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Vegan

Live Waste Free

One Mean Bean Salad

You guys! I made possibly the best bean salad I’ve made in forever! It’s beautiful, delicious, vegan and fully Zero Waste! I decided to go the vegan route on this one because it was going to be my potluck dish for an event my vegan friend hosted. I figured, she’s being so generous and hosting this event at her place, the least I could do was make a dish that she could also enjoy. So I got at it and added all kinds of goodness. The best part, I already had everything on hand and took maybe 15 minutes to prep.

Side note: My beans were already prepped and in the freezer, so it took a simple rinse to unfreeze them and into the salad they went. You can find how I did it here.

Ingredients:

Salad-

1 cup of cooked red beans

1 cup of cooked chickpeas

1 cup of cooked black beans

1 red bell pepper diced

1 yellow bell pepper diced

2 cucumbers diced (you can peel them if you don’t care of the skin)

1 small head of broccoli (about a cup worth) cut into small chunks

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

Dressing-

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

½ lemon, juiced

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of dried parsley

Dash of dried basil

Directions:

Wash and chop all veggies. Toss them all into a large bowl.

Add all dressing ingredients into a bowl and mix. I added mine to a mason jar, sealed it up and shook it like crazy. You can play with the dressing to adjust it to fit your tastes better. I took what was closest to me in my spice drawer and took a chance. It was a good thing I did because it turned out to be a win!

Add half the dressing to the salad mix and store the rest for later. It’ll save for a few weeks in the fridge. Mix the dressing and the veggies together and voila!

You now have a super fresh, simple and delicious dish for any time. I’ve also made this for week lunches and picnics. It’s just lovely.

If you wish to add a non vegan twist, feel free to throw some feta or bocconcini cheese into the mix. Whatever you can find at the fromagerie (cheese store) without packaging. This salad is great both ways! So the next time you’re looking for a protein packed salad and are tight on time, keep this recipe in mind. Bon Apetite!

 

For more tips and tricks, head over and like my page on Facebook Live Waste Free. Where you’ll get daily ideas to keep you going on the Zero-Waste path.

 

Or follow me on Instagram @livewastefree for random pics and funnies!

 

Live Waste Free

Easy Peasy Bean Prep

Living a Zero Waste lifestyle does not mean you need to spend all of your free time working on food. At the beginning of this journey, I was always in the kitchen. I didn’t complain too much, since I genuinely enjoyed it, however, now I have other projects to work on and I want to spend the minimum amount of time in the kitchen. Along the way, I’ve learned and even developed a few tricks to help cut down the time needed to live a Zero Waste lifestyle.

Today, we work on dried goods. Re-hydrating beans (and chickpeas) and storing them so they’re as easy to use as the canned variety in less than 13 minutes of hands on work.red beans

First, rinse off the dry beans in a colander and add to the pot. Avoid the idea of measuring your beans; since it’s not a recipe, you don’t need to worry about exact numbers. Also, the more you make in the moment, the more time you’ll save! The more beans you add, the more water you’ll need. Leave at least 2-3 inches of water above the beans. They WILL bloat and soak up all of that water. Add a pinch of salt and cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once the beans come to a rolling boil, drop the heat to a minimum. I leave it on 2 for close to 2 hours. Test the beans once every 30 minutes or so, just to make sure they do not overcook. Let them just do their thing and go on about your day.

Total HANDS ON time: 5 minutes including checking for the texture

Once they’re fully cooked, remove from heat. Strain and rinse the beans in a colander. Let them sit in the strainer until all the excess water drips off. While they’re dripping, line a baking tray (or 2 depending on how many beans you’ve made) with parchment paper. I use a compostable one, so after I’ve used it to it’s fullest, I can add it to the compost bin. After they’ve full dripped, lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets and let them cool fully. Leave them out of the way so you can go on with your day.

Total HANDS ON time: 3 minutesblack beans

When they’ve cooled down to a room temperature (should take about an hour or less), pop them in the freezer as is and let them freeze fully overnight.

Total HANDS ON time: maximum 2 minutes if you include checking their temperature

The next day, break up the beans with your hands and add them to jars. Put them back into the freezer.

