Cauliflower-Kale Soup

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A tasty way to get your greens! This  creamy, satisfying soup is a client favorite and only takes about 20 minutes to prepare!

Cauliflower- Kale Soup

Source: Prevention Magazine
(4 servings)

2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 Onion, diced
2 clove Garlic
8 cups Vegetable bouillon
4 cups Cauliflower, florets
4 cups Kale, shredded
½ teaspoon Crushed red pepper (optional)

Method:

Saute onion in oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and cauli, cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add kale and cook until wilted about 4 minutes. Puree mixture until smooth. Season with crushed red pepper if desired.

Dinner in 15 Minutes Flat

Here’s a re-post from way back in 2012 when I first started this blog:

 

Ever wonder after a tiring day at work, what’s for dinner? Once in awhile I find myself wandering through my depleted larder without a plan. Today I found a large russet potato, waiting patiently in the dark cabinet.

All I needed to create a hot meal were a few veggies and a couple pantry staples. I created this sauce base to work with any stray veggies I have hanging around in the fridge. Tonight I had diced onions, mushrooms and frozen peas. I popped the potato in the microwave and while it cooked:

I sauteed the onions in a bit of water in a non-stick pan, then added the mushrooms and sauteed a few minutes to soften. I added a tablespoon of tomato paste from a tube (so handy to have around) then deglazed the pan with a cup of veggie stock. I added 2 tablespoons of tamari sauce and a bit of dried thyme, then thickened the whole deal with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. I got a nice smooth, shiny sauce.

By the time my potato was ready for mashing, so was my sauce. I stirred in my frozen peas last, so they didn’t get all wrinkly. I mashed up the potato with soy milk, salt and pepper. Quick, easy, real food. In 15 minutes flat.

 

Sloppy Joe Sliders

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Here’s a new enlightened version of an old classic that is just perfect served in the traditional buns or over a bed of fresh-cooked grains.

Sloppy Joe Sliders

1 cup Cooked Lentils
1 cup Tempeh, crumbled
¼ Onion, large, chopped
½ med Green pepper, chopped
14 ounces Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Brown sugar
⅛ teaspoon Garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon Salt
1/16 teaspoon Black pepper
6 Slider Buns

Method:

1.Saute peppers and onions until soft. Add tomato sauce and seasonings to blend well. Add tempeh and cooked lentils and simmer until flavors are well incorporated, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or sugar.
2.Portion 1-2 tablespoons per slider and serve with sweet gherkin pickles as a garnish, if desired.

Homestyle Oat Bars

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I really like those tasty, chewy individually packaged oat bars I find at Whole Foods Market. But I don’t like paying $2.00 per bar!

So, I cracked open the pantry  and came up with my own quick, no-bake version that as it turns out, I like a whole lot better!

This recipe is simple. One you can throw together with whatever nuts, seeds, cereals and dried fruits you just happen to have hanging around. You don’t have to toast the rolled oats or the nuts, but I like that roasty-brown taste. These bars are soft and sweet, without being overly so, with a deep caramel-like flavor from the brown rice syrup.

Homestyle Oat Bars

adapted from the recipe found at fannetasticfood.com

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups rolled oats

1 cup crispy brown rice cereal

Any combination of the following, measuring 1 cup:

Nuts, any kind, roughly chopped (almond slices, pecans, walnuts, cashews)

Seeds, any kind (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax, sesame)

Dried fruit, any kind (raisins, diced apples, chopped figs)

Shredded coconut (raw or toasted)

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla or maple extract

Himalayan pink sea salt (optional)

Method:

  1. If you like your oats and nuts toasted, preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. If not, skip ahead to step 2. Place oats on a dry baking sheet. Place nuts on a separate sheet. When the oven is ready, place the oats and nuts in the oven. Toast the nuts carefully watching the time. This should take 2-4 minutes. They burn easily. Pull them out and allow to cool. Stir the oats every 5 minutes and toast until they are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the toasted oats to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare a small-sized shallow, rimmed baking pan by lining with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Measure brown rice syrup, peanut butter and flavoring into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-40 seconds, then stir until combined.

IMG_6010.jpg4. Stir the rice cereal, nuts, fruit and other dry ingredients into the bowl with the oats and then pour the wet mixture over, mixing all together with a spatula into a sticky, crunchy mass.

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IMG_6011.jpg5. Immediately press mixture into prepared pan and flatten with your hands. Lightly dust surface of bars with sea salt, if using. Allow to set up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (if you can wait that long).

6. Cut into squares and wrap individually to prevent sticking together. For best results, store in the refrigerator.

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Vegan Samosas with Mint Chutney and Sweet Tamarind Glaze

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A party favorite, these samosas are fun and easy to make and bake. They also freeze well, so when you’re in the mood, prep a big batch and store for whenever.

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Samosas with Mint Chutney and Sweet Tamarind Glaze

Ingredients:

Dough:

3 cups Flour, all purpose
1 tbsp. Curry powder
¾ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Baking powder
¾ tsp. Water, cold
2 ounces Earth Balance, cut into small pieces
¼ cup Shortening

Filling:
2 pounds Potatoes, russet, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 med Onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp. Ginger, fresh grated
½ each Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. Coriander, ground
¾ tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. Cumin seeds, toasted
2 tbsp. Water
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
1 cup Peas, frozen, thawed
3 tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped

Sweet Tamarind Glaze:
¼ cup Apricot jam
½ tsp. Tamarind paste
1 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

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Method:

1. Mix dough using biscuit method (15 min.) Wrap and chill (1 hour).
2. While dough is chilling, make filling (35 minutes). Boil potatoes until just tender. Drain immediately. Toast cumin seeds then saute onions in olive oil unti lightly browned. Add seasonings, jalapeno and ginger. Saute about 1 minute then add the water and stir until most of water is absorbed. Preheat oven to 400.
3. Finish with peas, lemon juice and cilantro. Taste for seasonings, then immediately transfer to container or sheet tray and quick-chill in freezer.
4. Form and Fill (30 minutes). Roll out dough one half at a time on lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, large enough to fold lengthwise into thirds, then cut on the folds. From the three strips, cut squares, about 2 x 2 each. Spoon about 1/2 to 1 tbsp filling into the center and fold over diagonally. Press edges with a fork to seal.
5. Make dipping sauce (5 minutes). Mix together first two ingredients on the stove to warm together. Run through a sieve or puree in bullet then add cilantro. Taste for salt.
6. Bake on parchment sheet tray for 20 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes before serving.

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Recipe takes 1 1/2 hours to complete. Add additional 30 minutes (roll, form and fill) for doubling and another 30 minutes for every multiple after that.

Mint Chutney

recipe courtesy foodviva.com

Throw all this stuff in your magic bullet. You won’t regret it!!

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1 cloves garlic

2 green chili peppers,  seeded and chopped ( I used 1/2 of a serrano pepper)

2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. sugar (optional)

1/4 tsp salt

1-2 tbsp water

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Top Ten Vegan Mains

 

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When making the transition to a plant-based diet, most of us do really well with breakfast and lunch, but when it comes to dinner, find ourselves in a quandary. The question I have heard most often over the years is “So, what do you eat?”

Here are a few creative recipe ideas for your next meal. Enjoy!

  1.  Classic Meatloaf

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     2.  Stuffed Portobellos

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3.  Macaroni and Cheeze

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4.  All-American Barbecue

BBQ

5.  Sesame Grilled Tofu

saute

6.  Peanut Noodles

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7.  Vegetable Lasagnaovenready

8.  Coconut Curried Tofu and Spinach

dish

9.  Thai Red Lentil Chili

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10.  Quinoa Nachos

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Maple-Butter Pancake Oats

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My favorite breakfast is pancakes. But I don’t eat them as often as I’d like–opting for a lighter, healthier choice most mornings. It strikes me as funny that I didn’t come up with this idea sooner, but the other day I got the notion that I could make my healthy, whole-food oats TASTE like pancakes. And still walk away from the table feeling like I made a smarter choice.

I thought about what makes the pancake experience for me. It’s not just the maple flavor. No, it’s the harmonious contrast of the warm, sweet syrup  against the salty, creamy butter along with a bit of cinnamon spice. Yes, that’s the balance I have created here.

Not to mention, this bowl of warm, comforting goodness comes together in less than five minutes.

What took me so long?

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Maple Butter Pancake Oats

Ingredients:

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup water

pinch salt

1 tsp. Earth Balance Non-Dairy Margarine

1 Tbsp. real maple syrup

1/4 tsp. cinnamon, pumpkin pie or apple pie spice

1/4 tsp. Maldon Sea Salt (optional)

Method:

Cook oats per package directions or microwave in a heat-proof bowl, approximately 2 minutes, 30 seconds at 50% power.

