Tag Archives: beans

Lunch salads

11 Apr

I haven’t kept up with the Eat to Live diet strictly, but I did keep some of the habits since our last encounter in February. My favorite has been big lunch salads. Here are a couple from this week.

First is Wednesday’s, which I also ate on Tuesday:


Mixed greens topped with roasted sweet potato, black beans, and peanut sauce (peanut butter, hot sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and hot water to thin). The salad kept me full through to dinner, which is the most important part, but it was also delicious! Peanut sauce and I have a longtime love affair, and sweet potatoes are my favorite pair for it.

Here’s today’s salad that I plan to repeat tomorrow, too:


Greens with roasted beets and black-eyed peas tossed in pesto vinaigrette (just a tablespoon of my kale pesto thinned with red wine vinegar). It’s only 1:40 now, so only time will tell if it tides me over as well as yesterday’s.

There are a million posts about building the perfect salad, so I’m not going to do one, too. And anyway, you can tell my method is pretty simple: greens with a good amount of another (often roasted) veggie, beans, and a flavorful dressing. That’s pretty much it. I’m planning more salads for next week (taco salad and another beet dish, though with different flavors). I will share those, too.

What’s your favorite thing to bring for lunch? Soups and salads are my preference. Both offer lots of veggies and nutrition, but neither make me sleepy. Anything too heavy makes me crave an afternoon nap!


Menu update from last week

21 Jan

I have something delicious to share from this weekend, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow since I owe you some food recaps from last week. It’s amazing how being sick for barely more than a day can throw off so much!

Anyway, I followed my meal plan pretty well and, as promised, I will share my triumphs and tweaks with you.

First up is the red beans, barley and Swiss chard:

Red beansThe beans were based on this recipe from the Fat Free Vegan blog (one of my favorites). Here are my tweaks:

  • I precooked the kidney beans and then let them simmer all day in the slow cooker
  • Halved the recipe
  • Omitted the celery

The end result was almost perfect except for one thing to which, I fear, I must admit: I burned the beans. I was in a bad mood last Sunday, which is when I precooked them, and I accidentally burned them. They weren’t destroyed, just a little charred, but the end result wasn’t as delicious as it should have been. Otherwise, though, the spices were wonderful, and simmering everything in the slow cooker was easy and yielded a great consistency. Also, obviously, we served ours with barley instead of rice, since I’m currently freaked out about the whole arsenic thing.

The next meal I wanted to share was the Butternut Poblano Soup, which made a wonderful lunch:

Butternut soupI tweaked this one quite a bit:

  • Used one small butternut squash and one medium sweet potato
  • WAY reduced the fat — more like 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Omitted the celery (sensing a theme? I don’t like celery!)
  • Used about four large cloves of garlic
  • Omitted the cinnamon and parsley in favor of more cumin and chile powder
  • Added 1/2 cup dry red lentils

I really loved this soup. It was hearty, creamy, and had a great balance of flavors. I imagine it would be good with any winter squash (other than spaghetti, of course) or just straight sweet potato. You could also use two poblanos and leave some of the seeds in for more of that great spicy, smoky flavor. It was a perfect lunch.

And finally, here is another creamy, delicious soup from this week:

Creamy chickpea soupI used the Chickpea & Rice Soup with a Little Kale recipe from Post Punk Kitchen and made the follow alterations:

  • Say it with me now: I omitted the celery. Also the carrots because I was sick and could not muster the energy to chop anything else.
  • Again, swapped in barley for rice
  • Upped the veggie broth to six cups
  • Used closer to 4 cups of freshly cooked chickpeas

The soup is impossibly creamy and filling. The flavors were surprisingly mellow, though, so we topped each serving with lots of black pepper and a little hot sauce. It was very soothing on my sick day and it reheats well. I will be enjoying the last tiny bowl for lunch today. Be forewarned, though: this recipe (well, my version of it) has more calories than I was expecting. It is very filling, so it’s not too terribly surprising, but I was a little shocked when I ran the nutrition information. I just wanted to point that out so, if you decide to make the soup, you plan the rest of your menu accordingly.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, whether you’re at home or the office!

