Reuben Sandwich

I love a good Reuben. Really I just love any excuse to eat sauerkraut! This version hits nearly all the flavors of a Reuben. My mom left half of hers on the counter and lost it to my carnivore dad, so that says something.

I used very thinly sliced portobellos for meat, left out the cheese, and made a plant based thousand island dressing. A real reuben is pretty fatty, which is why the sauerkraut works so well to cut through the fat and balance the flavors. My first version of this sandwich I liked, but felt was missing some balance. It was the fat, I had too much vinegar flavor, so I added some avocado the second time and it balanced much better.

Reuben Sandwich

★★★★

Makes: 2 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

Mushrooms:

  • 4 medium portobello mushrooms
  • carrot dog marinade found here

Thousand Island Dressing found here

Sauerkraut
Rye Bread
Avocado
Directions:Mushrooms:
Grill mushrooms, let cool a little, then very thinly slice and add to marinade for 30 minutes to three hours.

Lightly toast rye bread and smear with avocado.

Pat mushrooms very dry. Pat sauerkraut very dry. Heat mushrooms and kraut until warm. Add mushrooms, then sauerkraut to bottom slice of bread. Drizzle with dressing and top with other slice of bread.

If you don’t toast the bread this would also be a great grilled sandwich.

Meal Plan September 16th 2013

This week’s menu was really fast and easy, especially because mom did almost everything for the beans in the crock pot the night before.
Dinners:
1) Easy Enchiladas (from Christy’s Brain, to be posted soon)
2) Reuben Sandwich (from Christy’s Brain, to be posted soon)
3)  Bavarian Onion Soup (from Happy Herbivore Abroad)
4)  Creamy Mushroom Barley (from Happy Herbivore Abroad)
5) White Beans (from Mom’s Brain)
Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast:
– 2 cups bean dip – Garlic Stuffed Olive Hummus
– Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, carrot, jicama and fennel, cucumber for snacking, salads and wraps
– Pineapple Upside Down Cake (from Happy Herbivore Abroad)
– 3-5lbs whole roasted yukon potatoes for snacking or lunches
– 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches
– brown rice
– Caesar dressing
– pre-washed greens
– Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps
– Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks
– 2c vegan Parmesan cheese
– Michelle’s Salsa
Feedback:
Check back here for feedback about what we thought of this week’s food. I can already tell you the onion soup was inedible! I don’t know if I got some of the measurements wrong or what but it was the first time we didn’t even bother takeing something home, we just dumped it straight into the garbage disposal. The second week in a row we’ve made something disgusting! I’m usually pretty good about testing recipes before cook day but both of these recipes had ingredient lists that seemed pretty safe.

Meal Plan September 10th 2013

My mom and sister attended the McDougall Advanced Study Weekend last weekend so we’re trying a bunch of recipes they got there.
Dinners:
1) Hand Rolls with nori, sushi rice, cucumber, avocado, pickled ginger, seaweed salad, mango, carrot, green onion
2) Smokey Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili (McDougall)
3)  Tomato Basil Soup (McDougall)
4)  Thai Noodles (McDougall)
5) Polenta Lasagna (Tasty Leaves and Twigs, to be published)
Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast:
– 2 cups bean dip – Faux Goat Cheese (Great Vegan Bean Book)
– Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, carrot, jicama and fennel, cucumber for snacking, salads and wraps
– Black Bean Brownies (Tasty Leaves and Twigs, to be published)
– 3-5lbs whole roasted yukon potatoes for snacking or lunches
– 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches
– E2 balsamic dressing
– pre-washed greens
– Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps
– Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks
Corn Bread (McDougall)
Feedback:
Thai Noodles were are favorite and we will be putting them into regular rotation!
Hand rolls were a surprising hit. Once you get past the initial intimidation of rolling your own sushi, the flavors were surprisingly good. Next time we might try doing regular rolls because no one was a big fan of that last bite of the hand roll that’s mostly nori.
Faux Goat Cheese was revolting! Mom liked it, but no one else could eat it. The ingredients looks so promising, I don’t know what went wrong but it went very very wrong!

Chickpeas Rice and Gravy

When we were growing up, we would take these excruciatingly long road trips from Houston to south Louisiana to see my Mom’s family. As a reward for enduring my brother’s proud farts the whole way there, my Mawmaw and Pawpaw would cook each of our favorite meals. Mine was always Chicken Rice and Gravy which was my simplistic name for Chicken Stew. It’s a roux and cajun trinity based stew with dark meat chicken (skin on!). I would also request this meal for most birthdays. My brother, who has mastered many of the family’s cajun specialities (despite his atmospheric assaults), will make it for me as my Christmas present. And it’s a fact-based family joke that whenever my mom makes it, I sneak into an empty room to have some alone time with my Chicken Rice and Gravy.
This weekend, I woke up with a craving for biscuits and gravy but didn’t want it bad enough to go out for a cheat, so we made the Happy Herbivore version. While the biscuits need a lot of research and development, the gravy was awesome! We found ourselves making mashed potatoes that night just so we could eat more gravy. It reminded me of chicken stew so much that it spawned an idea – Chicken-pea Stew. I adapted the gravy recipe to work with a trinity, thinned it out, and added chickpeas.
As I right this, the Cheatgans are texting me to say how good it is (even my Dad!).
This recipe makes a ton. I suggest cutting it by at least half if it’s only for a couple people.

★★★★★

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 45 mins | Makes: 15 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 c nutritional yeast
  • 10 c vegetable stock
  • 3/4 c soy sauce
  • 6 cups total of equal parts onion, green bell pepper, and celery (our HEB sells a pre-chopped mix of cajun seasonings that we use)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1/4 c minced parsley
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • Liberal amount of black pepper
  • Cooked brown rice

Directions:

Get the onions, bell pepper, and celery going in a pot over medium heat until they are soft. Keeping it covered with help prevent burning.

While that’s happening, gather the rest of the ingredients and measure them out. You’ll need it ready because you won’t be able to do much else for a while.

Add the flour and nutritional yeast to a big pot. Put it on medium low heat and stir almost constantly until it’s a light peanut butter color (it will burn very easily). This seems to take forever but it’s probably about 20-25 minutes, depending on how high the heat is. I like to use a whisk for this part.

Add all the other ingredients, bring to a simmer, turn it down and cook about 20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.

Source: My Brain

Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

Meal Plan August 27th 2013

We were down a Cheatgan this week so I tried to design a simple menu, but I had to try at least one semi complicated dish because I just couldn’t wait to see how it turned out. I’ll write a separate post about Chicken-pea Stew.
In retrospect, the kale dish and the spinach dish are a little too similar. I think I was overzealous because we hadn’t had greens in a while. And I know the coconut is a cheat, but I had a specific craving and this was better than getting a big bowl of coconut curry from a thai restaurant.
Remember to check back later for feedback about what we liked and didn’t like. Just because it’s on the menu doesn’t mean I endorse it. Sometimes things are just gross but I like to post the menu right after Cook Day before I forget.
Dinners:
  1. Chicken-pea Stew (from Christy’s brain)
  2. Brown Rice Bowls with Spinach, Shiitake, and Sweet Asian Chili Sauce 
  3. Corn Pudding (Happy Herbivore book)
  4. Coconut Curry Kale
  5. Vodka Sauce with Pasta (The Great Vegan Bean Book)
Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast:
  • 2 cups bean dip – White Bean and Pecan Pate (The Great Vegan Bean Book)
  • Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, carrot, jicama and fennel, cucumber for snacking, salads and wraps
  • Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  • 3-5lbs whole roasted yukon potatoes for snacking or lunches
  • 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches
  • brown rice
  • Thousand Island dressing 
  • Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps
  • Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks
Feedback:
  • The vodka sauce had WAY too much vodka! We couldn’t really eat it.
  • The Chicken-pea Stew was a hit even when I cooked it for my husband’s family.
  • The pate wasn’t anything special but if you spread it on a piece of toast with a thin layer of the Thousand Island Dressing it… and I know this sounds crazy… but it kind of tasted like fried fish!?!

Walnut Butter

Since walnuts are one of the few plant based sources of omega 3s, we try to eat them a lot. And since The Powers That Be say that children below the age of three shouldn’t eat nuts, we eat a lot of walnut butter.

I couldn’t find a store-bought walnut butter that wasn’t suspiciously cut with other less expensive nut butters, so I just started making my own. It’s ridiculously easy and cheaper! Seriously.

Try to use the small bowl of your food processor because the bigger the bowl, the harder it will be, and you don’t want to make a ton of this stuff at once because it’s a delicate fat that can go rancid fast. I’ve even done small batches in a spice grinder.

