Mushroom Risotto

When it comes to rice, you basically have two choices:

+ you activate brown rice. That means that you have to soak it with a bit of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for at least 12 hours. Even better to keep the water you soaked the rice in for the next batch of rice, which will increase the amount of phytase (the enzyme that breaks up phytates- complexes of phytic acid bound to zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and iron). Rinse the rise well before cooking it. You will get all the important minerals and fiber.
+ you use white rice. No need to activate it, because most of the phytates have been remove. White rice lacks nutrients including fiber. But at least it lets you absorb the nutrients form the food that you eat with the rice. The worst you can do is consume whole grains that have NOT BEEN ACTIVATED. Not only do they cause stress on your digestive system, they also interfere with the absorption of nutrients that you eat at the same time.

 

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, chopped
  2. 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  3. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  4. 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) vegetable broth
  5. 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  6. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  7. handful fresh parsley
  8. 1 punnet (about 9) brown mushrooms, halved and cut in thick slices
  9. sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  10. optional: 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot on the stove over low/medium heat.
  2. Add onion and sautee until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and cook for a minute.
  4. Stir white wine and cook until completely evaporated.
  5. Add 1/2 cup veggie broth at a time and cook until it has been completely absorbed. Stir in between so the rice doesn't stick to the pot.
  6. Meanwhile, chop garlic, parsley and cut the mushrooms.
  7. Heat a non stick skillet over low/medium heat and add 1 tsp olive oil. Cook garlic for one minute. Add mushrooms and increase the heat to medium. Cook them for 2 minutes until slightly brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. When the rice is done, stir in the parmesan, mushrooms and parsley. Add salt if needed.
  9. Serve immediately.
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Leftover Vegetable Fried Rice

For this recipe you can use any leftover vegetables, especially peppers, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, peas or edamame. I always keep some cooked brown rice in the freezer and can whip up this tasty meal in no time flat.

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My leftovers this time consisted of asparagus, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms. I wasn’t too convinced to throw all those vegetables together, but it turned out fantastic. Proof once again, that any veggie combination can be used.

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Leftover Vegetable Fried Rice
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Any leftover vegetables, cut in small cubes
  2. 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  3. 1 tbsp Ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
  4. 2 tbsp minced Scallion (white parts), thinly sliced (optional)
  5. 1 tsp sesame oil
  6. Seitan strips
  7. 2 cups cooked brown rice
  8. 1 tbsp tamari
Instructions
  1. Heat a wok on high heat.
  2. Add the sesame oil, followed by scallion whites, ginger and garlic.
  3. Stir for 5-6 seconds, then add remaining vegetables.
  4. Cook veggies for about a minute or two, not longer. You want the vegetables to be cooked but still crunchy. Stir constantly.
  5. Add seitan strips and any already cooked vegetables (like edamame).
  6. Stir in rice.
  7. Add soy sauce and combine well.
  8. Serve immediately.
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Plant-Based Moussaka

Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling topped off with a creamy bechamel sauce that is baked in the oven. I prepare a much healthier and in my opinion even tastier dish avoiding animal products.

The preparation does take some time but you will be rewarded with a hearty, flavorful and filling dish.

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Layer, layer and layer and top off with the tofu sauce…

 
Vegan Veggie Moussaka
Serves 6
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 14oz (400gr) eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
  2. Olive oil
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. 1 red onion, finely chopped
  5. 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  6. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 1/4 cup tomato puree
  9. 1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
  10. 1 cinnamon stick
  11. 1/2 cup red lentils
  12. 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  13. 1 cup+ 1 tbsp soy milk
  14. 1/4 package firm tofu (14oz package)
  15. 2 tsp egg replacer
  16. 2tbsp vegan butter
  17. 1/3 cup spelt flour
  18. 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  19. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Arrange eggplant slices in one layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and brush lightly with olive oil. Cook until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, cook lentils in a small pot according to packet instructions, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the onion, pepper and garlic to a large pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. If they start to stick to the pan add 1 tbsp of water.
  5. Add red wine and cook until evaporated.
  6. Add the tomato puree, stir to coat the vegetables in it and fry for a another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add the canned chopped tomatoes and cinnamon stick and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  8. Add the lentils and return the fried eggplants to the mixture. Cook for 3 minutes until warmed through.
  9. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
  10. For the topping process the tofu, soy milk and egg replacer in a blender until smooth.
  11. In a saucepan, over a medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring continuously to form a very thick paste.
  12. Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk and tofu mixture. Be sure to whisk continuously, and add the mixture a little at a time, to avoid any lumps.
  13. Add the remaining ingredients and place back on a low heat, stirring continuously, until the sauce becomes quite thick, about 2 minutes.
  14. In a greased deep baking dish layer alternate eggplant slices and tomato filling. Finish with tomato sauce and top with tofu sauce.
  15. reduce heat in oven to 375 degrees F and bake the moussaka for 20 minutes until until the topping is golden-brown. Serve immediately.
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Sweet Potato Leek Gratin

While a diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables is best, orange is one of the healthiest colors you can look for. Some of the healthiest orange fruits and vegetables are sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, carrots, mangoes, oranges and papaya.

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The abundance of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients in orange foods are good for your skin, eyes and heart. The best-known nutrient in orange foods is beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant which gives sunny fruits and vegetables their brilliant color.

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Beta carotene is a precursor for vitamin A, which is commonly referred to as retinal, retinol and retonoic acid. Vitamin A is important for night vision, as an antioxidant can neutralize the damaging free radicals in the body, and is crucial in the health of your immune system. Orange foods are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant which boosts the immune system, protects against cardiovascular disease and helps rebuild collagen in the skin.

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In Papua New Guinea more than 16 different varieties of sweet potatoes can be found. Sweet, isn’t it?

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Sweet Potato Leek Gratin
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium leeks, white and green parts thinly sliced
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  4. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. 1 tsp olive oil
  6. 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/8 inch thick slices
  7. 1 tbsp water
  8. 2 tbsp dry Italian herbs
  9. 1/4 cup grated vegan cheese (optional)
  10. 1/4 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs (preferably homemade form old bread)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Heat medium sized non-stick skillet over medium heat and saute leek, garlic and rosemary until softened, about 10 minutes. If the veggies start to stick to the skillet add 1 tbsp water.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Thinly coat 10" round pan with oil and arrange1/3 potato slices over bottom of pan, slightly overlapping. Spread half of the leek mixture on top. Arrange another layer of potatoes on top. Spread remaining leek over potatoes. Top with a round of potatoes, covor with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile mix breadcrumbs with Italian herbs in a small bowl.
  6. Sprinkle over potatoes and top with cheese.
  7. Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and serve hot.
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Rainbow Chard, Thyme and Mushrooms

I usually make the gnocchi a few hours before I cook them and leave them, covered with a kitchen towel, on a large plate. It’s hard to tell the exact amount of flour that you need to make perfect gnocchi. It takes a bit of practice and experience to get the right consistency of the dough but they will taste good nevertheless. Feel free to use regular potato gnocchi for this dish instead of the sweet potato gnocchi, but I am a big fan of the slightly sweet taste of sweet potatoes.

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Making gnocchi really is a beautiful process- I usually put on a Beethoven symphony and enjoy my time in the kitchen.

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Frying the gnocchi in the pan together with the remaining ingredients makes them slightly crispy on the outside. So delicious!

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By the way, chard contains 13 (!) different antioxidants, including a cardioprotective flavonoid and blood sugar regulating syringic acid. Chard is also a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Especially in rainbow chard researchers have found tons of different betalains.

 
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Rainbow Chard, Thyme and Mushrooms
Serves 4
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 smaller sweet potatoes or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  2. 1 tsp sea salt
  3. 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  4. Whole wheat flour
  5. Leaves of 4 fresh thyme twigs
  6. 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  7. Lemon
  8. Freshly ground black pepper
  9. Extra virgin olive oil
  10. 1 bunch rainbow chard, washed and drained
  11. 5 brown button mushrooms
Instructions
  1. To make the gnocchi: Pierce the potatoes several times with a fork and cook them in the microwave for 4 minutes. turn them over and cook them for another 4 minutes or until soft. Let them cool off a bit, then slice them lengthwise and spoon out the flesh. Place it in a bowl and add 2 cups of flour, salt and nutmeg. Start kneading the dough with your hands, adding more and more flour until the dough is not sticky anymore. taste the dough and add more salt if needed. On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections. Press down on them with a fork to make a few grooves. Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon, and keep them warm in a serving dish.
  2. Cut the larger stems off the rainbow chard, slice them and cut the leaves in pieces.
  3. Cut the mushrooms in half and slice them.
  4. heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add thyme and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms are brown.
  5. Add gnocchi and chard and cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are slightly soft but still firm on the inside.
  6. Drizzle with a bit of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and serve right away.
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Stuffed Eggplant

 This is a great warming fall/ winter recipe, a classical comfort food.

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Stuffed Eggplant
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 eggplants, halved
  2. 1 large red onion
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. 1 dried red chili
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
  6. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1/4 cup sun- dried tomatoes
  8. 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
  9. 1 handful cocktail tomatoes
  10. 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  11. 1 tsp ground cumin
  12. 1/2 cup almonds, peeled
  13. 1 tbsp fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven on 400F/200C.
  2. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the eggplants but leave about 2" of meat all around the eggplants. Brush halves with a olive oil and salt them. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food process chop onion and garlic.
  4. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large non- stick skillet over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic and chili for 2-3 minutes. Add cocktail tomatoes and fry until soft.
  5. Meanwhile, chop sundries tomatoes and stopped out eggplant meat in the food processor.
  6. Remove chili from pan. Add eggplant mixture together with tomato sauce, beans and cumin to the pan and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Meanwhile, process almonds with 1/2 cup of water in a food processor until smooth. Add more water if it is too thick, it should have a slight runny consistency. Mix in thyme.
  8. Fill eggplant halves with the bean mixture, top with almond sauce and bake for 8-10 minutes.
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South Tyrolean Red Beet Dumplings

I was determined to create whole-food plant-based dumplings after our recent visit to South Tyrol, where dumplings are a staple food. The dumpling variety there is huge- meat dumplings, cheese dumplings, buckwheat dumplings… and delicious red beet dumplings. These were the ones I was going to make at home.

Having grown up with all sorts of dumplings, I clearly remember horrified and utterly disappointed faces on Viennese mothers when the dumplings fell apart during the cooking process. The glue used in dumplings comes typically from eggs and I was naturally a bit nervous whether an egg replacer would do the job or whether my little balls would simply disintegrate. but you’ll only know if you try so I gave it a shot… And the dumplings turned out beautifully!! Phew! Look at their amazing pink color!

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The batter consists of only a few ingredients with the main ingredient being old bread, cut into cubes. make sure you use healthy, long fermented bread, preferably a light (in color, not weight) one.

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Not everything went smoothly though and when I first attempted to form the dumplings from the mixture, they just wouldn’t stick together and I got slightly stressed out, like the moms I witnessed in Vienna.

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But I don’t give up easily and had the sudden, genius idea of chucking the mixture into the food processor. And that made all the difference. The balls were easily formed thereafter and held their shape during the boiling process.

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Lucky me! So I can only advise you to include this important step in your preparations!

Form about 20 small balls out of the batter, about this size:

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I know, the gloves look a bit freaky, but you really don’t want to stain your fingers with the color of the red beets.

Traditionally, some sort of warm coleslaw is served with the dumplings and I happened to have a homemade fermented slaw in the fridge. I warmed it up and it complemented the dumplings wonderfully. You can also simply place the dumplings on a bed of rocket and add a bit of freshly ground pepper for garnish.

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South Tyrolean Red Beet Dumplings
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 cups of old hard bread, cut in smaller cubes
  2. 2/3 cup almond milk
  3. 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  4. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 1/2 red beets, cooked and peeled
  6. 1 tbsp stoneground whole wheat flour
  7. 2 egg replacers (I used 2 tsp Energy egg replacer mixed with 4 tbsp water)
  8. 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed in mortar
  9. Salt, freshly ground black pepper
  10. Rocket salad
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, soak bread cubes in milk for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan and cook onions for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add them to the bread mixture.
  3. Finely chop red beets (I highly recommend using gloves) and add them to the bread mixture.
  4. Add flour, egg replacer, fennel seeds to the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Mix the ingredients really well and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Heat a large pot with salted water.
  7. Form about 20 small dumplings out of the bread mixture and cook them in gently boiling water for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, heat a little bit of olive oil in a large pan.
  9. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the pan.
  10. Serve on a bed of rocket and garnish with black pepper. Or serve with warm fermented coleslaw.
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Soba Noodles with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Soba noodles are traditional Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour and are therefore gluten free. Buckwheat is rich in protein, minerals and flavonoids, and can help strengthen capillaries. Buckwheat contains as much vitamin B1 as brown rice and nearly twice the levels of B1 found in wheat. What I really like about soba noodles is their rich nutty flavor.