The mother of invention

2 Oct

I mentioned on Sunday that we’re fridge shopping for as much of this week as we can, though I know I’ll have to buy some things by the end of the week. I threw together a couple of easy meals from my pantry and fridge for yesterday, and they came out really tasty, so I thought I’d share.

For lunch on Monday (and probably every other day this week — it’s huge!) was a basic black bean soup:

(Modeled atop my messy desk for authenticity.)

All I did was saute the rest of the red onion in olive oil, then add three cloves of garlic and three of the hot peppers. After a few seconds, I used the one measly potato that was left (chopped, of course) and heated everything for a minute. Then I added the can of diced tomatoes, the rest of the jar of salsa (which was only about 1/4 cup max), one chipotle pepper, a can’s worth of water, the rest of the black beans (SO MANY — probably three cups), cumin, salt, and pepper. It simmered for about 30 minutes, and when it was nice and thick, I stuck it in the fridge. To serve, I topped with about 1/4 of an avocado and a handful of multi-grain chips that were left at the office. Easy and delicious!

Dinner was similarly low-maintenance:

Barley (cooked in the rice cooker and then topped with pepper and nutritional yeast), sauteed Swiss chard (cooked in olive oil and garlic and topped with salt and pepper), and some of the white beans (reheated with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and then topped with crumbled fried sage). If you started with precooked, leftover beans and grains, it would have been on the table in 15 minutes, including chopping. The most exciting part is that I cooked up my chard stems as well as the leaves for the first time, and the result was really tasty. They got tender really fast.

Fingers crossed I end up with something great for dinner tonight! As of right now, I have no idea what to make, but it’ll involve more of the white beans for sure.

Recipe remix

5 Sep

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long at all, then you know I repeat meals a lot each week. I don’t mind the monotony — it makes my life easier, and if a meal is good once, it’ll be good twice — but I do try to make little tweaks when I can. Here’s an example: on Saturday, I made us both soft tacos with zucchini and portobello mushrooms (see this post). On Sunday, we used the same basic concept but made some changes, which gave us these:

Lentil Vegetable Soft Tacos

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cherry peppers (or 1/2 a jalapeno), chopped and seeded if you want less heat
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cumin to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 corn tortillas
  • Suggested toppings: salsa, green onion, cilantro, nooch or cheese, sour cream, avocado

Bring lentils and one cup of water (or vegetable broth, if you prefer) in a small pot. Simmer until lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes typically. Drain, lightly mash, and set aside.

Heat a saute pan misted with spray oil (or us about a teaspoon of olive oil, if you prefer) over medium. Add the mushrooms and peppers and cook for two or three minutes, or until mushrooms soften and release some moisture. Stir in the lentils, cumin, salt and pepper and cook until combined and heated. Pile into corn tortillas with your favorite toppings.

I served the summer squash on the side this time:

(I forgot to take a picture until I had taken a bite of my taco!) And for dessert, we had incredibly juicy and sweet watermelon from the CSA box:

Another remix were these bean patties I first made on my solo Saturday:

They featured leftover black-eyed peas, shredded squash, a little flour, and some spices. While they were tasty, the texture was borderline terrible. I was following a method, and though I thought for sure I should salt and drain the yellow squash, the recipe didn’t say to, so I went against instinct. It was a big mistake, and the resulting patties were way, way too moist. So I redid them
for lunch on Monday:

It looks the same, but it tastes and feels a million times better. I didn’t measure anything, so this isn’t much of a recipe, but I wanted to include the basic method — what Caitlin fittingly called a Formula Meal earlier today — for reference.

Bean and Summer Squash Patties

  • 1 medium or large shredded summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan, whatever you have)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans (or 1 can), lightly mashed
  • ~1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • ~1/4 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Other chopped veggies: carrots, peppers, and/or green onion are all basic additions
  • Preferred spices: cumin and oregano for Mexican-inspired, thyme and tarragon for something a little Provencal, sesame seeds and ginger for Chinese, cinnamon and allspice for Caribbean, curry for Indian, etc.
  • Fresh herbs: cilantro, basil, and/or parsley are all good choices
  • Oil for frying

Salt your squash and place in a bowl or colander to drain for about 30 minutes. When ready to cook, squeeze out additional liquid and pat dry.

