ONE MORE TIME!

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Wow--the response to the lectures I've presented this spring on being a vegan athlete has been amazing! Clearly the topic of fine tuning our diets for sports performance is of interest, likely in part due to hubbub around films like James Cameron's The Game Changers, and the forthcoming book by vegan ultrarunning record-breaking Scott Jurek. 

It's been a pleasure talking about the potential and pitfalls of choosing this lifestyle, and I've fielded some fantastic questions. 

Those in attendance have ranged from long-time vegans, to new vegetarians, to those just curious about this diet and lifestyle. I met new runners, a couple ladies pursuing a half-marathon in every state (they even have plans for the boring states!), and runners of all ages looking to raise their game.

Thanks, Instagrammer @runwithjoy26.2, for sharing this post after the talk on April 4!

Thanks, Instagrammer @runwithjoy26.2, for sharing this post after the talk on April 4!

By popular demand, I'm hosting this talk ONE MORE TIME: Join me at TriSport Junction in Sykesville on Wednesday, April 18th, and let’s talk about the plant-based athlete! RSVP HERE.

Questions I'll be sure to answer include:

  • Will going vegan make me faster?
  • Do vegans recover more quickly?
  • Will I have to supplement?

...and the big one:

  • Where do vegan athletes get their protein?

Hope to see you on the 18th!

Got too many questions for a group talk? Let's meet one-on-one! Contact me here to make an appointment. 

 

Make This: Delicata Squash Rings

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While I love the flavor and creamy texture of starchy winter squash (not to mention the nutrition punch in the form of fiber and vitamin A), it feels like such a chore to hack at that tough outer skin to get to the good stuff. 

Until I discovered Delicata squash, the squash that requires NO PEELING! The skin is super thin and very edible. 

You'll recognize it as the oblong light yellow squash with green or dark yellow stripes running longways. Wash it well, then cut it in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Slice it into half-inch thick rings, and it's ready to bake.

Set the rings on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and season with a sprinkle of sea salt, and take things up a notch with one or more seasonings, like cinnamon, garlic powder or onion powder. You can add a small swizzle of olive oil if you like to help the seasoning stick, but by putting the rings on parchment they won't stick, and by giving plenty of space on the pan, they'll brown nicely. Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes and then flip them. If you’re feeling super fancy, swizzle a scant teaspoon of pure maple syrup at the halfway point, but again, that's optional. Roast for another 15 or so minutes (depending on their thickness). 

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For a quick and balanced weeknight meal, serve them as the starchy component of your meal: They're great over wilted kale or collards, or with roasted green beans or Brussels sprouts. Add your protein, or some rinsed and drained canned beans and a handful of raw pumpkin seeds, and you're set. Leftover squash rings (if you have any!) make tomorrow's lunch salad really special, too, or enjoy them with yogurt for breakfast or a snack.

Meatless Monday! Meat, Potatoes and a Vegetable

Venturing into Meatless Monday territory can be intimidating when you’re comfortable with meat, a starch and a veg for dinner. Well, today’s Meatless Monday is a very simple dish: You’ve got a meaty protein, a baked potato (yes! There is room for a white baked potato in a healthy diet!), and a green vegetable plus a rich, creamy sauce.


Hold on, you may be thinking. That ain’t chicken or steak! The protein on this dish is tempeh. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying tempeh before, it’s a tasty, chewy, meaty soy product. It’s high in protein and fiber and less processed than its cousin tofu. Because it’s fermented, it’s also much more digestible than tofu.

But wait, is that hollandaise sauce on that asparagus? And is that a big wad of butter melting on that potato? Nope. You’re looking at a creamy and healthy sauce made from just two ingredients. Here are the details to make two servings of this simple dish—just multiply to make more:

• 2 baking potatoes, each about the size of your computer mouse. Feel free to sub a sweet potato or yam of the same size
• 1 bunch of fresh asparagus spears, rinsed and woody ends snapped off
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• Sea salt and pepper
• Garlic powder 
• 1 package of organic tempeh (I prefer Lightlife Flax Tempeh), sliced in triangles or squares (note that the outside of the tempeh is not very absorbent, but the inside of the tempeh is)
• Tempeh marinade
  o ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  o ¼ cup tamari (or wheat free soy sauce)
  o 1 Tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
  o 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• Simple Tahini Miso sauce
  o 1 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  o 1 Tbsp mellow white miso paste
  o 1 Tbsp very hot water

