Pine Nut & Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Basil

PineNutCashewRavioli2I’m finally back with a new recipe! As much as I love them, I don’t use pine nuts often because they’re rather pricey, but I picked some up on sale. They add such a decadent flavor to dishes and this is no exception. Combined with cashews, they make an ideal stuffing for ravioli. The fresh veggies on top complete the meal.

INGREDIENTS

Dough

1-1/2 C semolina flour
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C warm unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs olive oil

Filling

1/2 C pine nuts
1 C roasted, unsalted cashews
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 C fresh spinach

Topping

2 Tbs Earth Balance
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 C cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 C fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs red wine
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

You can soak the nuts for several hours to overnight, or to speed things up, in a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the nuts and let sit for 2 hours. Sometimes, I only soak them for an hour or so; I don’t mind if the filling isn’t perfectly smooth, so it’s up to you. To prepare the dough, whisk together the two flours and the salt. Whisk in the warm almond milk and oil. Sometimes it’s easier to use your hands to combine everything; use what works. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside. To make the filling, drain the nuts and add them to a food processor. Process them for about 30 seconds to get them a bit pureed. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree 1-2 minutes until smooth. Set aside.
20140411_173050As you probably recall, I like to use my pasta maker and a ravioli plate to make raviolis, and I have to say, the process gets easier and quicker each time. I recommend at least getting a ravioli plate—you can find one for under $20 on Amazon.
20140411_175640I ended up with 44 raviolis . . .
20140411_183459I then let them sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I prepared the topping. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and basil; season with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, heat the Earth Balance and add the garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for two minutes, then add the wine and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil.
20140411_185555Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the ravioli (about a dozen at a time) for 3-5 minutes. They will float to the top and puff up a little when they’re ready. I usually serve them as they finish cooking so they stay hot. If you want to cook them all first, I suggest transferring them to a large, oiled baking sheet. Otherwise, they’ll stick together. Serve with a scoop or two of the fresh topping and enjoy!
20140411_191407

Wild Mushroom & Miso Soup

MushroomSoupFor mushroom lovers like us, this soup certainly made us very happy. Some friends had brought it to a get together and we all demanded the recipe. It is from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  This soup requires just a tad of prep work, but then it all goes into the slow cooker. Not only is this soup savory and full of flavor, but the mushrooms are packed full of immune boosters—perfect for fighting off the winter chills and colds.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (1/2 oz) pkg dried porcini mushrooms (I could only find the 3/4 oz package, which I used all of)
1 C hot water (I added a bit more since I used more mushrooms)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, (mostly white parts and a little of the green) sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked peppercorns (I used ground—didn’t have the peppercorns)
1 bay leaf
8-oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and thinly sliced (I recommend adding more–they cook down quite a bit)
8-oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered (Again, I’d add more)!
6 C vegetable broth
1 C water
1/4 C miso
Optional: fresh snipped chives

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms and the hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes, using a fine mesh strainer, drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Finely chop up the porcinis and set aside. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrot and celery for about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and porchinis. Cook for a minute, then add the reserved liquid.

vegmixTransfer to a slow cooker and add the shiitake and cremini mushrooms, along with the broth and water.

20131208_125234

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours OR on low for 6 hours. Stir in the miso and cook on high for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and ladle into separate bowls; garnish with chives. Enjoy!

Layered Polenta Casserole

Polenta casseroleThis is how tonight’s post-dinner conversation went between father and son:
        “This is going to be deee-vine for tomorrow’s lunch,” father said as he placed the leftovers in a container.
        “Wait, who said you get them all?” his son said, grabbing hold of the dish.
        “You will lose an arm, son,” father said firmly. 
A wresting match in the kitchen ensued. I don’t know who the victor was; I walked away, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating the leftovers for breakfast. Yes, it was that good.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pre-made polenta log (I used the sun-dried tomato & garlic variety), cut into 18 slices
2 C spinach, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 C bread crumbs or panko
1/2 C Parmezano Sprinkles (recipe below)

Parmezano Sprinkles: (from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook)
1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 tsp light miso
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt

Sauce:
4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 Tbs flour
1 C vegetable broth
1/4 C almond milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

20131124_181417

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. To make the Parmezano Sprinkles (which I recommend making ahead of time) combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until you have little crumbles . . . then refrigerate.

Parmezano Sprinkles Combine the chopped spinach, tomatoes and sliced mushrooms in a bowl along with the basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

20131124_180102To prepare the sauce, melt the Earth Balance and add the garlic. Saute about 2 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Next, add vegetable broth a little at time, whisking constantly until everything is incorporated over medium heat. The sauce should begin to thicken. Slowly add in the almond milk, an 1/8 C at a time and whisk thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Add a ladle of sauce to the bottom of an 8″ baking dish—just enough to coat the bottom. Place 9 slices of the polenta on the bottom and sprinkle with about 1/4 C of the Parmezano Sprinkles.

20131124_181953Next, layer on the spinach mixture—pack it down if you have to, but get it all on there. Top with the remaining 9 slices of polenta . . .

20131124_182152. . . then remaining sauce, the bread crumbs, and another 1/4 C of the Parmezano Sprinkles.

20131124_182430(0)Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it sit for  about 5-6 minutes before digging in. Enjoy!
20131124_185917

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!

DSC08036

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).

DSC07979

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.

DSC07981

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

DSC07983

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce

DSC07912

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of August. Right now, I can see a few leaves on the Sumac trees outside my window, already turning red. I feel as though I missed a great deal of our Colorado summer, spending it rather, in different parts of the U.S. (and in one case, another country). We experienced the gorgeous summer days of Victoria, BC, Seattle, San Francisco, a couple balmy days in San Diego, Sacramento, Napa, and finally wrapped up the season’s fun in New York City. I feel truly blessed that I was able to go on these trips with the people I love and adore. This morning, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such times and that my family and I have our health. A young teacher at my son’s school, passed away last night from cancer. He had just celebrated his one-year anniversary with his wife. I didn’t know him, but he was to be my son’s English teacher this year. My heart goes out to his wife, who is also a teacher at the school. It makes me appreciate even more, the times spent together as a family. One of my favorite times is cooking with the Ninth Grader and the fun we have together making messes in the kitchen. This meal would not have come together without his help; him holding up the sheet of pasta dough while I crank it through the pasta maker. It may have looked like a circus stunt, but the results were nothing less than spectacular.

INGREDIENTS:

Pasta dough:

2 C semolina flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 C warm almond milk
2 Tbs olive oil

Pesto Sauce:

2 to 2-1/2 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C parsley
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 C lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1 C pine nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts or almonds would work great, too)
3 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

The rest:

2-3 C mushrooms, sliced
1 C green onions, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough, whisk together the flours and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the warm almond milk and olive oil. I recommend using your hands to then blend everything together thoroughly. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I divided the dough into fourths and proceeded to feed each section through the pasta maker to make long sheets, then through the fettuccine portion. I found that four hands make this job much easier, if not necessary. You’ll want to let the pasta dry up a little. I don’t have any pasta drying racks, so I improvised . . .

Drying pasta

These methods worked beautifully. Time-consuming, perhaps, but a necessary step—otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of fettuccine noodles stuck together in one big mess. While the pasta drying, make up the pesto. You can also make this earlier in the day to save time. Toss the basil, parsley, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend for about a minute. Add the nuts and blend until smooth. Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerate until ready to use. To make the sauce, I added about half of the pesto and 3 Tbs of Earth Balance to a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Let the butter melt, stirring often.

DSC07907

Now would be a good time to get a large pot of salted water boiling. While you’re waiting, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and green onion.

