Tag Archives: complex carbs


It’s Soup Season!  My latest Delivered Dish of the Week menus feature soups nearly every week. The great thing about soups — and all my autumn & winter dishes in general — is that you can freeze them in small containers to enjoy later. Furthermore, ziploc bags of soup, frozen flat, can be stored vertically to save freezer space.

You can order online right here for any weeks you wish.  Easy peasy.  If you’ve never ordered before, do please read the full description of Delivered Dish of the Week service first.


Week of Oct 27th

Beautiful Beet Soup (my photo)

Beautiful Beet Soup (my photo)

Blood Red Beet & Lentil Soup w/ Ginger
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars. A satisfying fiber-rich soup for Halloween, to counteract any candy.  Very popular with beet-lovers plus a natural source of iron.

Fried Brown Rice w/ Shredded Cabbage & Carrots flavored with Coriander, Mustard & Fennel Seeds.
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars. One of a hundred easy variations on fried rice.  I add stronger spices here to spark up organic brown rice. A great way to use up left-over rice, too. Sauteed cabbage w/ fennel seed is a lovely, mild side dish by itself and, so easy to make at home –– try it.

Week of Nov 3rd
Squash Soup w/ Red Chile & Mint
Vegan GF, Paleo, soy-free, no added sugars. Spicy red chile & cooling fresh mint adds a nice twist on a classic autumnal soup. Dollop with queso fresco or yogurt to dress it up.

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Red Chile & Mint (Splendidtable.com)

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Red Chile & Mint (Splendidtable.com)

Beans & Greens Tamale Casserole w/ Tomatillo Sauce
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars; contains corn. Clients voted this an all-time favorite!  I always add chopped dark greens to beans for added nutrition and fiber. The mild tangy sauce disguises the taste of greens, too, if you have fussy eaters. It comes in a mini-loaf foil pan.

Week of Nov 10th
Minestrone w/ Rice Pasta
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo option. Rice elbow noodles, kidney beans, green beans and other veg in a light tomato broth. I like Tinkyada brand rice pasta. You can request no pasta & no beans for Paleo diets.

 Roast Ratatouille w/ Lentils
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo option. I adore ratatouille. Period. Especially when made of garden-sourced veg. I roasted & froze this in Sept for a wonderful infusion of summer days gone by. And it’s incredibly versatile: plop it on mashed pots for shepherd’s pie, spread on pizza, fill burritos, add to pasta sauce, et al.  You can request no-beans for Paleo version.

Week of Nov 17th

Ripe, medium ripe and green plaintains (web photo). Called the pasta of the Caribbean.

Ripe, medium ripe and green plaintains (web photo). Called the pasta of the Caribbean.

Caribbean Coconut Curry
Vegan GF, Paleo, soy-free, no added sugars. From Isa Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction cookbook and featuring naturally sweet steamed plantains. Mildly spiced. Really yummy.

 Quinoa Pilaf w/ Spinach & Cilantro
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars. A nice green pilaf that complements the curry.

 Week of Nov 24th: Impress your guests! Terrific with turkey.
Polenta w/ Sage
GF, soy-free, no added sugars; contains corn and dairy unless you request no dairy. Smooth polenta makes a great gluten-free side. For a stuffing substitute, brush slices w/ olive oil and broil til crispy on top, then chunk it up. Yes, it’s fab with turkey & gravy on top.

Wilted Kale & Roasted Beet Salad in Tahini Dressing
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo. Two super foods in one dish to complement (and dare I say, counteract) starchy holiday meals. Creamy tahini softens raw kale’s texture while sweet roast beets balance its flavor. Sprinkle seeds or nuts on top, and/or go more even gourmet w/ dollops of goat cheese.

Week of Dec 1st
Smoky Split Pea Soup
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars. I always add chopped collard greens and puree the whole thing to hide it. Sometimes I add nori seaweed as well for extra umami (savoriness); it melts away. Smoked paprika provides that “ham” flavor.

