Tag: Naturally

Vegan Baked Beans on Toast with Microgreens| Naturally.

Photograph of Vegan Baked Beans on Toast, topped with microgreens

For whatever reason, I feel like I’ve made it my mission to share the joy of beans on toast. I realize, it’s a bit of a funny mission. However, beans on toast is a magical thing and if you like beans, you should eat them on toast.

Growing up in the midwest, baked beans were a thing for nearly every family get-together. And yet, I never ate them. I avoided them, in fact. I’m not sure if it was the flavor, the texture, or just that I wasn’t a big fan of any bean. Luckily all of that has changed and now I have my favorite vegan baked bean recipe to share.

All the beans

When it comes to bean varieties, small navy beans are the traditional baked bean. I’ve also been known to use great northern. I’d also highly recommend checking out Rancho Gordo and using their Yellow Indian Woman Bean or their Alubia Blanca. I picked up a bag and the texture of these beans is perfect for a long-baked dish.

The sweetener

I usually stick with molasses, maple syrup, or honey but I have a weakness for dark muscovado sugar. This unrefined cane sugar has all of the molasses, making it a rich/moist sweetener. Paired with an extra bit of molasses, it makes these beans really shine. Of course, if you can’t find muscovado sweetener, use a bit more molasses or swap for brown sugar.

Keep it vegan

Traditional baked beans use bacon and while I could definitely swap in something more substantially meat-like, I don’t care. For me, the bacon brings the smoke and that’s why I can’t recommend enough picking up a bottle of smoked salt. Paired with the smoked paprika, you’re good-to-go, sans bacon.

Also, look for vegan Worcestershire sauce. Annie’s has a solid one and sometimes stores carry at least one other variety. This sauce is good to keep on hand for an extra boost of fermented goodness to many meals.

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Photograph of Vegan Baked Beans on Toast, topped with microgreens

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons tomato paste

4 tablespoon muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)

2 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon smoked salt

3 cups cooked navy beans in liquid (see note)


Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • Peel and mince the onion. Heat a small dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the minced onions. Cook until the onions are tender. Add in the tomato paste and cook for another minute or so.
  • Next, measure in all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer the beans to the oven. Bake the beans for about 45 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce for the beans should be thickened.
  • Serve as is or eat my favorite way, on toast sprinkled with greens.

Notes

+ When I say ‘in liquid’, I typically fill a measuring cup near the top with beans then pour the liquid over until it reaches the top.

Keywords: vegan baked beans, baked beans

Overhead photo of a piece of toast topped with vegan baked beans and broccoli microgreens.

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Winter Date-Night Dinner Ideas | Naturally.

Roasted Radish Salad with Butter-Thyme Dressing | Naturally Ella

In the grand scheme of weeks, my husband and I don’t get out very much. We work, we hang out with our son, we repeat. However, our times after our son goes to bed are ones we cherish. It’s the time we unwind. The time we connect with each other about our day. That time is extremely special.

While most nights we eat dinner as a family, some nights I reserve for a ‘date night’. We spend our unwinding around the table, enjoying a meal that’s a bit more involved than our normal dinners. Most of the time I prep ahead and finish while my husband is working his way through bedtime routine. This way, when he’s done, we’re ready to eat.

Think of these ideas as more of a starting place. I just worked my way through the archives and picked out the recipes I most enjoy. Everything has a main, a side vegetable, a salad, and dessert. Every meal is loaded with vegetables and I’m relying on my friends to bring the dessert (because we all have to play to our strengths!)

Berbere Chickpeas and Chard with Farro | Naturally Ella

No 1. The Unusual Flavors Date-Night Dinner.

I’m leading with this set, primarily because it uses some bolder flavors and some less-common produce. I love the spice level with the berbere seasoning and the balance of the tender turnips. Plus, I know people are often looking for more recipes with chard and turnips. Best of all, you could easily swap out the chard and just use turnip greens (a bit more on the bitter side but would work well with the flavor of the berbere!)

Pumpkin Paneer Curry | Naturally Ella

No 2. Curry, forever.

I feel like one of the ways I show a person I love them is by making fried cheese. Sometimes that fried cheese is used in tacos, other times, it’s curry. This pumpkin curry has a smooth, velvety sauce which I like to balance with a bit of heat from the chili roasted broccoli.

