Vegan miso ramen with brown rice + buckwheat noodles and mushrooms

veganramenWell, already on day five of doing my plant based cleanse and I feel really good and am down 4lbs! The one problem I have is that after reading “Eat to live” I found the recipes pretty blah….of course I like to expand on the basics and trying to feed my family the same thing I eat, I had to innovate. So today’s recipe is based on things my fam already loves, while sticking to Dr. Furhman’s advice. I went to the Vietnamese market by my house and found all kinds of great stuff! If you do your homework, you can find amazing and healthy Eastern products on the cheap. Asian cookery is a good one to look on when one is pondering a vegan lifestyle, as they don’t really eat any dairy, and they seem to have vegetarian products really dialed. Like in the China study, eating plant based is necessity in some regions, and a side effect is great health plus Asian cultures been doing it a lot longer than Western diet experts were preaching it, that is for sure. Plus going to the Asian market is fun, the kids love it, and it’s almost like travelling to another place, depending on how deep routed the community is, that your store is located, mine happens to be awesome, like “I don’t know what this is” awesome. Try it and this, I think you’ll like em!
You will need
1 package or four bundles buckwheat noodles, mine had brown rice added, never had em’ thought I’d try them. If you aren’t familiar with these noodles google it, they are loaded with health benefits.
4 Tbsp. Miso paste, I used Japanese Nagano, and it is a blend of both white and red.
8 cups of water
1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
4 large shitake mushroom
½ lb. firm tofu, sliced
1 bunch enoki mushrooms, if you can’t find these use a different variety, these are just super cool, and can be added on top without cooking
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 cup shelled edamame, I get mine at Trader Joe’s already cooked and shelled.
Optional stuff: Sesame seed, nori, carrots shredded, or use anything you like to add on top. All my toppings were vegan of course.
First things first, I did not use dashi stock which is traditional in miso soup, it’s totally delish, but it contains bonito, which is dried tuna flakes, so I left it out to maintain vegan status. I first cooked my noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, rinsed with cold water and set aside. Next, in a medium pot, I put my water with the soy, shitake mushrooms, and white parts of onions, bring to a boil reduce to medium, add tofu and cook 10 minutes. After researching I learned that miso should never be boiled, it will reduce its nutritional power, I never knew this, so make sure if you have anything that needs to be boiled to add that first. Add your miso, making sure that it all gets dissolved. In four bowls, divide noodles evenly, take mushrooms out of broth and slice, add those to bowls, add tofu, and other toppings of choice, with a bit of prep this is an incredible meal, which can be done in 30 minutes or less! Domo arigato Mr. roboto!

Roasted Portabello Gyros

Growing up in a Greek restaurant I’ve met my fair share of gyros. Today’s version is one I have never done nor have I seen available anywhere. I love roasting or grilling portabello mushrooms, I use them all time to replace meat in dishes. I was totally craving gyros today and since it was meatless Monday I figured I would try my hand at a new version of this all time favorite. They ended up delicious and even my two year old couldn’t get enough.
For the mushrooms, I just make sure and use a pastry brush to remove any dirt or debris, I DO NOT rinse them. The one’s I found at my store today were local and huge! So I only needed two for four gyros.
I preheated my oven to 375, then on a sheet pan I placed my clean mushrooms, with removed stems. I dosed them heavily with balsamic vinegar, about a half cup, then sprinkle with sea salt, dried oregano, pepper, I used some springs of fresh time I had, and a few cloves of minced garlic. Drizzle lightly with good olive oil and roast 20 minutes or grill five to seven minutes per side. Done…I let them cool a bit then sliced them thinly.
For the pita, I purchased some that are made locally, of spelt flour and they are super delicious. I have made my own and they are great, but I didn’t have the extra hour and half today….so as long as you buying good quality, preservative free pita’s you will be fine. Trader Joe’s also makes a real tasty wheat “flat bread” that are cheap and would work great in a pinch. Ours are from Aladdin’s in Beaverton, OR.
I sliced some red pepper (you can use tomatoes), and a shallot thin to top with. Then I made my tzatziki, this is the crown jewel of any good gyro, I used 1 cup lebni (Greek Sour cream) but you can use Greek Yogurt, I wouldn’t recommend going the “fat free” route since they are basically filled with unnatural thickening agents and don’t give you the right taste…sorry….don’t like fat free dairy…totally gross. I crushed two cloves of garlic into a paste, shredded a local pickling cuc from Washington, and the zest of a lemon, added that to the lebni, chopped some baby dill, and used about half a tsp of dried mint that come from my friend Heidi’s garden. Stir together, and finish with a lil drizzle of good olive oil, can be made a day ahead. Easy, 30 minute, meatless Monday meal, Take that Rachel Ray! Yassou!

