March 2012
Volume 11 Issue 3

Featured Recipes

Gratitude Bowl

In the August 2009 newsletter I provided recipes for various bowls that were similar to ones we had enjoyed at a restaurant in Portland, Oregon.  These are simple, but delicious meals that are some of our favorite dinners because the ingredients can easily be varied according to what is in season or what you have available in your pantry and refrigerator.  In fact, we enjoy these so much that we recently added these bowls to the 10 day live-in program menus and they have become one of the favorite lunches of the participants.  The buffet line contains a choice of either brown rice or quinoa as the base for the bowls.  Following the grains are six separate bowls containing steamed broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, snap peas, mixed greens, and mung bean sprouts to pile on top of your grain choice.  Then there is a bowl of Asian Marinated Tofu (August 2009) if you choose to add some tofu to your dish.  To top it all off, we offer a choice of three different sauces to ladle over your grains and veggies:  Szechuan Sauce, Asian-Ginger Sauce or Peanut Sauce (all found in the August 2009 newsletter). There are several restaurants in California, called Café Gratitude, where we especially enjoy the various bowls that they offer on their menu. Three of our favorite bowls at Café Gratitude are very similar to these bowls from the August 2009 newsletter:  Named “I Am Grateful”, “I Am Accepting”, “I Am Fortified”, they offer a huge bowl of grains topped with various vegetables and a sauce of your choice. Here is my version of a grain and vegetable bowl topped with a simple Tahini Lemon Sauce. 

Preparation Time:  15-30 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 (need cooked rice or quinoa)
Servings:  4

2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
¼ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
4 to 6 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 avocado, peeled and chopped (optional)

Place the vegetable broth in a large non-stick skillet with the onion and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrot softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the shiitake, cover and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add broccoli and kale and cook, stirring occasionally until tender about 5 more minutes. Add zucchini and continue to cook until all vegetables are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, heat the brown rice or quinoa until warm.  To serve, place some brown rice or quinoa, or a combination of both into a large bowl.  Top each bowl with some of the cooked vegetable mixture and a few of the mung bean sprouts and avocado chunks. Drizzle a bit of the Tahini Lemon sauce over the top and serve.

Variations:  Instead of the shiitake, use oyster mushrooms, crimini or another of your favorites.  Instead of the mung bean sprouts use sunflower sprouts, if you can find them in your local market.  Add other vegetables that are in season according to their cooking times.

Tahini Lemon Sauce

This is a higher fat sauce because of the tahini which is made from sesame seeds.  Use only a small amount to season your bowl, or choose one of the non-fat sauces from the August 2009 newsletter for a lower fat option.

Makes 2 cups

1 cup water
¾ cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tablespoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Refrigerate in a covered container for up to one week.

Cauliflower Cocktail

I got the idea for this recipe from a comment that I saw on the internet about a restaurant in Virginia that serves a dish like this as an appetizer instead of shrimp cocktail.  I have modified the recipe only slightly to make it a bit easier and to contain less sodium.  This is really fun (and delicious) to eat and is a great conversation starter when served as a party appetizer.  I just felt I had to share it with all of you because it is something you may never have seen, much less tried, if I didn’t write about it.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Resting Time:  10 minutes
Chilling Time:  1 hour
Servings:  variable

3 quarts water
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning mix
1 onion, quartered
3 whole peeled garlic cloves
¼ cup lemon juice
1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets

Cocktail sauce, chilled (see hints below)

Place the water in a large pot and add the seasoning mix, onion, garlic cloves and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at a low boil for 10 minutes.  Remove onions and garlic from broth with a slotted spoon and discard.  Return liquid to a boil.  Add cauliflower, turn off heat, cover and let rest for 8-10 minutes.  Drain at once and spread cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for a few minutes on the counter.  Place uncovered in refrigerator to finish cooling.  Serve with chilled cocktail sauce to dip the cauliflower florets into before popping into your mouth.

Hints: Cut the cauliflower into florets that can easily be dipped once and then popped whole into your mouth.  Test the florets for tenderness while they are in the hot water; you don’t want them to be too soft, nor too hard, usually about 8-10 minutes is perfect.
The cauliflower may be prepared one to two days ahead of time and covered and refrigerated until serving. It may be served chilled or at room temperature, whichever you prefer.  There are many varieties of cocktail sauce available in most supermarkets.  Be sure to choose an oil-free variety, and feel free to spice it up a bit more by adding some horseradish and vegan Worcestershire sauce to taste.

Smokey Yam Chili

This delicious spicy bean and yam chili may be made on the stovetop or in a slow-cooker.  I usually serve it over brown rice and sometimes top it with a few slices of fresh avocado or some tofu sour cream to tone down the heat a bit.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  1 to 8 hours, depending on cooking method (see hints below)
Servings:  6

1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup water
1  15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
2  15 ounce cans fire roasted chopped tomatoes
1 medium garnet yam, peeled and chunked
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash chipotle chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the onion, bell pepper, garlic and water in a large pot and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables soften slightly.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for about 1 hour, until yam is tender.  Taste and adjust seasonings for more heat, if desired.  Serve in a bowl with some baked tortilla chips, or ladle over baked potatoes or whole grains.

