Rice Pilaf With Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussel sprout pilaf

By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

Thanksgiving approaches!

Like most of you, I’m looking forward to a day of overeating, football, and then overeating again (desserts, y’all!).

While turkey is awesome and pie will definitely be consumed, I’m also planning to bring a few healthier options to the table this year. Indulging is great once in a while, but there’s no need to regret it for days afterwards!

I took to the kitchen to play around with what was available in my house that could be worked into a side dish option.

Enter rice pilaf with roasted brussels sprouts, an experiment in balancing taste with health benefits. I threw in whatever vegetables I had handy, and used my frozen bone broth cubes in the rice to add extra nutritional punch. Feel free to change up whatever vegetables you add, to suit this dish to your tastes and needs.

I was a little nervous to work with the strong flavors of brussels sprouts and cabbage, but found that, when combined with the rice and other ingredients, everything had a nice, earthy taste, with the lemon juice providing a memorable extra zing. Give it a try – and feel free to suggest your favorite healthy Thanksgiving side dish in the comments!

Ingredients:

10-15 brussels sprouts

4-6 servings brown rice

1 lemon

1 onion

1/2 cup chopped cabbage

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

Chicken bone broth (or regular broth, or stock), portioned according to the rice instructions

Olive oil

2 Tbsp. Butter

Garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (gluten-free option if desired)

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the brussels sprouts lengthwise, and toss with a coating of olive oil. Layer into a roasting pan and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and pepper. Squeeze a wedge of lemon on top, and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring once, until tender and brown. Leave the oven on.

In the meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package, substituting the bone broth for water in the recipe.

In a separate pan, sauté the chopped onion, cabbage, mushrooms, and shredded carrot in a tablespoon or so of butter (or coconut oil). Add the cooked rice, and simmer for about ten minutes, stirring often. Add a little bit more oil or butter if too dry to stir easily. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the brussels sprouts and cook for an additional five minutes. Add a hearty squeeze of lemon, and layer into a baking dish.

Melt the remaining butter and stir in the Panko crumbs until coated, and sprinkle over the dish.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crumbs are just slightly browned.

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Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Italian Apple Cake

Italian apple cake

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I know I said it earlier, but you have seriously got to pick up one of Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbooks!  I finally had a chance to sit down and peruse through two of her cookbooks:  Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, and everything looks amazing!!  I know I’ve probably said this before about other cookbooks, but for a vegan cookbook, everything does seriously look phenomenal.

Chloe's vegan italian kitchen

But does it taste amazing?  I can enthusiastically say “YES!!” My family,  a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarians, whole-heartedly agrees.

So far I’ve tried the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from her desserts cookbook.  I made those this past Saturday morning for the company we had that spent the night.  They were a big hit and they held everyone over until I finished making breakfast.  I wish I had a picture to share with you, but I wasn’t thinking that morning and they didn’t last long.  But everyone, guests and all, loved them.

Then last night for dinner, I made the Pasta in Pink Sauce, or more authentically, Pasta Con La Salsa Rosa, from her Italian cookbook.  I got more compliments and thank you’s from everyone than I can ever remember getting from cooking.  Everyone thanked me over and over for making it, and went on about how great it was!

Now, I did tweak this pasta recipe a bit – I wanted a little more substance so it wasn’t just pasta and sauce.  So I sautéed some mushrooms, onions, red pepper and broccoli, and added it into the sauce at the end.  I think what made this so good was the “cream” sauce that was added, which of course, is not cream, but a mixture of cashews and water blended in the Vitamix.  What would also be great with this particular dish would be to add the vegan meatball sliders.

I think another thing that made it so good was that, since I eat gluten free, I used the Jovial brand of brown rice pasta, which I hadn’t used in quite a while.  I actually really like the texture of these noodles better than the corn-based Farmo brand.

I was on a roll with Chloe’s recipes, so for our Monday night “Dancing with the Stars” party, I thought I would try her Italian Apple Cake, or again, more authentically, Torta di Mela.  I thought it would make a perfect fall dessert and a perfect ending to a great Italian meal.  And, once again, she did not disappoint!  Click here for the recipe for Chloe’s vegan apple cake.

But you know what I’m really excited about?  Her books and recipes have inspired me, and a new spark has been ignited for cooking again.  Quite honestly, I felt like I was going through a bit of a slump, and I wasn’t being too creative.  My family was being very polite, but there were probably only so many sautéed vegetable dishes they could take!

What I also love about Chloe is that she doesn’t push a vegan way of eating on everyone.  She is a vegan and that works for her, but she doesn’t make  you feel bad if you aren’t a vegan.  She just says to maybe give some of her recipes a try and see what you think and how you feel.  Or maybe just try one vegan dish a week and see how you like it.  Everyone is different, and her way of presenting is so lovingly non-judgemental.  We could all learn from that.

