Dinner party series….Sunday family brunch

18 Mar

Living in California, away from my family in Michigan is trying at times.  However, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to go and visit them often.  It has become a bit of a tradition that before leaving Michigan to go back to California, I gather my family together for a meal.

This past trip to Michigan ended on a Sunday so I thought what better than a nice family brunch.  Planning the menu for this proved to be a little bit of a challenge.  I wanted to make something that would have my healthy, creative flair yet still appeal to my family members who prefer the more traditional breakfast foods (such as bacon).

I developed this menu which seemed to satisfy everyone’s tastebuds.  Included are all the recipes needed to make this on your own.  Always remember to cook everything with love and positive energy, that is the secret ingredient after all!

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To start is a kale salad tossed in a homemade dijon vinagarette.  Green lentils are added for protein and toasted almonds add their toasty flavor and a bit of crunch.

Kale Lentil Salad w/ dijon vinigarette (vegan, GF) 
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4 cups chopped kale

1 cup green lentils

1/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped

 Dijon dressing:

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

~ Rinse and sort lentils, add into a pot with 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes

~ Meanwhile, add together all ingredients for the dressing and whisk together until emulsified

~ Pour the dressing over the kale.  Massage the dressing into the kale until it begins to wilt

~ Add the lentils to the kale and mix well ~ Sprinkle with toasted almonds _____________________________________________________________________________________

In order to cater to different tastes and make the meal enjoyable for everyone, I decided to make two different versions of the main dish, one vegetarian and the other vegan.  This is a good tip when cooking for a primarily non vegan crowd.  Making a main dish and then a smaller vegan version allows your guests to have something that they are familiar with and also allows them to try something different.  They may even do a taste comparison and realize that they like the vegan option better.  I guess I am always trying to seduce people over to the healthy, vegan way of life. As my vegetarian main dish option I made this veggie quiche with a brown rice crust.

Zucchini broccoli quiche with a brown rice crust (vegetarian, GF) 

For crust:

2 cups brown rice

1 egg

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used havarti)

For filling:

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6 eggs

4 egg whites

4 cloves garlics

1/2 onion, diced

1 med zucchini

1 broccoli crown

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup feta cheese

5 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Sea salt

Pepper

~ Mix together the ingredients for the crust and press into a greased baking pan

~ Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then take out

~ Mix together the ingredients for the filling and pour into the pan over the crust

~ Top with more shredded havarti cheese if you choose

~ Bake uncovered at 375 for 35 – 40 minutes or until egg is set in the center

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And now for my vegan main dish.  This one actually went over well and I think could be a great side dish to any brunch table.

Mediterranean veggie bake (vegan, GF) 

1 med tomato, diced

1 sm zucchini, sliced

1 cup sliced mushrooms 20140302_122606

1 cup chopped kale

2 cups chickpea flour

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups water

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Garlic powder

Sea salt

~ Whisk together the flour, nutritional yeast, water and olive oil until there are no lumps

~ Add in the vegetables and seasonings and mix well

~ Pour mixture into a greased 9″ pan and bake at 400F for 35-40 min, it should be slightly browned on top and cooked through in the middle __________________________________________________________________________________________ Instead of the traditional hash browns or roasted potato side, I wanted to make something a little different.  These patties are delicious and also sneak in another serving of vegetables!  What I did was make the dough the night before and then formed them into patties and cooked them right before company arrived.  

Zucchini potato patties 

20140302_120646

3 zucchini , shredded

3 carrots, shredded

2 small red potatoes, boiled and mashed

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1 tbsp dried thyme

Garlic powder

Pepper and sea salt

~ Shred the zucchini and carrots using the large holes of a cheese grate

~ Place in a collander and toss with some sea salt, set aside and let the moisture drain out for about 20 min

~ Squeeze the rest of the moisture out of the mixture using your hands

~ Add into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, combine well (you may find that you need to add more flour if the mixture is still too wet)

~ Form into patties and cook in an oiled pan until they are golden brown on each side

*These are great served with dijon mustard or marinara sauce

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In place of a dessert, I wanted to make something that wasn’t too sweet and would pair well with coffee and tea.  These bars are very easy to make and were a huge hit.

Pumpkin oat chocolate chip bars (vegan, GF) 

3 cups oats

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp coconut oil

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

1/3 cup chocolate chips

 ~ Mix together all ingredients except for chocolate chips.  The batter will be thick so once you get it started, it is easier to mix it with your hands.

~ Fold in the chocolate chips

~ Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 min

*This recipe would also be great with chopped apples and walnuts in place of the chocolate chips

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 Any of these dishes would make a wonderful addition to your Easter brunch spread!

As always, I am here to help with the cooking, planning and organizing of your event or dinner party.  Contact me today to make your next meal special.

zenutritionfoods@gmail.com

(323) 379-5140

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