Allow the cooked oats to sit for about a minute, then stir to check for desired doneness. Add remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

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Vegan Frangipane-Raspberry Strudel

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I got to thinking about frangipane and how I hadn’t enjoyed it since way back in my culinary school days. I remembered fondly the rich, creamy sweetness wrapped in a crisp pastry pillow encrusted with sugared almond slices.

I was inspired by this memory to try my hand at a vegan pastry with all the flavor but none of the dairy contained in the classical French preparation.

I was in a hurry to put my theory into action, so I picked up ready-made (accidentally vegan) puff pastry sheets from my grocer’s freezer and set to work.

I let the sheets thaw at room temperature (about 75 degrees) for 45 minutes, until they could be handled easily, but not completely soft. I set my oven to 400 degrees and started making my filling.

I just needed a creamy ingredient to loosen up the almond paste and make it  spreadable, so I chunked the paste  into my food processor with a bit of cashew cream I happened to have leftover in the fridge.

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I processed the two ingredients until very creamy, the consistency of soft frosting.

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I spread a nice thick layer of the frangipane then topped it with raspberry pie filling. I made a second pastry, for good measure– topping the filling with chocolate chips.

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My pastry forming skills are more than a little rusty but I managed it into a shape that looked right, then dabbed a bit of soy milk on top, followed by sliced almonds and sugar. The most important goal, for me, was getting it into the oven 🙂

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I allowed the pastry to bake for 30-40 minutes, until brown and crispy on top and bottom.

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It turned out every bit as good as I had imagined.

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Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry sheets, although not exactly a health food, are one of those accidentally vegan products that comes in handy for creating a special treat on the fly.

The frangipane filling was tasty and sweet, but not overly so due to the addition of the unsweetened cashew cream (about 1/2 cup altogether). If I had it in the cabinet I might have bumped up the almond flavor just a bit with some extract, but all in all this quick and easy pastry was a great success!

 

 

Artisan Vegan Frankfurters

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What can I say? I grew up like most American kids. Hot dogs were most definitely on the menu. Nowadays, they are definitely not. The conventional version anyway. Every once in awhile I get a hankering for that good old-fashioned frank on a bun experience. There are various brands of vegan dogs on the market, but I thought I would try this recipe because it is quite simple and natural and uses pantry items I have on hand.

These are quite good and easy to make, with a pleasant background flavor of cornmeal, reminiscent of corn dogs (another old favorite). We both actually like them better than any brand I’ve tried. Definitely cheaper than store-bought and you can adjust the sodium and flavorings to your liking.

Artisan Vegan Frankfurters

recipe courtesy Heather Bell and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods

as published in Veg News magazine, July-August 2017

Ingredients:

1 (12-ounce) package extra firm tofu, pressed and crumbled

1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup vital wheat gluten flour

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

2 tbsp safflower oil ( I used canola)

3/4 tsp liquid smoke

1 1/2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground mace

1/2 tsp mustard powder

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Method:

In large food processor add all ingredients and process until a dough forms.

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Cut eight 4 x 6 inch pieces or parchment paper and eight pieces of aluminum foil the same size.

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Roll the dough into a ball on a clean surface and flatten slightly. Cut into 8 equal pieces then form each piece into a hot dog shape.

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Roll each dog in parchment and twist ends. Then roll each piece in foil, twist and trim ends if necessary.

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Place rolls in an electric steamer or a colander over a simmering pot of water on the stove to create a steamer (covered). Steam 45 minutes.

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Don’t forget the buns!

 

 

 

Vegan Apple Crisp

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I remember when I first became aware there was such a thing called apple crisp. And it wasn’t at home. It was in my elementary school lunchroom. This exotic dessert was warm and sweet and cinnamon-y, with this outrageously crispy topping…so way over and above apple pie. It made an impact on me!

I am sure the recipe originated in somebody’s grandma’s kitchen. Most warm apple desserts do 😉 But, I was ever after held captive by that crispy sweet crust of oats and pecans and brown sugar atop those sweet-tart warm apples.

I hope you enjoy this version, from America’s Test Kitchen, slightly modified by the substitution of vegan margarine for the butter called for in the original recipe:

Apple Crisp

Topping:

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup pecans, chopped fine
¾ cup oats, rolled
½ cup brown sugar, light
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. Earth Balance, non-dairy baking stick, melted and cooled

Filling:
1 ½ cups apple cider
1 tbsp. lemon juice
4 pounds apples, golden delicious, peeled, cored, halved and cut into 1/2 inch-thick wedges
⅓ cup sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. Earth Balance, non-dairy baking stick
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit . Set oven rack in middle position. Mix together topping with margarine until moistened and crumbly.

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2.Bring cider to simmer in 12-inch skillet over medium heat and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Transfer to liquid measuring cup and stir in lemon juice.

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3.Toss apples with sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Melt butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add apples and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften and become translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. (do not fully cook apples). Off heat, gently stir in cider mixture.

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4.Transfer apple mixture to 13 x 9 inch casserole dish (or individual dishes as shown), sprinkle evenly with topping, breaking up any large chunks.

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Bake until fruit is tender and top is deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.

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5.Reheat in 425 degree oven until slightly warm, about 5 minutes.

Serving suggestion:  Top with vanilla non-dairy ice cream and this fantastic

vegan caramel sauce

from our fellow blogger, Larice at feedingyourbeauty.com.

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Oh, yeah!!!

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Alternative Vegan Holiday Menus

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With the holiday season fast upon us–we, as conscious beings, want to participate in the festivities and merry-making and yet, trying to imitate long-held food traditions, albeit “vegan-style” can feel, well, a little regressive in light of everything we now know.

I have nothing against Tofurkey or Gardein or various seitan roasts.  And of course there’s the “Festival of Sides” as I like to call it. The “best of” parade of veggies, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and breads I have prepared and proudly brought to table over the years.

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But, if you want to try something really courageous, really unconventional– how about a theme menu? One that breaks the rules completely?

 

*Here are a few of my favorite vegan menus for alternative holiday (or anyday) celebrating:

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Soul Food Feast

Barbecue Ribz or Soy Curls

Macaroni and Cheeze

Simmered Greens

Corn Muffins

Sweet Potato Pie

 

 

Italian Feast

Antipasto Salad

Fresh Baguette or Focaccia

Big Pasta Dish: (Lasagna, Pasta Marinara with Meatballs or Sausage, Baked Ziti, etc.)

Tiramisu

 

Indian Feast

Vegetable Samosas

Big Curry Dish: (Chana Masala, Palak Paneer, Cashew Vegetable Korma)

Flat Breads

Cinnamon-Chai Rice Pudding

 

Thai Feast

Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

Cucumber Salad

Tofu Pad Thai or Red or Green Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

Mango or Coconut Ice Cream with Mango-Ginger Coulis

 

Chinese Feast

Pot Stickers

Spring Rolls

General Tso’s Tofu with Broccoli or Szechuan Stir Fry with Vegetables and Sesame GrilledTofu

Creamy Almond Pudding

 

*Stay tuned for recipes in upcoming posts for the menu items without links!!

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Clean Out The Fridge Yakisoba

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In case you haven’t noticed, comfort food is the name of the game at my house this week. And carbohydrates take main stage as we inch closer and closer to that moment when hurricane Irma takes a swipe at our little corner of south Florida.

We expect a loss of electricity by tomorrow, so tonight was a good time to clean out the fridge. I rounded up all my pre-chopped salad veggies leftover from our lunch prep and put together a quick sauce to pour over the sautéed veggies and noodles for a delicous dinner that will taste great as a cold salad later when the air conditioning goes out!

No strict ingredient measurements here. It’s mostly about the method with this dish.

Yaki-Soba On The Fly

Ingredients:

Soba Noodles

Assorted veggies, chopped

2-4 Garlic cloves, chopped or sliced thinly

Crushed red pepper (optional)

Canola oil

Sesame oil (if you have it)

Yakisoba sauce (recipe follows)

Quick Yakisoba Sauce

(recipe courtesy Nami from justonecookbook.com)

 (Makes ½ cup (8 Tbsp) I halved this recipe and it was plenty for 10 oz soba noodles
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp vegan oyster sauce (or substitute more soy sauce)
  • 4 tsp ketchup
  • 4 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

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Method:

Heat a big pot of salted water to boiling for noodles.