Lentil Broccoli Bites with Lemon Cream Sauce

No 3. A Variation ‘Meat’ and Potatoes.

My husband was never a ‘meat and potato’ kind of guy. However, I find that it’s hard to always escape my Midwestern food upbringing. These dishes are about as close as I get. Lentil bites smothered in a cream sauce provide the ‘meat’ while the romesco potato salad stands in for a more traditional mashed potato.

No 4. Vegan.

I think this might be one of my favorites. This vegan meal shows you don’t need to overload a veg meal with cheese. The risotto’s creaminess comes from a delicious walnut cream while the spicy cauliflower and avocado salad help balance the richness.

Kale Pasta with Sunflower Cream Sauce | Naturally Ella

No 5. Lemons, Winter’s friend

Winter in California is all about citrus. I love the sunflower cream sauce with the pasta. It’s bright, light, and vegan. Paired with a beautiful persimmon salad and a fun take on beets; it’s hard to go wrong. This meal is sure to put a smile on your face.

Spinach and Red Lentil Masala | @naturallyella

No 6. Flavor for all.

Finally, I like to come in with big flavor. Nearly everyone who makes the lentils find it becomes a staple. The flavor is amazing and it’s one of the more filling vegetarian mains. I like to balance this with a lot of vegetables. The green beans are a nice, easy side while the radish salad showcases this beautiful vegetable in a unique and fun way. Don’t miss the teff brownies either- they probably should have been dessert for every meal.

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Chili Chickpea Smothered Toast | Naturally.

Overhead shot of chickpeas in a rich tomato sauce, all on a piece of toast.

I like every recipe I post on this site. There are countless recipes that never see the light of day. They are probably good, I just don’t like them. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are recipes I love. Like, I could eat this everyday kind of love. These chili chickpeas get that kind of love.

The sauce is really where the recipe comes together. Dried chilis paired with tomatoes and finished with a boost of lemon; it’s hard to go wrong. Also, just a note. It could be chili or chile peppers (and there’s a fascinating read on this from the LA Times.)

Dried Peppers, your friend

If it wasn’t for having a husband and small child opposed to any level of heat in a recipe, I’d use dried chilis for every meal. I already kind of do this through adding crushed red pepper on top of everything I eat. At least with dried chilis, there is a myriad of flavor and heat.

I found when writing this recipe out I had a hard time landing on which chilies to include. I had picked up a bag at the market. The chilies in this bag were not labeled but I believe they were mild red hatch peppers. So, I’d like to just say: find dried chilies with mild heat.

Which chilis have mild heat, you ask? I’m not an expect on this but Saveur has a good base of what to look for in chilies. Once you find your dried chilis, you also need to know how to prep them for a recipe.

Bean Swap

Once you figure out which chili you should go with for the recipe, the rest doesn’t matter (just kidding, kind of). However, the chickpeas in this recipe are not paramount. Use what you have on hand. Big, meaty white beans would be the next logical choice followed closely by a creamy pinto.

Vegan it

You can swap the ghee for something vegan-friendly. However, and this is something I don’t say a lot: the ghee really adds to the sauce. There’s something magical that happens when chili peppers and ghee meet. But in swap pinch, olive oil would do. Also, drop the feta and probably add a bit more salt to make up for that.

Preserved Lemons

I lied when I said nothing else mattered because this dish isn’t the same without the lemon. I shared recently about preserving lemons and many people questioned me on uses. Preserved lemons are great as a finishing flavor when the overall dish needs a bit of pick-me-up.

Of course, if you’re not making your own preserved lemons or don’t want to invest in buying some, lemon will work. Give the final dish a squeeze and small amount zest lemon.

Overhead shot of chickpeas in a rich tomato sauce, all on a piece of toast.

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Overhead shot of chickpeas in a rich tomato sauce, all on a piece of toast.

