What to Expect from Sister Vegetarian Recipes...

Sister Vegetarian knows the importance of nutrition without breaking the bank. In lieu of this, I keep the meals to a cost that anyone can create and still stick to a budget. I also include raw vegan meals. Sister has acquired a Raw Vegan Chef Certfication through The Raw Food Network-Ekaya Institute of Living Food Education. I love to cook meals from Africa, India, the Middle East, Greece, Italy, and the list goes on. When I cook, I call it traveling the world without leaving my home. I see cooking as a way to experiment and learn about other cultures, as I also learn more about my roots.

Enjoy the meals. Enjoy the travel. No Passport Required. Just an appetite for delicious and healthy meals.

Peace & Love, Sister Vegetarian.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year: Visit a local farmers market as your New Years Resolution

Make one of your New Year's Resolutions to purchase local fresh produce by visiting your local farmer's markets more this year. If you live in the Raleigh, NC Triangle area, Bickett Market is serving the community with not only their large warehouse carrying local farmers' produce and products; but, they also deliver to your front door. During the winter season, Bickett Market is also offering Vegetarian Cooking Classes. Visit Bickett Market's website for more details and say Sister Vegetarian sent you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with a Vegan Diet

You Tube News Report on Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with a Vegan diet. One elderly gentleman was on 16 different medications for illnesses ranging from diabetes to heart disease. He reduced his medication to 4. Great informational video with a Houston Cardiologist interviewed who had placed his patients on a vegan diet, and who supports a vegan lifestyle.
You Tube Video: Click Here

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eat Right to make heart disease and diabetes a thing of the past

Heart Disease and Diabetes should be a thing of the past: Link to Sister's Main Page article

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Quick Meal on the Go!! Saute Chayote and Wheat Pasta

Quick. Delicious. Nutritious. The buttery beets plays against the beautiful buttery flavor of the Chayote. The garlic adds a little spice and blends with the natural buttery taste of the vegetables.

Chayote is a fruit that is similar to squash. Some people categorize it in the family of squash due to its taste, and preparation. Chayote is native to Costa Rica and Mexico. I am seeing it more in grocery stores where the US cultivates it in Florida. Chayote can be eaten raw by slicing in salads as an example, or saute like squash for a quick meal. It can also be boiled or grilled just like squash. No need to peel Chayote. Just wash and pat dry.

I made a quick 20 minute meal of saute Chayote, beets, and turnip greens served over wheat spaghetti.

1 serving of wheat spaghetti
2 hand bunch of turnip greens, chopped roughly. I kept the stems and saute also
1 small Chayote with skin left on

1 small beet with skin left on
2 cloves of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Black Pepper
* side serving-Italian Bread-warmed until crusted and drizzled with warm olive oil and sprinkled with Braggs Organic 24 Seasonings

-Boil water for a serving of pasta as directed on the box.
-After cleaning the Chayote and beets, I sliced 1 small Chayote and 1 small beet into 1 inch slices. -I then sliced 2 garlic cloves. I heated 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan and saute the Chayote, beets, and garlic.
-As the vegetables saute, add the pasta to the boiling water.
-The pasta should cook approximately 8-10 minutes for al dente. Within that time, continue to saute the vegetables and add the turnip greens to the saute pan the last 3 minutes.

-Season the vegetables as desired with garlic salt and black pepper.
-Drain the pasta, and plate.
-Drizzle a little olive oil on the pasta and place the saute vegetables on top.
-I served with crusted Italian bread also drizzled with olive oil,m and sprinkled with Braggs Organic 24 Seasoning.

Quick. Delicious. Nutritious. The buttery beets plays against the beautiful buttery flavor of the Chayote. The garlic adds a little spice and blends with the natural buttery taste of the vegetables. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Friday, October 8, 2010

I know...that I know..that I know I CAN, so energize me: Vegetarian Tortilla Roll-Up

The evening before my 12 mile run last week, I made a vegetarian tortilla roll up to pre-fuel my early Sunday run. My plan as usual was to do a straight run-no breaks for walking as interval training-in order to see what my body can do when putting my mind to it. The result was a beautiful run, that felt more as though I was in a zen-peaceful mode for 12 straight miles. The run lifted me on a cloud of peace, euphoria, joy, enlightenment, and inspiration-all this as I ran for close to 2 hours non-stop. I felt so great that I danced on the porch of my house after I ran to one last song on my MP3, and proceeded to take my dog for a walk. What fueled me?
I maintain my argument that a vegetarian lifestyle gives us insurmountable energy to be all that we can be and do if we think positive.
I took a long hiatus from running although I still hiked and backpacked. I began running again in mid July this year. That first week, 3 miles was a huff and puff, but I kept increasing my miles. The next week, my longest run was 4 miles, then 5 to 12 last weekend without any huffing and puffing. Remember, in 10 weeks after starting running again after a long hiatus, I placed 4th in my 40-44 age group and 33 overall of 285 runners at a running pace of 8:40 minutes per mile to complete a 3.1 mile race (5K) in 26:54 minutes. In 2 weeks I have a 10 mile race which I already ran 12 miles last week. In 4 weeks, I have my half marathon of 13.1 miles but I'm running 13 miles this weekend to train anyway. I am running without being out of breath. I am finishing my runs full of energy and able to run more miles; but, I must come to my senses to not over train too soon. My advancement from 3 miles to 13 miles in 2 months is not always done, but I maintain that a vegetarian lifestyle gives you the energy and strength to go the extra mile.
I read in the book "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen " that "to be a strong runner, you must be a strong person." I truly believe that. I feel and I am strong as I lead this vegetarian journey.

A vegetarian lifestyle = energy=fuel=going above and beyond=I know...That I Know...That I Know..That I KNOW I CAN!

My prefuel meal consisted of a tortilla rolled around pinto beans, avocado, and tomatoes as well as other nutritious additions. The pinto beans and Greek Yogurt provided protein for building and rebuilding my muscles; the tortilla provided energy via carbs; the avocado provided a natural source of good fat; and, the tomato provided an antioxidant.