French onion tarts with balsamic dressed spring mix


tart 3



So I’ve been totally wanting French onion soup lately, but it’s not soup weather. When it’s sunny and bright outside and the house is muggy soup isn’t the most appealing thing to serve. So I decided to make a French onion tart, with all the flavors of its soupy rival, but in a portable, can be served room temp with salad alternative. This recipe is totally easy and my whole family loves it! Great for meatless Monday, and no one will miss the meat!
Softball sized onion, I got a Texas sweet onion, use what you like, but I would suggest a sweet variety. Slice all the onions and place in a heated sauté pan (medium) with 1 tbsp olive oil. Let sauté till light brow (15 minutes), add 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 tsp pepper…cook 5 more minutes, and add 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 Tbsp. parsley, 1 Tbsp. Soy sauce (great for richness and color, turn off heat. Set aside. Pre heat oven 400 degrees.
Cut one box of thawed puff pastry into eight squares, pre bake for 10 minutes….push down centers when they come out of oven. Top with even parts onion mixture and 1 oz of gruyere chesse, bake twenty minutes or until brown and bubbly, like a bowl of French onion soup! Serve with salad, mine was comprised of Organic spring mix, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. ground pepper, 2 Tbsp. pecorino cheese….salad is so easy and fresh! My kids love this salad and it so simple you can make it in 5 min, but elegant and tasty enough to serve at a dinner party!

Vegan Red Lentil and Barley Soup

Well I am venturing into the unknown for me, VEGAN! I do cook some vegetarian dishes on meatless Mondays, but by most accounts I don’t cook vegan. Lately, I’ve been researching dairy and have cut most of it out of my diet (I am struggling with cheese and yogurt!) and I have noticed I feel better since avoiding milk, and Ice Cream, and going for non dairy options. The first story I remember hearing as a kid (and basically bi-monthly my entire life) was how as a baby I had a milk allergy, and my mom couldn’t feed me formula(she thinks nursing is for the clinically insane, she is a rather busty gal and found it impossible) or soy so I had to be on raw goats milk….she said I screamed for three months straight until she found the goat’s milk and honestly I found other things to scream about since then…haha, I do think that the American diet is too rich in dairy food, and that exploring non-animal calcium sources(almond milk is amazingly high in calcium) is something we all should do not only for health reasons but sustainibility, not meaning you stop dairy all together, but just reduce the amount.
10 cups veg stock or water or both or add some tomato juice, basically 10 cups of liquid that is tasty
1 cup pearl barley
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, you will notice I use these often to get a rich “meaty” taste
1 cup red lentils
1 large or two small potatoes I have russets I need to use up so that is what I’m using, they break up more in the soup so if you prefer you can use a waxier potato like yukon gold.
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 small roma tomatoes peeled and diced
1 Tbsp or to taste good salt free curry powder
1 jalepeno diced (I took out the ribs and seeds in mine, I have lil ones to feed)
a few sprig dried thyme, some flat leaf parsley and some thai basil, these are added at the end…mix and match what you have on hand.
2 Tablespoons soy
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

barley and lentils
barley and lentils

In a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot cover your dried barley with water and add dried porcini bring to a boil and set aside. Prep all your veggies, add the lentils to the barley and cover with water, bring to a boil again then reduce to low and add stock, veggies, curry, and thyme. Simmer till lentils are nearly dissolved, add soy and vinegar. I finish mine with a drizzle of good olive oil, cracked pepper and crusty bread. Seriously delicious!
You won't miss the meat
You won’t miss the meat