Category Archives: Sides

A good side can make a meal!

Hummus from Dry Beans

 
 
Hummus and Red Peppers
 
Hummus is one of my favorite foods and one I really enjoying making from dry beans. It wasn’t always this way. I made many hummus recipes that failed miserably before I found a combination that had the consistency and flavor I enjoy. I also really like this recipe because it is lower in fat that most hummus recipes. I use only a little tahini and I don’t add any olive oil at all.
 
I have learned that there are two tricks to creating good hummus.
 
1. Baking soda
2. The saved liquid from the boiled chickpeas
 
You are probably wondering, why would anyone use baking soda in hummus? You don’t bake anything. The baking soda should go in with the hummus when you are soaking the chickpeas. This helps soften the chickpeas overnight.  
 
Below is the recipe to my most successful hummus! I use this recipe over and over again. I share it with friends who have be equally as stumped when trying to make their own hummus.
 
 
Recipe
1.   2 ½ cups of dry chick peas
2. 1 teaspoon of baking powder
3.  1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
4. 1/3 cup tahini
5. 1/3 cup lemon juice
6.  1 cup of the chick pea water (see method step 5)
7. 2-3 cloves of garlic
8. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
9. 1 teaspoon paprika
10.      ¼ teaspoon cumin
11.  1 teaspoon salt
12.   1 teaspoon black pepper
 
Method
1.   Rinse the dry chickpeas and look for any rocks or bad beans mixed in with the beans.
2.  Soak the chickpeas in 8 cups of water overnight (or for 8 hours) with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
3. Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas.
4. Place the chickpeas in a pot of water on the stove and bring them to a boil for 5 minutes. Bring the pot down to medium-low heat (a little more than a simmer) for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are smooth and creamy when pressed between two fingers. There should be no starchiness to the texture. If the bean is crumbly when pressed between two fingers, they are not done yet. This is the hardest part; I used to always think I overcooked the beans because they would be crumbly. Just be patient and eventually you will get the right consistency!
5. When the chickpeas are done, place a bowl underneath your colander to catch the liquid from the boiled chick peas (catch about 1 ½ cups and let the rest go down the sink.  
6. Place the chickpeas (it will yield about 5 cups) into a food processor. Blend until there aren’t any whole chickpeas left.  
7. Add the lemon and tahini first along with ½ cup of the chickpea water. Blend together.
8. Slowly add the next ½ cup of the chickpea water until you have your desired consistency. For me, it is usually 1 cup exactly
9.  Now that you have your desired consistency, it is time to flavor your hummus!
10. Add the vinegar, garlic, paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt, and black pepper to your liking. The recipe measurements above are my favorite combination, but don’t be afraid to change them!
11. Enjoy with veggies, on a greek pizza, or in a falafel! 
 
 
A variation of Greek Pizza

Homemade Peanut Butter

This recipe is so quick and easy. You don’t need to add anything to the peanuts at all and they still taste delicious. I cannot believe I didn’t start making my own peanut butter sooner. It is so inexpensive and fresh. It is also healthier with no added sugar or salt. It looks great in mason jars and makes a lovely gift!

Ingredients
6 cups of unsalted organic peanuts

Method
1. Mix the peanuts in a food processor 2 cups at a time. Be patient, my first few batches were not very creamy. Depending on the strength of your processor I would leave them in there for 5-8 minutes. If you notice the nuts are getting stuck on the side, stop the processor and scrape the sides. Continue until your peanut butter is creamy.

I prefer it completely raw but you can add a little salt or honey to adjust the flavor at the end. Enjoy!

 

Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Bread

 
 
 
I wanted to make a different variation of my usual Whole Grain Bread recipe. I made a cinnamon raisin bread that came out delicious! It was not as sweet as most cinnamon breads, which I really liked. The jumbo raisins and molasses provided a more subtle, natural sweetness.  The whole wheat flour made it hearty and healthy. It is best served warm. We couldn’t stop eating this bread!
 
 
Ingredients:
1 cup soy milk (almond milk also works)
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp salt (you can use a little more if you like saltier bread)
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon 
3 ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup old fashion oats
1 cup of jumbo raisins
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
 
Method
1. Place the wet ingredients in the bread machine
2. Add flour, oats, and raisins. Make sure the raisins are separated (sometimes they stick together). 
3. Make a hole in the flour (see picture above) that is not too deep to touch the liquid.
4. Add the dry yeast in the hole. This is to keep the yeast from rising if you are setting your bread maker to start a little later. I love to set it for 3 hours before I wake up so I wake up to the smell!
5. Set your bread maker on the “whole wheat” setting.
6. Try to wait patiently for 3-4 hours, depending on your bread maker. Let cool for 15 minutes.
 
