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Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food

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4/30/2015

Excellent for a fresh summer meal, these colorful and appealing pepper “boats” are filling enough to serve as a main dish for any festive warm weather meal. Perfectly portable, too, they make a wonderful picnic entrée and the peppers serve double duty as a delicious, edible bowl! Yum.

chickpea and quinoa salad boats

Chickpea and Quinoa Salad in Bell Pepper Boats

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

• 1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and drained
• 2 cups filtered or spring water
• 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
• 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
• 3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced and sliced
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, plus more as needed
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 4 large sweet red, yellow, or orange peppers
• Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

1. Put the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

2. Transfer to a medium bowl. Let cool (see note).

3. Put the cooled quinoa, chickpeas, parsley, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, salt, and turmeric in a small bowl and whisk briskly until smooth. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir gently to incorporate.

4. Taste and add more chili powder, salt, and/or olive oil if needed. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to let the flavors blend.

5. Right before serving, split the peppers in half lengthwise and seed them. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the pepper halves. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Chef’s Note: The quinoa may be cooked up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



4/24/2015

For years, my mom has been making a dairy-based version of these cookies for the holidays. Several years ago we decided to create a vegan version, which is as good as—or maybe even better than—the original recipe. These tasty treats are fabulous for a special occasion or afternoon tea!

Mom’s (Vegan) Turtle Cookie Squaresvegan cookie squares

Makes 16 to 20 cookies

Ingredients

Crust:
• 1/2 cup vegan margarine
• 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 cup pecan halves

Filling:
• 2/3 cup vegan margarine
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

Frosting:
• 1-1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. To make the crust, put 1/2 cup vegan margarine, 1 cup brown sugar, and flour in a high-performance blending appliance and process until particles are fine, forming a loose dough. Pour into a nonstick, ungreased 8 x 12 inch baking pan. Press the dough into an even layer, using your hands. Arrange the pecan halves evenly over the unbaked crust.

3. To make the filling, put 2/3 cup vegan margarine and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble. Pour the hot filling over the pecans and crust. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes until the pecans are slightly golden.

4. Put the pan on a wire rack and immediately pour the vegan chocolate chips over the pecans and filling. As the chips melt, spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the pecans and filling. (If the chocolate chips do not melt completely, put the pan back in the oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute to melt.)

Cool for 30 minutes and cut into 16 to 20 cookie squares. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the cookies will keep for 4 days.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



4/17/2015

Red quinoa is becoming more commonly available in supermarkets. Here, it adds a great pop of protein, and a gorgeous color, along with a slightly nutty taste. If you cannot locate red quinoa, white quinoa works beautifully. Perfect for a light supper or hearty lunch, this satisfying and sassy salad main dish will be a popular “go to” in your house!

Red Quinoa Salad

Red Quinoa, Avocado & Chickpea Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

• 3/4 cup red quinoa, rinsed very well (see note)
• 1-1/2 cups filtered or spring water
• 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more as needed
• 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/2 cup sweet red pepper, diced
• 2 medium avocados

Instructions

1. Put the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft.

2. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, cayenne pepper, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Let the bean mixture stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

3. Put the cooked quinoa in a medium bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil while it is still warm. Let the quinoa mixture cool for about 15 minutes.

4. Add the quinoa to the chickpea mixture. Add the parsley, red pepper, and remaining lemon juice. Stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. Right before serving, cube the avocados and add them to the salad. Toss gently to combine. Serve over lettuce leaves with whole-grain bread on the side. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Chef’s Note: White quinoa may be used in this recipe.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



4/10/2015

Highlighting baby spinach, and crunchy jicama, this dashing dish makes the perfect spring side salad. Bonus: It assembles quickly and the zesty dressing is oil-free! Outcome? A sassy salad that is quick to make, packed with crunchy jicama and nutritious leafy greens and tastes great.

Jicama and Spinach Salad

Jicama and Spinach Salad Recipe

Makes 4 to 5 servings

Ingredients

For Salad:
• 10 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
• 1 jicama, washed, peeled and cut in strips
• 16 grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
• 12 green or kalamata olives, chopped
• 4 teaspoons raw or roasted sunflower seeds
• 8 teaspoons walnuts, chopped
• Maple Mustard Dressing (see below)

For Dressing:
• 4 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoon maple syrup (plus more to taste, if desired)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 to 2 tablespoons water
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• Dash cayenne pepper

Instructions

1. To make the salad: Divide the baby spinach among four salad plates. For each serving, top with one-quarter of the jicama, 4 tomatoes and 1/4 of the chopped olives. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the sunflower seeds and 2 teaspoons of walnuts.

