Indian Spiced Green Beans (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Something you will see as I continue to add to this blog is my love for ethnic flavors. Because of my mother’s job, our family moved around (mostly) overseas every 3 or so years. These places included Cote d’Ivoire, Chennai, Abu Dhabi and more. One of the things I am really grateful for (of course, because I am obsessed with food…) is that I was exposed to so many different cuisines. Indian food is one of my very favorites to this day. The blend of spices is truly like no other, I’m kinda salivating just thinking about it!

When it comes to cooking (and probably most other areas of my life), I am not a minimalist. I think that is one of the reasons I like Indian food so much; the complex flavors build up to the most unique, mouth-watering results. Though there is something to be said about keeping things simple and letting single ingredients shine, I often find myself adding more and more spices into whatever I am cooking until the flavors are big enough to stand up to what I’m used to. Sometimes this works out for me, sometimes I go overboard….

In this recipe, I believe the spices complement each other perfectly. You get a delicious, bursting flavor reminiscent of bold Indian dishes with only 5 ingredients in about 7 minutes, so the green beans still hold some crunch. My boyfriend went as far as saying these MIGHT be some of the best green beans he’s ever tried, so if that is any persuasion, try these out!

This recipe serves 2, as most of my recipes do since I am usually just cooking for my man and I. Double, triple, or quadruple if need be! Come to think of it, some extra time to let the flavors sink in even more would make these awesome leftovers…..

Indian Spiced Green Beans

1/2 lb Green Beans (ends trimmed off and chopped in half)

1 tsp Ground Ginger (you can use fresh ginger here too)

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1/2 tsp Curry Powder

1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

1. Heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan on a little over medium heat.

2. Add green beans, stir and allow to sit for 1 minute (you should hear some sizzling, if not, increase the heat a little bit).

3. Add in spices, and stir to coat green beans.

4. Continue to fry green beans for about 5-7 minutes, only stir occasionally so that you allow the sides to become seared. Don’t overcook the green beans, you want them to retain some crunch!

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing (Gluten-Free)

I love Caesar dressing. It’s intense and unique flavor profile is a classic, but everyone seems to have their own twist on it. Usually it is made with mayonnaise, eggs, anchovies, and parmesan cheese, but the variations are endless depending on the cook or restaurant it is made by. While the regular Caesar dressing is tasty, it alienates vegans and vegetarians because of the dairy and fish content. Although these limitations don’t apply to me, I would personally prefer an alternative that doesn’t involve smothering my greens in mayonnaise (I am pretty sure I am not alone in that!). So, I set out to create my own spin on the classic.

The thing thats sets this recipe apart for me is the replacement of the anchovies with olives. This was inspired by the vegetarian caesar dressing recipe on Dr. Weil’s site, and I think it works really well. You get the saltiness that you would from the fish in the regular dressing, and it really intensifies the flavor in an awesome way. Don’t worry, even if you don’t like olives, you will (hopefully) still like this, as they don’t overpower the sauce with too olive-y of a taste…..it just works. Try it and you’ll see!

Another little deviation from the norm is the use of lime juice instead of lemon juice. I know, nothing crazy, but although I l-o-v-e lemons, I think I love lime even more! Switch up my recipe and mold it to your personal taste, that’s the best part about homemade dressings. The following is enough for 2 or so servings, but go ahead and double or triple depending on your needs. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing

1/3 C Greek Yogurt (you could replace this with homemade cashew cream to make this recipe vegan)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Lime Juice

2 Tbsp Chopped and Pitted Kalamata Olives

1 or 2 Cloves Garlic (It was really garlicky with 2 which is the way I like it, definitely use only 1 if that’s not your thing)

2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Black Pepper (to taste)

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. ( I used my immersion blender)

Pour this over top of some kale or romaine, add some homemade croutons, and you’re set!

Exotic Oatmeal (Gluten Free)

Oatmeal may not have the best reputation for being an exciting breakfast, but I kind of think it should. Its comforting, hearty, versatile, and if you do it up the right way (which is super easy), incredibly delicious. This fiber-filled, cholesterol-lowering, heart-disease-preventing bowl of creamy goodness is exactly the kind of breakfast I want to start my day with. It takes less than 10 minutes to put it together, you really can’t beat that!

I switch it up pretty often when I eat oatmeal (which is also pretty often), but one of my new favorites is this mix. Its a simple recipe, and by no means revolutionary, but its yummy enough to deserve sharing. It’s a little spicy from the ginger, sweet from the bananas, honey, and a dusting of coconut palm sugar, as well as packing some added crunch (and benefits!) from the chopped almonds and chia seeds. If you don’t eat some of the ingredients or don’t have them on hand, feel free to sub them with whatever fruit, spices, and nuts you’d prefer. Tell me about some of your own oatmeal creations in the comments!

Exotic Oatmeal

Serves 2

1 C Whole Grain Oats

2 C Water

1/2 C Chopped Crystallized Ginger

1/2 C Chopped Almonds

2 Tbsp Raw Organic Honey (switch this out for another sweetener to make this recipe vegan)

2 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

2 Bananas (sliced)

Coconut Palm Sugar for dusting

1/2 C Almond Milk (Optional, but I like to add a little more moisture to get the oats even creamier)

1. Bring oatmeal and water to a boil.

2. Once boiling, add chia seeds and turn down the heat to low and allow to simmer until the oatmeal reaches the right consistency (about 5 minutes). Stir occasionally, scraping the sides of the pot to prevent sticking.

3. Mix in almond milk, ginger, almonds, coconut oil, and honey, and remove from heat.

4. Split the oatmeal into 2 bowls–top with bananas, sprinkle with sugar, and enjoy the easiest, most satisfying breakfast ever!