General Tso’s Cauliflower

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We made this on a total whim. Patrick and I were both craving some Chinese food BUT wanted to keep it plant based and of course skip all the frying that typically goes down with a lot of your Asian meals. Cue General Tso’s Cauliflower.

Tip: This recipe contains Light Soy Sauce- which is still high in sodium. We like to factor that in and try and have low sodium foods the rest of the day (when we have meals like this).

for the general tso’s sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 knob of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar OR honey (more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1-2 tablespoons of cold water

for the batter:

  • 3/4 cup flour (divided into 1/4ths) Feel free to use gluten free flour- we used 100% whole wheat
  • 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs

other ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • scallions and sesame seeds for topping
  • 1 small habanero, chili, and/or jalapeno pepper [optional for topping]

recipe

  1. Cauliflower Batter: Set up a dredging station using three bowls. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and sprinkle ¼ cup of the flour over the top. Place the eggs in a second bowl and combine the panko breadcrumbs and remaining ½ cup flour in a third bowl. Toss the cauliflower in the flour to coat all the florets thoroughly. Dip the cauliflower florets in the eggs and finally toss them in breadcrumbs to coat on all sides. Place the coated cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and spray generously with olive oil spray (or oil of your choice)
  2. Cauliflower Air-Frying OR Baking: We used air fryer at 400 degrees. Air-fry the cauliflower at 400ºF for 15 minutes, flipping the florets over for the last 3 minutes of the cooking process and spraying again with oil – I have not tried baking with this recipe but you can definitely give it a go and I bet it will be delish! For baking, I would start with baking for 20-25min at 350 degrees and check on them periodically.
  3. While the cauliflower is air-frying or baking, work on the sauce!
  4. General Tso’s Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil; simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add more sweetness, citrus, etc. to your taste.
  5. Serving: Toss the cauliflower with the sauce (enough just to cover) and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds for serving. Serve with brown rice, quinoa, veggies- etc. We also added chopped jalapeno, habanero + chili peppers for spice and color!

This recipe is a combination of: Meredith Laurence Recipes, pinch of yum + our own modifications. 

 

Enjoy!!

-The Neilan Family-

Matcha Honey Cream Cheese

Yep, I said it. Matcha cream cheese. It’s incredible + oh so easy to whip together. My matcha lovers, you definitely need to give this one a try this recipe!! It’s super simple too.

ingredients

  • 1/2 Tsp Matcha [or to taste – depending on how much cream cheese you typically but on your bagel, english muffin, sliced bread etc
  • 1 Tsp Pure Honey
  • About 3 Tbsp of Cream Cheese [or however much you’d typically put on your bread of choice]
  • Chia + Pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top [optional]

recipe

  1. Mix matcha with cream cheese and honey. Do a little at a time and add more of each to taste
  2. Spread over your choice of bread [we used sprouted grain bagels]
  3. Sprinkle chia + pumpkin seeds on top

Enjoy!

Mushroom, Kale + Lentil Meatballs

photo: cookie + kate

I am all about combining all kinds of veggies into a meatball and then crossing your fingers it tastes good! Well this recipe turned out even better than we could have imagined. Who knew kale, mushrooms + lentils could taste OH. SO. GOOD. together. 

Note: I actually made this with the lentils raw + didn’t cook them. I loved it but Patrick preferred the lentils cooked slightly cooked first. If you like a crunch [like me] skip cooking the lentils!

Vegan Friends: You can omit the eggs. But if does act as a binder, so once you use a fork – they may break apart BUT STILL DELICIOUS!

ingredients

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms (or white mushrooms), sliced
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried terragon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Kale
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine lentils, bay leaf, and vegetable broth/water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. (Don’t worry, you want the lentils to be a little undercooked.) Remove from heat, drain and let cool for a few minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
  2. In a food processor, combine the mushrooms, kale, oats, lentils, parsley and spices (oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme and tarragon). Pulse/blend until the mixture is pretty well pulverized but not mush (see photos).
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil, then add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and turning golden at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Stir in lentil-mushroom mixture and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add red wine and soy sauce to skillet. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and, if you’re using a pan that retains heat like cast iron, transfer the mixture to a heat-safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to cool until it is comfortable to handle.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together two eggs, then thoroughly mix the eggs into the lentil and mushroom mixture. Use your hands to scoop up one small handful of the mixture at a time, shaping it into a golf-ball sized ball (about 1 ½-inch diameter). Place each “meatball” onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space around each one (you should end up with 15 or more meatballs). Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from: Cookie + Kate

photo: cookie + kate

We hope you love this delish meatless meatball meal as much as we do!

-The Neilan Family-

Broccoli Pesto

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photo: the harvest kitchen

The cousin of regular pesto. Just another glorious + delicious way to get greens in. Probably the most simple + easy sauce recipe that’s out there. Kids won’t even know they’re eating broccoli [win]!

ingredients

  • 1 Cup Cooked Broccoli [either boil, steam, microwave]
  • 1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C Parmesan Cheese [optional]
  • 1/4 C Pine nuts [or any kind of nut you’ve got on hand]

Recipe

  1. Throw everything into the food processor!
  2. Take pesto and put it in a frying pan to warm up- feel free to add more olive oil or water to thin it up!
  3. I like to add some pine nuts + more red pepper on top at the end for garnish!

That is it! So, so simple. We make this all the time- with always a little extra, so I can freeze and pull it out on another busy week night.

