Easy Microwave Spiralized Potato Ramen {gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, vegetarian}

As I mentioned in the “Why Gluten Free?” section of my blog, I was diagnosed with lupus during my senior year of college and have been working on managing it to the best of my ability for the past four years. While I’ve been extremely lucky and have seen a drastic improvement in my health since my initial diagnosis, it still will pop back up when I least expect it, usually in the form of migraines, severe joint pain and overwhelming exhaustion. Unfortunately, some days I push my body a little too far and will regret it the next morning when I wake up to flare ups of my lupus symptoms. For me, these mini-flare ups can last weeks, and pretty much mean that during any “free-time” I’m asleep (and “non-free-time” I wish I was asleep), which drastically cuts back on my cooking and food prep time.

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When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I essentially only left my dorm room to go to class, and would often opt out of walking to the dining hall for meals. This resulted in me eating a lot of contraband peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that my friends stole for me from the dining halls, and a disgusting amount of ramen noodles from the vending machine outside my room. Ramen became my quick and easy comfort food to keep me going during those periods of exhaustion when I didn’t have enough energy for anything else except binging Netflix.

Since then, I have opted to follow a gluten-free, vegan diet which has eliminated ramen from my life. I’m also a lot more aware of how important continuing to eat healthy and exercise is, even when I’m feeling my worst. Despite this, something about flare ups leave me missing that quick and easy comfort food on days when I am just too exhausted to spend time prepping meals. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to come up with an easy alternative for myself, and my Easy Microwave Spiralized Potato Ramen recipe was born. It has been the perfect quick and easy meal for me and has been a life-saver during flares. This recipe can really be as easy or as complicated as you want (or can handle, based on exhaustion level) and is so easy to customize based on what foods you have in your house, for when I’m too tired to make it to the grocery store.

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The basis for this recipe is really just using a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make “noodles” out of potato (I highly recommend the spiralizer, it makes this ridiculously easy). After that you just add the potato to your broth of choice, microwave, and season to taste and the job is done! I’ve also been loading mine up with a bunch of extra vegetables, since it makes it a little more interesting, and I’m a bit more aware now of how eating healthier will help me feel better. For this version, I made up a miso broth using miso paste, but feel free to sub in any vegetable based broth that you have on hand!

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Extra veggies will help bulk up your meal and keep the ramen interesting

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 peeled potato spiralized or julienned
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Any mix-ins you have on hand (Possible mix-ins include: scallions, hot peppers, red pepper flakes, baby bok choy, cabbage, sliced peppers, sliced carrots, edamame, tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, peanuts, cashews, onions, curry paste, sesame seeds, etc.)

Instructions

  1. In a microwaveable bowl, combine water, miso paste, tamari and sesame oil (or 2 cups of a vegetable based broth broth of your choice)
  2. Add “potato noodles” from one spiralized (or julienned) potato
  3. Cover the bowl and microwave for ~6 minutes, or until “potato noodles” are softened
  4. Add any mix-ins you have on hand. For the bowl pictured I used baby bok choy, red cabbage, thinly sliced peppers, thinly sliced carrots, edamame, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and scallions. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want!
  5. Enjoy lazily while binging Netflix.

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Irish Soda Bread

 

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I started my dietetic internship in January, which means between working in the hospital, commuting and studying I have barely had time to sleep, let alone to cook. This weekend, I finally found myself with a few free hours and decided it was time to stress-bake. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I figured it would be a good time to get in touch with my Irish heritage and try to re-create a classic Irish soda bread.

 

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While gluten-free bread may require a few more ingredients, one plus side is that you don’t have to knead the dough. Normally, kneading dough is essential for making a gluten matrix that traps air and allows dough to rise. Leaving out the gluten means you can skip the extra work of kneading, and you don’t have to worry about over or under kneading your dough.  With this recipe you just have to mix the dough with a spatula until well combined and then throw it in the oven!

