This week's blog post comes from Environmental Intern Jasmine Jefferies. Enjoy.
Some of my favorite healthy recipes are inspired by Kate Taylor, who is a full time blogger. Her blog, Cookie and Kate, focuses on healthy vegetarian meals that are quick and easy to make. She emphasizes the importance of whole foods and fresh ingredients. This week, I recreated three of her recipes: one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Starting off with breakfast, I decided to make vegetarian breakfast burritos. Her recipe calls for:
whole grain tortillas
homemade hash browns
6 large eggs (scrambled)
1 cup of cooked black beans
⅔ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup of green onions
6 tablespoons of salsa
1 large avocado
To make this recipe completely vegan, I took out the cheese and replaced eggs with scrambled tofu. I love this recipe because it is very simple and very adjustable. For example, you can add meat or other veggies if you like, or you can even throw in some hot sauce or other seasonings. This recipe makes about 6 burritos, so I froze them for quick meals throughout the week. These burritos hold up very well in the freezer, and when you are ready to eat, you can simply microwave one for about 2-3 minutes.
For lunch, I decided to make Kate’s spicy black bean soup. For this recipe you need:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
4 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (use ¼ teaspoon if you’re sensitive to spice)
4 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, to taste, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes: diced avocado, extra cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips
This soup was super simple to make. To start off, you add olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Then, add the celery, carrots, and onions with a sprinkle of salt. Cook that mixture for about 15 minutes. Then add the seasonings listed plus the garlic. Next, pour in the vegetable broth and beans and turn the heat on high so the mixture starts to simmer. Maintain a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes. At this point, the mixture is very thick, so in order to make it less thick, puree about half of the soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender. Once the soup is finished, you can add toppings such as green onions, cheese, tortilla chips, etc.
And finally, for dinner I decided to make Kate’s hearty spaghetti with lentils and marinara sauce. For this meal you need:
½ cup dry lentils (French green lentils or regular brown lentils), or 1 ½ cups cooked lentils (leftover or from a can, rinsed and drained)
1 bay leaf
1 large garlic clove, peeled but left whole
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cups marinara sauce
8 ounces whole-grain pasta (or 12 ounces, if you like your pasta less saucy)
Optional garnishes: grated Parmesan or vegan Parmesan and/or chopped fresh basil
For extra fiber, protein and iron, I used half whole wheat pasta and half chickpea pasta (Brand: Banza). Of course, use whatever pasta you prefer. And for the cheese, I used a vegan parmesan cheese (Brand: Go Veggie). If you used dry lentils, start by cooking them in the broth and add the bay leaf, garlic, and salt. The lentils need to simmer for about 20-35 minutes. Once cooked, drain them and set them aside. Next, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is done, drain that as well. Now combine the cooked lentils, cooked pasta, and marinara sauce and warm them together if needed. Finally top with cheese and fresh basil.
These recipes were great and simple to make. They also made multiple portions so I was able to eat these meals throughout the week. For full instructions and additional meal inspiration, visit Kate’s blog at cookieandkate.com.