 
We used this bread to make tempeh reubens. The sweetness really added to the flavor. It was also great when warm with vegan cream cheese. 

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 Pesto

One of my all time favorite things to make in the spring and summer is pesto. The Park Slope Food Co-op has incredibly fresh basil. I bring it home and put it in a vase to keep it fresh. I always try to eat it in a day or two. I ate this one on homemade bread and sweet potato gnocchi. I also really like it on a vegan grilled cheese sandwich.

While I was making this recipe, I realize I didn’t have enough of my usual pine nuts. I had a bunch of almonds and used those. It came out great. When I made the recipe again a few days later, I just used almonds. It tasted great (I didn’t notice a difference) and almonds are much less expensive than pine nuts. My friend told me you can also use walnuts. I will have to try that another time.

The final product is very fresh tasting. The mixture of the garlic and lemon leave you with a powerful taste that will make you want more. I like to add a little lemon for garnish.

Ingredients
4 cloves of fresh garlic

4 cups of fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds (or a mix of both)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Pesto Ingredients

Method
1. Place the garlic in the food processor and blend until it is finely chopped.
2. Add the almonds and blend.
3. Add the basil and blend until everything is mixed.
4. Add the lemon juice and blend.
5. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and blend.

 

 

 

Spring Vegan Salad

 

Spring is here and I am ready to put away the butternut squash and sweet potatoes in exchange for radishes, spinach, and snow peas. Actually, the radishes I got this week were amazing! They tasted so earthy and fresh. I wanted to make a completely green salad, but ended up adding them in because they were so good. I combined kale, arugula, and romaine for the base. Then I basically added every green veggie I could find. Finally, I topped it off with some stuffed grape leaves and radishes. This salad was crunchy, filling, and most importantly, it tasted like spring!

Ingredients
1 cup of kale
1 cup of arugula
1 cup of romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped dill
4 small radishes
1 cucumber
1/2 cup of celery
1/2 cup chopped brocoli
1/2 cup snow peas
4 Stuffed grape leaves

Method
1. Chop kale, arugula, and lettuce and combine.
2. Chop dill, radishes, cucumber, celery, and brocoli. Add these to the salad.
3. Add the snow peas and grape leaves.
4. Enjoy with your favorite dressing!

Yield
2 large salads or 4 small salads

 

Vegan Lentil Loaf

This is an easy recipe for a night when you have a little more time to cook the lentils and bulgur. The end result was both filling and delicious. It went really well with some ketchup, although next time I think I may try some mushroom gravy. It was earthy and hearty, filling and healthy. Our fellow dinners appreciated the aesthetic appeal. I will definitely make this again!

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

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. 

 

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!

Vegan Irish Soda Bread

The finished product!

St. Patrick’s Day is creeping upon us (in case you are wondering it is Sunday, March 17th). Here is a simple Vegan Irish Soda Bread recipe you can make using ingredients you probably already have in your house. The end result was not as dry as traditional Irish Soda bread but it had a similar flavor. This recipe was inspired by a new blog I am following, Hungry Gnomes.

Make an X in the uncooked dough


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

Method 
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees 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 very dry, this is good!

The batter will be dry

5. Add raisins!
6. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes adding the 2 tbps. of flour here if needed. You will know you need a little more flour if the dough is extremely sticky. Mine was and this really helped.
7. Place the batter in a 8 inch pie tin with parchment paper.
8. Sprinkle with a little flour.
9. Make an X using a serrated knife.
10. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
11. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and let cool for about 10 minutes before eating.
12. Enjoy with a cup of tea or soy milk!

Want more vegan St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out some more ideas from a recent post here. 

Baked Pineapple Tempeh

 

Lately, I have been dedicated to having a salad per night. It makes me feel really healthy, but I have been getting a little bored with the same toppings. Last week I tried to be adventurous and make some spice covered tempeh. There were way too many spices on the tempeh which dried it out and it wasn’t enjoyable to eat. Tonight I made a delicious baked tempeh which I put on my salad. I used a liquid base to flavor it. It was moist and hearty with a sweet flavor. I highly recommend it!

Ingredients

Sweet Chili sauce is a great sweetener because it adds flavor.

3/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sweet sauce chili
5-6 pieces chopped pineapple
1 package tempeh

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Whisk together the first 3 ingredients until blended.
3. Cut the tempeh in half and then once down the middle to make it thinner.
4. Place the tempeh in an 8 inch pie pan.
5. Cover the tempeh with the sauce and pineapple so that it is mostly covered in liquid.
6. Bake for 12 minutes on each side.
7. Enjoy on a salad, as a side, or over rice.