DSC07909

Saute 3-5 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the mushrooms to be. Meanwhile, the Ninth Grader toasted the walnuts in a small, dry skillet.

DSC07908

Have your dinner plates ready because once the water is boiling, the small batches of pasta will cook quickly. I think I cooked all of the pasta in 4 batches. This recipe will easily feed 6 people. The pasta will stick together if you cook it all at once, so I recommend having everyone dish up as you go. You can also drizzle a little olive oil over the cooked noodles to keep them from getting sticky. Top each serving with a tablespoon or two of pesto sauce, mushroom mixture, tomatoes, and walnuts. Enjoy!

DSC07910

Meatless Mushroom Ragu

20130731_175032

Hello! I didn’t forget about all of you; I’ve had a very busy month of traveling. I spent a couple of weeks traveling around Northern California on a little book tour—you can read about it HERE if you’d like. I now get to spend 8 days in New York City this month with my dear friends Kerrie and Nicole! I’ve thrilled to be going on this trip, especially since I’ve never been to the Big Apple. I’m hoping I get a chance to check out some of Alicia Silverstone’s favorite NYC vegan eateries while I’m there. Any recommendations of your own?

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying not living out of a suitcase for a few days and I finally got back in the kitchen. I recently picked up The Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook and decided try the meatless ragu. I made a few changes to the recipe, however. You may not think to haul out the slow cooker during the summer, (let alone for vegan food), but it beats using the oven to heat up the house and we’re not regular grill users, so the crock pot is a great idea. The only trouble is that the smell of everything cooking might make you hungry all day. Most of the recipes in the cookbook include instructions for what to prepare the night before and what to prepare the next day—a real time-saver. There wasn’t much to do the night before, so I threw it all together in about 15 minutes around noon.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 C onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Field Roast sausages, Italian Seasonings flavor, crumbled
1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 C mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs port wine
Chopped fresh basil
Optional ingredients: diced zucchini and/or bell pepper
1 lb Rigatoni pasta

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil, until the onions are tender, a bout 3-4 minutes.

20130731_130128

Transfer the onions to the slow cooker. Next, add the Field Roast to the skillet and over medium heat, saute until browned, 3-4 minutes as well.

20130731_130536

Transfer the Field Roast, tomatoes, mushrooms, salt and pepper, vinegar, and wine in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

20130731_130916

Serve over cooked pasta and top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

20130731_175020

 

Polenta Marsala

20130701_191659

It’s great to be back with a new recipe! I haven’t worked with polenta much, so I decided to take the easy route and use the pre-cooked version.

20130701_175550

It’s great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Having always liked Marsala-anything, I wanted to give it a try with polenta, another new favorite around here. The recipe calls for flour, but feel free to make this meal gluten-free by using another type of flour, such as rice flour. The Husband called this “f***ing brilliant.” Need I say more?

INGREDIENTS:

1-18oz tube of pre-cooked polenta (I used the basil garlic variety)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
2 C mushrooms, sliced (I recommend cremini or baby portobello)
1/2 C green onion, sliced
3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour, any variety
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1  to 1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C Marsala cooking wine

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the polenta into about 18-19 slices.

20130701_182025

In a small bowl, combine the flour, marjoram, and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the polenta slices. You may have to do a couple of batches, like I did. Brown the polenta, about 5-7 minutes on each side.

20130701_184508

Once they are all browned, set aside. Wipe out the skillet and add the Earth Balance. After it melts, whisk in the flour mixture. Over medium heat, add the broth and Marsala, little by little, continually whisking until it’s smooth. You may have some extra broth leftover at this point, but hang onto it in case you need to thin the sauce out more later. Add the mushrooms and green onion, and mix together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms cook down a little. You may need to add a little more broth to thin the sauce.

20130701_191043

Add the polenta slices to the pan and carefully fold them into the sauce. Simmer on low until the slices are heated through again. Enjoy!

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.

DSC07818

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.

DSC07820

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!

DSC07823

Veggie Bowties with Mushrooms and Walnuts

DSC07758

This always makes for a great, quick lunch—or even a few lunches. I love veggie pastas and this one, from Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, is made up of spinach, beets, and red bell pepper. Aside from the wonderful flavor, it doesn’t hurt that there are 8 grams of protein per serving (1/4 C), as well as vitamin C and iron.

DSC07755

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz vegetable bowtie (farfalle) pasta

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1/2 C walnuts, chopped

2 Tbs Earth Balance

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. In the meantime, melt the Earth Balance over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the walnuts and saute them 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown; season with salt and pepper. Combine the mushroom mixture with the pasta and if needed, season with more salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Buffalo Cauliflower Potato Pizza

DSC07480

This is going to blow your mind. This turned out to be the most amazing pizza—ever. I was inspired by Kelly over at Vegan Thyme who made this using Gardein, but because Gardein never seems to agree with me, I thought I’d sub in cauliflower. A friend had made buffalo “wings” from cauliflower and used this recipe from PETA. If anything, try the wings—they are incredible! (just double it if you’re feeding a crowd). March Madness, anyone? Can I tell you how excited we are that our CSU Rams have advanced?! GO RAMS!!

rams

So, making cauliflower wings is definitely going to add to your prep time, so I recommend enlisting some help. That’s why you had kids, right? The Eighth Grader was a great sous chef. I also made several changes to the original, just based on what I had on hand, so feel free to tweak the recipe. This recipe is going to require a certain timing of tasks, but thankfully, they’re all easy to do. So, get ready for some amazing pizza that you won’t mind making again and again!

INGREDIENTS:

Wings:

1 C almond milk

1 C flour (any variety)

2 tsp garlic powder

1 head cauliflower, chopped into pieces

1 C buffalo wing sauce (I used Wing Time)

1 Tbs olive oil or Earth Balance, melted

Dough: (I made a quick, no-rise pizza dough. So if you like a thin crust, crispy dough, this is a good one to use. Otherwise, if you have more time, I recommend a yeast-based one).

2-1/2 C flour

2-3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs olive oil

3/4 C to 1 C warm water

Pizza:

3 large russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thin (my sous chef used a potato chip slicer—major time saver)!

3/4 C red onion, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp black pepper

5 mushrooms, diced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1 tsp olive oil

Daiya mozzarella, optional

Vegan ranch dressing (Try Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch or make your own)

Sauce:

2 Tbs flour

1/3 C warm water

3 Tbs Earth Balance

1 C vegetable broth, warmed up

Dash or two of red wine vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

So, first off, prep the potatoes. Once they’re sliced, place in a bowl of water with 1 tsp of salt and let sit for 30-45 minutes. This is a good time to make the dough and chop up the mushrooms, celery, and cauliflower. Drain the potatoes and season them with the rosemary, basil, and pepper; stir in the red onion.

DSC07468

To make the dough, mix the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer. Slowly add the olive oil and warm water until you have a dough that is just slightly sticky. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes.

DSC07462

This is where timing comes in. Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough to fit an 11″x17″ pan. I actually let it hang over the edges a little to account for shrinkage:

DSC07469

Stick with a fork in several places and bake 5 minutes. This is also where you’ll need a hand. While your amazing helper lines the crust with the potatoes and onions . . .

DSC07474

. . . you’ll want to be making the “wings.” Pretty easy: Preheat oven to 450. Whisk together the milk, flour and garlic powder in a medium bowl. You’ll have a pancake batter-like consistency. Add the cauliflower and coat them completely; transfer to a baking dish.

DSC07460

Bake for 15-18 minutes . . .

