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VRG Journal May 1994


Vegetarian Journal's Guide To Nondairy Frozen Novelties

By Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D.

It's the middle of December, and I'm reviewing nondairy frozen novelties for this issue of Vegetarian Journal. As I write, my fireplace is blazing, and I'm wearing two pairs of socks. Under the current conditions (Arctic), I thought it might be a little difficult to "get into the mood" to sample frozen desserts. But it didn't take long for me to get enthused --- these things are good!

Imagine Foods of Palo Alto, California, makes three wonderful frozen novelty products: Rice Dream Pies, Nutty Rice Dream Bars, and regular Rice Dream Bars, all of which are vegan. Today, I sampled a Vanilla Dream Pie and a Rice Dream Strawberry Bar for lunch (all in the line of duty). They were absolutely delicious. Rice Dream Pies come in four flavors -- vanilla, mocha, mint, and chocolate. Each Dream Pie consists of two thick, chewy oatmeal cookies with a layer of Rice Dream in-between, covered with a carob coating. The other two products, Rice Dream Bars and Nutty Rice Dream Bars, consist of strawberry or chocolate Rice Dream on a stick, covered with a carob coating.

In terms of taste, these products compare very favorably to any dairy products that I've ever tried. In fact, I prefer them to the "heavy" creamy taste of some gourmet ice cream bars.

But now I'm horrified as I watch the nutrition information I requested from Imagine Foods come in over my fax machine. Nineteen grams of fat in the Vanilla Dream Pie, and another 15 grams of fat in the Strawberry Bar. Thirty-four grams of fat for lunch -- this product review business can have its hazards! Some dairy gourmet frozen novelty items do contain even more fat than that. Nevertheless, the Imagine products are high enough in fat that most people will probably want to make them an occasional treat. Also, while they are cholesterol-free, they do contain coconut oil and cocoa butter, which are cholesterol-raising saturated fats.

If fat is the concern, then rest assured that there are some very good fat-free alternatives. One of them is Fruti frozen fruit bars, manufactured by Natural Fruit Corporation, Hialeah, Florida. These bars are billed as "the frozen fruit bar with more chunks of fruit," and they're great. I sampled five dairy-free flavors. The lime and the pineapple were terrific. The Caribbean fruit mix was pretty to look at, with visible flecks of red fruit and white coconut. Other dairy-free flavors include strawberry and raspberry. There are also a few flavors that contain skim milk. These fruit bars are made with fresh fruit and are sweetened with sugar and corn syrup. All are fat-free.

Another frozen fruit bar I sampled was the Fuzzy Navel Fruitfull. Also made with chunks of fresh fruit, this fruit bar was good, fat-free, and vegan. Manufactured by Happy & Healthy Products, Boca Raton, Florida.

Do you remember those freezer snacks you ate as a child -- the kind that were sort of like popsicles but came in long plastic sleeves? You bought them off the grocery store shelf, then put them in the freezer when you got home. You had to squeeze the plastic tubes "push-up style" to eat the frozen "juice." They were full of artificial colors and flavors. Well, R.W. Frookies, Inc. of Sag Harbor, New York, has made a new version, but this one is made with real fruit juice -- no sugar added. Find these ten to a box on the shelf of your natural foods store. Flavors are orange, grape, and cherry. I found the taste to be so-so compared with the Fruti products, but then again, the Frutis did contain added sugar. Also, the push-up style plastic sleeves were messy.

Finally, all the products mentioned so far were purchased in a natural foods store. Don't forget about your neighborhood grocery store, which probably carries many dairy-free, frozen juice-bar-type items. One of my favorites is manufactured by Manhattan Frozen Products, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas. The product is Paletas, which is a "south of the border" frozen fruit bar. My favorite flavor is watermelon, but cantaloupe, strawberry, and pineapple are also available. These have the shortest ingredient lists of any of the products reviewed. They are made with fresh fruit, water, sugar, and natural color. The watermelon variety comes complete with the seeds. Four to a box, these fruit bars are extraordinary.

