Sprouts are fun and easy to grow and are delicious, alkaline and packed full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These fun little projects are also a great source of vitamins E, C, B and A as well as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and protein. Sprouting unlocks the nutrients & protein inside the plant cells more readily and makes the protein found beans as well as nuts & seeds more bioavailable and more digestible. Sprouting as well as soaking, or fermenting foods also significantly reduces enzyme inhibitors, greatly increasing the digestibility and absorption of all nutrients in food, including amino acids.
Step #1 Select Your Bean & Quantity:
Use organic beans such as adzuki, lentils, mung beans or chickpeas. The beans beans will at least double in size during sprouting, so only prepare as many sprouts as you can eat in about 4 weeks. The fastest to sprout are mung beans and lentils, especially if you live in a humid climate. My favorite beans are adzuki beans (shown here) for their nutty texture, high protein and iron and anti-oxidant content. Most dry beans are good for sprouting but you want to avoid black beans as they can be toxic. Note that “split” beans or peas will not sprout.
Step #2- Soak Your Beans:
Place your beans in a wide-mouthed glass jar and fill with filtered water until the beans are covered by about 4 inches of water (use this rule for any amount for beans). Allow them to soak in the water overnight, or for about 8 to 12 hours and then rinse and drain them very well as they can go off if they are too moist. I do this several times inside the jar. Cover with a piece screen from the hardware store (shown here) or a piece of cheesecloth. Leave the jar in a semi-lit place while the beans sprout (I like my kitchen near the window). (more…)
Austin LOVES tacos…well and who doesn’t quite frankly? I think we love them because they can be filled with just about anything- which is part of the fun. Get creative to celebrate National Taco Day or just follow the this delicious and plant-based and paleo friendly recipe below for Eggplant Banh Mi Tacos and you cannot go wrong. This recipe was developed in collaboration with our incredibly talented chef Heather Valdes for a summer cooking class. The initial recipe was made with shiitake mushrooms, yum! This one was adjusted to use up some of the bountiful eggplant happening in Austin & Miami right now. Whatever your filling choice, this is a great template for all sorts of interesting options.
Eggplant Bánh Mì Tacos with Pickled Veggies & Spicy Aioli
Quick Pickled Veggies~
1 medium carrot, julienne or grated (or butternut squash to be uber seasonal)
1-1/2 cups cucumber, thinly sliced into thin half moons
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup filtered water
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1-1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into ¼ inch x 3 inch strips
3 Tablespoon reduced sodium tamari
2 Tablespoons filtered water
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Siracha (or to taste)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1” piece of ginger, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Tacos & Optional Garnish~
8 small corn tortillas, warmed through either in the oven or on a stove top
Lettuce Wraps instead of tortillas
Generous handful of fresh cilantro and/or mint- tough stems removed
Scallions, thinly sliced on bias
Thinly sliced radish
Quick Pickled Veggies: Add all ingredients to a large glass jar, secure the lid, and shake for 10 to 15 seconds to mix. You’ll want to allow the vegetables to soak for at least 30 minutes (at room temp) up to 24 hours- the longer the better. If you plan to do hours in advance, place the jar in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Eggplant Filling: Whisk together the maple syrup, tamari, chili garlic paste, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and black pepper in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat, add the coconut oil and the eggplant and reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning.
Add the tamari mixture to the pan and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce is absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
Fill each corn tortilla with a small spoonful of the eggplant and then the pickled vegetables. Drizzle with the aioli (recipe follows) and top with the fresh, cilantro, mint, scallions and peanuts if using. Serve immediately.
Tip & Notes~
This recipe would also be delicious with a variety of mushrooms or other veggies such as squash, peppers, cauliflower or broccoli.
1/2 cup mayo of your choice (we like brands with very little ingredients- Just Mayo is a good one)
2 Tablespoon sriracha
Juice of one lime
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Allow to sit overnight for flavor to develop if you have time.
This Vanilla Cashew Milk recipe is a revelation for me. Some of you know of my “milk conundrum”. That is, my long time battle with what kind of milk to take in my coffee. I used to use fat free organic dairy milk. If you don’t know what that was a bad choice read this post.
I switched to store bought organic almond milk. I follow the rule of not using anything with ingredients that I cannot pronounce…almond milk was my only exception. Why not make my own my own you ask? Because it’s grainy and separates in my coffee and I refuse to be annoyed before 7am. So then I went to grass-fed whole milk. This didn’t quite sit right either, as I try to lessen my environmental impact and eat vegan much of the time.