Recipe

Dry Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk  (I used cashew, but almond or soy would work as well)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix together milk and apple cider vinegar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  4. Add the melted Earth Balance and  milk + apple cider vinegar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well using a rubber spatula.
  5. Once batter is mixed  add in the raisins and mix until well distributed
  6. Using floured hands (the dough will be sticky) , form the dough into a round
  7. Place the  round on a cast iron skillet (or a regular baking sheet if you don’t have a skillet)
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown
  9. Once finished, transfer bread to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing. DSC_0103

Wild Rice Salad (w/ Beans, Potatoes, Pecans, Figs and Sherry Vinaigrette) {vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free}

Wild Rice Salad with Fresh Figs

Back to school season is here, which means  a reprieve from the blistering heat (hopefully), my last semester of graduate school, and the promise of pumpkin spice and fresh apple flavored foods in my near future. Unfortunately, it also means exhaustingly long days, hectic schedules and a goodbye to anything resembling free time.

Wild Rice Salad with Fresh Figs

Once September rolls around I am back to leaving my apartment before 6 every morning, and often not getting back until around 10pm. Between classes, getting to the gym, working as a research assistant and getting my homework done, my schedule is pretty much booked solid during the week. Not only does this leave me very little time to cook, it also means I eat almost all of my meals away from home either while sitting through lectures, in my office or while commuting. This means a lot of meal prep over the weekends, and a backpack full of food at all times.

Farm fresh broad beans from my weekly CSA box

Farm fresh broad beans from my weekly CSA box

For my first week of class I decided to make a simple dish using the produce I had left from my weekly CSA box. I needed something that was easy to make, and that I would be able to easily pack as meals on the go. I paired up my farm fresh potatoes and broad beans with some wild rice, toasted pecans, fresh figs and a sherry vinaigrette inspired by a dish my sister-in-law has made me before. It was a perfect combination of flavors, and lasted well in the fridge all week to help get me through my long first week of classes.

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I’ve been kind of obsessed with figs recently, and thought they’d be a perfect sweet addition to this rice salad, but feel free to use dried cranberries or another sliced fruit instead!

This recipe allowed me to mix a bunch of different ingredients I had around the house, and is really very versatile.

  • Don’t have pecans? Try roasted walnuts, or slivered almonds, or omit the nuts all together.
  • Don’t have broad beans? Try green beans, or snap peas.
  • Don’t have figs? Try dried cranberry, or sliced pear, or sliced apple

It’s an easy dish to throw together with delicious results, even during those busy weeks.

Wild Rice Salad with Fresh Figs

Recipe

Ingredients:

Wild Rice Salad
  • 1 cup dry wild rice, prepared as instructed on package
  • 1 lb flat beans, trimmed and cut into ~3” pieces
  • 5 small potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 figs, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Sherry Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Toss potatoes, beans, garlic and olive oil in a large bowl until evenly covered, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Distribute the vegetables evenly on a baking sheet and cook for around 35 minutes, or until the potatoes start to get crispy.
    • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the dressing by whisking together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Remove the baking pan and lower the oven temperature to 350.
  5. Spread pecans on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and allow to toast for 10 minutes.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the cooked wild rice, roasted vegetables, chopped figs, and toasted pecans.
  7. Drizzle dressing over the top, and toss until well distributed
  8. Enjoy! (or in my case, pack up into individual sized portions, and enjoy throughout the week at my desk or during lectures)

Wild Rice Salad with Fresh Figs

Peanut Butter and Roasted Banana Ice Cream {vegan, gluten-free, soy-free}

Peanut Butter Roasted Banana Vegan Ice Cream

A coconut milk peanut butter flavored ice cream base with roasted banana pieces and peanut butter ribbons.

While most people claim that they could never go vegan because they couldn’t give up cheese, my main hesitation always centered around ice cream. Growing up we had ice cream as our nightly dessert more often than not, and in the summer we were pretty much daily patrons of the ice cream man. The constant availability of “Lobster Tracks”, “Moose Tracks” and “Deer Tracks” ice cream at every meal once I got to Colby definitely didn’t help me kick the habit, and I never thought I’d be able to quit eating ice cream completely to go vegan. (Am I talking about ice cream like it is a drug? Maybe. But, hey, I really liked ice cream.

