Monday Evening Supper
Baked Yam, Red and White Quinoa, Adzuki Beans, Garlic Cashew Sauce, Stir Fried Vegetables,
Eating a plant based diet doesn't have to be really difficult. I sometimes cook very complex and involved meals but usually we eat large quantities of simple foods. Much of the food we eat is prepared ahead of time, on the weekend when I have more time, and then re-heated with additions made for a meal.
On Monday we ate the adzuki beans and quinoa I had cooked on Sunday. We drizzled those beans and quinoa (please be aware that quinoa is a complete protein - one of the best in the vegetarian/vegan world) with a garlic cashew dressing/sauce. I had lots of red peppers, carrots, broccoli and kale (from our garden!) in the fridge so I sauteed those up with garlic, ginger, and shallots. We added a baked yam and some prepared kimchi that I buy from the Farmer's Market. (Kimchi is great for your digestive health because it is fermented and full of probiotics) Huge plant based meal full of protein, carbohydrate, some good fat, tons of vitamins and minerals and full of phytonutrients (just look at the color on that plate and think HEALTH!)
Many people won't cook vegetables because they have to actually chop them up. It cracks me up how many washed and cut up vegetables you can buy packaged in the grocery store. I always wonder about how long they've been there, who cut them, how clean the surfaces were... can't help myself. Really easy to wash and chop your own vegetables. A benefit of chopping vegetables is that it can be a mindful practice of concentration and breath.
These are the greens from my garden - about three kinds of kale and some collards.
So here's what I did for the vegetable saute':
1 hunk of ginger, peeled and minced into little tiny pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced up small
2 shallots, sliced and chopped up small
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
3 or 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
4 - 6 cups kale and some other greens from the garden, rinsed and chopped into small pieces
2 or 3 handfuls of broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
1. Take out big cast iron skillet and pre-heat it, then add one heaping tablespoon coconut oil
2. Add the shallot, ginger, and garlic and stir until translucent - maybe 3 or 4 minutes
3. Add the matchstick carrots and cook another minute or so
4. Add the red bell pepper and cook another minute or so
5. Add the kale and stir in to the mix and cook another couple minutes
6. Add broccoli last and cook until tender, stirring often
You can, of course, substitute any vegetable. Do try to add some cruciferous stuff if possible, though. Kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc.
(oh, wait, that isn't cashew garlic dream sauce, that's Harry who is the same color!)
The cashew garlic dressing/sauce is called "Garlic Dream Sauce" and is, once again, from one of my new favorite cookbooks ---- The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen by Talya Lutzker (our local Santa Cruz Ayurveda cooking specialist)
Garlic Dream Sauce
1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups very cold water
1 tablespoon miso
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
Put the cashews and the cold water in the blender. Process on high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and consistency of heavy cream, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar. Set aside.
Combine the miso with the hot water in a medium bowl until the miso has dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, coriander, pepper, and dill. Add the cashew cream and garlic and mix well.
(I put the dissolved miso and other ingredients right into the blender with the cashew cream and gave it a 20 or 30 second blend.)
The garlic dream sauce will thicken a bit if you refrigerate it.
It is a light delicious dressing or sauce for grain and beans.
Look at the color of the sunset we saw the other evening after the storm while out walking the cliffs. It must be related to yams! Nature is great.
And, finally, the baked yam. Easy peasy. Wash and scrub the yam. Poke it with a fork a few times. Put it in the oven and bake it at 350 or 400 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes. Check it every now and then so it doesn't get too mushy.
May I sing the praises of the health benefits of sweet potato/yam? These wonderful little packets of color and flavor are full of fiber, low in fat, a good source of protein, high in potassium and manganese, full of vitamin C and a great way to get tons of beta-carotene/Vitamin A.
Recent research has shown that sweet potatoes/yams should be eaten with some amount of fat in order to increase the beta carotene benefits. In other words, if you add fat like the cashew cream, some olive oil, or even avocado, it will significantly increase the uptake of Vitamin A into your system.
Despite the fact that yams are very high in carbohydrate content, they are low on the glycemic index and some studies have shown that sweet potatoes can help stabilize blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance.
Perhaps we should be eating more yams and sweet potatoes?