Tag Archives: vegan paleo

Eating Vegan Paleo / Baked Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

29 Apr

My favorite "lazy" meal. Baked sweet potato with greens and beans.

For the past several months since I’ve gone grain-free, I’ve been on the search for really quick, easy to make “lazy day” meals that will keep me satisfied without hitting up Seamless for takeout.  These types of recipes are especially important for me when my work schedule gets insane and my days really long.

While perusing Pinterest one day I came across this recipe on the Kitchn and have been hooked making variations of it ever since.  The formula is pretty simple.  Take a baked sweet potato, and stuff it with a tasty combination of beans and greens. Depending on how you cook the potato, it can be ready to eat in 10 minutes start to finish.

If I have some extra time, I’ll actually roast the sweet potato in the oven (which takes an hour).  Otherwise, if I’m being super lazy it just goes in my microwave on the baked potato setting.  The beans and greens get sautéed in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and maybe some onions or shallots while the potato cooks.  They also can be mixed and matched depending on what you are in the mood for.

Here’s some examples of the different variations I’ve made:

The Original

(i.e. the Kitchn version)- Sweet potato, kale, white beans.

The Mexican

Sweet potato, spinach, black beans and top with salsa and avocado.

The Italian

Sweet potato, broccoli rabe, chickpeas and a squeeze of lemon juice. (shown above, this one was AMAZING)

The Clean-Out-the Fridge

Sweet potato, whatever greens are in my fridge, whatever beans are in my cabinet.  It can also include other “leftovers” from that week.  One particularly good version included some leftover lentil salad I had made for the bean component.

The possibilities are pretty endless.  Plus it’s pretty damn tasty.

What’s your favorite “lazy day” recipe?

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Eating Vegan Paleo / Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried Rice

25 Mar

Dinner tonight: Masala Tofu and Cauliflower "Fried" Rice. #Grainfree #vegan and smells amazing!

As I’ve mentioned since my Paleo Challenge at my Crossfit gym earlier this year, I’ve since maintained a totally grain free vegan diet.  I had such great results I now can’t fathom eating any other way.

When I mention I’m grain free to other vegans, their first usual reaction is “I love grains!  They’re the basis for every meal for me.  I could never do that!”  This is kind of ironic to me considering it’s the same type of answer we all usually get when speaking to an omnivore about eating meat, dairy or eggs!

Truth is I’ve actually found it pretty easy to make similar recipes to what I’m used to by using grain “substitutions”, similar to how people will eat faux meats and cheeses when transitioning to veganism.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll give you some of my tricks as to how I’ve easily made this transition along with some of my new favorite recipes I’ve both adapted and created to make it possible.

First up today is grain free rice!  I used to absolutely love rice, especially fried rice.  Believe it or not,  grated cauliflower has a very similar taste and texture to the real thing, so it works perfect in these kind of dishes.  It’s also really easy to prepare.

Here’s my vegan adaptation of Urban Poser’s Paleo Masala Cauli-Rice.  To make this more of an entrée for vegans, I’ve added some delicious dry rubbed masala tofu to the dish.  This recipe smells as amazing as it looks and tastes!  When I brought leftovers of it into work one day everyone kept ducking into the break-room to see where the smell was coming from.

Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried Rice

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, grated (about 4 cups)
  • Half a large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeded and diced or 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated ( about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup frozen petite green peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon Garam Masala seasoning (I used the pre-made type)
  • salt and pepper to taste (amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not).
  • Garnishes: lime wedges & cilantro

