Every once in a while an idea comes across my path that really makes a difference in my life. Well folks, the idea that I am about to share with you fits that qualification. The concept was presented to me last week at Whole Foods Market, where, as most of you know, my ten-year-old daughter and I have been participating in 28-day Engine 2 vegan food challenges. We're now well into our second challenge and still loving it and learning a lot.
At last week's meeting bowls of various foods were laid out on tables and we were given a container to concoct our own unique dinner on the spot. What was in those bowls was so simple that it could be categorized as follows:
(1) cooked whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, barley, whole wheat cous cous, etc., etc.)
(2) canned beans (kidney, black, canelli, garbanzo, fava, etc., etc.), drained and rinsed
(3) cooked or raw vegetables (cooked broccoli, corn, string beans, spinach, chopped tomatoes, etc., etc.)
(4) seasonings (any dry spice/herb, any salt free seasoning, low-sodium soy sauce, and vinegar)
What resulted was surprisingly delicious. I started my bowl with whole wheat shell noodles, added a variety of beans, cooked broccoli, corn and string beans, and topped it all off with a dusting of sesame seeds. That's all. And it was good. Real good.
And I thought, this would be the perfect equation to prepare a never ending variety of hot lunches for my kids! Yipee! Eureka! (Those of you trying to prepare healthy lunches for kids every day know how challenging this is.)
So my first attempt at home involved the following:
one bag of frozen brown rice from Trader Joes, cooked
one bag of frozen broccoli from Trader Joes, cooked
one can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin (a Japanese wine vinegar)
I just mixed everything in a large bowl. It was tasty and delicious. It went in my daughter's lunch box. But then, the leftovers became . . . DINNER!
I had made a batch of Choosing Raw's Cheesy Red Pepper Hemp Dip in the morning. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but the recipe intrigued me and I had faith that something good would come of it. Well, it was delicious served over the leftover mix of brown rice, veggie and bean. So delicious that I find that I am craving the whole business right now as I type this! Served with a side of roasted acorn squash, it was a perfect healthy vegan meal!
Roasted Acorn Squash
1 squash generally serves 2 people as a side dish
acorn squash, washed, cut in half, seeds removed
cooking oil spray, I used coconut oil
maple syrup or agave syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place acorn squash halves, cut side up, on cookie sheet. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray, sprinkle lightly with salt, and drizzle syrup lightly on top. Bake in oven for one hour. Serve immediately, but keeps nicely in the refrigerator and tastes great cold too!