Empowered Noodle Bowl + A Giveaway of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

DSC08248I was thrilled to have an opportunity to post a recipe from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook AND be able to give a copy away to one lucky reader! I’ve been glued to this cookbook since I received it because not only is it full of beautiful photographs (about every recipe has a pic), but the recipes look downright delicious. Like Liddon, I had some unhealthy eating (or should I say, not eating) habits before I went vegan. I can truly say that a vegan diet saved my life. This is a great cookbook to have in your collection because it is full of tasty, healthy recipes that use only whole, minimally-processed ingredients. If you’ve been a fan of the Oh She Glows website, you’re going to love this cookbook with 75 brand-spankin’ new recipes, plus 25 updated reader favorites. So if you want to win this beautiful cookbook, leave a comment; it’s that easy! You have until midnight (PST) on Sunday, April 6. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 7th. 

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You’ll love Liddon’s Empowered Noodle Bowl, two ways: Thai Peanut & Orange-Maple Miso on page 153. I decided to make both dressings and honestly, I can’t tell you which one is my favorite; they’re both delicious. The Thai Peanut is thicker with some garlic kick, whereas the Orange-Maple Miso is a tad thinner and milder. They’re both easy enough to make, so why not do both? This is a fantastic lunch or light dinner, that comes together rather quickly. I like how the veggies take precedence over the noodles—it’s not a heavy pasta dish, but rather, a bowl of fresh veggies with some noodles thrown in and coated with a tasty dressing. A winner for sure.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

Thai Peanut Sauce

1 large garlic clove
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs natural smooth peanut butter
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs + 1 tsp low-sodium tamari
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

3 Tbs light miso
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs tahini
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1 Tbs water
1 tsp maple syrup

Salad

4 oz gluten-free soba noodles
Extra virgin olive oil, for the noodles
16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds, for serving

DIRECTIONS

To make the Thai Peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Do the same for the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing.

Empowered NoodleCook the noodles according to instructions on the package (5-9 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little of the olive oil, then toss with the veggies and dressing of your choice. Top individual servings with sesame seeds and enjoy! If you like the looks of this recipe, you’re going to want this cookbook, so leave a comment and you just may get it! Good luck!

DSC08246With the Thai Peanut Sauce
DSC08247With the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

 Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

Asian-Inspired Risotto

AsianRisottoYep, I’m still on my risotto kick. This time, however, I gave it an Asian twist by adding bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and a touch of sesame oil (among other seasonings). This is a unique and delicious change from the usual risotto dish and would be great paired with some veggie crystal rolls. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

4 C vegetable broth
1 Tbs red miso
1 C water
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
2 heads baby bok choy, chopped
2 C shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3/4 C green onion, sliced thin
1/2 C Sherry cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-Spice blend
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs tamari ( or soy sauce)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a Dutch oven, whisk the 4 cups of broth and 1 tablespoon of miso; stir in the rice. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the rice is done, begin steaming the bok choy. Steam for 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms and green onion.

bokchoyWhen the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), stir in the one cup of water,sherry and Earth Balance. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes—it’ll thicken up. Next, add the nutritional yeast, five-spice blend, sesame oil, and tamari. Stir well for at least a minute. Fold in the bok choy mixture and enjoy!

 

Easy Baked Risotto

BakedRisottoThis is a lot like the Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto, but this one requires a lot less work, especially when it comes to stirring! I recently purchased a Dutch oven and decided to try making risotto in it. So much less work! Mine is 5-quarts and this recipe only took up about 1/2 of the Dutch oven, so I would think even a 3-quart one is plenty big enough.
DSC08169Risotto is a very versatile dish, so you can add whatever vegetables to it that you’d like. I stuck with spinach, onion and mushrooms, but feel free to add peas, asparagus, Swiss chard, kale . . . you name it.The great thing about using a Dutch oven, is that if you want to make this a side dish, you’ll have plenty of time to throw together the main entree while this cooks. But served with a salad and bread, this risotto makes an ideal main entree.

INGREDIENTS:

5 C vegetable broth
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 C onion, chopped
16-oz mushrooms (cremini or white), chopped or sliced
2 C spinach, chopped
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C white cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1-1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine 4 cups of the broth and the rice in the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. While the rice is baking, prepare your other ingredients. In a bowl, combine the spinach, lemon juice and salt; set aside. Next, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and a little brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more.
20140126_171053I also combined the nutritional yeast, thyme, pepper, and salt in a small bowl to make it easier to add it all at once, when it comes time to add them.
DSC08164Once the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), add the remaining cup of broth:

20140126_172828Next, stir in the white wine, Earth Balance and seasoning. Stir vigorously for about 3 minutes, or until the risotto is thick and creamy. Stir in the mushrooms mixture, along with the spinach.
DSC08165So good! Serve immediately and enjoy!
BakedRisotto

Tempeh-Salad Sandwich

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If you want to call this “Egg Salad” or “Tuna Salad,” go right ahead. It certainly has the feel, so to speak. I do put some kelp powder in this salad, so it can have that tuna-ish essence. I made this version somewhat chunky, but I’ve also made it more like a pate. If that’s more your fancy, I suggest using a food processor to mash up the tempeh, then finely cut the onions instead of chopping them. Either way, this is a healthy lunch that will keep in the fridge for a few days. Serve on some toasted bread with lettuce, and if you like, a slice of vegan cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz tempeh, cut into large chunks
1/3 C onion, chopped (I prefer red onion in this, but I was out)
1/3 C vegan mayo
1-1/2 Tbs yellow miso mixed with 1 Tbs water
1/4 C fresh parsley, minced or chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp kelp powder
1 Tbs water

The rest…optional ingredients

bread
tomato
lettuce
vegan cheese
cucumber slices

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the tempeh for 15-20 minutes.

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Transfer the tempeh to a bowl (or the food processor) and mash up until your reach the desired consistency.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

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Vegan & Gluten-Free Mini Quiches

quichesI’ve been wanting to figure out how to make vegan mini quiches for a while now, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Do I use tofu? Flour? Wave a magic wand? Well, when I came across this recipe, I knew my search was over. I only made one modification and that was to add the veggies to the batter instead of just topping the batter with them. Doing so, will give you about 4 more quiches (16 instead of 12). That works great as long as you have 2 muffin tins. Otherwise, you could add your veggies just to the tops. I was thoroughly impressed with these. They taste like a cross between an actual egg-y quiche and a biscuit. They’re packed with protein and make a great quick breakfast on the go—just zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’re good to go. (These are especially ideal for a post-workout snack).

INGREDIENTS:

2-1/2 C garbanzo/chickpea flour (I also had some garbanzo & flava flour mix that worked great, too)
3 C cold, filtered water
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
Cooking spray

Veggies/toppings:
Use your favorites, but I like to use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped . . .
spinach
tomato
mushrooms
green onion
cilantro
Other options: veggie bacon or ham, bell pepper, sauteed garlic, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, basil, Swiss chard, shredded (and squeezed dry) zucchini, peas, . . . the list is endless.
Note: I used sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) in a batch and I recommend easing up on the oil in the batter by at least a tablespoon. Also, throw in some chia seeds. Pepitas or sunflower seeds would also be great additions.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 500 and lightly spray the muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, oil, and salt. Be sure to whisk until all the lumps are gone and  you have a smooth batter. You can then pour the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and just add your veggies to the top, OR (as I would recommend) add the veggies to the batter.

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Fill the muffin tins . . .

DSC08149Bake for 14 minutes, then crack the oven door slightly, and cook another 11 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so, and remove with a knife. Enjoy!

quiches2

Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

risottoWow, has it really been this long since my last post?! I guess the holidays will do that. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and so far a good 2014. I’ve made this risotto several times now, and I swear we love it more each time. Sure, there’s a little prep work involved, as well as some constant stirring, but I promise you, it’s worth it. You can even read a book while you make this. Seriously. Have a book  handy because you  might as well get some reading done as you stir. (A glass of wine wouldn’t hurt either).

