Mango Coconut Smoothies: #219 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Smoothies are an easy way to start the day with fruit and energy. For this tropical treat, you just throw some frozen mango and coconut milk in a blender, mix, and top it with anything you have on hand – we had some coconut whipped cream and fresh blueberries. It’s like being on vacation at home!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2.50 for 1 large or 3 small smoothies)

2 cups frozen mango chunks – $1.25
1 cup coconut milk (or to desired thickness) – $1.33

Optional garnishes: coconut whipped cream and blueberries

Directions

1. In your blender, mix the mango and coconut milk until smooth. Pour into one or more glasses and top with any garnishes you have on hand, like coconut whipped cream and fresh blueberries. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 1 = 1-3 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chocolate Coconut Pudding: #203 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This decadent pudding is dairy-free and has only two ingredients: coconut milk and chocolate chips. It’s satisfyingly rich and creamy when you need a hit of chocolate pudding, and it’s completely plant-based so no cows were harmed in the making of it. Enjoy!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($3.50 total)

1 can unsweetened coconut milk (not “light” coconut milk) – $1.99
1 1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips (not “milk chocolate”) – $1.50
(Optional: 1 tsp vanilla)

Directions

1. In a medium pot over medium heat, mix the coconut milk and chocolate chips together. Stir frequently for 10 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth, silky, and slightly thickened.

Remove from heat (add vanilla here if using) and let it sit for 5 minutes, then pour into individual serving bowls.

2. Cover and refrigerate the bowls for 2 hours if you can stand to wait that long (pictures on the left and in the middle below) or overnight (picture on the right below with the very thick puddingy texture).

Grab a spoon and dig into the decadence!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Pina Colada Smoothies: #194 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Here are some kid-friendly pineapple-coconut-strawberry smoothies guaranteed to put a smile in your day. Adults can always add some rum to make it more like the real thing if you like. It’s just like a day at the beach. Well, almost. Aloha!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5 total for 2 smoothies)

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks – $1.66
4 pitted dates – $0.83
1 cup coconut milk – $1.49
3 fresh strawberries, plus some for decoration – $1.00

Directions

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until mostly smooth, then serve in fancy glasses with strawberries over the side of the glass. Enjoy in your most tropical state of mind.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 1 = <4 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Vegan Malai Kofta with Zucchini and Garbanzos: #184 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Malai kofta is a classic Indian comfort food – think of tender dumplings in a creamy sauce. This recipe is a plant-based delight that blends cashews, coconut milk, and spices to create a rich sauce without all that dairy in it. The dumplings have garbanzo beans, almonds, and zucchini in them, and we added some peas and rice noodles to round out a complete and satisfying meal. Thanks to Isa for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($15 total for 6 servings)

Kofta:
1 can chick peas – $0.99
1/2 cup ground almonds – $0.63
1 large zucchini, grated – $0.58
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
Pepper to taste
1 cup ground up Hawaiian sweet rolls or other breadcrumbs – free

Sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours – $2.00
2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00
1/2 large onion, chopped – $0.25
4 cloves garlic – $0.15
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes – $0.20
1 tsp salt – $0.05
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20

1 tbsp coconut oil to cook kofta – $0.55
1-2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 package fresh pad Thai noodles – $2.99

Directions

1. Make the kofta: mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, stir well to combine, and refrigerate the mixture for half an hour to firm it up. Shape them in your palm into about 18 oval shaped balls. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

2. In a blender, add all the sauce ingredients and blend together until relatively smooth, then pour it into a large pan.

3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Cook the kofta for several minutes, turning them around gently with a form to brown as many sides as possible.

Add the peas and fresh pad thai noodles to the sauce and warm to a boil. Follow package directions for how long the noodles need to cook.

Serve the kofta in bowls over top the noodles and curry sauce. Enjoy it hot from the stove. You’ll be left with a very warm and happy tummy.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chana Curry Buns: #182 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Chana is the Hindi word for chickpea, a widely used legume in Indian cuisine. These yeasted buns have a curry-scented dough and a filling of spiced chickpeas, coconut milk, raisins, and onions. They were inspired by the Great British Bakeoff cookbook and proved to be a lovely accompaniment to our asparagus leek potato soup.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5.50 total for 4 large stuffed buns)

Dough:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/3 cup hottest tap water + 1 cup warm water – free
4 cups white whole wheat flour – $0.64
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
2 tsp salt – $0.10
1 tbsp sesame seeds – $0.08
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40

Filling:
1 tbsp canola oil – $0.05
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
3 celery stalks, chopped – $0.15
2 garlic cloves, minced – $0.08
1/2 tsp turmeric – $0.14
1/2 tsp cumin – $0.14
2 tsp curry powder – $0.56
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/4 cup raisins – $0.25
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained – $0.79
1/4 cup coconut milk – $0.49
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Prepare the dough: in a small plastic bowl, mix the yeast, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup hottest tap water together briefly. Let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom the yeast until a thick foam forms on top. In a large metal bowl, mix the flour, curry powder, salt, and sesame seeds.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the olive oil to the flour mixture. Stir well with a wooden spoon to form it into a dough. Knead the dough with your hands for 10 minutes, then put it back in the metal bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size.

2. Prepare the filling: In a large pan, heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes to soften the onions. Add in the garlic, turmeric, cumin, and curry powder, and mix well. Next, add the raisins and chickpeas, and finally the coconut milk.

Stir to combine and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, until the mixture is pretty dry. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove from heat and cool.

