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→
Healthy Mediterranean diet recipes are among the most delicious on the planet, filled with fresh produce and whole grains. And a great perk is that many classic dishes are naturally vegan — not veganized — making this group of cuisines perfect for the plant-based diet.
The value of the Mediterranean diet has been borne out by years of research. Numerous studies have shown that the lifestyle and dietary habits of Greeks and Italians, among other regional nationalities, contributes to long life expectancy and low rates of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic disease. The best part is that the ingredients are readily available anywhere, and are especially good way to experience seasonal eating. more→
What is kañiwa? Simply put, this relative of quinoa, is similarly a South American superfood grain making a splash in the North American market. Like quinoa, Kañiwa grows in Peru and Bolivia. It’s an excellent source of protein and amino acids, is exceptionally high in iron, and is gluten-free. Dark reddish-brown in color and about half the size of a tiny quinoa seed, it cooks up quickly to resemble a smaller version of red quinoa. Find out lots more information in Kañiwa: A “New” Ancient Superfood.
One major difference between the two is that kañiwa doesn’t have saponins, the coating that gives quinoa a soapy, slightly bitter flavor if not rinsed properly. A good thing, as I can’t imagine a sieve fine enough for its tiny size.
Quinoa brought to market has already been rinsed of much of its saponins, as otherwise it would be quite unpalatable (this procedure is done with a strong alkaline solution). But it’s always recommended that quinoa be rinsed well again at home to remove any remaining bitterness. Kañiwa is actually easier to process due to the absence of saponins.
It’s recommended to toast the grain on a dry skillet or saucepan first, then cover with water in twice its volume. Like quinoa, the water absorbs in 15 to 20 minutes. Truth be told, both times I used it so far I forgot to toast it, and it was just fine (it has a mild, nutty flavor similar to quinoa’s).
A few simple ways to use kañiwa
- Add 1/2 to 1 cup cooked kañiwa to pancake or waffle batter (depending on the size of the batch)
- Serve it as a sweet breakfast bowl with a maple syrup to taste, chopped nuts, and dried or fresh fruit. Finish with a dusting of cinnamon.
- A savory breakfast bowl is good too, with a little vegan butter and a sprinkling of nondairy cheese shreds. Sweet or savory, a it keeps you full for hours.
- Like many a nutritious grain, kañiwa works well in warm pilafs and room-temperature salads.
- Come fall holiday meals, like its slightly larger cousin, a pilaf makes a nourishing and attractive stuffing for squashes and peppers.
Nutritionally, kañiwa’s profile is remarkably similar to quinoa’s. It’s a good source of complete protein, and is a good source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. One advantage it has over quinoa is that it’s an even better source of iron.
How to cook kañiwa
Kañiwa and quinoa can be used interchangeably, and are cooked in the same proportion to liquid (2 parts liquid to 1 part kañiwa; it cooks in 15 minutes, like quinoa, or just a bit quicker). To that end, please explore our article, How to Cook Quinoa — and Some Great Ways to Use It. You might also enjoy We Love Quinoa, a volume in our Best of VegKitchen affordable e-book series featuring the 30 most popular quinoa recipes on this site, along with many color photographs.
Kañiwa is available from online retailers, you can ask your natural foods retailer if they can order some for you.
For a recipes, see Kañiwa Confetti Salad (shown at top).
- For lots more features on healthy lifestyle, explore VegKitchen’s Healthy Vegan Kitchen page.
- Here are more of VegKitchen’s Natural Food Guides.
*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!
This quinoa bowl recipe is quick, colorful, and an easy way to get your plant-powered protein in a one-dish meal. And while it looks like there’s a bit of prep involved, that’s not the case at all! The only cutting involved is the bell pepper. If you’re really slothful, well-stocked supermarkets sell cut bell pepper. But really, you can do this.
Grating carrots isn’t much fun, though, so we’ll use pre-grated, which are easy to find. The edamame and cashews add even more heft to quinoa’s already impressive protein profile. The only task you’ve got is to arrange the toppings artfully over cooked quinoa, then pass around the flavorful dressing. more→
A number of nourishing ingredients mingle in this baked vegan chickpea burger. Though it’s tasty enough to be eaten plain as a side dish, it’s makes a great sandwich as well. Either way, try it with Quick Tartar Sauce, whose recipe follows.
