Archive for the ‘vegan’ Category

Cutting carbs? You can do that and still go veg!

Friday, November 25th, 2011
Salad greens two ways by liza31337
Salad greens two ways, a photo by liza31337 on Flickr.

Many people think vegetarians and vegans are doomed to gain weight because they’re eating lots of carbs. It is possible to reduce your carbs on a vegetarian diet. You just need to know what to eat and what to avoid.

The lowest

This list of the lowest carb veggies comes from’s Low Carb Diets site. The full page and resource is located here.

Low-Carb Vegetables

This list is roughly arranged from lowest to highest carbohydrate counts, but all are non-starchy and generally low in carbohydrates. Exact carb count depends on serving size. Remember when counting carbs in vegetables that the fiber is not counted, and can be subtracted from the total.

Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)

Greens – lettuce, spinach, chard, etc.

Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.

Radicchio and endive count as greens

Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Bok Choy

Bamboo Shoots



Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)


Cabbage (or sauerkraut)





Cucumbers (or pickles without added sugars)

Green Beans and Wax Beans





Green Bell Peppers

Red Bell Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

Summer Squash


Brussels Sprouts

Scallions or green onions

Snow Peas/Snap Peas/Pea Pods








Spaghetti Squash

Celery Root (Celeriac)




Which to avoid?

Also on the’s Low Carb Diets site is a listing of the highest carb vegetables:

Carrots (some diets flag carrots as a problem, though they are lower in carbs than others in this group)



Winter Squashes, such as acorn and butternut

Water Chestnuts


Potatoes in all forms

Sweet Potatoes



I don’t understand why winter squashes such as butternut and acorn are considered high carb, but pumpkin and spaghetti squash are low carb. If you know the answer, I’d love for you to share it in the comments.

T-Day sides

I tried three low-carb recipes for Thanksgiving this year that were new tastes for my family, and all three were warmly received:

  • Rosemary Roasted Radishes
  • Pumpkin Bisque
  • Cauliflower Gratin

(Check ‘em out at the blog here.)

It was a nice offset to all the high-carb fare that you can’t avoid on Thanksgiving, such as stuffing, mashed potatoes and warm dinner rolls.

Macaroni and Vegan Cheese

Monday, September 5th, 2011
Macaroni and Vegan Cheese by Just Nora
Macaroni and Vegan Cheese, a photo by Just Nora on Flickr.



1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Margarine
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pinch turmeric
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (as in the kind you’d put on a sandwich)
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
One 8-oz package Daiya Cheddar Flavor Cheese shreds
2 cups uncooked shells or other small macaroni product of your choice
Italian-seasoned panko bread crumbs to taste (I use Progresso brand)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray inside of a two-quart casserole with cooking spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and put in casserole dish.

Saute onion and garlic in Earth Balance Margarine until onion is transparent and tender but not browned. Stir in the flour, garlic salt, dried mustard powder, turmeric. Whisk in the almond milk, gently continuing to whisk until there are no more lumps. Add the yellow mustard and soy sauce and continue to stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens, similar to making gravy.

When the sauce is thickened slightly, add the Daiya shreds and stir until melted and well-blended. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove cheese sauce from the burner and pour over the macaroni in the casserole. Gently stir to thoroughly combine the shells and sauce.

Lightly sprinkle panko crumbs over the surface of the casserole, then bake the uncovered casserole in the 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

© 2011 Nora Rubinoff all rights reserved

Spotted in the freezer, and other Sunday musings

Sunday, August 28th, 2011
Spotted in the freezer by Just Nora
Spotted in the freezer, a photo by Just Nora on Flickr.

Didn’t make it to the market until today. I always feel like I don’t get the best “pickins” when I wait until Sunday, but sometimes there is no choice.

Life is moving back into school mode here in our house. This week, our son had his last “first day” at school. He’s a senior. That means that while we are indeed moving back into predictable rhythms, there is also the frenzy of college applications, waiting and the sick feeling of oh my lord how will we pay for this? running through our veins.

Convenience foods and frozen foods

For crazy week nights, sometimes convenience foods can be a blessing. Is it possible to eat convenience foods as a veggie and still eat well? Yes.

Today in Whole Foods I saw Vegan Fish Fillets from Sophie’s Kitchen for the first time. I’d heard of vegan seafood, but never encountered it. I live in the landlocked Midwest. New stuff is slow to reach us. I’ve not tried them, and would love to hear from you in the comments if you have.

