Category Archives: Garden produce

Avocado Garbanzo Sammiches

Oh glorious garbanzo, how I love you.  You make fabulous dips and spreads, delicious soups and curries, and the most spectacular sammich salads.  When I saw you pairing up with avocado, oh my.  Swoon.  A huge thanks to Amuse Your Bouche for introducing the two of you.  ❤

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Run to your pantry and fridge!  Your mouth will be so happy.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBSP lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste–I added this at the last minute–yum!
  • pita pockets and tomato for serving

Skin and pit your avocado and place it in a bowl with the drained chickpeas.  Mash them together with a fork or potato masher.  Leave a few “half” garbanzos for a nice texture.

mash chickpeas and avocado

Stir in green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

add cilantro onion lime

Spread inside a pita, add a few tomato slices (I like roma tomatoes) and lunch is served!  I enjoy this sammich even when it’s cold outside.

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The creaminess of the avocado pairs nicely with the meatiness of the garbanzos and is perfectly punctuated by the onion and cilantro.  Lime brings the freshness and prevents the avocado from browning.  Leftovers can be safely stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a day or two.

If you’re like me and enjoy a chickpea salad, you might also want to try my Curried Chickpea Salad Sammiches.  Yum!

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Filed under Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, vegan, Vegetarian

Vegan Baked Ziti

Cold weather always makes me want to bake something.  Something warm and aromatic and comforting.    Something your grandmother might have made for the family.  Something that feels like a hug and tastes like a whole lotta love.  I give to you the perfect answer:  Baked Ziti!

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I had never made baked ziti even before becoming vegan, and never had a grandmother make it for me.  But for some reason, the squat little rigatonis in my pantry thought that’s what they should be.  Who am I to argue with cute pasta?!  To the Google!  A few short clicks later, I had two recipes to inspire me; one classic, and one vegan.  Here’s what I came up with:

ingredients

For the ziti:

  • 1 pound short tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or penne or ziti, prepared according to the package
  • 1 pound vegan sausage  (I used Gimme Lean brand–very sausage-y)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped  (I had chopped bells from my garden in the freezer and used them)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar prepared marinara sauce  (I had most of a jar leftover from making pizza)
  • Vegan Parmesan for topping

For the cashew ricotta:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in enough water to cover them by at least an inch
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP of fresh basil or 1 1/2 tsp dried
  • a couple shakes of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F and spray a 9×13″ pan.  Prepare pasta according to the package.

Drain cashews and place in a food processor with lemon juice, garlic, basil, paprika, and salt.

all in the processor

Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.  This should take 3-5 minutes.

blend until smooth

Brown the sausage.  It can be hard to tell when vegan sausage is brown.  Cook, breaking up with a spoon or spatula until it doesn’t feel sticky anymore.  Use a splash of veggie broth or No Chicken Broth (my personal fav) to help keep it from sticking to the pan.

brown sausage

Add onions and peppers and cook until onions are transluscent, about 5-7 minutes.

add onions and peppers

Add tomatoes and marinara, stir to combine.

add tomatoes and sauce

Add cooked pasta and cashew ricotta.  Doesn’t that ricotta look amazing?!

add pasta and ricotta

Stir to coat the pasta evenly and transfer to the prepared 9×13 pan.  Shake some vegan Parmesan over the top.

spread in pan

Bake 20-25 minutes, until the top pasta is getting a tiny bit crisp.

baked

Scoop out with a serving spoon and get your smile on.  You’re gonna feel like your Grandma stopped by with a warm apron-wrapped hug and some pasta to show how much she loves you.

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Just the thing when winter comes a-callin’.

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It snowed almost 6 inches the night I made the ziti.  We were expecting a dusting to MAYBE an inch.  Brrrrr!  It sure was pretty, though.

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Our crab apple trees looked just lovely, and leftover ziti was a perfect warm-me-up after playing outside in the snow.

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Muy Bueno Vegan Tamales

Yesterday, I made my favorite chili-stuffed peppers, which always leaves me with extra stuffing.  I’ve turned that stuffing into burritos, I’ve turned it into enchiladas; both delish.  This time I got to thinking: tamales!  My friend, the Google, provided me with lots of inspiration–recipes without lard or butter, but still used a fair amount of fat, and some that used very, very little fat.  I decided on one that used vegan margarine, thinking it might create a dough that would be closer to tamales I’ve enjoyed before.  I reduced the margarine by half and upped the other liquid.  The dough was super workable and the resulting tamales were, well, muy bueno!