Makes: About 8 burgers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 large celery stalks, strings removed and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup cooked or one 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup wheat germ, quinoa flakes, hemp seeds,
or quick-cooking oats, or a combination
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning blend (such as Frontier or Mrs. Dash)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the carrot, celery, and garlic, and sauté until all the vegetables are tender and golden.
Combine the vegetable mixture with the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse on and off until the mixture is evenly and finely chopped, but don’t puree.
Drop by 1/3 cup portions onto an oiled nonstick baking sheet (or better yet, a baking sheet lined with baking parchment) and flatten gently.
Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each burger after 20 minutes. Serve on bread or rolls or on their own; either way, they’re made even more delicious with Quick Tartar Sauce, following.
Quick Tartar Sauce
Makes about 2/3 cup
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 to 2 teaspoons prepared mustard, or to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until well blended.
Here are lots of tasty options to explore for portable vegan sandwiches and wraps — easy ideas for vegans and vegetarians that are great for school lunches and for adults who are tired of pricey restaurant lunches and need some fresh brown bag vegan sandwiches and wraps options. You might also like 10 Easy Vegan Wraps to Make in 10 Minutes or Less. Shown above, Hummus, Cucumber, and Avocado Wrap; photo by Lori Maffei. more→
Even people who say they don’t like beans often like chickpeas. Here are some of our favorite healthy chickpea recipes — easy, tasty, and vegan. Chickpeas are among the most flavorful of the legume family, and add flavor, protein, and texture to so many kinds of dishes — soups, stews, pastas, salads, and sandwiches. Add them to your repertoire today! more→
VegKitchen readers love brown rice for its versatility, and its superior nutrition profile as compared to white rice. And while there are more whole grains to choose from today — quinoa, farro, spelt, and others — brown rice seems to hold its own as a favorite staple. It’s inexpensive (especially bought in bulk) and so versatile. Here are some of our best brown rice recipes — healthy, easy, and of course, vegan. If you’d like even more, see our extensive list of brown rice recipes.
There are tons of recipes out there for oven roasted chickpeas, but I question the need to turn the oven on for one, or even two can’s worth of this tasty legume. Instead, we’ll show you how to roast chickpeas in a skillet, and give them a variety of flavors each time — spicy, savory, and even sweet.
The result might not be quite as crispy as what you’d get from oven-roasting, but it also sidesteps the tendency to dry out. What you’re left with are flavored chickpeas to snack on with no guilt, and far fewer calories than the equivalent volume of nuts. more→
Sweet potatoes are vegetable heaven! If you do absolutely nothing other than bake or microwave them, they’re still as delicious as all heck. Not to diss regular potatoes, but sweet potatoes have them beat in nutrients, especially in vitamin A and C. Though sweet potatoes are super tasty in their own right, stuffing them with other tasty ingredients takes them to a whole new level. You haven’t really had the ultimate sweet potato experience until you’ve tried one of these 6 fantastic ways to stuff sweet potatoes. more→
Pizza is such a convenient main dish to make at home, now that great crusts and sauces get you started. Just add veggies! Here are our favorite easy vegan pizza recipes. Garlicky Fresh Tomato and Basil Pizza (shown at top) is a fresh take on the classic fresh tomato and basil pizza known as Margherita. This variation is packed with extra flavor from garlic and black olives. more→
Once you have some brown rice cooked, this hearty cauliflower rice pilaf with aromatic curry seasonings comes together quickly. For an easy meal, serve cauliflower rice with Lentils with Greens and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and a simple salad.
If you’re looking to lighten up your pilafs, you might also like our cauliflower rice recipes in which this nutritious veggie becomes the rice.
Cauliflower rice recipes
- 10 Terrific Cauliflower Rice and “Couscous” Recipes
- Spanish Cauliflower Rice
- Fried Cauliflower Rice with Mushrooms and Chickpeas
- How to make cauliflower rice