Meanwhile, heat a good quantity of oil over medium-high heat until a little piece of garlic sizzles when placed in the skillet. We’re talking a good 2-3 tablespoons with about 1/3 being sesame oil if using.

Add garlic and  1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper and fry until golden. Watch this very carefully so it doesn’t burn, but you definitely want some color. Reduce heat a bit, add your vegetables and saute until almost fully cooked (about 5 minutes).

Meanwhile, get your soba noodles cooking and add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the starchy water  to vegetables. This water will reduce a bit and help add body and flavor to the dish. Before the water is fully reduced, drain soba noodles and add them directly into the pan, mixing them around together with the vegetables.

When the water is reduced a bit,  turn the heat down to low. Go ahead and pour the sauce over, mixing until heated through. Serve immediately.

 

Calm Before the Storm Corn Muffins

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Unless I am preparing food for a client, baking is usually an emotionally led decision for me. I’ll simply be “in the mood” to fire up the oven and turn out a fresh loaf of bread or pan of cookies or brownies. The fragrance that wafts through the house is pure nostalgic comfort to me.

In these uncertain days when all we can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst, I find solace and security in the simple mathematics of a recipe. Knowing that this plus this will always equal that. And everything will turn out okay as long as I follow the steps.

Southern style corn bread is sweet and dense, almost like cake. And that’s the way I like it. I absolutely love these muffins and they pair well with a tummy-warming bowl of soup or chili. But there’s nothing like cracking open that first fluffy yellow muffin and taking that first steaming bite standing over the kitchen counter. Even when I feel like there’s nothing I can do to improve a situation…look! Look what I made!!

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SOUTHERN STYLE CORNBREAD

2 TSP VINEGAR, APPLE CIDER
2 CUP SOY MILK, UNSWEETENED (0R OTHER NON-DAIRY MILK)
1 ½ CUP CORNMEAL, FINE GROUND
1 CUP FLOUR, ALL PURPOSE
2 TSP BAKING SODA
1 TSP SALT
½ CUP SUGAR, CANE
⅓ CUP CANOLA OIL

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1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES. GREASE 8 X 8 INCH PAN OR 12-CUP MUFFIN PAN.

2. STIR VINEGAR INTO MILK VIGOROUSLY WITH A WHISK AND SET ASIDE.

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3. IN A LARGE BOWL, WHISK TOGETHER DRY INGREDIENTS. ADD OIL TO MILK MIXTURE THEN STIR INTO DRY INGREDIENTS. POUR INTO PREPARED PAN AND BAKE 30-35 MINUTES (approx 15-20 minutes for muffins) UNTIL PICK INSERTED IN CENTER COMES OUT CLEAN. DO NOT OVERBAKE.

4. COOL ON ELEVATED RACK.

 

 

Hurricane Bread

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With the imminent weight of Hurricane Irma bearing down upon us, all we can do is prepare as best we can. And wait. In my neighborhood, gas stations are running out of fuel, Costco is out of bottled water (as if that could ever happen), the grocery shelves all but stripped of non-perishable canned and dry goods. And of course, bread.

Time was…young girls were taught to bake as an essential life skill. As with cooking in general, this knowledge and feeling of self-sufficiency comes in handy during times times of lack.

So, I turn to my humble pantry heroes– yeast, flour, salt, sugar, oil and within an hour or two turned out these delicious fresh loaves to stick in the freezer for later, when we may really appreciate having something to spread our peanut butter on.

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I enjoyed this recipe so much I plan to add it to my regular rotation when all of this is over.

Fast (and easy) Whole Wheat Bread

recipe courtesy Vaishali from Holycowvegan.net

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water (not hot– you will kill the yeast)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place  1 cup of the bread flour, the whole-wheat flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to mix together.
  2. Add the water and the olive oil and mix. Add more of the bread flour if needed. How much flour you will need will depend on where you live and what the weather’s like. I made this bread on a rainy day in Washington and I needed nearly the whole cup. If you live in a dryer region you might need less.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand or with your dough hook set to low speed.  You should now have a smooth, pliable ball of dough that’s not at all sticky.
  4. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil.
  5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside for 30-45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and punch it well to deflate all the gases. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a triangle about 10 inches long. Now roll the dough toward yourself and make a cylinder, tucking down the seams and pinching them in so you have a smooth loaf.
  7. Place the dough in a standard loaf pan, seam side down (most loaf pans are 9 X 4 1/2 or 10 X 5 inches)
  8. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let the bread rise in a warm place about 30-45 minutes or until the loaf has risen and domed over the top of the pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

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  1. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the loaf pan to a rack and let it stand until the bread is cool enough to handle. Remove the bread from the pan by loosening the sides with your fingers or a spatula. Place on a rack until it has cooled through.
  3. Slice. Eat.

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Soup: A Vegan’s Best Friend

 

Serve

With the popularity of the raw food movement over the past few years it seems some of our old standbys may have faded into the background. I’m here to remind you that soup is good food.

I like salad as much as the next vegan, but, there is something to be said for that satisfied, warm tummy feeling that can only come from hot food, eaten slowly. We often make a meal out of a simple bowl of soup at my house. Maybe a little chunk of bread, maybe not.

It’s filling, it’s nutritious and most soups are inexpensive to make and prep for the week’s menu or even as a fill-in for those moments in-between when you want a quick something hot.

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Beyond my own personal preference, I did a bit of research and found there are actually benefits to eating hot food. Who knew??

 

Benefits of Eating Hot Food

excerpted from the cable lifestyle blog thecable.ng

Mode of digestion

Hot meals aid proper digestion because of the time it takes to consume it. This enables the consumer to eat in adequate proportions which in turn gives less work to the organ that breaks down food.

Also, during the preparation of the meal, the chemicals in the food would have been broken down before it is served and consumed; the body easily absorbs the nutrients as they diffuse into the system, increasing the nutritional value.

Low risk of bacterial contamination

It is difficult for micro-organisms to survive in hot foods. Micro-organisms die while cooking but allowing the food get cold will reintroduce the bacteria, if not careful; which makes eating the meal in a hot state healthier.

Generates energy for consumption

Warm food restores the energy cold food saps from the body and equally stores up more energy for future use.

Regulates body temperature and weight

One key thing about ingesting hot food is that it regulates the body temperature in response to a cold climate, as it provides warmth from the hot food ingested.

Hot meals also help with body weight and fat; the suppression of appetite observed during the body’s exposure to heat causes the body weight level to drop below set-point which aids greater metabolic efficiency.

Once the body is able to rid unwanted products, the weight would be regulated.

The after-feeling

The feeling you get after taking a hot meal is an amazing one, compared to a cold meal.

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Check out my selection of delicious soup recipes HERE!


Restaurant-Style Marinara

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The secret for marinara sauce that tastes like it’s been simmering all day? Tomato paste. The savory-sweet intensity adds depth and richness without the hours of slow-cooking.

What I like best about this recipe? It’s simple and quick to prepare. Oh, and no chopping, except for a little clove of garlic, for which you can substitute 1/4 tsp of granulated garlic if you choose.

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Best Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon Olive oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Oregano, dried
¼ teaspoon Thyme, dried
½ teaspoon Salt
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon Tomato paste

1. Saute garlic in oil over medium-low heat about 2 minutes.

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Add tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, salt and pepper all at once stirring together until tomato paste is incorporated.

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2. Increase the heat a bit and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and crushing the tomatoes as you go.

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If you like a smoother sauce, just scoop out about half, run it through the blender then return to the pot. Easy!

Top Ten Everyday Vegan Recipes

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I have certain recipes in my home kitchen’s steady rotation week after week, month after month. These are my go-to staples because we enjoy them so much. Some  are featured here on the blog, and the rest will be featured in upcoming posts!

  1. Tofu Scramble
  2. Cheezy Sauce
  3. Marinara Sauce
  4. Buffalo Sauce
  5. Peanut Sauce
  6. Tofu Ricotta
  7. Italian Dressing
  8. Taco “Beef”
  9. Thai Coconut Curry Sauce (red or green)
  10. Hummus

 

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Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

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Another super simple recipe! This one comes from one of my favorite blogs, Vegan Monologue. I’ve made this recipe for my family, not all of whom are vegan and I’ve made it for  newly transitioned clients. It’s unanimous–they all love it!

Big chunks of earthy portobello mushrooms and onions in a savory, creamy gravy that tastes almost identical to its traditional counterpart.

Check out the recipe and this exceptional blog here

Senate Bean Soup

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U.S. Senate Bean Soup  is traditionally made with navy beans, ham hocks and onions. It is served in the dining room of the United States Senate every day, in a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century.

