That said, it seems like everywhere I turn lately I am seeing more and more news of people reducing the amount of animal products in their diet, if not eschewing them all together. Friends, family and total strangers have been expressing to me (their friendly neighborhood supportive vegetarian) how they're interested in making changes to live healthier and eating more plant-based meals. Good stuff!
Personally, I've been aiming lately for more a more whole foods-centric diet (i.e. reducing to a minimum the processed, sodium-laden veggie meats in the freezer section - they're good "transition foods" but I've been doing this way too long to rely them as much as I was). So far so good as I have loads of energy and lower grocery bills to boot.
To kick off a new year of Meatless in Miami, I'd like to share one of my all-time favorite recipes. It's been a staple in my kitchen for years as it's quick, easy, cheap, versatile and packed with protein, fiber and nutrients. Without further ado:
1 package frozen spinach or a bag of fresh
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
several heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
shake or two of curry powder (or also add cumin, cayenne or whatever spice you fancy)
Directions: Heat together everything in a saucepan or if you're on the
go simply microwave the frozen spinach to defrost, add the lentils and
microwave again. Add the NYF at the end to soak up the excess moisture.
Add more nyf or teaspoons of water until you get the consistency you
desire. Stir in curry powder to taste. Voila!
Spinach-Lentil NYF is great over brown rice as a main course with big
scoop of soy yogurt (or Greek if you still do dairy) on top. It also
makes a perfect side dish or a hearty dip, scooped up with big Wasa or
whole wheat crackers. You can also further lower the sodium (and
already low cost) of this dish even more by buying bulk lentils and
just soaking them overnight.
*NYF is Nutritional Yeast Flakes (I call it "nif"). These yellow,
powdery flakes are a vegan-friendly inactive yeast. They're savory with
a slightly nutty taste and are great to add to any dish to increase
it's protein and nutrient content, and provide B12 which is important
for veggie folks to get. I could literally go on for ages about its
wonderfulness but try it for yourself. NYF is available in the bulk
section at Whole Foods and should become a staple in your kitchen! I
keep it in an old coffee can with a scoop so it's always at hand, or
grind it up with some sesame seeds and keep it in a shaker in the
fridge for a yummy topping for just about anything.
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