Process the walnuts a lot, until it forms a sand-like texture, scraping down the bowl as needed. If it won’t move past the sand stage you might need to add a few drops of water (the bigger the batch the more likely you’ll need to do this). Eventually it will form a thick paste and then a dough-like ball. Add fine salt to taste. Even if you’re on a low salt diet, add some salt. High fat substances need a LITTLE bit of salt to go from wall paper paste to awesome!

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. I don’t know how long this keeps because we run out of it so fast.

It’s wonderful in sweet and savory applications. I eat it every morning on toast with fig preserves. It’s also a key ingredient in my Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts as well as my Miraculous Roasted Chicken Mashed Potatoes.

Nothing can replace the taste of real butter, but it’s the closest I’ve found.

Caramelized Onions

I use a lot of caramelized onions in my recipes. They pack an unparalled flavor punch that’s hard to get outside of the animal kingdom. Some people might be confused as to how you caramelize onions without using oil or butter, but it’s pretty much the same. Low and slow is the key, you just have to be a bit more careful about burning.

This is how I do it.

Slice an onion into very thin quarter ring slices. Put in a non stick pan on low to medium low heat. In stead of adding water right away, I like to leave on the lid to utilize their own water first. Try to use a glass lid if you can, that way you can keep a better eye on them.

Stir occasionally, using your ears, nose, and culinary sixth sense to make sure they don’t burn. Add water as needed. They’re done when they’ve reduced a lot, are totally limp, and are a caramel color. Depending on how many you’re doing this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. I’d say it’s about 20 to 30 minutes per onion depending on how high your heat is and how closely you watch it.

I’ve heard that you can caramelize onions in a slow cooker too. We might try this since we do such large batches.

Souped-Up Strawberry Cake with Macerated Balsamic Strawberry Topping

I don't need no stinkin' icing!

I don’t need no stinkin’ icing!

Notes:

I made this cake for my son’s second birthday party. Believe it or not it was the first real cake I’ve ever made. Truth be told, he would have been happy with anything, but I had wanted strawberry cake for my birthday a few months earlier and didn’t get it, so I selfishly made him what I wanted to eat. (He’s only two, I can’t get away with that kind of deception much longer so I’m enjoying it while I can!)

I’ve yet to find a plant based, no oil cake icing recipe that isn’t just a glaze masquerading as an icing. And I can see why it would be hard. Without the body of some kind of congealed fat, the icing just drips down the side, even the tofu based icings; especially if there’s any kind of heat in the atmosphere. So I said, “screw it” and decided to ditch the icing. I don’t like icing much anyway and I’ve already admitted that the cake was mostly for myself.

In lieu of icing, I did strawberry jam between the layers and jam and fresh strawberries on top. The time and effort I would have spent trying to perfect messy icing was spent artfully arranging strawberries, and honestly I liked the aesthetic and flavor results better.

The Cheatgans liked it so much we made just the plain cake for our next week’s meal plan.

I started with the Happy Herbivore cake recipe, reduced the sugar, and souped it up with powdered freeze dried strawberries and imitation strawberry flavoring. You could probably ditch the imitation stuff, I think most of the flavor comes from the freeze dried strawberries.

The balsamic topping was just something I did at the end because I had time. If you’ve never had balsamic with strawberries, give it a try. Even the ones who scrunched up their faces admitted to liking it.

★★★★★

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Makes: 10? servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t fine salt
  • 1/4 c apple sauce
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 c almond milk
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 1 heaping cup Freeze dried strawberries
  • 1 t imitation strawberry flavoring (You can stop here if you just want to make a plain cake)
  • Strawberry jam
  • 1lb fresh strawberries
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Put freeze dried strawberries in food processor and process until it is a powder. A few chunks are fine.

Mix strawberry powder with all other dry ingredients.

Mix all wet ingredients (sugar is a wet ingredient).

Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 3 or 4 batches, stirring until just combined. If the batter seems a little dry add a splash on almond milk.

Pour into the pan of your choice. I use a 9″ round spring form pan. Cupcakes or mini cupcakes are good too. Takes about 15-25 minutes depending on the pan.

Transfer to cooling rack.

To make a two layer cake like the one pictured, double the recipe and make two 9″ cakes. Slice a thin layer off the top of each cake so it is flat. Put a layer of strawberry jam between the layers of cake and a thin layer of jam on top. Hull and thinly slice the fresh strawberries then carefully place them on top of the cake in a circular pattern starting in the center.

Add balsamic vinegar and sugar to the leftover sliced strawberries and stir. (I never measure this, all I can say is you don’t want a ton of balsamic that it pools a lot on the bottom; otherwise you have to add a lot of sugar to get the right flavor.) Let them sit about 20 minutes. The vinegar will macerate the berries, leaving them soft, and the sugar will dissolve in the vinegar leaving you with a thin syrup to drizzle on top of the cake.

Serve the balsamic strawberries alongside the cake, letting people spoon them on top of their slice if they are feeling adventurous.

Lastly, a tip about serving – the jam between the layers is a lot more slippery than icing so take your time slicing and serving.

Source: My Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

BLACK BEAN AND SUMMER SQUASH ENCHILADAS

Notes:

This dish was inspired by my parent’s love of the Amy’s frozen black bean enchiladas dinner.

It’s kinda of a complicated recipe so make it for a special occasion. I’ve also come up with an easy version of this that I’ll post after a little more research and development.

The trick to this recipe is the sauce. You can make your own but then it would really get involved and dirty a lot of dishes. I was able to find an oil free sauce at Central Market and we ordered a case of it from Amazon.

★★★★

Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 25 minute(s) | Makes: Number of servings:4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 12 ounces patty pan, zucchini, or yellow summer squash, diced (about 2 medium squash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder (or mild chili powder)
  • 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Amy’s Refried Beans
  • Happy Herbivore Nacho Cheese sauce
  • Casa Corona Red Enchilada Sauce (or 10 ounces homemade sauce)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • chopped green onions, for serving

Directions:

1. Saute the onion in a medium-sized saucepan until it begins to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the bell pepper and squash and cook, stirring, for about two minutes, until squash is just beginning to become tender. Add the cumin, chile powders, black beans, and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and lime juice. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray one large rectangular baking dish or 4 individual baking dishes with olive oil. Place a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of each dish, reserving most of it to go on top. Microwave the tortillas for about 20 seconds to soften them. Place a tortilla in front of you coat with refried beans and arrange about 1/4 cup of the bean mixture across the center. Roll up and place seam-side down into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beans. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and drizzle with nacho cheese sauce.

3. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and cilantro to serve.

Nutritional Info:

Yield: 8 enchiladas

Source: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2010/05/black-bean-summer-squash-enchiladas.html
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

AFRICAN SWEET POTATO AND PEANUT SOUP

Notes:

I love soup! And this is my new favorite soup. It’s so good. I didn’t change much from the original source except to add a little Sriracha and combine a step to make it more streamlined.

There is something about this combination of flavors that had me playing the pregnancy card and forcing it on the menu two weeks in a row. I think I ate it for every meal the first two days.

★★★★★

Prep Time: 20 min | Cook Time: 55 min | Makes: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sriracha to taste

Directions:

1. Sauté the onion 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes.

2. Pour water into the saucepan, and season the mixture with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

3. Remove the soup mixture from heat. In a food processor or stick blender, blend the soup until almost smooth (I like to leave out some chunks so my toddler can eat them). Season with cayenne pepper. Return to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter, and cook until heated through. Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro.

Nutritional Info:

Nutrition Amount Per Serving (6 total) Calories 221 cal 11% Fat 8.6 g 13% Carbs 32.7 g 11% Protein 6 g 12% Cholesterol 0 mg 0% Sodium 494 mg 20% Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Source: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/55207/african-sweet-potato-and-peanut-soup
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

Miraculous Roasted Chicken Mashed Potatoes

Miraculous Roasted Chicken Mashed Potatoes

★★★★★

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Makes: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Notes:

These mashed potatoes are miraculous because they somehow smell like roasted chicken?!? And they are crazy good!

I chalk it up to the magical umami powers of caramelized onions and walnut butter.

There’s no need for gravy, and if you still think of mashed potatoes as just a side dish, try a big bowl of this and see if it changes your mind.

Ingredients:

  • 5lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 lg yellow onion
  • 2c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c walnut butter
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T kosher salt (or to taste)
  • Liberal Black pepper
  • Dash of Worcester sauce (optional)
  • Cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Boil potatoes, drain, and mash. (Leave the skin on or off. For a super silky texture, peel the skin and use a ricer instead of mashing.)

Caramelize onions. Add remaining ingredients to onions and heat through, don’t boil. Pour most of this liquid onto potatoes and mix (but don’t over mix or the texture might become gummy). You might want to hold back some liquid if you’re serving them right away. But if your planning to refrigerate and reheat, add all the liquid. They will be a little wet but will dry out when refrigerated and reheated.

Mix with some cilantro for a bit of freshness (optional).

I’m Back!

I’ve been on hiatus from posting for about six months now, but I’m finally getting back to a place where I have the time and energy to put into Tasty Leaves and Twigs again. Since this is a recipe blog more than a life blog, I won’t go too into it, except to say that I don’t recommend moving homes during soul-crushing early pregnancy illness with a toddler in tow. It was pretty rough for a while there. But it’s over now, and life is pretty much back to normal.

Surprisingly, I mostly kept up this way of cooking and eating during that time. It got easier when my sister joined the band wagon because she shares in the shopping sometimes and is a workhorse in the kitchen. So once a week, my mom, my sister and I get together to cook all our food for the week (my sister’s husband is eating the food too, so in total we’re feeding six people, five adults and a toddler). Now that we’re tripling recipes it’s quite the operation! It’s helped by the fact that we often have a helper who chops and cleans. We call ourselves The Cheatgans. it stands for Cheating Vegans, because none of us do this diet 100%. In fact, during my first trimester, I was so nauseous I went from my usual 90% compliance down to 70%. Some days I just couldn’t stand the thought of anything other than a frozen pizza; considering how sick I was, I cut myself some slack.

At first, I tried saving all our weekly menus to post later, but I don’t want to bomb this site with a trillion posts at once so I’ll just post some of my favorite new recipes from the past six months and start the weekly menus from scratch.

A note about the weekly menus – now that my sister is part of our team it’s thrown a new dynamic into planning meals. You see, each of us does this diet for a slightly different reason. My mom does it mostly for cardio vascular health, I do it for general health, and my sister does it for weight loss. I’m currently at a normal weight but I’m eating for three (I’m pregnant and nursing) and therefore need some calorie density in my diet to avoid the inconvenience of having to eat a gajillion times a day. Thus, finding a balance in the meal planning is sometimes tricky. That’s why you might see some back and forth with calorie density. If you’re strictly doing this diet to lose weight I wouldn’t follow these meal plans 100%. Or you could follow them, but eat less of some meals and throw in lots high water content foods like brothy soups and salads before each meal to help feel full. Just remember that some of these meals are planned for someone who is TRYING to eat more calories!

A housekeeping note, I’ve reorganized the site a little to make things easier to find. I’ve added categories for meal plans and recipes and I’ve added subcategories for the recipes. Hopefully this makes it easier navigate the site, but don’t forget you can always use the search box if you’re looking for something specific.

It’s nice to be back. :)

Meal Plan This Week

Dinners:

  1. Mexican Caviar
  2. Almond Chile Sauce and Pasta
  3. Faux-Lafel Pita Pockets (from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day cookbook)
  4. Broccoli “Cheese” Soup
  5. Citrus Avocado Salsa with Broiled Tofu and Toasted Coconut Rice
  6. Dad’s Ranch Black Beans

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast:

  • 2 cups bean dip
  • Cerignola Olive Hummus and Smoked Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
  • Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, bell pepper, jicama and fennel for snacking, salads and wraps
  • Black Bean Brownies
  • 3-5lbs whole roasted red potatoes for snacking or lunches
  • 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches
  • 6 cups of cooked Jasmine Brown Rice, for breakfast, salads, wraps

Dressing

  • Sweet Asian Chili
  • pre-washed greens
  • Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps
  • Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks
  • 2c vegan Parmesan cheese

Citrus Avocado Salsa with Broiled Tofu and Toasted Coconut Rice

I made this up the other night just using stuff I had on hand. I like following recipes, but things always taste better when you’ve thought of it yourself! If you’ve never had citrus in a savory application like this, give it a try. You might hate it, BUT you might love it.

Citrus Avocado Salaa

★★★★

Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 2 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 navel orange, segmented
1 small grapefruit, segmented
1/4 c minced red onion
1 small avocado diced
1/4c cilantro chopped
1/2 lime juiced

Directions:

Be sure to squeeze as much juice as you can from the membranes after you’ve segmented the citrus. Cut each segment in half. Mix everything gently. Let sit 30 minutes. Serve with broiled tofu and coconut rice

Coconut Rice

★★★★

Prep Time: 0 hr 0 min | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 lg yellow onion
4 cloves garlic grated
1 inch ginger grated
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 c flaked coconut, toasted
Braggs or salt to taste

Directions:

Toast coconut in a dry pan or toaster oven until it’s the color of peanut butter and smells like heaven. There are several ways you can make this rice but as long as every thing ends up together and the onion isn’t crunchy, in the end it doesn’t matter. The fastest way it to use pre cooked frozen brown rice, add everything to a microwave dish and nuke it.

Tofu

Slice firm or extra firm tofu however you like. Press out liquid. Coat with a little Braggs and broil until its a little crisp.

To serve, I like to layer rice, tofu, then salsa.

Meal Plan This Week

After last week’s bean and lentil feast I was craving some green veg. I forgot how good this broccoli soup is! And I wasn’t the only one. Everyone loved it, and the toddler liked it so much he had four bowls… well, most of four bowls. If you’ve ever see a toddler eat soup you know what I mean.

Dinners:

1) Mexican Caviar
2) Creamy Zucchini Sauce with Pasta
3) Broccoli “Cheese” Soup
4) Pineapple Lemongrass Fried Rice with tempeh

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast:

– 2 cups bean dip
– Cerignola Olive Hummus
– Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, bell pepper, jicama and fennel for snacking, salads and wraps
– Black Bean Brownies (still perfecting this recipe)
– 3-5lbs whole roasted red potatoes for snacking or lunches
– 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches
– 6 cups of cooked Jasmine Brown Rice and Forbidden Black Rice, for breakfast, salads, wraps
– Dressing
Sweet Asian Chili
– pre-washed greens
– Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps
– Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks – 2c vegan Parmesan cheese

Update:

– The Mexican Caviar never fails. It’s so fast, easy, and good. I keep expecting to get sick of it but it hasn’t happened yet.
– The Creamy Zucchini Sauce was ok but it still needs something.
– The soup was crazy good and I’ll be making it a lot more!
– The rice was disappointing, as all my grain based dishes usually are. It was only saved by lots of sweet chili sauce and hot sauce.
– The hummus was made with my favorite type of olive, the Cerignola Olive. It was just a basic hummus recipe with olive meat thrown in and blended down completely. I didn’t put enough for it to really taste like olives, they just gave the hummus a slight unctuous flavor. After a day for the flavors to really meld, even my olive hating husband liked it!

Meal Plan This Week

Without meaning to, the theme this week seems to be protein, protein, protein. Almost every dish has either beans, lentils, or quinoa. Might have to change the name to Tasty Legumes and Seeds!

Dinners:
1) Christy’s Lentil Soup
2) Almond Chili Sauce with Pasta
3) Meatloaf with Asparagus
4) Enfrioladas
5) Quinoa Salad with Orange-Cumin Vinaigrette
6) Dad’s Pinto Beans

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast:
– 2 cups bean dip – cheesy black bean dip
– Black Bean Brownies (recipe to come, still perfecting it)
– 3-5lbs whole roasted red potatoes for snacking or lunches
– 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches
– 6 cups of cooked quinoa with Canadian Lake Wild Rice, for breakfast, salads, wraps
– Dressing – Double batch Green Goddess Garlic
– pre-washed greens
– Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps
– Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks
– 2c vegan Parmesan cheese

***Remember to check out the bottom of past meal plan posts because I comment on what we thought about the dishes.

Update:
– The Almond Chile Sauce was Awesome!!! With that much almond butter/fat content it’s no surprise but the balance of flavors was spot on. The coconut water was the real reason I wanted to try this recipe. What a good idea. I’m going to start using it in more recipes. Especially salad dressings which this sauce would be great for too.
– The quinoa salad was gross. I’ve just about given up on grain based salads. I’ve had so many flops!

Bowl Full of Mush

We read Goodnight Moon to Elliot every night, and anyone familiar with it will recognize the term “bowl full if mush”. When I first read it, I thought it sounded weird and gross but the more I thought about it the more I realized how many delicious foods are basically just a bowl full of mush: grits, oatmeal, refried beans and rice, rice pudding, polenta, etc This isn’t really a recipe but it’s my favorite new convenience food and every time I eat it I think of Goodnight Moon. I thought I’d post it because it didn’t jump out at me that I could use this food this way but I’m finding it to be a very good option that I keep going back to.