This hearty, economical soup grew in popularity during and between World Wars I and II. It was frequently served to the military.

Here, I have taken the original recipe and made it vegan, by replacing the ham hocks with vegan bacon, kicking up the flavor with a bit of veggie paste and liquid smoke. I’ve given it a creamier consistency by pureeing half of the beans and I finished the dish with crisp, fresh-baked croutons.

Senate Bean Soup

Ingredients:
1 pound dried navy beans
2 quarts  water
1-2 cups chopped vegan bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoons olive oil

1 Tbsp. vegetable broth paste, such as Better Than Bouillon (optional)
1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Soak beans overnight in water to cover, plus 2 inches to allow for swelling.

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Drain and rinse beans then add to a large pot with water to cover plus another inch or two over medium high heat. Bring to boil and skim off any foam that accumulates on the surface. These are impurities that should be removed.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.

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Meanwhile, cook the onions and bacon in olive oil until lightly browned, about 10 minutes over medium heat. When the beans have been cooking for an hour, they should be tender, almost done.

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At this point, scoop out about half of the beans and puree them in a blender until smooth. You may want to remove some of the cooking water if it looks too watery. You can set it aside and add some back in later if you need it.

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Add the pureed beans back into the pot along with the bacon and onions. Add a tablespoon of vegetable broth paste and liquid smoke, if using. Stir and adjust water as necessary to make the soup the consistency you like. Simmer for another half hour or so, stirring occasionally until flavors are blended and heated through.

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Serve with crispy croutons, if desired. Enjoy!

 

 

 

What’s Making Me Happy This Week

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I have so many new ideas and recipes to share in my upcoming posts! First of all, I discovered Maldon Sea Salt Flakes this week.

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They add a crunchy finish to a simple fresh avocado, but they really added something special  to these Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Another thing I picked up on this week–and it’s a game-changer:

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Sweet Potato Toasts! That’s right, you heard me. Slip thin slices of sweet potato in your toaster and let it go until just tender, twice on the highest setting on my toaster. Then spread it with whatever! Ah-mazing!

On to this week’s passion projects:

Food history has been on my mind lately and I found myself cooking up a big pot of Senate Bean Soup

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I’m working on finding the perfect recipe for ‘meaty’ vegan burgers and this one comes pretty darn close:  Beet Burgers!

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To top it all off, I’ll be sharing a delicious preparation for authentic jerk-marinated and roasted tempeh.

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Stay tuned, friends, for these recipes and so much more to come!

 

Depression-Era Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Buttercream

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During the Great Depression, a time of severe worldwide economic struggle–which took place in the 1930’s and lasted almost a decade– many couldn’t afford milk, eggs or butter, so recipes abound from this period that are accidentally vegan.

I came across this recipe for chocolate cake and just had to give it a try. I made a couple  small tweaks, adding a tablespoon of crushed espresso powder to bump up the cocoa flavor and spread raspberry jam between the layers for that little extra something special.

I also chose the classic Hershey’s Cocoa One-Bowl Frosting Recipe from the side of the cocoa can, handed down by my grandmother when I was a little girl learning to bake in her kitchen. I simply substituted Earth Balance buttery baking sticks for the butter to veganize.

Depression-Era Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
10 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (or 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp)
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups cold water

Instructions:
Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the wet and combine until completely mixed. Pour into two 8 or 9 inch greased and floured cake pans and bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes.

 

 

Notes: Careful not to over-bake. Check cake for doneness at around 25 minutes by sticking a toothpick in the center.

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Don’t skimp on the jam!!

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Also, this cake freezes really well. Cut into individual portions and freeze on a sheet tray, then transfer to covered container or ziplock bags. Easy!

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Vegan Taco “Beef”

IMG_6132Hey, I can’t believe I haven’t shown up on the blog with this recipe until now. This one, from my home kitchen recipe box is always a big hit, whether featured in burritos, tacos, nachos, salads…the list goes on. Simple, simple ingredients, straight from the cabinet is what I like best about this tasty and quick to prepare recipe.

 

Vegan Taco “Beef”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 tbsp. cooking oil

2 cups frozen vegan crumbles (Gardein is my favorite)

3/4 cup water

Spice blend:

2 tbsp. chili powder (mild or spicy, your call)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic (or 1/4 tsp. garlic granules)

3/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)

Method:

Saute onion in oil over medium heat until translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in spice blend and sauté   for 30 seconds. Add water and crumbles stirring well to combine. Cover and lower heat. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally  until heated through and water is absorbed. Taste for seasoning, then serve hot. This stores well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

 

YakiZoodle with Veggies and Edamame

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This is a spur of the moment post, just because I want to share an idea more so than a recipe. Although a recipe is included, feel free to do what you do, but whatever you do…try zucchini noodles!!

Last night, in my home kitchen, having gone through the rotation of Mexican, Italian, American and Indian dishes over the course of the week, I pulled together an Asian- inspired meal on the fly.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned how much I LOVE noodles, particularly Japanese Yakisoba style, which is like fried rice, but with buckwheat soba or udon.

I steamed a handful of POTSTICKERS from the freezer as a first course, then followed them with these tasty zucchini noodles fried up with vegetables, edamame and my secret ingredient: TOM YUM PASTE  Spicy, savory and delicious!

Yaki Zoodle with Veggies and Edmame

Ingredients

2 large zucchini

2 cups assorted vegetables, cut small for faster cooking (whatever you have in the fridge)

3/4 cup edamame, shelled and thawed (if frozen)

Asian flavoring paste like Tom Yum (or a combination of soy sauce, garlic and chili paste, like Sambal Oelek will work)

Sesame oil for saute

Method:

  1. Spiralize the zucchini into noodles using a spiral cutter, or you can also make ribbons with a vegetable peeler and then cut the ribbons into thin noodle-like strips.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute vegetables in a bit of sesame oil until tender-crisp. I start with the hard vegetables first: celery and onions that take a little longer, then add the softer, faster cooking veggies, in stages, ending with the edamame, which only needs to be heated.

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3.  When the veggies are all cooked and hot, remove them from the pan and set aside.

4.  Take a bit more oil (about 1 tbsp) and heat it gently, then add the Tom Yum paste (about 1 tbsp should do it) whisk it together until blended. It won’t totally blend, but you are just looking to distribute the paste for the zoodles.

5. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan, stirring to heat and slightly soften over medium-high heat. Once the zucchini looks about halfway cooked, add the veggies back in and increase the heat to medium high, getting everything nice and hot. The seasonings will be well distributed all over the zucchini and the vegetables. Taste and add more if desired.

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Serve immediately!

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Note: NEVER overcook veggies. Apply only enough heat to soften them so they are edible.  This will give you the best flavor and texture, not to mention more nutrients. Trust me, an overcooked veggie is a completely different veggie than a properly cooked one. For this recipe, honestly most of the veggies could just be thrown in raw at the end and eaten crunchy anyway. Your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homestyle Veggie Loaf with Sweet Tomato Glaze

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This is a client favorite and a recipe I swear by, having grown up eating traditional meatloaf. This version has a firm slice without being dry or being soggy. It bakes up perfect, time after time. The glaze really makes it taste just like Mom made, back in the day.

Homestyle Veggie Loaf 

adapted from a recipe by Jenna Weber (eatliverun.com)

1 cup Lentils, green or brown
3 cups Vegetable stock
1 large Onion, yellow
1 large Carrot
1 stalk Celery
2 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tsp. Minced garlic
1 cup Bread crumbs
¾ cup Walnuts
3 tbsp. Flax meal, mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black pepper
2 tbsp. Ketchup
1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 tbsp. Vinegar, balsamic
1 parchment paper

1.Heat oven to 350. In small bowl, combine flax and water. Set aside. Simmer together lentils, broth and pinch of salt for about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender and have absorbed all the broth.
2.Chop onion, grate carrot and dice celery. Saute onion and celery in olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes or until tender, not caramelized.
3.Add onion, carrot, garlic mixture on stove and stir well. Add oregano, salt and pepper, then transfer to large bowl.
4.Add breadcrumbs, flax egg and lentils and toss well. Press mixture into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make topping.
5.Combine ketchup, maple syrup and vinegar. Spread on top of loaf. Bake for 40 minutes then invert onto plate.

 

 

 

Banana Oat Pancakes

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This recipe from our fellow blogger Spencer, has so much going for it!

#1 Whole Foods

#2 No oil or sugar

# Very, very little flour

# Simple mix and pour from the blender!

My pancake consumption has gone down dramatically over the years because they feel so heavy in my tummy and tend to drag down my energy. But when I read Spencer’s recipe I was intrigued, and I had to give it a try.