INGREDIENTS:

3/4-oz pkg. dried shiitake mushrooms
3/4-oz pkg. dried porcini mushrooms
3 C vegetable broth
3 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/8-1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 large onion, chopped small (about 1 C)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
16-oz cremini mushrooms
1-1/2 tsp thyme
1 C Arborio rice
1/2 C white cooking wine
1-1/2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/8 C nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

To begin, soak the shiitake and porcini in very hot water for about 30 minutes. Once re-hydrated, drain, wash, and chop the mushrooms up small; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, lemon juice and salt; set aside as well. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil and add the garlic. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, then add the onion. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cremini, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms and cook 10-12 minutes, or until they have cooked down. Add the thyme, Arborio rice, and remaining olive oil. Combine the rice well in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

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Add about 1/2 C of the broth and stir constantly until completely absorbed; repeat, adding only a 1/2 C of broth at a time. It will take about 20-30 minutes. (Good time to have a book handy). Next, stir in the spinach mixture and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach has cooked down. Stir in the Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, and black pepper. Enjoy! (This is great with some oven-roasted asparagus and garlic toast)!

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Quinoa & Veggies with a Tahini-Miso Dressing

Quinoa2Quinoa is such a fantastic lunch option. It’s packed with protein and it can be made so many different ways, that it’s pretty hard to get bored with it. I wanted a light dressing for this and came up with this tangy tahini-miso goodness. I also love adding nuts for a bit of crunch to these types of dishes, so I threw in some toasted almond slivers. Delish!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa (I like this Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
2 C vegetable broth or water
1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted

Dressing:

1 tsp tahini
1 Tbs yellow miso
1/8 C almond milk
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

nutsandveggies

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse the quinoa in fine mesh strainer with cold water. Combine it with the broth (or water) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until there is just a little bit of water left, about 12-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green onions, but don’t combine—cover and let the veggies steam 3-4 minutes. For the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

DSC08038Once the mushrooms have softened, stir them into the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, nuts and dressing. I recommend adding a little dressing at a time in case you don’t want it all. I had a little left over.

DSC08041Gently fold and combine everything. Enjoy!

Quinoa2

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta

RicottaPasta1

I’m so happy there are some leftovers! The original recipe uses real ricotta, but not only did I make use my go-to ricotta recipe, I also added/omitted some ingredients. Ricotta cheese has so much fat it’s ridiculous (10 g/fat, 6 g/saturated fat) so even if you do eat dairy, I urge you to try my tofu-version that contains 5 grams of fat, and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Plus, you’ll also benefit from the protein and the no cholesterol! Also, if you think roasting garlic is a pain, it’s really not. It’s so easy to do and takes only 30 minutes, in which time, you can prepare all of your ingredients. Ideally, if you can roast the garlic and make the ricotta the day before, it will be even more flavorful by the time you make this dish. I think you’ll find this is a great main meal or side dish that will please even picky eaters.

INGREDIENTS:

 Tofu-Ricotta:

14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
Optional: 1/2 C Daiya Mozzarella shreds

The rest:

1 lb bow-tie pasta (any variety would be fine)
6 cloves of garlic (or more if you want)
Olive oil
1-1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
4-6 C fresh spinach, chopped
2 C mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C reserved pasta-cooking water

Ricotta Pasta

DIRECTIONS:

To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 425. Cut off the tips of each garlic clove and place on a piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up loosely in the foil, place on a small baking sheet, and roast for about 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

DSC07973

Meanwhile, however, prepare your other ingredients. To make the “ricotta,” combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, but don’t blend it yet until the garlic is done. You’ll want to add the garlic cloves and blend everything together, along with the 1/4 C of the reserved pasta-cooking water. So until the garlic is ready, at least throw together the ingredients to get started. Cook the pasta according to package instructions while you saute the mushrooms in a small pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Chop your spinach, slice those tomatoes, and finish off the ricotta by adding the newly roasted garlic and water. (For the garlic cloves, gently squeeze an end and the skins should come right off, then discard).

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Drain the pasta and rinse with hot water to remove as much starch as possible. Return the pot to the stove and over medium-low heat, add the spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms; saute with a smidgen of water until wilted and heated through.

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Add the pasta and ricotta and combine everything thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

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Rosemary Drop Biscuits

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The rain is continuing to wreak havoc on our state. It took a break yesterday, but started up again last night and hasn’t let up since. Tomorrow is shaping up to be another day off for the Ninth Grader. We are so lucky where we’re at right now, that we aren’t experiencing flooding in my neighborhood, but other sections aren’t fairing as well. We’re so thankful we’re not in Lyons, Estes Park, Boulder, and other mountain towns where people have lost their homes. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for. Please keep Colorado and those affected by the floods in your thoughts!

We’re grateful to be warm, dry and safe in our home and able to have veggie chili simmering in the crock pot, listening to music, and spending our day together. The Ninth Grader made these the other night for dinner and I wanted to share them all of you—an easy addition to any meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C Earth Balance, melted
2/3 C almond milk
1 Tbs dried rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk and melted Earth Balance. It’ll be sticky, but that’s OK; just incorporate everything the best you can.

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We had a very curious visitor stop by . . .

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Take 1/4 C-sized pieces of dough and place them on the baking sheet. We got 12 biscuits out of the batch.

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Bake 12-15 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.  Enjoy!

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Summertime Fruit and Greens Salad

DSC07948

I was needing to bring a dish to an outdoor potluck and The Ninth Grader actually had this idea and it sounded pretty good, so I went to work in the kitchen. Not only was it gone by the end of the night, I’ve already emailed the recipe to those who requested it. It has a light, tangy dressing that is perfect for a summertime get together.

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:

1/8 C + 1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs + 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbs poppy seeds

Salad:

8 C greens, chopped (I used iceberg and green leaf)
2 15-oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 6-oz containers raspberries
1 C Craisins
1 C pomegranate seeds
1 C walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the greens.

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Carefully fold in the fruit and walnuts, then drizzle the dressing on top.

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Again, gently fold or toss the salad to incorporate the dressing. Enjoy!

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Quinoa-Rice Salad with Tempeh and “Feta”

20130704_172152

We had a fabulous July 4th holiday feast with great friends and family. Our friends made these incredible grilled vegetable sandwiches and an outstanding gazpacho! (recipe soon to come, for sure).

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Cold quinoa and/or rice salads tend to be ideal for outdoor get togethers, plus, being vegan AND gluten-free, makes it so everyone can enjoy. Granted, there was a lot of prep work for this salad, but you can save yourself some time by making certain things ahead of time. I love the different flavors in this salad, as well as the crunch from the nuts. I made quite a big batch, so feel free to halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 C wild rice mix (cooked in 2-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1 C quinoa (cooked in 1-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1-1/2 C dried apricots, diced
1-1/2 C toasted nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans, but I think pepitas and almond slivers would be great too)
1 C fresh parsley, chopped

Tempeh + marinade:
8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes
1/4 C tamari
1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced

Tofu “feta”: (adapted)
1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 C cashews
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp yellow or mellow miso
2 Tbs reserved marinade (below)

Marinade:
3 Tbs lemon juice
5 Tbs white wine vinegar
1-1/2 Tbs yellow or mellow miso
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

Dressing:
1/2 C lime juice
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making the feta and marinating the tempeh ahead of time, even a day or two ahead if you can. I didn’t, and I think the salad still turned out great, but it’ll bring out the flavors even more. We’ll start with the feta.

20130704_172139

Slice the tofu into 1/2″ slabs and place into a large dish. Whisk together the feta marinade and coat the tofu thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or preferably over a night or two. Next, blend the cashews, olive oil, miso, and reserved marinade. I used my blender, but I couldn’t get a smooth consistency, so I transferred the mixture to a mortar and pestle, to mash it up even more.

20130704_171252

Crumble up the tofu with your fingers, then add the cashew mixture; combine well. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

To make the tempeh, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium zip bag and add the tempeh. Let it marinade for several hours to overnight.

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When ready, heat a tiny bit of olive oil to a small skillet and add the tempeh. Saute over medium heat until the tempeh has crispy edges.

