Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Dressing- Power Bowl Without a Recipe

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Dressing
Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Dressing

Power bowls are trendy. I love being trendy, so here is my version of a power bowl, and a few tips on how to make your own without a recipe.

This version of a power bowl is one of my favorite go-to meals when we have just about nothing in the house, or I don’t feel like cooking. It is perfectly healthy so you can feel virtuous eating it, then maybe finish with ice cream so you don’t get too high and mighty.

This is a perfect mix and match without a recipe recipe. Just use whatever you have around. I love quinoa in this, especially when cooked in mushroom broth, but any grain will do. Same for the greens. Whatever you have hanging around that you like in a salad will be good here. Beans are nice for a touch more texture and protein, but are optional. Any vegetable combination is good for the sauteed vegetables. I love the tahini dressing just because it adds hints of bitterness and acid to the finished product, but hey, if you have some dressing hanging out, just use it. Really, just throw whatever you have in a bowl or on a plate, top it with yummy dressing, call it a bowl and feel super trendy.

 Ingredients

Tahini Dressing – Or dressing of choice

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • water to thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice to taste
  • fresh herbs, minced (optional)

Other Ingredients

  • 2-4 cups fresh spinach or salad greens
  • 1-2 cups cooked quinoa – or other cooked whole grain
  • 1/2-1 cup cup cooked black beans – other beans or protein
  • 1-2 cups vegetables. I like a mixture of fresh and sauteed vegetables (In the bowl pictured I used onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, scallions, and sundried tomatoes)
  • 2 TBL nuts or seeds of your choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the tahini dressing by whisking the tahini and water together until it has reached your desired consistency. Start with a few teaspoons of water, whisk, and add more until it is how you like it.
  2. Stir in the garlic, salt, lemon juice, and herbs if you are using them.
  3. Divide the rest of the ingredients on two plates. I like to start with spinach, add quinoa, then beans, and finish with veggies.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the top and you have a super healthy, quick meal.

Discussion:

What is important for successful power bowl?

  1. Various layers of flavor
  2. Different textures
  3. Mix of fresh and cooked ingredients
  4. Protein

How Does It All Work? 

The Flavor

  1. The vegetables and how you choose to cook them will be the base of your flavor profile. You could use fresh, cooked, or a mixture.
  2. I love to have something from all five tastes in my bowls. For this bowl used carrots for sweetness, salt on the sauteed vegetables and cooked beans, umami with mushrooms and by cooking my grains in mushroom broth, bitter in the tahini and acid in the lemon in the tahini dressing.
  3. The dressing you choose will add a ton of flavor to your finished dish. Make sure it is something you like. It can be as simple as a little oil and salt, or go ahead and make the tahini dressing. Use up a bottle from your fridge. It’s your meal, eat what you like.

Texture

  1. Every ingredient that you add will have it’s own texture (I hope!).
  2. Use a mixture of chewy (grains), crunchy (fresh vegetables, nut or seeds), soft (beans), and just right (cooked vegetables).
  3. When choosing what to add think of how the textures will balance each other. You don’t want everything to be crunchy or you’ll get sick of chewing. You don’t want it all to be soft because that would be gross. Just a bit of each is nice.

Mix of fresh and cooked ingrediewnts

  1. You could easily use only raw or only cooked ingredients here, I just like to cook my grains and I like some fresh veggies to mix it up.
  2. How you cook things does affect the nutritional value. Having a mixture brings a nice balance to your plate.
  3. Proteins are usually cooked and for a real power bowl you need some protein.

Protein 

  1. Add some, it’s good for you.
  2. I like beans. I like the texture and the taste. Canned or cooked at home will work. I often make this meal to use up odds and ends and use whatever type I have ready.
  3. If you don’t like beans use something else. Tofu, Seitan, Tempeh, Nuts, Seeds, Fish, Meat. Whatever you like will be perfect.
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Vegan Drop Biscuits – Whole Wheat with Veggies

Vegan Drop Biscuits
Vegan Drop Biscuits

I feel as if I am always trying to fit extra nutrients into our food these days. Between making sure Wolfie gets vegetables and whole grains, and that I am eating everything I should to grow a person I’m just putting vegetables in everything! Wolfie has been on a bread kick so I made some biscuits adapting an old recipe with a few extras so I felt ok with her eating these one after another.

