Artichoke, Pesto, Tortellini Soup

I’ve said before that one of my favorite combos is spinach, tomato, artichoke. I used that combo in this awesome tortellini soup. This soup is so great because it’s light, yet filling.

Artichoke, Pesto, Tortellini Soup

Ingredients
1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini
6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbs pesto
3 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs all-purpose seasoning
1/2 yellow onion
3 roma tomatoes
1-2 cups fresh spinach
1 can artichoke hearts

Directions

1. Boil a pot of water. (NOT the pot you’re going to use to make the soup in.) Once the water is boiling, drop in the roma tomatoes. Remove them once the skin has split open. If the skin does not split, take the tomato out, cut a small “X” on the end of it, then put it back into the water until the skin begins to peel away. Remove tomatoes from water and set aside to cool.

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2. In the pot where you will make the soup, heat chopped onion, shopped garlic cloves, pesto, olive oil, and seasoning.

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3. Once the onion is cooked and fragrant, add the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the tortellini and boil according to package directions (usually 7-9 mins).

4. While tortellini is boiling, chop the tomato and artichoke. Add the artichoke, tomato, and spinach to the pot and boil just for a minute or two. Turn off the heat. (You want the veggies to stay fresh!)

Artichoke, Pesto, Tortellini SoupIMG_5910

 

Cheesy Zucchini and Squash Bake

This is the easiest thing to make and it’s so good!

Ingredients
Zucchini
Squash
Eggplant (optional)
Tomato
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Seasonings, like dried basil or all-purpose seasoning (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350. While oven is heating, chop the zucchini, squash, eggplant, and tomato.

2. In a baking pan, mix the chopped veggies with 1-2 tbs olive oil, some seasonings, and some mozzarella cheese. Stir it up well. Then top it all with a little more mozzarella cheese.
Cheese zucchini and squash bake

Cheese zucchini and squash bake

3. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and veggies are cooked through.

Cheese zucchini and squash bake

Cheese zucchini and squash bake

Sweet Potato and Kale Empanadas

Kale and sweet potato is such a great combination! The bitterness of the kale and the sweetness of the sweet potato compliment each other perfectly. I also used this combo in these quesadillas.

Sweet Potato and Kale Empanada

Ingredients
Dough – you can use nearly any kind of dough for empanadas – pizza dough, biscuit dough, pie crust dough, etc.
1-2 sweet potatoes
kale
2 tbs ricotta cheese (or vegan tofu ricotta)
2 tbs parmesan cheese (or vegan parmesan)
olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the sweet potato. I used the microwave to speed it up (~5-7 mins in microwave, or ~1 hour in oven).

2. While sweet potato is baking, roll out the dough into thin sheets. Use a bowl to cut the dough into circles (a diameter of around 4-6 inches works well).

3. Chop the kale into small pieces (using clean scissors is great for this). Once the sweet potato is baked, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. In a bowl, mix sweet potato flesh, chopped kale, parmesan, and ricotta.

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4. Spoon sweet potato kale mixture on to a dough round. Top with a second dough round and press the edges closed with a fork. Cut a small slit in the top of the empanada to vent.

Sweet Potato and Kale Empanada

Sweet Potato and Kale Empanada

5. Place empanadas on parchment/wax paper, brush tops with some olive oil, and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, or until the tops begin to brown.

Sweet Potato and Kale Empanada

You can also freeze these! Just place wax paper between each uncooked empanada before putting them into the freezer. Then you can take them out and heat them in the oven from frozen! They’ll need to cook a little longer than 10 minutes this way (~15-20 mins).

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Quinoa, Kale, Mango Salad with Jalapeno Dressing

Quinoa, Mango, Jalapeno Salad

Ingredients
Quinoa
Kale
1 jalapeno
1 mango
1 avocado
cilantro
1/8 – 1/4 onion
1 lime
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
sunflower seeds (optional)

Directions

1. Cook quinoa according to directions. While quinoa is cooking, chop all ingredients: mango, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, onion, kale, and halve the lime.

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2. Make the dressing by mixing chopped jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Mash the jalapeno pieces with a fork a little bit to give the dressing more of a jalapeno kick!

