vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Quinoa Goodness September 12, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Favorite Meals,Meals,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 8:25 pm

This is one of my very favorite summer salads.  It’s quick, easy and tastes great!  A good friend has adopted it as her own favorite meal ever.  Now she makes variations of the original salad for me and I’m always impressed with its versatility.

To start with cook 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot.  Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  Or until the quinoa seeds are translucent.  Drain the quinoa and fluff with a fork.  Then mix in a cup of rinsed beans.  A handful of tomato chunks.  Perhaps some corn.  A little cilantro is nice.  Top off with the juice from 1/2 a lime.  Add a little hot sauce if you’d like.  Really, any favorites that you have on hand will probably go nicely with this one.


Spicy Napa Cabbage and Bulgur Salad July 6, 2011

Filed under: Green Scene,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 7:32 pm

Win!  I’ve been trying all year to come up with a cabbage dish that I enjoy, and this is definitely the best I’ve found.  Plus, it is horribly easy.  If you like mustard you are going to love this.


  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 2 cups cooked bulgur
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
To cook the bulgur, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Then turn off heat and add 1 cup of bulgur.  Stir and put a lid on it. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.  I recommend preparing the salad while you wait.
Chop the napa cabbage and onion into small pieces.  (I used the wet chop function on my Vitamix blender and was pleased with the results).  Set aside.  Mix the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil and salt/pepper to taste.  Fluff the bulgur with a fork and combine all ingredients.  Enjoy!

Homemade Tabbouleh June 10, 2011

Filed under: Green Scene,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:35 pm

Wow, I can’t believe that I had never made tabbouleh at home before!  I love eating it out and I guess I just thought that there would be something complicated behind such a tasty dish.  Not at all.


1/2 cup bulgur

2 c of chopped parsley

2 tbs mint

1/3 lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

tomato chopped


First you need to put the bulgur in a pot of hot water and cover it.

Let it soak for about 20 minutes while you prep the other parts of the salad.

 Next chop the herbs and juice your lemon.

Combine all the ingredients except the bulgur and taste.  Adjust the lemon juice, salt and pepper to suit your preferences.

Finally, add the bulgur and enjoy!


Gardein mandarin orange not-chicken May 3, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:38 pm

This was a quick and easy dinner out of a bag.  I’ve been hearing good things about Gardein faux-meat products.  I don’t usually cook from the freezer section, but it is one of Dan’s dreams that we incorporate a few quick meals in to our rotation.  So here is attempt number one from the freezer section.

The ingredients in the Gardein package are as follows:

gardein™ : water, soy protein isolate*,vital wheat gluten*, expeller pressed/canola oil, organic ancient grain flour (kamut ®, amaranth, millet, quinoa), natural flavors (from plant sources), modified vegetable gum, yeast extract, potato starch, sea salt, organic cane sugar, vinegar,pea protein, carrot fiber, organic beetroot fiber, garlic powder, onion powder, extractives of paprika and tumeric. batter: wheat gluten, modified cornstarch, toasted wheat crumbs, soy protein isolate, wheat flour, cane sugar, salt, onion powder, soy lecithin, spices, cream of tartar, baking soda, garlic powder. sauce: water, evaporated cane juice, rice vinegar, less sodium soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt, alcohol), fruit puree (water, mandarin and tangerine juice concentrate, chopped orange peels, natural flavor), salted sake (water, rice, salt), corn starch, thai chili sauce (sugar, water, chili paste, garlic, vinegar, modified food starch, salt, fermented wheat protein, cayenne pepper, citric acid, xanthan gum), ginger, expeller pressed canola oil, white pepper. 

I started this meal with brown basmati rice.  I chose to make this with one cup of rice, one cup of coconut milk and a half cup of water.  I brought the rice to a boil, reduced the heat, covered and let cook for 40 minutes.  The rice turned out slightly sweet and held its shape nicely with out getting sticky or gummy.

The main course was frighteningly easy.  About 10 minutes before the rice was done I steamed the broccoli with a little orange juice and soy sauce in one pot, while cooking the Gardein in the other.  Then I added the little packet of ‘sauce’ to the faux chicken and added the broccoli.

It was a lovely little dish that tasted a lot like restaurant style orange chicken, with a bit of the texture of seitan.  Which makes sense, since one of the main ingredients is wheat gluten.  If I had prepared the rice the night before, it would have taken me about 10 minutes to get the meal warm and on the table.  Which is a compelling reason to keep a bag of this in the freezer.


Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie April 26, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 6:26 pm

This is Dan’s favorite weekday breakfast smoothie.  It is full of protein (and sometimes caffeine) and it tastes a lot like a milkshake.  It is full of pretty solid ingredients and could easily be made vegan if you just switch out the milk & yogurt for vegan products.


  • banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate amazing meal
  • dash of shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
    If it’s a ‘caffeine day’ I just throw in a shot of espresso and a few ice cubes.  After you’ve tossed the ingredients into the
    blender, crank it up, and wait until all the ingredients have combined.  Pour and enjoy!

Jerked Asparagus April 15, 2011

Filed under: Green Scene,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 8:55 pm

Another winning recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  This asparagus was flavorful and crisp, a nice compliment to some simple polenta and BBQ beans.   The flower was just something pretty Dan brought in from the yard – we didn’t eat it.  I think it’s a dogwood flower?


  • Asparagus
  • olive oil
  • teaspoon grated ginger
  • minced garlic clove
  • red pepper flakes
  • dried thyme
  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • salt
   First heat the olive oil, ginger, and garlic.  Then add a good dash of red pepper flakes and thyme.  At this point your kitchen        should smell amazing.

Next you want to cut the ends off the asparagus and toss it in the skillet.  Add a good dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cook until the asparagus is bright green and cooked through.  Add salt and enjoy!


Lentil Sloppy Joes March 23, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Favorite Meals,Meals,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:25 pm

This is an easy vegan meal that Dan loves.  It is a very basic recipe that you can dress up anyway you please.  I’ve got a group of friends that have been hosting meatless sloppy joe potlucks once a month for years and each month there is a new ‘secret’ ingredient to discover.  Be brave!  There isn’t anything you can’t throw in a sloppy joe.  Chocolate, pomegranates, okra and more can add a kick to your unique dish.


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • chili powder & paprika
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • squirt of lemon
  • a little BBQ sauce

Start by making up the lentils, try 4 cups of water to 1 cup lentils.  I like to do 3/4 a cup of brown or green lentils and 1/4 cup of red lentils (to increase the sloppiness).  Heat until boiling then lower the temperature and allow the lentils to simmer until soft, about 30 minutes.  Then drain the lentils and put aside.

While the lentils are cooking you can go ahead and start sauteing the onion and let that cook for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and heat through.  Toss the lentils in and add the spices (a teaspoon or two depending on your taste).  Then add the tomato sauce, a squirt of lemon and some BBQ sauce.  See if you want to make and adjustments to the flavor.  Let it cook for another 10 minutes or until it smells so good that you just decide to eat.

This dish makes enough for two with lots of leftovers.  Enjoy!


Vegan Quinoa Puttanesca March 15, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Meals,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:34 pm

This was so spicy and full of olives and good.  Simple too.  All you need is crushed tomatoes, some herbs, olives, and a lemon.  I found this recipe in the book Appetite for Reduction and it is also featured at Isa’s website the Post Punk Kitchen.   I didn’t have any white wine or capers so the recipe below has been adjusted accordingly.


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • pinch of tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of olives chopped
  • 20 ounces of crushed tomatoes

Saute the garlic in some olive oil for a few minutes.  Add the herbs, water and lemon juice and let that simmer for a minute or two.  Then add the olives and the tomatoes.  Let that cook for another 5 – 10 minutes.  Then either top the quinoa with the sauce or toss the two together and serve.

It makes a nice dinner for two with leftovers for one.  Enjoy!


Vegan Caribbean Black Bean Soup January 26, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Meals,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:15 am

This past weekend I was in Florida on a mini-vacation with my family.  My darling niece and nephew were full of energy exploring the beach for the very first time.  One night we listened to music at a little outdoor restaurant and danced with the kids on the sand.  The sunset was beautiful.

To keep their energy levels up and their tummies full, my mom and I created the below soup.


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • red pepper flakes
  • peper
  • salt

Put all ingredients together in the soup pot, stir and heat.  Add seasonings to fit your preferences.

We didn’t have any vegetable broth at the house so we quick made some with a few onions and carrots (sweet potatoes would work nicely too).  The extra textures in the soup were very nice indeed.  This kind of a pantry soup was easy to make while on vacation and tasted just lovely when all put together.


Roasted Lemony Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas January 9, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Meals,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 11:11 pm

This came together very quickly and tasted good!  If you have the ingredients listed and 15 minutes you can make this.  The brussels and chickpeas would be a nice side dish or you could serve them on top of pasta like I did.  If you choose the pasta option, try adding balsamic vinegar to the finished dish – it really adds a nice tang and some needed liquidity.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


  • Olive Oil
  • 12 Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Can Chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 Clove Garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

First slice the brussels into smaller chunks by quartering them.  Some of the largest sprouts I cut into eights.

Then take and put them into your roasting pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, the chickpeas, garlic, and lemon juice.  Mix all the ingredients around with your hands and then pop them in the oven.

The roasting pan that I used was way too small.  I recommend using a cookie sheet and having everything spread out in a thin layer on the pan.

See how much the brussels shrunk as they cooked?  That surprised me!

These turned out very nicely.  After you pull them out of the oven add salt and pepper to taste and serve them while they are hot.  Dan and I finished these off for dinner with no left overs at all.  They were that tasty.