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Another reason to love this recipe is that it only makes 12 tamales.  Very do-able.

ingredients

  • 4 ounces dried corn husks
  • 2 cups masa harina (a corn flour–find it in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan margine, room temperature
  • About 1 1/2 cups warm “no-chicken”  broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups of the vegan filling of your choice.  I used my pepper stuffing, there are a couple more that sound yummy here.
  • sauce of your choice

First, 15 minutes before starting the dough, soak the dried husks in warm water, using a plate to weight them down.

soak husks

Then, mix the masa harina with the baking powder and salt.  Set it aside.

Whip the margarine until it becomes fluffy.  Add the masa and broth alternately until a light, soft and non-sticky dough is formed.

whip butter, ad masa

soft dough

Pat each corn husk dry and place on a surface, the pointed end toward you.  Roll a two-inch dough ball and place it near the top of the husk.

2 inch dough ball

Smoosh (yes, this IS a culinary term!) the dough ball into a square about four inches per side.

smoosh to 4 inch square

Place 1 1/2-2 TBSP filling down the center and top with the sauce of your choice.  We like enchilada sauce.

add filling and sauce

Roll the husk from the side, encircling the dough and filling.

roll

Fold up the bottom and tie with a little strip of husk if you want.  If you’re making tons of tamales, they’ll hold each other together as they pack in the steamer.  I worried the ones on the edges might flop open, so I tied them.  They’re kinda cute that way; yummy little presents.  🙂

fold up bottom

tie

Place them into a steamer basket open side up, place it over boiling water and put a lid over them.  Steam for 50 minutes to an hour–until the dough firms and pulls easily from the husks.

stand up in steamer

all 12 in steamer

place lid

When they’re steamed, unwrap your yummy little presents and enjoy!

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We had just a couple each, with a bowl of squash blossom soup.  We’re expecting a freeze tonight, so I picked all my squash and squash flowers.  The last time we’ll enjoy the soup until next summer, but I’m planning on LOTS of tamales!  Can’t wait to try all sorts of fillings!  Especially at Christmas–tamales are a Christmas tradition I thought I might need to do without. What will you fill your tamales with?

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Barb’s Pesto

My neighbor Barb is one of the reasons I’m vegan.  She and her family have been low-fat vegan for a while and finally convinced Michael and I to give it a try.  We did, we’re more healthy, we love it!  Low-fat vegan cooking is a whole new beastie, when you’re used to olive oil and cheese and eggs.  Barb is my go-to girl when I have questions like, “but how do you saute?”  I love basil and make pesto every summer to preserve that lovely summery flavor all winter.  But pesto has cheese.  And oil.  So, I went to Barb with a “but how do you…” question and of course, she had the answer.  So yummy, so fresh.  And an added bonus–no nuts!  Barb’s allergic to tree nuts, so naturally, she makes her pesto without them.  How could it be yummy without oil and cheese and nuts?!  See for yourself:

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Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients

  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, depending on the size and how much you like garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes (2/3 cup)
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/2 cup)
  • garlic salt to taste, or just regular salt–again, depends on your garlic tolerances  🙂
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
  • black pepper to taste
  • enough fresh basil to fill your processor

Place everything in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade in place.

all in the processor

Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

process til smooth

To freeze for later, place 1/2 cup pesto into containers–I use snack size ziplocs and then place them into a labelled freezer bag.

package to freeze

Or, enjoy right away:  on pasta, with crackers, with veggies, on a yummy garden-fresh tomato….

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What do you like to eat pesto with?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, dinner, food gifts, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Lizette’s Dilly Beans

Late August and September are when my garden is most productive.  Tomatoes, squash, peppers, and LOTS of beans.  They need picked twice a week!  Definitely more than I can keep up with, so what to do?  Make my friend Lizette’s Hot and Spicy Dilly Beans, of course! Just as easy as regular cucumber-based dill pickles, but even more yummy.  

let cool and label

Head out to the garden or farmer’s market and grab some dill, garlic, jalapenos and green beans.  Mine are purple, an heirloom variety called Royal Burgundy.  They turn green when cooked, unfortunately.  Although, these pickles retained some of the purple color in the brine!  I’ll give you the brine proportions (make more as needed) and what you’ll put into each jar.  It’s easy to adjust as you go.

ingredients

  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • peeled whole garlic cloves
  • fresh heads of dill
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh green beans

Sterilize jars, rings and lids; make your best guess at how many you’ll need.  I try to over-estimate so I don’t have to stop mid-process to get more ready.

