Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

Welcome to rainbow week, where the focus is on colorful foods that span the spectrum! Though today’s recipe would be equally at home during international week: tender roasted poblano peppers stuffed with a Thai curry-inspired quinoa filling. But once I assembled these little beauties and saw how vibrant and colorful they were, I knew they’d fit perfectly during Rainbow Week. Just look at them, pre-oven:

Vegan Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers // govegga.com

Gorgeous, no? And not so difficult to make, either. You’ll cook up some quinoa in a mix of water and coconut milk, adding more coconut milk towards the end to keep the filling nice and creamy — and to help it stay together. Think of it as more of a risotto than your traditional light and fluffy quinoa preparation. Mix in some sauteed ginger, garlic, and jewel-bright orange peppers, stuff everything into halved poblanos, and roast to perfection.

In the meantime, you’ll whip up a dead-easy sauce with just three ingredients: coconut milk, peanut buttery, and Thai curry paste (plus salt if you’d like). Drizzle it on just before serving and call it a day.

Vegan Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers // govegga.com

Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Peanut-Coconut Sauce

Serves 2-3 as a main

For the peppers
  • 1 C quinoa
  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1 C + 1/2 C coconut milk, separated
  • 1 T Thai red curry paste (more if you like extra heat)
  • 1/2 T coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T ginger, grated
  • 1 orange or red pepper, diced
  • 4 poblano peppers
For the sauce
  • Scant 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 T Thai red curry paste
  • Dash salt (to taste)

First, start preparing the quinoa. Add the quinoa, water, 1 cup coconut milk, and Thai curry paste to a medium saucepot and heat on medium-high. Stir to incorporate the paste. Heat until boiling, cover, then turn down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until all liquid is soaked in, stirring occasionally.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a small pan on low and add the garlic. Sauté for a minute, watching closely so it doesn’t burn, then add the ginger. Stir to combine and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the diced pepper and turn the heat up to medium-low. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the pepper is soft. Turn off stove and remove from heat.

When all the liquid is soaked in to the quinoa, remove cover, turn heat to low, and stir in the extra 1/2 cup coconut milk, adding a few tablespoons at a time and stirring when you add it, until just absorbed. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F, grab a 9″ x 9″ baking pan,  and prepare the poblanos for stuffing. Slice them in half, shake out seeds, and remove any pith.

To stuff the peppers, it’s easiest to squeeze them in one hand while using your other hand to spoon in the filling. Press down with the spoon to spread it throughout the pepper. Fill just to the top. (Reserve any extra quinoa for spooning over the cooked poblanos later.)

Place stuffed poblanos in a baking dish (see photo), cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes.

While baking, make the sauce. Whisk all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, salting to taste, and set aside.

When the peppers are tender, remove from the oven and let sit for a minute or two. Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

Notes
  • For a less spicy version, use four green bell peppers instead. Slice the tops off, remove seeds and pith, and stuff.
  • Feel free to add additional veggies to the quinoa mixture; just be sure to chop them small.

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Vegan Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers // govegga.com

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Vegan Hand-Raised Meat Pies

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Week Two: International Week

If you read the title and thought, “Hmm, someone’s been watching The Great British Bake Off,” you’ve got it! Steven and I spent the past few months binging on all seven seasons, and I’m so very sad it’s ended for good. One positive note? I now have a massive list of British bakes to veganize and master! Perfect for international week. (Given yesterday’s recipe for Irish farls, it seems like I’m working my way across the British Isles!)

I recently tried my hand at vegan meat pies made with a hot water crust pastry. Lacking a pastry dolly (of course Paul Hollywood has a branded one for sale!), I wrapped my pastry around a glass and it worked just fine. My filling is relatively simple, just homemade seitan and lots of veggies, but you could use vegan sausage or beef crumbles and complementary vegetables.

Vegan Hand-Raised Meat Pies // govegga.com

Be sure to read through the recipe before beginning — hot water crust pastry can be temperamental, and you need your filling ready to go before you start the pastry. As it cools, it becomes difficult to work with.

Hand-Raised Seitan and Veggie Pies

Makes six pies

For the pie filling

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 1 cup seitan, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T ketchup

For the hot water crust

  • Follow the directions here. I added dried sage to my crust for a little extra flavor.

Method

First, prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a saucepan on medium, then add onions and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, carrot, and leek and sauté for another 5 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Add the spices and seitan and cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Turn off stove but leave on the burner.

