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6 Easy, Flavorful Meals – from the HEA team: Curry Stew, Lentil Soup, Sesame Veggie Stir Fry

This blog describes 6 very different dishes. Participants of our recent Virtual Healthy Eating Adventure are having fun with their new whole food plant based cooking talents, and shared their dishes for this blog.

Start with a Mirepoix:


If you can make a Mirepoix (and I guarantee you it’s easy), you can create a whole variety of dishes and flavors.  Once you get started, you’ll enjoy making different dishes just by making different additions and trying different herbs and spices. 





Some like to use more onions and some folks dice their carrots smaller. 




  You can start by putting 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock, or a frozen cube of your homemade stock in a non stick pan (this one is ceramic), add your veggies and place on medium high.  Stir often, add stock as needed when it starts to brown a bit, and stir in.  If using your stock in a cube, remove it if you get too much moisture.  Stoves  vary in the way they heat; the more you do this, the more you’ll get the feel for how high to set the heat, how often to stir, and how much liquid.  Honest, it gets easy.





Stephanie’s Curry Stew:

“I made this from what I had on hand…. it might sound weird, but it tasted delicious! ”

Being able to make a meal from “what’s on hand” is really convenient.  It may sound challenging, but if you’ll give it a try, you’ll gain confidence.  One helpful practice is to do as Stephanie does and make extra anytime you cook a meal base, such as whole grains. Also, it’s helpful to maintain a well stocked “pantry”.

Ingredients/Directions:

For this stew make a Mirepoix with celery, carrots, onion, and include a red bell pepper and a cup of baby Bella mushrooms. Cook until your  onions are glistening clear.  Add:

2 cups of each – veggie stock, frozen corn (or fresh would work),  frozen French cut green beans,  cooked mix of brown & wild rice.

1 can of each – low sodium diced tomatoes and butter beans.  Cook until heated through, add more water or broth as needed.

For seasoning add turmeric, powdered ginger, black pepper and basil. The vegetables and grains in this stew will really pick up those flavors beautifully.   In India everyone has their own preferred curry combination; it often includes ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, pepper and fresh or dried chilies or cayenne pepper.  A good starting place is 1/2 tsp of each – adjusting to your own taste and “heat” preference.

Margery’s Lentil Soup

Margery also describes her cooking style as “freeform” – cooking with what’s in season, what’s on hand, what foods look and taste good together.  For this soup, include finely chopped garlic as you start your carrot, celery, onion Mirepoix.  Add 3 cups of vegetable stock (read how to make your own) LOTS of parsley, one cup of lentils (lentils should be rinsed, but don’t require soaking),  and a large tomato diced (or low sodium canned tomatoes).  Cover and simmer 30 -40 minutes.

“But which lentils should I use?”.   The choice partly depends on what texture you desire.  Red and yellow lentils cook more quickly and “melt and dissolve” creating a creamy texture to a soup.  They also blend very nicely into a hummus dip.  Chef Nick likes to use brown or green lentils to add texture to stews and chili; they get mushy, but keep their shape somewhat. Le Puy or French Green Lentils really hold there shape and are great for salads; they also go nicely in pasta sauce, soups and stews.


Stir Frying Without Oil Makes Colors “Pop”


Making a stir fry without oil is easy when you start with a Mirepoix as described above. Leaving out the oil is healthier for you, and look at how it shows off the colors and textures! And the taste on your tongue is delicious instead of limp and gooey.

Describing her stir fry, Coach Tanny said  “I am in a Broccoli mood lately, and the CSA has lots of Bok Choy”. Start with a Mirepoix and then add broccoli (including upper stems), sliced mushrooms and chopped bok choy.   Add a dash of Bragg’s Aminos, and water as needed while stirring.  Finish with some crushed pepper and toasted sesame seeds!  Make plenty so you can enjoy for several meals.  Water chestnuts and/or pineapple make great additions for a different flavor.

To Roast Sesame Seeds – Preheat oven to 350*.  Spread sesame seeds evenly on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 4 minutes, stirring halfway; keep an eye on them, as they burn easily.

Coach Jean’s Wok Pan and Stir Fry


Coach Jean’s Stir Fry

A wok style pan helps keep the juices and flavors blending together.  Jean started with a Mirepoix, then  added broccoli,  zucchini, peppers and tofu.  This is great served on its own or over whole grain, or in a wrap!!.


Mirepoix to Tomato Sauce – and Meals for 2 Nights

Following Chef Nick’s suggestion, I made a “vegetable hearty” tomato sauce to go over Red Lentil Penne, and served with a kale, red cabbage, and orange salad with 3:2:1 Dressing.

Ingredients For Vegetable Hearty Tomato Sauce and Kale Salad


Vegetable Hearty Tomato Sauce – started with Mirepoix


Adding Tofu and Kale for 2nd Night Variation:

To give your body what you need to flourish – Eat a rainbow of colors….to get all the different phytonutrients…. and include all 4 Food Groups – Fruits, Veggies, Legumes and  Whole Grains.  Enjoy the huge variety that plant based eating offers; be sure to choose whole foods and leave out the damaging processed foods, dairy and meat.


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WHAT IS AN ADVENTURE?

An Adventure is a community-based 28-day program that can kick-start you on a lifetime of healthier eating with a whole foods, plant based lifestyle.

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