I went back and fourth for a long time. Then the “ahhhhh ha” moment came. Cashew milk was the answer! Creamy, rich, vegan, easy to make, no straining and it doesn’t separate in my coffee…victory! You can make it plain for universal applications or put vanilla or other fun stuff in it.
Creamy Vanilla Cashew Milk
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for at least 4 hours
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder* or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (more…)
1 cup nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds or a mixture of
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries
1 heaping packed cup pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1-2 Tablespoons filtered water, if needed
Makes 12 bars or 24 balls
Place the nuts, chia seeds, coconut flakes and sunflower or pumpkin seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. If you would like some more texture in the bars you can take out a little of the nuts, coconut and seeds before mixing and add them in later.
Add the dates, cranberries and the cocoa nibs and blend until the mixture begins to come together in a sticky dough. If this is not quite happening you can add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until it is sticky and moist and will come together easily in your hands. At this time mix in the chunky pieces if you kept some aside and pulse just until blended.
Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper and press the mixture down into a rectangle about 1/3 of an inch thick, making the sides as even as possible.
Place in the fridge for 1 hour. Remove and flip over onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment. Cut into 12 even pieces and store in a glass container or wrap individually in plastic wrap for easy transportation.
The faster method is to roll the dough between your palms into balls about 1 ½ inch diameter.
Both methods will keep in fridge for up to a month or at room temperature for a week.
I found the inspiration for recipe through a really amazing foodie website called Food 52. The pics are to die for and the recipes are mouthwatering. Bread gets a bad rap these days…sad to say. This bread however is healthy, gluten free, easy and ridiculously deelish. I have made a few tweaks but it is basically the same and totally worth the short time it takes to make it!
Gluten Free Powerhouse Bread
1-1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if this is a concern)
1 cup raw sunflower seed kernels (not in the shell)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup nut of your choice
4 Tablespoons psyllium husks*
2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1-1/2 cups room temperature water
3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Makes 1 loaf
Line a silicon loaf pan or a standard loaf pan with parchment. In a medium mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk water, coconut oil and maple syrup together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated, if the dough is too thick and hard to stir, add one or two tablespoons of water until the dough is manageable.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let the loaf sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it or lift the parchment.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place the loaf in the parchment directly on the rack and bake for another 30 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.
Store in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. This bread freezes well also – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
Tips & Notes~
Add some dried cranberries, raisins or other chopped dried fruit.
Caraway seeds and some caramelized onions are also a nice addition to make a rye-flavored bread.
*Psyllium husk can be found online or in the supplement area of most grocery stores.
Everyone loves portable food, especially these days. These salad rolls wrapped with Asian rice paper wrappers are so easy to work with and can turn many different foods into a something that you can take on the go. Fill them with just about any kind of salad or cooked veggie and even add some protein and VIOLA…a meal on the go!
Pear and Fennel Salad Rolls with Toasted Walnuts
Ingredients: 5oz of mixed greens or arugula (1 bag)
1 medium ripe pear or apple, cored and sliced thinly
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dill, roughly chopped (optional)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped*
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
Asian rice paper wrappers as needed**
For the Dressing: 1+ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
Servings varied depending on how big you make the rolls.
Place all ingredients for salad up to the wrappers, into a large bowl. In a small bowl; whisk the vinegar, mustard and olive oil together and pour over the salad. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Taste and adjust the vinegar and seasoning if needed.
Fill a wide bowl filled with a few inches of room temperature filtered water. Have a clean cutting board or counter (preferably wood or plastic) in front of you and the salad in arms reach.
Lightly oil a serving plate with olive oil and set next to the cutting board.
Dip the first rice paper in the water for about 8-10 seconds; making sure that every bit of the paper gets wet. Remove, shaking off the excess water and lay the wrapper on the cutting board in front of you.
Starting at the edge closest to you; place a good handful of the salad on the paper in a horizontal shape but not going all the way to the edges. The wrapper will begin to soften as you do this.
When the paper feels pliable; pick up the end of the wrapper closest to you with your thumb and forefinger and fold tightly over the salad and then fold in the sides. Do not let go and continue to roll using your pinky fingers to continue to tuck the sides in so that nothing is poking out. Roll until the end wraps around and sticks to the outside the paper. This may take a few attempts so have a few extra papers just in case.
Cut the finished rolls in half and place on the oiled serving plate. Repeat until you have used all of the salad. Cut in half and serve immediately.
Tips & Notes~
This salad works well with pretty much any kind of nut.
You can use these wrappers with all kinds of salad, they make a great portable meal or a party appetizer.
*To toast the nuts~ Spread them on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake at 325 degrees until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop.
**The rice paper wrappers are available in the ethnic section of many grocery stores or in an Asian market.