden, remove the dish from the oven and carefully transfer onto the oatmeal. Top off with a light sprinkle of brown sugar (optional) and remaining chocolate chips! Voila!!! 


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 426 (Fat Calories 129)
Total Fat 14.3 g; Carbohydrates 64.7 g; Fiber 11.7 g; Sugars 22.9 g; Protein 11.6 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

October 24, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower & Spinach Salad

This evening while driving home from work I knew I wanted to use that head of cauliflower in the fridge for dinner. After not cooking cauliflower because of some mistaken notion that it would stink up my house for many many years, I've come to really love the flavor, aroma and taste of simple Roasted Cauliflower. Cut up the florets, toss the cauliflower in a gallon bag with a splash of water and whatever spices you like, toss everything together and then spread it all out on a cookie sheet and broil on high for 10-12 minutes. Umm mmm good!! Here's my standard Roasted Cauliflower recipe. 

As I was dreaming of my roasted cauliflower .. I was also dreaming of my box of baby spinach and the awesome batch of homemade hummus I made the other night! I guess I was hungry :)!!! Soon after getting home, I found a recipe I knew I could adapt to my tastes and preferences (umm no oil!), use the ingredients I'd been dreaming about and have it turn out great!! 


Adapted from: Modern Family Cooking

Prep Time: 30 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 1 head of Cauliflower (any color, about 2 cups of florets)
  2. 1 x 15oz Canned Chickpeas, rinsed and 
  3. 4 Mini Cucumbers, sliced (about 1 cup)
  4. 1 Bell Pepper (any color, preferably Red or Orange), diced
  5. 1/2 cup Quinoa, pre-cooked in water and chilled. 
  6. 3 cups Baby Spinach
  7. 4 tbsp Homemade Hummus* (plain or roasted red pepper) (or more, to taste)
  8. 1/2 cup Cold Water
  9. 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  10. 3 drops of Liquid Smoke
  11. Salt and Pepper, to taste
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Whisk hummus, liquid smoke and 1/2 cup of iced water in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside. Transfer drained and rinsed chickpeas and cauliflower (cut into small bite-sized florets) into a gallon zip lock bag with nutritional yeast, freshly cracked black pepper and about a third of the thinned out hummus. Close bag and toss everything together until the cauliflower and chickpeas are well coated with the hummus. Transfer to a rimmed cookie sheet and broil on high for 10-12 minutes until the tips of the cauliflower start to caramelize and char. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix diced pepper, baby spinach. sliced cucumbers and quinoa and toss well with hands. Sprinkle liberally with freshly cracked black pepper. Once the cauliflower and chickpeas are ready, remove from oven and set aside for just a minute. Add remaining thinned out hummus to the bowl with greens and quinoa and toss well, top off with roasted veggies, toss and serve immediately. This salad makes 4 side-salad sized servings, or 2 large dinner-sized salad servings! Enjoy!

My Assessment: Tony wants me to make this for our Friendsgiving dinner which we celebrate a weekend after Thanksgiving every year. I guess in my head, hearing that from a self-proclaimed hummus-hater, this recipe is a hit!!! :)

Home-made Hummus*: Blend one can of chickpeas (rinsed & drained) with 1/2 to 2/3 cup water, 2 cloves of garlic, 1-2 tbsp Tahini (sesame seed butter, optional) and 2-3 tbsp lemon juice until smooth. Add more water, as needed to make a smooth paste. Store refrigerated for up to a week. 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 205 (Fat Calories 26)
Total Fat 2.9 g; Carbohydrates 37.0 g; Fiber 8.8 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 12.4 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

October 14, 2013

Mediterranean Chickpea Pilaf

Most of the regular visitors to my blog know that I love rice. I grew up eating it. Its a staple in my diet. While I am okay with almost any kind of rice and have actually come to prefer Brown Basmati rice, my dear husband is not a big fan of anything other than white rice. So often, when I'm making a rice-based entrée, I'll use White Basmati rice. My way-around, adding more fiber and lowering the starch content is to add lots of beans and lentils and vegetables to most dishes. 


