Coconut Rice and Beans: Recipe #241

We were inspired by a national dish of Belize to make this coconut rice and beans dinner. Belize is a beautiful coastal country in Central America between Mexico and the Caribbean, with jungles and beaches and coral reefs. Not to mention delicious food! Hope you enjoy this little culinary trip to a wonderful new land without having to leave your kitchen.

Thanks to National Foods for global cuisine ideas, and to all of you for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family! 😍

Ingredients ($5.50 for a potful)

9 small handfuls of dry pinto beans (about 4 cups) – $0.32
5 cloves of garlic, 1 of them crushed – $0.20
1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55
1 large onion, chopped – $0.50
1/2 bunch kale, chopped – $0.90
1 red pepper, diced – $0.79
1 tbsp minced basil leaves – free from garden
3 mini cans coconut milk (161 mL each) – $1.49
1 1/2 cups dry rice – $0.53
2 cups water – free
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Coconut Rice and Beans

1. If you have time, soak the beans in water overnight first. Then, whether or not they’ve been soaked, put the beans in a large pot filled with water. Drop in 4 whole, peeled garlic cloves. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and boil gently for at least 3-4 hours (if dry) or 1 hour (if pre-soaked). When the beans are tender and not crunchy, drain and rinse them in cool water and set aside.

In the same large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, crushed garlic clove, red pepper, kale, and minced basil leaves. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions and peppers are soft.

2. Add the beans back into the pot with the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, add the dry rice, coconut milk, and water. Stir to combine everything thoroughly, and bring back to a boil. Then cover the pot, turn down to medium low heat, and let it simmer for 45 minutes until the rice is cooked and everything has come together nicely into a thick and creamy dish.

Serve the coconut rice and beans with your favorite side dish, or eat it as a complete meal in itself. Enjoy your tropical getaway! 🌴

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • 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: 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!

Homemade Creamed Corn: Recipe #238

I remember eating creamed corn out of a can as a kid, especially when we were at the cottage or on a road trip. It had never occurred to me to make homemade creamed corn, but here’s a yummy plant-based way to do just that!

And for today’s Plum Village inspiration side dish, here are four things you can say to yourself as you breathe in and out for a few mindful seconds…

I don’t want to suffer anymore. (breathe in)
If I am peaceful, the world can be peaceful. (breathe out)
I want to enjoy my life. (breathe in)
If I am happy, the world can be happy. (breathe out)

Thanks to Isa for this recipe’s inspiration and to all of you for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($4.50 for a big panful)

2 tbsp coconut oil – $1.10
2 tbsp flour – $0.04
1 1/4 cups coconut milk – $1.31
1 x 16 oz package of frozen corn – $1.99
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Homemade Creamed Corn

1. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it in. Cook and whisk constantly for a couple of minutes until the mixture turns a toasted color. Next, slowly add the coconut milk, whisking as you go. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes to thicken it up nicely into a creamy sauce.

2. Finally, add in the corn, salt and pepper. Stir well to cover all the corn with the sauce, and let it cook for a few minutes until the corn is warm. Serve your homemade creamed corn as a side dish to Korean lentils or whatever other dinner you’re enjoying. May you have a happy and peaceful meal! ❤️

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 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!

Coconut Tofu Curry: Recipe #234

I’m finally getting more comfortable with curries, where I can just cook and invent and adjust without following a recipe. I can do this for Italian and British cooking, since that’s what I grew up with, but expanding my repertoire is wonderful too. For this take on Thai curry we played with broccoli, mushrooms, kale, tofu, and coconut milk to make some culinary magic.

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for being part of our delicious planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($14 total)

1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 garlic, minced – $0.15
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
1 tsp each cumin and ginger – $0.56
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour – $0.02
2 cups miso ginger broth or vegetable broth – $1.00
1 head broccoli, chopped – $3.49
5-6 mushrooms, chopped – $1.25
1/4 bag chopped kale, destemmed and chopped – $0.49
2 x 5 oz cans coconut milk – $0.67
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes – $0.40
1 lime, juiced – $0.20
1 package teriyaki baked tofu, chopped up – $3.69
3 cups cooked rice – $0.35

Directions

1. Chop and prepare all your ingredients, and start the rice cooking. I had some lovely help for this part!

Then, in a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, curry powder, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper. Stirfry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and the spices smell incredible.

2. Next, stir in the flour into the onions and cook for 2 minutes to thicken, then gradually stir in the broth. Add in the broccoli, mushrooms, and kale, followed by the coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, lime juice, and tofu. Simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until broccoli is tender but still bright green.

Serve the coconut tofu curry hot over rice, and enjoy your bowl of curried comfort. ❤️

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

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!

Mango Coconut Smoothies: Recipe #219

Mango coconut 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 for Mango Coconut Smoothies

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

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: Recipe #203

This decadent chocolate coconut 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 for Chocolate Coconut Pudding

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 of your chocolate coconut pudding!

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: Recipe #194

Here are some kid-friendly pineapple-coconut-strawberry pina colada 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 for Pina Colada Smoothies

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 your pina colada smoothies 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: Recipe #184

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 who inspired this vegan malai kofta.

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 for Vegan Malai Kofta

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 your vegan malai 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: Recipe #182

Chana is the Hindi word for chickpea, a widely used legume in Indian cuisine. These yeasted chana curry 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 for Chana Curry Buns

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 chana curry buns 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!