DSC07461

While they’re baking, whisk together the wing sauce and olive oil (or Earth Balance). Loosen the cauliflower if it’s stuck to the dish. Pour the wing sauce over the cauliflower and bake another 5-8 minutes.

DSC07467

Now, while those are baking, saute up the celery and mushrooms in the olive oil. Also, start the sauce in a small saucepan. Combine the 2 Tbs of flour and 1/3 C warm water; set aside. Melt the 3 Tbs of Earth Balance in a the pan and add 1 Tbs of the flour-water mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in the rest over medium heat. Just a little at  time, add the broth. Whisk until thickened; add the red wine vinegar.

DSC07477

So now, your wings are ready to come out of  the oven. Throw the pizza in the oven (still at 400 degrees) and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes start to brown on the edges. This is a good reason to use a slicer to make them thin, otherwise, they’ll take too long to cook and your crust will be lovely shade of black. I then chopped up the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.

DSC07470

It even looks like chicken pieces! Try not to eat it all yet. Combine the cauliflower in a bowl with the celery and mushrooms and pour the sauce over them and coat well. When you have just a few minutes left on the potatoes, sprinkle the top with a little Daiya cheese.

DSC07476

Yum!

Cut into squares and top with the cauliflower/veggie mix and ranch dressing. Thoroughly enjoy!

DSC07478

Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

DSC07295

 

This is a very quick and healthy lunch. It’s also a good idea to munch on if you’re feeling under the weather since it has immune-boosting ingredients like kale, mushrooms, garlic, and pepita seeds. Regardless, it’ll hit the spot!

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz quinoa pasta, veggie curls (I used Ancient Harvest brand)

2-3 C chopped kale (I used red kale)

2 C diced or quartered mushrooms

1/2 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C pepitas seeds

1 Tbs olive oil or 2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You don’t want to overcook quinoa pasta, as it tends to get mushy if you do. Drain and set aside.

DSC07294

Using the same pot, heat the olive oil or Earth Balance and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.

DSC07293

 

Once the veggies are cooked down a little, stir in the pasta and pepita seeds. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Roasted Mushroom and Garlic Soup with Caramelized Onions

DSC07274

I found this recipe on She Wears Many Hats, and knew it was right up my alley. I love mushrooms and it also has white beans, so I was hooked. I wasn’t expecting to change it up, but I ended up deviating off the recipe a little. It turned out fabulous; full of flavor! Not only that, it was pretty easy to make. The only thing that takes a while is caramelizing the onions, so I recommend allowing about 30-45 minutes for that—but well worth it!

INGREDIENTS:

6 C white and cremini mushrooms, quartered

3 – 15 oz cans white beans, not drained

5-6 large cloves of garlic, skins on

2 Tbs olive oil + a drizzle

Salt and pepper, to taste

8-10 fresh sage leaves

8-10 thyme sprigs + 1 Tbs fresh leaves

5 C vegetable stock (I recommend using Better Than Bouillon)

2 Tbs dried minced onions

Caramelized onions:

1 large white or yellow onion, sliced into strips

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Begin with the onions. Combine the onions and olive oil and add to a medium skillet. Saute over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook another 15 minutes; stirring often. Stir in the sugar and continue to saute until the onions are almost black and sticking to the skillet.

DSC07272

Reduce heat to low. Of course, while you’re doing all of this, you’ll need to start the soup . . . Preheat oven to 450. Coat the mushrooms with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large baking pan. Add the sage and thyme sprigs. To prepare the garlic, place the cloves in the middle of a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and wrap up tightly; place onto the baking sheet.

DSC07266

Bake/roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add the broth, beans, salt, pepper (to taste), and the tablespoon of thyme to a large soup pot; bring to a simmer. Stir the mushrooms in the oven and roast another 10 minutes.

DSC07269

Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Gather the sage leaves and set aside. Transfer one cup of the soup broth to a blender, along with 2 cups of drained beans. Toss in the sage leaves and the two tablespoons of minced onion, along with the garlic (the skins should slide right off). Puree until smooth. Add the mushrooms to the soup and stir in the puree; season with salt and pepper if you’d like then bring to a simmer.

DSC07271

Serve with some caramelized onions on top and enjoy!

Mexican Pasta Casserole

DSC07165

I’ve made a similar casserole, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients. I changed things up given what I had to work with. I love how easy and delicious these kinds of casseroles are—they make for the perfect winter meal.

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

1  14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (or a can of Rotel with green chilies), undrained

1/2 C Tofutti sour cream + any extra for serving on top

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1 packet of seasoning mix (taco, burrito or fajita)

1/2 C shredded  Daiya pepper jack cheese

1/4 C almond milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

The rest:

2 C uncooked pasta (any variety—I had a mixture of ziti and elbow mac)

1 Tbs olive oil (I used chipotle-flavored)

2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1/2 of a bell pepper (any variety—I used orange), chopped

1/2 C onion, chopped

1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, chopped or sliced

1  15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

4-5 green onions, sliced

1 C cilantro leaves

Optional ingredients: black olives, diced avocados or guacamole

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. While cooking the pasta, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Over medium heat, saute the bell pepper and onions until they begin to soften, then add the black beans.

DSC07161

 

Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms.

IMG_1099

Cook until the mushroom cook down a little—just a couple of minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with the sauce; blend well. Transfer to a 13×9″ baking dish.

IMG_1100

Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes. Top servings with some green onions and cilantro and any other optional ingredients. Enjoy!

Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach

DSC07134

 

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

DSC07129

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.

DSC07130

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

DSC07100

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

IMG_1089

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

DSC07097

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.

IMG_1086

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

IMG_1087

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.

DSC07098

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!

DSC07100

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 White Lasagna

So there are moments in history where you want to slap your forehead and say, “Seriously?” The OJ Simpson acquittal. . . Lady GagGag’s meat dress . . . the recent attacks on Sesame Street . . . Oh, and the terrible call that cost cost the Green Bay Packers the game against the Seattle Seahawks a couple of weeks ago . . .(that’s for you, Jessie)! I had a moment of forehead-slapping-followed-by-a-REALLY? when I forgot a key ingredient in this meal. Pesto. See . . . I even made it:

But I made it earlier in the day and forgot to use it. Wheresma pesto? In the fridge. For those of you unfamiliar with “wheresma,” let me give you a brief history. My dear and wonderful husband apparently earned the nickname, “Wheresma” because he often asked, “Where’s my (this)?” “Where’s my (that)? Enduring, right? No. Wheresma makes an appearance every once in while . . .

Anyhoo . . . I have to admit, the lasagna just wasn’t the same without the pesto. I highly recommend you don’t forget this ingredient. It was still tasty and leftover-worthy, but it didn’t have the flavor I was hoping for, so don’t forget the pesto!

INGREDIENTS:

Ricotta:

1 12-oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 C vegan mozzarella

Pesto:

4 C basil leaves
1 C Italian leaf parsley
1 C pine nuts
4 cloves garlic cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 C lemon juice
2/3 C olive oil
6 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese

White sauce:

3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour
2 C almond milk
1/2 C white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
1/3 C nutritional yeast (this is in the ricotta, so if you can leave this out, otherwise, I think it’s a great addition)

The rest:

12 lasagna noodles
5 C kale, cut into 1-2″ pieces
2 C sliced mushrooms
1 C onion, diced
olive oil
Vegan mozzarella, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Save yourself a headache by making the ricotta and pesto a day ahead, or at least earlier in the day. (Just don’t forget about them). For the ricotta, combine everything but the vegan mozzarella in the food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. To make the pesto, combine everything but the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. Add the nuts and Parm and blend well.