Energizing Tortilla Pinto Bean Roll-up (1 serving)

1 Flour Tortilla
Greek Plain Yogurt, 3 TBSP
1/2 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of frozen corn, heated for 2 mins in a pot.
1/2 cup onions, sliced in strips
1 cup turnip greens
2 slices of 1 tomato, cut in quarters
half avocado, diced
shredded cheese of choice
ground chipotle pepper to season

How to Prepare:
1. Warm up a tortilla until just warmed, not crisp in the oven or microwave
2. On the tortilla, spread the Greek Yogurt. Sprinkle ground chipotle pepper on tortilla for desired seasoned amount.
3. Next on the tortilla, spread out the pinto beans, corn, turnip greens, tomatoes, onions, avocado, and cheese.
4. Roll up the tortilla, and slice in half.
5. Plate and serve.
~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ethiopian Berbere Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

My meal tonight was Ethiopian Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. I wanted to prepare a meal that replenished my muscles and gave me renewed energy after running 6 miles yesterday. The Ethiopian Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew provides 16 grams of protein, 14 g of fiber, and 107 grams of carbohydrates per serving-this meal is nutrient and energy packed! I did not peel the sweet potatoes because the nutrients are also in the skin of the potato - why dispose of nutrients our body needs! Use all the potato - it's all good.
For a more North African and Middle Eastern meal, I served my stew on top of a bed of Bulghur. Bulghur is indigenous to North African and Middle Eastern Cuisines. Serving Bulghur with this stew took me to the sights, sounds, and beautiful smells of North African cuisines without leaving my kitchen.
Leftovers are easily frozen, I suggest individual serving containers for freezing because you can just defrost and heat for a quick after work meal, or lunch.

Ethiopian Berbere Paste (recipe below)

2 medium sweet potatoes, cleaned, unpeeled and cubed

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups undrained can fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 cups fresh cut or frozen cut okra

1/4 cup cilantro

1-1/2 cups spinach, turnip, mustard, collard, or beet greens

2 15-1/2 oz cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

Bulghur, Couscous, or Brown Rice
Garnish: Habanaro Hot Pepper Sauce per serving dish

How to Cook:

1. Prepare Berbere Paste in a small food processor

Berbere Paste:

6 cloves of garlic, peeled (no need to chop when adding to food processor)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

2 tsp smoked paprika

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp allspice
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2. Prepare Bulghur, Couscous, or Brown Rice as directed on package

3. PREPARING THE STEW: Mix all ingredients above along with Berbere paste in a large pot. Bring to boil, then lower to simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
4. Uncover stew, and cook additional 10 minutes on simmer.
5. Add spinach or greens, and cilantro and cook an additional 5 minutes on simmer.
6. Serve for each person stew on top of a bed of Bulghur, Couscous, or Brown Rice
7. Garnish each serving as desired with Habanaro Hot Pepper Sauce.
~ Sister Vegetarian

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lentil and Beet Salad: A salad of antioxidants, protein, and immune-boosting properties

A combination of Lentils and Beets is common in many Indian stews and warm the body on a winter day; but, when you turn it into a summer salad, you also provide nourishment for the body without the heat properties of a winter stew.

This lentil and beet salad provides great cancer fighting, immune-boosting, and antioxidant properties. If you are active, the lentils are a great source of protein and energy. I found this recipe in a running magazine, but catered it to my specifications for quick meal that can easily be refrigerated by lunch or dinner leftovers.

Beets and Lentil Salad


1 bunch of beets (3 medium size beets), washed, and unpeeled (the skin of beets provide great antioxidants. The power is also in the skin so do not peel!)

1/2 onion minced

1 cup of carrots, sliced in rounds

1 cup of celery, chopped

2 TBSP olive oil

1 cup of vegetable stock

1/2 cup of water

2 bay leaves

Dressing for beet and lentil salad:

2 medium cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp lemon juice

1 TBSP Braggs Organic 24 Seasonings

1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp habanero, tabasco, or any hot sauce

How to make:

1. slice beets in 1 inch strips, set aside

2. saute onions, carrots, and celery in 2 TBSP olive oil in a large pot

3. Add lentils, beets, vegetable stock, and water. Stir to mix.

4. Boil, then cover and reduce to medium. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender (beets will then be tender at the same time as the lentils)

5. Drain excess water, and pour into a mixing bowl.

6. Place mixing bowl in refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes

7. Take bowl out of refrigerator and add beet and lentil dressing. Mix dressing with beet and lentil mixture.

8. Serve as is, or with crusted Italian bread with olive oil, garlic, and basil.

~ Sister Vegetarian


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moroccan Haira Soup: warm cuddly feelings for the home, heart, mind, body, and soul

It may be summer, but soups all year round provide hearty, nutritional, and inexpensive quick one-pot meals. Even in the summer, I eat hot soups because they provide a great substantial meal after a hard work day and warms my heart for a relaxing meal like nothing else for dinners. Left-over soups can be frozen for quick after work meals in individual serving size containers, or just freeze in one large container to feed many after work.

Although served year end round in Morocco, Haira is best known as the traditional Moroccan soup that is served during the Holy month of Ramadan for dinner and to break the fasting at sunset during Ramadan.

The recipe below is the most basic and quick version of this soup. Preparation and cooking will take about 1 hour total; but, it simmers for 40 minutes so you can just prep for 5- 10 minutes and let the soup do its thing. You can add additional vegetables such as carrots, eggplant, and zucchini as many versions do. The addition of type and amount of vegetable is up to you...have some fun and add what you like. The basic recipe is the foundation that I have included below. This version is also frequently eaten as is without additional vegetables. Instead of using fresh parsley and cilantro, I used the mustard greens for a peppery taste and Swiss Chards for that bitter taste like cilantro in honor of our African American heritage also stemming from this continent of Africa as Morocco. Cinnamon, ginger, lentils, and pasta are main ingredients to every Haira soup no matter how you change the versions. Serve with warmed pita and plain organic yogurt as a side for a more authentic meal. I really enjoyed making and eating this soup. It was quick and filling. It warmed my insides; and, made me dream of this beautiful country and its beautiful people.

Morrocan Haira Soup


1 large onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves or 4 medium garlic cloves diced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp smoked ground chipotle pepper or chili pepper

1 cup fresh mustard greens, chopped

1 cup fresh Swiss Chards, chopped with stems

1 can diced roasted garlic tomatoes

5 cups of water with vegetable bouillon cube dissolved

1 can 15 1/2 oz chick peas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup dried lentils

1/2 cup orzo pasta (any pasta can be substituted)

1 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 1 cup of water

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP tomato paste

How to prepare:

1. Saute onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil for a minute.

2. Add tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes

3. Add 5 cups of water, bouillon, and lentils. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.

5. Add chickpeas and pasta. Cook for 7-8 minutes until or until pasta al dente

6. Add cornstarch dissolve din water to soup, and stir.

7. Add lemon juice and tomato paste.

8. Simmer soup until it thickens (approx 5 mins more).

Serve as is, or with warm pita and organic yogurt on the side. What a cuddly warm and home feeling for the heart, mind, body, and soul :)

~ Sister Vegetarian

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Indonesian Acorn Squash and Greens Soup with a Classic Indian Raita Sauce

Indonesian Acorn Squash and Greens soup
with Indian Raita Sauce served with Chapati
This is a classic Indonesian Soup and Classic Indian side coolant sauce recipe adapted from our Indonesian and Indian sisters. Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia. It has a strong culture based on Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, and Indian descendants with a large Muslim population to bring a Middle Eastern flare to the cooking. It's cuisines illustrates an influence of these varied cultures with an emphasis on coconut milk and chili in their recipes. Here I paired a traditional Indonesian Soup with a traditional Indian Classic Sauce (Raita) for a meal that will take you to another continent without leaving your kitchen.