Chloe has also got me thinking about all of the creative ways to make substitutions.  I’ve tried a ton of Paleo recipes where they have made substitutions for dairy or sugar or some other ingredient, but the Paleo world, in my opinion, hasn’t quite figured it out yet (the exclusion being, perhaps, Julie Bauer and George Bryant’s “The Paleo Kitchen”).  The substitutions Chloe has made for vegan dishes and desserts work amazingly well.  So much so, that you don’t even miss the ingredient that is being substituted.  I think her victory on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” is a testament to that.  If the judges on that show awarded her the winner (the first vegan chef to enter), then I think it’s safe to say, most people would find her creations to be winners as well!

So a big thank you to Chloe Coscarelli for all of her hard work testing and re-testing recipes, adapting her family recipes to fit the vegan lifestyle, and for putting herself out there and sharing all of this wonderful food with the world.

And, if you know anyone who is a vegan or vegetarian, or is just looking to maybe start a Meatless Monday program with their family, her cookbooks would make great gifts – for a hostess gift, holiday gift, thank-you gift, or even a just a “thinking about you” gift.

Maybe even give yourself the gift – especially if you are looking for some different options as we move into the holiday season.

Try some of her recipes and let me know what you think!

Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Meatballs!

Vegan meatballs

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch 

Today is Tuesday, which means it’s Q&A Tuesday on Marie Forleo’s Marie TV.  Today, she interviewed Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef who, at the age of 22, won The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and was the first vegan to ever enter the competition.

I pretty much love all of the stuff Marie Forleo posts and writes about, and I always look forward to her videos – especially her interviews.  Today Marie and Chloe talked about how she got started in cooking

Her third cookbook, “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics,” came about because, of course, she’s Italian.  Everyone said she couldn’t possibly eat Italian as a vegan, because of all of the cheese and meat.  So, she set out to “veganize” some of her family’s traditional Italian recipes.  And the results are Marie approved!

On today’s interview, they brought out these vegan meatball sliders and they looked like real meatballs.  So I clicked on the link for the recipe to check out the ingredients, because I couldn’t believe that they would actually come close to real meatballs.  And when I saw the ingredients, I thought these might actually work – brown rice, mushroom, and onion, were the base of the recipe.  So I got right to work on making Spaghetti with Meatless Meatballs.

First off, everyone loved the smell that cooking these created in our house.  So that was a good sign.  Then, as I prepared everything and shaped them into balls, they were really impressed how they actually looked like meatballs.

Then came the true test.  After cooking them in olive oil in the pan (rather than canola oil), Lindsey and Frankie (who are both vegetarians) tried them and they couldn’t believe how good they were!  A still bigger test was Mike, since he loves regular meatballs.  And they won him over too!  And of course, for me, they are one of my new favorite recipes.

Here’s the link to the recipe for vegan meatball sliders. Check out how easy they are to make!

Instead of pasta, I chose to “grill” a piece of gluten-free bread in the pan I used for the meatballs, which had some leftover olive oil.  It was amazing!

Now that I know her recipes work – meaning they are easy and they taste great – I am definitely going to order her book so I can play around with her other vegan recipes.  And, this will definitely be my go-to gift for my vegan and vegetarian friends.

Try it our for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Pumpkin Spice Crepes (Gluten Free!)

Pumpkin spice crepes

By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

‘Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Everything (you know that’s true), and I happen to have a big jar or organic pumpkin spice syrup I’ve been using in my morning coffee, so I figured, why not throw that into other culinary avenues? Why let myself be limited?

Thus came the Pumpkin Spice Gluten-Free Crepe, which absolutely tops my list of favorite breakfasts to date. I may have eaten the entire batch myself. One after the other as they came out of the pan. Zero regrets.

Once the pumpkin spice syrup is mixed up, it’s a no-fuss breakfast you can hammer out in just a couple of minutes and only requires a few ingredients. I was in-between grocery trips, so I just topped mine with a little pastured butter, but you could easily fancy them up by rolling them with any number of things – like some warm fall applesauce, for example.

And of course that pumpkin spice syrup could be ready to add to any recipe. Spice up your morning coffee like I do, or add a little extra kick to muffins. Experiment! Enjoy! And feel free to pass along your successes in the comments section!

Get the pumpkin spice syrup recipe here if you don’t already have it stored in the fridge!

Pumpkin Spice Gluten-Free Crepes

Ingredients: 

2 eggs

1 cup gluten-free flour

1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

1 tsp. sugar

Pinch salt

1 cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1/2 cup pumpkin spice syrup

Splash of dark coffee

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Coconut oil

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together with a rotary beater until smooth.

Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a crepe or frying pan, and pour in enough batter to thinly cover the bottom.

When top of the crepe begins to bubble, flip and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, depending if you like them browned or a little doughy.

Plate, if it can get that far!