Meatless in Miami: New Year, New Ways To Be Meatless

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Long time, no see! As some of you might know I have another job or two so I don't get around to sharing as much here as I'd like, but I hope to be contributing a little more in the coming months.

That said, it seems like everywhere I turn lately I am seeing more and more news of people reducing the amount of animal products in their diet, if not eschewing them all together. Friends, family and total strangers have been expressing to me (their friendly neighborhood supportive vegetarian) how they're interested in making changes to live healthier and eating more plant-based meals. Good stuff!  

Personally, I've been aiming lately for more a more whole foods-centric diet (i.e. reducing to a minimum the processed, sodium-laden veggie meats in the freezer section - they're good "transition foods" but I've been doing this way too long to rely them as much as I was). So far so good as I have loads of energy and lower grocery bills to boot.

To kick off a new year of Meatless in Miami, I'd like to share one of my all-time favorite recipes. It's been a staple in my kitchen for years as it's quick, easy, cheap, versatile and packed with protein, fiber and nutrients. Without further ado:

Spinach-Lentil NYF*

1 package frozen spinach or a bag of fresh
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
several heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
shake or two of curry powder (or also add cumin, cayenne or whatever spice you fancy)

Directions: Heat together everything in a saucepan or if you're on the go simply microwave the frozen spinach to defrost, add the lentils and microwave again. Add the NYF at the end to soak up the excess moisture. Add more nyf or teaspoons of water until you get the consistency you desire. Stir in curry powder to taste. Voila!

Spinach-Lentil NYF is great over brown rice as a main course with big scoop of soy yogurt (or Greek if you still do dairy) on top.  It also makes a perfect side dish or a hearty dip, scooped up with big Wasa or whole wheat crackers.  You can also further lower the sodium (and already low cost) of this dish even more by buying bulk lentils and just soaking them overnight.

*NYF is Nutritional Yeast Flakes (I call it "nif"). These yellow, powdery flakes are a vegan-friendly inactive yeast. They're savory with a slightly nutty taste and are great to add to any dish to increase it's protein and nutrient content, and provide B12 which is important for veggie folks to get. I could literally go on for ages about its wonderfulness but try it for yourself. NYF is available in the bulk section at Whole Foods and should become a staple in your kitchen! I keep it in an old coffee can with a scoop so it's always at hand, or grind it up with some sesame seeds and keep it in a shaker in the fridge for a yummy topping for just about anything.

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