Posts tagged ‘vegan. grain free’

Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash

Weeknight dinners can be a chore when you’re in a time-crunch, especially if you’re hungry and ready to eat. While the idea of meal planning is fantastic and I try to schedule out meals for the work-week, yet sometimes I “live on the edge”….or that’s what I tell myself when I’m forced to wing it and try to whip up something different with ingredients I have on hand.

Thus, this chorizo ragu was born. Quick, simple and tasty…yay for spontaneous dinners! Plus, add some bonus points since you can make this ahead; the leftovers are deeeelicious! If you prefer to prep meals on the weekend to get a jumpstart to your busy week, this dish might be on your next to-make list. If you want a filling grain-free meal packed with veggies and nutrition, give this one a go as well :)

Slightly spicy and loaded with smoky flavor from the cumin and paprika, this Mexican-inspired ragu packed with protein, fiber, veggies to keep you full AND satisfied. The squeeze of fresh lime really makes the spices and flavors pop and brightens the dish so I’d advise not the leave that out :)

If you don’t have spaghetti squash, serve this ragu over fresh greens for a spin on a warm taco salad or even your favorite cooked grain (like quinoa or brown rice) for a burrito bowl type meal. I had a little bit of the ragu leftover and served it over a baked sweet potato for lunch…YUM. Yep, I’ll be doing that again soon!

Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded
2/3 lb gluten free chorizo (can use chicken chorizo or vegetarian chorizo)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, minced OR several shakes of ground cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want added heat)
1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked black or pinto beans
2-4 cups of spinach or swiss chard, collards or kale, de-stemmed, deveined and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
squeeze of fresh lime
sea salt and pepper to taste

Garnish/serving ideas
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese, optional (omit for vegan and/or dairy free)

fresh cilantro for serving, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle olive oil over squash and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until tender, roughly 30-35 minutes based on size. Once cooked, let cool slightly then scrape with a fork to create strands and set aside for serving.

2. While squash cooks, prepare the “ragu”. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add chorizo and onion. If using a really lean chorizo or a vegetarian substitute, saute in 1 Tbsp of oil. Saute until cooked through and no longer pink and lightly browned.

3. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and jalapeno or red pepper (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.

4. Add bell pepper, tomato and beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Toss in spinach/greens and cook another minute or two until wilted.

5. Add cilantro the the skillet along with fresh squeezed lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Serve ragu over cooked spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with grated cheese, diced avocado and/or additional cilantro if desired and enjoy!

Serves 4

Timesaver: You can cook the spaghetti squash a couple of days ahead or the night before to speed up prep time. Just reheat in the oven or in the skillet.

April 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

Creamy “Zoodles” with Chicken and Broccoli

I purchased a Spiralizer a year ago, and wow has that little tool come in handy! Apple “noodles”, super-quick sweet potato fries and spiralized zucchini are just a few of my favorites. For some, zucchini noodles and spiralized ingredients might be old news but if this concept is new, I encourage you to give them a go. Plus, it’s fun…and who couldn’t use some extra fun?!

I continue to be amazed at the versatility of zucchini: what an incredible veggie. You can use zucchini noodles aka “zoodles” as a grain-free or light pasta replacement OR you can bulk up your pasta dishes so you can have half zoodles and half noodles…that way you can load up on veggies and still have your pasta without a carb-induced coma :) I’ve pureed zucchini for a bean-free hummus, used grated zucchini in a sweet quick bread and added it to smoothies to thicken and add some veg without affecting flavor.

avocado chicken broccoli zoodles 1

Since Spring has sprung, lighter dishes have been on the menu. This dish is quick, crazy easy and packed with fresh and bright flavor! Plus, you can make it vegan by swapping out the chicken for an extra roasted veggie (think roasted marinated portabella mushrooms or roasted asparagus..mmmm). The creamy avocado sauce adds a punch of flavor from the fresh basil, garlic and bright lime or lemon juice, and the roasted broccoli lends a nutty flavor to this meal. This dish is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber and nutrition and can be served as a power lunch or dinner…and if you manage to have leftovers, those are tasty right from the fridge :) avocado chicken broccoli zoodles 2

