Category Archives: Entrées

The star of the vegan show!

Vegan Spring Recipes!

Flowers at the Prospect Park Farmers Market

Spring is here and instead of root veggies I want more fresh greens and fruit. I am officially ready to move into my spring recipes and say goodbye to my winter recipes until next year. Below are some of my favorite spring recipes. I will continue to add to them so stay tuned for more.

Vegan Spring Salad
This salad if full of spring veggies. The radishes, broccoli, cucumber, celery, and snow peas add a lot of crunch to a salad of mixed greens.

Get Your Greens Smoothie
This is one of my all time favorite smoothies. The
spinach and pineapple give it a sweet flavor while the kale adds a little earthy taste. I could eat this smoothie every morning!

Pesto!
Nothing says warm weather is coming like some fresh pesto. This pesto is flavorful and goes great on bread or your favorite pasta.

 

Pita Pizza

These pesto pizzas are light and go great with a nice big green salad. They are also quick and easy so you can spend more time outside enjoying the warmer weather.

No Bake Strawberry Pie
This is one of my all time favorite desserts. It is incredibly healthy, low in sugar, and very fresh tasting.

Baked Pineapple Tempeh
Pineapple Tempeh goes great with a fresh green salad or as a side. The sweet pineapple reminds you that winter is ending and sweeter fruits and on their way.

 

Vegan Pita Pizzas

 

Last weekend I used my home-made pesto to make some vegan pesto pita pizzas. I got some fresh pita from Zaytoons in Prospect Heights. It was very easy to make and very rewarding to eat! The vegan cheese was warm and creamy melted over the flavorful pesto. The grilled onions added a little sweetness, the sun dried tomatoes a little salt, and the pepperoncinis a little spicy kick. It is something I will make again soon!

Ingredients
1 onion
1 tsp olive oil
2 large pita breads
1/3 cup of pesto
1/2 cup of Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese 
4 sun dried tomatoes
3 pepperoncinis
fresh ground pepper to taste

Method
1. Grill one chopped onion in a teaspoon of olive oil until the onion is slightly browned.
2. Chop pepperoncinis and sun dried tomoatoes.
3. Spread the vegan pesto over the pita.
4. Sprinkle the vegan mozzarella cheese on top.
5. Add the onion, sun dried tomatoes, pepperoncinis, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15minutes or until the cheese is melted. Be careful not to overcook or the pita will get hard.
6. Add some fresh ground pepper and enjoy warm!

Next time I might try some other toppings to mix it up. I might add some avocado, roasted garlic, or grilled mushrooms!

Vegan St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

 
 
 
 
Here are some vegan St. Patrick’s Day recipe ideas. I decided to make traditional cabbage and Irish Soda Bread. I wasn’t really in the mood for imitation meat and didn’t want anymore carbs, so we made a lentil loaf instead. We were cooking for our families and so there was also the traditional corned beef available for those who wanted it.

If you are cooking all of these recipes at once, I recommend cooking the Irish Soda Bread first and letting it cool so you can use the oven for the lentil loaf. The lentil loaf is best served warm. Also, start the cabbage about 15 minutes before you want to eat. It will be done quickly and is also best served warm.

Irish Soda Bread (From an earlier post)

Ingredients
2 cups of soy milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 cups plus 2 tsp. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. raw sugar
1 cup raisins

The Irish Soda Bread batter after mixing the wet and dry ingredients. The vinegar and baking soda have a reaction. 

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
2.  Whisk the soy milk and apple cider vinegar until the milk becomes foamy. Set aside.
3. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar together.
4. blend the wet and dry ingredients together. The dough will be dry, this is good.
5. Fold in raisins.
6. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes adding the 2 tbsp. of flour.
7. Place the batter in an 8 inch pie tin with parchment paper.
8. Sprinkle with a little flour.
9. Make an X using a serrated knife.
10. Bake for about 50minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
11. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and let cool for 10 minutes on a rack before eating.

 

Vegan Lentil Loaf

Inspired by Whole Foods

I was a little nervous about this new lentil loaf recipe. I couldn’t understand what would hold it together. It came out really good and it stayed intact. However, if you are cooking this for guests, cut and serve it for them as it is a little delicate. 