Cooking and Preparation Time: Approx 1 hour
Servings: 4
Spice mixture:
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup salted or unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, ground with a mortar and pestle
1 large onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups warm water with 1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube added to make a vegetable stock
1 14-oz can coconut milk (note: lite coconut milk changes the taste and texture so I prefer regular coconut milk)
1 medium acorn squash for 4 cups peeled and cubed acorn squash
2 cups fresh turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, or kale
1-2 TBSP Lime or Lemon juice per individual serving bowl to taste

How to prepare:
1. In a soup pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the fragrance just release.
2. Add ginger and sea salt until onions become translucent.
3. Add the vegetable stock and spice mixture, and simmer for 5 mins
4. Stir in the coconut milk and acorn squash.
5. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until the acorn squash is tender.
6. Stir in the greens until just wilted (do not over cook the greens).
7. Remove the pot from the stove, and serve in bowls.
8. Garnish each bowl with 2-3 TBSP lime or lemon juice.
- Serve with crusty Italian bread; or Indian Chapati Bread (or, wheat tortilla warmed) with Indian Raita
-Other variations: substitute squash for chunks of eggplant or zucchini

Indian Raita Sauce

1 medium tomato, diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 medium onion finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Chill for 30 mins. Serve traditionally on chapati bread, pita bread, or as a side to hot Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Great with falafel (chickpeas balls) as pictured above.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chunky Gazpacho with Carrot Juice (Spanish Cold Soup)

Calling all soup lovers, or those who want a refreshing meal on a hot summer day. This is a quick recipe for a delicious cold soup on a hot day. This is a twist from traditional gazpacho which uses chilled tomato juice. This recipe uses chilled carrot juice for an even more flavorful meal. The soup is refreshing served cold, but don't be shy to heat it up. The flavors are even more spectacular heated for those that still love a hot soup on a spring and summer evening.

Servings: 4 to 6


1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped roughly

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3 medium size garlic cloves, minced

1 14-1/2 can diced chili style tomatoes

1 quart of carrot juice, chilled ahead of time

1 15 oz can of black beans, drained

1 15 oz can of red beans, drained

2 TBSP Braggs Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp chipotle pepper


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Refrigerate if needed to chill, and serve

If you prefer a warm soup, heat all the way through and serve.

Serve with Sister's vegan wheat bread, Sister's vegan corn bread, or tortillas with with a dollop of vegan sour cream

~ Sister Vegetarian

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nutritional Slavery

Battzi, Sister's frequent commentator has written a great article on Nutritional Slavery. The article is found on Sister's Main Page for the "Speak Out Commentary." The article is a great insight to the foods we should be eating, and lifestyle we should be living in the black community to take back our health and heritage in the bounty supplied by Mother Earth.
~Sister Vegetarian

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anguilla Curried Avocado Soup

Anguilla is an Eastern Caribbean Island known as part of the West Indies Caribbean. 90 Percent of the Anguillan population is of African descent, descending from African slaves. The cuisine of Anguilla is comprised of original meals made from the bounty of the land with an emphasis on vegetables. In Anguilla, you will see such meals as crispy vegetable spring rolls; vegetable salads with sauces like soy sesame and peanut lime; chunky gazpacho served with plum tomatoes, shallots, cucumbers, red peppers and lime juice. I found this Anguillan recipe, and made it more vegan by substituting rice milk for the milk called for in the recipe and adding a few of my own twists. I have 2 versions of the soup below. The second version makes use of mustard greens in an unusual way that adds to the beautiful, authentic Caribbean taste of this soup that tastes you to this beautiful island!
Traditionally this soup is suppose to be served cold. I tried this soup cold, and also heated. Cold or heated, this Curried Avocado Soup rocks your soul and have you jonesing for more!

Anguilla Curried Avocado Soup
Servings: 4-6 Servings
How to Serve: Traditionally served cold with garnishes indicated; but, tastes just as great heated up with the garnishes!

2 Medium-ripe dark-skinned avocados cut into 4 halves (use 3 of the 4 halves in the soup, and reserve 1 half for garnish)
2 1/4 cup vegetable stock
1-1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground chipotle powder
1/2 cup rice milk
Garnish/Mix in bowl:
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 can diced roasted garlic tomatoes
reserved 1/2 avocado diced

Split avocados in half with a knife and remove the pits.
You will have 4 halves of avocados. Use 3 of the 4 halves in the soup.
Place in blender: Scoop out the insides of the three halves of the avocado with a spoon and place in the blender. Add all ingredients in the blender except the garnish. Blend until smooth.
Chill, or heat slightly.
When ready to serve, garnish the soup with the garnish mixture above.

Alternative Garnish for Anguilla Curried Avocado Soup
Follow recipe above and blend all ingredients.
Alternative Garnish:
mix below ingredients in a mixing bowl
Add to soup if heating: heat garnish with soup in pot for only 5 minutes and then serve.
If serving soup cold, add to soup before chilling in refrigerator
Mix together:
1 can Red Beans, drained
1-1/2 cup chopped mustard greens
1 can diced roasted tomatoes
reserved 1/2 avocado diced
2 TBSP lemon juice
** Optional: Top soup Garnish with 2 TBSP of Vegan sour cream once in bowls

~ This soup is awesome! Leftovers freeze well! Enjoy! There is so much love from a small amount of avocados in this soup. The taste is beautifully perfect! I saw myself on this island as I ate the soup as ocean waves beat against the sandy shores, and the sun set a beautifully orange glaze in the bluish sky. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lebanese Vegetable Soup

Lebanese Vegetable Soup is a delicate and beautiful soup adapted from our Lebanese Sisters. Lebanon is located in the Middle East. It borders the Mediterranean Sea, and situated between Israel and Syria. Lebanon is very rich in history and culture. Lebanon has been home to various civilizations and cultures for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations that called Lebanon home include the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, the Romans, Arabs, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks , and the French. Lebanese culture has over the centuries and thousands of years has been comprised of a combination of these varied cultures legacy. Lebanon has a diverse population composed of different ethnic and religious groups which makes their cuisines just as diverse. In Lebanese cuisine, you will always find a combination of spices, herbs, fresh and/or vegetables, and stuffed vegetables. Truly, a vegetarian's delight!

