Easy Asian Noodles

There is something to be said for a home cooked meal that is ready in about 15 minutes. Especially if it is healthy! Even better when it is a one-pot meal.

My kids would be happy to have sandwiches every meal but I’m not. I like real food, warm food, but I don’t have a lot of time to cook.

asian noodles peanut and gluten-free

If you have been here for a while you know that my son has multiple food allergies. Peanuts and gluten are just a few of the things that are off-limits for us. He rarely gets to eat restaurant food because of his food allergies; we have a few safe restaurants to choose from.

All Asian restaurants use peanuts and soy sauce (contains gluten) and I’m not comfortable with the chances of cross contamination even if he ordered a “safe” dish. His only exposure to Asian food is food I make. My recipes are far from authentic but they are easy to make and use simple ingredients.

asian noodles

This recipe is peanut-free and gluten-free and can accommodate other allergies with substitutions. It cooks really quickly, the longest part is getting the water to boil.

Easy Asian Noodles

Ingredients

Do

  1. Bring water to a boil. As you wait slice the carrots and get the other ingredients ready.
  2. Dump the carrots into the boiling water and cook them for 2-3 minutes.
  3. After the carrots have cooked a few minutes add the frozen peas and the noodles.
  4. Cook everything together for 5 minutes. Once the timer beeps, taste test the noodles and carrots to see if either need a minute or two longer.
  5. Carefully drain the water out of your pot. I like to use one of these. Then dump in the Tamari/Bragg’s and the SoyNut Butter. Stir well until it has melted into the noodles and is evenly distributed.

This recipe can be easily adapted based on what you have on hand and what food restrictions you work with. It is similar to my Veggie Pad Thai recipe but this one is simplified even more and only uses carrots and peas to cut down on dishes and extra chopping. You can buy frozen, chopped carrots for a quicker recipe.

What are your favorite quick meals?

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Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

stir fry broccoli and mushroom After a long day I really don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. That is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of Batch Cooking. Sometimes I need a quick and easy meal. Stir fry’s are such an easy option. Since I don’t cook with oil some may argue that this isn’t a true stir fry. The extra fat found in oil isn’t really needed if you use a little water in its place. (You can view this post to see how I use water for fried rice.)

We almost always have cooked  brown rice in the fridge. We use it in so many recipes it is a staple in our diet. When I don’t have rice cooked, I can make it quickly in my Instant Pot. This stir fry can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand but half my household loves mushrooms so this dish was for them.

stir fry broccoli and mushroom

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 crown broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or Tamari)

As with many of my recipes, you can add more ingredients or remove items you don’t like without a huge problem with the recipe. For example, if you aren’t a big fan of mushrooms use less or use bell peppers in their place.

Do

  1. In a hot skillet or wok add diced onions and sliced carrots, cover with a lid. Check on them regularly and stir. When they begin to stick pour a few tablespoons of water in the skillet and stir again.
  2. Once the carrots are starting to soften, dump in the mushrooms. These will need to cook for several minutes. Once they have exuded their juices and look shiny, pour the broccoli in and cover once again.
  3. Check veggies every few minutes and stir. If they begin to stick to the pan add more water again.
  4. Once all of the veggies are cooked to a tender/crisp consistency dump in your cooked rice and stir. You can use less than 4 cups if desired.  You can also heat the rice separately if desired.
  5. Pour Bragg Liquid Aminos over the rice and veggies. I’d start with a little and add more to taste. We probably use a couple of tablespoons but it is a high sodium food so limit it if necessary.

This meal comes together in less than 20 minutes. If you have to cook the rice allow yourself sufficient time. This is a really easy meal to make and packs perfectly in a lunch box (I only recommend it for adult or older kids lunches).

If you like this, check out my other great Asian inspired meals, Veggie Pad Thai and my easy Oil-Free (un)Fried Rice.

Don’t forget to enter the EasyLunchBoxes Giveaway!

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Black Bean Mango Salad

It’s summer time and that means salads.

When you adopt a plant-based diet the BIG salad is kind of a rite of passage. We aren’t talking the dinky side salads you typically found in your Standard American Diet (SAD) days. We aren’t even talking about the giant meat, cheese and oil salads you may have ordered when you were “eating healthy.”

No, I’m talking about fiber filled, colorful, BIG, flavorful and healthy salads.

Black Bean Mango Salad Vegan Gluten-Free Plant-Based

Unlike most of the recipes you’ll find here this recipe is for a single serving. Sure my kids would love most of the things in this salad but if your kids are like my kids they don’t want it all mixed together. Today, I’m telling the kids to get back. This one is all mine.