Total HANDS ON time: 3 minutes

That’s it! You’re finished! Although it was overnight, you only spent about 13minutes of actual work on them. Now that they’re completely hydrated and ready, you can use them for last minute meals whenever you want. Also, it removes any guesswork for measuring dry beans and attempting to figure out the conversion to the measurement of plumped beans. I always struggled with that; but since I’ve started this process, I never have to guess anymore! Also, since they’re prepped and on hand in the freezer, it’s just like having canned beans at hand. Except without the plastic lined tin and questionable preservatives. Now go on, bring your jars and buy the dried beans for a fraction of the cost and work it out so they’re better than canned! Enjoy!

 

 

Live Waste Free

Zero Waste Shepherd’s Pie

 

It’s that time again! FOOD!

In our house, I try to make a few large meals a week to help with meal prep. I love the concept; it makes bringing lunches to work/school super easy and gives us more free time during the week. One of the large options I made this week was a vegan shepherd’s pie! Growing up, it was a staple in our house. My mom didn’t care much for cooking, but when she made us shepherd’s pie, it was on! She nailed it every time and until I became vegetarian, I followed her way of cooking it, always. Over the last few years, I’ve changed the recipe over and over to adapt to my new lifestyle, and the newest adaptation would be to make it Zero Waste of course! Oh and dare I say that my recipe now competes with hers on the delicious scale! Legit!

I must say before you get started, this recipe, if you don’t take the time saving options (which still requires prep) can become a long process. That being said, it is STILL worth it! You’ll find the time saving options throughout the recipe in asterisks.

Ingredients per layer:

TOP:

2 cups of sweet potato (approximately 1 large one and 2 small-that’s what we used)

¼ cup veggie broth

salt to taste

pepper to taste

MIDDLE:

6 ears of corn (approximately 1 ½ cups of corn)

1 tsp. sea salt

BOTTOM:

2 cups of re-hydrated red kidney beans

1 large sweet onion

¾ cup Veggie Broth

¾ cup roasted sunflower seeds

Olive oil (1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons

1 tablespoon of white all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons of herbes de provence

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon of sea salt (+pinch

 

Directions per layer:

 

*Rehydrate beans (approximately 2 hours of boiling) or keep a jar of pre-hydrated beans. I tend to batch cook a lot and this saves me time! I cook all the beans I have in advance, freeze then on a sheet pan in the freezer and store in a jar. I’ll freeze them on a baking sheet so that they separate easier. You’ll be able to take out the quantity you need, thaw them and use them like canned beans.

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Bottom layer

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in large pan. Dice sweet onion, add to heated oil add a pinch of sea salt. Cook covered on low for approximately 15 minutes. Try to avoid stirring as much as you can fight it. I find the slight caramellization is better when it’s just left alone.

Once the onions are translucent and slightly browned, push them to one side of the pan. Using 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of white all-purpose flour, make a rue in the same pan as the onions.  Let the rue cook for about 3 minutes and mix with onions. Add in beans, ¾ cup of veggie broth, 1.5 teaspoons of herbes de provence, ½ teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon dried thyme and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.  Let the mixture cook on medium low heat until the veggie broth is absorbed enough. It should look like s bit of gravy is still left in the pan. This will keep the mixture moist while baking the entire dish together.

 

Middle layer

*To save time, again, batch cook corn with the following instructions and freeze on a baking sheet. To freeze, follow the earlier instructions for the rehydrated beans. This way you’ll have frozen corn that didn’t touch plastic or a can and it will be easy for everyday meals.

Boil corn in salted water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, let cook for 15 minutes. Once the corncobs are fork tender (can insert and remove the fork easily without friction) they are ready. Remove cobs and let cool. Once fully cooled, cut off the corn. Leave nude (no seasoning-they’re sweet enough).

 

Top layer

In same water that you boiled the corn, add the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes. This saves water and adds an extra flavour to the potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove from water and set aside in a bowl. Mash them immediately with ¼ cup veggie broth, pinch of salt and pepper to taste. No butter, oil or milk needed I promise! These are going to be just as fluffy.

 

Layer these in order, from bottom to top in a 9X9 baking dish. Smooth out each layer before adding the next. Put the dish in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Your food is already cooked, it’s really just to let the layers marry together and to make sure the corn is heated properly. Finish off with a quick 5 minute broil and you’re done! This shepherd’s pie should feed 6-8 people and is so delicious!

*Using the time savers really helps take this meal above and beyond. The first time I made it without them, it was about 2 hours. That’s way too long in my opinion to be cooking hands on.

