4 Bean Vegan Chili

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Last week I made some freezer meals for one of my friends who is a new mom. I wanted to make her something hearty, easy to heat up and tasty. The only hitch was she maintains a vegan and gluten-free diet, which made things a little more difficult. After tossing around many (many) different salad ideas I decided to go a different route and make a hearty chili.

The best part is this recipe freezes beautifully and defrosts quickly for an easy dinner. I tripled the recipe and made enough for my friend and two large family-sized servings for my freezer. Curry may seem like an odd spice, but trust me it really works in this recipe!

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can corn

2 tablespoons garlic

1 red onion

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon cumin

½ tablespoon curry

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

 

Dice the bell peppers and red onion, sauté with the garlic until soft and fragrant. Mix in the beans, corn and tomatoes and seasoning. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer, simmer for a few hours on low and enjoy!

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Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Feta

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I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater, but I just can’t get into quinoa. I have tried it as a side dish, as a main dish and as a breakfast food. Every time it’s just a disappointing experience. However, with mixed into a salad with a fresh vinaigrette and lots of fresh veggies, quinoa become delicious! For the vinaigrette I used coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, the combination was surprisingly good. If you don’t have coconut oil, olive oil can easily be swapped in instead. I have been eating this all week in my lunch and the longer it sits in the fridge the better the flavors become!

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This is a great potluck food because people can easily scoop out at much as they like and it’s a nice healthy option. It’s also gluten-free which is a nice option to serve at a potluck. I like to make a huge batch on Sunday night and portion out enough for my lunch throughout the week.

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Ingredients:

4 ounces feta cheese

3 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled

2 cups edamame

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup apple cider vinegar

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Chop all veggies and mix in feta cheese. Once the quinoa has cooled, mix it into the veggies and top with the vinegar and oil mixture. Let it sit 4-6 hours before eating.

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Veggie Filled 3 Bean Salad

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Spring has finally sprung in Southern California! When the weather starts getting warm I find it’s the perfect time for outdoor picnics and this is a great dish to make ahead for a picnic. We usually pack this in a mason jar for picnics around town. I like to make this one the night before to let all of the flavors mellow a bit. It’s vegan and gluten-free, which means pretty much anyone can enjoy this dish and despite the few ingredients it has an amazing flavor.

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High protein beans and fresh veggies make this salad a winner. It’s super healthy without tasting like its super healthy. Beans sometimes get a bad name, but they are a great source of protein and very inexpensive. I always triple rinse beans before I cook them in any recipe, rinsing them will ensure that this salad won’t give anyone tummy trouble. You can serve this as a meal on its own or pair it with a turkey burger to make a very hearty meal.

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Ingredients:

1 can each of garbanzo beans, black beans and pinto beans. Rinse each can of beans 3 times, or until water runs clear

1 can corn

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

½ red onion, chopped

½ cup rice vinegar

1/3 olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

Combine vinegar and olive oil and whisk to mix.  In a bowl combine all ingredients, chill overnight

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Vegetarian French Onion Soup in the Crock Pot

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I love this soup so much, I probably make it far too often. Before I met my husband I was a pretty strict vegetarian and the only meat product I really missed was French onion soup. I tried it with every broth imaginable and it just wasn’t the same. About a year ago a friend told me that mushroom broth can be substituted for beef broth- it was delicious! Making it in the crock pot makes it so easy to make a big batch of this soup without much work.

Instead of using beef broth I use mushroom broth in this recipe. This is usually easy to find near Thanksgiving, but can be more challenging other times of the year. Lipton has a great mushroom and onion soup mix that most grocery stores sell in the soup aisle, I’ve found it works really well and gives the soup a great flavor.

3 pounds sweet yellow onions, sliced thin

3 tablespoons minced garlic

4 tablespoons butter

8 cups mushroom broth

1 loaf French bread, sliced

Sliced cheese

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Place sliced onions, garlic and butter in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours or until they are caramelized. I like to stir them every hour or so to make sure they are cooking evenly.

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Once all the onions are caramelized, stir in the mushroom broth. Let the soup simmer for at least an hour on low to let all the flavors come together. You can also add in a teaspoon of dried thyme at this point, it adds a nice flavor to the finished soup.

Ladle soup into heat-safe bowls, top with bread and a slice of cheese of your choice. Broil for a few moments or until the cheese has melted on the bread.

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Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

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Keeping with the theme of comfort food, this week I also made a gigantic batch of chicken noodle soup. I’ve actually read a few studies that suggest chicken noodle soup may contribute in helping people recover from sickness sooner, which is pretty amazing! Whether or not that is true, I think chicken noodle soup is the go-to for most people when they are under the weather and I am not exception! While it may be a little more work than opening a can of soup, the taste is amazing and worth all the work.

The biggest complaint I used to have about chicken noodle soup was the soggy noodles. Anytime I made it at home the broth would get starchy and the noodles would get soggy during the cooking process. I have found that keeping the soup and noodles completely separate until it is time to eat solves the problem. I cook the soup in one pot and the noodles in a separate pot. When it’s time to eat I scoop some noodles into my bowl and spoon the soup over them, such an easy way to ensure you don’t have limp overcooked noodles.

 

Ingredients

8 cups chicken broth

2 cups shredded chicken

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

½ tablespoon herbs de provence

8 ounces cooked egg noodles

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In a large stock pot sauté garlic and onions together until fragrant. Mix in the diced carrots and celery, continue to sauté until all the vegetables are soft.

Pour in the chicken broth and add the shredded chicken and seasoning. Let this simmer on your stovetop for a few hours. I love to make this recipe around lunchtime and let it slowly simmer until dinner.

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When you are ready to eat just spoon the soup over the noodles and enjoy!

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