20130704_122131

Meanwhile, cook the rice and quinoa (separately) according to package instructions. I tend to use veggie broth for added flavor. I also used what quinoa I had: some red, some regular.

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Combine the two in a large bowl and refrigerate until cooled. (Be sure to place a hot pad or trivet underneath the bowl when placing directly onto a cold, glass refrigerator shelf.) Once cooled, fold in all of the ingredients: nuts, feta, parsley, tempeh, and apricots. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad; fold gently to incorporate everything. Enjoy!

20130704_172158

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

DSC07822

Lettuce wraps are a favorite around here, especially since we can be picky and add what toppings we want. Oh, and they’re fresh and easy to make. I suggest having all of your ingredients out, ready to go, and even chopped before anything else; it just makes life easier. I was inspired by a Vegetarian Times recipe, but I made lots of changes by adding ingredients and omitting some. That’s the beauty of these . . . they’re so versatile.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

2 8oz pkg. tempeh, broken into chunks
5 large mushrooms, diced
1 can water chestnuts, chopped (I didn’t have any, but I would have used them if I did, so these are certainly optional)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
1/8 C lime juice
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs toasted brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sriracha
1/4 tsp brown sugar

Sauce:

1/8 C lime juice
1/8 C water
1/8 C sugar
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs yellow  miso
salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings:

2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into strips
Fresh basil, sliced into strips
1 C green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
1/2 C chopped peanuts and slivered almonds (also chopped)
12-16 large lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. To make the filling, pulse the tempeh in a food processor. Depending on your preference, you can pulse it until you’re left with course pieces, or process it a bit more like I did. It can be difficult to get a consistent texture if you want larger pieces.

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Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tempeh (and water chestnuts, if suing) and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook ten minutes. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and heat thoroughly.

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Since you were so efficient in your prep work . . .  ;-) you’re ready to fill the lettuce wraps! Place a scoop in the center of the lettuce leaf and add your favorite toppings, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of the sauce. Enjoy!

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Creamy Dill and Chive Potato Salad

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What better way to welcome spring than making a big bowl of potato salad?! We Coloradans have had enough of cold weather although we should be careful what we wish for because we’ll be in the mid-80s this week. Oh well, much better than snow.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs red potatoes, cubed

2 tsp Better than Bouillon paste (optional)

6 celery stalks, sliced

1 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C parsley, minced

Sauce:

1/2 C vegan mayo

1/3 C vegan sour cream

2 Tbs Dijon mustard

2 Tbs garlic powder

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1/2 C dill, chopped

1/2 C chives, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

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DIRECTIONS:

I whisked together the bouillon paste and water in a large pot for some added flavor, but this is certainly optional. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until they are softened, but still firm. However, you may decide to cook them longer to make a softer salad, just keep in mind, that you could end up with a mashed potato salad, which isn’t the end of the world; it’ll actually make the salad even creamier (which is actually how mine turned out). It’s all a matter of preference. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the celery, green onions, and parsley; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, Dijon, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir in the dill and chives.

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Once the potatoes are where you want them, drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the celery mixture.

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I suppose you could actually combine the celery mixture and the sauce together first to save a step, as well as save the potatoes from being stirred too much. Either way, you get the idea. Fold in the sauce and chill for at least 2 hours, then enjoy!

 

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

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The next time someone asks you, “Where do you get your protein?” you can (politely) point out this dish as one of numerous options. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids essential to human health. It offers up roughly 8 grams of protein per cup and also passes along calcium, iron, folate, manganese, and other vitamins. Black beans also carry nearly 15 grams of protein per cup, so add some veggies and you have healthy lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C red quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/2 C regular quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tsp Better than Bouillon paste

1-1/2 C water

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 C green onions, sliced

1 C dried apricots, chopped

1/3 C pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lime juice

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the bouillon and water; bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cilantro, green onion, apricots, pepita seeds, salt, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

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Once the quinoa is finished, add it, along with the black beans to the bowl.

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Combine well and enjoy! (You can also chill it in a covered dish and serve cold).

Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach

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I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday! For the first time in many years, we had snow falling on Christmas Eve! You wouldn’t think that’d be such a rarity in Colorado, but a drought will do that to ya. It’s even snowing as I type! So I wasn’t sure what to call this dish because it has more than just walnuts and spinach it—it’s loaded with veggies. I served this warm, but I think it would be tasty cold as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C regular quinoa

1 C red quinoa

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon

3 C water

1 C spinach, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

4 mushrooms, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 C walnuts, chopped (and toasted, if you’d like)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

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DIRECTIONS:

In a medium or large saucepan, whisk together the bouillon and water and then bring to a boil. Add the two quinoas (you can also use tri-colored quinoa if you’d like), stir, reduce heat, and cover. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until just a little bit of liquid remains. Stir in the spinach, green onion, and mushrooms and let cook for a few minutes—just enough for the spinach to wilt and the mushrooms to cook down a little.

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Stir in the salt, pepper, chia seeds, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and walnuts. Enjoy!

 

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh

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Whether or not you’re fighting a cold or illness, this is the perfect salad to eat to boost your immune. No one wants to be sick during the holidays. It also doesn’t help that we tend to not eat or drink as healthy during these yuletide times. Instead of throwing back some harmful meds with a measly glass of OJ while you’re sick, head for the fridge (or ask someone politely) to fix this cold-fighting bowl of awesomeness. If anything, steam some kale, eat a raw orange bell pepper, and a bowl full of white mushrooms. Then repeat.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of kale, torn from stem and chopped small (high in iron, vitamins C, A & K, antioxidants, omega-3s (anti-inflammatory), fiber, and calcium)

1 small bunch of spinach, stems removed and chopped small (1 C=337% of the RDA of vitamin A!! vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium)

1 orange bell pepper, chopped small (vitamin C and B-6, fiber, and antioxidants)

10-12 white mushrooms, stems removed and chopped, (great sources of potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. They’ve also been proven to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers)

2 large carrots, shredded (beta carotene, vitamin A, cancer-preventing properties, and alpha-carotene and lutein, which fight heart disease)

6-7 green onions, sliced thin (Quercetin, an antioxidant and anti-histamine, chromium, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and copper)

1/2 C pepitas (high in vitamins C, D, E, and K. They are rich in beta carotene (that is converted into vitamin A in the liver),  rich in the eye protective carotenoid lutein. A handful of these will deliver 9 grams of protein, along with manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper and zinc. They are also rich in omega-3 fats and are also shown to reduce inflammation. Definitely a super food!)

Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, cut in half (boosts hydrogen sulfide production=protects against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer and protects the heart. Raw garlic’s antimicrobial fights viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Its also helps fight asthma, bronchitis, inflammation, rashes, bug bites, tooth aches, ear infections and other infections i.e. Staph and MRSA. Unlike antibiotics that weaken your immune system, garlic actually boosts your immune system)

1/3 C sunflower seed butter (calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Also a great source of B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and  B6, folate, and pantothenic acid. Folate is also essential during pregnancy for proper fetal development. Let’s not forget protein and the healthy, unsaturated fats)

1/4 C tahini (Packed with B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15, protein and calcium)

3 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs light miso (Protein, has probiotics, B vitamins, especially B12, fights cancers, high in antioxidants, and can even help lower cholesterol)

1/4 C nutritional yeast (TONS of B vitamins, protein, and fiber. It’s also low in sodium)

1/4 C chia seeds (Omega-3 and 6 oils, protein, and antioxidants. Considered a super food, chia seeds not only support the immune system, they balance blood sugar levels, support the cardiovascular system, give you energy, aid in weight loss, help detox the body, and provides fiber, iron, calcium, niacin (B-3), phosphorus, and magnesium. Did I mention brain-boosting, too?!)

1 C water

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Tempeh (optional)

8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes (high in fiber, easy to digest, low sodium, and contains antioxidants. It also helps balance blood sugars)

1/4 C soy sauce

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (see above)

1 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

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Whew! Did you get all that?! Talk about a loaded salad!