I find that frozen veggies and fruits can be really handy for quick weeknight meals, smoothies and soups. They’re certainly cost-effective, and they don’t spoil before I get around to enjoying them.

We also love Boca Burgers, Gardenburgers and Five Star Foodies’ Artichoke Burgers.

Having a stash of a few quick, healthy freezer items can help you eat well on the run during your busy week. What go-to items do you keep handy for quick meals?

Nora’s Quick Lemony Garlicky Pasta (vegan)

Monday, July 4th, 2011
hearts of palm by Joelk75
hearts of palm, a photo by Joelk75 on Flickr.

This yummy pasta dish is quick to throw together and can likely be made from stuff that is already on your pantry shelves. Put off that grocery trip for one more day and enjoy some lemony comfort food!


1 stick Earth Balance margarine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1-2 minced green onions
7 hearts of palm, sliced into chunks
1/2 a small carton of cherry or grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
16 oz spinach penne, prepared according to package directions
Nutritional yeast or Vegan Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper


Prepare the pasta according to package directions, rinse and return to pan.

Melt Earth Balance in skillet or sauté pan. Add garlic and onion, sauté until tender but not brown. Add lemon juice, parsley and vermouth. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add palm and tomatoes. Simmer gently until palm and tomatoes are hot.

Toss sauce with drained pasta. Top with freshly ground black pepper, nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan to taste.

Serves 4-6

The 52 calorie sandwich

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011
The 52 calorie sandwich by Just Nora
The 52 calorie sandwich, a photo by Just Nora on Flickr.

Nope – I am not joking. I get the #6 Veggie at Jimmy John’s, have them make it as an “unwich” which is where they wrap it in big iceberg lettuce leaves. I omit the cheese and mayo, but add spicy mustard. The only cholesterol in it is from the avocado spread.

See attached nutrition screen shot – 51.4 calories, 1.7 fat, 2.6 fiber, 204.5 sodium (prob the avocado spread and mustard), 7.4 carbs. Protein is low (2.6), so I also have a Dr. McDougall Low Sodium Split Pea soup cup (you can buy them at online or at Whole Foods) – 200 calories, 1 fat, 9 fibers, 13 protein, 35 carbs.

Whole lunch is 3 fats, 12 fibers, 16 protein, 252 calories. Woot!

**I’m not a dietician. All nutrition calculations are based on using Jimmy John’s web site nutrition calculator and the nutrition information on the side of the Dr. McDougall soup cup. Your mileage may vary.**

Nora’s McVegan Breakfast Sandwich

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

In my never-ending pursuit of becoming 100% vegan, I wanted to devise a breakfast sandwich that was close to what I enjoyed for years when I was still a meat eater.

This one, I think, comes pretty doggone close.


- Two slices of Ezekiel Bread, toasted
- Two thin slices of tofu
- 1 slice of Galaxy Nutritional Foods Veggy Slices (cheddar flavor)
- 1 slice of Yves Veggie Cuisine Deli Ham
- Cooking spray (1 second spray)
- Earth balance spread, if desired


Toast the Ezekiel bread, spread lightly with Earth Balance if desired.

In a small skillet coated with cooking spray, pan fry the tofu slices until lightly browned.

Place the tofu slices on top of one of the toast slices, add the Cheddar Veggy Slice.

Pan fry the Yves Deli Ham slice, flipping once, until very hot.

Place the Yves Deli Ham slice atop the tofu and Cheddar Veggy Slice.

Top with the other slice of toasted Ezekiel bread.

Cut in half, if desired, and enjoy.

Nutrition (without Earth Balance spread)

270 calories :: 4 grams fat :: 6 fiber :: 30 carbs :: 19 grams protein :: 496 sodium :: 194 potassium :: 0 sugars :: 10% vitamin A :: 4% vitamin C :: 20% calcium :: 12% iron

**I’m not a dietician. All nutrition calculations are based on using Your mileage may vary.**

Five vegan things to try this week (for the new vegan, or vegan wannabe)

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
54/365 - details by foreverdigital
54/365 – details, a photo by foreverdigital on Flickr.

In January, my son and I took the PCRM 21 Day Vegan Kickstart challenge. We loved it. When 3 weeks was up, we decided we wanted to keep eating that way, but we’ve found total veganism to be really hard to live with.

Both of us recognize that eating a vegan diet is one of the best things for our health and planet. With that in mind, we’ve been pushing ourselves to eat more and more vegan, and less vegetarian.

