Do you love seeing transformations as much as I do; before and after photos of someone’s weight loss success? Are there more stories in the news lately about how eating vegetables, greens, whole grains and legumes are the key to optimal health? Or is it because I’m retired and have more time to read and watch TV? Is my radar more acute to this type of information? Maybe so, but I also believe we (as a nation) have been moving slowly toward a better understanding about the great impact of our food choices. I’m happy when I see news reports about the increasing danger of processed and sodium, sugar and fat-laden ‘foods’. The October issue of Men’s Journal has a seven page article called Smart Eating, The New Rules. It was right before the article about the Duck Dynasty phenomenon! Anyways, the article surveyed five master chefs for their secrets to cooking healthy and delicious meals. They all tapped into some very important ideas with the emphasis on fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits and simple preparation.
I also love reading success stories, testimonials and the experience from so many others who have embraced the plant-based lifestyle; regardless of how they come to it. Some are actually steered toward adopting a plant-based diet by their doctor. Sadly, there aren’t enough doctors who prescribe a plant-based diet (PBD) to their patients. But, the stories ALL end up resonating the same theme: great results from living on a plant-based diet program including lower cholesterol and BP, tons more energy and weight loss. So many other testimonials talk about how eating a plant-based diet has completely alleviated so many ailments; and, did you know that heart disease can and has been totally reversed on the PBD? You can read more here.
Roger and I are experiencing all these benefits, and more. He hasn’t suffered with heartburn or “leg jimmies” (restless leg syndrome) since adopting a mostly plant-based diet. We’ve both lost weight, lowered our cholesterol and BP. We are sleeping better and we certainly don’t miss the meat, cheese, oil or dairy!
I love this enlightening story from a woman who was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer). She made a choice to become Dr. McDougall’s patient and follow the plant-based diet. It’s an eye-opener with astounding results!
Friday’s recipe is full of nutrients, minerals and all deliciousness! I was reading lasagne recipes and didn’t want to spend the time with layering the noodles….so, this was my lazy alternative. I guarantee you that no flavor was lost in the translation! Below is the recipe for the Bravo Tomato Sauce which is versatile and delicious!
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
- 16 ounce package whole wheat, gluten free or your favorite lasagna noodles
- 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained and chopped small
- 3 cups marinara or tomato sauce (see Bravo sauce below)
- 10 ounces spinach, frozen
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup store-bought vegan parmesan or make your own (seriously, 3 ingredients)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
In a large pot, cook pasta sheets al dente according to directions. Immediately rinse with cold water, pat dry with a clean towel and set aside laying flat on a plate.
Press out any excess water from spinach and combine with tofu and 1/2 cup vegan parmesan in a large bowl until well incorporated. Once evenly combined, taste test, adding salt as desired and adjusting nutritional yeast, parmesan and seasonings to taste. Then add 1/2 cup of marinara and stir to combine. Line a 9 x 12 baking pan with a thin layer of marinara.
On a clean work surface, lay out your cooked lasagne sheets and spread 1/4 cup of the tofu-spinach mixture on each noodle and roll it closed. Place the lasagne rolls in the pan with the noodle crease on the bottom. Repeat with all noodles.
Pour the remaining marinara over the rolls, cover with foil and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining ‘cheese’. Bake or broil for 5-7 more minutes and serve immediately. This is great with a simple arugula salad with red cabbage and shaved carrot.
Bravo Tomato Sauce
Chef Ramses Bravo is the executive chef for TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California and author of Bravo! Health-Promoting Meals from The TruthNorth Kitchen. Ramses has worked in numerous hotels and restaurants over his 14-year career, including a position as executive chef for the renowned Kenwood Inn and Spa in California.
The combination of fresh and packaged tomatoes gives this sauce the right flavor and consistency. If only fresh tomatoes are used, the sauce does not become thick enough. This recipe makes double the amount you may need for the lasagne rolls, but I guarantee you’ll want extra!!
• 1 ½ pounds Roma tomatoes
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1 stalk celery, diced
• 1 shallot, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
• 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
• 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth
• 3 cups chopped tomatoes, canned or packaged
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packaged and chopped
Put the Roma tomatoes in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Pour through a strainer to remove the seeds and skins. Set aside.
Put the onion, celery, shallot, and garlic in a large dry saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and the bottom of the saucepan are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, granulated garlic, dried onion flakes, and optional red pepper flakes and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and cook until the bottom of the saucepan is dry and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and strained Roma tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the basil. Serve hot. Stored in a sealed container, Bravo Tomato Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Depending on your preference, the sauce can be left chunky or processed in batches in a blender until smooth.
Eat for your Life!