Author Archives: Renee Rothberg

Black beans and couscous (vegan)


Black beans and couscous are delicious and nutritious when combined with spicy vegetables. The combination is good hot or cold, and can be served with salad fixings or alone.



1 1/2 cups dry black beans, soaked in water for at least 6 hours and drained

1 tsp cumin seed or ground cumin

3/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cinnamon

5 cups water


1 package whole wheat couscous (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp lecithin


3 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium size onions, chopped

5-6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bell pepper, green or red, chopped

1 green chili pepper or other spicy pepper, chopped small (I left in half of the seeds for added spiciness)

3 medium size tomatoes, chopped


  1. (Ingredients from section 1)  Put the beans, spices, and water into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook until the beans are softened, about 35 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure the beans keep their shape and aren’t too soft.
  2. (Ingredients from section 2) Add the couscous and salt, cover the pot, and cook 8 minutes. Check the water occasionally to make sure the couscous doesn’t start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Add water as necessary.
  3. When the couscous and beans have finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in the lecithin.
  4. (Ingredients from section 3) While the couscous and beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  5. Saute the chopped onion until softening.
  6. Add the chopped pepper, chili pepper, and garlic and continue sauteing for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and saute five minutes more. When the vegetables are soft, remove from heat.
  8. Add the sauteed vegetables to the couscous and beans and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Servings: 8-10

Quinoa and leafy greens (vegan, dairy-free)



Tasty, nutritious side dishes add color and variety to a meal. This quinoa dish has subtle flavor from pistachios and blackstrap molasses.

Makes 7-ish cups


1 1/2 cups white quinoa, rinsed

3 cups water

1 Tbsp Tamari sauce

1/4 – 1/3 cup pistachios


3 Tbsp cold-pressed vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp cumin seeds (not ground)

1 1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses

6 packed cups spinach, coarsely chopped

3 large chard leaves–stalks cut away from the leaves. Stalks diced. Leaves coarsely chopped (Keep the stalks and leaves separate)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp coarse salt

1/8  tsp pepper (I used white pepper)


  1. Make the quinoa: put the quinoa, water, and Tamari sauce in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the water boils, lower the heat and cover the pot. Cook for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the pistachios to the pot, but don’t mix them in. Cover the pot and keep it covered until the leaves have been cooked.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the chopped onion until soft.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and blackstrap molasses and stir fairly constantly for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped chard stems and stir fairly constantly for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped spinach and chard leaves and stir until they have wilted.
  6. Add the paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then remove the pot from the heat.
  7. Stir in the cooked quinoa.


  • You can add up to 3 cups more spinach or chard without it affecting the flavor of the dish.
  • If you don’t have cumin seeds, you can use ground cumin but add it in step 4 with the chard stems.



Okara-Zucchini Mix (vegan and dairy-free)


okara-zucchini mixUsing the pulp from juices and drinks is very important so as to minimize waste and receive the full nutritional value that foods have to offer. When soy milk is made at home, the leftover pulp, called okara, presents opportunities for okara-enriched foods. I will present several recipes using okara, starting with okara-zucchini mix. Okara is versatile and can be added to many foods.

 Makes 4ish cups


2 Tbsp olive oil

2 1/4 cups chopped onion (2 medium onions)

4 cups chopped zucchini (about 4 medium zucchini)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 cup okara

3 Tbsp tamari sauce


  1. In a medium sized skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the chopped onion until softening.
  2. Add the zucchini and saute until the onions and zucchini are browning.
  3. Add the sesame seeds and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the okara and mix it in well, then add the tamari sauce.
  5. Mix well, then remove the skillet from the heat.

This dish is versatile. I have served it with mashed potatoes, chunky tomato sauce, and black beans.

With tomato sauce

With tomato sauce

Topped with potatoes

Topped with potatoes

Under black beans

Under black beans




Tangy Banana Ice Cream (dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan, raw, and gluten-free)


Tangy banana ice cream

Tangy banana ice cream is a refreshing dessert that is nutritious and yummy. It is a guilt-free sweet treat that nourishes the body while satisfying the sweet tooth.