Five to try

My food philosophy is that if it doesn’t taste good to me, I don’t buy it and I don’t eat it. Here are five vegan items that I recommend you try that I think you’ll find more than “just palatable.”

Soy Yogurt

It’s taken me a long time to fully embrace plant milk. Soy was one of the slowest for me to be cool with. Silk Soy Yogurt is definitely one you should try. Don’t go for the unflavored or the vanilla. Start with a flavor. The black cherry is one of my favorites. These are easy to find at Whole Foods and Kroger.

Annie Chun’s Vegan Noodle Bowls

I first learned of these from watching Vegan Break, a blog with mini videos about all things vegan.

Here Vegan Break talks about trying out the Miso Noodle Soup. I love these for days when I have more work than I have time for a lunch break. A quick zap and I can enjoy at my desk. Pick these up at Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Kroger.

Dr. McDougal’s Oatmeal

You can’t go wrong with oatmeal in a cup. It’s fast, delicious and it sticks to your ribs. The portion is about double the amount you’d get in one envelope of the instant stuff many feed to their kids each morning.

These breakfast (or hearty snack) treats have other grains, such as barley, in the mix. Order them online at or I’ve picked them up locally at Jungle Jim’s.

Portabella burgers

No, not a burger with portabellas on top – this is a “burger” that is simply a really large, de-stemmed portabella mushroom. We grill them and baste them with homemade barbecue sauce, then stick them on a multigrain bun with pickle slices and slivers of onion. ‘Bellas are chewy, firm, earthy and substantial. Your omnivore friends will love them, too.

Beans and greens

My cooking has always included a healthy dose of good old Midwest and southern deliciousness. You don’t have to hail from Cincy or points south to enjoy this one though, and it comes together in a snap.

Check out the recipe for Southern Beans and Greens here from

Use whatever your favorite green is here – collards, kale, chard – they’re all pretty interchangeable for this recipe. The recipe calls for 3 cups of beans – that is equal to two “soup-sized” cans. Drain and rinse well before use. I mix it up and use two different kinds of beans, such as black and great northern. You can also speed your prep by purchasing bagged collard greens (similar to bagged salad greens, but a bigger-sized bag).

Make your favorite cornbread recipe or steam some brown rice and it’s dinner time! Don’t forget to serve with your favorite vinegar and hot sauce, if you like. Vinegar improves the absorption of nutrients from dark leafy greens like collards, kale and the like.

Quick Ozouni

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
Quick Ozouni by Just Nora
Quick Ozouni a photo by Just Nora on Flickr.

32 oz vegetable broth (I use reduced sodium) or dashi stock

2 cups water

1 bunch baby spinach, washed, de-stemmed, chopped coarsely

2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)

1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

A spoonful of white miso to taste

Generous sprinkling of Triple Blend Flakes Sea Seasoning

4 mochi

Rice seasoning for garnish


Wash and coarsely chop the spinach. Toast the mochi in the oven or toaster oven until puffed and slightly browned on top. Heat the broth, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, miso and Sea Seasoning while the mochi is toasting. Add the spinach to the broth and simmer until wilted. Drop the toasted mochi into the broth like dumplings, heat briefly. Serve garnished with Rice Seasoning, if desired.

Warning – mochi is highly glutenous. A few people die each year from choking on it. Take small bites and chew thoroughly. Ben likes to remove the mochi dumpling from the broth and sandwich it in a piece of sea weed to eat on the side.

Vegan Break – the Trader Joe’s project

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

VeganBreak is doing a 5-part series on how you can select low-cost, vegan meals from Trader Joe’s for quick lunches.

What is your favorite veg friendly quick lunch for work, school or home?

Using convenience foods

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

The longer we eat vegetarian and vegan in this house, the more restaurant food doesn’t taste like we’d expect it to. With a high schooler in our family, we have our share of crazy, over-scheduled nights. Pizza and salad is one rescue meal we turn to, but more and more, we are making it right here at home.

There are a number of delicious frozen pizzas out there. A recent Consumer Reports study showed that DiGiorno was the recommended best buy. However, Amy’s pizza (in this case, the one with the corn meal crust), was also a recommended buy.

Last night, Eric and I tried an Amy’s Rice Crust cheese pizza. It was delicious. Even though we don’t have a gluten intolerance, I will reach for this fresh-tasting, crisp, not too doughy pie again and again.

Amy’s has a really extensive line of delicious convenience foods that can help you stay on your selected eating plan, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, soy free, lactose free, low sodium, tree nut free, or require Kosher certified foods.