Prep Time: 20-30 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 2 x 15 oz Cans of Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  2. 1 cup White Basmati Rice
  3. 1 x 10 oz Fresh Baby Spinach
  4. 2 cups water.
  5. 4-5 tbsp Tomato Paste
  6. 1 tsp Onion Powder
  7. 1 tsp Garlic powder
  8. 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  9. Salt & Pepper, to taste
  10. 1/3 cup Raisins (optional)
Directions:
Line a heavy lidded stock pot (preferably cast iron) with a half a cup of water and add tomato paste, spices and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Add baby spinach to the pot, reduce heat to medium low and cover for 5 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt. Mix well. The spinach will release its water and the mix at this point will look like a thick gravy. Add rice and raisins (optional), mix well and add 1.5 cups of tap water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover with lid, with just a slight gap (couple of millimeters) to allow some steam to escape. Cook for about 8-10 min until rice is bite-tender. At this point, cover the pot completely with its lid, turn off the stove and let the pot sit on the stove for about 10 more minutes. This will allow any residual bite in the rice to cook and will also allow any excess water to be absorbed by the rice. This step is a good one to follow for any rice based dishes. This last 10 minutes makes for a fluffy pilaf. Serve garnished with freshly cracked black pepper. 


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 348 (Fat Calories 38)
Total Fat 4.2 g; Carbohydrates 69.7 g; Fiber 9.3 g; Sugars 3.5 g; Protein 13.9 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

October 13, 2013

Chunky Potato, Broccoli & Mushroom Soup

This afternoon, I had broccoli and mushrooms in the fridge that needed to be used soon. I have often oven roasted the two together and they make for a great side dish. Oven roasting caramelizes the tips of the broccoli and adds a certain smokiness to the vegetable. Umm Umm Good!! Today however, I was making an Artisan Bread as well and wanted to make something which I could eat with bread. And what's better to eat with bread than a soup. 


Prep Time: 30-40 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  1. 2 cups Broccoli florets
  2. 1 Red onion, chopped 
  3. 6 Large Cremini mushrooms
  4. 3-4 Medium Redskin Potatoes, diced
  5. 6 cups of Home-made Vegetable Broth
  6. 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  7. 2 tsp Dried Parsley
  8. 2 tsp Dried Basil
  9. 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  10. 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
  11. Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions:
Mix all ingredients with the exception of salt, pepper, liquid smoke and diced potatoes in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 min until onions and broccoli are tender and breaking apart. 


Using an immersion blender, puree everything until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer carefully into a jar blender and blend until smooth. Once pureed, add diced potatoes and salt to taste and simmer on low until potatoes are tender (~10-12 minutes). Add liquid smoke, taste test for salt, garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and serve with fresh bread!! 

My Assessment: This is my green version of a hearty potato soup. When I first made it, it tasted fine but was missing something and that's when I was reminded of my little bottle of magic :) Liquid Smoke. This soup cried out to be eaten after that ;)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 196 (Fat Calories 7)
Total Fat 0.8 g; Carbohydrates 41.8 g; Fiber 6.5 g; Sugars 3.8 g; Protein 8.3 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Onion, Garlic & Rosemary Artisan Loaf

I made yet another loaf of bread made this weekend. If you're wondering what the heck is wrong with this poor herbivore - don't worry! I'm not going crazy. I'm hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner this year and only want to impress everyone with my awesome bread making skills. Hence the weekly attempts to make something amazing :) !!! This week's recipe is a slight variation of a the Rosemary Garlic Artisan Loaf I tried a few weeks ago and this version was loved much more by the hubby! 

Onion, Garlic & Rosemary Artisan Loaf
Time Required: 20 min prep time, ~3.5 hours rise time, 45 min oven time.