Get your brine going (vinegar, water and pickling salt) at the same time you start water boiling in your canner.

prepare brine and canner

Wash and snap the stem ends off the beans.

snap beans

Peel garlic and wash and cut jalapenos in half length-wise.  Remove seeds and veins if you want your beans less spicy.

cut jalapenos

Place a head of dill and a clove or two of garlic at the bottom of the jar.

dill and garlic on jar

Fill the rest with beans, and then squeeze in a jalapeno half.

beans and jalapeno in jar

Add boiling brine, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Use a knife to help any air bubbles come to the surface, and add more brine to keep the 1/2 inch head space if needed.

add brine

Wipe the rim and adjust the lid.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water. 

process

Remove jars and let cool.  Label each jar with the date.   If any refused to seal, re-water bath them, or keep them in the fridge.

let cool and label

Let your Dilly Beans sit for a day or two for full crispy-spicy-dilly yumminess.  Save a jar for midwinter and enjoy the taste of summer.  Perfect for your holiday relish trays!

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Filed under Canning and preserving, food gifts, Garden produce, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, snack, Vegetarian

Perfect Peach Salsa

Peach season.  Farm stands loaded with luscious glowing orbs of yumminess.  Perfect for eating fresh.   The juice running down your arm?  No worries!  All hail the glorious peach!  Enjoy them fresh now, and save some to brighten the dark days of winter.  So many options to save peaches: canning, freezing, pie filling, jams, jellies, and butters.  One of my favs is the spectacular combo of sweet and heat, peach salsa.  Yummy as a dip and as the perfect condiment to Mexican foods, especially in my humble opinion, fish or chicken tacos!

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Make it and store it in the fridge or can it to have all winter.  Peach salsa is an easy canning project–don’t fear the canner!  Recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 6 cups chopped, peeled and pitted peaches
  • 1 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (seeded as well if you want to tone down the heat)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a green pepper, because that’s what I had on hand–red would make a pretty salsa, though!)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro (Ok to leave this out if you hate cilantro)
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Prepare your canner, jars, lids and rings.  Combine all ingredients in a large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  (Placing vinegar into the pot first and chopping peaches into it as you go will stop peaches from browning.)

chop and combine

Reduce heat and and boil gently, stirring frequently until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Boil and simmer

Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace with more salsa if needed.  Wipe rim, center lid and screw band down to finger-tight.

ladle into hot jars

Process in hot water bath canner for 15 minutes for 1/2 pints, 20 minutes for pints.  Remove canner lid, wait 5 more minutes and remove jars.

process for 15 min plus 5

Let cool for lids to seal–you’ll hear a “thunk,” and the lid will be concave.

remove and let cool to seal

Label your pretty jars with the date canned.

label lids

Peach Salsa makes a lovely gift, but be sure to save some for yourself to enjoy!  Yum!

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I’ve noticed people either love or hate the whole “sweet and heat” thang.  Which side are you on?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, Garden produce, snack, Vegetarian

Chili-Stuffed Peppers

This year has been a very good year for peppers in my garden.  This is the Big Bertha Bell pepper I picked this week that inspired a cruise around my fave vegan blogs for a stuffed pepper recipe.

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Success!  The Fat Free Vegan to the rescue!  I modified her recipe just a bit and loved the result; definitely a keeper.  I grew up eating peppers stuffed with a burger mixture, which I always loved, and these are just as yummy!

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I had everything I needed in my pantry and garden:

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 package fresh mushrooms, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (or more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed well (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup prepared rice (I cooked 2 cups, and saved the remainder for other recipes)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 bell peppers

For toppings:

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • fresh tomato, chopped
  • avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 400F.

Saute onion in a bit of veggie broth or water until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

saute onions

Add mushrooms, jalapeno, and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms soften, adding broth as needed to prevent sticking.

add garlic mushrooms jalapeno

While onions and mushrooms cook, cut an opening down the side of each pepper, leaving the stem end on.  Carefully remove ribs and seeds.

cut opening in peppers

Chop the pepper parts you just cut off and add them to the pan.  Saute for a few more minutes to allow them to soften.

add diced pepper

Add beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, and spices.  Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two to blend the flavors.

add beans corn tomato spices

Add cooked rice.  1 cup was what looked right to me, but add more or less to your own taste.  Stir to combine.

add rice

Spray a pan with cooking spray and arrange peppers in it.  Stuff each with the filling.  Don’t they look yummy?!

stuff peppers

Bake 30-40 minutes, until peppers are tender.

bake til tender

Arrange toppings next to a pepper to serve, or place them on top.  Enjoy!

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I couldn’t stop making the yum sound.  I was a bit worried these wouldn’t be as hearty as a meat-stuffed pepper, but turns out they are just as satisfying if not even more so.  I had a fair amount of stuffing left over, which we’ve made into some mighty yummy burritos.  I think it would also be fabulous as a squash stuffing, and as a topper for a tofu scramble.  Yum, yum, yummy!

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Food memories, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian