Fresh Greens and Grain Plate

First things first, I’m a Midwestern girl. I like steaks, burgers, bratwurst, kielbasa, blood pudding, Chicago-style hotdogs, and proper Italian beef sandwiches. But sometimes I like to change things up. Eat a little lighter. Pretend I’m a vegetarian for a day. Go to an extra yoga class. You get the picture.

On these days, my favorite place to head is the Life Alive Café in Central Square for a nice big helping of their Green Goddess plate. However, sometimes my wallet isn’t quite in the mood to take this trip. My mission was obvious: I needed to figure out how to recreate this amazing, garlicky plate of goodness at home. And since I’d like to keep my good karma in the black, it’s only right that I share my final recipe with you.

Fresh Greens and Grain Plate

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice, cooked and warm

6 oz extra firm tofu, rinsed and cut into 1” pieces

2 broccoli crowns, washed and cut into small florets

3 kale leaves, washed and torn into equal sizes pieces

4 tbsp nama shoyu soy sauce

2 tbsp Annie’s Naturals Gingerly Vinaigrette

8 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 tsp ginger, freshly grated

1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions:

Place tofu, broccoli pieces, and kale in a stockpot over a medium-low heat. Let steam 10 minutes or until greens are vibrant in color.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinaigrette, garlic, and ginger.

Divide rice between two dinner plates and serve the steamed mixture on top.

Pour an even amount of the soy sauce mixture over each plate. Top each dish with 1/2 of the avocado slices.

Enjoy!

Additional Notes:
The reason I left the name a little bit more on the vague side is that I fully intend on trying this recipe out with every single grain I have in my cupboard: quinoa (yeah, yeah — I know it’s not technically a grain), black rice, cous cous, and amaranth.

As for the vegetables used, these are at the top of my “favorites” list so I will keep them as the base from now until the time I develop an allergy to garlic. However, I’m not above adding other vegetable to the mix — grated carrots, fresh-picked asparagus, or even eggplant.

This is a dish that just begs to be played with, tweaked, and redone as much as possible with whatever happens to be in season and is local to you. So play with it. Have fun. Screw it up. Make it better. Just remember to share what works for you. Please.

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Vegan Carrot-Apple Bread

When coming up with my first swap contribution, there were a few key elements that I wanted to make sure were involved. I wanted to use seasonal and local produce and keep it as simple and healthy as possible. In this case, it was 3 very brown bananas and some leftover organic carrots and apples.

Fair warning: I kind of made this recipe up on my own based on a basic banana bread recipe. Recreate at your own risk.

Vegan Carrot-Apple Bread

Makes: 6 – 8 mini loaves (3” x 5” foil pans worked well)
Oven: 350 degrees
Cooking time: Approximately 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour (I prefer a mix of half whole wheat and half unbleached white flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 medium apples, grated
3 medium carrots, grated

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. If the mixture is too “dry”, feel free to add some unsweetened applesauce until it becomes “batter-like”.

Carefully spoon the batter into the loaf pans, until about 2/3 full but no more than 3/4 full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. To be safe, I checked at the 20 minute mark, then at 5-10 minute intervals until done.

Additional Notes:
The bread did come out a bit “sticky” on top, but that can be attributed to the vegan nature of the recipe. Stickiness aside, the bread was a success as all six loaves were swapped rather quickly.

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