Vegan Mediterranean Rice Salad

First off, you’ll need to cook your rice. This can be done in advance if you like, even the day before.

1½ cups long grain brown rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
3 cups cold water
½ tsp. salt

Rinse  rice until water runs clear.
Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Add salt, cover and simmer on low-medium for about 50 minutes (or until rice is done).
Fluff rice gently with a fork and set aside to cool at room temperature.

Next, chop your veggies:

2 cups spinach leaves – washed, stemmed and chopped
(To save time, use pre-washed baby spinach – that’s what I did.)
1 medium red bell pepper – finely chopped
1 cucumber – peeled, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup chopped green onions or chives
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives (make sure you buy the pitted ones)

I mixed all my veggies together (not necessary).

Preheat oven to 325º. Spread ½ cup of pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden.
(I like to do this in my toaster oven, but beware, they toast really fast that way.)

For the dressing you will need:

2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (I only needed one lemon.)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Mix dressing ingredients together in a LARGE bowl.
Add the rice and mix well.
Stir in the chopped veggies, spinach, pine nuts and ½ cup of black beans (rinsed, drained).

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Pasta & Bean Soup

Need to try this next week! Yahooo

INGREDIENTS:

1½ cups dried beans*
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot (or 2-3 small), thinly sliced
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 quart (32 oz) low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
sea salt to taste*
¼ tsp black pepper*
½ tsp chili powder*
¼ tsp cayenne pepper*
¼ tsp ground mustard*
1 cup small gluten-free pasta, such as cavatelli or elbow macaroni
1 bunch kale, thick stems discarded, leaves sliced*

STEP 1:
Place dried beans in a large bowl with 6 cups of water. Let soak overnight. (Optionally, you can quick soak the beans by placing the beans and water in a heavy pan, bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes, then cover, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.)

STEP 2:
Drain and rinse the soaked beans and transfer to a large pot. Cover by 2 inches with cold water and bring to a boil; skim off and discard any foam on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

STEP 3:
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

STEP 4:
Stir in drained beans, broth, 2 cups water, tomatoes and seasonings; bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer about 5 minutes longer. If soup is too thick, add water a cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Adjust seasonings as needed.