Savory Mung Bean Pancakes with Miso-Tahini Kale

When I go to the grocery store, I am usually very good about keeping to my list.  Impulse purchases tend to languish in my pantry until their expiration date has passed.  Or, if the impulse purchase happens to be a box of Oreos, it will be gobbled up in a matter of days and ruin my appetite for all the healthy meals I had planned.  So, for me, the shopping list is a must.

Yesterday, though, I came across an intriguing item that I decided I had to try.


(Source)

For the record, I have no idea of why I decided I needed some sprouted mung beans.  I didn’t know anything about how to use them except for what I had learned from Creed in “The Office”.  When I got home, I began an internet search to learn about what to do with these little legumes and I found the perfect solution at Choosing Raw.  And so this morning, I had an extremely satisfying (and tasty!) breakfast, which I think will be first of many forays into the world of mung beans.

P.S. I think this would make a great lunch or dinner, too!

Savory Mung Bean Pancakes with Miso Tahini-Kale
adapted from Gena’s recipe
serves 2

For the pancakes:

Ingredients

– 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans (you can use regular mung beans as well, but follow cooking directions on package prior to making pancakes)
– 2/3 cups water
– 1/4 cups chickpea flour
– 1/4 cup brown rice flour
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
– 1/4 tsp sesame oil
– 1 tsp agave syrup or brown rice syrup
– 1/2 shallot, minced (about 1 Tbs)
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– oil of choice or butter, for the pan (I used olive oil.)

1. In a small saucepan, bing a few cups of water to a boil.  Add the mung beans and boil for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another 8-10 minutes.  (If you are using regular, unsprouted mung beans, skip this step and just follow the cooking directions on the package.)

2. Place mung beans, flours, water, and baking soda in the blender.  Blend until very smooth.  Consistency should be thick but pourable.

3. In a large bowl, combine mung bean batter and remaining ingredients.  Mix until well combined.  (You can store this in the refrigerator overnight.)

4. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the pan, with each pancake containing about 2 large spoonfuls of batter.  Cook until you see bubbles on the top side of the pancakes and then flip.  Cook on the other side until golden brown.  Serve warm with miso-tahini kale.

For the Miso-Tahini Kale

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
– 2 cups lacinato kale, de-stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
– 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
– 1 Tbs tahini
– 2 tsp white (or yellow) miso paste

1. In a large sauce pan, heat a few tablespoons of water.  Add mushrooms and soy sauce and cook until mushrooms are softened.  If all the water evaporates from the pan, just go ahead and add a few extra tablespoons.

2. Add the kale and cook until slightly wilted.  Add tahini and miso paste and stir to combine.  Serve warm with pancakes.

*This post is included in this week’s Real Food 101 and Ruth’s Real food, Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Ingredient Challenge Monday at And Love it Too!, and the Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival at Hartke is Online.

Spinach Ohitashi and Sushi Night

Near the very beginning of our relationship, Jeremy and I discovered a mutual love for sushi.  And then we discovered a mutual love for good sushi, which usually translates into expensive sushi.  Lately, I’ve been looking for ways to trim our dining-out expenses and sushi seemed like the perfect place to start.  A new shop has opened near our apartment that focuses on sustainable seafood, grass-fed meats, and local eggs and dairy (oh, Portland, I love it when you live up to your stereotypes).  The owner is extremely knowledgeable about all of his products and he carries a good selection of sushi-grade fish along with frozen seaweed salad and octopus salad.  I think that sushi night at home is going to become a tradition.

Please excuse the poor-quality photo.  We had our chopsticks poised and ready to go when I remembered that I wanted to take a quick picture.  🙂

This is also a meal that allows us to cook together.  Our kitchen is so small that there really is no way to get two people in there at once.  With sushi night, I’ve been taking over all the make-ahead meal components and Jeremy has been artfully composing the nigiri once we are ready to eat.  I think I’m going to use some of my winter break to learn more about Japanese cuisine that I can cook at home.  Stay tuned for more on that!

My first venture outside the realm of  sushi rice was when I made Spinach Ohitashi last week.  The recipe was fast and simple and the ingredients were already in my pantry.  Cooking a new type of cuisine can be intimidating and so it felt nice to start small.  The simplicity of this dish made me feel that I could tackle it without any mishaps and the simple, healthy flavors were a wonderful complement to the tasty sushi we enjoyed.