DIRECTIONS:

If you’re adding tempeh, you’ll want to start that now. Combine the tempeh with the soy sauce (preferably low-sodium),  Worcestershire sauce, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag; coat the tempeh thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tempeh on the sheet. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes, stir around, then bake another 5 minutes.

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 Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then chop up the tempeh into even smaller pieces; add to the salad.

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To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. It makes about 2-1/2 cups.

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You can pour the dressing over the entire salad and blend well, or keep it separate. If you store it separately, keep in mind that it will probably set up in the fridge; you’ll need to add some water and/or lemon juice to it to thin it out some more. I hope all of you are staying healthy and continue to do so during these oftentimes stressful days! Enjoy!

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Red Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Corn

This is another excellent recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Kale and quinoa together?! Talk about a super, nutrient-packed salad. This was easy to make and served warm, it made an excellent side dish on Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 C red quinoa

3 C vegetable broth

1 bunch (8-oz) kale

2 Tbs olive oil

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

4 green onions (white and green parts) sliced thin

2 C fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped

2 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp rosemary

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If the liquid isn’t fully absorbed by 20 minutes, but the quinoa is done, drain it using a fine mesh strainer. The recipe says to strip the kale leaves from the stem and slice the leaves into narrow strips. I found that to be difficult and time consuming, so I just chopped it. In the end, it doesn’t really matter anyway. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until it begins to brown. Add the kale . . .

 . . . and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad

I’ve never had anything with wheat berries in it . . . at least I don’t think so. I had bought a bag a while ago for another recipe (that I can’t even remember now) and so when I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times, I decided to give it a try. Wheat berries refer to the entire kernel, or whole grain form of the wheat. They’re a great source of fiber and are used in breads, pilaf mixes, stir-fry . . . you name it. It usually needs to be soaked for several hours ahead of time, so keep that in mind, otherwise, they’ll take forever to cook! This salad is delicious warm or cold and was great as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

1 C wheat berries

1 2″ cinnamon stick

1/4 tsp salt

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice

1 heaping cup thinly sliced dried apricots

1/2 C toasted slivered almonds

6 Tbs chopped cilantro

Dressing

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar

3 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the wheat berries and cinnamon stick in 3 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight. I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks, so I added a dash or two of cinnamon later on. Transfer the wheat berries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. (This is where I added the cinnamon).

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour. Drain any leftover liquid and remove cinnamon stick. In a small saucepan, blanch the carrots, then drain. Toss the carrots with the wheat berries, apricots, almonds, and cilantro.

For the dressing, blend all of the ingredients until creamy and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the salad, cover, and chill for about an hour. Enjoy!

Vegan Caesar Salad

 

I’m thrilled to have Caesar salad again! (I’m still waiting for the perfect vegan Parmesan cheese to hit the shelves . . . but this salad is still delicious without it). This recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups, so feel free to halve it. I just didn’t want to have 1/2 a box of silk tofu leftover and forgotten in the fridge. I even used 6 hearts of romaine and still had a lot of dressing left!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cloves garlic, cut into pieces

12-oz box firm silken tofu

3 Tbs lemon juice

1/8 C olive oil

2 Tbs capers

4 tsp caper juice/brine

1/2 tsp mustard powder

Dash of sugar

Salt and pepper

6 romaine hearts, chopped

Croutons

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Use enough dressing to just coat the romaine and serve with croutons. It’s that easy! Enjoy!

 

Black Rice Salad

I was thumbing through Party Vegan for Halloween foods and I was thrilled to find this salad that was not only delicious, but gluten-free as well. It was perfect for our Halloween party. I recommend making the rice ahead of time since it needs to cool in the fridge. It also would hurt to chop up the veggies and cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time, too, so you save yourself a headache of trying to get all done right away. I doubled the recipe, but I’ll list the original recipe amounts below. Also, the original recipe suggests serving the salad on a bed of shredded lettuce, but I opted to serve it in a bowl, sans lettuce.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

1/4 C + 1 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium orange bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 C minced onion

2 Tbs fresh parsley

15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

3 C cold cooked black rice

3 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Spread the sweet potatoes on a lightly greased baking sheet; drizzle with 1 Tbs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. I recommend turning them once halfway through, otherwise, they’ll get too browned on one side.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, bell pepper, onion, parsley, and garbanzo beans.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

The recipe only says to combine the cooled sweet potatoes and rice together, but doesn’t indicate when to mix them in with the rest. But I think I’m a pretty smart cookie and combined everything and tossed it all with the dressing. Enjoy!

Halloween Fun

Another Halloween come and gone . . . with lots of delicious food and drink and wonderful friends. This is just one of many hysterical pictures!

The Menu

Guacamole, Black Rice Salad, Almond cheeze (herb and plain), pumpkin hummus, Party Cheese Ball, Spinach Dip, Pesto Potato Soup, Cashew-Truffle Hummus and cupcakes!

I hope you had a safe and fabulous Halloween!

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans

 

When I want to create a quick and filling dinner, I usually reach for quinoa or rice. Mixed with veggies and nuts, it always makes a great meal and very handy leftovers. I threw in some white beans, too and ended up with a flavorful, protein-filled dish that is nearly gluten-free. The rice mix I used contained wheat, but you can sub in another variety to make it gluten-free.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

1 box Long Grain Wild Mix

4 C vegetable stock, divided

2 C mushrooms, chopped

6 green onion, sliced

1 C cashews

1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 C white wine

1 C fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Start by getting the rice and quinoa going. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-3/4 C of the stock to a boil. Add the rice mix and seasoning packet, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Start the quinoa about 15 minutes before the rice mix is done. In another medium saucepan, bring the remaining 2-1/4 C stock to a boil and stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. In a large skillet, toast the cashews over medium heat until they begin to brown; transfer to a boil and set aside. In the same skillet,  heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and white beans, and saute 5-7 minutes.

 

Stir in the rice, quinoa, and white wine; saute 3 minutes.

Stir in the parsley and cashews and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Vegan Potato Salad

 

Just in time for Labor Day Weekend! This is an ideal side dish for a summer picnic or get together. We are planning on having a picnic up in the mountains tomorrow, so after chilling in the fridge for a day, this salad is going to be perfect. The dressing is not all mayonnaise-y tasting like typical potato salads, nor is it mustard-y. Just enough of both and I think using shallot salt is perfect, especially with potatoes. Whatever you decide to pack into your three-day weekend, have fun and be safe!

INGREDIENTS:

10 C potatoes, cubed (about 10-11 medium russet potatoes, but feel free to use red or Yukon Gold potatoes)

1 red bell pepper, diced really small or finely chopped

3 stalks celery, sliced

1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped

3/4 C green onion (green & white parts), sliced

3/4 C Vegenaise

1-1/2 Tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp cider vinegar

1/2 tsp dried dill

1 Tbs dried chives

3/4 tsp shallot salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbs nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS:

Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook! You want the potatoes firm, but cooked enough that a fork easily pierces them. Drain and rinse with cold water. You can also plunge the potatoes into cold water. Cover and chill in the fridge. In the meantime, get your other veggies chopped. . .

 

. . . and make the dressing  by whisking together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, dill, chives, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

Combine the chilled potatoes with the other veggies and parsley. I think it’s best to use your hands for this—it’s gentler on the potatoes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dressing and coat the potatoes and veggies thoroughly. Chill for several hours. Enjoy!

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad

 

This recipe comes from Big Vegan cookbook and I thought, what a great combination of ingredients and flavors. The original recipe calls for raspberry vinegar, but after a long search at the grocery store, I found one bottle . . . for $5.99. The fact that I only needed 2 Tbs, and that I rarely come across recipes that call for this fancy vin, I decided to use rice vinegar. Besides, with the maple syrup, I wonder if the raspberry vinegar would make this salad a tad too sweet. Also, may I suggest you buy wild rice in bulk. I went to a regular grocery store (as opposed to Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage) and they don’t have much in bulk. I picked up a small box of wild rice, but failed to notice (until I got home) that it’s only 4-oz. I needed 6 for this recipe. Who makes 4-oz boxes of rice?! Who needs only 4 ounces?! For 2.69 a box, I find it ridiculous that it’s under a cup of rice per box.