Next, preheat your oven to 425˚F and prepare your hot water crust pastry according to the instructions here. Working quickly, use a small drinking glass (about 3″ diameter) to mark the base of the pie (don’t cut out this smaller circle), and use a knife to cut a rough circle around it — add about 1″ extra, for a circle about  4″ in diameter. Wrap the pastry around the drinking glass to form the pie crusts.

For the lids/tops, cut circles a little larger than the diameter of the pie crusts. (You can use another drinking glass if necessary.) Cut a small hole or slash in the tops. Place all raised crusts on a baking sheet. Add filling to the pie crusts, all the way to the top, then place the pie lids on top. Wet your fingers and gently crimp the crust to attach the lids.

Optionally, brush with an aquafaba wash before baking. You can also use pastry leftovers to add decorative leaves, etc.

Bake for 35 minutes or until pastry is golden-brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before eating.

Notes

  • Brushing the pastry crust with aquafaba will give it a nice shine akin to an egg wash. Alas; I was out of aquafaba the day I made these!
  • Feel free to experiment with the fillings — the crust is pretty good at holding it in, so something saucier would likely work just fine.

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Vegan Hand-Raised Meat Pies // govegga.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: If you’re in the United States, I sincerely hope you’re voting today… and not supporting a candidate who represents the worst of humanity.

Fully Loaded Vegan Colcannon

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Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

Treat yourself… to mashed potatoes for dinner!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

If you’re anything like me, you relish any opportunity to chow down on mashed potatoes. I think it’s unfortunate that they’re typically treated as a side dish instead of a main or a meal in their own right. Enter colcannon, the Irish dish featuring mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage… or both! My version of colcannon is chock-full of veggies, with just enough vegan butter and plant milk to make it nice and creamy. I also add a few tablespoons of vegan mayo. Sounds crazy (and kinda weird), but you don’t taste it at all, and it ups the creamy factor. You can certainly leave it out if you’d prefer. Either way, these vegan mashed potatoes are a meal unto themselves. Treat yourself!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

Fully Loaded Colcannon

  • 2.5 lbs of your favorite mashing potatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 head cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 5 large kale leaves, roughly shredded or sliced into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 T vegan butter
  • 1 T vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Measure out the almond milk and let it come to room temperature while you cook.

Add water to a large stockpot and heat on the stove. While the water is coming to a boil, chop the potatoes. You can peel them first, but I like to leave the skins on. When they’re ready, add them to the stockpot (whether it’s boiling or not). When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and let gently boil for 15-20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes, just until they start turning golden. Add the cabbage and a sprinkle of salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the cabbage starts getting tender. If necessary, add a little water to the pan to prevent the cabbage from sticking. Add the kale to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Check the potatoes. When they’re fork-tender, drain them and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a potato ricer, masher, or your favorite tool, mash away! Add the butter early on so it melts right in, then add the almond milk and vegan mayonnaise once everything starts getting creamy.  Add spices to taste; you can also add more butter, milk, and mayo to taste. Finally, fold in the kale and cabbage mixture. Taste for salt and pepper and season as necessary.

Enjoy for dinner, and have the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Notes

  • Your average Idaho or russet potato works beautifully, but I’ve used golden potatoes and they work just fine.
  • Feel free to mix in seitan or bacon bits for added flavor and protein.
  • Go wild with the creamy ingredients to taste. I won’t judge!
  • You can reserve the cooking liquid to add back in as you mash. I don’t do this often, but it certainly works for a less fatty option.
  • Colcannon is traditionally eaten by itself, without gravy, but if you want to add some, I won’t tell. Opt for a recipe with lots of umami.

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Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

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Spicy Vegan Chorizo Pasta

Do you have a favorite convenience food product? A go-to, gotta-have-it-in-the-fridge ingredient that you can’t pass up at the grocery store?

Mine might well be Trader Joe’s soy chorizo. It’s so damn tasty and versatile! With just the right kick of heat, it’s a perfect protein-rich accompaniment to lots of recipes. I typically use it in a quick and easy potato and pepper hash with lots of onions and garlic. It’s a simple dish that makes a superb savory side for brunch, or even a quick dinner.

Recently, though, I decided to try something different with my chorizo and pair it with pasta instead. I’m so glad I did! The result was a spicy, belly-filling dinner that left both Steven and me well-sated. Another benefit? Unlike saucier pasta dishes, this one reheats well because there’s very little moisture to make the pasta soggy. Bam — tomorrow’s lunch is ready now.