Product                  Serving Size         Calories    Fat (grams)
-------                  ------------         --------    ----------- 

Rice Dream Pies          One 2.5 oz. pie         380         19 
(all flavors)

Rice Dream Bar           One 4 oz. bar           275         16 

Rice Dream Bar           One 4 oz. bar           270         16 

Rice Dream Bar           One 4 oz. bar           260         15 

Nutty Rice Dream Bar     One 3 oz. bar           330         23 
(vanilla and chocolate)

Fruti frozen fruit bar   One 4 oz. bar           100          0 
(Caribbean fruit mix)

Fruti frozen fruit bar   One 4 oz. bar            90          0 

Fruti frozen fruit bar   One 4 oz. bar            80          0 

Fuzzi Navel Fruitfull    One 4 oz. bar            70          0 

Manhattan Paletas        One 2.5 oz. bar          57          0

Frookie Cool Fruits      Two 1.5 oz. pops         70          0
(all flavors)

North of the Border Vegetarian Recipes from the Southwest

By Jacqueline Dunnington

Southwestern-style cooking originated in Mexico, which was the home of the Meso-Americans long before Cortez landed in 1519. The Spaniards brought with them new flavors and ingredients such as wheat flour, olive oil and spices culled from Iberia and the Middle East. These additions enhanced the already delicious native cuisine. The natural foods that the Spaniards found in the New World are still abundant: corn, chili pods, tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, and a wide variety of beans.

Incidentally, the Aztec word chilli gave birth to the standard Spanish word chile and the English word chili (plural - chilies); the plant belongs to the capiscum family. Chilies range in flavor from extra hot to mild; be careful to select according to taste. Cilantro, a leafy herb used in some of these recipes, is also called coriander or Chinese parsley.

When the conquistadors moved north in search of gold, they brought with them a spicy and unique blend of Mexican and European cuisine now called "Southwestern" or "Tex-Mex." All ingredients used in the following recipes are now widely available north of the border and offer exciting and healthful additions to the vegetarian diet.

Mexicali Corn and Squash Bake

(Serves 4)

Try this tangy vegetable casserole.

Cut squash into thin rounds and steam until tender. Drain well, set aside, and reserve some liquid. Sauté onion and green pepper in oil until soft. Com-bine all seasonings and vegetables. Layer half of mix into lightly oiled casserole and sprinkle with half the cornmeal. Layer rest of mix and top with rest of cornmeal. Bake covered at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes and 5 minutes uncovered. Add squash liquid if needed.

Total Calories Per Serving: 177
Fat: 4 grams


(Makes about 3 Cups)

A tasty dip of natural ingredients. Leftovers make a delightful sandwich filling that is easy to make firm by adding some wheat germ.

Mash avocados until smooth. Blend in all other ingredients. Cover well until ready to serve. Serve with toasted or baked (not fried) corn chips. Tip: to delay browning, place two avocado pits deep into mix.

Total Calories Per 2 Tablespoons: 62
Fat: 6 grams

Fiesta Salad

(Serves 4-6)

A colorful blend of southwestern foods.

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing at last moment to maintain crunchiness. Serve with corn tortillas.

Total Calories Per Serving: 220
Fat: 1 gram

Chili-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

(Serves 4)

A tangy Santa Fe favorite, easy to prepare and economical. The recipe can readily be adapted for more servings. Freezes well.

Pierce each raw potato with fork, bake for 1 hour at 375 to 400 degrees. Don't wrap in foil or grease skins.

Remove from oven, cut off a length of skin at top and scoop out interior pulp to form a deep bowl. Set potato shells aside.

Mix pulp with all ingredients and stuff shells very carefully, leaving a mound of mix above the top. Set on cookie sheet. Return to oven until potato tops are browned. Serve with steamed broccoli or asparagus.

Total Calories Per Serving: 325
Fat: 2 grams

Golden Chili Chowder

(Serves 6)

A hearty chowder from Texas, potent with chilies. If you like spicy food, add more chilies of any variety.

In a deep pot, boil potatoes uncovered until barely tender. *Drain, save cooking liquid.

In a wide skillet sauté yellow and green onions in oil over medium heat. Remove from heat and pour into large (at least 4- quart), deep pot with lid.

Add liquid, seasonings, cooked potatoes, and remaining ingredients, except the corn kernels. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until stew thickens. (If stew isn't thick enough, mix in some corn meal.)

Add corn kernels, cook ten more minutes uncovered, stirring often. Garnish with pepper flakes. Serve with toasted tortilla chips.

Total Calories Per Serving: 198
Fat: <1 gram

Meatless Baked Black Bean Burritos

(Serves 4 -- two burritos per person)

A virtually fat-free classic from a private kitchen in Arizona.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate onion into deep mixing bowl. Add beans previously mashed with fork. Stir in chilies and all seasonings.

Spread tortillas on a counter, place equal amounts of spiced bean mixture on each, followed by an equal measure of rice. Overlap all four sides of each tortilla to envelop contents.

