Saturday, February 12, 2011
High Energy Vegan Cooking Lesson
One of the things I enjoy most about being a chef is getting to teach people how to make delicious vegan food at home. Not only is it a privilege to share awesome recipes and expand someone's repertoire, but I get to chat with my clients and have a good time in the process. Such was the case this week when I had a second cooking lesson with a client who is trying to incorporate more raw foods into her diet. She is eating healthier and already seeing some positive results: more energy, excitement about cooking new foods, and even a family that is willing to try her creations (and enjoy eating them, too!).
For this lesson we did a raw twist on Mexican by making "refried beans" from sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds are soaked, drained, then rinsed and pulsed together in a food processor with carrot, onion, garlic, olive oil and spices. It comes together as a sort of pate that serves as a filling in a Romaine lettuce leaf (our "taco"). This was topped by a luscious mango salsa and fresh cilantro.
The leaf can also be rolled burrito style and topped with the salsa. While the presentation is lovely either way, I kinda like the hands-on action of picking up that great big lettuce leaf taco.
Next, we made Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Baked Zucchini with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis. I can't say enough about that sauce. It's luscious, rich, flavorful, and so easy to make. Plus it makes a really nice heart on the plate, perfect for Valentine's Day.
We also made Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Cutlets, which are reminiscent of KFC, though I didn't steal Colonel Sanders' secret recipe. This one's probably a little healthier anyway! The cornmeal combined with nutritional yeast and a few spices provides a flavorful crunch on the outside, and the tofu inside stays moist. It's a nice accompaniment to the other recipes we prepared in this lesson. Or, as is the case with my client, it can be used as a meat substitute when everyone else is eating chicken and you don't want to prepare a completely separate vegan dinner for yourself. It also works great as a sandwich filling, or cut up as a topping for a salad.
All of these recipes combined are high in protein and fiber, yet low in fat and calories since we used very little oil. This is the perfect menu for high energy living!