The McDougall Newsletter - Dr. McDougall's Health & Medical Center
April 2014
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 Volume 13 Issue 4

Featured Recipes

  Cathy Fisher, is the creator of, a blog that offers recipes and information on how to eat a health-promoting, plant-based (vegan) diet. Cathy's education and experience are grounded in her work with the McDougall Program (2006 to present) and TrueNorth Health Center (2010 to present), where she regularly teaches cooking classes to in-patient clients. Cathy graduated with her BA in Psychology, going on to earn a credential in Early Childhood Education and a certification in Nutrition Education. Cathy enjoys presenting to groups and giving people the practical skills they need to successfully shift to a healthier diet.

Southwest Stew
This chunky, satisfying stew is full of beans, greens, corn, mushrooms, bell pepper, and plenty of herbs and spices to please your taste buds and fill your belly. This recipe makes 12 cups of stew, perfect for leftovers throughout the week!

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
6 medium white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
4½ cups water
½ to 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (see Notes below)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups)
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups)
5 cups chopped (into bite-size pieces) collard greens
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (or parsley), coarsely chopped
  1. Heat a large soup pot on high heat with 2 tablespoons water in the bottom. When the water begins to sputter, add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and cook stirring for 3 minutes, adding water as needed. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and garlic, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, still adding a little water as needed.

  2. Add the 4½ cups of water to the pot along with the tomato paste, and stir or whisk to blend in. Add the black beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, corn, and collard greens. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir in the cilantro and serve as is or with ground pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro (as shown above).

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Serves: 8 (makes 12 cups)


  • Fresh garlic may also be used; substitute with 1½ tablespoons freshly minced (about 6 medium cloves).

  • If you can't find collard greens, you may also use kale. If you use chard, add it in closer to the end of cooking since it cooks quickly.

  • I try to avoid using partial cans of ingredients, but for this recipe I like to use a half a can of tomato paste since it delivers a milder tomato flavor. But feel free to use the whole can if you like a richer, zingier tomato base.

Lentil and Rice Loaf
This flavorful loaf is perfect for anytime you want a hearty main dish. It can be made with fresh or dried herbs. Make two loaves while you're at it and freeze one for leftovers. This is delicious topped with Creamy Mushroom Gravy (below)! (Prepare your ingredients while the rice and lentils are cooking.)

1¾ cups water
½ cup brownish-green lentils
½ cup short-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 medium onion, chopped
5 medium white or cremini mushrooms
1 large rib celery, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic (about  5 medium cloves)
¾ cup quick rolled oats
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1½ teaspoons freshly minced rosemary (or ½ teaspoon ground/dried)
1½ teaspoons freshly minced thyme leaf (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaf (or 1 teaspoon dried/rubbed sage)
1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. In a medium sauce pan on high heat, combine water, lentils, rice, poultry seasoning, and granulated onion. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes. When done cooking, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid still on.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard size loaf pan (9 by 5 by 3-inch) with parchment paper and set aside (or use a silicone loaf pan).

  3. In a medium skillet on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water. When the water begins to sputter, add the chopped onion, mushrooms, and celery, and cook stirring for about 3 minutes, adding water as needed. Add the garlic, and cook stirring for an additional 2 minutes, until the vegetables have softened, adding water as needed. Remove from heat and set aside.

  4. Using a large bowl, combine the oats, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, and nuts. When the cooked vegetables, and rice and lentils have cooled for about 10 minutes, add them to the bowl as well, and stir well until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

  5. Place about half of the mixture into a food processor and pulse 5 to 6 times (so it gets blended slightly, but is still somewhat chunky). Spoon this into the loaf pan. Place the remaining mixture into the food processor and blend in the same way. Add to the loaf pan.

  6. Press down firmly and into the corners. Shape the top flat or with a slight rise down the middle. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until the top is browned. Remove and let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Preparation: 55 minutes (including cooking rice and lentils)
Cooking: 50 minutes (baking)
Makes: 1 standard loaf (about 10 ¾-inch slices)


Creamy Mushroom Gravy
This gravy is delicious with mashed potatoes or the Lentil and Rice Loaf. It's rich and flavorful even without soy sauce, flour or cornstarch.

