Baked Polenta Casserole & Broccoli Slaw Dinner

Polenta Zucchini casserole dinner

What could be better than a comforting casserole at the end of a long, busy day? A comforting casserole that takes almost not time to prepare, like our Baked Polenta Casserole with Zucchini and Spinach, that’s what! And while it’s in the oven, all you need to do is kick back, because bagged fresh broccoli slaw and fresh bread complete a full dinner with no extra work.

The casserole is made up of layers of prepared polenta, the kind that comes in a tube, zucchini, and baby spinach. It’s smothered in marinara sauce and topped with melty vegan cheese, resulting in a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly main dish. Lots of casseroles need prep of the various components, but this one requires only minimal hands-on time. Use a really flavorful prepared marinara— roasted tomato, garlic, mushroom, or chunky vegetable. more→

12 Comforting & Easy Vegan Casseroles

butternut squash and pasta casserole

Vegan casseroles are always comforting, and it’s nice to know that they’re also good for you, not starchy and heavy like the old-fashioned kind. Choose from these vegan casserole recipes whenever you need a hearty dose of comfort food without the guilt!

Creamy Pasta and Butternut Squash Casserole (at top) will remind you of macaroni and cheese. There’s no cheese here, just a delectable combo of smooth butternut squash, nutritional yeast, and silken tofu. The crowning touch is plenty of roasted butternut dice to top it off. more→

3 Important Supplements for Vegan Bodybuilding

Berries and cherries

Excerpted from Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness: The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet by Robert Cheeke, the world’s most recognized vegan bodybuilder: For vegan bodybuilders, the second most popular question after “how do you get your protein?” is “What supplements do you take?”

There were periods of my vegan bodybuilding life when I didn’t use any supplements at all and made incredible gains. But I do use supplements today, and I will share with you my favorite supplements and the most popular bodybuilding supplements for athletes, explaining what their function is and how they can benefit vegan athletes and competitive bodybuilders. The following is a list of common bodybuilding supplements and their functions or roles in contributing to health and athletic success.  more→

Maintaining a Vegan Diet During Pregnancy

Healthy Plant-Based Pantry Foods

Maintaining a vegan diet during pregnancy always seem to cause concern, but it can be done! Here are some tips and valuable information.

During pregnancy, your need for all nutrients increases. For example, you will need more calcium, more protein, and more folic acid. But calorie needs increase only modestly during pregnancy. In fact, you will need to pack all of that extra nutrition into just 300 extra calories a day. For that reason, all pregnant women need to choose their meals wisely. It is important to eat foods that are rich in nutrients, but not high in fat or sugar, or excessive in calories. more→

10 Vegan Pesto Recipes for Warm-Weather Meals

pesto pasta with potatoes and green beans

There’s something about pesto that immediately brings summer to mind — of course, it’s that magical aroma of basil. And though basil is a must-have ingredient of classic pesto sauces, there are countless variations on the theme when it comes to vegan pesto recipes. Here are 10 recipes for pesto as well as dishes that incorporate the pleasantly pungent, green flavor of the classic sauce — minus the usual dairy. You’ll find ideas for pesto pasta, of course, but going beyond that to potato salad, pizza, and as a delectable spread for bread as well.

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans (at top) is a classic rustic Italian combination. It may seem odd to combine pasta and potatoes, but it does work well, and is extra hearty. It’s carb heaven, maybe, but still healthy, especially if you use whole-grain pasta. more→

Ready-to-Eat Vegan Spreads You’ve Got to Try

Sesame kingdom spreads

It can be fun to make tasty spreads when the mood strikes, but sometimes that mood doesn’t. That’s when these delicious ready-to-eat vegan spreads come in handy. Just add fresh bread, whole-grain crackers, or healthy chips. Here, we’re going to sample sesame spreads, artichoke pesto, vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, and guacamole. more→

Creamy Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Broccoli & Avocado

Creamy Pesto Zucchini Noodles

This creamy pesto zucchini noodles recipe is truly noteworthy. The combination of avocado, broccoli, and mushrooms gives the sauce a fluffy yet rich texture that’s beautiful to look at. Not a broccoli fan? Opt for a more traditional pesto flavor and use fresh chopped basil instead of the broccoli. For added flavor and texture, garnish with hemp seeds, as seen here.