I like using traditional lasagna noodles, as opposed to the no-boil variety. The trick is to not boil them too long. They’ll cook the rest of the way later on in the oven. I also made a small batch (8″x8″) pan, which meant cutting 2-3″ off the noodles in order to fit the pan. I ended up with 4 layers, but feel free to make 3 layers in a 9×13″ pan. So . . .to begin, start the noodles. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook 5-7 minutes, or until the onions get tender. Add the mushrooms and kale and cook a few more minutes, until the mushrooms soften and the kale wilts.

To make the sauce, melt the Earth Balance. Slowly whisk the flour, a little at a time until you reach a thick paste.

Whisk in the milk a little bit at a time until there aren’t any clumps left. Stir with a whisk over medium-high heat until thickened, about 7 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 350. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water. Pour about half of the sauce mixture on the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish. Lay 3 lasagna noodles (you’ll need to cut the noodles to fit) on the bottom of the pan. Spread on about 2 Tbs of ricotta on each noodle, then a layer of the pesto. Top with a thin layer of  the mushroom/kale mixture.

Repeat layers, ending with the final three lasagna noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with some vegan mozzarella if you’d like.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles

Sorry for the absence…I haven’t been making new dishes over the last couple of weeks, but instead, have been relying on some old favorites like enchiladas, creamy cashew pasta, and tofu sandwiches. We are leaving Wednesday for Santa Fe and Taos, so it was a good time to use up the veggies in the fridge. I’m excited to bring you lots of wonderful vegan food and news from New Mexico. It’s been ten years since we’ve there and we’re  looking forward to going back. Of course, any road trip is not complete in my household without an accident/injury a day or two before leaving. (Last year, the Eighth Grader got his two front teeth knocked out during a trampoline incident. We were supposed to drive to Southern CO for a wedding. It didn’t happen. Spring Break this year was altered after the kid’s appendectomy). It was my turn, I guess. I got a little too excited trying out my new mandolin slicer Sunday night…

I should have seen it coming. I’ve heard the horror stories associated with the mandolin, but I bought one the other day anyway. First time I use it, I slice a pretty large chunk off my right pinkie finger. I’m lucky though, it could have been worse. I was millimeters short of taking off bone and nail! Yikes. Good thing I married an Eagle Scout. He kept me calm and got it wrapped up. I ended up going to urgent care yesterday morning and they cleaned it up good, wrapped it, and I have to go back today to have it looked at. The doc said it will take several months to heal. :-(  The mandolin is in timeout.

Had I not been an idiot and lost part of an appendage, I probably would have used it to make this stir-fry, but I decided to stick with a good old-fashioned knife. It was slow-going, but I had some help. I picked up some East-West Stir-fry Sauce and these awesome ramen noodles from Hakubaku. Both were outstanding. The sauce had a mild flavor with just a tiny bit of zip. I used about 1/2 the jar, but feel free to use as much or as little as you’d like.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchinis, cut into sticks

6 mushrooms, quartered

6 celery stalks, sliced

1 bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 can bamboo shoots, drained

6 green onions, sliced thin

1-2 handfuls of cashews

3 Tbs freshly grated gingerroot

1 jar East-West Stir-fry Sauce

9.5 oz Hakubaku noodles

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until they begin to get tender, about 7-9 minutes.

Add the bamboo shoots and ginger. Cook another 5 -7 minutes.

The noodles will take four minutes to cook in boiling water, so when you toss them in to cook, add the mushrooms, green onion, and cashews to the skillet. Cook 2 minutes…then add the sauce. Stir well to combine and saute to heat the sauce.

Drain the noodles and serve them topped with some stir-fry. Enjoy!

 

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine

While at the farmer’s market last weekend, I picked up some Artichoke Lemon pasta. You can order it at Pappardelle’s Pasta.

I threw together a dish with a light, creamy roux and some vegetables and it came out delicious—and fast too. Dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes. Keep in mind, you’ll have three different pots/pans going at the same time, but don’t be alarmed, it’s easy to make, especially if you have all of your ingredients chopped, sliced, and ready to go before hand.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz Artichoke Lemon linguine

1-1/2 C fresh basil, chopped

4-5 large mushrooms, sliced

14-oz can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Tbs olive oil (preferably buttered-flavored)

2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 Tbs flour

1/2 C almond milk

Dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg

1 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the artichokes and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 5-7 minutes. I have found that this pasta tends to cook faster than commercial brands, so keep an eye on it. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes.

While this is happening, get your roux going. Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in the almond milk and whisk it until smooth. It will thicken up pretty quickly.

Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and blend well. For the veggie mixture, once the mushrooms are tender, reduce the heat to low and stir in the basil.

Combine the sauce and the veggies with the pasta and blend everything together.

 Enjoy!

Lime and Veggie Fajitas

These colorful fajitas are so quick and easy to make. If you’re like me and tired of the same old fajita seasoning packets, I think you’ll love this change up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil (I used chipotle-flavored)
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
Flour tortillas

Seasoning:

1/2 C lime juice
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cumin

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the seasoning ingredients and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until slightly tender.

Add the bell peppers and cook another 12-15 minutes, or until they are softened.

Stir in the mushrooms. These will cook fast, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro and lime juice mixture and combine thoroughly. Cook until the sauce is heated through.

Scoop onto the tortillas and if you’d like, add some Daiya cheese and/or Tofutti sour cream. Enjoy!

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers

The Seventh-Grader was nice enough to share his cold with me. I can’t remember the last time I was out of commission with a cold, and I don’t plan to let this one win. So far, I’ve kept it somewhat at bay with lots of juiced veggies and kale. Never under estimate the healing powers of vegetables. That may be why I was drawn to making these. Bell peppers, particularly orange and yellow ones, are packed with vitamins C, A, and B6. (Although the heating process will deplete them a bit). But I’m certain they still retain many of their healthy benefits. These also have mushrooms which are a great source of B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, and potassium. Now on to the zucchini…these guys have tons of vitamin C and A which are actually anti-inflammatory agents. Zucchinis are also high in fiber—an added bonus! And let’s not forget that quinoa is an ideal source of protein, too! Let the healing begin!

Oh, and remember Operation Save Basil from October?

I’m happy to report that it has bounced back beautifully. It looks like there’s room to add another basil plant, but for now, I’m thrilled the basil’s back, baby!

INGREDIENTS:

3 large bell peppers (preferably orange, red, or yellow) sliced in half and innards cleaned out

1 C quinoa

1-15oz can mandarin oranges (look for no sugar added), juice reserved

1 C water

1 tsp tamari

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 C slivered almonds

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1 small zucchini, sliced then quartered

1/2 C fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce:

1 C almond milk

2 Tbs arrowroot

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs yellow miso

dash of nutmeg

dash of garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Begin with the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, reserved Mandarin orange juice, water, and tamari in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Add the slivered almonds and cook them for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

Add the zucchini, mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cook another 6-8 minutes on medium heat.

Once the veggies are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the oranges and basil.

Stir in the cooked quinoa and evenly fill the pepper halves.

Sometimes I pour about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan before covering with foil. This will help soften the peppers without overcooking the filling. I think this is especially important when using cheese or fake meats in the filling. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sauce ingredients over high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. Don’t worry about getting the sauce thickened; it’s meant to seep and ooze into the filling. :-)

Ladle the sauce over the peppers and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Chunky Chickpeas and Rice

Not eating wheat, it can be tough not being able to make a quick sandwich. Scouring the pantry, I found Chunky Chickpeas from Tasty Bite.

