Healthy Menu Recipes

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Healthy Menu Recipes

by: Morgan Marie | .
Blissful Eating | .
published: February 11, 2016

What is Koshary you ask? It’s Egypt’s national dish. It’s Egyptian street food. It’s Egyptian comfort food.

Koshary (also written koshari or kushari) is a dish of pure, unadulterated Egyptian deliciousness – and it just so happens to be naturally plant-based! When I visited Egypt as a sophomore in college, it was all I wanted to eat; which was great because, being that it is a staple food, there was a koshary shop on every corner.

This is how they traditionally serve a quick, yummy bowl of koshary in Egypt; the koshary man grabs a bowl and scoops a little of everything into it, creating a warm, fluffy bowl of spicy awesomeness. First there is a base layer of white rice, then a layer of macaroni pasta, all topped with spicy tomato sauce. The garnish is garbanzo beans, crispy fried onions, and spicy garlic-chili oil.

After Egypt in my college days and after, when I was living as a poor college student, koshary was my rock. It’s cheap, flavorful, hearty, and full of good nutrition (when made the way I make it). When I would travel and stay at a host’s house (for FREE through couchsurfing.com), I would make this dish for dinner as a thank you offering.

• Ingredients:
FOR THE RICE
• 1 cup of brown rice
• 2.5 cups of water
• dash of salt

FOR THE PASTA
• 1 cup of desired pasta (macaroni is traditional, I prefer gnocchetti)
• 3-4 cups of water
• dash of salt & olive oil

FOR THE LENTILS
• 1 cup dried brown lentils
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon salt {or SPEED ROUND OPTION: 1 15 oz can of cooked lentils}

FOR THE SAUCE
• 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes {organic best}, or about 2 heaping cups of whole tomatoes {DO NOT use the liquid} {or SLOW ROUND OPTION: 5-6 fresh medium tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomatoes paste, 30 minutes cooked down}
• 2 – 3 cloves of garlic {depending on your love for garlic}
• 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger
• 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 1 heaping cup after chopped)
• 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
• pinch of cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Braggs Aminos
• salt & chili flakes to taste

TOPPINGS
• 1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans
• cilantro (optional)
• garlic-chili oil (optional)
• sautéed onions (optional)

• Directions:
If you choose to make the garlic-chili oil as a topping Assemble this first to marinade
1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a little bowl.
2. Smash one clove of garlic and add to the bowl.
3. Spinkle in a pinch or two of red chili flakes.

If cooking lentils from their dry state, start the lentils (takes about 20-30 minutes)
1. Clean the lentils and pick out any non-lentils you may find.
2. Take 1 cup of dry, brown lentils and 2 cups of water, and add them to a saucepan.
3. Once they reach a rapid simmer (at about a medium-high heat), reduce the heat to a gentle simmer (about medium-low heat, but this is different with every stove).
4. Cook the lentils very softly this way for 20 – 30 minutes, uncovered. Make sure the lentils are covered by water at all times (may add water to make sure of this).
5. Test the lentils between the 20 and 30 minute – mark, and strain them when they are soft, but not mushy.
6. Add a pinch of salt to bring out their flavor.

Immediately after starting the lentils to cook, start the rice (takes 20 – 30 minutes)
1. If using a rice cooker, add 1 cups of brown rice, 2.5 cups of water, and a pinch of salt to the cooker. Set it and forget it.
2. If cooking on the stove, find a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add 1 cups of brown rice, 2.5 cups of water, and a pinch of salt to the pot.
3. Cover the pot and set the burner to a low setting, so that the water is gently simmering.
4. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID until 30 minutes has passed or until it looks like all the water has been absorbed. Try it to see if it’s cooked through. If not, add a bit more water and simmer a little longer.
5. When finished, flush with a fork.

For the sauce (takes about 25 minutes)
1. Chop up half a yellow onion. Be sure to peel the outer onion layer as well as the papery skin. Should make about one heaping cup.
2. Bring the saucepan to medium heat.
3. Add half a teaspoon of olive oil and heat until the oil runs freely over the pan. Do not burn the oil. Oil is warm enough when a drop of water sizzles when it touches it.
4. Add the onions to the pan and let brown (about 5 minutes). As the onion cooks, do the next two steps.
5. Mince the ginger coarsely and set aside about 1 tablespoon.
6. Smash/flatten 2 garlic cloves
7. After the onions have had a 5-minute head start, add the ginger and garlic. Allow 5 minutes to brown.
8. Add the cumin, cinnamon, & red chili flakes 1 minute before you remove the onions from the stove, to open their flavors.

Meanwhile, while the onions, ginger, and garlic browns, start the pasta (takes about 15 minutes)
1. Add the water, salt, and olive oil to a pot and heat until boiling.
2. Add pasta and stir every now and then to reduce sticking.
3. When the pasta is al dente after about 15 minutes (or however long the package of your chosen pasta says), strain and set aside.

Back to the sauce (only 5 minutes later)
1. Add the canned whole tomatoes (NO liquid) and the onion/ginger/garlic/spice mixture to a blender.
2. Add the Liquid Braggs Aminos and blend until smooth.
3. Add the sauce back to the pot and heat for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
4. Add salt and cayenne pepper or chili flakes to taste.

Arrange the toppings
1. Open up the can of garbanzo beans and strain.
2. Take a handful of washed cilantro and coarse chop.
3. The spicy oil should be ready to use now.