Lebanese Vegetable Soup

(adapted to Sister’s Version from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook)

1 large sweet onion, chopped (About 2 cups)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2-1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups chopped white potatoes (Skin cleaned and skin left on. The skin has nutrients that you need. Do Not peel it!)
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
4 cups vegetable stock (vegetable stock includes the brine (liquid) from the canned artichoke hearts, 1 vegetable bouillon cube, and the water to make 4 cups of vegetable stock)
1 15 oz can diced garlic tomatoes
2 13-14 oz cans of Artichoke Hearts10 artichoke hearts, cut into eighths
1 can chickpeas

Garnish-Topping per bowl when serving:
1/4 cup chopped fresh turnip greens, mustard greens, or parsley (parsley is traditional used as a garnish)
1 TBSP lemon juice or ¼ wedge of fresh lemon

How to Cook:
1) In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
2) Stir in the carrots. Cover Pot.
3) Stir carrots and onions again after 3 minutes.
4) Add the red pepper flakes, coriander, and garlic. Cover and cook for a few more minutes.
5) Add the potatoes, salt and 2 cups of the stock.
6) Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil.
7) Once pot boils, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender and not overcooked.
8) Gently stir in the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, chick peas, and sea salt
9) Cover and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, just to heat the tomatoes.
10) Add the remaining 2 cups of stock.
11) Heat gently.
Note: No do overcook or boil the soup. The potatoes, tomatoes and artichokes should be heated just enough to blend the flavors, and not break up the potatoes, tomatoes, and artichokes.
12) Garnish as per above
~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lunch Box Series #3: Chick Peas and Black Olive Spread

Continuing with the Lunch Box Series below is another alternative to a week day work lunch.

As you know, Sister loves wrapping these delicious spreads in Collard Leaves for a lunch packed with even more nutrition and antioxidants. I hope you enjoy this spread as much as I do for my work lunch. It also makes a great appetizer for the gathering of your sister circle.

Why not call it hummus? Traditionally, any type of hummus has tahini and chickpeas as the main ingredients. This spread does not include tahini. This spread also turns out a little more thicker, but the thickness makes it a great sandwich stuffer whether you are wrapping it in collards as I do, chapati, tortillas, wraps, or vegetarian/vegan breads.

Don't forget to also round out your lunches with Sister's Vegetarian and Vegan 10 Points of Power for your workday empowerment. A healthy mind goes with a healthy body.

Chick Peas and Black Olive Spread


1 15- 1/2 oz can Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas), drained, rinsed

1/2 chopped avocado

3 cloves of medium garlic

2 TBSP vegan mayonnaise

1 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup onion

1 TBSP dried parsley

1/4 cup black medium olives

1/8 tsp ground pepper

How to prepare:

Place in a food processor all the above ingredients. Process until smooth. This spread will still be thick, but it should have a well blended texture.

Stuff into your favorite collard leaf, wrap, vegetarian/vegan bread, chapati, or tortilla.

~ Sister Vegetarian

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vegan Borscht (Beet) Soup: Antioxidant Soup for Longevity

Borscht (beet soup) is a popular Russian soup that was brought to the US by Jewish immigrants. Borscht is famous for perhaps giving Russian centenarians their long life. As an African American, Borscht also has its place in our culture as as a soup consumed by ancestors for longevity. My great-grandmother loved beets and lived to be an active 100 year old, vivacious woman until she parted this earth in 1993. Her diet always consisted of beets at least weekly, if not more. I myself have adapted this love of beets thanks to my mother who introduced me to beets as a toddler. Who says children hates vegetables, especially beets. Children will eat what you put in front of them. Children develop their hate of foods from the ideas that parents instill from comments. Let's be positive examples to our children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren and set an example of healthy, wise eating. Let's start with this beautiful, red-purplish vegetable that is packed with so much nutrients that it prevents the body from aging, environmental damage, and disease (namely protection against colon cancer).

I eat beets raw and cooked in salads, India lentil stews, stand alone beet stews, pasta, and mixed with beans and legumes. Beets taste buttery and sweet at the same time. I found the below recipe at Vegalicious Recipes, but adapted it to my own creations: I added beet greens and stems, and did not peel the beet skins because the entire beet is super-packed with nutrients so why discard the greens, stems, and skin? Our ancestors and grand/great-grandparents ate the greens, beets, and stems and relied on this vegetable for strength, health, and vitality.
Enjoy this beautiful colored red-purplish soup. I consider it my Valentine's Day gift for you with its beautiful reddish color that's heart healthy, delicious

Vegan Borscht Soup (aka Spicy Beet Soup)

6 medium whole beets (skin left on for nutrients), beet greens and stems chopped off
1-1/2 cups vegan vegetable bouillon broth
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups water
2 tbs. olive oil
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 TBS dark brown sugar
2 TBS Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
3 TBSP Lemon Juice
1/2 cup vegan soy sour cream, plus extra for garnish
2 medium chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 cups of beet green and stems chopped

How to cook:
Put the whole beets, vegetable bouillon broth, and wine into a large soup pot, and add the water.
Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beets are tender (a fork inserted detects its tenderness).
Remove the beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve the cooking liquid in the soup pot.
When the beets have cooled enough to handle, coarsely chop.
Set aside 1/2 cup of 1/2-inch diced beets for garnish.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and brown sugar.
Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the onions and brown sugar sauté, coarsely chopped beets, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, 1/2 cup soy sour cream, and chilies in abobo to the beet liquid in the soup pot.

Stir in pot. Add to a blender or food processor in batches, and blend until smooth.
If serving hot, add back everything from the blender or food processor to the pot, and reheat until hot. This is when the chopped beet greens and stems are added so as not to cook too long. The beet greens and stems add even more nutrients.

If the soup is served cold: chill in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 6 hours.
Garnish with the reserved beets and 2TBSP of sour cream.
~ Sister Vegetarian

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lunch Box Series Part II: Peas & Carrots Sandwich?

Green Peas & Carrot Spread
I created this delicious green peas and carrot spread for Part II of the Lunch Box Series
I wrapped it in collard green leaves for a sumptuous work lunchtime meal. You can also wrap it in a chapati, tortilla, or any flat bread; or place between your favorite vegetarian or vegan sandwich bread. I stuffed it with raw turnip greens, tomatoes, and raisins. You can stuff it with kale, lettuce, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, nuts, or however you like. It was quick to make.
Green Pea & Carrot Spread
Servings: 5 lunches
1 1/4 cups of frozen peas
2 med carrots, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
2 TBSP vegan mayonnaise
How to Prepare:
1. Cook the peas in 2 TBSP water for 3-5 mins
2. When peas are done, drain water. Blend peas and all ingredients in a food processor until smooth
3. Place in a container.
4. Stuff in your favorite tortilla, flat-bread wrap, or chapati; or, place between your favorite vegetarian or vegan sandwich bread for a great sandwich.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day Recipes: Two Vegan Bread Recipes (includes today's dinner sandwich made from vegan bread)

It's a snow day my southern state. Snow arrived starting at 7:00 PM yesterday and did not end until early this afternoon. When it snows in the South, everything closes, we are in a state of emergency, and no one goes anywhere. What did I do today? I baked two vegan breads; created a new work lunch time meal that I will include in my lunchbox series soon; and, finished knitting one sock of my pair of socks knitting pattern. Call me "Susie Home-Maker", or just "Old-School" making use of a day of rest that I much needed...smile.