Excerpted from Cook Lively! 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin, and Vibrant Living—Using 10 Ingredients or Less. Recipes and photos by Laura-Jane Koers. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. more→

Brown Rice vs White Rice: A Comparison

brown rice vs white rice

Brown and white rice are often compared to each other in terms of their nutritional value. Brown rice vs white rice — which is best? — that’s a common question and one that we’ll explore here. Among the numerous varieties of rice in the world, the two most prominent ones are brown rice and white rice. There are other more exotic varieties like Japonica and forbidden black rice, but we’ll limit this discussion to brown and white.

Brown rice is widely considered to be more nutritious than white rice. However, white rice seems more pleasing to many palates; being more processed than brown rice, some find its texture more appealing. This versatile grain is consumed by people all around the world. And it also serves as the staple food for many people, mainly in Asian countries. Let’s first go through a few facts about both varieties of rice before concluding which one is better.

White and brown rice

Brown Rice vs White Rice

White rice may be the most commonly consumed type of rice among the varieties of rice. White rice goes through more polishing and processing due to which the bran and germ are removed, along with their valuable nutrients. White rice contains much less fiber than brown, and higher in carbohydrates. It effectively boosts the immune system and manages blood pressure. Both varieties of rice contain some amount of starch, which may help improve colon health. White rice may have a few essential nutrients but not as many; it is, in many areas, replenished with B vitamins that were stripped away with processing. Still, white rice provides energy and promotes muscle growth.

Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain that contains the important fiber sources, bran, and germ. It has more fiber and antioxidants. By skipping the processing, brown rice retains a higher amount of vitamins and minerals. The antioxidants present in brown rice can help prevent chronic diseases. Brown rice protects against heart disease and reduces cholesterol levels. It also lowers the blood pressure and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Consuming brown rice instead of white rice may help reduce weight.

There are just a few minor downsides to brown rice: It tends to spoil faster than white rice (that is, go rancid if not used up in a reasonable time). It also takes longer to cook, and is not as easily digested. And it tends to harbor those pesky yet harmful grain moths, which is why it’s important to rinse your brown rice before cooking.

Brown rice vs. white rice comparison chart

While some might argue that white rice has a better mouth feel and is the convenient option, brown rice is better in terms of nutrition and health benefits. Those who consume it regularly come to prefer its nuttier taste and slightly chewier texture. Despite the factors discussed above, white rice is not a bad food, and not devoid of nutrients, as you can see in the chart above (many of those due to the enriching process). It may well be considered healthy to consume in moderate amounts. When it comes to the question of brown rice vs white rice, either variety can be part of a healthy diet, though brown clearly has the edge nutritionally.

If you’d like to get cooking, see also:

Contributed by Vineetha Reddy: Being a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to nutrition, fitness, health and wellness, I also have begun to write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem on sites like LifeHacker, StyleCraze, and ElephantJournal. I strongly believe that the ingredients you find in your pantry provide the best benefits for good health. Follow me for my best ideas and solutions on Twitter.

Baked Polenta Casserole with Zucchini & Spinach

Polenta Zucchini casserole

This easy baked polenta casserole uses prepared polenta (the kind that comes in a tube) layered with zucchini and spinach. Smothered in marinara sauce and topped with melty vegan cheese, it’s almost so embarrassingly easy to make, but such a crowd-pleaser. Use a really flavorful prepared marinara—roasted tomato, garlic, mushroom, or chunky vegetable. Adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. more→

Vegan Menu: Greek Potato Stew

Greek potato stew recipe

When warm weather settles in, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy comforting fare like this easy Greek Potato Stew with Zucchini and Green Beans. Though it’s bursting with summery flavors in a mellow tomato base, it can actually be enjoyed any time of year. My favorite time to make it is in late spring or early summer rainy days or evenings when the temperature takes an unexpected dive. A fresh, crusty bread is a great addition — something to soak up the deliciousness that remains in the bowl. more→

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