• Marinate your tempeh at least one hour but up to a full day ahead: Mix the marinade in an 8x8(ish) pan and lay the slices of tempeh in it to marinate. Give it a stir or shake every once in a while to coat the pieces well
• Scrub potatoes, stabbing them with a fork a few times, and toss them into a 400 degree oven for 1 hour
• Lay your asparagus on a parchment lined cookie sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. In the last half hour of the potatoes’ cooking, 
• When the potatoes are within a half hour of being done, pop the tempeh in the oven as well to cook on a bottom rack, and put the asparagus sheet pan on the top rack with the potatoes. The tempeh will take between 20-25 minutes to finish (the product is already cooked, so no need to worry about “doneness”). Most of the marinade will be cooked off. The asparagus will take about the same time, depending on their thickness
• Make the sauce for the vegetables: While everything finishes in the oven, add the tahini, miso and hot water to a small bowl and stir well to combine. That’s it for the sauce!

It really is an easy dish to get on the table. Let me know if you give any or all of these components a try for your Meatless Monday!

Meatless Monday! Carrot Coriander Soup

Seasoning becomes extraordinarily important when you’re not dousing your food in oil, butter, salt or sweet sweet sugar. It’s amazing how a small amount of fresh basil or ground coriander can radically transform a meal from “meh” into “wow!” But as important as seasoning is, for the sake of my wallet and my increasingly crowded spice cupboard, sometimes I don’t want to buy a whole jar of, let’s say…dried marjoram for one recipe. Did you know that you can buy spices in bulk in the amounts that you need them from MOM’s Organic Market? Certainly makes it more affordable to try out new recipes and to learn about new spices and herbs!

 

All that to introduce this week’s Meatless Monday recipe and to ease your concerns: You don’t have to buy the whole $4.99 jar of marjoram or coriander to try this recipe if you don’t have those spices in your kitchen! Pick up what you need at MOM’s or another grocer with bulk spices, and enjoy…

 

Carrot Coriander Soup

Ingredients:
2 medium sized onions, chopped
3 Tbsp ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 Tbsp marjoram
4 large carrots, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped (you can peel off or include the skin. The skin gives extra nutritional oomph but your soup’s texture will be slightly less silky unless you have a very fancy blender)
8 cups vegetable stock (or a mix of stock and water)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp sea salt (or more or less depending on the saltiness of your stock and your taste)
Optional: Pinch of cayenne pepper
Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Directions:
• Cook the onions over medium heat, adding about a tablespoon of water to keep the onions from sticking and repeating as needed for 10-12 minutes, or until onions are golden
• Add the coriander, garlic and marjoram to the onions and cook for 1 minute
• Add the carrots and sweet potato and cook for 1 minute, covering them with the onion and spice mixture
• Add the stock and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, or until carrots are soft
• Puree using a hand blender or your super fancy blender
• Season with cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper, if you’re using it, and garnish with pumpkin seeds


Meatless Monday! Sweet and Sour Roasted Cauliflower

If you've been keeping up with me, you know that quick weeknight meals are a staple in our house. I took some inspiration from the Moosewood Low-Fat Cookbook and created this Italian-inspired dish using mostly pantry staples and a fresh head of cauliflower. When I first read the original recipe and saw that it called for raisins, I was hesitant.

Let me be very clear: I'm not a raisin person.

However. the raisins in this dish soak up the tomato sauce and create little bursts of sweetness. You can omit them, but I'd encourage you to give them a try: 


Sweet and Sour Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 onion, chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1/3 cup golden raisins (can be omitted)

1 x 28-oz can (BPA free) or carton of diced tomatoes with their juices

1/4 cup of rice vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Sea salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 380F. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally for more even browning.
  • While the cauliflower roasts, cook the onion and garlic 7-8 minutes over med-high heat, adding just enough water to keep it from burning.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the vinegar and raisins. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • When the cauliflower is tender and cooked through, remove it from the oven and add it to the sauce along with the drained can of beans. Cook till warmed through, about another 5 minutes.