I’m happy to say I’m back in the pancake game! These are so light and tasty with a yummy banana flavor. They left me feeling satisfied without feeling too full. This recipe is definitely staying in the permanent rotation!

 

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Check out the original recipe here at spencersgapyear.wordpress.com

 

Buffalo Chickpea Tenders

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Okay, I’ve really done it this time! I know there are vegan variations on chicken wings and I’ve tried them all. But this. This is different.

What I did:

I took Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s tried and true recipe for chickpea cutlets and formed them into tenders and served them with homemade buffalo and ranch sauces.

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Here’s what I like best about this version. The texture. These tenders have a real “chew” without being dry along with an excellent flavor that actually tastes kind of like its traditional counterpart.

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Oh, and did I mention they are so, so easy to prepare? Thank you once again, oh mighty Isa!!

Chickpea Cutlets

Oh, and in case you don’t have recipes for buffalo and ranch sauces, she’s got that covered, too. These are recipes in my regular rotation:

Isa’s Buffalo and Ranch Sauce Recipes

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Dan Dan Noodles

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Nowadays you can pretty much Google search any recipe, type the word ‘vegan’ in front of it and come up with something good. I do this as a matter of course when I have something in mind I really want to make.

Browsing noodle dish recipes for ease of execution and simplicity of ingredients, I came across this creative and healthful new addition to my repertoire on Caroline Phelps website, Pickled Plum.

This spicy Asian noodle recipe is super-simple to make. After cooking and draining my thin, whole wheat spaghetti, I blitzed the sauce ingredients in the blender. Sauce done. Everything after that went super-fast.

IMG_5800.jpgBrowning the mushrooms and celery over high heat.

IMG_5802.jpgI added thawed edamame for texture and protein along with the scallions.

IMG_5806.jpgWarming the sauce with noodles and spinach. I used almond butter instead of peanut.

IMG_5808.jpgIt all comes together!

This is a good veggie-ful weeknight dinner option. It will go even faster if you make the sauce and cook the noodles ahead, like maybe the night before, or use leftover spaghetti from Italian night.

Find the full recipe HERE

 

 

Homestyle Veggie Loaf with Tomato Glaze

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Having been raised on American classics such as meatloaf, I’ve tried a lot of veggie loaf recipes, looking for that familiar texture and flavor. This one nails it! A tight slice without being dry or crumbly, this loaf is full of protein-rich lentils and tender vegetables with a hint of herbs. It’s topped with a tangy sweet tomato glaze, just like mom used to make!

Homestyle Veggie Loaf with Tomato Glaze

(adapted from a recipe by Jenna Weber, eatliverun.com)

1 cup Lentils, green
3 cups Vegetable stock
1 large Onion, yellow
1 large Carrot
1 stalk Celery
2 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tsp. Minced garlic
1 cup Bread crumbs
¾ cup Walnuts
3 tbsp. Flax meal, mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black pepper
2 tbsp. Ketchup
1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 tbsp. Vinegar, balsamic
parchment paper
1. Heat oven to 350. In small bowl, combine flax and water. Set aside. Simmer together lentils, broth and pinch of salt for about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender and have absorbed all the broth.
2. Chop onion, grate carrot and dice celery. Saute onion and celery in olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes or until tender, not caramelized.
3. Add onion, carrot, garlic mixture on stove and stir well. Add oregano, salt and pepper, then transfer to large bowl.
4. Add breadcrumbs, flax egg and lentils and toss well. Press mixture into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make topping.
5. Combine ketchup, maple syrup and vinegar. Spread on top of loaf. Bake for 40 minutes then invert onto plate.

Here’s a little video I made, demonstrating the recipe:

 

Chik’n Noodle Soup

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There’s nothing quite like the distinctive experience of a steaming bowl of fragrant broth brimming with fresh simmered vegetables with plenty of slurpy noodles. Especially when the weather is cool or when you are feeling low.

Making a pot of soup is a caring, healing thing we can do for one another as well. A fresh-cooked, mindfully prepared soup tastes nothing like soup from a can or even from the local deli. This soup is so simple, anyone can do it.

The stars of my vegan show are a golden chicken-less broth,  a dash of  poultry seasoning, Gardein chicken substitute and lots of fresh parsley and cracked black pepper. Guaranteed to heal whatever ails 🙂 I hope you enjoy this soup and I hope you share it with a friend.

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Chik’n Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups vegetable broth (chicken-less flavor, if you can find it)

1 large carrot, sliced into wheels about 1/8 inch thick

2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1-1 1/2 cups egg-free noodles, cooked ( I used 2 lasagna noodles, cut into thin strips)

2 Gardein chik’n-less scaloppini filets, frozen or thawed

Big handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning (optional)

Fresh ground black pepper

Method:

Combine first four ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and set to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, saute filets in a little oil in a small skillet until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

When vegetables are tender, remove lid from pot and add the cooked noodles, stirring to make sure they are well distributed throughout soup. Dice the cooked scaloppini filets to about the same size as the vegetables and stir into the soup. Add parsley and lots of ground pepper. Taste for salt and continue stirring until all ingredients are heated through.

Yield: 4 servings

 

French Onion Soup

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They said it couldn’t be done…but here it is, a veganized version of the classic French onion soup!

This recipe comes from Allison Rivers Samson, owner and operator of Allison’s Gourmet Online Vegan Bakery and Confectionary. She is famous for her ultra-decadent gourmet vegan chocolates and other sweets, but it doesn’t end there.

Allison is also the author of the “Veganize It” column for VegNews magazine.  Her recipes feature veganized versions of many comfort food favorites, like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, burgers–even Caesar salad! These recipes and so much more can be found here on her blog. I am a big fan of Allison’s work, both sweet and savory!

 Here’s a basic rundown of this deceptively simple, yet impressively elegant recipe:

Slice

Slice onions very thinly and sweat them in a large stock pot with a bit of salt.

Prep

The most critical step in this recipe is the caramelization of the onions. It is important to allow the onions to really cook down nice and brown. This is going to provide a very rich flavor to the soup.


Carmelize

Once the onions are done, the pan gets deglazed with a bit of white wine then vegetable stock and seasonings are added and the soup simmers for a few minutes.

Soup

Top with a toasted vegan cheese French bread slice and serve immediately!

Plate

Soup and Bread

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It occurs to me that there are two foods I can simply never do without–soup and bread.  I will never tire of a hot, comforting bowl–be it a thick, hearty stew or a thin, savory broth as long as I have a nice chunk of bread to sop in it.

The best soups and the best breads are those made at home. Here are a couple simple recipes worth trying for yourself.

Easy Olive Oil Bread

Creamy Chick’n & Mushroom Soup

from EpicureanVegan.Wordpress.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
12-oz pkg Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips, cubed
4 C (about 18) mushrooms, quartered
5 C vegetable broth
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 C vegan sour cream
3 Tbs flour
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C unsweetened, plain almond milk
3/4 tsp Herbs de Provence

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. Saute 2 minutes, then add the onion and celery. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.

Add the broth and let simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Toss in the chick’n and mushrooms and let cook for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, flour, nutritional yeast, seasonings and almond milk; stir into the soup. Season with Herbs de Provence. Let simmer a few minutes until it thickens. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

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Vegetable Potstickers

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These lovely little dumplings are a favorite at our local Japanese restaurant. Served with a simple dipping sauce, they make a tasty appetizer or a light meal. I was strolling my neighborhood Asian market and finally came across egg-free gyoza wrappers. I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and fulfill my vision!

These can be filled with whatever flavorful blend of vegetables you prefer. You could also add a variety of proteins such as crumbled tofu, shelled edamame or one of the many flavors of Gardein meat substitute, chopped fine. Get creative!

Vegetable Potstickers

Ingredients:

Egg-free gyoza wrappers (store-bought or homemade)

Filling:

2 cups shredded green cabbage (I used pre-packaged angel hair coleslaw), lightly chopped

3/4 cups shredded carrot, chopped

1-2 scallions, chopped

1 cup shelled edamame (thawed, if frozen), roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari sauce

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1/s Tbsp. sesame oil, or to taste

Salt, to taste

Sesame oil for frying

1/4 cup water

Method:

If you prefer a softer cabbage, place shreds in microwave for about 3 minutes at 50% power or saute lightly in sesame oil. Otherwise, proceed with the next step. Combine vegetables in a bowl and mix in cornstarch. This will absorb excess water. Add seasonings and taste for flavor. Add additional soy sauce or salt or sesame oil to your liking. Make sure it tastes good.