This reminded me of the hilarious scene in Father of the Bride where Steve Martin loses it in the grocery store over hotdogs and hotdog buns. I think the people at the rice factory, got together with the people at the grocery store, and said, let’s make a small box of rice so that customers have to buy two boxes to reach a cup of rice, thus, leaving them with a little bit of rice left . . . Ok, it’s an exaggeration. Just outsmart the rice people and the grocery store people by buying wild rice in bulk.

 

Anyhow, this is an outstanding salad. I love the combination of flavors and is very simple to make. It’s got a unique sweet and tangy flavor and great for summer.

INGREDIENTS:

6-oz wild rice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 C canola oil

2 Tbs raspberry (or rice) vinegar

2 Tbs maple syrup

1 C fresh raspberries

1 C fresh blurberries

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 large green onions, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the salt and rice. Let it cook anywhere from 25-45 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and let it sit about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cooled. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, and syrup together. It’ll get slightly thick.

Combine the celery and green onions with the rice.

Fold in the berries, then toss with the dressing. Enjoy!

Grilled & Stuffed Avocados

There’s a Mexican restaurant here that makes a stuffed and grilled avocado, but they use shrimp and cheese. I wanted to make our own version. We’re lucky around here to find large avocados for a dollar a piece, so when they were on sale, I grabbed several. Our grill hadn’t seen us for a while—in fact, this is the first time we’ve used it this summer. And August is almost over! Anyway, we made the most of it by grilling veggies, too.

I used this great seasoning from Urban Accents: Teriyaki Grill Kabob Kit, soy, pineapple & sesame.

It was really delicious and an easy way to season vegetables for the grill. Just add some oil and mix it with the veggies. We didn’t use the provided skewers, however, and opted for the grill basket. I separated the mushrooms from the rest of the veggies since they cook fast. I recommend marinating the vegetables for a couple of hours. Over medium heat, grill the veggies for about 30 minutes; stirring often. Add the mushrooms to the grill basket with about 5 minutes of cooking time left.

Now…for the Amazing Avocados . . .

INGREDIENTS:

3 large avocados, pitted and peeled
3 small tomatoes, diced small
1/2 C red onion, diced small
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. I suggest making the stuffing ahead of time and let it get to room temperature.

Brush olive oil on both sides of the avocados. Season with salt and pepper on the rounded side.

Set the grill heat to low. Using a spatula or tongs, place the avocados on the grill rounded-side down. Season the flat side with salt and pepper. You may have to tilt each side of the avocado to get the rounded edges cooked a bit.

Cook four minutes on each side.

Now . . . you could mix in some Daiya cheese into the filling, heat the broiler in your oven up, fill up the avocados, and broil for a minute. (or top with Daiya and broil) Otherwise, just fill each avocado with tomato filling and enjoy!

Cherry Tomato Tarts

Don’t you love summer tomatoes? This is the first year we’ve had a garden. For Mother’s Day this year, The Hubby built me three large raised beds and they are overflowing with a bounty of tomatoes, lettuce, and peas. Several days a week, we’re needing to pick more ripened tomatoes.

So, what to do with all of them? (Besides snack on them, of course)? Make some fresh tarts! I had some leftover puff pastry in the freezer, so I used that. Otherwise, you can make a quick dough yourself. Check out this easy recipe. And thank goodness for fresh herbs…the piece de resistance!

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry dough sheet

Approximately 2 C cherry tomatoes, halved

2-3 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

1 C fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Olive oil (I used Butter-flavored—non-dairy)

Optional: Daiya Cheese shreds

DIRECTIONS:

Thaw the puff pastry dough per package instructions. Preheat the oven to 400. On a flowered surface, roll the dough out to about 11×7. I used the bottom of a tart pan to cut out 4″ circles. I had some dough left, so I made some very ghetto-looking ones with the rest.

This would also work if you wanted to make a full-pan tart, like this asparagus oneUsing a fork, aerate the dough and bake for 3-5 minutes. If using, sprinkle a little Daiya cheese on the tarts, then layer on some basil and tomatoes. Sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, then drizzle some olive oil on the tarts. Bake another 5 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.

Enjoy!

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

I can’t say I recall having pigs in a blanket much when I was a kid, although I’m sure many of you grew up on snacking on these. Even vegan, they’re  probably not the healthiest, but that’s ok–there’s nothing wrong with some Pillbury Crescent Rolls once in a great while. The Seventh-Grader really wanted to try these, so after a tiny bit of prep, we had a quick snack. I added a little Daiya cheese to one, just to see how it tasted and it was pretty darn good!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Pillbury Crescent Rolls (8)

4 Smart Dogs (or other veggie dog of your choice), cut in half

Daiya cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll the dough and separate each piece. Roll up one of the dogs, starting at the wide end.

Mine with cheese…

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

These are great served with ketchup, horseradish, mustard…you name it. Enjoy!

Orzo Pilaf with Roasted Red Peppers and Peas

This is from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Vegan Table. Orzo is actually a rice-shaped pasta and has a risotto-like texture. It’s perfect for soups or even for Asian dishes such as stir-fry. I loved the flavor of this dish and the fact that it’s super versatile. Next time, I’ll add mushrooms, herbs, and maybe even asparagus.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I just used my garlic press)

12 oz orzo

3 C veggie stock (I used Better Than Bouillon brand)

1-1/2 C frozen peas, partially thawed

7.5 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (I used 2 large peppers)

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep-sided skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir for 2 more minutes.

Add the stock, peas, roasted red peppers, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring every so often for 12-15 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. The liquid will also be absorbed.

I served this with the Baked Truffle Polenta Fries and a green salad.

Enjoy!

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries

This is a first for me. I’ve never eaten polenta at home, but I’ve ordered it in restaurants. I decided to try making polenta fries, but the easy way . . .

Ancient Harvest

This is certainly an ideal way to make fries: crack open a polenta log, slice, season, and bake!

INGREDIENTS:

 1 tube of polenta

1/8 C olive oil

2 Tbs truffle oil

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the two oils in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with some of the oil mixture. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices.

Then cut each slice into thirds.

Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the oil mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Enjoy!

Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes

I should clarify: Once nuked, once baked. This is another kid creation that The Seventh Grader took on. It was one of those nights I forced the family to fend for themselves and this is what the 13-year-old wanted. With very little instruction, he made dinner in about 20 minutes. He a genius. (He takes after me, you know). He may have gotten a little heavy handed with the Tofutti sour cream and (vegan) bacon bits, but who wouldn’t? I stole a bite and wow! He’s cooking next time!

INGREDIENTS: (He made one potato, so I’m giving you the gist–you can figure it out for more than one) ;-)

1 russet potato

1/4 C Tofutti sour cream (my suggested amount)

1 Tbs Earth Balance

1/8-1/4 C Daiya cheddar cheese shreds

Dash or two of garlic salt

Dash (or several) of veggie (TVP-based) bacon bits

Paprika

(I think some chopped chives or green onions would be great, too)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Cook the tater in the microwave. (Be sure to fork it several times first). Once it’s soft, cut it in half and scoop out the innards. Be careful not to puncture the skin.

 Transfer to a bowl and add the other ingredients, except the paprika. Mix together thoroughly.

Fill each potato skin evenly with the filling.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you want to brown the top, place under the broiler for a minute or two. Enjoy!

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini

I found myself with several yams and sometimes, I don’t always know what to do with them. So why not scalloped potatoes? I threw in some zucchini and onions, and topped it with some Daiya and panko. Delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 large yams, peeled and sliced thin

1 small onion

1 medium zucchini, sliced, then quartered

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

2-1/2 Tbs arrowroot

1/4 C nutritional yeast

2 C almond milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced

1/4 C panko

Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Boil the yams in a large soup pot for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until softened. Add the seasonings.

Whisk together the milk, arrowroot, and nutritional yeast. Pour it into the skillet with the onions and zucchini. Stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken.

