Our internet was as slow as molasses this weekend, so I get to continue my tradition of posting seasonal recipes too late. Enjoy!
A lot of food bloggers do a St. Patrick’s day thing. Accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon, but I felt like posting about my own dairy-free version of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.
Green and Creamy
There are a bunch of other recipes out there, using bananas/spinach/protein powder/artificial sweetener/ice/milk/whatever. This is just what I’ve done, again with my mission to keep it cheap and keep it relatively healthy.
I used spinach to make it green. My no.1 tip for people who want to use spinach in smoothies, but don’t have a vita-mix, is to use thawed FROZEN spinach. Freezing and thawing breaks down the leaves, meaning it blends more easily. Freezing retains nutrients: 1/4 of a regular box contains 20 calories, 2g of protein, and 6% of your RDA of iron. Not bad, considering a box of spinach usually costs one or two dollars. I partially that the box, divide it into quarters, and re-freeze the lumps to store in a ziploc bag in the freezer. The night before I make a smoothie, I just thaw out a lump overnight in the fridge, or even microwave it for 20-30 seconds.
So, back to my recipe. The key is a long blending time, to really dissolve the protein powder and to get a smooth, milkshake-like texture.
- 1 scoop vanilla soy protein powder
- 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1/4 package frozen spinach (75g), at least partially thawed
- 1/8 tsp mint extract
- 1 small, frozen banana
- Add powder, milk, and spinach to the blender in the order listed above.
- Puree on highest speed for 2 minutes, until spinach is in tiny flakes (think the size of dried oregano).
- Add the mint and banana.
- Pulse for 30 seconds (if your blender has an ice crushing button, use this)
- Puree for another 2-3 minutes until completely smooth.
Here are two things we made last week and have been enjoying for several days:
We have been making this chai concentrate occasionally for the past few months. While neither cheap nor strictly vegan due to the honey included, it is a fun treat to have at home, and significantly cheaper than a chai latte from any cafe.
The recipe we use is modified from Vegetarian Slow Cooker:
- 4 1 1/2 inch slices fresh peeled ginger, use vegetable peeler for the slices.
- 6 3 inch cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 15-20 green cardamom pods
- 1 1/2 teaspoons high-quality vanilla
- 2 dashes of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup honey (use 1/3 cup white sugar and 2 Tbsp maple syrup if vegan)
- 3 cups water
- 6 black tea bags
- Everything except the tea bags goes into the crock pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- After a long simmer, if heat is not on high turn to high. Add tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes MAX (longer steep=bitter tea).
- Remove tea bags and press gently with a spoon to get all water out.
- Strain into a jar or bottle (I use a clean wine bottle), and keep in the fridge for a week.
- Use about 1/4 cup of concentrate per mug of chai latte. Add hot or steamed almond or soy milk, stir gently, and top with a shake of nutmeg!
Here is the recipe for our Kale Minestrone. This has been a favourite in our household since Mrs. Minty’s mother made it for us about four years ago. It is delicious as leftovers, too. It also works well in a crock pot. If cooking in a crock pot, wait to add the pasta until 15 minutes before serving.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 15 oz can of red kidney beans
- 15 oz can of small white navy beans
- 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes (fresh if in season)
- 1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 4 cups chopped kale
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup small shaped pasta
- Heat oil on medium in a large pot. Add onions, celery, garlic, and carrot. Cover and allow to cook, stirring occasionally.
- Once onions turn clear, add all other ingredients except pasta and kale.
- Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer gently.
- Add kale and pasta 15 minutes before serving. Additional water may be required.