In a medium bowl, combine everything but the oil with your hands. If there is too much moisture, add more oats or flour a little at a time. If the mixture is too dry, add more liquid a little at a time. It’s highly unscientific, but that’s the best way to achieve the right texture.

When the consistency is to your liking, form into patties. You can make them bigger for veggie burgers or smaller to fill pitas or eat on their own.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil (per batch) in a pan over medium or medium-low heat (the bigger the patty, the lower the heat should be to ensure the insides cook as well as the crispy outside). Add the patties to the pan and cook, flipping every couple of minutes, until they are browned. Serve however you prefer — on a bun, in a pita, or by themselves with a dipping sauce (ketchup, cashew cream, or tahini sauce all come to mind).

Makes about four servings.

I forgot to take a photo of our lunch, but we served them with lightly sauteed chard from the CSA box.

Do you often do recipe remixing? Have any favorite “formulas” to share?

Sick day eats

27 Jul

I stayed home from work yesterday nursing a bout of the ickies. I will spare you the details, but it was way, way less than fun. Somehow I gathered the energy to cook not one, but two delicious and satisfying meals.

A couple of weeks ago, the Hungry Hungry Hippie posted a tempeh stew recipe that I filed away in the back of my head. When I was meal planning for this week, I flipped through my copy of Veganomicon and landed on their veganized Cholent. I kinda combined the two ideas and came up with this easy and crazy delicious soup:

Tangy Tempeh Tarragon Soup

  • 1/2 to 1 block of tempeh, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth (or a combination)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.25 pounds Yukon gold (or similar) potatoes, chopped bite-size
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Bring a small pot of water to boil, then steam your diced tempeh for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil over the medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it softens. Add the garlic, tarragon, salt, and pepper for about a minute. Then add the tempeh (and more oil, if the onion absorbed it all) for about two more minutes. Now pour in the water, bay leaves, potatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. After 30 minutes, check the potatoes for doneness. When they are fork tender, add the beans and peas until hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

Mine was more soupy than stew-like, but I actually liked it that way. Check out all the deliciousness:

I only used a half block of tempeh because I have a bad track record with preparing it myself, but it was actually my favorite part, so I recommend using a whole block. You could also add any sort of veggies to the mix — carrots, celery, green beans, etc.

For dinner, I threw together a pantry scramble meal that actually turned out really well. The whole thang:

For the entree, I used this recipe as a jumping-off point and ended up with a Mexican-inspired dish.

Black Beans and Barley

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • 3 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth, or a combination
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium and then add the onion. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper and stir for 1 minute. Now add the barley and stir to combine for 1 more minute. Pour in the water or vegetable broth, add the cayenne, and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. After 30 minutes, check the barley for doneness. If the water has been absorbed but the barley is still too chewy, add 1/2 cup of liquid. Check in 10 minutes. Repeat the process until the barley reaches the desired consistency. When it’s ready, add the beans, stir to combine, then heat until warm.

Makes 3 servings.

We served ours alongside a simple salad: romaine lettuce, avocado, and a quick mustard dressing (2 tablespoons of my beloved Smoky Onion Garlic Mustard, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and juice of half a lime).

Perfectly easy and delicious.

Dinner on the fly

12 Jul

Last night, we made another on-the-fly, his-and-her dinner. This time the centerpiece was black bean burgers. I don’t have a formal recipe, but it went something like this:

  • Use your hands to mash and smash one can of rinsed black beans, half a container of chopped mushrooms, enough corn meal (maybe 1/4 cup?) to bring it together, and a few dashes of cumin and cayenne.
  • Form into four patties.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan over medium.
  • Add patties and cook for five-ish minutes on each side until they are browned.

He ate his two somewhat traditionally, on buns with lettuce, tomato, roasted corn, and barbecue sauce:

I cut one in half and ate it taco-style on two blue corn tortillas with roasted corn and barbecue sauce, plus a salad:

The verdict: good and SO easy. The latter was a necessity, given how tired and hungry I was last night. I saved the fourth patty for today’s lunch, which I will share tomorrow.

I was disappointed in the sauce, though. During my last trip to the grocery store, I grabbed some Stubb’s Spicy Bar-B-Q Sauce because the ingredients were decent (vegetarian and HFCS-free). The flavor, however, was very artificial-tasting. I enjoyed the kick, but I can’t quite put my finger on the ingredient that made it taste so plastic. I would not buy it again.