Ingredients:
  1. 4 cups King Arthur's Bread flour (plus more for dusting)
  2. 1.5 cups (+ a couple extra tbsp) Water
  3. 1 Medium Red Onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  4. 2 tbsp Minced Rosemary (fresh)
  5. 2 tbsp Minced Garlic 
  6. 2 tsp Coarse Salt (Sea or Kosher)
  7. 2 tsp Black Pepper (freshly cracked)
  8. 2 tsp Dried Chives 
  9. 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
Directions:
Measure out the flour, yeast, salt, diced onions, chives minced garlic and rosemary in a bowl. I measure directly into my Cuisinart Stand Mixer. 

Add water and start mixing (I used the lowest speed setting #2) using the dough hook. As the water is incorporated, the dough should come together as a large ball. If there are crumbs still sticking to the sides after a couple of minutes, add more water in 1 tablespoon portions until everything is incorporated. Depending upon how fresh or old your flour is it may sometimes need just a tad extra water. Be patient. It is very easy to overdo the water and you will then need to add more flour. You will most likely not need to much. I needed just 3 additional tablespoons of water today. Mark the clock time and knead for 15 minutes.

Once you successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough, you can stop kneading (a piece of dough and be stretched out and it will become translucent, allowing light through like a window pane). This is how my dough looked after 15 minutes of kneading. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the dough to a well floured surface. I find a silicone baking mat works best for me. Lightly dust your fingers and the surface and shape the dough into a ball. I put the ball back into the Cuisinart bowl and set it aside to rise on the kitchen counter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for approximately 3 hours. If your house is cold as it can be in the fall, try the oven method I talked about in an earlier recipe). 


I allowed an approximately 3 hour rise time today. The dough expanded to about 3x its original size in this time. Start preheating the oven to 450° F. In my past attempts, I've actually preheated my cast iron dutch oven at the same time as the oven. However, several of the recipes I've come across do you preheat the dutch oven so I decided to try it without this time. I was however, worried about the dough sticking to the bottom of a cold dutch oven so I decided to cut out a round of parchment paper and use that to place my dough into the bowl. 


Remove dough from the bowl it is rising in and using lightly dusted fingers, shape it into a bowl. At this time be careful to not disturb the gluten fibers by kneading it too much. I placed the dough on my round piece of parchment paper and scored it once, straight across the top. Let the dough sit in the cold bowl for another 15 minutes or so. Once oven is ready, and the loaf has rested for 15 minutes, cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes at 450° F.


This is how my loaf looked after 30 min. Remove lid and set aside. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown.


Remove pot from oven. With the parchment paper, the loaf had no chance to stick to the pot at all. gently turn it over onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing into this awesome bread. Here are some pictures of the crumb


As you can see, there was a lot of rise and a lot of air. The rise held really well. The crust was a crunchy golden brown, but it was not so hard that I was scared to slice into it. 


On this slice of bread you can see the sprinkling of black pepper and the pieces of onion as well. Overall, this was an awesome loaf. According to Tony, this has been my best loaf so far (yes!). He wants this one on our Thanksgiving table. We'll see ... :)

Nutrition Facts (One Loaf): Calories 1853 (Fat Calories 13)
Total Fat 1.4 g; Carbohydrates 371 g; Fiber 22.3 g; Sugars 2.5 g; Protein 67.8 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Creamy Blueberry Yogurt Oats

I recently got my blood work done. Most of you probably already saw all the details on Facebook. After 2 years of being plant-based, I am finally in the awesome range with a cholesterol value under of 139 mg/dL. Based on the Framingham study, the risk of cardiac events in folks with total cholesterol below 150 mg/dL is essentially nonexistent. Yeah!! So what do I attribute this to? Along with giving up meat and dairy, I've added a large bowl of oatmeal to my daily routine. Because Oats are digested slowly, compared to commercially available sugary cereals, oats help maintain sugar levels stable, while providing a longer-lasting steady flow of energy. Unique to oats, are small antioxidant molecules called avenanthramides, which help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. See this article for more information (Oats and Avenanthramides). In the end, I'm not sure what helped get my numbers down, I'm just glad they are :) !!!

Creamy Blueberry Oats
Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  1. 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned (Rolled) Oats
  2. 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  3. 2/3 cup Frozen Blueberries
  4. 1 cup Non-Dairy Milk 
  5. 2-3 tbsp Non-Dairy Yogurt
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla extract
Directions:
Mix oats, non-dairy milk, chia seeds and 1/2 cup blueberries in a microwave save bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes. If you want, you can also soak them overnight for the same effect, or cook the oats on the stove-top. In the end you want the oats to be nice and soft, but not mushy or crunchy. Once ready, mix vanilla extract and sweetener (optional) of choice. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining blueberries and top off with non-dairy yogurt. I had Vanilla flavored Silk Soymilk yogurt at home today!! Mix well to incorporate the creaminess of the yogurt into the oats and enjoy!


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 350 (Fat Calories 102)
Total Fat 11.3 g; Carbohydrates 53.6 g; Fiber 12.8 g; Sugars 14.9 g; Protein 11.2 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

October 7, 2013

Squash Soup

This soup is a variation of HH Butternut Squash Soup only in that I've used 2 different kinds of squash instead of butternut squash which is what the original recipe calls for. It's a perfect low calorie and very delicious fall meal. You can eat huge bowls of it and never gain weight as it doesn't have a drop of fat in it. 



Prep Time: 20 min (with pre-roasted squash)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  1. 1 Medium Acorn Squash (~1 cup cooked flesh)
  2. 1 Medium Carnival Squash (~ 2 cups cooked flesh)
  3. 4 cups Water or Home-made Vegetable Broth
  4. 1-2 tsp Cumin Powder
  5. 1 tbsp Penzey's Curry Powder
  6. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  7. 2 tbsp Tofutti Cream Cheese (optional)
Directions:
I usually roast squash the day I buy them and often roast multiple different varieties at the same time. To roast, preheat oven to 375 ° F. Wash squash well and using a sharp knife and a steady hand slice each squash in half. Using a spoon, remove all seeds and strings from the hollow center set aside. Place each half, cut-side-down, on a cookie sheet or an oven safe baking dish and and bake for 45-60 minutes, until a pin inserted into the flesh glides in and out easily with minimal pressure. Some caramelization around the bottom is normal and will only add to the flavor of this soup.  A good sign is when the skin starts to sag or becomes much darker in color. Remove from oven, allow to cool and scoop out flesh into a tupperware container if saving for later. If making the soup immediately, transfer to a blender). I use a stick blender so I just transfer to my cooking pot. Once roasted, the flesh can be frozen until ready to use or stored refrigerated for 2-3 days.  To the pot, add vegetable broth and spices and blend using an immersion blender until smooth. Continue to gently heat on the stove over low heat, until bubbly. Add salt to taste and stir in some tofutti cream cheese to add a creamy texture (I don't always use this but for guests it adds that extra decadence). Serve hot with freshly cracked black pepper. Yum!


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 116 (Fat Calories 31)
Total Fat 3.5 g; Carbohydrates 20.4 g; Fiber 3.7 g; Sugars 4.1 g; Protein 3.2 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

October 6, 2013

Dark Chocolate Mudslide Oats

Last night Tony was craving chocolate. He's been doing so well with being plant-based recently. But he was really craving it bad and was on the brink of running out to the neighborhood gas station and picking up a pint of Rocky Road ice cream. Of course, I couldn't let that happen!! I promised I'd satisfy his chocolate craving, even while using Oats, which he just happens to despise unless they're in Chocolate Chip cookies. I searched the vegan blogs for various recipes and found one which didn't look quite as appetizing as I wanted it to be but I knew I could adapt very easily. 