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Scoop about a teaspoonful of filling on the center of the gyoza wrapper, making sure the filling is not dripping wet. Lightly apply a bit of water around the edges of the dough. Fold over like a half-moon, pinching the edges to seal. Continue until the filling is used up.

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Heat about 1 tbsp. sesame oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry  as many dumplings as will fit in the pan at the same time until brown on the bottoms. Do not turn over. The following step is crucial. Immediately add the 1/4 cup water around the outside edges of the pan’s interior and cover. This will steam the dumplings. When all the water is evaporated and the bottoms “stick” to the skillet, they are done.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp.  rice wine vinegar
¼ tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. chili-garlic paste (optional)

Method:

Combine all ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

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Carrot-Ginger Bisque

If you’re ready to get back on the good foot after the holiday indulgences of the past few weeks, here’s a place to start. A nutritious, light yet satisfying soup of simmered carrots and onions, finished with ginger and coriander. And so easy to make–you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

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Carrot Ginger Bisque

¾ tbsp. Olive oil
2 med Onion
4 cups Vegetable broth
4 large Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, finely grated
¾ tsp. Cinnamon
¾ tsp. Coriander

Method:

1. Saute onions about 5 minutes. Add broth and 1/2 cup of water, more or less–carrots and half of the ginger.. bring to boil, reduce & simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes until carrots are tender.
2.Remove pot from heat and let cool for one hour, covered. Puree with immersion blender  (or Vitamix) until smooth, adding remaining  ginger, cinnamon and coriander. Taste for salt and pepper and add more water if needed, returning to pot if necessary to heat through. Finish with parsley (optional).

Golden Indian Dal Soup

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Dal is my go-to comfort food. A warm, savory, nourishing meal, filled with creamy, protein-rich lentils and healing turmeric–tempered with cumin seeds, ginger and garlic.

GOLDEN DAL SOUP

½ CUP RED LENTILS
3 CUPS WATER
1 TSP SALT
½ TSP TURMERIC
⅛ TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
2 TBSP CANOLA OIL
½ TSP CUMIN SEEDS
1 TBSP MINCED GARLIC
1 TBSP GINGER, GRATED
½ CUP ONION, YELLOW, FINE DICE
½ CUP TOMATOES, CANNED, FINE DICE

1.RINSE AND DRAIN LENTILS. COMBINE WITH WATER IN SAUCEPAN.:

2.STIR IN SALT, TURMERIC AND CAYENNE AND BRING TO ROLLING BOIL OVER MEDIUM HEAT. SKIM OFF AND DISCARD THE CLOUDY WHITE FOAM THAT APPEARS ON THE SURFACE. :

3.REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND SIMMER, UNCOVERED, FOR 20 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.:

4.MEANWHILE, HEAT OIL IN FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS. ADD CUMIN SEEDS AND COOK FOR 1 MINUTE, UNTIL SEEDS BEGIN TO SIZZLE AND POP.:

5.ADD GARLIC, GINGER, ONION AND TOMATO AND TOSS GENTLY FOR 1 MINUTE. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM AND COOK 5 MINUTES, TOSSING OCCASIONALLY. SET ASIDE.:

6.ADD ONION MIXTURE TO LENTILS AND CONTINUE COOKING 5-10 MINUTES, OR UNTIL LENTILS ARE COOKED. STIR WELL AND REMOVE FROM HEAT. TASTE FOR SALT AND SERVE IMMEDIATELY OR HOLD WARM.:

Tempeh Meatloaf

title

One of my very favorite comfort foods is meatloaf. It is not easy to duplicate in vegan cookery, although recipes abound for variations of this classic main dish.  I have been on a quest for four years to find the texture and flavor I am looking for. I think I have found the one with this hearty loaf from Anne Gentry, owner of Real Food Daily restaurant.

The most important technical factor in a loaf, for me, is that is MUST hold together tightly and slice well. Loaf recipes can be tricky l and I will admit, I messed up on my first try.

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Not a problem, though, because I just crumbled the whole loaf and froze it to use later in a Shepherd’s Pie! Never waste good tasting food!

crumbles

I tried again and followed the directions explicitly and the second loaf turned out perfectly. I think I overcooked the tempeh the first time around. Yes, the recipe is a bit fussy, but the results are worth it– a substantial, tasty tempeh loaf, great paired with your favorite gravy or cold the next day on a sandwich, just like Mom used to make–well, sorta.

Tempeh Meatloaf

from The Real Food Daily Cookbook

1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. canola oil

1 ½ pounds tempeh

1/3 cup organic ketchup

1/3 cup yellow miso

¼ cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp. unsweetened soy milk

¾ cup gluten flour

1 cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup finely chopped peeled carrot

1 tomato, finely chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 ½ tsp. dried

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 ½ tsp. dried

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. sesame oil

shred

Preheat oven to 375. Coat the inside of a 9 inch loaf pan with 1 tsp. sesame oil and set aside. Shred tempeh with the shredder blade of a food processor or a hand grater.  In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, miso, nutritional yeast and soy milk. Add the tempeh and stir just to coat. Sprinkle gluten flour over mixture and combine. Mixture will be moist.

mix

Transfer to sheet pan oiled with 1 tsp. canola oil. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Meanwhile, sauté the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in 1 tbsp. canola oil until soft (about 8 minutes). Add tomato, spices, salt and pepper and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Add tempeh mixture to hot vegetable mixture and mix well. Note: vegetable mixture must be hot when adding together. Transfer to loaf pan and pack tightly. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes or until brown. Allow to cool in pan for at least 5 minutes before removing. Slice and serve hot with your favorite gravy.

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Tofu Vindaloo

This is a spicy Indian dish I decided to prepare without any added oil. It turned out  tasty and well balanced, served with a fluffy timbale of fragrant jasmine rice.

Tofu Vindaloo

Recipe adapted from the cookbook,

“Vegan Planet” by Robin Robertson

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/1/2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons water

One 16 oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained and diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1/2 large carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch-thick half-moons

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced

One 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup water, or more as needed

Method:

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, ginger and spices with 1 tablespoon of water. Process until smooth and set aside. Very lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Add the diced tofu and sear until nicely browned. This may take up to 10 minutes. Move the tofu around carefully to brown evenly. Remove tofu from skillet and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan and heat until bubbly. Add onions and carrot, cover, and cook until softened. About 5 minutes. Add red pepper, cover, and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and juice and 1 cup water and bring to boil.

Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the peas and tofu and heat through. This sauce may be served chunky or smooth. If you prefer a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender before adding the peas and tofu.

Basil-Spinach Pesto

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Yes, of course vegans can enjoy pesto!! I think it tastes even better without the cheese usually present in most traditional recipes. This recipe is pretty great because it stays green longer, due to the addition of fresh spinach! Great flavor and awesome with pasta and on pizza as well!

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Basil-Spinach Pesto

½ cup Olive oil
3 ounces Basil, fresh
½ bunch Spinach, fresh, Large handful
½ cup Walnuts, toasted
1 tsp. Lemon juice
3 cloves Garlic
¼ tsp. Sea salt
¼ tsp. Black pepper

Method:

Pulse basil, spinach, nuts and garlic until well chopped, but still with texture. With machine running, drizzle olive oil slowly to emulsify, scraping down the bowl as needed to blend well.

Stop the machine as soon as olive oil is incorporated. Add lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Run another second just until blended.

Serve immediately or store in airtight container, refrigerated. Adding a thin layer of olive oil on top, keeps the pesto green longer.

Servings/Yield: Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Source: avocadopest.com

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How To Make Lentils Taste Good

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If you hate lentils, chances are you have eaten them from a can. The first time I tried them was long before becoming vegan. The lentils were floating in a dirty, brown broth labeled by the Progresso company as soup. I was unimpressed, to say the least.

Today I revere lentils for the clean, lean, whole food protein powerhouses they are, boasting 18 grams per cup. Not too shabby! Through experience, I have learned that the best lentils I’ve ever tasted are always cooked fresh.  Only by controlling the cooking and flavoring process can you truly have the best lentil experience.

Here is a simple, tasty recipe  for  lentils you can spoon over rice and say dinner is done.

 Lentils For Dinner

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 cup Celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup Carrot, finely chopped
1/2 cup Onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Minced garlic
1 tbsp. Ginger, fresh–grated or finely chopped

1 cup Lentils, brown–rinsed, removing any stones or foreign matter

1 Bay leaf
2 cups Water
1 tsp. Salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

Heat large, deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots and celery in olive oil with a pinch of salt until onion is translucent and carrots are crisp-tender (about 7 minutes).

