Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 6
As winter approaches, hot meals are more and more appetizing. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is a delicious, hot meal that will warm you up on a cold day. Lentils are a great source of iron, fiber, and protein. The meaty texture of the lentils makes this home-style favorite a hearty and healthy meal. Instead of potatoes, I used rutabagas as the top layer mash. Rutabagas are a great source of potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C. With a flavorsome amount of natural sugars, rutabagas provide a sweet contrast of flavors that is absolutely delicious in shepherd’s pie!

Ingredients

1 cup dry green lentils
1 cup fresh celery, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh carrots, diced
¼ cup shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
2 T. parsley
1 T. thyme
2 T. olive oil
3 medium rutabagas, peeled & diced
Salt & pepper

  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil. When fragrant, add celery, carrots, peas, lentils, parsley, thyme, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or until the lentils are tender.
  2. As the lentils simmer, peel and dice the rutabagas to 2” cubes. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the rutabagas. Boil until tender or about 20 minutes. When tender, drain. Mash and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Create a slurry using the cornstarch and 4 T. of the lentil cooking liquid. Whisk the ingredients together until combined, and add to lentil mixture. Boil while stirring constantly until thick.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drop and spread the rutabaga mash on top of the cooked lentil-vegetables to create a top layer. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the lentils simmer.

Happy Cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

Savory Avocado Toast (Vegan)

Makes 2 servings
The combination of creamy, buttery avocado and warm, toasted bread is the perfect match. I love avocado toast because it is delicious, nutritious, and takes only a few minutes to make. Avocados are nutrient dense and are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and potassium. When paired with whole grain bread, which contains protein, this avocado toast makes for a satisfying and filling meal. My favorite avocado toast toppings are olive oil, lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, salt, and pepper. Pumpkin seeds add extra crunch and nutty flavor to the dish. They can be found in the bulk bins at Friendly City Food Coop. Try this savory avocado toast for yourself and savor it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ingredients:
4 slices of your favorite bread, toasted
1 ripe avocado
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
Dash of sea salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Mash avocado onto each slice of toasted bread using a fork.
  2. Top each slice of toast with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, sea salt, and pepper on top. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Soba Noodle Stir Fry (Vegan)

Makes 4 servings
Soba noodles are a staple item in my pantry and I love cooking them for a quick and easy dinner. Soba noodles originated in Japan and are made from buckwheat flour, which gives the noodles a unique light brown color. They have an earthy, nutty flavor and are loaded with nutrients. Each serving of soba noodles contains a healthy dose of protein, iron, and whole grains. I love pairing soba noodles with stir-fried tofu and veggies and a super simple sauce made with liquid aminos, rice vinegar, and hot sauce. The combination of savory and fresh flavors makes this dish one of my go-to meals for a fast, healthy dinner.

Ingredients:
8 oz. Soba Noodles
1 package Extra Firm Tofu, cubed
2 cups Broccoli, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
½ Onion, sliced
¼ cup Liquid Aminos
2 T. Rice Vinegar
1 tsp. Hot Sauce
1 T. Coconut Oil

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 T. coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in broccoli and red bell pepper and sauté for 3 more minutes until veggies are tender. Add in cubed tofu, liquid aminos, rice vinegar, and hot sauce. Mix to combine and sauté for 2 minutes. Cover pan with a lid and remove from heat.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook soba noodles for 5-7 minutes until soft. Drain cooked noodles and add to veggie-tofu mixture. Mix all ingredients together. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Hearty Veggie Loaf (Vegan, can be made GF by using GF oats)

Makes one 9 by 6 inch loaf
Now that winter has settled in, delight your friends and family by making them this hearty veggie loaf. Loaded with protein and fiber from tofu, lentils, and oats, this dish is a nutritious alternative to regular meatloaf. Bragg’s liquid aminos give the veggie loaf a savory, umami flavor while the ketchup glaze gives the loaf a subtle sweet and tangy flavor. I made this loaf for my family and they were amazed by the meaty texture and sweet and savory flavor. With a simple ingredient list, this hearty veggie loaf is easy to make and is sure to be a hit during mealtime.

