Archive for January, 2014

Multi-Grain Spinach Balls

January 20, 2014

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Everyone loves spinach balls. I thought this classic appetizer could use a little makeover to be a little more healthful, though. The usual spinach ball recipe calls for spinach to be bound together with butter, cheese, eggs and either stuffing mix or seasoned bread crumbs.

Here are my substitutions:
1/4 cup olive oil instead of lots of butter;
quinoa and brown rice instead of stuffing mix/seasoned bread crumbs;
ground flax instead of eggs; and
ground seeds or nuts and nutritional yeast instead of cheese.

Ground flax seeds combine with the excess moisture in drained spinach to make an egg substitute. As you mix the flax seeds and spinach, you can see the moisture around the spinach turn slightly viscous, as if the spinach were bound together with egg whites. When the spinach/flax mixture is combined with cooked whole grains, the mixture becomes firm enough to shape into balls. Lots of well cooked onion and garlic, plus generous seasoning give the spinach balls the flavor boost that they need in the absence of lots of butter and cheese.

With all the changes, the spinach balls are also gluten-free and dairy-free.

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Shorba Addis (Ethiopian Lentil Soup)

January 8, 2014

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This is that time of year when people start giving more focused thought to eating a better diet. Unfortunately, it is also the season we most crave hearty comfort foods, which are not always so diet friendly. This curried tomato lentil soup is ideal because it is healthful and hearty.

The recipe is from Dr. Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart and is featured on days one and two of the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart.

One unusual ingredient you need for this recipe is fenugreek. It gives a very distinctive taste to the dish and is well worth seeking out. Be careful how much you add, though, because this spice has a bitter edge.

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