After making this Polenta Lasagna I had a tube of the pre made polenta left over. It sat in my pantry for weeks until I was desperate for something quick and easy.

I had never really used this product before because polenta is so easy to make, why buy it pre made? But that lasagna lends its self to the stiff texture of the pre made stuff. And now I’m addicted to the convenience of it; especially not having to dirty a pot and wisk!

So here’s the gist of it. Just open up a tube of pre made polenta (it even comes in pre flavored varieties) and chop it up as small as you can (I do this directly in the bowl) add some non dairy milk, nuke it, mash with a potato masher, and season it however you like. My favorite combos are:

  • balsamic, Braggs, Vegan Parmesan
  • peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, cilantro, basil, mint, soy sauce, Siracha
  • honey, cardamom, vanilla

Enfrijoladas

This was so freaking good! Plus it was easy and uses ingredients I usually have. It’s basically a bean and corn tortilla casserole topped with pickled onions and toasted walnuts. Next time, I’m making two and freezing one. This would also be great to bring to a pot luck because it travels well and can be eaten at room temperature. Keep in mind, you’ll have plenty of beans left over for dipping, mixing with rice, making tostadas, or just licking off your finger!

Enfrijoladas

★★★★★

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 2 hrs | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1lb dried black beans (pinto beans would probably be great too)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 jar (about 2 cups?) favorite salsa or picante sauce
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/4-1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • Cilantro
  • 1/2 c red wine Vinegar
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 t Sugar

Directions:

Pick through and rinse beans. Chop one onion. Add beans, onion, and salsa to pot. Cover with at least one and a half inches of water. Bring to boil and simmer covered for about 90 minutes or until done.

Mix vinegar, salt and sugar. Slice onion into thin quarter rings and put in zip lock bag. Pour vinegar over onions, mix well, remove air and let sit while beans are cooking.

When beans are done, scoop out as much liquid as possible and use immersion blender until smooth, adding back liquid as needed to blend. Final consistency should be thinner than refried beans but thicker than soup. Taste for seasoning, maybe add some cumin or chili powder.

Add layer of beans to 9×13 baking dish. Dip both sides of corn tortillas into beans and fold into quarters (this is messy, use tongs). Place folded tortillas in dish as one layer or overlapping a little. Add a little more beans (you’ll have a lot of beans left over).

Top with nuts and some of the onions (you’ll have a lot of onions left over). Broil in oven until nuts are toasted. About 3-7 minutes, keep an eye on it. Serve topped with chopped cilantro. Or take it over the top with a drizzle of Green Goddess dressing.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/health/enfrijoladas-recipes-for-health.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

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Meal Plan This Week

The chaos of the holidays still seems to be lingering because I had another cook day low on time and help. Therefore, this week is another menu without much innovation. The good news is that I’m learning just how fast a cook day can go if I stick to easy recipes instead of exciting recipes. This one was completed in a relaxed six hours.

Dinners: 1) Hollandaise Asparagus Rounds 2) Christy’s Lentil Soup 3) Angel Hair Pasta with Cheese Sauce and Spinach 4) Mexican Caviar 5) Polenta Pizza Rounds (no cooking ahead of time, assemble yourself with pre-cooked polenta)

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – low fat guacamole – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies – cucumber and mini San Marzano tomatoes for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini Black Bean Brownies (from the FOK cookbook), for breakfast and snacking. – 3-5lbs whole roasted red potatoes for snacking or lunches – 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked brown jasmine rice, for breakfast, salads, wraps – Dressing – Double batch Green Goddess Garlic – A two gallon bag of washed greens, shredded cabbage (1/4 head) and carrot, and 1 bunch kale, for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks

Update: – The Hollandaise sauce was really good and innovative (it used sauerkraut!) but since the recipe is from a book (Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day) and I didn’t change it at all, I shouldn’t publish it. If I make edits in the future that improve it, I’ll publish.

Meal Plan This Week

This Meal Plan was much faster and easier than normal. I didn’t really plan it that way but I’m grateful for the happy accident. The most involved recipe was the sandwich. It’s from a new cook book I’m trying called, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day. I love a good sandwich so I’m excited to adapt some of these recipes for no-oil cooking. The bread was still a cheat because it had white flour, but oh well, it was worth it.

Dinners: 1) Mom’s Cabbage and Black Eyed Peas (for New Years) 2) Moroccan Chickpeas 3) French Vegetable Sandwich on Baguette 4) Angel Hair Pasta with Mushroom Cashew Pesto 5) Mexican Caviar

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – cannellini bean dip – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, bell pepper, jicama and fennel for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini zucchini chocolate muffins, for breakfast and snacking. – 3-5lbs whole roasted red potatoes for snacking or lunches – 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked barley, for breakfast, salads, wraps – Dressing – Double batch Green Goddess Garlic – A two gallon bag of washed greens, shredded cabbage (1/4 head) and carrot, and 1 bunch kale, for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks – 2c vegan Parmesan cheese – bacon flavored crunchy chickpeas

Update: I used the bacon chickpeas in a peanut butter banana bacon grilled sandwich (from the Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day cook book), SO. FREAKING. GOOD. The chickpeas are good for snacking too, although they don’t stay crunchy long and I think they need a little more flavor next time. The French Baguette sandwich was really good too. I’m excited to try more from this cook book.

Meal Plan This Week

This week we made two dishes to bring to holiday parties, Wild Rice Stuffing and Stuffed Mushrooms. But the mushrooms are so good that I’ll have to make a second batch!

Dinners: 1) E2 Meatloaf and Mushroom Gravy with Mashed Potatoes 2) Vegetable Soup 3) Cashew Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms 4) Wild Rice Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing 5) Mexican Caviar

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – sun dried tomato hummus – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, bell pepper and fennel for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini Banana Walnut muffins, for breakfast and snacking. – 3-5lbs whole roasted red potatoes for snacking or lunches – 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked wild rices, for breakfast, salads, wraps – Dressing – Green Goddess Garlic – A two gallon bag of washed greens, shredded cabbage (1/4 head) and carrot, and 1 bunch kale, for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks – 2c vegan Parmesan cheese

Update: It had been a while since I’d made some of these and I’d forgotten how good they are! The stuffed mushrooms barely made it to the party. Especially after my brother got a hold of them. I should have announced they were healthy, that way maybe they wouldn’t have been so popular and I would have gotten more. But no worries, I made them again that week just for myself, and again the next week I made just the stuffing to go on pasta. The green goddess dressing was another hit. When we first started this diet we ate this so much we burned out on it. But it’s been long enough and we love it again. We use it more as a dip than a dressing. The Mexican Caviar was also really liked and is now a new favorite. It’s so stinking easy to make!

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

I always have this stuff in hand! It’s great on so many things from pasta and salads to greens and mashed potatoes. It’s not much of a recipe because its so simple but I thought I’d post it anyway. And I probably got it somewhere online but have long since forgotten. A quick google search will bring up tons of sources.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

★★★★★

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 c walnuts 1 c nutritional yeast 1 T kosher salt

Directions:

Chop all a food processor until fine.

Source: My Collection

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Mexican Caviar

This is a family favorite that my sister makes, but I’ve adapted it for no oil. It’s fast, cheap, easy and delicious!

Mexican Caviar

★★★★★

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 small cans sliced black olives, drained (or if you can find them, 1 lg can Cento whole black olives, sliced)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T sugar

Directions: Mix all ingredients. Add dressing. Chill 3 hours or overnight. Serve with chips or eat straight from a bowl.

Source: Michelle Hunt

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Pistachio Carrot Muffins

Notes:

The idea for these came from me having a craving for the pistachio cake I used to always get for my birthday. I didn’t find any plant strong recipes so I made up my own by starting with the Happy Herbivore carrot cake recipe and adding pistachio meal. But I’m not much of a baker so the first time I made this they were a gooey disaster because I assumed the pistachio meal would act like a flour. It does not. Now that I’ve got the consistency right, I still think they’re a little too sweet so next time I’m going to cut back on the sugar (maybe leave it out all together?) and see what happens. I’ll update this post with the results but they were SO good as is, I thought they were post-worthy.

