Want to lower your cholesterol and lose weight while eating awesome food? Well you can by following the Engine 2 Diet . I became intrigued by a whole plant based diet without added oil when I watched "Forks over Knives" . Yes, I already eat a plant based diet, however, I did have to try every vegan dessert and other vegan treat upon becoming vegan. Now, having that out of my system, I am ready for more structure and discipline around food again.
I purchased The Engine 2 Diet Book and began following the recipes about a week ago. The plan is a 28-day "Save -Your-Life" diet that lowers cholesterol and burns away pounds. That is not the reason I am following it. I actually have stellar cholesterol numbers. Personally, I feel more at peace with some structure and discipline around food. While The Engine 2 Diet is a plant-based diet, it does use honey, which does not make it vegan, so be aware. Do we need to go over why honey is not vegan?
So far, we have eaten all our meals at home, cooked for every meal, and have eaten very well! I will be blogging some of the recipes as well as tracking our spending. Eating healthy is suppose to be expense, right? I will let you decide. I think it is important to remember that you can substitute ingredients, sometimes frozen is a less expensive option, and sometimes you can omit an ingredient as well.
One of the things I love, is that on the Engine 2 website under "Tools and Support" you can select 1 of the 4 weeks in which a menu is planned with a generated grocery list. How easy! Or you can create your own weekly menu and generate a grocery list for each recipe you choose. Regardless if you want to follow the plan, there are some amazing plant based recipes to try!
Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna (serves- 10-12)
1 onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can of corn, rinsed and drained ( I used frozen corn)
1 package of firm tofu
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 jars of pasta sauce (see E2 approved Foods ) no added oil or sugar
2 boxes of whole grain lasagna noodles
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
6 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
1 cup of raw cashews, ground
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms provide liquid - this never happened for me, so I added a bit of veggie broth. Remove them and add to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. You may need to add more broth to your pan. Saute the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the veggie bowl. Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the veggie bowl. Add spices to the veggie bowl and combine.
To Assemble: Cover the bottom of a 9X13 in. casserole dish with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This will save time and energy, as the noodles will cook in the oven. Spread the veggie mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.
Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce.
The pan will be very full! Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. I added a bit more seasoning on top of the tomatoes.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.
This recipe makes 10 hardy servings. We had it for lunch for a few days and froze the rest for weeks to come. It was AMAZING. I promise you won't miss the cheese in this one!
I used all organic ingredients. The total cost was $28.62. For 12 servings the cost is $2.39 a serving. While, you could shave some cost of by omitting the cashews in this recipe - don't - it gives it a nice creamy flavor!