DIRECTIONS

PREP:
  1. Set your broiler to high so it gets nice and hot while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Press your tofu to remove as much moisture as possible.  Then cut into triangles.  Dry rub each piece with the reserved 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala.  Lay on a broiler safe baking sheet coated in cooking spray and set aside until we’re ready to broil it.
  3. Grate the cauliflower with a hand grater or with a grating blade on a food processor. You can also use the regular blade on the food processor but it may result in a wetter, less “rice-like” product.
  4. Prep the rest of the veggies minus the frozen peas (dicing, mincing) and set aside.
  5. Mince the garlic and pepper, grate the ginger mixing them all together in a small bowl.
  6. Mix together the spices in another small bowl and set aside.
COOKING:
  1. Pop the tofu under the broiler for 6 minutes.  When browned, flip the tofu and give it another 6 minutes.  Tofu should be golden and crispy on the outside.  When done set aside.
  2. Heat a wok over high medium/high heat (on the “high” side), add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and then add the cauliflower. Toss it in the oil then spread it out in a thin layer as evenly as possible. Turn the burner up to high. Allow cauliflower to fry till it starts to brown a little then stir/flip it around, again spreading it in a thin layer. Do this a couple of times till the cauliflower starts to get brown and black flecks all over it, almost like it has been grilled. Transfer to a large bowl and place the wok back on the heat, turning the heat back down to medium/high. Spreading out the cauliflower and cooking it at a high heat like this keeps the cauliflower from steaming itself and getting soggy, and produces a very “rice-like” texture.
  3. Add another tablespoon of coconut oil, then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno/green pepper mix to the oil. Fry for about a minute but not so long that the mixture burns. Stir & toss often to keep from burning.
  4. Add the prepared veggies (minus the peas) to the wok and cook just as you did the cauliflower. Spreading out and allowing them to fry and brown, stir & toss often till the veggies are cooked through and browned slightly. Transfer to the bowl with the cauliflower.
  5. Return the wok to the heat and add the last tablespoon of coconut oil plus the spice mixture. Fry the spice mixture in the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the rest of the ingredients back into the wok. Add the green peas and continue to fry and toss all the ingredients together for about 1-2 minutes more. Add coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Salt amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not. If it doesn’t contain salt, I start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and work from there.
  6. To serve, plate a serving of the cauli-rice and top with the masala tofu wedges.  Serve with a wedge of lime, to be squeezed on top of the “rice” just before serving and some cilantro.

 

Paleo Challenge / My Vegan Results

18 Mar

Paleo Challenge Results 2013

I never in a million years ever figured I’d post photos like this on the public interwebs, but here I am doing it anyway.  Mostly because I’m kinda blown away by how ripped my back now looks.  Please ignore the fact I look like a hot mess, because these were taking immediately after I finished sweating my face off during the challenge test out workout.  Also, don’t judge me for these shorts.  After seeing them on film I know to burn them, they are so not flattering!

I am beyond happy with my results from my Crossfit gym’s Paleo Challenge this past January and February.  I’m actually now even after the challenge is done still eating this way and love it.

Here’s essentially what the challenge entailed.

It started on January 2nd and ran up until February 13th.  On these days our workout times and weight was recorded, so that we could measure the improvement after the program was completed.  We also took our before/after photos on these dates after the Angie workout, which is why I look like such a sweaty mess in these photos.

Angie is a bitch.  She’s 100 pull-ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats.  Now that the challenge is completed, I’ve done the workout three times and have improved measurably each time.

As far as the eating thing goes, the foundation of Paleo is to eat all real, non-processed food.  There is a heavy emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and for omni’s free range organic meat and eggs.  So it’s really not all that different than veganism aside from the meat and eggs thing.  There were three different levels they allowed people to participate in.

  • Beginner: eliminate sugar and grains; 1 cheat day a week.
  • Intermediate: eliminate sugar and grains; no cheat days.
  • Advanced: eliminate sugar, grains and dairy; no cheat days.
  • Expert: eliminate sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol; no cheat days.

I participated at the advanced level, but they allowed me to leave legumes in.  The main reason they say to cut out legumes is most people are intolerant to them and they can cause bloating and something they call “leaky gut”.  I already knew I was tolerant to legumes  since I’ve done elimination diets in the past and had no issues when I added them back into my diet.

So the big changes for me were no sugar, no alcohol and no grains.  The grains one was a huge one for me.  I love my gluten free pasta, rice, and all other things grainy.  I had been gluten free for a long time but cutting out all grains, including rice, quinoa and corn was going to take a lot of focus and planning for me.