Pistachio Carrot Muffins

★★★★★

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 32 mins | Makes: 24-32 mini muffins | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
  • .5 c very finely ground pistachios
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. raw sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • .5 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • Whole Pistachios

Directions:

Mix the flour, pistachios, baking soda, baking powder, salt, together. Then add the sugar, applesauce, vanilla, and shredded carrot and mix it all together. Spoon them into muffin tin, making them each about 3/4 full, top with a whole pistachio. Then bake on 350 for 22-27 minutes (for mini muffins) until a knife/toothpick comes out clean.

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Meal Plan This Week

Dinners: 1) Thai Carrot Soup 2) E2 Meat Loaf and mashed potatoes 3) Tomato and roasted pepper spaghetti 4) Acorn squash stuffed with farro walnut cranberry salad 5) Savory swiss chard pie (Everything made ahead)

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – sun dried tomato hummus – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, bell pepper, jicama, and fennel for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini Pistachio-Carrot mini muffins, for breakfast and snacking. – 3-5lbs whole roasted fingerling potatoes for snacking or lunches – 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked farro, for breakfast, salads, wraps – Dressing – lemon basil – A two gallon bag of washed greens, shredded cabbage (1/4 head) and carrot, and 1 bunch kale, for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks

Thai Carrot Soup

Thai Carrot Soup

Notes: I can’t get enough of this fast, cheap, easy, flavorful soup! I’m not a huge fan of carrots but they’re so dang nutritious and cheap that I’m always looking for ways to use them. I’ve tried several carrot soups and have found them all to be utterly boring! So I made this one up. It’s basically the same flavors as my Eggplant Green Curry but they pair surprisingly well with the sweetness of the carrots. Serve with cold corn on the cob to counter the heat! Be aware that store-bought green curries can vary a lot in quality and spice level (avoid Thai Kitchen brand green curry paste, yuck). If you think you don’t like green curry, try another brand or go to a real Thai restaurant and try the real thing. Once you’ve had good Thai curry, you’ll never go back. If you can’t find the lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves, try using a few pieces of lime peel and extra lime juice.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Makes: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 onion, diced
1.5lb carrots, sliced into half inch rounds
3 c veg stock
3 c almond milk
2 stalks lemon grass
4 kaffir lime leaves
.5 T green curry paste (I like Mae Ploy brand)
1 t coconut extract 1 lime (kaffir lime if you can find it)

Directions: Put everything in a pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Reduce to active simmer for 15-20 mins or until carrots are soft. Purée to desired consistency. I like to remove a few scoops of solids, purée until very smooth, then add the solids back in. Squeeze fresh lime in each bowl. Serve with cold corn on the cob. FOR KIDS: Don’t add the curry paste until the end. I scoop out some solids for my toddler, then add curry paste and purée.

Source: My Brain

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Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts

I made this for both family Thanksgiving dinners and it was very well received. It’s high fat, but hey, it’s the holidays and I’m serving it to meat eaters so I wanted to make something impressive.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts

★★★★★

Makes: 6 servings | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice whole grain bread, toasted
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice or wild rice mix
  • 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1/4 c walnut butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 T Sage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Pepper to taste

Topping:

1 onion, quarter ring slice 2 slices whole grain Bread, chopped 2-4 T Balsamic vinegar Directions:

Heat large pot over medium heat, add onions, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 50 minutes.

Caramelize onion for topping. Add bread cubes and balsamic. Stir until bread is evenly coated with balsamic. Use enough balsamic to coat bread but not make it soggy.

To make walnut butter just chop walnuts in a food processor or spice grinder until it turns into a paste.

Toast walnuts until almost burnt.

When rice is done, stir in cranberries, herbs, bread crumbs, walnut butter and walnuts. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste.

Put in 9×13 baking dish. Add topping and bake at 375 until topping is crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. You can broil for the last few minutes, just watch it closely. I usually end up burning it but the burnt pieces are people’s favorite part!

Source: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2394

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Meal Plan This Week

I’m working on a bunch of new recipes so not many links this week. I’ll post the link if it’s something I really like and think is worth sharing.

Dinners: 1) E2 Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Golden Mushroom Gravy 2) Truffle-Rosemary White Beans 3) Pad Thai 4) Cranberry Rice Salad 5) Eggplant Green Curry (Everything made ahead except noodles)

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – Low-Fat Guacamole – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, bell pepper and fennel for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 Pistachio-Carrot mini muffins, for breakfast and snacking. – 3-5lbs whole roasted fingerling potatoes for snacking or lunches – 10 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked brown and wild rice mix, for breakfast, salads, wraps – A two gallon bag of washed greens, shredded cabbage (1/2 head) and carrot, and kale, for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks

Update: – The meatloaf was so loved by everyone that I made it again the next week. – The cranberry rice salad was disgusting! Truly inedible. I followed a recipe online but I’m not linking to it! – The Truffle Rosemary white beans were okay but not flavorful enough. The recipe needs some work so I’m not posting it yet. And frankly I’m kind of sick of beans at the moment so it may be a while before I make them again. – The low fat guacamole was good but mom made it and she doesn’t measure anything so hopefully I’ll be able to recreate it later.

Meal Plan This Week

I kept it pretty simple this week. But I’m also trying out an involved recipe to bring for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. So far the wild rice stuffing is a hit and will only need a few tweaks for next week. I’ll post it once its perfected.

Dinners: 1) Banana Black Beans with Brown Rice (made ahead) 2) Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts (made ahead, recipe to come) 3) Cherry Sesame Kale Salad (dressing and nuts made ahead) 4) Moroccan Chickpeas (made ahead) 5) Carrot Soup (recipe not online)

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – cheesy pinto bean dip – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, cucumber, carrot, and celery for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini Orange-Cranberry muffins (recipe to come), for breakfast and snacking – 3-5lbs whole roasted fingerling potatoes for snacking or lunches – 8 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked brown and wild rice mix, for breakfast, salads, wraps – Dressing: Sweet Asian Chili – A two gallon bag of washed greens, roman (1/2 head), shredded cabbage (1/4 head) and carrot, and kale (1/2 bunch) for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks

Moroccan Chickpeas

Moroccan Chickpeas

Notes: These are fantastic. I think I have made them every week for a month. The kiddo REALLY loves them. This makes a lot of food. If you get sick of eating it, try a squeeze of fresh lemon to change up the flavor.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 4 hrs 30 mins | Makes: Serves 10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients: 2 small onions, thinly sliced 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 lb dried chickpeas Handful raisins Handful dried apricots 1 T ground turmeric 2 t ground cinnamon 1 T ground cumin .5 t cayenne pepper .5 t smoked sweet paprika honey to taste Salt to taste

Directions: Add everything to a slow cooker, cover with water, cook on high for 4 hours or until beans are done. Salt to taste. Serve with or without a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Source: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/chickpea-tagine-with-cinnamon-cumin-and-carrots/

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Sweet Asian Chili Dressing (aka Dragon Breath Dressing)

Sweet Asian Chili Dressing

I’ve been making this dressing for months now, and everyone loves it. I’ve hesitated publishing it because I rarely measure when making it. And when I do measure, it doesn’t seem to matter much when I change the measurements because its always good. In other words, you can’t mess this up.

This dressing has a strong flavor from the raw ginger and garlic. After eating it, people are going to smell ya coming and going!

★★★★★

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 clove fresh garlic, grated 1/2 inch fresh ginger root, grated .25-.5 c rice wine vinegar .25-.5 c sweet chili sauce 1-2 T Braggs Directions:

Mix and serve on salad, potatoes, rice, veggies, anything!

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Eggplant Green Curry

Eggplant Green Curry

Notes: I love me some coconut milk! It’s been the last unhealthy fat I’ve given up. But I was able to do a lot of experimenting over the last few weeks and I think I’ve found a suitable replacement for SOME applications. Making a cashew milk, and adding coconut extract, works great with this curry application. It does NOT work great when making coconut rice! That was a total fail, but one I’m still trying to figure out. This dish is one of my all time favorites, and I’m SO glad I was able to adapt it (it’s not the exact same as using coconut milk but it hits the spot)! It requires several hard to find ingredients (kaffir lime leaves and fresh lemon grass) but they are well worth tracking down because the flavor just isn’t the same without them. In fact, what inspired me to make this dish this week was the fact that Central Market happened to have fresh kaffir limes, which I had never seen before! They were perfect squeezed on top of this dish. Kaffir lime leaves might be in the freezer section. If you find them fresh, freeze the leftovers for next time. The lemon grass needs to be fresh. I’ve tried a few jarred and paste versions of lemon grass and they all sucked.

A note about extracts: extract flavors and strengths can vary wildly. Start small, you can always add more as it’s cooking.