We’ve taken these camping because they’re so easy—just pour into a pan and heat. At home, you can heat the packet in the microwave for 90 seconds. In this case, I decided to combine the chickpeas with some cooked rice and diced mushrooms. So easy! During the last few minutes of cooking the rice, throw in some mushrooms. Then heat the chickpeas in the microwave (according to the package instructions) and stir into the rice. Voila. Lunch is served.

The ingredients in the packet are simple: water, chickpeas, onions, sunflower oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, salt, cumin, and spices. There’s even 9 grams of protein per 1/2 a packet. I don’t remember how much the packets are, but I know they’re just over $3. (The Bombay Potatoes variety is awesome)!

Chard and Field Roast Skillet

I really love a warm breakfast of veggies. I used two Chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausages, but I think just one would have been enough. You can also choose one of their other varieties. I like that spicy kick of the chipotle ones. This can be enjoyed on it’s own, or wrapped in a tortilla.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium potato, peeled and diced small

4 large Swiss chard leaves, stem removed and chopped

1 C mushrooms, diced

1-2 Field Roast sausages, crumbled

3 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In about 2 tsp of olive oil, saute the potatoes over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until they begin to brown and are tender.

Add the Field Roast and cook another 5 minutes.

Stir in the chard, mushrooms, and green onions. Slowly stir to let the chard cook down, about 3-4 minutes.

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!

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach

Occasionally, there are nights I don’t cook dinner for the fam. Either we have lots of leftovers, or everyone is doing their own thing, so we fend for ourselves. Tonight was one such night. But when The Husband saw what I made, he kindly asked if I’d share. He said this was one of his favorites dishes—we both loved it. And so easy! Throw this together in 20 minutes and you have a healthy, protein-packed meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

2 C water

1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube

3 C fresh spinach

3 C fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring the water with the bouillon cube to a boil. Stir it around so the cube dissolves completely. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low, and cover for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa is almost done—just a tiny bit of water left—add the spinach, mushrooms and seasonings; combine well.

Turn the heat off, cover, and let the spinach and mushrooms steam a bit—5-7 minutes. You may need to drizzle with some water if there isn’t enough moisture left. Once the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender, serve and enjoy!

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza

This brings deep dish pizza to a whole new level; five levels to be exact. Since the Mexican Lasagna turned out so great, I thought I’d make a pizza version. It was delicious! This may be my new favorite way to eat pizza.

INGREDIENTS:

5, 8″ flour tortillas

1 Tbs olive oil

3 Field Roast sausages, Italian Seasoning flavor, crumbled

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 -1/2 C mushrooms, sliced

4-5 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 C fresh basil, chopped

1, 15-oz can Glen Muir pizza sauce

1-1/2 C Daiya cheese, mozzarella flavor

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add the bell pepper; cook until slightly tender. Add the crumbled Field Roast and heat through.

Add the mushrooms, spinach, and basil. Cook just until the spinach wilts a bit. Bake the tortilla shells about 2-3 minutes per side. Spray the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with cooking spray, then pour a small amount on the bottom. Lay one tortilla on the bottom, add some sauce, veggie mixture, then sprinkle some cheese on it.

Repeat, top with last tortilla, rest of sauce and cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Pasta with Kale

I was on my own for dinner the other night, so after staring blankly at the cupboards, then the fridge, I decided to combine some of my favorite ingredients for dinner: tri-color pasta, kale, mushrooms, and miso. For some added crunch (and protein) you could throw in some pine nuts or chopped cashews.

INGREDIENTS:

8-10 oz tri-color rotini

1 bunch kale, chopped

5-6 mushrooms, sliced

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

1 Tbs yellow miso

1 tsp garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Meanwhile, steam the kale and mushrooms 3-5 minutes—just until they’re tender. Usually, once the kale turns bright green, it’s ready. Using the same pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the margarine and garlic. Stir in the miso and blend it in. Add the kale and pasta and combine well. Enjoy!

Mushroom Barley Soup

This recipe is from Color Me Vegan, a cookbook I bought over the summer, but I’m just now getting around to using it. I had marked so many of the recipes as ones to try, and I have a couple more this week that I plan to make. I really love this cookbook!

The flavor was really outstanding and of course, the truffle oil is the piece de resistance. It’s subtle, yet still distinguishable. I would certainly make this again, but I would probably use more barley and use kale instead of carrots—it all depends on what you like. It’s a satisfying, tasty soup that’s sure to become a staple around here.

INGREDIENTS:

4 C water

3/4 C uncooked pearl barley

2 medium onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 lbs sliced fresh mushrooms (I used a combo of white and cremini)

2 C carrots, chopped

6 C mushroom or veggie broth–or half of each. (I used 2 C portobello mushroom soup and 4 C vegetable broth)

1 Tbs tomato paste

1 Tbs truffle oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 Tbs fresh parsley, minced

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and barley to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes—you only want to partially cook it. Use a fine mesh strainer to drain it. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and cook the onions and celery for about 7 minutes.

Add the mushrooms.

That may seem like a lot, but remember, mushrooms always cook down quite a bit. Stirring often, cook the mushrooms for about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the carrots, tomato paste, broth, and partially cooked barley.

Bring to a boil, them reduce heat, and cover. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the truffle oil, salt, and pepper.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Enjoy!

Zucchini and Kale Breakfast Frittata

I haven’t made a breakfast frittata/casserole in a while and I was craving one. Plus, I had veggies that needed to get eaten before they went beyond the  point of recognition. Loaded with some of my favorite veggies,  I could have eaten the entire pan.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Field Roast sausage, Italian-style, thawed and crumbled

4 green onions, sliced

3-4 C torn kale (I used a red boar kale)

1 small zucchini, sliced thin

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

1 C crackers

1/3 C Daiya cheddar shreds

1 small tomato, diced

1 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the Field Roast, zucchini, and green onion. Cook until the zucchini begins to soften, 3-4 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and kale; cook another few minutes, or until the kale begins to wilt. Because kale is a heartier green, it doesn’t cook down as fast as spinach or chard. Crumble the crackers into the bottom of a pie plate and sprinkle half the cheese on top.

Pour the veggie mix into the pie plate . . .

Top with remaining cheese and the diced tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake for 12-15 minutes. If you want crispier kale, cook uncovered. Enjoy!

Sweet & Sour Boca Nugget Stir-fry

Stir-fries are great ways to use up veggies and they’re typically easy to throw together. I didn’t feel like using tempeh or tofu, so I went with Boca nuggets. The sweet and sour sauce came out perfect–a great balance of both elements!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg. Boca nuggets

2 C mushrooms, cut into chunks

6-8 green onions, sliced

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 C carrots, sliced thin

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

2 C cooked rice

Sauce:

2/3 C rice vinegar

8 Tbs brown sugar

2 Tbs ketchup

2 tsp tamari

4 tsp arrowroot

6 tsp water

DIRECTIONS:

The sauce won’t take long to make, so I suggest combining everything in a small saucepan (except the arrowroot and water) and set aside for now. Bake the nuggets according to the bag’s instructions (12-13 minutes). Then cut each nugget into fourths. (And if using rice, don’t forget to get it started, too)!

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the water chestnuts and carrots and cook until tender. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and Boca nuggets.

At this point, bring the sauce to a boil. Mix together the water and arrowroot and whisk it into the sauce to thicken it up. This should only take about a minute.

Pour the sauce over the veggies/nuggets and combine well. Serve over hot white rice and 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!

Mushroom and Snow Pea Soup

This soup is perfect if you want a comforting meal in no time. I used lots of my favorite ingredients and like most soups, it will taste even better the next day.