No-Knead Wheat-Oat-Flaxseed-Raisin Bread
(Sister Vegetarian's own creation)

Servings: 1 loaf baked in approximately 8-1/2 " x 4-1/2" in bread loaf pan
Preparation and Mixing of Ingredients: 5 mins. to 7 mins.
Baking time: 1 hour, or until done


1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup apple juice
1 very ripe banana, mashed
¼ cup raisins
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
2 TBSP ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tsps instant yeast (I did not have yeast and was jonesing for homemade vegan bread today, so I used a popular yeast substitute: 1 tsp baking soda + tsp lemon juice)
1/4 cup rice milk
½ tsp sea salt
3 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour)


1. Grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan with a vegetable oil

2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes, or use an electric mixer set on high speed for 3 minutes. You should have very sticky dough. It won't be pourable, but neither will it be kneadable. Scoop it into the prepared pan.

3. Cover the pan with lightly greased parchment paper, and let it rise for 90 minutes on your counter.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

5. Uncover the bread, and bake for first 15 minutes then use aluminum foil to place over it like a tent. Then bake for another 45 minutes. Insert a knife to make sure it comes out clean to determine if the bread is done.

6. Cool the bread completely before slicing it. I sliced the bread, and stored it in a freezer bag in my refrigerator. It can also be stored in the freezer, and reheated as it is used.

Vegan Corn Bread

(original recipe found at Post Punk Kitchen but I changed a few ingredients such as using wheat flour instead white flour and rice milk instead of soy milk; and, adding ground cinnamon and ginger)
Serving Suggestions: I made this to accompany my mexican, south american, and spanish soups and stews such as Black Bean Soup, Gazpacho, and Red Bean Stew.
Preparation and Mixing time: 5 to 7 minutes
Baking Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Serving Size: 12- 15 individual cornbreads


2 cups cornmeal
1 cup King Arthur Wheat Flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cups rice milk
2 teaspoons Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 tsp Sea Salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Grease an approximate 9x13 glass baking pan

3. In a bowl, wisk together the rice milk and the vinegar and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt).

5. Add the oil and maple syrup to the rice milk mixture. Wisk with a wire wisk or a fork until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

6. Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix together.

7. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Slice into squares and serve warm. I stored in freezer bags in my refrigerator, or you can store in the freezer.

Sister's Grilled Eggplant on toasted
Vegan Wheat-Oat-Flaxseed-Raisin Bread

2 slices of above home-made Wheat-Oat-Flaxseed-Raisin Vegan Bread, toasted

2 slices of eggplant

1/2 cup of red and yellow bell peppers (for a quick meal, I used frozen already sliced bell peppers, defrosted)

1/2 cup of sliced onion

Mesquite Seasoning to taste

1 tsp of Colgin Liquid Smoke (a vegan product that contains no animal by-products and is gluten-free)

Olive oil to lightly oil cookie sheet, and to drizzle on eggplant, bell peppers, and onions

Sandwich stuffers:
Vegan Mayonnaise
Kale (leaves broken by hand, rather than chopped)
Additional Sliced Raw Onions
Optional side servings:
Tahini Dressing
Red wine


1. Toast home-made Bread: From the bread I baked today, I placed 2 slices in my toaster

2, Pre-heat oven broiler

3. Use olive oil to lightly coat cookie sheet

4. Place on a cookie sheet 2 eggplants, 1/2 cup of sliced red and yellow bell peppers, and 1/2 cup on sliced onions

5. To taste, sprinkle mesquite seasoning and Colgin Liquid Smoke on the eggplant, bell peppers, and onions.

6. Broil for 8 - 10 minutes

7. Take vegetables out of broiler

8. Place vegan mayonnaise on both sides of bread. Then add eggplant, and broiled bell peppers and onions.

9. Add on each side of sandwich: a sliced tomato, Kale leaves, and raw onions.

10. Close sandwich and slice in half.

* * 11. Optional: As a side dip, I used a Tahini Dressing to dip the sandwich in as I eat and served with a glass of red wine.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ethiopian Spicy Lentil W'et (Stew)

I love being a vegetarian. It gives me more opportunities than when I was an omnivore to explore the cultures and cuisines of various countries. As a vegetarian, there is no end to creativity or exploration of meals indigenous to other countries. The world is in your kitchen as a vegetarian. I have traveled to India, China, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Polynesia, and more without even leaving my home. I bring to my kitchen the spices innate to these lands through whole foods and my local grocery stores. I bring home the vegetables through farmers markets, whole foods, and local grocery stores. I bring home the stories of these lands through Internet searches and books to find out more about the countries; the recipes; traditions; and, how these meals are traditionally eaten so that I may also experience the traditional way of eating these meals to pay homage to my sisters in these countries and to thank them for the loving recipes that I have been able to duplicate.

Today, we travel to Ethiopia. Some people know of Ethiopia through coffee chains such as Starbucks. For many, knowledge of Ethiopia stops at your coffee order of a Tall or Grande. Many know nothing about the vibrancy and history of this country. How much do we know of Ethiopia? Ethiopia is located in Eastern-Central Africa. It is bordered on the west by Sudan, the East by Somalia, the South by Kenya, and the North East by Eritrea. Since Americans tend to compare everything to our own country (an egotistical trait that I do not agree with, but will do for the sake of explaining Ethiopia's size), Ethiopia would be slightly less than 2 states of Texas put together. That's huge! According to a 2009 statistic, 17% of Ethiopians live in urban areas. The majority of Ethiopians practice either Christianity, Islam, or Judaism.

Vegetarianism in Ethiopia: Vegetarian dishes are indigenous to Ethiopia. You will see vegetarian meals as a "must" for the Ethiopian Muslim community, and also within the Ethiopian Christian community during the various fasting times.

Three main cuisine ingredients epitomizes Ethiopian Cuisine:
Wat, Berbere, and Injera.
Wat (also called wot or w'et): Ethiopian cuisine consists of spicy vegetable dishes (mixed with meat if not vegetarians) in the form of a thick stew called "wat." Wat is served atop a large sourdough flatbread called injera.

Injera: Injera is used in Ethiopian cooking similar to Chapati in other parts of Africa, and India whereas Injera and Chapati are use to pick up stew or stew is placed on the flatbread whereas no utensils are used. Ethiopians and other parts of Africa, and India that uses flatbread with stews eat with their right hands (no utensils used), using pieces of injera or chapati, to pick up bites of entrees and side dishes.

Berbere: made allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt that is a mixture of ground and panroasted spices. Fenugreek and red pepper are vital to Berbere's recipe, and are known as "must-haves" if possible. I wanted this Ethiopian lentil Stew so bad on a Sunday and did not have fenugreek, so I left it out. The stew still turned out superb. When I do acquire some fenugreek to make another batch of berbere, I expect this stew to be "out of this world" next time because it already "knocked my socks off!"