This meal is hearty, delicious and full of nutrients. The best part about this meal is knowing that there is no negative output headed to the landfill because of it. Everything was bought in bulk with my own jars or as a loose veggie. No plastic, no cans, just real food the way it was intended to be. I hope you enjoy!

Live Waste Free

ZW Vegan Chili

On today’s menu: Dawn’s Homemade Zero Waste-Vegan Chili. I’ll be the first to admit, it’s a long name, but who has time to come up with clever names when you’re cooking a bad ass meal like this one! Not to brag or anything, but my dad once described it as “Woah man, this is the S***!” So, take away from that what you will ;).

Now, I love making chili because of the simplicity. It can be dressed up or kept bare and still be absolutely DELISH! It’s possibly one of the easiest Zero Waste meals that you can make. It stores well, keeps for a long time in the fridge or even longer in the freezer and is the perfect, late night meal (for those of us hustling to the wee hours of the morning).

To make this recipe ZW, buy all your goods in bulk with your own jars (spices, beans, olive oil) and hit up a farmer’s market or even the regular grocery store for the veggies. Buy them loose with no plastic bags and be sure to wash them when you get home. For freshest ingredients, I prefer the farmer’s market for sure!

Meal Prep time: 30 minutes of prep-not including the reconstitution of the beans.

Cook time: 1 hour (again, not including the beans-that will soon be explained).

 

Ingredients:

¾ cup red kidney beans

¾ cup black turtle beans

12 tomatoes, whole

1 medium onion

1 tbs of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

2 medium red peppers

1.5 cups of Veggie broth (I use my home made version)

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp Black pepper

1 tbsp Cumin

1 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Cayenne

1/8 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes *if you’re not a fan of too much spice, omit this*

 

Optional to serve with:

Corn chips (bought in bulk)

Sliced avocados

Chopped green onions

Nutritional yeast (or grated cheese for non-vegans)

 

 

Directions:

I buy my beans dried and in bulk with my own jars. You’re going to need to start by reconstituting them. You can soak them overnight and then cook them until tender if you’d like, but I aim myself towards the “instant” way. It’s not literally instant but it is the faster way. Rinse off the beans in a colander, put them in a pot and cover them with water. The ratio is about 2:1-water to beans but keep an eye on them. Add more water if you need. Cover the beans and put on high until they boil. Once the boiling starts, drop the temperature to low (1-2) and leave them to cook for around 2 hours. This is the faster version since you’re not having them soak overnight, but you can really do it whichever way you prefer.

I don’t include this in the cooking time since it only takes 2 minutes of work.
From here on out, you basically just let the beans do their thing.tomatoes

Next up are the tomatoes. I buy them fresh and whole and work with them from here. Cut them into quarters, de-seed and core them. The seeds and cores go directly into the compost, unless you maybe have some chickens, I hear they like this as a snack :P. Once all of your tomatoes are ready, keep them aside for later use.

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, dice the onion and slice the garlic. Add to the hot pot. Cover and cook them on medium until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Roughly chop the red peppers and add to the onions, let cook for another 3 minutes. To this, add your prepped tomatoes, veggie broth and sea salt. Cover and let simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes, or until super tender.

When you have reached your desired tenderness (not falling apart, but you can put a fork in the flesh and remove it with ease), remove from heat, but keep in the pot. You’re going to use a submersion blender to blend the veggies until they’re smooth. If you don’t have a submersion blender, use a regular one and just work in batches. Be careful while handling the hot veggies and broth, I’ve gotten splashed a number of times and it’s hot! Like, wicked hot!

Before you’re fully finished blending, stir a fork through it to insure that all the large chunks are out. After your little smoothness check, you add all your beans and the spices. Start with the quantities above for your spices and alter them to your personal preference.  Let the chili simmer on low-medium heat, partially uncovered for about 30-40 minutes to really blend the flavors and to cook off any excess water. Don’t forget to stir the chili every few minutes to avoid burning.

Serve straight or prettied up with sliced avocados, corn chips and nutritional yeast (shredded cheese for non-vegans).

Hope you enjoy this recipe! For other recipes like this, or general tips and tricks for living a Zero Waste lifestyle, check out my website www.live-waste-free.com. Also www.facebook.com/livewastefree.