I served this over polenta, but you could serve it over brown rice or whole wheat couscous. I used a pre-cooked tube of polenta, sliced it into ¼ inch-thick rounds and sprinkled on some dried basil and sea salt. I baked the polenta along with the cauliflower.


Serves 4-6


Meatless Monday! Springy Dill Sauce with Vegetables

If you're a farmers' market shopper like me, you may find this time of year challenging: Going to the market is a fun outing, but there's just not a whole lot out yet in terms of fresh food, especially after the wicked winter we've had. Yesterday I visited the Baltimore Farmers' Market under the JFX with the sole intention of finding something...ANYTHING...that tastes like spring. There is no shortage of herbs, which led me to one of my favorite spring flavors: Dill. 

If you've never cooked with fresh dill before, I hope you'll give this a try. It has a wonderful herby, springy-ness about it, and the tahini in the sauce (a paste made from sesame seeds) lends a wonderful richness. You can use any vegetables you like, but the asparagus and baby potatoes I included are also perfect for spring.

 

Spring Vegetables with Dill Sauce

For the Dill Sauce (from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz):

1/2 cup of tahini

1/2 cup water

1 clove garlic, chopped coarsely

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup of dill, lightly packed

 

Process all of the ingredients except the dill in a blender or Magic Bullet. Once the mixture is creamy and even, add the dill and pulse till the dill is shredded to small green flecks. (Note that the sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days, but it will thicken when it’s cold. Reheat gently to serve.)


For the Vegetables:

One bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces

About 1 pound of fingerling white or yellow potatoes, quarters or chopped into bite-size pieces

About 1 pound of yams, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced OR 2 tsp garlic powder

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, then patted dry with a clean dish towel

Sea salt and pepper


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment. On one pan toss the potatoes and yams with half of the olive oil and half of the garlic. On the other pan, do the same with asparagus and chickpeas. Place both pans in the oven. 15 minutes in, toss the ingredients on each pan and switch racks if you used top and bottom racks to accommodate the two pans. Give the asparagus another 5-10 minutes to cook (for total cooking time of 20-25 minutes). The potatoes will need around 35-40 minutes to cook, depending on the size of the pieces.


To serve, lay a bed of potatoes in each plate or bowl, top with the asparagus and chickpeas, then drizzle the sauce over liberally. 

Grounding Root Vegetable Soup

We have how many more weeks until spring?! As far as I can tell, there is only one redeeming quality about winter: Winter is excellent soup weather! I love a hearty soup, but I don’t want to feel heavy and ready to hibernate. And with my schedule, I need a recipe that won’t require me to chop 60 different vegetables!

The grounding energy of root vegetables makes them an excellent choice for a soup this time of year, and this recipe is a great opportunity to use some of those mystery vegetables you’ve been eyeing up in the produce section, namely turnips and rutabagas. These root vegetables are a great source of Vitamin C and fiber, and they have a surprisingly sweet flavor and a creamy texture.

 

Ingredients

1 large yellow, white or sweet onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Medium/Large turnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks (about 1 or 1.5 lb after peeling)

3 Med/Large rutabagas (about 1 or 1.5 lb after peeling)

7 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Ingredients for the optional garnish:

½ onion

1 clove garlic

2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

1 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

Directions

  • In a large pot, cook onion and garlic over medium high heat, continually adding just enough water to keep the onion and garlic from sticking. If you’re making the Brussels sprout garnish, cook the onion and garlic in the same pot.
  • After about 8 minutes, onion should be soft and golden. Remove a scoop of onion and garlic and put into another pan for the garnish
  • Add the chopped turnips and rutabagas to the soup pot and stir well with the onion. Cook on med-high heat for about 5 minutes, adding water if needed to keep vegetables from sticking
  • Add the water or stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are completely soft
  • While the soup is cooking, prepare the garnish: Bring the pan with the cooked onion and garlic to medium high heat, add the sesame oil and Brussels sprouts. Saute for about 5-8 minutes, or until sprouts are crisp tender. Finish with a sprinkling of the rice vinegar and set aside.
  • When vegetables are completely tender, use an immersion blender to puree the soup, and season to taste.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the Brussels sprouts.