Peanut Butter Roasted Banana Vegan Ice Cream Cone

Luckily, despite popular belief, being vegan doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you’ve ever loved and eating exclusively kale salads and chia seeds (although, to be honest, I do eat my fair share of kale and chia).  There are vegan versions of pretty much every food and (for the most part) they are delicious. Grocery stores sell an amazing variety of vegan ice cream options and even Ben & Jerry’s is working on developing vegan flavors! The two main things that helped me adjust to the vegan ice cream life were getting an ice cream maker (thanks Jeff and Michelle!)  and the discovery of  FoMu, an all vegan ice cream parlor 10 minutes away from my apartment. In fact, FoMu may have made the transition a little too easy, since now I’ll pretty much eat there at any chance I can get.

The original FoMu version of Roasted Banana Peanut Butter ice cream (RIP).

RIP the original FoMu version of Roasted Banana Peanut Butter ice cream

Making vegan ice cream was the first time I actually thought through food science principles to develop a recipe. It was really interesting to be able to put my chemistry degree to good use and think through the interactions between the different ingredients. My original plan for this post was actually to talk about the science behind making a good vegan ice cream, but I bought a copy of Between the World and Me this morning and I can’t stop reading it long enough to type that up right now, so I’ll save that lesson for my next ice cream recipe.

Peanut butter ribbons ready to be folded into the ice cream

Homemade peanut butter ribbons ready to be folded into the ice cream

Roasted peanut butter banana was one of my favorite flavors at FoMu, but unfortunately they recently discontinued it. I was sad to think that I would never get to taste it again, so I pulled out my ice cream maker in an effort to recreate it at home. Banana and peanut butter is one of my go-to snacks and this ice cream pairs the two perfectly for a rich and creamy treat on these disgustingly hot and muggy days. It’s a peanut butter flavored base made with coconut milk, with chunks of oven roasted banana and peanut butter ribbons throughout. While I’ve thankfully moved past my ice cream a day habit, it’s always good to have a recipe in the vault for when the ice cream cravings hit hard.

Peanut Butter Roasted Banana Vegan Ice Cream

Recipe:

Ingredients:
   For the Peanut Butter Ice Cream Base: 
  • 1 can coconut cream**
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt

**Coconut cream is a thicker, higher fat variety of coconut milk. It’s essentially a can of only the thick part of the coconut milk that usually settles to the top of the can. This is different than cream of coconut, which is a sweetened version used for drinks like piña coladas and will not work in this recipe. If you are unable to find coconut cream, you can just use a second can of coconut milk instead**

   For the Peanut Butter Ribbons:
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
   For the Roasted Banana Pieces
  • 1 banana, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • coconut oil, for drizzling

Instructions:

  1. Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in a saucepan over low heat and gently whisk until the fat and liquid are combined.
  2. Add in xanthan gum, sugar, vanilla and salt and continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
  3. Remove from heat and carefully poor the mixture into a blender and blend for 30 seconds. **This step is optional, but I really think it helps to develop a creamier consistency**
  4. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. While it is chilling you can prepare the roasted bananas and peanut butter ribbons:
 For the peanut butter ribbons: 

1. Combine peanut butter, coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small sauce pan.

2. Stir well over low heat until thoroughly combined.

3. Pour mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and place in the freezer

4. After around 15 minutes, remove it from the freezer and slice it into smaller 1-2″ pieces

5. Leave the pieces in the freezer until adding into the ice cream

For the roasted banana pieces

1. Place the halved bananas on a baking sheet

2. Drizzle lightly with coconut oil

3. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes

4. Remove from oven and cut into smaller 1″ pieces

5. Remove from the refrigerator and stir briefly. The mixture will be very thick, almost a pudding consistency and stirring it will help break that up into more of a heavy cream consistency.