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Add ginger and garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.

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Pour 2 cups of water into the vegetable mixture along with the rinsed lentils, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until lentils are tender, but not mushy *(about 20-25 minutes), with most or all of the water absorbed. You want them to simmer–bubbling nicely,  not to boil like crazy. This will make them break apart and get mushy.

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Taste for salt and add more if needed, along with a generous grind of fresh, black pepper.

*Note: Cooking time can vary slightly from brand to brand, so it’s a good idea to check in periodically and see how the lentils are coming along, giving them a little stir. Pull one out and bite into it at about the 20 minute mark. The last thing you want is to overcook them. Al dente (firm to the bite) is my goal, so I can toss any leftovers into a cold salad the next day.

 

15 Minute Farro

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When it comes to choosing a whole grain foundation for plant-based meals, I like to mix it up for variety’s sake, but I also like to get the most nutritional bang for my buck.

Farro is a type of wheat often referred to an “ancient grain” and nutritionally, it outperforms even brown rice and whole-grain pasta. Per ½-cup serving, farro delivers more protein (about 3.5 g) and fiber (about 3.5 g) than brown rice.

But the main reason I add farro to meals is because it is EASY,  QUICK to prepare and it tastes great!

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15 Minute Farro

1 cup farro

3 cups water

1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Rinse grains in cold water and place in saucepan with water (and salt, if using).

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Cover and bring to low boil for fifteen minutes or until al dente or chewy.

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Drain off any remaining water if necessary and serve as is or toss with sautéed aromatics or veggies such as onion, celery and carrots and fresh chopped parsley–pilaf style.

 

Rajma Masala (Red Kidney Bean Curry)

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I couldn’t wait to try this recipe I stumbled upon at SpiceyAndSugaryBites. I’ve never made an Indian curry with kidney beans before. It turned out great. I hope you will give it a try as well!

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I pre-cooked the dried kidney beans after soaking overnight.

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Meanwhile I gathered my spices and chopped my aromatics.

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The saute’ smells amazing!

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I love that final stage where everything comes together and all that’s left is the simmer and check for seasoning. My husband walked in and said, “Oh, we are having chili!” And I said, “You’ve never had chili like this before!”

 

Mixed Indian Dal with Savory Aromatics

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I have an abiding admiration for and a bit of an obsession with Indian cuisine. I find the complexity of the spices and the aromatics absolutely intoxicating. On any given day I would happily choose a hearty, fragrant bowl of Indian spiced dal for any meal, including breakfast!

Dal, or dhal is a dried pulse (lentil, pea or various types of bean) which has been split. Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t realize just how many varieties and types of these pulses there are–each with its own characteristic texture and flavor.

At the store’s freezer section one day, I read the ingredients on a box of  Amy’s Vegetable Korma and was stunned to find listed several different types of dal I have never heard of. I just had to make a visit to my local Indian grocery to investigate. I brought home several bags of different colors and types of lentils and split peas and beans.

Next stop, the library. I gathered as many Indian cookbooks as I could manage and dove right into the lentils and beans chapters. One book that stands out as offering the most accessible, easy-to-prepare dal recipes turned out to be

“The Indian Vegan Kitchen” by Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D.

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Here is one of several recipes I have prepared from this book (with slight modification) and the journey continues!

Black Gram and Bengal Gram Dal (derived from a recipe by Madhu Gadia)

*3/4 cup urad dal (split, hulled)

*1/4 cup chana dal (split, hulled)

7 cups water (I used only 5 cups, for a more stew-like consistency)

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. salt

Seasoning (chunk)

3 tbsp. coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)

*1/4 tsp. asafetida powder (hing)

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 cup onion, finely chopped

2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and grated

2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

Lemon wedges

*These items may be hard (or impossible) to find at your local grocery, so if you don’t have an Indian grocer nearby you can find everything you need on amazon.com. However, it will be way less expensive if you can find a local resource.

Method:

I prepared on the stove, but the original recipe gives directions for either stovetop or pressure cooker.

First, wash the lentils in 3 to 4 changes of water. Really wash them well, until the water is clear if possible. Drain and cover with water and allow to soak for at least 2 hours.

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Drain lentils and add with water and salt to saucepan and bring to boil, skimming off any foam that collects on the top. Add turmeric, then cover and cook on low, until soft, about 30-45 minutes.

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Meanwhile, gather the aromatics and seasonings.

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Heat the oil on medium high and add asafetida followed by the cumin seeds.  Allow to sizzle, stirring for a few seconds, then add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander and cayenne then fry for a few seconds until soft.

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Combine the seasonings and the cooked dal in the same pot and stir gently until well combined. Heat through to serving temperature. Continue to cook, uncovered on low heat for a thicker consistency. Check for salt before serving. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

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This dal has a hearty, yet creamy texture. The flavor is rich and savory. Just delicious!

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Shopping at India Bazaar, West Palm Beach, FL 🙂

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Indian Besan Omelet with Chickpeas,Tomato and Shallots

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Tender and tasty, spiced with garam masala and speckled with fresh tomato and green chiles, these delicious, high-protein Indian pancakes provide the perfect accompaniment to a meal with a smear of good green chutney or they can provide the base for the meal itself!  Way beyond roti or naan bread, these are full of flavor– soft and pliable, great for folding over and stuffing with even more Indian goodness.

I am finally digging into Madhur Jaffrey’s gorgeous cookbook, Vegetarian India: A Journey Through The Best of Indian Home Cooking, and last night I prepared Chickpeas in  Cilantro Sauce and Chickpea Flour (aka besan) and Tomato Pancakes. The meal itself was okay, not quite as intensely flavorful as other dishes I have tried, but I had a whole mess of chickpeas already cooked and ready to go, so I gave the recipe a try. The real star of the show, however, were the pancakes!

This morning I had batter left over and cooked up one for breakfast, omelet style. I reheated chickpeas from last night and mashed them a bit, rolling them up with fresh  sliced tomato and then used that hot skillet to char up a few slices of shallot hanging around in the fridge. Brilliant!!

I can see this versatile bread becoming part of my regular meal rotation. I hope you give it  a try!

Chickpea Flour and Tomato Pancakes (by Madhur Jaffrey)

Note: The method is briefly and loosely translated here and not written true to the original. In other words, this is how I did it and it came out great.

1 cup chickpea flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1/4 tsp. nice red chili powder

*Generous pinch of ground asafetida (hing powder)

1/4 tsp. garam masala

1 cup tomato, finely diced

1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced

1 fresh hot green chili, finely chopped

About 3 tbsp. olive of peanut oil

Method:

Mix all dry ingredients together with a whisk, removing lumps. Pulse fresh tomato, onion and chile to fine dice. Blend dry ingredients along with enough water to make a thin, crepe-like batter, about 1 1/4 cups. Press out any lumps.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tsp. oil. Measure 1/3 cup batter and pour on hot oiled pan, spreading thinly, as in making crepes. The cake will puff a little as it cooks. When dry-looking on the surface, carefully run a thin metal spatula around the edges, then turn and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve with a meal or stuff with flavorful fillings and fold over, omelet-style.

Yield: 6 servings

*Asafetida, also known as Hing powder is available at Indian Grocery stores and online.  Some Oriental markets may carry it as well. However, it is often way over-priced online. I bought a nice little jar for under $3 at the Indian Grocery.

 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

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When I Google a recipe I narrow my search by starting with the word “best”. When it comes to vegan recipes this strategy has always turned out really well for me. Within mere seconds, I discovered this excellent recipe from Daily Rebecca and now it is the only one I use for chocolate chip cookies.

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I made just one modification by adding one flax egg (1 tbsp. ground flax meal and 3 tbsp. water, let stand for 15 minutes in fridge).

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These freeze perfectly and in fact taste pretty delicious frozen, too!

 

Falafel Burgers with Tahini Sauce

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Here’s a light and easy summer meal idea:

Falafel Burgers (from Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

(4 servings)

½ cup Chickpeas, dried
1 cloves Garlic
½ cup Yellow onion, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Parsley, fresh, loosely packed
¼ cup Cilantro, loosely packed
2 tablespoons Water
¼ cup Bread crumbs, fine
¼ teaspoon Baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons Cumin
½ teaspoon Paprika, sweet
⅝ teaspoon Salt
Black pepper

1.Plan ahead. Boil the chickpeas night before.

2.Partially cook chickpeas. Place in small pot and submerge in water by about 2 inches. Cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.:

3.Turn the heat off and and let chickpeas soak at room temperature overnight or for 8 hours.:

4.Should be tender and edible, but still very firm, with texture similar to edamame.: Drain before using.

