We just got back from a wonderful vacation in Hawaii with the whole family, all 7 of us!
We did a lot of swimming, snorkeling, surfing (well everyone, but me for the surfing…I am such a spaz!)
….and every night, we had lovely dinners in the island’s best restaurants with generous offerings of fresh local seafood.
…but, that’s the thing: we ate fish or seafood every single night!
Of course, when in Hawaii, it’s hard not to relish the offerings of the ocean but, I have to admit, eating all that fish, as delicious as it was, left us a little uneasy, both for ethical and nutritional reasons. My husband explains why and elaborates here in his latest article on the US News and World Report’s Health section.
Now that we are back home, we have gone back to my simpler home-cooked plant-based dishes. David jokingly called it veggie rehab and he is absolutely right: It feels so good this week to eat strictly vegetarian or vegan!
So today I thought I’d guide you to my favorite plant-based dishes, the ones that we have enjoyed every day this week since coming back! They are simple, easy, they are nutritious and delicious and, last but not least, they are friendly to our planet: so completely satisfying all around!
Of course, all our dishes were accompanied by our typical big mixed greens salad filled with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from the garden and any other fresh veggies I found I liked at the market. This is a given in the Katz family, every day of the year!
My Farro White Bean Risotto is the first dish I made. It’s my go-to recipe when I have no time to fuss and I want to have all the protein we need in one dish only. I always add whatever veggies we have on hand to it. Coming back to our veggie garden replete with eggplant and zucchini, it was an easy decision. I also added sautéed mushrooms just because I LOVE mushrooms in my risotto, no matter what!
Another dish that was perfect for our veggie rehab this week was my Carrot Quinoa Lentils . Oh my goodness! I hadn’t made this dish in a while–sometimes I forget some of my own recipes and rediscovering it was so satisfying! This is a complete meal in one dish (you can tell there is a theme here!), filled with plant-based protein. The combination of carrots and curry is sweet and tangy and the carrot juice give it a slight creaminess! Yum!
Of course I made my Mediterranean Couscous Salad one night. This is a wonderful Mediterranean whole wheat couscous salad filled with artichoke hearts, bell peppers, tomatoes, chickpeas, fresh basil, and topped with roasted sunflower seeds. It is perfect on a hot summer day, both because it is so refreshingly delicious but also because it requires no cooking at all! The couscous is raw and just absorbs all the wonderful flavors of the citrus dressing so that it is perfectly fluffy and not clumpy. This vegan salad makes for a complete dinner!
One night, I made Pasta Fagiole with Spinach Mushroom Marinara Sauce. Again, it’s all the nutrition you need in one pot-no extra dishes to wash-and it is so deliciously simple!
One night, I made a simple guacamole (avocados, fresh lime juice and sea salt–no fancy recipe needed here), store-bought hummus, to which I added more chickpeas, fresh lemon juice and roasted pumpkin seeds, my Carrots à la Chemoula and my beautiful Farro Grapefruit salad. I found a nice crusty olive wholegrain bread to go with it and WOW, what a meal!
Another night I made Tian Provençal filled with fresh tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini from the garden (the only thing I needed to get from the market was white onion). I had everything else on hand right at home! I served that over my Simply Quinoa which always comes out just perfect and takes all of 8 minutes! I added chickpeas to our customary mixed greens and veggie salad to make sure we had the protein we needed, and there you have it!
Last night I made Carrot Miso Quinoa, again a one-dish meal, perfect with our great big salad and crusty bread. Tonight I think I’ll make a variety of savory Galettes (not sure yet what veggies I’ll use as a topping) but you can check out the basic recipe for my Fresh Tomato, Olive and Basil Galette or Galette with Caramelized Onions and Goat cheese. I think I’ll refrain from adding any cheese, just to keep it vegan this week.
So whether you too are back from a vacation where you feel you have overindulged a little (!) or whether you just want to incorporate more vegetarian dishes in your diet on a regular basis, I hope these recipes will inspire you and will become a staple in your kitchen too!
Until next time, the Katz family wishes you sunny, joyful greetings back from beautiful Hawaii!