Puerto Rican Rice
Vegan GF, soy-free, no added sugars. Another easy variation on rice w/ green bell peppers, sweet peas , tomatoes and some tumeric for color. However, it won’t be exactly the national dish of Puerto Rico as I’m omitting the grandule verde (pigeon peas) and using brown basmati instead of white.


Super-food Stews

Black-eyed Peas, Carrot & Collards in Smoked Paprika Sauce, over brown rice (here pictured w/ Sriracha hot sauce on top). A super-food one-pot meal.

Black-eyed Peas, Carrot & Collards in Smoked Paprika Sauce. Served this very simple hearty stew on Fri night for 70 folks; and it’s on the lesson plan for 2 “Super Food” cooking classes this week.

Taking advantage of seasonal veg, it’s a very “clean” yet intensely flavored, toothsome one-pot meal that is vegan, gluten-free, low-fat and low-glycemic, high-fiber and nutrient-dense. Plus, your day’s Vit A and more.

Here’s the Recipe. This is technically a ‘cassoulet’, ie a braised dish with broth. Serve over brown rice or other whole grain, with hot sauce on side.

Making this for a family quantity, say 2-3 quarts, it’d take less than an hour esp with canned Black-eyed Peas. I used farm-fresh veggies from the market, of course, but, flash-frozen will do too, and would shave off another 15 min of prep time.

Btw, Black-eyed Peas have 6g protein per half-cup, in top 4 of legumes (winners are kidney beans & soybeans). Don’t have black-eyed peas? Fine — use any canned beans or lentils. (Search this blog for more posts about BEP, my favorite neglected step-child bean.)

Of course, this is a perfect autumn vegetarian entree. It would also be terrific with a small amount of chicken, pork, kielbasa, or turkey brats, and yes, left-over bacon. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, or squash as well but, refrain from making this into a carb-fest (ie increasing glycemic load). Keep a high veg to carb ratio.

More nutritional info:


  • 1 cp cooked sliced carrots contains 54 cal, 4.7 g fiber, 1.2 g protein, 5.4 g sugars, 537% RDI vit A, 9.4% RDI Vit C, 4.7%  calcium, 5.5% folate, 2.9%  iron, 26% Vit K.

 Estimated glycemic load = 2 (of 100/day target).
  • 1 cp cooked collards has 49 cal, 5.3 g fiber (10% RDA), 2 g protein, 308% RDI vit A, 58%  Vit C, 27% calcium, 44%  folate, 12% iron and 1045% Vit K. Estimated glycemic load = 4 (of 100/day target).
  • 1 cp canned black-eyed peas has 160 kcal, 6 g protein, 34 g carb, 8 g fiber, and notably, 6.7% RDI iron and 15% folate. Estimated glycemic load = 20 (of 100/day target).

    [RDI = Recommended Daily Intake]

 Some of my coaching clients are trying low-carb regimens. Ok, then skip the grains, not the beans.Beans are the best kind of complex carbs AND provide serious protein, so do NOT omit. You’ll just get hungry sooner if you do.

Scroll the Recipe page for more Super-food recipes!


Success and Gratitude

Cabbage Pineapple & Cilantro Slaw in Lime Vinaigrette, Pureed Carrot Ginger Spread, Roast Plantains. (Photo by Sharon Ramirez)

The big Auction Dinner on Sat went well and I am so thankful to the 20 volunteer cooks and servers who helped me pull it off!  They chopped, stirred, sauteed, baked and blended with aplomb, good humor and minimal direction. Susan made the collard dish from start to finish, and she’d never even tried collards before! And now she knows a terrific recipe.

(top to bottom) Rice Pilaf with Lentils & Caramelized Onions, Jerk Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Collards with Red Bell Peppers & Raisins. Photo by Sharon Ramirez.