I leave the cherry tomatoes whole because I love the way they burst as you eat them, giving a little acidity to the dish. If you only have large tomatoes, feel free to chop them into small pieces and use those.

If you’re looking askance at the inclusion of coconut milk, rest assured you can’t taste it. In fact, when Steven was cleaning up up after dinner, he asked me why there was an open can of coconut milk in the kitchen — and was thoroughly surprised when I told him that it was part of the meal he’d just eaten.

Spicy Vegan Chorizo Pasta // govegga.com

Spicy Vegan Chorizo Pasta

Serves 3-4, depending on how hungry you are

  • 8 oz. whole wheat penne (okay, fine, you can use white pasta if you prefer!)
  • ~1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package TJ’s soy chorizo
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk)
  • Optional: chopped roasted red peppers, handful of kale (roughly shredded)

First, start heating your pasta water. At the same time, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent, then add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for another minute, then add the soy chorizo. (This can get messy — I recommend slicing it in half right through the package, then slicing the chorizo casing lengthwise with a knife and squeezing it into the pan.)If using kale or roasted red peppers, add now. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes and turn the heat down to low.

Meanwhile, if the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Al dente pasta works best here. When it’s ready, drain it and set aside.

Just before adding the pasta, pour in the coconut cream and stir to combine. Add the pasta and mix throughly, so the sauce coats the pasta. Let sit for about one more minute before serving.

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Spicy Vegan Chorizo Pasta // govegga.com

HOUSEKEEPING

A couple notes before you go:

  • Go Vegga now has a Facebook page! Check it out here if you’re so inclined. I only post 2-3 times a week, so no worries about flooding your timeline.
  • Traveling and veganism are two of my passions, so I’ve just started a Pinterest board focused on vegan travel options. Give it a follow if you’d like a comprehensive resource for how to find vegan food on the go. (I’ve got lots of other great vegan-themed boards too; you can peruse them here.)
  • The Vegan Month of Food (aka Vegan MoFo) starts November 1st! Get ready for a whole month of daily food posts. This will be my eighth (!!!) year participating!

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta (Vegan)

What’s the weather like where you are? Here in Maryland, we’re experiencing an uncanny second summer: 80˚+ temperatures in the middle of October. Heat-lover though I am, I can’t quite get behind this divergence from the natural progression of the seasons.

I’d already started preparing my garden for the winter — trimming back unruly tomato vines, pulling dead plants — when the temperature skyrocketed. But with this return of the heat, tomatoes I’d long since given up for green are getting a second chance to ripen. I’d already picked some of the larger green ones, thinking that even a week of warmth wouldn’t be adequate for those big ones. And so, here I am with  a few pounds of green tomatoes of all shapes and sizes.

After trying my hand at that Southern classic, fried green tomatoes, and finding them lackluster, I knew I couldn’t rely on traditional uses for my unripe fruit. What to do? How about a galette, where green tomato slices are roasted to tangy perfection and layered atop a creamy tofu ricotta base? Seasoned lightly and ensconced in a crunchy cornmeal-laced crust, this is the perfect way to elevate those green tomatoes to the level of their more revered ripened brethren.

This recipe requires three components and might seem time-consuming. But individually, each piece is relatively simple, and the ricotta can be made ahead and let sit overnight. The result is a flavorful yet sturdy green tomato tart that you can slice and eat like pizza — no need to dirty a fork.

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta / #vegan / govegga.com

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta

Serves two as a main and four as a side

Ingredients

For the tomatoes

  • 12 oz. green tomatoes (about 6 small tomatoes) sliced into ~1/8″ rounds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1-2 T balsamic vinegar (I prefer less, but you might not!)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • A few grinds black pepper

For the crust

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, chilled (refrigerate it for a few minutes before starting the recipe)
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For the tofu-walnut ricotta

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts (you can omit these if you’d like; see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp white or yellow miso
  • A few grinds black pepper
Method

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

While the oven is preheating, prepare the tomatoes. In a large bowl, drizzle the sliced tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, oregano, and pepper on top and stir again to coat.

Pour the tomatoes onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, shift the tomatoes around gently.

While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the crust and the ricotta.

