Healthy Kitchen

10 Benefits of Eating Raw Food

Jicama salad with oranges and watercress

The human race learned long ago that cooking meat before eating it would protect them from parasites. Since then this practice of cooking has grown to include all types of foods and is now considered an art. The average meal generally doesn’t include many raw elements, except for the leafy green salad. Here we’ll consider 10 benefits of eating raw food.

However, the advantages of eating raw foods bring nature’s intentions into focus. When I speak of eating raw I’m referring to fruit, nuts, and vegetables, which taste good to the majority of humankind in their basic simplicity direct from tree, bush or vine.

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6 Health Benefits of Hummus

Hummus recipe

Hummus, the rich, creamy dip, is central to Middle Eastern cuisine. Most of us eat it because it’s so tasty; but we don’t often consider the health benefits of hummus. But you can be sure that hummus is a good-for-you treat — it consists mainly of chickpeas and sesame seeds. Lemon and garlic are also intrinsic to its unique flavor — and variations can include spices, peppers, olives, and other ingredients to make a great thing even better. Hummus is most often used as a dip for fresh pita, but there are other ways to use it. It’s great in wraps, as a potato topping, and even on pizza in place of tomato sauce.

You can buy hummus from the store, but for all the healthy goodness that it comes with, it’s always better to make it yourself at home — it’s easy to do — here’s our basic recipe, with variations. Despite its delicately complex taste, hummus is actually surprisingly easy to make. more→

6 Unique Kitchen Gadgets for Easy Summer Produce Prep

kitchen gadgets

Summer is the time to enjoy lots of fresh produce and herbs straight from the garden or farm market. Here are a few unique kitchen gadgets — tools that are inexpensive, compact, and will help ensure that you use up and enjoy your market finds to the fullest!

6 Cool Kitchen Gadgets

Cherry Pitter

Midsummer brings a bounty of cherries, and while the best way to enjoy them is just as they are (and discretely spit out the pits!), what if you want to make a fresh cherry pie or cobbler or throw a bunch in your smoothie? Truly, pitting cherries is a pain and is hard to do cleanly. Myliffri Cherry Pitter (shown at top) does 6 at a time, preserving the cherry and the juice. 

Chef’n Cob Corn Stripper

Corn cob stripper

Sure, you can always reach for a bag of frozen corn, but when fresh corn is so excellent and sweet in season, it’s a shame not to use it — on the cob and off. Stripping corn kernels off the cob with a knife isn’t exactly a tough task but it does make a bit of a mess and does’t do the job thoroughly. This clever Chef’n Cob Corn Stripper is just what’s needed to get the job done neatly and in seconds. Fresh corn salads, salsas, side dishes, and more are almost literally at your fingertips.

Chef’n Zipstrip Herb Stripper

Herb stripper

Fresh herbs add so much flavor to summer far, but separating the leaves from the stems feels tedious. If you’re like most of us, you’ve had more than one batch of fresh herbs go bad due to laziness. Chef’n Zipstrip Herb Stripper makes the process stemming herbs easier, plus, the container that catches the leaves doubles as a measuring cup.

Artland Press Oil infuser

Oil infuser

If you love infused olive oil but not the price tag, you’ll be excited to learn how easy it is to make your own. Artland Press oil infuser lets you easily infuse olive oil with rosemary, basil, thyme, and other aromatic herbs, and garlic, too. Pour straight from this bottle, and once it’s used up, it’s easy to clean.

Zoodle Slicer

“Zoodle” slicer (spiralizer)

Making vegetable “noodles” is all the rage, and while we still also love our World Cuisine Spiral Slicer, the Original Zoodle Slicer is more compact, making it a great choice for kitchens without a lot of cabinet or counter space. Have fun turning zucchini, beets, carrots, sweet potoes, and other vegetables into fun noodle shapes, and watch even the picky eaters line up. Smith and Oliver Multifunction Peeler

Multifunction peeler

Finally, the Smith and Oliver Multifunction Peeler is such an incredibly useful tool for under 10 dollars — it not only makes peeling a breeze, it also shaves, zests, and juliennes.