INGREDIENTS:

6 C vegetable broth

1 Tbs olive oil

6 green onion, sliced

3 C Shiitake and white mushrooms (or cremini), sliced

2 C snow peas, cut into pieces (and ends snipped)

1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated

3 tsp garlic, minced

2 Tbs yellow miso

6-oz Angel hair pasta

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and garlic. Add the green onion, mushrooms, and snow peas. Cook until the veggies are tender.

Add the ginger and miso, and combine well. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook another 3-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Breaded Zucchini with Bok Choy and Couscous

This was fab-freakin’-tastic! I had made a similar dish, using lentils and rainbow chard, and it was a bit hit with the family. This time, I decided to change things up again and wow . . . even better than the first version!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large zucchini, sliced

3 baby bok choy (about 8 stalks)

1-1/2 C mushrooms, quartered or sliced

1 box Near East Pearl Couscous

2 C panko

2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 C egg-replacer powder + 1/8 C water

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a shallow bowl, combine the egg-replacer and water. The amounts I list are approximate–you may need to adjust slightly. In another shallow bowl, combine the panko, thyme, salt, and pepper. Steam the bok choy and mushrooms for 12-15 minutes.

Start the couscous about the same time. It’ll take around 15 minutes. Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Dip each slice of zucchini in the egg-replacer mixture, then cover with the panko mix. Over medium-high heat, fry the zucchini slices until each side is browned.

Zucchini actually cooks up pretty fast, so don’t worry if you have a few thick slices—they soften quickly. Keep the cooked slices warm under some foil until you’ve finished frying all the zucchini. You can also do this in the oven. Spray a foiled baking sheet with olive oil and place the breaded zucchini on it and bake each side for about 5 minutes at 400.

Serve the zucchini slices on top of the couscous and bok choy and enjoy!

Potato, White Bean & Kale Soup

 

We received about 10″ of snow yesterday. The day before was up in the ’70s. That’s Colorado for you. And I am not a fan of Old Man Winter, but I do love to make soups, which are a staple during these cold, snowy months. This soup not only warms you up, but it’ll heal what ails you. Kale is a powerful veggie. It’s packed full of antioxidants which are essential in fighting chronic illnesses including heart disease and cancer. It works as an anti-inflammatory, helping those who suffer from joint pain to fibromyalgia. Loaded with calcium, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folic acid, and potassium, kale is one of the best weapons against a cold. Let’s not forget the power of mushrooms, too, which are rich in potassium, riboflavin, niacin (B3), and selenium. Mushrooms have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as breast and prostate cancers. They’re your immune system’s best friend. So load this soup up with lots of kale and mushrooms—your body with thank you.

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs garlic, minced

2 large leeks, chopped

1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped

2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 15-oz can Great Northern Beans

2 carrots, peeled and chopped small

8 C low-sodium vegetable stock

1 sprig rosemary

A dash or two of cayenne

Salt and pepper

We brought the rosemary inside just in time. The basil, however . . .

 . . . has seen better days. My neighbor suggested cutting it down and placing it in our sunroom. Operation Save Basil has commenced.

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend having all of the ingredients chopped and ready to go before you start. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the leek and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the leeks starts to brown. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, cayenne, and rosemary sprig; cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened. Stir in the beans, kale, and mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer another 5-7 minutes, or until the kale is wilted.

Remove and discard the rosemary sprig and enjoy!

 

Zucchini and Field Roast Stuffed Peppers

I feel a little guilty that I’m not participating in VeganMoFo this year. I was out of town the first couple days of October on a writing retreat and came back to a full plate of projects. October is just going to be a busy month. But a vegan’s gotta eat, so I’ll share new recipes when I can. (And no this isn’t a repeat post—we do love stuffed peppers around here). They’re simple to make and ideal for fall. You can also stuff zucchinis, squashes, and eggplant, too.

INGREDIENTS:

3 large bell peppers, any color

1 Field Roast sausage, Mexican Chipotle flavor, crumbled

1-1/2 C zucchini, diced

1-1/2 C mushrooms, sliced

1/2 a large onion, diced

1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1/3 C vegan cheddar, shredded

1 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the tops off the peppers and clean out the innards. Place into a baking dish, preferably with high sides, and sprinkle a little bit of vegan cheddar on the bottom; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the zucchini, onion, and Field Roast. Cook until the zucchini and onion begins to soften, then add the mushrooms. Cook another 3-4 minutes, then stir in the cilantro.

Evenly divide the stuffing amongst the 3 bell peppers. Bake for 22 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake for another 4-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Veggie BBQ Tacos

I was inspired by Vegetarian Times for this recipe. I didn’t have some of the ingredients, but thanks to Green Buffalo Foods (our organic veggie service) I was able to whip up my own version. These were incredibly tasty and something I would make on a regular basis. The BBQ sauce was ideal, adding a distinct and unique flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

BBQ Sauce:

1-1/2 Tbs ketchup

1/2 tsp agave

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp to 1 tsp prepared horseradish (depending on how hot you want it)

Tacos:

1 tsp olive oil

1-1/2 C sliced mushrooms

1/2 C diced mild bullnose peppers (Thanks, GBF)!

1/2 C shredded carrot

3/4 C diced red cabbage

1/2 a pkg of Gimme Lean, Sausage-style, crumbled

6 small corn or flour tortillas (I like the small La Tortilla Factory ones–of course, I didn’t have any)

2 Tbs chopped red onion (Thanks, GBF)!

1/2 C sliced cherry tomatoes (Thanks, GBF)!

1/2 C chopped mixed greens (Kiona Mitsuna, Red Mustard, Arugula—Thanks, GBF)!

Optional: shredded vegan cheddar and pickle relish (highly recommend both)

Mild Bullnose Peppers

La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style

DIRECTIONS:

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients; set aside. (The original recipe called for hot sauce, but horseradish was way better). To make the tacos, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the peppers, carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms. Cook them for about 3 minutes, then add the Gimme Lean. If you want more of a ground beef-like texture, I recommend using a food processor for the sausage. It’s gets sticky and mushy when trying to crumble it by hand, but it can be done. Just try chopping them up as they cook. Add the sauce and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Serve on tortillas (the guys used corn taco shells) and top with cheese, mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, and relish. These particular mixed green gave the tacos a distinct flavor where regular romaine would have tasted bland. Enjoy!

Mushroom Chowder with Potatoes and Rosemary


Yesterday was a chilly, rainy day where the sun never made an appearance. Dare I say . . . we’ve stumbled into fall? This soup was perfect for a evening like that. This recipe is from Vegetarian Times and the only thing I’d change is add more potatoes and mushrooms or use less broth to make it thicker. Otherwise, this is a super flavorful, delicious stew—loved it.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms

4 Tbs olive oil (I cut this in half)

1-1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes

1-1/2 lb cremini mushrooms,

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs)

1 Tbs plus 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, divded

1/2 C dry white wine

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 7-1/2 C of water to a boil in a large soup pot. If you want a thicker soup, use less water (or use more potatoes and mushrooms). Add the porcini mushrooms and remove the pot from the heat and let soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes and thickly slice the cremini mushrooms. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs (or 1 if not using as much) and add the potatoes and salt, if desired. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until they begin to brown.

Strain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Return the liquid to the pan. Using cheesecloth (I recommend using a thin cotton napkin), squeeze as much liquid from the porchini mushrooms as possible.

