Recipe: Mango Salsa

Hello! Today I bring you a simple recipe. It is raw and vegan with a kick of spice balanced out by the sweetness of mango. Bonus: Rick the meateater loves this highly nutritious salsa. But first, there’s something I want to share.

Last semester I had a classmate who came to class one day not their typical, smiling self.

I asked them in private if everything was okay, and they responded, “Yeah, I’m just sad.”

“Oh! I understand that,” I said, familiar with the feeling. “I’m sorry,” I concluded, nodding with a soft smile. I turned my attention back to my own business and continued unpacking my belongings for class.

Later I realized how refreshed I was by their candor and admittance to simple sadness. I think so often we try to “fix” things for people or point out the silver-lining, but it’s so important to allow ourselves and each other to experience our full range of emotions without hindrance. Sadness is our minds exorcising something, and in that way I think it’s necessary to feel sad sometimes.

With that being said, I should be clear that sadness is not depression, but in the same vein as the situation described above, how cool would it be if we lived in a society where someone could ask a depressed person how they are and they could simply tell the truth without stigma, pity, or someone swan diving into their life to try to get them to “cheer up”?

Something to ponder…

Now, mango salsa:

Ingredients

2 ripe mangos, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c red onion, chopped
1/4 c packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 large lime, juiced
1/2 t sea salt, more to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Eat with chips, in cucumber boats, in tacos, or on salads.

Will keep in the fridge for about a week.

Adapted from Fresh Mango Salsa.

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Recipe: Borscht Topped With Sour Cream

Normalizing psychiatric care is vital and there are some things everyone should know.

Stigma

Look, not all of us with mental health issues are blatant, eating other people’s faces on the side of a highway in Florida. Most people who seek or are in need of psychiatric care are average folks you interact with regularly: your colleague, your grandchild, your mail person, your stepdad, the person two people behind you in line at the grocery store, yourself.

Unfortunately it’s common for a lot of people to suffer in silence and confusion. Not only do they need care, but they also often have no idea where to begin in terms of finding the right doctor, are overwhelmed by the expense and, most unnecessary of all, have to deal with the crippling stigma attached to mental health issues.

I think a lot of de-stigmatizing begins with open, judgement-free discussion. There is no shame in seeking mental health care you need, just like there is no shame in having to use a crutch, getting braces, having LASIK, etc. There is no shame in getting help with or correcting something in order to have better quality of life. Empathy and understanding surrounding mental health are paramount. Let’s start today.

Now… borscht!


Borscht is a fabulous, flavorful soup (stew?) that is a staple to the good people of frickin’ freezin’ Russia. So, if you’re weathering frightful weather this February this is a good option. If it’s not cold where you are this soup is A) red and therefore on brand for the month of February and B) a good excuse to pair a meal with vodka. * shrug *

Ingredients

Borscht:
1 T coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 t caraway seeds
4 carrots, thinly sliced
3 beets, peeled and diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 c red cabbage, shredded
6 c vegetable broth
1 T apple cider vinegar
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
cashew sour cream
fresh dill, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped

Sour Cream:
1 c cashews
1/2 c water
1 T lemon juice
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t Dijon mustard

Instructions

Borscht:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in caraway seeds, cooking for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add carrots, beets, potatoes, and cabbage to pot, stirring to combine.
  4. Pour in vegetable broth and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. (I found beets to be the last to cook and the best veggie to test for doneness.)
  5. Stir in apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and pepper.
  6. To serve, top with cashew sour cream, fresh dill, and parsley.

Sour Cream:

  1. Cover cashews in boiling water and let sit for an hour. Then, drain and rinse.
  2. Combine cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, and mustard in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Top each bowl of borscht with a generous dollop. Store leftover sour cream in an airtight container in fridge.

Serves 6-8.

Adapted from Vegan Borscht and Vegan Sour Cream.


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Recipe: Enchilada Soup

Happy New Year!

Some of you may have established health goals for 2019, some of you may be left feeling lackluster after a month plus of eating festive holiday fare, and some of you may be, like me, jokingly referring to yourself as “holiday hefty”. No matter what, this food-rainbow-enchilada-soup is both good and good for you.

Those of you who know me know I love enchiladas. They’re good all year round, but changing it up with a soup in wintertime is nice. This recipe has a delayed spice kick and it rules.

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
1 T chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c corn (frozen or canned)
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 4 oz can green chiles
1 c red enchilada sauce
4 c vegetable broth
sea salt to taste

Optional Toppings:
avocado, diced
cilantro
green onions, chopped
tortilla chips, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium.
  2. Add onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne to the pot and sauté for about five minutes, until onions are soft.
  3. Mix in garlic and corn and sauté for an additional two minutes.
  4. Stir in beans, tomatoes, green chiles, enchilada sauce and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least ten minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Ladle about half of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Pour mixture back to the pot and stir to combine.
  8. To serve, top with avocado, cilantro, green onions, and crumbled tortilla chips.

Adapted from Vegan Enchilada Soup.