The fish sauce in this recipe is totally optional. It’s the only animal product I still keep around because of one recipe I make where the flavor can’t be duplicated. But in this recipe, you won’t miss it if you want to leave it out.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Makes: Serves 2-3 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients: 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into bite-sized pieces 1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced into half sticks 1 can of bamboo shoots (optional) 1-2 tablespoons green curry paste (depending on brand and spice level preference) 2/3 c cashews water 1-2 c almond milk (depending on how saucy you like it) 2 t coconut extract (depends on extract strength) 3 kaffir lime leaves 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into three pieces and bruised 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional) 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/4 cup Thai Basil or Sweet Basil leaves 1 lime (kaffir lime if you can find it) Cooked brown rice

Directions:

Put cashews in a two cup measuring cup and add water until you reach two cups. Soak cashews anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight (if soaking 20 minutes use warm water). Blend cashews, water and coconut extract in food processor or blender until very smooth.

Place a wide bottom pan over high heat. Add eggplant and cook until it becomes charred brown and blistered. Almost all the eggplant needs to touch the bottom of the pan, if your pan is too small, cook in batches. You need the flavor from charred eggplant not steamed eggplant.

Now it’s time to bloom the curry. Start by opening some doors and windows and turn on all your fans, then evacuate young children and non-essential personnel! If you’re using a good curry paste, the fumes created by this process will leave everyone coughing! Push eggplant to the sides of the pan. Add the curry paste to the center and saute for about 30 seconds (it will stick to the pan but it’s ok). Add the faux coconut milk and scrape the pan. Mix curry with milk until smooth then mix in the eggplant.

Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, brown sugar, 1 cup almond milk, and bell pepper. Cook on low, covered, until softened to desired level, adding more almond milk as it dries out. Serve over rice with basil and lime wedges on the side.

Source: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/eggplant_green_curry/

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Cheesy Pinto Bean Dip

Cheesy Pinto Bean Dip

I was in the mood for something cheesy and indulgent, so I made this up. It’s higher fat than normal, but hey… at least I didn’t eat cheese! (My self congratulation didn’t last long when I realized I ate half of this the first night :-/ ) You know it’s good when you stop eating the vegetable you’re dipping in it, and just start licking it off the vegetable.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
2 cans pinto beans
.25 c plus
1 T nutritional yeast
2 T Miso Master Mello White Miso
1 clove garlic, pressed
.25 c plus
1 T white wine vinegar
.25 c tahini
2 t bacon salt (vegan)
2 t onion powder
Dash worcestershire sauce (vegan)

Directions: Drain beans and blend everything in a food processor. Thin with water. Serve with raw veggies.

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Meal Plan This Week

I kept things pretty simple this week because I didn’t have child care on Cook Day (normally Mom watches Elliot while I cook). I relied on my well stocked freezer, my slow cooker, and I only tried two new dinner recipes.

Dinners: 1) Banana Black Beans with Black Quinoa (quinoa made ahead) 2) Beet Burgers (previously frozen) 3) Cabbage Roll Casserole with Tempeh (made ahead) (recipe to come) 4) Moroccan Chickpeas (made ahead) 5) Pasta and Romesco Sauce (sauce made ahead) 6) Dessert – Cherry and Peach Cobbler

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – Cheesy Pinto Bean Dip (recipe to come) – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, fennel, for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini Orange-Cranberry muffins (recipe to come), for breakfast and snacking – 3-5lbs whole roasted fingerling potatoes for snacking or lunches – 8 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked black and white quinoa, for breakfast, salads, wraps – Caesar Salad Dressing – A two gallon bag of washed greens, roman (1/2 head), shredded cabbage (1/4 head) and carrot, and kale (1/2 bunch) for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks

Update: Favorite Meal: Moroccan Chickpeas. I’ve made them several times since and we continue to love them. I of course made several adaptations and will post the recipe soon. Least Favorite Item: Caesar Salad Dressing. It just wasn’t very good. I wouldn’t make it again. I also wasn’t crazy about the cobbler. But will play with it and see if I can make it work.

Dad’s Ranch Pinto Beans

Dad’s Ranch Pinto Beans

Notes: This is Dad’s recipe for the beans he always makes when he’s at the ranch. We made them this week and they taste just as good in the big city 😉

★★★★★ Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 2 hrs | Makes: 10? Servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
1lb pinto beans
5-6 small onions (can’t have too many onions), diced
1 jar Pace picante sauce
4-5 gloves garlic, rough chop (optional)
Liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Before going out to hunt in the morning, put everything in a big pot with a ton of water (we like them soupy), bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let em cook. A couple hours later, they’re done. Add a little liquid smoke if desired. Season to taste. Serve alone or with rice and avocado.

Source: Dad

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Meal Plan This Week

Here’s this week’s meal plan. A few good old stand-bys and a few newbies from a site I’m trying, vegetariantimes.com. I picked vegan recipes that I’ve modified for no oil.

Dinners: 1) Pasta and Cheese Sauce with broccoli (sauce made ahead) 2) Dad’s Ranch Beans with brown and wild rice, salsa, and avocado (all made ahead) (recipe to come) 3) Thai Lettuce Wraps (all made ahead) 4) Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Cutlets (crust made ahead) with Garlic-Date Kale (made ahead) and garlic bread 5) Poached Pear and Grilled Endive Salad (Poached pears and dressing made ahead) with pomegranate seeds, and side of roasted potatoes

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast: – 2 cups bean dip – sun dried tomato Hummus (recipe to come) – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, fennel, for snacking, salads and wraps – 24 mini chocolate chunk zucchini muffins, for breakfast and snacking – 3-5lbs whole roasted fingerling potatoes for snacking or lunches – 8 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked brown and wild rice, for breakfast, salads, wraps – A two gallon bag of washed greens, roman (1 head), shredded cabbage (1/2 head) and carrot, and kale (1 bunch) for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks

Update: Favorite Item – Thai Lettuce wraps. They were also good on a corn tortilla. Least Favorite Item – Poached Pear Salad. The pear was great but endive was too bitter and I was hungry an hour later. Beans – came out really good. Elliot loved them. Kale – would have been better with more dates.

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Notes: All these ingredients make a great salad too. I’ve only made this once but loved it. I’ll continue to tweak the recipe but thought I’d post it for now. I think it needs some lemon grass and kafir lime leaf but I’m not sure how to incorporate it since it doesn’t spend much time simmering.

★★★★ Cook Time: 30 minutes or fewer | Makes: Serves 2 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

Tempeh
2 8-oz. pkg. plain tempeh, broken into chunks
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup lime juice
2 Tbs. chopped shallots
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar

Fillings
2 cups bean sprouts (optional)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, julienned
1 large carrot, shredded
Fresh mint
cilantro
basil
18 whole large lettuce leaves
½ cup chopped peanuts
Sweet chili sauce
Sriracha

Directions: To make Filling: Pulse tempeh in food processor until coarsely crumbled. Heat a little broth in skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add tempeh and broth, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 10 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mound vegetables, herbs, and tempeh mixture on platter. Let diners fill lettuce leaves with filling, toppings, and sauce.

Source: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/thai-lettuce-wraps/

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Meal Plan This Week

Since I do a lot of thorough meal planning that people often ask me about, I thought I might start posting the plans. I tend to plan a weeks worth of meals and cook most of them ahead of time, all in one day.

Here’s this weeks meal plan:

Dinners: 1) Pasta and Toasted Almond Basil Pesto (pesto made ahead) 2) Balsamic Black Beans with Brown and Wild Rice (made ahead) 3) Roasted Carrot & Fennel Soup (made ahead) 4) Polenta Lasagna with Portobellos and Kale (assembled ready for oven) (made with my cheese sauce instead of recipe’s cheese sauce) 5) Savory Tangy Quinoa and Lentils with frozen veggies (broth ingredients assembled ahead)

Snacks, lunch stuff, and breakfast (all made ahead): – 2 cups bean dip – Sun Dried Tomato Hummus (recipe to come) – Half a gallon bag of sliced raw veggies, radish, celery, fennel, for snacking, salads and wraps – 36 mini banana muffins w/ walnuts, for breakfast and snacking (recipe to come) – 2 cups of homemade vegan Parmesan cheese, for pasta and salads – 3-5lbs whole roasted red, yellow and purple potatoes for snacking or lunches – 6 ears corn on the cob for snacking or lunches – 6 cups of cooked brown and wild rice, for breakfast, salads, wraps, dinners – A two gallon bag of washed greens, roman (1 head), shredded cabbage (1/2 head) and shredded carrot, and kale (1 bunch) for lunch salads or dinner side dishes – Homemade Sweet Asian Chili salad dressing (recipe to be posted soon) – Chopped green onions, 1 bunch, for salads and wraps – Fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks – homemade pickled onion and jalapeño, for salads and wraps – homemade pickled shredded carrot, for salads and wraps

Update: Here is some feed back on what we thought of this week’s meals. Favorite meal: lasagna (I used pre-package sun dried tomato polenta) Least favorite: soup, tasted too much like carrot, not enough like fennel, but it was still good. I left a lot of chunks and Elliot loved them. Pesto: wasn’t as good as normal, ate it on day three so it just might be one of those things that need to be eaten fresh? Beans: really need to be served with a drizzle of balsamic and Bragg’s. Hummus: Elliot’s favorite, Mom made this. I need to get her to measure next time so I can post the recipe!

