The obligatory St. Patrick’s day green food post – Belated!

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.

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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
  1. Add powder, milk, and spinach to the blender in the order listed above.
  2. Puree on highest speed for 2 minutes, until spinach is in tiny flakes (think the size of dried oregano).
  3. Add the mint and banana.
  4. Pulse for 30 seconds (if your blender has an ice crushing button, use this)
  5. Puree for another 2-3 minutes until completely smooth.
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Chai and Minestrone

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
  1. Everything except the tea bags goes into the crock pot.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
  2. 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).
  3. Remove tea bags and press gently with a spoon to get all water out.
  4. Strain into a jar or bottle (I use a clean wine bottle), and keep in the fridge for a week.
  5. 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.

Bowl of Minestrone

  • 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
  1. Heat oil on medium in a large pot. Add onions, celery, garlic, and carrot. Cover and allow to cook, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once onions turn clear, add all other ingredients except pasta and kale.
  3. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer gently.
  4. Add kale and pasta 15 minutes before serving.  Additional water may be required.