About one and a half cups, for 3-4 small servings


2 large frozen bananas

juice from 1 or 2 tangerines or clementines to make 1/3 cup juice

1  1/2 Tbsp carob powder


  1. Juice the tangerines or clementines and measure out 1/3 cup juice. Pour into a food processor with the S blade.
    Clementine oranges
  2. Add the carob powder to the food processor.
  3. Preferably, the bananas were cut into chunks before they were put into the freezer. If not, cut the frozen bananas into medium-size pieces. Add the banana pieces to the food processor.
  4. Process the ingredients until smooth. Process the mixture quickly so that it doesn’t melt. You might need to stir by hand to mix in all the juice and carob powder.
  5. Spoon into dishes and serve immediately!  Yumtritious!

Refreshing Apple Bake (vegan and dairy-free) — in progress!


I just made this yumtritious dessert, and its aroma was so enticing that we ate it before I could even think to take a picture. I want to make it again and play with the ingredients a bit so for now it’s here for anyone to try and I’m happy to receive input.

Fills a pie plate or square baking dish for 6ish servings


4 medium size apples

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup black raisins

4 large Madjul dates

1/4 cup yellow raisins

3 Tbsp coconut oil (no need to melt if it is solid)

1 cup oats

2 Tbsp apple juice concentrate

5 leaves of fresh spinach

2 tsp wheat germ

2/3 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped fine (I used peppermint leaves)



Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F). Grease the pan with coconut oil.

  1. Dice the apples and place them in a large bowl. Mix the lemon juice and cinnamon into the applies and then mix in the raisins. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add the dates, raisins, coconut oil, and oats and process on high speed until well chopped and blended. Add the apple juice concentrate and spinach leaves and process on high speed until the spinach has blended well into the mixture.
  3. Pour the apple-raisin mixture into the pan and spread it evenly.
  4. Sprinkle the wheat germ and then the chopped mint onto the apple-raisin mixture.
  5. Spoon the oat-date mixture onto the apple-raisin mixture. It won’t cover completely.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.


  • If the apples are pesticide free, you don’t have to peel them.
  • We ate it so quickly that I can’t say how it tastes cold.
  • I’ll add a picture next time I make this recipe.

Yumtritious Mango-Banana Shake (dairy-free)



mango-banana shake

A shake made from mango and bananas is by definition yummy and nutritious. This recipe ups the nutritional value of the shake.

 Makes 4ish cups



2/3 cup water

1 large mango, cut into pieces

1/4 cup walnuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, drained

1 cup soy, rice, or nut milk

2 ripe bananas

1 tsp lecithin granules


  1. Be sure to soak the walnuts for at least 1 hour. Soaking longer will soften them more.
  2. Into a blender, add all the ingredients in the order in which they are presented in the list.
  3. Blend until the walnuts are mixed in well.



  • You don’t need a super-duper blender to make this shake. I made it in an old Osterizer blender. I could very slightly detect the walnuts so I assume that a more powerful blender would blend them in better.

Onion-Brazil Nut Grain Topper (vegan)

Onion-Brazil nut topper This grain topper turns plain grains into a yummier and more nutritious side dish. The topper can be used on any grain. The nutritional value of Brazil nuts, onions, and dates not only nourishes the body, but also nourishes the desire for very tasty food.

Makes 2 1/2 cups


  • 2/3 cup Brazil nuts
  • 2 large dried dates
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium size onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, cut into pieces for processing
  • 1/3 cup parsley


  1. In the food processor, process the Brazil nuts until they are small, but not ground. Place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Put the dates, mustard powder, salt, water and oil into the food processor and process until the dates start to stick to the sides of the processor. Add to the mixing bowl, but don’t mix.
  3. Put the onions and green onions into the food processor and process until the onions are chopped into small pieces. Add to the mixing bowl, but don’t mix.
  4. Chop the parsley by hand (for the exercise) and add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Mix the ingredients well, making sure that the date mixture is mixed in well.