I found my Ethiopian lentil Stew recipe out of the vegetarian cookbook Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant. I discovered this vegetarian cookbook in 1996 when I first entered into the world of vegetarianism. For many vegetarians, this is their first vegetarian cookbook. Although not a full vegetarian cookbook as the cookbook also includes pescetarian dishes; but, the cookbook is mostly vegetarian and vegan dishes. At the time 14 years ago when I discovered this book at my local library, I copied some pages of the book; but, I decided to purchase the book since many of my vegetarian dishes stemmed from this book with slight changes I made, or just cooking as is.
Here is the recipe from Sunday's at Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook to make Ethiopian Lentil W'et (Stew):

How I made the stew:
Picture: My w'et (stew) with flatbread and vegan sour cream on side.

I noted differences in my version from the Moosewood Recipe in parenthesis, or as noted. Also, I did not make injera, or my favorite chapati recipe. I cheated (okay not cheated, but just did a time saving addition) and used vegan tortilla wraps instead to serve as an injera to pick up the soup, and mop up the delicious stew sauce. Instead of using the suggested yogurt as a side with the flatbread, I used vegan sour cream on the side with the "tortillas serving as injera" and noted that in the recipe. The yogurt or sour cream as in Indian and many other African dishes is eaten on the side with spicy-hot stews as a nice cooling and tasty accompaniment with the flatbread. Here my picture of my stew. I hope you make this! It was awesomely delicious, and quick to make. The dried lentils only took 30 minutes to cook as you prepare the Berbere and Niter Kibbeh before I started the recipe. The entire meal took about 1 hour if using already made flatbread such as vegetarian and vegan tortillas, or chapati made ahead of time.
Yemiser W'et (spicy lentil stew)

Servings: 8 (4 if having alone as a meal with nothing else by accompanied by Injera, Chapati, or any flatbread such as a tortilla)

· 1 lb bag of Dried brown lentils
· 1 cup Onion; finely chopped
· 2 Cloves garlic; minced or pressed
· 1/4 cup Niter Kebbeh (see recipe below; I substituted ¼ cup of olive oil for those who are ovo, strict vegetarians, or vegans. You can spice up your olive oil if you like with similar ingredients. )
· 1 TBSP Berbere (recipe below)
· 1 tsp ground cumin
· 1 TBSP Sweet Hungarian Paprika (I used Smoked Paprika which gave it a beautiful taste)
· 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes (I measured into a glass measuring cup 2 15 -1/2 can of chopped tomatoes for 2 cups)
· ¼ cup Tomato paste
· 1 cup Vegetable Stock or Water
· 1 cup Green Peas; fresh or frozen
· Sea Salt to taste
· Black pepper; to taste
· 3 Batches Injera bread (recipe below; or use warmed tortilla or chapati bread)
· Vegan/Vegetarian Sour Cream or Plain yogurt

Rinse and cook the lentils according to package directions (cooks for approximately 30 minutes).

As the lentils are cooking, sauté the onions and garlic in the niter kebbeh (or olive oil), until the onions are just translucent. Add the berbere, cumin, and paprika and saute for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock or water and continue simmering.

When the lentils are cooked, drain them and mix them into the saute. Add the green peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
To serve Yemiser W'et, spread layers of injera (or, warmed tortilla or chapatti) on individual plates. Place some sour cream, or yogurt alongside a serving of w'et on the injera and pass more injera at the table. To eat, tear off pieces of injera, fold it around bits of stew, and eat it with your fingers as done traditionally in Ethiopia.
Recipe Source: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant CookbookServings: 1
· 2 tsp Cumin seeds
· 4 Whole cloves (or, 2 tsp of ground clove or 2 tsp allspice)
· 3/4 tsp Cardamom Seeds ( or, 3/8 tsp of ground cardoman)
· 1/2 tsp Whole black peppercorns (or, ¼ tsp black pepper)
· 1/4 tsp Whole allspice (or, 1/8 tsp ground allspice)
· 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
· 1/2 tsp Coriander seeds
· 8 To 10 small dried red chiles (I used 8 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce that I chopped)
· 1/2 tsp Grated fresh ginger root (or, 1 tsp ground ginger)
· 1/4 tsp ground Turmeric
· ½ tsp Sea Salt
· 2-1/2 TBSP Sweet Hungarian Paprika (I used Smoked Paprika)
· 1/8 tsp ground Cinnamon
· 1/8 tsp ground Cloves

In a small frying pan, on medium-low heat, toast the cumin, whole cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, allspice, fenugreek, and coriander for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Discard the stems from the chiles. In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, finely grind together the toasted spices and the chiles. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
Store Berbere refrigerated in a well-sealed glass jar (Eco Green Ways: I recycle glass jars, and used this as storage).

Niter Kebbeh
Recipe Source: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook
Servings: 1
· 1 lb butter
· 1/4 cup onions; chopped
· 2 cloves garlic; minced or pressed
· 2 tsp Ginger; grated, peeled, fresh
· 1/2 tsp Turmeric
· 4 Cardamom seeds; crushed
· 1 Cinnamon stick
· 2 Cloves; whole
· 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
· 1/4 tsp Ground fenugreek seeds
· 1 TBSP Basil; fresh (or, 1 tsp dried)

In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter and bring it to bubbling. When the top is covered with foam, add the other ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer. Gently simmer, uncovered, on low heat. After about 45 to 60 minutes, when the surface becomes transparent and the milk solids are on the bottom, pour the liquid through cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container. Discard the spices and solids.

Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, Niter Kebbeh will keep for up to 2 months.

Note: Remember, ovo, strict vegetarians, and vegans, olive oil can be substituted. You can spice up your olive oil if you like with similar ingredients.

Traditional Injera-Ethiopian Flat Bread (if not using warmed tortilla or chapati as I did to save time)

Servings: 1
· 1 3/4 c Flour; unbleached white
· 1/2 c Self-rising flour
· 1/4 c Whole wheat bread flour
· 1 package Dry yeast
· 2-1/2 cup Water; warm
· 1/2 tsp Baking soda
· 1/2 tsp Salt

Combine the flours and yeast in a ceramic or glass bowl. Add the warm water and mix into a fairly thin, smooth batter. Let the mixture sit for three full days at room temperature. Stir the mixture once a day. It will bubble and rise.

When you are ready to make the injera, add the baking soda and salt and let the batter sit for 10-15 minutes.

Heat a small, nonstick 9-inch skillet. When a drop of water bounces on the pan's surface, take about 1/3 cup of the batter and pour it in the skillet quickly, all at once. Swirl the pan so that the entire bottom is evenly coated, then return to heat.