5.Pulse garlic in processor until finely chopped. Add onion, parsley and cilantro, and pulse until onion is very finely chopped and herbs are in flecks. Don’t puree. You still want coarse texture.:

6.Transfer mixture to large bowl. Now place the chickpeas in food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Add water and pulse again until thick and mushy. Again, you still want texture, so don’t puree. Transfer chickpeas to bowl with onions.:

7.Add bread crumbs, baking powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper to bowl and mix very well.:

8.Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Preheat large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Form burgers into patties using about 1/4 of the mixture per patty. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan. It should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan with some excess.:

9.Cook patties four at a time for about 7 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Drizzle in a little extra oil if necessary.

Tahini Sauce

½ cup Tahini
½ cup Water
1 clove Garlic
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
½ tsp. Sea salt

Puree all ingredients. Season to taste.

 

Quick and Easy Soba Noodle Salad

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My favorite go-to lunch! Soba noodle salad is so quick and easy to prepare and a perfect way to clean out my refrigerator’s produce drawer!

Here’s my new discovery on the grocery shelf: San-J Tamari Sesame Dressing. You want to kick up your flavor? This is it!

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Whereas I usually gather my own fresh ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar and tamari…I can save a few steps with this dressing.

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The basic ratio is 1 tablespoon peanut butter or tahini to 2 tablespoons dressing. Add sriracha sauce as desired and a bit of warm water to adjust the consistency.

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Toss the drained, rinsed noodles with fresh veggies: shredded carrots, cabbage, scallions, celery, lettuce, tomatoes…basically anything raw and crunchy. Enjoy!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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Sometimes life seems upside-down, but I’ll tell you what puts everything in perspective: a new baby!! I have the honor of baking the cake for my daughter’s baby shower this weekend and this is what she requested–cravings and all 😉

Like most people, when I need a recipe fast–even though I have a collection of cookbooks I go straight to the great Google in the sky. Unfortunately, this time, I didn’t find any vegan versions of this classic cake that made me want to go out on a limb and try an unproven recipe. Some of the photos I found were downright horrific!

Okay, so I put on my thinking cap: What’s so special about pineapple upside-down cake? Well, of course, it’s the syrupy sweet brown sugar and pineapple on top.

I went straight to Paula Deen for this part of my cake. She is the reigning expert on good old-fashioned southern cooking in my book. It’s so simple:

Sprinkle a good quantity of dark brown sugar ( about 3/4 cup) on the bottom of the cake pan.  Melt 1/4 cup of Earth Balance non-dairy margarine and drizzle over. Lay down pineapple rings and maraschino cherries to cover surface area.

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Ok, I got that part. Next, for the cake. What’s so special about the cake part? Well, as I recall the cake isn’t especially rich, it’s more like a lightly sweet sponge. I took my favorite vegan almond sponge cake recipe from Chloe Coscarelli and substituted pineapple juice for the water and voila!

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I set out to test my theory.

First of all, the scent of this cake in the oven was intoxicating. I LOVE almond flavor and in this recipe it really permeates the cake. As promised, the recipe yielded a lightly sweet but delicious sponge cake balanced by the ultra-brown sugary, buttery topping.

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The result: Absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to make it for our guests to celebrate the impending arrival of Baby Cora!

Almond Sponge

Source: Chloe Coscarelli
(Servings: 8)

1 ½ cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
¾ cup Water (substitute pineapple juice)
½ cup Canola oil
2 tbsp. Vinegar (white or ac)
1 tbsp. Almond extract

Lightly grease 9 inch round. Wet into dry, whisk just until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Note: with the topping, I found it took an extra 10-15 minutes to bake all the way through.

 

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Kat, Brandon and Baby Rayna

 

Vegan Tuna Melt

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I’ve been looking forward to trying this new vegan product called “Toona”. When I told my husband I’d be making tuna melts for lunch I found out he’s never eaten one… ever. No pressure, right??IMG_2189

I guess I assumed everyone knows the classic tuna melt, a diner menu staple and one of my favorite picks in my pre-vegan days.IMG_2192

So, I chopped up my standard ingredients for any sandwich filling that ends in “salad”: onions, celery and parsley. I opened the can and drained off the bit of olive oil on top. The texture was a bit crumbly and firm, more so than I expected. It wasn’t flaky at all, but I mashed it up with a fork then added my veggies, egg-free mayo and a bit of sweet pickle relish.

To my pleasant surprise, it tasted great–not fishy at all, just the essence of the sea. The texture though, was kind of like Beyond Meat, which I have used to replicate chicken salad. I would advise not to add any salt to this recipe. It tasted plenty salty so I just added a big dash of black pepper.

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Meanwhile, I toasted a couple whole grain english muffins and set my oven to low broil. I lightly buttered the toast with Earth Balance and topped the bottom halves with a slice of organic tomato and a generous scoop of the salad. Then I placed a couple slices of Follow Your Heart Provolone on top.IMG_2197

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When the cheeze was nice and melty I pulled out my little beauties and served them with more tomato and topped with the other muffin half on top.

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Our sandwiches turned out really delicious and I would say better, cleaner tasting than conventional tuna melts. I think it’s really about the experience of the crunchy bread, hot broiled tomato and cheeze blending with the salad ingredients inside that really make it. I didn’t miss that “fishy” flavor or the fish for that matter. Leave them in the sea where they belong! 🙂

New Vegan Clam Chowder

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A rich, thick, stick to your ribs chowder–filled with hearty chunks of potatoes, celery and onion–this one has all the elements of the original, but gets its creaminess from my secret ingredient: navy beans! This version is not only healthier and cruelty-free, but it’s so filling and delicious!

New Vegan Clam Chowder

1 pound dried navy beans

3 strips dried kombu seaweed

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 strips tempeh bacon

1/2 medium onion

3 stalks celery

1 clove garlic, minced

8 ounces oyster or shiitake mushrooms

2 cups vegetable stock

1 large potato, peeled and diced

big sprig of fresh thyme

3/4 cup dry white wine

Handful fresh parsley, chopped

Dulse or kelp flakes (optional)

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Method:

Frame-16-09-2015-09-47-51Soak beans overnight in water. Cook in fresh water with kombu until beans are soft (they should look cracked open).

Frame-16-09-2015-09-49-32 (1)Drain beans and reserve liquid. Remove kombu and discard. Puree beans with enough liquid to make very smooth.

Frame-16-09-2015-09-50-45 (1)For a very smooth soup, run puree through a fine sieve. Transfer to a large soup pot and warm over low heat on stove.

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Dice the bacon, onion, celery and garlic.

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Heat olive oil in large skillet and add bacon.Saute until browned. Add onion and celery and  saute until softened.

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Add mushrooms and saute until softened. Increase heat and deglaze with white wine until pan is almost dry.

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Add stock, thyme and diced potatoes. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.

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Add  contents of skillet to pot on stove and heat through. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. You may wish to add dulse or kelp flakes for more of a sea-derived flavor.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

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Hand’s down the best mac n’ cheese recipe I have tried, this one comes from Allison Rivers Samson as published in Veg News Magazine. You may know her from Allisonsgourmet.com, a fantastic online source for decadent vegan baked goods.

I made a couple of modifications to the recipe by adding steamed broccoli and substituting panko for the fresh breadcrumb topping. I hope you enjoy making this delicious dish your own!

Here’s the recipe:  Veg News Magazine Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

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This soup is a perfect blend of smooth and creamy, slightly sweet and spicy. Great served on its own or as a first course, it is super-easy to make, too.

Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

adapted from a recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Red Sweet Potato Curry with Cauliflower and Adzuki Beans

1 pound sweet potatoes (approximately 3 medium) to make 3 cups, mashed
4 ½ cloves Garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons Ginger, fresh, minced
1 tablespoon Peanut oil
4.5 tablespoons Thai Red Curry paste
3 cups Vegetable broth
3 Star Anise Pods
3  tablespoons Tamari Sauce
1 15 ounce can full fat  Coconut milk
¾ teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
Sriracha (optional)
Lime juice (to taste, approximately 1 lime)
Cilantro for garnish

1. Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 1 hour first. Peel and mash. :

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2. Saute garlic and ginger in oil. Add curry paste, veggie broth and star anise. Let boil about 5 minutes, covered. Uncover, remove star anise.:

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3. Add sweet potato, coconut milk, tamari and salt and mix well. Use immersion blender if needed, to get to a very smooth consistency.

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Add lime juice and sriracha to taste.: