Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Bean Pancakes

I’m very much into veggie burgers and love to make them, but it’s sometimes difficult to get the batter just right so that the burger will stay together and at the same time, not be too dry. After looking up a few black bean burger recipes online, I decided to combine the ingredients below. Rather than use store-bought breadcrumbs made from white bread, I decided to use a toasted sprouted whole grain bread as a thickener. Still, the taste was incredible, but the mixture was a bit soft and I didn't want to add more bread to the mix. So rather than add more thickeners or fight with the batter, I decided to make pancakes instead of burgers.

The first go around, this meant large pancakes which were delicious with a cucumber salad, and the second time, I decided to make them smaller, which makes them much easier to handle when cooking and which I believe would make them ideal for appetizers or finger foods. For lunch today, I spread mashed avocado on a kale leaf and topped it with two small pancakes and shaved carrots. The result was a very light and crunchy wrap. Red or green leaf or romaine lettuce leaves would make wonderful wraps too.

Black Bean Pancakes

1.5 c cooked black beans

1 c diced, sautéed onions

½ cup chopped roasted red peppers

2 slices Ezekiel sprouted grains bread, toasted and broken into small pieces

1 - 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 egg

1 clove garlic, diced

1 t dried or 1 T fresh basil

sea salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth but grainy. It can be refrigerated for several days at this point (and perhaps frozen, although I haven’t tried this yet).

Heat a skillet to medium and coat the bottom with a thin layer of grapeseed or coconut oil. Using an ice cream scoop, drop several servings of batter into the skillet, leaving enough room for them to spread. Using the back of a large spoon, flatten each scoop to ~1/4 - ½ inch thick pancakes.

When the bottom is lightly browned (~2-3 min), flip the pancakes and with the spatula, gently press them down. Continue to cook an additional 2 - 3 minutes, or until the bottom is brown and the inside is dry.

Serve the pancakes on a salad, in a whole grain wrap, or wrapped in a lettuce or kale leaf with mashed avocado and lemon juice and shaved carrots.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho

The other day on The Daily Detox I posted a link to several cold soup recipes from Eating Well Magazine designed to help us beat the heat that’s been hovering in the high 90s here! As a gazpacho lover, I immediately decided to try their Watermelon Gazpacho recipe although I couldn’t resist, I had to make a few changes (like add tomatoes : ) Because of the beautiful, colorful produce around this time of the year, I thought yellow watermelon, orange tomatoes, and red pepper would make a vibrant, tasty soup, and it sure did! I also added a little garlic to give it a little kick. So, here is my version of the soup:

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho

4 cups diced, seedless watermelon

2 small to medium cucumbers, washed and finely diced (I did not peel them)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped

½ c fresh basil, stems removed and chopped

¼ c fresh parsley leaves

1 small red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 T balsamic vinegar

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 t sea salt or to taste

Mix the ingredients together, except the watermelon, then add them to a food processor (this can be done in two batches). Process the mixture into finely chopped pieces, then add half of the watermelon and process briefly to incorporate. Transfer the soup into a glass or ceramic bowl and repeat the process with the other half of the ingredients. Refrigerate until chilled, then serve cold.

This was so light and refreshing! I even had it over cold quinoa for a heartier meal.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kale Chips Your Way

I eat a lot of kale in a number of ways either raw or cooked. One fun way to eat it is as chips. They’re simple to make and can be prepared either in a dehydrator or in a low oven. And like potato chips, the number of ways to season them is endless. Here is how I make them and some ways to add different flavors.

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale

grapeseed or olive oil

spices and seasonings: sea salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, etc.

Remove the kale leaves from the thick stems. Wash and dry them well, tear into large pieces and place them into a large bowl.

Combine 1 - 2 tablespoons of oil (depending on the size of the bunch), 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and a sprinkle of pepper. Massage the mixture into the kale then spread the pieces on a large baking sheet (can line it with parchment paper if desired).