 
Rich and I cooked this meal together for our families.
















Ingredients
1 cup lentils
3/4 cup bulgur wheat 
1 large onion
10 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. italian seasoning (equal parts dried rosemary, oregano, thyme, and parsley)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 cup fresh parsley

Rich made me a finely chopped red pepper heart.

Method
1. Bring two cups of water and lentils to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft. 
2. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil and add bulgur. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  
4. Finely chop onion and sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
5. Add finely chopped mushrooms and sauté for 5 more minutes. 
6. Add finely chopped red bell pepper and apple cider vinegar. Cook until vinegar is absorbed (about 3-5 minutes). 
7. Mix in spices and dried herbs. 
8. Remove from heat and mix in lentils, bulgur wheat, oats, and fresh parsley. 
9. Place parchment paper in a bread pan. 
10. Add the mixture to the bread pan and pack it down tightly with a spoon. 
11. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. 
12. Let the loaf sit in the pan and cool for about 20 minutes. This will help it to hold its shape. 
13. Garnish with organic ketchup and parsley. 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Cabbage! 

This is a favorite recipe in our family that my mom has been making forever. It is amazing how good simple cooked cabbage is!

Ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large head of cabbage
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Method
1. Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium high heat.
2. Add cabbage and stir every 45 seconds so that pieces are browning but not burning. *You may not be able to fit all of the cabbage at once. That’s okay, just add more once the cabbage has cooked down a little or do it in two batches. 
3. After the cabbage has cooked down, add salt, sugar, and black pepper.  
4. Serve warm!

Butternut Squash Curry

As the winter is coming to an end, I decided I need to make one more butternut squash dish. I have had one for about two weeks but have been passing it up for foods that make me think of spring. This dish is delicious and I am only sad I didn’t discover it sooner! I suppose there is always next winter.

This dish has a slightly spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness (as all good curry dishes should). It is hearty, especially when served over Brown Jasmin Rice or quinoa. I made lots of it and will be eating it for lunch this week!

Inspired by
Oh She Glows Blog

Ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 dashes cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 1/4 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup of red lentils
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 can of light coconut milk
2 tbsp. tomato paste

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the squash in half and peel it.
3. Bake the squash for about 1 hour or until is soft and a little brown on top. This means the sugars are crystallizing and it really makes the flavor!
4. In a large sauce pan, heath the olive oil.
5. Add the onion, stirring about 5 minutes or until translucent.
6. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
7. Add the spices and fresh ginger. Stir these together.
8. Add vegetable broth and water.
9. Add the rinsed lentils.
10. Bring water to a boil and than reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.
11. After the finished squash has cooled for about 20 minutes, place it in the food processor with the coconut milk and tomato paste. Blend until the squash is mashed and all are combined.
12. Serve over rice, couscous, or quinoa!

Vegan Lentil Dahl

Indian Dahl, perfect for a chilly winter evening. 

Rich and I were in the mood for something simple and healthy last night. I made one of my favorite simple Indian dishes, Dahl.  If you have never made it and like Indian flavors, I highly recommend it. I doubled the recipe because it also makes a tasty lunch!

Ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. yellow curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. cardamon
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tomatoes
1 tbsp. ginger
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup dry red lentils
3 tbsp. tomato paste

 
 

Method
1. Finely chop onions and place in hot oil on medium heat. Use a large soup pot because everything will go in here.
2. After 2 minutes add minced garlic and ginger.
3. Add chopped tomatoes.
4. After 5 more minutes add all spices and let simmer for 1 more minute stirring to blend.
5. Add water, broth, and rinsed lentils.
6. Place lid on the pot. Allow pot to simmer on low for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
7. Mix in the tomato paste.
8. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

 
 
Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
 
This weekend I wanted to make a new and unique vegan dish. I found a Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese recipe on my new favorite vegan food blog, Oh She Glows and adjusted it slightly. I added some more herbs, spices and made it a little creamier. Rich and I were getting a little tired of our Comfort Food Vegan Mac & Cheese recipe. I actually made it for my mom and siblings one night a few months ago and couldn’t believe how much oil was in it! I guess my standards and tastes have changed since I first started vegan cooking a few years ago. I realized it was tasty, but not particularly healthy and haven’t made it since. 
 