Layer half of the yams into an 8″ baking dish. Pour half of the onion mixture on top and spread evenly around. Layer on the rest of the yams, then the mixture. Top with some cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the panko and bake another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad

I got this recipe from Luminous Vegans who called it “Chick-Peace Salad.” Great name—I didn’t want to steal it, so mine’s just plain old Chickpea Salad. Regardless of the name, it’s a delicious vegan version of tuna salad. LV added crumbled up nori to the mix to give it that tuna taste, but I didn’t have any. I still think it had amazing flavor without it. I did add some carrots and parsley. Just because. I also used Earth Balance’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free mayo that my good friend, Angela of The Veracious Vegan turned me on to. It’s fabulous!

I also served the salad on Food For Life’s brown rice tortillas.

I have to say, they’re ok. Heated up, they’re better, but you have to eat it fast before it gets crispy and falls apart. I’m wondering if steaming them would be better, or make it worse. The taste is chewy, but crunchy at the same time. Is that possible? Apparently so. Anyway, they’re not horrible, but they made eating this sandwich a bit tough because they tend to crack and split.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1-2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1 carrot, shredded

2 Tbs vegan mayo

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Veggies, crackers, tortilla, etc

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the chickpeas. I used a pastry blender. You can also pulse them in the food processor.

Stir in all of the other ingredients and combine well. I layered the salad on some lettuce inside one of the tortillas and added some sliced cucumber and tomato.

This salad would also be great on crackers, or sliced veggies. Enjoy!

Stuffed Portobellos and Steamed Bok Choy

Portobellos are such a versatile fungi.

They make great burgers, a main stir-fry ingredient, and of course, an ideal vessel for other veggies. I wanted to make something wheat and soy-free, which is tough as a vegan, but these really fit the bill. But what to have with them? Before, I would have served bread, but since I that’s out, I decided to steam some bok choy. By the way, you’ll be seeing more wheat and soy-free recipes (although I may use miso from time to time) on my blog, as I am working on eliminating these from my diet. Why? Well . . . you see, I have endometriosis, something I’ve had to deal with for the last seven years, and I’ve now opted to treat it with diet, herbs and acupuncture. Endo is an inflammatory disease, so processed flour aggravates it. It’s also said that estrogen feeds the disease, so there goes soy with its natural estrogen!

TMI? Sorry. I won’t go on about it, but I wanted to explain my reasoning for my decision and to also let other women know that it’s possible to live with endo and not rely on drugs and/or  surgery (at least, that’s my plan). Otherwise, I want to make clear that I have nothing against soy. In fact, it’s worth pointing out that Dr. Neal Barnard has determined that soy consumption is not only safe, but highly encouraged. Oh, and I want to make clear, I’m steering clear of wheat, not necessarily gluten. There’s a difference between the two, so fortunately, whole grains aren’t out of the picture for me, just processed wheat.

So, on to the recipes!

INGREDIENTS:

4 portobello caps, washed and stems and gills removed

1 box Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice mix

1 small red onion, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the rice mix according to the package instructions. This will need to cook for 30 minutes. When the rice has about 6 minutes of cooking time left, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the red onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the zucchini and cook another 3 minutes or so.

Stir in the cooked rice and parsley; season with salt and pepper.

Place the portobellos upside down in a large baking dish. Sprinkle some Daiya cheese on the bottom and fill each mushroom cap evenly with the rice mixture, piling it high.

Pour a little water into the bottom of the pan. This will help steam the mushroom caps. Bake for about 15 minutes, then top with a little Daiya cheese and bake another couple of minutes.

While these are baking, I got started on the bok choy.

I think this veggie is so underrated. Low in calories, this lightly sweet and crispy veggie is loaded with vitamins C and A as well as calcium. I cut up some mushrooms and together, steamed the veggies with some (soy-free) Earth Balance for about 7-9 minutes.

Enjoy!

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing

Ok, this is probably my favorite dressing I’ve made so far. Love it! It has just a hint of lemon and with the ginger, goes fabulous with the almond butter. There’s some prep work involved here, but if can, make this the night before and you won’t be able to wait for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 large bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped

1/4 of a red/purple cabbage, diced

1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced

1 C carrot, shredded or finely chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 small red onion, diced small

1/3 C sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1/4 C tahini

1/3 C + 1 Tbs almond butter

1″ piece of ginger, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs miso (light, yellow or red)

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/8 C water

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in the blender—except the water—just start with a little and add more as you blend it to reach the consistency you want. You may need more than the 1/8 cup. It also depends on how lemony you want it—you can thin it out with more lemon juice if you’d like. Blend until smooth.

You can pour the dressing over the salad, just a little at time to coat the salad, or serve on the side and mix into individual servings. Yields about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Lemon Risotto with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Barb at That Was Vegan? posted this recipe, but used Israeli couscous and kale. YUM! I didn’t have any couscous and of course, I had eaten all the kale, but . . . I really wanted to make this dish. I added some mushrooms, too and it was delicious! You could also use wild rice or barley—just keep in mind they both take up to an hour to cook. Otherwise, this is quick and satisfying meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C arborio (risotto) rice

1-1/2 C water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 C fresh spinach, chopped

Salt, pepper, and cumin, to taste

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or drizzle with olive oil. Add the potatoes. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper, too.

Bake 15-20 minutes until they start to brown—but be sure to turn once. While the potatoes bake, bring the water and bouillon cube to a boil, then add the rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, spinach, salt, pepper, cumin, and lemon juice. Cover until the veggies soften and wilt.

Stir in the sweet potatoes and enjoy!

Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard

This recipe is from Color Me Vegan and considering I love chickpeas, (a.k.a garbanzo beans) and chard, this is a new favorite. I would, however, make a few changes next time. Even though chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein, and have no saturated fat, they do sport 90 calories per half a cup. Given this, I would use just half a can and even double the chard. So what to do with the other half of beans? Make a small batch of hummus, perfect for a few sandwiches during the week. I could have eaten the entire pan of this, which would not have been wise, so reducing the amount of chickpeas and adding more chard, I think, is a smart way to go. Otherwise, share this dish with plenty of others! (The recipe below is sans my suggestions).

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained

1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped

1 small lemon

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the chickpeas and cook 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown.

Stir in the chard and cook until it begins to wilt and cook down, about 5-7 minutes. Zest the lemon over the pan, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half over the mixture. (Watch out for seeds). Stir well to combine. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon, if desired. (If you go with my suggestions, you can use the leftover lemon—if there is any— in the hummus). Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

This is a great salad to take to work for lunch, a mid-day snack, or even for a picnic. I typically steam kale, but if I’m not careful, it’s easy to deplete it of nutrients if I steam it too much. Raw kale can be awfully bitter, but chopped and served with other veggies and this tahini dressing, it tastes amazing. The dressing recipe is for 2 large bunches of kale, making at least 4 good-sized salad servings. Like any salad, you can throw in your favorite ingredients and actually be excited about lunch! (and be sure to read about kale’s super powers)!

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:

1/2 C tahini

1 Tbs miso

1 tsp tamari

1/2 tsp lime juice

1 tsp agave

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic, minced

3/4 C water

Variation: You can use almond butter instead of tahini, in which case, I’d leave out the agave since almond butter is sweeter. I also sometimes add some chia seeds.

The rest:

2 large bunches of kale, chopped

I diced up: cucumber, mushrooms, red onion, and green onion. I also threw in some Craisins and slivered almonds.

DIRECTIONS:

Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.

Combine the chopped kale with your other salad ingredients and toss well to combine.

(This is just one bunch of kale)

Pour the dressing over the salad and massage into the kale with your hands. Enjoy!

Swiss Chard Gratin

Holy moly! Has Christmas come and gone? Where was I?  Well, I certainly wasn’t blogging. I planned to, but to be honest, the dishes I made came out less-than-stellar. I was really disappointed. I was thrilled to use the Whole Foods Recipe App for my ipad, but I think the only thing exciting about the recipes I chose, was how they looked on the app. :-( Oh well, not a big deal. I did, however, receive Vegan Holiday Kitchen from a friend, so next Christmas, I’ll be prepared.