Finely chop the porcini mushrooms and add them to the pot of liquid. Once the potatoes are browned, add them to the pot and throw the cremini mushrooms in the skillet with the remaining olive oil. The recipe says to cook them until they begin to brown, about 15-17 minutes. For me, this happened within 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and 1 Tbs of the rosemary; cook for 20 seconds. Add the wine and simmer 15 seconds. Transfer to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Puree 2 cups of the soup in a blender and return back into the soup pot. Serve with remaining rosemary sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

Vegan Mushroom-Onion Quiche

Yes, you can make a quiche without eggs. Which also means it comes without cholesterol and bird embryos. Ok, I won’t get all crazy-vegan on my non-vegan readers . . . :) But have you seen Forks Over Knives yet? We watched it last night. Please watch it—I guarantee you will come away from it wanting to make positive changes in yours and your kids’ diet.

So onto the quiche . . . I got the recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. This is so simple to make and tastes rich and creamy. You can also use regular firm tofu for a more scrambly-egg texture–just don’t blend as smooth.  The cookbook offers several variations such as adding spinach, broccoli, or vegetarian bacon bits. I went with the mushroom quiche.

INGREDIENTS:

1 prepared 10″ pie crust

3 C (2 12-oz pkgs) firm silken tofu, mashed

3/4 C plain non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 C flour (any kind; I used brown rice flour)

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp white pepper

1 Tbs olive or organic canola or safflower oil (I used olive oil)

1-1/2 C finely chopped onions

2 C sliced mushrooms

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Bake the pie crust for 10-12 minutes; let cool. (Mine was done at 8 minutes, so check often). Reduce oven temperature to 350.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions; cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they soften. Add the mushrooms and cook another few minutes.

In the meantime, combine the tofu, milk, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, nutmeg, turmeric, and pepper in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. You’ll probably need to scrapes the sides once or twice and continuing blending.

Pour into a large bowl and stir in the mushrooms and onions. Pour mixture into the prebaked crust. I accidentally picked up a 9″ pie crust, so I poured the extra batter into two ramekins.

Remember, make sure you reduce the heat on the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The top will be firm, browned, and slightly puffed up. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Coq Au Vin Fondue & Dipping Sauces

This is one of those meals that will make you wish you wore your elastic waistbands pants. It’s actually pretty easy to throw together because you can do a lot of the prep work ahead of time. So invite your friends over and don’t be shy, put on some sweatpants or yoga pants and sit down to a long evening of fondue!

INGREDIENTS:

Coq Au Vin Fondue:

3-1/2 C vegetable stock

1/2 C Burgundy wine

1/2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 Tbs garlic, minced

2 green onions, sliced

Cilantro-Yogurt Dip:

1 C soy yogurt

4 green onions, minced

1/4 C cilantro, chopped fine

2 tsp fresh ginger

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sour Cream & Horseradish Dip:

1-1/4 C Tofutti sour cream

5 tsp prepared horseradish

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs red onion, chopped fine

1/4 tsp cayenne

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sesame-Soy Sauce:

1/2 C tamari

1/4 C rice wine vinegar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp agave

1 Tbs garlic, minced

1-1/2 tsp fresh ginger

1 green onion, sliced thin

1 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted

2 Tbs fresh chives, chopped

Butter-Mustard Sauce:

1/2 C Earth Balance margarine

3 Tbs Dijon mustard

5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

The rest:

Whole mushrooms

zucchini/yellow squash

asparagus

potatoes

bell peppers

broccoli


DIRECTIONS:

It’s best to make the dipping sauces ahead of time. The Butter-Mustard Sauce is served warm, so you can do that one last minute. To make the Cilantro-Yogurt Dip, combine all the ingredients and refrigerate. To make the Sour Cream Horseradish Dip, combine all ingredients and refrigerate. To make the Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce, combine all ingredients and set aside. Refrigerate if not using right away. To make the Butter-Mustard Sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and melt together–takes only a few minutes.

When you’re ready to eat, make the Coq Au Vin Fondue, by combining all the ingredients in a fondue pot and bring to a boil.

Divide the dipping sauces evenly among everyone.


The potatoes will take the longest, so it might be best to zap them in the microwave first, just to soften them a little. Everything else will take 3-5 minutes. Enjoy! (And you’ll know you’re done eating when you pass your fondue forks over to The Husband who will most likely continue to eat for another 45 minutes)!

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta & Spinach

I love stuffed pasta shells, but I don’t always love filling up with carbs and wheat from the pasta. This is a fabulous and healthy alternative, which the family raved about. My hegans agreed that these were the best stuffed peppers I made. You can check out the other recipes here.  I used my go-to ricotta recipe, as well as The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook’s Parmezano Sprinkles–both very easy to whip up.

INGREDIENTS:

My go-to ricotta:

1 14-oz pkg extra-firm tofu, press and drained

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 C Daiya mozzarella

Parmezano Sprinkles:

1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1-2 tsp light miso

1/4 tsp salt

The peppers:

4 bell peppers, washed, tops removed and innards cleaned out

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 C onion, diced

2 Field Roast sausages, Italian flavor

2 C mushrooms, diced

4 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

To make the ricotta, crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the Daiya) and blend until somewhat smooth. You don’t want it too smooth. Stir in the cheese.

To make the parmezano sprinkles, grind the blanched almonds to a fine consistency. Add the nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Combine well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you get read to use it, give the container a shake to loosen it all.

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook until they just begin to get tender. Using your fingers, crumble up the Field Roast sausages and add to the skillet. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Stir in the spinach and cook 5 minutes, or until the spinach cooks down a fair bit.

Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain any excess tomato juices if you need to. Then, stir in 1 cup of the ricotta mixture.

Stuff each pepper with the mixture, pressing down with every scoop.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with some of the parmezano sprinkles and bake another 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples, Mushrooms & Sage

I found this recipe from the Reboot Your Life website, but I made some changes. First, I reduced the oil from a whopping 6 tablespoons to a 1/4 teaspoon!! I also added the apples, which gave these a sweet and savory flavor. The recipe also calls for salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, but I wanted to let the flavors of the ingredients to speak for themselves—no need for the sodium!

INGREDIENTS:

2 acorn squash, cut in half and cleaned of innards

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 C red onion, diced

1 grannie smith apple, diced

10 mushrooms, diced

2 (heaping) Tbs fresh sage

1/4 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450. Brush the cut side of the squashes with the olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the garlic with 2 Tbs of water. Add the onion, apples and mushrooms. Saute for 7-10 minutes, or until the veggies soften. Stir in the sage.

I transferred the squashes to a baking dish which made it easier to stuff them without them falling over. Stuff with the apple-mushroom mixture.

Bake for another 10 minutes and enjoy!

Spicy Field Roast-Stuffed Fillo Cups

Sorry for the lousy picture—I took it with my iphone since I didn’t have my camera on hand. Don’t let it deter you from trying these tasty appetizers. They’re easy to make and a sure crowd-pleaser.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Field Roast Chipotle-flavored sausages

6 green onions, sliced

6 mushrooms, diced small

1 can water chestnuts, diced small

2 pkgs Athens mini fillo shells (30 shells)

1-2 tsp olive oil

Daiya cheddar-flavored cheese shreds

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the Field Roast into large pieces and grind them up in a food processor.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the water chestnuts, green onions, and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes.


Add the Field Roast and cook another 5-7 minutes, or until everything is heated through.

Place a pinch of Daiya cheese in the bottom of the fillo cup, top with a spoonful of the mixture. You can easily make more than 30 with this mix, otherwise, save any leftovers for a breakfast burrito! Enjoy!