– The Neilan Family –

Creamy Cashew Pesto

photo: Le creme de la crumb

If you have been following us on instagram, you know 9 times out out of 10 I’m making some kind of pesto. It’s light, fresh + our absolute favorite. The best part, is that there are endless ways to mix it up. We have used this recipe and swapped out cashews for macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts. The list goes on! We have even done a sunflower seed + kale pesto, which was also delicious. 

Mix up the recipe any way you want! Sometimes you can do spinach + sometimes you can do kale. We have even replaced the leaves with broccoli and another time we did edamame. So truly, the sky is the limit. A majority of the time we put it over spaghetti squash or Banza (chickpea pasta). I make sure I ALWAYS have ingredients in the house for pesto. It’s an after work staple because it’s so simple and a great way to get more veggies in.

ingredients

• 2 Cups spinach or kale

• 2 Tbsp Olive Oil [you can always add more if you want it thinner- at the end]

• 1/2 C Pine Nuts [or to be honest, any nut you have on hand is delicious]

• 4-5 Fresh Basil leaves

• 3 Cloves chopped garlic [if you don’t love garlic, start with 1-2]

• 1/4 C Cashew Milk

• 1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes

• Salt/Pepper to taste

• 1/4 C Parmesan cheese [optional]

Recipe

1 Mix all of the above in the food processor [except cashew milk]

2 Once everything is mixed, put your pesto in a frying pan and add cashew milk on low heat

3 If you would like sauce thinner, add a little more olive oil or a dash of water

4 Take of stove once pesto is warmed and throw it on top of your favorite pasta, spaghetti squash or zoodles!

5 Garnish with basil, cheese, and/or red pepper!

Enjoy friends! Definitely make double [or even triple] and throw it in the freezer for a simple + quick week day dinner!

– The Neilan Family –

Butternut Squash Mac + Cheese [Vegan]

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photo: plated

As promised here is the most delish vegan mac + cheese recipe! Paired with green peas, broccoli, kale and/or spinach- it is absolutely scrumptious and an easy way to get lots of veggies in.

Tip: We recommend using a high protein pasta if you are not going to add beans or meat. Two options would be black bean or chickpea pasta- just be sure you don’t overcook these kinds of pastas. They’re delish but when overcooked, quite icky.

ingredients

  • 1 C potatoes [peeled and chopped]
  • 1/2 C cauliflower [chopped]
  • 1 C butternut squash [frozen, diced]
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 C yellow onion [chopped]
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp thyme [fresh- makes all the difference in the world]
  • 1 box pasta [we used Banza aka chick pea pasta]
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • baby spinach, broccoli, kale and/or green peas [optional]

recipe

  1. Place the potato, cauliflower, butternut pumpkin, garlic, thyme, shallot and cashews in a saucepan and cover with as much water as needed so that the vegetables are covered. Add a little salt to season and bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until fork tender. Do not drain.

  2. Place in a blender with 1 1/2 cups of cooking water with the all the rest of the ingredients except the macaroni. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

  3. While the sauce is blending bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Once boiling add the macaroni and cook according to packet directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

  4. Toss the pasta with the sauce until well combined. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you’d like slightly looser sauce  Add your favorite greens (if using) and serve.

    Modified Recipe: Delicious Everyday

We hope you enjoy!

-The Neilan Family-

Eggplant + Hemp Meatballs

Photo: Kitchen of Youth

We had two beautiful eggplants in our fridge this week and we’ve been making varieties of eggplant parm around the clock lately [or so it feels]. We wanted to try something new this time= so, we came up with- Eggplant + Hemp Meatless Meatballs!! They are super, SUPER yummy. They also happen to be gluten free, paleo, + vegetarian aka all the plant based goodness! This is one of those recipes that even if you’re not an eggplant fan, you’ll love. It’s a great option for Meatless Mondays or really any day of the week! Pair it with pasta, spaghetti squash, salad, crumble it up and make a tortilla- the sky is the limit [as always].

We doubled the recipe + it lasted about a week.

ingredients

• 1 medium/large eggplant, diced

• 1 medium onion, diced

• 5 large garlic cloves, minced

• 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

• 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

• sea salt and black pepper to taste

• 1 cup almond flour

• 1 tsp fresh or dried basil

• ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded [can sub for vegan Parmesan]

• 1 egg white, beaten with a fork [can sub for flax egg. Find out how to make this vegan option here, The Incredible, Edible Flax Egg + Green Muffin Recipe]

recipe

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2 Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

3 Place the eggplant, onion, and garlic on the baking tray and toss with the oil and a bit of salt and pepper.

4 Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until you start to see some charred edges.

5 Remove from oven and now reduce the oven temp to 375°F.

6 Scrape the roasted veggies into a food processor. Pulse 10 times — you want there to still be some chunks in the mixture.

7 Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl and stir in the almond flour, basil, hemp, Parmesan and egg white. Combine well.

8 Roll into golf ball – size balls. (I found it easier to do this with wet hands).

9 Arrange the balls on the baking tray (use the same piece of parchment paper).

10 Bake for about 50 minutes, without turning the balls over. You will know they are done when they release from the parchment paper without sticking. Make sure you let the balls cool before you try to release them completely; this will help them release more easily without sticking.

11 Enjoy your balls with your favorite pasta, sauce, salad, sandwich..

Modified recipe from Kitchen of Youth. 

Photo: Kitchen of Youth

Enjoy guys + Happy Friday Eve!

– The Neilan Family-