Healthy Kitchen

EWG’s 2018 Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ Produce List

Strawberries in a bowl

VegKitchen regularly shares the Environmental Working Group’s annual lists of the Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ produce. The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and vegetables that are the most pesticide-laden. Consumers would do well to buy the organic varieties of the produce on this list.

On the other hand, the Clean Fifteen list features fruits and vegetables that have little or no pesticide residue. That’s where you can make an informed choice and save a bit of money on your food bill, though you’re always welcome to buy these in organic form if available.

There’s always the argument that organic fruits and vegetables aren’t necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown. That may be true, but who needs to consume all those toxins? Remember also that pesticides become part of the soil, groundwater, and air. And the human factor is rarely discussed. We gloss over the fact that farm workers who harvest pesticide-laden produce get sick at a far higher rate. more→

Beyond Brown Rice: Whole Grains for Everyday Meals

Quinoa Pilaf with Cauliflower and nuts

When you need a grain to cushion stews and stir-fries, to stuff into vegetables, or to power pilafs, chances are you reach for rice. And while there’s nothing wrong with rice—especiallyy if you’ve made the switch to brown rice —exploring a variety of whole grains can expand your culinary horizons and add even greater nourishment to your family meals.

Aside from adding character to meals, whole grains are superb sources of fiber and protein. Because the bran and germ are left intact, they also are fine sources of B vitamins, vitamin E, and an array of minerals.  It’s certainly possible to be health-conscious and never eat bulgur or quinoa. But why miss out on one of the richest sources of nourishment available?

Here are a few common whole grains everyone should be using more of. Give them a try to boost your everyday meals! Shown at top: Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Nuts. more→

How To Make Sourdough Starter

Sourdough breads cropped

Sourdough bread is all the rage right now, and rightfully so. Display cases of artisanal bakeries are loaded with deep caramel-hued loaves, the surfaces beautifully scored with signature designs and gently dusted with flour like winter’s first snow fall. While it may seem like a trend, both professional and home bakers alike are reaching back to one of the earliest and natural forms of bread baking. If you’d like to learn how to make sourdough starter, this primer will take you through the steps.

A sourdough starter, or “culture,” is the key to creating authentic sourdough bread. This culture, once thriving and well developed, is the natural yeast that not only encourages your sourdough bread to rise, but adds a nuanced element of flavor. It’s easier on your digestion system than bread made without it, and is loaded with gut-friendly bacteria. more→

5 Ways to Use Leftover Chili

Cincinnati Chili Mac recipe

Making a big pot of chili is a great thing to do when the weather is cool or rainy. Most recipes make a heaping helping, so if you’ve had it for two nights running (and don’t want to freeze it), here are 5 ways to make leftover chili more enticing!  more→

16 Meal Prep Tips for Healthier Eating Every Day

Countertop food prep - quinoa and broccoli

Most of us are caught up with work, school, or family (or all of the above!) and don’t allow enough time to plan and prep meals. So eating in restaurants or ordering take-out food becomes a habit that’s too easy to fall back on. Having good meal tips and strategies can help you enjoy healthy, balanced meals. Fortunately, you can eat healthy without spending much time cooking, if you prep your meals ahead of time. In fact, if done right, meal prepping can save you money. Whether your goal is to maintain weight, lose weight, save money, or have more energy, here are 16 tips that will help you prep meals with ease. This study shows that people who take time to prep meals have healthier eating habits.
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5 Egg Replacers That Are Already In Your Kitchen

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

My omnivorous boss and I recently had a good-natured spat about cake. She insisted that non-vegan cake (or “real” cake, as she called it) was superior to the vegan version. Naturally, I challenged her to a cupcake battle. Without telling them which was which, we had everyone in our department sample her non-vegan chocolate cupcakes and my vegan ones. In the end, only half could tell them apart. People kept asking me, “No butter? No eggs? What did you put in them?”

Vegan baking can be as inventive as zucchini and black beans in desserts or as simple as making a substitution. If you’re working off an old family recipe, or want to experiment with creating your own recipes, here are 5 simple egg replacers that are sitting in your kitchen waiting to become dessert. more→

Kale, Romaine, and Apple Salad with Sesame-Avocado Dressing

Kale, Romaine, and Apple Salad

Here’s a fresh and crunchy kale salad with a double dose of sesame (tahini and seeds). Did you know that sesame seeds are a good source of calcium? This salad goes with just about any kind of meal — bean and grain dishes, stews, chilies, veggie burgers. Photos by Evan Atlas. more→

How to Grow Fresh Vegetables With Hydroponics All Year Round

Colorful bell peppers

Have you ever thought about starting an indoor garden? Home gardening brings great joy to growers. It also helps people save money, and produces fresh vegetables for a plant-strong diet. What’s more, it lets gardeners control how plants are grown —that is, organically and without pesticides — making it safer and healthier. Let’s take a look at this introduction to how to grow fresh vegetables with hydroponics so that they’re available and fresh all year round!

Some people assume that an indoor garden needs a large space, soil, irrigation system, and sunlight. It’s not that hard. There are some great solutions to growing food at home; hydroponic gardening is among the most efficient of them. more→

7 recipes for Vegan Gingerbread Cookies for the Holidays

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Baking is chemistry, while cooking is more of an art. If certain items are (or are not) present in your formula when you are baking something, then it will change the final product. This is true of vegan and non-vegan baking alike. This article is a look at vegan gingerbread cookies, and what makes one recipe different from another. They are all gingerbread after all, so why would you prefer one recipe to another. This article takes a look at recipes for vegan gingerbread cookies in an attempt to help you find the perfect one for your holiday celebrations.
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5 Great Ways to Cleanse After Eating Too Much

pineapple, apple, and leafy greens smoothies

We’ve all been there— the sluggishness, lethargy and general blah feeling that comes after holiday meals or simply celebrating much too heartily with food and drink. The good news is that these 5 great ways to cleanse your body after an evening (or days, as the holiday spirit sets in) of overindulgence are easy as well as tasty! Even if your indulgence consisted of not-bad-for-you foods, sometimes it’s the sheer quantity of food and drink that can do us in. more→

Tasty and Easy Chickpea Flour Recipes and Tips

Vegan "Egg" foo yong

Chickpea flour is a great alternative to grain flours, though it doesn’t “behave” like grain in the usual sense. It doesn’t rise and become fluffy like wheat flour, for example, but it’s wonderful for making pancakes, crepes, and vegan frittatas. Here’s a quick guide, followed by tasty and easy chickpea flour recipes for you to enjoy.

Going beyond its traditional use in Indian cuisines, chickpea flour is now readily available in natural foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets. It’s sold either in bulk or packaged. One widely available brand is  Bob’s Red Mill. Either way you buy it, keep it in a tightly lidded jar or container in a cool, dry place. Truth be told, I like to refrigerate it, as it stays fresh longer and doesn’t run as much risk to go rancid. more→

Vegan Halloween Treats That Are So Good, It’s Scary

Vegan bat cookies for Halloween by Kathy Hester

Are you dreading the annual ritual of the kids collecting candy, then having to argue with them about how much they can have and how to avoid those dreaded sugar highs (and future dental bills)? Here are some fun Halloween treats that the kids will love, and which won’t send shivers up your spine. For more tips and ideas, see also Leslie Cerier’s Healthy Halloween Treats. First up, Kathy Hester’s creepy “bats and cats” chocolate graham crackers. They’re completely vegan and better for your kids (and you!) than all the sugary candies.

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