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3. Once quinoa is done cooking, combine cooled quinoa with kale, mango, and avocado. Top salad with dressing and sunflower seeds.

Quinoa, kale, mango salad with jalapeno dressing

5 Things To Change Your Views on Eating Animals

1.Try to imagine how many animals are killed for food.

In the US alone, over 10 billion (with a ‘B’) land animals and over 53 billion marine animals are killed for food every year. That’s over 63 BILLION animals killed per year for food in the US alone. Can you even comprehend that number? No, you can’t.

Every second, 300 living beings are slaughtered for food in the US. Americans consume a million animals per hour.

The average American meat eater is responsible for about 200 animal deaths per year. Over a 79 year lifetime, that’s 15,800 slaughtered animals per meat eater. That’s a really huge number. Think about it.

2. Understand that heart disease is entirely preventable (and reversible).

Heart attack is the number one killer in the US. In other words, heart attack is the most likely reason you’ll die.

Yet, heart disease is ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE! Heart attacks are caused by arterial blockage, which is caused by cholesterol. Cholesterol is ONLY found in animal products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs). Plant foods do not have cholesterol. None.

clogged-arteries1Research indicates that a cholesterol level below 150 will essentially make you heart-attack-proof. The average American’s cholesterol level is 200. The average vegetarian’s cholesterol level is 161. The average vegan’s cholesterol level is 133.

Twice as many people die from “silent heart attacks,” or heart attacks with no warning, than those with angina, or chest pain, to warn them. You can stop and even reverse arterial blockage by not eating animal products. Change your diet before it’s too late.

3. Stop wondering where vegans get their protein.

The way Americans talk about protein, you’d think protein deficiency was the number one health risk! Guess what? It’s not. In fact, it’s not even on the list of ailments doctors are worried about in any country where basic caloric needs are being met. You’d have to be suffering from starvation (or be on a really terrible crash diet) to acquire a protein deficiency.

The official government-recommended daily amount of protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. The average American consumes twice this amount daily, which actually puts most Americans at risk for diseases caused by over-consumption of protein. Dr. Alona Pulde & Dr. Matthew Lederman who speak in the documentary Forks Over Knives said, “We’ve never treated a single patient with protein deficiency; yet the majority of patients we see are suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses directly resulting from trying to get enough protein.”

Nearly all unrefined foods contain protein (even fruit) and vegans have no trouble acquiring the recommended daily amount. This website shows a sample vegan menu and how easy it is to get daily protein on a vegan diet.
vegan protein

4. Give a damn about our planet.

Meat is one of the worst things we’re doing to this planet. The livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire world’s transportation industry combined! Researchers at the University of Chicago found that going vegan is more effective in countering climate change than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.

If every American ate meatless for just one day per week, the effect would be the equivalent of taking 8 million cars off the road. The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook states that “refusing meat is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.”

carvmeatAmericans eat more than double the global meat consumption average. At about 5% of the world’s population, we raise & kill nearly 15% of the world’s livestock total.

Compared with buying a Hybrid vehicle, or buying Energy Star appliances, or installing insulation in your house to reduce heating leakage, or making a tedious commute on the bus or bike every day, or basically any other green thing you could possibly do, eating pasta on a night when you’d otherwise have made fajitas is pretty much the easiest, and it could have the largest impact if you did it just once a week! Given that eggplant parmesan, bean burritos, and vegetable stir-fry are all delicious, this is not the world’s most onerous commitment. For the sake of the planet, don’t ignore the impact of what’s on your plate.

5. Stop telling yourself that there’s a difference between the animals in your home and the animals on your plate.

We balk at the thought of eating dogs, cats, or horses. But why is it ok to eat pigs, chickens, and cows?

Pigs are as smart as dogs (some scientists even say they’re smarter than dogs, chimpanzees, and 3 year old kids). They learn tasks very quickly. They are social animals that form close bonds with each other and they love cuddling.

_46706100_pigcat Cows have best friends and get stressed when they are separated from them. They cry for days when their babies are taken from them (as happens in the dairy & meat industries). And they get excited when they learn something new!

