Friday, December 30, 2011

Healthy Girl's Kitchen Top 11 Plant-strong Recipes of 2011

I'm so excited to present to you the Top 11 (okay, well, actually 13) Plant-strong Recipes that were tried, tested and perfected in the HGK in 2011.

Most were created by others, sometimes tweaked by me, and some are my own creations. In my book, these are all outstanding Plant-strong recipes that you should try at least once. They are likely to become favorites of yours too!

I also want to note that something really BIG happened to me this year. I went from someone with minimal confidence in the kitchen regarding creating my own recipes (I was a big tester and tweaker) to a fully confident cook who prefers creating her own original recipes. It's very liberating for this food blogger. And it should make for an extremely exciting 2012 here on HGK. You're also likely to see a lot more from my friends, Jill and Chris-anna, who are busy dreaming up Plant-strong recipes of their own in their healthy kitchens.

So here it is, a list of my favorite 13 dishes that were prepared in HGK in 2011, in no particular order . . .

Quinny's Sri Lankan Kale with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans
This is a riff off of a Kale Mallung recipe by Susan Voisen of Fat Free Vegan, but oh my, it is so much better. (Sorry Susan, you are one of my idols, but this is the truth.) My friend Quinn thought up the changes and graciously shared them with me, which I glommed onto. Anyone who took my advice and tried it has LOVED it. I would gladly eat this everyday for a month. What are you waiting for?

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
There is no denying it, I have a sweet tooth. No matter how much I want to avoid the poison, somehow I convince myself that indulging is okay again. But I do try to find sweet things that I can eat just one of, and somehow, these Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip muffins fit the bill. They are incredibly moist and satisfying. Simply the best vegan no oil muffins I have ever tasted. Agreement from all who have tried them!

The Round Salad
This recipe, literally brought back to Cleveland from the other side of the world, has impressed everyone who has tried it. And at least 100 people have tried it just since the middle of November. But who's counting? Made with a San J brand bottled dressing, you can substitute ANY Asian flavored dressing of your choice, either bottled or home made. It won't matter. The magic is in the combination of Plant-strong ingredients.

Pumpkin Bulgar Stuffed Acorn Squash
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Of course, there's food involved! I started planning and preparing early this year and these stuffed squash are the result. You can bet I won't be waiting until next November to make them again. There's something about the hint of sweetness from the pumpkin and maple and the crunch of the onions and walnuts that sends me to the moon.

Chef Aj's Disappearing Lasagna
Quite simply, there is nothing like Chef Aj's Lasagna. Everyone who tries it loves it. It's a go-to entertaining recipe full of incredible tastes and textures.

Chris-anna's Vegetable Sugo
You don't have to lament the fact that you no longer eat meat. Not with this recipe at your finger tips. The rich depth of flavor achieved with slow cooking is what makes this tomato mushroom sauce so soul satisfying. Serve it over whole wheat spagetti for a Pasta Bolognese or sandwiched between slices of warm polenta for an impressive presentation.

What can I say? I'm a total sucker for lime and cilantro. This quinoa dish rocks. Once you taste it, it's hard to stop eating it. Just ask my friend Laura.

Mama Pea's Spicy African Peanut Stew
Yummy and made from ingredients that most of us already have in our pantry. You can even do The Healthy Librarian's faux coconut milk substitution (1 cup nut milk + 1 tsp coconut extract; to replace a can of coconut milk, double that) to cut way down on the fat.

Okay, this doesn't make for the prettiest picture, but don't let that fool you!  For breakfast, lunch or dinner, this savory oatmeal is incredible. Packed with flavor and nutrition, cheesy tasting from the nutritional yeast and chewy from the sun dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. I first made these early on in 2011 and devoured them several times since. That says a lot for a person who blogs and is always trying to test new recipes.

Roasted Beets with Cocoa-Sesame Sauce
I first discovered these early in 2011 scouring other bloggers' "best of 2010" lists. I'm a big fan of roasted beets and I'm a sucker for savory food with a hint of sweetness. You could make a dinner out of this beet recipe or serve it to guests as an appetizer. So creative, so delicious.

Choosing Raw's Vegan Artichoke and Spinach Dip
"Even better than the original." That's what my SIL Janet said. It's totally plant indulgent, so I only prepared this once for our 2011 Plant-strong Superbowl Party, but it is so on the menu for the next one (can't wait!).

Mama Pea's Vegan Ceviche
I happened upon this simple, outstanding recipe over the summer and made it more than a few times. The hearts of palm, avocado, cucumber, tomato, red onion and red pepper all dressed up with lime juice, salt and pepper give me a foodgasm. Sorry if that's too graphic for you.

Appetite for Reduction's Buffalo Tempeh Wraps
Full disclosure, my business partner Chris-anna doesn't like these (it's the raw onion in the dressing). But everyone else loves them, including me! So if raw onion doesn't send you packing, and you like that Buffalo hot sauce flavor, run to the grocery store and get the ingredients for these. The combination of cool crunch from the creamy slaw and signature hot sauce heat from the Buffalo Tempeh will cause you to dream about these wraps.

Also, check out these fabulous and famous HGK 2011 posts:

What were some of your favorite recipes of 2011?

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