“Cheese” Sauce

“Cheese” Sauce

Notes: I’ve been trying to perfect this recipe for a while and I think I’ve finally got it because holy macaroni this is good! It’s a mash up of the Happy Herbivore and E2 Mac and Cheese recipes but I changed some measurements and added white wine and truffle salt. The wine and truffle give this a hint of the complexity of a fine cheese (that’s just a fancy way of saying it gives it that “stinky feet” flavor of fine cheese). Serve on pasta with some veggies. Soaking the cashews in water overnight will make for a smoother sauce. But I kind of like the small specks of cashew that remain when they’re not soaked because the texture reminds me of Parmesan cheese. If you’re watching salt, cut back on the miso before you cut back on the truffle salt. Or better yet replace the truffle salt with truffle powder if you can find it. Using an intensely flavored beer in place of the Chardonnay would probably be tasty as well.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Makes: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
1 c milk almond milk
.25 c nutritional yeast
2 T Miso Master brand Mello White Miso
1 T cornstarch
1 t onion powder
1 t granulated garlic
.25 t turmeric
.5 c cashews
.5 t black truffle salt
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 oz Chardonnay

Directions: Add everything to food processor except wine and lemon juice. Start to purée, then slowly add wine and lemon juice (this is so the wine and lemon juice don’t curdle the milk). Heat in saucepan until simmering and thick. It doesn’t take long, it can burn quickly and can get a little lumpy so stir often and watch closely.

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Yellow Corn Chowder

Yellow Corn Chowder

Notes: Oh my god, I’m eating this every week until corn is out of season! Normally I would make something a couple times before deeming it worthy of sharing, but I was so impressed with this that it’s going straight on the blog. This is one of the first recipes I’ve tried from the new cookbook I’m obsessed with, Bravo! by Ramses Bravo, executive chef at True North. I was really needing more gourmet food to satisfy my foodie nature and this was suggested to me by the great folks at Engine2extra.com. I did make a few minor changes but it’s pretty close to the recipe in the book. Being gourmet and written by a chef, these recipes are often more expensive and time consuming than most, but this one is neither. It was fast, easy, and cheap. And I’m SHOCKED I didn’t have to add salt!!! I did use a store bought veg stock, but still… I didn’t add salt, that’s crazy. Although, Nathan did add a pinch to his. Like most soup, the flavor got even better the next day. We gave the baby the solids from this soup, he gobbled up every last morsel and signed for more. The only bad thing about this recipe is that it’s not very calorie dense and even though I had three bowls I was hungry a few hours later (I’m still nursing and get hungry very easily). Next time I’ll have some toasted bread with it and/or add more avocado.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Makes: 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
2 leeks, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kernels sliced from 4 ears fresh corn (4 c frozen and canned could sub but I haven’t tried it)
2 medium yellow potatoes, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
.25 t red pepper flakes
6 cups vegetable stock (homemade preferred but I used Central Market Organics brand)
1 c almond milk, unsweetened
1 T chopped fresh chives

Directions: Add leeks, shallots and garlic to a dry pot and heat on medium low for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add corn, celery, potatoes, and pepper. Stir frequently for 15 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t brown. Add stock and milk. Heat on medium high for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Skim any foam off the top. Add chives and serve.

Serving suggestions: chopped avocado and toasted bread.

Source: Bravo! Cookbook by Ramses Bravo

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Okra Spaghetti

Okra Spaghetti

Notes: I know what you’re thinking, okra is slimy. That’s because okra IS slimy. But it works in this recipe, I’m not sure why, but it does. I don’t know if it’s the small amount of okra, the way it’s cut, the cook time, or the vinegar, but instead of being slimy this sauce has a body and a mouth feel very similar to oil! I’m excited to discover this and will try adding okra to other recipes to see if it does the same thing. And I’ve got to give credit to my late cajun Mawmaw for inspiring the vinegar in this recipe. I remember her telling me that adding vinegar to okra makes it less slimy. And then she’d clean her big spoon by banging it against the rim of the cast iron pot just a little bit louder and longer than necessary. I think it made her food taste better 😉

★★★★ Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Makes: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
7 Roma tomatoes, diced or 28 oz canned chopped San Marzano tomatoes
1 small yellow onion sliced into half moons
6 oz fresh okra 8 cloves garlic, rough chop
1 t kosher salt
.5 t dry sweet basil
1 T balsamic vinegar
.5 c white wine
1/3 c dried dried mushrooms (optional)
1lb whole wheat pasta

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.

Cook onion on medium heat until soft (keep lid on pan or add water to prevent burning). Add garlic and wine, cook about two minutes.

Trim okra by chopping the stem end close to the rim. Slice okra lengthwise into fourths. Fat pieces can be sliced more. The goal is to have long skinny strands of okra.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to low boil. Simmer (uncovered for fresh tomatoes, covered for canned) for about 30 minutes or until okra is soft and limp. Taste for seasoning and serve over pasta.

Savory Tangy Quinoa

Savory Tangy Quinoa

Notes: If you don’t have saki you can use white wine, just use more. The measurements are pretty forgiving, just play around with it. The toddler loves this! I add mashed avocado to his. I’ll also add about a 1/4 cup of red lentils when I add the quinoa. This makes it thicker and easier for him to grab and shove into his mouth.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1/4 c balsamic vinegar

1-2 T Bragg’s liquid aminos

2 T dry saki Japanese rice wine

1 clove garlic, pressed Enough water to equal

2 cups of total liquid

1 cup quinoa (or any grain, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, etc)

Directions: Use the liquid to cook the grain like you would with just water. For quinoa the ratio is 2 to 1 and takes 20-30 minutes.

Source: My Collection

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Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches

Notes This was a surprisingly good swap for a BLT. I wouldn’t say it tasted like bacon, but it tasted good. It was my first time cooking with tempeh. I followed the recipe almost exactly, but I always salt tomatoes on a sandwich and in this case I used Bacon Salt :) We will be making this again, especially because it was fast, easy and full of protein. And I miss sandwiches. Update: I’ve made this several times now. In fact, it’s the only way I’ve cooked tempeh. The tempeh also pairs well with the celery root salad. Elliot loves this stuff!

★★★★ Prep Time: 0 hr 0 min | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 package tempeh (any variety will do)
  • 1 cup warm vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (I used 2 but use more if you like your tempeh saltier)
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or smoked Spanish paprika

Directions
Slice the tempeh about 1/4-inch thick. In a flat, microwavable baking dish (or a large skillet) arrange the tempeh slices in a single layer. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the tempeh.

For microwave cooking, cook on high power for 3 minutes. Turn or rearrange any pieces that were not covered by broth and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Then cook at 50% power for 3 more minutes. Allow the tempeh to stay in the broth until you’re ready to pan fry.

For stovetop cooking (best results), bring the broth to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, turning the tempeh halfway through to make sure each piece gets equal time in the broth. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit in the broth until you’re ready to pan fry it. Spray a large non-stick skillet with canola oil or cooking spray. Put it on medium-high heat until hot, and then remove the tempeh slices from the broth and put them in the pan in a single layer. (I did this in two batches.) Cook until brown, and then turn. When they are almost brown on the second side, add a few tablespoons of the simmering broth to the skillet and allow it to evaporate. (This adds more flavor.)

Remove from skillet and serve immediately.

Cajun Tempeh option: Sprinkle the tempeh with Creole seasoning just before you turn it for a spicy treat.

For sandwiches, spread bread with your choice of condiments (I use vegan mayo and spicy mustard). Arrange lettuce and tomato on bread and top with strips of tempeh. One package of tempeh will make about 4-5 sandwiches. The bread we prefer is Rudi’s organic 100% whole wheat. You can use the leftover cooking liquid to cook a grain like quinoa or rice.