 
I choose the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese originally because it had a much lower fat content when compared with most vegan mac & cheese recipes. I was very happy with the end result. It tasted less like mac & cheese than our comfort food version, but I really enjoyed the unique flavor. The butternut squash gave it an earthy undertone and the nutritional gave a hint of the traditional mac & cheese flavor. I think the consistency of this meal was the best part. The consistency was creamy and it really looked like traditional mac & cheese. 
 
The end result reinforced my vegan food philosophy: We don’t need to replicate the exact flavor of non-vegan dishes with loads of artificial flavors, salt, and sugar. It is better to create new, healthier versions of old favorites and embrace the flavor as a new creation.
 
 
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Ingredients
2 cups of chopped butternut squash (you could substitute with canned butternut squash) 

1 tbsp olive oil 

3 cloves of garlic minced 

1 tsp of dried oregano 

2 cups soymilk (divided) 

2 tbsp cornstarch 

¾ cup nutritional yeast 

4 tbsp Dijon mustard 

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice 

½ tsp kosher salt 

1tsp fresh ground black pepper 

1 16oz package of gluten free pasta (rice or quinoa work well) 

¾ cup chopped kale 

Top with Hungarian Smoked Paprika 

 
Method
1.   Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2.   Peel and chop 2 cups of butternut squash (about one medium sized squash).
3.   Bring a pot of water to boil and follow pasta directions on package.
4.   While the squash is baking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium for about 1 minute.
5.   Add minced garlic and oregano. Sauté these for 2 minutes to bring out flavor.
6.   Bring the heat down to medium-low.
7.   Add 1.5 cups of soymilk and cornstarch, whisk until there are no clumps.
8.   Whisk in the nutritional yeast, the consistency will really start to thicken here.
9.   Add mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper mixing well.
10.       Remove the saucepan from heat.
11.       When the squash is done, let it cool for about 15 minutes. This time of year you can expedite the process by letting it sit on the fire escape. J
12.       Mix the squash and remaining soymilk in a food processor or with an electric mixer (1/2 cup).
13.       Add the butternut squash mixture to the “cheesy” mixture, whisk together until combined.
14.       Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix in chopped kale.
15.       Top with Hungarian Smoked Paprika and enjoy!

 

It’s That Time of Year…..

It’s vegan time of year for us again! I had plenty of cookies and cheese over the holiday season to warrant another January detox. I am having fun trying new recipes, eating more greens and trying the various vegan restaurants in NYC.  So far my favorite recipe was vegan banana bread but we ate it so quickly I didn’t get to take a picture. I’ll try to make it again soon and post it with pictures. This weekend I made a Vegan Shepard’s Pie that came out really well and was fairly easy.

Ingredients
1 onion
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 ½ cup veggie broth
¾ cup beer (I used a Left Hand Milk Stout)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 medium potatoes
½ cup soymilk
½ cup mushrooms
3 celery stalks
3 carrots
1 parsnip
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
fresh rosemary
½ tsp fresh pepper
½ tsp curry
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
Optional: Breadcrumbs for topping
Optional: Daiya Mozzarella for the top
Method
  1.     Boil chopped and peeled potatoes in a large pot.
  2.      While the potatoes are cooking, sauté onion in 1 tbs olive oil until translucent.
  3.      Add carrots, celery, and parsnip. Sauté 2 minutes.
  4.     Add mushrooms. Sauté 2 minutes.
  5.      Add spices.
  6.      Add ½ cup vegetable broth to the pan and cover on medium heat. This way you don’t have to use so much oil, vegetables will cook using the water.
  7.     In a separate bowl combine 1 cup vegetable broth, ½ cup beer, 3 tbsp of flour, and tomato paste and whisk.
  8.      While the vegetables are cooking, return to the potatoes.
  9.      Drain potatoes when they are soft and blend them (using an electric mixer) with soymilk and pepper.  Set aside.
  10.  When the vegetables in the pan are soft enough to sick a fork through the carrots and celery, add the mixed vegetable broth, beer, flour, and tomato paste. Continue to cook in pan until a thick gravy forms.
  11.  Place the vegetable mixture in a tall baking dish or brownie pan.
  12.  Place the mashed potatoes on top.
  13.  Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

Cod-Potato Soup

Last night I made a tasty cod-potato soup. It was a great warm and filling winter meal. The only problem is, it was so good I forgot to take a picture before I ate it! The recipe is below.