Dan likes sushi night, too.

Spinach Ohitashi
serves 2

Ingredients
– 4 cups spinach, rinsed
– 2 tsp soy sauce
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1.  In a large pot, bring plenty of salted water to a boil.  Add all the spinach at once and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes.

2.  Drain spinach and quickly submerge in ice cold water to shock it.  Remove from water and carefully squeeze out excess water.  It may take several minutes of squeezing to get out most of the water.

3.  With a fork or your fingers, separate the spinach a bit so it is not too compact.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil and mix.

4.  Transfer spinach to serving bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

*This recipe is included in Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks, and Fresh Bites Friday and Real Food, Whole Health.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone is happily gathered around a turkey/main-dish-of-choice with friends and family.  If you’re like me and live in Portland, OR, you may be having your Thanksgiving meal with you vegan next door neighbors.  In which case, you’re going to need a recipe for vegan green bean casserole, stat!  Because no Thanksgiving (not even a vegan one) should be without one.  This is my standby recipe for this situation and it hasn’t failed me yet.  It even won me $20 in groceries from one of our local food co-ops last year.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole
serves 4-6

Ingredients
– 1/2 an onion, chopped
– 2 cups crimini mushrooms, chopped
– 2 Tbs vegetable oil
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp oregano
– 1/4 tsp ground thyme
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
– 1 veggie bouillon cube
– 2 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
– 2 Tbs cold water
– 1 can french-style green beans, drained
– 5 oz. container french fried onions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Get out an 11x5in. casserole dish.

2. Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Remove from heat.

3. In a saucepan, heat soy milk and bouillon until just below boiling.  Mix cornstarch and water together in a separate bowl and then slowly add to the soy milk mixture, whisking constantly.  Quickly add sautéed vegetables, green beans, and about half of the french onions.

4. Pour vegetable mixture into the casserole dish and top with remaining french onions.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until onions are slightly browned.

 

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Figgy Smoothie

Hello!  I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends.  I’m working on staying cozy in my apartment and getting caught up on some housekeeping and schoolwork.  I know that doesn’t sound like an exciting weekend, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need!  I had a productive morning with a quick workout, running errands and taking Dan to the park.

I’ve learned that if Portland gives you sunshine in the winter, you don’t waste the opportunity!

When I’m busy and need quick, healthy food, green smoothies always come to the rescue.  It’s my go-to breakfast and I probably have them 5-6 days a week.  Since I eat them so often, I sometimes get caught in a smoothie-rut where I’m using the same ingredients over and over.  Luckily, there are a lot of other green smoothie enthusiasts out there who like to post their recipes online and I can always find inspiration to switch things up.  Today’s smoothie is based on one from Laury at The Fitness Dish.  Of course, I’m almost incapable of following a recipe exactly so this is my slightly tweaked version.

Figgy Smoothie
serves 1

– 1 ripe banana
– 3-5 figs
– 2 kale leaves, stems removed
– 1 Tbs hemp protein
– 1 Tbs almond butter
– 1 tsp almond extract
– 1/2-1 cup almond milk
– ice cubes (optional, I don’t like my smoothies too cold in the winter)

Put everything in your blender and blend ’til smooth!

Beet, Squash, and White Bean Salad

It’s been one of those weeks.  You know, the kind where you look at the stack of work you have to do and the amount of time you have to do it.  You panic.  You can’t relax.  All the sudden, little setbacks feel like the end of the world.  You become moody and overly-sensitive.  One of those weeks.

So, I decided to start the weekend a little early.  Instead of studying before class this morning, I decided to give myself some kitchen therapy time.  By 9am, I had a pot of white beans with shallots and bay leaves simmering on the stove, a pan of beets and a butternut squash roasting in the oven, and squash seeds getting nice and toasty in a frying pan.  A few hours later, I sat down to lunch.

The template for this salad could be used to create dozens satisfying variations.  Start with greens and vinaigrette, add some kind of legume for protein, and top with still-warm roasted vegetables and toasted nuts or seeds.  Enjoy!