Nutritional Info Nutrition (per serving, tempeh only): 121 calories, 54 calories from fat, 6.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 437.9mg sodium, 249.5mg potassium, 7.1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 11.1g protein, 3.5 points.

Source:

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Savory Swiss Chard Pie

Savory Swiss Chard Pie

Notes: A few tips: – it doesn’t “set” like you’d think but it tastes great – in retrospect I’d add a little lemon juice to the greens

★★★★★ Prep Time: 20 minute(s) | Cook Time: 40 minute(s) | Makes: Number of servings (yield) 4 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
12 ounces ( 340 g) chard
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces (349 g) lite firm or extra-firm silken tofu (1 package Mori-Nu), drained
1/4 cup (60 ml) plain soy milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch
1 heaping tablespoon (1/2 ounce or 15 g) raw cashews (optional)*
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 pinch nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried, optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9-inch ceramic pie pan lightly with non-stick spray.

Wash the chard but do not dry. Remove the center stem from each leaf. Set the leaves aside and chop the stems into small pieces.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion and chard stems until softened (about 5 minutes), adding a tablespoon of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pan along with the garlic, reduce heat, and cover. Cook until all chard is wilted. Remove from heat. If any water has accumulated, drain it; then spread chard in bottom of prepared pie pan.

Place tofu and remaining ingredients in a blender, and puree until very smooth. Pour over the chard in the pie pan. Use a spoon to gently open holes through the chard so that the tofu mixture penetrates it. Smooth the top so that tofu layer is even and covers all the chard. Bake for 30 minutes, or until center is set. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s) Cooking time: 40 minute(s) Number of servings (yield): 4

Source: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/06/savory-swiss-chard-pie.html

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Roasted Asparagus Soup

Roasted Asparagus Soup

★★★★

Prep Time: 5 minute(s) | Cook Time: 25 minute(s) | Makes: Number of servings 4 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 small onion, sliced
2 cups warm vegetable broth or “no-chicken” broth
1/2 ounce raw cashews (1 heaping tablespoon) or 1 tablespoon cashew butter
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
grated peel of 1/2 lemon or orange

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Place the asparagus spears on a baking sheet lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn asparagus and sprinkle the onion and garlic over it. Roast for about 10 more minutes, until asparagus is very tender. If anything looks like it’s browning too much, take it out. (Important Note: These directions are for thicker asparagus. Thin asparagus may take much less time so start with 6 minutes, turn and add onions and garlic, and check again in 5.)

  2. While the asparagus is roasting, blend 1/2 cup of the broth with the cashews and pepper until smooth. Leave it in the blender.

  3. When the asparagus is done, select several of the best-looking spears, remove the tops, and set aside to use as garnish. Cut the remaining asparagus into pieces and put it and the onion and garlic into the blender, along with the remaining broth. Cover the blender and blend on high until perfectly smooth.

  4. If you’re using a Vita-Mix, you can blend it on high for a few more minutes until piping hot (remove the center cup and cover with a kitchen towel to allow steam to escape). Otherwise, pour the soup into a saucepan and heat until hot, stirring frequently. Add salt, if needed, to taste.

  5. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with grated lemon or orange peel. Garnish each bowl with the reserved asparagus spears and serve hot.

Nutritional Info:

Yield: 4 cups

Source: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2010/05/roasted-asparagus-soup.html

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Pesto Recipe

Pesto Recipe

Notes: I make this pesto with pasta at least once a week. I rarely measure but last time it came out so good I had to write it down. Just put it all in the food processor and thin out with water. If you have any leftover it’s good to thin it out with water and use as a salad dressing.

★★★★★ Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
2 lg handfuls raw or toasted nuts (cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc)
2 bunches basil (stems and all)
1 lg garlic clove
2 t kosher salt
3T nutritional yeast
5 shakes red pepper flakes
Juice from half a small lemon
Water
1 T Miso Master Mellow White Miso

Directions: Combine in food processor. Use water to thin out.

Source: My Collection

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Okra and Tomatoes

Okra and Tomatoes

Notes: Add white beans for protein. Trimming okra just means cutting off the stem close to the rim.

★★★★ Prep Time: 30 min | Cook Time: 30 min | Makes: 4 to 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
1 pound okra, rinsed and trimmed
1 chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 chopped roma tomato
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground or black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 can white beans (optional)

Directions:
Cut each okra pod in half lengthwise and set aside. If there are any pods longer than 4 inches, cut them in half crosswise and then lengthwise.

Heat onions along with the salt and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and add the ginger, pepper, cardamom and okra. Stir to combine. Cook, covered for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve immediately. If adding beans add them about halfway through the cook time.

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/okra-and-tomatoes-recipe/index.html

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Miso Soup with Vegetable Dumplings

Miso Soup with Vegetable Dumplings

★★★★

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

8 cups water

2/3 cup miso (any color/flavor)

6 green onions (scallions), chopped

2 tbsp shredded nori or wakame seaweed

1 block firm silken tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes

As many frozen vegetable dumplings as you would like

Handful dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)

dash soy sauce (optional)

1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Directions:

Bring water to a slow simmer and add seaweed and dried mushrooms. Allow to simmer at least 5-6 minutes. The longer you simmer the seaweed, the less of a salty fishy flavor it will have.

Reduce heat to very low and add the rest of the ingredients. When adding miso, mix it with hot broth in a separate bowl until it is well dissolved, then add to pot.

Its best not to boil the miso, as this will ruin some of it’s healthy properties as well as change the flavor of the soup.

Notes:

This is very quick and easy. It uses mostly pantry and freezer stuff so I use it when I’m running low on fresh produce.

Source: vegetarian.about.com

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Grilled Zucchini and Red Onion with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Grilled Zucchini and Red Onion with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette ★★★★ Makes: Serves 4 to 6 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

1 large red onion, peeled and cut crosswise into four 1/2-inch-thick rounds

3 medium zucchini (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick planks

extra virgin olive oil spray

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions: (from cook’s illustrated) WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Our perfect grilled vegetable recipe would have to produce charred-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside veggies with great smoky flavor and a lively dressing. Matching the vegetables in pairs doubled up our recipe’s flavor, while cooking them over moderate heat for 20 minutes gave us a great result, both inside and out. To finish our grilled vegetables recipe, we drizzled them with a quick vinaigrette while they were still warm, which boosted their flavor without overpowering them. The vegetables can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. After about five minutes, faint grill marks should begin to appear on the undersides of the vegetables; if necessary, adjust their position on the grill or adjust the heat level. 1. Thread onion rounds, from side to side, onto 2 metal skewers. Spray onion and zucchini lightly and evenly with olive oil and season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt) and pepper to taste. 2. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons water, garlic, lemon zest and juice, mustard, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon table salt) together in small bowl; set aside. 3. Grill vegetables over medium heat, turning once, until tender and caramelized, 18 to 22 minutes (move vegetables as needed to ensure even cooking). Transfer vegetables to platter; remove skewers from onion and discard any charred outer rings. Rewhisk vinaigrette and pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

Source: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?showFullSite=true&docid=19352

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Coconut Curry Kale

Notes: My one year old loved this. Add tofu or beans for protein. We use full fat coconut milk because it’s mostly for the baby.

★★★★ Prep Time: 0 hr 0 min | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 2-3 main course servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t ginger, grated
  • 2 t curry seasoning (can be curry powder, garam masala, Thai curry paste, etc)
  • .5-1 c vegetable stock or water (less stock if kale is still wet)
  • 1 14 oz can low fat coconut milk
  • .5 t salt
  • 2-3 bunches of kale
  • 1 can chickpeas or tofu (optional)
  • Toasted coconut flakes

Directions:

Soften onion in Dutch oven (leave the lid on or add water to keep from burning). Add garlic, ginger, and curry. Cook one minute. Add salt, stock, milk, and half of kale. Let kale wilt then add the rest.

Add beans. Cover and cook on medium low for about 20 minutes (or until kale is as done as you like) stirring a few times and checking kale. Remove lid, turn up to medium high and cook until liquid reduces to desired consistency and kale is cooked to desired level.

Season with salt and pepper. If kale is too bitter, add a little honey by making a well in the center if the pot and incorporating it into the liquid before stirring the pot.

Top with toasted coconut flakes. We toast ours in the toaster oven until they are the color of bran flakes. You could also top with toasted nuts or seeds. The recipe also calls for topping it with a splash of lime but I didn’t have any.

Source: Cooks Illustrated

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