Hints:  This may also be made in a slow-cooker so it is easy to start in the morning and then return to a simmering pot of chili after a long day at work or play.  Place all ingredients in the slow-cooker at the same time and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.



Eat Vegan on $4 a Day

By Ellen Jaffe Jones

Ellen Jaffe Jones has scoured the shelves of popular supermarkets and big-box stores and calculated how to eat three nutritious, delicious, satisfying meals for no more than $4 a day per person.  Eat Vegan on $4 a Day includes tips on how to adapt your favorite recipes, cook with beans and grains, and use bulk buying to reap big savings.

Ellen Jaffe Jones has been an award-winning reporter and journalist, and a financial consultant dedicated to socially responsible investing.  Before she started traveling on a book tour, as a result of her personal quest for better health, she taught cooking classes affiliated with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She is now a certified personal trainer (AFAA) and running coach (RRCA) and routinely places in 5K races for her age group.  Follow Ellen at

Mary’s notes:  Ellen is a Star McDougaller and you can read her complete story on our website; just search for her name on the Star McDougaller page.  This book is filled with fast, easy and delicious recipes, plus a lot of information to get you started and to keep you eating healthy and inexpensively. Most of the recipes in this book do not contain any added free oils, and the very few that do are easy to adapt by changing to vegetable broth or water instead of the oil. 

The following four recipes are some of my favorites from her book.  To purchase the book go to or


$1.00 per serving   Makes 12 servings

½ cup dried kidney beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked
½ cup dried great northern or cannellini beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked
6 cups water
8 to 10 large tomatoes, finely chopped, or 1 can (28 ounces) unsalted diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
¼ head napa or green cabbage, chopped
½ cup cut green beans, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons vegetable broth powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces whole wheat pasta shells, elbow macaroni, or other small pasta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Drain the beans and put them in a large soup pot.  Add the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 hour.  Stir in the tomatoes, onion, celery, carrots, cabbage, green beans, vegetable broth powder and garlic.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until the beans and vegetables are tender.  Stir in the pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the parsley.  Serve hot.

Variation:  Substitute up to 1 cup of chopped kale, spinach, or turnip greens for the cabbage.  If you use fresh spinach, it will only take 1 to 2 minutes to cook.  To avoid overcooking, stir in the spinach after the pasta is cooked.

Pot-of-Gold Rainbow Stew

$1.50 per serving   Makes 8 servings

1 cup dried pinto beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked
3 ¼ cups water
2 onions, chopped
1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch thick slices
1 green bell pepper, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Ground pepper

Drain the soaked beans and put them in a large saucepan.  Add 3 cups of the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until tender.  Set aside; do not drain.

While the beans cook, put 1 tablespoon of the remaining water and the onions in a large soup pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the eggplant, green bell pepper, garlic and remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as it evaporates. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant begins to soften. Stir in the zucchini, red bell pepper and basil.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the cooked beans and bean liquid.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip:  Substitute 1 can (15 ounces) of pinto beans instead of cooking them yourself.  Rinse and drain the beans.  Stir the beans and an additional ¼ cup of water into the vegetable mixture.

Portobello Poor Boy Sandwich

$2.00 per serving   Makes 2 servings

2 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 to 4 tablespoons water
2 roasted red peppers, drained
2 ounces spinach leaves
1 small loaf whole wheat French bread, split lengthwise and halved crosswise
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (optional)

Put the mushrooms and vinegar in a medium bowl and marinate for about 20 minutes.
Put the marinated mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the water in a medium skillet and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or just until softened and tender.  As the mushrooms cook, add more water if necessary, to prevent sticking, loosening them with a spatula. Top each mushroom with a roasted pepper.  Cover the skillet, decrease the heat to low, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the peppers are warmed through.

Divide the spinach leaves and put them on the bottom 2 pieces of the French bread.  Cut the mushrooms and peppers in half and divide between the sandwiches. Sprinkle with the soy sauce, if desired, and top with the remaining pieces of bread.

Calabacitas  (Burrito Filling)

$.25 per serving   Makes 10 servings

1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons water
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
4 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup frozen corn
Ground pepper

Put the onion and 1 tablespoon of the water in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook and stir until the water has evaporated. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon water, the zucchini and mushrooms, cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini and mushrooms have released their juices. Decrease the heat to low.  Stir in the chili powder and cumin, cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.  Stir in the corn and cook for 5 minutes to heat through.  Season with pepper to taste.

Tips:  This makes a wonderful side dish if you choose not to use it in burritos.  To “stretch” it, serve it on ten (10 inch) whole grain flour tortillas.  It’s amazing how many children say they don’t like vegetables, but I’ve never met a child who didn’t love this vegetable-packed recipe.  Children loved to be involved in creating their meals. They can build their own burritos when you serve Calabacitas with small bowls of condiments, such as chopped avocado, salsa, sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, etc.


2012 John McDougall All Rights Reserved
Dr. McDougall's Health and Medical Center
P.O. Box 14039, Santa Rosa, CA 95402