I'm gonna be honest with you, I hate to cook. If I could live off of avocados and tomatoes for the rest of my life, I would. But, that wouldn't be healthy or feasible. So anytime I can have an easy and healthy meal with as little cooking as possible, I'm down.
The meal you see above my aunt (also my Godmother) actually made for me Friday night when I was at her house. My aunt is a vegetarian, and has been for as long as I can remember. She is part of the reason I became vegetarian when I was younger. My aunt is absolutely one of my favorite people in this whole wide world, but she's also one of my role models. She rules. Although she has stayed a vegetarian and I became a vegan, she's been so supportive and because she's a great cook she always hooks me up with something delicious when I'm there.
Her and I are both big on salads. We like sky high, full of flavor and texture, delicious and nutritious kinda salads. Here's what you need to make the salad you see above you:
-Romaine lettuce (which we used) or any kind of green leafy vegetable
-1 can black beans, rinsed
-Cherry tomatoes, as many as you wish, cut in half
-1 carrot, julienned or shaved
-Cucumber slices, as many as you wish
-1 whole avocado, you can use half, but avocados are my favorite, so I used a whole one, sliced into pieces
-Himilayian salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Making a salad is probably the easiest thing ever, and because of the juiciness of the tomatoes and the fats in the avocado, you don't even need dressing, just a dash of salt and pepper if you prefer.
All you have to do is wash all of your produce using cold water, and a produce wash if you choose (I use the Whole Foods brand). pat dry with paper towel if necessary. Open up your can of black beans, and place them in a strainer. Rinse under cold water, place in sink to drain while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Make sure you wash your produce first before leaving the black beans in the sink to drain, as to not get any soap or dirty water in your black beans. Also, some people don't rise the beans. I suggest you do because the brine they're canned in are what causes gas. So rinse away, or be prepared to fart away!
On a cutting board or a plate, cut your tomatoes in half, set aside. Julienne or shave your carrots, set aside. Place your green leafy vegetables in a salad bowl, and set aside. You can either leave the skin on your cucumber, or peel it (I prefer them peeled.) Cut into slices, and set aside. Cut your avocado in half, take out the pit with a spoon, and use the spoon to scoop out the fruit's flesh from the skin. Cut into chunks, slice long ways, or mash it. Whichever texted you prefer. For salads, I prefer chunks.
At this point, your ingredients are all ready. My aunt chose to place each ingredient into separate bowls so we could help ourselves to how much of eat topping we like. This is nice if you're having company. If not, you can just prepare your salad as your go.
If you have any leftover infredients, you can use them the next day for your lunch! Bonus! You can refrigerate any left over carrots, cucumbers, and black beans. As far as the tomatoes go, a cut tomato turns to mush in the fridge and it's not safe to keep it out on the counter once it's cut. So eat whatever tomatoes are left. Also, avocados oxidize once cut. Personally, because I'm such an avocado junkie, I've never had avocado left over. I've read that you can use: plastic wrap to wrap it up and put it in a air tight container, and that you can use a little lemon juice to also prevent it from oxidizing. I have no clue if any of these methods work. If you have one that works for you, definitely use it. I know that no matter what, cut avocado will not keep fresh any longer than the next day, so make sure you eat it within 12-24 hours at most.
Voila! There's a hearty salad that perfect when you're in a pinch and don't have a lot of time, and when you're lazy like me and hate cooking. Plus, all the colors look beautiful when presented. Not that pretty food taste better, but it can definitely impress your guests! It's healthy and full of good fats, protein, fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals! Enjoy!
In addition to that delicious salad on my plate, you'll see a rice and corn medley. This looks fancy but is so easy to make! Here's what you'll need:
-Minute brand Multi Grain Medley (each box contains 4 bags, you can use as many as you need depending on how many you're serving)
-Fresh corn on the cob (any corn will due in a pinch)
-Earth Balance Butter
-Salt and pepper to taste
First, you want to cook your your Multigrain Medley. This is gluten free mix of red and brown rice, wild rice (which isn't technically rice, it's more like a seed), and quinoa. Rich is flavor, and high I protein, this is a great base mix to start a recipie. My aunt went simple and just used corn, but you can customize it to your likings. This mix is hearty and is a great source of protein. To make: combine water and rice in saucepan and bring to a boil. Read the box to determine how much water you need depending on how many bags you're making. After it's boiled, reduce heat and cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
Depending on which corn you're using, you want to cook that. If you're using corn on the cob and you're boiling it, it should only take like 15 minutes from star to finish. You can also grill your corn on the cob. There's also half corn on the cob in steam fresh bags you can use that are found in the frozen vegetables section. Also there's canned corn. Use whichever you prefer, just adjust your cooking order depending on which you choose. I love corn on the cob because it tastes so much fresher than canned corn. However, I cut mine off the cob.
Once both ingredients are cooked and ready, combine corn and rice in a bowl, mix in a little Earth Balance butter and some salt and pepper to taste and voila! You have a gluten free side ready to go! Refrigerate any leftovers, and enjoy the next day for lunch or dinner!
As you can see, I ate the left over rice and corn mix as part of my dinner Saturday, with a slice of Tomato Pie from my favorite vegan bakery, Sweet Freedom Bakery.
Being a vegan is easy and delicious! It doesn't have to be boring and bland. I hope you enjoy!