Even though this is for a single serving I prefer to build two (or three or four) at a time to eat later in the week. The only real difference is you’ll want to store the diced mango separately because it can get a little slimy.

Let me take just a moment to mention that the measurements below can be adapted to your taste. I actually added a little more of everything for the salad I ate at home. This size was perfect for work. I don’t know about you but it takes me a long time to eat BIG salads. My lunch salads need to be a little average size.

Black Bean Mango Salad Vegan Gluten-Free

Black Bean Mango Salad

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup organic corn
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato (remove seeds)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (I prefer sweet onion or red onions)
  • 1/4 of a large mango (or half a small mango) diced.
  • diced jalapenos to taste
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 avocado (optional)

Do

  1. Place lettuce in a large bowl then top with beans, corn, tomatoes, onion and mango*.
  2. If using jalapenos and cilantro add now. Give the salad a good stir.
  3. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad and stir one more time.

*Notes: If you are packing an extra salad for another day leave the mango, lime juice and avocado separate I didn’t use avocado above but I stored my mango and lime in a container. See the photo below.

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

I’ve seen the cauliflower buffalo wings on a dozen blogs. I love the idea but the problem is I HATE buffalo sauce.

In college I worked in a sports grill and I couldn’t even stand to carry the buffalo wings to my customers. The smell. Gag.

I have always loved BBQ though. Years ago friends and I would share boneless BBQ wings in our late night chats.

Just because I avoid chicken doesn’t mean I have to avoid barbecue sauce. Especially this Homemade BBQ Sauce.

Quick Note: You can make these with or without the breading. I’m sharing a gluten-free breading for the cauliflower but you can make it with wheat flour or skip the breading all together.

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup Gluten-Free flour blend
  • 1 cup unsweetened and unflavored plant milk (I use rice milk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 recipe Homemade BBQ Sauce

Do

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Rinse cauliflower and cut into two-bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches or so).
  3. In a medium bowl mix the rest of the ingredients (except BBQ Sauce) together. I recommend adding the milk a little at a time because you may not need the whole cup. Stir with a whisk until the batter is the consistency of pancake batter.
  4. Put a handful of the cauliflower pieces into the batter then remove with a fork and place it on the cookie sheet.
  5. Once all of the cauliflower pieces have been dipped in batter and arranged on the cookie sheet bake for 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes carefully remove the hot cauliflower and dip them into the BBQ Sauce. Put them back on the cookie sheet and bake for 5 more minutes.

Serve

These BBQ Cauliflower Bites are best served right out of the oven.

Need more barbecue ideas? Try these delicious recipes!

Vegan BBQ Sandwich...You'll never guess the secret ingredient!

Vegan BBQ Sandwich

Grilled Portobello Burgers and Vegan Potato Salad

Grilled Portobello Burger

Incredible vegan and gluten-free avocado grillers

Avocado Grillers

What are your favorite things to barbecue? Don’t forget the sides like grilled corn, veggie kabob’s, potato salad and pasta salad!

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

I’ve been promising recipe for a while but keep putting it off. Today I’m going to share my Instant Pot version of my Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole, a.k.a. Mexican Casserole. It uses dry beans so you don’t have to cook anything ahead of time.

If you’ve tried the Crock Pot version, the Stove or Oven version you know that this is really good and really easy. Some people don’t like the texture of the rice when cooked in the Crock Pot.  The Instant Pot Mexican Casserole comes out perfect every time; if you have a pressure cooker I challenge you to make this.

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup uncooked dry beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste (or 1 8 oz can tomato sauce with slightly less water)
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Do

  1. Dump all of the ingredients into your pressure cooker and stir once or twice.
  2. Close the lid and cook on manual for 28 minutes.
  3. Once done, allow the pressure to come down and open carefully. If you are in a hurry you can do a quick release.

Serve

This meal can be eaten alone or served with tortillas or chips and salsa. It travels well and we often take it in our lunches.

If you are new to the Instant Pot or pressure cookers in general it’s important to know that it takes time for them to come up to pressure and time for the pressure to come down when they are finished cooking. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour even though it only “cooks” for 28 minutes.

Note: If using beans other that black beans make sure you are cooking this long enough. The rice takes 28 minutes to cook but some beans may take longer. Consult the Instant Pot cooking guides and cook it as long as necessary.

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