Creamy Zoodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Vegan Option, Vegetarian Option, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Nut-free 

Ingredients

3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large or two small chicken breast, cooked & cubed* (For vegan/vegetarian option, use 2 cups sauteed mushrooms and/or roasted asparagus)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small avocado 1 large avocado, pit removed and rough diced (will be pureed)
handful of fresh basil, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup) or cilantro
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced or 1 lemon, juiced (roughly 2 Tbsp or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp water or as needed

Optional garnish/serving ideas
hemp seed or pinenuts or slivered almonds (if adding nuts, will not be nut-free)
fresh basil, chiffonade
slices of fresh lemon or lime

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease with olive oil. Add broccoli florets to the pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is tender and lightly browned.

2. While broccoli is cooking, prepare the avocado lime sauce. Add avocado, lime/lemon juice, basil, minced garlic, salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and pureed until smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce as needed.

3. If you prefer a less crunchy and softer zucchini noodle, either steam or saute the noodles for a couple minutes until your desired texture.

4. Add chicken, broccoli and zucchini noodles to a mixing bowl or pot. Pour/spoon the avocado sauce over the ingredients and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and lime/lemon juice.

5. Divide into serving dishes and top with more basil, pinenuts/hemp seeds/almonds if desired and serve!

*I baked two small chicken breasts simply seasoned with lemon pepper, salt and olive oil at 350F for 20 minutes. I let them cool off and then cut into bite-size pieces. You could also use 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken for a super quick lunch or dinner tossed with a little lemon.

**If you prefer to steam your broccoli, that’s ok too. I enjoy the depth of flavor from roasting them.

Serves approximately 3-4 people

avocado chicken broccoli zoodles bite

April 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

Thai Pumpkin Soup (SRC)

It’s no secret that I have a devotion to all things pumpkin and winter squash. My posts for Kabocha Squash Lovin‘, Butternut and Apple Crumble and Sausage Pumpkin Pizza are just scratching the surface of my affinity….while you’re at it, just add sweet potato to the list…I am shocked I’m not bright orange by now!

thai pumpkin soup2

I’ve been craving (and making) all kinds of soup this Fall…I seriously need to start taking some photos and sharing some of these one-pot creations. I thought I’d kick off my Fall soup repertoire with this Thai Pumpkin Soup that I lightly adapted from Lynsey Lou’s beautiful blog! I was assigned Lynsey’s blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club and I had a crazy-fun yet difficult time deciding what to make. Her Toasted Coconut Cake with Walnuts and Cranberries made me want to lick my computer screen, and I loved the flavor combination in her Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pecan Salsa. Hmmm…besides pumpkin, apparently the nut and cranberry combo is also on the brain?!

I made a few minimal changes to Lynsey’s recipe based on what I had on hand — I substituted leek for the onion and included two extra carrots (woohoo for a small veggie boost). I used coconut oil in lieu of olive oil and sprinkled a bit of black lava salt on top for a Halloween-ish look. The cilantro garnish is completely optional, it’s more for the contrast of colors :) I did add in the coconut milk from a can, but for photo purposes, I left those out…the soup was thick and the lite coconut milk I had looked watery and funky but it tasted delish! This soup was SO tasty – hot or cold! I even ate it chilled one day for lunch sprinkled with roasted spicy pepitas. When Lynsey mentioned this was a “must-make this Fall”, she was absolutely correct!
thai pumpkin soup1

Thai Pumpkin Soup (lightly adapted from Lynsey Lou’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Soy-free, Nut-free

Ingredients

2 Celery stalks, chopped
1-3 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion or 1 leek, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 Pounds fresh pumpkin, skin removed and cubed (about 6 cups…I had about 7 cups total)
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp ground curry
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2-1 Tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Liter (about 4 1/4 cups) vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer, but this isn’t vegetarian)
Cream or coconut cream, optional
Black lava salt (or other salt to taste)
a few cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

Directions

1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion/leek, and carrot and let sit for 7 mintues, or until just starting to get soft, stir as needed.

2. Stir in curry paste, ground curry, garam masala, and cayenne making a paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add cubed pumpkin and fresh ginger. Cover vegetables with stock and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft.

3. Process with a food processor or an immersion blender, being very careful not to burn yourself. This process may also be done using a regular blender, but be very careful and do small batches.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle cream or coconut cream on top if using, garnish with salt and cilantro (optional) and serve immediately. Enjoy :)

thai pumpkin soup
For other recipes in this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

October 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm 10 comments

Chayote with Coconut/Thoran (SRC)

I am currently (food) obsessed with two things:

1. All things Indian food, particularly curry
2. Everything and anything that be “spiralized” (I use this tool) – such as vegetable, potato or fruit spirals.

Food is fun, eating is fun and eating food in spiral form is just plain awesome.
chayote spirals

When I was assigned Shirley’s blog Enriching your Kid this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was sold on making a dish with an Indian flare. This was an easy option since her repertoire includes items such as Beetroot Parantha and Banana Dumplings in Tomato Gravy (Kele Ka Kofta)…all unique and intriguing dishes that are now on my “to experiment list”! I ultimately decided on Shirley’s Chayote with Grated Coconut/Thoran since I was drawn to a new food, a new preparation and the seemingly lightness and versatility of the dish: I must say it was a great life choice!

chayote thoran bite2

 Get excited for a new food! Have you ever eaten Chayote (pronounced chai-yo-tay)? It’s a quirky little guy that’s actually considered a fruit; chayote is a member of the cucumber and squash family and can be eaten both in raw or cooked forms. Chayote is a good source of amino acids and Vitamin C that’s also low in calories, sodium, contains no cholestrol and is a good source of fiber. Due to it’s mild flavor, chayote is versatile in a variety of dishes and it can be eaten with or the without the skin.

I left the skin on and cooked the chayote spirals until crisp tender to maintain some texture. This recipe has a flavor punch from the spices, a freshness from the basil and the lemon and a complexity with the combination of coconut and sauteed onions..mmmm! While this dish is traditionally classified as a side, I also served it with cooked quinoa that was tossed with a little olive oil, Braggs liquid aminos and sea salt and had a filling yet light veggie-packed dinner. I even had a few leftovers that I threw into a mixed baby green salad with pepitas and a curry-inspired vinaigrette…bonus points for versatility!

chayote thoran2

I made a few little changes to the original recipe…due to my infatuation with “spiralizing” food, I opted to create chayote spirals instead of grating. I couldn’t find curry leaves so I substituted fresh basil leaves with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I also made the swap of dried coconut in place of freshly grated based on availability in addition to a serrano instead of a green chili. Since I enjoy strong spices, I increased the amount of tumeric and coconut and threw in some cumin seeds just for fun. I’ll be whipping this quick recipe up again soon…could chayote be my new favorite food craze?
chayote thoran

Chayote with Coconut/Thoran (lightly adapted from this recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Soy-free, Nut-free, Quick and Easy

Ingredients
1 – 2 Tbsp coconut oil, olive oil or other neutral oil
2 chayotes
1 onion, thinly sliced (I used a yellow onion)
5 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of curry leaf (first choice) or 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 green chilli or serrano, slit in half
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground tumeric (I love spices, I used the larger quantity)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (I used brown mustard seeds)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed with your fingers (optional)
squeeze of lemon or lime juice (Optional but I find it enhances the spices)
sea salt to taste
1 -3 tbs grated or shredded coconut

Directions

1. Wash and clean the chayote. Either spiralize OR and grate both chayote. I used this tool to spiralize.
2. Slice the onions, chop or mince the garlic fine and slit the chili in half.
3. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds.
4. Add the curry leaf (if using basil will add in later), onions, garlic and pepper and saute until onions are soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add the grated/spiralized chayote, ground tumeric and salt to taste. Stir well, then cover and cook for a few minutes. Do not cook the chayote till soft, there should be minimal cooking to leave the crunchy texture. Stir in basil if using instead of curry leaves.
6. Garnish with grated/shredded coconut and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Season with salt to taste and more lemon as desired.
7. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

chayote thoran bite

For more recipes from this month’s reveal, please click below!

July 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm 7 comments

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