Dark Chocolate Mudslide Oats

Prep Time: 5-7 min

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  1. 3/4 cup Rolled (Old-Fashioned Oats)
  2. 1.5 tbsp Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  3. 1 tbsp Flax Seed Meal
  4. 1 cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
  5. 2 tbsp Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  6. 1 pinch of Coarse Salt
  7. 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  8. 1 tbsp Molasses
  9. Maple Syrup (to taste)
  10. Dried Coconut Flakes (optional)
  11. Sliced/Slivered Almonds (optional)
Directions:
Mix Oats, cocoa, flax seed meal, non-dairy milk (I used almond milk!), salt, molasses in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for about 3-4 minutes until the mix is no longer runny but nice and creamy. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and mix in vanilla extract. Add more sweetener, if needed. I used Maple syrup but you can use whatever you like to use. The molasses do add a lot of color and sweetness so be sure to taste test. Mix well. Serve warm with chocolate chips sprinkled on top. On my bowl, I also sprinkled about a teaspoon of dried coconut flakes and another teaspoon of sliced almonds for some crunch!! Tony had his with only chocolate chips!

Dark Chocolate Mudslide Oats with my fixins :)
My Assessment: This was amazing. I knew Tony would never go for the original recipe. It was way to runny in the original pictures but I knew the flax seed meal would act like a binder (kind of like a flax egg) and result in a creamier texture. I also added more oats (1.5x) than the single serving the original recipe called for to make it even less runny. Overall, cooking the oats until the runniness is gone (4 min for my microwave) resulted in almost a fudgy pudding like texture. LOVED IT!!!

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 253 (Fat Calories 68)
Total Fat 7.5 g; Carbohydrates 41.8 g; Fiber 6.8 g; Sugars 14.4 g; Protein 6.5g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

September 28, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Another weekend, another bread. I decided I wanted to experiment with some whole-wheat flour today and experiment with my recipe from a couple of weekends ago. Today, Tony was in the mood for a Cinnamon Raisin Bread.


Time Required: 20 min prep time, ~2.0 hours rise time, 45 min oven time.

Ingredients:
  1. 3 and 1/3 cups All-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  2. 2/3 cup Whole-Wheat flour
  3. 1 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten
  4. 1.5 cups + a couple extra tbsp Water
  5. 1.5 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  6. 1/3 cup Raisins
  7. 2 tsp Coarse Salt (Sea or Kosher)
  8. 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
Directions:
Measure out both kinds of flour, gluten, yeast and salt into the bowl. I'm trying the gluten trick for the first time today. I read recently that VWG helps with the rise in WW bread by providing more gluten fibers. Get the yeast started by dissolving in a cup of tepid tap water (the water should be barely warm to touch) and set aside. In the next 5-10 minutes the water will be become cloudy and foamy (if it doesn't, discard and start with fresh yeast, and check the expiration date on your packet). 

Mix water/yeast mix with the flour in the bowl of a Cuisinart Stand Mixer to form the dough. The dough should come together as a large ball. If not, add water in 1 tablespoon portions until everything is well incorporated, but doesn't look too dry. Be patient with this step as it is easy to add too much and you will most likely not need to much. Today I needed 4 tablespoons of water to get to a nice wet, but not slippery consistency. Once you have everything incorporated, make note of the clock time and knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes. Once you successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough, you can stop kneading (when stretched out dough looks somewhat translucent - light goes through it like a windowpane). 

One ready, remove the dough onto a well floured surface. I used a silicone baking mat. Lightly dust your fingers and shape the dough into a ball. Keeping the seam side down, transfer to a bowl. I also tried another trick today, which used wax paper instead of putting the dough directly in a bowl to rise. The recommendation was that you can then transfer everything directly into the cooking vessel. This did not work for me at all.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for approximately 2-3 hours. If your house is cold, try the oven method I talked about in the last recipe). I only allowed around a 2 hour rise time today because the dough was ready to spill out of the bowl after 1 hour. After 2 hours, the surface of the dough was dotted with a lot of tiny bubbles and crevices. 

Preheat the oven and dutch oven (a 5.5 qt Round Le Creuset) to 450° F.  Remove dough from bowl and gently form into a round ball using the silicone mat and some flour for dusting. I did not score the loaf I made today.  For some odd reason, when I formed the ball this time, my down lost its rise and dropped to the same size it was prior to my 2 hour rise. I knew something was up :(! 