1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 potatoes
2 cups of veggie broth
1 cup soy milk
12 oz Cod
2 stalks of celery
1 TBS mixed dried herbs
1 tsp dry dill

Method

1. Sauté onions for 2 minutes in a little olive oil.
2. Add chopped potatoes.
3. Add veggie broth and a little water, enough to submerge the potatoes.
4. Cover and boil until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
5. Mash potatoes with an immersion blend or a hand held masher.
6. Add mixed herbs, garlic, soy milk, and celery. Let cook on medium-high for 10 minutes.
7. Add cod and continue to cook for another 7 minutes.
8. Add dried or fresh dill and serve warm!

Winter Veggies

After the Thanksgiving holiday I was looking for some healthy meals using in-season vegetables. I came across a few recipes on the New York Times Recipes for Health column (which I really enjoy) and altered them slightly to add more flavor. The one in the picture is one that I quite enjoyed. Here is the recipe from the website. The dish was flavorful, filling, and healthy. I found all of the vegetables to be in-season at my food co-op. True the tomatoes may only have another week or so left before their season is over, but they could be substituted with another vegetable if necessary. Below are my altercations. 

Recipe

4 large firm tomatoes

1 red onion chopped

2 zucchinis

2 eggplants

¼ cup grape seed oil

Mixed Herbs de Provence (if you wanted you could exchange fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano)

2 cloves of garlic minced

¼ cup veggie broth

Salt and pepper

2 TBSP tomato paste

Method

11. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

22. Chop veggies so they are about ¼ to ½ inch thick.

33. Chop the onion finely and mince the garlic. Set aside. 

44. Add grape seed oil, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper, and veggies (except for the onion and garlic) in a large bowl and mix until the seasoning and oil are well dispersed.

55. Stack the veggies in an oiled pan so that there is no room for them to fall. I had to use two pans for this.

66. Pour the onion and garlic mixture over the pan of stacked veggies.

77. Add 1/8 cup of liquid mixed with 1 TBSP of tomato paste to each pan. The tomatoes will make more liquid but this helps to keep the veggies moist.

88. Cover your baking pan with tin foil or back in a Dutch oven for 45minutes.

99. Take out after 45minutes and add breadcrumbs (you could also add vegan cheese or parmesan if you like). Bake for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees. 

Cold Weather Food

Now that the weather is cooler and the days are getting shorter, I am finding more time to cook and document it. Yesterday Rich and I got together with some friends and made one of my new favorites, vegan tomato soup with goat cheese grilled cheese and pesto sandwiches. It was perfect for a chilly, Halloween, post-hurricane day. Both are quite easy.
Soup

2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
½ onion
2 tbsps mixed dried Italian herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme)
3-4 pounds of fresh tomatoes
1 tbsp pepper
1 large jar of tomato puree
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 cup veggie broth
1 bunch of fresh basil

Method
1. Put a little olive oil in a pan and sauté the shallots, garlic, onion and dried herbs over medium heat.
2. Add chopped fresh tomatoes. Bring the pot with the tomatoes to medium-high and let cook with the lid on for 15-20 minutes stirring frequently.
3. When the tomatoes cook down, add pepper, tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and veggie broth. Let this cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the bunch of fresh basil and let simmer on low for another 10 minutes.
5. Top with some fresh basil, a little thinly sliced tomato and breadcrumbs.
This soup is very tasty and surprisingly creamy for a vegan soup!
Sandwich

Whole-wheat sourdough (Bread Alone makes a very good one)
Pesto (I cheated and used store bought this time, but you can easily make your own)
Sliced tomato (in the picture I used a green heirloom tomato)
Goat cheese with herbs (you could make this recipe vegan by submitting Daiya cheese)
A little butter or Earth Balance for the pan

Method
1. Spread the goat cheese and pesto on the sandwich.
2. Add a few thinly sliced tomatoes to the sandwich.
3. Place a little butter in the pan and cook the sandwich on both sides with the lid on to melt the goat cheese.
Serve with the soup!