Set each burrito, seam side down, in non-stick baking pan. Drizzle with salsa or if not available, fresh chopped tomatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with corn on the cob.

Total Calories Per Serving: 507
Fat: 6 grams

Jacqueline Dunnington is a freelance writer from New Mexico.

The Green Scene

By Mary Clifford, R.D.

Popeye ate spinach, collards have something to do with the South, and kale is the garnish at deli counters, stuffed in between bowls of macaroni salad and cole-slaw. Does anyone really eat this stuff?

Yes, and they actually enjoy it! To be sure, greens do have a strong flavor. If your favorite vegetable is iceberg lettuce, greens may take some getting used to. But kale, mustard greens, spinach, and other dark green leafy vegetables deserve much more respect than they currently command. The following recipes and information will get you started on experimenting with greens.

General information on greens:

Greens glossary:

Please note: Other leafy vegetables are also considered to be greens; this list includes the more common ones.

Warm Curried Greens and Pasta

(Serves 4)

Try this the next time you have leftover pasta.

In nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add curry and cook about 1 minute, until sizzling. Carefully add broth and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are crisp-tender and pasta is hot, about 8 minutes.

Total Calories Per Serving: 280
Fat: 4 grams

Country-Style Greens

(Serves 4)

Most of the recipes that exist for greens call for bacon, bacon grease, or ham bones. This recipe is a nod to that basic preparation style, but of course we left out the meat.

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté a few minutes until bright green. Add vegetable broth, liquid smoke, and greens. Cover and simmer 6-8 minutes, or until greens are tender. Stir in bacon bits and pepper sauce, if desired. Serve immediately.

Total Calories Per Serving: 71
Fat: 2 grams

Greens and Apples

(Serves 4)

Tart, sweet apples go very nicely with tangy greens. This dish is especially nice with mustard greens or kale.

In large saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Add apples and cook, stirring, until lightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender. Serve immediately.

Total Calories Per Serving: 140
Fat: 2 grams

Braised Bok Choy with Mushrooms

(Serves 4)

Serve this super-fast dish over brown or wild rice for a simple gourmet meal.

In nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms collapse and give up their liquid. Uncover and continue cooking until lightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered about 8 minutes, until bok choy is crisp-tender and most of liquid has evaporated.

Total Calories Per Serving: 70
Fat: 2 grams

Creamy Rice and Greens Casserole

(Serves 4)

Tim Lavezzo is a classical guitarist and an excellent cook, and he was kind enough to share this hearty dish with me. Well, almost. Actually, he's one of those excellent cooks who doesn't work from recipes and never writes anything down. This recipe is a close re-creation of one of his dishes.

Coat a 2-quart casserole with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In food processor or blender, process tofu, turmeric, salt and pepper, if desired, broth, and teriyaki sauce until smooth.

In large bowl, combine tofu mixture, greens, and rice. Spoon into greased casserole. Bake at 400 degrees about 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Total Calories Per Serving: 279
Fat: 4 grams

Greens Quiche

(Serves 6)

A tofu-spinach quiche that long-time vegetarians Irene and Ron Malakowski made for a potluck picnic last summer disappeared like magic. Their wonderful dish inspired this version, which has less tofu and more greens (to reduce the fat content), but will nonetheless make for a satisfying meal. If you like, and can spare the fat, add a homemade or prepared crust.

Coat a 9-inch pie plate with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

In food processor or blender, process all ingredients except greens until smooth. In large bowl, combine with greens. Spoon into greased pie plate.

Bake quiche about 65 minutes in 450 degree oven, or until golden and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Total Calories Per Serving: 110
Fat: 3 grams

Mary Clifford is a registered dietitian from Roanoke, Virginia.

About this document:

These articles were originally published in the May/June 1994 issue of the Vegetarian Journal, published by:

The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463, Dept. IN
Baltimore, MD 21203
(410) 366-VEGE

For questions or comments on these articles, please contact Brad Scott at brad@vrg.org. This article may be reproduced for non-commercial use intact or with credit given to The Vegetarian Resource Group. The contents of this article, as with all The Vegetarian Resource Group publications, is not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional.

The Vegetarian Resource Group is a non-profit group. Its health professionals, activists, and educators work with businesses and individuals to bring about healthy changes in your school, workplace, and community.

VRG publishes a number of items, including a bimonthly magazine, cookbooks, other books, and children's activity books.

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