Remove preheated pot from the oven. Set lid aside. Do not grease the pot. Gently drop the dough into the pot, seam side down. Shake the pan a couple of times to help distribute the loaf, if necessary. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes at 450° F. 


After 30 min, remove the lid and set aside, and bake for another 15 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. Remove pot from oven, give it a good shake and the loaf should shake loose immediately. Gently remove the loaf from the pot and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Allow bread to cool completely before cutting into it.


The loaf today was a little lopsided :) !! The flavor was great. The raisins were moist and the cinnamon aromatic. I did get rise and a lot of alveoli (bread speak for air pockets) but it was still a pretty dense loaf! My whole-wheat loaf still needs work. 


Suggestions: If you were to make this loaf with 4 cups of All purpose or bread flour, it would be the perfect cinnamon raisin bread!! One your guests would rave about.

Nutrition Facts (One Loaf): Calories 1940 (Fat Calories 47)
Total Fat 5.2 g; Carbohydrates 414.6 g; Fiber 17.6 g; Sugars 30.0 g; Protein 53.5 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

September 22, 2013

Best Autumnal Casserole

I came across this recipe yesterday when it was posted by One Green Planet. I follow them on Facebook and they often share the most awesome looking recipes.  This one seemed so easy to make (read painless) that I knew I had to try it. I would have made it yesterday except we didn't go grocery shopping until this morning and I had nothing at home except the spices I needed. The reason I say this recipe was painless is because even though it takes an hour or more to get to the table, your total effort is probably less than 15 minutes. Also, my adapted version is made with completely whole, minimally -processed, ingredients (I sub'd Tofurkey sausage with canned pinto beans) and used no butter or oil. 

The Best Fall Casserole
Adapted from: One Green Planet - The Best Fall Casserole

Prep Time: 15 min + ~1 hour in the oven

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 1.5 lb Red Potatoes (cleaned, diced into large chunks)
  2. 1 lb bag of Crinkle-Cut carrots
  3. 1 Large Green Bell pepper
  4. 1/2 Large Yellow onion
  5. 1/2 Large Red Onion
  6. 1 tsp powdered garlic
  7. 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  8. 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  9. 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  10. 1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
  11. 1/4 tsp dried Parsley
  12. 1 3/4 cups Home-made Vegetable broth
  13. 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  14. 1 cup Canned Beans (I used Pinto)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F. Meanwhile cut red onion into large chunks and line the bottom of a heavy baking pot with the onion. Next, add a layer of crinkle cut carrots and top off with large chunks of white onions.


Wash thoroughly with a vegetable brush, remove any dirt-filled eyes, and cut potatoes into large bite-sized chunks. I did not peel the potatoes as I prefer to leave the extra nutrients and fiber in my veggies. Add potatoes as your fourth layer and top off with chunks of green bell pepper. 


Finally, on top, add a layer of beans. I used pinto beans today but I think any kind of bean would work well in this casserole. Feel free to use red kidney beans or even any variety of white beans. The purpose is basically to add a source of complex carbohydrates and protein. In a small bowl, mix all the spices with the vegetable broth and balsamic vinegar, and pour over the veggies in your baking dish. Cover, and place the entire pot in the oven for about an hour. Check to make sure that the potatoes are tender and it's done. Turn off oven and let sit until ready to serve. 


I made this casserole this afternoon in my Le Creuset and simply turned off the oven before we left the house to go for a hike. I knew the Le Creuset would hold the heat and cook any hint of crispness out of the potatoes and also keep our dinner warm for when we got home. We hiked for almost 2 hours and drove about 30 minutes each way. This is how this casserole looked when we all got home. The house was filled with the aroma of the oregano and parsley and we were all starving. I made some Texas toast for the kiddos, reheated my pot on the stove and we enjoyed this hearty meal. It was an awesome meal to come home to after a good day in the woods! 


Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 256 (Fat Calories 7)
Total Fat 0.8 g; Carbohydrates 54.6 g; Fiber 11.0 g; Sugars 10.6 g; Protein 8.3 g


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!