The injera is cooked only on one side and the bottom should not brown. When the moisture has evaporated and lots of "eyes" appear on the surface, remove the injera. Let each injera cool and then stack them as you go along.

If the first injera is undercooked, try using less of the mixture, perhaps 1/4 cup, and maybe cook it a bit longer. Be sure not to overcook it. Injera should be soft and pliable so that it can be rolled or folded, like a crepe.

INJERA (Flat bread) –alternative quick recipe

Servings: 8
· 4 cups Self-rising flour
· 1 cup Whole wheat flour
· 1 tsp Baking powder
· 2 cup Club soda

Combine flours and baking powder in a bowl. Add club soda plus about 4 cups water. Mix into a smooth, fairly thin batter. Heat a large, non-stick skillet. When a drop of water bounces on the pan's surface, dip enough batter from the bowl to cover the bottom of the skillet, and pour it in quickly, all at once. Swirl the pan so that the entire bottom is evenly coated, then set it back on the heat.

When the moisture has evaporated and small holes appear on the surface, remove the injera. It should be cooked only on one side, and not too browned. If your first one is a little pasty and undercooked, you may need to cook a little longer or to make the next one thinner. But, as with French crepes, be careful not to cook them too long, or you'll have crisp bread that may be tasty but won't fold around bits of stew. Stack the injera one on top of the other as you cook, covering with a clean cloth to prevent their drying out.
~ Remember, enjoy the traditioanl way with no utensils. Use the flatbread to scoop up the stew, and enjoy the flavors of Ethiopia! ~ Sister Vegetarian

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let's Visit India: Coconut Curried Chickpeas, Cauliflower, and Spinach served with a Cilantro/Jalapeno Wrap or Chapati

Let's visit India today without leaving our homes. Take in the beautiful spices of this exotic, beautiful country. What's on the menu? Coconut Curried Chickpeas, Caulifower, and Spinach (access recipe through this Vegetarian Times Link)

Okay, This is not my recipe, but I made it my own. I found it at Vegetarian Times, and it is awesome! It is so awesomely good, that I did not change anything in the recipe. The only suggestion is if you LOVE curry as I do, add more curry than what is stated. I added about double the curry. I also served it with vegan cilantro/jalapeno wrap rather than chapati bread, that served well in scooping up the meal and sauce as is traditionally done with Indian stews. The pictures are my pictures from duplicating the recipe.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Caribbean Banana Soup with Corn, Chipotle, and "Your Choice of Additional Vegetables"

Every once in a while you come across your own creation that originated because you just did not have the ingredients you wanted for a recipe, but craved that recipe so bad you were "jonesing" to make it. That's How I came across this "Caribbean Banana Soup with Corn, Chipotle, and "Your Choice of Additional Vegetables". I had a recipe for Caribbean Plantain Soup with Corn and Chili from a Caribbean Cookbook that I purchased years ago for a bargain of $3.99 at Borders Books. I did not have plantains, but always had bananas in my weekly kitchen stock. Corn-Yes I did have that. Green Chili? Well...as substitute was needed. Voila! Although bananas are sweeter than plantains, they are pretty similar; and, I have heard of people using bananas as a substitute for plantains although this changes the taste to a bit sweeter and the bananas are not as firm plantains. I used chipotle peppers in adoba sauce in place of the green chilis. What resulted was a beautiful sweet and hot/spicy Caribbean soup that "knocked my socks off hands down!" I impressed myself. I am not bragging, but just saying...I amazed myself that in this pot was a creation of sweet and hot, hot and spicy, sweet and spicy in each bite. I had to share this creation that resulted just because I was jonesing for a Caribbean plantain soup, and came out with a Caribbean bananas soup that was filling alone by itself.

Reheating soup for variety each night:

When I reheated for my dinner on different nights (I usually freeze individual soup servings for myself for quick after work meals), I added different vegetables when reheating each time.
- One night I added chopped collard greens to the soup that I rolled and chopped, and placed in the soup after it heated up completely. I just let the soup heat up with the collard greens for 2-3 minutes.
- Another night, I added to the soup chopped beet greens, kale, and collards.
- Another night, I added okra, sweet potatoes, and kale.

All individual servings were filling as a soup by itself, and my mouth was feeling as though it had an awesome party going on inside.

Caribbean Banana Soup with Corn, Chipotle, and "Your Choice of Additional Vegetables"

Serving Size: 4 servings

Bananas Nutritional Value: (excerpt from Whole Foods. org) Source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. A banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. Bananas also help to improve eyesight and build bigger bones.

1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
10 oz banana sliced in 1/2" to 1" slices (about 2 medium to large size bananas sliced the short way)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of corn kernels
1 tsp dried parsley
3-3/4 cup of vegetable stock; or 3 -3/4 cup of water heated with a vegan bouillon cube
1 medium chipotle in adoba sauce, chopped (larger or 2 chipotles chopped if you want an even hotter and spicier soup)
1/8 tsp clove
ideas of additional vegetables added: chopped collard greens, chopped kale, chopped spinach, chopped beet greens, okra, carrots, sweet potatoes, or whatever you prefer

How to cook:
1. Heat up olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat.
2. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft.
3. Add the banana, tomato, and corn. Cook for 5 minutes
4. Add the parsley, vegetable stock, chipotle pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes
5. Stir in the clove, and serve immediately.
6. If you add additional vegetables, add when soup is almost done for the last 5 minutes. If adding sweet potatoes, add the sweet potatoes about 10 minutes before soup is done for not too soft sweet potatoes, but almost like an "al dente" bite. Serve.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hard day at the office? Relax your dogs and let this beauty do the cooking!

“The man who sees, on New Year's Day, Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant is forever blessed”. —Old Japanese proverb

Beautiful Eggplant: You are deep purple almost black. Mysterious beauty and gorgeous smooth soft skin. I run my hands across your body, and I love your curves. Your curves remind me of my own African beauty: vivacious, delicious, curvaceous, and beautiful through and through. You are beautiful. I call you black beauty. ~ Sister Vegetarian

Eggplant. Beautiful. Succulent. Nutritious. Quick after work meals in 20 meals or less. Eggplants provide a quick after work meal for busy schedules.

Serving Size: 1 Large Eggplant can make 4 -6 sandwiches
Eggplant Cost: approximately $1.79 per lb.
Nutitional Value: High in Dietary Fiber; Folate; Potassium; Vitamins C, K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper; Brain Food; Antioxidant; Cardiovascular health benefits.

Vegan Mayonnaise
Flat bread (chapati, flat-out, or lavash bread)
Shredded collard leaves, spinach, or kale

How to Cook:
1. Slice Eggplant for ½ inch to 1 inch rounds.
2. Use extra virgin oil olive to lightly coat a pan (I use a cookie sheet)
3. Brush olive oil on sliced eggplant, add mesquite seasoning, and a few drops of liquid smoke.
Place on pan
4. Cook 8 -10 minutes on each side in broiler for an outdoor grilled taste.
5. Voila! Eggplant that takes as though grilled outside!