The one thing that really surprised me is after I cut the grains and sugar, I stopped having food cravings. I used to like to snack all day and now I don’t have any desire to snack at all.  I also crave natural food.  When given the choice now between a bag of chips and an apple I without thinking chose the apple.  It’s made sticking to this way of eating much, much easier than I ever anticipated.

Paleo Challenge Results 2013

Paleo Challenge Results 2013

Paleo Challenge Results 2013

As you can see in the before and after photos, my body apparently loves life grain free!  The weight just kinda started dropping off.  I didn’t increase my workouts or what I was doing, just changed my diet and within a week saw a measurable improvement which continued through the entire challenge.

At the end of the 45 days, here’s how I came out.

January 2nd:
Angie Time: 23:15
Weight: 154 pounds

February 13th:
Angie Time: 20:45
Weight: 147 pounds!

So I not only cut 3 minutes and 30 seconds off my time, but I also lost 7 pounds!

I also set several personal records during the time frame as well.  I’m deadlifting and squatting over 160 pounds, and I even got a clean and jerk record of 98 pounds which for me was insane.  Considering I’ve only been Crossfitting a little over 4 months, I’m pretty proud of that.  Vegans can be strong too!  I’m happy to be showing my non-veg friends at the gym that the weak vegan stereotype is a load of bull.

I may be strong, but I still have a lot of work to do.  My cardio endurance is sad, so I’ve been given orders by my coach to work on things like burpees, double-unders (jumping rope) and just trying to move faster in my workouts.  So that’s my next focus.

I’m actually really looking forward to reading this post in the next 6 to 9 months or so and compare these results to the results I have then.  I can only imagine how much I will have progressed by then if I got these results in a short 45 days.

Sadly, I didn’t win the challenge but my improvements were still noticeable enough that people at the gym are asking me more about vegan paleo.  One of the coaches today even asked me if I’d mind helping out with nutritional info for one of their clients who is vegetarian.  I was really impressed he asked for help and acknowledged not being knowledgeable on the subject as opposed to pushing his client to eat standard paleo.  This also shows me I’m being taken seriously enough at the gym as far as my performance goes that people would think to ask me about my diet as a viable option.

I really can’t make any exceptions to the no grain thing.  I retain a LOT of water if I eat them.  It’s gross.  Immediately following the challenge, I somewhat fell off the wagon and during my Mexico trip drank a lot (obvi, I was surrounded by margaritas!) as well as had a lot of corn chips and boy did I pay for it.  My body almost reverted back to the way I looked on day one.  I’m now two weeks into eating super clean again and I’m leveling back out again thank goodness.  Now I know I can’t be one of those 90/10 paleo people.  I have to eat clean all the time, no exceptions if I want to keep improving.  Then again they say abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym, so I guess it makes total sense.

I plan on creating another post shortly which will outline better what I’m now eating on a daily basis, including what substitutions I’ve found for things like pasta and grains.  There aren’t a ton of vegan paleo posts out there on the internet so I’d love to share what I learned.

If anyone has any specific questions on crossfit, vegan paleo, what I eat or my results, please let me know!

V Cafe

15 Mar

V Cafe

Following the Single Fare 3 opening Jim and I went out to grab a quick bite to eat while in TriBeCa. Now that I’m basically eating vegan paleo, it makes my already limited options even more limited. I had done some research in advance and had found Vietnamese restaurant V Cafe on Yelp, so we figured we’d check it out.

All in all we were really impressed with the ambiance as well as the service and the food. I’m not currently eating any grains, so for my meal I had their vegetarian pho with tofu (no noodles) and a nice big plate of tofu curry and vegetables. It’s making me hungry just writing out it. It was as yummy as it looks.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian looking for someplace in TriBeCa to eat, I highly recommend it. They had a large vegetarian/vegan section on their menu with tons of options.

V Cafe

Evernote Camera Roll 20130222 123512

Evernote Camera Roll 20130222 123515