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1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp sea salt (divided into two 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 TBL olive oil, plus more for frying
1 lb cooked lentils, drained
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 TBL cornstarch
1 TBL Worcestershire Sauce (Annie’s Naturals is vegan)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly crushed (place on a flat plate)

In a food processor, add onion, carrot, garlic, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and celery seed and pulse until finely chopped.  In a large pan over medium heat, add 1 TBL olive oil and carrot mixture and saute until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together lentils, breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp sea salt, pepper, and cooked carrot mixture.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, Worcestershire, and water. Add to lentil mixture and combine well. Form mixture into round patties. I like to use square pieces of parchment paper to press out each patty. It is easy to work with and remove patty without smashing. Press one side into lightly crushed pumpkin seeds. If you want to do both sides, you will need to double the amount of seeds.

Heat 1 TBL olive oil in a large pan and cook 2 lentil patties at a time over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes each side. Once done, add your favorite dairy-free cheese, and cover to melt. Serve on Ezekiel sprouted grain bun with arugula.

Makes 12 patties. Freeze uncooked patties in between parchment paper and store in a zip-lock freezer bag. 

1/4 cup uncooked lentils contain 13 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber.

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pumpkin seeds from your carved pumpkins
sea salt
water
1 TBL olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any part of the pumpkin that remains. Measure pumpkin seeds. For every 1/2 cup of seeds, use 2 cups of water and 1 TBL of salt for every 1 cup of water. So, for 2 cups of seeds, use 8 cups of water and 8 TBL of salt. Bring seeds, water and salt to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. On a cookie sheet, spread 1 TBL of olive oil to coat. Drain and spread the seeds on the oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing seeds half way through. Let cool before eating.

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Brazil Nuts (raw)
Macadamia Nuts (dry roasted unsalted)
Marcona Almonds (roasted and salted, can use other almonds, but these are my favorite)
Cashew Pieces (roasted and unsalted)
Walnuts (raw pieces)
Pecans (raw and unsalted pieces)
Sunflower Seeds (raw and unsalted)
Pumpkin Seeds (raw and unsalted)

In a medium size bowl, mix together all nuts and seeds, using 1/4 cup each. You can always add in a little more of what you enjoy most. Eat a handful as a snack for a quick protein energy boost.

You can also add in raw pepitas and pistachio nutmeats (dry roasted, unsalted halves & pieces).

Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of nuts and seeds at reasonable prices. I get my pumpkin seeds at Whole Foods.

The Story of Nuts:
Many people avoid nuts because they are high in calories and fat. Nuts are a great source of protein and do contain fat, but this is the type of fat you want in your diet. Nuts provide unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), delivering omega-3. Eating nuts can help lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts provide many vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. They contain fiber, vitamin E, selenium, folic acid, copper, magnesium, boron and the amino acid arginine, which boosts the immune system and lowers elevated blood pressure levels. The plant sterols in nuts help to reduce cholesterol absorption from fatty foods.  Some nuts, like pecans, walnuts and almonds, contain tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin, the happy feel-good hormone, which can help against depression. Here are a few of my favorites:

Almonds – this nut comes in many varieties and can be used in all sorts of recipes. Almonds are probably the most nutritious of nuts, delivering magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin E, zinc, and lots of protein.

Brazil Nuts – a provider of selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals that can attack healthy cells and increase the risk of heart disease and various forms of cancers, like breast, lung, bowel, and prostate. Rich in zinc and magnesium, Brazil Nuts are great for anti-aging.

Cashews – provider of a high iron content, as well as zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and are rich in protein and carbohydrates.

Macadamia Nuts – this nut has the highest level of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) over any other nut, but can lower harmful blood cholesterol.

Pistachios – you can buy the ‘nutmeats’ already removed from the shells, or in a shell, but then you have to work for the nut. Pistachios are high in iron, protein, fiber, and magnesium and make a delicious topping on roasted butternut squash.

Walnuts – this is the only nut high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, so eating these after you consume fatty foods help disperse the saturated fats and lower triglycerides. Saturated fats come from animal protein and dairy products, so cut these out of your diet to be a true vegan.

You can consume from 1-2 oz of nuts per day. It is best to mix so you consume a variety and take advantage of the benefits each nut provides. Always look for nuts that are raw and unsalted. Store nuts in the refrigerator to keep fresh.  

Buy nut butters and seed butters (my favorite is Sunflower Seed Butter Trader Joe’s), but read ingredients to make sure you are buying unsaturated fats (mono and poly). The butters will have the oil separated, so you will need to stir to combine before each use. Some need to be refrigerated, so read the container.

Allergies can be an issue for some, so know what you cannot eat if you do have allergies. An allergy from nuts can result in a skin rash or hoarseness in the throat.

A mix of nuts makes a delicious and satisfying movie-going snack. For sweet and salty, I like to add in a few chocolate chip vegan morsels along with a couple of pretzels broken into pieces. Get creative!