How to Serve:
1. Serve as a sandwich on flat-out, lavash, or chapatti bread. I toast my flat bread of choice in the broiler until crisp. I place vegan mayonnaise on each side of the flat bread.
2. Place grilled eggplant on top of vegan mayonnaise
3. Add tomatoes, onions, shreds of collards leaves (or, spinach or kale broken up)
4. Top with other half of flat bread and vegan mayonnaise
5. Slice flat bread in half and serve.

6. Optional: I love to serve with slice sweet potatoes oven fried in broiler with a little olive oil and seasoning of choice such as mesquite seasoning. Sweet potatoes can be grilled with eggplant in one pan at 8 -10 minute son each side just like the eggplant. Quick and easy after a long work day!

picture of sweet potatoes oven fried in a little
olive oil with a sandwich being stuffed with
eggplants, onions,spinach, tomatoes,
and vegan mayonnaise
Other serving option: Serve grilled eggplant on top of a Live Collard Salad:

Live Collard Salad and Grilled Eggplant with a side bowl of Tahini Dressing

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bring your lunch series: Hummus! Make Hummus in 10 minutes or less for the week!

Lunch Bag found at Natural Nirvana .
Natural Nirvana sells only animal-friendly products, geared toward vegetarians.

Brown Bagging. A lunchtime green tip that I have been practicing since elementary school. My mother embedded this "Green" action in me from an early age, and it just carried over into my life after college. I just like having control of what I eat for lunch at work since this will replenish me to handle my afternoon activities productively, and not sluggishly with processed foods. As a vegetarian, brown bagging is one way to make sure that you have a energy, replenishing lunch where you can choose what you eat rather than settle for a selection of small vegetarian choices at restaurants, your work cafeteria, or processed frozen foods.

This is one of a series of lunch time brown bagging meal ideas that will be featured in Sister's Recipes.

Visit Sister's Green Tips  for brown bagging ideas as to the many choices of lunch bags and containers available to carry your quick and easy homemade meals.

Hummus is as ubiquitous to Middle Eastern Cooking as it is to vegetarians. From ovo-lacto vegetarians to vegans, hummus is the queen of quick meals, snacks, and appetizers.

What is hummus? Hummus is a spread that is made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Hummus recipes are not set in stone, so one recipe varies from the other in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Hummus originated in Egypt, and is one of the oldest ubiquitous foods known dating back as far as 7000 years as a popular dish.

With hummus recipes, you can basicially make the recipe your own by adding things such as roasted bell peppers, chipotle pepper, more garlic or less garlic, more Tahini or less Tahini, natural peanut instead of Tahini, spinach, archtichokes, and more. You can also blend hummus via your food pressor or blender to your liking by making it smooth, creamy, or chunky. I prefer my hummus between smooth and chunky for lunches. For me, smooth-chunky hummus on my collard leaves or flatbread wraps makes a nice wrap that holds. I also provide below wrap and wrap stuffers ideas for an even more healthier and filling lunch.

Hummus brings out your creativity which means good-bye to humdrum lunches; and, "HELLO!" to fun, jazzed up lunches!

Without further ado, I present to you: Hummus

Serving Size: 5 lunches
Cost: approximately $5.00 *cost based on stuffers and wraps selected to make it a hearty meal
Cost per serving: $1.00 a day, or per lunch meal (based on 5 lunches). Now that's cheap and nutritious!!!

Nutritional Facts:
Chickpeas (aka: Garbanzo Beans): a good source of protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Lowers cholesterol. “Garbanzo beans high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia (whfoods.cm)"

Tahini: Tahini is crushed sesame seeds. Think peanut butter, but made from sesame seeds. If you are allergic to peanuts, then Tahini may be a good alternative; but, check with your Allergist first! Tahini is an excellent source of calcium, Vitamins B and E (vitamin E is known to help reduce the rate of body cells ageing), and essential fatty acids that helps to maintain healthy skin. Tahini fats are unsaturated which means good for you.

Kale: High in Vitamin, C, Calcium, and Fiber. “Kale, is known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer…provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well (whfoods.com).”

Collard Greens: an excellent source of the vitamins C, E,  A (all three are essential antioxidants). Collards are also an excellent source of folate and vitamin B6 to help protect against deformities and cancer.
 Organic Collards  purchased in the organic aisle of my local grocery store.

Spinach: an excellent source of Vitamin K, C, A, Calcium, and Iron. Other benefits: promotes cardiovascular protection and gastrointestinal health; the flavonoid's in spinach helps to combat ovarian cancer; and, vitamin K and calcium in Spinach contributes to stronger bones.

Hummus Recipe:
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained
1 TBSP dried parsley or 2 TBSP Fresh parsley
3 TBSP chopped onions
1 TBSP Tamari Sauce *(Soy Sauce can be used in its place)
1/4 cup Tahini * (besides whole foods stores, many grocery stores are now stacking up on Tahini in the health food section; but, if Tahini is still hard to find, use natural organic peanut butter in its place)
2 cloves of garlic (less if you are not a garlic fanatic as I am)
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin (* instead of cumin, try ground curry and it adds an even stronger spiciness)
1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper * adds a nice smoky pepper flavor
2 to 3 drops of liquid smoke * for additional smokiness
Additional Ingredients to make it as a lunch:
Wrap ideas: Collard leaves; Sister's Homemade Chapati; Flatbreads sunch as Lavash Bread.
Wrap Stuffers ideas: Kale, Spinach, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Raisins, peanuts, or your spark of creativity.

Organic Spinach Epinards and Organic Cucumbers from my local grocery store.

Process all the above ingredients in a food processor, or blender until it is smooth, or reaches the consistency you prefer.

Remember, hummus is a spread that you can change and adapt to your tastes; or, event you may be planning (i.e. appetizer for parties). Take away some of the ingredients above, or add more. Making your own hummus is cheaper and healthier than purchasing it in your local store.

Wrapping Hummus:
  1. Starting with the wrap: I love to use collard leaves to form my wrap. After cutting off the large end of the stem after cleaning, I slice down the collard leaf in the center of the large vein. Sometimes I just keep the leaf whole and wrap the hummus the long way. Whatever you prefer, it's all delicious! Other ideas are homemade Chapati bread which is excellent for vegans too because I make mine with extra virgin olive oil instead of ghee. Checkout Sister's Chapati Recipe in Sister's Recipes           
  2. Stuffers: You can make your hummus sandwich different everyday depending on your stuffers. Before I roll the collard leaf wrap (or, whatever wrap you choose), I stuff my sandwich with spinach or kale leaves, sliced cucumbers, and occassionally raisins and/or nuts. Just be creative, and enjoy the process of putting your love into this quickly made meal!