Ingredients:
1 package (14 oz.) firm tofu, drained
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
½ large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup quick oats
¼ cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tbsp. ketchup + 3 tbsp. for glaze topping
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Directions:
In a medium pot add 3 cups water and 1 cup green lentils and bring to a boil. Once boiled, reduce heat to medium-low and cook lentils for 30 minutes until tender.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium pan, sauté onion over medium heat with ¼ cup water for 5-7 minutes until translucent and tender. Add in garlic and 1 tsp. dried oregano and sauté for one minute until fragrant. Set onions aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add drained tofu and mash with a wooden spoon until tofu is crumbled and broken apart. Add in cooked green lentils, onions, 1 cup quick oats, 2 tsp. dried basil, ¼ cup liquid aminos, 1 tbsp. ketchup, and 1 tsp. Dijon mustard. Mix well.
  4. Add veggie loaf mixture into a lightly greased 9 by 6 inch baking dish. Top loaf with 3 tbsp. of ketchup and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Apple Pie Oatmeal (Vegan)

fullsizerender-3By Tiffany Wu – Makes 1 serving   

Still looking for ways to enjoy sweet, local apples? Friendly City is stocked full of this delicious fruit right now. I bought a big bag of crisp gala apples on my most recent trip to Friendly City and was inspired to make apple pie oatmeal. I love gala apples because of their sweet, mild flavor and their satisfying crunch. They are the perfect apples for making this apple pie oatmeal. This oatmeal is loaded with nutrients such as fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and makes for a scrumptious breakfast.

 

Ingredients:
½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups water
1 Gala Apple, diced
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. pecans

Directions:
1. Add water and oats to a small pot and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil turn heat to low and add in diced apple, chia seeds, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir well to combine and cook for three minutes. Next, add in pecans and mix well. Transfer oatmeal to a bowl and enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Cauliflower Alfredo

nov28Looking for an impressive date-night recipe or a nutritious kid-friendly dinner idea?

This Alfredo sauce may be just what you’re looking for. Using fresh cauliflower, this Alfredo sauce is nutritious and delicious while carrying half the calories and fat. Unlike other recipes that use whole milk and butter, this rich Alfredo sauce is made with cauliflower, yogurt, and low-fat milk and flavored with shallots, lemon, parmesan, and cinnamon. Cauliflower, low-fat dairy, and whole wheat pasta create a tasty and filling meal full of protein, fiber, and vitamins in this recipe!

I made this dish for my family, and everyone was shocked to learn the sauce was made using cauliflower. Because the ingredients are lower in fat, we enjoyed our delicious dinner without feeling bloated afterwards. The recipe is especially perfect for sneaking vegetables onto kids’ plates!

Fresh produce makes a difference; your taste buds and belly will thank you!

Ingredients (makes 8-10 servings)
1 head cauliflower
5 cups 2% low-fat milk
5 shallots, chopped
1/3 c. plain low-fat Greek yogurt
16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1 T. butter
1 ½ lbs. baby kale leaves
2 cups grated parmesan
1 lemon, zested
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

1. Chop cauliflower florets off the head.
2. Simmer florets in milk with the shallots and cinnamon. Cook covered for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft.
3. Transfer the contents to a blender. Pulse until silky smooth. If necessary, add a tablespoon of milk.
4. Transfer the puree to a small bowl, and whisk with the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Cook linguine in boiling water approx. 10 minutes. Drain the pasta from the large pot.
6. In the large pot, melt butter, and sauté kale leaves until wilted or about 2 minutes.
7. Add pasta back to the pot of kale. Add cauliflower sauce, lemon zest and 1 ½ cups parmesan.
8. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth
Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

Vegan Chocolate Pie

choc-pieThis recipe features a vegan chocolate pie! How exactly is a vegan pie possible, you may wonder? Are butter and eggs necessary?

In this no-bake pie, they are not. Sugar, chocolate, and tofu hold up the thick creamy texture. Silken tofu is used in many vegan-based recipes such as creamy soups, dips, cakes, and muffins. In this recipe, the high water and protein content allows the chocolate filling to retain its structure and rich taste.

Tofu is an excellent nutrient-dense food. Tofu is an awesome source of complete plant-protein, calcium, omega-3 fats, iron, manganese, and other minerals. Many people avoid tofu because they have not been exposed to it. However, incorporating a nutritious food into a decadent dessert is a win for vegans and non-vegans alike!

Whether you are looking for a new vegan dessert recipe or are willing to use tofu in your next baking adventure, this is a delicious pie you have to make!

This recipe is so simple, all the taste in no time. Try it out this Thanksgiving.