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One of our most popular dishes when we have guests over is a main dish called “Tris di Pasta” in Italy. It ‘s a combination of three different noodle dishes. The more different colored pasta you use, the more impressive the whole plate will look. I usually choose purple red cabbage pasta, green avocado pasta and homemade pesto noodles. I always end up with way too much pasta and so we get to enjoy the leftovers the next day- especially the cabbage noodles taste even more intense on the following day. The only dish I recommend eating right away is the avocado pasta. Because of the oxidation process the avocado sauce will change color, become brown and won´t look appealing anymore.

Try to use the avocado sauce on raw zucchini, cut in spirals or in thin strips with a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. You can serve them as an appetizer or even as a main dish.

Soba Noodles with Creamy Avocado Sauce
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Half a packet of soba noodles (around 250 gr)
  2. 2 cloves garlic
  3. 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
  5. Zest from 1 organic lemon
  6. 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  7. 1 tbsp almond milk or water
  8. 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, to taste
  9. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  2. For the sauce add garlic, basil and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the avocado flesh and almond milk and process until smooth.
  3. If the sauce is too thick, add some more milk (or water). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add the avocado sauce and stir until well combined.
  5. Stir in lemon zest and garnish with basil leaves, if desired.
  6. Serve immediately.
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Marinated Beets

Beets are one of our favorite foods. Beets are highly nutritious root vegetables.

BEETS are an amazing source of a broad range of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber, which may improve your health in several ways:

  • Liver protective: Beets contain the bioactive agent betaine which stimulates the function of liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts;
  • “Blood builders”: high iron content in raw beets can be helpful for people who suffer from anaemia and fatigue;
  • Protective in regards to spinal cord defects, such as spina bifida, because of their high folic acid content (which is crucial to the development of a baby’s spinal cord)
  • Strong bones: Beets contain the mineral silica, which helps the body to utilize calcium, so it’s important for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Stress relief: Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress.
  • Cancer fighting potential: The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer.
  • Detox properties: The betalin pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.

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IMG_7668There are a lot of ways to cook beets. In this recipe, I’ll show you how easy it is to marinate them. I keep the marinated beet slices in a mason jar in the fridge and use them in sandwiches and salads. Simply steam the beets and cut them in slices. They make nasty stains so make sure you are wearing an apron to protect your clothes and gloves to avoid staining your fingers.

 the The red color of the beets is called betanin. Betanin is a glucoside, and hydrolyzes into the sugar glucose and betanidin. It is used as a food coloring agent, and the color is sensitive to pH.

Our daughter loves the combination of chickpeas and beets. use a can of chickpeas, rinse and drain them well and mix them with marinated beetroot pieces. Truly addictive!! But not really a dish you want to send to school (stains!!).

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Add them to mushroom burgers or avocado sandwiches… or use cooked and pureed beet roots in a brownie recipe!

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Simple Marinated Beets
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 red or orange beet roots
  2. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Wash the beets.
  2. Steam them in a pot with steamer insert until soft, for about 15 minutes.
  3. Let the beets cool off, peel them and cut them in slices.
  4. Transfer them to a bow, and mix with the oil, and vinegar.
  5. Keep in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid in the fridge.
Notes
  1. The cooking time really depends on the size of the beets. Check with a fork whether they are tender.
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Simply Delicious Plant-Based Lentil Loaf with Cranberry Glaze

This is a great and versatile veggie loaf recipes, that you can easily change and customize using different  herbs and spices.

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Make sure you leave the parchment paper long enough on the sides so can remove the loaf easily once baked.

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Simply Delicious Plant-Based Lentil Loaf with Cranberry Glaze
Serves 8
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
For the loaf
  1. 1 cup dry brown lentils
  2. 2 1/2 cups water
  3. 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  4. 1/4 cup filtered water
  5. 2 tbsp extra olive oil
  6. 3 garlic cloves
  7. 1 small onion
  8. 1 small red bell pepper
  9. 2 small or 1 large carrot
  10. 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  11. 3/4 cup oats
  12. 1/2 cup oat flour (ground rolled oats in my blender)
  13. 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  14. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  15. 1/2 cup whole breadcrumbs (I toasted two slices of bread and ground them in the blender)
  16. 1/2 tsp each garlic powder & onion powder
  17. Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  18. For the glaze;
  19. Cranberry sauce
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