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Recipe: Life-Changing Lasagna

Here lies John Joseph’s incredible vegan lasagna that will satisfy everyone. If you don’t know who JJ is, he’s a punk musician who got stabbed, shot, and went to prison for a while, and now he’s in his 50s, has eaten vegan for several years, and has done ten Ironman competitions. He’s both abrasive and hilarious.

His recipe is loaded with super foods and spices:

  • Asafetida helps gas issues
  • Turmeric destroys free radicals in the body
  • Molasses is loaded with iron
  • Broccoli has chlorophyll, excellent for healing prostate issues

I’m not gonna lie, this recipe is time-consuming, so I recommend making it for a celebration or big family dinner. It is special and so worth it. I love making it, and if I’ve ever made you lasagna, I def love you.

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Ingredients

Sauce
4 T organic Earth Balance
3/4 c olive oil
3/4 t asafetida (hing)*
1 t ground turmeric
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t fenugreek
1/4 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t black mustard seeds*
2 dried chilies, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
5 cups pasta sauce
3 1/4 t sea salt
1/3 c tomato paste
1/4 c molasses
3 t Italian herb blend

*I bought asafoetida and black mustard seeds on Amazon. They’re great to have in your spice arsenal!

I know this sauce ingredient list looks bonkers, but trust the recipe. You will love the end product.

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Lasagna
1/4 c coconut oil
8-11 oz Beyond Meat beef*
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c vegan ricotta (store bought or homemade)
2 8 oz bags vegan mozzarella shreds
1 broccoli head, chopped into florets
1 zucchini, sliced
1 box lasagna, rinsed (not cooked)
1 bunch spinach, roughly shredded
organic Earth Balance, for greasing
olive oil, for greasing

PLEASE READ! This recipe calls for Beyond Meat beef crumbles, but my local store didn’t have those. I got the Beyond Meat hamburger patties instead, cooked them according to package directions, and then broke them up in the pan. It worked great! This particular brand is not necessary, just be sure to look at the ingredient list of whatever you buy (ideally you always do this). Beyond Meat is composed of pea protein, and the vegan ricotta and mozzarella shreds I use are both cashew-based. There should not be anything mysterious in these items.

Also, it is critical that you do not cook lasagna prior to assembling the dish! The lasagna will cook in the sauce in the oven. More flavor is absorbed into the sheets of pasta this way.

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Instructions

Sauce

  1. Melt Earth Balance in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir in olive oil, asafetida, turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, black mustard seeds, and dried chilies.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and allow them to cook down a couple minutes, releasing their liquid and flavor.
  4. Stir in pasta sauce, sea salt, tomato paste, molasses, and Italian herb blend. Lower heat to a simmer and cover sauce for 30 minutes.

Lasagna

  1. Melt coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add your “beef”, season with pepper, and cook following package instructions. This should take about ten minutes.
  3. Remove “beef” from heat and pour into a big bowl. Mix in the vegan ricotta and a handful of vegan mozzarella.
  4. Place broccoli florets and zucchini slices in a steaming basket over an inch of water in a large pot and cover.* Steam over high heat until broccoli is easily pierced with a fork. When done, move to a large bowl and mulch it up using knives.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Grease a large casserole pan with a dollop of Earth Balance and a dash of olive oil.
  7. Order of assembly:
    1. Sauce
    2. Lasagna
    3. All ricotta mixture, pressed down and spread out evenly
    4. Sauce
    5. All broccoli / zucchini mixture
    6. Shredded spinach
    7. Sauce
    8. Vegan mozzarella
    9. Lasagna
    10. Sauce
  8. Cover pan with foil and bake for one hour.
  9. Remove from oven, remove foil, and add remaining vegan mozzarella.
  10. Uncovered, bake for ten more minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and top with remaining sauce.

*If you don’t have a steaming basket, put your veggies directly into an inch of water to steam and then drain.

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Serves ten.

Adapted from No Death, No Dairy Lasagna.

Recipe: Falafel

This falafel is baked and hits the spot. Serve it with cilantro hummus for added flavor.

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Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T bread crumbs
2 T chickpea flour*
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/4 t black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
3/4 t sea salt, divided
2 T coconut oil
1 lemon
6 T tahini
1/4 c water
3 T olive oil
1/4 t paprika
pita bread
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
dill pickles, chopped

*Whole wheat flour can be substituted.

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine chickpeas, onion, bread crumbs, flour, parsley, cumin, coriander, pepper, two garlic cloves, and sea salt in food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes paste-like.
  3. Using a spoon, cookie dough scoop, or melon baller, scoop mixture into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten balls with the back of the spatula until they’re about 3/4″ thick.
  4. Brush both sides of each falafel disc with coconut oil. Bake for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Set aside when done.
  5. Whisk together juice from the lemon, tahini, water, olive oil, paprika, remaining 1/4 t sea salt, and remaining two minced garlic cloves and set aside.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. To assemble, cut about 1″ off the top of the pita to open the pocket. Add falafel, romaine, tomato, cucumber, and pickles and then top with tahini sauce.

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Serves four.

Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.