As for being biscuits, they’re pretty good. Flaky, a bit buttery, and easy. I like drop biscuits because I don’t want to roll and cut them since I usually just top them with gravy. I take my usual gravy recipe and add cooked lentils to it for a yummy breakfast, or dinner! These are also good topped with jam for a quick snack.

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 TBL baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot or zucchini (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Cut in the shortening with a fork.
  4. Mix in shredded carrot if using.
  5. Stir in milk a little at a time until batter is sticky, not runny.
  6. Drop by overflowing spoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce and Guacamole

Vegan Nachos with Cashew Cheese and Guacamole
Vegan Nachos with Cashew Cheese and Guacamole

I had nachos for dinner and they were delicious! I highly recommend that you try a big plate yourself sometime soon. These were topped with a delicious vegan nacho cheese sauce from Serious Eats with a few minimal changes to reduce the spice level for my pregnant self. I also added a saute of onions, mushrooms, and black beans, some perfect homemade guacamole, and a touch of salsa. My only regret is that I am too full for dessert.

By far the most time consuming part of these nachos is the sauce. It is well worth the effort. I am giving you the recipe for the nacho cheese sauce and guacamole. What else you want to add is up to you. I do strongly suggest that you heat your tortilla chips in the oven until warm and crispy (350 for 5-7 minutes watching them carefully so they don’t burn). I heated my chips, then piled them on a plate with my toppings. I find if you heat your toppings on the chips the chips get soggy. So, heat chips, pile with stuff, top with vegan nacho cheese and guacamole. Sit and eat in delighted silence.

Originally from Serious Eats with some modifications by me.

 Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 4 ounces russet potato (about 1/2 medium), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces roasted cashews (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
  • 1 4 oz can fire roasted green chiles
  • Kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt shortening in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until completely softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, and garlic powder, Cook, stirring, until fragrant and mixture starts to sizzle, about 1 minute.
  2. Add potatoes and cashews and cook, stirring, until cashews are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add water and nondairy milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are fully tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to the jar of a high-powered blender. Add hot sauce, 1/2 the green chilies, and a pinch of salt. Start on low speed and slowly increase speed to high. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, adding water a few drops at a time as necessary to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt.
  4. Add the other half of the chilies and pulse to combine leaving some pieces of chili. If you like your sauce smooth feel free to blend to your heart’s content.
  5. Cheese sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week. To reheat, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, or reheat in a small pan on the stovetop, stirring constantly, and adding extra water to loosen sauce as necessary.

 Ingredients

  • 2 large perfectly ripe avocados
  • 2 small to medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 TBL red finely minced red or yellow onion
  • half a small jalapeno, finely minced, about 1 tsp. (optional)
  • 1 TBL minced fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 3 TBL minced fresh tomato (optional)
  • juice from half a small lime
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and mash in a bowl large enough to give you some room to work.
  2. After the avocado is mashed to the consistency you desire mix in the rest of the ingredients. Start small with the lime and salt, and add more if you like.
  3. Try to refrain from eating it all before moving it to the table.

Vegan Peanut Noodles with Tempeh Croutons

Vegan Peanut Noodle Salad
Vegan Peanut Noodle Salad

As the weather gets warmer I want to have cooler foods. I especially love pasta salads. I will not argue the nutritional value of pasta, but just say it is delicious! This is a simple noodle salad topped with tempeh croutons and it gets better after a day or two in the fridge. It is also perfect for a pot luck as it is best served room temperature. This comes together quickly, and is perfect for lunch on the go, or a quick dinner. Serve with a yummy fresh salad to really brighten your meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Tempeh cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 2 TBL tamari
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Udon noodles cooked according to package directions, drained, and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 TBL lime juice
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • 2 TBL tamari
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Heat a large case iron skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and add the tempeh.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown on all sides, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and drizzle the tamari over the tempeh, stir, and sprinkle the chili powder over the tempeh, stir and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar, tamari, and red pepper flakes whisking to combine.
  6. Add the cooked noodles and toss to coat with dressing.
  7. Top with tempeh croutons.