To make the crust:

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and oregano. Drizzle in the olive oil, and use clean hands, a fork, or a pastry cutter to work in the oil until it forms sandy  crumbs. Drizzle in the cold water and stir to combine, using your hands to knead if necessary. Work it gently until it comes together into a soft dough, but do not overwork. Form into a ball and place in the refrigerator, either wrapped in cling film or with a tea towel.

To make the tofu-walnut ricotta:

Use your hands to gently wring out any extra liquid from the tofu, then crumble it into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and use your hands, a spatula, or a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. If possible, let sit for 30 minutes before using to let the flavors develop (though this is not necessary).

When the tomatoes are lightly browned and bubbling, remove them from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 375˚F while you prepare the tart.

On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rough circle or oval about 1/8″ thick. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. (This is a delicate dough, so rolling directly on parchment paper or on the sheet might make this step simpler.) Leaving a 1 1/2″ border, pile about half the ricotta in the center, then layer the tomato slices on top, overlapping slightly. Fold the edge of the dough over the filling.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, just until the crust starts to brown.

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta / #vegan / govegga.com

Notes
  • If possible, make the ricotta the day before to let the flavors develop and to save time.
  • This recipe requires a half batch of the ricotta, so you can either halve the recipe or save the remaining ricotta for another day. (Stuffed shells, anyone?)
  • I included walnuts in the ricotta to add texture and a little extra protein. They’re not necessary, so feel free to leave them out.
  • You can use more tomatoes if you have them on hand.

Disclaimer: his post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

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Simple Spicy Green Beans and Tofu

Two  months ago, Steven and I bought a house. We’d been looking for for something old, with lots of character, in the country(ish).

We bought an early ’70s midcentury-inspired, contemporary-as-all-heck house in the suburbs. And we love it.

What I love perhaps most of all is having a beautiful backyard where I can garden and my pups can hang out. My wonderful parents came down to help us move, and my dad built us two raised garden beds. He also brought plants galore and taught me all about the best ways to transplant various little plantlings. (It pays to have a master gardener who spends most of his free time at a greenhouse for a dad!) We planted relatively late in the season and had a little deer-eating-all-the-baby-tomatoes incident, but things are finally starting to pick up out there. I have more basil than I know what to do with, and everything is coming in beautifully. I love it. Just look at these sweet filius blue peppers — aren’t they cute?!

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Cutest lil peppers that you ever did see.

A post shared by Kelly (@kelmishka) on

 

I also love living a mile from a wonderful weekend farmers’ market. On Saturday mornings, I walk over to the market to stock up on lush fresh veg and fruit, then treat myself to a cold-brew coffee from Brewing Good Coffee Co., a local craft coffee roaster that just happens to be run by vegans. (Their motto is “Drink coffee. Save animals.” Done.) By the time I get home, I’m extra sweaty from being weighed down by all that veggie goodness, but at least I’m caffeinated!

This Saturday, I picked up a big ol’ carton of green beans and knew I had to gobble them up right away. They starred in a spicy dish alongside some tofu and hot peppers from the garden (not the ones in the photo above). I finished everything off with a nice spicy sauce and served over brown rice. Yes, this recipe is super simple — in fact, it’s barely a recipe at all. But this time of year, when all this gorgeous produce is in its prime, I like meals that are simple enough to let the veggies shine. Plus, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen when the sun is shining and you’ve got a backyard calling your name?! :)

Green beans and tofu star in this simple, spicy vegan dinner.

Simple Spicy Green Beans & Tofu
Serves 2-3

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small purple cayenne hot peppers, diced OR 1-2 t dried red pepper flakes*
  • 2 T low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 lb green beans, chopped or snapped into roughly 1″ pieces

Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the ginger, garlic, and pepper/pepper flakes. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown, then add the tofu.

Cook the tofu over medium-low for 7-10 minutes, turning every few minutes, until the cubes start to get crispy and golden. Keep the heat on medium-low so the tofu doesn’t burn.

Add the green beans to the saucepan and cover. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Remove the lid and pour in the sauce. Stir to coat, and cook for another minute or two until the sauce is absorbed. Serve immediately over brown rice.

*You can really use any fresh hot pepper you’d like — I just happened to have two of these little guys ripe and ready to go.

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What’s your favorite easy summer veg-forward dinner?

