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Food Matters

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5/15/2015

A totally tasty twist on classic pasta salad, this herbed penne salad serves well as the main course for any summer meal. Black beans add protein while the veggies supply color and crunch. When I am hosting a sit-down, outdoor party I often feature this enticing salad as the star of my meal.

pasta salad

Herbed Black Bean Pasta Salad

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

Salad
• 1 pound whole-grain penne, cooked al dente and drained
• 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
• 4 to 5 carrots, chopped
• 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
• 1 sweet orange or yellow pepper, chopped
• 1 small sweet onion, diced
• 1 can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 12 to 14 leaves chopped fresh basil
• 4 to 5 leaves chopped fresh oregano
• 4 leaves chopped fresh sage
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Dressing
• 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise, plus more as needed
• 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, plus more as needed
• 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar or your preferred dry sweetener
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• Freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

1. Put all of the salad ingredients in a very large bowl.

2. Put all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

3. Add the dressing to the pasta salad and toss gently until well combined. If a creamier consistency is desired, add more mayonnaise and/or Dijon to taste.

4. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours, or until the salad is thoroughly chilled. Serve cold over a bed of crisp greens with crusty whole-grain bread or rolls on the side.


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.



5/8/2015

You’ll really impress your family and guests with quick-to-bake tortilla chips. These kid-friendly snack chips are so crispy and tasty that you won’t miss the oil or extra calories found in most store-bought varieties. These gems are great with hummus, salsa or any dip, making them the perfect choice for festive, warm weather parties.

tortilla chips

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Makes 4 servings

• 2 whole-grain tortillas (see notes)
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

2. Cut tortillas into chip-size portions. Put the cut tortillas, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Toss to coat.

3. Arrange the tortillas in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or just until crisp and edges are slightly browned. Sprinkle with more salt, if desired.

Chef’s Notes:
• For a gluten-free option, use brown rice tortillas instead of whole-grain tortillas.
• Flavored tortillas, like spicy or chipotle, work best 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.



4/30/2015

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.





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