So I wasn’t about to give up on Whole Foods and their fabulous app. It’s quite amazing, actually—check it out. So here’s how it went down tonight . . . I received 2 gorgeous bunches of organic Swiss chard from Green Buffalo Food Company this afternoon and I immediately clicked on the trusty app. There’s a section called “On Hand” where you plug in what ingredient(s) you have it’ll show you what they’ve got. Plus,  you can narrow it down to only show you vegan or vegetarian recipes using that ingredient.

There were so many choose from such as Chard with Sherry Vinegar and Walnuts and Mushroom, Chard and Caramelized Onion Tacos. I decided on the Gratin, which I had to veganize, but that was a breeze. I served it with some pilaf and rolls, making it a night of side dishes. This recipe certainly restored my faith in WF’s recipes. I added mushrooms to this recipe and I’m glad I did–they are ideal for a dish like this. Even using three bunches of chard or some added kale would have been good, too.

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 bunches Swiss chard leaves, chopped

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

1 C water

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, more for baking dish

1 C almond milk

2 Tbs flour

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 C Daiya mozzarella

1 Tbs panko (or vegan breadcrumbs)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large pot, add the water and chard; cook over medium heat. I used tongs to constantly stir the chard. After 3-4 minutes, or the chard is tender, drain (but reserve 1/4 C of the water) and set aside. In the same pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and stir constantly for a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and reserved cooking water; whisk until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in 1/2 of the Daiya cheese, then remove from the heat. Stir in the mushrooms and chard.

Butter an 8″x8″ baking dish and pour the chard mixture in, topping it with the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Mango and Avocado Spring Rolls

I’ve been wanting to make this type of spring roll for a while—I’ve seen recipes for then in various different places, but all I knew is that I had a very ripe avocado and a very ripe mango that needed to be used. These were delicious! The only thing I had trouble with, was coming up with a dipping sauce. Traditional peanut sauce just didn’t seem right for these. They’re good on their own, but I think a sauce would be nice. Any ideas?

INGREDIENTS:

14-16 sheets rice paper

8-oz rice noodles

1-2 avocados, sliced thin

1 mango, sliced thin

1 medium cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 C fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Have everything chopped and ready to go. While chopping, cook the noodles according to package instructions, which is only a few minutes.

Fill a pie plate with warm water. I find it best to set it next to the left of my large wooden cutting board (where I’ll be assembling the rolls). Place a sheet of rice of paper into the water and let it soften for about 45 seconds. Carefully pull it out, let it drip any excess water and then lay it out onto the cutting board. Place another sheet in the water so that it’s ready when you need another one. Start with a handful of rice noodles. They can be hard to tear apart, so I found that having some kitchen scissors on hand is helpful. Place into the middle of the rice paper. Add a couple slices of avocado, mango, and cucumber and top with some cilantro and salt and pepper.

Fold in the sides first, then bring up the bottom and roll up. Transfer to a plate. They’re not that difficult to make as long as your work area is set up before hand. Enjoy!

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad

This salad is great because it can be served hot or cold—perfect for a pot luck or feeding a crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

1-3/4 C Israeli/pearl couscous (I used a mixture of whole wheat and regular)

2 shallots, minced

2-1/2 C vegetable broth

3 green onions, sliced

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 C pumpkin seeds, toasted

zest from one medium lemon

Dash of cinnamon

2 Tbs fresh basil, minced

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

1 Tbs garlic

White pepper, black pepper, and salt

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. In a small bowl combine the asparagus, black pepper, salt, and enough oil to coat the asparagus. Line a baking sheet with foil; layer on the asparagus and roast for 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.


Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, melt the margarine and add the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots begin to brown. Add the couscous and combine with the shallots. Pour in the broth, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Dry-toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown.


Remove from the heat and stir in the zest, basil, and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and stir in green onions, asparagus, and tomatoes. If serving cold, cover and chill for a few hours and stir in the pumpkin seeds before serving. If serving warm, stir the seeds in now. Season with white pepper and salt. Enjoy!


Vegan Brie

This recipe is from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I was intrigued. I’ve tried lots of other recipes from this cookbook and many have been outstanding, but there have been a few that just didn’t do it for me. I was nervous about this one. Surprisingly, however, it’s pretty delicious. I wouldn’t say it’s like brie; both with consistency and taste, but it does taste very good. The recipe doesn’t mention this, but I highly recommending briefly warming this cheeze in the oven or microwave. It only takes about 10 seconds in the microwave. It seems to taste better when it’s a bit melty. I also think this would be really tasty with some warm fruit compote over the top, such as warmed raspberries and blueberries. The possibilities are pretty endless!

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 Tbs wheat germ, or 1/3 C toasted sliced almonds

1-1/2 C water

3 Tbs agar flakes, or 1 Tbs agar powder

1/2 C chopped raw cashews

1/2 C silken tofu

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/4 C lemon juice

2 Tbs tahini

1-1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground dill seed or ground coriander (I used the coriander)

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly oil a 2-1/2 cup round mold. I used a Pyrex bowl, but you can also use a pie plate or cake pan. Dust the bottom of the bowl with either the wheat germ or toasted almond slices. I used the wheat germ; set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often until dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients; blend until very smooth. Pour it into the prepared mold.

Place it uncovered in the refrigerator until it cools completely. Then cover it with a lid and let it chill for several hours, or overnight. To serve, I used a sharp knife to go around the edge—mostly to just break the suction. Turn it over and it will slide right out of the bowl.

Cut it into wedges and serve with crackers. Like I said before, I recommend serving it warm; I think it taste much better that way. It will keep for 5-7 days. I don’t see why it can’t be wrapped up and frozen, too.

Enjoy!

Fruit Salad with Herbs and Coconut

I usually don’t get excited over fruit salads, but this one has some of my favorite fruits and tossed with a tangy dressing that says anything but boring!

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:

1/8 C lemon juice

1/8 C espresso-flavored balsamic vinegar

1/8 C sunflower oil

A few dashes of nutmeg

3 Tbs fresh basil, chopped

3 Tbs fresh mint, chopped

The rest:

2 C jicama, bite-sized cubed

16-oz container of strawberries, diced

1-1/2 C blueberries

4 kiwis, peeled and diced

2 mangoes, peeled and diced

1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted

1 C coconut

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the fruit. Pour the dressing over the fruit and stir well to combine. Stir in the coconut and walnuts. It’s that easy! Enjoy!

A Look Back

When it’s time to plan meals for the week, I sometimes rely on some old favorites of mine. When looking back on my recipes, I always come across yummy ones I’ve forgotten about. I thought I’d bring these oldies, but goodies to you.

Appetizers

Party Cheese Ball

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mustard Greens and Cheeze Filo Pie

Avocado Bruschetta

.

Breads

Pesto Potato Bread

Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

Home-made Pita Bread

Chive-Flecked Spud Muffins

.

Side Dishes

Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts & Parsley

Easy, Creamy Pasta Salad

Baked Fries with Sea Salt & Truffle Oil

Easy Cole Slaw

.

Soups

Eggplant Parmagiano Stew

Vegetable-Barley Soup

Vegetable-Barley Chili

.

Lunch

Smoky-Miso Tofu Sandwiches

Garden Wrap

BLTA with Tempeh Bacon

Green Tea Rice with Lemon, Snowpeas & Tofu

.

Breakfast

Quinoa-Couscous Cereal with Dried Fruit

Colorful Kale and Potato Casserole

Hash Brown Casserole

Home-made Granola

.

Dinner

Sweet Chili-Lime Tofu

Breaded Zucchini with Lentils and Rainbow Chard

Angel Hair Pasta with Mushrooms & Ricotta

Spinach & Tofu Calzones

Spinach & Pesto Lasagna

Fresh & Healthy Soft Tacos/Burritos

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

Field Roast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

.