2. To make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in small mixing bowl until emulsified. Taste and add more maple syrup if sweeter dressing is desired.

3. Drizzle 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of the dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



4/3/2015

This pie is quick to prepare, gorgeous to look at, delicious to eat and a delight to serve! It’s the perfect pie to offer for any festive occasion or elegant dinner party. Bonus: The filling takes a mere five minutes to prepare and the crust comes together in a flash! Your family and guests will think you slaved for hours creating this luscious and beautiful dessert! (So it can be our little secret that it was super easy to make)!

Ginger Chocolate Mousse Pie

Ginger Chocolate Mousse Pie

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

Crust
• 2-1/2 to 3 cups broken vegan ginger cookies (enough to make 1-3/4 cups crumbs)
• 1/2 cup vegan margarine, melted

Filling
• 3/4 cup vanilla-flavored nondairy milk
• 14 to 16 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained and broken up
• 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) vegan dark chocolate (snack bars, not unsweetened baking chocolate), finely chopped

Garnish (optional)
• 1/2 vegan dark chocolate bar, cut into curls (see note)
• 10 to 15 raspberries (frozen raspberries work well for this)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the cookies in a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Put 1-3/4 cups of the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the melted vegan margarine and stir to combine. Press the crust into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Put the plate on a wire rack to cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat the nondairy milk in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until steaming hot but not boiling. Put the tofu in a blender and then add the vegan chocolate pieces. Pour in the hot nondairy milk and process until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the mousse into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top with a soft spatula.

3. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. To serve, garnish with chocolate curls and raspberries, if desired.

Chef’s Note

To make chocolate curls, slice a vegan chocolate candy bar into small “curls” using a carrot peeler.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



3/27/2015

One of the first crops of spring, asparagus makes a refreshing salad, adding color and crunch to any meal. It makes a nice light lunch perched on top of a bed of lettuce or presents an enticing first course to an elegant party meal.

Marinated Asparagus Salad

Marinated Asparagus Salad Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

• 1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 1 clove garlic, minced

1. To make the dressing, put the lemon juice, tamari, and garlic into a small bowl and briskly whisk until smooth and emulsified.

2. Steam the asparagus until crisp tender.

3. Put the hot asparagus into a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss gently to coat the asparagus with the dressing. Cover and chill for 3 to 24 hours.

4. Serve chilled, on a pretty platter or arranged over a bed of baby greens.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



3/20/2015

I love to make this satisfying pasta dish to serve at any festive occasion. Baby spring spinach adds substance and visual interest, offering up an enticing way to serve up a dose of leafy greens. The potato pulp, baked and then pureed, stands in beautifully for cheese. The lively color combination of this dish makes a lovely presentation.

Vegan Stuffed Shells Recipe

Festive Stuffed Shells Recipe

Makes 5 to 6 servings (20 to 22 shells)

Ingredients

• 20 to 22 jumbo pasta shells
• 3 to 4 large russet potatoes, baked and cooled
• 1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
• 1/2 cup diced yellow or sweet onion
• 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, finely chopped
• 1-1/3 cups your favorite prepared vegan marinara sauce, plus more for serving
• Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the shells. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are almost cooked but still quite firm. Drain and let cool.

3. Meanwhile, slice each potato in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the pulp, using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Measure out 3 cups of the potato pulp, making sure to pack it very tightly into the measuring cup. Put the 3 cups of the potato pulp in a high-performance blending appliance. Add the nondairy milk, onion, garlic, and salt. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Fold the chopped baby spinach into the potato mixture.

4. Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch casserole dish. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the potato filling into each of the shells. Place each shell into the prepared casserole dish. Repeat until all shells are stuffed. Top each shell with 1 heaping teaspoon of the marinara sauce. Cover loosely and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce is bubbling. Uncover during the last 5 to 7 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with optional chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, if desired.

5. Serve extra sauce in a gravy boat or small bowl to pass around the table.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.





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