6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions, for mine it takes around 20-25 minutes to reach the right consistency.

7. Once the ice cream is approaching its desired consistency slowly add in the peanut butter ribbons and roasted banana pieces and allow the churning of the ice cream maker to distribute them throughout the ice cream.

8. Depending on your ice cream maker and how long you churn it for, you may want to freeze the ice cream for a little longer until it reaches a more solid consistency.

9. If you don’t devour it in one sitting, store the ice cream in an air tight container to prevent the development of ice crystals. This ice cream tends to get very hard when it sits in the freezer, so be sure to give it ample time to thaw (or microwave it for a few seconds at low power) before scooping it.

Rhubarb Crisp {vegan, gluten-free, soy-free}

A few weeks ago my friends and I went up to Oaks Head, Maine to spend the weekend at a house on the ocean that Zoe’s parents were renting. It was a perfect Maine weekend complete with good friends, hiking, beautiful views, and a barbecue on the water. It was so nice to get out of the city, and really made me miss the summers I spent in Maine working on the lakes.

Jamie and I were really exited about our hike up Maiden's Cliff. Zoe and Lauren missed the memo.

Just really exited about our hike up Maiden’s Cliff.

As care packages full of “crack brownies” and lemon bread over the past seven years have taught me, Zoe’s mom is a great cook. While I showed up with my usual arsenal of gluten-free vegan snacks, her parents did an amazing job of making sure I had more than enough to eat.  The only thing I wasn’t able to eat was her famous rhubarb crisp, and it looked and smelled so good that I decided on the spot that I’d have to re-create a vegan, gluten-free version of my own to see what I was missing out on.

Despite what I thought as a kid, rhubarb is not just red celery.

Despite what I thought as a kid, rhubarb is not just red celery.

Before making this recipe I had never had rhubarb crisp before. Actually, I had never had any form of rhubarb before in my life. Up until last year, I didn’t even really know what it was, and am slightly embarrassed to admit that when I was little I thought it was just fancy red celery. But, after that weekend I was determined to branch out and give it a try and I am beyond happy that I did.

I swear there is rhubarb underneath all of that topping!

I swear there is rhubarb underneath all of that topping!

The crisp was perfectly tart with a hint of sweetness and a crunchy oat streusel topping. I served it warm with a scoop of vegan ice cream, and I was in heaven. While I’m sure I’ll never be able to rival Zoe’s mom’s recipe, I was thrilled with the result. In an effort to stop myself from eating all four I gave some away to my friend, and apparently multiple people stopped her on her walk home to comment on how delicious it looked! This definitely is a great way to sneak more vegetables into your day (even though theres a little sugar mixed in). It makes a delicious dessert, or you can skip the ice cream and have it for breakfast (or don’t skip the ice cream and treat yo’ self, no judgements). Does anyone have any other favorite ways to cook rhubarb? I’m so curious to learn what I’ve been missing out on all these years!

Recipe: 

Ingredients: 

For the rhubarb filling:

  • 2.5 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp gluten free flour ( I used 1 tbsp almond flour and 2 tbsp of oat flour, but it’s really just for thickening and any gluten free flour will work)

For the oat topping:

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (again, really any gluten-free flour of your choice will work)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Place chopped rhubarb in a large mixing bowl and toss with sugar, corn starch, orange juice, orange zest and flour until rhubarb pieces are well coated
  3. In a separate mixing bowl combine the oats, coconut oil, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, maple syrup and walnuts until well mixed
  4. Transfer rhubarb filling into a baking dish (I made mine in 4 individual ramekins, but it could just as easily be made in one 8″ x 8″ baking dish)
  5. Spoon the oat topping on top of the rhubarb filling, making sure to coat it evenly
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until topping has turned a nice golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges
  7. Allow to cool slightly, serve with a scoop of your favorite vegan ice cream, and enjoy!