Vegan and Sugar Free Glorious Morning Muffins

Vegan and Sugar Free Glorious Morning Muffins
Vegan and Sugar Free Glorious Morning Muffins

I’m on a muffin kick. After last week’s Lemon Blueberry Muffins I was inspired to post more yummy, toddler friendly muffins. These are also sweetened with dates, so no added sugar. They also boast a bunch of veggies and have tons of fragrant spices. You could also add nuts and dried fruit if you are into that sort of thing. You could also mix up the veggies and use only carrots, or only zucchini, or even sub in some sweet potato or summer squash. These are a perfect school snack for my daughter as they are pretty much allergen free in addition to being pretty nutritious.

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, pitted, dates
  • 3/4 cup just boiled water
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour or more whole wheat
  • 3 TBL chia seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 TBL apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or a light coating of oil and preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup and pour the boiling water over the dates. Cover and set aside until soft, 10-20 minutes
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flours, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir briefly.
  4. Add the zucchini and carrots stirring until the are coated in flour.
  5. When the dates are soft mash them with a fork until relatively smooth (no big pieces).
  6. Add the date mixture, oil, and vanilla and apple cider vinegar to the flour, vegetable mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups and bake for 20-23 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from pan to cool as long as you can wait before eating.

Refined Sugar Free Vegan Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Refined sugar free vegan lemon blueberry muffins
Refined sugar free vegan lemon blueberry muffins

My daughter loves muffins, well, she loves glorious morning muffins, and I wanted blueberry muffins. I am refraining from giving her any refined sugar for as long as possible, so I needed to develop a recipe for blueberry muffins that would make everyone happy. Light and fluffy for me, and fairly healthy for her. These are a good balance. The dates give them plenty of sweetness, that combination of flours keep them light, with just enough whole wheat I didn’t feel too terrible. The lemon zest gives the muffins a hint of spring and they are bursting with blueberries. I highly recommend these for second breakfast on the go.

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups, pitted, chopped dates.
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest from one small lemon (about 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 TBL apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or a light coating of oil and preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup and pour the boiling water over the dates. Cover and set aside until soft, 10-20 minutes.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl stirring briefly.
  4. When the dates are soft mash them with a fork until relatively smooth (no big pieces), then add them to the flour mixture.
  5. Add the lemon zest, sunflower oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, vanilla, and almond stirring to combine.
  6. Add the blueberries and stir to distribute evenly throughout the batter.
  7. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups and bake 20-24 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before eating.

Toddler Superfood Oatmeal

Toddler Superfood Oatmea
Toddler Superfood Oatmeal

So my lovely little baby is a picky eater. How did this happen? The good thing is she is picky like me. It isn’t green foods, or vegetables she avoids, no, it is some sort of structure that only she know. It is starting to get better, but until then I just keep making this oatmeal in huge batches because it is all she wants to eat.  I shouldn’t complain since this is just about the healthiest thing I could get into her, but still.

You can mix and match what goes in here depending on what your toddler is into. Mine will only eat it if there are pieces of green that she can see. She turned up her nose and wouldn’t even try my apricot almond oatmeal the other. day. Whatever. I do try to mix it up a bit and add different grains, vegetables, and cheese on and off. I even put some chicken in one time and she ate that, as long as it was in the oatmeal. Not on it’s own, that just wouldn’t make sense.

If your little lovely doesn’t like vegetables you could hide them by using a white carrot and peeling the zucchini, just leave out the spinach. You could also make it sweet by swapping the broth for sweetener, maybe adding some cinnamon.

Good luck with your picky eater!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 small/medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp mushroom broth powder or mushroom bullion
  • 1 TBL chia seeds
  • 1 TBL hemp seeds
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBL olive oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put water, carrot, and zucchini in a small saucepan and bring water to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling stir in the oats.
  3. Add chia and hemp seed and stir briefly.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water is almost absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and nutritional yeas, stir and cook until the oatmeal is the consistency you prefer.
  6. Stir in olive oil and cottage cheese if using.