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How to Make Lentil Soup Without a Recipe

lentil soup template

As the DC area grimly prepares for its first blizzard of the season (and, really, our first significant snowfall of the season!), I’m positively gleeful about the impending weather. It weirds me out that we’ve made it halfway through January without snow, and I’m ready to get snowed in. I’ve got good books, good coffee, and good soup to see me through.

Call me plain, but I love a solid lentil soup. I don’t know the last time I’ve used a recipe to make one, though; I usually see what I’ve got in the fridge and the pantry and go from there. And my blizzard batch is no exception. It’s chock-full of add-ins: carrots, celery, potatoes, kale, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and more. I thought it might be fun to share a modular, customizable template for making lentil soup for those times when you don’t want to follow a recipe but do want a little guidance.

Following this template is pretty simple. I’ve divided the ingredients into different sections and indicated how many items from each section you should choose. You can, of course, add more or less depending on what’s in your pantry — this is just a guide. But by sticking to ingredients from each section, you should end up with a hearty, filling soup with diverse textures and flavors. Note that the white wine is highly recommended but not essential. The same goes for most ingredients. Your soup won’t be ruined if you don’t have celery, and the measurements are just suggestions. Be flexible, play with the template, and enjoy.

lentil_soup_template

One-Pot Lentil Soup (a Template)
Serves 4-6

The basics (use all)

  • 1 T olive oil (you can use more if you prefer, or even just water-sauté the mirepoix if you want to avoid added oil)
  • Mirepoix (diced onion, carrot, and celery — the amounts don’t really matter, but aim for about 1/2 cup of each)
  • 3-5 cloves minced garlic
  • Low-sodium vegetable broth (3-4 cups, depending on how soup-y vs. stew-y you want it to be)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried green or brown lentils
  •  1/3 cup dry white wine

The veggies (choose 2-3)

  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium golden potatoes, diced into 1/2” cubes
  • 1-2 cups canned diced tomatoes (use the juice, too)
  • 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach

The additional protein (choose 1)

  • 1/2 cup Beyond Meat chicken, shredded gently
  • 1/2 cup soy curls
  • 1/2 cup vegan beef chunks, chopped if too large
  • 2 vegan sausages, sliced into rounds and cut in half (sautéed ahead of time, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • Additional 1/2 cup lentils

The spices (choose 1 blend or make your own)

  • Basic blend
    • 1 T nutritional yeast
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika (smoked or sweet)
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • “Beef stew” blend
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp allspice
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Curry blend
    • 1 T curry powder
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • Salt and pepper to taste

To start, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot on medium. When it begins to shimmer, add the mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) and garlic. Heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently so nothing burns, until the onion is translucent.

Add your spice blend and give everything a good stir, then add the veggies to the pot UNLESS you’re using kale, spinach, or another green. Hold those till later. Add the lentils (including the additional half cup, if using) and the quinoa, if using. Stir everything again and then add your broth. The broth should cover all your ingredients with about an extra inch of liquid.

Bring everything to a boil, give it a good stir, and then turn it down to low. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Around the 30 minute mark, add your protein (unless you’re using quinoa or additional lentils) and greens, if using. Add more broth or water, if necessary. Give everything a good stir and cook for another 15 minutes.

After 15 more minutes, check the soup to see if the lentils and potatoes (if using) are soft. At this point, you can also taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. You could also add more liquid if you want it soupier. Simmer for longer if necessary.