Enjoy these unique kitchen gadgets all summer long, but don’t put them away once the season ends — so many of them are useful all year round.

*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!

VegKitchen’s 12 Best Healthy Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Pasta with Mango and Avocado by Gena Hamshaw from Choosing Raw

Zucchini is available and economical all year round, though it’s midsummer to early fall when it’s most abundant in gardens and at farm markets. So for your enjoyment, here are VegKitchen’s 12 best healthy zucchini recipes, from “zoodles” to sweet muffins and everything in between — plus some alternates that are also among our best.

1  Zucchini “noodles”

Everyone needs a good zucchini “noodles” (or as some call them, “zoodles”) recipe or two in their repertoire, and Gena Hamshaw’s Zucchini Pasta with Mango, Avocado, and Black Bean Salsa (at top) is easy and impressive.  more→

July Produce Picks: 5 Fruits and Vegetables to Use Now

Apricots on table

In July, produce of all kinds is at its best! Here are 5 fruits and veggies that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Apricots – with all the melons and berries bursting onto the markets, don’t forget about the stone fruits, especially apricots. These diminutive, smooth fruits often get overlooked, and there’s more to do with them aside from eating out of hand or using in fruit salads, in both sweet and savory preparations. Here are a few: more→

The Many Health Benefits of Sprouts

Chickpea sprouts

Have you heard? The National Cancer Institute, a member of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, recommends consuming 5 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. And they recommend sprouts as a good way to help you achieve that goal. We’ll explore the many healthy benefits of sprouts here; they’re also easy to grow at home.

Sprouts are unique in that they are the only form of agriculture available in all four seasons that can be locally grown—-and that means anywhere in the world, from Africa to Alaska! Their harvest cycle, from seed to salad, is only one week. Not only that, one pound of alfalfa seed, for example, yields 10-14 pounds of fresh “mini-salad” greens. more→

12 Chia Seed Pudding Recipes You Have to Try

Chia seed pudding recipes

Chia seed pudding has become a popular dessert and breakfast option in the last few years. With the versatility of chia seeds, the wide selection of non-dairy milks on the market, and the hundreds of possible variations of this treat, there’s no end to the flavors that you can experiment with. Here we have gotten together some of our favorite chia seed pudding recipes for you to try. And, make sure to learn more about the nutrition benefits of this small but mighty seed in Chia Seeds: Frequently Asked Questions. more→

Easy Vegan Picnic Menu & Tips

picnic basket

Heading into the summer months, its useful and fun to have an easy vegan picnic menu at hand. Here are a few savory, sturdy dishes that can be packed into a cooler. To round out the plan, add some seasonal fruits and refreshing beverages. Sure, the food is great and tastes even better when enjoyed in the fresh air, but a great part of the fun of going on picnics is choosing a lovely outdoor venue.

A hike at a nature preserve is sure to whet the appetite. For families with young children, an ideal spot for a casual picnic with little ones is a community park. To get off the beaten path, try local historic sites. A perfect spot adds much to the enjoyment of a picnic; the experience is transformed from merely eating lunch outdoors to a refreshing lift for the spirit and all the senses. 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→

Mediterranean Diet Recipes — Healthy and Delicious

Ratatouille in a dish

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? Introducing a Relative of Quinoa

Kañiwa confetti salad

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.

Quinoa pdf e-book cover - VegKitchen

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).

*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!

How to Pickle Anything Like a Pro

Refrigerator pickles

Have you always wanted to try pickling, but intimidated by the process? Here’s a visual guide on how to pickle vegetables. Pickling allows you to give your favorite summer produce a whole new flavor. Experiment with some of these tips and make your own pickling recipes. more→

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