2237878968_0d35634851Chickens have out-performed human toddlers on tasks involving counting and self-control. Chickens are very social animals and show empathy for their chicks. They have a complex language with up to 30 different chicken calls, that we can distinguish, that each have specific meanings.

450Your dog or cat is no different than a pig or cow or chicken in terms of their intelligence, their ability to bond, and their emotional capability. All animals have the capacity to feel pain, suffering, and fear. Slaughtering pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, goats, fish, or any animal, is no different than slaughtering dogs or cats. It’s just not.

 

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadilla

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadilla

Ingredients
Flour tortillas
Sweet potato
Kale
Shredded cheese (cheddar and/or mozzarella)
Olive oil

Directions

1. Bake the sweet potatoes. (I used the microwave to speed things up.)

2. Scoop the baked sweet potato out of the skin and mash it with a fork. Can add salt and pepper if desired.

3. Spread the smashed sweet potato on to one tortilla per quesadilla.

4. Top the sweet potato with kale and shredded cheese. Place in a pan with some olive oil. Then top with an additional tortilla.

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadilla5. Cook the quesadilla on one side for about 3-5 minutes, or until the tortilla begins to brown. Then flip the quesadilla and do the same on the other side.

6. Slice and enjoy! I served mine with a dollop of vegan sour cream.

Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadilla

Pesto Pizza with Potato and Green Beans

Pesto Pizza with Potatoes, Zucchini, and Green BeansIngredients
Pizza crust (ready to go, or dough)
Pesto (ready-made or homemade)
New potatoes, thinly sliced
Green Beans, ends cut off
Zucchini, thinly sliced (optional)
Mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 (or follow the directions on your pizza crust).

2. Spread pesto on pizza crust. Top with potato slices, zucchini slices, green beans, and cheese.

3. Bake for about 10 minutes (or follow directions on your pizza crust) or until cheese is bubbly and potatoes are soft.

Pesto Pizza with Potatoes, Zucchini, and Green Beans

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

Ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbs sour cream
2 tbs chopped fresh chives
2 tbs ‘bacon-flavored bits’ (Make sure they are vegetarian. Bacos and Bac’n are both vegetarian.)
2-4 tbs shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350, if you’re going to bake the potatoes in the oven. You can bake them in the microwave instead, to save time. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until soft.

2. Cut each baked potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving the potato skins intact.

3. Mash pulp with bacon bits, sour cream, and chives in a bowl.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

5. Spoon mixture back into potato skins. Sprinkle cheese over tops of potatoes.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

6. Bake the potatoes again, until cheese is melted. I used the oven for the second bake, but you could use the microwave again to make it quicker (~1-2 min in microwave).

Twice Baked Sweet PotatoI served mine with these green beans!

 

 

Lemony Green Beans with Garlic and Breadcrumbs

Lemony Green Beans with Garlic and Breadcrumbs

Ingredients
green beans, trimmed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

2. While waiting for the water to boil, mix and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, and lemon zest in a small pan or pot. Stir constantly until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

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3. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Once the water is boiling, add green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Drain green beans, return to the pot, and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil mixture.

6. Serve green beans drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil left at the bottom of the pot, and sprinkled with the breadcrumb mixture on top.

Served with twice baked sweet potatoes:

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

Served with an egg over top:

Lemony Green Beans with Garlic and Breadcrumbs

 

Minestrone Soup with Quinoa

Minestrone Soup

I’m not really a big soup person. But I’ve realized that soups can make very healthy meals. Talk about a great way to get in lots of vegetables! By using quinoa in this one, you get lots of protein too!

Ingredients
carrot (1-2 sticks), chopped
celery (1-2 stalks), chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 potato, chopped (not cooked)
kale, chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup quinoa (not cooked)
16 oz vegetable broth (1 box or 2 cans)
seasonings, like dried basil & oregano, or all-purpose seasoning
olive oil

Directions

1. Add the can of kidney beans, chopped carrot, celery, onion, potato, and seasonings to a pot with some olive oil. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are heated through.

Making Minestrone Soup

2. Add the can of diced tomatoes (with liquid), vegetable broth, and quinoa. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins.

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3. When soup has about 2 minutes remaining to cook, add kale.

Minestrone Soup