Bake in a prewarmed 250°F oven until they are dry and crisp, 20 minutes or so, or dehydrate them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Miso: Combine 2 teaspoons of miso paste with the oil. Massage well into the kale chips then bake or dehydrate as usual.

Spicy: Add a teaspoon each of paprika and cayenne (with the salt and pepper) to the mix.

Cheesy: Make cheesy chips by adding in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast with the oil.

Curry: Add curry powder or a combination of cumin, tumeric, cardamom, and ginger to the oil for a curry flavor.

Tangy: Add a tablespoon of apple cider or other vinegar, oil, and salt.

What is your favorite chip recipe? Please share here!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Warm Chickpea Salad with Zucchini Linguini

I’ve written before about how the texture of foods is sometimes as important as the taste and I’m finding more and more that I will eat certain foods more often if I prepare them a certain way versus another. One of these foods is zucchini. For years I’ve been eating it sliced or chopped in ratatouille or stir fries and I’ve been fine with it, but lately this is another vegetable that I’ve been playing with when I eat. For example, if I’m having it in salads, I will shred it and pile it on top or even mix it into grain dishes at the very end to give it a quick steaming.

The recipe below uses a method that many raw food enthusiasts use for making zucchini spaghetti, except it’s not made with a vegetable spiraler that is often used. It’s prepared with a vegetable peeler. It takes only a few short minutes to peel your way through a zucchini this way. I’ve tried two different peelers with different results. One produces very thin strips and the other slices them thicker.

Either way, the warm chickpea salad will lightly steam the zucchini when it’s piled on top, which will soften even the thicker strips. And if you’d rather not sauté the vegetables, simply mix the chickpea salad together raw and combine it with the zucchini that way.

You can also make extra chickpea salad and freshly peel additional linguini at your next meal; it really is a quick process. And maybe it sounds crazy, but for me, it’s more satisfying experiencing the zucchini as pasta rather than vegetable chunks–without all the side effects of starchy pasta!

1 T grapeseed oil

1 medium red onion, diced

2 ribs celery, trimmed and diced

1 large zucchini, washed and partially peeled

2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

fresh lemon juice

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

fresh parsley, chopped

fresh or dried basil and/or oregano

sea salt and ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, smashed and minced

2 - 3 large leaves of kale, tough stems removed and leaves chopped small (optional)

freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, then add the onion and celery and sauté until soft, ~5 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel long strips of zucchini. Place the strips in a bowl and gently toss with ~1T lemon and/or balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper to taste.

When the onions and celery are soft, add the chickpeas basil and/or oregano, lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Allow the chickpeas to heat through.

Add the garlic and kale to the skillet and mix until the kale wilts (if adding).

Plate some of the zucchini linguini onto plates and top with the chickpeas. Top with cheese if desired or additional fresh parsley.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Watermelon Slush

Isn’t it amazing how our tastes for foods change with the weather? As soon as the warm temperatures hit, my body suddenly wanted juicy, cool, refreshing foods, like plenty of fruits and vegetables. One of my favorite summer fruits is watermelon. It’s high in water and a good source of vitamin A, C, beta-carotene, and lycopene. The most common ways to eat it is right off the rind, or in fruit salad. The rind, by the way, is equally, if not more nutritious than the sweet red flesh, so it’s OK to cut into that when eating this fruit.

This is a cool treat that is so simple to prepare and it does the body good in so many ways. It’s perfect on a hot, humid afternoon. The kids will love this too.

Watermelon Slush

Remove the red flesh from the rind, cut it into chunks and place in a large bowl.

Mash the watermelon with a potato masher until small chunks remain, then mix well, cover the bowl (or transfer to another bowl) and place it in the freezer.

It will take several hours to get slushy and will freeze solid if left for longer. At the slushy stage, spoon it into cups or dishes and serve. If frozen solid, allow it to thaw to a softer consistency. Enjoy!!