Thursday, April 14, 2011

Faux-potle Burrito Bowl

I love Chipotle.  And I really, really looooooove their vegetarian burrito bowls.  I became addicted a few years ago; thinking that since I'd burned a gazillion calories at the gym, I'd head over to Chipotle for dinner a few times a week.  This trend, however, was cut short by the realization that my thighs and butt were expanding faster than the universe.  I couldn't figure out what was going on (I'd lie away late at night, falling prey to my usual hypochondriac ways while thinking things like Omigod, is there something wrong with my thyroid?) until someone happened to mention the effing astronomical calorie counts in my beloved burrito bowls.

"But!" I sputtered in disbelief, "I get the vegetarian kind! How could beans, rice, and veggies possibly be fattening?!"  I was aghast.  But soon it became clear: much like my short-lived love affair with non-fat ice cream (how can non-fat ice cream be so fattening?!), I needed to cut back on the burrito bowls.

Seeking to save some cash and some caloric load, I decided to start making my own.  I'll admit that they're not as good as Chipotle, but they're close -- and they're lower cost, lower cal, and don't come with the need to table-stalk in order to find a place to sit.

Vegan Faux-potle (like Chipotle, but faux) Burrito Bowls

1/2 Can black beans
1/2 lime
1 C brown rice (I was starving and used pre-cooked brown rice; if you're using dry rice, you'll need to cook it first)
2 C chopped onions, red and green peppers (mixed)
1/4 t garlic salt
1 t cumin
1/4 C chopped cilantro

Combine the cooked rice, juice of 1/2 lime, and chopped cilantro in a large bowl.

Chillin'. (But are they sippin' on gin and juice?)
Saute the onions, peppers, cumin, and garlic salt until soft.  While they're cooking, cook the beans -- with the liquid from the can -- until gently boiling.

Once the beans and the pepper-n'-onion mix are cooked, combine with the rice in a large bowl. Dollop with guacamole, if you happen to have some on hand, and enjoy!

The layered version -- rice, beans, peppers and onions, and guac  

The all-mixed-up version

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Uber-Antioxidant Pasta

There are days when all I want is to "taste the rainbow," so to speak -- and I ain't talkin' Skittles.  I'm talking veggies.  Loads of colorful, happy veggies.  Today was one of those days.  After I came home from work, I began scouring the fridge to see what kind of veggies were there for the taking. 

And, wouldn't you know it, some bell peppers and spinach were right there. 

Now, I may be so flippin' Irish that my gene pool doesn't go beyond the English Channel, but for some reason, Italian cooking makes tremendous sense to me.  And one of the things I've learned about Italian cooking is that bell peppers and spinach each make for one fantastic pasta dish. So, given the voracious veggie cravings, I decided to just combine the two.  If each one enhances pasta on its own, why not do both?  Go big or go home, I say.

I got my ingredients:
1 1/2 C GF pasta
Canned, fire-roasted tomatoes (I'm ashamed to admit that I don't make my own pasta sauce...hey, I'm a lazy mofo)
2 bell peppers
3 shallots
1 C spinach
6 cloves of garlic (I'm of the opinion that one can never have too much garlic in a dish, so I use a lot -- but you can adjust it to your preference)
2 T olive oil
1/4 t red pepper flakes (they can be potent, so go easy on 'em)
Salt and Italian seasoning to taste 

I chopped up the shallots and the garlic, and then I sauteed them in the olive oil while the water for the pasta got a-boilin':

Whassup, dude! We're shallots! Hey, is it hot in here?

Then added in the peppers and the tomatoes once the shallots had gotten soft...

Ooooh, the steam looks all ghostly and whatnot.

While the pasta cooked, I added the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt. Once everything is mixed in, let the veggie mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. You'll need to add water periodically -- or the occasional dash of red wine, which gives it depth but is a purely optional ingredient -- to make sure it doesn't simmer down to nothing, before adding the spinach:

The spinach wilts quickly, yielding a pan-o-veggies that looks like this:

We're wiiiiillllltiiiinnnnng!
Then drain and mix in the pasta, garnish with nutritional yeast, and enjoy!

In the words of Homer Simpson, "Mmmm. Veggies and pasta. Gaaaaahhh."