In this excerpt from the book Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, the authors tout a meatless diet filled with grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes—items often relegated to side dishes. If you’re trying to find a way to reduce or eliminate meat from your diet this year, or simply to eat more healthily, these recipes will provide tasty options for you.
SEARED RED LENTIL PÂTÉ
(Courtesy of Anastasia St. John)
This is a fun and delicious way to prepare lentils. It’s a great entrée for a special dinner.
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
Bring the lentils and water to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Drain off extra water.
Sauté the onions and mushrooms in a cast iron skillet until browned. Put the cooked lentils, onions, and mushrooms into a blender. Add the cashews, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, thyme and rosemary, and puree until smooth. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch glass baking pan and allow to cool. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or until firm.
Cut the pâté into four squares, then brown each side in the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Serve immediately.
(Courtesy of Christy Morgan, author of Blissful Bites)
This dish is sort of like gumbo. In the Caribbean they call it “rundown” because they throw whatever they can find into this tasty stew seasoned with jerk spices. It is wonderful served with coconut rice, black beans and plantains.
Serves 4 to 5
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups chopped chayote squash
1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped collards
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup veggie broth
Small can tomato sauce
Soy sauce or tamari
Bring the water to a boil in a medium skillet. Stir in the thyme, oregano, carrots, asparagus, chayote, jerk seasoning, and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the collards, peas, and veggie broth and stir well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato sauce, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add soy sauce or tamari to taste and simmer for another few minutes.
(Courtesy of Moira Nordholt)
This mildly curried, mildly sweet red lentil and yam stew is satisfying served alone, or with a simple raita made of soy yogurt, toasted cumin seeds, and cucumbers.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 cups organic red lentils, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chile paste) or dried red
4 cups water
Pink Himalayan sea salt
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Toast the cumin seeds and powder, fennel seeds, curry powder, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon in a cast iron frying pan on high heat until the cumin seeds start to pop.
Add the lentils and stir until the spices are mixed in. Add a splash of water and continue cooking and stirring for two minutes. Add the sweet potato, carrots, onion, sambal oelek and 4 cups water.
Stir, cover, and bring to a boil, then stir again, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes and lentils are cooked. Add salt to taste and serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
KALE WITH MIRACULOUS WALNUT SAUCE
(Courtesy of Ann Esselstyn)
When we visit our son, Rip, in Austin, TX, we always eat at Casa de Luz, a macrobiotic restaurant, because we love the food and especially the walnut sauce on kale. We asked the cook for the recipe. This sauce is not for those with heart disease unless used sparingly.
Serves 3 to 4
1 bunch kale, prepared
1 to 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
1/2 cup water, or more depending on desired thickness
1/2 cup walnuts
1 garlic clove
Put in a blender or food processor a handful of walnuts, a clove or more of garlic, and a big sprinkle of low-sodium tamari.
Blend and add as much water as necessary (about 1/2 cup) to make it the right consistency to pour over the kale. It can be quite thin and still be good and will go a long way. It is good on absolutely everything.
Remove the stems, keeping the leaves whole. The most fun way to do this is as follows (it works well for collards too): Hold the spine of the kale firmly in your right hand. Loosely hold the lower part of the spine, just below the leafy greens, in your left hand. You may need to tear back the lower leaves to expose some of the stem. Holding firmly with your right hand and lightly with your left, move your hands apart. The greens will end up in your left hand and the bare stem in your right. (Collard spines do not always come away as far up the leaf, but that doesn’t matter.)
Chop the pile of greens into bite-size pieces. (Don’t waste the spines; assemble them all in a row, chop them into tiny pieces, boil them and add them to soup!)
Boil about 1 1/2 inches of water in a large frying pan and spread out the kale greens in the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then test to see if it is cooked to your liking.
Like spinach, kale is best if it is a little more cooked, but don’t overdo it.
Remove from the heat, drain, and serve, or use the kale in another recipe.
GARLIC ROSEMARY POLENTA
(Courtesy of Micaela Cook)
When I cut back on bread, polenta became one of my favorite foods. Served with pinto beans, greens, and baked onions, it makes a satisfying meal.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons rosemary, ground if possible
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups dry corn grits
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unflavored plant-derived milk (or water)
1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes for extra flavor
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix together the onion, garlic, rosemary, salt and corn grits. Add the broth and plant milk.
Bring to a boil in pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir gently until mixture is thick—about 10 minutes. Pour into a pie pan and bake for 30 minutes.
FROZEN BANANA CREAM
(Courtesy of Mary McDougall)
This dessert requires frozen bananas, which can also make a delicious addition to smoothies. When you have extra-ripe bananas, peel them, break them into pieces, place them in a freezer bag and freeze them for at least a day.
6 frozen bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
Puree a few of the frozen banana pieces, about a teaspoon of the vanilla, and a small amount of the milk in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and repeat first step until all the bananas are processed. Quickly stir the “ice cream,” and serve at once. Other frozen fruits may be added to the frozen bananas for additional flavor.
Reprinted by permission of The Experiment.© Monica Beach Enterprises LLC, 2011