With a recent survey finding 94% of Americans are willing to eat more plant-based foods, why not incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet for your next outdoor celebration such as Labor Day. Regarding the following recipes, keep in mind all of the different food tolerances, lifestyle choices and dietary needs such as gluten free, dairy free, nut free, raw, not to mention how grilled food is laden with glycation and AGE-related end products.
Enjoy these vegetable salads for a twist on tabbouleh, a classic Middle Eastern grain salad normally made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, parsley, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice. We can replace bulgur with rice, quinoa, and cauliflower, and are easily adapted for those wanting to stay vegan, skip the nuts, and keep the veggies in their natural state without cooking. Add a great cold soup with both veggies and fruit to beat the heat and provide vital nutrients and healthy fats. If not using the soup for dessert, try the mousse recipe here, or try fruit salad, or pieces of good quality chocolate (72% cacao or greater). On more than one occasion, our social gatherings have enjoyed the simple dessert of chocolate bars cut up on a tray, while sipping a beverage, with lively conversation.
With any recipe, remember: it is a template to help organize you. If you don’t like something in it or prefer another type of flavoring, let your creative freak flag fly! Do it, try it, experiment! Give it your personality for the tenor of your gathering.
Tabbouleh Twist #1
Serving Suggests 6
1/2 cup brown rice, or quinoa
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped or grated, small-medium or to your preference
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
5-6 sprigs fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 bunch coriander, (cilantro) finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 spring onion, (scallion) greens finely sliced
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to season
Cook the brown rice or quinoa according to package directions, then drain, rinse under cold water and set aside to drain and cool completely.
While the rice is cooking bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then drop all of the chopped cauliflower in at once for 30-60 seconds, then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside to drain and cool completely.
Combine cooled rice, cauliflower, and pumpkin seeds in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped herbs, spring onion, lime/lemon juice, ground cumin and seasoning to taste.
Serve straight away or refrigerate until ready to serve. Salad is best eaten on the day it's made, while the herbs are fresh.
Skip blanching the cauliflower if you like it raw. Similarly with pumpkin seeds, skip buying them roasted or toasting.
Tabbouleh Twist #2
Serving suggests 6
1/4 C Olive Oil
3 Tbsp lime/lemon juice
1 tsp lime/lemon zest
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
½ medium head of cauliflower
½ English cucumber, diced
½ cup tomatoes
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 shallot, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional, skip if vegan or add vegan cheese)
Dressing: Combine oil, cumin, salt, and lime juice and zest. Set aside. Add to salad at end or before ready to serve.
Cauliflower: Grate/Food Process/Use Blender to make cauliflower to desired size. Place into a large mixing bow
Rest of ingredients: add to Cauliflower.
Last Step before serving pour dressing over top salad and then mix well. Transfer salad to serving bowl.
Add cheese, if wanted.Serve immediately. If you’re not fond of an ingredient, feel free to substitute.Add a seasoning to taste.
These soups are a great way to power up and stay cool in the summer and can and have been enjoyed all year round. Just blend all ingredients in recipe well. Adding a couple of ice cubes will help with blending to mitigate heating. Also, mini blending each ingredient before adding the next. They are both best served immediately. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Blended Strawberry Fantasy Soup
Serving suggests 3-4
3 Cups Fresh Strawberries
1 Large Romain Lettuce Head
1 Cup Organic Alfalfa Sprouts
3 tbsp. Honey (reduce if too sweet, depends on type of honey used)
2-4 packets of Stevia (optional for extra sweetness)
Just blend all ingredients in recipe well. Adding a couple of ice cubes will help with blending to mitigate heating.
Blended Carrot Ginger Curry Delight Soup
Serving Suggest 2-4
2 Cups Carrot Juice (fresh preferred, but in a pinch, Lakewood has a great fresh pressed juice)
1 Ripe Avocado
1-2 tablespoon curry powder to taste, 1 is a good place to start or ½ tbsp. if you like it a bit lighter
1-2 tablespoon Curry Powder to taste, 1 is a good place to start or ½ tbsp. if you like it a bit lighter
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender on high until smooth. Add any toppings to taste such as pumpkin seeds, greens, radishes, avocado slices, etc. Or even a lime/lemon squeeze. Enjoy!
Berry Coconut Mousse
Serving suggests 4
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup fresh berries+ a few more for garnishing
Stevia to taste or 2-4 T maple syrup
Place all ingredients in a small blender or food processor, and blend thoroughly.
Transfer the mousse into serving dishes and place in the fridge overnight. You can also eat it right away if you like but it will not be of a mousse texture.
Raspberries, for our taste preference, allowed for the best mousse consistency but be prepared for seeds. Using blueberries provided a bit grittier texture from the fruit skins. For another preparation option, instead of mixing everything at once, place coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to prepare, blend raspberries. After opening the can the next day, scoop off the solid white part from the top (save water for later use, such as for a smoothie). Use an electric mixer or attachment to whip the coconut solid to a cream. Slowly add raspberries and stevia or maple syrup. Then transfer to serving dishes for eating immediately or place in the refrigerator for later enjoyment.
Strawberry Tofu Smoothie
½ cup silken tofu
6 frozen strawberries
1½ tablespoons agave syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ginger (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cacao (optional)
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. When using frozen fruit, blend/crush first then add other ingredients.
2. Blend on high until very smooth, then pour into a glass and serve.
Add fruits and vegetables to your next outdoor celebration or meal with these vegan, vegetarian, plant-based options. Be creative with these recipe templates to keep in mind the audience you are serving, their food preferences and lifestyle choices, as well as your own flare!
A recent survey of 1043 individuals in a 2020 Report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and Earth Day Network entitled “Climate Change and the American Diet” found that health is a top reason for choosing or eating plant-based foods. Even a majority of those surveyed cited environmental impacts as being personally important. Many vegan options, which can also satisfy vegetarian and plant-based diets, are available in many cities. Keep yourself vibrant and full of energy with these seven recipe ideas full of flavor and nutrients for your fitness and wellness as well as for your mind and body.
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