2 cups water
¼ cup raw unsalted cashews (1½ ounces)
6 medium white or brown (cremini) mushrooms (6 ounces)
1½ cups chopped yellow onion (½ of a large onion)
1 small carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the water and cashews into a blender, and set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water, and when it starts to sputter, add the mushrooms, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook stirring for about 3 minutes until the vegetables soften, adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic and poultry seasoning, and continue stirring for another 2 minutes (adding water as needed).

  3. Add the cooked vegetables to the blender of water and cashews, and blend until smooth (add more water if you'd like a smoother consistency). Return the gravy to the saucepan (on medium heat) and stir briefly just to reheat, grinding a bit of black pepper in at the end. Serve immediately.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Makes: about 3 cups

Quinoa Curry Bowl
This quick and easy dish uses "stir fry" frozen vegetables, along with fresh ginger and garlic. Frozen veggies can be a healthy and delicious meal addition. Look for 100% frozen vegetables without any added salt or oil.

1½ cups water
¾ cup uncooked (dry) quinoa
1 teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen "stir fry" blend vegetables
1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 to 5 medium cloves)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame paste)
½ of an avocado (optional)
sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
  1. Stir the water, quinoa, granulated onion, and ½ teaspoon curry powder together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered with a tight-fitting lid for 15 minutes.

  2. While the quinoa is cooking, place the frozen vegetables into a skillet or soup pot on medium-low heat covered so the vegetables can thaw and soften. Stir occasionally, adding a little water if needed. While the vegetables are warming, mince the garlic and ginger.

  3. When the vegetables have thawed and softened (5 to 10 minutes), increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon curry powder, and cook stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tahini, adding a little water as needed to mix thoroughly. Stir the quinoa into the vegetables. Serve as is or with diced avocado and/or sesame seeds on top.

Preparation/cooking: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4


  • I use a "stir fry" blend with this recipe, but any 16-ounce bag of frozen vegetables may be used. Also, feel free to toss in any favorite fresh vegetables, too, such as zucchini, cabbage, greens (kale, chard, spinach), or green onions.

  • Quinoa is sold as a dry grain, and comes in white/yellow, red, and black. Use any color you like or a mix. (Two-and-a half cups of cooked rice may also be used in place of the cooked quinoa.)

Blueberry Muffins
Lemon zest and cardamom give these Blueberry Muffins their dreamy flavor and aroma. Oat and millet flours produce a muffin that is hearty and filling, while dates and applesauce lend sweetness and moistness without the use of sugar and oil.

12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 8 ounces)
1 cup non-dairy milk
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup millet (dry)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest, packed
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw first)
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place the chopped dates and the non-dairy milk into a small bowl and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes (so the dates may soften).

  2. Grind the oats and millet into a flour in your blender (a high-speed blender will do a finer job) and place into a bowl. Add the baking powder and cardamom to this and stir with a fork.

  3. Place the dates and non-dairy milk into the blender and blend until smooth. Add this date mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients along with the applesauce and lemon zest, and mix with a spoon until all the dry ingredients have disappeared.

  4. Gently fold in the blueberries and chopped walnuts. Spoon the batter into a silicone muffin pan or metal muffin pan lined with parchment paper muffins liners, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.

  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The muffins will be done when the tops have begun to brown and cracks appear, and when a toothpick inserted comes out pretty clean. (These are hearty muffins, so they will rise but not too much.) Let cool in the pan for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 muffins



  • Blueberries tend to sink into the batter during cooking, so I like to push a few blueberries into the top of each muffin just before baking (make sure they're pushed in though, or they will roll off during rising).

  • If you've never used cardamom, I urge you to seek some out. Cardamom is wonderfully aromatic; in a pinch you can substitute with 1½ teaspoons cinnamon.
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