Savory Vegetable Tart

Like the Savory Asparagus Tart, this one is to die for. I think that pretty much sums it up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package instructions (allow for about an hour to an hour and a half)

1/2 a bunch of asparagus

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

5 mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 C Daiya mozzarella

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 tsp truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Cut up the asparagus into bite-sized pieces; steam for 10-12 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a an 11×7″ baking sheet. Don’t worry about getting it perfect—you can tuck in the sides if they overlap the edges of the pan. Prick the dough in several pieces with a fork and bake for 4-5 minutes. It will puff up:

Layer on the cheese, then the tomato:

Next, layer on the mushrooms and the steamed asparagus:

Combine the olive oil and truffle oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the veggies with the oil mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then enjoy!

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata

I  love making breakfast frittatas. They’re so easy to throw together and are perfect for cleaning out of the fridge of on-the-verge veggies. Since this one uses a Chipotle-flavored Field Roast Sausage, it supplies enough flavoring that I don’t add any other spices or seasonings to this dish, but feel free to add some if you’d like. Some fresh cilantro would be a great addition.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp olive oil

2 medium potatoes, shredded

2 C fresh spinach, torn (you can also use kale if you’d like)

1 C green or red cabbage, chopped

5 mushrooms, sliced

4 green onions, sliced

1 Field Roast Chipotle-flavored sausage, crumbled

1/4 C Tofutti sour cream

1 C Daiya cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and pepper jack flavors)

1-1/2 C crackers, broken up into pieces

1 tomato, diced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. Layer the cracker pieces on the bottom of a pie plate; set aside. Sprinkle with about half of the cheese. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shredded potatoes and over medium heat, cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring them around. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until both the potatoes and cabbage begin to brown. Add the Field Roast, spinach, mushrooms, and green onions and cook until the spinach starts to wilt.

Stir in the sour cream to the spinach mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture on top of the cracker crust and spread it out evenly.

Top with the remaining cheese and the diced tomatoes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then slice into it and enjoy!

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie

Ok, so this is pretty much one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made. So incredibly creamy and tasty; even the (soon-to-be) Seventh Grader had 3 helpings. The original recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I made lots of changes such as using Boca chick patties instead of seitan and adding mushrooms to the mix. You will love this recipe and even non-vegans will be thoroughly impressed!

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups broccoli florets (about 2 medium-sized heads)

2 C mushrooms, diced

1-1/2 C prepared creamy portobello mushroom soup (Imagine brand–see below)

3/4 C light Vegenaise (see below)

1 tsp dry sherry or cooking sherry

1/4 tsp poultry seasoning (or use 1/8 tsp each of sage and thyme. I used Old Bay)

1/3 C nutritional yeast

4-5 Boca Chick patties, slightly thawed and diced

1/2 C Daiya mozzarella

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

With the leftover mushroom soup, I used it to make Near East pilaf, instead of using water. Conveniently, the pilaf takes 20 minutes to cook—same as the cooking time for the pot pie.  It turned out amazing!

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Coat a 11″x7″ baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Steam the broccoli for 10-15 minutes; set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together the portobello soup, Vegenaise, sherry, seasoning and nutritional yeast. Add some salt and pepper, if you’d like.

I thawed the Boca patties in the microwave for about 45 seconds so that they’re a bit easier to cut.

Add the diced patties,broccoli, and mushrooms to the mayo mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the Daiya cheese. (If making the pilaf to go with this, I’d start heating the soup for it now . . .)

On a lightly floured surface, I rolled out the pastry sheet a bit more and then cut it into18 squares. I ended up with about 2 leftover squares, but I’m cool with that.

Place the squares (as evenly as you can–they don’t have to touch) on top of the broccoli mixture.

Bake for 20  minutes. The puff pastry pieces will be a beautiful golden brown. Enjoy!

Vegetables Korma

I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times but I made several changes like using barley instead of rice and fresh vegetables instead of frozen. I really loved the flavors and heartiness of this meal. It makes quite a bit, so feel free to halve the recipe if only feeding two.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C barley

4 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 white onion, cut into chunks

3 Tbs fresh ginger, minced

2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp garam masala or curry powder

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

4 Tbs golden raisins (I used craisins)

2 C broccoli florets

1 C mushrooms, quartered

1 can waterchestnuts, chopped

1 zucchini, sliced then quartered

1-15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 C coconut milk

Toasted peanuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the barley according to package instructions. You can use vegetable broth in the place of the water, if you’d like. Keep in mind, the barley will take 50-60 minutes to cook. Using a food processor, puree the tomatoes, onion, and ginger. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat; add the curry powder and cardamom; cook for 30 seconds. Add the puree and raisins to the pan. Simmer for a couple of minutes until it start to thicken.

Stir in the vegetables, garbanzo beans, and coconut milk. If it’s too thick, add a bit more coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper, if you’d like. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

Serve over the barley, sprinkle with the peanuts, and enjoy!

Wild Rice, Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Peppers

I know what you’re thinking . . . stuffed peppers again?! But these are different—that’s what makes stuffed peppers so great; the ingredient possibilities are endless. These take a bit more time since I used a wild rice mix, which needs to cook for 45-50 minutes, but they’re well worth the extra time. This recipe is enough for 4 peppers, but I made 3; the leftover rice mix will be ideal for tomorrow’s lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

4 large bell peppers, tops and innards removed

1-1/3 C wild rice mix

3 C mushroom broth

1/2 C pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 tsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 C fresh spinach, torn

1-1/2 C mushrooms, diced

1-1/2 C vegan pepper jack, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, bring the mushroom broth to a boil. Stir in the rice mix, reduce heat to low and cover for 45-50 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 and in a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic, then add the mushrooms and spinach. Only cook until the spinach starts to serious wilt—just a few minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and pumpkin seeds.

Put a tablespoon or two of cheese in the pepper, fill part way with rice stuffing, then some more cheese. Top it off with more rice mix; a layering effect. Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncover add a tiny bit of cheese on top and bake another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Vegetable-Barley Soup

Yes, I am on a barley kick. Since I started using it (Vegetable-Barley Chili) I’ve been hooked. It has a lovely chewy texture that is ideal for soups and stews. In addition to the rainy weather, I  needed to clean out the fridge of some veggies, so this soup worked out beautifully. Amazing flavor and ideal with some garlic toast or rolls.

INGREDIENTS:

4 C vegetable broth

3-4 C water

1/3 C pearled barley

1 zucchini, sliced then quartered

4 stalks celery, sliced

2 C mushrooms, sliced/quartered

3 medium carrots, sliced

4 large green onions, sliced

1/3 C light miso

1/3 C sherry

3 Tbs dried minced onion

2 Tbs dried chives

1 C fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp black pepper

3/4 C almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the broth, barley, zucchini, carrots, celery, minced onion, chives, and pepper in a large soup pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Add 1-2 cups of water along with the mushrooms, green onions, miso, and sherry. Cook another 5-7 minutes. Add more water if you feel it’s too thick. Stir in the parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Barley-Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are one of my favorite meals. They’re easy and versatile. This time, I decided to try something different: barley. In addition to being high in fiber, barley is also high in selenium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. And also because of its high B vitamin content, it has also shown to help lower cholesterol. Go barley!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C pearled barley

2-1/2 C water or vegetable broth

3 large peppers, or 4 medium ones

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 C pimentos, diced

6 large mushrooms, diced

1 Field Roast sausage, Apple Sage flavor (excellent source of protein)!

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp olive oil

3/4 C vegan cheddar, shredded

1/3 C Tofutti sour cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the barley, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.


Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Cut the tops off the peppers, clean out the innards, wash, and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and Field Roast, which I just chopped up.

Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the barley, pimento, cheese, and sour cream. Combine well.

Stuff the peppers with the barley mixture. Press down with every scoop to maximize the full capacity of the pepper :) Place into a baking dish.


Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes. Enjoy!