I am quite proud of the fact the menu was again gluten- and dairy-free (vegan). (See previous post for full menu.)

It means a lot to me when guests with food issues can enjoy a meal with their family or community. Plus, I like the challenge of designing these menus.

On the nutritional side, this meal got an A. Lots of Vitamin A, too. Super Food count was 3 : collards, cabbage, sweet potatoes. Nearly all the starches were complex carbs — plantains, sweet potatoes, brown rice & lentils.  The only processed sugar was the brown sugar in the pineapple upside-down cake. Fats were minimal, esp if you didn’t take a lot of chicken sauce.

Roast Plantains w/ spicy Sriracha sauce (photo by Sharon Ramirez).

Turning to ethnic cuisines is the key to designing tasty gluten-free and dairy-free meals. Although actually (as noted here last year), a traditional British/American Sunday roast dinner of meat & potatoes is gluten-free, too. Thanksgiving or Christmas type meals can be too if you revise the bread-based stuffing and make a crust-less pie. So get over it, people.

While dinner guests definitely liked the whole meal, the Jerk Chicken & Sweet Potato entree received the most comments and requests for the recipe. It is super easy. I just used Frontier’s Jamaican Jerk seasoning blend from the co-op. I have made jerk sauce from scratch but for a 150-person dinner, I needed to save time.

Jerk Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes feeds a crowd on a chilly night. (photo by Sharon Ramirez)

Here are general instructions:

~ Mince lots of fresh green onions and garlic in a food processor. [if you have extra, make a vinaigrette or dip with it, or save for another marinade, pasta sauce etc.]
~ Cut chicken thighs into chunks (or leave them whole if you are having a sit-down dinner). Put in a large baking pan.
~ Liberally sprinkle Jamaican Jerk seasoning blend, dried thyme and salt onto chicken. Add the onion-garlic mixture and some olive oil, and toss well with your clean hands to evenly coat chicken. Set chicken aside to marinate for 30 min if you have time.
~ Cover with foil and bake chicken for 30 min at 425 F. (Chunks cook faster than whole thighs.)
~ While it’s baking, dice sweet potatoes and boil til soft. Scoop out of pot and set aside. Use the hot water for blanching a green vegetable such as collard greens.
~ Pull chicken out. It will be moist b/c of the foil covering. Pour the juice into a large pot, bring to a boil, and add some more seasoning blend & salt to taste. Simmer to reduce and concentrate flavors. (At this point you could add any fresh or frozen green vegetable.)
~ Add back the chicken and the sweet potatoes. Taste again, add salt if you like (since you diluted it with potatoes).

Serve over rice or other whole grain like spelt, kamut, wheatberry, kasha, millet or quinoa. Or, you could make it into a pot pie! (yum).  I like to serve spicy food with a tart citrusy salad — in Sat’s case, a pineapple & cilantro cabbage slaw in lime vinaigrette — to cool one’s tongue.

Red Bell Peppers & raisins sweeten sauteed fresh collards, and make a beautiful dish. (Photo by Sharon Ramirez)

Gingery Roast Sweet Potatoes

This tasty superfood is one of the March 8-15 “Dishes of the Week” (aka “Chopped Salad of the Week”). #2 is Quinoa Veggie Salad in Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette. One dish is dense and soft, the other light and crunchy. Both are vegan, contain lots of fiber and complex carbs and no saturated fats (olive oil only).

The sweet potatoes can be eaten hot or room temp. Right out of the frig is OK too but the flavors will be less apparent. Both dishes are perfect for a brown bag lunch, as they don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated again for several hours.

I also love to microwave sweet potatoes for breakfast — satisfying and fuels you all morning. If you like them mashed, throw chunks in a crockpot overnight with some milk or soymilk, a little brown sugar if you wish. In the morn, they’ll be soft & creamy, and you can mash them easily. No butter necessary.

See previous post for newly reduced fees for Dishes of the Week, delivered to home or office.