Desserts

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Chai-Spiced Berry-Oatmeal Cookies

Cheeze Danishes

Sunflower-Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Day 5 of Reboot, Plus More Recipes

It’s the morning of day 5 of my Reboot and I feel great, especially since I’m even down 5 pounds! I definitely don’t feel as weak and tired as the last few days, not as hungry either. Mentally, I feel clearer and less foggy–able to concentrate longer. Last night we went and saw Harry Potter and we usually go for some popcorn . . . I know, terrible (btw, did you know (according to the latest VegNews mag) that a large movie popcorn–without butter–is 1,050 calories?!) Anyway, the boys finished a vat of popcorn before the movie even started, but I wasn’t tempted to eat any. Wow. That never happens! I’m determined to continue this reboot through Sunday and after that, I plan on making a lot of changes, such as no alcohol, little oil, little gluten, and very little processed foods. That’s the goal at least.

Yesterday, I had a class at the NCW and then worked in the studio for the afternoon, so I needed to come prepared. With salty snacks and soda in the fridge just ten feet from me, I had to arm myself with good food. I made a salad, packed some jicama, yellow bell peppers, and mushrooms and dipped them in dressing. The dressing recipes are from the JointheReboot site. Having both dressings changes things up—it’s great so that you don’t get sick of one.

Ginger-Honey (Agave)-Soy Dressing  and  Agave-Mustard Dressing

Ginger-Agave-Soy Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp. Minced Fresh Ginger
2 Tbsp. Minced Fresh Garlic
2 Tbsp. Raw Honey (I used agave)
4 Tbsp. Nama Shoyu or Tamari
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in a shaker.

Mustard-Agave Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp. Honey (I used agave)
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 Tbsp. Sea or Celtic salt
1/8 Tbsp. coarsely Ground Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a shaker.

For dinner, I made sweet potato “fries” also from the Reboot site. They were delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into sticks or crescents

1 tsp olive oil

A couple pinches of sea salt

A couple pinches of black pepper

A couple pinches of cumin

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the sweet potatoes with the rest of the ingredients and coat well.

Layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

I also made lettuce wraps:

INGREDIENTS:

1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

5-6 mushrooms, diced

1 avocado, diced

1/2 a large tomato, diced

2 Tbs diced green chilies

3 scallions, sliced

Large lettuce leaves

Ginger-Agave-Soy Dressing

Optional: fresh mint, basil, or cilantro

Combine all the veggies and top the lettuce leaves with a couple of spoonfuls of them. Drizzle with the Ginger dressing. So good!

So this morning . . . I find that fruit smoothies are the easiest way to start the day. I blended up a mango, 1/2 a cup of fresh cherries (I removed the pits first) and about a cup of water. Awesome.

So, I’ll keep going and continue to try different recipes. I’ll keep you posted on my progress—thanks for traveling along with me!

Asian Veggie Salad with Almonds

This is a simple summer salad that is ideal for parties and picnics. It’s also easy to throw together and I love the Asian dressing, too—gives it a yummy, peanutty-flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped

1 C corn kernels, thawed (if frozen)

1-1/2 C cabbage, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 C edamame, thawed (if frozen)

1/2 a cucumber, sliced, then halved

1 C slivered almonds

1/3 C Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (from Kraft)

DIRECTIONS:

In a small, dry skillet, toast the almonds for a few minutes, until they begin to brown.

In a large bowl, combine all the veggies. Add the dressing and coat thoroughly. Note: if you are making this ahead of time, stir in the nuts just before serving, as they can get mushy if they sit too long in the dressing. Enjoy!

Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Zucchini

This recipe comes from Whole Foods and originally had broccoli in it. The broccoli in my fridge had seen better days, so I decided to use zucchini. The recipe also says to not use sun-dried tomatoes packed with oil, but that was all I had, so I went ahead and used them. I think it came out delicious and I served it with open-faced TVP burgers—an ideal (and protein-packed) combo!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil–your choice)

1-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

1 cup finely chopped red onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup uncooked quino

1 small zucchini, sliced, then quartered

1/2 cup roasted cashew pieces

2-4 green onions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

If using (dried) sun-dried tomatoes, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes, then chop them once they soften. Bring 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add the onion and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the remaining 1 cup of the broth, white wine, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to a low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Add the zucchini to the top and cover; simmer another 10 minutes.

Once the zucchini is softened and the liquid has been absorbed, toss well to combine. Serve garnished with the cashews and green onions. Enjoy!

Crispy “Chicken” Salad

This salad is a staple around my house and each time I make it, I never learn. I eat way too much of it. It’s just so damn good. Not to mention, easy to make. Bake some meatless chicken nuggets and throw some fresh veggies together and you have a healthy meal in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca nuggets, baked and diced

Romaine lettuce, torn

Fresh spinach, torn

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 cucumber, sliced, then quartered

Vegan pepper jack cheese and/or cheddar, shredded

Green onions, sliced

Tortilla chips, broken up

Vegan Ranch dressing:

1 C Vegenaise

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

6 Tbs almond milk

1/2 tsp dried chives

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

I tend to put everything in separate bowls and let everyone create their own salads. To make the dressing, just whisk everything together in a small bowl and transfer to a pourable container. Refrigerate the leftovers. Enjoy!

Baked Fries with Sea Salt and Truffle Oil

Here I go again with the truffle oil . . . guarantee you’ll love these! Truffle oil on French fries just go together like PB&J. I brought these to a get together and they were gone in minutes! You can peel the potatoes if you’d like, but I’m not fond of the peeling process. If they don’t have to be peeled, you can bet I won’t do it. So it’s up to you.

INGREDIENTS:

6-7 small to medium russet potatoes

Truffle oil

Sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Scrub and/or peel the potatoes. Cut into fries and place in a bowl. Coat with the truffle oil. I didn’t measure it out—I used just enough to coat the fries, a little over a tablespoon. Sprinkle with salt—again, to taste and enough to coat the fries. I set the bowl aside for about an hour to let them marinate for a bit.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. After letting the fries sit for a while, the bowl had a lot of liquid from the potatoes. Use a slotted spoons or your hands to layer the fries on the baking sheet. I drizzled a bit more truffle on top and sprinkled a little more salt on them.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn the fries as best  you can. There’s no magic way to do this—just flip and move them around so that they don’t stick to the foil. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. For the last few minutes of baking, I switched to broil and browned them a tiny bit. I think they’re tasty on their own without any sauces, but either way, you’re sure to enjoy this decadent treat!

Warm Pasta Salad

I tend to make cold pasta salads in the spring and summer and I think I’ve been craving them, but I went with making it warm—just seemed like the thing to do. It came out delicious and I’m anxious to try the chilled leftovers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb bow-tie pasta

2 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 C parsley, chopped

1/2 C fresh basil, chopped

3 green onions, sliced

1 bell pepper (any variety), diced

2 tomatoes, chopped

Optional: vegan Parmesan

Dressing:

3 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp truffle oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1/3 C Tofutti sour cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain. Return to the pan and add the spinach, basil, parsley, green onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients; add to the pasta mixture and coat well and enjoy!

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

The Husband LOVES potatoes and several days of week, he makes hash browns from scratch. But in an effort to reduce fried and sauteed food, he decided to make these baked scalloped potatoes from Veganomicon. They turned out fantastic! The only change we recommend is layering the spices, broth, almond milk, and nutritional yeast instead of just topping the potato slices with them.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs white potatoes (3 average-size) scrubbed, slice into 1/8″ thick disks

3/4 C vegetable broth

1/2 C unsweetened soy milk (he used almond milk)

1 Tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbs nutritional yeast or flour (he used nutritional yeast)

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp rosemary

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

Several pinches of black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Layer the potatoes in the dish, slightly overlapping them. Lay them across the short way first, overlapping a little less than half of each potato slice. In each subsequent row, overlap the potatoes by about 1/4 of each potato slice. (Keep in mind, if you want to layer in the spices, broth, milk, and nutritional yeast, don’t layer all the potato slices at once).

Pour most of the vegetable broth over the potatoes, reserving about 3 tablespoons.

Pour the almond milk and drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, making sure to coat each one. Scatter the garlic over the top then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast all over the potatoes. Slowly drizzle the remaining vegetable broth on top. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of nutritional yeast, the herbs, and salt.

Loosely cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes and enjoy!