Anyway, the dinner made me glad I stocked up on cheap organic black beans at Trader Joe’s over the weekend. I had not planned this meal in advance at all, so hurrah for quick thinking.

I did it!

18 Jun

Friends, readers, country(wo)men — I took the leap. You are now viewing this little blog on her own domain: http://www.veggingoutinttown.com! Eek! I’m excited, as you can tell. One day, I will upgrade to my own hosting, too, but for now, I’m basking in this first little victory.

I told you about my first foray into diabetic meal planning two weeks ago but was remiss in sharing the actual eats. My apologies. Between the ShakeDown in T-Town Shakespeare Festival 2011 and the crushing pain that refuses to leave my head (16 migraines in 35 days and counting — for realsies), I’ve been a bit negligent. So here’s what we’ve been eating round these here parts lately. I will note that I still consider myself a failure at the diabetes thing. It’s really, really hard and contrary to how I — a carb-loving borderline hypoglycemic — normally plan meals. I am picking up Dr. Barnard’s book on diabetes today, though, so hopefully I will gain some insight.

OK, here was the boy’s favorite meal of last week:

Clockwise from left: Swiss Chard with Garlic Chips (topped with a splash of balsamic instead of the reduction), Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing (minus the onions), and “Dry” Red Lentils (recipe below). He raved about the whole meal. I enjoyed it, too, though the following morning’s repeat Swiss chard performance was not ideal. (For the record, I blame my own acid reflux problems, not the green or the recipe.) I adored the dressing on the cucumber salad and plan to use it again on something else. Here’s the super-easy-basic lentil recipe.

“Dry” Red Lentils (adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey)

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into fine half moons
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Rinse and drain lentils, then place them in a bowl with water to soak. The original recipe says three hours, but I only did one and it was totally fine. Drain when you’re ready to cook.

Place a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and garlic, stir frying for about 4 minutes, or until the onion browns a little. Add the lentils, stirring for a minute. Add 1 cup of water and the salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Now cover, reduce the heat to very low, and cook until lentils are tender mush, about 20 minutes.

The recipe is pretty much fool-proof, and it’s completely delicious, despite the very small ingredient list. I recommend trying it as is before you start spicing things up.

After dinner, I whipped up some Pumpkin Pie Mousse.

I am total crap at food styling, but this was my attempt. Almost pretty, eh? The mousse is layered with banana slices and topped with a little coconut cream (from the top of the can of coconut milk) and cinnamon. The only changes I made to the original recipe were omitting the maca (didn’t have any) and sweetening with a little honey.

Another successful meal was what I’m calling Continential Breakfast for Dinner.

Clockwise from left: Italian-style Eggs, salad with homemade goddess dressing, and French-inspired Breakfast Potatoes. I didn’t use a recipe for the former, just sauteed two yellow squashes in olive oil and garlic then added four beaten eggs (sourced locally and cruelty-free), two chopped scallions, five or six chopped and seeded cherry tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, and a little shredded Asiago cheese. It was incredible, if I do say so myself. I will share recipes for the other two dishes in a separate post so this one doesn’t get too cray-cray.

For my lunches, I made a nutrient-dense salad:

It was inspired by the salad I always get at Chipotle, but mine was awesomer. I made black beans from scratch in the slow cooker, precooked some red bell pepper and portobello mushrooms in a little olive oil, and made salsa. When it was time to eat, I heated up the cooked stuff, piled it on top of greens, and topped it all with salsa and sliced avocado. *Heavenly.* If anyone would like the full recipe, I’d be happy to do a separate post. I was a nice girlfriend and shared this salad for one of my diabetic love’s lunches, but it was hard to part with.

So those are a few of last week’s mostly healthy meals, and I promise there is more to come as I finagle this bidness. On an exciting note, I FOUND MY CAMERA CHARGER! Now all I have to do is find . . . my camera. For real. Sigh. Soon, though, I promise pictures will improve.

What’s your favorite breakfast-for-dinner meal? I’m not a big pancake fan, so I usually stick with something savory.

Lentils on FoodistaLentils