Vegan Chili con Carne

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Or should I say Chile Sin Carne (which means without in Spanish as oppose to con, that means with) because there is no Carne (meat) at all in this recipe!

This is a great way to start the week and an awesome recipe to cook in advance. It is very simple to make, perfect for busy people that would like to eat a bit healthier during the week since this is a meal that you can take to the office to reheat and it will taste perfect.

Like every dish that gets its flavour from spices, it always tastes better the longer it sits together. This chili will be perfect in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.

In these cold gloomy days of winter, there is nothing better than a warm plate of this spiced mexican style platillo. I have removed the meat to make it vegan which also removed all the saturated fats and colesterol, making it very low in fat and high in protein and slow burning carbs which is perfect to keep you fuller for longer.

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In case you are new to this site and you haven’t read this before, beans and beef have a very similar content in protein, even though the quality of the that protein is not as high since vegetable protein lacks some basic amino acids, making it less available for the body to use. In order to supply those missing amino acids, you add some animal protein to the dish, or some cereal. It is enough to add a small portion or bread, rice o a bit of cheese or even soured cream to make it complete.

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Since I am on a permanent journey to a leaner me, I haven’t add grated cheese on top as in the tex mex versions but depending on your goals you may want to do so.

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Ingredients (serves 6)

2 stalks of celery

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow pepper

2 red onions

800gr. can of chopped tomatoes

800 gr. red kidney beans

1 small can of sweet corn

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. ancho chili powder

1 tsp. chipotle powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

Salt to taste

Extra Virgin Olive oil

How to…

Peel and chop the onions in small squares, the peppers and the celery in small pieces and in a large pan, heat up 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Cook the onions first for a couple of minutes adding salt to it and then add the pepper and celery and cook for a further 7 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Add the chopped tomatoes, the spices and taste for salt and leave simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the beans removing part of the liquid first and keeping in aside in case the pan runs dry. Cook for a further 10 minutes, add the sweet corn and after another 2 minutes turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to mix.

You can eat straight away or way until the next day. I serve it with whole grain rice (the portion is around 30gr. of dry rice per person), fat free greek yogurt and fresh coriander and chilies for decoration and you can also add a side of avocado.

Enjoy!

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Quick Healthy Paella

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Paella, one of the most easy yet complex dishes to master.

Every home has it’s ingredient mix and particularities that make it that little bit special and just better than everyone else’s!

In the context of a low fat, low carb diet, a paella is simply an impossibility. By definition, made with round grain white rice, which behaves like pure sugar in your system, and the high amount of olive oil used to make it sweet and soft is the anti diet dish. However, as with everything, there are ways around it to achieve, with very little compromise, a low GI, low fat, high protein dish that you can enjoy whenever you want.

I have substituted the traditional white rice with the black rice alternative I mentioned some time ago, and I have reduced the amount of olive oil to the bare minimum.

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Ingredients (for 1)

60 gr. of black rice (uncooked)

100 to 120 gr. of diced chicken breast

1/3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

50 gr. finely chopped onion

50 gr. finely chopped red pepper

1/3 chicken stock cube

Salt

In a small cooking pot, heat up the olive oil and add the onion and the pepper at the same time. Let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes until they have started to soften. Salt the chicken and add it in, let cook for a couple of minutes.

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Add the dry rice and mix well for another minute. Then add the same volume of water as the rice occupied in its container. Add the stock cube, let simmer for 25 minutes without moving it any more.

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I like my rice a bit al dente, once cooked, check if it’s cooked to your taste and if not, add 5 more minutes. You might need to add some more water as well.

The water you add should last the full cooking time, it not, you might be cooking at too high heat, that will affect the outcome so lower heat and soft simmering is better.

Black Rice

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This has been a horrible week at work, stressful, bad weather… the only thing that has put a positive note on it, has been the lovely discovery I made during the weekend and that has made my home made lunches this week Mmmm so delicious.

I have been bored lately, and I devoted a couple of hours of my Saturday last week to wander around aimlessly through the posh supermarket of my town, (which is already posh enough as it is) in the search of the sexy named Forbidden Rice.

According to history, only the ancient Chinese emperors were allowed to eat this rare type of rice in the kingdom, and it was meant to provide them with longevity. There is a scientific reason behind this popular Chinese belief, and in fact this rice contains more antioxidants than blueberries and it’s much higher in protein that it’s white counterpart.

Not only that, this variety of rice, is what today is considered and ancient grain, which hasn’t been modified for efficient farming or mass production, retrieving its original benefits and characteristics. Moreover, it doesn’t have the same glycemic index as white rice, is even lower that brown rice, and has fewer calories than any of them too.

This is as healthy as rice can get, and on top of that, it’s rich nutty flavor and exotic colour, make it an absolute showstopper when trying to impress at your dinner parties.

It is cooked very much like brown rice, it’s wholegrain coverture makes it harder so it needs approximately 30 minutes of cooking. You can cook it only 20 if you leave it in hot water for a couple of hours or since the night before.

I have been cooking it with prawns and calamari rings, in a manner of black healthy paella, and it works really well, but it can be a nice side dish for anything you would do with white rice.

The only downside, as usually with these things, is the price, it’s significantly more expensive than normal rice, but hey… your body will thank you.

Facts about black rice:

White Rice: 180 calories, 53 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein GI 70

Brown rice: 170 calories, 46 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams protein GI 50

Black Rice: 160 calories, 34 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 5 grams protein GI 35

(for GI guidance: for weight loss, the GI of your food should be under 40, for weight maintenance between 40 and 50 and for weight gain, anything above)

Black rice recipe coming soon!