Two Seasonal and Fun Plant-Based Snack or Lunch Ideas
This is a guest blog post from local vegan chef and food writer, Carolyn Flower. You can follow Carolyn at https://instagram.com/nutritiouslyplantful/. Sometimes it’s fun to mix and match! This week I have two nutritious and flavorful plant-based recipes that make for a great snack or a perfect component to a vegetable filled lunch.
Nori Veggie Rolls
Place the nori sheet flat on a plate and place the handfuls of lettuce along the left edge of the nori sheet.
Then place the sliced carrots and sugar snap peas on top of the lettuce. Feel free to add any other veggies you’re craving as well!
Once all the vegetables are in a line on the left edge of the sheet, roll the nori up lengthwise similar to a burrito.
Cut the veggie roll in half and enjoy! This is not only an incredibly refreshing and nutritious snack, but also a great component for lunch.
Pro tip: You can try dabbing the end of the strip with some lemon juice or vinegar to soften the nori and have it stick together better once you roll it all up.
You could serve the veggie roll with a fun dipping sauce, hummus, guacamole, a side salad, or beans and rice! Follow your taste buds and be as creative as you want to be.
The seaweed flavor of the nori really balances the crunchy freshness of the veggies. Lettuce contains a fair amount of water, and is therefore quite hydrating. This is particularly beneficial with these hot summer days we’re experiencing.
*Nori is a general term in Japanese for edible varieties of red seaweed. Nori is typically sold dried into sheets, as flakes, or long pasta shapes. Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine which is important for thyroid health. The high levels of copper in sea vegetables may also help regulate blood pressure. Sea vegetables such as nori also add a nice salty taste to dishes and can serve as a substitute for fish sometimes (such as in mock tuna salad!).
Mini Eggplant Pizza Bakes with Butter Bean Hummus
Alright, you caught me! So maybe these don’t taste exactly like pizza… They do however satisfying a craving for gooey baked goodness with very little prep-work and perhaps an extra serving of vegetables!
Creamy Rich Savory Garlicy Nutritious Versatile
What’s more, eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber and also very low in sodium. This can be very beneficial in maintaining a healthy digestive system. The addition of butter bean or lima bean hummus adds an extra protein and fiber boost.
Ingredients: 1 large eggplant 1-2 tomatoes A bunch of green onion 1-1.5 cans of butter beans 3-4 cloves of garlic, to taste Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, to taste Garlic powder Fresh or dried basil Nutritional yeast (optional or you could also use Parmesan cheese)
Preheat the oven to 400°F, and spray some nonstick oil (I like to use avocado oil) on a baking sheet. Then cut the eggplant into about ½ inch slices and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic powder and dried basil generously onto each slice. I also added some drops of apple cider vinegar to each slice for a more tangy taste.
Place the seasoned eggplant slices into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges become crispy. While the eggplant bakes, prepare your toppings.
Slice the tomato, chop the green onion into small pieces, and prepare your butter bean hummus.
Drain the beans of any liquid. This is particularly important if your beans are coming from a can. If you prepared your own beans then make sure they aren’t watery. This will ensure that your hummus is thick!
Place the beans in a food processor along with 3-4 cloves of garlic, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Puree the beans until you get a thick but smooth consistency.
Once your eggplant slices crisp up, take them out of the oven and spread about a tablespoon of butter bean hummus onto each slice.
Then place some tomato and green onion onto each slice. I topped mine with nutritional yeast for umami and cheesy flavor. Feel free to skip this or add Parmesan cheese if you eat dairy.
Place the eggplant slices back into the oven in order to warm and crisp up the toppings.
Once this occurs, take the eggplant bakes out of the oven and eat hot or let cool. These can be enjoyed as is or as a side dish. I think these eggplant bakes would go great on top of pasta or a fresh, green salad.
Many of the ingredients used in these two recipes are in season! Onions, garlic, tomatoes, and sweet bell peppers can be found locally at farmers markets. Check out LFA’s Good Food Finder to find out where to buy all this deliciousness and support good food in AZ!