3. Assemble the chana buns: cut the risen dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out on a cutting board to a circle about 6 inches across. Divide the filling into 4 portions and put one portion into the center of each circle. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch the ends together. Turn the bun over so the pinched ends are underneath, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the buns with a tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled. Remove the cover and bake the buns at 425F for 20 minutes until they’re nice and golden brown. Cut into them and serve warm with your favorite soup or salad.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Homemade Coconut Tortillas: #136 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We always used to buy tortillas until we realized how easy they are to whip up, hot from the griddle. You can use these to make burritos, quesadillas, or tortilla chips. The hint of coconut oil makes them extra flavorful, but you could use butter or canola oil if you prefer.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2.50 for 8 tortillas)

2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1 tsp baking powder – $0.02
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter or canola oil – $2.20
1 cup hot water – free

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together well. Add the coconut oil and work it into the flour with your fingers until it has the texture of fine crumbs. Next, add the hot water and mix until it comes together into a dough. 

Briefly knead it into a ball, adding a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and shape gently into balls. Cover and let them rest for half an hour.

2. On a lightly floured board, roll out each ball of dough until it’s a round tortilla shape about 8″ across. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat, then add the tortilla to the pan. 

Give it a little shake to make sure it’s not stuck to the pan, then let it cook for 30-60 seconds. Flip it over with a spatula and let it cook on the other side for the same amount of time, until both sides have little brown marks on them.

3. Store the cooked tortillas on a plate covered in a tea towel to keep them warm and moist, then serve when they’re all cooked. Fill with burrito fillings, or cheese for a quesadilla, or enjoy them dipped in guacamole or salsa. Buen provecho!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely (refined flour)
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Coconut Cranberry Spinach: #129 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is a fantastic spinach dish originally from Tanzania (called mchicha wa nazi). It has spinach, onions, and cranberries simmered in coconut milk, and I threw a bit of roasted chicken in too. We served it over rice, but it would also make a nourishing meal on its own. It’s too good not to try it!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7 total)

1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
1 bunch spinach, chopped – $1.89
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1 cup dried cranberries – $1.92
1/2 cup leftover roast chicken (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Peel and chop the onion. Wash the spinach. Assemble the ingredients. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat, then add the onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes until it gets soft and translucent but not too brown.

2. Add the chopped spinach and stir to combine, then add the cranberries and mix them in. Add the can of coconut milk, stir, and let simmer for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.

3. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the chicken if using. Serve hot over rice or on its own. Enjoy the nourishing deliciousness!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour 
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers 
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chocolate Coconut Truffle Bites: #120 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

These truffle bites are SO GOOD!!!! It’s hard to believe they’re plant-based (no butter, no refined sugar, no cream). You have to try them. Seriously. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7.50 for 18 balls)

1 1/2 cup rolled oats – $0.18
1/2 cup cocoa – $0.55
1/4 cup ground flax seeds – $0.40
1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (optional) – $0.50
1/2 cup coconut butter, softened – $4.40
1/4 cup honey – $0.56
1/4 cup maple syrup – $0.95
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, cocoa, flax, and chocolate chips together.

2. In a small bowl, mix the coconut butter, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix it all up. Feel free to use your hands!

3. Use your hands to press the amazingly delicious mixture into bite-sized balls. Savor at room temperature or store covered in the fridge or freezer.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Restorative Coconut Ginger Dal: #104 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, or if you just want an extra healing, nourishing meal for your body and spirit, this is the soup for you. You can leave out the chard if you prefer, but we had some on hand from our farm volunteering, so I threw it in. This dal freezes very well too.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total for a large pot of soup)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 tbsp curry powder – $1.40
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
2 cups red lentils – $1.69
6 cups water – free
5 medium potatoes, diced – $0.90
2 carrots, sliced – $0.46
2 celery stalks, sliced – $0.20
1 cup raisins – $1.00
1/4 cup tomato paste (1 small can) – $0.89
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk – $1.99
20 leaves of rainbow chard, chopped up – free from the farm
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it starts to get soft, stirring frequently. Then add the curry powder and ginger, and mix to thoroughly coat the onions.

Once that’s all nicely combined, add the lentils (dry) to the pot and stir briefly to cover the lentils with the onion and spices. 

2. Add the water, potatoes, carrots, and celery next. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 1/2 an hour until the lentils and veggies are soft. 

Then add the tomato paste, raisins, coconut milk, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix well.

3. With the cover removed, simmer for 10-20 more minutes over medium low heat. If you’re adding chopped greens, put them in here and let them wilt while the soup simmers.

You want the dal to be a nice thick soup, not watery at all. Taste for spices and serve hot. Store any leftovers in the fridge or freezer. We like to freeze lunch portions in individual containers so they’re easy to grab from the freezer for school or work.

Enjoy, and feel better soon! 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chocolate Coconut Yummies: #41 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I remember standing on a stool to make these when I was a kid, stirring the chocolate and marshmallows around to melt them. The anticipation of a delicious ball of oats, coconut, and fudgy goodness was too much to bear. And now I can make them with my kids!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5 total)

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips – $2.00
1/3 cup margarine or butter – $0.75
16 large marshmallows – $0.99
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20
1 cup shredded coconut – $0.66
2 cups rolled oats – $0.24

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the olive oil. Be sure to mix well. It will make a In a double boiler (a metal bowl sitting over a pot of boiling water), melt the chocolate chips, margarine/butter, and marshmallows. Stir until smooth, then remove from heat.

2. Stir in the vanilla, coconut, and oats, mix well until thoroughly combined. Squeeze and roll little balls of yummy mixture in your hands and put onto a plate.

3. Refrigerate the yummies for 30 minutes (or longer), then enjoy. They also freeze well and are great packed in school lunchboxes. I like to have one after lunch myself sometimes too. 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!