When all ingredients are cooked to your taste, add the white wine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then serve.

~~~

What kind of meals do you like to create off the cuff? Would a template for something else be helpful?

Snow Drift/Pantry Challenge

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Day 26: It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! 

Wow, it’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift?! That’s some weather. Thanks, climate change! Truly, this prompt is really just a pantry challenge — and y’all know how I love a pantry challenge!

I had to set some ground rules for this prompt, though. Roots Market — one of my favorite local grocers — has been celebrating its “grand reopening” throughout the last week, and they’ve been running some great sales. I headed out to Clarksville to stop by and pick up some goodies, like Califia Farms almond milk (two for $7!) and a few Gardein items (buy one, get one free!), along with a pound of organic almonds (on sale for $5.99/lb!). But I didn’t think it would be fair to include anything I bought today, since I wouldn’t have been able to make it out of the house with that big ol’ cold/rain/snowdrift keeping me in. Instead, I used ingredients I already had to put together a super simple, super comforting kale and yellow split pea soup.

Kale and Yellow Split Pea Soup

Truthfully, I didn’t measure everything I put in this soup. If I were snowbound, I likely wouldn’t be worrying about keeping track of everything! And in a soup like this, the proportions don’t really matter; you can’t go wrong. This particular soup was nice and brothy, with lots of kale. Roughly, here’s what went in:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 big bag of Tuscan kale (from TJ’s)
  • ~1 cup dried yellow split peas
  • ~6 cups water + concentrated veg broth
  • Lotsa spices (coriander, cumin, onion powder, turmeric)

This is exactly the type of thing I’d make on a snow day! I’d also whip up a loaf of crusty homemade bread — because what could be better than hot straight-out-of-the-oven bread when it’s cold outside?! Today, I used this recipe, because I wasn’t in the mood to knead the dough. I don’t have a Dutch oven, so I cooked it in a cast-iron skillet instead. And I didn’t include any herbs because I wanted a simpler bread. It was so simple and surprisingly good. Again, perfect for a snow day! (Or, y’know, a somewhat cool early fall day. Same thing?)

Kabocha Squash Pizza Sauce

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Day 22: Make a dish using all seasonal produce.

What a perfect prompt for this autumnal day! I had a big ol’ kabocha squash sitting on my counter, and all day long I mused about how to use it. Simple roasted slices? This beautiful soy-braised preparation? A gingery soup?

And then, on the give-and-take bookshelf at work, I found a copy of Mark Sutton’s Heart Healthy Pizza cookbook up for grabs, and pizza sounded mighty appealing. I’ve seen butternut squash-based cheezy pizza toppings, so why not kabocha?! I decided to make a thick sauce to top a pizza, and it exceeded all my expectations. This sauce is creamy, complex, and perfectly flavored with roasted garlic. And it’s a unique, unexpected way to use kabocha squash!

kabocha

You can prepare the sauce ahead of time, but I did everything in one night. It’s a little time-consuming, but there’s downtime for each component that lets you prep the next component. I included my workflow in the steps below.

Kabocha Squash Pizza Sauce

  • One kabocha squash
  • One head garlic
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T yellow or white miso
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • A few grinds black pepper

Toppings

  • Basil
  • Caramelized onions

One recipe of your favorite pizza dough

Preheat your oven to 400˚ and pour a little water into a rimmed baking tin. Leaving the rind on, roughly slice the kabocha squash into sixths; don’t worry about how even they are. Place the slices rind-down into the baking dish, drizzle with a little olive oil, and place in the oven. Next, prepare the garlic for roasting. Add the foil packet to the oven and bake both the squash and the garlic for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

In the meantime, prepare the pizza dough, following your recipe’s instructions. Let it rise while the squash and garlic are in the oven. If you’re topping your pizza with caramelized onions, start caramelizing them now.

When the squash is ready, remove it (and the garlic) from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes while you roll out the pizza dough. Give the dough a brief second rise (after rolling it out) while you prepare the sauce. (If using onions, they should be done by now — just turn off the heat and leave them on the stove until ready to use.)

Preheat the oven to 450˚.

To make the sauce, carefully scoop the squash out of the rinds and add it to a food processor. Squeeze the garlic out of the papery skins into the processor. Be careful here too; it’ll be hot. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and process until it’s very smooth and creamy.

Spread the sauce as thick as you’d like on the dough. (Save any extra to use with pasta!) Top with caramelized onions and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, and let cool for about 3 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

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A Veganized Family Recipe: Pepper Steak

VeganMoFo 2015 banner

Day 20: Veganize an old family recipe.

Full disclosure: This is going to be a quick and dirty (and kind of cheater-y!) post! This has been a super duper busy weekend visiting my family in RI, and I just haven’t had a chance to actually make this recipe. But I know exactly which recipe I would veganize: pepper steak. I haven’t eaten it for years, yet I can vividly remember many dinners that included this recipe alongside mashed potatoes. I have a particularly fond memory of eating it at my grandmother’s table, surrounded by family. And I have this recipe card, with my mom’s distinctive handwriting (albeit a version  from ~20 years ago!) and lots of stains from years of use.

peppersteak

Veganizing this recipe would be pretty simple — I’d just use steak-style “beef” strips (homemade via Miyoko?!), vegan Worcestershire sauce, veg “beef” broth, and a reduced cooking time. I’d serve it with mashed potatoes and some extra gravy, and I’d savor the cruelty-free version of a childhood favorite.