The topper is ready to use. The suggested ratio of topper to grain is 3 Tbsp topper to 2/3 cup grain. Onion-Brazil nut topper with grain


I stored the topper in the refrigerator and ate it the next day on toast. The onion has become sweeter over time, and the topper is really delicious!

Tomato-Sorrel Salad


sorrel leaf

Sorrel is a small leafy green that is lemony in flavor (but not bitter) and nutritionally beneficial. It is easy to use and is readily available at Farmers Markets, especially in the spring. Sorrel adds mild lemon flavor to salads and soups. This salad is warming and invigorating!

For instructions on cleaning the sorrel, see “Cleaning leafy greens and other dirt-filled veggies” on the Food Prep Tips page.

Makes 4 cups 


1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

¾ tsp coarse salt

1/10 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2  tsp caraway seeds

3 cups chopped sorrel (measure after the chopping)

2 large tomatoes, chopped (3 cups)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped (1 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp flax seeds


  1. In a medium size bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper, and caraway seeds. Mix.
  2. Mix in the chopped sorrel.
  3. Mix in the tomatoes.
  4. Mix in the garlic.
  5. Add the flax seeds and mix well.
  6. Let sit for 1/2 hour. The sorrel reduces in size so you might want to put the salad in a smaller serving bowl.

Tomato-sorrel salad


Beet-rich quinoa (vegan)


Quinoa and beets

Tasty, nutritious side dishes add color and variety to a meal. The combination of quinoa and beets in this yumtritious recipe nourishes the body and entertains the senses.

Makes 8-ish cups


3 Tbsp cold-pressed sunflower oil (or other mild tasting oil)

2 cups white quinoa, rinsed

2 medium size beets, peeled and chopped small

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4  tsp ginger powder

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped small

4 cups water

1 tsp coarse salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped


  1. In a medium-large pot, heat the oil then add the quinoa and chopped beets. Cook, stirring at regular intervals until the beets are blended in with the quinoa so that the quinoa is a uniform shade of pink (8-10 minutes).
  2. Add the oregano and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add the ginger powder and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chopped, fresh ginger and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add the water. As soon as the water boils, lower the heat and cover. Cook for 28-30 minutes. The water should be complete absorbed and the quinoa should be somewhat stuck to the bottom of the pot, without burning. Remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Stir in the salt and toasted slivered almonds.
  7. Wait 5 minutes and then stir in the chopped parsley.


When I originally made the recipe, I used 1/3 cup slivered almonds. The addition of the crunch to the dish is nice so I upped the amount to 1/2. If you prefer less almonds, reduce the amount to 1/3.

If you like fresh cilantro, use 1/2 cup parsley and 1/2 cup cilantro.

Beet-rich quinoa

Peanut-Peanut Butter Sauce (vegan)

Peanut butter sauce

This sauce is smooth and crunchy. The smoothness comes from the peanut butter dressing. The crunchiness comes from the peanuts and fresh vegetables that combine with the dressing to complete the sauce.

Makes about 5 cups sauce, enough to coat 1 pound/500 gr pasta


Peanut butter dressing

1 cup natural, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter

1 1/2 cups water

1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, chopped coarsely

1 tsp lecithin granules

1 tsp flax seeds, ground

2 Tbsp lemon juice

3/4 tsp coarse salt

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or other spicy ground pepper

1 Tbsp Tamari sauce


Peanut-veggie mix

1/3 cup peanuts, roasted

3 Tbsp sesame seeds, roasted

3/4 cup green cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup carrots, sliced thinly

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1 Tbsp sesame oil


  1. Put all the peanut butter dressing ingredients in a a food processor or blender and process until very smooth.
    Peanut butter dressing
  2. Put all the peanut-veggie mix ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
    Peanut sauce
  3. Pour the dressing onto the peanut mix and stir well to coat.
    Peanut sauce 2
  4. Serve on your favorite nutritious noodles.
    Peanut butter sauce


  • Tofu chunks sauted in olive oil and tamari sauce would be a nice addition.
  • The sauce is unheated so it’s especially nice to eat during the warmer months.