Now build your koshary bowl! This is the traditional order of layers, starting from the bottom
1. Rice
2. Pasta
3. Lentils
4. Tomato sauce
5. Toppings

Greek Salad

Greek salad is one of my absolute favorite dishes. It’s both hearty and fresh, sweet and salty – such depth of flavor. My brother and I have been known to fight over who gets the last bowl. Even when I make a large bowl for just myself, there’s never enough.
This salad has a perfect symphony of flavors from the sweet tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, spicy red onions, and savory olives. It’s the fresh taste of Greece in a bowl.

• Ingredients:
• 4 beautiful, ripe tomatoes or 20 cherry tomatoes (I used multi-colored heirloom cherry tomatoes)
• 1 cucumber (I used Japanese cucumbers)
• 1/2 small red onion (or to taste)
• 15 kalamata olives (pitted)
• 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp olive oil (optional)
• salt and pepper to taste

• Directions:
1. If using regular tomatoes, chop into thin wedges. If using cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
2. Clean the cucumbers. Peel the cucumber if the skin is thick or if it isn’t organic. Cut into thin half-moons. The tomato-to-cucumber ratio should be 1:1.
3. Thinly slice the red onion into thin half-moons.
4. Either cut the olives in half or keep them whole (make sure they have no pits!).
5. Add the vinegar, olive oil (optional), salt, and pepper to taste.
6. Fold the ingredients together.
7. Enjoy

•Notes
To make this a fat-free salad, remove the olive oil and olives from the recipe. To have a fully raw version, find raw olives at a health foods store.

Sesame Kale Salad

My beloved raw foods guru, Amira of Amira’s Rawsome Organic, made this dish while I had the honor of working with her at her raw foods catering company on Oahu, Hawaii. I was addicted from the very first bite. I was so surprised at how soft and supple a dark leafy green like kale could get when marinated in the acidity of lime and when given a good oil massage.

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be so excited when you realize that you can eat as much of it as you want! I actually had to hold back a little bit when I first tried it because I was eating so much of our clients’ food! Oops!

In this version I have reduced the oil content a bit because my body gains weight on a high-fat diet, even if those fats are healthful fats. I like to make dishes that I can eat to my heart’s content (which is really to my stomach’s content), without worrying about calorie content.

I like to make a large batch of this salad and store it in my refrigerator to save time during the week. The thick kale leaves are durable enough to last 5-7 days, and the sauce softens them to a more pleasurable mouthfeel the longer it sits. The recipe isn’t strict, so make it to your own taste! Feel free to add any other vegetables, spices, or sauces that you like.

• Ingredients:
• Kale (cleaned & dried), 1 bunch
• Bell pepper (julienned), 1/2 of 1 large
• Red onion (julienned), 1/4 of 1
• Braggs Aminos, 1/2 cup
• Fresh squeezed lime, 1/2 of 1
• Sesame seeds (optional), 1 Tbsp
• Toasted sesame oil (optional), 2 tsp

• Directions:
1. Remove the backs from the kale and chop the leaves to the size of a salad mix.
2. Add all the vegetables to a large bowl with the liquid ingredients. Massage the leaves into the sauce to help them break down and become softer.
3. Feel free to eat immediately, or store in the fridge for tomorrow when the leaves have softened.

Marinated Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri

I love these mushrooms. Their flavor profile is on another level! Best of all, they’re super versatile. I can serve them as a main and call them “Portobello Mushroom Steaks”; with quinoa tabouli accompanying them on the side. I can chop them up and use them as a filling for fajitas along with guacamole, pico de gallo, bell peppers, and lime. I can cut them into medium-sized chunks for a bit of heartiness in my rice bowls. The longer they marinate, the more flavorful they become.

Mushrooms two ways: As a main dish as mushroom steaks or as filling for fajitas!

• Ingredients:
For the Mushrooms
• 3 cups of portobello mushrooms -OR-
• 1.5 cups chopped mushrooms, white or brown
• 1/4 cup or 1/4 one small red onion (directions on cutting style below)
• 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce

For the Cilantro Chimichurri
• 2 cups cilantro, packed, cleaned
• 1 cup zucchini, peeled (white part only), chopped
• 1 tbs red onion
• 1 heaping tsp ginger, minced
• 1 clove garlic, rough chopped
• 2 tbs Braggs Aminos, nama shoyu, or soy sauce
• 1 tsp fresh lime juice
• 1/8 cup water

Optional Garnish
• Cilantro
• Sprouts (any kind)
• Micro greens like watercress or maché

• Directions:
1. There are two preparations of these mushrooms; the Portobello “Steaks” and the Mushroom Fajita Filling.

For Steaks
1. Clean the portobello mushrooms carefully with water. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
2. Cut them into long strips, about an inch and a half wide. You want them to be large enough to eat with a knife and fork.
3. Julienne the red onion quarter very finely, long-ways (so you can see through the strips).

For Fajitas
1. Clean the mushrooms and dry before chopping.
2. Dice the mushrooms into small chunks.
3. After chopping you should have about a cup and half of mushrooms (or just adapt the amount of sauce you use to how many mushrooms you have).
4. Dice the red onion

For the Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce
1. Add 1 cup of cilantro and the rest of the ingredients into a high powered blender.
2. Liquify to a smooth consistency.
3. Add the second cup of cilantro and liquify.
4. If the taste is too pungent, try reducing the raw garlic, red onion, and/or lime juice the next time you make it.
5. Mix the mushroom mixture and half of the chimichurri together.
6. For the steaks, use your hands to carefully massage the sauce into the mushrooms.
7. Top the mushrooms with any desired garnish.
8. Use the remaining sauce to top off individual plates of the steaks or fajitas (or rice bowls!).
9. You may eat this immediately or leave to marinade for 15 minutes.
10. Store any extra in the fridge. The flavor develops overnight and tastes even better over the next few days!

www.blissfuleating.com

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