Beet, Squash, and White Bean Salad
serves 1

Ingredients
– 2-3 cups mixed salad greens
– 1/2 cup white beans, canned is fine
– 1/2 cup chopped roasted beets
– 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
– 1 Tbs raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
– 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
– 1/2 Tbs olive oil
– 1/2 Tbs honey
– salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Mix vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper until well combined.  Drizzle over plated salad greens.

2.  Top with remaining ingredients.

 

Unrelated to salad, I feel compelled to share an amazing and hilarious post over at Hyperbole and a Half.  If you are feeling out of sorts, it might do wonders for you.

Kale Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Walnuts

It feels like winter has set in.  Gloves, hats, and scarves have found their way out of my closet and we’ve been using our fireplace almost every day.  My bike ride to school usually involves numbed fingertips (any suggestions for good gloves to bike in?  I’ve got some lined leather ones that I’m using but I’ve also got circulation issues!)  It’s time for soup and other comfort foods.  So why on earth did I make a big salad yesterday?

Well, I found a recipe that looked right for the season.  The heartiness of kale seems appropriate for cold weather, citrus fruits are coming into their best season, and fennel adds an unexpected flavor punch.  The citrusy-miso dressing rounds everything out.  I’ve learned that even in the winter, a good salad can really hit the spot.  I served it over a warm sweet potato to bulk things up and to make it a filling, satisfying lunch.

Kale Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Walnuts
(adapted from Gena’s at Choosing Raw)
serves 2

For the salad:
– about 4 cups of kale (about 5 generous leaves), de-stemmed, chopped and washed
– 1 small bulb of fennel
– 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
– 1/4 cup walnuts

For the dressing:
– juice from 1/2 an orange
– juice from 1/2 a lemon
– 1 Tbs miso
– 2 Tbs olive oil
– 1/2 tsp sesame oil
– 1 tsp soy sauce

1.  Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

2.  Add dressing to kale in a large bowl and use your hands to “massage” the kale until softened and coated with dressing.  Add remaining salad ingredients.

That’s it!  If you want to try it with sweet potato the way I did, pierce a small potato with a fork several times and microwave on high for 4 minutes, turning it over halfway through.

I hope everyone enjoyed the extra hour of sleep we got for daylight savings.  I know I needed it.  Now I’m going to bundle up and get myself outside for a run.  The sun is out and it’s not raining, which means it’s a beautiful day in Portland.  🙂

Orange Tempeh and Stir-Fry

I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve thought that every day was Friday.  I don’t know why my brain has been trying to trick me…midterms are over and my stress levels have definitely gone down.  I think I’m just in need of some really solid, long nights of sleep.  The transition to winter has made it harder and harder for to get out of bed each day and I’m looking forward to one of those long, lazy, sleepy mornings that only the weekend can provide.

In the meantime, I’ve been seeking out healthy and energizing foods to help mitigate this season’s effect on my energy levels.  For breakfast, I’ve been having either a green smoothie or The Wannabe Chef’s Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa (so good).  Lunch today was a lazy version of my Sweet Potato Nachos in which I elected to microwave the sweet potato and used only refried beans, salsa, and sour cream as toppings.

For dinner I tried a new recipe for Orange Tempeh from (again) The Wannabe Chef.  It was surprisingly easy and un-fussy.  Which is good because I don’t think I’ve ever cooked tempeh and it’s always a little intimidating to add a new food to the repertoire.  Evan’s recipe is reproduced below and the only thing I would add is that I did not end up needing to use all the starch.  I just slowly added it at the end until the texture looked right.  I ate the tempeh with jasmine rice and stir-fried broccoli, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms.  Enjoy!

Orange Tempeh
serves 2

Ingredients
– 1 block tempeh, cubed
– juice from half an orange
– 2 Tbs agave syrup
– 1 Tbs soy sauce
-1/2 Tbs sesame oil
-2 tsp rice vinegar
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tsp siracha sauce (optional)
– 1/2 Tbs tapioca or cor starch mixed with 2 Tbs water

1. Mix together the orange juice, agave, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and sesame oil in a small bowl.

2. Pour the mixture into a frying pan and heat over a burner set to medium.

3. Add tempeh and coat.  Cook until half the liquid has boiled off, about 5 minutes.

4. Slowly pour the dissolved starch into the pan, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.  Add water if the sauce seems to thick.