Ingredients (1 pie)

9” graham cracker or regular pie crust, purchased or baked according to recipe
12 oz. cacao nibs
1 lb. silken tofu
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. cayenne
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
Optional: shaved chocolate, sliced strawberries

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the sugar mixture along with all other ingredients to a blender. Blend until very smooth using a spatula to scrape the sides down.
  3. Pour pudding into cooled crust. Chill until firm at least 3 hours. Garnish with fresh fruit or chocolate bits.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

 

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins (Vegan)

img_7430By Tiffany Wu – Makes 12 muffins
These pumpkin cornbread muffins are savory, sweet, and perfect for fall. The earthy flavors of pumpkin and cornmeal compliment each other nicely and put a new spin on this classic dish. Friendly City Food Coop carries local yellow cornmeal in their bulk bin section, which gives the muffins rich corn flavor and a pleasant chewy texture. I made my own mashed pumpkin by slicing a pie pumpkin I picked up from the Coop into 8 pieces and roasting it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. When it was done roasting I removed the pumpkin flesh from the skin and mashed it in a bowl with a fork. These muffins are so delicious when eaten warm with a little vegan butter spread on top!

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 1/3 cup hot waterfullsizerender-11
1 cup pumpkin, mashed
1 cup unsweetened soymilk, warmed
1/3 cup agave
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix ground flax seed and water mixture, mashed pumpkin, warmed soymilk, agave nectar, and melted coconut oil in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Next, add in cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  4. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and grease each muffin tin with a touch of coconut oil. Fill each muffin tin with batter until almost full.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

 

Roasted Romanesco

222Imagine a lime-green head of broccoli with mesmerizing spiral florets. The odd-looking vegetable you are thinking of is called Romanesco!

This exotic vegetable belongs to the same cruciferous vegetable family as broccoli and cauliflower. Nevertheless, when I spotted it in the produce section of Friendly City, I could not stop staring at it. The vegetable truly looks like it was left behind after an alien invasion!

Little did I know, Romanesco is just as nutrient-dense and delicious as it is aesthetically appealing. The vegetable is high in important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and folate. You may be surprised to know that Romanesco has about 4 grams of protein per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of florets.

You can eat chopped Romanesco florets raw with your favorite yogurt dip or hummus. The intriguing spiral shapes of the florets are a beautiful addition to any vegetable platter. You can also steam and season them as I do in this recipe. I tried roasting Romanesco with fresh thyme. Thyme has a dry aroma and an earthy, savory flavor. It complements root vegetables like beets and potatoes well. I knew it would taste equally as wonderful with a similarly starchy vegetable like Romanesco broccoli

Ingredients
2 T. olive oil
1 head Romanesco, cut (Romanesco can be cut in the same way as broccoli)
2 T. fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 T. Parmesan (grated) or nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the head of Romanesco in half. Using a paring knife, cut the florets from the stem. Transfer the spiral florets to a sheet pan.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Strip thyme leaves and sprinkle about 1 ½ T. of thyme leaves over the florets. I placed the used lemon sliced on the sheet pan as well; the heat will release more lemon flavor during cooking.

Roast for about 20 minutes or until crisp. When the florets are done, sprinkle a bit of parmesan or nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor!

Romanesco may be the most unusual looking vegetable you’ve ever seen. Try it and experiment with this recipe.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth
Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

Butternut Squash Fries

img_5839Autumn is a beautiful time of year, and cooking inspiration in the fall absolutely finds itself deriving from pumpkins, gourds, and squashes.

I love this recipe because it is an easy way to cook up a butternut squash. Maybe you were planning on making butternut squash soup, but never got around to doing it? Well, this recipe is for you!

In under 15 minutes, you can have these sweet butternut squash fries in the oven. Butternut squash fries taste a lot like sweet potato fries. However, the squash has a lower carbohydrate content while still rich in many of the same vitamins like vitamin A, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. Whether you choose to use sweet potatoes or butternut squash in this recipe, the result will be delicious.

Serve this as a yummy appetizer or snack.

 

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
2 T. olive oil
3 pinches of coarse sea salt
2 T. honey
2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut butternut squash in half horizontally to separate the neck from the spherical bottom. Cut the bottom in half again down the middle.
3. Using a paring knife or sharp peeler, skin the squash.
4. Cut the neck-half of the squash horizontally into thick round slices.
5. Using a crinkle cutter, chop the thick round slices into fry shaped rectangles. Cut the round bottom half into strips with the crinkle cutter. Shape however you would like.
6. Pour olive oil on a baking sheet, and toss the squash fries on the baking sheet until lightly coated. Sprinkle a few pinches of sea salt over the squash.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through baking.
8. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe at home. Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.