Chili Chickpeas over Toast


Ingredients

Chickpeas

3 med-large, mild dried chilies

2 tablespoons ghee

1 small yellow onion, minced

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1, 15oz can stewed tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)

½ preserved lemon, minced

For serving

2 thick pieces of toast, for serving

Cilantro, for serving

Feta, for serving


Instructions

  • Before starting, bring water to a boil. I like to use my tea kettle but water in a pan would work as well. Remove the stem and seeds from the chili peppers. Place the chilis in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let rest for about 20 minutes. Once softened, chop into smaller pieces.
  • Heat a dutch oven or skillet with high sides over medium heat. Add the ghee followed by the minced onion and a pinch of salt. Cook the onion until fragrant and translucent. Stir in the chopped chilis and minced garlic, cooking for one minute more.
  • After the aromatics are on their way, add the coriander, stewed tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to break down. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Return the sauce to the pan and add the chickpeas. If the sauce is on the thick side, add a splash or two of water as needed. Cook the chickpeas in the sauce until the sauce and chickpeas are hot.
  • Finally, remove from heat and stir in the minced preserved lemon. Taste and add salt as needed. Place the toast in shallow, wide bowls and top each with the chickpea mixture. Finish with a sprinkle of feta and cilantro.  

Notes

Look for dried chilis that mention being mild or under about 3,000SHU.

Also, I would highly recommend using coriander seeds that you should toast and crush right before using. The flavor is even better. Also, if you’re in the business of toasting things, try toasting the chilies as well, before soaking.

Keywords: chili chickpeas

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19 Veg-Friendly Party Snacks | Naturally Ella

When it comes to the holidays, I get most excited about the parties (and the food at them!) With a little inspiration, your holiday party can be rocking some wonderful veg-friendly snacks. While you can start with a solid cheese board and some olives, step your game up with the help of some dips, bites, and flatbreads.

Pecan Roasted Beet Dip with Sage | Naturally Ella

Dips

Berbere Roasted Pistachios with Lemon | Naturally Ella

Nuts/Popcorn

Pumpkin Ricotta Crostini with Arugula | Naturally Ella

Crostini

Fig Jam Flatbread with Roasted Garlic and Blue Cheese | Naturally Ella

Flatbreads

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The Perfect Healthy Granola (Low Oil & Naturally Sweetened)

There are a few different granola camps. This one falls squarely in the great, everyday, healthy granola category. Instead of the cookies masquerading as granola camp. It is my new favorite thing, and I’ve had it on my counter for weeks now. Give it a go!

Midnight black and deeply chocolate-flavored with dark black cocoa and cocoa nibs, this granola is packed with heart-healthy oats and seeds. Naturally sweetened, clumpy, and crunchy, the recipe calls for just a small splash of olive oil, and leverages a secret ingredient to bring it all together.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

Is Homemade Granola Bad for You?

This is a question I get asked a lot. The short answer is, many granolas have a lot of sugar in them. And, many granolas have a lot of unnecessary added fat or oils. We’re essentially talking about cookies in clumpy form, which, I think we can all agree is delicious. As the foundation for your daily breakfast? Laugh / cry. My hope is today’s recipe will be a nice alternative.

My Healthy Granola Inspiration

In Los Angeles last month, I finally made it to beautiful Botanica. After dinner, Emily Fiffer, one of the inspiring owners, sent us home with a tote of treats for our long drive back to San Francisco. Included was a jar of Botanica’s Cacao Coconut Granola. In short, it was a (serious) granola revelation – crunchy, clumpy, deeply chocolate flavored, short ingredient list. The Botanica granola was the jumping off point for this recipe, and if you want to take that recipe for a spin as well, you can find it here.

The main tweaks? I used whipped aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas) as the binder, allowing me to scale back the added oil by a good chunk. Black cacao gives you that midnight chocolate flavor reminiscent of Oreo cookies, but regular cocoa powder is also great! And, I dial back the sweetness a shade.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

The Magic of Aquafaba

Have a look below. What you’re seeing is aquafaba. If you have a can of chickpeas, you have enough aquafaba for this recipe (the liquid in the can). It is whipped into peaks, and the other granola ingredients are folded in. It’s a fantastic medium for granola acting as a binder, helping to deliver that clumpy magic everyone loves. Aquafaba behaves much like whipped egg whites, but by making granola with aquafaba you can do a version that can be enjoyed by a wider range of people, including vegans and people trying to work more whole food plant-based meals into their diet. And now I’m itching to remake this rose petal granola using this technique!

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

Serving Ideas

If you’re going for healthy granola, you’re going to want to opt for healthful toppings. I like this granola served over yogurt, with a side of whatever seasonal fruit looks good. You can see it pictured here alongside sliced bananas and strawberries. There is a sprinkling of goji berries and rose petals as well. It’s also good in a simple bowl of mylk or milk – I like almond or oat.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

The Perfect Healthy Granola Recipe

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