5. Remove from heat and serve over rice and vegetables.

Here’s all the veggies I stir-fried.  Plenty for leftovers!

Pumpkin Power Breakfasts

Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal.  There are so many ways to do it well without spending a lot of time in the kitchen and buying expensive ingredients.  Seriously, the same meal invented omelets, oatmeal, AND smoothies?!  Genius.  I’ve been known to eat breakfast-y items for every meal of the day.  And I’m ok with that.

In honor of fall, I decided to try a couple new pumpkin-infused breakfast bowls this week.  The first is a pumpkin pudding inspired by a recipe I saw at Spinach and Yoga.  It looked like just the thing to help me break out of my oatmeal rut.  The second was a magical amalgamation of my favorite Rice Porridge bowl and aforementioned pumpkin pudding.  Both are recipes I will be returning to for sustenance and comfort as my midterm exams draw near this and next week.

Pumpkin Pudding
serves 1
(Chia seeds won’t digest well unless they’re allowed to soak in liquid before consumption.  Plan to make this at least an hour before you plan to eat it; overnight is best.)
Ingredients

– 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used canned)
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1 1/2 Tbs chia seeds
– 1 Tbs ground flax seeds
– 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
– generous sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– a handful of raisins
– a few walnuts (optional)
– agave or maple syrup (optional)

1.  Blend pumpkin, almond milk, chia and flax seeds, protein powder, spices and vanilla extract until ingredients are well incorporated.  Scoop into bowl, mix in raisins and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.

2.  When you’re ready to eat, heat in the microwave for about a minute until warm.  Garnish with walnuts and agave, if desired.

 

Pumpkin Power Porridge
serves 1, generously

Ingredients
– 1/4 cup brown rice cereal (directions for making your own here)
– 1 cup water
– 1 banana, mashed well
– 1/4 c pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
– 1/2 scoop of your favorite protein powder (optional)
– a handful of raisins
– a few dashes each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 Tbs ground flax seeds

1. Mix all ingredients except flax in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook stirring frequently until rice is softened, about 10 minutes.

2. Top with flax.

 

Creamy Cannellini Bean Sauce with Pasta and Vegetables

I can hardly remember the last time I made pasta.  It’s not that I have anything against Italian food (it’s one of my favorites!) but pasta, to me, seems like a treat better saved for a romantic night out than something cooked at home.  The problem is that I can’t bring myself to do the whole wheat noodle thing.  I want to be healthy but there’s something about the texture or taste of whole wheat pasta that just ruins it for me entirely.  Enter Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta…

It’s a bit of a misnomer since it seems to also have a healthy amount of corn but I’m not complaining.  It has more fiber and protein than regular semolina pasta and doesn’t turn all mushy the way rice pasta does.  Instead, it keeps a nice chewy texture when it’s cooked, which just the way I like it.  It was on sale at the grocery store this weekend and so I decided that now was the time to give it a try.


This recipe is adapted from Yvonne and Julie’s blog.  I changed it a bit to reflect what’s in season right now but otherwise stayed pretty true to their version.  I realized after I’d done my grocery shopping that mushrooms would have been the perfect addition!

Creamy Cannellini Bean Sauce with Pasta and Vegetables
serves 4

Ingredients
– 1 package Quinoa Harvest Pasta Pagodas (or your favorite pasta type)
– 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
– 2 Tbs + 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
– 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
– juice from 1/2 of a lemon
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 large head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/4 cup hazelnuts

1. First, toast the hazelnuts in a saucepan over medium heat, shaking regularly to make sure the don’t burn.  Remove from heat, allow to cool, and roughly chop.

2. Cook the garlic in 2 Tbs olive oil over medium heat (don’t let the garlic get brown).  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Steam vegetables until slightly tender.

4.  While the pasta and vegetables are cooking, make the sauce.  Place sautéed garlic, beans, remaining olive oil, rosemary, salt, and lemon in the blender.  Add coconut milk as needed to reach desired consistency.  Sauce should be thick but pourable.

5. When the pasta is done drain and return to pot.  And sauce and vegetables and mix it all together.  Scoop into bowl and garnish with hazelnuts to serve.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired.

Well, I’m off to get some studying done.  I get a little panicky when I look at all the assignments I have due in the next couple of weeks but I just have to remember to take it one thing at a time.  Deep breath 🙂